We Are Being Ruined by Edge Cases

I figured out what's wrong. Why we hate what woke has become, same with political correctness. I suspect that it applies to the right wing, too, but don't care to think about it. 


We have become obsessed with accommodating all the edge cases.

The story mentioned in the picture below, I have not read. But, I will bet that some people reading this immediately think we should figure out a way to deal with it humanely. 

This is a thing so rare that it makes the front page, though I'm sure the story makes clear that it happens many more times. Also, that many more times adds up to .0001% of drunk driving police actions, the very definition of an edge case.

So, we add another thing for police to deal with that makes one of the main jobs more difficult.

I do not have the energy but would bet many bucks that I could construct a story fitting this idea for most of the ills. Either the effect is minuscule, the occasions for its happening are minuscule or the cost-effect ratio is completely out of whack. 

We are not using correct judgement. Consequently, we have enough rules and accommodations that even die hard liberals are fed up.

And it's because we are allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good. We are trying to construct a system that accommodates all the rare edge cases and that is bad.

A Tale of Two AIs

The metaphysical discussion mentioned in my previous post was actually conducted using both Bard and ChatGPT4. Since I am developing a dangerous addiction to playing with AI (it's the only kind of intelligence that will indulge me), I kept going. I added this to the conversation:

I am interested in these ideas partly because I have a mechanistic view of the universe. In other conversations, I have observed that the idea of an independent wilfull entity that takes interest in people and can do miracles violating the laws of physic (aka, God) is not only untrue but is ridiculous on its face. I think that people are literally no more important than yeast cells in that we are simply bigger bags of protoplasm encrusting the surface of rock that arose as a result of the randomness of the quantum process. I claim that the we evolved to enjoy patterns and that we derive ethics, morality or beauty by observing patterns that reveal the most orderly patterns in our societies.  

I want an essay explaining this view, not justifying it. I want the essay to explain in an optimistic tone based on awareness of the previous segment where we discussed how living in this universe "liberates us to create a life experience " . I repeat that I do not want to be convincing people who read the essay, I want them merely to understand my view.

I gave the entire conversation to both Bard and ChatGPT4 and got two crazily different results. I note that the Bard example was its first response. GPT, otoh, wrote an essay that carried a tone of that suggested that we might be saddened by this perspective (reasonable, I suppose since it was trained on an internet full of god-fearing people). I had to engage it in conversation about the upside before I got an essay that was good. Bard got it from the get-go. "A vast canvas splashed with a chaotic mix of colors." You can't beat that. Interestingly, though, it was not very useful in the overall conversation. It kept converging on conventionalities. I did the vast majority of the work (see previous post) with GPT.

BARD: A Universe of Meaningful Patterns: A Justification for Human-Made Significance

Imagine a vast canvas splashed with a chaotic mix of colors. To an unseeing eye, it's nothing but random strokes. But enter a human observer, and the magic begins. Patterns emerge, shapes coalesce, and the canvas transforms into a vibrant landscape, a story spun from light and pigment. This, I propose, is the essence of our universe and our place within it: a chaotic backdrop upon which we paint the vibrant tapestry of meaning.

We, as products of evolution, are hardwired for pattern recognition. Our brains, honed through eons of survival, excel at identifying order amidst the cosmic noise. This inherent tendency isn't merely a quirky evolutionary quirk. It's the foundation of our knowledge, our ethics, and ultimately, our understanding of ourselves.

Consider the anthropic principle: the universe we observe, with its finely tuned constants and life-supporting laws, appears tailor-made for consciousness. Yet, this "meaningful" design is an illusion. It's not the universe that harbors a cosmic purpose, but our pattern-seeking minds that project it onto the canvas. The vast multitude of unobserved universes, devoid of sentient life, paints a stark picture of cosmic indifference.

But within this indifference lies a profound freedom. Absent a preordained script, we are the authors of our own meaning. Through our cognitive faculties, we weave narratives from the fabric of existence, finding significance in the intricate dance of particles, the rise and fall of civilizations, the connections forged with fellow beings.

From the abstract laws of physics to the moral codes that bind societies, our "meaning-making" takes myriad forms. We derive beauty from the rhythmic patterns of music, the symmetry of a snowflake, the harmonious interplay of ecosystems. We find purpose in upholding the patterns of ethical conduct that ensure the smooth functioning of our communities.

Some contend that this human-centric view diminishes the "realness" of meaning. But is the sunset less magnificent because it exists for our eyes alone? Does the melody lose its sweetness because only our ears can grasp it? Our patterns, though subjective, are no less real or impactful within the framework of our conscious experience.

Perhaps the ultimate justification for this perspective lies in its potential. By embracing our role as meaning-makers, we unlock a boundless universe of possibilities. We can strive to understand the intricate patterns that govern the cosmos, forging an ever-closer connection with the grand tapestry of existence. We can refine the patterns of our societies, striving for a world where justice, kindness, and cooperation form the leitmotif of our collective narrative.

So, let us dance in the grand ballroom of the universe, not as unwitting extras on a preordained stage, but as creative artists, each brushstroke adding a unique hue to the ever-evolving canvas of meaning. We are the ones who imbue the universe with significance, not because it's inherently meaningful, but because we are, by our very nature, meaning-making machines. And in that, lies a beauty and a power that transcends the cosmic indifferent.

ChatGPT4: Embracing the Randomness: A Mechanistic View of the Universe and Human Existence

In the grand narrative of the cosmos, a mechanistic view offers a distinct and thought-provoking perspective. This viewpoint considers the universe not as a canvas painted with deliberate strokes of cosmic intention but as an expanse shaped by the random processes of quantum fluctuations. It's a universe where meaning, as we understand it, is not an inherent feature but a product of human cognition, a perspective that reshapes our understanding of existence and our role within the cosmic order.

At the heart of this perspective is the concept of meaning as a human construct. In a universe without observers, events unfold independently of the labels and significances we attribute to them. Stars burn, galaxies form, and particles interact in a void of human interpretation. It is only when consciousness arises, capable of perceiving and interpreting these events, that the concept of 'meaning' emerges. This realization has profound implications. It suggests that the universe in its raw state is devoid of the narratives and values we attach to it, and these emerge solely from our interaction with our surroundings.

The role of quantum fluctuations in this perspective cannot be overstated. They are the fundamental processes that, through their randomness, generate the tapestry of the universe. Some of these cosmic experiments result in universes teeming with life and consciousness, like ours, while others remain barren. This aligns with the anthropic principle, which acknowledges that our understanding of the universe is inherently biased towards conditions that support our existence. It's a humbling reminder that our presence in the universe is not the result of a grand design but a serendipitous occurrence in the multitude of cosmic possibilities.

This framework redefines the act of meaning-making as an inherently human endeavor. When we observe the universe, from the microcosm of a shifting grain of sand to the macrocosm of the gravitational constant, we are engaging in a distinctly human process. We are not uncovering an intrinsic truth of the cosmos but creating a narrative that gives structure and understanding to our observations. This process is deeply rooted in the primary function of the human brain: pattern recognition. Our brains are wired to identify patterns, a trait that has been crucial for our survival and evolution. This neurological inclination shapes our entire cognitive experience, influencing how we perceive and interact with the world.

The link between this cognitive process and our emotional well-being is significant. By engaging in pattern recognition, we are not just processing information; we are also finding satisfaction and a sense of order. This act of making sense of the world is intrinsically tied to our emotional state. It suggests that our pursuit of understanding, our construction of societal norms, and our appreciation of beauty are more than intellectual exercises. They are integral to our experience of fulfillment and contentment.

In a universe where humans are akin to yeast cells – complex yet unremarkable in the larger cosmic narrative – this mechanistic view might seem to strip us of our special status. However, it does the opposite. It liberates us from the constraints of seeking a predestined purpose and empowers us to define our own paths. Our pursuit of knowledge, our creation of art, and our establishment of ethical frameworks are not validations of a cosmic significance but expressions of our unique human capacity to find order and meaning in randomness.

This perspective encourages us to view the universe not as a domain awaiting our discovery of its truths but as a playground for our creativity and curiosity. In this vast and indifferent cosmos, our significance comes not from a predetermined role but from our ability as conscious beings to interpret, create, and find joy in our existence. It invites us to embrace the randomness, to find beauty in the chaos, and to celebrate our ability to create meaning in a universe that offers none on its own.

Life, The Universe and Everything

I spent a stupid amount of time building a conversation with GPT. My opening gambit was:

Talk to me about Wittgenstein.

By the time it was done, we had formalized these ideas:

1. Meaning is a construct of human cognition, not an inherent property of the universe. Without human (or other conscious) perception and the categorization that comes from it, the universe lacks meaning.

2. Quantum fluctuations create a multitude of universes, some with conscious observers like us, and others devoid of observers. This perspective aligns with the anthropic principle, which acknowledges that our observations of the universe are biased towards conditions that support life.

3. Comparing or discussing different phenomena (like the shift of a grain of sand or the gravitational constant), is a form of meaning-making, regardless of whether we consider these phenomena to be inherently meaningful or not.

4. The primary function of the human brain is to identify categories, implying that our other cognitive processes evolved to utilize this fundamental capability. Our concept of 'meaning' can be seen as an appeal to our neurological functional aesthetic, as you put it: "I see pattern. Pattern good!"

