pain is comedy minus time

Finished “Does Santa Exist?” by Eric Kaplan. In some way, an amazing book, just like “Plato at the Googleplex” by Rebecca Goldstein, bringing high minded philosophy home, to the everyday questions and struggles. And doing it while being witty, smart, erudite, relevant.

So what is my beef with Kaplan? I would not write anything if I did not have any. I have to become (well, stay) arrogant and oversimplifying, but here is the thing: he does not escape religious mindset, though easily skipping between religions. But like all religious people he insists on having unique global context, like God, Limitless, or unified physics theory, one global context relevant in every discussion, something one where all our material and emotional stuff lives in.

I do not believe in this. We use different models in different contexts. Models that have better predictive power show our better understanding of the context where this model is applicable. Models just have to be useful. One may use signaling to think about human interactions, or attachment disorder when it is relevant. I do not need to define God that have multiple faces to go around the fact that one model does not explain everything. All this verbal fog that have to be created to hide the simple fact that no model of reality is reality, that every model has limitations on context it is applicable to, and that we in fact use multiple models at all times and resulting behavior is akin to market indicator, derived by actions of many in or semi dependent actors.

One can take this further and derive meaning of life as creation of better communal models of reality, and/or spreading life across the universe. But lets drop unique global context as defining factor in our philosophy.

Great book. I specifically enjoyed the part on laughter.


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