Capitol Hill Blue
Posted By: logtroll How can you tell? - 01/27/13 05:25 PM
"The lower cannot see the higher".

It's an intriguing idea that seems obvious on the face of it. Two people have an argument, one knows more about the subject matter that the other, the more knowledgable person is right, right?

But how can they tell who knows more? One says, "You don't understand", the other says the same. "I can see that you don't understand, because I do, and the lower cannot see the higher".

Such a dilemma... is there any solution?
Posted By: Scoutgal Re: How can you tell? - 01/27/13 05:41 PM
No. Because people are entrenched in what they perceive to be truth.
Posted By: Joe Keegan Re: How can you tell? - 01/27/13 05:52 PM
Sometimes. Sometimes it makes no difference;however, because they have an interest in the "truth"- skin in the game, dog in the fight, etc.
Posted By: Joe Keegan Re: How can you tell? - 01/27/13 06:26 PM
WHAT IS TRUTH? I suppose it depends upon the who is pointing the gun at your head (metaphorically speaking).
Posted By: Ezekiel Re: How can you tell? - 01/27/13 07:16 PM
Originally Posted By: logtroll
"The lower cannot see the higher".

It's an intriguing idea that seems obvious on the face of it. Two people have an argument, one knows more about the subject matter that the other, the more knowledgable person is right, right?

But how can they tell who knows more? One says, "You don't understand", the other says the same. "I can see that you don't understand, because I do, and the lower cannot see the higher".

Such a dilemma... is there any solution?



It depends on what they are discussing. There are facts and there are opinions and there are opinions based on facts.
If the discussion is solely based on opinion (without facts) then it is impossible for either to be "right".
If the opinions are based on fact then usually the one whose opinion comes closer to real fact is probably closer to the truth (right) - I don't like the word because it sounds as if there is an absolute right.
The reason someone may suggest that the other doesn't understand something is not because she/he believes that they know more, but, rather, because there are objective facts that support one and not the other. This usually stems from a deeper understanding of whatever the subject is.
The ultimate test will always be reality and fact.
Now, there are issues and problems that cannot be solved in that way, and then, all you have are theories that either conform closer to observed reality or not (keeping in mind that observed reality can be deceptive).

So, in answer to your question, if I need surgery I'm going to seek out a surgeon not a street sweeper. And then, I would look for a surgeon whose expertise and practical knowledge are the best one can find. Remember again, the best is relative to some finite group from which one can choose and not all possible surgeons.
In the end, if your hypothesis conforms closer to reality than any other, all things being equal, and even if you can't PROVE it, the odds are that it is correct. And sometimes, a probability is all we have. We have to learn to live with uncertainty.
Another thing to keep in mind is that knowledge is dynamic: what we knew 100 years ago is not interchangeable and cannot be measured by the same metric that you would use today.
Posted By: Ardy Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:06 AM
Originally Posted By: logtroll
"The lower cannot see the higher".
It's an intriguing idea that seems obvious on the face of it. Two people have an argument, one knows more about the subject matter that the other, the more knowledgeable person is right, right?


Interestingly, what seems obvious is not necessarily true.
"Knowledgeable" people make mistakes all of the time for a whole variety of reasons. I have had Doctors tell me things that I knew to be incorrect. And of course there are innumerable financial experts who were totally wrong about risks before the 2008 collapse.

Over all, we tend to be best off putting our fate in the hands of "the best and the brightest." There seems to be no reliable alternative methodology available. But it is also a good idea to do your own research, and to use good ol' common sense.
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted By: Ardy

I have had Doctors tell me things that I knew to be incorrect.

There should be nothing surprising in that.
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:18 AM
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Everything is infinitely fine, and any opinion is somehow coarser than the texture of the real thing.
---John Updike

The following have been in my armamentarium of apophthegmata for decades :

Consciousness will always be one degree above comprehensibility.
---G. Ehrensvard

The more observers are made similar, the more they can agree upon.
The less similar observers are, the more complex and subtle must be the language in which they converse.

---Ahem! Modesty forbids!

