Friday, July 11, 2014

The Münchhausen Trilemma

For a brief moment, my next novel, now called License to Ill, was going to be called The Obamacare Trilemma, and it was going to have the below inscription, both in German and English at the beginning. Even though I've changed the title, I'm going to keep the inscription because it's still very much apropos to the story and it sets the right tone because it's so funny (I think).

This may be the only place you can find the English translation of the Barron von Münchhausen bootstrapping story anywhere (see below), which is a little odd because the Münchhausen Trilemma is such an important philosophical issue.

For a more complete understanding of the concept, I invite you to click on the link and read, but for my purposes The MünchhausenTrilemma demonstrates that rationality (i.e. thinking) must have input from some source other than itself. Rationality is like a calculator in that it requires a finger from somewhere to press the buttons.

The input comes from consciousness. Rationality is but a tiny subset of our larger consciousness. Feelings bubble up into ideas (rationality) and those ideas become words for the very limited purposes of communication and the creation of labor-saving devices. Those feelings come from our connectedness to all that is, not from our own thinking.

That's why a so-called "rational" approach to life (as opposed to a consciousness-based approach to life) is considered bootstrapping. It does not allow for this input from all that is. It simply assumes that the thinking started up on its own. That the calculator pressed its own buttons.

[As always, you need not take my word for any of this. Go into your body and make your own determination as to the nature of reality.]
The world of Science (what I would call the Religion of Science) would have you ignore this point. As stated aptly on Rationalwiki.org:
The Münchhausen Trilemma is a problem in philosophy that all statements can be questioned and then need evidence. This problem has been well known in philosophy for thousands of years, but rarely gets addressed because it breaks the legs of philosophy, science, and any other possible approach to reality.
I would disagree, however, that the Münchhausen Trilemma breaks the legs of "philosophy" and "any other possible approach to reality." It only breaks the legs of rationality-based philosophies and approaches to reality. If so-called reality is an illusion, all falls into place. I would certainly agree, though, that the Münchhausen Trilemma breaks the legs of science.

The story behind the below quotation is interesting.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Connection Between Observation and the Material World

A friend of mine sent me the following video about an interesting new technology. Isn't it interesting that everything we look for . . . we find?

Perhaps there's more of a connection between the act of observation and our "discoveries" than we realize. Maybe we're actually creating the world, rather than discovering it. I talk about this in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Latest 5-Star Review of The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder

I'm listening to the Reds game while I write this. I just had to turn down the sound on another cancer commercial. Ask yourself what they're selling in those commercials and realize that healthcare providers, like all corporations, are actively about the business of expanding their markets. Think about that and you will turn down the sound on all such commercials too. That's the topic of my next book, the current working title of which is The Obamacare Experiments.

In the meantime, I have this other book out there called The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, and my friend and colleague, Thomas Cothran, has been so kind as to post a review on Amazon. While Thomas gave the book five starts, in the review he also says of what you might call its philosophical argument:
"I'll let the reader make their own decision about the merits of this worldview. (The enemy of this metaphysics is Aristotle.) For my own part, I remain cheerfully Aristotelian.
In other words, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder in essence lays the responsibility for all the woes of modern society squarely at the feet of Aristotle's rationalism, and young Thomas--who's favorite philosopher is Kierkegaard but doesn't recognize that Kierkegaard was anti-Aristotilian too--remains unconvinced.

Not to worry. I've challenged my good friend to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for himself, a challenge to which he has agreed. We shall see if he remains cheerfully Aristotelian after that.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks, Thomas!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering Pee Wee Reese on Jackie Robinson Day

As I listen to Marty Brennaman and Jim Kelch broadcast the
Reds game on this, MLB's Jackie Robinson Day, when all players wear number 42 in commemoration of this day in 1947 when the color barrier was abolished, it's easy to get a little choked up thinking about Cincinnati's important connection to that important season--and the Kentucky connection to it. 

And I do . . . get choked up about it, I mean . . . every year, I do. It's such a beautiful story about a Kentucky boy demonstrating nothing more than simple kindness.

And changing the world thereby.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Success - Writing and Publishing

Following is the meat of a post to a friend on Facebook in response to a question about publishing:

My last book was self-published, so I didn't work with a publisher on that one. It was actually my 8th novel and I tried a little to get some of the other ones published but never really delved deeply enough into it.

In some ways, I wish I would have tried to do more with them, but then again I think something inside made me want to wait to mature as a writer and as a person. And no regrets, there is only now. And speaking of now, I've written a 9th novel, working title The Obamacare Experiments, and now I'm pursuing a traditional publisher for that one more rigorously.

Find an Editor

One thing I've come to understand is that you have to invest in your product. That means you need to seek out a professional editor. It's expensive but it must be done, for four reasons.

First, it's the best way to learn. It's like hiring a tutor.

Second, writing is a collaborative process. It is very rare when a person can just write something down and have it published (maybe impossible). You need that professional with credentials. Why? So you will trust their recommendations. Preferably, you should find one from NYC with publishing experience, again expensive, but worth it.

One more piece of advice on the selection I might offer: if you're a woman, find a male editor and vice versa. This is not a hard and fast rule, by any means, but in my own research (anecdotal though it may be) I found that this dynamic seems to lend itself to creation of a better product . . . food for thought.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emails About Kierkegaard

I know what you're thinking: "Gee, Todd, your life must be pretty dull if you're exchanging emails about a Danish philosopher from the 19th century." Ok, ok, I hear you, but hear me out.

Let me give you a little background on how this email came about. A couple of friends of mine read my book, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, and one of those friends described my book to the other as, "out there." Which is about the best review a writer can hope for. Why? Because this means that the book contained ideas and concepts that the reader didn't necessarily agree with (or thought he didn't), and yet it was written well enough that he was able to get through it, he was able to finish the book. That's big! I couldn't really hope for more.

This fellow, I'm told, is also a big fan of Søren Kierkegaard, the aforementioned 19th century Danish philosopher (these are the upper crust circles of people who actually have favorite philosopher that I run in, folks, what can I tell you?). So much so, in fact, that he named his child after him (Søren, not Kierkegaard). Which I think is pretty cool because it's a pretty cool name, only I hope he didn't use the o with the slash through it (ø), which would probably get a little annoying for the kid.

Anyway, I was only vaguely familiar with the philosophy of Kierkegaard  (I'm a novelist, after all, not a philosopher, or worse a "philosophizer" as Robert Persig puts it in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), so after the conversation I went on line and brushed up on it, and lo and behold, what did I find but that the depressed Dane agreed wholeheartedly with everything in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder! He professed, you see, Kierkegaard did, a similar brand of what has been labelled "existentialism."

I had always heard the term bandied about and had an idea what it meant, but not until now did I make the connection between the "existence" in "existentialism" and "being" and "consciousness." These are all exact synonyms. What Kierkegaard was talking about, what Eckhart Tolle is talking about, what I'm talking about in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder--it's all the same thing.

And now from the email . . . Oh, and be sure to check out the link to the exercise mentioned a couple of times below so you know exactly what we're talking about when we talk about existence.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top 10 All-Time Blog Posts

After maintaining this blog for a few years now, here are the most popular posts. The second on the list is the most popular recently and will make it to the top at some point.

Give them a read and let me know what you think.

Jan 31, 2012

Feb 6, 2010, 3 comments

Aug 31, 2011

Feb 7, 2010, 6 comments

Feb 6, 2010, 1 comment

Jun 22, 2011

Apr 17, 2010, 2 comments