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An interesting interpretation of Star Wars

Posted 21 April 2003, 10.29 am by Alexander

Just to prove people see more than one meaning in any piece of popular culture: Click Here.

THE RATIONALITY OF OBJECTIVE REASON

Posted 16 April 2003, 9.27 pm by The Green Mamba

Think about it for a while. Think about objective reason means and then try and find a practical example. It shouldn’t take very long to find many countless of examples of people in professions ranging from journalists to your manager grading your performance over the last year according to a seemingly objective questionnaire. Now mimic what one of those people do and apply it to something similar and you will soon discover that no matter how hard you try, you simply can’t remain entirely objective.
Why is that … why is it that somehow we always end up stamping our own psychological signature onto everything we do?
Simple … we are not machines. Machines are designed to perform a specific task without any external or internal variables governing its actions whereas humans are continually influenced by a countless number of variables. Our mood at the time of performing a specific task … our predisposed opinion towards the person or the task based on the information and emotions that are stored in memory (first impressions so to speak).
Ultimately the results of any task performed, designed or interpreted by humans can not be objective and since machines can not think for themselves yet, objective reason is nothing but a myth to mask our own opinions.
Some people tend to think of themselves (and the human race) as rational beings … who have the ability to rationalize their thoughts and their actions in accordance with a specific set of laws as determined by nature and proven by science.
History however suggests that humans are everything but rational. We act in accordance to our own personal set of rules (morals) and enforce these with passion upon anybody whose morals contradict our own. When we’re in a good mood for whatever reason we tend to apply that to all our decisions for that day … things that would normally invoke anger of even violence would suddenly go by unnoticed or with slight regards. And when our day starts off on a bad note … the opposite becomes true.

This is even evident in complex mathematical equations. Mathematics is supposed to be the most rational method of thinking since it is supposed to have only one correct answer. 1 plus 1 equals 2 or 1 x 1 equals 1 etc. With this in mind I once asked my Maths teacher if 1 x 1 could ever equal anything other than 1? To my surprise he said yes and continued to prove it through an elaborate mathematical equation covering the entire black board. I then realized that the only reason he was able to do so was because he wasn’t applying common reason to the equation.
Now, when looking at more complex equations I soon discovered that there is more than one way to solve a problem. The reason for this is that different people look at things from different angles. Whereas I might start dissecting the problem from what appears to be the most rational starting point, someone else would tackle it from a completely different angle, thinking that his or her approach makes more sense. Should we arrive at different answers (which is quite possible) without either of us having made a mistake along the way, then how do you determine the correct answer? Simple … you cant, because neither of us nor any third party mathematician is capable of objective reason. Sure, we could punch it into a computer and see what it spits out … but even then the solution to the problem will be based on the method of calculation that was coded into the program … by an irrational, subjective human being.
Therefore, due to the lack of objectivity in the human blue print, rational thinking becomes somewhat obscured and even though at times our ideas may seem perfectly rational to ourselves and to others we continually find ourselves in situations where we feel like hitting our heads against a brick wall.
We like to think of ourselves as rational beings and subsequently of society as being rational … but in truth everything we are and everything we struggle so foolishly to maintain is not based on reason at all … but rather our personal beliefs. Human consciousness … our ability to look at things differently than any other species on the planet is not the end result of thinking rationally. If that had been true then any of the millions of other, older species could have out-evolved us at any time during pre-history … because instinct is a much more rational way of thinking than anything the human mind can conjure. If you’re hungry, you eat … tired, you sleep … horny, you fuck. Unfortunately this is also the reason for the many flaws in our society. Instead of building rationally, we have built emotionally … sometimes angry … sometimes happy … sometimes for the better … more often than not, for the worse.

Your eyes, ears and mouth

Posted 14 April 2003, 4.24 am by Winter

To begin with, an argument against the senses:

Anyone who has witnessed an optical illusion or seen a piece of trompe l’oeil cannot trust their senses. Fooled once, and recognized as fooled, the eyes become potential conveyers of false information; they must be regarded with the same degree of suspect as a habitual liar. The same goes for the other senses, having burped and tasted food not eaten for decades or heard a noise whose source could not be present (feel free to drop acid if these effects have never been witnessed but you desire them to be). At the very least, the eyes will bring about the down fall of the others, if you cannot believe what you see wholeheartedly, you cannot know that what you hear is caused by something there. (on a side note, Descartes can get fucked with his ‘clearly and distinctly’ bullshit)

This seems to be an unquestionable point to me, though I would love to hear any argument against it as it would likely keep me from weeping myself to sleep every third or fourth night.

