Life’s intellectual quest is for comprehension, which is a purchase of self-deception when bought; for understanding is always circumscribed within a context that may be functionally adequate but is also always piecemeal.
Contexts are relativistic constructs: tensor networks which define a system of supposed knowledge. As the mind seeks a sense of satisfying closure, knowledge is therefore inherently limited, like a vivacious songbird in a cage.
(A tensor is a mathematical object which is defined by its interfaces to other tensors, which altogether form a tensor network. A tensor is analogous to a word in a language, or an idea in a philosophy – a philosophy being nothing more than a consistent system of definitions, where the base axioms are core concepts which determine the veracity of a philosophy. A tensor network has scientific analogy in the notion of a “system,” and is a conceptual cousin to the perceptual realm known as “the world.”)
In 1931, Austrian American logician Kurt Gödel logically triangulated that for any formal mathematical system to be useful, it is impossible to use the system to prove every truism it contains. In 2008, American mathematician David Wolpert extended Gödel’s incompleteness theorems to mathematically prove that all possible knowledge of any possible universe is beyond any intellect within it. As American bureaucrat Donald Rumsfeld noted in 2002, there are known unknowns and there are unknown unknowns.
A neonate exists in a world of wonder: every moment a new discovery. So begins the penning of the encyclopedia which will come to define a personal realm of fact and fancy. As the years wear on, repetition gives way to familiarity, which imbues a sense of surety about ambient physics and dynamics generally: in objects, bodies, and minds. Many come to believe that they know how the world works.
This comfortable comprehension masks a massive black hole of incomprehension. The comfort is essential, as the mind revs into a frenzy when its desire for understanding is thwarted.
The Collective of humanity are creatures of their minds, and thereby limited in their comprehension by what their minds choose to feed them as beliefs. To be a slave to the mind is to be bound to ignorance of the most fundamental insights which delimit existence and thereby sketch an outline of reality’s composition. Here is the root of incomprehension: belief in what the mind informs. Faith is foolery of the 1st degree.
The idea of there being an objective world in which individuals exist as the root formulation of actuality is philosophically termed dualism. Dualism is what is apparent to us all. The question is whether appearances deceive, and if so, to what extent. The answer is that all before you is a fabrication of the mind. The levels of incomprehension relate to understanding the distinction between apparent actuality and reality. These levels may be pooled into schools of thought: dualism, matterism, and energyism.
Without exposure to esoteric philosophy, most in the Collective fall into a simplistic supernaturalism: that actuality is reality, albeit often with a religious cast of supernaturality in the form of a supreme being. That this stupidest possible psychological salve – belief in deities – is so widespread speaks volumes about the cognitive discrimination of the Collective, and the ignorance which pervades the world. Not that modern science, which is a distinct dogmatic religion, is any better. As English musician Elvis Costello once warbled, “you never see the lies you believe.”
Sophistic dualism is scientifically unsupported. The philosophical dilemma is termed the mind-body problem. No one in recorded history has ever had a plausible explanation for how the mind interfaces the body.
That we have a mind is undeniable, if not indisputable. Mid-20th century, a school of psychologists called “behaviorists” sought to dispel the idea of the mind by claiming that cellular activity in the brain synthesized what is commonly called the mind. The terminal problem they ran into was not being able to describe anything about mentation without reference to the mind; like atheism being defined by its denial of God. While the school of behaviorism fell out of favor in the disciplinary ocean of psychology, the foul fish flopped up on the shores of scientific incomprehension as neuroscience.
Dualism philosophically faltered for failing to explain the interface between the 2 key tensors in the tensor network constituting the world: the mind and body. Obsessed with evidence, science gravitated to matterism: the naïve realist belief that matter was all that mattered. The follies attributable to the ‘scientific’ matterism take different forms, but generally fall into the categories of false assumption and mistaking statistical correlation with cause.
Modern astrophysics is founded upon a single wrong assumption: that the universe began with the 1st evidence of light, 13.82 billion years ago. From that single misapprehension sprang a standard model of nonsense: an inflationary beginning which defies physics, and an inscrutable accelerating expansion based upon bad data.
The observed universe has a radius of 46.5 billion light years. Matter cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Thus, if Earth were in the center of the universe, the cosmos would be over 50 billion years old. Earth being at the cosmic center is exceedingly unlikely, in that Earth is nowhere near the center of its galaxy, which is nowhere near the center of the universe, given the estimated age of the Milky Way and galactic dynamics. So, the universe is infinitely more likely to be 500 billion years old than 50.
A side note on the statement that matter cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Physicists have repeatedly observed entanglement: spontaneous synchrony amid quantum and atomic matter. Such entanglement illustrates that information may (and does) travel faster than light. Physics has no explanation for this well-established fact, as superluminality is above physics’ intellectual pay grade.