Logi, the point you are trying to make was dealt with in a very satisfactory manner by Zhuangzi, more than 2300 years ago :

Everything has its "that," everything has its "this." From the point of view of "that" you cannot see it, but through understanding you can know it. So I say, "that" comes out of "this" and "this" depends on "that" -- which is to say that "this" and "that" give birth to each other. But where there is birth, there must be death; where there is death, there must be birth. Where there is acceptability, there must be unacceptability; where there is unacceptability, there must be acceptability. Where there is recognition of right, there must be recognition of wrong; where there is recognition of wrong, there must be recognition of right.
Therefore the sage does not proceed in such a way, but illuminates all in the light of Heaven. He too recognizes a "this," but a "this" which is also "that," a "that" which is also "this." His "that" has both a right and a wrong in it; his "this" too has both a right and a wrong in it. So, in fact, does he still have a "this" and "that"? Or does he, in fact, no longer have a "this" and "that"? A state in which "this" and "that" no longer find their opposites is called the Hinge of the Way. When the hinge is fitted into the socket, it can respond endlessly. Its right then is a single endlessness, and its wrong too is a single endlessness. So, I say, the best thing to use is Clarity.
Only the man of far-reaching vision knows how to make them into one. So he has no use [for categories], but relegates all to the Constant. The Constant is the useful; the useful goes forward; going forward leads to success; and with success, all is accomplished. He relies upon the Constant alone -- relies upon it and does not know he is doing so. This is called the Way.
But to wear out your brain trying to make things into one without realizing that they are all the same -- this is called "three in the morning." What do I mean by "three in the morning"? When the monkey trainer was handing out acorns, he said, "You get three in the morning and four at night." This made all the monkeys furious. "Well, then," he said, "you get four in the morning and three at night." The monkeys were all delighted. There was no change in the reality behind the words, and yet the monkeys responded with joy and anger. Let them, if they want to. So the sage harmonizes with both right and wrong and rests in Heaven the Equalizer. This is called Walking Two Roads....
The torch of chaos and doubt -- this is what the sage steers by. So he does not use things, but relegates all to the Constant. This is what it means to use Clarity.


"The behavior of One Who Wanders Beyond becomes Wu-wei : sensitive and responsive without fixed preconceptions, without artifice, responding spontaneously in accordance with the unfolding of the inter-developing factors of the environment -- of which one is an inseparable part."
---Steve Coutinho
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:23 AM
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Now I am going to make a statement here. I don't know whether it fits into the category of other people's statements or not. But whether it fits into their category, or whether it doesn't, it obviously fits into some category. So in that respect it is no different from their statements. However, let me try making my statement.

There is a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is being. There is nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. Suddenly there is nonbeing. But I do not know, when it comes to nonbeing, which is really being and which is nonbeing. Now I have just said something. But I don't know whether what I have said has really said something or whether it hasn't said something.We have already become one, so how can I say anything? But I have just said that we are one, so how can I not be saying something? The one and what I said about it make two, and two and the original one make three. If we go on this way, then even the cleverest mathematician can't tell where we'll end, much less an ordinary man. If by moving from nonbeing to being we get to three, how far will we get if we move from being to being? Better not to move, but to let things be!


THE ONE WAS COMPELLED TO DO WITH THE TWO,
THREE WAS THE SEER, AND WHO WAS IT FOR ?

