Is Hypnosis Self-evident? A Concise Philosophical Inquiry

You know, the asterisks are footnotes; click on them at your own (aster-)risk.

I am conscious that this essay can be a bit dry at times, and for that I apologise; I promise to keep it as wet as possible, but that can be difficult with the kind of weather we’ve been having these days.  Anyway, here’s the essay:

A Framework

Psychology is a wonderful field but this post will be approaching the phenomenon of hypnosis from a philosophical perspective.  Therefore, while the empirical discoveries made by psychologist are relevant in their abilities to strengthen or weaken the postulates and theories we here formulate—helping us observe and understand the way these principles are realised in the empirical world—they will not be a part of the purely philosophical and normative core of this discussion, which they will serve merely as a guide.  Therefore, when we begin our argument with the most logical step—that of defining the term, ‘hypnosis’—we will make an appeal, strange as it may seem, to normative principle.  The aberrational feature of this proceeding is, of course, the nature of the term we are defining; it is perfectly customary to define a mere word from normative principle—we simply define it as we please and as is fitting to the argument—but we are here defining an empirical process, something that takes place in one particular manner and not another, and therefore, our definition must not be designed merely as to function in the argument, but as to be a proper description of a preexisting empirical and normative actuality.  Therefore, our process shall likewise be aberrational.  We must add an alternative initial step to proceed that of defining this essential term that is the very subject of our argument, a step from which the definition may be derived as a definitive description of a preexisting fact.

Notice that I have described the phenomenon of hypnosis as a ‘preexisting empirical and normative actuality’.  It should seem perfectly natural that hypnosis is something empirical, but perhaps what is less obvious is that it is normative.  To understand why this is, we must understand the nature of that which is normative, of a priori knowledge.  When I ask the question ‘Is hypnosis self-evident?’ I am asking, in more specific terms, whether it is an apriorism, something that may be known without empirical observation.  The quality to which such an inquiry is referring—that is, apriority—is clearly and fully described by the etymology of the language I have used: the latin a priori literally means, ‘from that which is previous’.  Hence when we classify knowledge as a priori, we are saying that it is known from that which precedes rather than that which follows; it is derived from the principle that causes, and therefore precedes, the phenomenon and not from the result of that principle, the phenomenon that follows.  That hypnosis may be of such a nature, that it may be, as it were, a normative principle deducible a priori, follows easily from empirical observation.

Turning to our guide, the field of psychology, we can observe that hypnosis is almost certainly a cognitive process—it is something made possible only by the inherent nature of the mind.  This is because psychologists tell us that people, hypnotised or not, act the way they do as a result of the functioning of their minds.  Therefore, that which precedes the empirical phenomenon of hypnosis, that which is a priori to the way hypnotised people act in the physical world, is something like any other normative reality; it is an actuality or principle that exists, just like math or logic or any other form of reason, purely in the nonphysical realm of the human mind—it is inherent in the nature of human thought, and therefore, can be demonstrated a priori, using only the fundamental axioms that are necessarily and universally self-evident to all of the sane, human populous.*  However, this is a psychologist’s answer to the question.  We shall use it as a guide, cordially thanking the field of psychology for the insight it offers us in defining our task, and then turning, philosophically, to the actual derivation of such a principle.  Because psychology evidences that there must exist a self-evident normative principle that explains hypnosis, it is necessarily self-evident that hypnosis is possible, but to demonstrate this philosophically, our only option is to provide such a principle.  Psychology has served merely to specify the object of our first philosophical inquiry: what is the principle of hypnosis?

The Principiative Metaphor of Time

Notice I have preferred the slightly more awkward wording, ‘what is the principle of hypnosis’ to ‘what is the principle responsible for hypnosis’.  This is because hypnosis is to be considered one and the same thing as the principle that causes it.  The psychologists arguments about whether or in what way hypnosis may be called ‘a state of consciousness’ fill more pages than even I care to read.  Instead, we must consider the significance of such an issue only as it relates to our argument at present.  Hypnosis, regardless of whether it involves altered consciousness, is a way people think.  So philosophically, it is something that happens in the nonphysical realm.  But whenever we describe something ‘happening’ in the nonphysical realm, we do so metaphorically.  For example, we may say that a math problem ‘is calculated’ in the nonphysical, and this implies that there is such a thing as a nonphysical action (what I have called ‘an act of reason’ in another essay), but such a concept is merely a metaphorical aid to help us understand what are actually stagnant principles.  The sum of two numbers might ‘be calculated’, in a sense, but in reality, that summation, that whole math problem, including the fact of its existence and of its answer, is a stagnant principle—that two plus two equals four is merely a normative principle, not an event.  In the same way, there is a sense in which ‘things happen’ in a nonphysical realm, a human mind, in such a way that, after the elapse of a few minutes, the person to whom that mind belongs may be described as ‘hypnotised’, but in truth, those ‘normative occurrences’ are really just components of a stagnant normative principle.  The reason this metaphor of time is convenient is that such normative principles may only be empirically realised with results that occur overtime, and therefore, it is easiest to understand the actual a priori principles as chronological.  For example, in order to realise the stagnant principle that two plus two equals four, we must, in the empirical world, have two of something at one point in time, and then add another two at a later point, at which later point in time, we will observe ourselves to have four.  Likewise, in the empirical world, the stagnant principle that is hypnosis takes time to realise—hypnotic induction is subject to chronology.  We will call this concept ‘the principiative metaphor of time’, for easy reference later—and also because it is important to always have cool names for stuff when writing philosophy.

So to derive this normative principle, and in so doing, to both define hypnosis and confirm that hypnosis is self-evident, we will need to ask a more general question: how is a human mind, a nonphysical realm structured?  Recall this jargon from other random posts: The Nonphysical Realm is the conceptual realm that follows the laws of logic in the same way that the physical realm follows the laws of physics, and the latter term, a nonphysical realm, refers to any realisation of such, any realm in which nonphysical objects that obey the laws of logic may exist.  Hence, the most obvious example of a nonphysical realm is a human mind.

How is a nonphysical realm Structured?

In “The Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity” (ALUC), it was demonstrated that The Nonphysical Realm consists of metaphorical levels or scopes that exist inside one another—these are the levels of recursion in the self-referential system of logic (‘self-referential’ because ‘logic’ is defined as ‘that which is noncontradictory with itself’).  In that post, I demonstrated that these levels are ‘congruent’ to one another.  This is because, as I explained in that post, each of the levels is defined as ‘that which is noncontradictory with the level in which it is contained’, and so if A is contained inside of B and B inside of C, then there is a congruity between the definitions of level A and level B—because both A and B are contained in C, they are each defined as ‘that which is noncontradictory with level C’, but A is still different from B because it is contained inside of C only through the transitive property as applied to its being inside B.  This is what is meant by ‘congruent’, and is best imagined, as the jargon implies, geometrically.

So The Nonphysical Realm can be thought of as a formal-logic proof.  It begins with a primal premise, or primal cause, which is its first level and is necessarily infinite.*  To this premise is applied the law of noncontradiction, and an infinite recursive system follows.  Liken it to holding two mirrors to face one another: the first mirror is the primal premise, the Absolute Truth; when the definition of reality—’that which is noncontradictory with the primal premise’—is applied, it is like holding another mirror up to the absolute truth to reflect it (because the only thing noncontradictory with an infinite nonphysical construct is the construct itself); what follows is an infinite recursive system, of which each level reflects its apriorism—the thing that precedes it and in which it is contained—according to the law of noncontradiction.

Hence, the answer to our question, ‘how is a nonphysical realm structured?’, is that it is composed of recursive levels that are each noncontradictory with their apriorism, and that there exists, at the root of it all, a primal premise upon which the whole system is based.  Of this structure we will make two relevant observations: (1) Each level has a successively lesser impact on the system than the last, and therefore, the closer a level is to the primal premise, the more it is ‘in the heart of the system’, so that if such a level were somehow altered, it would have a greater impact on the system as a whole than would the alteration of a following level.  This makes the realm a chaotic system by definition.  (2) Although the whole realm is required to follow the laws of logic which are, in summation, the law of noncontradiction, this does not necessitate that no two contradictory declaratives exist within (again, refer to the ALUC for this jargon, or click this footnote: *).  Contradictions may arise as long as they cancel out. Two contradictory declaratives may exist in a nonphysical realm if and only if they are premised by ‘the contradiction declarative’, the declarative which, in the simplest case, merely state that what follows is a contradiction.  So if level A is contained in, and therefore premised by, level B, then A may contain contradictory declaratives Y and Z only if level B contains the contradiction declarative, which states, ‘Y and Z are contradictory, and therefore, A is false’.  To this second observation, we must also add the fact that even if A is declared false by its apriorism, it still may have levels that follow it, even though all such levels will be declared false by B according to the transitive property.  Such levels are analogous, in some respects, to imaginary numbers.  The details of how this works with the recursive model will be more fully explicated in the section of this post titled, ‘Did you notice this is a fractal?’.  But it is prudent to, at this point, make clear at least one complexity:

There may have been some confusion hitherto about the seemingly interchangeable usage of the concepts of ‘declaratives’ and ‘levels’ as well as their respective concepts of ‘following one another’ and ‘being contained within one another’.  These concepts have been used interchangeable because they are merely different ways of describing the same thing.  A declarative follows from an apriorism when its opposite is in contradiction with the former.  For example, “this blog is silly” follows from “all blogs are silly” because its opposite would contradict its apriorism—”this blog is not silly” contradicts “all blogs are silly”.  But there is also a sense in which the declarative that follows is contained inside of its apriorism.  “All blogs are silly” contains the fact of this blog’s own silliness.  In fact, we could roughly conceive of the single declarative “all blogs are silly” as an entire fractal construct, a ‘level’ in a nonphysical system.  Inside of such a level are the facts that each individual blog is silly, and these declaratives together make up exactly what we mean by ‘silly’, they describe the manner in which “all blogs are silly”.  Hence, contained inside of the level “all blogs are silly” is the level “this blog is silly” in which level is contained all the facts about this blog that makes it silly, which together constitute the manner in which it is silly and make up the exact fact of its silliness.

The Consequence of the Principiative Metaphor of Time

I like the label ‘principiative metaphor of time‘, because it expresses the way the metaphor works.  Just as a principle principiates a consequence, the fact of the existence of the empirical realm principiates the metaphor of time when describing principles.  If that sentence was confusing and not helpful, then don’t worry about it.