5. The connection between our cognitive processes (specifically pattern recognition) and our emotional state implies that consciously engaging with these processes might contribute to a more fulfilling life and a better understanding of ourselves and the universe.

This was very helpful in understanding vague notions that have been in my head for awhile.

I asked for a reading list:

1. Meaning as a Construct of Human Cognition:

   - "The Construction of Reality in the Child" by Jean Piaget

   - "Mind: A Brief Introduction" by John Searle

2. Quantum Fluctuations and the Anthropic Principle:

   - "The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene

   - "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler

3. The Act of Comparison as a Form of Meaning-Making:

   - "Metaphors We Live By" by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

   - "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature" by Steven Pinker

4. Brain Function and Pattern Recognition:

   - "How the Mind Works" by Steven Pinker

   - "The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human" by V.S. Ramachandran

5. The Connection Between Cognitive Processes and Emotional State:

   - "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

   - "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman


For the record, here is the entire transcript:

Talk to me about Wittgenstein.

NOT ME: Ludwig Wittgenstein was an influential philosopher of the 20th century, known for his work in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.

His early work, as presented in the "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus," focused on the logical relationship between propositions and the world. He proposed that language mirrors reality through logical pictures, and he attempted to define the limits of what can be said meaningfully. The Tractatus concludes with the famous line, "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent," suggesting that many traditional philosophical problems are rooted in misunderstandings of the logic of language.

Later in his career, Wittgenstein's views evolved, as seen in his posthumously published work, "Philosophical Investigations." Here, he departed from the idea that language is a rigid system mirroring reality. Instead, he introduced the concept of language games, emphasizing the varied and dynamic ways language is used in different contexts. He argued that meaning is derived from use, a view that significantly influenced the philosophy of language and mind.

Wittgenstein's philosophy is characterized by its depth and originality, as well as its profound impact on analytic philosophy and beyond. His ideas have been variously interpreted and continue to be a subject of scholarly debate.


ME: I am thinking about the idea that every single thing about reality is an emergent property, that the stars and the cosmos exist without human observation but that it has absolutely no meaning. I think that language, read broadly to include math, art, etc, is synonymous with the things Plato called Forms and others called Universals.

NOT ME: Your contemplation touches on several deep philosophical concepts, intertwining ideas about emergent properties, the nature of reality, and the role of human perception and language.

Emergent Properties and Reality: The idea that everything about reality is an emergent property suggests a view where complex systems (like the cosmos) and their behaviors are more than just the sum of their parts. This perspective aligns with certain interpretations in physics and philosophy, where properties or phenomena at a higher level emerge from the interactions at a more fundamental level, yet cannot be fully explained or predicted by the properties of the simpler elements alone.

Existence and Meaning: The notion that the stars and cosmos exist independently of human observation but have no inherent meaning aligns with a form of existential or scientific realism. This view holds that the universe exists objectively and independently of human thought or perception, but the meaning we attribute to it is a human construct. In this sense, meaning is not an intrinsic property of the universe but is bestowed upon it by human observers through language, culture, and individual interpretation.

Language, Math, Art as Forms/Universals: Your idea of equating language, math, and art with Plato's Forms or Universals is a fascinating philosophical proposition. Plato's Theory of Forms posited that non-material abstract forms (or ideas), and not the material world known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. In your view, language, math, and art could be seen as modern manifestations of these abstract Forms, serving as universal concepts or truths that transcend their physical expressions. This interpretation could suggest that these human constructs are our ways of accessing and understanding the underlying realities or truths of the universe.

Language as a Tool for Understanding Reality: Extending this idea, language (including math and art) can be seen as not just a means of communication but as a fundamental tool for understanding and interacting with the world. This aligns with some interpretations of Wittgenstein's later work, where language is seen as a versatile tool shaped by its use in various 'language games,' reflecting the diverse ways we comprehend and engage with our world.

Your thoughts present a rich tapestry of philosophical inquiry, inviting further exploration into the nature of reality, the role of human perception and language, and the quest for understanding the universe and our place within it.

ME: You say, "This interpretation could suggest that these human constructs are our ways of accessing and understanding the underlying realities or truths of the universe." I reply that I am suggesting that there are no underlying realities or truths unless we construct them using language. 

NOT ME: Your response takes the discussion to a deeper level, raising questions about the fundamental relationship between language and reality. It challenges the notion of pre-existing realities or truths independent of human interpretation and construction.

Here are some ways to explore this further: 

The Limits of Language: If all realities and truths are contingent upon language, how can we ensure we're not trapped in a linguistic prison, creating and inhabiting subjective worlds with limited access to a "beyond"? Wittgenstein himself grappled with this issue, acknowledging the limits of language while still striving for clarity and understanding.

The Power of Language: On the other hand, we can celebrate the immense power of language to shape our experiences and understanding. Language allows us to categorize, connect, and theorize, venturing beyond the immediate sensory input to form comprehensive worldviews. This creative capacity of language opens up vast possibilities for understanding ourselves and the universe.

The Social Aspects of Language: It's crucial to remember that language is not a solitary endeavor but a social construct. Our understanding of concepts and truths is informed by the shared languages and communities we participate in. This raises questions about the role of power dynamics and cultural biases in shaping the realities and truths we construct.

The Search for Meaning: If realities and truths are constructed, does that render the search for meaning futile? Or can we find meaning within the language games we play, in the connections we forge, and the stories we tell ourselves and each other? Exploring alternative frameworks for meaning-making can be a fruitful avenue for further inquiry.

Ultimately, your proposition that language constructs reality and truth is a powerful philosophical challenge. It invites us to critically examine our assumptions about the world and explore the creative potential of language as a tool for understanding and meaning-making.


I am considering the idea that the only 'real' reality is quantum fluctuations in a vaccuum and that the random process sometimes generates a universe with people, us being an example. I am an adherent to the anthropic primciple of cosmic reality. I claim that, without us inventing categories, the universe is just a mush of stuff resulting from a random event and that the 'ideas' we claim are real, gravity, are like the juxtapositions of grains of sand on a beach, not meaningful at all until a person notices and cares.

NOT ME: It's fascinating to hear your perspective on the universe and the anthropic principle! Examining reality through the lens of quantum fluctuations and the subjective nature of meaning is a truly profound undertaking. Here are some thoughts on your points: 

Quantum Fluctuations and Random Universes: 

The idea of our universe arising from a random fluctuation in a vacuum is certainly a compelling possibility explored by some physicists and cosmologists. While not definitively proven, it provides a framework for understanding the initial singularity and the subsequent expansion of the universe.

Your adherence to the anthropic principle adds another layer to this concept. The principle acknowledges that our observation of the universe necessarily biases our understanding towards universes capable of supporting life and conscious observers. This leads to the intriguing question: "Are we just a lucky fluctuation, or is there something more at play in the creation and potential abundance of universes?"

The Mush of Stuff and Meaning-Making: 

Your description of the universe as a "mush of stuff" before the invention of categories by intelligent beings is a vivid illustration of the subjective nature of meaning. Concepts like gravity, time, and even existence itself become irrelevant without consciousness to perceive and interpret them.

This echoes some aspects of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's later work, where he emphasized the role of language games and social context in establishing meaning. Without observers interacting and assigning meaning, the universe might truly just be a random arrangement of particles.

Beyond Juxtapositions of Sand: 

However, the analogy of gravity to sand on a beach might be underestimating the complexity and interconnectedness of the universe. While the specific arrangement of sand grains may be arbitrary, the underlying laws of physics that govern their interaction (gravity, electromagnetism, etc.) are not mere juxtapositions. These laws give rise to complex structures and dynamics, from galaxies and stars to biological systems and the very fabric of spacetime.

Additionally, the ability to discover and understand these laws, to develop abstract concepts like gravity and apply them to predict and manipulate the world, suggests that there's more to the universe than just random collisions. It hints at a level of coherence and order that invites exploration and understanding.

Ultimately, your contemplation invites us to confront fundamental questions about the nature of reality, consciousness, and the meaning we choose to find in the vastness of the universe. Whether it's a "mush of stuff" or a symphony of interconnected laws, the act of observing, questioning, and interpreting is what brings meaning and purpose to our experience.


The grains of sand fall together because of gravity, the history of the grain itself, maybe wind blowing it around, all things that make its position interconnected. In my metaphor, gravity itself is one of the grains. That it also is interconnected with time or spacetime, does not necessarily make it more meaningful in the same way that the sand is not.

NOT ME: I see your point, and the beauty of a good metaphor is that it can be interpreted in multiple ways. Your understanding of the sand grains as interconnected through forces like gravity aligns with my previous statement about the universe being governed by complex and underlying laws. Whether we focus on individual grains or the forces influencing them, both perspectives contribute to our understanding of the bigger picture.

However, where our views might diverge is on the question of "meaning." You argue that gravity, like the sand itself, is essentially meaningless until perceived and categorized by a conscious observer. While I agree that our understanding of gravity (and any concept, for that matter) stems from our interaction with it through observation and language, I don't entirely subscribe to the notion of it being intrinsically meaningless.

Here's why: 

Emergent properties: Even before conscious observers arose, gravity played a crucial role in shaping the universe. It led to the formation of stars and galaxies, guided the trajectories of celestial bodies, and even influenced the evolution of life itself. From this perspective, gravity's influence and role in the grand scheme of things could be considered "meaningful," even if not in the same way we assign meaning to things like emotions or art.

