No, they can't imagine it either

    Edward Feser has a good series of posts about eliminativism (toward the end of this list).  This is the idea in the philosophy of mind that no one thinks; people only think they think.  In other words, the mind and all of conscious experience, from thinking to the senses is an illusion.  Three of the most prominent defenders of this idea are Daniel Dennet and Paul and Patricia Churchland.  Feser has a great metaphor to describe why this does not work: 

"Here I want to focus on the presupposition of Bakker’s question, and on another kind of fallacious reasoning I’ve called attention to many times over the years.  The presupposition is that science really has falsified our commonsense understanding of the rest of the world, and the fallacy behind this presupposition is what I call the “lump under the rug” fallacy.

Suppose the wood floors of your house are filthy and that the dirt is pretty evenly spread throughout the house.  Suppose also that there is a rug in one of the hallways.  You thoroughly sweep out one of the bedrooms and form a nice little pile of dirt at the doorway.  It occurs to you that you could effectively “get rid” of this pile by sweeping it under the nearby rug in the hallway, so you do so.  The lump under the rug thereby formed is barely noticeable, so you are pleased.  You proceed to sweep the rest of the bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen, etc., and in each case you sweep the resulting piles under the same rug.  When you’re done, however, the lump under the rug has become quite large and something of an eyesore.  Someone asks you how you are going to get rid of it.  “Easy!” you answer.  “The same way I got rid of the dirt everywhere else!  After all, the ‘sweep it under the rug’ method has worked everywhere else in the house.  How could this little rug in the hallway be the one place where it wouldn’t work?  What are the odds of that?”

This answer, of course, is completely absurd.  Naturally, the same method will not work in this case, and it is precisely because it worked everywhere else that it cannot work in this case.  You can get rid of dirt outside the rug by sweeping it under the rug.  You cannot get of the dirt under the rug by sweeping it under the rug.  You will only make a fool of yourself if you try, especially if you confidently insist that the method must work here because it has worked so well elsewhere. 
Now, the 'Science has explained everything else, so how could the human mind be the one exception?' move is, of course, standard scientistic and materialist shtick.  But it is no less fallacious than our imagined 'lump under the rug' argument.  

In short, the scientific method 'explains everything else' in the world in something like the way the 'sweep it under the rug' method gets rid of dirt -- by taking the irreducibly qualitative and teleological features of the world, which don’t fit the quantitative methods of science, and sweeping them under the rug of the mind.  And just as the literal 'sweep it under the rug' method generates under the rug a bigger and bigger pile of dirt which cannot in principle be gotten rid of using the 'sweep it under the rug' method, so too does modern science’s method of treating irreducibly qualitative, semantic, and teleological features as mere projections of the mind generate in the mind a bigger and bigger 'pile' of features which cannot be explained using the same method."   

    In other words, science presupposes the existence of the mind because scientific reasoning and observation takes place within the mind of the scientist.  Thus, for science to eliminate the mind would eliminate science itself.  
    But one thing that always struck me about the eliminativists was how confident they are.  They boldly assert that consciousness is an illusion.  I cannot imagine consciousness being an illusion because if there is no one there, how can you fool them?  But, for a long time I assumed that the eliminativists had some way of imagining consciousness being an illusion.  Then, about a year and a half ago, I was reading about eliminativism and it hit me, "No, they can't imagine it."  They can't imagine consciousness being an illusion because no one can.  
     The eliminativists believe that their position is a counterintuitive truth based on scientific argument, like curved spacetime or quantum mechanics.  But it is not like that at all because curved spacetime is at least imaginable, if difficult to understand.  Eliminativism is not counter-intuitive, it's anti-intuitive.  Imagine a group of people who are convinced that the color red is actually blue.  That seems crazy enough, but eliminativism is even worse than that: even if these people could not stop seeing red, they could at least imagine everything red being blue.  You cannot even imagine eliminativism being true.  

Tiers of Ability, Part 2

Continued from Part 1


    In his book Hereditary Genius, Francis Galton provides an excellent illustration of this phenomenon with data from the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos.  There were two degrees in the old Cambridge system, an honours degree and a pass degree.  In the original Tripos, which ran from 1748 - 1909, the honours students were ranked based on how many points they scored on the exam.  The highest scorers were called Wranglers and those below them Optimes, while the very highest scorer was called the Senior Wrangler.  The candidate who scored lowest, but still managed to perform at the honours level was called the Wooden Spoon.  Here is what Galton has to say about the matter:       

 "There can hardly be a surer evidence of the enormous difference between the intellectual capacity of men, than the prodigious differences in the numbers of marks obtained by those who gain mathematical honours at Cambridge. I therefore crave permission to speak at some length upon this subject, although the details are dry and of little general interest. There are between 400 and 450 students who take their degrees in each year, and of these, about 100 succeed in gaining honours in mathematics, and are ranged by the examiners in strict order of merit.

About the first forty of those who take mathematical honours are distinguished by the title of wranglers, and it is a decidedly creditable thing to be even a low wrangler; it will secure a fellowship in a small college. It must be carefully borne in mind that the distinction of being the first in this list of honours, or what is called the senior wrangler of the year, means a vast deal more than being the foremost mathematician of 400 or 450 men taken at hap-hazard. No doubt the large bulk of Cambridge men are taken almost at hap-hazard. A boy is intended by his parents for some profession; if that profession be either the Church or the Bar, it used to be almost requisite, and it is still important, that he should be sent to Cambridge or Oxford. These youths may justly be considered as having been taken at hap-hazard. But there are many others who have fairly won their way to the Universities, and are therefore selected from an enormous area. Fully one-half of the wranglers have been boys of note at their respective schools, and, conversely, almost all boys of note at schools find their way to the Universities. Hence it is that among their comparatively small number of students, the Universities include the highest youthful scholastic ability of all England. The senior wrangler, in each successive year, is the chief of these as regards mathematics, and this, the highest distinction, is, or was, continually won by youths who had no mathematical training of importance before they went to Cambridge.


The examination lasts five and a half hours a day for eight days. All the answers are carefully marked by the examiners, who add up the marks at the end and range the candidates in strict order of merit. The fairness and thoroughness of Cambridge examinations have never had a breath of suspicion cast upon them.

