Zumwalt Poems Online

Posts tagged ‘Philosophy’

Thoughtful Thursday: Remembering the Memorable

Do you remember the most eventful and the more novel experiences more than the routine tasks?  Do you remember the first time you experienced something better than the 245th time, even when the first time was decades ago and the 245 time months ago?

Is part of this due to better remembering those times when you were fully involved as opposed to when you got through something primarily on auto-drive?

Or maybe part of this is just that we remember and retell to others those most exceptional and novel experiences and never think a second time about the less emotional, the less amusing and the less relatively meaningful experiences. The retelling or recalling something possibly is what makes such memories more permanent.  Maybe we really do remember the ordinary as well as the extraordinary — it is just that we revisit the extraordinary memories and leave the common, humdrum to rust away into oblivion.

Or perhaps, not so.  I sometimes have a dream about something I haven’t thought about in decades and then fully recall that event, whether particularly exciting or ordinary.  Or I see a photograph of something decades ago and I can lucidly recall posing for that picture.  Sometimes things can jog our memory.

However this works, one is more likely to remember more easily, and without prompts or dreams, those things that we were fully engaged in — those things that required us to fully be there and not be on auto-pilot.

It’s really impossible for all our experiences to be earth-shattering or essential experiences. And certainly we want to or need to do things additional times over and over.  I love watermelon and black cherries.  I will continue eating them even when given a choice between having them or eating something new that doesn’t particularly appeal to me. But do I eat absent-mindedly while watching TV or browsing facebook?  Or do I take a good look at each bite, feel the weight of the food, feel the texture in my mouth and then savor the burst of flavor?

Don’t take the current moment for granted.  Always participate fully in it. When you do, it is more likely to be more memorable and easier to remember.

 

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Thoughtful Thursday: Age and Responsibility

Whether by design or evolution, it seems it is the responsibility of the child to grow and learn, of the young adult to create, build or raise new young, and of the old adult to apply their wisdom to ensure the survival of the group.

The pursuit of happiness for its own sake does not fit into the plan.

Happiness will come from properly growing and learning, from creating and building that which is best for the group, and from doing what one can to ensure we don’t get totally obliterated.

Let’s ensure that the old can continue to contribute to the survival of everyone by never marginalizing them or underestimating their worth.

And in return, the old have to understand that they have a responsibility to ensure that civilization continues, even if that just means giving the young adults a piece of their mind now and then.

Thoughtful Thursday: Past, Present and Future

History is an illusion at best. At worst, it is a means to justify more of the same. — Zumwalt

Perhaps thinking of reality divided up into what was, what is and what will be is nothing more than a convenient interpretation.

If we admit of the possibility of existence, at the highest level, being outside the realm of time, space and energy, then its plain silly for us to reflect on how the past could have been different.

If we are but a cause-and-effect organism (or mechanism), and we can move only forward along time, then it is even sillier.

I believe existence is existence and there is no existence then, existence now and existence later — there is just existence.

Enjoy it.

Don’t worry about the future.  Prepare, when necessary, but don’t prepare for the future. Just prepare.

Don’t try to fight memories or shrink from past events. The most harm comes from running away and resisting. Accept and celebrate.

Don’t even worry about “staying in the present” or “enjoying the moment.” Just be there. It is possible “there” is past, present and future.

 

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday: Feeling the Future

bela lugosi

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”  — Albert Einstein

You, predictable reader, follow these words and I know that what you read next is what I write now.” — Zumwalt

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”  — From “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Caroll

Time may not be what it seems.  Sometimes what we assume is true is not: our senses may initially lead us to believe the sun revolves around the earth, but if we observe beyond what is most self-evident, and carefully examine a wider range of data then we must conclude that the earth revolves around the sun. As in the case with planetary bodies,  it may be that our sense of time is based on our frame of reference and not a true understanding of reality.

Physics has provided evidence during our lifetime that the future can determine the past.  The most famous example is the “quantum eraser” experiment. One can google this or check out this article: http://iheartintelligence.com/2017/01/20/quantum-experiment-present-past/.  One can even try this experiment at home: https://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/a-do-it-yourself-quantum-eraser/\

Is there any chance of sensing the future?  Some studies, like the famous, but controversial and legitimately challenged, Cornell University trials indicate this may be possible: http://dbem.ws/FeelingFuture.pdf

As a graduate student in music, perhaps as a break from listening to too much atonal music, I became interested in parapsychology experiments, and read numerous journals in our large college library covering this topic. There were a couple of experiments with cockroaches that really impressed me. One was an experiment by Helmut Schmidt in which he placed various laboratory animals on a divided electrical grid with a 50% chance of the shock going to the area where the animal was.  Schmidt recorded that in most trials (and these trials included hundreds of shocks), the gerbil, guinea pig or other small animal ended up being shocked around 48 to 49 percent of the time.  Schmidt was a sloppy researcher and it is not clear if this statistically significant number was due to Schmidt’s own psi abilities influencing the outcomes, or the animal’s psi abilities protecting themselves. When he put cockroaches to the test, he found they ended up being shocked 52 percent of the time as opposed to the expected 50 percent of the time. Schmidt admitted his particular dislike of cockroaches, and so it is not clear if the cockroaches were masochistic or whether it was Schmidt’s distaste for them that influenced the outcome.

