Good Spaces
Good Food - Good Times - Good Spaces
So, let’s back off and do some connecting. The goal of Sherlock is to accurately analyse evidence and to solve mysteries such that decisive and effective action can be taken, resulting in some form of success. Wrong judgments and actions are what we are trying to avoid. One aspect of the concept is that we need a Sherlock, and although he is not exactly your average peasant, he is very much a human and not some sort of super mind. He is a type of little Jim Corbett who has developed his skill over an extended time period while making productive use of that time. Productive time is key. Wasted time does not count. A non-porous mental structure locked onto bedrock reality is the goal. Personal confidence and honesty and effort is essential.

The concept of looking for ‘tracks’ and analysing ‘tracks’ and comparing ‘tracks’ is a huge aspect of the Sherlock formula. We are dealing with ‘Life’ and ‘Life’ is a highly interrelated system made up of myriad living entities, some of those entities having more than average clout and for the most part, being ‘human’. Non-human entities, as in animals, don’t really get important things done compared to humans!

Living entities leave tracks and living entities have characteristics and identifiable profiles and personalities. Some living entities are proxies for other living entities. Having an accurate read on these matters is very important to the Maestro Sherlock – a complex matter that can be seen as a jungle of facts and influences that is impossible to fully understand – but where ‘at least having a clue’, and better yet, ‘several clues’ is very helpful.

Then, we hit the ‘herd think impact’ and the very real concept of ‘theory/fact/thought packets’ which can be seen as mental viruses, some good and some bad. The viruses spread through the herd and make the Sherlock job even more challenging due to the need to sort out solid, true ‘clues’, from false ‘clues’ that simply get the detective off course.

The environment we function in can definitely complicate ‘knowing up from down’ as well as ‘true and false’.

I am convinced that many artistic artists deliver a type of inspired performance in being able to hang punchy descriptions on common realities of life, even if they don’t have an exact understanding of what they are talking about. Bob Dylan’s ‘Political World” song is loaded. “Wisdom is thrown in jail. It rots in a cell, is misguides as hell, leaving no one to pick up the trail.”

If you are building a high rise building and the engineers make a bad calculation while designing the foundation, this is far worse than an electrician making a design error on the 97th floor. Sherlock is governed by the same principle. Some clues, if they are faulted, are less serious if they are of twig status vs foundational clues that, if wrong, can put you totally off the trail.

Another analogy is that of following verbal directions or a printed map. If you manage to get so lost that neither you nor your advisors can even identify where you are – perhaps right off the map – then you find your self in a ‘leaving no one to pick up the trail’ situation. Recently I heard the example of one of my son’s staff trying to make connections with a ride provider who was to pick him up in Brandon, Manitoba. The would be passenger didn’t show up on time but phone discussions meant to home him in on a certain Brandon location eventually revealed that he thought he was in Brandon but he was actually in Dauphin. A worker familiar with both centers eventually twigged as to what was going on. The lost man had passed through Brandon and kept going. Blunders happen! Only 100km off target! If connecting with a ride provider was the goal, the efforts to home in were impacted greatly by a very basic and faulted ‘thought packet’! The man knew he was in a town, and his theory was that it was Brandon. What if the man had been so ‘lost’ when he was trying to connect, that he assumed he was in Brandon, but he was actually in Dothan, Alabama. Truly, it would have become difficult if not impossible for the wise to pick up the trail!

Consider some rather foundational mental packets that have infected the herd and had a major impact on many areas. The belief that the sun rotated around the earth. Galileo got into friction on that one. The belief that the earth is flat. Amazingly that mental packet isn’t extinct. Failure to appreciate the effects of relativity on GPS technology – mentioned earlier. Failure to consider the chemical mechanisms connected with Freon 12, the wonder compound that made household refrigeration practical, was then produced in huge volumes for multiple applications, but was destroying the earth’s ozone layer. Charles Kettering, the technical brain who helped General Motors grow large, flubbed on that one. Belief that cholera was caused by getting a chill on the abdomen. Look up the amusing story on that one on Wikipedia - cholera belts were real. Belief that the earth is only 6000 years old. Still going strong in many circles. Belief that Columbus was the first significant old world traveller with sufficienct technical umph to make contact with North America. Case out how Mi’kmaq hieroglyphics are so similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics and check how Pierre Maillard documented the writing style prior to the deciphering of the Rosetta stone and then consider if a modern heretic like Barry Fell deserved the ridicule he endured. Fell was not a ‘Columbus first’ advocate!