---Ahem! Modesty forbids!
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:27 AM
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The Way has never known boundaries; speech has no constancy. But because of [the recognition of a] "this," there came to be boundaries....
The Great Way is not named; Great Discriminations are not spoken; Great Benevolence is not benevolent; Great Modesty is not humble; Great Daring does not attack. If the Way is made clear, it is not the Way. If discriminations are put into words, they do not suffice. If benevolence has a constant object, it cannot be universal. If modesty is fastidious, it cannot be trusted. If daring attacks, it cannot be complete....
Therefore understanding which rests in what it does not understand is the finest. Who can understand discriminations that are not spoken, the Way that is not a way? If he can understand this, he may be called the Reservoir of Heaven. Pour into it, and it is never full; dip from it, and it never runs dry; and yet it does not know where the supply comes from. This is called the Dark-Light....
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:32 AM
Mr. Toothless asked the Lord of Confused Beginnings, "Do you know what all things agree in calling right?"
----"How would I know that?" said Lord Confusion.
----"Do you know that you don't know it?"
----"How would I know that?"
----"Then do things know nothing?"
----"How would I know that? However, suppose I try saying something. What way do I have of knowing that, if I say I know something, I don't really not know it? Or what way do I have of knowing that, if I say I don't know something, I don't really in fact know it? Now let me ask you some questions. If a man sleeps in a damp place, his back aches and he ends up half paralyzed, but is this true of a loach? If he lives in a tree, he is terrified and shakes with fright, but is this true of a monkey? Of these three creatures, then, which one knows the proper place to live? Men eat the flesh of grass-fed and grain-fed animals, deer eat grass, centipedes find snakes tasty, and hawks and falcons relish mice. Of these four, which knows how food ought to taste? Monkeys pair with monkeys, deer go out with deer, and fish play around with fish. Men claim that Mao-ch'iang and Lady Li were beautiful; but if fish saw them, they would dive to the bottom of the stream; if birds saw them, they would fly away; and if deer saw them; they would break into a run. Of these four, which knows how to fix the standard of beauty for the world? The way I see it, the rules of benevolence and righteousness, and the paths of right and wrong, are all hopelessly snarled and jumbled. How could I know anything about such discriminations?"
Mr. Toothless said, "If you don't know what is profitable or harmful, then does the Perfect Man likewise know nothing of such things?"
Lord Confusion replied, "The Perfect Man is godlike. Though the great swamps blaze, they cannot burn him; though the great rivers freeze, they cannot chill him; though swift lightning splits the hills and howling gales shake the sea, they cannot frighten him. A man like this rides the clouds and mist, straddles the sun and moon, and wanders beyond the four seas. Even life and death have no effect on him, much less the rules of profit and loss!....
Suppose you and I have had an argument. If you have beaten me instead of my beating you, then are you necessarily right, and am I necessarily wrong? If I have beaten you instead of your beating me, then am I necessarily right, and are you necessarily wrong? Is one of us right and the other wrong? Are both of us right, or are both of us wrong? If you and I don't know the answer, then other people are bound to be even more in the dark. Whom shall we get to decide what is right? Shall we get someone who agrees with you to decide? But if he already agrees with you, how can he decide fairly? Shall we get someone who agrees with me? But if he already agrees with me, how can he decide? Shall we get someone who disagrees with both of us? But if he already disagrees with both of us, how can he decide? Shall we get someone who agrees with both of us? But if he already agrees with both of us, how can he decide? Obviously, then, neither you nor I nor anyone else can decide for each other. Shall we wait for still another person?
But waiting for one shifting voice [to pass judgment on] another is the same as waiting for none of them. Harmonize them all with the Heavenly Equality, leave them to their endless changes, and so live out your years. What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the Boundless and make it your home!"

Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 12:34 AM
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Penumbra said to Shadow, "A little while ago you were walking, and now you're standing still; a little while ago you were sitting, and now you're standing up. Why this lack of independent action?"

Shadow said, "Do I have to wait for something before I can be like this? Does what I wait for also have to wait for something before it can be like this? Am I waiting for the scales of a snake or the wings of a cicada? How do I know why it is so? How do I know why it isn't so?"


There is a slight infelicity here in Burton Watson's otherwise admirable translation.
The phrase translated as "penumbra", Wang-Liang, a rhyming-binome, was originally the name of a water spirit, a deceptive nixie, whom one would, to their peril, occasionally glimpse in the dim images in water.
Here, the notion uppermost is that of a vague image, the shadow of a shadow !
If Shadow cannot guess what causes him to move, how much less can the shadow of a shadow know these causes !!
Posted By: Greger Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 02:40 AM
Let me settle this for you without so much verbose pomposity.

I'm right. If you agree with me then so are you.
This works in both directions.
If you are right, then I will agree with you. Otherwise you are wrong.
Posted By: Joe Keegan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 05:29 AM
You're right.
Posted By: Ezekiel Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 11:12 AM
Quote:
If Shadow cannot guess what causes him to move, how much less can the shadow of a shadow know these causes !!


Indeed. ThumbsUp
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 01:02 PM
I think the key lies in the vitality of one's openness to consider the other viewpoint; to lay down one's own facts alongside of the opponent's facts, and to watch the thumb of one's ego on the Who's Right scales as the facts are weighed.

Quote:
You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house, though you built it, or though it has been built for you.
Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 10:52 PM
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I don't disagree with the wisdom expressed in your last posting, Logtroll, but I think it demonstrates that you completely missed the sublimity of the wisdom of Zhuangzi.

Perhaps it would be better for you to take baby-steps in wisdom first. Here is a story involving Zhuangzi's niggling, word-splitting adversary, Hui Shi. It might be more congenial to your mentality.

Zhuangzi and Hui Shi were strolling along the dam of the Hao River when Zhuangzi said, "See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please! That's what fish really enjoy!"

Hui Shi said, "You're not a fish -- how do you know what fish enjoy?"

Zhuangzi said, "You're not I, so how do you know I don't know what fish enjoy?"

