Identifying and Creating Concepts - Transcript

Identifying and Creating Concepts

[0:00] All right, so another question that came out of Locals was, how do you accurately identify and create concepts?
Great question. One of my favorite questions, it's actually what I did very early.
The very first show I ever did with video was defining concepts, where concepts come from, and so on.
So it's a great question, very, very important.
So with operations of the mind, it's very important to distinguish between creation and identification.
So creation is something new. If you paint some fantastical robot for the News of the World album cover or something, that's not a thing that exists. You're creating it.
Whereas if you are identifying something, then you are abstracting the essence of what already is.
The creation versus identification now concepts originate from not creation but identification right so children have imaginary friends we know they're not real because they're not empirical so we start by extracting concepts from what is and it's also important to understand the difference between an automatic and a willed process.

Automatic and Willed Process of Concept Formation

[1:25] So, concepts describe two operations of the mind, one we share with animals and one we don't.
The one we share with animals, of course, is that animals also are able to accurately identify the essence of things and act accordingly, right?
A lion doesn't hunt a tree and zebras don't attempt to gnaw on clouds, right?
They They accurately identify the animal and the grass as the source of its food, respectively, and so on.
So animals are able to accurately identify the essence of things, but not define those things.
A lion knows the difference between a zebra and a tree, but the lion cannot classify those things in a conceptual way that can be communicated.
I mean, language, of course, is concept, right? Right.
Every every piece of language is a concept because language describes that which is in reality.
It is not the thing itself. Right. So the word tree is not a tree.
You can't eat the word food. You can't have sex with the word vagina.
And so every language, every morpheme, every scrap of language is a concept, at least human language with words.
I'm not talking about like soundless cries from babies or whale songs, although they may be communicating things, but probably not concepts. Right.

[2:41] So, things have their essence, and animals are able to accurately identify the essence of things, but they're not able to describe in abstract terms the essence of those things.
In other words, they can identify, they cannot classify.
So, animals know hierarchy, but they don't know the term hierarchy, the concept hierarchy.
Rocky animals know what is alive but they don't have a conceptual difference of various species they can't do it an evolutionary tree or anything like that right so all animals identify essence but human beings do the twofer we identify the essence of the essence right so we identify mammals but we also identify the essence of the mammal called the concept mammal i know this is It's kind of tough stuff to do with language, but we'll get through it.
And it's really, really important stuff. Really important stuff.
So we double essence, right? All animals know the essence of things.
And, you know, does it go down to protozoa? I don't know.
But we can just talk about relatively higher multicellular animals, right?

[3:57] The seagull needs to know the difference between an egg and a rock, right? Even the hermit crab doesn't try and crawl inside a shrub or a rock or something, right?
So all animals need to be able to identify the essence of things and act accordingly, but human beings can define the essence of that essence in conceptual terms, right?
Animals know the difference between alive and not alive, but they can't describe the essence of being alive, right?
The properties of being alive, like motion, reproduction, consumption, excretion, all that kind of stuff, right?
When animals get sick, they can't identify a virus, right? So we understand that. So human beings can do the essence of the essence.
Now we start with the essence like the animal.
I mean, even a baby has the instinct to turn its head and suck on a nipple if the nipple brushes its cheek or anything, brushes its cheek for that matter.
And so, babies are able to determine the essence of good for me, not good for me, positive or negative, healthy or unhealthy, based upon contentment or laughter or crying or so on, right?
Babies can even know the difference between the unsatisfaction of ones that are possible.

Babies Discover Essence, Words Are the Essence of Essence

[5:13] And the unsatisfaction of ones that are impossible. Babies will cry if they're proximate to something they can't get to, but not if it's out of sight, out of mind kind of thing.
So babies start with essence, as all animals do. And babies, you'd be shocked at how rapidly they do this, but babies then go to the essence of the essence.
My daughter, when she was very young, much less than a year old, looked at her elbow, and I said elbow, and she said elbow.
Ebo, ebo, as she said, right? My wife kept a list of all the words she knew at various points in her life, and it really, it's incredible.
It's like this wild mind virus of language. It just cooks everywhere. It's just amazing.

[5:52] So, human beings very quickly understand that words are the essence of the essence.

