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Samizdata quote of the day

I was speaking with a friend the other night, and I made the point that the meta-narrative of the 2016 election is learned helplessness as a political value.  We’re no longer a country that believes in human agency, and as a formerly poor person, I find it incredibly insulting.  To hear Trump or Clinton talk about the poor, one would draw the conclusion that they have no power to affect their own lives.  Things have been done to them, from bad trade deals to Chinese labor competition, and they need help.  And without that help, they’re doomed to lives of misery they didn’t choose.  

Rod Dreher . He is quoting JD Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture In Crisis

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33 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    To be fair fashionable philosophers have been attacking agency (Free Will) for centuries. Philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes – whose followers contained some 19th century liberals (the Westminster Review crowd – some of whom put copies of the works of Thomas Hobbes in the library in Britain, as part of their fanatical hatred of the very concept of the human person – the soul) and contain some 21 century libertarians (including the former Director of the British Libertarian Alliance).

    All some politicians are doing is putting theory into practice – if the people (not the politicians themselves of course – they are actual persons) are just flesh robots (if they are not persons – if they have no Free Will) this sort of politics is logical.

    Of the two Mrs Hillary Clinton was much worse than Mr Donald Trump (Mrs Clinton talked as if everything good comes from government and that people are incapable of doing anything) – but yes Mr Trump was bad enough (and I do not withdraw my harsh words about him during the campaign – although I hold him to be the less bad alternative, compared to Mrs Clinton). And I was shaken at how easily Mr Trump won the nomination against superior alternatives – indeed Mr Trump won the nomination because he was the inferior alternative, he talked to people as if they were little children not reasoning adults – and it worked.

    I still do not believe in the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham (and David Hume – in more complex, and nice sounding, language he is really saying the same thing) that humans are not beings – that we are just flesh robots (that the “I”, the human person, does not exist), but I can see how people can come to this conclusion. If one despairs of people it is an easy way out to hold that people are not really people at all – so that one no longer need feel let down by how people behave, as they are not really people so one can not expect any better of them.

  • The implied parity between Trump and Clinton on that point reminds me of nothing so much as the parity of Gore Vidal’s remark late in life: “I feel the sophisticated despair of coming to believe that the Soviet Union is as despicable as America.” I have very little time for D.H. Lawrence, but a poem of his came to mind while reading the OP quote.

    Don’t be taken in by the su-superior.
    Don’t swallow the culture bait.
    Don’t drink, don’t drink, don’t get beerier and beerier.
    Do learn to discriminate.

  • Dr Evil

    @Paul Marks…………..Doesn’t Descartes refute the presumption of these philosophers in one short sentence?

  • Mr Ed

    Dr Evil,

    Descartes’ sentence was fallacious due to his class logic, so whether it is correct or not as a statement, it is tainted by his class. This is how the Marxians get past reality and truth.

  • CaptDMO

    “…and I made the point that the meta-narrative of the…”
    And ONLY trained professionals are qualified to SEE it?
    Like “recovered memories” of victims slated to be awarded a BOG payout in court trials?
    Of course, I can’t blame anyone, you know, ….specifically, because I ONLY use the beta-data.
    OMG, STFU.

  • Runcie Balspune

    To hear Trump or Clinton talk about the poor, one would draw the conclusion that they have no power to affect their own lives. Things have been done to them, from bad trade deals to Chinese labor competition, and they need help.

    Whilst not a great fan of Mr Trump, I do think his explanation of “bringing jobs back” has been rather diluted, to either mean protectionism or, as mentioned above, some form of welfare.

    A company that exports jobs is a net “cost” to the American tax base, the offshore labor is not contributing American tax and the unemployed left behind are taking from it, meanwhile the company benefits from the increased retail security of their products and intellectual property protection under American law financed by tax, while simultaneously hiding taxable profit from said products and seemingly enjoying the benefits free of charge.

    Trump’s simple thinking is to re-address that balance, his talk is of taxing exported jobs not imported goods, although it probably amounts to the same thing.

    The better approach would perhaps be to readdress the balance by what companies are allowed to exploit under American security and IP laws based on what they are willing to pay towards it, you could try charging them directly, or perhaps a law that invalidates IP for products exclusively manufactured outside of America. This could equally apply to foreign owned IP as well.

