Some fairly deep stuff on knowing

Been a busy few days – lots of writing.
Most of the posts below:

Question of the Day January 17th 2011

Tell us something about you that no one knows…yet 🙂

I am sure that there are many things about me that nobody knows, and as far as I know – I am in that group for all of them.

I can’t think of anything that I know about myself that I haven’t shared with someone.

Question of the Day January 18th 2011

What would you like to be remembered for?

Being part of the team that changed the dominant governing paradigm from an economic one based on “exchange value” that delivers abundance to a few and leaves the majority in scarcity; to one based on using self sustaining technology to promote abundance and diversity for all (no exceptions).

Question of the Day January 19th 2011

Do you like your name? Were you ever called by a nickname you really liked or really disliked?

My full name is Thomas Edward, but I’ve only ever been called Ted by my parents.
I believe that I was named after an uncle, who had 4 daughters, but a couple of months after I was born dad and Tom had a huge fight and didn’t speak to each other for several years.
Hence I got called Ted, and it stuck.

Had several nicknames.
I have large ears, so was often called Noddy (the guy with Big Ears – for those old enough to remember the stories of Noddy & Big Ears).
A friend called me “goof” at primary school, and by secondary school it had morphed to Super Goof (I really hated Goof, in all it’s variants).

Teddy Bear was a perennial favorite of my tormentors (which I disliked), and by my mid twenties it had shortened to “Bear” (which I got to quite like). My nieces and nephews grew up calling me “Uncle Bear”, because most of the guys just referred to me as “Bear” when I was fishing.

Now there are just a few of the family that call me that, and to most people I’m just Ted.

I only ever got called “Thomas Edward” when I had done something really bad, except for one neighbour {Tuppy) who called me that most of the time.

Comment on Andrew’s idiot blog

Hi Andrew,

I like the general idea of follow your bliss.

I doubt that there is any such things as “The highest state of enlightenment”, it seems that an infinite progression of successive states is most likely available, each as profoundly separated from the previous level as the one before.

For some reason Genisis 2:17 keeps coming back to me strongly in this context “Of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat, for in the day thou doest thou shalt surely die” {definitely to be read it he figurative – no mention of apples in there – contrary to popular opinion}.

I think in my mind it relates to not making judgments about levels of awareness.

At any level of awareness, it seems that there exists infinite possibility.

No single awareness can possibly explore any infinity, let alone an infinity of infinities.

Who is to say that spending one’s time exploring one infinity (one level of awareness) is any more valuable (in any sense of rightness or goodness) than sharing one’s time between different levels of infinities. In one sense they are all just paths.

The idea of living lives over again (rebirth) makes absolutely no sense to me in the literal sense (we each get just one shot at life), and it makes a lot of sense in the figurative. If we let ourselves be trapped by the cultural constraints of family and society into repeating patterns of the past, rather than listening to our own deepest intuitions and following our own bliss.

[I like the way your mind works Jen].

Email in a series to Ian Gardner – re New Years wishes

Interesting conjecture there Ian.

Is the state of mind sufficient without action?

Is action sufficient without the state of mind?

I suspect that both are necessary, in terms of generating consequential flow; which was what I was implying, but phrased very poorly and left myself wide open to misinterpretation.


[In Reply to:]

Hi Ted,

Actually, by the state of mind (ments or mental activity) that motivates (or creates) the actions.


[which was a reply to:]
From Ted Howard to Ian Gardner
Sent Jan 3

Thanks Ian

And I return the same wish to you.

I suspect the outcomes of those wishes will in large measure be determined by the actions we take.

A really interesting discussion, with great contributions by all.

To my mind, as Thomas says, there are many different factors.

Certainly we are making progress, on average, over time, and each of us must start our life journey from the same zero start point. Each individual human gets a bit of a head start on their individual journey only to the extent that “culture” as a whole has advanced (which advance is vastly slower that individual growth, as it is both “averaged over many individuals” and also has it’s own evolutionary mechanisms at work, connected to, and yet largely independent of, the growth and development of the individuals within it).

At another level, when we become stressed, when we feel threatened, our brains have a mechanism that worked well in our evolutionary past, that narrows the focus of attention, shuts down “higher functions” and reverts to the strongest patterns in our brains (strongest in this sense is a complex function involving influences from first learned, most often repeated in this context, most common in different contexts, etc). Thus when we feel threatened we go “back to basics” – it is hard wired into our physiology.

