Teleology - 2

1. About clairvoyance.
Personally, I have no experience of anything of that nature. But some people recount having experiences, which in retrospect seem to indicate that, on occasion, they are able to feel what is going to happen in the future. I think many respectable people beleive that there is some truth in it and that it isn't possible to explain it all away. On the other hand, I think I am not alone in assuming that false pretence of having that kind of power is much used for commercial reasons. Surely there is a lot of 'bogus' going on. But lets disregard that aspect and discuss it with respect to physics theory. Clairvoyance does not fundamentally violate the laws of physics, provided that the faculty of being able to predict future events cannot be used systematically as would be the case if there wasn't any uncertainty in the predictions. And this appears not to be the case, since otherwise it would certainly have been put to use in science and technology. How could they resist the temptation to use it when they have put most scientific knowledge to use in every possible manner, legitimate or illegitimate. Therefore, clairvoyance, if it exists, is probably a fragile and elusive quality. I will now speculate about it in relation to the concept of teleology. The idea that the future acts back on the present in a nontrivial manner. What if clairvoyance is an example of just that? That the future really acts back on us and that some of us have the sensibility/sensitivity to receive that kind information. Note that if time doesn't exist on some fundamental level there isn't necessarily a temporal process involved. It is more like a potential parallell reality brought into contact with us without allowing us to use it in any nontrivial scientific manner. Maybe people who would be well-prepared to use that kind of information in a scientific manner would not have that kind of sensitivity. Not because it would be immoral but because it would violate causality, the laws of physics. Perhaps it would be in kind with the disturbance introduced by the measurement process in quantum mechanics. It isn't obvious at all that the mentioned kind of sensitivity would automatically violate causality. But if such a sensitivity could be made very reproducible and reliable, there ought to be cases when paradoxical consequencies might arise. Anyway, if a person sees a potential future event, and this leads the person to act in such a way that unfavorable consequences are avoided, how should that be understood? I speculate that this would be an example of a selection principle by which some potential and interesting futures are being endangered by the ways things evolve and that a person with the sensitivity would sense the attraction from those futures. It would be a struggle for life of not yet realised futures. And a cry for help from the future. The cry for help could come from the person herself. That would be a particularly simple case. The person would sense that she was in danger and it would be an evolutionary advantage to have that kind of sensitivity. But I beleive there are many other examples when the clairvoyance is not of that simple type.

2. Do we only think we think?
An entirely different example of speculation about teleology can be obtained from the field of psychology. A spanish researcher made an important, but, to my knowledge, not often discussed discovery in the 1970s. Using a simple but very ingenious method of measurement, he was able to prove, (as I would describe it), that our voluntary decisions are made before, we become aware of having a choice, ie, in the cases he studied, there is no such thing as a conscious decision.
The danish journalist Tor Nørretranders has written very interestingly about it.
I wasn't sure about the title and made a quick search finding this information.

  • swedish title: NØRRETRANDERS, TOR, Märk världen, En bok om vetenskap och intuition , Bonnier Alba 1993
    ISBN: 91-34-51312-4

    (I hope the following are the english and german titles of the same book ) :
  • english title, Tor Norretranders, The User Illusion :Cutting Consciousness Down to Size
    ISBN: 0-7139-9182-8 (London)  0-670-87579-1 (New York)
  • german title:Tor Norretranders, Spüre die Welt ISBN 3-499-60251
As I remember it, he explained the mentioned experiments and made some interesting observations regarding the difference between different religious traditions with respect to these things.

I like to add to that discussion by suggesting that there may be a teleological phenomenon involved. I am not at all foreign to criticism of such a suggestion. Maybe it's a silly idea. But lets formulate it just the same: The idea is that, despite the seemingly very strong evidence to the contrary in the above-mentioned experiments, maybe we do have a conscious awareness, to some extent corresponding to the intuitive idea (the old idea), only the temporal order of things is reversed, in some way. I deliberately avoid to make it clearer. Obviously because I don't know how. It's just a hunch. Take it or leave it. It means, if taken seriously, that in some way and on some level, the temporal order of things is ambiguous. There is perhaps a kind of duplex communication with the future. In particular with the very near future. It is a necessity that this doesn't violate causality. Therefore there must be uncertainty. No sharp contours. Maybe the temporal ambiguity comes about because we are dealing with parallell worlds for which temporal ordering is inherently ambiguous. Perhaps physics theory is in need for a clarification or an extension in order to handle interactions of parallell worlds. For instance, if the temporal uncertainty is infinite or very large it could mean that the energy uncertainty is so small that there is some kind of merging of parallell worlds, making it possible to swap among those worlds. Maybe clairvoyance is connected with that kind of swapping.

