Philosophy | Laptop or TV? 2

Laptop or TV ? 2

©2020 by Vernon Miles Kerr,

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Our smart TV has myriad programs running—while it’s on. There are beautiful, dancing images on its face and music coming from its speakers. If I unplug it—it’s dead. Black. The programs are gone. Nothing is happening in the hardware.

My laptop also has hundreds of programs running and even YouTube videos running where I can talk back to them by leaving comments, and if I take the battery out—it’s also dead. The screen is black. Nothing is happeneing in the hardware.  But — because I was connected to WiFi and that WiFi was connected to the “Cloud”—  everything my laptop knew, everything it has done, still exists—not just for me, but for billions on Earth who are also attached to the Cloud.

Are humans like  smart TVs or like Laptops?

Do our thoughts die when that last atom of oxygen is burned by our brains? Or do those thoughts still live—because we’ve been connected to the Cloud-of-the-Universe all our lives, streaming every thought, every emotion, every memory?

Those are the two choices. All philosophy, all theology, boil down to those two:

Smart TV
or Laptop.

Thursday October 29, 2020

I admit it.  It sounds absurd to say that all the world’s philosophy and theology pend from one silly metaphor —   but think about it.  The prayers of the world’s religions assume a WiFi/Internet-like connection with a higher power. Belief or disbelief in the concept of a hidden-channel of communications is the inescapable crux of all religion —  except pure Atheism.  In that particular religion they are “all-in” with the Smart TV.

At some point in anthropological history, that primate we call human, began to notice that many events he or she witnessed had invisible causation.  People up-and-died, for no apparent reason. One year yielded abundant hunting and gathering, the next yielded famine and death.  Perhaps that epiphanic moment, of even “noticing,” was preceded by one even greater:  the one when we began to even give a damn. But, from that moment in our history, give a damn we did — so, action-without-causation became anathema.  For every action there had to be an equal and opposite causation, or we went nuts. Our minds went into cognitive dissonance, a mental loop from which no re-boot would release them.  So we made stuff up.  Arguing about causation was the beginning of all philosophy, and all theology — and we’ve been arguing about it ever since.

But, given that the early philosophers and theologians were ignorant of physics and paleo-anthropology, their “guesses” about the meaning of life were quite arbitrary — and thus, not worthy of much respect. There.  I said it:  I blew away all erudite scholarship that had ever occurred, up until about Mid-20th Century.

Modern philosophy and religion, to be provocative and efficacious has to begin from the basis of current knowledge of science, especially the sciences of physics and human biology – both genetic and anthropological. In other words, how we primates fit in to the observable universe around us remains the big question.

These past few years, (since about mid-century) have been humbling indeed, especially for the scientists. Those previous absolutes of physics — tested by un-endless experimentation and common-sense observation — turned out to be supported by, the previously unknown, foundation of quantum-mechanics:  the crazy matrix of reality, where observation and measurement cannot exist at the same time and where “entangled” particles move in harmony, even though located at opposite sides of the known Universe.  Humbling indeed — to everyone, Scientist, Philosopher, Theologian and you and me, if we’re smart.

So, my being an agnostic (meaning, “don’t know.”) makes it tantalizing for me to wonder:  if two particles on opposite sides of the Universe have instantaneous communication that defies the previous, universal “constant,” (the speed of light) are human brains able to communicate by some invisible, yet undiscovered — yet perfectly scientific —  celestial WiFi?  Even more tantalizing is to wonder,  if all humans are interconnected  by that WiFi are they also connected with that still-arguable, higher power?  If that hypothesis were true, then couldn’t that higher power communicate with any node in that network (meaning you or me) or the whole damned network at once?  Now it’s me, who’s making stuff up.  Does that qualify me as a philosopher — or a theologian?



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