Questionable Motives

January 7, 2010

What does it mean, “We are a multitude?”

Symphony of Science


  1. Have you ever watched a flock of starlings or a school of fish? Each grouping behaves as if it were one thing, one conglomeration of individual critters operated by one mind. Each flock or school has distinct boundaries and operates in predictable ways. Flocks and schools can pass through other flocks and schools and remain as a cohesive entity. Is it a mistake to think of these flocks and schools as just one thing?

    Our bodies are made of millions of cells. We behave as if we were one thing, one conglomeration of individual cells operated by one mind. Each person has distinct boundaries and operates in predictable ways. Is it a mistake to think of ourselves as just one thing?

    Comment by tildeb — January 7, 2010 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  2. ‘Nature’ works in mysterious ways… ;o)

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 9, 2010 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

    • I wonder if you mean Nature as it actually is – as in all of the physical universe (including humans) – or (as is often the case these days) a Nature as it would/should/could be if humans didn’t meddle about so much?

      I guess in both cases it is mysterious from our limited vantage point.

      Comment by tildeb — January 9, 2010 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t subscribe to the view that we are separate from nature (i.e. the notion of man made). We are a part of nature – therefore by definition everything we do is natural – even our tampering with the environment.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 11, 2010 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

    • I agree. I am always disappointed when I come across teachers raised in the notion that man is bad/ nature is good pass on this travesty of understanding within their classrooms. I don’t often come across people who appreciate that man is as much a part of nature as is bacteria and butterflies. I blame the platonic notion of dualism as the culprit, that man as body is different than man as mind, as if that distinction is even coherent. But it is pervasive, and I think that’s a problem.

      Comment by tildeb — January 11, 2010 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

  4. I find great comfort in understanding that I am an animal like any other animal – it allows me to understand my limitations and weaknesses.

    When naked and confronted with a 400 lb lion, that lion will almost certainly have me for dinner. However, give me sometime and some basic materials, and I can devise not only a plan of how to tackle the lion, but also the tools to advance and protect my weak body against it and kill it – thereby incressing my chances of survival. In this situation our evolved brains give us the evolutionary advantage. Our brain is just a tool for survival, a very good one.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 12, 2010 @ 9:51 am | Reply

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