2013 Aug 26 - Scribblings from a late-night Megabus to Boston.
2011 Nov 18
2011 Nov 18
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 14:27:52 -0400
From: Andrew Cheong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Brad Reiss <REDACTED>
I think I was trying to get at this. We don't know beyond what we perceive. (If we advance our knowledge in this field one day, then so be it, but until then...) We can't talk about anything without language. (If we advance our knowledge in this field one day, then so be it, but until then...) If we're to define objectivity at all, it has to consider perception and language as its bounds.
Beyond those bounds, I don't know. I don't even think words like "objective" or "subjective" have meaning in that netherworld. (Like "moral choice" having no meaning in a deterministic, no-choice universe.)
But I strongly believe (based on my observations, at least!) that within those bounds, objectivity can be found. And I think the theoretical limit is the system of physics itself. Like GEB broke down the mystical barrier between the physical hardware of the brain, and consciousness, I think we can one day trace the roots of all this high-level, abstract thinking, along with all its words, to its physical roots. Billions of people reach the same conclusion and share the same sense of "truth," not even knowing how to define "truth," and without necessarily needing to coordinate that sense with one another. Something physical creates that sense of "objectivity." Unfortunately I don't know any eloquent or rigorous way of defining it, but that thing is what I'll always mean by "objectivity." And our failure to define it shouldn't stop us from using the word, as long as, upon someone's invocation of it, we can all get the general sense of the elusive thing that the person meant, and we are all led in the direction that the person intended for us to go. (Or am I being careless and romantic?)
I write for the utility of writing. These are, broadly, (i.) the utility of the present, and (ii.) the utility of the future. These are, refined, (i.a.) the utility of transcribing thoughts and feelings which in large numbers become too cumbersome to persist in my mind, like the utility of paging memory (in computing), (i.b.) the utility of satisfying my ego with words that satisfy my sense of aesthetics, and (ii.a.) the utility of recollecting forgotten reas and ideas, i.e. memories of things that happened, and memories of things that unhappened. I write for the utility of writing.