Favorite Audio Logs From The Witness, Part 2

Image result for The Witness Audio Logs

How’s it going, fellow sandcastles makers?  Last week I introduced a post featuring some of my favorite audio logs from The Witness.  This is a continuation of a weekly series featuring some of the best audio log quotes (the first part can be found here).

Image result for The Witness Audio Logs

To quickly recap, The Witness featured various audio logs scattered around the island.  These audio logs went deep into ideas of science, religion, philosophy, and other complex topics.  From the idea of time to life in general, each audio log went deeper into these concepts.  With that, lets dive back into some more memorable audio logs:

Audio Log #1: Humor

Image result for Arthur Eddington 1927

We have two kinds of knowledge which I call symbolic and intimate.  I do not know whether it would be correct to say that reasoning is only applicable to symbolic knowledge, but the more customary forms of reasoning have been developed for symbolic knowledge only.  The intimate knowledge will not submit to codification and analysis, or, rather, when we attempt to analyse it the intimacy is lost and replaced by symbolism.  For an illustration let us consider Humour.  I suppose that humour can be analysed to some extent and the essential ingredients of the different kinds of wit classified.  Suppose that we are offered an alleged joke.  We subject it to scientific analysis as we would a chemical salt of doubtful nature, and perhaps after careful consideration we are able to confirm that it really and truly is a joke.  Logically, I suppose, our next procedure would be to laugh.  But it may certainly be predicted that as the result of this scrutiny we shall have lost all inclination we ever had to laugh at it.  It simply does not do to expose the workings of a joke.  The classification concerns a symbolic knowledge of humour which preserves all the characteristics of a joke except its laughableness.  The real appreciation must come spontaneously, not introspectively.  I think this is a not unfair analogy for our mystical feeling for Nature, and I would venture even to apply it to our mystical experience of God.  There are some to whom the sense of a divine presence irradiating the soul is one of the most obvious things of experience.  In their view, a man without this sense is to be regarded as we regard a man without a sense of humour.  The absence is a kind of mental deficiency.  We may try to analyse the experience as we analyse humour, and construct a theology, or it may be an atheistic philosophy…But let us not forget that the theology is symbolic knowledge, whereas the experience is intimate knowledge.  And as laughter cannot be compelled by the scientific exposition of the structure of a joke, so a philosophic discussion of the attributes of God (or an impersonal substitute) is likely to miss the intimate response of the spirit which is the central point of the religious experience.

~ Arthur Eddington, 1927

Audio Log #2: Silence

Image result for Gangaji

When we choose silence, we choose to give up the reasons not to love, which are the reasons for going to war, or continuing war, or separating, or being a victim, or being right.  In a moment of silence, in a moment of no thought, no mind, we choose to give those up.  This is what my teacher invited me to.  Just choose silence. Don’t even choose love.  Choose silence, and love is apparent.  If we choose love we already have an idea of what love is.  But if you choose silence, that is the end of ideas.  You are willing to have no idea, to see what is present when there is no idea, past, present, future.  No idea of love, no idea of truth, no idea of you, no idea of me. Love is apparent.

~ Gangaji, 2009

Audio Log #3: Autonomy

Image result for B.F. Skinner

In the traditional view a person is free.  He is autonomous in the sense that his behavior is uncaused…That view, together with its associated practices, must be re-examined when a scientific analysis reveals unexpected controlling relations between behaviour and environment….By questioning the control exercised by autonomous man and demonstrating the control exercised by the environment, a science of behavior also seems to question dignity or worth.  A person is responsible for his behavior, not only in the sense that he may be justly blamed or punished when he behaves badly, but also in the sense that he is to be given credit and admired for his achievements.  A scientific analysis shifts the credit as well as the blame to the environment, and traditional practices can then no longer be justified.  These are sweeping changes, and those who are committed to traditional theories and practices naturally resist them….As the emphasis shifts to the environment, the individual seems to be exposed to a new kind of danger.  Who is to construct the controlling environment and to what end?  Autonomous man presumably controls himself in accordance with a built-in set of values; he works for what he finds good.  But what will the putative controller find good, and will it be good for those he controls?  Answers to questions of this sort are said, of course, to call for value judgements.

~ B.F. Skinner, 1971


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