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.