Over the years I've said/written a few things that my friends started calling "Danielisms". Some of my musings are below.
"Perfect logic is meaningless without perfect perspective." (originally posted in 1994)
The value of a logical analysis of a problem corresponds to the completeness of the dataset analysed. The reason why great minds seeking a truth often differ is because it is rare, or perhaps even impossible, for a human mind to comprehensively view and consider absolutely every relevant factor in a big problem.

I posted a blog on this in 2006 on zaadz.com (post added below) and this was the most popular post I made on that blog. Unfortunately zaadz is no longer in existence and my posts are no longer on the web. I'm going to be blogging on timbezu.com soon and will likely start by reposting many of my older blog posts.

This brings us to the correlary...
"In order to fully understand, one's world view must expand to completely encompass that which is being understood." (posted 1994)
If you have limited your scope of thought to that which you have considered or believe that you know there is little chance that you will ever fully understand the concept. A true scientist must be able to identify their deeply held beliefs and detach from them to have a chance at getting a scientific answer. To not do so is science as religion.

If you are trying to think "out of the Box you are still focused on the box; True open minded thought lives in a world where there is no box. I wrote this long before Matrix came out and brought into pop culture "There is no spoon." I am quite glad that the notion has become part of mainstream counterculture and hope that somewhere someone understands something without what they believe they have mastered getting in their own way.
Perfect logic is meaningless without perfect perspective.
-The blog post on zaadz.com on Nov 22nd, 2006

I use this maxim almost every time I approach a problem. I wrote it roughly 12 years ago to explain why good minds arrive at wrong or different answers to seemingly the same question. The reality of it is that when people come up with different answers they are either asking a different question, or deriving an answer from a slightly (or sometimes enormously) different data set.

There are many reasons for this. Personal biases–we all have them–affect the way we view data. Assumptions that are not supported, valid or not, may change one's answer. But the biggest reason, I think, for different answers is that it is impossible for the human mind to fully grasp some questions, and when we can grasp those questions, it is still impossible to fully integrate all factors that affect the outcome–our answer.

This brings me to the corollary: In order to fully understand, one's view must expand to fully encompass that which is being understood.

If I cannot, or merely do not, perceive every possible piece of data that does affect the outcome of any question, it is impossible for me to say with certainty that I am right. Of this, I am quite certain ;-) Of much else, I am quite certain that I have failed to ask the right question. Hence, you will generally find that I am quite happy to change my mind on anything that I believe to be the case when a broader picture is laid before me. It's not flip-flopping; it's learning. Pride in being right is best left for fools who will not be taught.

That is not to say that someone who argues vehemently for one position or another is a fool; there are many valid mechanisms through which people explore truths. Someone may appear belligerent while they are absorbing new data and take time to synthesize the new learning into a new and different answer. It is also worth remembering that the answer may still be different (from other's answer) due to knowledge regarding the subject which others do not possess…so a unique answer is found.

Perfect perspective, if it were possible, combined with perfect problem solving ability would take all pertinent facts and boil them down into a brew of perfect truth. Here an assumption; no human possesses perfect perspective. Considering this assumption, it is only possible for a human to consider certainty of any one thing with this caveat: should there be additional data which bears on the question, the answer may change.

The difference between this philosophy and Nietzsche's perspectivism is that taken at face value, Nietzsche holds a given perspective as justification to claim the answer true within the context of that perspective. This easily breaks down into relativism. (Note that here, when I refer to relativism, I am talking about a philosophy of truth, and not as relativism pertains to ethics and morality which are, by definition, relative to a given set of societal or other assumptions. Perhaps I'll delve into that can of worms here someday.)

The perfect perspective answer remains unchanged…but the imperfect perspective answer that recognizes what it is will be mutable to match perspective. So that may be true for you, it is not currently true for me; teach me what i am missing and i will teach you what i see and together we will expand our respective universes of thought.

Cheers
Relativism may be true for you, but it's not for me.
-Blog post on zaadz.com on Nov 15th, 2006

Ok, so I'll start with a few D~isms leaving elucidation and argument for later.

I don't believe in relativism--i believe that it exists as a philosophy--i don't believe that it holds any path to real knowledge. It can be useful for exploration but ultimately must be superceded by broader discovery.