Hui Shi said, "I'm not you, so I certainly don't know what you know. On the other hand, you're certainly not a fish -- so that still proves you don't know what fish enjoy!"

Zhuangzi said, "Let's go back to your original question, please. You asked me how I know what fish enjoy -- so you already knew I knew it when you asked the question. I know it by standing here on the dam above the Hao River."


I wonder how many people who read this relatively simple wisdom will understand it.

Big, BIG hint -- a saying attributed to Hui Shi himself !

"Let love embrace the ten thousand things ; Heaven and earth are a single body."
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 11:09 PM
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Now how can I express, to an American, even a bit of the wisdom of Daoism, and the deep meaning of the phrase, Wei-wu-wei ?

Because of the attention-span problem, it will need to be short . . . .

Ah, I have it !!

"HANG LOOSE, DUDE !"
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 11:36 PM
So many words it takes to build a house.
Posted By: Ezekiel Re: How can you tell? - 01/28/13 11:49 PM
Quote:
Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?


--T. S. Eliot
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 12:57 AM
Originally Posted By: numan
I don't disagree with the wisdom expressed in your last posting, Logtroll, but I think it demonstrates that you completely missed the sublimity of the wisdom of Zhuangzi.

Perhaps it would be better for you to take baby-steps in wisdom first. Here is a story involving Zhuangzi's niggling, word-splitting adversary, Hui Shi. It might be more congenial to your mentality.

So, it's true, noomie, you are the Great Teacher?
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 03:54 AM
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I have an abiding conviction that even fools may be lifted up out of the darkness they inhabit and brought into the light and warmth of truth.

Of course, some of my friends have opined that I am too much of a Pollyanna -- always ready to see the good in others.

Frequently they say to me, "Oh, Numan, you are just too good !"

It seems that even Canadians have watched Gone with the Wind too often.
Posted By: NW Ponderer Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 04:29 AM
Ah, but who is left to lift you, numan?
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 04:46 AM
Originally Posted By: numan
I have an abiding conviction that even fools may be lifted up out of the darkness they inhabit and brought into the light and warmth of truth.

Of course, some of my friends have opined that I am too much of a Pollyanna -- always ready to see the good in others.

Frequently they say to me, "Oh, Numan, you are just too good !"

It seems that even Canadians have watched Gone with the Wind too often.

How do you say shar l'tan in Chinese?

Noo-Mi.

Quote:
The Sage is occupied with the unspoken
and acts without effort.
Teaching without verbosity,
producing without possessing,
creating without regard to result,
claiming nothing,
the Sage has nothing to lose.
Tao Te Ching
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 05:59 PM
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
Ah, but who is left to lift you, numan?

Perhaps those who are in the boat already might consider throwing the Verbose One a life ring.
Posted By: Greger Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 06:15 PM
Quote:
So, it's true, noomie, you are the Great Teacher?


As his visage is reflected in the pond, the greatness of the teacher is reflected by his students.
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 07:08 PM
Originally Posted By: Greger
Quote:
So, it's true, noomie, you are the Great Teacher?

As his visage is reflected in the pond, the greatness of the teacher is reflected by his students.

Whoa! We may have a new contendah fo' da title!
Posted By: Ezekiel Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 08:02 PM
Originally Posted By: numan
It seems that even Canadians have watched Gone with the Wind too often.


LOL
What on earth are they thinking??
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 08:18 PM
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Well, I guess Canadians recognize, as well as me, themselves in the character of Melanie.
Posted By: Joe Keegan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 08:27 PM
She's prettier than you are.
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted By: Joe Keegan

She's prettier than you are.

How do you know ? · ·
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 08:58 PM
Originally Posted By: numan
Now how can I express, to an American, even a bit of the wisdom of Daoism, and the deep meaning of the phrase, Wei-wu-wei ? Because of the attention-span problem, it will need to be short . . . . Ah, I have it !! "HANG LOOSE, DUDE !"

noomie, I suspect your grasp of Taoism is not what you would have us believe. A far better modern English expression of wu wei would be "go with the flow", which is rooms away from "HANG LOOSE, DUDE" in meaning (compounded by the shouted, with exclamation, mode of declamation).

And really, would Laozi ever approve such verbosity?

(Say, there are ways that you can tell!)
(Sorry for any whiplash resulting from coming back to the topic...)
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 09:23 PM
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I agree with you, Logi, that "go with the flow" is a better translation, but in harmony with the Daoist priciple of adapting my means to the material to be worked on, I thought my phrase would be more readily absorbed by the philosophically-challenged average American. It was not meant for someone of your sophistication.

