There are actual limitations on human mental ability to understand and realize. Although we do not perceive these limitations clearly, we can deduce them from what we do perceive, specifically the irresolvable differences between the atomistic and the holistic views. We observe that the atomistic details will never add up to the holistic assessment. We explain this inequality in terms like "synergy" and the nature of "holism" itself. Yet these terms have not yet evolved to the point of full explanation. It is reification to insist that these characteristics are actual (belong to the universe). We need to realize that these characteristics belong to our mental processes. Contrary to the beliefs of "science," that the physical world is understandable and the mental world is not, what we are observing IS the mental world while the physical, ACTUAL world is forever closed to us.
Three modes of consciousness operating recursively constitute most thought. In the subjective, or holistic, mode the individual is immersed in their reality, letting it play them like an instrument. In the objective, or atomistic, mode the individual analyses other realities that are themselves in the subjective state. Finally, in the reflective, or syncretic, mode the individual reconciles inconsistencies between the subjective and objective modes by adopting a perspective more abstract than the other included perspectives and creating a reality in which all other realities can coexist. Each of these modes has a deterministic and a voluntaristic dimension. These exist as a continuum where the individual ranges back and forth between being driven by the reality and directing the reality. Since these dimensions are like the objective and subjective modes, one would expect to find a reflective component, which appears as consciousness of the deterministic/voluntaristic paradox.
Content of conscious thought is infinitely variable that takes form via recursivity becoming a comprehensive and coherent model of the universe. Process, however, is the recursive use of a set of simple algorithms generating a fractile like reality. To the extent that the single simple process is the basis for multiple complex realities, each micro element reflects the macro system. These perspectives are respectively the atomistic and the holistic.
Life is fundamentally oriented toward power in its perspective of reality. This has been logically necessary because power is the basis for survival. To the extent that humans are simply living matter, the megalocentric perspective must also concern humans. Yet there is a holistic vision apparently only possible to humans that goes beyond simple survival of the organism or even the species. Whether the ability to achieve such vision is itself an evolutionary adaptation or just a sport is not yet clear. What is clear is that what might be called ecological vision in postmodern terms transcends simple animal existence. At least its potential indicates that it may. It also seems that the ability to achieve a holistic perspective may also improve the life of the perceiver as well as of those who share the perspective. Life improved in this way is not better because of improved efficacy but because of improved perspective. Information and not power is the source of better existence that goes beyond the biological bases of evolution.
How will such a perspective survive in the world if it does not adopt the power based approach necessary to survival? The answer lies in the future of human organization, specifically in the conscious, purposeful distribution of the power that is at the disposal of the entire human race. Humans can have visions that transcend historical fact. Given the power, they can also translate those visions into reality. The question is whether this whole process is sufficiently subject to conscious social control that we can make our reality as a species follow a transcendental line rather that continually fall back into the primitive atomistic and megalocentric realm.
My sensation of this problem is that it is very similar to the effort to control a dream so that it follows conscious specifications. Anyone who has experimented with dream control knows just how difficult this is! Here we are dealing not just with an individual dream but with a collective dream, and the difficulties are that much more complicated.
Three levels of awareness characterize human behavior. Awareness at the genetic level, or nervous system, can only be adjusted by biological evolution. Awareness of the nervous system, or consciousness, can be adjusted by learning, but only by experience. Awareness of the consciousness, a form dominated by humans, can be adjusted by reflection, independent of experience. These levels of awareness relate to the ontological levels actuality, reality, and discourse. Actuality is not accessible to the consciousness but it is related to the genetic makeup by virtue of evolution. Much of consciousness is not accessible to discourse because it does not generate perceptions. Discourse is "designed" to adjust to the most local and temporary conditions, almost exclusively social.
All the inhabitants of this globe are anxious about the future. End of the millenium hysteria is blamed for some of this anxiety, but for most observers the handwriting on the wall is getting clearer and clearer. We owe the extinct inhabitants of Easter Island for the most impressive image of what could be the future of life on Earth. At the very best, the future of human civilization can currently be predicted to be a combination of games played to life and death conclusions and the taking in of each others' laundry. At worst, we will create an uninhabitable Mars-like landscape covered with Ozymandias-like tributes to never ending glories. Neither of these alternatives stimulates the kind of optimism that preceded the investigation of the planet or the advent of the industrial revolution. There is a growing cultural mindset that there are indeed limits to human enterprise and that we have already overreached them. A growing preoccupation with spiritualism reflects the preferred means of coping with these realities rather than a means of overcoming them. Many are now familiar with the established products of human enterprise and find them contemptible. The ecological perspective is no longer progressive, but rises from the depths of reactionary conservatism.