If I hold that truth is relative to my experience I am saying that truth is only true (for me) if it is in my knowledge set. As a practical test imagine that i'm driving down the road next to a van that blocks the view of oncoming traffic. A car is turning left across my path. I cannot see them, they cannot see me. Relativism will not prevent the accident, but it will deny the existence of the other car until it becomes personal experience. I'm not arrogant enough to believe that truth resolves on my discovering it.

I do believe that truth exists. I even believe in absolute truth as I see the statement that "there is no absolute truth" a self-contained contradiction. Now we can't say definitively that anything else is truth using this logic trap, but we can no longer deny the exisitence of absolute truth. So if we know that absolute truth does exist (at least once) we can surmise that it might exist in other cases. I think there's a better than average chance that we will occasionally stumble upon something that is truth. There is an equal chance that we won't recognize it when we do.

Some day I'll get into quantum indeterminacy.
On Contentment
-Posted Jan 14th, 2007

Contentment: You are not so caught up in a search for happiness that you fail to find it in this moment.

Contentment does not crush desire, nor does it bind hope. Rather, contentment is grateful for what is...and tomorrow is unbounded.
I Don't Really Understand You
-Posted Feb 25th, 2007

Have you ever thought about the way we learn a word. The acquisition of language comes through hearing and context, or perhaps reading and context…it is rare that a word is learned from a dictionary. The net result is that a word may have subtly different meaning for one person than for another. Thus a word becomes symbolic for the notion it represents, but it is not the thing itself. For an example, what do the word mother, or the word father really mean?

Do you think that 'mother' has exactly the same connotations for others?  What about for your siblings? If you were adopted might this icon, this thought, not find a whole new layer of complexity and wonder? What does 'mother/father' mean to you? I think it is doubtful that even two brothers would define the words in exactly the same way. Now think about other complex words like love or hate, or perhaps tribe, compassion and need. And think of powerful and misunderstood words such as ‘I’.

Now think about language in general and the way we communicate with each other. It is possible for me to convey to you the gist of my meaning with carefully constructed concatenations of symbols, but is it possible for me to describe exactly, and with certainty, the full meaning I wish to convey?

A good friend, and someone who I believe understands communication better than any other I have known, Dr. Rob Simpson, talks of “filters,”--how as we learn we build assumptions and constructs through which we run all future experience for correlation. Filters are largely how we derive meaning from new experience. The filters of our experience form the basis for our understanding of others. My filters tell me what you mean--but they don’t really do that do they? They tell me what I understand. Unless I am very careful, and ask for clarification and confirmation of my understanding, it is easy for me to misconstrue your meaning--even to take offence at some benign thing you say and with all good intent. Clearly I don’t understand you. But it is not your fault. It is simply that we don’t speak the same language. It’s close. It uses the same words. It uses the same or similar syntax--but it has different meaning. I probably don’t understand you at all.

Now consider the feuds of families and nations and cultures of hate that are built upon generations of misunderstanding. And before you find yourself accepting whatever offense is offered you consider that, at least on some level, you probably don’t really understand the offender either.
Economics, Ben & Politics
-Posted on Mar 7th, 2007
October 2012 addendum:This post is interesting in that it shows part of the cause of the banking collapse a full year before it happened. It underscores that intentional manipulations of economic conditions often have devastating affects. The US economy is a very large ship—it's rare that anyone forcing a hard turn of the rudder ever corrects in time to stop the turning before it's too late and the ship is on the rocks. I would add that there were obviously other problems with many more people overspending/specualting on the housing market than normal (the result of dot-com bubble speculators shifting to the next bubble). I also add a warning for the future: as soon as the economy recovers and growth resumes, speculators will look for/create a new bubble. Venture Capital will drive media and PR just like they have done on the previous bubbles to get the populous to jump in to join in on the high returns. When the popular play is done and the market levels off, as it always must, the VCs will quietly jump out and thank the plebeians for their hard earned money. Do yourself a favor and do not be part of the predictable masses.
In the coming months, as the US elections begin to heat up, you will hear talk from time to time about the ‘bad’ economy and the slowing of the housing market as an indicator. We heard it a great deal during the last election, but what we did not hear (as the media conveniently forgot) was that the slowing was intentional result of Federal Reserve Policy. When you hear pundits and politicians laying blame for the slowing economy it would be good to remember that Bernanke set out in the beginning of his tenure as fed chairman to slow economic growth as a means to slow the inflation that he expected to see as a result of a too healthy economy.

