Others train to be teachers, or teachers-of-teachers. This confinement allowed us to think more about the meaning of everything, about the things that really are worthwhile, about the life we lead and what we should change. New research will instead be done by scions of the oligarchs, who are educated up past their breakeven payback point. My point is that while we’re standing on the shoulders of giants, that doesn’t mean we don’t know what the giants did. We can create a little of that, and then we die, and all our own intellectual progress vanishes, and all that remains is the degree to which we’ve made others’ course a little faster. There’s nothing special about math, either; I’m sure there’s some programmer working on a drug analysis system firmware right now who has very little idea about medicine, but can follow enough of it to do a good job. The mental picture that this real-world situation draws up is rather similar to your image of perfect teachers-of-teachers teaching perfect teachers teaching perfect alchemists that can barely advance the Art. Maybe not. 3- I think in the real world what happens is you have a guy like Michelangelo who does everything so well, that rather than spending a decreasing amount of effort trying to get just a little bit farther people throw up their hands, and move off in directions that aren’t as good, but which are at least unique. And they’ve got their own gold-makers to handle tax matters and buying all the materials needed for the Work, so it’s not just rejects and the expelled who have access to this knowledge, those kinds of ‘practical’ alchemists are intimately involved with the ‘research’ alchemists in their Fortress of Solitude. It isn’t an accident that all great mathematicians and scientist do their most important work in their 20’s and that for the all major tech companies once you turn 30 you are basically a lost cause. The following paragraph is the narrator unpacking it into its plain meaning. If the Alchemist Guild really is hitting this limit, they should start at the other end: stop teaching the kids every single last step up to the present, and just give them each the specialised course for which each one is suited. What if they always turn out to be a little further out of reach? You are missing the step where they already are much more competent than any real world example about only teaching the necessary basics to make progress, and teaching it the quicker they can. It reminded me of nothing I had ever tasted before, but very slightly of the letter “N”. “I’m a man of war.”, “Yes. See point (1) above re: Consequences for blowing off the king and his dying son. Related to this, your post on your psychotherapy observations and the focus on Akrasia that LW had a while back, I think you should check out Tony Robbins in some depth if you haven’t already. The only way to really grok it is to make the mistake yourself. That’s where the Alchemist parable falls down, because he says they’ve reached such a pitch of complexity that simply learning the background takes the vast majority of their lives before they can be any use, and the more they know, the more they have to know, and the less time they have to discover anything. The phrase long predated Newton, and there is nothing in the context of his using it in a letter to Hooke that implies a jab. If they did, they wouldn’t be paying taxes. But it is teachable: if you hang around an expert, and pay attention to the words and actions they DO pass on, you will learn it. I find this pretty interesting, if for no other reason than it is yet another excuse to look more closely at the supposed inferiority of seemingly simple heuristics vs the disciplined application of complex logic and reasoning. The third term represents the degree to which one must already be on the frontier of knowledge to make new discoveries; at zero, everyone discovers equally regardless of what they already know; at one, one must have mastered every previously-discovered fact before one can discover anything new. Until I realized that the “editor” would have to know as much as each of the professor-authors. The third student reads for 13.3 years, then does his own research for 66.7 years, ending up with 200 years. I definitely don‘t think you‘re doing a bad job at all. Interesting story. I had mastered all of it. Anyone here ever heard of the Law of Equivalent Exchange? You get the picture. Nowadays the NSA (and foreign equivalents) put this sort of chicanery directly in the silicon, e.g. On that very narrow issue, I may be able to help. The problem then becomes one of identifying and transferring relevant pieces of knowledge from one branch to another, which hopefully only requires scholars to know two branches, but not the entire tree, but it requires the number of interdisciplinary scholars to increase quadratically with the number of branches. The artistic disciplines are many and diverse and each time they expand more and more, so called expanded art. However, at some point you encounter a problem, which is that the fuel you need to burn itself starts weighing a significant amount. So presumably “nobody” means “nobody who doesn’t have some intractable genetic disorder or get stabbed too many times or whatever” and that excludes the Prince. Qatari philanthropist gets