« Home | The Selfish Gene - Modifying Theories » | The Mexican-Iraq Border » | Sharing the Beauty » | Space Messages and Double Entendres (vers.2) » | Prescience, Premonition and Entropy » | Of Mirrors, Randomness, Balance and Infinity » | The Elusive Grail Quest; Truth? Purpose? Other? » | Thought Thinking; or, Recursion I Think » | There was Method to the Rabid Rabbit Rant » | Convergence of Rabbits »

The Power of Uncertainty

Introduction by "The Quotes"

"The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." - Erich Fromm

"Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty." - Jacob Bronowski

"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas --- uncertainty, progress, change --- into crimes." - Salman Rushdie

"We sail in a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end." - Blaise Pascal

I must admit, I don't think I'm completely happy with my revised defintion of the first tenet that I wrote yesterday. With second thought, I'm thinking the modification was redundant, and the original version was more accurate for the theory. The major (only?) difference between the two is the level at which the rule is being applied. What "unit" entity is to survive? What "unit" entity operates in its own "selfish" manner to obtain the characteristics of survival? What does survival mean?

The answer to the first two questions is "every one". That is, it is in the best {selfish, internal, personal, individual, unique...} interests that an entity survive, for no other reason than continued personal existence. Exceptions, of course occur through such acts as suicide in the case of humans, but they are rare exceptions to the rule of survival when placed in the scope of four billion plus people. However, we can predict with some degree of certainty that humans will, at some point, cease to exist in the physical sense at least. Bodies die. We know that as a fact, and have observed it to be true without failure throughout millenia. So "continued physical existence" at best is a short-term condition, guaranteed to eventually cease to be. We all must know that, even when we try to deny it at times.

That brings us back to the third question, "What is survival?". If it is a proactive state designed to prolong individual physical existence at all cost, knowing it is ultimately for a temporary period only, then the revised writing of the tenet is probably more accurate. But is that reality? If, on the other hand, survival is a proactive state designed to prolong individual physical existence at some cost, in order to potentially contribute something unique to the extension of the species (i.e. such things as {sperm, egg, knowledge, production, idea, food, laughter, poetry...} then the original wording is the more accurate version.

The decision then becomes: "Which of the two determinates is most likely, or predominately, the purpose of individual physical existence? Do we exist simply to exist? Or, do we exist to evolve, either progressively or regressively, but systematically and irrevocably? I think the decision has to be made leaning predominately towards the latter case, for without it we would not have organized ourselves into survival units such as family, province, country and society. Virtually every individual on the face of the Earth is categorized as a member of a social structure to which they themselves subscribe by choice (along with others which I grant you are not by individual free choice, but often by individual default choice, or externally-applied choice [which the individual has the option to accept or reject, with potential consequence...as stated in the subsequent tenets]). The existence and strength of these structures indicate that within the species of mankind, the role of individual survival to propogate an on-going and perpetual future for the species is paramount to the mere perpetuation of the individual. All this within the knowledge context that, at the current moment in time at least, there is not even any guesswork in the certainty that the individual will die, usually well within a century of birth at the extreme.

So, as with chaos theory, the long-term state can be predicted with fair accuracy, the short-term predictions with virtually none at all. That mankind will survive until the end of the decade is an almost certain likelihood, as is the fact that millions of individuals will die today; but which ones will be amongst those millions is not entirely certain. They will include predictably those who are {critically ill, starving in third world countries, extremely elderly...} but they will also include random {passengers in vehicles that are in accidents, victims of crime, war victims, natural cause victims, industrial accidents, all the other life-threatening causes that we have learned to invent...}.

So, I'm going to stick with my original wording as the better of the two choices to describe the state of the theory as it exists at any moment in time....always open to modification, of course, if it turns out not to serve its purpose. Quoting from "The Selfish Gene", and a point I have often made in the past regarding the restriction of language to capture the full essence of a point, Dawkins says: "..but there is no universally agreed upon definition of a gene. Even if there were, there is nothing sacred about definitions. We can define a word how we like for our own purposes, provided we do so clearly and unambiguously. (p.28)" Furthermore, he says: "Human suffering has been caused because too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use." (P.18)

Quoting from that book gives me a nice bridge to the second point I want to make today. So far in my reading, I've come across several instances where Dawkins says things like: "It was exceedingly improbable. In the lifetime of man, things that are that improbable can be treated for practical purposes as impossible" (p.15) and "..in any one sex cell a new chromosome number 8 will be created, perhaps 'better' than the old one, perhaps 'worse', but, barring a rather improbable coincidence definitely different, definitely unique. The life-span of a chromosome is one generation. (p.30)"

There are other statements which tend to dismiss possibilities 'around the edge' [what I call the threshold], and it is precisely these areas that a chaos scientist with a genetic interest, or a geneticist with an interest in chaos would be focussing. These exceptions that have traditionally been thrown away as being irrelevant or 'highly improbable' have in the past just served as noise to the accuracy of the generic finding. If something is going to be called and presented as universal, it must be universal. Otherwise, it should have the Pete Rose asterisk placed by its name every time it is referenced in any literature.

