Individual Reality and Murder

An individuals Perception seems to be a cognitive process based upon information provided by our sensory organs. These organs detect temporal and spacial changes in physical characteristics of our environment and the objects within it. With touch and taste, it is necessary to be in direct contact with the object: is it more or less supple than our bodies, does it increase or decrease the temperature of our bodies, is it sharper or duller than our bodies?

It is not necessary to be in direct contact with an object perceive it. We see (eyes), hear (ears), smell (nose) or detect heat (skin) from the distant objects. Light and sound are distorted or generated by the distant object and these secondary effects are transmitted to us and detected by our senses.

Some people maintain that there is another perceptual process: spirit.  I do not know other peoples minds and bodies so I will not dispute the point. There may well be something called spirit to which I am blind and others are not; I can only work with what is available to me. Other people may indeed have perceptions that I do not have. Some people can see color, others do not. An interesting point here: people that perceive color have been able to convince those that do not, that color exists and it is not a figment of imagination; it is real. However, people that perceive spirituality have not been able to convince others of its existence. Spirituality is a perception of certain individuals and not others. These impulses from our sensory organs are the totality of what we experience. These are the basis of everything that is the human experience.

Our bodies, minds and spirit (if that exists) do more than just react to this information, our bodies remember the reactions that our bodies  had to the stimulus, when it happened, which side of our bodies experienced the sensation. That is our bodies register the relationship of the physical properties to our bodies but we also register the order in which the events occurred. We have therefore have stored the information that would needs to compute rates  of change with respect to space and time. Our bodies are bicameral and each side registers the effect of the object. This gives us the first derivative with respect to space. This, combined with time, gives our bodies the second derivatives of the perceptions with respect to time and space as well. The object is hotter on the right side of our bodies than on the left side, for example. The light arrived before the sound. Our bodies record this information in such a way that when all the individual cells containing the information have been replaced with new fresh cells, the information is not lost; the new cell builds the old information into the new structure. Perhaps in the same way that the replacement of a scar cell knows that it is not to be a regular cell, It copies the structure of the scar cell.

Our unconscious brains attempt to build a relationship between these different memories of events. Our brains link the information collected together in addition to remembering the events and the order in which they occurred. When multiple sensory events happen at the same time or in close proximity;  we see our hand move into the flame and at the same time that it enters we feel intense pain. There is now an association between flames and damage to our body. Our bodies record all the senses at the same time so if another event occurs at the same time, for instance a lightning strike in close proximity the brain will integrate that information as well. Was it the flame or the lightning bolt that caused the intense burning sensation in the hand. This is a flagrant example. The body felt the heat rise as the hand drew nearer so there is a much tighter association with the flame. However the scream of pain and the lightning bolt happened concurrently. Did we cause the lightning bolt? Could this be the result of a strong expression of pain and emotion? The brain must decide this as well. All this thought process is totally unconscious. Sometimes it makes mistakes.

There are physical differences in the appearance of people and in their internal organs. Some cannot eat certain foods, or see color or hear. There are differences in the way people 'feel' emotions as well. Hormonal levels change from individual to individual. This is measurable and the effects of this are observable. Some people feel fear more than others, and love and empathy. People do not sexually excite by the same people. Some prefer members of their own sex, some do not. It is not important whether these feelings are physical or cultural. It is the way that it is; it is reality for that individual.  The point is that our perceptions of the world are not the same from person to person. Individual Reality is unique for each human.

The brain is a physical organ as well and it has variations in structure and chemistry from person to person. That being said, there is no reason to believe that people think and process information in the same way. I do not perceive numbers, for example the way that  Daniel Tammet  does.  This has been disputed but I fail to see how even a cursory look at the different conclusions people reach when looking at the same data does not demonstrate the point definitively. Of course, that is the way that I see it. Others will dispute my observation and attribute the differences to other causes. Frankly, that does nothing but substantiate my hypothesis. In addition to individual reality being different, people also have different ways of thinking about their Individual Realities and different ways of constructing their ideas about their Individual Reality. Our thoughts seem to be fractal in nature.

Dolphins or Lovers
Dolphins or Lovers by artist Sandro del Prete is seen differently by children and by adults. The children see dolphins swimming in the bottle (or so I have been told) and the adults see a man and woman embracing (or so I have been told). This, if true, would illustrate that people's interpretation of their reality changes as we get older. That is to say what the subconscious brain presents the conscious mind changes. The data may remain the same but what we perceive changes.

