Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Intuition and Science

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
– Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues)

From my own experience, intuition is the very moment of decision. There are never enough facts to make a decision. We intuitively feel that one direction is better than another. Even with the "facts" on one's side, mistakes can always happen. There is no doubt that studying and preparedness will get you closer the making the right decision. It is just that I see so many who believe what they are told and use that to make decisions, imbuing the "facts" told them with some kind of infallibility.

When I studied Zen I found that intuition was the closest word in the western vocabulary to describe the Zen way of thinking and doing. I embraced that intuition as an understood marvel. I attempted to hone my intution.

The fact that western vocabulary has no real language used to discuss the moment of decision (considering all the facts we have and making a guess) except "intuition" says a lot about the black and white world we have created. Science is always right though if I were to use a Biblical concept and judge science by it's fruits there are many fruits I would say are rotten to the core, threatening the survival of life.

Intuitively scientists have guided themselves down the course where invention of anything labor saving was considered good. Again, we must see the interaction of technologists and scientists. Currently scientists appear to be back-paddling in a sense. No longer are the inventions of coal plants, mining techniques, internal combustion engines, and man's general control of the environment thought of as good things when the study of global warming is concerned. Science could dig us out of this mess, possibly, if we have faith in science. But science does not make capitalism go in the proper direction. And the fruits of capitalism create a distinct wealthy class who have more and more of an influence on the government. Science is not in a vacuum to do the right thing. Perhaps if it had always

Science has provided us with different advancements in weaponry and each time they made a discovery in this field, it changed the face of war. Usually more people could be killed at one time by one person.

The Internet itself should illustrate the amount of change. First we could only loan out vinyl records to others, then we could tape them on cassette tapes, then we could copy cds, and finally copy digital files and share them across the Internet. All of these could just be considered more efficient ways of sharing music. The effect on the music industry was huge. The effect on exports from the USA of music was huge. This is not to say that music is worse off. It is not like we created global warming here. But the illustration serves to show that making things more efficient in copying music has consequences. Also the invention of the atomic bomb has consequences, where a few people can virtually destroy the entire world.

The efficiency of the Internet  has positives and negatives. The positives are in free distribution of information not controlled by a few. The negatives involve free distribution of information not controlled by human beings capable of intuition into the consequences of their actions.

Thus social media can be used by people to help reform a corrupt police department or coordinate the attacks of ISIS. The most recent vomit producing technological use was of drones to target innocent civilians in Gaza.

Some outcomes of science and technology may be more catastrophic than others. Your mileage may vary. You can guess that intuitively. To intuitively believe that somehow science will work out the mess... well that is intuition that incurs an admirable "faith" in the good of science but seems to not be taking into account the dire predictions given by scientists if we do not change our ways.