As occured with my reading of the book on Chaos Theory by Glieck, the parallel references to the concepts I have built into 'is' {mirroring, opposites, default, threshold, duality, holography, self-regeneration, simultaneous behaviour, completing the broken circle....} all continue to be re-inforced as I read through this book on genetics...keeping in mind that it was written before chaos had really taken any kind of a toehold in the scientific community (1976).

And that bridges to the third thought I want to include here today, and it deals with an old 'is' concept in a more 'up-front' way. I'll state it as sort of a law to make the point.

Any {point of view, opinion, fact, position, theory...} must not only satisfy the test that created it, but also must satisfy the counter-intuitive test that would {destruct it, reverse engineer it, alter it, confirm it, ...}. In other words, any entity must satisfy all variations of its own mirror-image existence, whether it be opposite, replicate or variation.

Example. Draw a straight line in two-dimensional space. Assume it is the x-axis of a graph, or a timeline of your life, marked off in days. Now extend the line indefinitely in both directions to infinity. The question I'm going to ask is "When you have reached the two ends (at infinity) is the line still a straight line along its complete length?" Intuitively, you no doubt are going to answer "well, of course it is...why wouldn't it be? After all, a stright line never bends, it just goes on forever." So did we stop too soon when we got to infinity? Should we have gone to "forever" and then stopped before asking the question? What is the difference between infinity and forever? (One is a measure of distance, the other of time could be one difference).

If you were drawing it on a huge piece of paper on your living room floor, you probably couldn't see the minute difference from one end to the other. So get in your car, attach your pen to drag on the roadway behind your car, and drive one of the straight endless highways that cross the prairies of Saskatchewan. Notice anything yet? The straight line is curved! It's following the curvature of the earth. If you drive around the globe until you get to 'forever' following a straight line, you will end up where you started having drawn a closed circle instead of a two-ended line.

Yeah well, that was a trick. I was restrained by the forces of gravity to remain on the surface of Earth, which is big. The same thing would have happened if you had handed me an orange and asked me to peel a slice around it's fattest part (equator). I could then take the peel, break it at one point, and spread it out flat on the kitchen table. Then the circle has become a straight line.

So, have you just made a case that a straight line is a circle, and vice versa? Or, as with the broken circle exercise I described here, have we simply recognized that a circle is a special form of a line...we can convert one into another by manipulating where we draw the plot-points on the line?

Who cares? Let's go back to the straight line again. We know that if we draw it staying on the Earth's surface, we end up with a circle for our straight line. A Moebius Strip is a piece of paper apparently with two sides, but if you draw a straight line down the middle of it, you'll not only end up back where you started, but your line will appear on both sides of the paper without once having lifted the pencil. (NOTE: You can make your own...take a strip of paper, give it a half-twist, and tape the ends together. Place your pencil on the middle of the strip at any point and draw a line...you'll see what I mean. For something a little more mind-boggling, take a pair of scissors, and make a cut following the line you have just drawn. Be prepared for the unpredictable!). Follow the path of the ants in this famous drawing by Escher. In the case of the orange, we can see an illustration where we can intentionally draw a circle, and then convert it to a straight line afterwards.

Now let's go back to the infinitely long line that you left hanging out in space somewhere. Answer the question "Once you get past everything that's out there, and get to the very edge of space...what then? Well, I'd suggest a couple things. Although initially it may seem intuitive, let's extrapolate the models which we know we can construct and apply them to a bigger scale ( a key concept in Choas Theory). Is it conceivable that you end up where you started? Just as there's an outer surface to Earth, there's an inner surface to space? Why not? There's also an inner surface to Earth. Treat it like an orange, peel off a strip, turn it upside down on the kitchen table and draw a line. It'll go from one end of the break to the other...the points that were once right adjacent to one another before you cut them apart to make the staright line, before you 'broke the circle' of what 'is' to make an incomplete, or open system of Earth dots.

Why not the same with space? Let me re-visit the idea that I put on that paper I wrote for my Trigonometry teacher in high school. The graph for a tangent curve crosses the X-axis (the horizontal one) at 0 degrees, 180 degrees (half a circle), 360 degrees (a full circle) and every 180 degrees thereafter. It approaches the assymptotic (never-touching) Y-axis (the vertical one) at "positive" infinity at 90 degrees moving from 0 through 90 (left to right on the x-axis), and it approaches the Y-axis assymptotically at "negative" infinity at 90 degrees, moving right to left from 180 through 90. So here is an example of a line that is drawn from infinity to infinity, just like the first one I asked you to draw, except this one has a bit of a curve in it, which will all but disappear to become the thickness of the line as the line length approaches infinity. Now, let's for a moment assume that this is plotted on infinitely large paper, and we take the top and bottom edges, roll them away from ourselves until they meet, and them tape them together to make a cylinder with the line plotted on the cylinder. The line will now be a straightened-out spiral drawn on the surface of a really big cylinder, like a toilet paper roll, and it will meet itself at the points where it was assymptotic (working both ends towards the middle..another 'is' concept).