The Dancer
The Dancer illustrates that different people perceive reality differently. The dancer spins clockwise for some individuals and for others she spins counter-clockwise. Personally, I can reverse the spin at will although, the more I look at it, the more difficult this becomes. My brain has its preference. I have seen blogs where people accuse others of lying when they indicate that the dancer spins differently than they perceive. Both perceptions of reality are, of course, wrong. There is no dancer, they are shades of gray on a flat surface and what is interpreted as a dancer is not spinning at all. This is a series of images projected on a two dimensional surface; nothing is spinning. Our brains have manufactured something useful but something that is not part of any objective reality. It is not at all clear that a mouse will interpret the figure as a dancing anything.

Shades of Gray
A powerful illustration that our conscious perceptions can be incorrect can be seen in Shades-of-Gray. The gray color at the top looks darker than the gray color on the bottom of the figure; they look strikingly different but they are not. The gray at the top is exactly the same shade of gray as that on the bottom. I have personally had arguments where people refuse to believe that they are the same color. When I have suggested how to test this, they have refused. Why bother? Any idiot can see straight off that they are two completely different colors; it would be a waste of time, a fools mission. Even very simple testing has been refused. When suggest looking at the code that produces the colors to see if the computer has been asked to create the same shades, that too is rejected.

The point is that some people actually define reality to be their Individual Reality and their perceptions may not be questioned; their perceptions are reality. When measurements suggest differently, it is because someone is attempting to trick them. These are people that live in their own world and do not believe that any other exists; all other people live in this same exact reality. Not perceiving what they perceive is an indication that one is of low intelligence, uninformed, misinformed, deceptive (lying), and/or evil, in that order. I am an evil person in some circles. The proof? The shades-of-gray example; it is the proof that I am actively attempting to confuse and deceive them. They can now dismiss everything else that I have to say without thinking about it. Yes, this is a true example. Interestingly enough, it is an example of bigotry and how that process works.

The brain (the unconscious part) presents the conscious mind a fully processed "image", in all the five senses, of what it has constructed when integrating the sensory input from memory. This model is not what the senses have experienced. It is an integrated interpretation of the memory of what the senses (including time) have registered. This model that has been presented to the conscious mind is what I call the Individual's Reality Model or just Individual Reality; it is often wrong as I have demonstrated.

Some people do not recognize any other reality. This is a mistake that causes a great deal of conflict in human society. Some people kill others based on their Individual Reality Model. I think that this might be because they do not understand how a person could not see what they see and believe the person to be lying in order to do them harm. The body is defending itself from what it perceives to be an malicious attacking organism. The organism is destroyed under the guise of ridding the world of evil.

Individual Reality can be fraught with so much psychosis that it is only proper and dignified to expose it to the world-at-large in very restricted and filtered pieces. Public conversations about religion, politics or sex have been discouraged for many thousands of years. Perhaps for good reasons. These subjects are the ones that socially responsible people avoid; at least that is a common message. Individual Reality is personal;  it comprises what an person experiences within their own body i.e. pain, joy, sadness, happiness, mental coherence, etc. Some people actually believe that their's is the only reality and will attempt to destroy different reality models that they feel are attacking theirs. People get worried enough that they physically kill their "adversary"; this is, in fact, very common.

People that accept their unconscious brain's model of reality (Individual Reality) as 'real' or as 'truth' can be very dangerous people. It is at this point that the brain will actually start making things up and filtering out information. The brain will present things to the conscious mind that never happened and it will ignore things that did happen; this is the definition of belief. It is the basis of bigotry and racism. This is how the unconscious brain rationalizes murder, intellectual and physical.


Color War

Michael Thomas Gerety. When you 'believe' something, it makes it awfully difficult to perceive things the way they actually are. Facts are important. I assert that the grey on the top is exactly the same shade of grey on the bottom. Some might disagree.

How do we resolve the issue and turn opinion into fact or dismiss it as unfounded speculation? This is the problem that many people have. They do not question what they see in plain view because it is there for everyone to see for themselves. They do not see any need to question the obvious. Yes, they are indeed the same shade of grey. How to prove it? Ideas?

Helga Weiss. Amazing!

Amaury De Cizancourt Well, nearly...

Michael Thomas Gerety. No, exactly. What did you do to demonstrate 'nearly'?

Amaury De Cizancourt. Copied and pasted ...

Helga Weiss I still have no clue!

Michael Thomas Gerety Sorry. What did you cut and paste?

