Monday, July 2, 2012

Quantum Psychology, Chapter 2

This is the second of the weekly get-togethers to discuss chapters in Robert Anton Wilson's Quantum Psychology and to attempt to do the exercizes (as well as they can be done, in cyberspace, as opposed to actually getting together in a physical space.)

Exercize 1. Let each member of the group classify each of the following propositions as meaningful or meaningless:

A. I hauled the garbage out this morning.

B. God appeared to me this morning.

C. I saw a UFO this morning.

D. This table-top measures two feet by four feet.

E. Space becomes curved in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars.

F. Space does not become curved at all; light simply bends in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars.

G. Defendants are innocent until the jury pronounces them guilty.

H. The umpire's decision is binding.

I. "History is the march of God through the world." (Hegel).

J. In the act of conception, the male and the female each contribute 23 chromosomes.

K. The devil made me do it.

L. My unconscious made me do it.

M. Conditioned reflexes made me do it.

N. A church is the house of God.

O. Anybody who criticizes the government is a traitor.

P. Abraham Lincoln served as president between 1960 and 1968.

2. Where disagreements arise, attempt to avoid conflict (quarrel) and seek to understand why disagreements must arise in judging some of these propositions.

Please post your answers in the comments. We'll start on No. 1 first.


27 comments:

Imran Oozeerally said...

A. Meaningful
B. Meaningless
C. Meaningless
D. Meaningful
E. Meaningful
F. Meaningful
G. Meaningful
H. Meaningless
I. Meaningless
J. Meaningful
K. Meaningless
L. Meaningless
M. Meaningful
N. Meaningless
O. Meaningless
P. Meaningful

John Higgs said...

Hmm, to my eyes they look like this:

A. Meaningful
B. Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others
C. Meaningful
D. Meaningful
E. Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others
F. Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others
G. Meaningful
H. Meaningful
I. Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others
J. Meaningful
K. Meaningless
L. Meaningful
M. Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others
N. Meaningless
O. Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others
P. Meaningful

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

These are hard! Wanted a third possible answer for some of them.

A. Meaningful.
B. Meaningless.
C. Meaningful.
D. Meaningful.
E. Meaningless.
F. Meaningful.
G. Meaningful.
H. Meaningful.
I. Meaningless.
J. Meaningful.
K. Meaningless.
L. Meaningless.
M. Meaningful.
N. Meaningless.
O. Meaningless.
P. Meaningful.

magickm said...

A.Meaningful
B.Meaningless
C.Meaningless
D.Meaningful
E.Meaningless
F.Meaningless
G.Meaningless
H.Meaningful
I.Meaningless
J.Meaningful
K.Meaningless
L.Meaningless
M.Meaningful
N.Meaningless
O.Meaningless
P.Meaningless

Eric Wagner said...

I like the discussion about avoiding the "is of identity" on page 30.

1. A. Meaningful
B. I tend towards meaningful. I tend to think of God these as days as "the only unique existant" as Ibn 'Arabi discusses it. (I don't claim to understand Ibn 'Arabi.) One can model whatever one looks at as the face of God.
C. Meaningful. As Bob said, I see UFO's every morning. I suspect one could identify them as aiplanes, etc., but I just see tiny lights which I can't immediately identify.
D. Meaningful
E. Meaningful
F. Meaningful - I think physicists can imagine tests for E and F, although they may disagree about the results.
G. Meaningful
H. Meaningful. Few baseball games have a team leaving the field because they don't find an umpire's decision binding.
I. Meaningless
J. Meaningful
K. Meaningless
L. Meaningful. I wonder what Richard Bandler would think of this question and this exercise.
M. Meaningful
N. Meaningless
O. Meaningful. I don't agree with this statement, but I can see someone defining "traitor" in this fashion, so it seems meaningful to me.
P. Meaningful

Andrew Crawshaw said...

A. Meaningful
B. Meaningful
C. Meaningful
D. Meaningless (I need some sort of sensory referent)
E. Meaningful (untrue)
F. Meaningless
G. Meaningful
H. Meaningful
I. Meaningless (cheers Hegel)
J. Meaningful (possibly untrue: which animal?)
K. Meaningless (theological)
L. Meaningless (psychoanalytic)
M. Meaningful (behavourism)
N. Meaningless
O. Meaningful (analytically true)
P. Meaningful (untrue)

Andrew Crawshaw said...