One way of avoiding that is to reduce or remove threats to survival. If we can create an environment where all individuals both know intellectually that they are safe and secure and feel it emotionally, then we have a society wide context where the frequency of any particular individual experiencing a “back to basics” experience above is vastly reduced.

No system that is purely based upon economics is ever going to deliver such an outcome. Money is not a measure of “real value” it is a measure of “exchange value”. Exchange value can only exist in a context of scarcity. If you already have abundance, what is the point of trade – everyone already has what is needed. That is still the case with oxygen. It is still sufficiently abundant that we can each get what we need from the air, so it has no exchange value.

One of the deep level problems with economics, is that in having money as a value in and of itself, there is a strong incentive to drive all systems to a level of scarcity that maximises the economic output of the system. This tendency is directly contrary to the human need for, and value of, abundance.

Many of us have been confused by diversity into thinking it equates to abundance – it does not.

If you go into a supermarket you will see both and abundance and a diversity of products, but you will find very little food that is abundant in nutrients required to sustain optimal human nutrition (as one example).

Coming back to why we keep repeating what does not work, mostly that is due to culture.

Culture, as it is something that is averaged over time, and over many interactions, changes only very slowly.

There is also deeply within each of us a duality that is very similar to the individual/cultural duality.
Each of us has two very different aspects to mind.
We are each very good mimics, and we all like to keep to our known patterns. It is part of the neural network aspect of brain. Neural nets learn and repeat patterns, in contexts.
We each also have a second aspect of brain, that is mediated upon and related to our neural networks, but is of a different type and nature, and this is the way in which we store and retrieve memories. We have three separate systems for short medium and long term memory, and each of these is “holographic” in the sense of being “many to one” systems analogous to LASER holograms.
Such systems always contain information about the whole object, but the more information present, the clearer the image of the object. With a normal picture, if you tear it in half, you loose all of the information about half of the image. In a hologram, you lose half of the resolution of the whole image.
Holograms have some other wonderful properties related to associative ability, which explains how our brains deliver us intuitions.

These two aspects of brain – the habitual and the intuitive, are present at every level of awareness, abstraction and being. It takes time and effort to turn our intuitions in patterns of action that become automatic and habitual. It is not sufficient to have an “ah hah” moment of intuition or awareness, and expect that to immediately become a habit in life – it will not. There must be discipline and effort to train the mind and body to respond in the new “ah hah” terms instead of the old “habitual” terms.

It takes a lot of work to change early patterns.
Patterns can exist at every level.
Brain is driven by context at every level.

You see where this loop is heading – it is recursive, never ending. One must always maintain awareness to prevent old patterns at new levels delivering outcomes that are not aligned with our highest purposes.

So – yes – we are changing and growing, both as individuals and as a society, and we could do a lot more a lot quicker if we made some radical changes to the context of being, both in terms of economic and political structures, and in the level of abundance, security and freedom experienced by individuals in their every day lives.

Going right back to the opening video – I am now a vegan, and I have been a butcher, and hunter, and a fisherman for most of my life, and at the same time I will not even kill a blowfly if I can persuade it to leave the house easily. I saw nothing in the video that I haven’t seen many times. Life is abundant, and death is necessary in a finite universe; and death is possible with compassion (a clean kill as they say in Avatar). Nature is often far from clean or compassionate.

One of the problems with the human brain, is that there is very little difference between pleasure and pain, excitement and terror – it is easy for a brain starved of one to mistake it for the other – with all sorts of socio-pathological consequences.

[Reply to Thomas]

Hi Thomas,

Agree with all you say. And, as you say, not all doomsayers are of that type, and it is the most common type.

We face many threats.
Above I outlined one of the systemic threats of our “love affair” with money.
Another is the removal of redundancy in systems, and the interlinking of systems and move to “just in time” production. This makes perfect sense in economic terms, yet in terms of ability to respond to the sorts of things that periodically make their appearance it is a very high risk strategy.

When one is immersed in a monetary valuation system, it is really hard to think in terms of abundance.

And yes – it take discipline to check and double check what we “know”.

[Reply to Star]

Hi Star

You said:
This is typically true. I think we should question why that it so. If the brain is so awesome, and I think it is, then why should it only be able to be trained over time instead of responding to new knowledge in a new way?

The brain can learn to respond in new ways, and the new ways will always have an element of context about them. In so far as we are able to maintain the “new context” we will be able to respond in the “new way”, and in so far as any of the many mechanisms of mind manage to change the “context” back to an “old context” then we will experience the old ways of being.

