Phil Friedman

7 years ago · 8 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Phil blog
On Trees, Trolls, Trust and Truth

On Trees, Trolls, Trust and Truth

If I Do Say So Myself i

Philosophical Musings With an Edge


J pe

On Trees, Trolls, Trust and Truth


Preface:  This rant is inspired by, and dedicated to my good friend, Jim Murray, whom I consider to be among the most masterful of op-ed bloggers    because he can piss you off while at the same time making you love him.

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree...

Joyce Kilmer, Poet in Trees (1913)

I have a huge tree in my backyard. Locally, it's called a "Black Olive", although I am sure it is not a species of olive tree.

My tree is more than 50 years old, close to 100 feet high, and has a spread of more than 80 feet. It shades fully two thirds of the yard. And in our sub-tropical summer sun, it is what makes the backyard habitable.

The tree is sometimes home to squirrels, smaller iguanas and birds. Indeed, each year members of an extended family of Ring Neck Doves return to our property to build a nest or two and hatch and raise a new crop of baby doves. 

Which is why, in more than 20 years since we moved into our house, we've refused to have it cut down. Despite the entreaties of neighbors who see it as a "dirty" tree because twice a year it drops huge qualities of leaves and little hard, tannin-laced buds that look like Grapenuts cereal and which leave brown stains everywhere.

My family's and my beloved backyard tree is the antithesis of fractal. It's limbs and branches grow in a wild profusion of non-self-similarity. A paradigm of visual chaos.

And we love it. For we are a chaotic crew. With wills and opinions that are, as often as not. at odds with one another.

If I were an Hegelian, I suppose I could construct a dialectical argument explaining how my backyard tree is actually fractal, and how chaos is actually fractal, and how the organizing principle of the universe is fracticality.  Despite what our senses and common sense tell us.

But I am not an Hegelian dialectician, and so cannot torture logic beyond its breaking point, in order  to see a repeating pattern in the pretty obvious chaos of the non-pattern of my tree's limbs and branches.

Nor do I want to be. For uniformity and self-similarity make me personally more uncomfortable than does chaos. Or at least, than does free-form diversity.

Which is more than just a subtle hint about how I see social interaction. And why I have no inclination to be part of a Borg Collective. Clearly, an expression of my opinion, take it or leave it.

“For bloggers, especially those who actually have an opinion about things, trolls are kind of like notches on the handle of your gun.”

Jim Murray in Trolls: Just Like Cockroaches But Much Easier To Control

The author of this post
neither solicits, nor accepts,
critical comments.

The problem with the problem of "trolls" on beBee, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform is that we seem to lack a clear and widely accepted concept of what a social media troll is. For some, a troll is anyone who deigns to express a dissenting or critical opinion. About anything. Irrespective of how politely or civilly they express such dissent or criticism.

The admittedly reprehensible disruption visited by trolls is very different from legitinate disagreement and discussion, when statements or opinions expressed by an author in print in public are questioned rationally and with reasons for the disagreement or dissent involved.

But I'm not going to beat that drum (or dead horse) again. So if you are interested in a detailed argument about this particular issue, I invite you to take a look at:  "Conversation Isn't Just Politely Waiting Your Turn to Speak".

In the meantime, to avoid confusion, I believe the best way to identify trolls is by the types of comments they make. So, here are some examples I've dredged up from my experience. I invite you to join me in the comments thread of this post with your personal examples.

1) Trolls usually comment about the person writing, not on the ideas expressed. "Do you have anything but air between your ears?"  Of course, nothing they say indicates in the least that they do.

2) Trolls often focus their remarks on themselves, what they prefer, what they like, what they have said or done. "I don't see why you're making such a big deal about this."  Then why are you taking the time to read and comment on it? Why don't you just turn the page? And anyway, nobody cares what you are interested in or not.

3) Trolls frequently try to hijack a discussion by drawing attention to a grammatical or spelling error. "Don't you know the difference between 'there' and 'their'? Where did you go to authors school?"  Right, like with your one-hundred-word vocabulary, you have the basis for speaking out on the subject of authorship.

When I first started writing and publishing on social media, I would duke it out verbally with trolls. Especially those who wanted to use my posts as springboards for promoting their own articles and books. And over the years, I've  had my share of pet trolls, stalkers who followed me around, crept my profile daily, and sought to add their snide ad hominem remarks to my posts whenever they could.

In the beginning, I traded jibes with them. But over time, I stopped, and now, for the most part, I tend simply to ignore them. This is because I find the repartee with trolls essentially boring. I've also found that trolls are invariably  whiners who complain loudly about being treated roughly, whenever they get back what they give out.

Unfortunately, trolls can be disruptive in more than just obvious and direct ways. Trolls can be disruptive by causing the rest of us to over-react to their obnoxious behavior. And to knee-jerk every time we receive a critical comment. Witness the growing level of sensitivity, even here on beBee. 

Dissentaphobia, is becoming so endemic that we're now seeing suggestions for "safe zones", where people can post without being subject to any form of dissenting or critical comment.

I personally have no real objection to this provided that those of us who are interested in substantive intellectual exchange are allowed to have "open exchange zones", where we can disagree and argue to our hearts' content.

Indeed, I would go even further and enable people to designate their posts "quarantined against criticism", with a simple label to that effect, placed in the upper right or left hand corner of a post. Again, IMO.



Truly open exchange of ideas and opinion can only take place in an atmosphere of mutual trust...

Phil Friedman in If I Do Say So Myself

Look, we don't all have to think alike that is, bee like-minded in order to be part of a close-knit community that is in many ways mutually supportive. For mutual support is not comprised only of mutual agreement.

In fact, true support between friends or community members should not be premised on mutual agreement.

I've recently had the pleasure of falling organically into a natural affinity group with three other writers (Jim Murray, Don Kerr, and Kevin Pashuk) who resonate emotionally at certain basic levels, and who share interlocking interests.

So strong is the natural affinity which brought us together that, at Jim's instigation, we formed The Beezers Hive on beBee; and we interact pretty much daily by PM and email, both personally and intellectually.

But the most notable thing about this relationship is that we are not like-minded. 

Oh sure, we agree on a lot of issues, most notably upon the need to be able to disagree without undermining our friendship. But we disagree in many of our respective personal beliefs, in our lifestyles, and in our religious and philosophical persuasions.

I would say that the glue that binds us is mutual trust.

The first step in understanding how this can work is to distinguish between ideas and opinions versus the people who hold them.

The second step is to understand that, just as friends don't let friends drive drunk, friends don't let friends walk around spouting what seem to be half-assed ideas, without at least discussing the matter with them.

And the third step is for each member of a group or a community to learn to separate his or her own ego from their views and opinions  in other words, to get away from the idea we should be able to express ourselves to others, but that, god forbid, someone, anyone should take issue with our cherished pronouncements.

Text Copyright © 2016 by Phil Fnedman — All Rights Reserved

Trust opens up an entirely new vista of exchange, one that is replete with bonhomie and humor and goodwill. Let me give you an example by referring again to my op-ed blogging hero and fellow Beezer, Jim Murray. 

Jim is moving to St. Catherines, Ontario from Toronto. He and his wife just bought a house in St. Catherines that they feel is just perfect for them. So delighted is Jim about finding the house and moving, he has been blogging about it almost non-stop for days, even publishing a photo of the new Murray house.

Now, I know St. Catherines, like it quite well, and could not be more pleased for Jim and his wife. But I also could not resist sending out to my fellow Beezers the photoshopped image you see above, in order to tweak Jim just for fun.

His reply? "I love you too, amigo."