Anyway.  As I have already alluded to, the human mind is necessarily a nonphysical realm.  This is because we derive the components of a nonphysical realm directly from it.  Again those components are two: (1) a nonphysical realm is conceptual, and (2) is governed by the laws of logic.  As we shall see in the following section, both of these things are descriptions of the human mind.

If we apply the principiative metaphor of time to a nonphysical realm of a human mind, we arrive at human action.  The principles of the mind are expressed overtime through the actions of a person.  And if we call the fundamental entity responsible for all of a persons actions ‘the will’, then the human will is the primal premise of the nonphysical system that is the human mind (of course, this so-called ‘primal premise’ is only really a primal premise of that particular nonphysical system; in the context of The Nonphysical Realm, it is actually a consequence of The Primal Premise).  In other words, a human will is a principle, from which follow an infinite number of congruent levels, all of which make up the human mind and are expressed in the empirical world through human action over time.

Is the mind a nonphysical realm?

It is likely already evident that the significance of our entire argument is determined by our answer to this question alone.  Indeed, for this reason we must be extremely attentive to the way in which we answer it, but we must also realise that the matter is not so simple as a plain yes or no.  Our argument describes the way in which a nonphysical realm necessarily behaves, and in this section, we will argue the extent to which or circumstances under which the human mind resembles a nonphysical realm.  For the sake of simplicity, we have, hitherto, supposed that the human mind were entirely and always a nonphysical realm, but it is now appropriate to discuss the matter.

Of course, we needn’t argue that a human mind is a conceptual realm, for that is merely a matter of definition: the word ‘conceive’ will, in our jargon, mean ‘that which the human mind does’.  The real question is whether the mind is logical—whether it is noncontradictory.  The answer to this question is to be found among the entailments of its identity as a conceptual realm—isn’t that cute.

Hitherto, we have claimed, in The ALUC, that a conceptual realm is not subject to the law of noncontradiction.  This is only partly true.  The problem with such an idea is that it conflicts with the fact that all of reality is noncontradictory.  Elsewhere, we have made an argument for this point: the reason that noncontradiction describes the law of logic is that we, as humans, consider it self-evident that reality itself is noncontradictory, such that if one were given a set of true premises, and were to manipulate them with logical methods in order to arrive at a conclusion whose opposite would contradict those premises, he or she would have arrived at something that is necessarily true.  Hence, in reality, contradiction is impossible.

This posits a problem to the notion of a ‘conceptual’ realm which is not subject to logic: if contradiction is universally impossible, then it must also be normatively impossible.  Certainly, two things that contradict can be conceived of independently, and the notion of their coexistence may also be conceived, but the actual details of how they would so exist, the finer fractal levels of a reality that includes their coexistence, cannot.  For example: one can conceive of a brown dog that is white, but only in a limited sense.  It is possible to conceive of a brown dog, and it is also possible to conceive of a white dog, and even the notion of both conflicting descriptions being applied to the same dog is conceivable.  But we cannot imagine the finer details of how such a dog would exist; we cannot picture it, we cannot describe it biologically, nor conceive of any finer detail to its existence than the mere fact that it exists.  Of course, we could make up further things about it, but we cannot conceive of anything that would follow from its existence.  One might suppose that this would be a mere matter of conceiving of the details of a brown dog’s existence, and then those of a white dog, and combining the sets; however, such a process merely delays the problem, as the two sets would contain contradictions that could not be reconciled any more than this first premise—further, none of the declaratives in those sets would literally follow from the contradictory premise; that is, they would not follow from the fact of the dog’s simultaneous brownness and whiteness.  (A side note for those of you who think it’s clever: we’re discussing a dog that is fully brown and also fully white; a spotted dog doesn’t bear relevance.)

For this reason, there is no such thing as a realm that literally fits the description we have applied to the conceptual realm.  However, a conceptual realm can be ‘created’ within a normative one simply by premising it with a contradiction declarative.  Such a realm exists in the same way that imaginary numbers exist in higher mathematics: the number i represents an impossibility, and therefore, is not a real number, but it allows us to perform operations with real numbers that could otherwise not be achieved.  Hence, real conclusions follow from an imaginary premise.  In the same way, if we discuss it in terms of the mathematical field of formal logic, ‘the conceptual’ is not a real realm, but nonetheless may result in real conclusions, namely, the same union set previously alluded to: the union of all that follows from a brown dog and all that follows from a white dog.  Again the analogue of imaginary numbers is convenient in that in both fields–algebra and formal logic–imaginary concepts are responsible for one problem having multiple answers.

What about when weird stuff happens?

So we have a primal premise, a stagnant principle, the human will, governing all sorts of other stagnant principles, which are noncontradictory all the time except for when they aren’t.  That all seems fine.  But what about when weird stuff happens?  What if a declarative ‘entered’ the mind* that presented a contradiction?  Suppose it were a declarative that stated, “all of what follows needn’t be noncontradictory with the will”.  Such a declarative would be a species of contradiction declarative, and even as such it would still exhibit a whole branch of consequences, resulting levels.

In order for such a ‘normative phenomenon’ to occur, the will would have to ‘agree to’, i.e. be in noncontradiction with, the existence of such a declarative.  But then what would happen?  Would the actions follow from the principles in accordance with the principiative metaphor of time?  In what sense does the declarative ‘cancel out’ what follows?  Every declarative inside the nonphysical system of the mind is paired with an unwritten declarative that states that it is in noncontradiction with the primal premise (this is much like the unwritten coefficient of ‘one’ that is in front of all mathematical expressions).  It is this unwritten declarative that ‘relates’ the declarative to which it refers to the primal premise.  We might think of these unwritten declaratives as creating a kind of ‘table of contents’ for the nonphysical system.  But when a declarative is added that allows that which follows it to contradict the primal premise, it effectively removes from the table of contents all that follows and cancels out the respective unwritten declaratives, but not the corresponding ones to which they were referring.

The table of contents is what must be noncontradictory with itself; it’s the metaphor by which we imagine the law of noncontradiction being applied.  Even this step—of applying the rule of noncontradiction—must occur independently and ‘chronologically’ according to the principiative metaphor of time.  Hence, there is, metaphorically, a list of all the declaratives contained in the system (or really, of all those which need to be noncontradictory with each other), and at every ‘CPU tick’, every tick of logic or step in the proof, the list is checked to ensure that every possible combination is noncontradictory.  In theory, the removed items would together form a whole other table of contents dissociated from the one containing the primal premise, because they still exist in a nonphysical realm and must therefore be noncontradictory with each other.  In a sense, they are still even linked to the primal premise via the contradiction declarative.  The contradiction declarative (the declarative that states, “all that follows needn’t be in noncontradiction with the primal premise”) itself retains the unwritten declarative, remains on the table of contents, and must, therefore, be noncontradictory with the primal premise; so in this sense, the whole alternative table of contents is still, indirectly, governed by the primal premise.  The contradiction declarative is effectively an alternative primal premise, but one which follows from, and therefore must, in some way, resemble, the original primal premise.  To what extent that alternative must resemble the original depends on to what extent the original necessitates its own semblance.

Because the whole system is recursive, self-similar, even the primal premise alone can be thought of as an entire system of levels, with a table of contents and what have you.  And in such a system, certain things are necessarily the way they are, and others are flexible.  Each declarative has a series of others that follow it, but often, that series could potentially be an entirely different one.  For example, there might be a declarative A from which B follows (and a whole system of others follow B) or C follows (and, likewise, a whole system follows C), but either B or C are logically permissible, as neither is contradictory with A.  In the realisation of this system that is the primal premise, only one or the other will follow A, but this means that in the ‘alternative primal premise’, the contradiction declarative, the alternative option may be allowed to follow.  So, both the primal premise and the contradiction declarative will give rise to similar constructs, but not identical ones.  The commonality between the two will be, at a minimum, the declarative called the ‘primal premise’ when viewed from the infinitesimal degree of intricacy, as this is, itself, only a declarative, an infinitesimal assertion, and not also a whole self-similar system, a whole normative level.

If the facet of a human being that is aware of and forms opinions about all of his or her actions is called the ‘human consciousness’, than such is, in our metaphor, the ‘table of contents’.  The table of contents checks everything for noncontradiction—this is, on an infinitesimal level, what we mean when we say, ‘forms opinions’ (recall from other posts that emotions are fractal constructs of logic—with logic being noncontradiction).  So this alternative table of contents that is associated with the alternative primal premise is a dissociated consciousness.  The person is conscious of everything that follows the alternative primal premise, but only to the extent that such information, and its associated table of contents (its ‘consciousness’) is similar to what precedes it, which need only be as far as the infinitesimal link, the true primal premise, dictates.

In other words, to whatever extent the dissociated table of contents is the same as the original, i.e. possesses the same items, it is, to that extent, being check by the original.  If a person is aware of certain facts, and then he or she has a dissociated consciousness, which is also aware of certain facts, then the person will be aware of his or her dissociated consciousness to whatever extent the facts known by the two are common.

Did you notice that this is a fractal?

An easy thing to over look in these arguments—and such oversight often may cause a lot of confusion—is the fact that the nonphysical constructs we are dealing with have fractal structures.  This affects our understanding of what precedes in two ways: (1) It helps us describe exactly what we mean by ‘dissociated consciousness’.  The contradiction declarative, as we have already said, can be expressed as, “all that follows needn’t be in noncontradiction with the primal premise”, but there are also certain implications in the way the declarative is formed such that a more full expression of the same might read, “all that follows [from this declarative] needn’t be in noncontradiction with the primal premise, [but must instead be evaluated against this declarative]”.  Such implications are made simply by using the word ‘follows’.  The fact that other declaratives follow from the contradiction declarative implies that they are premised by it, and therefore, observe certain demands it sets.  The way we have initially expressed the contradiction declarative is analogous to expressing the primal premise as, “this nonphysical system exists”.  Such is the essence of the primal premise, and from it follows everything else; however, contained within that single larger statement is a whole fractal construct which explicates the manner in which the system exists, and therefore, the exact manner in which the premise is intended.  Likewise, the contradiction declarative allows things to be dissociated from the primal premise only in a particular manner.  Contained within the single declarative is a whole system formed similarly to the primal premise—a system designed in such a way that the original primal premise allows for declaratives to follow from this alternative system just as if from itself.  In this way, what follows the contradiction declarative is—when we observe it from this finer scope—still in noncontradiction with the original primal premise, but only indirectly so.  The original premise allows for an alternative system to usurp its former sovereignty over the whole construct, but this is only made possible by that alternative system’s adherence to the demands of the original—if this were not so, we could not describe the mind as a rational realm.  Of course, the two tables of contents relate to each other in the same way, and this is what is meant by ‘dissociated consciousness’: the alternative consciousness is designed consciously.