Helga Weiss Even when I turn it, it still appears to show 2 different greys.

Amaury De Cizancourt. Same here, Helga. Michael, I copied the centre of the top square inside the centre of the bottom square. They are not the same,. At least on my screen...

Amaury De Cizancourt. I have to go back to work. Will resume the conversation tomorrow if you don't mind...

Michael Thomas Gerety. Tomorrow then.

Mike Heighway. The top grey has a value of 109, 113, 112.
The bottom grey has a value of 99, 103, 102.
They are very close. It could actually be that the image compression has slightly altered the original image (color management). Effectively they are almost identical. The difference is not as extreme as it appears.

Michael Thomas Gerety. Damn. I have done this several times and not paid attention to the source. Normally I check but this time I did not. Amaury is correct, this site cheated and changed the colors ever so slightly. The reality here is that the dark section on the top is actually lighter than the light section on the bottom by a tiny amount. It makes the disconnect between the reality and the belief even stronger.

But still, now I have to do it myself. That's OK. I'll do it tomorrow. I didn't check this time!!!!! Ack.

Michael Thomas Gerety. Mike, your right but it goes the wrong way making the illusion even more impressive. I'll do it myself tomorrow.

Pedro C. Hernandez-Baracaldo. if we think of quantum physics, i am seeing the same elements in many different ways all at the same time

Michael Thomas Gerety. So here is a good one.

Douglas McAdams. Your point about refining thoughts by checking them with reality is really good but how far do you take it? First, if this picture were a scene in our reality, the brain is accurately identifying that the top field is reflecting light while the bottom one is shaded - even though the shades of grey are the same, the perception of difference has some accuracy in that respect. Second, you’re taking the premise that the external reality is the “real” one and the internal is not.

Michael Thomas Gerety. Douglas, How far to take it? One of the brains principle functions is to develop this reality model and it does so superbly and that is an understatement. This interpretive function of the brain allows us to greatly increase our use of symbols and inter-generational memory. There is a huge advantage to this. Enormous.

Most of the time there is absolutely no problem whatsoever, I don't think. So, there is no reason to take it anywhere at all unless there is reason to think something is amiss or a specific choice on an issue of life and death needs to access reality and not the interpretation.

You make a good point, there is great benefit in what your brain has done to interpret reality. It is not even clear that the brain could present an effective working model of reality if it did not modify your way of perceiving the world. It is probably the only way that your brain can present your conscious mind a working model. This is neither bad nor good, it just is. If you need to separate out things by color, you cannot trust your eyes, for example. You should be able to see the military value to that. Hell without real mechanical measurement we can't even tell what color the picture is, not really.

Many (most?) of the general population has not a clue as to the extent their brains are making things up, even the highly educated ones. The shades of gray illusion has made the rounds in the circles of people that think about this kind of thing. The flame wars surrounding it are astounding and the educated are no more aware of this than the uneducated. People actually believe that what they see is an accurate representation of the world; it is not. It is here that the distinction between fact and opinion becomes very important. Knowing how to see that the perceived color is an opinion and the actual color is a fact is the heart and soul of a huge amount of conflict. It is here that I get more than a little frustrated in political conversations or ones about the health care system.

My observations (I pay attention to this kind of thing) is that most, yes I said most people cannot tell the difference between fact and opinion. I assert that it is impossible to understand Reality if one cannot determine what is objective (fact) from what is interpretation (opinion). That is a pretty strong statement. For it is with fact, not opinion, that we can begin to understand the world, or the ACA or Obama or anything. Opinion does not really get us that far but it sure divides us. Look how wrong our opinions are when just looking two simple tiles in a drawing. There is no point in even giving voice or ink to an unverifiable opinion, UNLESS a bottle of scotch and friends are involved. It is entertainment and nothing else. It might give rise to a reasonable approach but standalone opinion is worthless for any serious discussion. They should never be mistaken for something 'real'.

So, when to actively question these interpretations that our brains have manufactured for us in the subconscious? Actively question them when conflicting data is pointed out. Actively question them when something 'smells bad'. Actively question them when, in conversation, someone suggests that you are not seeing things clearly. Dismissing another person's perceptions is prideful and destroys the possibility of cooperation. Pride is a mortal sin, I suggest that it is that daddy of all mortal sins.

“you’re taking the premise that the external reality is the “real” one and the internal is not.”

