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A Review
Chapter VI
Boris Sidis'
Philistine and Genius
by Doug Renselle

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Move to any Chapter of Boris Sidis' Philistine & Genius,
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Chapter VI
Unblinder The Evils of Ignorant & Shallow Optimism.
©Quantonics' contrived chapter title.


(Most quotes verbatim Boris Sidis, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)
35 "We are confirmed optimists and sow optimism broadcast. We have optimistic clubs and mental scientists and Christian scientists, — all afflicted with incurable opthalmia to surrounding evil and misery. We are scientific, we are evolutionists, we have faith in the sort of optimism taught by Leibnitz in his famous Theodicea [Theodicy, 1710]. We are the Candides [Voltaire] of our oracles, the Panglosses [an optimist in Voltaire's Candide]. You may possibly remember what Voltaire writes of Professor Pangloss. 'Pangloss used to teach the science of metaphysico-theologo-cosmologo-noodleology. He demonstrated to admiration that there is no effect without a cause and that this is the best of"

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

It is extraordinary that Boris focuses, almost feigning religious zealousness, on 'evil' as one of humanity's most serious threats. He focuses in later chapters (e.g., see Chapter IX, p. 58) on unrelenting, quantal, incremental, non-homogeneous 'change' as one of humanity's most useful tools in dealing with 'evil.'

Consider Boris' juxtaposition of 'evil' as 'bad' and 'change' as 'good,' vis-à-vis Pirsig's Dynamic Quality (DQ) as his Metaphysics of Quality's first good, Static Quality (SQ) as his MoQ's second good, and Exclusive SQ (ESQ) as MoQ's only 'evil.' From this line of thought, we may choose to infer Boris intuits 'evil' as exclusive stasis. If so, we can infer his genius intuits at least partial essence of a quantumesque Mother Nature.


"all possible worlds. It has been proved, said Pangloss, that things cannot be otherwise than they are; for everything, the end for which everything is made, is necessarily the best end. Observe bow noses are made to carry spectacles, and spectacles we have accordingly. Everything that is, is the best that could possibly be.' It is such shallow optimism that now gains currency.

"Verily, we are afflicted with mental cataract. 'If we should bring clearly to a man's sight,' says Schopenhauer, 'the terrible sufferings and miseries to which his life is constantly exposed, he would be seized with horror, and if we were to conduct the confirmed optimist through the hospitals, infirmaries, and surgical operating-rooms, through prisons, asylums, torture-chambers and slave-kennels, over battlefields and places of execution; if we were to open to him all"

(Our bold emphasis.)

Pangloss got it wrong! Cause and effect are another of classicism's SOM-wall, dichotomy-spawned Pirsigean platypi.

(I.e., < A | B >, where vertical bar represents SOM's Aristotelian excluded-middle wall and is SOM's means of partitioning all of reality into dichons or 'platypi.' SOM makes or cuts walls with its analytic 'knife.')

Pirsig, James, Poincaré, Bergson, Popper, et al., rail against cause and effect. We agree.

Somewhat uniquely, Popper rails indirectly in his denial of induction, which is essentially a denial of cause and effect, but Popper's whole thesis rests in SOM's delusion of One Global Context (OGC, i.e., homologic/unilogic). How do we know that? Popper's thesis rests on what he calls homological, propositional "falsifiability" which we have shown elsewhere (see our 'Connections' under our Buridan review) is impossible, globally/generally, in quantum reality's many isles of truth. Pirsig's MoQ is contextually plural, and Bergson, Poincaré, and James are all essentially evolute pluralists. See our ISM Extremes.


"the dark abodes of misery, where it bides itself from the glance of cold curiosity, he would understand at last the nature of this best of possible worlds.'

"Schopenhauer is metaphysical, pessimistic, but he is certainly not blinded by a shallow optimism to the realities of life. Drunk with the spirit of optimism, we do not realize the degradation, the misery and poverty of our life. Meanwhile the human genius, the genius which all of us possess, languishes, famishes, and perishes, while the brute alone emerges in triumph. We are so overcome by the faith in the transcendent, optimistic evolution of the good, that through the misty, heavenly, angelic visions, we do not discern the cloven hoof of the devil.

"Professor James [William James, philosopher, psychologist, mentor of Boris and William James Sidis] in a recent address told the Radcliffe graduates that the aim of a college-education is 'to recognize the good man,' when you see him. This advice"

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

I sure believed this in high school when the jocks always got, what at that time appeared to be, the 'best' ladies.

"may be good for Radcliffe young ladies; but, fathers and mothers, the true education of life is the recognition of evil wherever it is met.

"The Bible begins the story of man in a paradise of ignorance and finishes it with his tasting of the fruits of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil. 'And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked. And the Lord God said, — Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil, and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever. Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. So he drove out the man.' We prefer the sinful, mortal, but godlike man with his knowledge of evil to the brutish philistine in the bliss of Elysium [a Greek, ideal, happy other world PDR]."

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

Indeed, Boris is a pessimist!
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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2012 Rev. 26Aug2009  PDR Created: 5May2000  PDR
(15May2000 rev - Correct link to Hughes on Buridan Review.)
(6Jun2001 rev - Correct p. 35 typo.)
12Aug2005 rev - Adjust colors. Add arrow GIF in place of wingdings.)
(14Apr2006 rev - Adjust colors. Release table constraints.)
(26Aug2009 rev - Make page current.)

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