Significance


Thought-provoking...

If you only know the things you need to know you are only one step away from being ignorant, you never know when you will step over the line!

Open your mind to learn more each day and open your heart to a new and different perspective, even if only to consider it and not adopt it.


Did you know that Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief?

The fact that you allowed yourself to receive a different perspective will encourage you to learn a new topic.


It’s truly humbling, how little we know, will ever get to know and even disturbing how reluctant we are to learn.

Most of us walk around with a notion that we are learned!

My humble view is that we are but mere specks of dust in the universe, and have very little influence on the outcomes of reality. Why then do we pretend to yield such influence by way of arrogance, yet we are actually relatively ignorant. The concept was termed Mysterian Thinking.


Mysterian thinking gives a prominent role to these biological arguments and analogies.

In his 1983 landmark book The Modularity of Mind, the late philosopher Jerry Fodor claimed that there are bound to be “thoughts that we are unequipped to think”.

Similarly, the philosopher Colin McGinn has argued in a series of books and articles that all minds suffer from “cognitive closure” with respect to certain problems. Just as dogs or cats will never understand prime numbers, human brains must be closed off from some of the world’s wonders. McGinn suspects that the reason why philosophical conundrums such as the mind/body problem – how physical processes in our brain give rise to consciousness – prove to be intractable is that their true solutions are simply inaccessible to the human mind.

If McGinn is right that our brains are simply not equipped to solve certain problems, there is no point in even trying, as they will continue to baffle and bewilder us. McGinn himself is convinced that there is, in fact, a perfectly natural solution to the mind–body problem, but that human brains will never find it.


To explore further click here

What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of the acclaimed science salon Edge.org

This Idea Is Brilliant takes readers on a tour of the

bold, exciting, and underappreciated

scientific concepts that will enrich every mind.

If you are intrigued about the world of science and philosophy and want to learn more about ideas and concepts inspired from the origins of the universe to the order of everyday life, read this book






Pondering...

"The mark of an educated mind is the ability to entertain an idea without accepting it."

Aristotle


I am pondering this quote in the context of Mysterian Thinking. We are all “wired” differently, we therefore have to have the humility to embrace another point of view.


Wisdom/ What I'm Reading...


Utopia

Based on Greek ou ‘not’ + topos ‘place’; the word was first used in the book Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More.

Sir Thomas More (1477 - 1535) was the first person to write of a 'utopia', a word used to describe a perfect imaginary world. More's book

imagines a complex, self-contained community set on an island,

in which people share a common culture and way of life.


There have been several books written on the subject. Thomas More’s Utopia is the most renowned and the title has become

synonymous with the term for

“earthly paradise”


This epic medieval novel (first written in Latin) is set in 2 parts - the 2nd part was written first.

The book is based on a voyagers, Hythloday, journey to a mystical ideal island in the western hemisphere, apparently discovered by the voyager enroute to The America’s.

Hythloday describes Utopia as an island kingdom that is crescent shaped and about five hundred miles in perimeter, separated from other lands by a channel constructed by its founder, the fabulous King Utopus


For thousands of years human beings have dreamt of perfect worlds, worlds free of conflict, hunger and unhappiness.

But can these worlds ever exist in reality?


In 1516 Sir Thomas More wrote the first 'Utopia'. He coined the word 'utopia' from the Greek ou-topos meaning 'no place' or 'nowhere'. But this was a pun - the almost identical Greek word eu-topos means a good place. So at the very heart of the word is a vital question:

Can a perfect world ever be realised?


Sir Thomas More was an English lawyer, writer, and statesman. He was at one time one of Henry VIII's most trusted civil servants, becoming Chancellor of England in 1529.


In Utopia, More contends that thorough scrutiny of institutions is valuable and that conceiving of ideal or imaginary alternatives to reality may yield important insights into how institutions can improve. While some scholars have been tempted to read More’s Utopia as a set of recommendations for the conduct of real-world affairs, an outright critique of contemporary rulers and laws would not have been possible for More, who was a respected statesmen and close advisor to Henry VIII.


