A cappella, and Chinese pinyin A’s

Second word in the Encyclopedia after a-ak (ancient East Asian music) which describes singing without musical accompaniment.  The next seven entries beginning with ‘A-‘ isn’t entirely memorable such as

  • A-ch’eng (city located southeast of Harbin),
  • A-erh-chin Mountains (situated in the southern Singiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China),
  • A-Ku-Ta (founder of Chin dynasty),
  • A-kuei (famous general during the Ch’ing dynasty),
  • A-mdo (one of the three areas in central Asia inhabited by tibetans),
  • A-Pao-Chi (leader of the Mongol speaking Khitan tribes from the northwest border of China)
  • A-p’i-ta-mo chü-she lun (Buddhist compendium)

Ah, a posteriori knowledge is derived from experience.  I guess that’s what wisdom is, perhaps years and years of experience built up in many individuals.  In contrast, a priori knowledge is independent from all particular experiences – such as mathematical knowledge.  This was discussed by Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason within the section entitled the Transcendental Aesthetic which was “devoted to the inquiry of the a priori conditions of human sensibility, i.e. faculty by which humans intuit objects.”

On a very long flight from Malaysia recently, I watched Lucy, a movie where drug mule Scarlett Johansson acquired sort of super powers when she absorbed the drugs and sort of transcends humanity that was apparently an attempt to flesh out Kant’s idea.  While I enjoy action movies (Black Widow is pretty deadly), and Scarlett Johansson is definitely a pretty sexy deadly character in this one as well, the ideas were a bit far fetched.  I mean, would expanding the usage of your brain capacity turn you into God?

It was too much even for me.  But I think its attempts to explain this concept via a hot actress with lots of blood and gore may have got more theatrical value than any intellectual merit.

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