(2)  It allows for a continuum to exist between this state of dissociated consciousness and normal consciousness.  What we have just described in the previous paragraph is really, in essence, no different from normal functioning.  We define ‘normal functioning’ as the relating of each declarative to its apriorism through noncontradiction.  (Normal functioning corresponds to ‘normal consciousness’ as does ‘dissociated functioning’ to dissociated consciousness—the former of each refers to the structure of declaratives and the latter to that of the table of contents.)  Hence, this ‘dissociated functioning’ we have described, is just a more complicated instance of normal functioning.  Each declarative is noncontradictory to its apriorism, but one of those declaratives is of such a peculiar kind that the system begins to converge around it in much the same way that it ordinarily did around the primal premise.  As we have acknowledged earlier, the entire nonphysical system is chaotic, each level bears a lesser influence on the whole system than what precedes it, and in this way, the primal premise bears the greatest gravity in determining the overall structure of the system.  However, each declarative bears a certain amount of such gravity, but in normal functioning, the exact magnitude of such is determined by how early the declarative occurs in the following of the primal premise, where as in dissociated functioning, a late declarative begins to develop a gravity disproportionate to its placement.  In this way, a continuum exist between the two states.  A declarative is only called a noncontradiction declarative when it passes a certain threshold, at which point its fractal structure is just so that it bears greater gravity than ought, but because the construct that a declarative represents is fractal, each point along the continuum, each magnitude of gravity, is possible.

On Humanity and Recursion

Having discussed the essentiality of rhetoric to humanity, I now wish to further generalise and universalise the claim.

Notice that existence is the foundation of perspective.  We might define a person’s perspective as “the way in which that person exists”.  In other words, a person has all sorts of attitudes that make up his perspective, but these attitudes can be understood as qualitative descriptions of his existence—he exists in a way such that he favours existence over nonexistence.

It follow then, that underlying this principle of rhetoric, which is the foundation of humanity, is the principle of recursion.  Rhetoric is the power to observe the perspective from which observation takes place—to observe one’s own existence.  Likewise, morality is the power to act in observation of the perspective from which action is taking place, and love is the power to do so on a larger scale.  It is this principle of recursion that gives rise to the concept of a moral agent.  A moral agent is an entity that posses the power to observe its own existence.  For this reason a universalised morality is one in which maxims are formed in observation of all moral agents—being a self-similar construct to a personal morality.  Morality dictates that our actions observe that which observes itself.  In this way, morality is merely the method of creating a self-observant nature.

This relates nicely to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.  In John 14:11, Jesus tells us that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.  In other words, God is that which contains Himself.  Hitherto, we have seen that reality is made up of self-similar layers, and that these layers define each other and themselves though causality.  Hence, the Primal Cause is that layer which defines itself through causality, and ergo, causes itself.  In metaphysical terms, we might say that God is the Deification of the principle of self-observation, and in so being, is likewise the Deification of morality, reason, and love.

The fact that a rationally sound reality is necessarily self-similar helps us understand the doctrine of Imitatione Christi (trans. in a manner that imitates Christ).  All that follows from the Primal Cause must be similar to it, and must therefore observe all those things which observe themselves, which equates to acting morally, rationally, and lovingly—in short, acting Imitatione Christi.

Humanity and Rhetoric

In his foundational work, The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle defines rhetoric as “the power to observe the persuasiveness of which any particular matter admits” (1355b).  In other words, rhetoric is essentially about observation.  It’s about understanding and being aware of the manner in which a particular matter is conveyed for the persuasion of an audience.  Aristotle tells us that this art “belongs to no delimited science” (1354a).  Rhetoric is a facet of all modes of communication and thought, and it may indeed be not merely this but the very most fundamental property of the human mind.  Persuasion is the derivation of a particular perspective, whether such a perspective is being imposed on a third-party or on the self, and human thinking begins with perspective, whether absolute or relative.  A human being is required to have attitudes about things in order to think.  He must find certain things important enough to think about and other things not; he must hold certain methods of deliberation to be more valid than others; and above all, he must hold the facts of reality to be somehow significant—that is, significant in a particular manner and not another.  All these things are the makeup of his perspective.  And rhetoric is the power to observe this very most primitive part of the human mind.

If we understand rhetoric in this way (i.e. we take on this perspective of rhetoric), then we find that rhetoric is the core principle of all matters that are distinctly human.  We may take the field of art as an example.  Art is often understood as being among the most humanising acts in which a person can partake.  And yet, we find that at the centre of all art is a principle of rhetoric.  After all, the purpose of art is to communicate a perspective of reality; art is the power to observe the human attitude of grief over things like death and loss and of joy over things like birth and love.  We might say that art is the celebration of creativity and the mourning of destruction; it is the power to observe a perspective that values being over nonbeing.

And indeed, I do believe this is what makes humanity what it is.  We have been endowed with the power to observe being, that is, to observe our own existence.  Hence, human morality, as we have elsewhere discussed, is the power to act in observance of one’s own existence, and love is the power to do so on a much larger scale.  More on this to come.

On Aesthetics and Existence

Suppose there were some sort of nonhuman, rational being wandering the earth and observing human life.  This nonhuman, we will call him a ‘metahuman’, has nothing in common with humanity except reason alone.  He doesn’t experience the same desires that we do, nor possess the same needs.  In fact, let us say that he is subject to no desires or needs whatsoever.  As he makes his way through our curious little planet, he encounters a good number of phenomena with which his rationality is perfectly reconciled.  By virtue of being rational, he understands that a being must act in promotion of its own sustainment; this is simply a manifestation of adherence to the core principle of rationality–noncontradiction.  And so it comes as no surprise to him that people eat food.  A quick explanation of the natural science behind the human anatomy allows him to understand this act as rational and noncontradictory to existence.  He is also at ease when he sees people working for money to buy that food, exercising to help maintain the body in other ways, and getting married to help maintain the population.  With all these things, I believe our metahumane friend would be quite satisfied.

There is, however, an aspect of the human experience that I suspect might not sit as well with him.  That aspect is human philocaly, the love of beauty.  Upon extended observation of human living, I believe he might find himself asking, “why do these creatures so fastidiously obsess themselves with matters of absolutely no relevance to their existence?”  “Why,” he might ask, “do the sit for long hours watching the sunrise?  why do they drive themselves mad over the colours of oils on canvases or arrangements of sounds over time?  The time they spend on these things could be better spent working for food, eating food, exercising, or reproducing.” It seems that art is a superfluous facet of human existence.

However, while such an observation might vex our metahuman, if he is capable of being vexed, I do not think that he should outright object to it.  There is, after all, nothing inherently self-contradictory about art.  Art is, by all means, rationally permissible, but what the metahuman would understand, and we must realise, is that, ostensibly, art is rationally unnecessary.

It seems that art neither opposes nor promotes human existence.  And for the metahuman, a being’s existence is the first step in a deductive proof that merits his or her actions.  By taking existence as a given, the metahuman can prove that a human being must eat and exercise and must not undergo self-imposed starvation or deprival of exercise because such do’s and don’t’s are rationally necessary.  All behaviour that a being exhibits is only made possible by his or her existence, and so, in order to be rationally sound, none of such behaviour may oppose that being’s existence, for to do so would be to create, as it were, a contradiction in the normative ‘proof of actions’.  In other words, there is a logical fallacy in a chain of reasoning that reads, “A exists, therefore A acts, therefore A does not exist”*.  Likewise, there are certain actions that a being must take in order to sustain existence, which may be called ‘rationally necessary’.  Obviously, to neglect to do such things is to passively oppose existence and to, therefore, once again create a logical fallacy.  Ergo, all rational beings are demanded, by their reason, to avoid actions that oppose their existence and execute those that promote it.

However, in a sense, art neither promotes nor opposes human existence.  No one has ever starved from musical malnourishment (though I have had nightmares …) nor died of prolonged exposure to oil paintings.  It seems then, at least prima facie, that art has no baring on the metahuman’s proof of actions.  Hence, how it should be handled in the formal proof becomes quite a difficult matter.  Occam’s Razor might suggest that we remove it by default, but this seems a mere ‘easy way out’ of a question that rests on empirical evidence which powerfully suggests alternatives. The very fact that humans do indeed partake in the enjoyment of art seems to suggest that Occam’s Razor cannot be here applicable for one of three reasons: (1) humanity is not rational after all, as demonstrated by her irrational aesthetic passions, (2) art is a necessary part of the proof of actions in some more nuanced way than we have yet understood, or (3) art is necessitated by something other than the ‘primal premise’ in the proof of actions.

(By ‘primal premise,’ I mean existence; the jargon is intended to portray the analogical link between this and the Primal Cause Argument for the existence of God.  It is supposed, under the Primal Cause Argument, that given the existence of the universe and humanity, within the context of causality, a ‘primal cause’ that came first and without a cause of its own is a metaphysical necessity.  Our currant discourse takes the existence of humanity as the ‘primal premise’ in a proof of actions that demonstrates the rational necessity of self-sustainment.  This link will be important later on.)

Of course the first of these three reasons is, in its present form, utterly absurd because it denies the existence of human reason, on which it is dependent, as evidenced by its classification as a ‘reason’.  However, we might refine it a bit to say that, while humanity is capable of being rational, art is an example of her departure from rationality, however exceptional such a behaviour might be for her.  But that is a rather lame explanation of art, especially considering the fact that this blog purposes to demonstrate that beauty is a fractal construct of reason.  Therefore, we will be finding that the better option is either two or three.

In order to consider the reason for human philocaly, we must begin by considering the reason for human philosophy˚.  As it turns out, human philosophy is indeed rationally necessary, however its necessity is less clearly linked to the ‘primal premise’.  If belief is–as many have considered it to be–the act of depending on a supposed truth, then human beings have no choice but to believe in some things and not in others.  By sitting here, typing this post, I am believing that my computer will not explode in my face and kill me.  I am counting on that fact.  If I were to believe that my computer is going to explode, then my act of writing this post would be irrational, as it would be opposing my existence.  Hence, in order to be a rational being, I must believe certain things and not others (which, in this case, means that, given my sitting here typing, I must believe that my computer will not explode and not that it will).  This is because the rationality of an act (i.e. its promotion and non-opposition of existence) is dependent on certain suppositions that surround the act–that is, we must ‘count on’ or ‘believe in’ certain supposed truths in order for the action, or more accurately, the intention behind the action, to be classifiable as an action (or intention) of self-sustainment.  But the only rational way I can arrive at a belief is by way of philosophy.  In other words, it is irrational to count on the veracity of a given supposition without reason to do so.  Hence, the existence of reason (which is simply a more specific facet of the ‘primal premise’) is self-sustained by philosophy.  And so, philosophy is rationally necessary.