A contradiction is present here in that once a distrust of the senses is established upon the evidence of memory, that evidence becomes untenable, as does any knowledge of the argument against the senses. This does not seem like a good reason to abandon the form of the argument, as this paradox will always crop up and the alternative is to ignore the issue like it were Arabs in front of an Israeli bulldozer. That any damage done to the senses is also done to memory must be kept in mind, the paradox must be allowed to exist as a thing to be studied, though it destroys our world.

Consequences (besides the madness of it all):

Expressing and acting become a matter of hope, not belief. Belief is impossible. Anything that is learned cannot be taken as wholly true, only as one possibility that happened to be presented. The self is the only thing that can be said to exist with certainty. Depression and drunkenness become a way of life (drunkenness as self-delusion, not the imbibing of liquor… though that of course works as well). The self becomes something that must be medicated against. Death, though uncertain, remains one of the few possibilities that seem to offer any hope of permanent escape. The desire to become the anti-christ, to seek freedom in meaninglessness, becomes ever-present. The possibility of an end itself becomes meaningless, it is no long sought. The self closes its doors.

Cures:

Possibility must be held onto, as even the possibility of an outside world can be seen as better than nothingness (I looked into the void and nothing looked back, for I was nothing at last). Because the self is known to exist, the aesthetic sense may be promoted above a faulty rationality, the world is datum that must be sorted. The real may not exist, but the false and experienced do. Selfishness develops. The world is inconsequential shit which must either be devoured for the benefit of continued existence and the vain hope that the world is at least partially inhabited or be avoided as something that is worthless.

Remaining Question:

Does it matter what is done? Even if there is an exterior, does the self matter? Can trying ever be worth it if time is endless and destruction inevitable (these are the products of our ‘real world’ so far)?

The Ontario Medical Review Committee

Posted 12 April 2003, 4.33 am by hoodedfreak

Welland, Ontario, 2002. Dr. Anthony Hsu is one of two pediatricians working a heavily populated region struggling to attract doctors. He works a 70-hour work week, has 7000 active patients, is on call at the hospital every other day and every other weekend and all the
while struggles to maintain the required paperwork for OHIP: Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Sometime in late 2002 Dr Hsu is audited by OHIP, who suspect he is ordering too many tests and seeing too many patients. They look at his files and deem he is not taking enough notes during examinations. He is red flagged. The amount he is audited: $108,162. One hundred and eight thousand one hundred sixty-two dollars.

And no cents.

Dr Hsu appeals to the local newspaper who run his story. The local community is shocked and outraged when they hear he had no choice other than to cash in his RRSPs to pay the amount to OHIP. He joins other doctors around the province and attends rallies, protests, railing against the intimidation methods of the Medical Review committee.

Why didn't he appeal? Because he is guilty until proven innocent. Appealing the auditing ruling means OHIP deducts $108,162 from his billings during the next year. He has a family. 3 children. An office staff to pay. Taxes. Can he afford to take a pay cut of $108,162?

The chairman of the Medical Review Committee, Dr. Barney Giblon, believes it is a fair and just system, returning millions of tax dollars. Is returning millions of dollars to the heavily lined pockets of over paid politicians more important than a doctor's respect, livelihood, and most importantly, his life?

I quote Dr. Giblon, "I feel bad for those small numbers of people [who] feel so upset by having their records checked, but I would like to point out that 20 per cent of those investigated [aren't required to] pay anything back."

But those who are range in numbers from $200,000 to $800,000. A world-renowned specialist in Ontario was charged $800,000 in his audit review. That's his salary for 4 years. Every year they would take away 100% of his salary.

See you at McDonalds.

But this is fair. This is the medical justice system in Ontario.

* * *

8 am. Saturday morning on April 5th, 2003. Dr. Anthony Hsu leaves his house, despondent, and by 5 pm is reported as missing. The police ask the public for information.

By Monday morning, he's still missing, but by now they have found his car parked in Vineland, a small town near the shores of Lake Ontario. His car was unlocked, unoccupied, with the keys dangling in the ignition.

Late afternoon of April 10th, a fisherman finds a body in Lake Ontario.

This is a fair process.

Big Brother is Watching

Posted 12 April 2003, 12.26 am by marilee

Is Google evil?

Absolute vs. Subjective Morality

Posted 11 April 2003, 5.03 am by winter

By endorsing that notion that all morality is subjective and the result of uncountable (though not infinite) forces upon an individual and is therefore unassailable, one ends up endorsing the actions of human beings like Hitler, Kissinger and Pol Pot. This is something many people balk at. The idea that the philosophies, moralities and actions of murders are as valid as those of a bank teller or mid-western grandmother who enjoys baking cookies and going to church is rejected instantly by such people. This means that there must be some moral absolutes for them and anyone else who would wish not to condone Hitler’s morality.

There can be many ways to arrive at these moral absolutes. Popular opinion seems the least credible of those that occupy my list, so I’ll ignore that except to say that most people are idiots (simply look at the US census figures for the number of people that believe in god).

