Montréal, February 12, 2000
There is a price to pay for participation when you marry in to western society, and it is that if you ever get access to the microphone when you have the full attention of the global commons, ... you must constrain yourself to politically correct remarks. This is doubly true for scientists whose ideas about 'the way the world works' could threaten to destabilize some of the profitable avenues of the commercial establishment, which fund the science and technology establishment. Scientists learn very quickly that one must not bite the hand that feeds it without paying the price; ... just ask Professor Duesberg (HIV-AIDS politically incorrect views) and Arpad Pusztai (Biotechnology politically incorrect views), ... or better still, visit their websites. They serve as a reminder of the stark facts of our relationship with global commerce, ... as soon as we are married to it, we are devoiced.
Now there is no problem with us common citizens spouting off about global economy- driven insanity in the world today, ... which sees human beings as a consumable resource for fuelling the economy. The media will neither 'hang on' to our words nor retain them and make an issue of them to the point that something will be done.
Because the media is also married and devoiced.
Meanwhile, media personalities editorialize about the madness of our times on a routine basis, ... and there's no problem, ... it's easy, just as smokers say about quitting their addiction, ... 'it's easy to quit, I do it all the time'. And so do the media editors, ... once a day, or once a week, ... but in between times, they are sucking away, like the commited smokers.
Are we seeing editors refuse their sponsors advertising because they all clearly embrace practices which are in conflict with the views of the editorials, or is it the media managers who reserve the right to do this? Does the signpainter suspend the use of the troublesome ladder he must stand on to do his work, when it is the only ladder available?
Marshall McLuhan was deeply insightful on issues of commercial control of the media and his comments in 'Understanding Media', back in 1965, didn't beat about the bush;
"Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly."
And, of course, there are many 'Mc-Lunatics', like Ivan Illich, the more courageous journalists, the bulk of 'people on the ground' and myself, who believe with McCluhan, that 'silence is a commons', a unique resource which must be treated with respect, and that includes preventing its pollution by overamplifying the voices of self-interested parties so as to obscure our own possibility space, ... a pollution which presents us instead, with a far narrower list of commerce influenced, artificial options.
As Federico Mayor, the Director General of UNESCO puts it, by citing José Goytisolo in the opening to his letter of promises to future generations; (http://www.unesco.org/drg/lettres/TextFrancais/MayorF.html)
Je comprends que cette douleur te blesse
mais ne pleure pas : chante. Ton meilleur témoignage
est une voix dans l'air et non ce grand bruit
qui ne permet pas de parler et finit par empêcher
de penser aussi à ce qui est en train de se produire.
José Agustín Goytisolo, " La voix et la parole "
I understand how this suffering wounds you
but don't cry : sing. Your best way to give testimony
is a voice in the air, and not this loud noise
which suppresses dialogue and which ultimately
prevents us from thinking about what is really happening
José Agustín Goytisolo, "Voice and word" ]
Well said José and Federico. By all means, ... the commons of silence needs to be restored to the people and to be rehabilitated so that we can once again share our collective positivism, .... but have you, also, noticed some kind of valving being put onto our atmospherics lately? I received a copy of the following on Friday, February 4, 2000;
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Subject: NPR, PBS & NEA Funding Petition
On NPR's Morning Edition last week, Nina Tottenberg said that if the Supreme Court supports Congress, it is in effect the end of the National Public Radio (NPR), NEA & the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).
PBS, NPR and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding. In spite of the efforts of each station to reduce spending costs and streamline their services, some government officials believe that the funding currently going to these programs is too large a portion of funding for something which is seen as not worthwhile. Currently, taxes from the general public for PBS equal $1.12 per person per year, and the National Endowment for the Arts equals $. 64 a year. A January 1995 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll indicated that 76% of Americans wish to keep funding for PBS, third only to national defense and law enforcement as the most valuable programs for federal funding.
The Senate and House appropriations committees each have 13 subcommittees with jurisdiction over many programs and agencies. Each subcommittee passes its own appropriation bill. The goal each year is to have each bill signed by the beginning of the fiscal year, which is October 1. The only way that our representatives can be aware of the base of support for PBS and funding for these types of programs is by making our voices heard. Please add your name to this list and forward it to friends who believe in what this stands for. This list will be forwarded to the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States.