Unfortunately for my purposes, the marks are not published. They are not even assigned on a uniform system, since each examiner is permitted to employ his own scale of marks; but whatever scale he uses, the results as to proportional merit are the same. I am indebted to a Cambridge examiner for a copy of his marks in respect to two examinations, in which the scales of marks were so alike as to make it easy, by a slight proportional adjustment, to compare the two together. This was, to a certain degree, a confidential communication, so that it would be improper for me to publish anything that would identify the years to which these marks refer. I simply give them as groups of figures, sufficient to show the enormous differences of merit. The lowest man in the list of honours gains less than 300 marks; the lowest wrangler gains about 1,500 marks; and the senior wrangler, in one of the lists now before me, gained more than 7,500 marks. Consequently, the lowest wrangler has more than five times the merit of the lowest junior optime, and less than one-fifth the merit of the senior wrangler.

The results of two years are thrown into a single table.

The total number of marks obtainable in each year was 17,000.


The precise number of marks obtained by the senior wrangler in the more remarkable of these two years was 7,634; by the second wrangler in the same year, 4,123; and by the lowest man in the list of honours, only 237. Consequently, the senior wrangler obtained nearly twice as many marks as the second wrangler, and more than thirty-two times as many as the lowest man. I have received from another examiner the marks of a year in which the senior wrangler was conspicuously eminent.

He obtained 9,422 marks, whilst the second in the same year—whose merits were by no means inferior to those of second wranglers in general—obtained only 5,642. The man at the bottom of the same honour list had only 309 marks, or one-thirtieth the number of the senior wrangler.


The mathematical powers of the last man on the list of honours, which are so low when compared with those of a senior wrangler, are mediocre, or even above mediocrity, when compared with the gifts of Englishmen generally. Though the examination places 100 honour men above him, it puts no less than 300 “poll men” below him. Even if we go so far as to allow that 200 out of the 300 refuse to work hard enough to get honours, there will remain 100 who, even if they worked hard, could not get them. "

    From the table, we see that the scores are indeed positively skewed.  One amusing story about the Tripos is that William Thompson, later Lord Kelvin was universally acknowledged as the best in his year at Cambridge, so when the Tripos results were posted, he asked one of the college servants, "Go see who is the second Wrangler."  The servant did so and then responded, "You are, sir."  Someone else had beaten him. 


Tiers of Ability, Part 1

     Bruce Charlton made an astute observation in a comment on this post:

        "mathematical and musical abilities seem more varied than anything else I know of.

(And I think there is a surprising positive between music composition and maths.)

Most people are pretty close to zero! - and then the people who are good are So much better - and then there are some who are So much better than the people who are good...

But the distribution doesn't seem anything like a bell curve - more like something very positively skewed.


The famous Bell Curve
A negatively and positively skewed distribution
    The Bell Curve is symmetric.  Whatever population we are examining, if a trait is distributed normally within the population, then there will be as many members of the population who have the trait a given distance above the average as there are who have the trait a given distance below average.  However, with positively and negatively skewed distributions, more members of the population are either above the mean or below the mean respectively.  
    So, Bruce Charlton makes the point that because the range of mathematical and musical ability is so large most people are at the low end of the spectrum with a very small number of people at the high end.  But not only that, there are large gaps between each of the levels, so the best way we can conceptualize this is by tiers of ability. 

Idea for a proof of William James Tychonievich's Assumption about Dice

     In a previous post, I used a metaphor about rolling all 5 Platonic solid dice, mistakenly believing that the distribution of the sum of the dice rolls would not follow a Bell Curve.  William James Tychonievich mentioned in a comment that he thought it would and has demonstrated this by plotting the data.  

    Here is an idea for how one might prove why this works.  I suspect that as the number of dice we use increases, the distribution converges to the normal distribution.  However, I have not shown this, but I have shown that the distribution is unimodal (meaning that the probability of the lowest roll is the lowest, then the probability starts to increase until it gets to the highest point, then continues to decrease).  The Bell Curve is a unimodal distribution.  

    If we roll fair dice, each number on the die has an equal probability.  If we roll multiple dice, then to find the probability of any given roll we multiply the probabilities of each roll.  So, for example, the chance of simultaneously rolling a 1 on a four-sided die (d4), a 3 on a six-sided die (d6), and a 7 on an 8-sided die (d8) is (1/4) x (1/6) x (1/8), which is 1/192.  The reason we multiply the probabilities is because each roll is independent - what we roll on the d4 does not affect what we roll on the d6 or d8.  

    Likewise, since there are four possible rolls for the first die, 6 for the second, and 8 for the third, there are 192 total possible rolls for the three dice.  Since each roll has an equal probability, we can dispense with the probability and only focus on the rolls themselves.  We can view each die as a list of consecutive integers: (1,2,3,4), (1,2,3,4,5,6), and (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8).  A roll is then the same as selecting one number from the first list, one from the second, and one from the third.  

     List each of the numbers in increasing order and consider just the first two lists: (1,2,3,4) and (1,2,3,4,5,6).   Next, generate sums of rolls by starting with 1 and adding 1 to each of the numbers in the second list, then do the same with 2 and so on to generate the following lists: 

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 

       3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

                4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

                           5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

    Look at what is happening.  We have 24 rolls and 8 possible sums (from 2 to 10).  Since these are consecutive integers, when we generate the sums in this way, moving fro 1 to 2 only increases by one, so the sums generated by adding 2 to every number of the second list (the first row) are only one greater than those generated by adding one to  the second list (the second row).  So, every number but the first and last overlap.  This pattern continues and at the end,  we see that we get one 2, one 10, two 3's, three 4's, three 8's, and four 5's, 6's and 7's.  