Even Jesus had a long time in the desert bedding in his new context, and he had his share of reversions to old contexts (if the stories are to be believed).

You said: There has been evidence to the fact that people have had experiences that have re-designed their entire way of thinking and being. They are out of the ordinary, I agree, but they are not impossible.
This is certainly so.
I have experienced several such myself. And I have also experienced reversions of context.

I no longer have any “absolute truths” – it has been several decades since the idea of “absolute truth” had any meaning for me other than the idea as a necessary myth required as an early stage of learning – similar to “Santa Claus”.

It seems very clear that what you mean by the term “culture” and what I mean by it, are two very different things.
I strongly recommend Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene” as an introductory work to a modern understanding what culture is and how it develops. There is a very real sense in which culture can be thought of as a living entity, that responds to its environment in very similar ways the ways that animals do. We simply get to provide the environment in which it gets to live.

Yes, we can, in a sense, alter culture, by altering that environment, and very few are operating at a level of awareness that allows them to do that with any significant probability of achieving their desired outcome, without the law of unintended consequences getting in their way.
Not impossible, nor is it a trivial matter – mind numbing complexity involved.

Science has given (some of) us a very powerful understanding of how and why we don’t grow back limbs (and instead use scarring to make repairs – all due to the demands of warm blooded metabolism and running a large brain, and not being able to afford the down time of not eating for long enough to regrow limbs). As you say, at some stage in the not too distant future we will be able to take “time out” in a regen-tank and grow back any missing part(s).

Science has also given (some of) us the knowledge of the different sorts of knowing that are available, and general patterns of their reliability in different situations.
What you seem to be hinting at is the “holographic” mode of understanding, the “knowing without knowing how you know” which happens instantaneously. This is a side effect of storing and retrieving information as interference patterns.
Yes we can do it.
Yes it can be profound.
Does it override habitual learning?
Only for so long as we maintain the new conceptual context. If anything happens that switches the brain out of that context, then it stops being.
Most people have little or no awareness of their own propensity to switch contexts – they simply exist in whatever context they happen to find themselves.
Gaining some control over the context of mind is not a trivial task.
Once one achieves level one on that skill, one eventually learns that it too is an infinitely recursive ladder, with context of the context of mind being the next hurdle, then context of context of context – and on it goes.

I am not making any sort of claim that it is even conceptually possible to rid mankind of problems.
To live is to have problems – and such will always be the case.

What I am saying, is that it is possible to make choices about the sorts of problems we have.
It is possible to create contexts in which most of the problems directly relating to survival (levels 1 & 2 in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) are dealt with, and need never bother a human awareness again.

This allows for a very different sort of existence. One in which the problems we face are of a very different nature – on average over time – and one in which diversity is not simply tolerated, but actively encouraged and admired.



[and followed by]

Great stuff Thomas.

The tensions of patterns over evolutionary timescales……

[followed by]

Hi Star

I have written this so many times, that I do not always preface all comments with it the only piece of knowledge that I have for which the probability is 1 is “I am” – everything else about the details of what I am, and the environment in which I exist has a probability of less than unity, though some of those things have confidence factors that are approaching unity for all practical purposes.

I have only one “absolute truth” – I am.

Everything else I assert, is an operant truth. Something that seems to me, on balance of probabilities, to be so; and is thus open to review in the face of evidence to the contrary.

If I need to preface every statement with it, then perhaps that is what I must do.

I am most certainly not asking you (or anyone else) to be “indoctrinated into any beliefs” – quite the reverse.

What I ask of all people, is that they review and test all evidence for themselves, to their own level of satisfaction, and make their own choice as to what is useful and what has been falsified.

I do my best to point people to the areas where I have found evidence presented in ways that I have found easy to intuit and form abstractions from. It is the abstractions that we form for ourselves that are most interesting, not the evidence in itself.
No-one can form an abstraction for another, all we can do is point towards it by analogy, or take another to an environment where we found it for ourselves, in the hope that they will find it also.
And nothing is certain in the realm of abstraction.

You said “You are adamant concerning this idea that science has proved the absolute truth that we will never be able to grow limbs back” which is not at all what I said – please read it again.