This petition is being passed around the Internet. Please add your name to it so that funding can be maintained for the NEA, NPR & PBS.
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Now if I were an accountant, I would tally things up a little bit differently. For example, what is the cost of an education and the value of a life experience? Are these not items which are being regularly consumed by commercial enterprises? Is this not 'publicly funded program' which is far in excess of $1.12 per person per year,... a program paid for in trust by the public to commercial corporations? Where does the balance sheet stand on this?, ... where is the payback in downsizings? Should the public not demand compensation for the corporate consumption of human resources at the time such resources are strip-mined and dumped back out on the slag heap? Should there not be a program for sustaining community which ascribes value to public investment in education and experience, so as to promote a 'human-as-ends, wealth-as-means' corporate ethic and which would suppress the strip-mining of 'human resources' by requiring the posting of bonds for restoring the human landscape in the event that it is thoughtlessly exploited by commercial enterprise?
Are our legislators also standing on the ladder of global commerce? Is this what was going on in Seattle last December 1st?
A local participant, Henri Massé, President of the Federation of Workers of Quebec, said "Our message was drowned out in the brouhaha". Henri, who had marched for four hours with more than thirty thousand other unionists who had come in from all corners of the globe to defend the rights of workers, did not appreciate being served with a 'fuck you' by a police officer, in the process of exercising the right to a free expression of views.
So how will the message of the 'man on the street' be heard above ever-loudening noise levels in the 'commons of silence', ... when our editorials are interrupted to make way for commercials advertising what our editorials are protesting?
The answer to this question, it seems, leads back to the very fundamentals of our community management and regulatory practice, and these fundamentals, in our science & technology oriented society, come from, ... where else?, ... from science. Science increasingly plays the role of religion in our culture, provisioning us with doctrines of system management, and blessing or not blessing the practices of commercial corporations and blessing or not blessing their products. Science, ... traditional science that is, since Aristotle's bivalent ways are still in the primacy of mainstream science, ... operates as a hierarchy, as the Church does, ... where the religious orders are called 'disciplines', and where the highest of the high priests are domiciled in the discipline of physics.
It is in these high priesthoods, informal to be sure, where the buck stops as to what kinds of issues amongst the innumerable candidate issues which keep cropping up in our complex society, are legitimate issues to hang on to and explore. This priesthood has been termed 'the third culture', by John Brockman in his book 'The Third Culture: Beyond The Scientific Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 1995)' --- "... a book that is not an anthology, nor an overview, but an oral history of a living document of a dynamical emergent system, a celebration of the ideas of third culture thinkers who are defining the interesting and important questions of our times. In The Third Culture they communicate their thoughts to the public and to one another. It is an exhibition of this new community of intellectuals in action."
One immediately recognizes a kind of one-sided or closed system geometry in this description, ... implicit in the statement '... they communicate their thoughts to the public and to one another'. Unlike the management of the 'commons of silence' amongst the native north americans, where circles of open sharing are maintained so that members of the community can tune in to the full possibility space as seen by the 'man on the ground' collective and so select the issues of the day, ... our science-oriented management of the commons involves a ping-ponging between the media and and elitist 'third culture'. Of the innumerable issues proposed for feature treatment in the media, ... only those questions which resonate with the third culture will be held in the spotlight while many other, arguably more deserving candidates proposed from street level, ... will be frequently 'strobed' to keep the natives from growing restless, but effectively left in the dark.
So who, in Brockman's view, are these people, anyway?
"The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are. ... including;
Paul Davies, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Niles Eldredge, J. Doyne Farmer, Murray Gell-Mann, Brian Goodwin, Stephen Jay Gould, Alan Guth, W. Daniel Hillis, Nicholas Humphrey, Steve Jones, Stuart Kauffman, Christopher Langton, Lynn Margulis, Marvin Minsky, Roger Penrose, Steven Pinker, Martin Rees, Roger Schank, Lee Smolin, Francisco Varela, George C. Williams. "
In order to get a perspective on how this system works, ... we can review a current issue which is begging for feature attention and seems eminently deserving to the man on the street, but is nevertheless being relegated to the dark limbo of media coverage backlogs because it apparently does not 'resonate' with the 'third culture' and 'scientific establishment', both of which, along with the media, stand on the ladder of commercial enterprise.
