“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Pre = Trans Fallacy


Let's take a look at the Pre = Trans Fallacy (as exposited by the philosopher Ken Wilber):

The Pre = Trans Fallacy is the belief that to return to a state BEFORE the mind (pre-rational) is the same as advancing to a state BEYOND the mind (trans-rational).

This false idea is universal among the "New Age" philosophies and pseudo-sciences. It operates like this this: 

1) The rational mind is limited, therefore, it cannot grasp truth.
2) Therefore, the rational mind is to be distrusted and discarded.
3) Therefore, the PRE-rational (pre-verbal, "magical thinking") state of a little child is superior to the rational.
4) So let’s all return to our childhood pre-rationality (a mind so open, one’s brains spill out in one’s lap)!

The only problem is, you CAN'T go back to the pre-rational. You simply end up with the irrational, the immature stuff of the superstition of the ages.

The genuine way to deal with the limits of the rational mind is to move forward, evolve BEYOND it and thereby experience the trans-rational—without losing the ability to discriminate, to use knowledge and reason, to think critically.

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