Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Platonic Bomb

Sometimes I picture science developing some weapon of mass destruction based on the mechanics of Plato's Separate Realm of Ideas. Or is it "Ideals"? Or is it Greek, and therefore, neither? In any case, that whole Realm thing was one of those concepts I kind of instinctively rejected, but later kind of got into how it might work, like, on the level of Star Trek transporters, or Asimov's Laws of Robotics? - where you acknowledge that it's bullshit, but you still like to get in there and poke around, maybe accept the premise just to kick around the consequences a bit. See what fun stuff develops!

For everyday use, though, I think the primary place people still cling to to Platonic-style Idealism is when they start from a completely anti-logical, unnatural, human-invented concept (Perfection, anyone?) and attempt to "reason from it." As if one can reason from tinkerbell principles and expect to arrive at aeronautics. Reason from perfection? Shit, reason TO it first, see where that gets you. If you can pull that one off, then you can try reasoning from it once you get there, and see what it's actually made of.

Hm. "Anti-logical" is too strong. Perfection is not anti-logical (working contrary to), or even illogical (demonstrably in conflict with). How about "alogical"? Perfection doesn't occur in nature, and it's completely outside of anything logic can get you to.

The concept of "perfection" is a nonsense elevation of human aesthetics to some "as if" absolute principle of the universe, really.


snortingmarmots said...

When I read the title, I thought this was going to be about the next generation clean bomb: it doesn't explode, doesn't kill by radiation; it just makes everyone in its radius *good friends*. Militarily it would be bad in the short run, because you've just solved most of the interpersonal problems between your enemies, so they'll work together against you much more efficiently. But in the long run, with all those "She's like a sister to me!"'s, all you have to do is wait a generation.

dogimo said...

Snortingmarmots, I believe you and Sean Scully here are "soul brothers" (albeit, is comment got misrouted to another post somehow) -

Sean Scully has left a new comment on your post

Platonic bomb? I thought you meant that it was the kind of bomb you drop on the enemy city, it spends a lot of time hanging around there, perhaps exchanging flirty and dangerous banter with the enemy, but in the end it never goes off.

Jen said...

Yes, I too thought from the title that the post was going to be a grip about when someone drops the "let's be friends" bomb. It is like a bomb, in that it's no surprise, nothing new, but still can be pretty devastating.

About Plato ... I've heard the term translated "forms."

I'm not going to get into it with you over whether the concept of perfection should be defended or not, because I don't have 6 months of free time to hammer it out.

Jen said...

Actually, there IS a connection between Plato and all this relationship stuff.

Wasn't it Plato who taught that in the beginning of the world, humans were hermaphrodite, circle-shaped creatures, and that something happened to split them all apart, and when you find your "soul mate," you feel that way because you've literally found your other half?

That was where he lost me, actually.

dogimo said...

The connection with Plato works perfectly for anyone who goes in for the whole eros vs. agape thing, where love tainted with the material (the sexual) is impure, and ideal love is love that is NOT tainted by these things. Platonic love is quite simply, agape.

To my mind, anybody who believes love between two romantic partners is MORE PERFECT with eros absent - well, it's none of my business. They're going to find another partner than me, that's all. In love, the spurning of human touch I would call - unnatural.

The below part is irrelevant! I agree there's nothing here for us to need to thresh out.

dogimo said...

Side note - the concept of perfection is perfectly defensible without subscribing to Plato's far-off ideas on how and why a nut grows into a tree as it does, or a pup grows into a dog, or how a cloud forms.