What I said is that it seems to me most probable that we will, in the very near future, be able to place ourselves in regen-tanks and grow back new limbs. I guess that it is also conceptually possible that we might be able to train ourselves to do it by a mentally induced processes, and in my estimation the probability of that happening before we create the technology of regen-tanks is very low (there is also the problem that embryological development requires highly controlled enviroments (which is the purpose of a regen-tank) that are unlikely to be able to be achieved while walking around).
Despite my best efforts I have not managed to grow back the muscle systems that were surgically removed from my shoulder last year (and I have spent quite some hour focussed on it as a possibility).

I guess it is possible that the word problem also means something entirely different to you than it does to me.

For me, a problem is a situation where what is desired is not where I am, so that something must be bought into being to create in reality a situation that exists as a possibility in my mind, but does not yet exist as manifest reality. This is what brains do really well – solve problems. I cannot imagine life without problems. Playing golf is solving a set of problems. I love playing golf – it presents many different problems in many different domains simultaneously.

I can imagine a life in which there are few threats to my continued existence that require the attention of problem solving mind. I simply find it difficult to imagine any sort of satisfaction from an existence without creativity: without bringing things into reality from possibility – for a purpose – which is my definition of solving a problem.



[followed by]

Hi Star

Consider the possibility that the notion of “Truth” is an approximation developed by a child’s mind.

Perhaps the idea of “Truth” that you have is an illusion, one that is consistent with the first order approximation of infinite possibility that is the distinction “right and wrong”, just as, by way of analogy, the first order approximation of the infinite spectra of light is the distinction “light and dark”.

Perhaps we must transcend the notions of “Truth” and “Right and Wrong”, just as we must transcend the notion of “light and dark”.

Many of the notions that you are using no longer have meaning for me in the sense that they seem to have meaning for you.
I have thus far been unable to construct an environment where the abstracts I am using are available to you. For that inadequacy on my part I apologise.

Andrew – People treat animals so badly for the same reasons they treat each other so badly – many of which have been detailed in these discussions. In a general sense, a lack of empathy, a lack of feeling related to, and cared for.
We are, in one sense, genetically programmed survival machines, and if our social and physical contexts are not well attuned to each other, it is very easy for unstable and antisocial patterns to form and reinforce in our minds.

I assert, based on my lifetime of experience and evidence, that the best way to get people to care for animals, is to care for them, and ensure that they have all their many levels of needs met. Then they will feel sufficiently cared for and valued to establish care and empathy for other beings.

For so long as we allow people to be mistreated, some of them will end up mistreating animals.

For so long as we continue to use the excuse of economic “reality” this will continue.

Time to create a new reality!

[Finally followed by:]

Hi Star

Yes – I did use the word “badly” as a shorthand use that most people accept in normal conversation – which is to say, in ways that seem create pain and or distress for the animal. I was not using the word in any sense that implied a right or wrong way to treat animals.
There is a way of treating animals, and indeed all life, that is of a nature that if some being as far ahead of me as my awareness is above that of animals, might be liable to deduce that I was making an intentional effort to not cause undue distress to the animal, and was assisting it to meet its survival needs where possible (as I do with my two dogs, cat, and most of the various other animals resident on my land); and thus might be willing to treat me with similar compassion and thoughtfulness. This was the shorthand form in which I used the term “badly”. As most people would know what such treatment looked like, if not my motivation for avaoiding doing it.

As to the notions of “Truth” and “Absolute Truth”, it was you that introduced both to the conversation.
I have only tried to relate something of the sense of what they mean to me as a result of you raising them.

If you do not believe in Truth, then why do you keep using the term so explicitly?
Why speak nonsense if your intent is to bring clarity?

I confess to being completely lost as to what you have been saying and why.
It seems like you seem to be creating “straw men” then burning them down – and claiming that they are constructs of Thomas or myself, when they are your own constructs, and nothing to do with us.

I give in.
Other things to do.

[again next day]

Starlight/tlcoriginals said:
So Ted, do you or do you not believe what you said you believed about The Selfish Gene and it’s reference to culture, etc.? Is that not an absolute position that you are taking?

Hi Star

I very rarely take any sort of absolute position.

When I read first the Selfish Gene in 1978 I found several errors in it, and I communicated these to Richard Dawkins, and he fixed them in the subsequent editions.

What I found beautiful about the book was the way in which the construction of the words within it lead my mind to make a new set of abstractions, which abstractions opened whole new infinities of possibility to me.

Those abstractions are amongst the most power tools I have ever acquired.