August 26, 1995 7:26PM
Reality is like a fractile in that every aspect of it is based on recursive processes using primitive ideas. These primitive ideas take two forms: some of them are learned, the result of reason and habit, or the successful use of the idea over time; the remainder of the ideas are innate, what we call archetypes. Discourse is the source of many of the learned ideas. Only the most basic, the most abstract, of these ideas ever make it to the recursive process.
August 30, 1995 11:01AM
Human reason has been indoctrinated with the idea that the only reality that exists is the one that is socially synthesized, i.e., determined by the most powerful. This role manifested itself first in aristocracy, then in religion, then in science, but each iteration has simply put another group in the position of mediating the relationship between the individual and god. The major danger in this is that the responsibility becomes incarnate in a family or class that then loses the capacity to lead. Only a more circumspect and abstract reality can incorporate what we have learned about this process and enable us to escape the Sisiphus-like nature of human endeavor.
August 30, 1995 11:35AM
Marxism provided such a compelling model of the human condition that almost everyone exposed to the model adopted it immediately and unthinkingly into their reality. The basic idea is that of dialectic materialism. The idea was so powerful mainly because of a convergence of factors but it has continued to be powerful beyond the natural flow of reality because of the absolute certainty it gave to its advocates concerning the nature of reality. Once the certainty became ideology, and the flow of human affairs carried culture beyond the boundries of the theory, adherence to the idea became a neurosis, adversely affecting the ability of advocates to adapt to the changing reality around them. Adhering to an obsolete reality precludes working together with others whose beliefs have carried them to new realms. This is the state of industrial leadership in the U.S. that still sees materialism as the major factor in human affairs. Evidence abounds that this situation no longer exists but Marxists are still putting the evidence into the old equations and coming up with the old answers.
September 1, 1995 1:13PM
Reality is a social construction. A symbolic universe can be constructed by any individual but it is the effect of social influences that brings that universe to its full potential. A mutually acceptable construction is possible only because of the common foundation upon which the structure is based: DNA. DNA provides virtually identical symbolic objects for each subject and provides shared archetypes giving these objects fundamental meanings (Hunt, 1995, p.213). From there, the shared ability to manipulate symbols and use them for tools within a cooperative setting generates the reality, or realities, we all experience. As adults, we all forget we were not born with the reality we inhabit intact. We eventually reify that reality and use it as if it was absolute. Our success at the reification project, that takes much of our lives, is recognized socially as our competence.
September 2, 1995 6:15PM
An idea held holistically is real and has been internalized; an idea held atomistically is conjectural. Synthesis replaces the thesis and antithesis that precede it while syncresis includes and explains the thesis and antithesis at a more abstract level. Synthesis eschews paradox while syncresis espouses paradox.
September 6, 1995 10:21AM
Capra, Frijtof in Wilber, Ken. The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes. Boston: Shambhala/New Science Library, 1985. Pp. 239-242. Systems theory is not "theory" but a "point of view, a framework, a language." The study of "integrated wholes that derive their essential properties from their interrelations, rather than from the properties of their parts." Complements the reductionistic [atomistic] approach.
When two realities conflict it is in the best interests of both realities to reconcile differences. In the past, differences were resolved by one reality eventually defeating the other and achieving hegemony. This approach is determined by the understanding that two conflicting realities cannot both be real, requiring a victory of one over the other to achieve the status of "real." Evolved understanding of the nature of reality leads to disgust at the waste of resources, and the psychocentricity of the notion that some reality must be absolute, involved in this approach. The syncretic approach allows competing realities to work together constructively, i.e., without destroying valuable resources, because alternative approaches or perspectives are not only possible but necessary to anthropomorphic existence.
September 13, 1995 11:54AM
Discontinuities in an individual's reality are the major source of confusion in that individual's action or behavior. Some people are more sensitive to such discontinuities and less comfortable acting based on a discontinuous reality. However, perfectly integrated realities are probably impossible to any intellect. The discipline needed to eliminate much confusion in both individual and collective action is systematic analysis of the realities in use at both levels. This analysis should be a continual part of human endeavor that provides the foundation for all other activity.
