SHARED ERRORS BIND BETTER THAN TRUTH (Or how faith feeds intellectual fascism of the tribal type).
Aside from loving those who loved me, my life has been centered on a search for the ultimate nature of reality. That included history, to find out the errors one makes, and psychology, to find where those errors came from. I found out about Quantum theory. It entangled what is going on in the small with new, mysterious notions.
I expected thorough dedication to truth among serious thinkers. And who could be more detached than physicists? Yet, I became disturbed by the great gap between how certain some scientists were that their theories were right, and the evidence they had. Sometimes it felt as if they had no evidence, or even the opposite, and as if error united men better than truth. How could that be? How come the tribal arose from the illogical, or even, from error? Was error a mean to tribalism?
That puts the tribal in conflict with the Republic. The Republic is united by justice, and justice is truth, force.
Verily, fasces were the fundamental symbol of the Roman republic, and from there on, the Franks and the French and American republics.
(Call that fascism at its best; suggestion: add fasces to the United Nations Security Council! After all, United Nations without force is no union of justice. the UNSC just voted unanimously to unleash the French army to reestablish justice in the Central African Republic.)
Fascism is how weak social animals bind themselves together to make an irresistible mass. Fascism is how social animals drink and dine, without becoming dinner. It’s an old method, honed by hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Or why social animals exist.
( The earliest public latrines, 240 million years old, were just discovered.)
The power of fascism, like the axe surrounded by the fasces, can be used for good or for bad.
In this essay, we will explore a related phenomenon, the POWER OF ERROR, and how intellectual fascism binds a tribe around an error rather than a truth, by making special brains.
Instead of finding an example in politics or history, or the usual suspects (Jihadists!)I will exhibit an example from what ought to be the most intellectually rigorous subject.
In the fundamental treaty on Quantum Mechanics by the great physicist Paul Dirac, a claim was made about the nature of reality that was not just poorly supported theoretically, but experimentally contradicted.
Dirac had said that “photons interfere only with themselves”. Anybody with 2 lasers could check that was wrong. Yet, to this day, strong belief that this error does not matter persists. Why? I claim it stays a convenient cement that unites many mangy physicists.
It’s not just because the photons-interfere-only-with-themselves makes for cheap thinking. It’s also because it provides with tribal, even mystical, and certainly neurological identification, precisely because it’s obviously false.
Of course, for someone such as me, who puts the search for reality above tribal considerations, it’s most important to know if photons do, or do not, interfere with themselves. And as they do, it’s most important to find out how they do it.
(Photon to photon “non linear optics” happens in QED, through matter-antimatter virtual processes, a completely different effect.)
Quantum theory is subjacent to Elementary Particle Physics. The latter was uncovered by “high energy” experiments, in which particles collided into each other. Weirdly, though, all the obvious experiments to uncover Quantum theory had not been made! Somehow, particle theorists had persuaded themselves that Quantum theory was fully known and consistent.
Yet, evidence that Quantum theory was not as understood as possible were abundant (the list was long of fundamental experiments that had not even been tried: Bohm-Aharanov, 1958; one photon-at a time 2-slit, independent lasers 2-slits; numerous EPR style, interaction-at-a-distance experiments, Popper experiment. tried for the first time in 1999, 65 years after it was proposed; etc.).
Fundamental physicists were in denial of this lack of thoroughness on their part. It was a major epistemological, even ethical breach.
An obvious explanation was that governments were more interested to fund high energy physics than really fundamental search for reality. Clearly, high energy physics could lead to death rays, Star Wars, etc. And it did. U.S. Navy ships using combat lasers are being deployed on the battle field.
Present proposed high energy accelerators are of obvious military interest (as they would muster tremendously energetic particle beams over very short distances).
Physicists, after all, are primates, and they find interesting what gives them bananas.
Yet, there was strong evidence that these supposedly arcane minds behaved more like tribal monkeys than inquiring minds. Could it be possible that error united them?
As I would find later in life, nothing is more conducive to building an exploitative community of minds than an error, also known as a faith. A faith that those erroneous minds share. And the more outrageous the faith, the better.
Recent studies have shown that it takes longer to lie than to tell the truth. The brain has to work harder. Although, well trained liars learn to reduce that delay.
I believe that ideas correspond to brain structures. This idea about ideas has far ranging consequences, from the duplication of thinking by computers, to ethics, to imagination.
Mental structures determined by truth and reality are going to be common to everybody (that’s what is called “common sense”). For the tribally minded, that presents a major drawback: if one shares the same mental structures with everybody, one cannot distinguish the group one wants to belong to.
The only way to distinguish a group is by teaching brains all the same, but differently from all other brains. This way one creates a common architecture of the mind, not found in any other group. The best way to do this is by teaching an error.
The principle of deliberately committing errors, so that people can be tribally, religiously, hatefully, or oligarchically, bound together, with their special brains, rules. That’s why racism is so popular!
It rules, because it has not been recognized. If it comes on the radar of the Enlightenment, that will change.
Don’t ask the tribal minded what errors they made, because therein their identity. They will become aggressive, as you start to poke around their brains. Instead reject errors from all and any part. That will hinder the formation of hateful or exploitative groups.