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Constructivism & Postmodernism Exposed

Book cover for "Planet Earth: Insane Asylum for the Universe"


Philosophical Idealism Has a New Name

“But this is only a form of the subjectivistic madness which is characteristic of most modern philosophy.” —Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy


This is as it originally appeared online.

Subject: Re: Chat98 and Postmodernism Sent: 8/24/97 5:24 AM To: Jeffrey T. Guterman, Ph.D., rational@gate.net

Postmodernism, Constructivism, Berkeley’s form of pseudo-philosophy, other forms of philosophical Idealism, or just plain having fun spinning yarns–is little more than mental gymnastics for the naive.


CONSTRUCTIVISM CAN START WITH SOME FAIRLY OBVIOUS OBSERVATIONS THAT REBT HAS STATED IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

1. People do not and cannot experience reality fully.

2. True knowing is an impossibility for humans.

3. People experience only their own minds.

4. How people think about their experiences determines their reactions to their experiences.

5. People can change their minds and so change their perceptions of reality.

6. People’s thinking affects them more than anything else.


THE PROBLEM COMES WITH THE NON-SEQUITURS

  1. Just because changing your mind has changed your perception of reality, it does not follow that reality itself has changed in any way.
  2. Just because your perceived reality is dependent on what you think reality is—in no way demonstrates or even suggests that reality is likewise dependent on what you think.
  3. Because you think you create your own world is no reason to assume that you help create the actual world.
  4. While your mind may be all that you know, it does not mean that it is all that is knowable.
  5. While you are limited to your mind, it does not prove that that is all there is.
  6. If you jump off the New York Empire State Building and think you will have a soft landing–you won’t. Your mind controls your perception of reality but not reality itself.
  7. If everyone on the planet thinks that the world is flat–the world will still be round.
  8. If everyone on the planet thinks that the sun revolves around the earth–the earth will still revolve around the sun (thank goodness).
  9. Just because you are limited to your mental reality, it does not follow that reality is limited to your mental reality or even the combined mental realities of all human beings.
  10. You are not a co-creator of the universe just because you create your own illusions and delusions.
  11. While thinking you are a god may please your tendency to grandiosity, it in no way makes for logical sense or honest thinking.

MENTAL GAMES

If a tree falls in the woods, will it still make a sound if no one is there to hear it? Ignoring the grandiosity and absurdity of the question, let us answer it to help clarify the true picture of our relation to life.

  1. There is a multitude of mechanical signals being given off all the time by every object in existence.
  2. Humans are limited to the kind, frequency, duration, intensity, and range of these mechanical signals that they can receive.
  3. Other species can and do perceive mechanical signals that we cannot and do not perceive.
  4. Scientific equipment can and does perceive mechanical signals that we cannot and do not perceive.
  5. Our perception of the limited field of mechanical signals that we can receive is reduced and converted into electrical signals. There is a time delay while this conversion takes place.
  6. Our electrical signals are further reduced and converted into chemical signals. There is a time delay while this conversion takes place.
  7. There is a definite time delay between our perception of reality and our experience of our sensations of reality.
  8. Perception and sensation are not synonymous. Perception is the act of sensing, and sensation is the result of sensing.
  9. Since there is a time delay, we experience not reality but the past and not the actual past but our chemical representation and reduction of our electrical representation and reduction of our limited mechanical signal perception.
  10. Science, therefore, conclusively demonstrates that we are separate from reality and that our minds are reducing and reconstructing reality–not creating reality.
  11. Once we have gone through the processes above, we then think about our chemical representations, and this thinking we call reality—when it is yet another step further removed from reality.
  12. So when the tree falls in the woods mechanical signals are produced whether or not humans are there or not. Leaving a tape recorder on shows that it does not take a human to record signals.

The signals are there without us. If humans are there, they will somehow interpret (e.g., a monster is coming) the range of mechanical signals they can perceive. Other species (e.g., ants on or under the tree) will experience and interpret the mechanical signals differently. Our interpretation of the signals is not there without us. So the answer is yes and no. Yes, there are signals, but no, they are not our interpretation of those signals without our hearing them.