Recall from the previous ALUC posts that art, the discourse of emotions, is really an extension of philosophy, the discourse of reason, in that emotions are fractal constructs of rational processes.  Therefore, it seems that art may be necessitated by the mere fact of philosophy’s necessity.  If we are required, by reason, to rationally deliberate truth in order to arrive at rational beliefs, then why would we not also be required to do the same emotionally?  Human engagement in art is, in this sense, simply a way of making use of all methods of discovering truth available to the human.

Now would be a good point in the essay to point out a flaw in our model of reason thus far; I think I’ll do just that: The average Christian or reasonable thinker reading this post has already been quite troubled by the whole idea of self-sustainment.  We Kantian moralists, who make up most of the world, like to think that morality is an extension of rationality, and as such, must be governed by the laws of reason.  Therefore, the idea that reason would incessantly demand our constant attendance to self-sustainment is troubling to the Christian who believes that self-sacrifice is the core principle of all morality.  Hence, it seems our model has been all too simple.

Allow me, therefore, to do a bit of remodelling.  In Computer Science (the science of programming computers) there are conceptual entities called “objects”.  An “object” is something that sits out somewhere in the computer’s memory and can be called to perform tasks or can be acted on by other objects.  The particular tasks that a given object might be able to perform are decided on by the programer, and the possibilities are nearly endless.  However, one task that an object can never perform is self-deletion.  This is because of the logical fallacy that we have been discussing; it simply doesn’t make logical sense for something to destroy itself, and computer science reflects this inescapable normative principle.  However, sometimes, as you might imagine, objects do in fact need to be deleted.  For this task, the system itself must be called.  In other words, to delete an object, we must act not within the object’s personal scope, but within a larger scope that contains the object, which is called the system in the case of computer science.

A very similar phenomenon occurs in life outside of computers.  Sometimes there comes a point when objects need to be deleted, persons need to die.  At such a time, the principle still holds that a moral agent cannot delete himself, but a larger scope must be called on for his deletion.  So far, we have discussed the proof of actions as a self-contained system of rationality—something that is demanded to be non-contradictory with itself.  But if reality is fractal, then this “larger scope” that we are calling on must actually be self-similar; it must be similar to the “proof of actions” construct which it contains.  Hence, the deletion of a person must be appealed to the primal premise not of a proof of actions contained within the person, but of such a proof contained only by the scope of reality itself.

If you’re wondering what such a primal premise could possibly be, recall the disgustingly long and tastelessly obtrusive parenthetical element above in which the link between a ‘primal premise’ and a ‘primal cause’ was alluded to.  Herein lies the point: if the self-similar construct that is reality contains moral agents with proofs of actions that are premised on the respective existences of those agents, then reality itself is a massive proof of actions that is premised on its own existence (and since its existence is premised on its primal cause, we may say that this is the primal premise of the universal proof of actions, and consequentially, is the universal analogue of a moral agent’s existence).  Hence, the first line of the universal proof of actions reads: “Reality is.”  And because reality is subject to logic, all following lines must be non-contradictory to the existence of reality—or more specifically, to the existence of the primal cause and its particular nature.

And so, we appeal to this universal proof of actions for the deletion of a person; however, even within this larger scope, the deletions of persons is irrational.  Because reality is fractal, the principle that a moral agent cannot be deleted (which originates within the scope of the agent himself as a principle of self-sustainment) is reconstructed in larger, congruent scopes by necessity, including the scope of reality itself.  So the fact that there come occasions when persons must be deleted poses a serious threat to the logical soundness of the universal system (reality).

However, notice the phrase “a person must be deleted”; this implies that the deletion of the person is logically necessary.  Hence, we have a contradiction.  The principle of non-deletion that is perpetuated up through the self-similar system demands that persons are never deleted, however, sometimes reality demands that they are (e.g. in the case of war).  This tells us that something went wrong earlier in the proof of actions; some phenomenon has opposed reality and defied logic.  We will explore the phenomenon in a later post.  At present, we must merely understand that there is a contradiction, and that the contradiction must be fixed.  Logic demands that something be done in the universal proof of actions in order to correct the error.

So allow me to present the contradiction clearly:  Two moral agents are placed on a metaphysical see-saw, but only one is allowed to step off, leaving the other to go hurling down through the endless abyss of nonexistence (that is, of death or whatever the particular situation calls for).  Each moral agent is demanded to preserve both himself (by his own proof of actions) and the other agent (by a congruent construct of the other agent’s proof of actions).  It’s quite a pickle.  The only rational solution is the beautiful mathematical principle of Substitution.  One of the agents must choose to substitute his own primal premise with that of the other agent; that is, he must value the other agent’s existence in place of his own.  People less esoteric and nerdy than myself call this “love”.

That is exactly what has happened in the case of the universal proof of actions.  As a consequence of some error, humanity got set on a chain of reasoning that leads directly to death, but because it is logically necessary for man to keep on existing, the Primal Cause himself made the Grand Substitution.  The existence of man was substituted for the existence of Reality, causing all the equations to boggle about as reality demanded its own destruction and the very principle that called  for the deletion to be made was set to be deleted, reversing the error and undefying logic.  All this, we know, must have happened for two reasons: (1) it is the only possible solution to the contradiction, and (2) it maintains self-similarity with other proofs of actions (e.g. when a man sacrifices his life for his country).

As a result of all this, Substitution has become a principle of logic.  It logically necessary (and therefore morally right) for persons to sacrifice themselves for others because Reality has sacrificed itself for them.  The principle of Substitution trickles down to latter iterations of the universal fractal in this way.  For that matter, I might point out that logic is simply defined by whatever the Primal Cause does.  In other words, self-sustainment is logically necessary because the Primal Cause exists and continues to exist, and self-sacrifice is logically necessary because the Primal Cause sacrifices itself; every action that the Primal Cause takes is imitated in every smaller scope of reality due to its self-similar structure—that’s what logic is.

So logic is defined by the actions of the Primal Cause.  This might leave us wondering: why does the Primal Cause act in the way it does?  Or to put it more bluntly, what defines the actions of the Primal Cause?  The only answer I have for this is “the Primal Will”.  The “Primal Will” is the end of the line in the determining of actions.  The Primal Cause does what it does simply because that’s the way things Absolutely are.  Christians and non-christians alike might find interesting what the Bible has to say about this.  In Revelations 4: 11, it say, “You are worthy, our Lord and our God, to receive Glory and Honour and Power, because you created all things and through your will they exist and were created”.  Where I have translated “through your will,” the ancient Greek reads “διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου” which we might also translate “because of your pleasure”.  So in one sense, we understand that things are the way they are because they ought to be (because it’s God’s will), but in another sense, they’re just that way for the fun of it (because of God’s pleasure).  Either way, the verse contends that He is to receive glory and honour for this—God’s will or pleasure is absolutely Good.  However, what this means is that as intricate and difficult to decipher as reality is, the fractal is that way in part because that is how it ought to be, but also simply for the mere fun of it.  God choose to create, to love, and to die for that love for the sake of his good pleasure, his θέλημά.

Now that was a pretty long tangent.  Remember, this post is about philocaly.  And so I ask what is art if not the highest form of Substitution available to man?  Art is the surrendering of one’s self to beauty, the giving of one’s soul to all of humanity.  An artist is demanded to be courageous and bold; he must wildly surrender everything with which his creator has endowed him to the creation of something beautiful—a love letter to humanity.  When he performs this creative task, he is acting rationally and in congruity with his maker’s primal act of creation and self-sacrifice, which was conducted under the Καλός Θέλημά (Good Will or Beautiful Pleasure, Καλός being the word from whence we get ‘philocaly’ – the love of beauty; the love of good).

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* Obviously an application of the transitive property to this statement makes it read “A exists, therefore A does not exist,” which, needless to say, is utter nonsense.

˚Just when you thought those ivory towers couldn’t grow any higher and the thinkers inside them couldn’t become anymore distanced from the real world, the philosophers start philosophising about philosophy.

The Essential Consequence of the Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity

Yes, I realise the title is disgustingly long, but it had to compete with A Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, which is a German title in translation—so that’s not really fair.

FYI: ALL THE POSTS ON THIS THREAD MAY, from now on, BE FOUND UNDER THE ALUC CATEGORY. Thank you.

Acts of Reason

From the little research I have done, I have found that the concept of speech acts mostly has its origins in the philosophy of one J. L. Austin.  Austin proposed the theory that certain forms of speech are actions in themselves.  For example, whenever one begins a sentence with “I promise …” an action beyond the mere act of speaking is being performed—the act of making a promise.  Likewise, whenever people persuade, inform, or rebuke using speech, they are performing speech acts.  On the most basic level, a speech act is any form of speech by which an act beyond the mere pronouncement of words is performed.

Similarly, I should like to propose that there exist forms of thinking that may be called “thought acts,” or “acts of reason”.  These include acts such as believing, assuming, and expecting.  By the very thought, “this is true,” the act of belief is performed.  The thought, “this will happen,” constitutes the act of expectation.  These are forms of thinking that constitute actions beyond the mere act of thought itself; however, they are still only thoughts, or declaratives, found in the nonphysical realm of the mind.  Notice that both in the case of speech acts and acts of reason, the acts that are performed are normative.  Nothing physical takes place, for example, when a person makes a promise, but we still consider promising to be an action.  Therefore, promising, like all other speech acts and acts of reason, is an action that takes place in the nonphysical realm.  Hence the nonphysical is, in part, active.

This fits nicely with our usage of grammatical theory to explain the nature of the nonphysical.  Declaratives may be active or passive just as they are by grammatical convention.  However, it is important to realise that this is something of an extended usage of those terms.  For example, suppose Mr. Smith looks at his dog, Charlie, and thinks, “Charlie is eating”.  By doing this, Mr. Smith has performed an act of reason, and his declarative is active in two ways: (1) Just as grammatical theory would tell us, the declarative is active because the subject (Charlie) is performing an action (eating), but also (2) the declarative is active because it constitutes the act of believing (Mr. Smith believes his dog is eating).  Let us call this first meaning of “active” “grammatically active,” and the second meaning, “functionally active”.