    For three dice, we do the same thing.  I will not write all 192 rolls, but instead consider the lists: (1,2,3), (4,5,6), (7,8,9).  Generate lists of sums of rolls by first selecting the smallest number from the first list and the smallest from the second and adding these to all the numbers in the third list to form 12, 13, and 14.  Then, add the smallest number in the first list and the second smallest in the second list to form 13, 14, and 15 and continue the process.  Once we exhaust the rolls with 1 from the first list, then use 2, and then 3, following the same process.  Altogether, we generate the following lists:  

12, 13, 14

              13, 14, 15 

                          14, 15, 16

                13, 14, 15 

                            14, 15, 16

                                         15, 16, 17

                              14, 15, 16

                                           15, 16, 17

                                                         16, 17, 18 

 Once again, when we line up the columns, we see that the sums in the middle occur more often than those on the ends and so this also forms a unimodal distribution.  Observe also that there is nothing special about dice - the important thing is that we are using lists of consecutive integers.  So, in general, if we have m lists of consecutive integers with n1 integers in the first list, n2 in the second, and so on until we have nm in the final list, we can organize the lists in ascending order.  If we generate sums where each sum takes one member from each list in the same way as above, we will create a unimodal distribution. 

Leonhard Euler, John Von Neumann, and IQ Part 3

 Continued from Part 2

    I remember reading an blog post which said that Von Neumann's incredible intellect was produced by a large number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms.  The implication was that it was high IQ, high g alone which caused Von Neumann's intelligence.  In other words, like height, which is mostly thought to be caused by a small number of genes, each of which add a little bit more height, this post said that the same is true for intelligence.  This is true to some extent, but when we try to explain extreme outliers by this method, it fails.  It goes without saying that to be a world class intellect you need high general intelligence, but I believe that Euler and Von Neumann's unusual abilities can only be explained by interaction between general and special intelligence. 

    To see why, consider a list of the 10 documented oldest people who have lived: 

Jeanne Calment: 122 years, 164 days 

Sarah Knauss: 119 years, 97 days

Kane Tanaka: 117 years, 357 days 

Nabi Tajima: 117 years, 260 days 

Marie-Louise Meilleur: 117 years, 230 days 

Violet Brown: 117 years, 189 days 

Emma Morano: 117 years, 137 days 

Chiyo Miyako: 117 years, 81 days 

Misao Okawa: 117 years, 27 days 

Maria Capovilla: 116 years, 347 days 

    Notice that even though we have some slight outliers with the top two, the difference between the oldest and youngest is about 6 years and many of these ages are very close together.  Which suggests that the differences between these people can be explained by small differences in genetic and environmental influences.  Most likely by a lack of deleterious mutations causing unhealthiness.  So we can model lifespan as being caused by a large number of independent mutations which each have a similar degree of influence.  If we model lifespan in this way, we would expect to see what we actually do see - a fairly smooth gradation between the highest and lowest with most of the gaps filled in.  We can compare this to this distribution of sums of rolls caused by rolling five 6-sided dice. 

    On the other hand, if lifespan was caused by independent mutations each of which had significantly different degrees of influence, we would expect to see something like one person living 120 years, one 140, one 90 ... large gaps in between the ages.  We might compare this to rolling all 5 Platonic solids: one 4 sided die, one 6 sided, one 8 sided, one 12 sided, and one 20 sided, which would have a completely different distribution from rolling five 6-sided dice

    I suspect that speed of calculation for most people does follow a Bell Curve with few gaps.  In other words, the differences in speeds between ordinary people are not so great on an absolute scale.  However, when we compare Von Neumann and Euler to an ordinary person, they are like someone who has lived 150 years.  The gaps are too large.  

To illustrate this, here is a statement paraphrased from Wikipedia: 

Here is what Enrico Fermi said to Herbert Anderson: 

    "You know, Herb, Johnny can do calculations in his head ten times as fast as I can!  And I can do them ten times as fast as you can, Herb, so you can see how impressive Johnny is!"

    So, where are all the people who can calculate 9 times faster, 8 times faster, etc.  We are talking about a geometric increase, not merely an arithmetic increase.  So, I postulate that while obviously John Von Neumann and Euler had high general intelligence, their unusual traits must be explained by reference to special intelligence.  Further, it is possible that certain types of special intelligences, when they occur together, produce a "multiplier effect" where each one individually has an effect, but taken together their effects work synergistically to become even more powerful.  

    Update: William James Tychonievich has shown that rolling a mix of polyhedral dice does in fact make a normal distribution.  It turns out that was not the right metaphor to use.  I think the problem is that it does not take account of multiplier effects.

Leonhard Euler, John Von Neumann and IQ Part 2

Continued from Part 1 

    William Dunham has some descriptions about Leonhard Euler's incredible abilities in his book Journey through Genius

     "Euler's collected works fill over 70 large volumes, a testament to the genius of this unassuming Swiss citizen who changed the face of mathematics so profoundly.  Indeed, one's first inclination, upon encountering the volume and quality of his work, is to regard his story as an exaggerated piece of fiction rather than hard historical fact.  


    Throughout his career, Euler was blessed with a memory that can only be called phenomenal.  His number-theoretic investigations were aided by the fact that he had memorized not only the first 100 prime numbers but also all of their squares, their cubes, and their fourth, fifth, and sixth powers.  While others were digging through tables or pulling out pencil and paper, Euler could simply recite from memory such quantities as 2414 or 3376But this was the least of his achievements.  He was able to do difficult calculations mentally, some of these requiring him to retain in his head up to 50 places of accuracy!  The Frenchman Francois Arago said that Euler calculated without apparent effort, 'just as men breathe, as eagles sustain themselves in the air.'  Yet this extraordinary mind still had room for a vast collection of memorized facts, orations, and poems, including the entire text of Virgil's Aeneid, which Euler had committed to memory as a boy and still could recite flawlessly half a century later.  No writer of fiction would dare to provide a character with a memory of this caliber.


Incredible as it sounds, it has been estimated that, if one were to collect all publications in the mathematical sciences produced over the last three-quarters of the eighteenth century, roughly one-third of these were from the pen of Leonhard Euler! 


Before he was done, Euler's number theory filled four large volumes of his Opera Omnia [Collected Works].  It has been observed that, had he done nothing else in his scientific career, these four volumes would place him among the greatest mathematicians of history."

    From the way Euler wrote, it also seems like he solved problems in the act of writing about them.  It should also be mentioned that Euler had 13 children and could work on mathematics with his children playing around him and Von Neumann could work well in loud, smoke-filled environments, so they didn't need quiet environments to concentrate.  

    Not only that, Euler became blind in one eye at age 31 and then completely blind at 59 and still he continued to churn out mathematics. 