Originally Posted By: logtroll

And really, would Laozi ever approve such verbosity?

Well, he wrote a book, didn't he ? · · wink
Posted By: Ezekiel Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 09:27 PM
Chuang Tzu Story - The Useless

Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu:
“All your teaching is centered on what has no use.”

Chuang Tzu replied:
“If you have no appreciation for what has no use,
you cannot begin to talk about what can be used.

“The earth for example, is broad and vast,
But of all this expanse a man uses only a few inches
Upon which he happens to be standing at the time.

“Now suppose you suddenly take away
all that he actually is not using,
so that all around his feet a gulf yawns,
and he stands in the void
with nowhere solid except under each foot,
how long will he be able to use what he is using?

Hui Tzu said:
“It would cease to serve any purpose.”

Chuang Tzu concluded:
“This shows the absolute necessity
of what is supposed to have no use.
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 09:39 PM
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One could extend the metaphor to any object and the environment which surrounds it and supports it -- a particle in a field, a species and the ecosystem which is essential to its survival.

It would be foolhardy to jump quickly to the conclusion that anything is useless -- though, of course, even fools may have their uses. · · wink
Posted By: Ezekiel Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 09:41 PM
Originally Posted By: numan
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One could extend the metaphor to any object and the environment which surrounds it and supports it -- a particle in a field, a species and the ecosystem which is essential to its survival.

It would be foolhardy to jump quickly to the conclusion that anything is useless -- though, of course, even fools may have their uses. · · wink


Indeed they do! wink
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 10:30 PM
Is there a reason that you two have shifted to the topic of uselessness?
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 10:35 PM
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Perhaps we have finally seen the value of your postings, Logi.
Posted By: numan Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 10:39 PM
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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- School of Names

A client said to the King of Liang, “In talking about things, Hui Shi is fond of using analogies. If you don't let him use analogies, he won't be able to speak.” The King said, “Agreed.” The next day he saw Hui Shi and said, “I wish that when you speak about things, you speak directly, without using analogies.” Hui Shi said, “Suppose there's a man here who doesn't know what a dan is. If he says, ‘What are the features of a dan like?’ and we answer, saying, ‘The features of a dan are like a dan,’ then would that communicate it?” The King said, “It would not.” “Then if we instead answered, ‘The features of a dan are like a bow, but with a bamboo string,’ then would he know?” The King said, “It can be known.” [A "dan" was the bow section of a Chinese crossbow -- the most powerful projectile weapon of the ancient world which could be used by an individual person]
Hui Shi said, “Explanations are inherently a matter of using what a person knows to communicate what he doesn't know, thereby causing him to know it. Now if you say, ‘No analogies,’ that's inadmissible.” The King said, “Good!”

Quote:
As we would expect from mainstream Chinese theories of language and disputation, Hui Shi is accustomed to explaining things by appeal to analogies. Indeed, his answer to the king is itself an analogy, or at least an illustrative example (the Chinese word for “analogy,” bi, refers to both). We can also notice from the story that in seeking to learn about something unknown, one does not ask for a definition of the object, but for a description of what its features “are like.” The standard response is to cite a familiar analogue and then point out the differences between the unknown object and the familiar one. Communication proceeds not by knowing “meanings,” but by knowing how to distinguish similar from different kinds of things.


This quite similar to Plato's theory of knowledge, but with analogy limited by differentia, rather than genus limited by differentia.
Posted By: logtroll Re: How can you tell? - 01/29/13 11:37 PM
Originally Posted By: numan
Perhaps we have finally seen the value of your postings, Logi.

Zekemon has taught thee everything he knows, and ye are a faithful disciple, noomie.
Posted By: Joe Keegan Re: How can you tell? - 01/30/13 12:56 AM
Originally Posted By: numan
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Originally Posted By: Joe Keegan

She's prettier than you are.

How do you know ? · ·
By their avatars ye shall know them. Olivia de Havilland was gorgeous! Let's see how knowledgeable you are, my friend. Who funded the Gone With the Wind museum in Atlanta? Hey, after all, dude, it was a movie.
Posted By: Joe Keegan Re: How can you tell? - 01/30/13 12:43 PM
It was a German fan of the movie and not an American. At the museum in Atlanta you can see the green bonnet that Rhett brought back for Scarlett, the doors used for Tara, and lots of movie memorabilia.
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