Nature myth

Nature: the great unknown

‘known’ to everyone.

The first-known

– too big to be a thing

– too general to be a cause.

The omnipresent godforce of science

– the putative power to be

– the archetypal source of everything.

A ghostly presence inhabiting every happening

– the orderer of orders

and progenitor of necessity.

The grand non-explanation

defined of itself

in being as it is

‘for no purpose’.

Mike Laidler


Candles in the dark

Certainty is a candle that shines in a darkness of its making.

Normality is an artificial measure of reality calibrated by the fact of what we find ourselves doing.

Ignorance is the fact of what we don’t know created of what we choose to know.

Answers are the prescription narcotics of a thorough education.

AI was invented long before the computer – through our ambitions to define intelligence as IQ.

We are apt to forget that a simulation, which is just like the real thing, is still a simulation.

Just as logic offers no antidote to madness, so science contains no cure for bad philosophy.

If the quantum world is real, it does and doesn’t follow that the real world is quantum.

‘All pathways lead to physics’ so long as we keep on walking backwards – down the chain of being.

We look upon a universe that is more than us only to see everywhere the evidence for what is obviously missing.

There is a world of difference between an objective fact and our knowledge of it.

We see as we believe, believing we see as we see.

Equality is the image of a sameness made from the perception of a difference.

Politics is a balance of powers which pivots upon how much unfairness can be tolerated in the name of necessity.

Contradiction is a fact of life we are happy to accept so long as we can avoid being caught in the act.

Mike Laidler

The advent of Artificial Intelligence

What are we waiting for? Is it not here already? Or is it not yet powerful enough to match our expectations? But what do we expect – programmes for perception, language, memory, cognition, action and intention – plus a socio-emotive awareness? So what has been achieved to date? Has the technology managed to mimic the full range of abilities of an insect, fish or bird – or will it all follow naturally from the development of a hyper-intellect? Then, if AI can simulate these motivated abilities, and duplicate the purposive dynamic that gives intelligence its thoughtful meaningful aura, will this automatically settle another hypothesis yet to be proved – that life’s ‘vital spark’ may also be replicated as a virtual cog in an algorithmically-driven machine?

Mike Laidler

Subject to oneself

Is consciousness an illusion generated by the brain?  But how would we know it without the overview that enables our recognition?  So consciousness ‘looks on’.  And there can be no scientific discoveries without a sentient faculty of realisation.  Hence the dawning of awareness heralds a new kind of reality in which facts become identified as perceptual objects.  Likewise, self-awareness marks a new kind of realisation – evocative of ‘a self’ as the object of its own perception.

However, reality is not necessarily limited to that which is framed by perception.  And there is something odd about the nature of self-discovery because it involves the perception of facts that had hitherto escaped recognition – even when the recognisable element of such facts obtains imaginatively of the subjective realisations of insight.  Then what of science’s embrace of an ‘objective reality’ of things natural – is it inclusive enough to show that scientific knowledge represents nature’s insight into itself?

Mike Laidler