Part 3

Leonhard Euler, John Von Neumann and IQ Part 1

    Leonhard Euler (1707 - 1783) and John Von Neumann (1903 - 1957) are, in terms of memory, calculation, and quick thinking, two of the most intelligent people to have ever lived.  There are numerous stories about Von Neumann's lightning calculation and extraordinary memory, but I will tell some lesser known stories that show he was also incredibly fast with higher level thinking: 

    The statistician David Blackwell told the following story in an interview: 

    "Also, I got a chance to meet Von Neumann that year.  He was a most impressive man.  Of course, everybody knows that.  Let me tell you a little story about him.  

    When I first went to the Institute, he greeted me, and we were talking and he invited me to come around and tell him about my thesis.  Well, of course I thought that was just his way of making a new young visitor feel at home, and I had no intention of telling him about my thesis.  He was a big, busy, important man.  But then a couple of months later, I saw him at tea and he said 'When are you coming around to tell me about your thesis?  Go in and make an appointment with my secretary.' So I did, and later I went in and started telling him about my thesis. 

    He listened for about ten minutes and asked me a couple of questions and then he started telling me about my thesis.  What you could have really done is this, and probably this is true, and you could have done it in a somewhat simpler way, and so on.  He was a really remarkable man.  He listened to me talk about this rather obscure subject and in ten minutes knew more about it than I did.  He was extremely quick.  I think he may have wasted a certain amount of time, by the way, because he was so willing to listen to second- or third-rate people and think about their problems.  I saw him do that on many occasions."

  Eugene Wigner told this story in an interview: 

    "He [Von Neumann] wrote no articles on number theory.  But once I told him - this is a story which is perhaps of some interest - that I was much impressed by a new theorem about which I had read.  He said, 'Did you read the proof?'  I said, 'No, but the theorem itself is really amazing.'  He said, 'Well, would you like to have a proof?' I said, 'Yes, if you can give me one.' Then he asked me six questions: 'Do you know this theorem?', 'Do you know this theorem?' ... six theorems.  I knew three and I didn't know the other three.  And he gave me a wonderful proof, never mentioning the theorems which I did not know and using the theorems which I did know.  He was amazing in this respect."

    This story is ridiculous.  Constructing a mathematical proof is not an easy undertaking in general, but Von Neumann not only came up with a proof on the spot, he wrote Wigner a custom-made proof.  

    However, Von Neumann did have limitations.  Wigner also wrote: 

"I have known a great many intelligent people in my life. I knew Planck, von Laue and Heisenberg. Paul Dirac was my brother in law; Leo Szilard and Edward Teller have been among my closest friends; and Albert Einstein was a good friend, too. But none of them had a mind as quick and acute as Jansci [John] von Neumann. I have often remarked this in the presence of those men and no one ever disputed.

But Einstein's understanding was deeper even than von Neumann's. His mind was both more penetrating and more original than von Neumann's. And that is a very remarkable statement. Einstein took an extraordinary pleasure in invention. Two of his greatest inventions are the Special and General Theories of Relativity; and for all of Jansci's brilliance, he never produced anything as original."

 Paul Halmos wrote something similar in his memoir about Von Neumann ("The Legend of John Von Neumann): 

"He [Von Neumann] knew his own strengths and he admired, perhaps envied, people who had the complementary qualities, the flashes of irrational intuition that sometimes change the direction of scientific progress.  For Von Neumann it seemed impossible to be unclear in thought or in expression.  His insights were illuminating and his statements were precise."

Part 2

The Difference Between the 19th and 20th centuries in one picture

 Francis Galton and Karl Pearson (from 1909).  This picture is rather amusing because we have a man clearly of the 20th century (Karl Pearson) and then next to him Francis Galton is wearing gloves, a blanket, umbrella, and a hat: Galton knows he looks like a Dickens character and doesn't care.  Which tells us something about the personality of Francis Galton.

The Real 20th century, Part 2

 Continued from: The Real 20th century, Part 1  

    Another thing that Steiner writes about in his prophecy is that new impulses will come into play: 

    "The Angels form pictures in man's astral body and these pictures are accessible to thinking that has become clairvoyant. If we are able to scrutinise these pictures, it becomes evident that they are woven in accordance with quite definite impulses and principles. Forces for the future evolution of mankind are contained in them. If we watch the Angels carrying out this work of theirs — strange as it sounds, one has to express it in this way — it is clear that they have a very definite plan for the future configuration of social life on earth; their aim is to engender in the astral bodies of men such pictures as will bring about definite conditions in the social life of the future."

    I am not sure whether the means by which these impulses come into the world is as Steiner described it, but the point is that these new impulses will manifest themselves in human life, but the form they will take is up to human beings: we can respond to them well or badly.  

    If we combine this idea with the idea from the previous post, as well as Bruce Charlton, Owen Barfield and Rudolf Steiner's idea that from about 1750 human beings were supposed to develop a new form of consciousness, one thought that has occurred to me is that the entire 20th century, from 1914 onwards, was suboptimal.  All of the developments in this century that have been so lauded and for which so many panegyrics have been written and broadcast are all more or less second-best.  

    Not only that, taking the idea of the first part of this post, all the sociological and economic explanations ultimately miss the point because all they do is describe, they do not go deep enough to search for the true causes.  The only explanation is supernatural: how else could the communal ways of life that have endured for millenia go away so quickly?  

    So, it is an interesting thought experiment to ask the following question: If everything in the 20th century was a lesser manifestation of a good impulse, what would the real 20th century have looked like?

The Real 20th Century, Part 1

     Bruce Charlton has written about a prophecy of Rudolf Steiner from a lecture, "The work of the angels in man's astral body"  wherein Steiner predicted certain features of the modern world.  One of the things that struck me most about this prophecy was the following: 

"So the crucial point lies ahead when either the path to the right can be taken — but that demands wakefulness — or the path to the left, which permits of sleep. But in that case instincts come on the scene — instincts of a fearful kind.

And what do you suppose the scientific experts will say when such instincts come into evidence? They will say that it is a natural and inevitable development in the evolution of humanity. Light cannot be shed on such matters by natural science, for whether men become angels or devils would be equally capable of explanation by scientific reasoning. Science will say the same in both cases: the later is the outcome of the earlier ... so grand and wise is the interpretation of nature in terms of causality!"