Activity and Passivity (Voice)

It must be understood that all thoughts can only be called active or passive in the context of a particular verb.  Speech acts demonstrate this phenomenon more clearly: the speech, “I promise to love and obey” is active in the context of the verb ‘to promise’ but passive in the context of the verb ‘to run’ because the speech itself constitutes the act of promising, but not of running.  Hence, if this speech causes a bride to run, it has not performed a speech act in so doing, though it has passively caused that action.  (But of course it still performs the speech act of promising, and therefore is active in that context.)  The same will be true of acts of reason.  Every thought has a functional voice only in the context of a particular verb.

To better understand what it means for a thought to be functionally active, let us consider what it means for one to be functionally passive.  In grammar, when a sentence is in the passive voice, its subject is being acted upon rather than doing the act.  For example, if Mr. Smith had instead thought, “Charlie is being eaten,” his thought would have been grammatically passive.  However, the thought is still functionally active, as we are using the term, because it still constitutes the act of belief.

The functional analogue of grammatical voice is simple.  If a thinker is performing an action, his thought is functionally active, but if an act is being performed on the thinker, his thought is functionally passive.  The functional voice of a thought is the same as the grammatical voice of the clause which describes the thought’s action and in which the thought is the direct or indirect object.  For example, in the clause, “Mr. Smith believes the thought, ‘Charlie is being eaten,'” the thought is the direct object of Mr. Smith’s believing, and the clause is grammatically active (i.e. Mr. Smith is acting upon the thought); therefore, the thought is functionally active in the context of the verb ‘to believe’.  However, in the clause “Mr. Smith is troubled by the thought, ‘Charlie is being eaten,'” the thought is the indirect object, but the clause is grammatically passive (i.e. Mr. Smith is being acted upon by the thought); therefore, the thought is functionally passive in the context of the verb phrase ‘to trouble’. Hence, believing is an act of reason constituted by the thought, but troubling is not.

This discussion might bring to mind a rather intriguing inquiry:  Is not ‘troubling’ something that occurs in the mind?  If so, should we not expect it too to be an act of reason?  Indeed, I believe we should, but only when paired with a different thought, which in the context of such a verb, would be active.  More on this later.

Relevant Qualities of the Nonphysical

Recall this explanation of the nonphysical which I wrote in my post on the Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity (henceforth, ALUC): “Things in the nonphysical behave in accordance with our cognition.  For example, whenever one imagines a circle, it exists in the nonphysical, because all that is required for the spawning of an object in the nonphysical is the decision that it exists.  If I decide that there is a circle of radius R, then there is.”  From this we see that the nonphysical can be embodied in human cognition.  We do suppose that the nonphysical is a realm of truths and falsehoods that exists with or without human awareness of it, but humans can also think about it, and in so doing, embody some part of the realm within their minds.  For example, the properties of fractals were, for a time, normative facts sitting out in the nonphysical, waiting to be discovered, until finally they became embodied in human understanding once the proper math was completed.  To be clear, let us henceforth refer to the nonphysical as it exists independently of humanity as “The Nonphysical Realm,” and as it is embodied in the minds of persons, it will be called “a nonphysical realm”.

(I wrote at the beginning of this post that acts of reason occur in the nonphysical; this statement may now be refined.  More specifically, acts of reason occur in a nonphysical realm; that is, they occur in the mind of the person doing the thinking.  Hence, when I say that a thought constitutes an act, I mean exactly that—a functionally active thought, as it exists in a nonphysical realm, is the same thing as a nonphysical act.)

Also notice from the above quote that human embodiment of the nonphysical is related to human will.  As I have written, “all that is required for the spawning of an object in the nonphysical is the decision [i.e. act of volition] that it exists”.  Hence, when Mr. Smith performs an act of reason in his mind, he is willing the spawning of a functionally active declarative in a nonphysical realm.  Indeed, acts of reason are the purest forms of willed acts, for whenever people act on their wills, they first intend to do something, and then attempt to do it.  But it is this second step that is often corrupted by misinformation and inability.  Indeed, even the first step (of intending) can be corrupted by logical fallacy or falsehood of premisses; i.e. a person can intend to do good, and out of that willed act, intend to do something that he or she thinks is good, but is mistaken.  In this sense, the relationship between acts of reason and general intentions of will is similar to the relationship between the intentions and the outcomes of a character’s actions in a play.  In both cases, we often come across “purposes mistook fallen on the inventors’ head”.  This is why Kant traces the character of a will all the way back to its noncontradiction with itself.  That is, the quality of a will can only be determined by examining the self-coherence—or lack there of—of the will’s initial intention, the intention of being good or evil, from which all other intentions are derived within more specific contexts.

This point will be important later on, but I digress from my present purpose.  What must be understood at the moment is that acts of volition are also acts of reason because intending is an act of reason.  (This harkens nicely back to the model of the soul with two faculties: the intellect and the will.  Without intellect, a will is just a random decision maker; therefore, in order for a will to be free, any act a will makes must also be an act of reason.)  To justify the claim that intending is an act of reason, we will turn to the model of functional voice developed earlier, but first we must understand a nuance that further complicates our model of acts of reason.

Human Thought

Thinking is, by nature, paradoxical.  As I have argued elsewhere, reality is infinite. Therefore, all passive thoughts and acts of reason are subject to infinite ignorance.  However, as we have found in the ALUC post, “every understanding and misunderstanding of a given scope of reality is congruent to that of the whole“.  Hence, the paradox of thought is as follows:  Thinking is, by the nature of reality, required to be infinite, but by the nature of humanity, it seems it is finite; ergo, all human thought must be inaccurate—and in fact, infinitely inaccurate.  But yet, we know, by the ALUC, that human understanding is congruent to accurate understanding, even with all its fallacies.  Thus a dichotomy exists between the validity and falsehood of thought.  To solve this paradox, we must understand the meaning of the mathematical jargon in this philosophical context.

Though it may seem a bit crude, it will be useful, for a moment, to think of the accuracy of human thought as a scalar quantity.  Suppose that any given thought has a measurable quantitative parameter of “truthiness,” if you will.  In theory, a perfectly accurate thought would have an infinite truthiness value (because reality, the truth, is infinite), but human thoughts have truthiness values that are lower than this.  The question becomes: how much lower?  Because human thought is subject to infinite ignorance, we know that its truthiness is infinitely lower than that of the theoretical ideal, but this fact alone does not tell us by what order of infinity human truthiness is less than perfect validity.  For that, we must turn to the ALUC.

By the ALUC, we know that human thought is congruent to the theoretical ideal.  In math, two systems are congruent when they differ only by a scaler multiple.  For example, two triangles are congruent if each of the sides of one triangle relates to each of the respective sides of the other by a common ratio.  Hence, a pair of congruent triangles can be derived from one triangle by multiplying the lengths of each side by the same number.  Therefore, if human truthiness is both congruent to and less than perfect validity, it must be a fraction of the whole.  Hence, the difference between human truthiness and perfect validity is a lower order of infinity than that which describes the magnitude of perfect validity.

All this may sound a bit distant from the actual philosophical thread at the moment, so allow me to draw the connection:  Recently, a friend of mine and I met and discussed the ALUC.  Upon reaching the section about the limitlessness of conceivability, our discussion branched away from the piece slightly as we began to ponder the plausibility of human beings conceiving of the infinite.  I leaned towards the belief that humans can conceive the infinite, and my friend took the other side.  “Imagine a thousand elephants,” he prompted me, “now imagine one thousand and one elephants.  What’s the difference?”  His point was that when one conceives of anything on a very large scale, the detail of the concept is sacrificed.  My mental image of a thousand elephants is the same as my mental image of one thousand and one elephants.  This is because when I conceive “a thousand elephants,” I am not really picturing an exact number of elephants, but rather some large sum of them.  However, as I argued, my mind does differentiate between the concepts themselves.

In calculus, there is a somewhat cliché idea that “infinity is a concept not an number”.  This is usually taken to mean that we can’t treat infinity like an ordinary number (i.e. we can’t perform arithmetic with it), but we can understand it as an idea.  Thus, in a sense, one cannot “wrap one’s head around” the infinite, but in another sense, humans must be able to conceptualise infinity by virtue of having a word for it.  So, while I cannot conceive one thousand different elephants at the same time, I can think the thought, “one thousand elephants,” and differentiate it from the thought, “one thousand and one elephants,” both of which have different significances to me.  In this way, a human thought can be congruent to infinite thought, which is necessary in order for it to be congruent to perfect validity.

Rational Processes

In planning for this essay, it was at first my desire to write about acts of reason in terms of individual “rational processes,” or processes of the mind, rather than in terms of what we have hitherto been calling “thoughts”.  A thought, as the term has been here used, is a declarative which exists in a nonphysical realm (a person’s mind), but people don’t always think in “thoughts” in this sense of the word.  Sometimes people think more abstractly.  For example, when a composer invents a piece in his head, he is thinking, but he is not producing concrete declaratives.  Hence, thinking may take on various forms, some of which are hard to embody in words, but in all forms, thinking is made up of many rational processes.  When Mr. Smith sees Charlie’s state of distress, his mind has to take in the empirical facts (the things his senses tell him about) and process them with a number of rational processes before he is said to be thinking, “Charlie is being eaten”.  The declarative is itself a rational process, but it is made up of “smaller” rational processes.

Indeed, by the nature of reality we know that a perfectly true thought has, associated with it, infinite rational processes, each of which constitutes the act of understanding one of the infinite parts of reality.  In this way, a perfect rational process must be made of multiple other perfect rational processes, each of which are made of others ad infinitum, thus forming an infinite, self-similar structure.  Of course, human thought, being only congruent to accurate thought, does not quite form this structure, but creates a congruent structure.

This model helps us to fix some of the awkward uses of language that have been made thus far:  Some may have found it strange to call “believing” an act beyond mere thinking.  We may, indeed, be tempted to suppose that believing cannot be an act of reason at all, for the verbs to think and to believe are often used interchangeably (e.g. “I believe you are correct” or “I think you are correct”).  And if believing is the same as thinking, then when Mr. Smith thinks, “Charlie is being eaten,” he is not performing any act beyond the act of thought itself, and therefore he is not performing an act of reason.  But there is also good reason to suppose that thinking and believing are not always the same thing, for it seems it is possible to think something without believing it.  The thought that Charlie is going to be okay may cross Mr. Smith’s mind without him believing it, for there is a difference between Mr. Smith thinking, “Charlie is well,” and him thinking that Charlie is well.  Hence, it may have been slightly inaccurate to say that Mr. Smith’s thought was the act of reason which was being discussed.  Perhaps instead, the act of reason is a different rational process in which Mr. Smith actually believes the aforementioned thought.  This rational process, however, is impossible to embody in words.  And so our language must be stretched when discussing acts of reason.

