The Aarhus Interpretation

Via Opinion & Kommentar:

The Aarhus Interpretation : A lecture given at The Danish Neuroscience Center (DNC) on may 28TH 2010 by author and philosopher Erwin Neutzsky-Wulff:

It has been said that those who know least about the sea are the fish. The same may perhaps be said about scientists.

Working on the tenth floor of a building doesn’t necessarily mean that you have any idea what is going on in the basement or how or when it was constructed. Of course, when it’s burning, you may take a sudden interest in the location of the fire-escapes.

Also, if you’re a window-cleaner, you may be more aware of what floor you’re on. In science, the window-cleaners are those who work on the frontiers of science.

In a way, they’re always half in and half out of the building. They are also more likely to fall off or to discover a crack in the concrete.

When the crack becomes wide enough, the building will fall, and down comes the window-cleaner, bucket and all. It’s called a scientific revolution, and like most revolutions, they are nice to dwell upon in speeches at faculty dinners.

Click here and scroll to bottom of page to continue reading the English translation of the lecture.

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16 Comments on "The Aarhus Interpretation"

  1. SoruhFrake | Dec 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

    Wow, this is absolute crap. So when I have something that I can only define as a spiritual experience, based on my own observation it is absolute crap produced by something(consciousness) with no value that allows me to think but in the end is worth nothing since that very consciousness is noise?

    “If neurology is to become an exact science, it must take out the
    trash. There can be no more consciousness or will, no more motives or
    The brain is a machine, and there’s no ghost in it. Once you get rid of that, it’s comparatively smooth sailing.”

    I feel sorry for anyone that thinks this way, no wonder that we are living in the least original generation ever. No wonder our technological advancements have been more dedicated to entertaining our lowly unconscious machine lived life’s, instead of seeing actual worthwhile technological progress which improves life on the planet for all beings not just the worthless accident on 2 legs that has only the illusion of being conscious.

    Since the update of their * Scientists Great Book of all Mental Disease’s” and adding in grief as one, I can clearly see that science is beginning to lose sight of what is human. While in the old days gods were meant to be worshipedin the sense of accumulating the divine qualities of the deity in oneself, we today worship other humans, so called “idols” and we wonder why we are in such misery? We have lost sight of what makes us truly human, namely the ability to free ourselves from the notion of a static, unchangeable fate, into realizing that one can be more than what one is.

    Other than that the creator of this lecture did a great job in writing his perspective in a manner that many will fall prey to what he says, I personally find it sad when I see such ignorance in science. If they all had some imagination and believed at least in their own being, not even in anything spiritual then we’d be far more advanced than we are today. If you believe your own consciousness is noise then damn….but with such a thought I doubt many amazing ideas are going to happen in the scientific realm. Idiots:P

    • SoruhFrake | Dec 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

      My reply is also just an opinion in reply to an opinion, aware of that. Why can’t people just believe nothing? Is it that hard? When I say believe nothing, I mean having no absolute belief in a certain form of how reality, life, we, etc work. Why is it so hard to just shut up about what we should think and just tell everyone to figure out how to think? I feel lectures like that are a waste of time, they don’t further any cause, they don’t teach me anything, sure some might argue that he is absolutely right.

      But that lecture is the most stupid way to make advancements in science, if those scientists truly believe so firmly that consciousness is noise, that their life is predestined by their neurological functioning etc etc, then why the hell do they bother to study the brain more accurately? Every point he makes in his speech just makes the reason for any advancement seem futile. Plus he throws in the same arguments against the metaphysical realm like most skeptics trolling esoteric, spiritual or religious topics. All he did was put in some more intelligent metaphors for his examples.

      • BuzzCoastin | Dec 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

        there’s a difference between believing and probing
        believing requires a point of view and
        some kind of faith or confidence in that believed

        a probe merely puts and observation out there for consideration
        a good probe is one that’s widely disagreed with
        no one is required to believe their or anyone else’s probes
        (the world is round was great probe)

        it’s probes like these
        “The brain is a machine,
        and there’s no ghost in it.

        Once you get rid of that, it’s comparatively smooth sailing.”
        are designed to stimulate one’s thinking
        not ones credulity or belief

        • “there’s a difference between believing and probing…”

          That’s what I told the Grey Aliens that abducted me. I said “I don’t even believe in you guys so you better not probe me!”