    The idea is that if there are supernatural causes which operate in a subtle manner and lie outside the purview of science, then science cannot explain the outcomes of these causes.  Science can only describe the events that are happening.  An example is, if someone is healed from a disease miraculously, the physiological processes inside the body would most likely be indistinguishable from ordinary processes.  But a description of the processes is not the same as identifying the true cause if indeed the true cause is beyond the physical.  

    But it doesn't just apply to the supernatural.  Any time something subtle either comes into play or goes away, people who do not understand will describe events rather than identifying their true causes.  And they will substitute explaining how the later came from the earlier rather than going deeper and saying, "why."  It would be like getting into a taxi, asking to go somewhere, being taken somewhere entirely different and when asking why the driver took you to the wrong place, being give a long-winded explanation of how each street led to the next street and so on.  It completely misses the point, which is that the driver chose to go somewhere else.  

    This idea is of course very old, going back to the metaphor about fish not noticing the water in which they swim and is also discussed in Bruce Charlton and Edward Dutton's Genius Famine book.  In this book, it is mentioned that when geniuses go away, people who can't recognize the real creativity of genius just redefine genius as whatever they happen to like personally.  So, in a similar way, something subtle has gone away and people who do not recognize the true cause cannot understand the changes that have taken place. 

    to be continued ...


If there was to be a Tsar again, how might it happen?

     This post is not a prediction because of course there may not be a restoration of the Tsar, but something more like a thought experiment.  If it will happen, then how might the course of evens go?  

    One thing is that there seems to be a principle that if something is restored, it is never done in the exact same way as it was before.  To paraphrase C.S. Lewis from one of his essays, "You can't come back in by the same door you went out."  So, then if the Tsardom is to be restored, I believe it will come from both top down and bottom up.  If there is to be a real Tsar, he must be chosen by God, so there must be a supernatural, top down element.  But also, he must be accepted by the people in order to do anything, so the ground must be prepared.   

    First, Christian thinking must permeate Russia to such an extent that the assumptions that people live by are Christian.  The supernatural must be taken for granted as it once was and the current structures of government must be seen as arbitrary and not based on any deep reality.  And if this happens, then that itself will be evidence of the supernatural at work.  It seems like one way in which the supernatural manifests in modern life is by organization: when things "just work out."  Partly that is the idea behind the notion of principalities: guardian angels of countries.  The principality provides the organizing force that binds the people of a country together. 

    Next, or at the same time, the Holy Fool will return.  There may be multiple Holy Fools, some may be monks or even hermits, some may be holy fools in a completely strange and unexpected way.  The holy fools will prophecy the return of the Tsardom.  They will speak about the signs that will occur that will testify that a new Tsar will appear, maybe unknown even to himself until he is revealed.  This prophesizing will occur for some time; it will become something that "everyone has heard of."  But, because it is done by the holy fools, there will be no resistance to it.  The idea of the return of the Tsar will also permeate everyday life and be an idea which some take seriously, some do not, but forms part of the background of people's thinking.  Also, one of the holy fools may be the child of someone from the West and someone from the East.  His sensitivity to the Romantic Christian impulse of the West and the Orthodoxy of the East will allow him to be receptive to both streams and they will synthesize themselves in his mind. 

    Lastly, the Tsar will appear in an unexpected way and yet, it will be seen that this lines up with the signs that have been predicted. 

"Pseudo?" Dionysius the Areopagite

 The Celestial Hierarchy, which discusses the 9 choirs of angels, is under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, who was a convert of Paul in Athens (Acts 17:34).  Paul described his vision of Heaven in 2 Corinthians (12:1 - 4): 

    "If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed): but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.  I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third heaven.  And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth): That he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter."  

    Thus, it could have been thought that Paul told Dionysius what he had seen and Dionysius then wrote it down.  I do not actually think this because Paul said he could not say what he had heard.  So, he would likely have kept his revelation secret except for special people, such as the original apostles.  Also, the Celestial Hierarchy is a very philosophical work that does not read like a description of personal experience.  

    The other thing about Dionysius's writings is that modern scholars consider The Celestial Hierarchy and other writings to be from a much later date and not actually composed by Dionysius at all.  One reason for this is the writing style and usage of Greek vocabulary.  I am not a scholar of Greek, so I cannot speak to that.  But, everyone knows that modern scholarship has a reflexive skepticism towards anything mystical or anything being genuine, so the question is, is there any evidence that Dionysius could have written The Celestial Hierarchy or that it was part of a tradition which he was participated in?  

    The answer is yes.  Saint Ignatius was the Bishop of Antioch during the second half of the first century and was eventually martyred in Rome.  During his travel to Rome, Ignatius wrote seven letters and in one of them, the Letter to the Trallians, Ignatius says the following: 

"So, though I could, no doubt, write to you on high and heavenly topics, I fear it might only be to your detriment seeing that you are still in your infancy.  Forgive me, then; for they might well be beyond your power to assimilate, and would only stick in your throats.  Even I myself, for all my chains and my ability to comprehend celestial secrets and angelic hierarchies and the dispositions of the heavenly powers, and much else both seen and unseen, am not yet on that account a real disciple.  For there is much that we must still fall short of, if we are not to fall short of God."

    It's a commonplace of modernists that any sort of speculative or unusual beliefs must have developed over a long period of time and could never have been present early on.  And yet, here we see Ignatius who definitely lived in the first century referring to knowledge of angelic hierarchies.  This shows that there was a tradition of and speculation about such matters, so The Celestial Hierarchy could well be the product of Dionysius. 

Synchronicity, prophecy, and the Magi

     For a long time, whenever I would read about prophecies in the Bible applied to Jesus, it always seemed like a stretch because the prophecies didn't appear to be specific enough.  In this post Bruce Charlton makes the point, from Pascal's Pensees, that the prophecies were considered a major proof that Jesus was the Messiah.  Even if we moderns find it difficult to understand, people back then really did think that way.  

    And not only that, these prophecies provided real knowledge and predictions.  In the story of the Magi, all the chief priests and scribes were able to say that the King of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem.  It was not secret knowledge or disputed.  