The flaw in modern cosmogony/cosmology is insensibly insisting upon evidence for the moment when the universe began; an event which obviously would not produce evidence. The 1st evidence of light still remaining would likely be from early star formation, which must have transpired many billions of years after cosmic origination.
As exemplified by the widely accepted cosmogenic mistake, the evidentiary onus which the scientific method imposes reveals its Achilles heel, which frequently proves a fatal flaw in promoting miscomprehension.
As aforementioned, neuroscience is matterist behaviorism run riot. That cells and proteins, as well as all macro life forms, are aware of their environment and make appropriate decisions is irrefutable. Ipso facto all life, from molecular on up (size-wise), has a mind; most without any associated intelligence physiology.
The folly of neuroscience in its false attribution illustrates another aspect of the inherent flawed methodology of science: the confusion of coincidence with cause and effect.
From infancy we strive to suss causality: the bequeathing reaction of an action. From such we seek to control select furniture of the world, whether objects obedient to physics or the persuasion of bodies impelled by the convictions of their minds. Our material and emotional successes are determined by our mastery of ambient casualty.
It comes too naturally that we universally extend our sense of casual causality to all the realms which the mind aims to comprehend. Here is a limit of cognitive method obscured to all but the most discerning minds.
Quantum mechanics illustrates the flaw of facile causal attribution. Cause and effect breaks down at the quantum level. An observer cannot say that one action necessarily caused a reaction. Instead, there appears a dynamic of coincidences with discernible patterns. The synchrony of entanglement among disparate quanta is a most astonishing example of this.
No physicist disputes that Nature is emergently constructed from the quantum level up. There are several relevant insights attached to this fact. With regard to causality, our understanding of classical (ambient) physics is a construct of the mind, not an objectivity in action. In other words, causality is a functional falsity which nonetheless pays dividends when judiciously applied, but otherwise ill informs. Tricky business, separating wheat from chaff when it comes to causality.
An interesting aside related to causality is that our minds are disinclined to appreciate coincidence, preferring to attribute a stronger relation between action and reaction. Though interest in probability historically inspired the evolution of statistics, there is an abrupt disjuncture between probability and correlation, which is the beating heart of statistics.
Probability is a statement of the likelihood that one event provokes another specific event. (Probability is typically used as a fortune-telling device.) Vaguer in attributing association, correlation (the statistical signification of coincidence) simply ties events together.
As our minds are inclined toward sensing causality, it is an exceedingly common misinterpretation to attribute cause and effect when only correlation is in evidence. Scientists blithely misapprehend on this account all the time. Studies which mathematically determine coincidences are cast as causal. Conclusions are stated as ingesting this or that is good or bad for your health, whichever the case may be; though all that could possibly be shown is that 2 events correlate.
Such misattributions are so easily had because many affirm what is already known, such as eating meat deteriorates health – a conclusion owing to millennia of accumulated experience which nonetheless cannot be statistically proven. The plain fact is that statistics can never demonstrate causality, because statistics is only good for showing coincidence; a limitation which most scientists do not appreciate.
Most events with abiding significance to our lives are dynamics. A dynamic is not a compilation of causalities, though cause-and-effect is nested within certain transactions. Further, much of any dynamic is hidden from view. These obvious foregoing statements do not impress our limited minds, which overlay a mechanistic bent on the subtle tensor network which is construed as existence. Ever seeking convenience, our minds naturally tidy into heuristics what is much messier in actuality.
The confidence of incomprehension of dynamics is impressive. After the environmental debacles of 20th-century industrial chemistry experiments – notably plastics and biocides (commonly called pesticides) – it should be obvious that freewheeling gene editing ought to be banned. Results of genetic tinkering let loose have already brought severe imbalances to Nature.
Politicians are too uncomprehending and in thrall to corporate interests to curb the mass extinction event underway, of which gene editing is a minor transgression in the overall scheme of massive pollution.
Ironies never cease. The base level of incomprehension – that exhibited by the ill-informed Collective – works well, especially when it comes to social relations, where dipping to the lowest common denominator, when done politely and with earnestness, is applauded as “common sense.”
Another ubiquitous incomprehension among the Collective is the nature of the mind, which acts both a travel guide through life and enslaver to ignorance. The failure of psychologists worldwide to grasp this distinction means that these ignorant professionals are in the business of engendering mental illness rather than assisting in curing it. For instance, psychologists commonly validate emotions rather than denounce them as the primary tool by which the mind subjugates its victim. Alas, most gurus also fail to make this critical point about emotions, and so their instructions fail to teach the most efficacious path to self-realization.
Humanity is tumbling pell-mell towards its own self-made extinction, all the while believing in its intellectual superiority – the ultimate irony of ignorance. The smartest and most constructive multicellular life forms on Earth are plants. This facile conclusion leaves out microbes, whose genius in survivability and insinuation unto essentiality in other life is unsurpassed. By stark contrast, the demise of humans will be to great relief of other life (in geological time, of course).