        • I’ve noticed you often switch between iambic and trochaic metering in your posts. Usually with dimeter, trimeter or tetrameter feet.

          • BuzzCoastin | Dec 15, 2012 at 8:17 am |

            it was once called gloss by some
            and now dross by others
            though eye see it as simply shorting

            the circuits of habitual thought

        • SoruhFrake | Dec 15, 2012 at 8:07 am |

          Still I don’t see how minimizing the brain or its functions will take us any further. Psychiatry is going to hell due to it. We are reaching the point where our simplifications for a better understanding are in our way. We have been stagnating with our simplified theories of the world surrounding us. In my eyes scientists better start looking at things in a more complex fashion, the least it will do is boost their thoughts about new possibilities. It’s easy to imagine things overly simplified, the results of such a process will be invariably quite simple too. We have simplified every single science into so many categories that no longer is any scientist really looking at the big picture, but each one is looking at a single facet of expertise and then creating solutions for that one facet.

          It’s easier to understand one thing, but a true scientist is one that doesn’t fear complexities, it is one who doesn’t believe that what has been thought to this day is fact and evidence and provides proof that many impossible things according to science are impossible. I’ve yet to meet a real scientist who is true to science and is out to study the mysteries of the world, to walk the path of impossibilities and imagination.

          Life isn’t simple, the universe isn’t simple, trying to solve things with such simple thinking is what makes everything seem simple. Done this proved that, nothing more to discover here is how science is acting today. And most people sitting in science class don’t even question what they are learning, if they did we’d have dentists fighting against fluoridation and we’d have more doctors being honest about vaccines etc.

          The world that we normal individuals live in is supposed to look simple, so that we do not question a single thing in our life’s. Yet behind the scenes there are all kinds of scientific testing going on concerning aspects that we categorize as metaphysical.

          The reason why scientists and most people don’t want a ghost inside the machine is cause it makes them responsible for their actions. And people are just too immature in our society to want to take responsibilities for their actions. It’s easy to think of simple things, cause the imagination of any person can handle that, even those who barely had a childhood.

          • BuzzCoastin | Dec 15, 2012 at 8:14 am |

            > The reason why scientists and most people don’t want a ghost inside the machine
            is cause it makes them responsible for their actions.

            until Bush & Cheney or a host of other high level criminals go on trial
            your argument is specious
            not sayin’ your wrong, just sayin’ your not right about that point

            the fact is we don’t really know enough about anything at all
            but our vaulted opinion of our SELF & it’s brain makes it seem otherwise

          • SoruhFrake | Dec 15, 2012 at 8:39 am |

            Why should they go on trial? We are living in a demoralized world. Sorry but even here in Luxembourg 95% of the people are just consumer zombies. They live their life fighting everyone in a sense, everything is a competition. While those at the top are not just amoral but downright evil. Why would we see them on trial? And why is my argument specious just cause they are still running free? I personally don’t look at us as humans. or at least I don’t believe we possess humanity throughout all our life’s.

            Humanity is something that is earned, by learning to control ones impulses, emotions and instincts. 2 years ago I would have easily lost my temper at some small things, but realizing that I am more than just the split second reactions in my brain, now I don’t loose my temper at all. It has become nearly impossible for me. I’m not saying I’m any more human than someone else cause of that example, I still have tendencies I wish I had a better grip on, but life is meant to be a personal improvement until death in my eyes. Even a relationship, you can spend your life with someone that you absolutely love, but I find that a person incapable of changing and growing becomes boring no matter their attractiveness or wits.

            The number 1 sentence that is our society’s downfall today, is the belief: “I am the way I am, just accept it.” I’ve learned that that is the wrongest statement one can live by. Once you adhere to that belief you may welcome the static. But if you want a life of growth and experience, then one has to become dynamic. If the universe followed static rules and change was unnecessary then there wouldn’t be any time. For some reason things happen, the reason is change and development. The weakness of man, he has only learned how to change what’s outside, but that’s easy. Changing what’s inside is a lot lot harder 😉

            Look I don’t need to be a psychiatrist to know that psychiatry has become the most bullshit science that exists today, partly due to the fact that a good friend of mine was diagnosed mentally ill and with obsessive compulsive disorder. Washing himself for hours without end.

