Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the unanswerable why .... and mistaking proximity in time and space, observation and classification for understanding

Modern science and its derivative fields, amongst other things, are limited in their methods for discovery of truth - that observation (and proximity in time and space, albeit - many times, repeated) and classification is mistaken for understanding or even worse - an understanding of causation. The 'why' is a question - designed to be unanswered. For every answer to a why - can be met with a further why. An open loop. A hole. A back-door through the cocoon of language. Temporary answers to ANY question, based on existing classification models and observations in the time-space dimensions may be convenient or useful in limited local contexts (which - due to the 'value agnosticism' of science .... okay maybe, more on that later), however ... the why remains unanswered.

A self-respecting follower of science, and one very good at his stuff, probably, soon reaches the limits of what his methods can allow him to see. Where he sees that he does not, in fact, understand anything about anything.

Perhaps - this is what happened to Einstein.
And I also saw it in the bluepages profile of a person who was in my 'most respected' list in IBM. In his profile - it said
Expert: C / Algorithms / Procrastination / Abstraction
Strong: LDAP / C / Windows / Unix / Communication
Competent: Korn Shell / HTML / I18N / Build / CMVC / Software Dev &
Support / Sensitivity
Learning: Java / Package & install / Business Processes / Details / Diplomacy
Clueless: Sales & Marketing / Money / Life


Transcending Reality said...

True. There are certain things science cant answer. Truth, life are some of those. And as you said, Einstein did realize this and attributed this to God (as a metaphor, of course).
And those blue pages' profiles are commonplace. Guess their sole purpose is to serve as a survival skill on a day_to_day basis. Cant take one for too long.


kilocoder said...

The most important (because it shows the limit) simple question that science can't answer is the Why.

Everything else is a spin-off of the mind.

With Einstein I figure that it was less like - 'we don't know -some- things about -some- things' ... it was more like, 'we don't know anything about anything'. Any good scientist soon hits that limit of the mind.

The bluepage profile comes there because it just happened to also have the 'clueless' realization, not on Einstein's scale :) but because it came from Brook Heimbaugh, one of the -very- few people on the list of people I revered when in IBM.