"B. I tend towards meaningful. I tend to think of God these as days as "the only unique existant" as Ibn 'Arabi discusses it. (I don't claim to understand Ibn 'Arabi.) One can model whatever one looks at as the face of God."

if you don't understand Ibn Arabi, it seems more logical to put "B" as "Meaningless". I am also having problems understanding your second statment.

though I agree that the sentence is meaningful, I am not sure we are actually agreeing on the same meaning. hmm...

Eric Wagner said...

I don't understand quantum physics much either, but I still model some statements about it as meaningful.

Bulent Rauf said, "He shows you He is yourself, then bit by bit He shows you how He is all that there is. These showings are His caprices, until all exterior existence is known as Him." http://www.beshara.org/school/lectures/rauf_mostimportant.html

As I read this, one could model all one sees at any moment as one aspect of God.

Andrew Crawshaw said...

I said

"if you don't understand Ibn Arabi, it seems more logical to put "B" as "Meaningless""

Eric, you said

"I don't understand quantum physics much either, but I still model some statements about it as meaningful."

I understand. it seemed to me that you were refering to that one statement of ibn arabi's.

Eric Wagner said...

Ok. Thanks for the response.

Does "God appeared grouchy to me this morning" seem meaningful? How about "I saw God hauling the garbage out this morning"?

Tom, thanks for hosting this group.

Andrew Crawshaw said...

I chuckled a little bit when I tried to imagine God (white beard etc), a little bit miffed that he got stuck with the chore of thowing the garbage out, trundling to the bin wih a sack of rubbish over his shoulder sighing.


The exercize is quite hard, because of the different ways you can define the words or conepts. One thing I found difficult and lead me to a few of my decisions was the truth value of some of them, I orginally marked some of them as meaningless, because i thought they were untrue. another problem I had was the with UFO question: what counts as identification? I was very tempted to treat this one as meaningless.

Andrew Crawshaw said...

Eric, you said:

"As I read this, one could model all one sees at any moment as one aspect of God."

you mean the process, like tao?

Reverend Gaddy said...

1. let each member of the group classify each of the following propositons as meaningful or meaningless.

a. I hauled the garbage out this morning. MEANINGFUL. This can be verified (and it BETTER be! :D

b. god appeared to me this morning. MEANINGFUL. If you live under 24 hour surveillance, this can be observed. Whether or not the appearance IS god or not is meaningless, though.

c. I saw a UFO this morning. MEANINGFUL. Please show us proof of this, or at least some convincing correlating evidence!

d. this tabletop measures two feet by four feet. MEANINGFUL.

e. space becoms curved in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars. MEANINGFUL.

f. space does not become curved at all; light simply bends in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars. MEANINGFUL. Theories abound. Which one best fits the evidence...

g. defendents are innocent until the jury pronounces them guilty. MEANINGFUL. In a legalistic sense...

h. the umpire's decision is binding. MEANINGFUL. In the context of the sport.

i. "history is the march of god through the world" (Hegel) MEANINGLESS. Lovely poetry, though...

j. in the act of conception, the male and the female each contribute 23 chromosomes. MEANINGFUL.

k. the devil made me do it. MEANINGFUL. Just who was this devil, and how did he compel you to act?

l. my unconscious made me do it. MEANINGLESS. Is there even a consensus at to exactly WHAT an "unconscious" is?

m. conditioned reflexes made me do it. MEANINGFUL. under similar circumstances, a similar reflex should be reproducible.

n. a church is the house of god. MEANINGFUL. Is She home? Can we talk to Her? Can She prove to us that She is "god"?

o. anybody who criticizes the government is a traitor. MEANINGLESS. And bad poetry, to boot...

p. abraham lincoln served as president between 1960 and 1968. MEANINGFUL. But wrong.

2. where disagreements arise, attempt to avoid conflict (quarrel) and seek to understand why disagreements must arise in judging some of these propositions.

Thom Foolery said...

A. I hauled the garbage out this morning.

Meaningful, in Wilson's sense (and false).


B. God appeared to me this morning.

Meaningless, in Wilson's sense.