In short summary, Hythloday sums up his views on the Utopian system, declaring it to be the best and only true commonwealth. It insures justice for all of its citizens, and because there is no private property, everybody owns a share in everything. The result is a nation of happy people, and the chief causes of dissension in other nations are avoided: greed, theft, social classes, party factions, and even murder. All other governments are viewed as conspiracies of the rich to keep the common people in subjection.


Conclusion. At the conclusion of Hythloday's discourse, More offers some remarks of his own indicating that he was not wholly converted to the Utopian system but that he regarded some of its features as meritorious and wished they might be adopted in Europe.


This may be an interesting time to reflect and debate on the meritocracy of a Utopian existence. Based on More’s philosophy and teaching, we may have reached a place in time whereby the ideals of free market economy free from greed, optimal useful learning environments form the basis of the education system and society and the environment are at the core of our existence.


I thoroughly enjoyed this almost clinical look into utopian society and the thought provoking system that is presented. While it is a work of fiction, it promotes critical thinking about how an optimal system of society should operate.


Read a brief summary essay here

Get the book here

(please note there are several editions of this classic novel)


Why are you cheating on your future with your past?

One thing that holds people back the most in their lives is their inability to let go of the past. It's almost like everyone has at least one thing that they continue to hold on to. In this episode, I am going to teach you how to let go of your past, so that you can finally move on to create the future you want.

Please watch this short video


Widget of the Week...

Luis Von Ahn & Duolingo

Are you aware that all those thousands of reCAPTCHAs you’ve done helped digitize books for Google!

The actual scope behind the ReCAPTCHA Project: It wasn’t just a clever way to make sure that you are a human, but it was this grand crowdsourcing scheme that was allowing us to digitize old books. That is brilliant.

The fact that Luis von Ahn and his team had found a way to actually make effective use of this six seconds of wasted time, this is a masterwork in crowdsourcing. Incredible how you could put people’s greatest annoyances to work for the world’s greatest challenges.

Google bought ReCaptcha in 2009.

I am sure we have all been asked to type a couple of random letters to gain access to a website.

Luis wanted problems that were just the right complexity. They had to be too complex for computers, but easy enough for humans to do in a few seconds.

Ahn’s next venture is Duolingo.

A free language learning app used by over 300m users worldwide.

Making it the world's most popular language learning platform.

In the case of Duolingo, Luis had found a way to monetize the activity of his users in a way that furthered their mission, rather than exploiting them.

Luis modestly says that much of his success is down to the fact that he was lucky enough to be taught English as a child. A native Spanish speaker, he says that his doctor mother insisted that he learned English from a very young age.

The inspiration behind Duolingo was to create a language learning app that was free for people to use - be it in Guatemala, or around the world - so that they could gain the economic advantages that often come with being at least partially bilingual.


"I wanted to do something that would give equal access to education to everyone," says Luis. "And then I focused on languages because growing up in Guatemala I saw that everyone wants to learn English.


"And knowledge of English in a non-English speaking country can usually mean that your income potential is doubled. I mean, you literally make twice as much money if you know English. So that's kind of where the idea came from to have a free way to learn languages, and that was Duolingo."

It’s not enough to just have a good idea. You have to make money.


“Our main goal going forward is to become the de facto way to learn a language.” His idea was that growing the user base would indirectly strengthen the translation—the moneymaking—side of the business.


Unfortunately this was not enough to scale the business and make money in the way Ahn envisaged.

He was forced to pivot his business model and charge for certain products (like english certification) which proved to be extremely successful.


Find the app here

Duolingo is a Great Tool for Language Learners

Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it's an excellent addition to a language learner's toolbox. It's easy to use, it's fun and it works.

Learning a language is a novel concept, being fluent at a language is a totally different attribute. For most people the novelty and usefulness of a new language is derived by making up a few sentences that can make it easier to communicate when traveling.


The most unique attribute in Duolingo is it’s gamification features that keep the users engaged and committed to aspirational achievement.


See you next week...