Some people might think that, in his excitement over the new house, he might be offended. But he wasn't. The reason he wasn't, not even for a second, is, I submit, trust. And the reason I never considered, even for a second, that he might be is that same, trust. His trust that I would never seek to make fun of his unbridled joy. And my trust that he is sufficiently mature and self-confident to be able to tell the difference between my laughing at him versus my laughing with him.

Reciprocal trust enables friends to disagree vehemently about many things, yet stay friends. And it enables them to criticize and tease one another, in good humor, without undermining their relationship.

It lays the basis for the kind of multi-faceted relationship that stands head and shoulders above common social media relationships founded solely as what we used to call "mutual admiration societies."

That we can, perhaps, neither find, nor establish the truth, does not mean it does not exist...

Phil Friedman in If I Do Say So Myself

I'd like to close this rant on a final note, offered for whatever it may be worth to you.

Social media is without a doubt an intellectual free-for-all. A place where people can "invent" or re-invent themselves. Where many self-certify as experts, or gurus or thought leaders. Because they think it raises their image in the eyes of those who read their posts and profiles. Not to mention thinking it lends credence to the things they write and publish.

When confronted with differing opinion, they retreat to the position that truth is completely relative, that you have "your truth" and I have "my truth". This is all, in a word dear to my heart, pure poppycock.

You may have your perception of truth, and I may have mine. And neither may be an accurate perception. Pretty much like you and I looking at different plots of land in Australia, each of us seeing as far as the horizon in all directions. And each of us trying to discern the shape of the Australian continent. That neither of us can discern a true picture from what we see does not mean there isn't one. For there most certainly is. And its final determination might only await sending someone up into space to see what it is.


Whether or not we find it, the search for truth is among man's noblest activities...

 Chung King from The Second Scroll of The Wisdom of Chung King (circa 650 AD)

So there you have the four Tees:  Trees, trolls, trust and truth.  Op-ed rant over.  Phil Friedman

Author's Notes:   If you found this post interesting and worthwhile, and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Should you be curious about some of my previous postings about social media, you're invited to take a look at some of the following:

"Social Media Is a Highway, Not a Destination"

"Do Not Mistake What Is for What Should Be"

"Finding Your Way Past Self-Reflection to Action"

As well, feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other articles — whether on beBee, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post.

About me, Phil FriedmanWith 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.

The (optional-to-read) pitch: As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement.


To schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult email: I look forward to speaking with you soon.

16f60aba.jpg                              Image Credits:  Phil Friedman,, Google Images


Phil Friedman

7 years ago #115

You mean, Don, I should not expect to receive a notice that Al liked my comment?

don kerr

7 years ago #114

A dear old man Adolf Gibberish rises from the primordial ooze. Best leave this one alone Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #113

Precisely, Mark. Although in reality the process will never be anywhere near as harrowing as you describe... because the majority of people you'll engage with are basically kind, and very few are outright mean. Most of the implied criticism you might feel will be in your own mind, not the minds of others. In business, I'd say if you aren't making some mistakes, then you arent making any decisons. In writing and publishing on social media, if you aren't saying some dumb things at times, then you're likely never trying to say anything meaningful at any time. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #112

Mark, I understand what you're saying. But think about what happens when you go to learn, say, a sport skill like tennis. You start by missing the ball, tripping over yourself, and general looking clumsy and somewhat stupid. But you separate --- or at least submerge --- your ego and soldier through until you get reasonably good at doing what you need to do to play tennis. If you can't do that, you will never learn anything. The key, as I see it, is understanding that what you say on social media today in a discussion is not the totality of who you are. Think before you speak, do your homework if necessary, learn some logic and practice a few skills having to do with writing. Before you know it, you can enter into discussions without thinking your entire being is riding on every comment that you make. Give yourself that break, and extend the same slack to others. That's what I mean about separating a person's ego from his or her opinion.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #111

Mark, let me say this before someone else does ... you've been hanging around with @Phil Friedman too much lately. :-)

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #110

Mebbee, Big Jim, but if yo come inta my corral carrying bull shit, ya gets horsewhipped. If that makes any sense to you.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #109

Mark, please excuse Gerald Hecht for his colorful language. He is from Luzzianna and has eaten too much gator meat and gumbo. A seen too many flashes of "Truths" during Mardi Gras!

Jim Murray

7 years ago #108

Tsk Tsk Phil Friedman. Engaging with Trump Trolls may be good intellectual fun. But it only encourages them to spout more bullshit.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #107

Mr. Gibel, I wouldn't vote for Donald "Duck and Dodge" Trump even if he promised to make me an apprentice. He has clearly demonstrated that he holds in utter contempt many of the most cherished and important political institutions of this great nation --- principles like peaceful transition of power and the political independence of the High Courts --- all of which are the reasons why the Republic has managed to endure. He has demonstrated that he is an autocrat and megalomaniac of the first order, and so personally ignorant of the laws of this nation that he thinks, as a public political figure, he can actually sue people who said things about him he didn't like, during the election campaigns. I am no fan of Hillary Clinton, but this is the first time in my lifetime that I felt there was such a clear and present danger to the political survival of the nation that I feel forced to actually cast a vote to keep someone out of the oval office. How about this for a slogan going forward: ONLY A CHUMP VOTES FOR TRUMP! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get that off my chest.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #106

#172 Mark, to answer bluntly, no. My style and my voice as a writer are what they are. In my marine industry specific writing, one of my specialities as always been the interpretation of technical material for an educated, but non-technical audience. In that work, I try hard to use a much more straightforward style. And when I ghost-write for people and companies, I work hard at adapting to their needs and appropriate voice. But when I am "waxing philosophical" on social media, I'm partly writing for myself and living in my own thoughts, so ...what you see is what you get. I do recognize, however, that at times some of my sentence structure can be, shall we say, archaic. And I am working on that. Vocabulary is often another issue, but I assure you that I do not sit with a thesaurus trying to think up "big" words. And anyway I deny using big words, somewhat unfamiliar language at times, but not "big." Especially if you consider that a word like "ontology" actually replaces probably two entire sentences that would be required to convey the same meaning in "plainer" language. Thanks for asking. And cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #105

thank you, Debasish, for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #104

We are free to criticize any authority, theories, as well as all other members statements and thoughts, of course always in a decent manner.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #103

Absolutely Yes Phil, that is the reason why I also cited the same text within my comment #160 and even much more... Any form of mysticism is very dangerous. I'm a man of few words 1. "But complexity theory’s drive to unify disparate phenomena under a single umbrella can become speculative."... 2. "At its best, complexity theory is the science of imperfection, ignorance, accident, and error."... 3. Encompassing everything from biology to physics to economics to sociology, complexity theory provides not a single philosophy but a looser toolset of themes and techniques with which to grasp"... 4. "At its worst, complexity theory spills into mysticism about the hidden universal patterns of nature and society, which has sometimes made the field an unfortunate handmaiden to both postmodern jargon and business doublespeak (which are more closely related than you might think".. - From article "The Theory of Everything and Then Some" by David Auerbach at

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #102

"NASA RELIABILITY-CENTERED MAINTENANCE GUIDE FOR FACILITIES AND COLLATERAL EQUIPMENT", Final Report, September 2008, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Figure 9-1. Seven Steps for Performing a Pareto Analysis and Chapter 9.1.1 Pareto Analysis (page 9-1)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #101