September 14, 1995 4:06PM
Inquiry effectively produces useful results when the human collective agrees on the specifics of the reality modeled. Traditional science has succeeded primarily because it dealt with areas of perception where individual ideas were essentially biologically determined. Science did not work where voluntaristic influences, mainly living systems, were involved because there was no natural common perception dictated for the observers. The point here is that effective inquiry depends, not on "truth" but on ability of humans to agree. The effect of agreement is to focus human energy on a specific approach to any problem. Recursive application of this effect among many people generates theoretically unlimited energy on any project. The accumulative energy is what makes the "truth" successful. Quantum mechanics probably explains the varying amounts of energy produced at different levels of organization.
September 16, 1995 1:47PM
A major insight of the postmodern crisis is that error in reasoning is not the most critical human failure. Instead, reification emerges as the source of most human interrelationship problems. Reification is the domination of thought by specific realities to the exclusion of other more efficacious strategies. Jung writes: "An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead." (Jung, collected works vol.12, p.480-481) Jung's solution to this problem is for individuals to recognize there are aspects of the self that do not originate in the ego but in the not ego. People must understand they have a choice not to identify absolutely with projections from their "shadow" selves. That some elements of personality, while definitely part of the individual, are not and should not be part of the constructed self. If these elements are assimilated into the truth of the herd, collective consciousness, great danger results. (P.481) While it may be impossible to eliminate these elements from individual consciousness, we must be aware of their presence and make every effort to eliminate them from collective consciousness.
September 26, 1995 1:40PM
"(T)here can be no complete science, and certainly no science of human beings, until consciousness is explained in biological terms." (Edelman, 1992, p.167) We may also say that there can be no complete ontology until good and evil are explained in physical terms.
September 27, 1995 1:30PM
Reality, existence, and identity are all the same thing! The power of systems method is that it explicates reality exclusively in the form of mandala!
October 2, 1995 11:11AM
Humans are consumers and ultimately all value is determined by the consumability of the object. Instrumental value accrues to objects that do not have value in and of themselves but enable us to produce or cultivate those things that do have consumable value. Consumption may represent the entropic value of living forms. When negentropic forces accumulate to a high level, the means are generated within to eventually consume the excess energy and return the conditions to normal entropic level of the surrounding conditions. The universe is not concerned with how long this might take because time is not a universal quality, only an organic one. Anything that speeds up entropy, and organic life does this, is desireable to the universe.
What is a reflective intelligence to make of this model? It could be seen as the fundamental insight into prolonging life. If consumption of energy could be directed toward the continual increase of negentropic potential, life could continue forever, finally consuming the entire universe out at infinity and collapsing on itself, probably to start the next cycle. What must be avoided is the concentration of consumption that does not provide for the regeneration of negentropic potential. Life then could only exist where negentropic potential occurred accidentally, as it did originally on earth.
The key to reflective-intelligent use of such a model is the form of collective decision making. Collective decision making operates on a continuum from centralized to decentralized. Clearly, either of the extreme forms of decision making will produce entropic results. An organic model for decision making combines many forms of decision making, with each form evolved to best deal with specific decisions at that position in the organism. Without a clear overall objective for the organism, selection of specific forms will not produce an integrated result. The entropic model for organic existence gives us such an objective.
October 12, 1995 11:46AM
Ontology and epistemology provide an unarticulated, unexplicated basis for reality, giving it an implicit structure that we call "logical." As we fill in the details of reality, inferences that are infinitely possible become more and more circumscribed by this implicit structure until certain inferences become necessary. We call these necessary inferences "truth." Unfortunately, as in building any structure, our original bases eventually haunt us as we are unable to build in what we come to realize as a desirable direction. Historically, we have abandoned such structures and built anew, only to have the new structure turn out to have the same limitations as the old. We have used the same bases! Some believe these bases to be unavoidable, as, for example, Freud came to see the conflict between the individual and society as inevitable. This may be true where the bases are organic, but where the bases are idealistic, whatever we can imagine, we can un-imagine. An example of an idealistic basis is what Veblen called "invidious distinctions." Such ideas become internalized and institutionalized in the collective psyche, limiting the possibilities of any structure based on them. Another of these institutionalized ideas is that ontology and epistemology are either not "material" to reality or that they are absolute, unchangable. This inference cuts us off from identifying and revising areas of structural basis that are, in their current form, preventing us from realizing major human goals.