3. Population control
If the idea of teleology is taken seriously, it would have implications regarding most everything of importance to us humans. Very complex considerations would emerge. Such as the problem of ethnical conflicts. Due to the regenerative quality of sexual propagation, such conflicts are likely to give rise to stronger teleological effects. This would be more intuitively clear if it was a matter of a conflict between two different clones, rather than the less distinct groupings based on ethnicity. However, the objective differences may be much less important than those perceived. Even if, in the final analysis, the importance of teleology would be downplayed, it might still make sense to use it. One could view teleology as a way to add a kind of boundary conditions to the analysis. Such conditions are a necessity in many branches of technology and are used routinely there. In economy this is not the case to the same extent. Since economy depends to a very high degree on expectancy, on perceived phenomena, rather than on completely objective data the expected future as well as the actually realised future are very important. The boundary conditions added by teleology would seem strange. Presently nonexisting, hypothetical future states would actively affect the present conditions. I challenge the reader to free your imagination and try it. Allow yourself to be inspired by the idea that a future state that you would like to happen exists out there potentially. How should you act now in order to increase the probability that it actually happens. And the other way round in the case of things that you don't want to happen. And when taking the point of departure in the future, how do you think that future would act back to the present? What observations of the present reveals the potential future, that you would like to see happen and what are the signs in the present of a potentially threatening future.
People who beleive that they are helped by praying, might find it interesting to consider teleology in connection with religious beleifs and prayers. By thinking about the future as an active ingredient of the present, rather than a passive consequence. Wouldn't it seem to be in accordance with modern values that religions would compete to improve the average successrate of prayers?

In talking about religions, I want to comment on the role played by religious autorities regarding contraceptives and abortion. Two very different topics, for sure, but both related to our global numerary. I lack a responsible foresight on the part of these religious authorities. Where do they figure all these people are going to live, if they continue to create offspring at the present rate?
If teleology does make sense, this kind of struggle on the part of religous people fits into the picture. They are defending future realities, potential to us, but maybe just as living as any of us in some higher context that we presently don't understand.
If, as I have suggested elsewhere, the criterion for selecting one particular potential future over another, is that the winner is the more interesting one, then maybe we shouldn't worry. In time the future is going to signal back to us and give us new instructions that will make us hold back our fertility, should it be the appropriate thing to do.
To make things simpler I will disregard both such teleological aspects as well as the option of colonizing the universe.
Therefore in the discussion following I will indeed worry.
The problem of overpopulation has been debated for centuries, but in our days, with the enormous consumption of natural resources, it seems that there are very good reasons for not being overenthusiastic about the exponential growth of the global population.
There ought to be a complete program for how these things are going to be organized before people are prevented from controlling the birthrates. I wish journalists would challenge these religious people to come up with such a responsible program and not let them get away with any muddled thinking. Demand that they can convincingly defend their position, when considering the earths limited resources.
The struggle for territory has always been a major reason for war and ethnic conflicts. And this isn't going to be any better as we increasingly stake out ground for buildings and leave a decreasing percentage of land available for plant-life. I wish to stress that exponential growth is completely unsustainable here on earth and the most likely thing to happen is that there will be massdeaths. Either through starvation or diseases (naturally occurring or manmade) or through (other) weapons of mass destruction. There is talk of ethnical weapons, based on the differences in the genetic setup of different groups of people. You only have to think of the different genes for colour of skin to realise that there are objective ways to selectively target different ethnic groups, using advanced genetic engineering. I suspect that such weapons are being vigorously researched in secret scientific military programs. In addition, there is, as is often the case in connection with secret weapons technology, deliberate(?) disinformation circulating and tending to deny that ethnicity can be used in that way. Some of the disinformation is so misleading that I find it necessary to warn people not to underestimate the dangers connected with genetically engineered weapons.
The idea that the world population should be controlled by such means seems abhorrent to many but that doesn't mean that those who have access to that kind of technology take the same view.
In order to create a responsible program for the future it is necessary to be open to a worst-case analysis complementary to more optimistic scenarios regarding the consequences of the increasing global population. A worst case analysis regarding those consequences might make it easier to guess at the secret strategies contemplated by the military scientific establishments mentioned above. And to have some realistic idea of what the maximum size as well as the optimum size of the global population would be. And if these two numbers differ greatly it might be worth seriously reconsidering our present casual attitude. Further there is, I beleive, some reason to debate, how these numbers, optimum or maximum, should be divided into different subgroups. On what grounds should one define a subgroup? I leave that question open, because I don't know exactly what to think. But I suspect that the relative numerary of different perceived groupings of people will be an issue. (And I might add, maybe already is an issue of great significance, explaining some of the mass deaths in Africa although there is no certain information about it available to me.) Objectively and scientifically, how should the limited number of carriers of genes ( us humans) be divided among the genes, ie how many instances of each gene should be given priority with respect to other genes? (Ethnicity doesn't offer the same objective selection criterion.)

- - - - Perhaps to be updated

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