[6:00] Words are the labels on the thing things like i remember i loved these books and i never could quite figure out why but i loved these books as a kid richard scary books i don't know if they're even popular at all anymore but it was you know cute little drawings of pictures and places and people and things and and so on and they had labels right and this was a way of teaching people the essence of the essence so you look at an image of the thing a little little cute picture of a a person and the reason why i think it's cute for children and the reason why dr seuss although no dr seuss is like a mental illness and a brain virus and dr dr seuss has always struck me as extraordinarily creepy and weird and nasty and you know it's it's just not good for me you know maybe i'll sort of dig into why but i always really veered away from the dr seuss stuff i thought that cat was weird the people were weird they didn't look human they're like half rodents with pig noses like it's just freaky weird drug trip gross brain corrupting nonsense i i i can't even tell you how much i veered away from and like if somebody put a dr seuss book in my hand i'd throw it to one side as a kid it was just nasty but the richard scary books were great not scary scary, not scary.

Richard Scarry Books: Simplifying and Communicating Essence

[7:20] And so you look at a Richard Scarry, and he's taken away the unimportant.

[7:27] Details, right? He's taken away the unimportant detail.
They were pictures of guys, and they were pictures of men, and animals, and places, and so on.
And all the unimportant details were taken away.

[7:41] And the reason why kids' drawings tend to be more simplistic is because they're taking away the unimportant details.
So, of course, Richard Scarry had fairly simply drawn people with arms, legs, hats, and heads, and so on.
Firemen and policemen and so on. And he took away the inconsequential details, which is why children prefer drawings to photos, because the photos have inconsequential details.
A man is a man. A man is a man.
A man is a man, whether he has that Kirk Douglas dimple on his cheek or not. A man is a man.
And so a photograph has too many details and doesn't provide the concepts.
The simplistic drawings for children are the essence of the thing that you're looking at without inconsequential details.
A lion doesn't look at a zebra and say, whoa, those stripes are not identical to the first zebra I ever saw.
And therefore, I don't know what that thing is, right?
He says, oh, zebras have stripes. The details of the stripes don't matter, right?
The details of the stripes don't matter. They have stripes. stripes.
And that's what matters. That's what counts.
So by making pictures, and you can see this even in cave paintings from tens of thousands of years ago, you are getting the essence of the essence and communicating it to others, right?

Discovering Essence vs Inventing Language

[9:11] If you, I mean, you have an advantage as a hunter if you can practice before the real thing.
Like if you're a kid hunter and you can practice hunting or know what you're hunting before you actually see the thing, that's an advantage.
You'll get a couple of more successful hunts or kills out of that.
Which is why I assume that the cave paintings of hunting were there to teach children about hunting, so the children would be better prepared when they went out and wouldn't scare away the game by being confused or would know to throw at the right thing, right?
Throw the spear at the right thing, so. So human beings do the essence of the essence.
Now, the first round essence, which is what the animals do, is involuntary.
And it is discovered, not invented.
Does that make sense? Right? A baby and a toddler are discovering their world.
It's an automatic process prior to language, right? Language is not automatic.
We have a facility for it, but it's not automatic as we know because the words are different for each language, right?

[10:08] So babies have the process of discovery and they discover the essence of things, which is why when a kid knows that chocolate tastes good and they see another piece of chocolate, they don't say, what the hell is that, right?
They know it's a piece of chocolate and they'll try and get a hold of it.

[10:25] So the essence of the things in the environment, the essential aspects with the discarding of the superficial differences right this is Aristotelian 101 right essentials and superficials right the essence and the instance of the essence and if you see the first time you see a bald man or maybe even a bald woman you don't say what on earth is that right you say that's a bald woman or whatever right so when I shaved my head head. I worked in a daycare and I shaved my head.
And the very little kid who I was friends with at the daycare looked at me coming in and he said, grow it back.
He didn't say, who are you, stranger danger, right? He knew it was me without hair.
And he wanted me to have the hair back so I'd be more familiar, but he didn't sort of look at me and say, what the hell is that? What is that egg man?

[11:19] So it is a process of discovery that is automatic, hardwired into our neurological and sense-based system, the discovery of essence is automatic.
The invention of language is not automatic.
Well, but language is first discovered, right? Because, but it's discovered because it was invented, right?
So human beings don't invent rocks, but human beings do invent the word rock.
But a baby discovers rocks, which weren't invented by human beings, and then also discovers language, which was invented by human beings.