A vital reality clue that a true Sherlock is aware of, is that many herd mental failings, that allow destructive mental viruses to infect human herds, develop over a time period that is greater than a human lifetime. ‘Reality disconnects’ can gradually develop and then, when a certain pathologic mental virus comes along, a huge segment of the herd is vulnerable and you have a ‘mental viral pandemic’. And one negative infection can set the herd up for further negative infections until such time that the herd thinks it is in Brandon but it is really in Dothan. And then, no one can pick up the trail of wisdom.

Due to the vital reality of ‘slow, intergenerational development’, those who care little for observation of history, are unaware that there is a problem. Like two butterflies on a tree, one asks the other “Do you think this object we are sitting on is alive?” And the second butterfly says “I have been around it all my life and I have never seen it move.” Many herd attitudes are taken as factual reality simply because members of the current herd are unaware of any other outlook. And that may be a serious mistake, if you see a value to being in touch with reality. Usually there are simple, reoccurring, day to day ‘warning’ situations that an observant person can notice, yet few do. But these simple hints can and should trigger deeper explorations into the past and that action, if taken, often yields surprising and helpful revelations. George Santayana apparently coined the often copied phrase “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And often that means that bitter lessons are forgotten and then relearned via the hard logic of experience. Sort of like a negative mental virus repeatedly surfacing where immunity is lost over time.

Let me hit you with an angle that may soften up your herd trust? Do you trust individuals who you believe are seriously disconnected from reality? Does being a seeming idiot in one area that you feel everyone should be in touch on, make you distrust such a person in more general terms? What if this idiocy is enlarged to herd scale?

I once met a rocket specialist who worked for Rockwell and I was impressed by his stories of work related experiences. Would he have been hired if it was clear to the hiring official that the man felt the US moon landing had been faked. Juan Trippe, the man behind Pan American Airways, widespread intercontinental air travel, and the Boeing 747, hired Charles Lindbergh to chart international aircraft flight paths for Pan Am in 1928. Would he have given that job to Lindbergh had Lindbergh believed that the world was flat? Would Lindbergh have been successful at navigating from New York to Paris in 1927, without radio, radio beacons, radar, auto pilot, or gps, if he thought the earth was flat and if he tried to navigate based on that theory?

When I meet people who I am convinced are solidly invested in a concept that I am solidly convinced is incorrect, their credibility in general, in my mind, takes a bad hit. If I label an individual as an ‘ignorant fool’, that person’s opinions, in whatever field they are expressed, are going to be viewed with a degree of distrust. If I am playing Sherlock, this person is not going to rate as a credible witness who can provide quality clues of undisputed value. Now a lot depends on how well grounded I am and how broad and solid a base I have developed because the issue stands, ‘who is crazy – him or me?’ But in Life, everyone has to take a stand, self evaluate, and push forward. The ‘in-play clock’ never stops. ‘I’ve made mistakes now once or twice. I’ve often had some good advice. You take a chance and roll the dice. It’s all a lesson learned!’ That song line is pretty solid – we are all part of ‘The Game’! And for each individual the start and end points of ‘The Game’ are quite clear cut and generic and this fact makes ‘individuality’ into a very real thing! No matter what legacy you leave behind, ‘You’ are eventually ‘Gone’!

What is the biggest human herd mental sickness? What is the biggest mental viral disease afflicting humanity? What is the biggest underlying mental health issue that seriously compromises humanity’s immunity to myriad lesser mental virus infections? What is the biggest generator of phoney clues that tend to throw ‘would be Sherlocks’ off the track when deciphering mysteries? It is a mental concept zone that is, on the one hand, so simplistic that a small child can call it, with minimal thought, yet so heated by emotion, individualistic energies, and entrenched herd pressure that any sort of consideration of this central issue is a mine field of potential explosions! Even Sherlock lays the clues on the table with a degree of concern as to political implications and reactions! But let me hit you with a simple Sherlock story that can be viewed as a ‘to the point’ summary!