This exemplar deals with one of the most controversial issue areas of our times, 'biotechnology' and the rights of access to the 'commons of silence' for the scientific views of the 'professional on the street' where such views clash with commercial interests. This exemlar deals with the research work of Arpad Pusztai and the establishment- and media-response to the results of his experiments with rats fed genetically modified corn ('GM corn'). The rather startling history of the case can be reviewed at numerous websites, one of which is at the following URL; http://plab.ku.dk/tcbh/Pusztaitcbh.htm
We are eating GM products right now, in spite of experimental results such as Dr. Pusztai's wherein the rats developed conditions indicative of cancerous development and weaking of the immune system. However, the commercial lobby with our litigators is such that vendors of products with GM contents are not obliged to declare that they contain genetically modified substance, nor are products which do not contain genetically modified substance allowed by law, to declare that they are free from GM materials.
The story of Dr. Pusztai's 'excommunication' from the commercially sponsored scientific establishment and the quieting of the media by the third culture issue selection process, or whatever, ... starts back in August of 1998. The following two quotes captured from the above URL give the flavour;
"There is a great concern in the scientific community that a respected investigator [Arpad Pusztai] has been forced to retire following his efforts to learn more about plant proteins" writes professor Ronald J. Doyle (University of Louisville - USA). Read the full comment
"Dr. Ana Carvalho; Dr. Ilka Vasconcelos; Dr. Maria da Guia Silva-Lima; Dr. Renato Moreira; and Dr. Tadeu Oliveira write: <mailto:email@example.com> "We are astonished with the news about Dr. Pusztai's suspension and retirement from his work at The Rowett Research Institute! Indeed all of us, Professors at the University of Ceará, Brazil, are here to give our testimonies about the following points: We had an interchange research project sponsored by The British Council that lasted 4 years. Some of us had been at Dr. Pusztai's Lab in The Rowett Research Institute and the example we got from him was of the highest quality concerning scientific level and ethical behaviour; Two among us obtained PhD degree under Dr. Pusztai's supervision and the result of such scientific experience has shown up to be the most fruitful to our University; What we know about Dr. Pusztai's work does not fit to the fact that he would be able either to publish false results or use tangential data to create some sort of distorted reality. This can be evaluated through his life work since his arrival in UK; Because of his work, known by a vast scientific community, it is unbelievable that Dr. Pusztai could be apparently judged exclusively under administrative ground, and condemned to be suspended and retired from work which has been one of the main reasons of his life; We thought that this kind of situation could never happen in countries with strong reputation of defending human rights. However, it seems that even in a distinct social context the fact still remains that when scientists, artists, and philosophers dare to say what does not fit to the interest of the establishment, they have to be silenced. Hopefully, in these days, one has not to be burnt alive!; In all circumstances, the whole scientific community has to be worried concerning the punishment of one of its peers because his findings do not fit into the mainstream and into the interest of EU-politics as it has been already raised. This situation has to be clarified because it represents a danger not only for Dr. Pusztai but for people working all over the world."
What was it that John Brockman said again? ... "The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are." Is this a case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns, then, ... or is the thumbs down of the high priests of issue-determination to coverage of issues such as Dr. Pusztai's devoicing due to some other, unknown influence?
That is, if Brockman's model is correct, the third culture is not giving thumbs up as to Dr. Pustai's case's meriting a position in the top of the popular issue charts. The informal system of media, with its commercial sponsorship, in consultation with the commercially sponsored scientific establishment is, in this scenario, unimpeded in its media-based process of redefining who and what we are, ... and telling us what is safe to produce and to consume, in spite of the voices of thousands of concerned professionals in science, who can be scarce heard above the din of a rising number of complainants, ... and whose views are periodically 'strobed' by the media, to satisfy and still them, but otherwise left in the dark.
My view is that the narrow scientific view has become like a religion, where the scientific establishment has come to believe in the 'correctness' of its own bivalent mode of inquiry, deeming itself capable of establishing what is 'right' and what is 'wrong' in an absolutist sense without the uncumberment of 'sharing circles' and other pluralistic modes of managing the 'commons of silence'.
What's my bottom line? I think that Dr. Pusztai has been unfairly excommunicated and that we are being asked to reaffirm our faith in science-as-religion by consuming the genetically modified foods which have been blessed by the high priests of science.
