Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Is there an absolute truth? In physics there is. In chemistry, biology, mathematics there is. So, is there absolute truth in business? Yes, in small nuggets there must be. There may be no grand unified field theory of business, but there certainly should be small vignettes in which a theory can be established and hold fast.

Why would we search for truth? Is truth better than falsity? Can a business or a person function better when equipped with truth than when equipped with false ideas? Yes. Do we search for truth solely because we have found that those who possess the most truth have a better experience with the world? That experience might be profits and superior products in business. It might be relationships and respect in interpersonal dealings. It might be a progression of thought in intellectual pursuits. Or do we pursue truth because humans have some internal compass that points them in that direction? In any filed or any question there are a large number of false positions, but only one or a few true positions. Do we value these like we value gems? Digging through the earth the miner finds granite, dirt, and quartz. The quartz is valuable because it is unique and rare. But then the miner uncovers an emerald, ruby, or sapphire and his perspective on value changes. Do people value truth because it is so rare? Yes, this sounds better than the rest.

In an intellectual career, truth provides a foundation from which to build more ideas. Imagine trying to build such a foundation on falsities, and doing that on purpose. A scientist knows that something is false, but explores its properties and relationships with the world. Then he uses that as a foundation for another study that is false. How far can this line of questioning lead? Within a few steps or layers, it must die out. Eventually, there are no more false ideas connected to the false ideas you started with. Also, since there are an uncountable number of falsities, this line of questioning is not rare. Everyone can do this equally well. Finally, the understanding of false propositions would not be useful in a practical way. It may be interesting, but it would not have practical application except as a means of failing.

Truth is valuable because it leads to a working understanding of the world. It does equip the knower with an ability that others do not have. Does truth make one wise? I think they are two different things. Truth is an understanding of what is. Wisdom may be an understanding of how to use knowledge – and how NOT to use knowledge.

What will the pursuit of truth do to a person? How will someone who pursues truth be different from someone who does not? Does a person filled with truth act different, achieve different results, have a greater impact, live a more fulfilling life? Without jumping straight to the idealistic answer, I must say, I don’t know. So few are the really interesting and unique people of the world. Everyone seems to be cut from the same cloth and to purse the same mundane existence. We all seem to pursue excellence in mediocrity. We want to be the very best “average man” than we can be. Being unique, different, and superior in any way is just too risky, to uncertain, to lonely, to quiet.

How sad that mediocrity is the pursuit of every man. Perhaps I need to find a new set of peers, friends, and companions. Even in a doctoral program, who is pursuing the degree for some superior purpose? It seems that everyone wants to be at the top of the mediocrity heap. No one wants to be average mediocre. We want to be the best mediocre that we can be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I am thinking right now. What does that mean? My brain is doing something in its little chemical box. How did I make that happen? What do I do to make my mind think of apples? How do I even know that I want to think of apples? When I think of apples, do the exact same sequence of apple-like ideas come to mind? If not, then why not? If not, then to what degree do I really control what I think about.

If thinking is a shared activity, party controlled by my own thinking, partially controlled by the chemical mix in my head at a specific time, partially controlled by what I thought about last, and partially controlled by what ever else I am doing … then who is really thinking? Am I really part of a larger thinking universe? If seeing a red car influences what I think about when I think “apple”, then perhaps the red car is doing as much of the thinking as I am. Perhaps the whole universe is a big machine. It has chemical processes, electrical processes, physical processes … and thinking processes. When it rains on me and the water runs down my feet and into rivulets in the ground, I am part of the physical world, I change it. When a red car (Acura) triggers me to think about apples, I may just be a conduit for the giant thinking machine, I just contributed on wandering thought. Perhaps my thought about apples causes me to go get one out of the refrigerator. Since I ate the last apple, my daughter is triggered to terminate her thinking about apples and start thinking about oranges. Is that telepathy? Did I just change her thoughts by thinking about apples? Perhaps real telepathy is the transference of negative thoughts. Is it possible that only a finite number of people can think about apples at the same time? When I think apple, it might take away one unit of available apple-thoughts. If I take the last unit, then the next person cannot think apple. They have to think of cherries because all apple-thoughts are taken right now. That sounds like negative-telepathy.

I am really curious about how I control my own thinking. I perceive that thoughts are a spiritual experience – meaning something that is not material, something that is beyond flesh, unique and different from my eyebrows. But, the brain seems to be all flesh and electricity. When it thinks, the process is completely electrical/flesh. How does an image in my eye convert into a stimulus that thinks “apple”? Then when humans learned to write and read, how did we teach ourselves that “apple” meant a red thing to eat? Does “apple” and the red thing both cause the same triggers to fire in my brain? No certainly not. I can salivate when I see a good red thing, but I don’t remember ever salivating when I see “apple”.

Is thinking different from digesting? Put food in the stomach and the stomach begins to digest. It does something chemical that is unique based on the composition of the thing in stomach. Put visual or auditory stimuli into the brain and it begins to think. It thinks different and causes the body to do different things base don the content of the input. Perhaps thinking and digesting are exactly the same. Perhaps there is a reversed person co-residing with me that thinks with its stomach and eats with its brain. In that reverse person, when I eat, it thinks. When I think, it eats. It gets indigestion when I think about evil, but it goes “yum” when I think about trees and mountains. Maybe when I eat chocolate, it thinks sexy thoughts. When I eat vegetables, it thinks responsible thoughts. So the reason I like chocolate is because the reverse person sees bikini’s when I eat it. I hate beets. Those must cause reverse-person to think about child starvation in Africa.

Thinking and digesting are the same thing.