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are going for a walk on an early London morning. There has been a light snowfall that has whitened the ground and snow is still falling. As they cross an open and grassy park area, they observe tracks in the snow. “A large dog has passed through this park moments before our arrival” Holmes states. “Really” says Dr. Watson, “I don’t see a dog. Surely you are jumping to conclusions, Holmes, or letting your imagination play tricks on you.”

Now, instead of Holmes claiming, in typical British diplomatic style, that his observation is ‘elementary’, he could have said “Dr. Watson; have you blown a mental fuse!? Since when have you become a supporter of ‘dumb before obvious’? Get your shit together and use your brain!”

Ask yourself, if you were in this situation along with our two actors, who would you side with? And if a fourth person was present and he sided with Watson, how would your opinion of that person’s intelligence be affected?

Obviously we are dealing with a living entity that has left real tracks and we have plenty of micro clues in mental storage to know that the entity is almost certainly a dog – not a cat – not a pigeon – not a strange weather phenomenon – not an elf on a ‘paw imprint’ pogo stick!

Now let’s get a little kid and do an experiment on the kitchen table. Note that we have several very simple items to work with. Do each of those items represent ‘tracks’? Did they take form due to minds with creative powers attached? Do you see any similarity between the simple items and the simple molecule? But let’s ignore all the rather major background details and simply focus on the immediate kitchen table situation. We spread the items out on the table. Then we assemble the items into the structure illustrated. Then we take the structure apart and spread the items on the table as they were initially. Then we ask the child the following question; “ If we leave this room and come back an hour later and find the items reassembled in the same pattern in which we had assembled them earlier, do you think that this is proof that someone with a mind and associated creative capacities, very similar to our own, was here? Would you see the assembled items as ‘tracks” of ‘someone’?

Obviously, if the child has any intelligence and spine, he will say “Yes – someone was in the kitchen in our absence. No question about it. Why are you asking me such an obvious and therefore stupid question?"

Now, let’s make this a bit more complex. The child may be confused at a trusted adult playing mind games with him but ask the child if it would be possible for the result to occur if a much longer time period could elapse between the initial random setup and the final check for the assembled structure? Probability of anything supposedly increases with time! Maybe the age weight of the adult would browbeat the child into response uncertainty or even agreeing that the seeming unlikely could happen. But the smoke cloud injected into the issue is indeed smoke – a blinding of simple common sense. ‘Time’ for ‘Life’ that exists by the second and minute is a permanent kiss of death if there is any disruptive interruption (reason for an artificial heart pump during heart operations) in the unique process and even inanimate materials have a time sensitive aspect. If we wait 1000 years for the ‘miracle’ of assembly to occur without a ‘mind with creative power’ entity being involved, the basic items will rust to nothing, the house and kitchen table will have collapsed into the basement, and the theoretic miracle will not have happened and of course, never could have. Given long enough, the evidence is that even the invisible atoms and molecules will degenerate.

The ‘dumb before obvious’ issue truly is on the table for all to see. All sorts of forces are likely at work in the minds of observers. Do you side with Sherlock or Watson? If you opt to hang in with Watson, how do you explain your ‘dumb’ answer to the small child? Do you risk confronting a small and young smart ass telling you to “get your shit together and use your brain!”

The Sherlock story may seem to be dragging on and seemingly wandering off track, but it is worth jumping back in history to consider an unusual string of developments that few people living today are aware of. It is a story of how wisdom was partially sprung out of jail for a time, only to be put back in, but this time into something closer to solitary confinement. We could draw the analogy of our little kid getting into an argument with his adult handler and being shut down on a technicality by a more advanced and forceful mind, even though the little kid was onto a core of truth that was of infinitely greater value than the devious twist promoted by the older debate winner.