Yes, indeed I am. This is the core of the conflict between the Romanticists (Jacobi and the tea party) and the Rationalists (Me and Newton). It is a battle that has been waging for as long as we have historical records. I have taken my side. As a side note, did you know that the oldest written record in existence (I think) has to do with bookkeeping and beer?

As far as I can tell there are three different ways to look at reality. 'Personal reality' is what goes on inside of your head and your head alone, I cannot verify it. We have a 'common reality' as well where we can each go out and independently verify what we are discussing. With common reality we can start coming to agreement on how Obama Care (ACA) functions. What exists independent of humans is standalone Reality with a capital R. Reality is something that we are attempting to discover little by little. We seemed to be built for that.

Nathalie de Truchis. Wahou vous êtes vraiment débordés !

Michael Thomas Gerety. 'Déborder' C'est le seul truc que je sais comment bien faire.

Nathalie de Truchis. Oh je suis sûre que tu en fais d autres ! Mais ce n est pas parce que c est la journée de la femme (1 fois par an c est déjà suffisamment indécent ) que vous devez vous masturber ..... Le cerveau ! :-))

Douglas McAdams. The scientist-turned-artist is a rationalist and not a romantic? This conflict is also known as accidents vs essence, poets vs quants, and science vs theology. Really these are all just false dichotomies like trying put music against sports. The truth is they are separate domains, and we need to develop both to be healthy - we all have a brain and a heart.

This is the message that we are supposed to get from reading “a modest proposal” - an example of flawless logic explaining something insane - try to explain why it is insane and you will likely fail - the answer is that we know it in our hearts. You defined the “real” reality as the external reality but, in the example you posted, all of us also had the same internal reality of perceiving the top grey as brighter - the external is not the only way to have a common reality.

If anything, the rational is the easier of the two domains. Part of what is so satisfying about math and science is that we can often find the right answers and reproduce them so we “know” they are right. If only we had that clarity on the deeper questions! Many of the great physicists have written that the the more they learn, the more they realize how much they don’t know. Feynman said that if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t really understand it. Our five known senses perceive a small fraction of a percentage of reality. Science can tell us the nerves and hormones that interact to make us feel love - does that mean love isn’t real? Does that mean we understand love? Of course not. The most real and important things in life are mysteries. The perceptions in our brains are as much if not more reality. What is the universe if there aren’t conscious beings in it to experience it? The universe is reality but our experience of it is not?

When presented with a birthday cake, the rationalist might cleverly derive what the recipe was, the romantic will feel the cake as an expression of love from the maker. They are both right, but the romantic is the more perceptive one in this example. This is why the plumber in Missouri who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs may know more about the things that matter in life than the high-IQ urban phd. I find the people who have excelled in both domains to be the most impressive. Examples include John Polkinghorne and Clayton Christiansen.

When you apply this to politics, I’m lost. The party that gave us the ACA are rationalists? Bernie Sanders has a bumper sticker that says “we may not be perfect, but they’re insane”. I think they are all nuts - limiting their power over our lives seems like the best option.

Michael Thomas Gerety. Douglas, I don't think that there is a conflict between what you say and what I say. Your experiences of love and grief and sadness are real. They form the core of who you and and mine form the core of who I am. I never even suggested that this was not the case although, I can understand why you might have thought that. Maybe before I die I will learn to express myself more effectively. I will not take all of the blame on myself because the discourse on the topic has been less than productive for thousands of years so that when I say something you have already been conditioned to accept it in a certain light. I am attempting to change the dialog and discard some of the nonsense that has been building for the last several thousand years.

The only reality that you have is that which you experience in your body, heart, mind and soul. Everything else is supposition; it is a model that your brain constructs of what it supposes the world to be like. We now know that what your brain has told you that your eyes have seen, is not what your eyes have actually seen. The same is true with all the other senses. Your brain has put things in 'perspective' to the point that if you really want to know what is going on outside of your body, you can't just accept what your brain has told you. This graphic was to demonstrate that this fact beyond a shadow of a doubt. The interpretation that your brain has made can be very useful, for some things and it can be quite damaging for other things.

Individuals interpretations of what is external to our selves can be different and they often require cooperation and behavior modification by many people. Accepting your vision of the external world may result in fabulous wealth for yours and desperate poverty for mine. The reverse could also be true. Instead of wealth, life itself may be in play. Are we going to attack Iran or not? Learning how to get a reasonably reliable and perhaps even accurate interpretation of the external world is important.