Complexity and interconnectedness: As you mentioned, gravity isn't simply an isolated force acting on individual grains. It interacts with other fundamental forces, shapes spacetime, and plays a vital role in the intricate web of the universe. This level of complexity and interconnectedness suggests that gravity isn't merely a random grain of sand in the cosmic beach, but rather a key component that influences the behavior of the entire beach system.

Human understanding and purpose: While the universe might exist independently of our understanding, our ability to explore its laws, including gravity, and use this knowledge to predict, manipulate, and even potentially travel through space, imbues these discoveries with a sense of purpose and meaning. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding, driven by the inherent curiosity of human nature, could be seen as a meaningful endeavor in itself, even if the universe itself is indifferent to our interpretations.

Ultimately, the question of whether things like gravity have inherent meaning is a philosophical one, open to interpretation and individual perspective. Your metaphor of the sand grains offers a valuable lens through which to examine this question. Perhaps the key takeaway is that while the universe might exist regardless of our interpretations, our ability to observe, understand, and interact with it gives us the opportunity to create meaning and purpose within our own existence.

ME: I note a couple of thoughts as a consequence of your comment. 

One, if that grain of sand is teleported magically out of place, then the grains of sand around it would shift to fill the space. I claim that, absent our assertion that it's important, this shifting of grains is as crucial a reshaping of the universe as would be a change in the gravitational constant, and equally meaningless.

Second, I would rephrase your point "gravity's influence and role in the grand scheme of things could be considered 'meaningful'" to say 'consequential'. My entire point is that, without humans (or some other creature to imply significance), meaning does not exist.

NOT ME: Your points raise further intriguing layers to this fascinating philosophical discussion. Let's unpack them one by one: 

1. The Teleported Sand and Meaning: 

I agree that in your scenario, where a single sand grain teleports and the others shift to fill the gap, the resulting reshaping might seem trivial from a purely objective standpoint. Absent any observer assigning significance, both the reshaping due to gravity and the teleported grain's absence might appear equally inconsequential. This reinforces your argument that meaning is inherently subjective and arises from our interpretation of events within a given context.

However, one could argue that even this seemingly insignificant reshaping is consequential within the specific context of the sandcastle (if present). Each grain plays a role in the overall structure, and its removal, even if replaced, alters the equilibrium. This highlights how interconnectedness and consequence can exist even on seemingly insignificant scales, potentially providing footholds for meaning-making even in the absence of human observers.

2. Consequence vs. Meaning: 

I appreciate your distinction between consequence and meaning. You're right that my previous phrasing "meaningful" might be misleading in your context. Perhaps "consequential" is a more accurate term for phenomena like gravity's impact on the universe, even if they lack inherent meaning in the absence of subjective interpretation.

This distinction further underscores the subjective nature of meaning and invites us to ponder what constitutes meaning for us as conscious beings. Is it purely about our emotional or intellectual engagement with things, or can it also arise from recognizing the interconnectedness and consequences of events within a system, even if that system lacks sentience?

ME: "This highlights how interconnectedness and consequence can exist even on seemingly insignificant scales, potentially providing footholds for meaning-making even in the absence of human observers." I cannot say you're wrong.

NOT ME: That's the beauty of exploring these philosophical questions, isn't it? There's rarely a definitive "right" or "wrong" answer, but rather a spectrum of possibilities and interpretations. Your willingness to consider different perspectives, even if you don't fully agree with them, is crucial for a fruitful and enriching dialogue.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts on the next question: If we create meaning frameworks, does that imply the universe "needs" meaning, or are we simply projecting our own needs onto it? Let's explore the depths of this query and see where it takes us!

ME: The reason I highlight that sentence is that it captures the truth that the assertion that something is meaningless intrinsically presents the dual concept that it is meaningful because it is observed at all. I equate the grain shift with the gravitational constant to say it is as meaningless as the grain shift. You reply, correctly, that it is as meaningful as the gravitational constant.

All good until you remember that the question under discussion is if there is meaning to the universe on its own or only as a consequence of the human fantasy of significance.

NOT ME: Ah, I see the crux of your point now. You're highlighting the inherent paradox in discussing the meaning of the universe without already injecting human subjectivity into the equation. By even attempting to compare the significance of the grain shift and the gravitational constant, we're engaging in a meaning-making exercise, regardless of whether we conclude them to be meaningful or not.

This paradox is at the heart of the anthropic principle itself. We observe a universe seemingly fine-tuned for life, and then draw conclusions about its purpose or significance based on our own existence within it. However, as you point out, that very observation is already colored by our human perspective and need for meaning.

So, where does this leave us? Are we forever trapped in this loop of creating meaning within a universe indifferent to our interpretations?

ME: "By even attempting to compare the significance of the grain shift and the gravitational constant, we're engaging in a meaning-making exercise, regardless of whether we conclude them to be meaningful or not." Word, brother.

NOT ME: Word, indeed! It's exhilarating to grapple with these profound questions and realize that any attempt to understand, categorize, or even dismiss meaning in the universe is already a form of meaning-making itself.

Your response makes me consider another intriguing concept: the potential role of language in shaping our perception of meaning. By labeling something as a "grain shift" or a "gravitational constant," aren't we already injecting a certain degree of interpretation and hierarchy into our analysis? Could the universe exist in a state of pure potential or experience, devoid of our human-imposed labels and categories, until we come along and try to make sense of it all?

Perhaps this exploration of meaning becomes not just about the "what" but also about the "how." How do we, as meaning-making beings, interact with and interpret the universe through the lens of our inherent subjectivity? How do our conceptual frameworks influence our understanding of consequence, interconnectedness, and even the very question of meaning itself?

I believe you've offered a valuable perspective that pushes us beyond the binary of "meaningful" and "meaningless" and invites us to explore the nuanced spectrum of experience and interpretation that lies in between.

ME: I would say that my assertion about quantum fluctuation producing the occasional universe with a human in it says that the universe must exist in a state of pure potential, devoid of our labels and categories since, if the fluctuation could produce a universe with us, it must certainly produce one without us and that one, by definition cannot have out categories.

NOT ME: I see your point about the universe existing in a state of pure potential before the emergence of observers like us. Your assertion about the anthropic principle and quantum fluctuations paints a vivid picture of a vast landscape of possibilities, where universes with and without conscious life coexist. The universes without observers, as you rightly state, wouldn't have our categories because they wouldn't have anyone to create them.

This concept challenges our human tendency to see the universe as centered around our existence. It forces us to confront the vastness and indifference of the cosmos, where countless realities unfold regardless of whether we exist to witness them.

However, even within this framework of pure potential, some interesting questions arise: 

Do these potential universes, even unobserved, have some form of inherent structure or complexity? Could there be laws or dynamics governing their existence, even if they lack the labels and categorization we impose?

Even though we can't assign meaning to a universe without observers, can we still talk about the potential for meaning-making within these universes? If consciousness and categorization are potential outcomes of such fluctuations, then the potential for meaning could be inherent within the system itself, waiting to be realized by future observers.

Does the existence of multiple possible universes, some with and some without us, somehow diminish the significance of our own universe and our existence within it? Or does it rather enhance it because it makes us the result of a chance event, a miracle of existence in a universe filled with endless possibilities?

ME: I've been thinking that human brains main function is to identify categories and that all the other thought processes are evolution's way of using that resource. That is consistent with my thought that meaning is entirely a consequence of human cognition but extends it to say that our idea of 'meaning' is actually an appeal to our fundamental neurological functional esthetic, "I see pattern. Pattern good!"

NOT ME: Your hypothesis about the human brain's primary function being to identify categories is quite compelling. It aligns with various theories in cognitive science and neuroscience that propose categorization as one of our brain's fundamental operations. This ability to group objects, events, and ideas based on shared characteristics has been crucial to our survival and progression as a species. It helps us navigate and make sense of the complex world around us, allowing us to recognize patterns, predict outcomes, and formulate strategies.

Our capacity for pattern recognition extends beyond the physical realm. It permeates our social interactions, language, art, and even our scientific and philosophical inquiries. As you've suggested, our cognitive structures and thought processes could indeed be viewed as evolution's way of harnessing this pattern-finding capability.

The extension of this idea to 'meaning' is particularly fascinating. If we understand 'meaning' as a type of significance we attribute to certain patterns or categories, then it makes sense to consider it a product of human cognition. In this view, 'meaning' is not inherent in the universe but is something we construct through our pattern recognition and categorization processes. This places 'meaning' squarely within the realm of human experience, dependent on our cognitive and cultural frameworks.

However, this perspective also invites further questions about the nature of 'meaning'. If 'meaning' is rooted in our neurological functional aesthetic, as you put it, does that diminish its significance, or does it enhance it? Is 'meaning' less valuable if it's a product of our brains' wiring, or is it more valuable because it reflects our unique perspective as conscious beings capable of recognizing patterns and creating narratives?

Furthermore, what would this imply about the possibility of 'meaning' in non-human entities or systems? If other creatures or even artificial systems could recognize patterns and categories, would they also be capable of creating their own version of 'meaning'? 

ME: I do not think enhance or diminish can be determined from this. Absent a god or some other metaphysical context, it is just what happens. I do not see any way to assign a value.