Schmidt

A later researcher, revising Schmidt’s experiment, placed the cockroaches on a divided grid, with one or the other side receiving a shock and providing the cockroaches the freedom and time to travel to one side or the other.  In this experiment, the researcher recorded whether the cockroaches ended up on the side that received the electrical charge or the side that did not get the charge. Again, the result was that the cockroaches got shocked around 51 to 52 percent of the time depending on the set of trials. Were the cockroaches anticipating the future, even if there actions were not in their best interests? Or was the researcher somehow still influencing the cockroaches to get punished slightly more than expected?  Perhaps it doesn’t matter, as neither the various Schmidt experiments nor this follow-up experiment with the divided grid was ever able to be consistently replicated with the same significant results.

In the recent, and earlier referenced, Cornell set of experiments,  the most interesting ones, (okay — I concede that some may find the salacious-content experiments more interesting), are the two similar experiments addressing “Retroactive Facilitation of Recall.”  Basically the subjects are asked to look at a set of words. After this is done,  they are given a recall test (not being told about this beforehand) and each participant’s ability to recall what they have memorized is recorded.  The computer selects, randomly, half the words the subjects had previously looked at as study material, and then the students study these words.  It turns out the subjects do much better on recalling the words they had studied after the test then those they had not. Basically, this proves that if one is unable to find time to study for a test beforehand, they can always study after the test and improve their test scores — at least slightly.  (This is why, when I pick losing lottery ticket numbers, I always carefully study the winning numbers and carefully commit them to memory to increase my chances of having picked the right numbers in the first place: if I am/was successful, I not only get some extra pocket-change, but get back any time I had spent studying those numbers.)

The key here, from a very practical standpoint, is not whether others can sometimes sense the future, but whether you or I can sense the future and, if possible, how best to develop that ability.   As one might guess (or sense), there are many online opportunities to research this further. Now that I told you this, I have increased your chances of already knowing this, and I suspect that you are thinking to yourself that, yes, you already knew this, and you really don’t need to waste you time reading this blog which isn’t disclosing anything new to you at all. This of course, is what you are thinking now that you have read this. If you had read a blog on politics or music, instead, you wouldn’t be thinking this at all. If you had read a blog on politics, you probably wouldn’t even be thinking.

Back to the present, please. Let’s take a look at one particular online test:  http://www.psychicscience.org/staring.aspx

First, do the practice trial to get a sense of how simple this experiment/test is.

When doing an actual trial, my only advice is to not base your guesses on what already happened, but what you feel is about to happen.  In other words, don’t let three or four blank screens in a row bias you to select the “staring” screen based on some misunderstanding of probability.  Stay in the present and realize each display has a fifty-fifty chance of being either blank or a staring screen and don’t let what occurred before influence your decision/guess/prediction. Just feel whether you will be stared at or not and then pick your choice based on that feeling. (This may be the same sensation you get when you feel someone on the other side of the room is staring at you.  I often get this feeling when I shout and yell at the waiter or waitress in the restaurant — or when they yell at me.)

Also, best to stay relaxed and let yourself get in “the zone.” Don’t let a string of successes put pressure on you. If you feel such pressure, it may be best to take a break and come back. The screen will wait for you. (If you need to take a break, you can read some Zumwalt poems liked by previous readers. Note that any poems you click “like” on may influence anyone that read them in the past to have clicked “like” also.)

Developing an ability to feel what will happen next, may be like developing any skill.  It takes repeated practice, day after day, for an allocated time each and every day.  It is very similar to ear training exercises like this one: http://pitchimprover.com/index.php?type=Relative

After doing this http://www.psychicscience.org/staring.aspx exercise every day, for several months, please let me know if you have seen any improvement.  If so, it may motivate me to do the same. If you can’t seem to improve your ability to see into the future, don’t feel bad, at least knowing this limitation in the future should translate in your spending less time on these exercises in the here and now — or even not bothering to read this blog post.

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday: Interpretation and steps prior to Action

In the previous post, I presented my own take on the DIKW pyramid as something useful for both business improvement, and if one is so inclined, self-improvement. I proposed a model that, rather than address, “Data”, “Information”, “Knowledge”, “Wisdom”, focused on the transformation of data into action.

I really had eleven steps originally, but to prior to finalizing the post, I thought best to simplify by collapsing one of the steps, “Interpret” into “Evaluate.”

Act

On reflection, “Interpret” is a necessary step much of the time.  For example, if the data quality is compromised, then one has to interpret that into usable commodity.  And collapsing it into “Evaluate” was not very appropriate as interpretation must occur very early on, not only before “Evaluate” but before “Recognize.”  For example, one is in a foreign country and one hears some strange words, then one must look them up in Google Translate (or have an app translate them) into a language one understands before one recognizes what is being said.

There is another adjustment needed besides adding “Intepret”.

After one understands, then one can act. But there are steps that are either are part of act or happen before action and these include preparation and planning. I still have these as a part of “Act” — preparing and planning are actions — but have added a missing step, “Conceive” which must occur before any action,  whether that action is preparation, creating a plan, or something as non-conscious and mechanical as clenching one’s teeth before the start of a race or taking a deep breath before speaking.

Here is an improved or enhanced version of the earlier diagram, starting with “Observe” and ending with “Act” — which can then be followed by additional observation.

 

Concept3

Is this accurate? How can this be improved?  Appreciate your thoughts in the comments.

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