October 12, 1995 2:43PM
Values are based on survival and prosperity. The basis is in the efficacy of real things to bring the desired effects of survival or prosperity. Where survival is organically based, prosperity is ideally based. Organic basis leaves us no room for choice. Either we get the requirements for survival, or we do not exist. Prosperity, on the other hand, is based entirely on choice. Prosperity is achieved when we are removed further and further from the threat of extinction. Systems are created using available power to remove this threat.
The question of who is protected is a matter of defining the boundaries of the ego. Collectively, the greater the resources that are available, the larger can be the ego boundary. The power of the collective is focussed on the prosperity of the collective ego. The collective creates and maintains an artificial system that protects the collective ego. Within this system, the energy of the collective is directed toward those things that have value for the collective. Where organic values derive from natural resources, systemic values derive from the ideals of the collective.
To each individual the social forces of the collective become much more important that natural forces. The disposition of the energy of the collective comes to have a survival value for each individual. Even natural resources come under social control. It might be said that natural resources especially come under social control, because centralized power of the collective seeks to control the disposition of all available power in the interests of the powerful in the collective. In addition to the power of natural resources, the collective enlists the energies of each protected individual. Thus the collective, or more exactly, those who control the values and behavior of the collective, come to exert the universal power of the collective, and all resources under its dominion, in the interests of everything bounded by the collective ego.
October 20, 1995 10:56AM
Let's divide matter into the material and the organic, organic matter being ultimately also material. The reason for making this distinction is, first, organic matter exists under different rules, and second, the terms of existence of the matter affects the knowledge we may have of that existence. Material existence is entropic and deterministic, while organic existence is negentropic and voluntaristic. The difference is that, knowledge-wise, when we put material somewhere, it stays there. When we put organic matter somewhere, coming back we have no assurance where it will be.
Now let's review why it is that we are concerned with "matters" at all. Evolutionarily speaking, we are concerned with matter, we develop knowledge about it, because our existence depends on it. All organic matter depends in a similar way on a pattern for existence built into the matter itself: DNA. When DNA provides for inductive development of this pattern, we call the organism intelligent.
Lower level organisms operate strictly deductively from the pattern that is built in. Higher level organisms create this pattern as they go along by a process that imitates evolution but occurs within the organism during its lifetime. In the first instance, the organism voluntaristically adapts its behavior to its environment in a way that has ensured existence in past forms of the organism. In the intelligent organism, present experience of the individual contributes to the pattern of voluntaristic behavior. Evolution provides a means of abstracting a pattern for existence from experience. Intelligence, the power of induction, extends that ability into the present.
Imagination is the ability to abstract from the already abstract. Intelligence does this to one power over evolution. Imagination does it, not just to the next power, but to a potentially infinite number of powers of recursive abstraction. Imagination extends the power of abstracting a pattern for existence into the future. The problem with imagination is that it requires an anchor in the past and the present to keep it from becoming irrelevant.
Humans have the ability to create patterns for existence far into the future because individual induction is expanded to collective induction through imagination. For imagination to retain relevance it must be founded in what we call the empirical. Individual and collective cycles of imagination and empiricism result in higly complicated patterns for existence that influence the behaviors of many humans.
Differentiation between the material and the organic becomes confusing when organic energy is applied to converting an organic pattern into material form, for example, when a bird builds a nest. While the content of the nest is material, the form must be considered organic. Human ability to use energy to convert imagination into empirical form, that may be called discourse, is sufficiently extensive that what we may be experiencing as material "reality" is completely the results of our own imagination. Empirical analysis of these forms may be highly misleading when we attempt to maintain the relevance of our patterns for existence.
Where empirical analysis is of discourse, we build knowledge on a foundation of possibility rather than of necessity. Recursive analysis of this sort can altogether lose its connection to conditions of existence. Collective patterns built into huge structures founded entirely on imagination will ensure existence only if all the powerful individuals involved are playing the same game and if there remains an ultimate, though forgotten and entirely implicit, connection with the conditions of existence. If either of these conditions deteriorates, the whole structure comes tumbling down. Where individuals choose not to play or are otherwise forced out of the game, their continued existence will be increasingly insecure. Such a cycle could proceed until no one is left but the dreamers, and then the dream may be extinguished leaving nothing at all but the material artifacts, like Easter Island or the ruins of the Incas and the Anasazi. All the result of loss of empirical connection with the conditions of existence.