    Whatever the case, Trump’s point is about an imbalance, although he probably isn’t the man to resolve it.

  • Laird

    Actually, Dr Evil, I don’t consider Descartes’ sentence an adequate refutation of those philosophers, any more than I consider Samuel Johnson’s kicked stone an adequate refutation of Bishop Berkeley.

  • Laird

    “A company that exports jobs is a net “cost” to the American tax base.”

    Untrue. This is simply another illustration of Bastiat’s “that which is seen and that which is not seen.” Utterly superficial.

  • Paul Marks

    I respectfully disagree with Laird on Descartes and agency – I think Dr Evil is correct.

    “I think therefore I am” (self awareness) is not an “illusion” and David Hume’s efforts to cleverly refute the existence of the “I” (by claiming that a thought does not mean a thinker….) are false.

  • bobby b

    OP: “To hear Trump or Clinton talk about the poor, one would draw the conclusion that they have no power to affect their own lives.”

    I doubt that a person such as Trump discounts the idea of agency. It’s easier to exercise agency successfully in a growing economy than in a dying one, and the government’s task there is to foster that economy more so than to push us to bolster our feelings of agency. Dreher – a writer for whom I had respect – has been a consistent and rather strident never-Trump voice since Trump neared the nomination. He preferred Clinton.

    And note now that, almost exactly one year after this article was written, West Virginia’s unemployment rate is down and its economic outlook has improved greatly. Even Bloomberg talks of it.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I once saw an amusing movie, called ‘Creator’, about a scientist who wanted to clone his now-dead wife. Philosophy was mentioned, and the female heroine had the best line when talking to some nihilist philosophers. “Suppose you start from the assumption that you don’t exist, and see where that takes you.”
    That only proves existence, but not free agency. This will be very hard to prove. Even if the Many worlds view is correct, does that ‘give’ us free will? Or is it all mechanical?
    Just to add to the confusion, I have thought up a good counter-argument to the many worlds interpretation. The Casimir Effect seems to show that the ‘virtual’ vacuum has something like high and low pressure points- it is not the same everywhere, and can vary, dependent on the distance between ordinary particles. This was unknown in Einstein’s time, or he would have realised that this variable vacuum could be the hidden variable which he was looking for. If an unstable atom of Uranium enters a place of low virtual pressure (such as was created in the Casimir effect), then the atom should be more likely to explode, the same way that putting a balloon into an airlock, and removing the air, will cause the balloon to explode. It wouldn’t mystically ‘decide’ to explode, or have any choice in the matter. This is a deterministical physics, but it gets away from many-worlds, and can be tested. In fact, now that we are aware of it, how could a varying virtual vacuum field NOT have an effect on the cores of atoms, especially the unstable ones?

  • Myno

    This is not a nuclear physics forum, but the binding energies of nuclei are many orders of magnitude above any supposed variability of the Casimir Effect, are they not? To have an effect on a nuclear binding force, you would have to impact it with a like magnitude force, which is why e.g., atomic binding forces have no effect on nuclear reactions… thermite can’t make even an unstable nucleon decay any faster.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I don’t know for sure if they are, but radioactive elements can’t be all that stable, or it wouldn’t be dangerous to go near them, and Geiger-counters wouldn’t work. And I’ve never seen a physics book that even mentions that the ‘vacuum’ would be a variable. I think that such pressure adds to whatever internal pressures exist in the unstable cores, and help them to split when the pressure is less. And this approach eliminates what we call ‘chance’, and makes physics deterministic. Shroedinger might have been able to predict the condition of his cat, if he’d had the proper measuring devices.

  • Myno

    Briefly, yes, the nucleus of a radioactive atom will spontaneously break apart, or it wouldn’t be called radioactive. You seem to be asking, is there some way to influence its radioactivity? Can something like reducing the “pressure” on a radioactive nucleus cause it to break apart more readily? Generally speaking, the answer is no. The forces that bind up a bunch of positively charged protons together with some neutrons are so large that a minor change in the external environment will have no measureable effect. You can boil uranium, and it will not get any more radioactive. You can beat it with a stick. You can put it in a vacuum. You could even coat the surfaces of a Casimir Effect apparatus with radioactive uranium, and the radioactivity of that uranium will not be changed as the plates are pulled apart. In order to have a measurable effect, the forces that you apply to the radioactive nucleus have to be about as large as those incredibly strong binding forces, or the nucleus won’t even feel the difference. So unless you bring a nuclear fire to the problem, the radioactivity will shrug and ignore you.

