FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 35: Beyond Science

Science is important to me. Though I am a trained scientist and truly embrace the scientific method as a great way to go about answering questions, I think we treat science, the method, and scientISTS as if they were something special. We/They’re not. It is very important to me to help people understand what science IS and, more importantly, what it IS NOT.

The first point I try to make in this video, and whenever talking about science is that IT’S JUST A METHOD. What we call science is the set of instructions about how to go about asking questions (the scientific method), and draw inferential conclusions as a result. Ideally, but very rarely, these results are then transformed FROM scientific methodology, complicated statistics, and field specific jargon, to meaningful statements most people can understand. But this last step almost never happens, and when it does, it isn’t interpreted by scientists, but by laypersons.

Here’s the rub: The RESULTS of SCIENCE, produced following and according to the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, have to be filtered through a DISCOURSE comprised of US HUMANS. Science is nothing special except having some rules to follow in order to produce a desired result. Think about that statement. It’s not that much different from religion or governmental laws. These things are methods or systems of organizing or going about completing a task(s) in ways that make sense to a large number of people or constituents. In other words, these methods are vetted up front by groups of people, and their results are filtered through a discourse comprised of thoughts, interpretations, and opinions of those same people.

I will develop and explain this concept in much more detail beginning with Episode 50 and my efforts to develop concise products about this and related subjects. But here I introduce the idea that science is just a method used to answer questions, that we, as people interested in these questions, are not doing our job, and the scientist have become so separated from the public discourse that the method itself is incomplete, and becoming ineffective.

Original blog with podcast and video links here https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/25/kew-episode-35-beyond-science/

KEW Episode 48: Unlearning

As I move toward Episode 50 and what I hope to be a major shift in what I’m working toward with KEW, I realize how important Unlearning is. 

How do we KNOW if we REALLY know what we THINK we know?

Well, we don’t. But we can think about it. And unlearning comes in to play as a necessary ‘next step’ for those of us who have ever asked this kind of question. Or questions like:

Who am I?
What’s all this about?
What’s the meaning of life?
Is there life after death?
Why is my dad so racist?

Generally, Unlearning is only important to people who have ever wondered WHY they feel a certain way, think a certain way, or behave a certain way. Where did this ‘certain way’ come from? I’ll develop this idea much further after episode 50, but for now let’s say that MUCH of what we think, what we ARE, WHO we are comes from stuff we never really thought much about. Things we automatically learned as we grew up. Some of it we learned before we even had awareness. Or free will. Some of us carry these beliefs into adulthood. Some of us never know.

But for those of us who DO know. Who have asked these types of questions (who ARE you?). The first thing we have to do is recognize what we really KNOW and FEEL and BELIEVE and what’s just a bunch of stuff we learned. And then to sort of ‘wipe the slate clean’ and start over. That’s where UNLEARNING comes in. That’s all I’m saying when I say UNLEARN.

It’s about questioning our beliefs and our thoughts. It’s about figuring out what we DO think and believe. And about getting on the path toward exploring what life is all about. It’s pretty simple.

I hope you enjoy this week’s episode and stick around for what’s to come. Please follow me on my blog and/or YouTube and SIGN UP for weekly emails so you can participate in the development of these ideas.

Direct link to podcast audio: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8549500-kew-episode-48-unlearning.mp3?download=true

And PLEASE follow me on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google play, or whichever app you use.

Direct link to YouTube video: https://youtu.be/TKpJgTCnDeY

Preview KEW Episode 48: Unlearning

I’m beginning to believe that before we can really learn anything, we have to unlearn everything we ‘know’ related to that thing. Not necessarily because of a limited capacity to learn, but because a lot of what we ‘know’ can be unhelpful, misleading, or outright wrong.

Maybe this is a controversial statement, that much of what we ‘know’ is wrong. But it seems obvious to me at this point that we have been taught a whole bunch of stuff that we have never thought about.

Examples I use in this episode include religion, politics, and music. There are tons more. An example of being wrong about what you know is your religions affiliation. Are you a Christian? How? Why? Did you make that decision? When? Did you consider all of the other religions equally and then DECIDE you were Christian? Hopefully, you see what I’m saying.

Some things we just never THINK about, but we LEARNED them. From our parents. Our siblings. Our extended family. Our school teachers. Our bosses. All of the people around us teach us things every day. Some of this we are aware of.

Probably we learn things before we can really comprehend them. No ones fault, it’s just a thing that happens. Then it’s just a matter of whether or not we ever realize this and, if we do, whether we then try to decide for ourselves.

Oh yeah, unlearning. So before we can really LEARN anything, we have to unlearn the stuff we learned when we weren’t paying attention. So, if that’s true – did we really LEARN it in the first place? I don’t know about that, but I think we still have to unlearn first.

Full podcast and video episodes this Friday on KEW.

KEW Curiosity Interview Series 8: Bernhard Kutzler

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Bernhard Kutzler (www.bernhardkutzler/en/). After a lifelong career in mathematics, Bernhard went off the grid in a very huge way. He spent nearly 3.5 years in total isolation: away from his phone, tv, people, and all interactions. He forced himself to face his mind in an effort to ask the ‘big questions’ about being human.

Who am I? Why are we here? What is consciousness? Why do I do the things I do?

Everyone reading this has wrestled with one or all of these questions, or similar questions about the meaning of life. Well, Bernhard is just like you. Except he spent THREE AND A HALF YEARS thinking about nothing BUT questions like these.

So, the man has my admiration. That’s freaking devotion. That’s giving it your all. 

And it makes me exceptionally CURIOUS about what he figured out. 

Fortunately, he gave me almost two hours of his time to explain all that. As you can imagine, even two hours is not enough time to answer all of life’s question, but we hit on many of the biggest elements. 

Also fortunately, Bernhard has written three books about his experience that you can find links to on his website. 

Curiosity: The Mental Hunger of Humans

Consciousness: Its Nature, Purpose, and How to Use it

Being Free: Get Out of the Box. The Method with 99 Exercises

He also has a blog on his website and a video series on YouTube. The first place to start is with Bernhard’s explanation of the Chicken Problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XMZa_8lAVQ&t=334s

Seriously. Click that link.

I hope you take the time to work your way through that video, this interview, and more of Bernhard’s work. You might not agree with it all, but then again you didn’t spend 3.5 years in isolation thinking about it:)

Full audio podcast download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8499860-kew-curiosity-interview-series-8-bernhard-kitzler.mp3?download=true

Or subscribe to KEW on your favorite podcast app.

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/atiDEgGPO48