Why do we think? Perhaps for the same reason that we eat. It is a physical need. Perhaps we think because our bodies need that to survive. Some people are thinking gluttons. They think and think and think. Their brain is a big fat pig or a huge football player. Just like there are type A, B, and C food metabolisms, perhaps there are type A, B, and C thinking metabolisms. Some people are just predispositioned to think more. Their brains work better; they turn thoughts into mental muscle, while others turn thoughts into mental fat.

Thinking and digesting are the same thing.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Who has time to meditate? We have to spend all of our time thinking about things on purpose. There are so many problems that have to be solved very day that it takes all of our time thinking about those just to make the day work. Who has time to meditate? Professors, Ministers, Unemployed, Karate dudes, Monks, Hari Krishnas.

Free writing is meditation that is forces. It is forced like squeezing frosting out of a tube onto a cake. Those ideas have to choice but to come out. No wandering mists of thought stay on topic, push, push, push.

Meditation cannot be just free flow of thought. That leads to a meaningless sequence of barely connected ideas. It has to be more focused. Meditate on purpose. Focus mind, push thought, look for meaning. Is meditation a search for the meaning of something? We do not call it meditation when we are trying to solve a problem … that is thinking. We call it meditation when we are allowing our minds to search the cosmos of our brains for a solution that might be there is we just stay on topic for long enough. Medication should lead to broader solutions and ideas than just plain thinking. The image is that you open-up and search a topic across all references in your brain. You let the connections take you. But you still limit the flow to topics that are relevant.

I think sleeping is the next step down in uncontrolled thought. In sleep our minds follow paths of thoughts on their own. It is curious to what degree the conscious or controlling mind actually direct dreams. Is it really pure freewheeling thoughts? Or are dreams governed by our minds and morals as well?

Meditations … deep thought with XXX (Saturday Night Live). We perceive that meditation leads to deep understanding and wisdom. That is the right word … wisdom. Only by thinking beyond daily problem solving can we actually achieve wisdom about a subject. Daily problems get us to bathe, eat, sleep, and work. But, how wise is the average person who is dominated by this type of thought? Perhaps we must meditate so that we can move beyond the best way to clean the floor and understand why the floor should be clean at all. Or why my life has to be focused on clean floors. If I meditate will I understand what the important parts of life are? Will I be different from my floor-cleaning neighbors? How about my workaholic coworkers? If meditation leads to wisdom, what will you do with that wisdom? Is there a place in the world for wisdom? I think wisdom is not a very marketable commodity. Wisdom will lead someone to realize that the market is stupid; it is created and directed for the floor-cleaning people. Wisdom should allow you to escape the tyranny of the pursuit of money and pursue what is more important. Graduate students are supposed to be most interested in knowledge. But what if meditation tells me that gardening is #1, or raising chickens? From the outside the wisdom produced by meditating may appear worse than the cleaning of floors. If more people spent time in meditation seeking deeper understanding, then there should be more people that are unique and pursuing what they have learned themselves, rather than what the Gatorade of Mr. Clean commercials told them to do.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I open my eyes and I observe. I tune my ears and I observe. I inhale deeply and I observe.

Observation is the collection of information about the outside world. For a human it involved the senses. Five senses bring information into the human mind – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. These senses determine how we perceive the world and what we can know about it. We are limited to what our senses tell us about the world. To a blind man there is no such thing as color. To the deaf there is no pitch or tone. Our five senses may tell us only a fraction of the characteristics of the world around us. When I look at a flower, I see color, I feel softness, I smell fragrance, and I taste plantiness. But, there may be much more to the flower than I can collect with these senses. The flow may contain chemicals that heal sickness, or cause sickness. They may have some relationship with the soil that I cannot determine through my senses. This means that we may be able to expand our knowledge of the flow by creating additional senses.

Research is the creation of new tools for observation. Research may add a sense that can look at a flower and see its chemical properties. They may be able to sense the collection and relationship with the soil. Research senses may understand how the flower works with the sun. Observation need not be only 5 senses. It can include hundreds (even thousands) of other sense tools. We devise each of these to collect data that our bodies cannot and to translate that information into a form that we can see, touch, smell, taste, or hear.

How do we determine which senses should be created for the flow? How do we guess that it might contain poison or medicine? I think there must be two ways. One is to deduce from observational clues. Observation hints that there are properties in the flower that we cannot see. So we contrive methods to extract those properties os that we can see them. This would be deduction … I think. Second, we may have conducted an experiment on a rock because the properties of the rock hinted at other properties in it. We may apply our rock experiments or senses to the flower just to see what happens. We have no hint that the rock experiment will be meaningful to flowers, but we do it anyway just to find out.

If there are properties of the flower that are hinted at, the first method will pursue them. If there are properties of the flower that are completely hidden from ours senses or observations, then the second method may lead us to stumble on them.

Of course the second method is very shot-in-the-dark. If we are lucky we may hit something. If we are not then we may miss a property and never know how close we were to something valuable, but completely hidden.

Observation must be linked with thinking. Experience is a fleeting experience. Without memory and thought, it is gone as soon as it happens. Memory captures the observation for later and repeated replay. Memory also gives us the ability to think about what we sensed. Notice that without memory, observation is sensing. What we call observation often includes understanding and recordkeeping. Memory makes that possible. Observation = sensing + memory + thought + curiosity. Or perhaps curiosity takes this to the step of thought and experiment.

What would we know about flowers without memory behind sensing? Nothing. What would be discover or pursue without memory? Nothing. Observation is more than sensing, it is remembering what was sensed and thinking about it. Observation is very active, not just passive.