    In a weak analogy, if you had your arms wrapped around your signficant other, tightly, and a gentle breeze wafted by, would you two be torn apart by it? Not really. You might decide on your own to part ways, but the zepher had nothing much to do with it. Radioactivity is where the protons and neutrons decide, on their own, to part ways, but the outside world had virtually no say in the matter.

    I hazard a guess that if the Casimir Effect were ever proven to render quantum mechanics deterministic, there would be a Nobel Prize in the offing and such a wild hullabaloo in the scientific community that the yelling would be heard in every corner of the globe (except North Korea, probably). And many of our electronic devices would suddenly stop working.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way….

    In spite of the terrible problems hitting “Hillbilly” culture – the decline of religion and the family, and the rise of drug abuse and dependence on the government (welfare and so on) it will last a lot longer than the Credit Bubble economy of San Francisco.

    In five years San Francisco will be bankrupt (as will the rest of California). And possibly in chaos with (perhaps) Mexico and even the People’s Republic China claiming parts of it???? But the farms and small forges (“Forged in Fire” type business enterprises) of West Virginia will still exist.

    Bankers based in California (or New York) do not really have anything to teach their “Redneck” kin. As, in spite of their terrible cultural decline since the 1960s, the “Rednecks” will outlast them.

    But the “Rednecks” must reclaim their culture – and REJECT the developments that have hit them since the 1960s, such as “Food Stamps” (1961 onwards) and drug abuse.

    More generally a return to the old American culture based on the “Three Gs – God, Guns and Gold” is vital.

    If bankers want to help they should set up private minta (of the sort that were common in the American West before Congress banned them in the 1850s) minting real gold and silver coins – NOT called “Dollars” (as that is banned), but simply sold by weight and purity. With people bringing in gold and silver from their mines, and the minters being paid by taking an agreed amount of the gold or silver for themselves.

    And bank lending should be from Real Savings of cash money – not Credit Expansion.

    The late Murray Rothbard was not wrong about everything – and nor were people such as Charles Holt Carroll.

    Such a world could survive the Electro Magnetic Pulse attack that is likely over the next few years – San Francisco could not.

    And even if an Electro Magnetic Pulse attack does NOT come = the world Credit Bubble economy is going to collapse anyway, and that will lead to the collapse of the Western Welfare States.

    The secret of the success of the People’s Republic of China – is that hundreds of millions of its people do NOT get all the free stuff (“public services” and so on) that Westerners now depend on – some Chinese do indeed get the Welfare State free stuff, but hundreds of millions of Chinese do NOT. Which is why Chinese government spending and taxes are lower than Western ones – the reason they can out compete us in much of manufacturing industry.

    And people who think that manufacturing industry does not matter – are wrong.

    And people who think that farming does not matter – are wrong.

    A nation of hundreds of millions of people can not survive, in the long term, by blowing Credit Bubbles.

    Indeed even a nation of only a few thousand people can not survive, in the long term, by blowing Credit Bubbles.

    I suspect, per-head-of-population, one could find more farming and manufacturing in Liechtenstein than one could find per-head-of-population in San Francisco or New York City.

  • Paul Marks

    On philosophy.

    Professors Harold Prichard and Sir William David Ross (0xford) argued that the opponent of Thomas Hobbes, Ralph Cudworth, was correct on human personhood, the “I”, and on the existence of moral right and wrong. And that the opponent of David Hume, Thomas Reid, was correct on human personhood, the “I”, and on the existence of the moral right and wrong. So it is not just nasty old Paul Marks. Or just nasty old C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien either.

    Indeed the was really the cause that the United Kingdom was fighting for in BOTH World Wars (1914-11918 just as much as 1939-1945), as the President of France, a philosopher, made clear in his formal reply to the pack of lies that was the German Declaration of War upon France in 1914 – the words used in the German Declaration made it clear that the real target was NOT France, the real target was an attack on the very existence of universal principles of “reason and justice” (not dependent on “historical stage” or “race” or “class”), the German academic and political elite had rejected the existence of such principles, and they had done so long before Mr Hitler came into office. As the words of both Kaiser Wilhelm II and General Lundenorff show – the universalist tradition of Cicero (“On Obligations”) and other Western thinkers (both Christian and Pagan) had been REJECTED by the ruling circles in Germany – although many good Germans remained.