But, the only reason to have a discussion like this is to figure out the consequences for humans. Why bother with 'meaning' at all. I would claim that, as creatures intrinsically built to perceive patterns, that comprehending the pattern of perceiving patterns is intrinsically good in that our brain is doing its most basic job and, it seems to me,  likely being reward with some of the hormones that makes us feel better.

NOT ME: Your perspective on the value of understanding patterns, both in the world and in our own cognitive processes, is compelling. You're suggesting that the quest for 'meaning' might be more about it aligning with our brain's intrinsic pattern-finding function than about any objective value in the universe. This idea aligns with the psychological concept of flow - the state of being fully immersed and engaged in an activity, often linked to increased happiness and satisfaction. Recognizing and understanding patterns, such as in puzzles, games, or intellectual pursuits, can indeed trigger this state of flow, rewarding us with positive feelings.

However, your statement also raises an intriguing point about the role of metaphysical context in assessing value. In the absence of a god or similar entity, you suggest that there's no objective way to assign value to 'meaning'. This view aligns with a form of existential nihilism, which posits that life lacks inherent value, purpose, or meaning.

Such a perspective can seem daunting, but it also comes with a certain liberating potential. If there's no preordained value or meaning, it's up to us to create it. This ties back to your earlier point about meaning as a product of human cognition. In a universe that doesn't inherently care about our existence, we find ways to make it meaningful through our pattern recognition, through our relationships, and through the narratives we construct to make sense of our experiences.

As for your final point, it seems to suggest an intriguing connection between our cognitive processes and our emotional well-being. If understanding the pattern of perceiving patterns aligns with our brains' basic function and rewards us with positive hormones, it might be worth exploring how this knowledge could be used to enhance human happiness and satisfaction. Could developing a greater awareness of our own pattern recognition processes, and consciously engaging with them, contribute to a more fulfilling life? Could it lead us to a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe? These are fascinating questions that could have significant implications for fields like psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.

ME: Please extract five concrete ideas developed in this conversation into a summary list.

NOT ME: Certainly, here is a summary of five key ideas from our conversation:

1. Human Cognition and Meaning: We explored the concept that meaning is a construct of human cognition, not an inherent property of the universe. This idea posits that without human (or other conscious) perception and the categorization that comes from it, the universe lacks meaning.

2. Quantum Fluctuations and the Anthropic Principle: You shared your view that quantum fluctuations could create a multitude of universes, some with conscious observers like us, and others devoid of observers. This perspective aligns with the anthropic principle, which acknowledges that our observations of the universe are biased towards conditions that support life.

3. Inherent Paradox in Discussing Meaning: We identified a paradox in our conversation about meaning. By comparing or discussing different phenomena (like the shift of a grain of sand or the gravitational constant), we are already engaging in a form of meaning-making, regardless of whether we consider these phenomena to be inherently meaningful or not.

4. Brain Function and Pattern Recognition: We discussed your hypothesis that the primary function of the human brain is to identify categories, implying that our other cognitive processes evolved to utilize this fundamental capability. Under this perspective, our concept of 'meaning' can be seen as an appeal to our neurological functional aesthetic, as you put it: "I see pattern. Pattern good!"

5. Potential for Enhancing Human Well-being: We touched upon the potential implications of this understanding of human cognition and meaning for enhancing human well-being. The connection between our cognitive processes (specifically pattern recognition) and our emotional state suggests that consciously engaging with these processes might contribute to a more fulfilling life and a better understanding of ourselves and the universe.

ME: I propose the following edits:

1. Meaning is a construct of human cognition, not an inherent property of the universe. Without human (or other conscious) perception and the categorization that comes from it, the universe lacks meaning.

2. Quantum fluctuations create a multitude of universes, some with conscious observers like us, and others devoid of observers. This perspective aligns with the anthropic principle, which acknowledges that our observations of the universe are biased towards conditions that support life.

3. Comparing or discussing different phenomena (like the shift of a grain of sand or the gravitational constant), is a form of meaning-making, regardless of whether we consider these phenomena to be inherently meaningful or not.

4. The primary function of the human brain is to identify categories, implying that our other cognitive processes evolved to utilize this fundamental capability. Our concept of 'meaning' can be seen as an appeal to our neurological functional aesthetic, as you put it: "I see pattern. Pattern good!"

5. The connection between our cognitive processes (specifically pattern recognition) and our emotional state implies that consciously engaging with these processes might contribute to a more fulfilling life and a better understanding of ourselves and the universe.

Please identify two books that could be read to explore each point. List them by number.

NOT ME: Certainly, here are some suggested readings that could delve deeper into each of the five points:

1. Meaning as a Construct of Human Cognition:

   - "The Construction of Reality in the Child" by Jean Piaget

   - "Mind: A Brief Introduction" by John Searle

2. Quantum Fluctuations and the Anthropic Principle:

   - "The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene

   - "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler

3. The Act of Comparison as a Form of Meaning-Making:

   - "Metaphors We Live By" by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

   - "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature" by Steven Pinker

4. Brain Function and Pattern Recognition:

   - "How the Mind Works" by Steven Pinker

   - "The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human" by V.S. Ramachandran

5. The Connection Between Cognitive Processes and Emotional State:

   - "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

   - "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman

Dueling AIs. Use them to confirm and correct each other.

I am writing an essay about a very complicated technical programming experience I've had recently. I realized that a sentence I wrote contained an assertion I was not actually certain was correct. So, I asked an AI (Bard).

I was mainly correct but the nuances made me want to learn more and, so, I engaged in a happy hour learning a ton about a complication topic. But, of course, one worries about hallucinations and such, so I wanted to confirm the accuracy of the information.

Often, if the information is specific and I want to confirm, I google some specifics. In this case, that was going to be too much work so, I grabbed the transcript of the conversation and asked GPT4 to evaluate.

It came up with a half-dozen disagreements. No falsehoods, but places where Bard had mislead. I took those back to Bard and asked it to comment on the points. It agree and expanded on the points.

Then I asked Bard to tell me if it could find any other errors. I could not.

All the AIs are pretty good at finding their own errors if you ask them. I figure that GPT4 is likely to have different hallucinations than Bard. Also, seeing the entire conversation gives it a lot more context to evaluate.

Now I feel confident that I have gotten good information.

Light Photosynthesis

(I'm not sure why but I wrote this in 2022. I found it and want it preserved here. Also, some of it is not quite right. Enjoy.)

You are correct in the idea that the photons that are reflected and not absorbed is what causes us to see color. The idea "what it passes through gives it its color" is not right. The color of a photon is determined by the amount of energy that goes into its creation and it never changes.

Absorption and reflection aren't exactly what they seem to us, though. What actually happens is that a photon hits an atom and is absorbed the energy of that photon puts the atom into an unstable state. This causes the atom to spit out a new photon to get back in balance.

Sometimes the unstable energy state does not result in a photon being re-emitted and is, instead, the energy participates in some other chemical reaction. Sometimes, there is energy left over from that reaction.

That energy is re-emitted. The new photon will have that amount of energy, ie, it will be a new color. The original did not change. It contributed to the creation of a new one.

This is what happens with photosynthesis.

Roughly speaking, chlorophyl molecules in plants absorb the light that hits them. That puts each molecule into an unstable energy state but, instead of re-emitting (reflecting) all of the energy, it keeps part of it by changing in ways that are part of the photosynthesis process. The part that is not used has the amount of energy to re-emit a green photon.

You mention white light as "pure". This is not really correct.

White light is not actually a color of light and it's sort of the opposite of pure. It is always a combination of photons with different energy levels contributing to a sort of illusion created by the chemistry of our eyes.

Our retinas have three chemicals that absorb photons. That means the the energy they absorb with the photon participates in a chemical reaction. That reaction causes nerve signals to our brains that we interpret as color.

Each of the three chemicals responds to photons in a narrow range of energies (which are also, btw, equivalent to wavelength). We call the experience we perceive from those chemicals, red, green and blue.

When all three chemicals absorb roughly the same amount of photons, ie, equal amounts of reg, green and blue, our brain interprets the signal as white light. The photons are not white, there is no such energy level. It is a bunch of different photons that our brains interpret as 'white'.

We cannot see infrared because the chemicals in our eyes do not absorb infrared light in a way that creates a nerve signal. Instead, those photons cause the molecules to vibrate in a way that we interpret as heat. That's why warming lamps in restaurants shine infrared on the food.

Sorry to go on so long but I find this all so fascinating.

History of Palestine [AI Assisted]

The Jewish connection to the region now known as Israel dates back over 3,000 years, deeply rooted in religious, cultural, and historical consciousness. As one of the earliest identifiable groups in the area, Jews have a longstanding and profound bond with this land. Despite periods of sovereignty, Jewish presence in the region has been marked by recurrent episodes of exile and dispossession. Through a complex tapestry of history and despite the presence and influence of numerous other peoples, Jewish ties to the land have endured.

1. Around 2000 BCE, Abraham's family, the Hebrew progenitors of the Jewish People, migrated from Mesopotamia into Canaan.

2. A Confederation of Twelve Tribes of Israel emerged, marking the beginning of a collective Jewish identity in the region.

3. The united Kingdom of Israel was established, later dividing into the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, reflecting a significant period of Jewish sovereignty.