I have appended my last note to this effect, from an email exchange with Dr. Pusztai, for your possible interest. While it has not been in so rough and uncouth a manner as was experienced by Dr. Pusztai, ... I too, have been 'married and devoiced', ... and this website offering seems to be about all that is available to me to accommodate my expression of views, ... to let me launch my 'song' into the air of the commons.
* * *
Feb 11, 2000
Dear Dr. Pusztai,
I know you must be overloaded with email, and I do not expect you to have time to review this note, ... but offer it in the chance that you may, and in the chance that there may be something of interest in it..
Your predicament, which is at the same time the predicament of all of us, further fuels an 'inductive pulling' on my 'community as complex system' datasets to try to come up with something potentially useful for your specific, yet 'canary in the mine' situation, which flags a deepening malaise in our society, deriving from deficient system inquiry.
I keep coming back to the notion that this is, in effect, a 'religious' issue, as your Brazilian colleagues have observed in their following statement; "However, it seems that even in a distinct social context the fact still remains that when scientists, artists, and philosophers dare to say what does not fit to the interest of the establishment, they have to be silenced. Hopefully, in these days, one has not to be burnt alive!; "
In the course of my researching, I have come to the view that the critical 'doctors of the church of the establishment' are the physicists (i.e. the discipline of physics), the custodians of our 'official' view of space and time. I have previously written to the physicists of the 'third culture' (a group so-called by journalists because they are seen as the ones who determine which issues are 'of interest' to society), to propose that they sponsor a public 'salon des refuses' where individuals can put fundamental issues in the philosophy of science on view for transdisciplinary peer commentary. For example, the late French biologist and transdisciplinary thinker Henri Laborit pointed out that physicists (as a discipline) did not account for the tools of their inquiry in their inquiry, ... even as their own quantum physics and relativity theory says they must. This is indeed my complaint against 'the doctrine' of the discipline of physics.
I'm not sure that such an idea is of any interest or use from your point of view, ... but I offer it just in case, as I suspect we have a similar view of the 'source' of the problem here, but the question seems to be how to effectively come to grips, through 'reasoned debate', with what seems to be a 'religious' issue. One way would be to explicitly label it a religious issue rather than debating it as a scientific issue. The 'good doctors of the church of science', an unofficial matrix, are the stewards of the doctrine of science, a doctrine which will be the ultimate reference by which scientific issues will be dealt with and disposed of. This represents a rather severe case of 'conflict of interest' when the views which you (and I and others) are advocating represent a broader landscape within which the full current doctrine of the church would be contained as but a small internal feature.
This is the same problem geometry as faced by the First Nations (I speak of the traditionalists here) in Canada and I have been in dialogue with Taiaiake Alfred, professor of Indigenous Government Studies at the University of Victoria, who describes this situation very well in his book 'Peace Power and Righteousness' (I could send you a copy if you are interested. It is not long and points out very clearly how the indigenous cultural beliefs represent a broader landscape within which the western governance structure can only exist as a lesser contained feature.). While the 'cast of players' differs, the issues are essentially the same, ... and come down to our perception of reality, ... and whether the constituents of our communities should respond to the world in an 'outside-in' fashion (space- over- matter, ecological paradigm) or 'inside-out' fashion (matter-over-space, mechanical paradigm).
I refer to the choice of assumption as to whether an ensemble of constituents, be they people or molecules; (a) precipitates the future by standing on the ladder of possibility or (b) precipitates the future by standing on the ladder of actuality; i.e. whether we perceive the actions of the constituents as springing forth RELATIVE TO (a) possibility or (b) actuality. An example of (a) being the actions of synchronized swimmers or ice ballet skaters, as they simultaneously form patterns on the ice rink, actions which are referenced to 'possibility', where the dancers 'skate to where the pattern is going to be' in a purely relativistic (whole-and-part relational) context, unlike the (b) type actions of gymnasts in building a human pyramid which are referenced to bottom-up 'actuality'. In the former (a) case, the constituents of the ensemble SIMULTANEOUSLY access and respond to implicit information of the parts RELATIVE TO the whole (i.e. they operate on the basis of 'implicit understanding'), while in the latter case, the constituents of the ensemble SEQUENTIALLY update and adapt to explicit information (i.e. they operate on the basis of explicit knowledge).
