X-Message-Number: 18400
From: "George Smith" <>
Subject: My answers to 4 questions
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 13:19:44 -0800

Charles Platt engaging wrote a clever metaphoric story and asked 4 

Here are my responses.

1. Of the three persons in this story, who has the best grasp
of objective reality?

Neither person.  The presumption of "objective reality" first of all flies 
in the face of what little we now know regarding the nature of reality from 
the efforts in both quantum physics and the 1982 vlidation of Bell's Theorum 
by Alain Aspect.  To be blunt, the possibility of the subjective observer 
was ruled out early in the 20th century and that leaves the purity of an 
"objective reality" left on the scrap heap of disproven hypotheses such as 
the flat earth.  If we know anything at all, we now know that an objective 
reality is the one impossibility.

That aside, if we interpret "objective reality" to mean instead who has the 
most useful view of the situation, it would seem to me that the person 
(money lender) who encouraged a meeting for a communication of ideas offered 
the most useful perspective. Communication opens the door to possible 
changes which might prove beneficial.  Something new might be better than 
status quo.

2. If the Die-O-Summit proposed by the money lender should
come to pass, what specific achievements should we expect
from it?

One possibility that could prove useful would be for the participants to 
connect with each other as real people and thereby be less abstractly 
commited to only promoting their current perspectives.  The psychology of 
primates who will eat together reduces the likelihood that only issues of 
dominance will be involved.  (I do not eat with enemies.  I am eating with 
you.  Therefore you must not be my enemy).

In other words, people can disagree, become friends and then possibly 
reconsider the arguments of others out of respect for the friendship.  Face 
to face negotiations are more likely to end wars than letters and emails.

3. Are relations between the Catholics and the Alchemists
likely to be worse before, or after, the Die-O-Summit?

I haven't any idea at all but it seems to me to be worth a try.

4. Does squabbling between Catholics and Alchemists seriously
impair the ability of either group to sign up new recruits?

No.  Squabbling may help to actually polarize new recruits to "side" with 
their new group in opposition to "the enemy."

Truly clever groups who secretly collude but outwardly disagree can leverage 
this phenomonon.  One fictitious example was the non war in the novel "1984" 
between Oceania and the Eurasians.  The "war" was for maintaining patriotic 
loyalities and served the governments quite well.  Of course, they could not 
openly admit this.

Of course if the Catholics and the Alchemists could form an eccumenical 
union against those opposed to, say, "eternal life" along with any promoters 
(money lenders), then they would be unified in "squabbling" with those who 
had even less agreement with their overall objectives (survival).  It is 
always easier to unite against a common enemy.

5. Just how much DO the two groups have in common?

All members are primates and are ruled by the same psychological hard 
wiring.  Thus there is always hope, or to paraphrase Professor Ettinger, "It 
is always too soon to despair."

I would suggest that apart from being members of the same species all other 
issues are ultimately irrelevant.  Pain and pleasure are excellent 
motivators.  The rest is hyperbole.

Just my opinion,

George Smith
CI member

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