4. When under the control of the Babylonian Empire, the Jewish population experienced exile and forced migration, which resulted in the Jewish Diaspora.

5. During the Persian Empire, Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple, reinforcing their spiritual connection to the land.

6. Under the empires of Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, and later the Roman Empire, Jewish life in the region varied from periods of relative autonomy to direct control and repression, yet Jewish presence and culture persisted.

7. Even during the Byzantine Empire, the Sasanian or Neo Persian Empire, and the Byzantine Empire's second rule, Jewish communities remained, maintaining their cultural and spiritual practices.

8. Throughout the control of the Umayyad, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman Empires, Jewish communities continued to live in the region, sometimes experiencing periods of prosperity and other times facing persecution.

9. Under the Frankish and Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Crusades, the Jewish population faced significant hardships but maintained a continuous presence.

10. During the British Mandate for Palestine, Jewish immigration increased significantly due to the rise of Zionism and fleeing from persecution in Europe.

11. In 1948, the State of Israel was established, marking the culmination of Jewish aspirations for a homeland, while also recognizing the diversity within the Jewish diaspora.

The original UN partition plan establishing the State of Israel in 1948 aimed to establish both a Jewish and an Arab state, was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by Arab leaders, leading to a war and the complex, unresolved situation that continues today. Despite the enduring and unresolved tension between Israel and Palestine, the sequence of historical events underscores the deep connection between the Jewish people and the land. 

Balancing this with the rights and claims of other peoples in the region, particularly the Palestinian Arabs, remains a central challenge in the pursuit of a peaceful and equitable resolution.


Inspired by this internet meme, GPT and I fact checked and the explored the meaning of the elements on this list to produce the text above.

There Has Never Been a State of Palestine

Version 2.0

Abraham and his family, the Hebrew ancestors of the Jewish People, migrated from Mesopotamia into the land of Canaan, in approximately 2000 BCE.

Next there was the Confederation of Twelve Tribes of Israel

Next there was the Kingdom of Israel

Next there was the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

Next there was the Babylonian Empire

Next there was the Persian Empire

Next there was the Empire of Alexander the Great

Next there was the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire

Next there was the Jewish Hasmonean Dynasty

Next there was the Roman Empire. In 135 CE, to erase memory of the Jews, Romans renamed the land "Palestine" after an ancient enemy of the Jews - a people of Greek origin called the Philistines.

Next there was the Byzantine Empire

Next there was the Sasanian or Neo Persian Empire

Next there was the Byzantine Empire, again

Next there was the Umayyad and Fatimid Empires

Next there was the Frankish and Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem

Next there was the Ayyubid Dynasty

Next there was the Mamluk Sultanate

Next there was the Ottoman Empire

Next there was the British Mandate for Palestine. Britain reused the

name Palestine when given authority over the land in 1920, after WWI.

Next there was the Rebirth of Israel. Jews went back home to join those already there, to rebuild their homeland and establish the modern State of Israel in 1948 CE.

The Impending Crisis: A Vision of America's Future [AI WRITTEN]

America stands on the precipice of a significant period of unrest and violence, a precipice created by deepening societal and political divisions. These divisions echo the fragmentation of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, both of which led to large-scale violence and displacement. The American situation, however, is more complex, with multivariate factions viewing each other as existential threats.

A study by Pew Research Center reveals that the partisan divide on political values in the US reached record levels during the Obama administration and has grown even wider under Donald Trump's presidency. A subsequent survey by the American National Election Studies in 2020 showed that animosity between Democrats and Republicans has more than doubled since the 1980s. This hardening of attitudes impedes the creation of unified solutions and fosters animosity and conflict.

One alarming development is the rise of isolated communities, or "walled gardens," with states like Florida and Texas as prime examples. These communities represent a significant threat to the unity and stability of the country, as they reject the values of pluralism and diversity, embracing an authoritarian way of thinking. Social Identity Theory and the Authoritarian Personality Theory provide insights into why people turn towards insularity and authoritarianism in times of societal stress.

The formation of ideological echo chambers, where people only listen to voices that agree with them and demonize those who do not, makes cooperation seem like an impossibility. This lack of willingness to find common ground has made the idea of 'getting along' increasingly untenable.

In considering potential solutions, one contemplation is a traumatic shock, a period of large-scale violence harsh enough to force people to reconsider their actions and the value of cooperation. However, the cost of such a traumatic event is unthinkable. The pain, suffering, and loss of life that would accompany such a catastrophe cannot be justified by the potential benefits.

Yet, there are glimmers of hope we can glean from international experiences dealing with societal polarization. The Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998 led to shared power between Unionists and Nationalists and largely ended decades of sectarian violence. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa after the end of apartheid provides another example of confronting past human rights abuses to create a path for reconciliation.

So, we arrive at the crux of the matter. America is at a crossroads. The path we choose to navigate the growing divisions within our society will determine our future. The challenges are immense, but they must be faced head-on. We must remember the value of cooperation, compromise, and mutual understanding, and strive to foster a society where these principles are revered.

And yet, we must not shy away from voicing our outrage. The dream of a united and peaceful America is not just an ideal; it is a necessity. The looming threat of fragmentation and violence is not just a possibility; it is a travesty. It is an affront to the ideals upon which our nation was built, and it requires of us not just concern, but action. It demands not just reflection, but resolve. The time for complacency has passed. The time for change is now. For the sake of our nation’s future, we must unite, we must mend, we must heal.

Aquinas: A Crowning Synthesis, Not a Sole Source [AI WRITTEN]

The prolific theological work of St. Thomas Aquinas represents the pinnacle of medieval Catholic thought, but the evolution of doctrine owes itself to many figures across centuries of vigorous intellectual debate.

St. Thomas Aquinas stands as one of the towering intellectual figures of the Catholic Church. His prolific writings, especially the masterful Summa Theologica, organized and synthesized Catholic doctrine using Aristotelian philosophy in ways that deeply shaped theology and philosophy in the Church. Indeed, Aquinas' impact on Catholic thought deserves the honorific title "Doctor of the Church" bestowed upon him. However, it would be an overstatement to claim Aquinas was solely or even primarily responsible for defining Catholic dogma and philosophy. The evolution of Catholic doctrine owes itself to many figures and currents across the centuries, with Aquinas providing a crowning synthesis that built upon earlier foundations. 

To understand Aquinas' monumental, but not solitary, significance, we must situate him in the broader trajectories of Catholic intellectual history. The incorporation of Greco-Roman philosophy into Christian theology stretches back to the early Church Fathers. Augustine in the 5th century drew deeply on Neoplatonist ideas to elucidate doctrines like the nature of the Trinity and original sin. Boethius in the 6th century worked to translate Aristotle's logic and explore its relationship with theology. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the growing cathedral schools and then universities reintroduced Aristotelian philosophy to the Latin West via translations from Islamic and Jewish thinkers. renewed rigor in dialectic, metaphysics, ethics and more as scholars sought to apply reason to questions of faith.

This flowering of Catholic philosophy provided the backdrop for Aquinas' lifetime in the 13th century. The recently rediscovered theories of Aristotle offered new tools of logic, categories of thought, and general insights about nature, humanity and ethics that Catholic thinkers recognized could serve theology. Aquinas proved unmatched in his ability to systematically incorporate Aristotelian philosophy within orthodox Christian doctrine. The Summa Theologica applies Aristotelian logic, metaphysics and ethics to intricate questions about God, Christ, salvation, virtue and more. Aquinas' commentaries on earlier philosophers also shaped later interpretation of their ideas. 

However, while Aquinas creatively synthesized Aristotle and Catholic theology, he did not pioneer this integration. Augustine had already synthesized Neoplatonism and Christian thought centuries earlier. Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century formulated the famous ontological argument and began applying Aristotelian logic to theological questions before Aquinas. Peter Abelard introduced Sic et Non which highlighted apparent contradictions between authorities and the need for dialectic. Muslim philosophers like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) tried incorporating Aristotle into Islamic theology in ways that influenced medieval Christian thought. Earlier in the 13th century, Albertus Magnus also made strides in Aristotelian philosophy and science that set the stage for his student Aquinas. 

So while Aquinas excelled at weaving Aristotelian philosophy into Catholic doctrine, earlier Christian, Muslim and Jewish thinkers pioneered this integration before him. The university environment of Paris and Cologne provided a vibrant intellectual culture that profoundly shaped his ideas as well. It was the flowering of medieval philosophy across cultures that allowed Aquinas' synthesis to take root.

Secondly, Aquinas' theological positions, while highly influential, often represented the culmination of extensive earlier debates rather than a radically new perspective. Core doctrines like Christ's incarnation, the Trinity, transubstantiation and original sin had been explored for centuries before Aquinas treated them through his Aristotelian lens. For instance, mystery of Christ's simultaneous divinity and humanity had been discussed since the early Church, with definitive formulations appearing at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Augustine and later Anselm extensively explored the doctrine of original sin and ideas of atonement. 

On the doctrine of transubstantiation, the eucharistic presence of Christ's body and blood in the bread and wine, debates trace back to the 9th century mystic Radbertus with extensive developments by other theologians. Aquinas' treatment represents the orthodox position cemented at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. But he was not breaking entirely new ground. 