That it is a 'religious' or 'belief' issue is apparent in that we classify the (a)- type system behavior as a 'complex system' because the information provided by the behaviors of the individual constituents is insufficient in explaining the overall system behavior (whole and part harmony). Indeed this puts our own solar system into the category of 'complex system' with its simultaneous harmonies, as implicitly pointed out by Kepler. The answer is of course, to assume either (1) that the constituents are like the ice ballet dancers and have the ability for 'inverted perspective' (immersed perception), to be able to see themselves in the context of their relationships with others as if standing on their own shoulders or to see through the eyes of the 'containing field', ... or (2) to assume what is basically the equivalent but avoids the notion of 'consciousness', as science already does in an as-yet unassimilated way, .. that 'field' is itself in the primacy over 'matter' and therefore that the 'missing information' derives from the 'containing field effects' (relativistically induced by the movements of the superset of constituents).
Since (a) contains (b) as the atmosphere contains the hydrosphere ('there is a gymnast inside of every ballet dancer'), ... the good doctors of the church of science are effectively holding scientists and society to the doctrine that the secrets of the hydrosphere must be found by searching within the hydrosphere and ignoring 'outside in' inductive effects, when the discrete separation is arbitrary and the atmosphere-hydrosphere system, stripped of its abstract labels, is instead a simultaneous unity. As it is with the atmosphere and hydrosphere, so it is with possibility space and actuality space, ... what we call actuality is a transient emergent feature within the ongoing possibility space or 'containing field'; i.e. nature stands on the ladder of possibility, a purely relativistic ladder, and pulls itself into being from the outside-in, ... the inductive process by which man and all things came into being, ... without the benefit of any divine 'a priori' engineering schemata to oversee inside-out construction programs. Putting the scientific label 'complex system' on those systems (the general case) manifesting emergent features which are informationally beyond explanation in terms of the behaviors of the constituents, ... and then invoking doctrine by which we are only allowed to 'explain' these systems in terms of 'inside-out engineering data' or 'causal transactions', puts us into a 'catch 22' situation.
The earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere 'co-evolve' just as the ice ballet troupe coevolves because they are a simultaneous unity and plurality (though the dancers choose to switch off or 'tune out' when they are 'offstage'), as is evidently the general case for all of nature, with the sequential unity and plurality of Aristotle  being no more than a derived abstraction achievable by invoking the rational mode of our quantum duality which discards relational interference information.
Giordano Bruno, in the year 1600, was burned at the stake in the Campo dei Fiori, just outside the Vatican for heretically confronting this bogus doctrine of the primacy of matter-over-space. Today, you are being 'excommunicated' and the rest of us are being forced to prove our continuing faith by eating GM foods 'blessed' by the church of science.
Poincare reminded us, in his essay on 'The Relativity of Space' (1897), just how hard it was going to be to break out of our bad habits in space and time conceptualization , and the exercise has become harder, if anything, because we have built around us a mechanical kingdom standing between us and our intimate embrace with the whole-and-part harmonies of nature, ... putting us out of touch with ourselves.
Whichever way we look at it, it seems to me that the issue of the religious doctrine within which science is constraining the regulating of scientific issues to 'inside-out' engineering principles will have to be confronted. I can envisage one means of this happening in terms of a transdisciplinary 'salon des refuses' on the basic issues of space and time perception. Even the Nobil Foundation continues to reward physics for searching for an understanding of (b) within the engineering paradigm of (a) as the 1999 prize in physics indicates. Physicists go where the data is sparsest (big bang and quark country) so that the tidiness of theory is not bothered by an overabundance of data, ... meanwhile, the messy issues of community and society are left to disciplines mocked by many physicists, even as they are compelled to abide by the physics-supplied, upside-down space-time principles of the church of science.
Again, if I can be of help in any way, I would be happy to do so.