Following Kant, we could formulate a rule or rules that generate maxims that any rational creature could understand the utility of. (BTW, ending sentences with prepositions is FUN!) Maxims generated by rationally founded rules would be universally understood (assuming that rationality is immutable and universal). For instance, “don’t act in a way that you would deny someone else the option of acting in” or “don’t make a special case for yourself” would be rules that would generate ethical maxims when confronted with actions and situations. So, if you were given the chance to lie in order to benefit in some way, you would have to say to yourself that you would not approve of someone lying about this matter to you, and that therefore you should not behave in this way. This requires the point of view that all humans are rational and all rational creatures should be treated the same because their differences are superficial.

Imagine an example where one was in a social situation in which lying about a future event (paying someone back for money borrowed or being someplace at a certain time) would seem to be better than being truthful. While this may grant you some sort of an advantage (it’s easy to concoct a story that sets up a situation like that) by lying you’re saying that it’s okay for any rational agent to lie and if this were true the institution of promising would fall because everyone would be ‘allowed’ to lie, the value of a promise would be nothing and you would not be able to profit from either lying or telling the truth.

There are plenty of situations where people would like to think that lying would actually be the morally correct thing to do (a la: the ax murderer’s example). The main problem with this argument against lying and it’s relation to the argument that one shouldn’t make an exception for one’s self is that it assumes that all humans are created equally. This cannot be so. Even if we start out tabula rasa social and economic forces differentiate each individual to such a degree that wild divergences are seen from this initial state. Besides which, we live in a world in which we can reject morality and rationality and lie freely and still maintain the practice of promising. Treating one’s self as an exception does not ruin the world, it’s probably the reason the world is at all interesting.

Another supposedly interesting maxim that can be generated by the ‘don’t make an exception of yourself’ rule is that murder is wrong because the killer does not wish to be killed. If an individual who truly supports capital punishment were asked whether he would support the state taking his life should he be found guilty of murder there’s no reason not to think that he would say yes, believing that if you kill someone, your own life is forfeit. Through this example it seems that as long as you support capital punishment, murder is morally sanctioned by the golden rule in that the murderer does not make an exception of himself when he kills, but admits his inclusion.

Of course this can be countered by the creation of a ‘precious life’ clause on killing, but that would dis-allow even state run executions and war and lead to a very dull world. You could say that if the state elects to kill you based upon your immoral act or an immoral act by the nation-state that holds you a citizen (assuming the state thinks murder is wrong, excluding when it kills) it is acting in accordance with the golden rule by treating you as you treat others. This weakening of morals to exclude certain acts of murder means that the absolutism of morality is already shaken.

Even if you maintain that all murder is wrong, there are well known examples and thought problems that seem to beg a moral person to be torn in two. Examples include killing to save yourself, loved ones, a thousand people, a million people, shooting Hitler or someone similar whom you believe to be a ‘monster.’

I’m sure there are other moral absolutes that can be generated in this way and that do hold up under scrutiny, but these seemed like interesting ones to me (and interesting ones to poke holes in).

A less powerful way to generate more absolutes is to take a personal opinion (such as ‘murder is wrong’) and justify it rationally through thought experiments and examples. This process is long and is bound to result in an incomplete list, not to mention one that is full of conditional clauses (‘murder is wrong unless…’ or ‘lying is wrong unless…’). If there are ‘moral absolutes’ they seem likely to be culture and class specific and conditional, and absolute only in a loose sense of the word.

Besides which, do we ever want to hold on to moral absolutes? Is killing to save someone else or in self-defense to be held in the same regard as the Zodiac Killer (one of the greatest, uncaught and famous serial killers ever) taking out a cabbie? On the opposite point, is it enough to say that Hitler was justified only in his own mind, just as everyone else is? Doesn’t that mean that no one can be condemned outside of personal opinion and that the whole notion of justice is fundamentally flawed beyond recovery? I certainly hope so.

If we don’t hold morality to be timeless and free of context, can we say that killing millions of people because of their religion or creed is wrong? Hitler certainly justified it, can we judge his morality to be flawed when he’s seen as a product of his times and environment? Is disagreeing with genocide the most that we can do, or does a physical, violent defense of a particular morality (and a violation of that morality in the same stroke) an acceptable answer? After Auschwitz can morality be defended?

A second rushed attempt at free will

Posted 10 April 2003, 9.45 pm by Winter

For a creature to possess free will it must be able to see alternatives and choose to act based upon its own judgment. If this judgment were arrived at via a universal rationality it could not be considered free will because it would not reflect the ability to make a choice, only the ability to see the most rational answer. If this judgment were arrived at without any sort of universal rationality being used (assuming that universal rationality still exists and that we can ‘choose’ not to make use of it) it could not be true that a choice was made, only that an option was selected at random.