Constructivism represents human egocentricity at its highest and most illogical form.

  • If Constructivism isn’t anthropocentric, I don’t know what is.
  • Try to get a whale to agree with you that you are creating its reality for it by how you construct reality.

Try getting an elephant to agree that it is co-creating the universe with you. The next step downward after our return to Idealism, under its new name of Constructivism, is a return to superstition.

Without the reality check of Realism—anything goes, and anything will go (amulets, charms, spells). While Realism does not please human vanity as much as Constructivism, it does help us to deal with air pollution, water pollution, land pollution–rather than to just pretend them away, reframe them away, reconstruct (suppress, cover) them as some advantage à la brief therapy.

  • Stay skeptical of your skepticism. Question questioning. Test testing. Doubt doubt.
  • This same discussion was developed further in Planet Earth Insane Asylum for the Universe: The First Report to the 2000 High Council, which is now in its second edition: Planet Earth: Insane Asylum for the Universe, Second Edition.

Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.” —from the movie, Birdman 

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” —James 2:16 

“Appearances are deceptive.” —Aphorism 

“Belief creates its own experience; therefore, such an experience is not true.” —J. Krishnamurti, The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti, Volume V, p. 334 

“But this is only a form of the subjectivistic madness which is characteristic of most modern philosophy.” —Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” —Norman Vincent Peale 

“Constructivists are pretend alchemists.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Descriptions of food never satisfy the hungry.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Do not mistake the signpost for the destination.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Don’t just talk the talk–walk the walk.” —Aphorism 

“Facts can’t feel.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Facts can’t figure.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Facts can’t fix.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“I’m not sure I want popular opinion on my side–I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts.” —Bethania McKenstry 

“In Dewey, as in current science and ethics, there is a pervasive quasi-Hegelian tendency to dissolve the individual into his social functions, as well as everything substantial and actual into something relative and transitional.” —George Santayana

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” —Anatole France 

“In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired. In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.” —Lao Tzu 

“Knowledge does not do.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Knowledge does not get it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Knowledge does not know.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Knowledge has no intelligence.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Knowledge is not it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Negative thinking is the highest form of intelligence.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1895-1986: Indian philosopher, Commentaries on Living, Second Series, p. 71 

“Some blundering with what I set before you, try in vain with empty talk to separate the essences of things and say how each thing truly is.” —Heraclitus, Fragments 

“Talking about it is not the same as doing it.” —Aphorism 

“Talk is cheap.” —Aphorism 

“The expressed is not the experienced.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.” —Zen saying 

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” —William Shakespeare, 1546-1616 

“The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence; by asking this question one is merely admitting to a store of unsatisfied libido to which something else must have happened, a kind of fermentation leading to sadness and depression.” —Sigmund Freud 

“The proof is in the pudding, not the recipe.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“The recipe is not the cooking.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“The way in which we think of ourselves has everything to do with how our world sees us.” —Arlene Raven 

“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.” —Francis Bacon 

“Things are not what they seem.” “Things are never what they look like.” “Things are not as they appear.” “Things are never what they first appear to be.” —Aphorism stated in many forms and styles 

“Things never turn out the way you think they will.” —Aphorism 

“Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you’ll be right.” —Henry Ford 

“Though tightly the net of words forms, how surely truth slips out.” —Lao Tzu 

Thus the negative perception is the triumph of consciousness.” —Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947: British mathematician and philosopher 

“Well done is better than well said.” —Benjamin Franklin 

“When constructivists can think rocks into gold, then we should consider their theories and methods.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“When you ask for help building your house, do you want words or deeds?” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” —Isaiah 5:20 

“You cannot plow a field by turning it over in your mind.” —Anonymous 

“Revere those things beyond science which really matter and about which it is so difficult to speak.”―Werner Heisenberg 

“The reality we can put into words is never reality itself.”―Werner Heisenberg 

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”―Werner Heisenberg


Related Pages

  1. Postmodern Foolishness
  2. Quotations by Topic: Constructivism
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