A call for intellectual ambition.
“of course I may be wrong if I press on questions of such difficulty but how dare we not try?”
1. This was the sort of motivating thought that enabled me to publish a systematic review of the concept of “harmony” over the past 2500 years — with reviews covering modern psychology and social theory. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S240587262200003X
2. I’ll be sharing an online lecture June 1 on the role of ancient wisdom and artificial intelligence: https://embassyofthefreemind.com/en/plan-your-visit/agenda#Dereklomas
Here’s a risky thought about whether AI can access Plato’s world of forms.
I was going to write a response to Sam's essay, but anyone wishing to do so should take into account the very chewy follow-on podcast with Ross Douthat, which not only clarified some of the issues in this post, but advanced the discussion considerably. Recommended!
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌۭ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَآ أَوْ ءَاذَانٌۭ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۖ فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى ٱلْأَبْصَـٰرُ وَلَـٰكِن تَعْمَى ٱلْقُلُوبُ ٱلَّتِى فِى ٱلصُّدُورِ ٤٦
Have they not travelled throughout the land so their hearts may reason, and their ears may listen? Indeed, it is not the eyes that are blind, but it is the hearts in the chests that grow blind.
— Dr. Mustafa Khattab, the Clear Quran
I agree that we need to think, we need a much further depth of discussion, and we need reason. Yet I would argue that we need to first and foremost think with our hearts. As Allah SWT says, it is with our hearts that we reason.
I majored in Neuroscience as an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, and in my four years, they never once mentioned the cognitive capacity of the heart. But it's true.
Stephen Buhner writes in "The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature," that 60% of the cells of the heart are neurons. These cells are similar in structure to those of the brain, and they are responsible for memory, reason, processing of emotions, and communication.
You see, the heart is also a battery. The circulation of iron (the principle component of blood cells) creates an electromagnetic spectrum emanating from the heart that is 5,000 times stronger than the electromagnetic spectrum of the brain, and that is detectable by modern devises up to 10 feet away.
And detectable by other hearts. The heart modulates and perceives these electromagnetic spectrums. It's affected by our surroundings - by other people's hearts, by their touch, and, as Buhner focuses on, by nature.
When we consider this, then we have to also reconsider the scientific method. There are no independent variables because everything is interdependent. Most of what exists is not visible. Then, we have to ask ourselves, "How do we know the unseen?"