What is number mysticism? I'm sure there are people here who know it way better than I do, but there whole point of this thread is how incoherent the
premise is to begin with: why should you think that 'numbers' actually exist? It seems this is the disease of the whole profession of economics:
believing that particularities are real, as opposed to abstractions, or still better, emergent properties.
Dissociation has Tricked You
If you look at the brain of a person with antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy) they have a part of their brain, subcortical, and in and
around the cingulate, which is missing.
What is the cingulate, and why is it important, you ask?
In the left-hand image, there is a white band that surrounds the inner area: just below the blue, and above the red. That 'strip' of brain matter is
called the cingulate, and the neurons in the anterior (or front) part are directly involved in the regulation - or inhibition - of the amygdala.
Here's a better image:
This is a pretty kooky insight, and it's hot-stuff among neuroscientists and psychologists, knowing that there are brain markers that give away
In any case, you need to ask yourself a simple question: is a sociopath sane? Or is there sociopathy itself evidence of developmental trauma, which
has since become canalized in the sociopath direction?
There is no blaming, and no demonizing here. People cannot control what traditions and beliefs they inherit, and so, how their parents and others
relate to them; but people, at all times, have the capacity to reason, so long as they understand that what comes first probabilistically determines
what comes after.
Quantum physics wont save you: the QB, or quantum Bayesian interpretation, has more or less settled the issue of measurement, and its fairly banal:
particles measure one another, and in doing so, bring about their own existence. This existence, of course, still follows all the various sorts of
symmetries that create matter; but more or less, this view eliminates the special god-like status implied by the Heinsenberg interpretation which
seems to believe that observation creates reality.
Since I've skidded off into the realm of physics, I've always been amazed at the wanton anthropomorphism of Schrodinger's "cat" thought experiment.
What obnoxious hubris to even bother with such a thought experiment without the thought intruding into his head: maybe the cat observes and thus
creates its own reality? I've always been bothered by this, and few people have ever brought up the incoherence of treating the cat as a mindless
In anycase, on to number mysticism:
Why it is Funny:
Number mysticism is funny because the whole claim that particulars exist is incoherent. There are no particles; what we call particles are in all
probability peak waves
. Peak waves represent matter, whereas troughs constitute the space in between us. Therefore, the question becomes: what
in christs name are the Babylonians and Pythagoreans smoking such that they imply a mystical or mysterious "secret", such that, for instance, to quote
“The discovery of the irrationality of the square root of two..destroyed the Pythagorean program of arithmetizing geometry, and with it, it
appears, the vitality of the Pythagorean Order itself. The tradition that this discovery was first kept secret is, it seems, supported by the fact
that Plato still calls the irrational at first ‘arrhetos’ i.e. the secret, the unmentionable mystery…(a later term is the
‘non-commensurable’…the term ‘alogos’ seems to occur first in Democritus.” – Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies; pg. 564,
And is this "unmentionable mystery" related to this tidbit from Plato's 7th Letter?
“If I thought it possible to deal adequately with the subject in a treatise or a lecture for the general public, what finer achievement would
there have been in my life than to write a work of great benefit to mankind and to bring the nature of things to light for all men? I do not, however,
think the attempt to tell mankind about these matters a good thing, except in the case of some few who are capable of discovering the truth for
themselves with a little guidance. In the case of the rest to do so would excite in some an unjustified contempt in a thoroughly offensive fashion, in
others certain lofty and vain hopes, as if they had acquired some awesome lore.”
– Plato, 7th Letter, in John Deely, Four Ages of
Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twentieth Century; pg, 55-56, UofT Press, 2001
Here's what's funny: there is a singularity of being - a unity, a monism. This much should not be contested by thinking people.
On the other hand, Plato seems particularly interested in the "irrationality" of two. The belief that there are "two" - a human self, and a "God", or
"demiurge", is a typical belief of people who have very good reasons to defend against negative emotions deriving from social-facts, such as hurting,
killing, etc, other people.
The square root of two, for instance, is computed, or interpreted, as a mystical theology. Two is expressive of the "atheist" (in this philosophical
imaginary). The person imagines that a two exists, and so, in 'squaring it' (seeking to 'rationalize it') they get an irrational number: noise -
meaninglessness. If you take 2, and square it, you get 1.41421356237. If you minus 2 from the square root of 2, you get 0.58578643762. If you attempt
to add the two back together, you get 0.58578643762 + 1.41421356237 = 1.99999999999. Not quite 2 - and so not quite true, or "rational".
There is a mysticism that goes along with thisv way of thinking, and one wonders whether Empedocles, traveler, poet, and Pythagorean, may have been
referring to the nature of this "secret" of Plato's, when he wrote this:
“You will be able to fetch from Hades the life-force of a man who has died”
- Peter Kingsley, Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic:
Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition; pg. 42, 1995, Oxford
If killing is irrational, and sucking up the life force of a dead man is irrational, and the square root of two is irrational, all of this might sound
very rational if interpreted as expressive of a real reality, as opposed to a self-organizing process initiated by the human beings living, growing,
and being determined by their fundamental co-dependence.
edit on 26-1-2018 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)