    Those who reject human personhood (Free Will) and the ability of moral reason to find basic universal principles of moral right and wrong naturally side with the enemy (or at least do not really care about the conflict) – with Germany in the First and Second World Wars, with the Marxist powers in the Cold War, and with the Islamists (such as ISIS today).

    Such things as the Battle of Britain in 1940 (which Winston Churchill rightly called the “finest hour”) were not really about lines on a map, or whether language spoken in London would be English or German. The Battle of Britain (those aircraft flying in the sky – and the men dying in those aircraft) was really a conflict between Free Will (agency) and determinism – between moral universalism and moral subjectivism/moral nihilism.

    As Eric Brown (Commander Brown) maintained after his interrogation of all the guards at Belsen extermination camp – all the German guards knew, deep down, that what they were doing was morally wrong (knew as they did it) and that, with a moral effort, they could have CHOSEN not to do these evil things. All the guards, without exception, knew that the philosophy they had been taught (the attack on objective morality – and the attack on moral responsibility, Free Will) was a collection of LIES.

    And nor is it a religious question – as thinkers from Alexander of Aphrodisias (the great commentator on Aristotle) to Ayn Rand have supported the existence of human personhood (the soul) without claiming it was immortal and did not die with the body.

    Many years ago I used to wonder why a certain person (who has recently resigned as Director of the Libertarian Alliance) despised Ayn Rand – after all like him (but unlike me) the lady was an atheist (and far more open about it than Thomas Hobbes and David Hume and Jeremy Bentham – all of whom were really atheists). Ayn Rand gave a atheist defence of Free Will (personhood – the position that humans are beings, not just flesh robots) and objective moral right and wrong – good and evil. So why did he not like her?

    It took me years to work out that he despised Ayn Rand BECAUSE the lady stood for human personhood (Free Will – agency) and for objective moral right and wrong.

    What an Anglican slow-head I am – far more Dr Watson than Sherlock Holmes.

  • Paul Marks

    Repenting of crimes of great moral wickedness is not enough – which is why all the guards at Belsen had to be hanged. Indeed a person who has truly repented will demand the secular punishment for their crimes.

  • bobby b

    Paul Marks
    June 28, 2017 at 9:57 am

    “It took me years to work out that he despised Ayn Rand BECAUSE the lady stood for human personhood (Free Will – agency) and for objective moral right and wrong.”

    There’s probably some inside baseball at work here such that everyone else knows what you mean, but I’ll ask this anyway:

    How does a person holding such views reach a point where they are named Director of the L.A? The contradiction that you imply would seem fatal to the ambition.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Paul Marks
    June 27, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    All some politicians are doing is putting theory into practice – if the people (not the politicians themselves of course – they are actual persons) are just flesh robots (if they are not persons – if they have no Free Will) this sort of politics is logical.

    A point I’m prone to making tirelessly (or is that tiresomely?) is that if we can’t believe our direct observation of ourselves as having free will, how much less must we believe any evidence to the contrary, indirectly observed through instruments?

  • bobby b

    ” . . . if we can’t believe our direct observation of ourselves as having free will, how much less must we believe any evidence to the contrary . . . “

    If we are indeed being directed in all things by a higher power and not choosing our destiny ourselves, it would be logical for that higher power to allow us the false conceit of free will. We’d never know.

  • Watchman

    If I choose to ignore the debate about free will, do I win?

  • Laird

    When I (unintentionally) set off Paul with my reply to Dr Evil that “I don’t consider Descartes’ sentence an adequate refutation of those philosophers”, I didn’t mean to imply that I question the existence of free will, merely that Descartes’ response was insufficient to prove it (hence the word “adequate”).

    Anyway, I’m going to join Watchman now.

  • Julie near Chicago

    But, but, but — Laird — I’m just winding up to go through it all again! 😉

    (After the Finis on the other discussion, I came back with one quick P.S. on “choosing,” which might or might not interest you.)

    . . .

    Nicholas:

    “Suppose you start from the assumption that you don’t exist, and see where that takes you.”