Louis Agassiz was born in 1807 and was a dynamo of energy and achievement. He was an unusual and extremely talented and energized man from his youth on to shortly prior to his death. In the period of 1850 to 1870 he was the best known natural history scientist on earth. But today, few have heard of him and he has been seemingly erased from the history of others who were his second string contemporaries such as Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

His plight reminds me a bit of Nikolai Yezhov, Stalin’s one time hatchet man, who fell into disfavour, and was not only executed but even his photo images were removed from official Russian photos. Out of sight, out of mind!  Yezhov was not a nice guy and few people would have any reason to miss him and his brutality.  The Agassiz removal is similar only in his disappearance.  He wasn't a murderous criminal and those who are responsible for his disappearance may eventually feel that they made a mistake and committed an injustice.

I purchased a used book about Agassiz via Amazon and was amused at the stamp that had been placed just inside the front cover. The book was in new condition. It may never have been taken out of the library where it had once been housed. Its removal had nothing to do with the condition of the physical book. But the ‘no longer welcome’ stamp likely says something about the ‘Agassiz removal initiative’!

The irony of Agassiz’s monumental achievements is that his work appeared to trigger a universal landslide, the momentum of which buried a major thrust of his work as well as Agassiz himself.  

When Agassiz was young he went to Paris and was involved with Georges Cuvier, who at that time was huge in natural history. Cuvier was known as ‘the father of paleontology’ and was instrumental at establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology. At this point in time there was a battle of thinking as to details of natural history with Cuvier convinced that what you see is a design and build job with minimal connection between products, other than the designer and the build shop, while other capable thinkers of the era, like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire advanced the thinking that all living things were genetically connected and gradually developed their differences over long periods of time – the fore-runner thinking of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. They felt that inanimate ‘Natural Forces’ working over a huge time span explained the complex world that we have in front of us and that we are part of.

Cuvier was into organizing and classifying living structures, past and present and he was convinced that this would not be possible if a gradual transformation had occurred, as division lines would by definition be nonexistant. But division lines were in fact very clear. Napoleon had sent a scientific expedition to Egypt around 1800 and many ancient artefacts were secured. Cuvier pointed out that the mummified cats and ibises and humans that were thousands of years old were no different than current versions. Lamarck dismissed this observation saying change happened over such a long time period that a thousand years was inconsequential. Cuvier responded by saying that a thousand times nothing is still nothing.

Cuvier accused Lamarck and Saint-Hilaire of conveniently introducing thousands of years with the stroke of a pen in order to support their foolish theories. Cuvier appreciated that the matter involves ‘systems’ and not just ‘disconnected, one dimension details’. Significant model change involves multiple facets being changed at the same time and in a very short time – an impossibility that shoots gradual evolution into dreamland – ‘life’ is by the second and doesn’t have time for eons. To Cuvier, the issue of ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ settled the dispute on the spot. He ridiculed Lamarck’s thinking by pointing out that Lamarck’s theory rested on the belief that efforts and desire could engender complex organs and that such an airy-fairie concept might appeal to the imagination of a poet or a metaphysician but not to someone familiar with the complex structural details of specific elements of life such as a hand or heart or even a feather.

But exploration and discovery of the natural world was on a roll in the 1800s and exploration tests theories and there were a lot of theories that came under the pressure of the hard logic of observed reality. Zoology and geology and the mechanism of life and practical physics were exciting fields that were generating breaking news of discoveries (or realizations) on a daily basis.

Enter Louis Agassiz who was highly influenced by Georges Cuvier, who died during a Paris cholera epidemic in 1832. Agassiz moved on and was as adamant as Cuvier that we are living in a designed environment that is not a product of chance but is a massive and complex and interconnected design and build project. But Agassiz was not a theology establishment lackey and it was clear to him that the world was a lot older than 6000 years. He also realized that glaciation was a huge factor in the formation of the earth’s surface, and he realized there was a huge story in fossils. Advancing these observations and discoveries went a long way towards eroding many of the religious party grips that existed at that time. Agassiz and many others were into studying embryology and that field, not to mention the complex but ‘in your face’ process of the growth and change of all living things from birth to death, seemed to say that radical change in living things was almost a simple reality.

What would seem an oddity, now days, in the thinking of Cuvier and Agassiz, was their resistance to ‘transmutation’ of living things. Both men seemed set in their view that such was impossible while at the same time their work and discoveries seemed to support the concept. The transmutation term was used to describe adaptation and gradual change.

