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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Luca Valeri: on 5/26/14 at 13:47pm UTC, wrote Hi Benjamin, Thanks for your essay. I also liked very much short résumé...

Israel Perez: on 5/20/14 at 4:06am UTC, wrote Hi Benajamin I just read your essay which I find concise and well written....

John Merryman: on 5/17/14 at 2:55am UTC, wrote Ben, A big problem there, is that thought, logic, reason, etc. are...

Conrad Johnson: on 5/7/14 at 12:56pm UTC, wrote Ben -- I'm sorry that so far your essay isn't being rated nearly as highly...

Benjamin Schiek: on 5/5/14 at 23:11pm UTC, wrote Thanks for your comments, Conrad. Good to talk with someone from the UC...

Joe Fisher: on 5/1/14 at 19:13pm UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Schiek, I thought that your essay was very interesting and I do...

Conrad Johnson: on 4/29/14 at 23:17pm UTC, wrote Benjamin -- There are some things in your essay I wholeheartedly agree...

Benjamin Schiek: on 4/24/14 at 16:23pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract Many people are under the impression that there are...


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FQXi FORUM
October 15, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Towards an Emancipatory Empiricism by Benjamin E. Schiek [refresh]
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Author Benjamin Schiek wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 16:23 GMT
Essay Abstract

Many people are under the impression that there are two attitudes one can have towards the future—a cheerful but naïve hubris, or a realistic but crippling dystopian fatalism. In this essay I argue that both perspectives disfigure reality, and arise from a failure to grasp the total, emergent character of historical causality. Based on a creative appropriation of Marx’s dialectic, I propose a third alternative which synthesizes these two opposing poles and transcends their contradiction. From this new perspective, it turns out that empiricism is teleologically emancipatory, and that the subject-object dichotomization of reality, thought to be indispensable to science, is normative and should be abandoned.

Author Bio

Benjamin E. Schiek is an artist and economist working on aid programs in the developing world (most recently Kenya). Passionate about math, patterns, and transversal thinking, he is an Innocentive winning solver and holds an MS in Applied Economics from Oregon State University. He currently lives in Bogota, Colombia.

Download Essay PDF File

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 23:17 GMT
Benjamin --

There are some things in your essay I wholeheartedly agree with, starting with your opening sentence about the transformation of consciousness. And especially the following from your last section -- "the whole truth about the universe cannot be rendered in subject-object duality. Indeed, it may be that the ultimate nature of reality is something that must be lived, and is not just collected as another nugget of knowledge for theorists..."

If only as one more attempt to overcome the subject-object dichotomy, you might be interested in the essay on physics I submitted to the FQXi contest in 2012 on "An Observable Universe". My current essay on communications technology deals with transformations of consciousness of a kind not yet contemplated by Hegel or Marx. But perhaps we are all thinking toward a similar goal. At any rate I appreciate your use of the term "stewardship".

Best wishes -- Conrad

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Author Benjamin Schiek replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 23:11 GMT
Thanks for your comments, Conrad. Good to talk with someone from the UC Santa Cruz History of Consciousness program, which has always been a tempting option for me. I have read your essays and would say yes, we are indeed thinking towards a similar goal. I would have liked to develop my point here a little more, bringing in some Marcuse ("One Dimensional Man"), Fromm ("Escape from Freedom"), and Brien ("Marx, Reason, and the Art of Freedom"), but time was limited. I got most of the clay on the table, just would have liked to shape it a little more.

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Conrad Dale Johnson replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 12:56 GMT
Ben -- I'm sorry that so far your essay isn't being rated nearly as highly as it deserves, since it's so intelligent and well-written. I wonder if Marx's name is still anathema to some who aren't aware of all the creative and non-dogmatic thinking he inspired. As for UCSC, it's been so long since I was there that I attended a seminar that Marcuse gave with his friend Norman O. Brown, both with their radical Freudian perspectives. Exciting times -- but already in the 70's the competing versions of Marxian dogma were starting to eclipse again that kind of imaginative writing. I'm glad to find that it's still alive and well in your thinking.

Conrad

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 19:13 GMT
Dear Mr. Schiek,

I thought that your essay was very interesting and I do hope that it does well in the competition.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on May. 17, 2014 @ 02:55 GMT
Ben,

A big problem there, is that thought, logic, reason, etc. are inherently and necessarily reductionistic. We distill that piece of information out of the cacophony. Signal from the noise. So we are having to 'objectify' in order to know. Even our eyes and ears only pick up select frequencies. Then we juggle these few ideas we settle on, like Holy Texts. Everything from the bible to quantum theory are like search lights, that while they reveal what they shine on, obscure what surrounds it, which is the context to make sense of it. Even a moving car doesn't have a precise location.

Energy is what manifests, while information is what defines. Energy is dynamic and thus ethereal, while information is static and so dead.

We think of the past as unchanging, yet the problem of time is that its not so much a vector from past to future, rather the process by which future becomes past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth turns. So the past and all it supposedly contains, rapidly recedes and evaporates, since the energy which manifested it is conserved as the present. Time is a tapestry being woven from strand pulled out of what was previously woven. Which is how the past leads to the future, by giving up its content.

Energy marches onto the future, as information falls away into the past. Much as light radiates outward, as mass pulls inward. Time as a line is only a fraction of time as a cycle.

Regards,

John Merryman

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Israel Perez wrote on May. 20, 2014 @ 04:06 GMT
Hi Benajamin

I just read your essay which I find concise and well written. Although, I don't have clear why you think empiricism should be emancipatory. I think it is already.

On the other hand, I noticed in your essay some misunderstandings, that I would like to make clear. For instance you wrote: Physicists are in hot pursuit of the grand unified theory... And similarly you say: A true TOE will unify not only the strong and the weak force...

This is incorrect. The grand unified theory or GUT already exists. This theory unifies three forces: electromagnetic, weak and nuclear. What physicists are looking for is a theory that unifies quantum phenomena with gravitation.

I'd like to invite you to read my essay. There I discuss some of the problems and the ideal that should steer humanity.

Best Regards

Israel

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Luca Valeri wrote on May. 26, 2014 @ 13:47 GMT
Hi Benjamin,

Thanks for your essay. I also liked very much short résumé of the incompleteness theorem. High rating for that.

As I take in my essay a non realistic view of physics I got entangled with the infinite regress of the subject-object duality. I believe this is inevitable for physics itself. But I agree with your last paragraph, that a true TOE might unify theory and practice. But this will not be a physical theory in a strict sense anymore.

Luca

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