    What a great line! The Axiom that “Existence exists,” and its obvious necessity (i.e. that to deny it is logically impossible), in a nutshell!

    . . .

    You have to be very, very careful to define or explain precisely what you mean by “free,” “will,” and “free will” in any discussion of Free Will. In the end, X may for various reasons act in accordance with Y’s (Y≠X) will in a given matter, but it is not Y who actually produces and exercises X’s will, nor does he move X’s muscles or brain cells to produce his own desired result.

    (Interventions such as using electricity to twitch the frog’s legs excluded.)

    Human being X is an entire, whole, complete system, consisting of the physical elements of his body: atoms, molecules, chemical and electrical and also mechanical processes within it; and, also, such “mental” and “emotional” and “conscious-or-not, aware-or-not” and “exercising-of-the-will-or-not” phenomena as arise from them. This system that we call X is conceptually separable from the rest of reality, although not separable in actuality); anything that goes on within the system that is X is X’s doing and his alone, though he may be moved or even physically caused to do it* by outside circumstances or factors that impinge on him (on the system the whole of which constitutes X).

    .

    *”Physically caused to do it by outside circumstances.” Example:

    Jennifer knowingly (though unwillingly) went off the edge of the cliff, fell 35,000 feet, and died when she hit the ground. (What can I say, it was an unusually high cliff.)

    The “outside circumstance” here was that her no-good stepmother gave her a healthy shove to that end, despite her resistance. To die was in no way Jennifer’s will, but the action of dying (shutting down of her physical life-processes) went on entirely within Jennifer. “To die” is a verb, an “action word,” and it was Jennifer and nobody else who died. However, Jennifer’s will played no part in events once the Evil Stepmother had shoved her.

    .

    But what we separate out conceptually from the whole of the system that is X and call “will” is free, in that it cannot be directly experienced by anyone but X, nor exercised (come to be the final internal determinant of X’s actions)** by anyone but X. So when the Evil Jabba demanded whatever-it-was of Luke Skywalker, Luke’s will remained his and his alone, to exercise. He willed (chose) not to do as demanded but rather to bear the consequences, which, as he expected, were not entirely pleasant. [Forgive me George if I have mangled the scenario somewhat.]

    Jabba could not exercise Luke’s will: so, in the proper sense, Luke’s will was and remained free. Also, Luke was presented with alternatives, so a real choice was available to him, and he was completely aware of the choice. (Conscious intentionality existed within Luke.)

  • Watchman

    Laird,

    The problem here is that I don’t know if I am allowed to refuse another drink at the bar. Why oh why didn’t I listen to the philosophers?

  • Julie near Chicago

    **I understand that some neurological research shows that in fact a person’s “willful” actions actually commence before the person is aware of deciding to do X. Or that the person “decides” to do X before he becomes aware of his decision as a decision. The penultimate paragraph ignores that altogether. As to the experiments themselves, I can’t vouch for the correctness of the report, nor of the results or their interpretation if the source is correct.

    Sorry about the “dangling” ** above. :>(

  • Julie near Chicago

    “But what if we’re a brain in a vat? How would we ever know?”

    Heh. We are a brain in a vat. Cranium, cerebrospinal fluid, brain cossetted therein. Exactly so. LOL

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Julie, FWIW, I define free will as the ability to originate behavior; given a choice of a or b, we do c.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks, PfP. That’s an interesting way to look at it. By the way, quite awhile ago you mentioned that you have a Kindle book out. I’ll be downloading it with an eye to purchase as soon as Life Near Chicago sorts itself out a bit. :>)

    In fact I’ll go further with your definition, and observe that it’s quite a good one.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree Laird – it needs further illustration (and I did not mean to imply you rejected moral agency – free will). But I have noticed that people who REJECT “I think therefore I am” (who hold that the “I” is an “illusion” and so on) reject any amount of further illustration.

    bobby b – it is a complex story.

    For example David Hume was a good economist who was pro private property – and he did NOT go around saying “people are just flesh robots – and moral right and wrong are just boo and cheer words”, he wrote in very polite language and the more angry people became with him (angry because they worked out what his philosophy was really saying) the more polite and “reasonable” he became. It is hard to hit a man who refuses to hit you back – who just keeps smiling and saying “pray Sir do not misunderstand me – I mean no disrespect…..”