Another lesson of emergence from the quantum level up is that a force of coherence exists. Indeed, coherence defines existence. That Nature exhibits order is unremarkable except that it proves coherence as the fundamental force from which all interactions proceed. This observation is a nail in the coffin of matterism, which posits that matter is the root of reality.
Matterism is the theoretical foundation upon which modern science sits. That all must be explained through physical evidence is the sophistic rigor in scientific methodology. Matter is the key for rendering this misapprehension plausible, as matter is the basis for all evidence – the tacit assumption that objects in space are all that is.
As 18th-century English moral philosopher and economist Adam Smith noted: “the theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts is the one that must rule all observation.” In fact, matterism explains nothing; it’s just a show and tell of look-see with a sophistic story attached. In stating the obvious, Einstein observed that “nothing happens until something moves.” And nothing moves without energy.
The fundamental finding of modern physics is that matter is composed of energy. Atomic bombs and particle accelerators upon which quantum physics are experimentally founded demonstrate this.
Alas for matterists, energy is nothing but an idea – a hand-waving concept about the appearance of objects in space in motion, upon which, notably, causality is premised. Whereas dualism is merely scientifically unsupported, matterism is scientifically disproved. At least dualism looks like the real thing. Matterism is just plain stupid.
A salient point is that it is the motion involved that is key to comprehension, not the objects per se, which are relatively incidental. Like the old adage “follow the money,” it’s the energy that matters, not the matter.
The obvious implication is that materiality is a ruse; exactly so. With the disposal of matterism and the uptake of energyism, another level of incomprehension peels away.
Let’s return to basics. All that one thinks one knows about the world is based upon perception. Perception is the process of the mind digesting sensation into categorized symbolic constructs and then assigning meaning to identified symbols.
That multiple consciousnesses may concur on the symbols associated with Nature is facilely an argument for objectivity: that the world exists outside the mind. Rather, the mind is all that is: nothing happens until the mind moves.
What appears objective is instead a shared subjectivity of symbols dished out by coherence: a showtivity which appears as objectivity. For this to be so, besides coherence, there must be a universal field of Ĉonsciousness, from which individual consciousnesses are dispensed. (Clarity: The Path Inside and Spokes 8: The Hub of Being cover this ground.)
Perception exhibits anisotropy: exhibiting distinct properties depending upon level of consciousness. In other words, the world is subtly richer or black-and-white simpler depending upon level of awareness and mental clarity. Stupid people are more certain in their conclusions and convictions than those with more cognitive firepower and refined consciousness, where within constantly lurks the shadow of uncertainty.
Traipsing back to the mind-body problem – whereas matterism would posit that the body manufactures the mind, energyism rightly concludes that the mind fabricates not only the body, but all of Nature, from proffered symbolic constructs. This comprehension renders the exhibition of existence even more impressive than if it were just atomic pinballs shuffling about.
By contrast to perception, intuition is a direct injection of insight into the mind (from coherence/ Ĉonsciousness). Both have their value. Indeed, inference, which is crucial mechanism of theorization, is a product of intuition.
Living in a higher state of consciousness, such as enlightenment, or even realization, is not a surefire ticket to fulsome comprehension. Instead, an enlightened one may sit contentedly in a waystation of incomprehension, albeit at an inner layer of the philosophical onion compared to the Collective, who simmer in suffering in the suburbs of ignorance. This is evidenced by gurus who praise bliss, which is merely a signpost for the spiritually ascendant as well as a lamentable distraction from the more serious business of dispelling all the incomprehension one can.
Our lives are a constant channeling of energy toward fulfilling ever-emergent desires; a relentless endeavor which rewards skill. Skill facilitates desire fulfillment. And skill is founded upon comprehension.
The transcendent understanding is that this exercise we call life is nothing but a game of skill, where the ultimate skill is mastery over the mind. The body is merely an instrument for fulfilling desires. When the mind is also that and nothing more – a quiescent servant rather than a slave driver – one has reached the apex of modus operandi. The joke is on those who don’t know this and suffer for it.
(Ignorance is not bliss; quite the contrary. 18th-century English poet Thomas Gray penned the philosophical offal that “ignorance is bliss”; which, in the context of not knowing something which proves mentally disturbing when known is true enough. But, more broadly, allowing the mind to disturb one’s calm is a hallmark of an unenlightened consciousness. Everything in its proper context.)
The final fathoming is that all is symbolic, whereupon Gödel’s incompleteness theorems ring out with an ironic tone. Perhaps the sagest pronouncement, given in the form of a koan, was Socrates declaring “I know that I know nothing.” Here is the penultimate paradox: to comprehend so much that the limits of epistemology are discernible, and thereby knowledge (aside from skill acquisition) put into its proper place as a curiosity, and its pursuit an intellectual parlor game – to ascend the Everest of symbolic representations and look down to see a house of cards.
Afterword: This essay fails to explain why there are levels of incomprehension. Clarity: The Path Inside, has an explanation of that.