Reply To: The Master and His New Emissary

  • Whit Blauvelt

    October 2, 2023 at 3:12 am

    A true master harmonizes the faculties, vision and feeling alongside language, and composes a self from their weave. The Enlightenment was one with the Renaissance and alchemy, reaching for something far more than the facility with bullshit which the large language models excel at. The manufacture of bullshit is the anti-Enlightenment. And yes, it’s also what the left hemisphere does in the schizoid condition. But the true master masters the truing of the self to the diverse breadth of visions and depths and heights of emotions, and speaks from that trued and truer — but never perfected, always striving — position with a Shakespearean range, abandoning the foolish consistencies which are the “hobgoblins of small minds.”

    Of course, a great deal of the historical story of the Enlightenment depends on which exemplars one chooses to represent it. But the Romanticism of Goethe and friends was a branch of the Enlightened tree, not its contrary. (Truth is often tree-like — the words true and tree being from the same root.) Meanwhile large language models are massive heaps of gibberish, whose accidental likeness to meaning is like an ink blot’s.