My last series of posts was designed to demonstrate decisively that basing our actions on what our brains have presented as evidence to our conscious minds can be flawed. Even something so simple as the color of these two tiles has caused flame wars in the blogs. It has resulted in aggressive behavior and accusations that the one is accusing the other of being stupid or a liar, over the color of a picture! This battle over feelings is destructive; it makes cooperation difficult to impossible. People go hungry over these types of disputes. People die over whose feelings are right and whose are wrong.

When the world gets confusing and one must choose, feelings are the decoder, for everyone, Romantics and Rationalists alike. What else can one do? Nothing. Every person on the planet has a level at which they must admit that they have no idea what is going on. All the scientists that I know personally are aware of this. The fact that we do not really understand time or matter, as you pointed out with Feynman, has not stopped us from sending a small metal object to orbit around a planet far far away. It has not stopped us from sending men to the moon, and back or plant fields or kissing a pretty girl. We do know some things about how people and the universe work on a practical basis.

Slowly we have come develop models about what is real, independent of human feeling. We are not sure exactly what or how this reality works exactly but we are making progress. This agreement about what seems to be independent of us is our common reality. These agreements on what constitute the reality that we all agree on (for the most part) constitutes the basis for our society. It is difficult to form a cohesive society when 30\% of the population thinks that another 30\% of the population are not human and can be used for slaves and killed at will. Here we have peoples feelings conflict in a brutal way. These are people that are willing to die over the 'fact' that one color is darker than the other or one is a 'socialist' or 'capitalist'. Worse there are people that are willing to kill for the same reason.

Yes, personal reality (our feelings) are important but they do not help resolve conflict when it is precisely those feelings that clash. The only resolution there is an agreement on common reality, that which is external to us. God was supposed to be that 'reality', I think. It has not worked out well. There are too many Gods with conflicting rules and regulations and there are too many men that will use the concepts to enrich themselves at the expense of others. Yes, love could be the answer, theoretically if people would agree, but they don't. They cheat and I can't know if the love you express toward me is real. Too many are to good at acting and conning others out of their life savings. I will stick with what I can verify. At the same time I will try not to harm you, but you can't know that, so maybe you should stick to the facts and logic too, at least at first. Use the feelings to try and help sort it out.

I understand why the politics could get confusing; We look at that one differently. Neither party concocted the ACA; neither party knows how to do that. The ACA was the best option that the private enterprise insurance companies could come up with. This is not an Obama or Democratic solution. Neither Obama nor the 'liberals' wanted this solution. The 'liberals' and Obama wanted single payer universal care but we could not pull it off.

The ACA is 80\% industry driven (I made that up, it is my 'feeling' ;-)). The same is true of the website debacle. Government did not design or build it. Private enterprise did and private industry fixed it. I think that we can gather enough actual data to demonstrate that definitively. The ACA is the best that our industry could come up with. Hell, the Representatives did not even read the damn thing so they sure as hell are not responsible for it, neither did the Supreme Court even after being asked to.

Take a look at the

The representatives (government, both parties) and private industry ALL recognized that we have a huge health distribution problem in the States that was/is pissing off significant numbers of people (The drawing). Industry designed the solution, not government. The fact that you said 'which party' tells my that your brain is interpreting the 'drawing' with a 3-D model, instead of what it really is (facts): Government against industry and one party against the other. Of course it will be confusing when looking at the reality. The actual measurements don't corroborate the 'interpretation'. The big fight is over who gets either the credit or blame. They want to get reelected all of them. The measurements say that neither party had much to do with it. The 'feelings' say that is was the 'fault' of one or the other. The feelings are wrong about this just as they were wrong about the colors of the tiles. This was the best that our culture could come up with. We can't agree on what is real and what is imagined. Fact is different than opinion.

This was the whole point of the exerciser.


The Winning Argument

    Recently I had an exchange with a person that I like and respect quite a lot. He said something that disturbed me. He said “I do indeed have a fascination with the argument and the tools that are employed in winning them.” It seems to me that many people (probably since the beginning of time) feel that they must win their arguments; they must convince the audience that they are correct and the 'opponent' is wrong, if not outright evil. This disturbs me. It worries me.

    To me, a 'winning' argument is one which is internally consistent, fits all the facts (our common reality), does not violate the logical reasoning process, has reasonable assumptions that, at least for the sake of the discussion, we can agree upon. A 'winning' conclusion from said argument is one which gives useful predictions and leads to the discovery of new and useful information. Convincing people that the conclusions of the argument are right is silly. It is silly because every ideas conceived by man to explain what is going on with reality has been 'modified' with time. None are 'right'. Newton's laws have been modified. People no longer consider that earth, fire, air and water are the basic building blocks of matter. Arguing that we are 'right' is intellectually immature.

