The Books Biz Borrowed: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by

His name is Christopher John Francis Boone. He knows all the countries of the world and all of their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. And he is the most unlikely hero of any novel I’ve read as long as I can remember.

The Curious Incident is the narrative story of a 15 year old autistic boy that finds his neighbors poodle stabbed through the middle with a garden fork. He sets out to find the dog murderer and has to come to terms with his relationship with his parents.

I have been reading quite a bit about autism lately and Haddons novel seems as true to form as anything I’ve read from the autistic community. The first-person perspective puts you into the brain of this boy and helps to understand how autitistic people think of the world around them, how they interpret their surroundings and go about their daily lives.

For example…

“I said that I wasn’t clever. I was just noticing things how things were, and that wasn’t clever. That was just being observant. Being clever was when you looked at how things were and used the evidence to work out something new. Like the universe expanding, or who committed a murder. Or if you see someones name and you give each letter a value from 1 to 26 (a=1, b=2, etc) and you add the numbers up in your head and you find it makes a prime number, like Jesus Christ(151), OR Scooby-Doo(113) or Sherlock Holmes(163) or Doctor Watson(167).”

The book is filled with mathematical strangeness and examples of how life can be organized like a math problem. Each chapter is a prime number (89, 97, and 101 are consecutive).

I’ve been reading less and less fiction lately, but this is a book that I intend to read again. It is intelligent, moving, and memorable. If you read this book, you will never be able to forget it.

posted by Biz

Liberal Education, Part III: Infection

“Drink and get drunk with me, Melanippos. Why do you suppose
that when you have crossed great Acheron’s
eddying stream you will see the sun’s pure light again?

Alcaeus, “Fragment 38a,”

“A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”

Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism

“The problem with rules is
they alienate the criminals when whose to say
if what they did was wrong that day.
If you’d open your mind up
you’d see that there is nothing that’s always wrong.”

Pedro the Lion, “Nothing

The petty troika of folk, kin, and trade are genetically driven, and that means they should obey the same rise in genetic factors that Dr. Hibbing has uncovered in his research. Within the context of a particular sex, evidence for genetic correlation of attitudes and beliefs is weak until 20 years of age. After that the relationship increases, until genetics take up 2/3rds of the reason for believing something….

The Sociailizable Moment and the Genetic Lifetime

Therefore, the extent to which concrete thinking deprives a person of meaning begins after the second decade, and gradually increases after that. Liberal education causes cognitive dissonance

The Consistent Moment and the Dissonant Lifetime, under Liberal Education

Liberal education has another main effect: while liberal education relies on generating rulesets, by weaking the existing rulesets of students (which are hitherto focused on obeying authority figures), it decreases the control that adolescents are under and increases their freedom of action. In other words, while liberal education creates cognitively dissonant rulesets among adults, it weakens existing rulesets among adolescents. The effect of this is seen during the emergency of formal, symbolic logic among students, which begins in early adolescence.

Ruleset Strength During Adolescence Collapses Under Liberal Education

The combination of this collapsing ruleset strength combined with a latter increase in cognitive dissonance is dangerous for a society. It creates two separate cadres — adolescents and adults — who are harmed by liberal education in two different ways.

Liberal education, by destroying existing rulesets while not able to create strong new ones, acts like a Leviathan engaged in drive-by cognitive regime change. It is an ideological movement without a SysAdmin follow through. And just as blowing up a country with an incompetent reconstruction effort opens the door to dangerous insurgencies.

In other words, liberal education makes independent thinkers “drunk” on its questioning, without sobering them with more knowledge.

Another analogy: liberal education weakens the cognitive immune system to dangerous memes both during adolescence (when liberal education has smashed an existing, controlling ruleset) and during adulthood (where liberal education forces one to derive meaning from rulesets at all).

Foreign memes excluded by a cognitive immune system

By interfering with the ability of adolescence to adopt socially-stable rulesets, and switching the loyalties of adults from folk, kin, and trade to rulesets, it allows these foreign memes to enter the thought process and become part of an individual’s orientation

As Viri Use RNA to spread their DNA, Memes use Rulesets to Spread Themselves

Of course, people people compose the State, the entry of potentially catastrophic ideologies into the minds of the people enters those same ideas into the cognitive loop of the State

Just as cancer spreads through the body through bone marrow, ideologies spread through the State through societal rulesets

Once these ideologies have entered the mind, either during the weakened immune system of adolescents or during the cognitive dissonance of adulthood, they enter into Darwinian competition against each other in the arena of the wider society.

Liberal Education, a tdaxp series

Liberal Education 1: The Petty Troika
Liberal Education 2: Liberation and Rulesets
Liberal Education 3: Infection
Liberal Education 4: The Mitochondrial Peace