"I am not a worshiper of the Pareto Principle, as I am unaware of the existence of any adequately substantiating data." - PF Phil Friedman, You have asked me about practical applicability of the Pareto Principle. For example it is an essential tools of any Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) program ( We have used very successfully Pareto graphs in order to discover the critical components in Serbian thermal power plants in our Project (Development and Application of the Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) Concept in Order to Increase the Availability and Efficiency of Thermal Power Plants, 2003 – 2006, R&D Project team member. Project Funded by Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, Project user:, Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS). We published rwo papers: 1.,"RCM in Power Plant Practice Illustrated on Observation of Material Aging and Defining of Component Life Exhaustion", Conference: POWER-GEN Middle East 2002, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 21-23 October 2002, paper No334, 2. Contemporary Maintenance Management of Power Plant Life Exhaustion Components, Technics Technologies Education Management 2010 5(3), pp. 431-436 For more info about the Pareto Principle practical applicability please check this document: "NASA RELIABILITY-CENTERED MAINTENANCE GUIDE FOR FACILITIES AND COLLATERAL EQUIPMENT", Final Report, September 2008, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Figure 9-1. Seven Steps for Performing a Pareto Analysis) Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #100

Milos> "Phil, I just provided a critical overview (review) of complexity theory." No, Milos, with all due respect, you did not. You cited and article which you represent as presenting such a critical overview. However, be that as it may, if I (or Gerald Hecht) misinterpret your views, it is because you have not stated them clearly, but instead provided citations of articles by others, and left us to infer what your views are. May I take the statement at the end of comment #160 to correctly represent at least one aspect of your own view? "At its worst, complexity theory spills into mysticism about the hidden universal patterns of nature and society, which has sometimes made the field an unfortunate handmaiden to both postmodern jargon and business doublespeak (which are more closely related than you might think)" If so, then I agree wholeheartedly, and take any misinterpretation of your position onto my own shoulders. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #99

Phil, With all due respect, a power-law is one of the topics within article titled "The Theory of Everything and Then Some" about chaos theory. By the way when your read an article you will understand than author, just like me or Gerald or you does not support at all the thesis that fractals are a unifying principle of the universe or some mantra, religion or something for messing around and cheating with the people or any respected beBee members. This thesis is sheer nonsense! Moreover, this article is a critical analysis (very good and sharp) of the current state of the art in chaos theory knowledge, applicability with a clear emphasis on its limitations and applicability, Author have also pointed out the dangers and pitfalls: "But complexity theory’s drive to unify disparate phenomena under a single umbrella can become speculative."..."At its best, complexity theory is the science of imperfection, ignorance, accident, and error."..."Encompassing everything from biology to physics to economics to sociology, complexity theory provides not a single philosophy but a looser toolset of themes and techniques with which to grasp"... " At its worst, complexity theory spills into mysticism about the hidden universal patterns of nature and society, which has sometimes made the field an unfortunate handmaiden to both postmodern jargon and business doublespeak (which are more closely related than you might think)' Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #98

Phil, I just provided a critical overview (review) of complexity theory. The most recent one and by journalist (professional writer and software engineer) for a general audience. This article is for other beBee members who want to learn more about complexity theory in a popular way. This is scientific communication. For me, fractals are not religion. My activities were always focused in that direction. I never ever mentioned that fractals are unifying principle of the universe. That is not my thesis, of course. Misinterpretation again? I was not making any conclusions and please stop with personal misinterpretation. Thank you.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #97

Milos, I am sorry, but as I said previously, I personally do not believe mass citations of articles by other authors, without some form of precis or summary of how you see that any of this supports your thesis... (about fractals being a unifying principle of the universe?), moves a discussion forward. I am not a worshiper of the Pareto Principle, as I am unaware of the existence of any adequately substantiating data. As to your cited 90/10, I think that 60 cases is a very small sample upon which to base a thesis --- even if I did understand what virality on LinkedIn has to do with anything we've been talking about. With all due respect, why don't you write a post summarizing your views and theses about about these matters. I for one would like to read what you have to say about it. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #96

An example of a power-law graph that describes LinkedIn long-form posts "virality" (popularity). The 80/20 rule (the Pareto principle), or even 90/10 rule, can be observed,:the law of "the vital few" (LI Influencers only) Roughly 80% (90%) of the total numbers of the views corresponds to the pots published by minority (approximately top 10) of LI authors. Among the top 60 posts by number of views, twenty-four (24) of them are published by Linkendin Influencers. Among the top 60 posts by number of views, only five (5) of them are not featured on some official LI channels. At the same time all five authors are non – Influencer. For more details about a power-law graph that describes LinkedIn long-form posts "virality" (popularity) please check LI long-form post published on September 3, 2014, titled: "LinkedIn Pulse: Viral Posts Analysis." For more details about the power-law function and typical power-law graph, please check this article on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "A few notable examples of power laws are the Pareto's law of income distribution, structural self-similarity of fractals, and scaling laws in biological systems. Research on the origins of power-law relations, and efforts to observe and validate them in the real world, is an active topic of research in many fields of science, including physics, computer science, linguistics, geophysics, neuroscience, sociology, economics and more." from Wikipedia article: "Power law", cited above For more details about Pareto principle (80/20 rule), please check this article on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #95

A critical overview (review) of complexity theory - popular article written by journalist (professional writer and software engineer) for a general audience form 2016, titled: "The Theory of Everything and Then Some" by David Auerbach at "This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture." Cited books: 1. "A Crude Look at the Whole -The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society" by John H. Miller (2016) 2. "Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge" by Edward O. Wilson (1998) 3. "The Nonlinear World: Conceptual Analysis and Phenomenology" by Yoshitsugu Oono (2103) 4. "Complexity: A Guided Tour" by Melanie Mitchel (2009)

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #94

Well then, Praveen, it is my misunderstanding, and I am pleased to have my impression adjusted. I am good, and hope you are too. For it all illustrates, I think, the ability for open discussion in the presence of trust. My best to you, and cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #93

Praveen> " Where were you guys when we all needed you as we embarked on our fractal journey my man?" Although you and I often disagree, this is the first time I've been baffled by something you've said. I do not understand your admonishment to Gerald Hecht. Perhaps this is because I do not believe there is a time-deadline on questioning or discussing ideas and opinions that have been posted. If you publish a questionable statement, it does not become automatically true by default if, after a given period of time, it has not been challenged. Let's distinguish, if you will, between scientific and philosophical inquiry versus propagation of religious beliefs. It is your prerogative to see your "fractal journey" as religious (spiritual) in nature, and not to countenance questioning or examination of the tenets of that (developing) religion. However, such must not be presented as scientific or philosophical, for in doing so, you open up that belief system (religion) to questioning and critical examination. For that is what science and philosophy are all about. If there is something to discuss here, please feel free to do so. But please don't tell anyone to be quiet and not urinate on the "fractal journey" --- unless you want to claim for it a religious exemption from rational inquiry. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #92

Gerald Hecht, Thank you for providing the link to this very clear paper on complexity theories. I believe that even non-scientists should be able to understand it, and use it to lead to other work in the field, should they be interested. Your providing it also exemplifies what is considered best practice in an academic or scientific arena, namely, providing rational analysis and argument for people to judge for themselves ---as opposed to simply reiterating slogans which have little meaning, although they may sound catchy. I understand your frustration as a legitimate scientist and professor, although I suggest that perhaps you might want to re-take Friedman's Tact 201 for future reference. :-) As well, I appreciate your passionate interest and concern in the search for perspicuity, if not truth in this area. For sometimes a clear view of the issues and related theories is the best we can hope for. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #91

Ah, perhaps not, Milos, but I am your student. Cheers! 😊

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #90

I am not your teacher :)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #89

Yes you "annoy" me this time :) The story about chaos is never easy. Have a great evening, my friend.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #88

