Lynn Margulis and the need to surpass our "trained incapacities."



There is a spectrum of veracity along which one moves from the known to the unknown.

“…It is of very great value, and one that extends beyond the sciences, I believe that to solve any problem that has never been solved before, you have to leave the door to the unknown ajar. You have to permit the possibility that you do not have it exactly right.”

Richard Feynman, Meaning... pp. 26-27.


“So what I call scientific knowledge today is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty….none is absolutely certain.”

Richard Feynman, Meaning... p. 27.


more on variability and uncertainty.


Foundations of seeing the world and responding with as little error as practicable when describing what we can infer from what instruments sense, experiments can test, and others all may observe.            


Geological time


The elemental Earth is quite rare.



  Ancient dialectical differences:


Herakleitos – a process (versus independent things) of apprehending the logos of the world in which we are suspended a condition of ceaseless motion.


Parmenides – things are only apprehended by our minds, there is no "world" of which we are part without our thoughts, so that sense experience is illusory; insisting instead that 'What is, . . . is!' a constant and unchanging stuff of existence.



Visually we are prone to seeing illusions.






The Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.






Plato Aristotle
mentor protŽgŽ
rational, to reason dialectically sensible, to make sense of
forgotten at birth we recall wisdom as we mature, learn, and debate theories. sensory we acquire the wisdom from knowing the world
True reality is the ideal of which we as are all material things mere reflections --hence the apparent reality is false-- of the forms in heaven. Actual reality is what we sense and analyze here in the material world of existence and rationally describe by placing into categories based on discernibly different or similar properties.
The eternal heavens are the repository of the forms that we understand through geometrically rigorous proof, a form of reasoning. The material world is a synthesis of opposing forces that come together to form the four eternal elements of earth, air, fire and water, and these four comprise all things in differing amounts of each element.
Allegory of the Cave, from the Republic
Nichomachean Ethics, Physics, and Metaphysics.




Space as a:



of the



                                            Sacred                      and                 Profane




“desacralization” versus commonality of religious expressions of unifying  faith



Brecht's Galileo

Brecht the disorder in nature is created by:


The Machine in the Garden


“ stands for the restoration of the lost Harmony ”

Marx, p. 21.


         Commercial America destroyed the original harmony allegedly lost in Eden.



nature –


an "ill defined feeling"

(p. 5)


"rustic setting"

(p. 6)

Simple versus the Complex pastoral


                       What is actually in this picture?



Science      (1860s)          GNOSIS         metaphor      accurate rhetoric



A. what & how vs.     ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ ΚΚΚΚB. coherent means to know   

                       Feynman                                                        McCloskey



dialectic                              "imago mundi" and the "axis mundi"

                                                      to see two opposing sides




What are the correct criteria for testing the interpretations we bring to science?

                                    Brecht           reason and empiricism

                                                     Still & flat revolves & sphere


                                    Feynman       doubt versus superstition


                                    Marx              sentimental versus imaginative

                                                            Disturbance vs. ignorance (27)


                                                   Garden / agrarian – mechanical / menacing



        The landscape of the upper Hudson River Valley has been shaped by labor, machinery, and nature.


• trinity of methods.

            Dubos to see and describe (diagnosis)  vs empirically test (Koch)

                        God visits disease to punish – devil is the disease incarnate


Bainbridge Woman is an incomplete man (according to Aristotle) versus women are composite x-suppressed


            Margulis – microbes are germs so you don’t have evolution you have disease.


            Mayr   deductive dead ends – inductive opening to redefine anomalies

Method is rational, empirical, and heuristic (finding what is not obvious but may nonetheless be there to inform our descriptions) as in Bainbridge – genotype informs the observable phenotype.

Kaku, pp.  3-12, 195-197







Cosmos and its relation to Life:

Dubos, Marx, Mayr, Bainbridge & Margulis




                        Sacred and the profane gives way to a Cosmos and the rarity of Life



Life is more complex than we can:

A. Imagine, or than we think

B. explain rationally & empirically , and

C. heuristically - can discover - or we can think


rolaAfter all, we live on a symbiotic world within a machinery made by unseen, unappreciated, disrespected, and unexpectedly complex functionaries.



            What does Margulis mean by trained incapacities and the four examples of bias • • • • Prologue?






Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden (1964) Oxford University Press, page 47



"Ortega uses the term to describe the outlook of a new kind of person, –a Naturmensch– rising up in the midst of the civilized world":

The world is a civilized one, its inhabitant s not: he does not see civilization of the world around him, but he uses it as if it were a natural;"


"Wants his motor car and believes that it is the spontaneous fruit of the Edenic tree."



"They demonstrate that the public discourse, at least, this ideal has appeared with increasing frequency in the service of reactionary or false ideology, thereby helping to mask the real problems of industrial civilization."


Leo Marx page 27”


The Celestial Railroad: A wonderfully compact satire


"An illusory voyage of salvation whose darkest meanings are reserved for readers of Banyan. Like the hero in the Pilgrim’s Progress, the American pilgrim thinks he is on the way to the heavenly city. As it turns out, however, the same road can lead to hell, the partly concealed point being that the American protagonist is not a Christian at all; he has much more in common with the other traveler in Bunyan's Calvinist allegory, Ignorance."


p. 28

"two conditions of consciousness."

two minds


Leo Marx, page 46-47.

See: ATP://


     “this sense of discovery”


"it is a comic version of the effort to reconcile conflicting attitudes toward the New World. . . . . the actuality of the landscape, hence the close juxtaposition of fact and fancy, is a distinguishing mark of pastoral set in the New World."



"Can it be that the old, old dream suddenly has come true?"


p. 232, fn


"The idea of the countryside as the appropriate site for the conversion experience is common to the Christian tradition and the romantic poets. It is the accepted convention in New England Calvinism.



Thus, Jonathan Edwards describes the sweet sense of God's majesty and grace coming upon him as, in his words; 'I walked abroad alone, in a solitary place in my father's pasture, for contemplation'."


Grace "making the 'soul' like the field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers, . . . and the gently vivifying beams of the sun."


See Aldo Leopold on country and its meaning.


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