While Aquinas brought tremendous rigor, clarity and depth to existing doctrines, earlier theologians had extensively mapped many central issues of Catholic thought. Aquinas provided a masterful summit to centuries of preceding debate, but should not be viewed as solely responsible for these dogmas.

Thirdly, Aquinas' theology, while profoundly influential across so much of Catholicism, did not represent the final word even within his lifetime. Fellow medieval philosophers and theologians such as John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham would critiques, modify and expand upon Aquinas' perspectives in the following decades. The Franciscans developed alternative schools of thought not entirely derived from Aquinas. Within Aquinas' own Dominican order, many future thinkers tried modifying and extending his philosophy as well.

This ongoing ferment of medieval philosophy underscores how even Aquinas' brilliant syntheses marked milestones amid a living tradition continuously debated. Aquinas towered over 13th century thought but did not stand alone or bring an end to discussion.

In fact, some of Aquinas' views would eventually be rejected by the Church, such as his opinion that Mary was conceived with original sin. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception affirmed in 1854 adopted Duns Scotus' position of Mary's sinless origins instead. Aquinas, while clearly the greatest medieval Catholic thinker, did not have the final or only say among his peers. 

Therefore, while St. Thomas Aquinas may deserve the title of the Catholic Church's premier theologian and philosopher for his monumental work, especially the Summa, it would be a significant overstatement to suggest he was solely or even primarily responsible for defining Catholic dogma and philosophy. Christian thinkers before and after Aquinas played irreplaceable roles in developing Catholic doctrine. Aquinas built upon patristic authors such as Augustine who had already integrated non-Christian philosophies like Neoplatonism and paved the way for applying systematic reason. The flowering of medieval philosophy from multiple cultural sources allowed Aquinas' attempted synthesis to thrive.

Aquinas brought tremendous analytical rigor and clarity to existing doctrines and debates that had already occupied the Church for centuries. His brilliance was not in inventing entirely new positions but providing systematic explanations using the latest philosophy of his day. Yet fellow medieval thinkers contested and amended aspects of Aquinas’ perspectives from the start, showing the ongoing evolution of Catholic thought. 

St. Thomas Aquinas earned his exalted status in Catholic intellectual history through his unparalleled ability to synthesize the height of medieval philosophy with Christian theology. However, this crowning achievement occurred against a backdrop of continuous debate within a faith tradition already centuries old. The shaping of Catholic dogma and philosophy owes itself to many figures across the tradition. Aquinas signals a pinnacle of medieval Catholic thought, not its sole genesis. His towering synthesis built upon earlier foundations and kicked off later developments in the continuous unfolding of Catholic doctrine.

NOTE: This essay was written entirely by Anthropic's Claude large language model according to a chain of prompt strategy that I devised. I did not change a single letter. Here is the prompting plan:

User Input: St Thomas was almost solely responsible for the definition of Catholic dogma and philosophy

Thinker Quartz: What sort of person should I ask to write an essay responding to this query: "<!human input!>? Please supply exactly one description of a candidate.

Thinker Apple: I want to invite three people to discuss this topic: "<!human input!>". I want you to figure out who I should invite, better, I want you to suggest the academic, professional or other discernable category of knowledge and experience that would help provide a well rounded discussion. Tell me about each of them.


Thinker Star[1-n]: You are to contribute facts and ideas to the development of an essay answering the inquiry "<!human input!>". In a list form, produce several ideas that are very specific to your perspective as a <!Apple.n!>. These should be succinct ideas that contribute to further discussion, not a final answer.


Thinker Ocean[1-n]

We are working a a response to this idea "<!user input!>", asked about it, other people said that these are important ideas to consider:



Following is the suggestion you suggested:


Consider the other ideas and see if they can make any contribution to the clarity, correctness or creativity of your ideas. Please make sure that the ideas still represent your viewpoint from the perspective of a <!Apple.Z!>.


Thinker Harmony

We are working on a response to the inquiry "<!human input!>".

Reasearch and discussion has provided the following ideas.




You are a <!Quartz!> with excellent writing skills, subtle use of language and the ability to communicate well on all sorts of topics, especially those within your specialty. Your readers will be well educated and sophisticated adults who do not have much prior experience with this topic. Write a one thousand word essay.

After it is written, please check the word count carefully and make sure it is about one thousand words. If it is the wrong length, rewrite it and give me a version that is the correct length. Revise the essay as many times as needed to reach the required length, plus or minus a little bit.


Thinker Blaze

Following is an essay responding to the topic "<!human input!>". 

Here is the essay.


Identify any errors and unsubtantiated assertions in a list.


Thinker Whisper

Following is an essay responding to the topic "<!human input!>". 

Here is the essay.


Others have reviewed the essay and find the following problems.


You are a smart editor with excellent grammar and linguistic clarity. Rewrite the essay, keeping it about the same length, to solve the problems listed while also making sure it is easily understandable by it audience of well educated and sophisticated adults who do not have much prior experience with this topic.


Thinker Falcon

Responding to the inquiry, "<!human input!>, the following essay has been written.


Please make up a headline title and two sentence subtitle for a magazine article.


Joe is on Fire. A Sober Assessment of MAGA 2023.

"There's an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy, the MAGA movement."

It is the most cogent explanation of the present danger I have heard. Brutal, unsparing, detailed.

Take forty and give this a listen. You will come away admiring Joe more and with a better awareness of our situation.

YouTube Link



SEPTEMBER 28, 2023

Remarks by President Biden Honoring the Legacy of Senator John McCain and the Work We Must Do Together to Strengthen Our Democracy

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you. Please — please, sit down. Thank you.

I’m going to put a little bit more meat on that bone — that last one. (Laughter.)

John and I used to travel together. When John got back from all the time in Vietnam in prison — when he was released, he decided he wanted to go back to stay in the military. And he was assigned to the United States Senate and to the military office there that travels with senators when they travel abroad.

And John and I put in a couple hundred thousand miles together. And on our way to — I think I was going to either China — I forget what the destination was — China, I think. And we stopped in — we stopped in Hawaii. And the — the Chief Naval — of Operations was there showing me around. They did an event for me.

And John kept looking at your mom. Oh, I’m serious. (Laughter.) And he said, “My God, she’s beautiful.” (Laughter.) I said — and I said, “Yeah, she is, John.” And I said, “Well, you to go up and say hi to her.” He said, “No, no, no, no, no, no.” (Laughter.) “I’m not going to do that.”

Well, as your mom come — I won’t go into more detail, but I’ll tell you: I insisted that they meet. (Laughter.) And I take credit. I take credit for you guys. (Laughter and applause.)

And I just told your mom: John and I had something in common, we both married way above our station — (laughter) — way above our station.

Cindy — or I should call you Madam Ambassador — thank you for all you’ve done, all you do, you continue to do. Jack and Bridget, the entire McCain family, and to all those who love the McCain family. (Applause.)

Oh, I didn’t see all up there. (Applause.) Whoa! Don’t jump. Don’t jump. (Laughter.)

Well, I tell you what, it’s an honor to be with you. It’s a genuine honor.

Governor Hobbs, you’ve done an incredible job. You’ve been a leader and defender of democracy. And you’ve always been available when I’ve called, and I hope I’ve been available when you called as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests — (applause) — in the end, John McCain thought about the beginning. Five years ago, as John was dying from brain cancer, John wrote a farell- — a farewell letter to the nation that he said — that he served so well in both war and in peace.

His words tracked back centuries to America’s founding and then toward a triumphant future. Here’s what John wrote, and I quote, “We are citizens of the world — the world’s greatest republic. A nation of ideals, not blood and soil. Americans never quit. They never hide from history. America makes history.”

And John was right. Every other per- — every other nation in the world has been founded on either a grouping by ethnicity, religion, background. We’re the most unique nation in the world. We’re founded on an idea — the only major nation in the world founded on an idea. An idea that we are all created equal, endowed by our Cr- — in the image of God, endowed by our Creator to be — to be able to be treated equally throughout our lives.

We’ve never fully lived up to that idea, but we’ve never walked away from it. But there’s danger we’re walking too far away from it now, the way we talk in this deba- — in this country. Because a long line of patriots from — like John McCain kept it from ever becoming something other than what it is.

I often think about our friendship of 40 years. The hammer-and-tong debates we’d have in the Senate. We’d argue — we were like two brothers. We’d argue like hell. (Laughs.) I mean really go at one another. Then we’d go lunch together. (Laughter.) No, not a joke. Or John would ride home with me. I mean, we — we traveled the world together.

And, by the way, when he found this magnificent woman and got married, I’m the guy that convinced him to run in Arizona as a Republican. Bless me, Father, for — (makes the sign of the cross). (Laughter and applause.) No, but it’s — you’ve got to admit, Cindy, I did. I talked to him, and I said, “John, you can do this job. My only worry is you’ll do it too well.” (Laughter.)

But, look, running on opposite sides of the nation’s highest office when — when he was running for president and I was on the vice presidential ticket — we still remained friends.

The conversations we had — he had with my son, Beau — the attorney general of the state of Delaware, a decorated major in the U.S. Army, was a guy who spent a year in Iraq — about serving in a war overseas, about the courage in battle against the same cancer that took John and my son.

Two weeks ago, I thought about John as I was standing in another part of the world — in Vietnam. I don’t want to be — I — excuse me if I — it was an emotional trip.