Milos, I am glad to read that your statement was meant to Agee with mine. However, in my case, when someone misunderstands or, as you say, " misinterprets" what I'e said, my first instinct is to take responsibility for communicating my meaning in a less than optimal manner. I would expect that, as a academic you would subscribe to the code that the teacher never blames the student, the presenter never blames the audience, and the writer never blames the reader. Your restatement of your position is much clearer than your original statement, and not only because it agrees with mine. As I see it, discussion is a back and forth in which statements are not just posited, but in which elucidation and clarification are mutually elicited, hopefully until all parties understand one another, even if they do not ultimately agree. When I was an academic, that was the general expectation, and one of the core objectives of higher education. I always appreciate your contributions to the discussions of my posts, and look forward to continuing to sufficiently "annoy" you in the service of drawing you into the discussion. My best and cheers to you too, my friend.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #87

Phil Friedman, My position is the same and I will repeat it once again in order to avoid future misinterpretations: #57 "I am waiting with much pleasure and curiosity interpretation, reflection and criticism of all involved members of this network. Once again, a passion for truth-seeking continues. There is no reason for fear or discomfort. Only if we learn, we progress. Curiosity, mindfulness and imagination made people great. None of us does not intend to make the final judgment. This is an open critical discussion and your contribution is highly significant and appreciated. Once again, thank you and cheers. This is what I believe Mr No-Muzak. Now and (Fractals) forever :) Cheers! (® by Mr No-Muzak)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #86

Phil Friedman, my friend. This was a misinterpretation. And this was a very annoying threads for me because of some other misinterpretations (not only by you and not only of what I wrote, but also other esteemed members). You interpreted what I told in the wrong way: "They are not judges, nor we are accused." means that: Modern society provides opportunities for everyone's freedom of thinking, particularly in the case of social networks. That means we are free to ask questions whether some published scientific references (work) or theory are valid or not. We are free to criticize any authority, theories, as well as all other members statements and thoughts, of course always in a decent manner "They (authorities) are not judges (the last word about something), nor we (free citizens, all members of social network) are accused (accused of “ignorance” - we are free to questioned)." I hope it is now clear that my words had been misinterpreted. And my statement is in the strict accordance with your statement: “For that is the nature of conversation and mutual search for truth.” Phil, Please be a little more carefully with interpretations. Trust and the visions that are common for a large number of thoughtful and committed people can provide effortlessly some changes in the world for the better. "Maybe next time we will be better", with more focused ideas and opinions and with a better solutions and conclusions. Kind Regards, Milos

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #85

Milos> "They are not judges, nor we are accused." You are correct in that nobody is appointed in this life to judge others. And you are correct that no person here is accused. However, let us be clear that each of us can, indeed is responsible for judging the ideas and opinions that are placed before him or her, as well as his or her own. For example, in this post I advance several ideas and opinions in the full expectation that readers will judge their relevance, importance, meaning and truth. For I have no interest in talking to the wall. And if you come into the comment thread of my post, you know (or should expect) that your STATEMENTS will be questioned, discussed and, yes, judged. For that is the nature of conversation and mutual search for truth. To my mind, there is nothing amiss in heated discussion, as long as it remains focused on the ideas, statements, and opinions at hand. And does not degenerate into name calling. But if you choose to hang around with me, do not ever expect blatant assertions with obscure meaning (if any) to go unchallenged. Milos, I have reviewed this thread and frankly do not understand why you feel you need to apologize for anything. Nor do I see any reason for anyone else to do so. My fervent hope is that my readers understand or will come to understand that simply disagreeing with something someone says is NOT bad behavior. Nor is asking them to elucidate or explain the basis on which they make the assertions at hand. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #84

Thank you Melissa for reading and commenting. I am presently en route to Taiwan, and so have not been able to maintain as close contact with this thread as I usually do with my posts. I do not see this thread as "over the line" in any way. Lively and passionate yes. But uncivil? No. Everyone needs to keep in mind that simply because you don't like or agree with a comment, that does NOT make it rude or uncivil. As long as disagreement is leveled at ideas and opinions, and does not attack people, the conversation is within bounds. Indeed, that is what I've preached for a long time. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #83

Melissa Hefferman - Yes, this was a very annoying threads and I am very sorry if I contributed (and I did). What is important is the way in which we manifest our disagreement. People tend to feel threatened when they are attacked. A heated discussion can be very fruitful, but also unproductive. Just as in a recent case here: "I am setting the initial tone for a rational discussion because the initial tone and many other tones within this post did not provide, not only the initial tone, but any chance for a rational discussion." Once again, I am sorry if my thoughts, comments and links hurt or disturbed someone. Well, all becomes much clearer once we understand the power of constructive discussions. Only then, the truths becomes more difficult (more complex and chaotic), but ultimately attainable. Unfortunately not this time. For me that's the beauty of complexity and diversity: final reconciliation with the ubiquitous chaos, without obvious signs of unpleasant fear. Maybe next time we will be better. Best Regards, Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #82

Melissa Hefferman At lest, after this threads chaos is not anymore something that threatens us. One word can make a miracle or a misery, similarly as a love. They are not judges, nor we are accused.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #81


John Rylance

7 years ago #80

Trust trees the trolls of truth. The author of this comment asserts it is in no way a criticism, just an unsolicited observation.

Graham🐝 Edwards

7 years ago #79

The unicorn is because I'm half Scottish but now you have me thinking... bleak indeed. But I shall never surrender.

Wayne Yoshida

7 years ago #78

Remember, when there is KAOS there is CONTROL to balance it. Right, Chief?
beBee reward people who bring knowledge value to the platform, for example Jim Murray and ALL OF THEM. IT IS only A PREMISE for being ambassador. But it is not the only premise. Everybody is free to give an opinion and beBee is free to choose :-)

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #76

Yes, Graham, social media trolls live in your monitor and under your keyboard. The story of the Three billy goats Gruff is not, however, about trolls. It's about three denizens of the petting enclosure at the San Diego zoo. And unless you tell me otherwise, my inference is that the message conveyed by associating "Light and Love" with a Unicorn is that you have as much chance of finding the former in the world, as you do the latter. Ain't that a bleak picture? Cheers! :-)

Graham🐝 Edwards

7 years ago #75

Wait, wait...WAIT! Are you telling me Trolls don't live under bridges?! That whole story about the three goats is a lie? I do like your last quote in your post. Under my unicorn tattoo I have the words "light and love"... two noble pursuits for me, and light in my mind is truth.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #74

Sorry, John, but I do have a memory that goes back a long time, including seeing Leary speak at various times during his career. And I support Gerald Hecht's description --- after Leary left academia and created what in effect was a cult following, his rhetoric changed dramatically, and many who thought him originally to be an advanced thinker, felt seriously let down, even betrayed by his devolution into cultism. Notwithstanding whatever revisionist history is currently fomented on Wikipaedia and elsewhere on the web.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #73

Wow, Gerald, I didn't know anyone remembered Timothy Leary, whom you describe pretty accurately in your comment. It is instructive to read some of his later writings, those he published after he came out of the closet as a wannabe cult leader. And compare the form and expression to some of what we read currently on social media (including beBee). On a parallel note, that is why I included examples here of "trollish" statements, in the service of seeking to define much more precisely what a "troll" is. It is interesting that nobody took me up on my invitation to add their own examples, but even more interesting (and I submit educational) to compare my examples to some of the statements made in the course of this thread by commenters who would absolutely deny being a "troll". If that sound preachy, well... It's my pulpit, and I'll preach if I want to, preach if I want to, preach if I want to ...