[11:56] So discovering that which was not invented by human beings is essence-based, and that's all animals do.
But discovering empirically objective words for real objects for the baby, the word tree means tree.
And I remember my daughter's phase when we would buy her little stuffed animals and she'd come up with names for them.
She named them for things she could see. right like you know the old story about the indigenous population of north america that they would name their babies after what they saw when they after the baby was first born my daughter named one of her stuffed snakes a tree she named one of her stuff other stuffed animals window she she was she knew that language applied to things but she could not invent her own names because the language remained empirical not created so although it was created by other humans it's empirical to her and as fact-based as the essence of the things that she was discovering in the world.
So the word tree was as empirical and fact-based as the sense data called tree that the word applied to or was attached to or described.

[13:02] But of course, we know that it's a living language, language is invented, and there's no essential reason in reality why black is the word black and not noir in French, right?
Or blanc is white in French, right? It refers to the same same thing.
And entire languages like Elvish, Klingon, Esperanto have been invented.
So children go through the process, automatic process of discovering the essence.
And then they go through a language process of discovering that which is already discovered.
And then the last stage is they go through the process of creating that which is neither empirical empirical, nor discovered by others.
So this is when children start making up their own stories, they start making up their own games.
My daughter, of course, like most kids who are bright, started creating her own language, and then she started writing her own stories, she animated her own movies, so she is now creating new things out of empirical things.

[14:03] The new things are the new words, the new scenarios, the new characters, the new language, the new dialogue the new scenes that she's creating out of other things so there is the automatic discovery of the sense-based empiricism of the natural world that which you experience without language like animals do then there is the discovery of empirical language which unlike reality is created by humans and is not inherited from evolution antiquity geology physics nature nature, biology, whatever you want to say, like the pre-existing world.
Now, she realizes that she cannot create things, but she can create ideas.
And this is where ideas fly free of things.

[14:52] So my daughter can create her stories, and she can create characters and scenarios and dialogue and movies and animation.
She can create that, but she can't create people.
She can draw a dragon. She cannot create a dragon.
I mean, you can say, well, she can have babies later on, but, you know, as a kid, right?
So she learns that creativity exists in the realm of ideas, thoughts, and arguments. it does not exist in the realm of reality.

Imagination and Distortion of Reality

[15:24] She can imagine things that are not in reality, but they tend to be an amalgam of things that are in reality.
So, of course, a dragon is a giant lizard with the wings of a bat or a bird or something like that.
So, she's taking things in reality, reassembling them into new patterns and distorting their actual measurements, right? right?
A centaur is a human being plus a horse, right?
Does it wear its pants on the hind legs or the forelegs? Nobody knows the troubles I've seen.
So that process of moving from automatic empirical to willed empirical, right, from things to language.
Now there's no willed empirical. she can't will the creation of things in the real world she can't create rocks or dragons or walls by language but there is the willed non-empirical which is language right she can create stories and consume stories, but she can't create and consume things you can't will something into existence and then consume it you can't snap your fingers have a sandwich appear before you out of nothing and then eat it right.

[16:38] She learns that the second essence right concept the essence squared right the essence of the essence the concept is derived from the essence but the cuff the the concept is larger than the essence the concepts are larger than the things we can of course imagine that higher forms of animals may have grunts and sounds that indicate things right pass me the banana could be something something that chimps grunt to each other.

Empathy and Pointing as a Form of Communication

[17:07] I don't know if that's been studied or confirmed, but I assume there's something similar to that.
Although I think only animals, I think only human beings, when you point at something, don't look at your hand, but look at what you're pointing at.
There's a sort of basic form of empathy trying to get inside your mind to look at what you're looking at.

Concepts that outstrip things and give advantage

[17:24] So we have evolved that concepts come from things, but concepts can outstrip things, can be larger than things. Concepts can describe things that don't exist.
Concepts can describe things that don't exist.
Now, one of the reasons that we have developed this ability is because it gives a significant wealth and martial advantage.
So, for instance, the concept of property rights doesn't really exist for animals.
I know there's territory and so on, but the concept of property rights doesn't exist for animals. animals, if human beings accept property rights, they flourish.
Because human beings then will work much harder to expand and extend the value of the property they have, right?
Like if you own your own land, then you'll work much harder at producing food than if your land is held in common, right?
It's sort of the pilgrims found, and the Quakers found, and the Calvinists found when they first came to America, right?
And they held the land in common, starved to death, put put the land in private property and.