    There is often than one winning argument with more than one set of conclusions. The chore then becomes eliminating the ones that cannot support a more stringent set of criteria, facts, if you will or one that ceases to be useful given changing circumstances and increases in knowledge. The ones that remain are the ones which we are not able to eliminate. We keep trying. When one is forced to choose between multiple winning arguments and conclusions, emotions come in to play. All the points of view are valid so choose the one that you personally prefer, there is no other way to do it. Flipping a coin is a reasonable alternative and may even be the best alternative.

    Riches and fame often follow from one argument train and conclusion set. Most human beings will choose that route if it is available. Fortunately, many of these 'motivated' people will discard facts and distort logic and assumptions specifically to obtain said fame and fortune. "Hey, I am just following the logic. It is not my fault if it results in great wealth". I say fortunately because this enables me to identify these people easily, no effort. They are the con men and this is one of the most productive ways to identify them, they screw with the facts and logic. Romney is a good example, out of a fertile field of politicians. This is the reason that following the money is so important. The people that get rich from an idea are highly motivated to 'win' the argument, so motivated that they will even lie to themselves, in private.

    People's brains know how to convince the conscious mind of things. Indeed the unconscious mind will only present to the conscious mind those thing that are consistent with their belief. Many of these people do not lying unless forced to; they actually believe the nonsense that their brain has twisted out of a train of thought. The global warming argument is a terrific example of this, so is the 'job creator' argument, and the 'trickle down' arguments. They are each fundamentally flawed at the very base but the proponents will hear none of it; they are trying to 'win' the argument and 'prove' that they are right. They derive power from this and that is often the objective; understanding the system is no that important. Why not? Because their brains have convinced them that they already understand the system. No one understands the system. Hell, we don't even understand what rocks are, not really. People that are trying to understand don't really care which way the cards fall, the con men care very much which way the cards fall. They will cheat and many of them are easy to catch once you know 'how to think' about it. They want to 'win'.

    Pundits provide a great example of this; the popular ones are very convincing, especially if they are telling a story that fits what the audience wants to hear. 'Obama is bad', 'Obama is good' are great examples of this. But, can the pundit put together self-consistent arguments that have possible assumptions, fit the facts, do not violate the laws of logic and have conclusions that are useful? Sadly, virtually all of the big name conservative pundits simply do not have the intellectual capacity to formulate a decent argument. That or they are con men trying to trick the public. Seriously, I mean pretty much all of them, even the big named guys, they are either intellectually immature (by the above standard) or they are con men. Generally they are Jacobian in their understanding of facts and logic. Here are a couple of examples.

    Peggy Noonan is a name that comes up often when I ask conservative friends to give recommendations and I have gone out of my way to look for them and study what they have to say. I look at the presentation of their ideas before even thinking about the ideas themselves. It is like grading papers in school. Noonan is just an example of one of the popular ones; she writes for her audience and almost never says anything worth thinking about. I used to read her a lot but not any more. She is not capable of putting together a real argument. Hell, she doesn't even know what a real argument is. She is a robot. She is one of many on the conservative side. I really like the way that she writes, far better than I, however, she is not very good at making arguments. She is a Romantic, a Jacobian. Facts and logic take a back seat to feelings. No, that is not quite correct. Facts and logic are ways to trick people and as such, they are irrelevant. Our feelings are the true contact with reality. The reality? Obama is evil, that's it, all of it; she feels it strongly, so strongly that it must be correct. She will find lots of supporting evidence to show that this is the case. She wants to win.

    David Brooks on the other hand is a completely different story. When David Brooks has something to say, I listen, I study, I think. The guy is good, very good. Interestingly enough, when I ask for conservative intellectual elite recommendations, he is almost never on the list. He is not out to 'win' he is out to to understand. He Is about making the world a better place. There is a difference. The arguments are good or they are not. His are superb.

    Me, I don't care about winning the argument or convincing people that I am right. I do care that the argument be solid and the conclusions useful. That does not mean that the conclusions resulting from the logic train are 'right' or those from my discussion partners are 'wrong'; it means that we have different ways of thinking about the problem. Time will tell. This concept of 'winning' an argument and 'being right' disturbs me greatly.