In early 2006 Ben started raising interest rates at every opportunity. He wanted a soft landing and decided that growth trends should be reversed. The net result is that, currently, fewer people are able to afford a new home, or even a first home, than one year ago; and oh yes, the economy is growing at slightly slower pace. Fewer people are buying cars too. True, this is easing hiring pressures often caused by labor shortages when unemployment is low and the available labour pool is about to become even bigger which should help even more. Of course another side effect of higher interest rates is that business debt costs more. This increased cost of doing business must be passed down the chain to the consumer in the form of higher prices—higher prices are generally considered to be the chief cause of inflation by most economists ;-) so this can be a delicate balancing act should one decide to tackle the dreaded I-word in such a manner.

All this really to say, when the time comes, please don’t buy into the political line of laying blame for a slowing economy—remember how and why things came to be as they are and if anything, give credit to Bernanke for accomplishing his goal of a slower economy--it was intentional and not the doing of a politician, but rather the Fed. It's all you Ben.
on the cost of belief
-Posted on Apr 15th, 2007
If you fear that believing the thing which you are contemplating will cost too much, do not worry; you are not in danger of believing until you realize that the only thing that truly costs is to not believe.
prospettiva
-Posted on Apr 24th, 2007
There is much about perspective that eludes me. Every time I shift to the point where I have it all figured out, an alternate universe opens up and I see with entirely new eyes, I hear with new ears and I feel the soft press of reality without even so much as touching it.
a problem caused by ego
-Posted on May 1st, 2008
I was talking to my father tonight about a problem he is trying to solve in a group of psychologists. It seems that they have some wrong ideas about healing people and are causing a bit of harm along the way. They cannot see it and are offended that he would suggest their methods are off base; they feel judged.

The problem is one of Ego getting in the way of correction. It is “wounding” to hear that they are not correct in their methods “he should not judge their techniques—after all they have signed on to a very popular program—the problem is, none of them have the ability to discern that their perspective is warped by their desire to be right. Whenever ego gets in the way of being corrected it is an indicator that the ego does not really know who it is—this is to say that if you must be right, you are placing your sense of self-worth in your knowledge and accomplishment and not in your intrinsic self.

In a recent discussion of Christianity where I was postulating that there is such a thing as a true Christian--someone who actually believes and acts as they espouse (the same could be said of any religion-where the actions lived match the stated conviction)--the response came back, “yes, but they are actually Buddhists”. I think this is probably true if you get right down to it. In all cases the ego is not in the way. Self has not been deprecated but has been identified as separate from ones circumstance and ability, be it spiritual or otherwise, and therefore has not been improperly raised to a hidden and unrealized glorification of self.

The correctable self is the stronger self. Correction is learning, not weakness.

The true value of self is not found in what is known or not known; it is not found in what is believed or not believed; it is not found in ability nor in talent. The true value of a being is found in full participation in, and of, life. Beyond the turning to that which is divine and the participation of spirit and soul, and perhaps even mind, in a greater collective it boils down to this: survival of self versus survival of all. The weaker of us strive for the former, but the true self recognizes that survival of self values more, even requires, the latter.
"Fiscal Sinkhole" (1990)
Originally coined to describe a business with no possibility for profitability, I soon found it useful to apply to luxury items such as an inland boat which all too often seem to consume resources disproportionately to what they typically return to their owners. The term was dropped to a toastemaster shortly thereafter and two decades later a quick search shows that it is slowly making it's way into main stream with useage almost tripling in the last couple of years (6100 hits on google in mid-2012).
stream of consciousness
Posted on Sep 19th, 2009
like so much else, it sits in ruin
moss green velvet back covered in muck
slime and filth
deep walnut stained brown from the waters i did not want
nor invite
yet they came
in a rush
they would not be held back
to steal and destroy
memories of my childhood
and of yesterday alike

things i did not want are ruined too
a flood of blessing as it comes so often
yet without opening one's heart
it only seems tragedy

i mourn on some level for that which is lost
that which i may not remember without the token
yet my grandfather's chair, i will repair
broken though it may be
I have washed it
and eventually it will dry
i will drill and reglue it
polish the raised grain