    Another example is Josephus's prediction about Vespasian.  After Vespasian attacked Jerusalem, the historian Josephus predicted that Vespasian would become emperor.  Here is an explanation on one website livius, while here are Josephus's own words

"Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation; but that men perish by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves; for the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple four-square, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles, "That then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become four-square." But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction."

    We have lost the understanding that people had at that time.  They had the ability to read and interpret prophecies correctly.  The Magi also had understanding that we have lost; they were able to find their way to Jerusalem based on their understanding of astrology.  

    But I suspect that it is not knowledge that separates us from the ancients, but understanding.  We know almost as much about the text of prophecies as the people of the first century (perhaps some interpretive writings or oral tradition may have been lost from then to now).  We know more about the movements of the stars than the ancient astrologers, so what is missing?  It's understanding.  Understanding is what separates true gematria which can provide insight from arbitrary number crunching.

    The ancients' understanding prophecies was similar to our searching for synchronicities.  People in the first century were steeped in these writings in a way that is almost incomprehensible to us.  The sacred writings were the fabric from which their culture was made.  And that is how you have to search for synchronicities.  You must search for something that is spontaneously meaningful to you - you can't force it.  But by doing that, the mind is opened up to inspiration.  Both the inspiration of the original and the inspiration of the searcher join to produce insight and understanding. 


 Haloes are symbols used in art to depict sanctity.  But where did the idea come from?  Do some people have light shining from them?  It seems like haloes may not occur all the time and when they do they are not visible by everyone, but, yes, some writings do attest to them.  Here is what Marinus says in his biography of Proclus:

"One day a very distinguished political personage named Rufinus, who was entirely trustworthy and honorable, while listening to one of his lectures, saw a halo surrounding his head.  At the close, Rufinus rose, and saluted him with respect, under oath testifying to the divine manifestation of which he had been witness.  It was this same Rufinus who offered Proclus a large sum of money on his return from Asia, after his political troubles.  Proclus however refused this offering.

In the Penguin Dictionary of Saints, here is an excerpt from the entry about Seraphim of Sarov: 

"and the more-than-natural facial transfiguration recorded in the conversation with Motovilov - a spiritual irradiation manifesting itself outwardly in a 'blinding light' - is a phenomenon recorded of other outstandingly holy men and women in both East and West."

The Hermetic Chain

     One of the most interesting passages in Valentin Tomberg's Meditations on the Tarot is the Appendix to the chapter on The Magician: "Historical Note Concerning the Emerald Table."  In this Appendix, Tomberg discusses the history of the Emerald Tablet, which is itself interesting.  However, at the end of the appendix, Tomberg writes: "in which tradition [the Hermetic tradition] the principal links (according to Ficino, writing in 1471) are: Hermes Trismegistus - Orpheus - Pythagoras - Philolaus (Divini Platonis nostri praeceptor) - Plato - the Neopythagoreans (Apolllonius) - the Neoplatonists (Plotinus)"

    This is an interesting idea of Tomberg's, that the ancient Greek philosophers were part of a tradition that began with Hermes.  Interestingly enough, it is not just an idea of Tomberg's.  In his biography of Proclus, Marinus wrote the following about his teacher Proclus: 

"At the the beginning of his 42nd year, he seemed to be shouting the following verses: 'I am possessesd by a spirit which breathes into me the force of fire, which enfolding and entrancing my reason in a whirl of flame, flies toward the aether, and with its immortal vibrations reechoes in the starry vaults!' 

Besides, in a dream he had clearly seen that he belonged to the Hermetic Chain; and, on the authority of a dream, he was convinced that his was the reincarnated soul of the Pythagorean Nicomachus."

    This is all that Marinus says about this idea, but it shows that there is something more to the idea of the Hermetic chain.  

    There are other interesting things about this biography as well.  Marinus was a Samaritan who converted to, of all religions, philosophical paganism in, of all times, the fifth century AD when paganism was on the way out.  

    Also, this particular translation came to be translated into English in an interesting way.  The translator, Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie (1871 - 1940) had two PhD's and an M.D., was the rector of a Church in New York City and also translated many ancient writings into English.  Here is Guthrie's account of how he came to translate Proclus: 

"This reissue of Proclus' works came about in a strange, Providential way, Mr Emil Verch was a California miner, with no classical education, but with a deep desire to know the truth, and with abstemious impulses, and desire for knowledge of the Invisible.

One day, much to his surprise, he heard a great oration, in an unknown tongue, by a sage who appeared to him, and who was demonstrating geometrical and symbolic figures. After his great surprise was over, he insisted on knowing the sage's name, and was told it was PROCLUS (this happened in a miner's cabin in California's mountain mining district, and later in the Delta Hotel in San Francisco).

As Mr Verch did not know anything about PROCLUS he went around asking about him, and ultimately, while working as engineer on a ship in New York Harbour, through the Marine Y.M.C.A, thanks to the enlightened liberality of Mr Beard who could appreciate mystic devotion even if in unfamiliar language, he came to me, and visited TEOCALLI, where I showed him what works of Proclus. I happened to have, and a list of his works.

Till then I had neglected Proclus, being absorbed in Plotinus, Numenius, Pythagoras. Indeed, the ebbing of the forces of my life seemed to preclude any new interests; but Mr Verch's insistence that I do something for PROCLUS led me to assent in principle. Encouraged by vague promises of assistance when I gave up my heart-breaking work at ALL SAINTS, during the 1924 Christmas vacation, I did my best to investigate anew a manifolding process, through which I have managed to get this much together, trusting to God to help."


Did Goethe have an IQ of 200?

This list presents the IQs of 300 geniuses and Goethe has the highest, 210 in this case, but I have also seen 200.  This has passed into IQ folklore and a while ago I was curious how this list was drawn up.  

      This list comes from Genetic Studies of Genius Volume II: The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses by Catharine Cox.  In fact, according to this book, while Goethe was given an IQ of 200, it was never meant to be taken as a standard deviation IQ, rather as an indication of his development relative to an ordinary person of the same age.  Here is what Lewis Terman has to say in the introduction: 

"In Volume I of that work [Karl Pearson's Biography of Francis Galton] the author presents detailed evidence, much of it of documentary nature, which any psychologist who is familiar with the age norms of mental development will recognize as convincing proof that Galton as a child had an intelligence quotient not far from 200; in other words that his 'mental age' was about twice his actual age.  Although it is a fact known to psychologists that not one child in ten thousand taken at random shows this degree of intellectual superiority, Pearson gives only a passing comment to the data presented and tells us that Galton's childhood gave no significant indications of his future genius."  

