Re: On pretending to be Wise

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Aug 30 2006 - 23:28:48 MDT

Hi Eli,

> Oftimes it is greatly convenient, to pretend to be Wise. When any
> conflict breaks out, you can sternly chide both sides, saying: "You are
> equally at fault; you must learn to see each other's viewpoints. I am
> older and more mature, and I say to you: stop this pointless bickering,
> children, for you begin to annoy me. Ponder well the wisdom of having
> everyone get along!" You do not need to examine the dispute, nor wonder
> if perhaps one side does have more merit than the other. You need not
> judge between two sides, and risk having your judgment turn out to be
> embarassingly wrong, or risk having your judgment questioned as though
> you were only another ordinary mortal. Indeed you must not ask
> questions, you must not judge; for if you take sides, you will at once
> lose your reputation for being Wise, which requires that you stand
> forever above the fray.

Presumably this amusing poetic email is an attack on my post chiding
both you and Loosemore for being so confrontational...

Introspecting honestly, I really don't find that when I wrote that
email I was in a psychological state of attempting to adopt some fake
attitude of "wisdom"

Rather, I really do think that, even though Richard made some
mis-statements and overstatements regarding various things (including
the current state of knowledge about heuristics and biases), he has
some insights about the relation of complex systems science and
intelligence which you would benefit to better understand.

And I also think that, even though you seem to err tactically by
having too little interest in understanding the H&B work in the larger
context of cognitive science, and (more critically) seem to err
strategically by not understanding the relevance of complexity and
self-organization ... even so, you have some deep insights into the
nature of cognition that Richard should have paid more attention to.

He should have written more carefully and formulated his thoughts more
carefully before writing. You should have been less obnoxious and
made more of a genuine attempt to understand his statements and ideas.

The reason I didn't comment in detail on the topic at hand is mostly
that I'm on vacation and using email for only 30 minutes per day in
internet cafe's...

So, all in all, I stand by my prior post, and I reject the insinuation
that I was putting on some fake mantle or tone of wisdom...

Now ... farewell to email, and off to the Matterhorn!!! Many lesser
men have tried and failed the ascent! Me: I will have the sense to
not even try, but merely hike up to the base camp and look around :-)
... Now that's what I call wisdom ;-D


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