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #72

#90 John, I don't disagree in principle with your main thesis, which I take to be that there is a need for more "hard" content and expression of expertise and opinion on social media in general, and perhaps on beBee in particular. I am moved, however, to point out that part of the developing "richness" of beBee is its willingness to encourage and tolerate all manner of writing and thought, including fiction, comedy, and satire. Indeed, it has even developed its own form of self-satire, the "Live Buzz". I personally perceive plenty of goodwill among ownership and management, who I believe understand the ultimate value of "hard" content and expertise, but who I also believe, of need, are following a development path driven by the objective of rapid growth. For me personally, that is what it is. As long as beBee delivers on its promise to provide a full array of tools for tailoring my Affinity Networking experience to my needs and tastes, both as a reader and a writer, I will be a happy camper. That does not mean I will stop calling out bull chips as I see them. Thank you as always for reading and bringing your unique perspective to the conversation.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #71

Gerald, I don't necessarily agree with your assessment of your own observation, but whether I do nor not, you have to agree that they are, if not thought-provoking, a provocation nevertheless. :-) (Sorry, I can't figure out how to get emojis onto my laptop, without allowing their freakin spyware in.)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #70

Phil Friedman, Thanks for your inspiring and thought provoking observations. Regards, Milos

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #69

#84 #85 Gerald, thank you for reading and being part of the conversation. Here is a thumbnail summary of my thoughts on Fractality and Chaos: The claim that Fractality = Chaos confuses "Chaos Theory" with chaos. Chaos Theory actually seeks to find ways to deal with, and model very complex systems that are not readily amenable to determination of their current state. A classic example is Earth's weather system, the predictive study of which contributed to contemporary Chaos Theory. Chaos Theory assumes that uncertainty, in Heisenberg's sense, is epistemological, NOT ontological. On the other hand, the term "chaos", in its commonly understood usage, refers to, or implies an ontological state that simply cannot be modeled, because the very nature of a truly chaotic state of being is that it is NOT systematic in any way. And that, no matter how long such a state subsists, it will never evidence a pattern. Indeed, it may not even make sense to try to conceive of a truly chaotic state of Being from within a temporal framework. Chaos Theory, by its very nature, therefore, does not contemplate, in any sense, the ontological reality of Chaos, but rather rejects It axiomatically. Ergo, Fractalism (the view that fractals can provide a basis for a unifying theory of the world) cannot embrace or subsume Chaos, but in fact must exclude it from consideration as an ontological reality. QED and IMO :-) Cheers! .

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #68

Milos, I have no doubt that there can be too much sweetness in the world. Too many calories. And at the same time, too little genuine nutrition. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #67

Well, Brian, one of my points here is that the term "troll" may be too often inappropriately applied to persons such as yourself who are critical and more than just sometimes edgy and abrasive. That is not a criticism of your personal style. For I am the last person to be called to teach a course in how to win friends and influence people. So there is some irony in the fact that you say you eat trolls for breakfast. I used to engage in similar verbal fisticuffs with trolls. That reached an apex when I suggested to one particularly annoying troll, who always sought to use my posts as springboards for publicizing his own work, that he might be having an unnatural personal relationship with his pot belly pig. I regretted the crassness of the remark, and not too long ago publicly apologized for it... to the pig. Stay edgy, Brian. For in my book, you ain't no troll. Just grumpy like me. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #66

Phil Friedman, "No-Muzak sweet honey", instead (perhaps) :) ?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #65

thank you, David, for reading and commenting. I am not sure how Ivfeel about having my work referred to as "sweet honey" or what that does to my rep as the Grump of beBee. But I guess I'll live with it. What is important, though, is that I am questioning whether the term "troll" is over-used. And sometimes unjustifiably. You and I would probably agree about that, because our respective definitions are similar. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #64

Yes, Phil Friedman, Fractals is not so famous football team, that is currently in the third league :) In addition this is the title of an article on beBee: Fractals forever: "Be BRAVE, provide something NEW and magnificent for the others, then the whole WORLD is yours." Please never ever forget that Phil, my friend. Fractals forever.

David B. Grinberg

7 years ago #63

Thanks for more "sweet honey" Phil Friedman.I always enjoy your intellect, whether I agree with it or not. In this case, I agree with you that a "troll" goes well beyond expressing cordial disagreement and/or constructive comments. Rather, in my experience, trolls are like online stalkers who are nasty, use foul language, and go for the jugular with personal insults and attacks. Their purpose is to embarrass and annoy the author, and goad the author into a back-and-forth "pissing match" (for lack of a better term). My way to deal with trolls is the "one and done" method. That is, first try to "kill them with kindness" by thanking them for their comments and expressing gratitude. While that won't make them go away, at least it will show readers that when trolls go low, you go high. In other words, you (the author) are way above the petty barbs and personal attacks of trolls. Then, if they continue their abhorrent behavior, report them and/or block them, etc. The traditional dictionary-based definition of a "troll" (pre-Internet) is, "A mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance." Well, at least the ugliness part is still true and perhaps also a dwarf of intellect. Whereas... The modern definition of "troll" (according to the Urban Dictionary) is, "One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument." The Urban Dictionary defines "trolling" as, "Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it's the internet and, hey, you can."

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #62

Milos > " Fractals forever." Thank you, Milos, I will keep that in mind. Is "Fractals" a football team? Let me quote one of your cited sources: "...quantum fractals are patterns generated by iterated function systems ... In quantum physics quantum fractals can be interpreted as traces of quantum jumps during simultaneous monitoring of several non-commuting observables." (Arkadiusz Jadczyk, Quantum fractals : from Heisenberg’s uncertainty to Barnsley’s fractality, 2014) I am far from comfortable with Quantum Mechanics, but I can summarize one of the main themes of this work, which is that fractal mathematics may provide an end run around the obstacle of the instantiation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle --- in that projected fractal mathematical "patterns" may enable predictability of events heretofore judged unpredictable due to Heisenberg uncertainty. This is very far from saying that Fractality and Chaos are the same. Cheers.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #61

Phil Friedman, Fractals will become like worn soles. Particularly, if falsehoods exists. Please never ever forget that fractals are strictly related to chaos. Fractals forever.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #60

We all share ideas, Nicole. A minor, but possibly interesting fact is that I first started adding all that stuff at the end of my posts to foil LinkedIn's habit of attaching "Influencer" posts to the ends of my posts. LI's goal was to use my posts as hooks for readers for the Influencers, that is, someone would be scrolling down my post and before they knew it, would pop over onto the Influencer post. I resented being used as a warm-up act, so I started putting all of this miscellaneous information at the ends of my posts, so that most readers would stop scrolling before they scrolled onto an Influencer post. Yes, it was petty and vindictive, but immensely satisfying. Of course, it would not have been necessary had LI stuck to its original policy of appending several of MY prior posts to the ends of my current posts --- something that I have been recommending to beBee that it does. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #59

Yes, Nicole. Spot on. The important thing to recognize is, to my mind, that trollish comments virtually never involve any real criticism. They are almost invariably attacks upon the person of the author, or expressions of personal preference. Never about the ideas and opinions at hand. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #58

Phil Friedman, I agee with you. Thanks and cheers.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #57