    The book itself is the product of an astonishing amount of historical research.  Records in English, French, and German were studied.  Altogether 6,000 pages were drawn up which were then condensed into the short biographies in the book.  Also, Terman wrote in his introduction "It should be emphasized that the task set was not to what the childhood IQ of a given subject probably was, but the IQ that would most reasonably account for the recorded facts."  

    Also, the subjects were given two IQs, one for development up to 17 and one from 17 to 26.  In fact, Goethe's 200 IQ was from 17 to 26, and his IQ up to 17 was 185.  So, the authors were saying that by 26, Goethe had a mental age of 52, in other words he accomplished a great deal by 26.  The highest score for the first IQ was not Goethe, but John Stuart Mill who was given an IQ of 190 for his development up to 17 and 170 for 17 to 26. 

    So, Goethe did have an IQ of 200 in that he accomplished a great deal at a young age, but neither he nor any of the other subjects in the book were being evaluated according to their standing in a population, but based on their development.  

    Goethe was very intelligent however.  Here is an interesting anecdote about him from Gary Lachman's Rudolf Steiner biography: 

"Earlier, as a young man, Goethe had had a similar experience of imaginative vision at the cathedral at Strasbourg, when, after spending many days observing and sketching it from many side and angles, and even curing himself of vertigo by repeatedly climbing its tower, he remarked to some friends that the building was incomplete.  His friends were astonished and asked how he knew; after looking at the original plans, they saw he was correct.  Who, they asked, had told him?  Goethe replied that the cathedral itself had.  'I observed it so long and so attentively and I bestowed on it so much affection that it decided at the end to reveal to me its manifest secret.' "

Hypatia: proto-modern or arch-traditionalist?

    Sometimes, as a thought experiment, I have wondered what the ancient philosophers might do if they were to come and live in the modern day.  Since in those days philosophy was a profession, a religion, a community, and even a family all in one.  Here are two passages anecdote that illustrate this from the biography of the fifth century philosopher Proclus

"For on his [Proclus's] arrival the goddess advised him to devote himself up to philosophy, and to attend the Athenian schools.  So he said farewell to rhetoric, and to his other former studies, and first returning to Alexandria, he attended only what philosophical courses were there given.  To begin his study of Aristotle's philosophy he attended the instruction of the Younger Olympiodorus, whose reputation was very extensive.  For mathematics, he trusted himself to Heron, a very pious person, who possessed and practiced the best methods of his art. 

These teachers were so charmed with the virtues of this youth that Olympiodorus, who had a daughter who was acquainted with philosophy wished to betroth her to him; and Heron did not hesitate to initiate him into all his ideas about religion, and to make him his continuous companion 

Now it seems that Olympiodorus possessed such a gift of speech, that he talked too rapidly and indistinctly, and only a few of his auditors understood him. One day, at the close of the lecture, Proclus repeated the whole lecture to his fellow students, word by word, from memory. It had been very long, but Proclus missed nothing, as I have been informed by one of the other auditors, Ulpian of Gaza, who had also devoted his whole life to philosophy."  


"It is fortunate that I should have been led to mention his trait of sympathy, which swayed him more powerfully than any other known man. Never having tasted the joys of family or of marriage,----that is, because he so elected it, having received many propositions very favorable from the standpoint of birth and fortune----having, therefore, remained free from these bonds, he showed such a solicitude for his pupils and friends, and even for their wives and children, that he was looked upon as a common father and as the author of their existence. If any one of his acquaintances fell sick, he implored the gods on his behalf with ardent piety in sacrifices and hymns; then he visited the patient with a zealous solicitude, convoked the physicians and urged them without delay to apply their art, and himself suggested some more efficacious remedy, and thus saved many sick people in most dangerous crises.

As to his humanity towards his most familiar servants, it appears from the last will of this perfect good man. Of all the people he knew, the one he loved best was Archiadas, and after him, those who belonged to his family, especially because he belonged to the family of the philosopher Plutarch, and then because he had been his fellow student and teacher; for of these two forms of friendship which are so rarely recorded among the ancients, that which bound them seems to have been the most profound. There was nothing that Archiadas desired that Proclus did not desire, and reciprocally."

and yet since all this is gone, it is difficult to say what they would do.  They would be forced to find something new.  Ironically, the pagan philosophers of the latter days of paganism are often held up in opposition to the Christians and yet, if there were to come back now, there is no doubt what side they would be on.  

    A representative case is Porphyry, who lived in the third century AD and was the student of the celebrated Plotinus.  Porphyry did not admire Christianity.  Eusebius quotes Porphyry on Plotinus's teacher Ammonius and the theologian Origen: "For Ammonius was a Christian, brought up in Christian ways by his parents, but when he bagan to think philosophically he promptly changed to a law-abiding way of life.  Origen on the other hand, a Greek schooled in Greek thought, plunged headlong into un-Greek recklessness; immersed in this, he peddled himself and his skill in argument."

However, one only needs to quote a few passages from Porphyry's letter to his wife Marcella to demonstrate that his attitude towards life is completely opposed to modernity: 

"Never use thy bodily parts merely for the sake of pleasure, for it is far better to die than to obscure thy soul by intemperance . . . . correct the vice of thy nature. . . "


"For no two things can be more entirely opposed to one another than a life of pleasure and ease, and the ascent to the gods. As the summits of mountains cannot be reached without danger and toil, so it is not possible to emerge from the inmost depths of the body through pleasure and ease which drag men down to the body. For 'tis by anxious thought that we reach the road, and by recollection of our fall. Even if we encounter difficulties in our way, hardship is natural to the ascent, for it is given to the gods alone to lead an easy life. But ease is most dangerous for souls which have fallen to this earthly life, making us forgetful in the pursuit of alien things, and bringing on a state of deep slumber, it we fall asleep beguiled by alluring visions."

