Saturday, October 9, 2021

Particularity is Universal

Socrates wanted to find truths that were true everywhere and everywhen. Certainly this is an efficient way to use space in your brain. You can trade two ideas that apply half the time for one idea that applies all the time.

Problem: specialized, local solutions are better or easier than attempting to particularize from the generally true. 

Philosophy's desire to universalize is consistently lethal to philosophy and philosophers. If you have a universal truth, then someone who doesn't believe it is just ignorant, right? If you force them to believe it, you're practically their friend. You're helping. And then Gnon tears you limb from limb. Slowly.

That is: Alexander conquered a bunch of land. Logic is powerful. Alexander's heirs lost all that land. Universalizing is fatal. Ultimately the populations of Greece, Rome, and Byzantium were permanently vandalized, losing all the comparative genetic virtue they once had.
Christianity has its One Truth, which everyone needs to know. It did in fact conquer a bunch of land. Philosophy is powerful. Now it's going to kill every race that wholeheartedly adopted it. Universalizing is fatal. 

General purpose processors are hardly a bad thing. However, if you want real performance, you must always make an application-specific integrated circuit. In head to head competition, the ASIC will always win, and it won't even be close. The human brain has a very small general processor; rather, it is a huge pile of ASICs all of roughly the same size, and one of the ASICs is specialized at being a generalist. Evolution is billions of years older than you and knows commensurately more than you do. The only time you shouldn't try to emulate what evolution thinks is when even an approximation is too sophisticated for you to attempt successfully.

Earth is diverse. (Real diversity, not Fascist diversity.) Everywhere you can go has some unique property, found nowhere else. This property will not only be unique, but relevant to living well in that location. The international style is ugly because it's a bad idea and doesn't work.
Universality is compression. To use a compressed file you first have to uncompress it. There's a time and processing cost. The more universal a truth, the more compressed it is, and the harder you have to work to make it usable. As a matter of fact Einsteinian physics reduces to Newtonian physics which reduces to Aristotlean physics, which is the physics you actually use in daily life; trying to use the true Einsteinian math when you don't have to is just stupid. Indeed when you need to do orbital calculations it would likely be better to find an Aristotlean approximation of Einstein that's suited for outer space, and use that instead.

In a highly diverse situation like Earth, a truth which applies to any situation will be so compressed it's almost incomprehensible a puny human brain, even at 200+ IQ. It will be much faster and easier to derive the particular of the universal truth by working up from direct experience of the situation (which you need anyway to know which particular to derive), rather than trying to work top-down from the universal truth.

It is a universal truth that the particulars matter more than universal truths.

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