20210614 The place of unthought thoughts.: Page 7 of 15

20210614 The place of unthought thoughts.

Nigel Morris-Cotterill


Today I'm writing about white holes, "The Place of Unthought Thoughts."

This is not unknown unknowns, it's about the things we know about but don't want to know more about, where our quest for understanding reaches the end of our willingness to enquire.

If books, etc. can have "out-takes" this is one of mine, a section that ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak.

This BLOG/cast includes part of my research into suspicion but didn’t find its way into the book or the courses. It is highly relevant as it explains some of the background to the research and some of the thinking that went into the final (for now) product.

Is it correct? I find myself debating it. For sure, I don’t think that those who do not subscribe to the God theory believe in nothing, but I don’t think it’s right to say that they believe in everything. If that was correct, then surely that would leave no room for competing opinions in science, of which there are many, just as there are many competing opinions of what God is. And in saying that I’m working on the assumption that there is one true God – an assumption with which vast numbers of people around the world do not agree with – even when they belong to religions that require acceptance of that argument.

I think he was closer to a truth when he wrote that nonsense and faith are ″the two supreme symbolic assertions of truth.″ That fits perfectly with several of the principles in ″Understanding Suspicion.″

It is here that one hangs over the edge of the white hole, again. Why do people assert as truth that which they cannot possibly prove? Why do people claim that only their view is valid, and are prepared to commit atrocities to prevent contrary opinions?

In your mental diagram, the shape of the white hole is not a circle. It follows that, if we are to apply language correctly, there can be no diametrically-opposed views because only circles have diameters nor, even, polarisation because it is not a sphere (obviously: it’s flat). Or is it? During my research I came across a website that says that a rectangle has a diameter. Then it takes a while to say that what it’s really talking about is the diagonal from corner to corner and if you want to measure that you use trigonometry to calculate that the square on the hypotenuse equals the square of the other two sides. That’s by Pythagoras by the way and there’s a formula. I failed to find anyone else claiming that a rectangle has a diameter: all the others I found properly called it the diagonal. Again, precision in language is a fundamental issue that we have to deal with when thinking about financial crime risk and compliance.

But before we move on from this let’s take a moment to consider how credible we would consider a person who posts a lesson called ″how to find the diagonal length of a rectangle?″

The right words are there but they are in the wrong order turning a potentially sensible statement into utter nonsense. So, given that as the headline, would you consider the post to be reliable? In the three years since it was posted, some 110,000 people have watched it. Here’s the thing that fascinated me: the text that accompanies the video says ″What does it mean to find the diagonal of a rectangle? Generally, finding the diagonal of a rectangle means to find the length of the rectangle diagonal. In this video we go over how to do just that. We find the diagonal length of a rectangle, and mention the rectangle diagonal.″ It’s almost like a machine translation – vocabulary without context. The voiceover, in the first ten seconds, gets it right. What happens after that? Dunno. I spotted a video about cooking eggs that looked more interesting (but wasn’t despite having had more than six million views in the exactly one month since it was uploaded. That’s hugely impressive).

The danger of the white hole is that there is so much stuff swirling around that it’s easy to become distracted.