    Another example is the philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria who is often imagined or spoken of as some kind of proto-modernist, primarily because she was a female philosopher and was killed by Christians.  But in fact, I think the moderns who praise Hypatia would be horrified if the could meet her.  To begin with, she was celibate, possibly a vegetarian and certainly endorsed the same austere lifestyle as Porphyry praises above.  Second, Hypatia did not study mathematics and astronomy to go against her culture.  She deliberately followed in the footsteps of her father Theon.  What could be more traditional?  

Tomberg's Appendix to Letter 1: The Magician


Tomberg first reproduces the text of the Emerald Tablet, then says: 

    "As the above (Latin) text has been known in the Occident only since Albertus Magnus (1193/1206 - 1280) and as no other text or manuscript for an earlier date could be found over the centuries, historians at the beginning of this century were of the opinion that Albertus Magnus was the author of the Emerald Table.  It was considered apocryphal not only from the point of view of its authenticity as a work of Hermes Trismegistus, but also from the point of view of its intrinsic authenticity as a work worthy of inclusion in the Corpus Hermeticum ...

 Now, the text of the Emerald Table is not contained in what is considered to be the most complete edition of the Corpus Hermeticum    that of Walter Scott, Hermetica (4 volumes; Oxford, 1924).  ... 

Scott wrote the following: 

    '... the masses of rubbish which fall under the ... head ... of writings concerning astrology, magic, alchemy and kindred forms of pseudo-science ... the contents of which are also ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus. ' 

    The criterion which Scott Makes use of ted is whether to establish if a writing attributed to Hermes Trismegistus is to be included in the Corpus Hermeticum or to be rejected is whether it is concerned with religious and philosophical problems or not. ... 

However, Hermes himself says: 

    'I bear in mind that many of my writings have been addressed to him (Ammon), as again many of my treatises on Nature ... have been addressed to Tat (Ascelpius)'

    How can it be permitted to reject all the writings on Nature and to consider the sole category ('Addressed to Ammon' as authentic when one has knowledge of the fact that the author of a writing (Asclepius), recognized as authentic in the Corpus Hermeticum has proclaimed in an explicit manner that he is the author of another category of writings, namely those concerned with Nature?


    Perhaps because at the time of Walter Scott's researches no other text of the Emerald Table had been found prior to the thirteenth century? "

    However, it turns out that there were earlier manuscripts.  In 1926, an Arabic manuscript of The Emerald Tablet was published by Julius Ruska: 

    "The alchemical treatise was written by a priest named Sagijus of Nabulus - its contents originating from the master Balinas the Wise (which is the Arabic name for Apollonius of Tyana), who himself discovered it in an underground chamber."  

It is worth quoting the introduction to this text of the Emerald Tablet: 

    "Here is that which the priest Sagijus of Nabulus has dictated concerning the entrance of Balinas into the hidden chamber (the following words of wisdom were found at the end of the book by Balinas the wise): After my entrance into the chamber, where the talisman was set up, I came up to an old man sitting on a golden throne, who was holding an emerald table in one hand.  And behold, the following - in Syriac, the primordial language - was written thereupon:"

What follows this introduction in the appendix is the similar, though slightly different text of the Emerald Tablet based on this other manuscript.  

Tomberg goes on to say: 

    "But Julius Ruska is not the only one to have discovered an Arabic text of the Emerald Table. ...

    This text is part of the Second Book of the Element of the Foundation by Jabir or Geber (722 - 815).  Prior to this discovery, made in 1923, only the mediaeval Latin text was known of.  Subsequently, another variant in Arabic was discovered by Ruska in a book entitled The Secret of Creation attributed to Appolonius.  Jabir (or Geber) himself, in giving the text of the Emerald Table states that he is quoting Apollonius.  Now, Kraus has shown that The Secret of Creation was written, at least in its final edition, during the Caliphate of al-Ma'mun (813-833), and it includes parallels with a book written at this time by Job of Edessa.  The latter was a scholar whose translations from Syriac into Arabic merited the praise of even such a severe critic as Hunain ibn Ishaq ... "

"The present state of historical studies on the Emerald Table is therefore as follows; it was known in Arabic as a translation from Syriac at the beginning of the ninth century; two variants in Arabic are extant; there is no reason to reject the Arabic tradition that it was translated from Syriac, or for that matter the tradition that it originated with Apollonius. 

  One could add that if there is no reason to doubt that it originated with Apollonius, there is no more reason to reject the tradition that Apollonius in his turn found it in the manner described by the priest Sagijus of Nabulus.  Be that as it may, it is immediately apparent that the Emerald Table is of a considerably more ancient origin than was believed up to 1923, and consequently there is room to reconsider the opinion that it is not worthy of inclusion in the Corpus Hermeticum."

"For our part, we have every reason - subjective as well as objective - sufficient for us in foro interno (i.e., in good conscience) to be sure that the Emerald Table is without doubt the only absolutely authentic fragment in the whole Corpus Hermeticum.  And this, moreover, in the sense that its author is neither the 'third Hermes' nor the 'second', but actually the first, that is to say the founder of the Hermetic tradition as such ... "

Emerald Tablet Text

 From Tomberg's Meditations on the Tarot Appendix to Letter 1: 

1. True it is, without falsehood, certain and most true. 

2. That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of (the) one thing.  

3. And as all things were by contemplation (meditation) of (the) One, so all things arose from this one thing by a single act of adaptation. 

4. The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon; the wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof. 

5. It is the father of all works of wonder (thelema) throughout the whole world. 

6. The power thereof is perfect, if it be cast on to earth. 

7. It will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle from the gross, gently and with great sagacity. 

8. It doth ascend from earth to heaven; again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior.  Thus thou wilt possess the glory of the brightness of the whole world, and all obscurity will fly far from thee. 

9. This thing is the strongest of all powers, the force of all forces, for it overcometh every subtle thing and doth penetrate every solid substance. 

10. Thus was this world created. 

11. Hence there will be marvellous adaptations achieved, of which the manner is this. 

12. For this reason I am called Hermes Trismegistus, because I hold three parts of the wisdom of the world. 

13. That which I had to say about the operation of sol is completed.

The real AI agenda

    On a post  by Wm Briggs, about artificial intelligence, a commenter with the monniker "ItsAllBullshit" writes:           "...