            In the end he stopped psychiatric treatment, got off the meds slowly which he was addicted to, he lost 10 kilos in 2 weeks when he was putting them off going through hell from the withdrawal

            Became interested in meditation from our talks and had started that to help him. This year he finally passed his final year in high school after having failed 3-4 times due to is condition before. He is practically normal again.

            You go to a psychiatrist and listen to how they think about what is normal and not and I can assure you’re going to see that if you do not fit in socially with what is expected from you from the state you will be branded as mentally ill.

          • You, sir or madam, are awesome.

  2. I thought this was fairly interesting; right about 75% into the ramble though, quantum physics was mentioned… then it seems the argument fell apart… right about here:

    “Accordingly, as long as we haven’t made up our minds whether to ascertain the precise position or momentum of a particle, the universe hasn’t made up its mind either. It’s in a state of uncertainty expressed by the wave function, until we actually make the observation, collapsing the wave function, thus bringing it into being merely by observing it.
    To avoid this conclusion, which for obvious reasons would mean the end of science, it has been suggested that the universe has already anticipated any choice that we may make, there being an entire universe for each and every one of them. To call this “solution” to the problem absurd, I think you’ll agree, would be an understatement.
    As we have seen, there is a far simpler answer, however repugnant to our anthropocentric sensibilities. We don’t choose the properties of the observed system, simply because we don’t choose what properties to observe.”

    It has become clearly apparent that this particular perspective shines light that people are deathly afraid of the concept of pure uncertainty. Both possible explanations to quantum physics he presents refuses the possibility that the future itself is not already pre-ordained (in two completely opposite manners). One in which, all infinite futures exist(absurd, and arguably a strawman), and one where everything is “obviously” predetermined, and therefore must not have consciousness. Funny thing is, consciousness is our tool for dealing with uncertainty so i suppose it is natural to deny uncertainty itself when you deny consciousness

    Then he prattles on standard perspectives of reductionist hubris that we really already know everything for example “What they found [in the human genome] was ninety-nine percent redundancy and sheer nonsense.”

    Then i was taken aback to see him quote the “10% of the brain” misconception… and i felt really annoyed that i wasted my time with this… from that point on i had invested so much time into it that i had to finish it, and it just rolled into nihilistic crap…

    • I’ve learned to not hold out any hope in good philosophy coming out of ‘neuroscience’–it seems inevitable that they will deny consciousness when their pay cheques depend on them treating the brain as an object. Using MRIs to study consciousness is like using a thermometer to study fire.

    • SoruhFrake | Dec 15, 2012 at 11:49 am |

      Great Post, you know I think what scares people of uncertainty, or for that matter mystery (in my eyes they are similar) is that once you realize the questions go on forever into infinity no matter how many answers one finds people become uncomfortable after a while of chasing it further. For every time we advance our knowledge we grow comfortable with our new findings and the only way to keep that obtained comfort is to deny the existence of anything further. Yet we forget that each new answer opened up an entirely unknown world to us. Whether it was a advance in our thinking or technological, every time the world became unrecognizable to those of the old days:)

      I also believe the fear comes from the undeniable fact that once you go deeper into the unknown mysteries the more you begin questioning your own self instead of the outside. Someone having spent their entire life working to make someone else rich, even if they have a midlife crisis at some point where the absolute waste of their time is revealed most don’t go into that crisis deciding to make a new starting point, but they tell themselves the lie they lived is true cause it is more comforting to feel like you lived a worthwhile life in your own eyes, even though that kind of life will be lived in slavery, despite the house you live in and the family you have. Most people aren’t free, almost everyone I know today is getting mortgages on all kinds of idiotic things, once that’s done, you belong to state and society until your debts are paid.

      We aren’t powerless beings in need of help from everyone, if people only knew that they aren’t as stupid as they think, they are just brought up stupid. If everyone looked at the drama they purposely create in their lives around meaningless things and just put those things aside and started being creative instead this world would be a hell of a joy ride 😉 But you don’t need the world to join you, to enter on the joy ride. It’s a free ride for anyone who wants to get on, but there ain’t no going back.

  3. Ceausescu | Dec 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

    Philosophizing on such relative matters seems pointless to me. As pointless as my comment.

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