human rights group’s award, Kozhikode Pravassi Association Qatar (KPAQ) organises medical camp, ICC Advanced Toastmasters Club conducts ‘Ignite Possibilities’ series, More than 500 students attend Chaliyar Doha painting and drawing competition, Blyth Academy displays artworks of its students, Nasser Al Ali Enterprises offers cash reward to four long-serving staffers, Indian expat students need to plan career in advance, MES students volunteer for QCS donation drive, “Ars longa, vita brevis (art is long, life is short)”. Again, I’m not special…I just have an MSEE like hundreds of thousands of other people who decided to study electrical engineering. One major problem is that there isn’t ONE, there are many, of different degrees of usefulness to different people, in a vast pile of largely-useless-overall books. The alchemist isn’t talking to the King, he is talking to a King’s representative and sending him back with the task of convincing the King. Decades later a child can write “printf(“hello world”)” and all the spectacular complexity that it’s built on can be hidden from them entirely. If a government threw enough money at it for long enough, it’s pretty certain we could work out all the kinks. We are adding many new people, and many generations of work, to the problem. – edited for typo, and to apologise if this is a super-obvious comment. It’s also ridiculous. Are you so slow a reader, that it would take you ten years to read a thousand pages?”, “You can’t just read a book and know architecture.”. They’re trying to go from 70 to infinity years lifespan in a single step. I’m pretty sure he does this on purpose. And not because I’m some kind of uber-engineer…my university alone was cranking out ~25 students each semester who could do the same thing. The common thing is to think of art as a simple picture hanging on the wall or a sculpture adorning a roundabout (king size, if possible) but this is no longer so. Schumpeter stasis. Exactly! “Ars longa , Vita brevis” I love the art of illustration. If you needed more than seventy years of studying architecture to design St. Peter’s, it would never have gotten designed.”, “Then,” said the Alchemist, “we have discovered something surprising. One will be a master teacher who has devoted decades to learning the textbook-writing skill, and who can write a brilliant Introduction To Architecture textbook that makes the first ten years of architecture ability seem perfectly natural and easy to master. I would need need pencils so I could draw the logical diagrams and circuit diagrams for the processor. At 25, you believe Y. And I don’t think the resulting expert systems have, you know, any understanding they could use to modify their decision trees in response to new global information…. I seem to fall on the nonverbal side of the average, and I’d guess you’re more on the verbal end. He then found and integrated the common patterns and has achieved 1 on 1 results that are mind-blowing relative to the rest of psychiatry/psychology world. It’s possible, depending on how they mean “70 years.” And for all we know the alchemist’s explanation is itself a simplification, and the methods they really used to approach the asymptote required still more ingenuity. But when dealing with programming, precisely explaining one’s reasoning to someone is pretty much a requirement. To stop would be to reset a process requiring four thousand years of gradual asymptotic improvement all the way to the beginning – texts are not worthless, but only the true tutors trained by tutor-tutors trained by tutor-tutor-tutors are fit to tutor an alchemist. Would some first redactor have to spend seventy years coming up with principles of redaction to pass down to his student, who advances the art by sixty-three more years, which he passes down in turn? More than other subjects, a philosophy book cannot merely be read; it must be digested, intermingled with life experience, wrestled with. At my university we had an elective in Digital Computer Architecture where we designed, from the logic gates up, an 8-bit CISC processor and a 32-bit RISC processor. Required fields are marked. In other words, while it would be wonderful to understand every aspect of every scientific discipline from first principles, this is not necessary in order to advance science. The art teacher sees art as one of the activities that define us as human beings. So the number of unified fields, and by it I mean fields with this property : “It would only work that way if there were an Art so unified, so perfect, that a seeker had to know the totality of what had been discovered before”, grow exponentially. I now realize that, at age 20, I was an idiot. Other possible avenues of pushing the singularity include electronics (once you reach the computers, you’re a few centuries from winning at most), economics, military / political power (for stability if nothing else), mind-enhancing potions, cryonics, cloning, etc. Since art is one more part of society, it has some kind of strengths and weaknesses. What grinds us down most is not the presence of stress, but the absence of joy. Canonically, I believe you’re correct, but I’ve always found that rule to be stupid myself. I’ve read a few. I see youth full of hope and that is something very positive, we have all gone through it.