A futile attempt to explore the concepts of truth, reason, craziness and … (I give up!)
Yesterday, I republished an article that Pete Aleshire recently wrote in the Payson Roundup, our local newspaper, on thinking outside the box. Pete entitled his essay, Strange theory reveals secrets of the universe, the logic of sycamore leaves and why even smart people struggle with new ideas.
And it was part of that title that resonated with a mind-bending (literally) essay that Patrice Ayme presented on his blog on the 27th July. The part of the title that ‘clicked’ with me was “why even smart people struggle with new ideas.”
You see what Patrice wrote about on the 27th July was about the proposition “that superior intelligence in a species can only come from an ability to engineer (productive) craziness.”
As Patrice explained,
Two of the creators of modern mathematics and metamathematics, Georg Cantor and Kurt Godel, experienced some craziness. Nietzsche produced some of his best work before he went insane. Van Gogh experienced serious mental difficulties. Bolztman killed himself. All these cases were within a generation. Those may all be unrelated accidents, sure.
Immediately leading on to him writing,
However I will show below that superior intelligence in a species can only come from an ability to engineer (productive) craziness. (Perhaps the reason why chimps and bears are so unpredictable: they are not just clever, but a bit crazy!)
Then after some very detailed reflections on man, Patrice wrote,
Hominids who practiced a bit of craziness were evolutionary advantaged, because they found more readily solutions to logical incompleteness at hand. Craziness allowed to find new, necessary axioms. Thus evolution learned to exploit logical incompleteness.
Typical of Patrice Ayme, the essay is not an easy read but it is brim full of fascinating ideas and well worth the effort. Patrice concludes,
If craziness is so useful to augment those mental powers we need so much to survive as a civilization, how do we survive it? Precisely by augmenting the truth. Thus only craziness compatible with the truth will be able to survive. That is why I have not hesitated to tell various truths about Obama (whom I have intensely supported in all sorts of ways), or Hollande, whom I approved of, until he started to say lies about World War Two (details soon to come).
Truth is my religion. A touch of craziness my sanity. (Latest demonstration: It’s not like I did not know of the danger in advance. I was slightly charged by a large bad mood moose with calf today on an Alaskan trail, where I was nonchalantly running with a bad ankle; after a high speed retreat, as a good predator, I circumvented the difficulty, and anxiety switched sides, the calf nearly spraining its own ankle in the process… . )
There is no truth but the full truth, and a touch of craziness is its prophet.
Now go back to Pete Aleshire and see the harmony between his beautiful prose and the fascinating ideas flowing from Patrice’s mind. This is how Pete concluded his essay,
So Drake [Larson] and I spent the day wandering along the banks of Fossil Creek as he kept trying to come up with metaphors so I could grasp math’s secret within the beauty of Fossil Creek’s sycamore leaves. The well-designed sycamore leaves adhere to the Fibonacci sequence, a mysterious progression of numbers that crops up throughout nature — from the spiral of a nautilus shell to the layout of the ruins of Chaco Canyon.
So I figured I’d just write this — and get earth’s 17 PSI cap for dark energy out there in the time/date/ stamped world.
Oh, yeah: And about Kenny Evans. [Mayor of Payson, AZ]
So that night, I took Drake to the Payson council meeting. Turns out, Drake’s family was growing grapes in the Coachella Valley at the same time Evans was farming 10,000 acres in Yuma. They both managed to survive that tempestuous time when the United Farm Workers union organized agriculture workers.
I introduced them and listened as they recalled events and figured out whom they knew in common.
It was then that I decided to blame Drake for my faith in Evans’ ridiculous conviction that a university will build a campus here in this itty bitty tourist town — complete with a research center and convention hotel. No sensible small-town mayor would risk public ridicule while spending thousands of hours on such an outside-the-box notion … unless he’d learned to gamble on dreams and hard work during all those years as a farmer.
Evans’ notion is almost as silly as a farmer who calculates the amount of dark energy emanating from earth, while credentialed experts scratch their collective heads.
Still, I’m thinking maybe I’ll get a nice suit jacket — something I can wear to both the university’s groundbreaking and the ceremonies in Oslo.
Hey, never hurts to be prepared.
So there, I feel much better now! None the wiser, indeed even more confused, but just grateful there are some out there who have a go at trying to explain ….. whatever it is they are explaining!