Pt II - Milos, as to "Fractalicity", I am searching for a word in a grammatically correct form to describe an organizing principle embodied by the real world, and which is an instantiation of the adjective "fractal". Hence, Fractalicity .... if I may be so disrespectful as to not be self-serious or, worse, not to be self-similar. I should like to suggest that if you want me actually to wade through all of the works reputedly on fractals that you present, that 1) you allow sufficient time for me to do so, and 2) you provide a brief precis of each and its relevance to the question at hand. Indeed, it might be useful to some who are also interested in the subject of fractals (Fractalicity?) as an underlying organizing principle manifest in the universe to have such a summary guide to further reading. And in the absence of that, perhaps we should simply agree to disagree, for the issue of fractals and Chaos is only 25% of what I treated in this post. Thank you again for contributing to what I have found to be a fascinating conversation --- notwithstanding that it may have put Randy Keho. Gerald Hecht, and numerous others to sleep. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #56

#61 Milos > "Writing about fractals and chaos is more like teaching and mutual shaping of perception rather than activism..." Milos, that seems to me to put the horse before the cart. (Or as I've said before, to put da horse before Descartes...) I had always thought that the scientific method involved building theories to explain the observed phenomena, not the other way around. Shaping perception to accord with, and confirm a priori theory sound suspiciously like 19th century metaphysics of the type long debunked by more modern thinkers such as Kuhn, Popper, Reichenbach, whitehead, Russell, Ayer, and Wittghind saying Chaos is fractal? continued pt II

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #55

Phil Friedman, 1. "Fractality" - noun, mathematics the quality of being fractal or subdivided, from ( 2. Fractalicity - I never heard of that term. Any references? Thanks in advance and cheers, my friend.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #54

No problem Phil Friedman, fr more info about quantum fractals, how do fractal patterns emerge from quantum observations and relativistic light aberration effects and about the possible applications of quantum fractals. please check this book: Quantum Fractals:From Heisenberg's Uncertainty to Barnsley's Fractality by Arkadiusz Jadczyk, Quantum Future Group Inc., USA, (2014) ISBN: 978-981-4569-86-6 "Do not mistake obscurity of meaning for depth of thought." - Phil Friedman. This is one of the reasons why I'm active in this discussion.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #53

Phil Friedman, what is Fractalicity?

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #52

Phil Friedman, for more info about an essential relation between chaos and fractals, I recommend this book: Fractals and Chaos: The Mandelbrot Set and Beyond by Benoit B. Mandelbrot, Springer-Verlag New York (2004), doi: 10.1007/978-1-4757-4017-2 and this excellent open access book: Chaos and Fractals, A Computer Graphical Journey - A 10 Year Compilation of Advanced Research, Edited by Clifford A. Pickover, Elsevier (1998), ISBN: 978-0-444-50002-1 Writing about fractals and chaos is more like teaching and mutual shaping of perception rather than activism. It must not be forgotten that every discovery has always been preceded by years or even decades of painstaking learning and investigation. I'm trying to provide scientific communication with practical examples and references in this highly complex area. Especially given the huge importance of science regarding the complex adaptive systems, particularly when it comes to social networks, their sustainable development-prosperity and human relations (interactions) in social media. "Do not mistake obscurity of meaning for depth of thought." - Phil Friedman. This is one of the reasons why I'm active in this discussion Regards, Milos #58

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #51

Milos > "Some great people who have studied chaos and fractals:" Milos, please pardon me for pointing out that even though some people have studied chaos and fractals, it does NOT follow 1) that they identified the two, 2) that they even accepted one or both as forming the basis for a unified theory of the universe, 3) that even if they did, they were right. Moreover, providing names without citations of the work in which they purportedly considered, let alone actually confirmed a belief in the identity of Chaos and Fractal Principle(s), doesn't establish anything. And certainly falls far short of even what Gerald Hecht refers to as an "appeal to authority." BTW, I personally believe that Heisenberg did NOT see "uncertainty" as an ontological reality, but rather as a possibly insurmountable epistemological limitation. So unless you can quote and cite passages from Heisenberg to establish he did, and that he identified Chaos with Fractalicity, I will stick to my story. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #50

Don, thank you for reading and commenting. You are, of course, correct about the mildness of my "rant". I termed it thusly to indicate it was not really a rational argument in support of my views, but only a bald statement of beliefs. The difference between asserting a proposition and presenting an argument for the truth of that proposition is often overlooked. I apologize to you and to Randy Keho if this seems overly academic, but it is, in my view, crucial when considering, for example, a purportedly unifying theory of the universe. For in such cases, science and philosophy (particularly epistemology) must come together to assure that contra-factual claims do not form the basis for defective ontological theory. In other words, that bad reasoning does not lead to an incorrect picture of the world. In epistemology (basically, the study of reasoning and thought), it is generally taken as a red flag when someone asserts an obvious paradox as though it presents self-evident truth. For the gambit in such cases is generally to use the difficulty of dealing with an asserted paradox to dull reflective resistance to acceptance. A good example is, to my mind, "Chaos and fractalicity are two sides of the same coin." Makes sense doesn't it. NO, IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. You may take it to be true as a matter of faith (ala Kierkegaard), but the very nature of a true paradox is that you CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT, and so it cannot form any part of a rational argument. Thank you for sticking with the discussion, in the face of its meanderings off into the nether regions of ontological and metaphysical discussion. Have a beer or two on me. And send me the tab.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #49

Phil Friedman, I am waiting with much pleasure and curiosity interpretation, reflection and criticism of all involved members of this network. Once again, a passion for truth-seeking continues. There is no reason for fear or discomfort. Only if we learn, we progress. Curiosity, mindfulness and imagination made people great. None of us does not intend to make the final judgment. This is an open critical discussion and your contribution is highly significant and appreciated. Once again, thank you and cheers.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #48

For more info about chaos, I recommend this excellent open access article: Bishop, Robert, "Chaos", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #47

Phil Friedman, there is nothing counter-factual or false in a critical discussion. This is a discussion with arguments thanks for that Some great people who have studied chaos and fractals: 1. Hesiod (active between 750 and 650 BC), ancient Greek poet, chaos pioneer 2. Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480 - 1556/57), painter and illustrator, artist of chaos 3. Friedrich W. Nietzsche (1844 - 1900), philosopher and poet, researcher of philosophical aspects of chaos 4. Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943), scientist and inventor, fractal engineer and designer 5. Werner K. Heisenberg (1901 - 1976), theoretical physicist, father of uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics 6. Edward Norton Lorenz (1917 - 2008), mathematician and meteorologist, father of chaos theory 7. Benoit B. Mandelbrot (1924 - 2010), mathematician, father of fractals..

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #46

"Do not mistake obscurity of meaning for depth of thought." (The Wisdom of Chung King, First Scroll, circa 650 AD). Milos simply re-asserting a proposition over and over again is not an argument for its truth. Even if you are quoting or appealing to an authority or to your own writings. Thank you for reading and commenting, and for being part of the ongoing conversation. My best to you.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #45

About Chaos, part III "Chaos is an ultimate prerequisite for the awakening of mindfulness and insight which is manifested suddenly. In addition, such a beautiful moment, brings us enlightenment and inner peace. Fractals are strictly related to chaos. These are complex systems that have definite properties, just like humans. Chaos is our unique characteristics and an inexhaustible source of ideas, creativity and the most unusual imagination during the process of creation. Regardless of profession or contemplative activities we deal with, the beauty of complexity should be investigated gradually and without exaggeration. That's the utmost beauty of complexity, language, thoughts and us. Once again, a passion for truth-seeking continues." - from "The Secret Human Qualities That Truly Matter" - LI long-form post published on December 1, 2014