C. I saw a UFO this morning.

Meaningful.


D. This table-top measures two feet by four feet.

Meaningful.

E. Space becomes curved in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars.

Meaningless.


F. Space does not become curved at all; light simply bends in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars.

Meaningless.


G. Defendants are innocent until the jury pronounces them guilty.

Meaningful.


H. The umpire's decision is binding.

Meaningful.


I. "History is the march of God through the world." (Hegel).

Meaningless.


J. In the act of conception, the male and the female each contribute 23 chromosomes.

Meaningful.


K. The devil made me do it.

Meaningless.


L. My unconscious made me do it.

Meaningless.

M. Conditioned reflexes made me do it.

Meaningless.


N. A church is the house of God.

Meaningful and meaningless, depending.


O. Anybody who criticizes the government is a traitor.

Meaningless.


P. Abraham Lincoln served as president between 1960 and 1968.

Meaningful.

Thom Foolery said...

Here is why E and F seemed meaningless to me. From what I understand of relativity, which admittedly ain't much, experiments have confirmed the general validity of the theoretical model by seeing that light from stars bends in accord with Einstein's predictions. Wilson's examples, though, seem to suggest the same apparent effects: light seen bending when passing a heavy mass, like a star. What sort of test can be devised of something as distant as a star and as abstract as "space" and "mass" that doesn't build the theoretical assumptions right in?

Eric Wagner said...

Yes, process or tao seems appropriate. "I saw the tao" or "I saw the process of nature" this morning seems somewhat meaningful. While I pump gas I sometimes watch the birds and the wind in the trees. In Canto 120 Pound said, "Let the wind speak. That is paradise."

Anonymous said...

I'mma make a spreadsheet of all these data.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

As for disagreements (the second part of the exercize) I am happy to concede that my own ignorance may be a factor in places where I disagreed with some of you.

For example, I classified e., the "curved space" question, as "meaningless," because I thought there has to be more of a definition of "curved space" to make the statement intelligible as real physics. But many of you saw that as a "meaningful" statement as Einsteinian physics. Interestingly, John Higgs said the statement is "Meaningful in some aspects, meaningless in others", while Andrew Crenshaw said it was meaningful by untrue.

Are some of the other disagreements interesting to anyone else?

Imran Oozeerally said...

I interpreted Wilson's meaningful/meaningless as 'are these statements empiric or not?'. In other-words, can they be measured/tested/verified within our space/time continuum.

So going over my original answers:
A. Meaningful (can be tested and verified and therefore meaningful)
B. Meaningless ('God' can't be proven or dis-proven, therefore meaningless)
C. I originally put this town as meaningless because 'UFO' is such an abstract term. But it can be tested to see if someone saw something, even if the person was unable to identify what it is. So I'll change my answer to meaningful.
D. Meaningful (can be tested and verified)
E. Meaningful (data can be collected and used to verify this)
F. Meaningful (data can be collected and used to verify this)
G. A tricky one, since 'defendants' and 'jury' are abstractions, and doesn't point to anyone specific. However in a court of law, those abstraction become 'real' within the system
H. Same as G. Only has meaning within a particular system/environment
I. A poetic statement rather than a factual one.
J. Meaningful (can be tested and verified)
K. Same as B. Can't be proven or dis-proven.
L. 'Unconscious' is too vague and abstract to be scientifically meaningful. Although can be useful metaphor within a therapeutic context.
M. Has more specificity than 'Unconscious'.
N. Same as B and K.
O. 'Traitor' is subjective and can be applied to anyone, therefore meaningless.
P. A factual statement, hence meaningful

gacord said...

A. meaningful
B. meaningful (Joyce said God is a shout in the street. so, for me it could be my kids, my wife, my pets, a bird outside, etc.
C. meaningful (could've been an UNFO just as easily, either way, i'm bleary at first)
D. meaningful
E. meaningful (or indeterminate)
F. meaningful (or indeterminate)
G. meaningless (to me)
H. meaningless (to me)
I. meaningless (to me)
J. meaningful (or indeterminate)
K. meaningless (to me)
L. meaningless (to me)
M. meaningless (to me)
N. meaningless (to me)
O. meaningless (to me)
P. meaningful (although inaccurate based on Gregorian calendar)

Andrew Crawshaw said...