October 20, 1995 10:24PM
The greatest weakness of positivism is the belief that anything important must be proven, when we can see that our most important knowledge comes from induction, that can not be proven, and that deduction offers us only tautalogical conclusions all based on the products of induction. Proof is then only a matter of collective power, which seems a pretty weak basis for a truly transcendental existence. Transcendence is not a matter of "truth" over falseness, but of the power of living over non-living. The success, albeit temporary, of negentropy over entropy.
October 23, 1995 11:59AM
Kuhn showed that collective commitment is key to operation of a paradigm. Commitment in the historical sense has been the equivalent of religious faith, i.e., Parsonian affective commitment. Affective commitment accepts no alternatives, each of which is seen as a fatal competitor. While scientists must operate in a paradigm, and while that operation requires commitment, scientific commitment must be of the Parsonian instrumental variety, held where needed and suspended where needed. We must have the intellectual capability to step into and step out of any paradigm depending on our immediate need for inductive relevance.
"Proof" is related to the style of commitment we choose. A paradigm dictates what will be accepted as proof, or what the specific collective regards as sufficient to commitment. Affective commitment is hardly obtainable now because of the incredible nature of "truth." Instrumental commitment should not be subject to such impossible requirements.
October 25, 1995 9:17PM
Regarding the relationship between paradox and the "figure and ground" phenomenon: Given that intelligence is based on differences or changes, the basic intellectual endeavor is to build a landscape or "ground" in which everything that is important to us has its place, and is normally in its place. This ground then defines the world strategically and can be ignored, as long as it stays the same. What intelligence looks for is changes, "figures" that we can focus on and analyze tactically. As soon as these anomalies are brought under our control, they become part of the ground.
Human intelligence seems to produce a specific kind of figure that refuses to resolve itself into the ground. When this anomaly is nudged into the background, its opposite appears as figure! We call this effect paradox. An example of this phenomenon is the self/other paradox. No matter how we define "self," some aspect of "other" keeps popping up in it. It is the same for "other." Define "other" any way you want and an anomaly will appear that you have to accept as "self." Intellectually we have no choice but to expect any thesis to generate the antithesis.
October 26, 1995 4:11PM
Modern science uses the concept of figure and ground in scientific method. In this case a very formal ground is built collectively that constitutes the paradigm. In experiments, a figure is forced to appear against that ground. If the explanation of the figure's appearance is collectively accepted, that explanation becomes part of the ground.
October 27, 1995 12:27PM
Many of the postmodern genre condemn scientism and assign it to the realm of anomaly, denying its legitimacy where inquiry is concerned. This reaction is merely continuing the absolutist strategies of the past. As an empirical example of the way humans do inquiry, science is a prime example. Our problem with science is that we have never done a systemic analysis of what it does and how it works. Our paradigm for science reflects our misconceptions about what we were doing; that is why it became obsolete. Without preconceptions, we can expand scientific method to other realms of endeavor. No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Even the difficulty we have in forgiving the past, accepting it without condemnation, tells us something very valuable about the process of inquiry! We need to be balanced on an intellectual platform that enables a perspective of the whole field and not just the thesis, antithesis, synthesis structure.
November 16, 1995 2:18PM
In ancient times, the advent of discourse imbued all power with the stamp of the divine. Over time, divine power was observed to be in the hands of men like everyone else. Not only were these "only" men but they had, as men will do, internalized their power to the extent they believed themselves to be divine power incarnate. As power became decentralized, through technology and discourse, those without divine power but with substantial amounts of temporal power (temporal bourgeoisie had become differentiated and dissociated from the divine aristocrats) saw the posturing of the divine men as a misuse of power, of which the divine ones were no doubt guilty. They also recognized that these were just men. Putting two and two together, they realized the divine power could be replaced by the temporal power. At the same time the effect could be produced that the motivating principles of the bourgeoisie could just as easily masquerade as divinity. Again over time, this change, influenced by discourse and the clearly dominant power of the bourgeoisie, was put into place. Today, the church and the state are again one in the capitalistic democracy.