 The following quote from 'The Presocratic Philosophers', Second Edition, G.S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield, Cambridge University Press, ... makes clear that the subtlety of the curved space-time view of the cosmos, which cannot be conveyed directly in our euclidian 'thing-oriented' language, ... may well have been lost 'in translation' between Heraclitus and Aristotle, ... just as Darwin's similar intent may be lost in Sipper's 'recasting' of passages from Darwin 'within the modern evolutionary computation framework'. The omission shifts us from the domain of SIMULTANEOUS HARMONY also noted by Johannes Kepler in connection with the system of sun and planets and dropped out by Newton, to the domain of SEQUENTIAL TIME PERIODS, .. that is, the 'recasting' takes us from a curved, relativistic space-time continuum, to a rectangular (non-self-referential) non-relativistic disjoint view of independent things populating an inert and non-participating void, ... i.e. material existence out of the context of a unified whole-and-part harmony oriented space-time container. The referenced quote is as follows;
"Plato ('Sophist' 242D, DK 22 A.10) clearly distinguished between Heraclitus' SIMULTANEOUS unity and plurality of the cosmos and Empedocles' separate PERIODS of Love and Strife. At the same time, they are mentioned together as both alike in believing in the unity and plurality of the cosmos; and Aristotle's coupling of the two might conceivably have been motivated by the Platonic comparison, the important distinction between them being overlooked. See also Guthrie, 'History of Greek Philosophy',HGP1, 455f, and 458, with further references, and D. WIggins, 'Heraclitus' conceptions of flux, etc.' in Language and Logos, ed. Scholfield and Nussbaum (Cambridge, 1982), 1ff."
 Excerpts from Henri Poincaré, 'The Relativity of Space', from 'Science & Method', 1897
"It is impossible to picture empty space. All our efforts to imagine pure space from which the changing images of material objects are excluded can only result in a representation in which highly-coloured surfaces, for instance, are replaced by lines of slight colouration, and if we continued in this direction to the end, everything would disappear and end in nothing. Hence arises the irreducible relativity of space. Whoever speaks of absolute space uses a word devoid of meaning. This is a truth that has been long proclaimed by all who have reflected on the question, but one which we are too often inclined to forget."
"When a frog's head has been cut off, and a drop of acid is placed at some point on its skin, it tries to rub off the acid with the nearest foot; and if that foot is cut off, it removes it with the other foot. Here we have, clearly, that double parry I spoke of just now, making it possible to oppose an evil by a second remedy if the first fails. It is this multiplicity of parries, and the resulting co-ordination, that is space.
We see to what depths of unconsciousness we have to descend to find the first traces of these spatial associations, since the lowest parts of the nervous system alone come into play. Once we have realised this, how can we be astonished at the resistance we oppose to any attempt to dissociate what has been so long associated? Now, it is this very resistance that we call the evidence of the truths of geometry. This evidence is nothing else than the repugnance we feel at breaking with very old habits with which we have always got on very well. "
"The evidence of certain 'geometrical postulates is only, as I have said, our unwillingness to give up very old habits. But these postulates are infinitely precise, while the habits have about them something essentially fluid. As soon as we wish to think, we are bound to have infinitely precise postulates, since this is the only means of avoiding contradiction. But among all the possible systems of postulates, there are some that we shall be unwilling to choose, because they do not accord sufficiently with our habits. However fluid and elastic these may be, they have a limit of elasticity.
It will be seen that though geometry is not an experimental science, it is a science born in connection with experience; that we have created the space it studies, but adapting it to the world in which we live. We have chosen the most convenient space, but experience guided our choice. As the choice was unconscious, it appears to be imposed upon us. Some say that it is imposed by experience, and others that we are born with our space ready-made. After the preceding considerations, it will be seen what proportion of truth and of error there is - in these two opinions.
In this progressive education which has resulted in the construction of space, it is very difficult to determine what is the share of the individual and what of the race. To what extent could one of us, transported from his birth into an entirely different world, where, for instance, there existed bodies displaced in accordance with the laws of motion of non-Euclidean solids - to what extent, I say, would he be able to give up the ancestral space in order to build up an entirely new space?
The share of the race seems to preponderate largely, and yet if it is to it that we owe the rough space, the fluid space of which I spoke just now, the space of the higher animals, is it not to the unconscious experience of the individual that we owe the infinitely precise space of the geometrician? This is a question that is not easy of solution. I would mention, however, a fact which shows that the space bequeathed to us by our ancestors still preserves a certain plasticity. Certain hunters learn to shoot fish under the water, although the image of these fish is raised by refraction ; and, moreover, they do it instinctively. Accordingly they have learnt to modify their ancient instinct of direction, or, if you will, to substitute for the association A1, B1, another association A1, B2, because experience has shown them that the former does not succeed."
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