Perhaps we might say that the thought “Charlie is well” constitutes the act of believing only when it is believed.  This works the same with speech acts.  If an actor in a play says “I promise …” then he has not actually made a promise.  He only truly makes a promise if he says the words in conjunction with performing the normative act.  However, we still understand the words as being, themselves, the act of promising.  They are the manifestation or embodiment of the act, though the act does not necessarily occur upon their verbalisation, but cannot occur without it.  Likewise, Mr. Smith’s thought constitutes the act of believing if he believes the thought.  It is in his thinking “Charlie is well” that he believes it, though he can also think those words without believing them.

The Rational Process of Intention

The above argument was necessary in order to understand how intention is an act of reason.  We might say that Mr. Smith intends to do something when he thinks “I will save Charlie”.  However, some may not like this usage of language.  It seems that Mr. Smith is likely to never think the words “I will save Charlie,” but rather, will simply intend to do it.  Hence, intention is some abstract rational process which is hard to put into words.  Therefore, in order to determine the functional voice of intending, let us use the method arrived at earlier, but represent the rational processes of intending as a variable.  Suppose ‘A’ represents Mr. Smith’s intention to save Charlie.  The clause which describes the thought’s action might then be worded, “Mr. Smith intends A”.  Hence, Mr. Smith’s intention, A, is the direct object of an active clause, where Mr. Smith is performing an action, and therefore, intention is functionally active.  Hence, acts of volition are necessarily acts of reason.

The Volitive Nature of Emotion

In my post, “A Philosophy of Love,” I arrived at the conclusion that love is an act of volition.  I now wish to complicate this claim.  Indeed, not only is love an act of volition, but all emotion is a manifestation of the will.

The only reason a person feels any emotion at all is because he or she chooses to care about things.  If Mr. Smith hadn’t decided in advance to care about Charlie (to love the creature, in a sense) then he would have never been troubled by the fact that Charlie was being eaten.  Thus, Mr. Smith’s being troubled is an extension of his will to love.  This is why I began with a philosophy of love—all the other emotions are derived from love or the lack there of.  Hamlet feels grief because he first chose to feel love.

Some may find this notion absurd.  Surely, whether I like it or not, I will feel sorrow if, for example, my arm is chopped off.  However, it seems evident that my sorrow over the loss of a limb is only made possible by my original decision to value my limbs and the things I can do with them.  Inevitably, I will feel physical pain upon disarticulation, but any emotional pain is still a nonphysical act which takes place in a nonphysical realm, and must, therefore, be a willed act.  The fact that emotional pain felt over the loss of a limb is volitive only strikes us as strange because the decision to value one’s body parts comes so naturally.  It is like subscribing to a weekly news letter on the internet.  Whenever you sign up for anything, the option to subscribe to the news letter is almost always checked by default, and so it is easy to passively decide to subscribe.  (By the way, if you do not wish to be subscribed to this blog, click here.)  Likewise, it is natural to passively decide to feel certain emotions.

This gives us good insight into the inquiry raised earlier regarding the functional voice of the verb ‘to trouble’.  Recall that because the clause, “Mr. Smith is troubled by his thought,” is grammatically passive, his thought is functionally passive.  What has not been said hitherto is that functionally passive thoughts may still be understood as acts of reason; however, they are passive acts of reason.  Mr. Smith is passively deciding to be troubled.  (Realise that the above clause is grammatically passive in the context of the verb ‘to trouble,’ but it is grammatically active in the context of the verb phrase ‘to be troubled’.  That is, the act of troubling is being performed on Mr. Smith, but Mr. Smith himself is performing the act of being troubled.  In some languages—Latin, for example—there is a single verb that means ‘to be troubled’.)  This lets us differentiate between emotions that are actively willed and those which we passively decide to feel.  For example if we say, “Mr. Smith loves,” then he is actively conducting an act of reason because the clause is grammatically active, but if we say, “Mr. Smith is grieved,” then he is passively conducting an act of reason.  Hence Mr. Smith actively decides to love, but passively decides to be grieved as a result of that love.  Notice that we may say, “Mr. Smith is feeling grief,” and find that he is actively feeling grief, but he is nonetheless passively being grieved.  He has actively chosen to feel his grief by choosing to think about that which grieves him, but he as passively chosen to be grieved by such a thing.

Something

And so, emotions, whether active or passive, are acts of reason.  To feel is to think, and to think is to feel.  Emotion is a form of reasoning; a complex construct of concrete thought.  This construct must be congruent to the fractal that is reality.  Hence in its theoretical form, an emotion is made up of infinite rational processes—though human emotion is only congruent to such a construct.  And so art, the discourse of emotion, is the discourse of infinite reason.  There is no need to temper emotion with reason or reason with emotion, because both are the same thing.  Emotions are fractal constructs of reason.

Therefore, just as good philosophy must rely on sound reasoning, so must good art rely on fractal constructs of sound reasoning, on sound feeling.  Just as we demand philosophy to be noncontradictory with itself, self-coherent in its reasoning, so must we demand that art be self coherent in its emotion.  Hence, those who say, “there is no right or wrong in art,” are wrong.  There is much philosophy to be written, but there is certainly also a right and a wrong in philosophy, and likewise, while there is much art to be created, there is also a right and a wrong in art.

Mr. Smith ended up saving Charlie and everything turned out okay … for now.

Was that an actively active act of reason?

A Philosophy of Love

Having wished to write a post on the essential consequence of the Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity for quite a while now, I finally realised that I cannot present the argument I wish to without first posting a brief philosophy of love.  That being said, please realise that this is a philosophy of love, and hence, if you have come here in search of advice on how to pick up members of the opposite sex, you have “landed in the wrong place,” so to speak.  Anyway, here’s the post:

Immanuel Kant begins his argument in A Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals with a beautiful premise.  After discussing the importance of using “pure philosophy” (as opposed to more inductive, or empirically based, methods of reasoning), he writes this powerful sentence: “It is impossible to conceive of anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a goodwill” (Kant i – xiii and 1).  Among the many implications we can draw from this premise is one concerning the substantiality with which Kant regarded the human will.  For Kant, man’s will is the very thing that defines him; it’s what allows us to call a person “bad” or “good” without reference to any exterior systems.  A will is, if you would allow me to embellish the concept, the thick, molasses-like substance of a human being.  Indeed, in Christian theology, the words “will,” “soul,” “spirit,” and “heart” are often used interchangeably.  Therefore, those things in life which relate to a person’s will, relate to the most intimate part of him or her†.

One may, of course, believe otherwise.  There is nothing that rationally necessitates the supremacy of the will in human identity, it’s all just a matter of how one defines a human.  Is a human perhaps a living creature with twenty-three chromosomes?  Or maybe a rational being that lives on earth?  However, any such metaphysical questions seem of little value to my argument at present, and therefore, I simply ask that any objection you might have with the above assertion be regarded as a misunderstanding of my usage of the term “human” within this thread of posts, for I will use the word to mean, essentially, a free will.  One is free to believe that a “human” in the sense that I use the word, is actually called a “rock,” but if that were the case, I would simply ask such a reader to mentally replace any references I made to “humans” with references to “rocks”.  For what is important in metaphysics is not so much the definitions of words as the definitions of things, and therefore, one cannot raise a metaphysical objection to the above premise, as it simply serves to set up a linguistic framework.

With that in place, let us turn to a discussion of love.  As you probably know, the Ancient Greeks referred to love using primarily four terms: στοργή (storge), φιλία (philia), ἔρως (eros), and ἀγάπη (agape).  All four of these can be translated as “love,” but can also be individually translated as “affection,” “friendship,” “romance,” and “charity”.  However, there are also other Ancient Greek words that may be translated as “love”.  For example Ἀφροδίσια (Aphrodite), the name of the Greek goddess of love, is also the proper noun “Love”.  Love, in this sense, is the kind of love with which the goddess was associated, i.e. the physical aspects of the love that exists between men and women.  Because each of these translates as “love,” they may all be thought of as different definitions or usages of the word.

Perhaps, in modern times, one might like to add another part to all these definitions of love and say that love is an emotion.  And once that has been done, a modernist may feel quit satisfied that he or she had formed a nice, hefty and broad definition of love, and then may retire from further inquiry.  However, I would like to propose that such a thinker has made a mistake.  But remember, metaphysics deals with defining things, not words, and so my objection is not to any given definition of the word “love,” but to a contradiction that arises by considering emotion to be a second component of each of the above mentioned.

We may group all the above definitions of love in two categories: the intellectual, and the physical.  Each of the Greek loves have elements that fall under either of these categories; however, agape may be considered the most purely intellectual of loves, and Love herself, the most physical.  The contradiction I have mentioned lies in considering physical love to be an emotion.  An emotion, as most understand the word, is something related more closely to the cognition than the body, and hence, may not be directly caused by a physical incident.  Take Hamlet as an illustration:  when Hamlet is stabbed with an unbated rapier, he feels physical pain, but in order to feel emotional pain, something nonphysical must happen: he must lose a loved one.  In this case, it is not the physical fact of the loved one’s death that causes him pain, but the nonphysical fact that his relationship with that person (whether his father, mother, girlfriend, or others) has ended.  When Ophelia dies, he doesn’t groan that physical blood is no longer pulsing through her arteries, but traces his grief all the way back to a single source, which is manifest in his groan, “I loved Ophelia”.  Therefore, if love is to be an emotion, it cannot be a purely physical phenomenon, but we should rather expect it to behave as any other emotion.  Like grief over a death, love should be something that stems from a nonphysical event which is associated with a physical one.  Where grief may stem from the nonphysical termination of a relationship associated with a physical death, love may be the emotion which stems from agape and is associated with Aphrodite.  Thus, if love is to be called an emotion, it may not also be physical, though physical processes may be associated with it.  Hence only the intellectual category of love may be called an emotion.

Notice my usage of the words “stems from”.  I am essentially saying that love, the emotion, is caused by agape.  That is, the emotion of love is caused by charity or, as it is sometimes translated, “unconditional love”.  It may sound silly to say that love is caused by unconditional love, but this little word-game actually harkens back to The Nature of Causality.  In other words, since causality functions in reality as logic does in the nonphysical, an effect can be understood as a reformulation of its cause, just as a conclusion is a reformulation of a premise.  Therefore, what is truly being said is that the emotion of love is a reformulation of charity.