Thom Foolery, You said:

"What sort of test can be devised of something as distant as a star and as abstract as "space" and "mass" that doesn't build the theoretical assumptions right in?"

I can't see your point: the sun is a star (and eddington through using our star falsified all but one contending theory: relativity). if a theory states that Spacetime bends around a great mass, then this deductively holds for all masses in our model of the universe until it is falsified. distance has no effect in this case, and theoretically we have to assume the defintion of these abstracts for the theory to make sense, theoretical assumtions, yes, always.(can you have knowledge without theory or assumptions?)

Cleveland Okie you said;

"while Andrew Crenshaw said it was meaningful by untrue."
In response to my answering the following question

"e. space becoms curved in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars."

I will have to qulaify: I am being very pedantic. in relativity you cannot theorise about curvature unless you take into account that "space" is inseprable from "time". if this question was restated as so:

e. "spacetime" becomes curved in the vicinity of heavy masses, such as stars.

then I would class it as meaningful without my qualification as untrue.

sorry to be even more pedantic, my name "is" "Crawshaw" not "Crenshaw". no offence taken, just clearing it up.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Sorry, Andrew (Crawshaw) and thank you for coming by with your thoughtful comments. It's not "pedantic" to correct my mistake; I was hasty.

"Did you know time is a curve?" Peter Gabriel.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Everybody go look at Mr. Crawshaw's excellent blog at http://burtcataract.blogspot.com/, about which more soon (click "older posts.")

Andrew Crawshaw said...

you flatter me Okie, it's far from excellent, though thank you for the nudge it is much appreciated.

Mike Smith said...

wow, I saw them all as meaningless, in that I felt they were all lacking provable data. However I do allow a certain practicality in regards to certain statements. However even those require a certain trust as to the authenticity of the speaker. I think we can easily describe deep reality, but I just don't think we can do it in a way that is always accurately perceived.

PQ said...

Catching up on the chapters I've missed, starting with this one.

A. Meaningful
B. Meaningful
C. Meaningful
D. Meaningful
E. Meaningful
F. Meaningful
G. Meaningless
H. Meaningful
I. Meaningful
J. Meaningful
K. Meaningful
L. Meaningful
M. Meaningful
N. Meaningful
O. Meaningless
P. Meaningful


I notice my answers came out differently than many of the other responses here so I'll attempt to explain my position on them.

The ones that involved the word "God" struck me as dependent upon what meaning you ascribe to that extremely wide-reaching word. For instance,

"God appeared to me this morning"
if God is all that we look at each day, or if God is the sun, or God is yourself (looking in the mirror) in all those cases this one can be meaningful (to me).


"History is the march of God through the world.(Hegel)"

Here I picture the word God invoking time, movement, perhaps the vast universe that constantly and rapidly expands "through the world."


"A church is the house of God."
This one seems the flimsiest to me because of the word "house" but then again for all the inhabitants of that "house" they've congregated there with the idea that they're present in God's house. They've got their own idea of God (usually an invisible male with a beard) but here we're talking just about "a church" as in any church, churches in general. In that case, it depends on the reference involved with the word God but, again, if everyone in that "house" is there to see God and (perhaps many of them) experience God, then in some way this phrase is meaningful.


The one I had to think about the most was actually "Defendants are innocent until the jury pronounces them guilty." Made me think of Schrodinger's Cat, actually. I went with "meaningless" because of the vagueness of the terms involved. "Innocent" or "guilty" in what sense? Juries have pronounced many a not-guilty person guilty and vice versa.

phodecidus said...

Just catching up on back chapters.

A. Meaningful
B. Meaningless
C. Meaningful
D. Meaningful
E. Meaningful
F. Meaningful
H. Meaningless
I. Meaningless
J. Meaningful
K. Meaningless
L. Meaningless
L. Meaningless
N. Meaningless
G. Meaningless
P. Meaningful

I have no meaning for H because I know nothing about baseball.

Statements about 'God' I deem meaningless because 'God' seems all-inclusive. Statements like B have no information - or meaning - because 'God' appears to us each morning. On the other hand, I suppose a statement like B says something about whomever makes the statement, therefore B has meaning in relation to the speaker.