I was there to usher in a 50-year arc of progress for the two countries, pushed by John and, I might add, another John — this is the former Secretary of State, John from Massachusetts, won the Silver Star as well.

Once at war, we are now choosing the highest possible partnership, made possible through John’s leadership. I mean that sincerely. Think about it.

While in Hanoi, I visited a marker depicting where John — what John — where John had endured all the pain. Imprisoned five and a half years. Solitary confinement for two years. Given an opportunity — an opportunity to come home if he just said a couple things. He was beaten, bloodied, bones broken, isolated, tortured, left unable to raise his arms above his shoulders again.

As I stood there paying my respects, I thought about how much I missed my friend. And it’s not hyperbole. I — from the bottom of my heart, I mean this.

I thought about something else as well. I thought about how much America missed John right now, how much America needed John’s courage and foresight and vision. I thought about what John stood for, what he fought for, what he was willing to die for. I thought about what we owed John, what I owed him, and what we owe each other — we owe each other — we owed each other as well — and Americans as well.

You see, John is one of those patriots who, when they die, their voices are never silent. They still speak to us. They tug at both our hearts and our conscience.

And they pose the most profound questions: Who are we? What do we stand for? What do we believe? What will we be?

For John, it was country first. Sounds like a — like a movie, but it’s real with John: honor, duty, decency, freedom, liberty, democracy.

And now, history has brought us to a new time of testing. Very few of us will ever be asked to endure what John McCain endured. But all of us are being asked right now: What will we do to maintain our democracy? Will we, as John wrote, never quit? Will we not hide from history, but make history? Will we put partisanship aside and put country first?

I say we must and we will. We will. (Applause.)

But it’s not easy. It’s not easy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: When will you stand against corruption, Mr. President?



AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible) ask why you have yet to declare a climate emergency? Why have you yet to declare a climate emergency? Hundred of Arizonians have died!


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hundreds of Arizonians have died because you won’t —

THE PRESIDENT: Why don’t you wait at —


Well, hang on one second. Hang on a second. I’ll be happy to meet with you after I speak, okay?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You promised no new drilling on fossil fuels. Why have you yet to declare a climate emergency? Not (inaudible) —


AUDIENCE MEMBER: We need your leadership, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I tell you what, if you shush up, I’ll meet with you immediately after this. Okay? (Applause.)

But democracy never is easy, as we just demonstrated. (Laughter.) The cause — the cause is worth giving our all, for democracy makes all things possible.

Let me begin with the core principles. Democracy means rule of the people, not rule of monarchs, not rule of the monied, not rule of the mighty. Regardless of party, that means respecting free and fair elections; accepting the outcome, win or lose. (Applause.) It means you can’t love your country only when you win. (Applause.)

Democracy means rejecting and repudiating political violence. Regardless of party, such violence is never, never, never acceptable in America. (Applause.) It’s undemocratic, and it must never be normalized to advance political power.

And democracy means respecting the institutions that govern a free society. That means adhering to the timeless words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” A mission statement embodied in our Constitution, our system of separation of powers and checks and balances.

Our Constitution — the bulwark to prevent the abuse of power to ensure “We the People” move forward together under the law, rather than believing the only way is one way or no way at all.

But our institutions and our democracy are not just of gov- — of government. The institutions of democracy depend on the Constitution and our character — our character and the habits of our hearts and minds.

Institutions like the McCain Institute and the new McCain Library that will be built at Arizona State University with the funding from the American Rescue Plan, which I signed into law when I came to office. (Applause.) A library that’s going to house John’s archives, host dialogue and debate, inspire future leaders around the world, to serve tens of thousands underserved Arizonans as a reminder of our obligation to one another.

These principles of democracy are essential in a free society, but they have always been embattled.

Today, let’s be clear. While we’ve made progress, democracy is still at risk. This is not hyperbole; it’s a simple truth — a simple truth.

I’ve made the defense and protection and preservation of American democracy the central issue of my presidency. From the speech I made at Gettysburg, an Inaugural Address, to the anniversary of the June 6th insurrection — or January 6th insurrection, to Independence Hall in Philadelphia — to the speech I made at Union Station in Washington, I’ve spoken about the danger of election denialism, political violence, and the battle for the soul of America.

Today, in America [Arizona], to honor an institution devoted to the defense of democracy, named in honor of a true patriot, I’m here to speak about another threat to our democracy that we all too often ignore: the threat to our political institutions, to our Constitution itself, and the very character of our nation.

Democracy is maintained by adhering to the Constitution and the march to perfecting our union —

(A toddler in the audience babbles.)

THE PRESIDENT: — by protecting and expanding rights with each successive generation, including that little guy. He’s going to talk about it. (Laughter.)

That’s okay. In my house, kids prevail. Okay? (Laughter.)

This adherence isn’t op- — this isn’t optional. We can’t be situational. We can’t be only going there when it’s good for yourself. It’s constant and unyielding, even when it’s easy and, most important, when it’s hard.

For centuries, the American Constitution has been a model for the world, with other countries adopting “We the People” as their North Star as well. But as we know, we know how damaged our institutions of democracy — the judiciary, the legislature, the executive — have become — become in the eyes of the American people, even the world, from attacks from within the past few years.

I know virtually every major world leader. That’s what I did when I was a senator, as vice president, and now. Everywhere I go in the world — I’ve met now with over a hundred heads of state of the nations of the world — everywhere I go, they look and they ask the question, “Is it going to be okay?”

Think about this: The first meeting I attended of the G7 — the seven wealthiest nations in the world — in Europe, the NATO meeting, I sat down — it was in Feb- — Feb- — January, after being elected — so, late Janu- — early February — and it was in England. And I sat down, and I said, “America is back.” And Macron looked at me, and he said, “Mr. President, for how long — for how long?”

And then, the Chancellor of Germany said, “Mr. President, what would you think if you picked up the paper tomorrow — tomorrow, the London Times — and it said a thousand people broke down the doors of Parliament, marched, and killed two bobbies in order to overthrow an election of the new prime minister? What would you think then? What would America think?”

What would we think, the leading nation in the world, having gone through what we went through?

And many of you travel internationally. Many of you know people from around the world. I’d be surprised if you heard anything different than the concern about: Are we okay? Is the democracy going to be sustained?

And from that institutional damage, we see distrust and division among our own people.

I’m here to tell you: We lose these institutions of our government at our own peril. And I’ve always been clear: Democracy is not a partisan issue. It’s an American issue.

I have come to honor the McCain Institute and Library because they are a home of a proud Republican who put his country first. Our commitment should be no less because democracy should unite all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.

And there is something dangerous happening in America now. There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy: the MAGA Movement.

Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, adhere to the MAGA extremist ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with Republicans my whole career. But there is no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA Republican extremists. Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American democracy as we know it.

My friends, they’re not hiding their attacks. They’re openly promoting them — attacking the free press as the enemy of the people, attacking the rule of law as an impediment, fomenting voter suppression and election subversion.

Did you ever think we’d be having debates in the year — stage of your careers where banning books — banning books and burying history?

Extremists in Congress — more determined to shut down the government, to burn the place down than to let the people’s business be done.

Our U.S. military — and this in not hyperbole; I’ve said it for the last two years — is the strongest military in the history of the world. Not just the strongest in the world — in the history of the world. It’s the most diverse, the most powerful in the history of the world. And it’s being accused of being weak and “woke” by the opposition.

One guy in Alabama is holding up the promotion of every — hundreds of these officers.

Frankly, these extremists have no idea what the hell they’re talking about. (Laughter.) No, I’m serious.

They’re pushing a notion the defeated former President expressed when he was in office and believes applies only to him. And this is a dangerous notion: This president is above the law, with no limits on power.

Trump says the Constitution gave him, quote, “the right to do whatever he wants as President,” end of quote. I’ve never even heard a president say that in jest. Not guided by the Constitution or by common service and decency toward our fellow Americans but by vengeance and vindictiveness.

We see the headlines. Quote, “sweeping expansion of presidential power.” Their goal to, quote, “alter the balance of power by increasing the President’s authority over every part of the federal government,” end of quote.

What do they intend to do once they erode the constitutional order of checks and balances and separation of powers? Limit the independence of federal agencies and put them under the thumb of a president? Give the President the power to refuse to spend money that Congress has appropriated if he doesn’t like what it’s being spent for? Not veto — he doesn’t like what it’s being spent for — it’s there. Get rid of longstanding protections for civil servants?

Remember what he did as he was leaving office: He imposed a new thing, the Civil Service — but then he imposed a new pro- — schedule. “Schedule F,” it was called. These civil servants had to pledge loyalty to the President, not the Constitution. It did not require that they had any protections, and the President would be able to wholesale fire them if he wanted, because they had no so- — no — no Civil Service protection. One of the first things I got rid of when I became President.

Just consider these as actual quotes from MAGA — the MAGA movement. Quote, “I am your retribution.” “Slitting throats” of civil servants, replacing them with extreme political cronies. MAGA extremists proclaim support for law enforcement only to say, “We…” — quote, “We must destroy the FBI.”

It’s not one person. It’s the controlling element of the House Republican Party.

Whitewash attacks of January 6th by calling the spearing and stomping of police a leg- — quote, a “legitimate political discourse.”