With that being as it is, we must ask, what is the cause of charity?  The answer is will.  Indeed, the only way a person can love someone unconditionally is by so choosing (for if one loves for any other reason, he or she is loving on the basis of a condition), and hence the emotion of love, being a reformulation of charity, is also, by the transitive property of causality, a reformulation of will.  In other words, love, the emotion, is purely an act of volition.

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† Of course, many will notice that in this first paragraph of mine, I have done little to support my (or Kant’s) premise with deductive argument, but have instead relied almost entirely on the aesthetic of the concept.  The idea I have presented is, in a sense, aesthetically pleasing, and therefore, its rhetoric lies in our own desire to believe it.  I will turn to qualifying the premise in a moment; however, I must first urge you, my astute reader, to remember this phenomenon—of arguing by aesthetic—as we will find ourselves better suited to asses the validity of such a method of argument later on in this current thread of blog posts.

Work Cited

Kant, Immanuel. The Moral Law. Trans. Paton, H. J. Johannesberg Bay: Hutchinson & CO, 1948. Print.

The Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity

I am afraid this post will be a particularly difficult read for some audiences, but I do believe that most people should be able to get something out of it if they try hard enough.  However, if any of my readers should happen to have a degree in philosophy—for whatever strange reason—I should expect that he or she will find this particularly interesting.

If there’s something you don’t understand, please comment; ask questions.  I don’t have an editor (such is the nature of blogging) and so it is likely that the piece could use some revision, and questions from readers could help with that process.  No question is too shallow; even if you don’t understand this at all, readers and I could benefit from any question you might come up with.

In order to accommodate for this article’s richness in footnotes and such, I have implemented a new format: Whenever you see a *, click on it to open the footnote in a new tab, and whenever you see a word highlighted, click on it to open a note that has been included for increased accessibility—also in a new tab.  When you hear the chime, turn the page.  For a printer friendly version of this post, click here.

Please read scrupulously; it should make sense.

Introduction

I would like to propose an argument for the necessity of the fractal structure that I have hitherto used for modelling Reality.  In my post, “Fractal Reality,” I have begun to describe the practicality of understanding reality as an infinite structure of concrete truths; however, by my assessment, I have not adequately addressed the necessity nor the consequences of such a model.  I intend to undertake the former of those tasks here and complete the latter in a later post, but I suspect I might end up using more posts than that for a more complete investigation of this subject.

The nonphysical

In order to model reality, we must begin by considering what reality is.  It seems the most obvious place to begin such an inquiry is with the debate between materialism, idealism, and dualism.  However, as delightfully cliché as such a method of argument would be, I find it infeasible.  For it doesn’t seem reasonable for me to use logical argument, something from the purely “idealistic” realm, to ponder the validity of the materialistic realm.  Just as it doesn’t make sense to debate relativism using absolutism, so is the materialist required to hold his or her beliefs without theoretical reason, for the existence of nonphysical reasons for a set of beliefs seems to imply a belief in the nonphysical.  However, by the same thinking, we might also suppose that holding a set of beliefs at all constitutes the act of investing faith in the idealistic realm.  Therefore, within a reasonable scope of thinking, one may be either an idealist or a dualist, but not a materialist.  Whether one happens to be a dualist or an idealist is immaterial to this argument at present so long as it is agreed that there is at least some component of reality that is nonphysical.

With that in place, let us examine this nonphysical component.  We might consider this component to be something like Plato’s world of forms; that is, the nonphysical is a sort of normative understanding of reality.  Things in the nonphysical behave in accordance with our cognition.  For example, whenever one imagines a circle, it exists in the nonphysical, because all that is required for the spawning of an object in the nonphysical is the decision that it exists.  If I decide that there is a circle of radius R, then there is.

Let us further explicate this nonphysical realm by using the physical realm as its analogue.  If we presume that the physical realm is governed by the laws of physics, we might similarly regard the nonphysical as being governed by the laws of logic.  Therefore, while I can decide that a circle exists in the nonphysical, I cannot decide that a square circle exists, as that defies the laws of logic.  We may also understand the physical realm as being perceived by us via our five senses, but the nonphysical realm must be perceived through a nonphysical sense: our reason.  All this seems a quite necessary part of any scope in which logical argument can have significance.

Definition of logic

Continuing with our analogy, let us define logic.  We are able to use the word “physics” in two primary senses: (1) physics is a field of study, a branch of science, and (2) physics is something that belongs, in some sense, to a physical system (e.g. the physics of airplanes).  Likewise there are two common uses of the word “logic”: (1) logic is a field of study, a branch of mathematics, and (2) logic can belong to a nonphysical system, an argument.  We often speak of “the logic of an argument,” or “the logic behind an argument.”  This is the thing that I wish to define.  Logic in this sense is a chain of reasoning, or to be broader, a normative construct, that adheres to the laws which govern the nonphysical.  As has already been said, the laws that govern the nonphysical realm are the laws of logic, in the first sense of the word.  So logic in the second sense is a normative construct that adheres to the laws of logic in the first sense.  Therefore, to examine logic in this second sense, we must understand it in the first sense; hence I propose the question: What are the laws of logic?

In order to arrive at the laws of logic, it seems prudent to make a distinction between laws and methods.  On the surface, it appears that the laws of logic must be very complex and there must be many of them.  We could list all of the logical operators, explain how they work, and use them to derive what we would call the “rules of inference,” but I would categorise all such work as the derivation and identification of functional methods of logic.  The methods used to solve physics problems involve complex mathematical equations, but the actual laws of physics are the reasons that physical systems behave in a way that can be modelled by such methods.  For example, it is a law of physics that matter is subject to gravity, but it is a method of physics to use a parabolic function to model gravity.  Gravity itself is the way physical systems behave, and all formulas and explanations about gravity merely constitute a methodology for understanding that behaviour.  Indeed, the laws of physics are the very things that make physics what it is; all the rest can be viewed differently by different people and still function.  That is, I can write the equation for gravity differently, and I can use different words to define gravity, but I can’t change what gravity is.

The same is true of the methods and laws of logic.  The laws of logic are what make logic what it is.  On a fundamental level, I would argue that there exists only one law of logic, in this sense, and it is the law of noncontradiction.  (Ironically, the law of noncontradiction is considered the “second law” of aristotelian logic, but I regard the other two as “methods” under the linguistic framework I have set up.)  Noncontradiction is the only law of logic because it alone is what the methods of logic are intended to accommodate for.  A logician can execute an intricate and extensive proof with all sorts of complexities, but when he or she gets to the QED at the bottom, noncontradiction alone is what makes it all logical.

This seems an easy premise to object to.  Surely, if noncontradiction were the only requirement, logical argument could include all sorts of absurdities.  For example, one might argue, “All chickens are green; Hamlet is a chicken; therefore, Hamlet is green” .  And by this understanding of logic, that argument is logical; it doesn’t contradict with itself.  What’s wrong with the argument is not that it is illogical but that its premisses are false.  Therefore, it must be understood that an argument may be logical and still not accurately reflect the empirical facts of reality.  However, a logical argument which accurately reflects reality in its premisses will also accurately reflect reality in its conclusion.

Therefore, logic is that which is noncontradictory with itself.

A qualification of reality

And now I will indirectly return to the discussion from earlier regarding materialism and idealism.  The definition of logic which we have just arrived at tells us what logic is, but not how it functions.  Logic is designed to accommodate for its function: that of discovering truth.  Logic describes reality to us via the derivation of conclusions from premisses.  Hence, we suppose that if we are given accurate premisses which describe reality, we can manipulate them using any number of methods, and so long as we adhere to the law of logic, the law of noncontradiction, we will arrive at an equally accurate conclusion about reality.*

This tells us something of the nature of reality.  As it turns out, all reality must adhere to the law of logic, not just the nonphysical.  For the very reason that logic has the law it does is that we presume reality to have that same law.  That is, reality is naturally subject to the law of noncontradiction, and the nonphysical is thus modelled after such a stipulation.

Calculus

And now I should like to explain some calculus to make this argument more clear:

In calculus, infinity is assumed.  That is, if there exists any system that increases without bound, then it is assumed that the system approaches infinity.  Hence, we can determine what a system will approach, i.e. its limit, based on its rate of change.  If a system increases at a decreasing rate, it will have a finite limit, but if it increases at a constant or increasing rate, the system will approach infinity.

The second mathematical concept that must be understood before the argument may continue is orders of infinity:

This is something of a paradox that we live with in calculus.  It is supposed that, while one system might have a limit of infinity, another might have a limit of infinity squared, and though both are equal to infinity, the one is infinite times less than the other.  Hence the limit of y = x as x approaches infinity is infinity, but the limit of y = x ^ 2 as x approaches infinity is infinite times greater than the former infinity.  In fact, the application of any operation of higher power than addition/subtraction to infinity will affect the order of infinity (i.e. infinity times, to the power of, etc. any finite number is a different order of infinity).

Why the nonphysical is infinite

Let us suppose that the nonphysical realm, which is subject to the law of logic, is a subset of some “conceptual realm.”  This conceptual realm is not subject to the law of logic but is made up of everything that can be conceptualised.  In fact, such could be its analogous law: the law of conceivability.  By this I mean that all things in the conceptual realm are governed by the law of conceivability, which dictates that all its subjects must be conceivable.  Let us call each of these “things” in the realm “declaratives,” meaning statements in the indicative mood.

I would argue that this conceivable realm is infinite—that there is no limit to what can be conceived.  By this, I do not necessarily mean that there is no limit to what the human mind can conceived, but that there is no limit on conceivability in itself (I do not wish to make any comment on the former of those claims).  This is because there is no limiting factor on the system of conceivability; the law to which it is bound excludes nothing from its domain, and therefore, if we imagine the realm as some universe that expands as an omniscient being continues to conceive of more and more things, there is no reason we should expect its expansion to ever slow down.  It is a system which increases at a constant rate, which means that it approaches infinity because infinity is assumed.  However, the nonphysical is a subset of this conceptual realm in that it is possible to conceive of illogical things, but by definition, such things cannot spawn in the nonphysical (e.g. a square circle).

This poses a problem.  If we look at the nonphysical by itself, we may very well expect it to be a finite realm, for the more things which are spawned in the nonphysical, the harder it is to come up with things that don’t contradict any of them.*  One might relate the expansion of the nonphysical to the covering of an elaborate lie.  As a suspicious other asks the liar for more and more information about the subject, the liar’s task becomes more and more difficult as he tries to avoid contradicting himself through creativity and strategy.  The difficulty lies in the fact that each thing he says is required to be in noncontradiction with the growing construct of falsehood that has come before it.  For this reason, it seems the nonphysical must have a limiting factor; it appears to be decreasingly increasing, which, in calculus, means that it has a finite limit.