The point where we "got to infinity and stopped" will be where the line we were drawing met up with infinity. Positive infinity became a point simultaneous with negative infinity, and the return journey began, without us even realizing we had turned around and were headed back to where we came from. It doesn't seem that implausible when you consider the drive around the Earth's equator, or the orange peel. So why not space? Why not, counter-intuitively, assume that there actually 'is' an end to space, and it happens to be curved much the same way the Earth's surface is curved. We know we're 'inside' space, but we're 'on top of' the world. But the world is 'inside' space. And so on, like stacking Russian dolls. We're reduced back to the discussion of having the same discussion at a diifferent level of magnification, at a different fractal level. So joining any 'dot' in space with any other 'dot' in space will give a curved, circular line if it is continued to its complete state. A non-circular line, straight or curved, indicates an incomplete line state, and bounds either an open or an incomplete system.

So perhaps I have the answer to one of the questions that planted seeds for the evolution of this theory. "What is beyond space?" Maybe the answer isn't "More space." Maybe, for the time being, we'll have to be satisfied with the "edge of space" or the "surface of space", or a word that hasn't been made up yet. Perhaps the 'is' of space. I'd like to say, within the 'is' model and using 'is' terminology, it 'is' the THRESHOLD of space. The uncertainty, the unknown, at this point in our evolution, is what lies on the other side of the noise threshold, the turbulence threshold, the chaotic threshold. The threshold is too far away physically to yet see, and too wide and remote mentally to yet deduce.

Finally, this is still consistent with the "big bang" theory as my layman's knowledge allows me to understand it, which says that the Universe is continually expanding outwards, presumably at a speed that we can't keep up with. The question that would still go begging is, "Expanding outwards..into what?".

The final counter-intuitive question I would ask is: "Why do we need to assume there is something limiting the Universe in the first place?" If you pour a glass of water in your kitchen, the glass is a physical, limiting container, unless you try to put in too much, and it overflows. If you run water down the sink and into the sewer, eventually that water becomes part of the ecological water system of earth, but is it limited physically (i.e. contained?) You might say it is contained by the earth's eco-system. If you poured a cup of water out the porthole hatch of a spaceship, it would disperse within space. Is it limited? Is it contained? Does it remain as water molecules? Perhaps, at the border of space, or where there is no limit, there is a transition (threshold) from physical/chemical states that we are currently aware of to other states we are not yet consciously aware of, perhaps {thought, memory, essence, undefined, undefinable, god, soul, spirit, alternate dimension....}.

If there are no limits, 'is' would categorize it as a 'directional system'. If there are limits that can be breached (the overflowing cup), 'is' would define it as an 'open incomplete system'; if it was totally contained but subject to internal change (i.e. cooling down --- hot coffee in a thermos with the lid on) 'is' would define it as a 'closed incomplete system'; finally, if it was in a completely finished state (a thermos) 'is' would describe it as a 'closed perfect system'.

Much more on these four states (directional state being a special case) in later entries, eventually tieing in to the meaning of LETTER-SHAPES that I've alluded to in the past. It is still an incomplete, and imperfect, part of the theory. Therefore, it would be described as a "closed incomplete system". Never mind! Like I said, more later!


I'd like to offer a (possibly tangential) idea. One theory as to why schizoids avoid involvement with others is that they have a fear of destroying the other person. In a sense, it might be said that in schizoid disorder the individual has a pathological or heightened (or warped) sense of altruism. To avoid others is to keep them safe from harm. The schizoid is paralyzed by the belief that it is not hatred but love that is dangerous. To love another is to destroy the other, and so the schizoid avoids intimate involvement with others.

...which would be consistent with the first wording of my theory. The details of the topic being analyzed is totally irrelevant; what's significant is that there is more than one view on the issue, indicating that neither view is universally accepted. If each party is totally satisfied with the view they have each adopted, and the fact that someone else looks at it differently is of no consequence to the other, then there is no conflict (and I would argue there is 'truth' on both sides...but more on 'truth' later). What you then have is a perfect, closed system, with TOLERANCE as the Level(0) shared characteristic. BAT is operational, and 'is' is functional.

If, on the other hand, there is conflict between the two as a result of the differing points of view, you have an open, incomplete system. If the two are actively engaged in resolving their differences (and this could be anything from settling a human squabble to doing scientific research to evolution of the species for survival purposes), then you have a closed incomplete model.

The act of seeking resolution (i.e. imposing or adopting 'is') in any dispute, research, question, etc. is the act of converting an open system to a closed incomplete one.
The broken circle exercise shows 'is' completing the circle between two opposites.

More in tomorrow's blog!


W-o-w! I can't figure out whether you're a genius or a mad man. No offense.

Hiya Rick!! :)

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link

  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
More of Me