[18:31] They ate. The other thing, of course, is that if you can convince a slave that he is lesser than you, and you can break his spirit and his will by overwhelming him with concepts of inferiority, then it's much cheaper to own him.
And if you expend fewer resources owning slaves, you have more resources available for wealth and for swords and armor and food for your troops and and so on, right?
So, if you can convince people that they are inferior, which is not empirical, right?
Just because you lose a war doesn't mean you're fundamentally or substantially inferior.

Concepts of superiority and inferiority for controlling slaves

[19:07] So, if you can convince your slaves that you own them, they're inferior, then, and you break their will and their spirit using concepts of victory and honor and dominance and superiority and so on.
So, if you can convince slaves or subjects or your harem that you are superior, they are inferior, and you break their will and their spirit, their spirit and will together, you break their will and their spirit, then it's cheaper to own your slaves.
I mean, the fact that there's 90% of the population in some places were slaves, well, the 90% could very easily overthrow everyone else unless they're broken in spirit, which requires concepts of superiority, inferiority, and so on, right?

[19:52] And so we develop concepts that go on beyond the material, right?
Like, if I lose a tennis match to someone, if ever, no, if I lose a tennis match to someone, that doesn't mean I'm inferior.

[20:08] I mean, we could say if I consistently lose to someone, I'm an inferior tennis player.
Fair enough, right? But I'm not an inferior person because I could be much more virtuous.
I could be a wealthier. I could be better at every other sport known to man.
I could have whatever, right? A happier marriage. I could be a better parent.
So universal inferiority is a concept not derived from empiricism, but if it gets applied to a subjected group of people, slaves, serfs, and so on, then they're cheaper to own and maintain, and you have an evolutionary advantage.
It's tough to conquer other lands and other people if most of your resources are spent controlling endless rebellions from your own slaves.
So you have to create superiority and inferiority and break their will and their spirit.
And of course, this is not exactly a practice that didn't make it through to modern times.
So there's an evolutionary advantage, both in terms of productivity through property rights, which are a concept not in nature, and inferiority, superiority, which is not in nature.

[21:09] You get more wealth through property rights, and you have to apply less wealth to the control of your slaves if you have the ability to derive and inflict concepts beyond the sense data and the material, right?
Which is why the king has to convince his subjects that obeying the king is the same as obeying God, and the God will give them a reward in heaven.
That makes it far cheaper to maintain your subjects, your citizens, your serfs, your slaves.
And this may be, to some degree, to the benefit of even them.

[21:49] Because if they rebel, maybe they end up with the American Revolution, but most often you would end up with the French Revolution, which would, you know, be pretty negative, as you could sort of listen to more of this if you want in my presentation on the French Revolution, which you can get at if you subscribe, which I would appreciate if you did, and if you could do that, I would be very grateful.
So there's an evolutionary advantage to going beyond the first essence of things automatic to the second essence of things, which is language.
Language which is confined only to that which is can never inflict abstract concepts like subjugation, can never have abstract concepts like justice or property rights or virtue and so on, right?
Responsibility and obligation and so on. So it's a great tool for growing wealth and subjugating the masses, and those which advanced in this generally tended to do better in expanding and controlling the masses and producing wealth.
Carthage versus Rome, of course, is a big example of that, the trade versus the martial city.

[22:53] And even the concept of the law, right? The law and justice and innocence and guilt and so on, and punishment, tends to reduce blood feuds, which allows for the more stable generation of rules within society, right?
So, in terms of concepts, understanding these differentiations and distinctions, right?
The automatic development of the essence, which is sense-based, we share with the animals, to the willed learning of concepts that are empirical both in terms of language and the things it describes to that which is not just discovered but invented and there's two forms of invention one is long-term like language which is collective and the other is individual like individual story so stephen king writes a story he's invented that story but he's invented that story using language that was invented by many many other people he's just rearranged it in a a form that is both horrifying and pleasing to a lot of masochists i guess so i hope that helps.

[23:55] Delineate the way that concepts work and they're just immensely powerful and of course like all things that are immensely powerful they have good and bad aspects to them right they they can like a knife right you can use it to get food or you can use it to stab a guy so this is the power of them and what makes them so unique to humanity.
So I hope that helps. Thank you so much, of course, for your support. slash donate.
Lots of love. Take care, my friends. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

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May 2024

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