I value the Selfish Gene not for anything that is directly contained within it as any sort of truth, but rather for the effect it had on my mind, and the possibilities that opened to me as a result.

The vast bulk of what is written in Selfish Gene does not deal with any sort of “absolute truth”, it mostly talks about probabilities of what might or might not be so.

For me, in reading it, I experienced the most profound reorganisation of world view that I have ever experienced (before or since).

That was my experience of reading it.
No infinity is likely to ever be quite the same again.

Has everyone who has read it experienced something similar? Most certainly not.
Most people seem far too attached to their notions of “Truth”, to be able to let go and plunge into the depths of uncertainty that are available.
I was already quite loosely attached to mine. I can usually argue any side of an argument if the social situation requires it of me.

[and more]

Starlight/tlcoriginals said:
So, nothing you stated is absolute? You don’t believe any of it? What about the levels of consciousness and evolution? Those are not absolute positions that you take? Then why in hell were you arguing for them both in my TSK group? If they are not absolute truths in your mind, then what are they, just theories that you don’t believe as truth?

Hi Star

I get that what I am saying is difficult to understand.

In the sense that I suspect you are using the term “believe” there is only one thing I “believe” with absolute certainty – and that is that I am some sort of something. What sort of what thing, I am not certain about, but some sort of something – yes – I am certain about that.

Everything else in my mind is a set of probability functions.
When considering any question I can sit and consider a range of possible explanations for any observed or postulated phenomena, and then I will come to a consideration of which of them seems, on the basis of the information available to me at present, to be the most likely explanation; the one most likely to produce reliable predictions or intuitions if I use it, so I use it until something comes up that causes me to re-evaluate its use. This is not at all what it seems to me that you mean by the use of the term “Truth”.

That sense of judgement (that I use above) seems to itself be built on earlier experiences and judgments. When I get back to a sufficiently young age, I did not make those judgements myself, I simply inherited them from the culture that I happened to be born into.

There is a sense in which the whole thing (my being, my judgments, my understandings) is like a bamboo house built on a swamp, with long bamboo poles (of particular experiences and understandings) pushed into the mire (of the unknown) below. Putting too much weight on any of the poles (understandings) can push it out of sight in the mud (go beyond the boundaries of its proven utility), but the whole thing is actually exceptionally stable, it you just put a little bit of weight on each pole, and share the load across all the poles with lots of cross bracing (interdisciplinary understanding) and lashings (connections).

This is why I keep bringing to conversations things which to the minds of many, seem unrelated, yet in my mind they are essential, as they provide a little bit of the flotation that keeps the whole thing afloat. Everything is connected in this sense – by the overlapping uncertainty functions.

I very rarely have the luxury of dealing with certainty. Almost everything in my world has an uncertainty attached to it, and I am usually conscious of that uncertainty.

It seems to me highly unlikely that the thing you call “Truth” actually exists in the sense you seem to be using it.

[and yet further]

Starlight/tlcoriginals said:
Ted, I mean no disrespect, but I find that you talk out both sides of your mouth as the saying goes. You imply that you have gone beyond the concept of right or wrong, but then you post things like you did about animals and humans being mistreated which calls for a determination of right or wrong no matter what kind of spin you put on it.

You state you don’t have any absolute truths but the concept of I am, but then you offer up truths all the time, beliefs that you stand by and argue. What else are they but absolute when you believe in them absolutely? I mean, this absolute truth and truth distinction that you and others are making is just a play on words really. You either believe something absolutely or you don’t believe it at all. It’s ridiculous to keep playing these games of words and meanings. Jeeze, if we have to know all the stuff you claim we have to know, most of us are shit out of luck according to you. Good that I don’t believe in your truths Ted, absolute or otherwise. I don’t see the difference and it absolutely complicates things. What is it called, that razor thing? Cut everything away that is unnecessary…*

Hi Star

I can see how it may appear that way to you, and it does not seem that way to me.

We have a “common language” which is “english”.
Most of the terms have meaning that people can point to in reality.
When we use a word like “mistreatment” in this common sense, then most people would agree what constitutes mistreatment, and what doesn’t, and there will be many “grey areas” where there is no common agreement.
There is no common language for many of the sorts of meanings that I am attempting to convey.

I often (usually) resort to using shortcuts of the common speak in order to point toward notions for which there is no direct referent.

Yes – technically speaking, looking at the history of the development of the word, many people would agree that the term “mistreated” does imply a distinction right/wrong; and it can also be used in the other sense that I referred to.