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #44

About Chaos, part II "In the Hesiod's “Theogony”, chaos is defined as the primary prerequisite before anything else; creative force of the formation and further development. Chaos in our society is certainly not useful or productive phenomenon, but it does not apply to our human existence. Chaos investigates the transition between order and disorder, which can often be unexpected and surprising. However, despite primordial fear, chaos is simultaneously a source of sublimity and the most unusual creativity. Chaos plays a crucial role in initiation and expression of our creativity. When there is no fear, chaos becomes a generator of new ideas and an integral part of some fruitful truth-seeking oriented journeys."- from "The Secret Human Qualities That Truly Matter" - LI long-form post published on December 1, 2014

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #43

Abut Chaos, part I "The human spirit is an inexhaustible source of complexity, chaos and precious wisdom. How to overcome the ubiquitous problems of complexity? Cosmos: the dust thrown into the eyes of a small-micro observer They were deceived us that perhaps even human brain and spirituality are actually simple, harmonious and finally arranged, just as the cosmos. The currently valid definition of chaos, makes it difficult to practice this endangered and forgotten human trait. Chaos is often defined as a mess, confusion and a complete lack of order? It seems that the ancient Greeks definition of the word chaos is now somewhat misinterpreted." - from "The Secret Human Qualities That Truly Matter" - LI long-form post published on December 1, 2014

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #42

Thank you, Praveen, for being straightforward and clear. I agree that there is too much order in the observable universe to completely reject the notion of an underlying organizing force (or if you prefer, spirit). However, if we are not to just take Kierkegaard's Leap of Faith and be done with it, but rather want to discuss and explore the matter rationally, then we need to ask how it is that Fractalism can, in fact, be seen as a unifying principle of organization. The answer is that it cannot. Which is why by tortuous logic adherents of the proposition have to claim that even Chaos is fractal. And then trust to their adherents to mistake an obvious paradox for truth. Thank you for reading and commenting.

don kerr

7 years ago #41

Phil Friedman That's about the tamest 'rant' I've read from you ever. I might even challenge your nomenclature and suggest that this is more of a treatise on guiding principles for meaningful exchange - regardless of media. I echo the following sentiment as well "For uniformity and self-similarity make me personally more uncomfortable than does chaos."

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #40

Yesss!!! And pleased you liked the photo. Am sending you by post a framed glossy print for your desk. :-)

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #39

Franci, in the words of my favorite TV detective hero, Rick Hunter, works for me. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #38

Praveen, as to the rest of your comment, I think in principle we agree sufficiently so as to leave it at that. Hoping that trust and truth carry the day. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #37

Oraveen, thank you as always for reading and commenting. With all due respect, however, there is no "fractal truth" in what you point to --- except for those who come to observed reality already as true believers. Simple repetitive patterns are not fractal. And leaf structures are not fractal. Nor is the tree. To see fractalicity in everything, even to the extent of asserting that chaos is actually fractal, is to my mind wrong-headed and unsupported by rational observation. True, that is my opinion, but it is one that I feel I have been silent about too long. So there it is. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #36

Agreed, Wayne, on both points. Self-ascribed laudatory titles appear to me ridiculous. And only something a digital native would ever pay attention to. As to seeking out only people who think like you --- that is about as fruitful as talking to yourself in a mirror. Probably worse because it reinforced the myth that you're accomplishing something worthwhile. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #35

#34 Gerald, you are spot on to my mind. Logic and concern for rational thought are NOT abstractions; they are the lifeblood not only of philosophy, but of science. They are the spine upon which the limbs of human understanding are supported. It is interesting that, when Orwell and, for example, "1984" are cited, his key concepts of "newspeak" and "doublethink" fail to be mentioned. And the reader of such appeals to authority is judged likely to be confused into thinking such appeal is meaningful. When it is not. The study of logic and rational thought teaches us to avoid falling victim to specious argument and representation. And that is not an abstraction. Cheers!

Jim Murray

7 years ago #34

Absolutely right about trust. In the 20 articles we have written together, it never occurred to either of us to want to edit or re-direct the other. This is actually a combination of trust and respect, which I personally find rare and definitely worth cherishing on social media and in 3-D life. Thanks for the shout out and the promo pic of Casa Murray Toronto.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #33

Randy, sorry about that. Too often, however, it is necessary to cloak response to academic pretension in its own jargon, or those who are surface reading will conclude that the critic just "doesn't understand". When it is actually a situation in which obscurity is masquerading as depth. As to you specific question, intellectual bull chips are simply stated bullshit ideas. Thank you for reading and commenting... And keeping us grounded in the real world.

Wayne Yoshida

7 years ago #32

Thanks for another thinking piece, Phil. I snickered (in agreement) at several points here. But the thing that makes my eyebrows raise the most is when people insert a level of expertise into their title. Like ninja and guru. I think it is much better if others describe you with those terms, it is rather pompous to claim these for yourself. But, that's just me. Trust is the other element that brings us together -- even if / even when there is disagreement. I believe this is where the most solid relationships can be formed. Because when there is disagreement -- there is a chance to learn from one another. Or, at least, understand there are other ways to look at the world around us.

Wayne Yoshida

7 years ago #31

Hmm. I thought it was KAOS not with a C. . . . . .

Randy Keho

7 years ago #30

Hold on a second ladies and gentleman. Anybody who has studied communication knows that throwing around big words and employing jargon defeats effective communication.Clear and concise is much more effective. Those who choose to comment should keep in mind that we're not all trained scientists and studied philosophers. I think I've worn out my Google. It doesn't have a clue what intellectual bull chips are. Fortunately, I've read "A Brave New World." Huxley is one of my favorite authors. Everybody should read his "Doors of Perception."

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #29

"Detached diatribe", Kevin? Beautiful! You have coined a polite and succinct term for "irrational and angry bull chips, fired off in ignorance of what was actually said and in the absence of reading the post". Speaking bluntly, I've found that one of the things that most infuriates people on social media is when yo call them out on not actually reading the post. Indeed, so ingrained is the practice, and so inured to it are we, that I've several times been told there simply isn't time to bother with reading before commenting. See, I can even rant in a comment on a rant. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #28

I have one up on you, Neil. Jim's first ever comment to me in print was, " Go f&@k yoursel,?Friedman" (in a non-redacted version). Good thing I am a fully insensitive soul. Thank you for readings... and criticizing. Cheers, as the Brits say!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #27

I have one up on you, Neil. Jim's first ever comment to me in print was, " Go f&@k yoursel,?Friedman" (in a non-redacted version). Good thing I am a fully insensitive soul. Thank you for readings... and criticizing. Cheers, as the Brits say!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #26

my pleasure, Sara, I always strive to amuse, notwithstanding my image for being grumpy. As you can see, this post is an experiment. Part tongue in cheek, part serious. Wondering if readers can spot, or even tell the difference. Keeping laughing; it hurts less that way. :-)

Neil Smith

7 years ago #25

Hardly the rantiest rant I've ever seen Phil. More perhaps a note on basic ground rules. In life generally no one has a right to not be offended. If that were the case there would be almost no communication as it would be impossible to draw a line dividing offensive from acceptable as someone will always find some comment offensive. Polite however should be a given. Opinions will differ but is it asking so much to respect and consider opinions without denigrating and personally attacking the opinion holder? Personally I consider"politically correct" to be much the same thing as"polite". We mostly appreciate good manners and politeness. Sometimes however a surfeit can be a bit too much. Likewise an excess of PC consideration can be grating. Fortunately most, but not all of the nonsense examples are fictitious. Personipulate as a gender neutral substitute for manipulate was a joke now used as a real example by crap newspapers like the Daily Mail in the UK. A bit of difference and a smidgeon of friction is for me a definite positive. It helps me get better at life and after fifty years there's a lot to get better at. Following a post on LinkedIn Jim Murray left a comment pointing out some things I could do better. Obviously I reacted as a mature, intelligent adult and took the hump. "Who did this guy think he was"? After that first thirty seconds however I sat down and re-worked the piece according to his suggestions and it did, inevitably read better. Positive criticism with the emphasis on the positive part is unbeatable. The uncritical praise I can get from my mum.