That area of inflexibility created major problems for both men and had a lot to do with their being moved into the social ogre department. Charles Darwin, who was capable and I gather a very pleasant and easy going fellow, comes along and provides very solid examples of what was called, incorrectly, transmutation. Animals adapt. Humans adapt. A degree of significant change over time is a reality. So – the thought, supported by observed radical change in embryos and growing living organisms, that given long enough, anything is possible, gains a foothold. Cuvier’s ‘1000 times nothing argument’ seemed to collapse!

Agassiz, after gaining fame in Europe, moves to the United States, where he is an even greater star. He is a highly capable man with a great mind and extensive social charm but he likely lacked a degree of modesty that made Darwin popular. Agassiz and his wife (co-founder of Radcliffe College) have a huge impact on Harvard University and higher education in general in the USA. Agassiz helps to make ‘science’ into a new force that increasingly edges religion off the playing field. He is somewhat of an elitist who feels that society needs to be run by the intelligentsia and he likely influences many others, especially in the field of education, that this is a wise approach. And he clings to his refusal to acknowledge ‘transmutation’ and he has no regard for the work and writings of Darwin who he feels is hardly worth arguing with.

Then the American Civil War occurs on the back of the slavery issue. Both Cuvier and Agassiz, linked in with their set views on the transmutation issue, had very rigid racial views that Agassiz held onto. He was not in favour of slavery but he advanced the thinking that blacks and whites were two different groups without a common heritage. His ‘theory’ was used by the pro-slavery groups to justify the practice. Meanwhile, Darwin was down on slavery and his background views on human development were in line with his opposition of man oppressing man.

Meanwhile, Agassiz, the aging energy giant, was throwing himself into the creation of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and that was his focus until his somewhat early and sudden death in 1873, a few years after the American Civil War ended.

To Agassiz, the concept of complex systems, especially living complex systems, developing without a ‘mind with creative powers’ was idiocy and he was an influencial force at illustrating this concept to others. But he didn’t hold all the cards on reality and some of the concepts he held to be accurate, but weren’t, eventually blew away his positive reputation.

Darwin’s ‘theory’ had minimal support and popularity until 50 plus years after Agassiz’s death. Agassiz enjoyed largely unopposed star status for most of his career while Darwin and Wallace struggled. But 100 years after Agassiz was on his roll, he was forgotten except as a minor villain, and Darwin’s and A R Wallace’s ‘theory’, despite its assault on common sense, was regarded as fact and above questioning.

The Darwin-Wallace promotion of ‘natural selection’ gave new life to the thinking of men like Lamarck and seemed to be a real factor in plant and animal adaptation to different living conditions. Examples were observed and talked about at great length and all sorts of subtle implications were discussed and debated while the impossible aspect of the idea being expanded into a ‘reality dreamland’ was sluffed off as a seeming non-concern - and the idiocy slipped solidly into the eventual end product package. Positive impact ‘natural selection’ occurs where there are candidates that are ‘system compatible’ being generated thus giving options for environmental favour and selection. And just like any life form being born into a massive and essential support system, this is no small matter. But it is a screaming example of the work of a super mind power with staggering design, foresight, and fabrication capabilities. Agassiz was fully appreciative of this. Proxy intelligence and control are obviously at work and, as a result, an appreciation of the capacity of the background Mind should be amplified – not totally ignored and wiped out.

Agassiz seemed to unfairly discount and ignore transmutation thinking and the concept of natural selection but his arguments against thinking that the complex, multi facet world that we are part of could ‘gradually’ develop even with some sort of ongoing mental force pulling strings is reflected by the kid at the kitchen table pondering complex design and construction within a total, integrated system. Agassiz was a proponent of obvious rather than dumb. Looking at a line of automobiles with historic to current examples in several model lines does not normally engender a belief that somehow there was a seamless transition. Are the cars somehow linked by a factor comparable to reproduction and genetics in related animals or are you looking at independent design and build projects from a designer or design team and their associated production facility? Opting for the ‘dumb’ explanation at this basic clue level is going to have major implications for anyone’s detective capacity!

Georges Cuvier