Sunday, October 19, 2008

do we really understand?

Humans are classified as the species Homo Sapiens of the genus Homo, in the family Hominidae, in the superfamily Hominoidea, of the infraorder Catarrhini, of the suborder Anthroidea, of the order primates,of the subclass Eutheria, in the class Mammalia, in the superclass Tetrapoda, which is a member of the subphylum Vertebrata, of the phylum Chordata, in the kingdom Animalia, of the domain Eukarya, in the empire of organism (phew!!)
This is just something I was reading the other day (ya ya, its BIO!!) It just set me thinking

Why do we look for order in everything?
What is this desire to understand our surroundings, our behaviour,our friends, and even ourselves?
Why should everything be understood?
Why cant we just let things happen?
Why does chaos have to upset us so much?
Is this quest for learning and finding the unknown ever gonna end?
Is it possible that by classifying and arranging the'data' we actually make it more complicated?
Can we be sure that by 'processing' the 'observations' we arent actually disturbing the natural order of things?
Am i really nuts to think that there exists a possibility that by disturbing this order we are actually making it impossible for us to understand things?
Can we be certain that unpredictibility in not THE underlying principle, the essence of life, the universe?
Is it really preposterous to consider, even if for a second, that things are supposed to be the way they are, there is no simplified model, but a matrix that binds the cosmos together and that it is beyond our comprehension?
How do we know for sure that the way we are spending our resources on research is a wise idea? (...and this leads me to another set of questions - about right and wrong. but thats besides the point)

The point is - how do we know anything for sure? isnt there an inherent bias in all of us? isnt it just our beliefs and feelings (or rational deductions of a prejudiced mind) that have developed the scientific method? cant this 'method' fall short some day, or better(or worse) be destroyed because of some anomalous 'observations' and conclusions? in case we do discover that we have been on a wrong path, what do we do then? do we give up, or do we start at the beginning, again?

Here I am, despite all my wonderings, indulging in the very act i have been questioning - trying to understand...

5 comments:

Varun said...

interesting post- one with no valid conclusions. maybe we do wreck more damage by finding order in chaos, but overall i think our effect is positive, and to be honest, there's little else to do in life :) the quest to learn more and do better is what distinguishes the Homo Sapiens species. knowledge is power supreme, and power is temptation supreme :)

Punky said...

Humans fundamentally have the need to classify. According to some research I came across, the brain has a certain set of ideas/beliefs that it acquires from experiences. Now, when it comes across something new, it tries to link it up with its past experiences, which essentially means it classifies :)

"Is it really preposterous to consider, even if for a second, that things are supposed to be the way they are, there is no simplified model, but a matrix that binds the cosmos together and that it is beyond our comprehension?"

- As of now, it is not preposterous. We actually are in a situation (if not a matrix) which we cannot comprehend!

"How do we know for sure that the way we are spending our resources on research is a wise idea?"

- We do not know for sure! U got a better idea dear? Lets put our money in ur basket! I think spending on research, as diverse, fruitless, negligible it may seem, will lead to some breakthrough somewhere. Clearly, going by the past, ALL research is not fruitless, ow, u could not have made this post, could u? Think about it...

"isnt it just our beliefs and feelings (or rational deductions of a prejudiced mind) that have developed the scientific method? cant this 'method' fall short some day, or better(or worse) be destroyed because of some anomalous 'observations' and conclusions? in case we do discover that we have been on a wrong path, what do we do then? do we give up, or do we start at the beginning, again?"
-If the scientific method does fall short, it will accept its shortcomings gracefully, and start all over again. Thats the beauty of it. Other methods would not! This is what makes it superior, i guess...

And yes, you last line sums up everything beautifully!

L!kh!t said...

Order and chaos must go hand in hand. For the answer lies in the physics.
Where you have the attractive forces to keep things attached to each other, repulsive forces co-exist to prevent the attraction beyond certain limit with combined effect of balance. If had not the repulsive forces existed the world would have fallen into a single point. As a result, the attractive forces (aka order) must have posed a threat to survival.
Hence, it is simply the will to survive that engages humans in finding order out of chaos.

mandark said...

punky : "Humans fundamentally have the need to classify"

- seven carefully bulleted points





OMG LOL! Bring on the chaos, please..

NAL'I'n'I' said...

@varun: spoken like a true Bitsian :P

@punky: the research u r talking about is regarding associative cognition...very true thr :)

and the alternate idea for spending the research funds would be too spend more on the well being of the down trodden

@mandar: punky and chaos dont go together... everything needs to be in the right place for him :D