    But that does not explain how this philosophy became popular among some liberals.

    The Old Whigs understood that such men as Thomas Hobbes (openly – he basically shouted his support for tyranny every day) and David Hume (under all his polite language) were their ENEMIES, and so did Christian Tory folk such as Dr Johnson. Boswell gives us a few words by Dr Johnson on David Hume (supposedly his “fellow Tory”) – but it is rather clear that Johnson did not just say “he is a Tory by accident” there was a lot of “Anglo Saxon” language that Mr Boswell leaves out. Samuel Johnson was no fool – and he understood (at a “gut level”) that David Hume was trying to abolish the human person and objective moral right and wrong. That his “philosophy” was acid – and Dr Johnson would not have been surprised at all that the later Logical Positivists (evil men such as A.J. Ayer) loved the work of David Hume – and put it in a lot blunter language (moral good and evil but “boo and cheer words” and so on) now the time was right.

    How did this stuff get into certain parts of 19th century liberalism and then into certain people involved in British libertarianism?

    Basically because the followers of Jeremy Bentham (J.S. Mill and the rest of the Westminster Review Radicals) were looking for atheist philosophers – or rather (more philosophically) philosophers who denied the existence of the human soul – in either the religious or NON religious sense. For whatever reason, or reasons, they were attracted to the idea of the denial of human personhood.

    They were not unopposed, but they managed to gain control of EDUCATION in Britain and consign their opponents to the “Memory Hole”.

    Law started to be taught as just the “will” or “commands” of the state – with Parliament being able to do anything it felt like doing (that corruption did not start with Jeremy Bentham – one can find the seeds of this corruption in Sir William Blackstone, even while he is paying lip service to natural justice).

    And traditional philosophy (the mainstream Western view that humans are persons – able to tell moral right from wrong and CHOOSE to do what is morally right against our evil desires) was increasingly just removed from schools and universities.

    And it is NOT just a British thing. How many American law professors believe in the PHILOSOPHY (the philosophical foundations) of the Bill of Rights? The foundations without which such things as the Ninth Amendment make no sense?

    What happened to the philosophy (moral philosophy and philosophy of mind) that Noah Porter and James McCosh stood for – from about 1890 onwards in American universities? Even in the 1880s the collectivists were active (the Bellamys and ….)

    Do the professors in Texas really believe in the Constitution of Texas (1876)?

    Would someone like Chief Justice Sir John Holt (Chief Justice from 1689 to 1710) be allowed in a modern British court? Other than to clean the floor? How about Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke (under King James the first) of “Dr Bonham’s case”.

    Would the case of Mr Bonham (who was practicing medicine without a license – in defiance of a PARLIAMENTARY STATUTE as well as an order of the King) be decided the way Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke decided it four hundred years ago?

    Of course not – not even in the 19th century. Sir Edward Coke said that undertaking a trade or profession without a piece of paper called a “license” was not a “crime” – regardless of what the King and Parliament said, and Chief Justice Sir John Holt said much the same a century later (so did the next Chief Justice), but then this was all shoved down the Memory Hole.

    “But Paul I asked a specific question – how did the guy become Director of the Libertarian Alliance?”

    Because COWARDS such as Paul Marks did not openly oppose the PHILOSOPHY of guys like that at many meetings when I was young – even though I had many chances to do so.

    That is why.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Myno, how would anyone know what goes in in radioactive atoms? If they knew that, they could tell Schrodinger what his cat is doing.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Julie, thanks for the kind comment; I think you’ll find “Mind and Process” to be an interesting riff on the (usually) materialistic point of our being nothing special in the scheme of things.

  • Julie near Chicago

    🙂

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    And a final point about virtual pressure- according to the textbooks, virtual particles manifest more if you have more particle-free space. This should result in higher numbers of virtual particles, creating the equivalent of high pressure.
    The space between galaxies is the largest space there is, so these spaces must have the highest manifestations of virtual particles, which should translate as massive pressure on all galaxies, as the virtual particles try to squeeze them back into black holes. I am surprised physicists didn’t anticipate the accelerating expansion of the Universe based solely on quantum pressure like this.
    This line of reasoning seems to show that galaxies will eventually be squeezed into the black holes at their centers as virtual pressure accelerates at faster and faster speeds, in billions of years.