November 18, 1995 1:49PM
Diachronic (developmental) and synchronic (unchanging) are crucial concepts in evolutionary theory. From a universe of random events, the organism selects diachronic characteristics specifically for their potential in providing syncronic value. That some events have more potential synchronic value has to do with, not the surface features of the characteristic, but the inherent logical structure. We could conclude that ultimate truths can not be expressed in physical terms but must always remain inexpressibly implicit in the utmost abstractions. We can only select manifestations that seem to fit. But the mainfestation is not truth, only the best possible fit. Two common types of behavior can disrupt smooth diachronicity: 1) the tendency to reify ideas in terms of things, and 2) the tendency to control the availability of the random supply of ideas from which we can freely select the most synchronic. Reification erroneously assumes absoluteness in things and the end of development. Eliminating randomness assumes that we can consciously pre-recognize and produce those ideas that are most synchronic. Both of these errors can lead to an end of development that is the beginning of demise.
November 20, 1995 4:33PM
Paradigm is a universal mechanical model. All models, or systems, are mechanical models because mechanical describes the state of the world as we need it to be if it is to be of any use to us. A non-deterministic model is no model at all. Our whole project of dominion over the universe depends on its being deterministic, and determined by us. This is tied into our definition of science: science has achieved hegemony by its ability to produce deterministic models on demand. Industry and technology have no use for any other kind of model and these interests are the basis for the mechanical economic model that governs the way power is organized.
Any paradigm is reductionistic: it reduces the entire universe to those characteristics that are relevant, eliminating or ignoring those that are irrelevant. A paradigm is what Bronowski calls a convenient simplification. While the universe is actually a whole, we cannot avoid our own finitude, therefore we perceive of the universe as finite, even while we believe it to be infinite. Unfortunately, reducing the universe in this way does not produce a single integrated model of the universe. The distinct models we produce, while being useful in their own domains, will logically conflict with models we produce for other domains. If we create a model that resolves these conflicts, we will find that the model itself is internally inconsistent.
Our conclusion must be that the universe is not ultimately reduceable to a formal, rational system. This itself conflicts with one of our basic tenets of the universe operating as a whole. It is a whole in itself, but there is no way reason can make it into a mechanical whole. This understanding must affect how we use all rational models.
November 23, 1995 3:39PM
Saying something is "true" is futile without the necessary authority. The mechanics of truth are purely collective. Which means that truth is or is not seen to be that by a group of people. To claim something is true is to assume the authority of the group. The only reason to take that authority is normative. Using this authority in vain is abuse of the power of the group if not done mistakenly. It is an error in group judgement to give that authority for any reason that does not benefit the group as a whole. Use of truth can become confused when there is a complex hierarchy of groups involved, the configuration of which, for strategic reasons, is not made explicit to all individuals affected. This is why the role of truth in the collective must itself be made explicit. Then each person can assess the use of truth in a sophisticated rather than a naive way.
All truth claims that are not in vain are rhetorical. Part of the support for such claims is getting the groups acknowledgement of the right to make such a claim. This effort may be distinguished from statements that are speculative.
November 25, 1995 1:30PM
People with access to power are continually looking for justifications to abuse that power, i.e., to use it in ways that are self, rather than collective, serving. Any restrictions on the use of power are seen to be restrictions on their freedom. Access to power is therefore refered to as ownership or authority, that resides in them as an individual, bound by the flesh, i.e., incarnate. The reasoning is that freedom is the absolute right to use God-given talents in a way that serves the only the owner of those talents. There are two errors in this reasoning: 1) power is never the exclusive property of a single individual or even a specific group, and 2) no single individual or group can exercise power unilaterally or arbitrarily. The counter to this argument deals with the absolute requirement to act. When action is necessary it must be taken recognizing the compromising of organic principles and with the intent to re-balance these interests at the first opportunity.
November 27, 1995 7:06PM
We misunderstand the nature of dialectic when we see the need for absolute truth as the force that demands the synthesis. When the impossibility of absolute truth is ambient, the synthesis does not become just the most recent reification. Synthesis should be seen as an instumental means of resolving contradiction instead of an affective absolute truth. "End of history" logic should be seen as obsolete.
