Tag Archives: Dualism

Material Disbelief

collisionTwo things collided. I saw Leon Wieseltier on The Colbert Report and was enthralled by his view of modern social life. That moved a friend of mine to look for other YouTube videos of Wieseltier. She posted a good one that then moved me to look at more. Bottom line, I ended up watching a fair bit of the man last week. Still enthralled.

Meanwhile, after my last post about religion and atheism, a reader commented that she found the article so balanced she couldn’t tell on which side I stood. As an agnostic, that’s the goal. Yet, in one of the videos, Wieseltier expresses an idea that really grabbed me.

It has to do with on which side of what line I stand.

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Sideband #9: Analog vs Digital

In earlier Sidebands I have tried, as our English teachers used to say, to “compare and contrast” related pairs of concepts that are sometimes mistakenly conflated. The first pair, Truth and Facts, are similar enough to make distinctions between them debatable.  Even the language can twist you up once you start talking about true facts and false facts.  The next two pairs, Good vs Like and Ignorant vs Stupid, are well-defined and distinct.

In all three cases, there are similarities and differences (hence “compare and contrast”), but a key difference between those and the current topic, Analog vs Digital, is that none of them are really opposite pairs. There is no Yin and Yang aspect to them; one does not exclude the other. I’ve already mentioned true facts. Something can be both good and liked (or neither). Someone can be both ignorant and stupid (being neither is both good and likeable).

Not so with analog and digital! They are true Yin-Yang pairs; one excludes the other.

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Yin and Yang

In my second post I raised the topic of mind versus brain. There is (or, perhaps more accurately, may be) a duality. I mentioned that there are two basic schools of thought: one holding that mind emerges from brain and the other holding that they are distinct, that mind is – somehow – not physical. For now the duality of the brain/mind question is open.

But there is definitely a duality in the two schools: the two opposing points of view. In this post I want to focus on the idea of duality and the idea of ideas in opposition. This post is about Yin and Yang.

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