moss velvet i may never find to replace what is there
but it does not matter for my life
in transition has been robbed of much past
cast off by the universe if i could not manage it myself

there is still much mud and cardboard
mixed with memories
i should be desolate
but i am not
still it hurts to be reminded
that in an instant one's past can be wiped out
and though i have longed for just this occasion
when it comes, suddenly, in a raging torrent
that pushes in doors and sweeps everything
already in disarray
into a state of utter decay
i wonder why it took so long for me to see
i need not these things to which i might otherwise cling

my life lies elsewhere
even the rains know this
and honor me with their torrential pouring
as these parts have never seen before
at least not in my lifetime

during the rain i plucked a girl from a van
as my basement was filling with water
nothing to be done
and i could have easily been electrocuted
had i wandered in to save these things
she, not knowing where to turn,
had tried to cross the creek that runs behind my house
foolish thing
and waved off turned into the creek itself
raging
waves and rapids crossing the roadway
her tire dropped in and the car teetered on the brink
she sat on her cell phone as the water pounded the window

when i opened the back door, the weight made the car bob
but the back wheel still remained off the ground
i told her to slowly come to me if she wanted to live
shaken, she did not ask questions but obeyed
without her weight in the front, the car settled back
towards the ground and was not completely lost.

I filmed to document the night. posterity i assume
Closing my eyes later i watched waters rushing beneath my eyelids
and now, two days later i am still cleaning
carrying buckets of papers and memories
occasionally finding treasures which i try to preserve
a bit of writing, a song or a picture of someone i don't even know
a sheep standing in a bus stop on the north coast of Scotland
with a sign over it's head proclaiming the highland regional council

i remember the sight well,
i threw the car in reverse and backed up quite a ways on a single track road
i love single track roads
with their curves and pulloffs so that oncoming traffic can pass
ah yes, these are the memories i try to hold
with knicknacks and pictures
to remind myself of moments of pleasure
amidst a life with so much effort

a life i did not think i would have
certainly not what i planned
or did i plan at all
could i plan life and actually think
that in this world of floods
of so many things which i would call tragedy
or even chance
that i could coerce nature into doing my bidding

is it arrogance to think that i have any control at all
mind you i can make choices,
and for these i can answer or reap reward
but in the end
it is not my choice
but the blowing of the wind that calls me forward
or pushes me hither
it is the waters which take
or give life in turn
it is birth
it is death
it is a smile on the lips of a passerby
who cares not
who understands nothing of my life
but who spreads cheer without knowing

to the muck i must return
salvage what remains
count my blessings as a fortunate one
who has not lost all
find a bit of compassion for those who have
my tragedy as it were is not so great
and these things are not life itself
which i live with abundance
and often, in the arms of my love

Tomorrow the sun will not shine
nor the day after
for ten more days the rain will fall
but the worst
surely the worst is over

soon i will be done with all of these memories
and i will replace them with those that i will make tomorrow
with travels and beauty
with sorrows i am sure
but before i grow old and wither
die
i will live
in fullness, in beauty
in all that love affords me
in the companionship that i have been granted
as we grow old together, my love and me

memories and sorrow cast off
stolen as it were by nature
rejoice in my world of beauty
and pour through the debris
hose in hand to wash away the dirt
count my memory as blessing
remember that in all things
i am always cared for
even when i don't really like it
and go on
moment by moment
box by soggy box
cast off yesterday
and breath in the abundant life
that i have been granted
which offers me so much beauty
more than i had known existed in this world

truth be told, i need nothing for happiness
and often the things which i have, or had
hang about my neck as a millstone
how can i possibly run as i desire
and feel the grass under my feet
when i carry such weight
weight which i freely took on over the years
without realizing what a burden i was building
and for years, as i have struggled to extricate myself
from the mire of living in the midst of trinkets
and stacks of paper
of walls which must be painted
and roofs which must be patched
i have been made aware
and now, blessed with 3 feet of water
decisions made without my help
much that i would have struggled over
is being discarded without remorse
or at least much remorse
surely there's no remorse, right?
too many thoughts
too much consideration
more work to be done
so i climb back down the stairs
and begin again
A little fun collected from emails with a few additions of my own:
Test your skills in Orchestral Mathematics

The Evolution of the Modern Musician

Choral Terms