As far as being able to ‘choose’ not to make use of rationality: This choice cannot be arrived at rationally because it would require the rational rejection of rationality, while rationality argues for itself.

If we do not assume that rationality is immutable and concrete, then any choice that we make may be in accord with rationality, but seem not to be so in retrospection or from an outside source. Beyond this, any sort of social factor within a causal or deterministic world eliminates beyond a doubt the possibility of making a choice “for one’s self.”

Free will seems to be an impossibility, something that cannot happen in any sort of a world. This leaves us in a world where all of our actions and feelings are not our own, but are the property of history or unassailable chance. Who we are and that we think and sense are either chance happenings or inevitable. If this is depressing, it couldn’t be any other way, or it could but it doesn’t matter because it is and we can’t choose to think any other way. If it doesn’t affect us, it’s because we cannot be affected beyond the narrow scope of necessity or chaos. Either choice results in simply going through the motions of life in the hopes that we’re wrong or living in imposed ignorance, fearful of the madness of the real.

A rushed attempt at 'Free Will'

Posted 9 April 2003, 10.06 pm by Winter

The problem with free will is that the phrase itself is one that seems to have meaning, but on closer examination is found to have none. I will take it to mean self determination. Self determination requires the rejection of rationality. Rationality leads all actions from reflection to the same end (under the enlightened meaning of ‘rationality,’ though I’m unaware of any others), all things being equal. So you’re not acting because of any sort of self-determination but because rationality, a universal judgment, says to. The ability to act irrationally then? That has to be arrived at rationally, else it’s just acting at random, not acting via ‘free will’. Does it mean acting in a way that can’t be predetermined? How could that be verified (though it’s probably our best bet, or something close to it, a la Deterministic Chaos)? If it can’t be verified, we can at least see what the results would be. Acting in a way that isn’t predetermined would be saying something that could not be expected, that conflicted with rationality but was in accord with it. This would require that the project of Modernity is fundamentally flawed and that the Postmoderns are right when they reject the possibility of universality and insist that consensus is impossible due to social factors and chemical, biological and linguistic imbalances.

Rejecting free will does not mean acceptance of destiny. A Deterministic world view need not be accepted. The future isn’t mapped out, but we can’t do anything about it. We can’t plan because we don’t have the capacity for real planning (re: Stalin and such), ‘rationality’ disagrees with the world and acting irrationally disagrees with any attempt to plan beyond the act. We’re paralyzed and free, tied down and fucked (depending on you’re inclinations and the usage you see in their ambiguity, those can be bad or good). We don’t have any room to move but the future’s wide open. In this we can be voyeurs and decedents, watching life and acting like later-day Epicureans (Death is inevitable, don’t bog yourself down with misery but make merry as best you can) or we can be the thinking Dandy, Lucretius’ Epicurean (The god’s care not for man, existence is an accident, think and live as best you can).

Of course, chaos is another alternative to a Deterministic world-view. Everything is simply an accident, the right chemical and physical properties and components became arranged in a brief moment that resulted in everything I sense and remember and in another moment it will all fall apart. This only seems unlikely because of a history we believe we remember and any theory that explains that history as a momentary accident of chaos supersedes this ostensible objection, and, really, any sort of objection. But I’m still here so I might as well consider other things while I am, as nothing else seems to hold my mind as I wait for destruction.

Deterministic Chaos says that the rules of physics and chemistry and other high, new sciences apply only generally. If you know that hitting a billiard’s ball at a certain angle with a certain force will result in the ball moving in a straight line to a particular place, assuming no interruptions then you also know that if you hit the same ball with ten times as much force it will travel ten times as far. In practice, according the Deterministic Chaos, this is only approximately correct. The result of the theory does not map directly to the experiment, but only matches it very closely. The ball almost travels ten times as far, but not quiet or too much so, the rules of physics are wobbly. While this does not seem to allow for free will, it does explain variance in cognition and memory among other things, such as something being rational and ‘irrational’ or for reflection to lead to two different ends or acting in a way that can’t be predetermined, however you wish to argue it.

Of course, just because Determinism isn’t a ‘fun’ theory for those who like to think we’re conscious, rational beings able to think for themselves doesn’t mean we should just reject it. So our actions are pre-determined and we can’t do anything outside of the expected. What does that change? Any action we attempt is doomed to fail or succeed, but so is not acting because we’re depressed over this fact. Action for the sake of action (what is a ‘sake’ anyway?) is denied because of our lack of choices. We can still do what we think we feel like doing, knowing that no matter what we feel and think, it’s as unalterable as the past happens to be. Though the ill-fated “Do what you feel like” day celebrated by the city of Springfield several years ago should be kept in mind.

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In 2018 I started painting again. This was one of a series of acrylic sketches I did to relearn techniques and revisit my skills from art college.


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Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

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