However, appearances are often deceiving, and a statistical approach to the problem proves such to be the case here:  As has already been said, the nonphysical is a subset of the conceptual, where the conceptual is an infinite set of declaratives.  For every declarative, there exists a negation.  For example, if there exists a declarative, A, which states, “the pen sits on the table in the room,” then there also exists a negation, ¬A, which states, “the pen does not sit on the table in the room”.  Both A and ¬A are, in this case, dependent on other implied declaratives, the most obvious one being a declarative, B, which might state, “the room has a table in it”.  Therefore, spawning ¬B in the nonphysical excludes the possibility not only of spawning B, but also of spawning A or ¬A, and therefore one might at first suppose that this reduces the number of possible inclusions by a greater quantity than that which has been included; i.e. we have included only one declarative, ¬B, but in so doing have excluded two: B and (A or ¬A).  However, we have also opened up the possibility of including other declaratives which are dependent on ¬B.  For example, declarative C might state, “the absence of furniture makes the room feel bland”.  Both C and ¬C would have been excluded by spawning B; therefore, while by spawning ¬B, we exclude the possibility of spawning two other declaratives, we do the same, in quantitative terms, by spawning B.*  In fact, within an infinite set of declaratives, there will exist an equal amount of declaratives which become includable as which become no longer includable upon the affirmation or negation of any given declarative.  This is because within a finite set of declaratives, X of them might be excluded upon the inclusion of declarative A and Y of them upon the inclusion of ¬A, but we have no statistical reason to suppose that either X should be greater than Y or Y greater than X (for in fact, A could be reassigned the value of ¬A, in which case, X and Y would also switch values), and therefore, on average, X is equal to Y, which means that, in the case of an infinite set of declaratives, X always equals Y.*

What this tells us then is that with every expansion of the nonphysical, an equal number of declaratives become includable in the nonphysical as become no longer includable, and therefore, the percentage of declaratives in the conceptual which may be added to the nonphysical remains constant.  Thus, the nonphysical is a fractional subset of the conceptual, and is therefore infinite (though by a lower order of infinity than that which describes the magnitude of the conceptual).

By this model, we should indeed expect the system to behave the way it did in the case of the liar.  For the liar is only capable of thinking of a finite quantity of declaratives quickly enough to use them (I’m still making no comment on the full capacity of the human mind).  Therefore, while each addition to his lie is opening up an equal number of possible additions as it is taking away, some of the new possibilities are not present in his finite selection of declaratives, and he is therefore only affected by any of the exclusions which happen to be in said selection.

A nonphysical construct can now be defined as “any infinite construct which is noncontradictory with itself”.  We should expect there to be multiple such constructs based on the calculus.  Theoretically, there are infinite declaratives that exist in the conceptual which were excluded from the original nonphysical construct, but any one of those can serve as the starting point for an entirely unique, infinite, nonphysical construct.  Thus, there are at least two possible nonphysical constructs, but only one reality, and for this reason, it must be possible to conceive things that are not real.*

A definition of reality

From two sections ago (“A qualification of reality”), we have found that it is possible to put anything which exists in reality into the nonphysical, and anything that exists in the nonphysical might exist in reality.  One must then ask, does everything in the nonphysical exist in reality?

I do not so much wish to answer that question directly, but rather propose a model of reality that relates very specifically to the nonphysical.  Elsewhere on this blog, I have discussed The Necessity of the Omnipotent.  In that post, I wrote that due to the nature of causality—causality being an inescapable facet of reality under the logical scope—there must exist something in reality that is somehow “omnipotent,” or as the word came to be used in the jargon of the piece, “uncaused.”  This primal cause argument is often referred to as the “cosmological” argument by people even more esoteric than myself.  Simply put, there must either be a primal cause which exists without cause and which caused all the rest of reality or else there must be an uncaused, infinite chain of causality that makes up reality.  As I have elsewhere observed, the two of these possibilities seem very much to be merely two different ways of expressing the same thing: the omnipotent, or uncaused, thing is both the cause of reality and the essence of reality.  All this means that reality is necessarily infinite.  Everything is real.

That being the case, reality is an infinite construct that adheres to the law of logic; in other words, reality might be defined as “that which is noncontradictory with itself.”  I say “that which,” and not “a subset of that which” because reality includes all existing things that are noncontradictory with themselves.  By definition, nothing exists outside of the domain of reality.  I do not mean that nothing can be imagined that does not exist, but rather, everything that exists is a part of reality, and all those things are noncontradictory.

Because reality is infinite, we know that it is made up of infinite declaratives, for the phrase “reality is infinite” could be reworded “there exist infinite truths”.  Therefore, reality has the exact same form as a nonphysical construct: it is an infinite construct of noncontradictory declaratives.  The law of logic rules both the realm of the nonphysical and that of reality and insists that their respective systems be defined by their noncontradiction with themselves.  In other words, they are defined in terms of themselves.

The singularity of reality

Saying that reality is defined in terms of itself may seem prima facie objectionable to some.  It is not immediately evident that reality is defined in terms of itself, but rather that each of its parts are associated with certain qualifications that relate them to each other part (by “part” I mean “declarative”).  But as it turns out, these qualifications do in fact serve as definitions as well.  A definition is a description for which only one thing is qualified to match.  This is the nature of the noncontradiction qualifier.  We understand reality as being entirely causal, even in the realms beyond the natural (see “The Necessity of Causality in the Logical Scope”), and as such, reality must exist in the only possible state which is logically permissible.  For each set of causes has but one set of effects; it is not possible for some part of reality to be different than it is unless its cause is also made to be different than it is, and then that cause’s cause would have to be modified as well, and one would need to trace the whole thread all the way back along the infinite chain of causality until he reached the Omnipotent, who would also need to be changed, which is an Omnipotent impossibility (see “Absolute Nonsense”).  Hence, if we change any single declarative that makes up reality, it will be in contradiction with the whole, and for this reason, the system of reality is defined by noncontradiction.  Noncontradiction describes each part of the system such that only one thing is qualified to match the description.  And because the system is defined by noncontradiction with itself, it may be said to be recursively defined.

The structure of reality

To better understand what sort of structure this forms, we must subscribe for a moment to a scalar model of reality.  It is generally presumed that any individual is capable of perceiving some portion of reality, but not the whole; i.e. everyone knows something, but no one knows everything.  However, I would like to propose that the “something” which everyone knows is a particular scalar view of reality.  What each individual knows about reality is not just some random subset of the whole, but some finite-scaled scope, however incomplete, of reality.  By this I mean that a person may know or be capable of learning all sorts of things on a given level, but there will be some nuances of reality that are, in a sense, too “small” or “detailed” for anyone to understand, as well as some truths that are too large.  We can’t comprehend the entire universe, and neither can we understand why protons and electrons attract and repel.  We might think of this scalar construct as something that is explored via inquiry.  That is, we might be within one scalar scope when we know A, but when we ask how A works, we move to a finer scope, and when we ask what A does in the context of systems outside itself, we move to a coarser scope.  However, though not perceivable all at once, each of these scopes are contained within one another, and there are infinite of them.

It is this concept of unperceivable scopes which troubles many a modern thinker into some form of relativism.  It is supposed that if there exist infinite scopes which we cannot perceive, then all our knowledge is useless.  However,  the recursive nature of reality at which we have already arrived would suggest that such a conclusion does not follow.  For in fact, every level of reality is defined directly in terms of every other level.  As I have said, it is not the case that the parts of reality merely relate to each other according to noncontradiction, but that, under this scalar model, each level defines each other level via noncontradiction.  This creates what appears to be a paradox on the surface.  Each level is defined as the only thing that is noncontradictory with each other level.  In other words, if a level of reality A contains a finer level B and B contains C, then A is the only thing that is noncontradictory with B, but C is also defined as the only thing that is noncontradictory with B.

Most will think I’ve simply made a slight oversight in inventing this paradox.  One solution might be as follows:  (1) It is not that A is the only thing which is noncontradictory with B, but that it is the only thing which is noncontradictory with B and C, and hence, each part is allowed to be the only thing noncontradictory with the remaining structure outside of itself.  As compelling as such a solution to the paradox is, it is not entirely sufficient.  For we do expect A to also be noncontradictory with itself, and so it must be the only thing which is noncontradictory with A, B, and C, but in that case, B is also the only thing noncontradictory with A, B, and C.  However, there is a second possible solution to the paradox that deals with the structure of the levels:  (2) Perhaps B is the only thing which is noncontradictory with existing inside of A, and C the only thing that may exist inside of B.  But even this does not solve the issue all together.

Each of those parts—A, B, and C—is the only thing which is noncontradictory with the whole in its particular structural context.  B is the only thing which does not contradict A, B, and C when it is structurally related to those parts in the particular way that it is.  Think of it like a car engine.   In a car engine, the only thing that may function in the particular place where the cylinder is located is the cylinder itself.  If we put the gas tank where the cylinder is, it would contradict the function of the machine, but the gas tank is noncontradictory with the function of the car when it is located in the place it is supposed to be.  In other words, each of the parts of the car are noncontradictory to its function when they are structurally related in but one particular manner.  However, in the case of the levels of reality, structure is redundant.  We presume there to be infinite levels of reality all of which contain each other.  Therefore, while C is structurally related to B in one way, B is also structurally related to A in the same way, and there are infinite other levels in which A is contained as well as infinite other levels which are contained in C.

C is the only thing that can structurally relate to B in the way it does, but B relates to A in the same way.  With this being the case, we can suppose that A, B, and C are different from each other, but they cannot be unsimilar.  “Contains” is a transitive relationship; that is, if A contains B and B contains C, then A contains C.  Clearly, this does not mean C is structurally related to A in the exact same way that B is, but the relationship is similar—congruent, if you will.  And because each of the levels of reality are what they are in accordance with their structural relationship to the rest, the levels themselves are also congruent.  This gives rise to The Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity: “Every understanding and misunderstanding of a given scope of reality is congruent to that of the whole.”  Some readers might find it humorous to call this a “Categorical Declarative”.*

Therefore, reality is self-similar.  On every level from which we observe reality, we see something that resembles the whole.

There are many consequences of The Axiomatic Law of Universal Congruity which I am very excited to tell you all about, but I imagine that if you have bothered to read this far, you are already far too kind, and I cordially thank you for your interest.  In light of that, I will refrain from subjecting you to any further mind numbing activity.

If I imagine people more esoteric than myself, then they exist.