Sara Jacobovici

7 years ago #24

I have to confess Phil Friedman, this time your comment didn't just bring a smile to my face, I actually enjoyed a good laugh out loud! Thanks.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #23

thank you for reading and commenting. If not exactly understanding. To my mind you are perfectly free to transcend and traverse however you may so choose. And I do not presume to tell you or anyone how to think. My only point is to call intellectual bull chips as I see 'em. For that is what a rant is all about. As to no becoming Jim's relocation coordinator, I doubt he would have retained me anyway. As I probably would have had him living in Etobicoke by year end. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #22

thank you, Javier, for reading and commenting. As I said, I personally do not worry much about trolls, but more about those who continue to feel that even polite forms of disagreement are not appropriate on social media. For if we only allow like-mindedness, there is nothing to discuss, as we already agree upon everything. Cheers!

Harvey Lloyd

7 years ago #21

@Phil Friedman somehow i believe you have removed all opportunity of being Jim Murray's relocation coordinator. Trolls are fueled by the responses they get i would imagine, in some perverse way they enjoy pressing someones buttons. To the chaos theory and some form of patterns being available, there are two perspectives, the human race and the individual. I believe in the discussion we transcend back and forth between these two dimensions. My personal view of humanities totality of chaos is philosophical in nature and is presented within a crowded space of many positions. My personal life and journey is mine and is determined by my perspective of the chaos i endeavor to traverse. For me to espouse the chaos and my successful or failed journey through as the leadership of the greater philosophical chaos, would be to ignore your existence. Anyone who claims with absolutes they have found the path through chaos that is best for all, probably needs to move out of Colorado.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #20

thank you, Gerald, for reading and commenting so eruditely. What I fell the need to object to intellectually is the blanket identification of opposite concepts in a way that renders speech and thought meaningless. For simply being able to mouth certain words, such as "chaos" and "order", in the same breath does not explain how one is or becomes the other. I thought we had left Teutonic BS metaphysics behind intellectually many years ago. But apparently the siren call of obscurity draws us still. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

7 years ago #19

Another fantastic Friedman factum from Phil... I will be sorely disappointed if this doesn't generate some (great) disagreement and discussion (without the detached diatribe which can occur when commenters don't actually read the post ).
Phil Friedman thanks for sharing your thoughts! To be honest I am ZERO worried about trolls. When I find somebody that is annyoing or disturbing me, I just stop follow or silence. We will give you also the tool to block anybody. I am already silincing some of them, and I promise :: " you feel happy ". My advise is getting away always from negative people. They do not teach you anything. Have a great weekend !

Pascal Derrien

7 years ago #17

Ah yes fair point actually should have added constructively to my pov PC can equally be dull ,same point as yours on safe zones I actually dont agree with concept of safe zones as a concept if there is one ☺

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #16

Pascal, I am not sure that what you've outlined isn't a perfect definition of "politically correct". For if the content of a comment and its intent (meaning?) are right but it's delivery wrong (uncomfortable in the circumstances?), isn't that because it goes against the grain of predominating social rules? Sounds a lot like describing the expressions of Socrates, Jesus, Ghandi, MLK, and others who had the content and intent right, but all made people socially uncomfortable. I think, but only think and am not sure that you and I agree about "safe zones" --- for I think you are saying that some statements are such pontificating BS they cannot possibly find "safe" ground. And if that is what you are saying, I agree. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #15

Gerald Hecht.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #14

Milos, simply citing a purported authority does not make a theory true -- nor even comprehensible. And any system of thought which takes it as axiomatic that "chaos" equals "order" can deduce absolutely any statement whatsoever, because it becomes a counter-factual conditional, I.e. a conditional in which the antecedent is false. Once one enters the realm of nonsensical equivalences, one destroys all meaningful distinctions in both language and concept, and what follows conceptually IS truly chaos. When not having a discernible pattern is taken itself to be a pattern, then all statements are true, and at the same time none are. Which is the end of rational thought, not the beginning. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #13

I was thinking of, perhaps, the letters B and S, Sara -- in sort of deference to Jim Murray. For the couplet is dear to his heart. :-)

Pascal Derrien

7 years ago #12

The problem with some comments is sometimes that the content and the intent is right but the delivery is wrong, I think people take it more personally when it comes from somebody they appreciate or respect more than when it comes from a troll that most of us can smell miles ahead, now JIm mentioned once the concept of super nerds who like lecturing and pontificating... for those nothing can be done safe zone or not... they need to get a life :-) (or get lost) One of my trees produces a lot of leaves too..... :-)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #11

"For uniformity and self-similarity make me personally more uncomfortable than does chaos. Or at least, than does free-form diversity. Which is more than just a subtle hint about how I see social interaction. And why I have no inclination to be part of a Borg Collective." - Phil Friedman Phil, my friend, as I pointed out below, this statement does not make sense, since self-similarity is the same as the chaos. Therefore, the chaos theory and self-similarity (fractals) as an integral part of the chaos, have nothing in common with the uniformity, slavery, coercion, totalitarianism, single-mindedness or Star Trek Borg Collective model (including other popular references in social slavery:. Equilibrium movie by Kurt Wimmer, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell, Kafka's "Der Process" or in "The Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley...). Chaos and self-similarity are the essence of free will and a prerequisite for the unquestionable respect for human diversity, freedom of personal choice and critical thinking. Chaos Theory: finding order in the chaos.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #10

Phil Friedman, Then you and I are both trolls. By the way, self-similarity is the essence (an integral part) of chaos. So you can not choose only one of these two. And that is the real truth and not perception of truth according to the current state-of-the-art in complexity science. You can check within book "Algorithmic Composition, Paradigms of Automated Music Generation" by Gerhard Nierhaus, Chapter 6: "Chaos and Self-Similarity", Springer Vienna (2009), pp 131-155, DOI: 0.1007/978-3-211-75540-2

Sara Jacobovici

7 years ago #9

Love "the four Tees: Trees, trolls, trust and truth", individually and collectively. So Phil Friedman, is there a series happening here? Which letter will inspire you next?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #8

Yea, Randy, how 'bout dem Cubbies? If they keep it up, going to Wrigley stadium for a game will cease to be a picnic or a meeting place to play checkers, but will become tension-filled baseball fan activity. Not sure I could live with that. Still... congrats to all Cubs fans.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #7

Milos, in case you didn't notice, my brief is partly in defense of many who are labeled trolls (disrupters), but who in reality are not. Of course, true trolls are also, as you say people, just not people with whom I particularly like to converse. The extent of any given individual's "rights" ends at the point the exercise of those rights begin to infringe on someone else's "rights". And true trolls are always stepping over the line. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #6

And when we do not respect people and their diversity, then the truth and trust are somewhere else. Cheers.

Randy Keho

7 years ago #5

How 'bout those Cubs?

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #4

Phil, Everyone can speak for himself in social media, "trolls" included. And they are also people.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #3

Because, Milos, I have every confidence that you can speak for yourself. Cheers on this very early Sunday morning.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #2

Phil Friedman, I'm really puzzled that you haven't mentioned me, since I am an ugliest fractal troll, a self-signed expert, transcendent -serenity guru and self-serious thought leader.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #1

Jim Murray, you guys are mentioned in this post. Cheers!

Articles from Phil Friedman

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5 years ago · 2 min. reading time


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5 years ago · 7 min. reading time


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