November 29, 1995 10:19PM
The big things are all stochastic, occurring in accordance with probability. Energy must be expended on the little things in order to affect those probabilities. Knowledge of these two realms is intuitive to us, so we are given the atomistic and holistic perspectives to deal with them. Intelligence is continually switching between these two realms in order to effect action.
November 30, 1995 2:53PM
Godel's proof deals with the formal demonstration that formal systems are limited in explanatory value either by incompleteness or by inconsistency. If a formal logical system is complete, it will exhibit inconsistencies. If a system is consistent, it will necessarily be incomplete. This may be analogous to the limits experienced with open and closed systems. Recognizing that systems are models of reality and not things in themselves, they can either be closed and not interact with the environment, or they can be open and exchange content with theenvironment. A closed system is analogous to a consistent system in that it is internally consistent but does not consider external factors that are important. But to include all external factors one must make it an open system, in which case the system will not be internally inconsistent.
However, internal inconsistencies can be categorized and form subsystems, which makes the inconsistencies acceptable. This is the proper strategy for building a model rather than arbitarily cutting it off from other models. Unfortunately, open systems are technically infinite, so an arbitrary cutoff must be made somewhere. This problem is made immaterial by making the cutoff outside the realm of materiality. Where there is no remedy for the incompleteness of a consistent system.
Therefore, inconsistency can be dealt with, but not incompleteness, and open systems are preferable to closed systems.
December 4, 1995 1:01PM
All realism is pure deduction and therefore is not empirical. The only purely empirical data we have is inductive. Although we do not understand its source, its source must be the only means of sensing actuality that we have. We sense things in wholes, but our ability to capture ideas has limited scope. We must organize those ideas by identifying the essential elements and specifying the relationships between those elements, if we are to make sense of the almost infinite supply of data. This process is atomistic. Once this is done we can again look at the whole we have produced, but it is not a whole whole. It is a reduced one. It delivers the same holistic sense of the original data and its components are now completely under our control, but incompleteness has crept into the representation that will confuse us if we use the model without acknowledgement of its source and limitations. Used within their limitations, such models can be very powerful, but they are frequently used beyond their limits because as soon as we have the reduced model, we discard the original data, accepting the model as real.
December 5, 1995 4:19PM
When we sense something, we think we understand it, but understanding comes much later. Then when we understand it we think our sensing and understanding from that point are the same. They are not; after we think we understand something, our sensibility related to that stimulus is weakened. In fact, we may never again sense the same way we did originally, because our understanding does the entire job for us. It is only when the understanding breaks down that we review its relationship with sensibility, and then only sufficiently to repair the damage.
We wonder at the naivety and freshness of children, but, at the same time, we worry about the incompleteness of their grounding in understanding. They, on the other hand, will never appreciate the dogma of adulthood because in understanding it, they become it.
December 11, 1995 9:05PM
We have inductive and deductive intelligence equipment. These two sets of equipment are separate but act as two sides to the same phenomenon. Each set has its own limitations or fault that reduces the value of the equipment. The fault of induction is illusion; the fault of deduction is inconsistency. As these two mechanisms work together to produce understanding, provisions must be made to correct both of these faults. When both of the faults are corrected, the probability of the understanding being faulty are low. The correction to illusion is to extend induction in both space and time. Again, the combination of both strategies enhances the value of the induction. Effectively, induction is extended in space by the application of induction of multiple entities. In time, induction is extended by multiple experiences. Deduction is extended by both atomism and holism. Atomism breaks a phenomenon down into its smallest parts. Holism includes it into the largest possible environment. Since holism is inductive sensing of the products of deduction, correction of holism must be recursive and collective.
December 17, 1995 2:41PM
"It is a great irony that upon Einstein's development of the relativity theory it turned out to be Euclidean geometry that is an idealization, unrealized in the physical universe." (Delbruck, 1986) When we experience this sensation, of something we reified turning out to be just an idealization, several times, we come to see that all our reifications are just idealizations. Reification is associated with action, we have to hold something as real to act competently. However, reifications originate as idealizations, from the need to have something to act on. We simply are not conscious of the process by which ideas are generated, but we can deduce what it must be from other ideas. That is what Delbruck has done here. He just has not made a general law of it because it cannot be scientifically proven. Surely this generalization is worthy of further consideration, even if it cannot be proven.
Please e-mail your impressions to: email@example.com