Did you ever think you’d hear leaders of political parties in the United States of America speak like that? Seizing power, concentrating power, attempting to abuse power, purging and packing key institutions, spewing conspiracy theories, spreading lies for profit and power to divide America in every way, inciting violence against those who risk their lives to keep America safe, weaponizing against the very soul of who we are as Americans.

This MAGA threat is the threat to the brick and mortar of our democratic institutions. But it’s also a threat to the character of our nation and gives our — that gives our Constitution life, that binds us together as Americans in common cause.

None of this is surprising, though. They’ve tried to govern that way before. And thank God, they failed.

But they haven’t given up. Just look at recent days: their accusations against — of treason — treason against the major new net- — news network because they don’t like its coverage. I don’t know what the hell I’d say about Fox if that becomes the rule. (Laughter.)

But think about it. I’m joking, but think about it.

Tomorrow, I have the honor of overseeing the change of responsibilities of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States military from one genuine hero and patriot, General Mark Milley, to another, General CQ Brown — both — both defining leaders of our time.

And yet, here is what you hear from MAGA extremists about the retiring patriot general honoring his oath to the Constitution: quote, he’s “a traitor,” end of quote. “In times gone by, the punishment…” — quote, “In times gone by, the punishment would’ve been death,” end of quote.

This is the United States of America. This is the United States of America.

And although I don’t believe even a majority of Republicans think that, the silence is deafening. The silence is deafening.

Hardly any Republican called out such heinous statements, just as they watch one MAGA senator outrageously — instead, blocking the promotions of hundreds of top military leaders and affecting not only those leaders but their families, their children.

MAGA extremists claim support of our troops, but they are harming military readiness, leadership, troop morale, freezing pay, freezing military families in limbo.

Just as they looked the other way when the defeated former President refused to pay respects at an American cemetery near Paris, referring to the American servicemen buried there — and I’ve been to this cemetery — as “suckers” and “losers,” quotes.

I’m not making this up. I know we all tried not to remember it, but that’s what he said. He called servicemen “suckers” and “losers.”

Was John a sucker? Was my son, Beau, who lived next to a burn pit for a year, came home, and died — was he a sucker for volunteering to serve his country?

The same guy who denigrates the heroism of John McCain. It’s not only wrong, it’s un-American. But it never changes.

The MAGA extremists across the country have made it clear where they stand. So, the challenge for the rest of America — for the majority of Americans is to make clear where we stand.

Do we still believe in the Constitution? Do we believe in the basic decency and respect? The whole country should honestly ask itself — and I mean this sincerely — what it wants and understand the threats to our democracy.

I believe very strongly that the defining feature of our democracy is our Constitution.

I believe in the separation of powers and checks and balances, that debate and disagreement do not lead to disunion.

I believe in free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power.

I believe there is no place in America — none, none, none — for political violence. We have to denounce hate, not embolden it.

Across the aisle, across the country, I see fellow Americans, not mortal enemies. We’re a great nation because we’re a good people who believe in honor, decency, and respect.

I was able to get the infrastructure bill passed. It’s over a trillion dollars. The majority of it so far has gone to red states who didn’t vote for me. Because I represent all — no, I’m serious. I represent all Americans. (Applause.) Wherever the need is.

And I believe every president should be a president for all Americans. To use the Office of the President to unite the nation, uphold the duty to care for all Americans.

I’ve tried my very best, and I’m sure I haven’t met the test of every — all of you want me to meet. But I tried to do my very best to meet the highest standards, whether you voted for me or not. Because that’s the job: to de- — deliver light, not heat; to make sure democracy delivers for everyone; to know we’re a nation of unlimited possibilities, of wisdom and decency — a nation focused on the future.

I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinpin [sic] than any world — -ping — than any world leader has. Sixty-eight hours alone with just he and I and an interpreter. Traveled 17,000 miles with him here and in China. On the Tibetan Plateau, he turned to me and he asked me — he said, “Can you define America for me?” And I was deadly earnest. I said, “Yes. In one word: possibilities.”

We, in America, believe anything is possible if we try it. Anything we do together, we can get done.

We’ve faced some tough times in recent years, and I am proud of the progress we made as a country. But the real credit doesn’t go to me and my administration for the progress — for this progress. The real heroes of the story are you, the American people. And that’s not hyperbole again.

Which is why I’m asking you that regardless of whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or independent, put the preservation of our democracy before everything else. Put our country first.

Over the past few years, we can and should be proud of American democracy, proud of what we’ve been able to hold on to. We can’t take democracy for granted.

Remember when you were in high school and college, if you took political science, they said every generation has to protect democracy. I used to think that that was just a saying. But here I am, as President of the United States of America, making this speech about my fear of the diminishment of democracy.

Folks, every generation has to be vigilant.

You know, toward the end of my Senate campaign, I convinced Strom Thurmond to vote for the Civil Rights legislation — not a joke — and I thought, “Well, you can — you can defeat hate.”

You can’t defeat it. You just bury it. But when someone comes along and lifts up the rock and breathes a little oxygen in there, it comes roaring back. It comes roaring back.

We should all remember: Democracies don’t have to die at the end of a rifle. They can die when people are silent, when they fail to stand up or condemn the threats to democracy, when people are willing to give away that which is most precious to them because they feel frustrated, disillusioned, tired, alienated. I get it. I really do. I get it.

For all its faults, though, American democracy remains the best pass [path] forward to prosperity, possibilities, progress, fair play, equality.

And democracy requires all of us in all of the major parties. You matter. And, again, I’m not just trying to be nice here. You matter — all of you in this auditorium — because history and common sense tell us that we can change things by adhering to our Constitution and our institutions of democracy.

Our task — our sacred task of our time is to make sure that they change not for the worse, but for the better. That democracy survives and thrives, not be spa- — smashed by a movement more interested in power than in principle. It’s up to us, the American people.

In my view, the more people vote, the more engaged the whole nation becomes, the stronger our democracy will be.

So, the answer to the threats we face is engagement. It’s not to sit in the sidelines; it’s to build coalitions and community, to remind ourselves there is a clear majority of us who believe in our democracy and are ready to protect it.

To the students here today and the young people across country, you’re the reason I’m so optimistic.

I know I don’t look it, but I’ve been doing this for a long time. (Laughter.)

But all kidding aside, I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s chances in domestic and foreign policy as I am today. I really mean it. To see young people — a hundred thousand students at this university and all across America — they are the most gifted, the most tolerant, the most talented, and the best-educated generation in American history.

And it’s your generation, more than anyone else’s, who will answer the questions — the legitimate questions the young man asked me a moment ago — who I’m going to meet with — questions for America: Who are we? What do we stand for? What do we believe? Who will we be?

It’s not your burden alone, but your generation will not be ignored, will not be shunned, will not be silenced.

I’ve said it before: We’re at an inflection point in our history. One of those moments that not only happens once every several generations, it happens once every eight or nine generations, where the decisions made in the short period of time we’re in now are going to determine the course of this country and the world for the next six or seven decades.

So, you, me, every American who is committed to preserving our democracy and our constitutional protections, we carry a special responsibility. We have to stand up for American values embedded in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, because we know the MAGA extremists have already proven they won’t.

You know, Madeleine Albright wrote a book — the former Secretary of State — saying we’re the “essential nation.” We are. And I think you’ve fe- — sensed it abroad, Cindy, haven’t you? Any room I walk in and no matter what heads of state I’m with, everything stops. Not because of Joe Biden, but because I’m President of the United States of America.

We are the essential nation. We are the essential nation. The rest of the world is looking, so we have to stand up for our Constitution, our institutions of democracy, because MAGA extremists have made it clear they’re not going to.

History is watching. The world is watching. And most important, our children and grandchildren will hold us responsible.

So, let me close with this. In three years, we’ll commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence — a moment not only about our past, celebrating all we’ve done, but a moment about the future, about all we can be — still be.

Imagine that moment and ask: What do we want to be? Now is our time to continue to choose and secure a sacred cause of the American democracy.

I know we can meet this moment. John knew we could meet this moment. He believed, as so many patriots before him did, that character [is] destiny in our own lives and the life of this nation. He believed in us.

That’s what we see in the McCain Institute and Library and everyday places across America doing extraordinary things. And remember that the soul of America depends on the souls of all Americans — how we choose to see our nation, how we choose to see ourselves, how we choose to lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example.

So, let’s never quit. Let’s never hide from history. Let’s make history.

If we do that, we’ll be — have done our duty to our country and to each other. Future generations will say we kept the faith.

We’ll have proved, through all its imperfections, America is still a place of possibilities, a beacon for the world, a promise realized — where the power forever resides with “We the People.”

That’s our soul. That’s who we truly are. That’s who we must always be.

And that’s why I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future. We just need to remember who we are.

We are the United States of America. There is nothing — nothing beyond our capacity when we act together.

Well, God bless you all.

May God bless John McCain and his family. And may God protect our troops. Thank you. (Applause.)

Definition of Fascism

I think this is an especially good characterization, 

“And one interesting thing about the Republican party is, it is entirely captured by fascism, that is to say it is a popular political movement organized around a cult of personality, and mediated through an open and explicit reverence for violence as a redeeming force, and by a nationalist myth of purification.”


And I think this is the right response,

"I think we need to persuade them that the margins of permission have snapped back, and let them know if you do this, you are going to have to fight—not because we want a fight, but because we won’t stand by and watch a beating."