This reminds me of an interesting thing that happened in our daughter’s development. At about a year old she started to use the term “she’s” instead of “her”. It was only where she same the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury cross” and she got to the line “to see a fine lady upon she’s white horse” that we realised that she had invented the word “she’s” and was using it in appropriate context (because the rhyme as taught to her used the word “her” – and she had replaced it).
Upon consideration it seemed obvious, that the possessive form of most words is derived by adding “‘s”, and the words “his” and “he’s” are nearly homophones (particularly in dialect in which she was raised), that it made perfect sense that she substitute “she’s” for “her”.

I raised this as an example of how a young growing mind makes sense of it’s surroundings, including the language, and adopts the habit of languaging.

Were I to get completely pedantic about the meaning of every word I use, I doubt anyone would have the patience to follow what I wrote, because even the simplest of notions might take me hours to express. So I resort to shorthand; in full awareness that I am “walking a ridge-line” of brevity between the “abyss of misunderstanding” and the “tangled thicket (replete with Bush-Lawyer)” of completeness.

[And finally ending with]

Starlight/tlcoriginals said:
See, now this explains your views more accurately, but the way you were responding in the TSK group, it seemed like you had a lot of absolute beliefs, and that you were bashing TSK, which does not hold to any absolutes. I think that my use of TSK language, and your use of your own language, and the meanings we suppose the other is intending, is what prevents a better understanding. What you have described in your last two posts, is so TSK. I mean, the fact that we are something experiencing, is what he begins this vision with, and that is all. Then he speaks of the infinite possibilities, this speaks to your probability functions. The vision doesn’t take anything as absolute, but speaks very scientifically, and says that the scientific model is the model that we need to begin with to inquire into knowledge and our models themselves.

Hi Star

I think I see where the major confusion lies.
The understanding I have described is, to my understanding, the essence of science.

This “essence of science” is not to be confused with any sort of scientific dogma that may be held by any individual scientist (or group of scientists) – which is actually anathema to the essence of science in my understanding.

In my understanding, the essence of science is in using all of the intuitive faculties we possess to give us clues as to what might be so ( in reality either now, in the past, or at some future time – whatever reality is) and to then design experiments that might potentially falsify the idea, and see if the idea survives.

(For me, the concept of holographic storage and retrieval, and the deep connectedness, and abstracting ability that it provides, is the “scientific” explanation of the mechanics of the mystic experience {which is not the same thing as the mystic experience itself}.)

In this sense (two paragraphs above), the notion of “proof” does not exist in science.

All that a scientist can say, in the strictest sense, is that (s)he has confidence in a postulate because it has not been falsified in the range of experiments conducted to date. In another sense (s)he may also say that the particular postulate has a sense of “beauty”, an “intuitive feel” for the symmetry of connectedness that it supplies to some wider context.

So when you say that TSK goes beyond science – I have to wonder what you are talking about.

For me, science is an open, unbounded inquiry – where everything, even the confidence around falsification of particular hypotheses is bounded by probability functions.

Perhaps what you describe as TSK, is what I describe as science.

If I was “bashing” anything, it was the characterisation of “science” as something that it most certainly is not – at least not in my understanding.

If I had to sum up science, I would characterise it as the “eternal inquiry” into the two realms:
the realm of what is (and has been so), and
the infinite and related realm of what might become (possibility).

To me, science is not simply exploring what has already become, it is also intimately linked to the exploration of the possible.

It seems to me that some things are possible, and some are not.
It seems that both classes of “things’ are infinite.

There seems to be a very real sense in which the only way to gain confidence about anything is to “suck it and see” – to try it out in this experiential realm we term “reality”.

It seems that our brains create a “model” ( a map) of this reality for us, and then our awareness makes another model (a map of a map) that is what we seem to experience as reality – an experience “twice removed” so to speak. And yet it seems that this, and our intuitions and abstractions about it, are all we have to deal with – in one sense they are “our reality”.

These maps and models that we have seem to be both formed and informed by the “holographic” nature of our memory systems, and the abstracts and relationships that these systems deliver to our awareness.

This is my epistemology – my ontology – in a nutshell.
The evidence and experience that went into creating it would fill volumes.

In my listening, when you say TSK goes beyond science, you are creating a barrier to the investigation of science that does not belong.
If you would just stop saying that – I would ease up on you.
Or if you would say that TSK goes beyond a simple scientific understanding – that I could live with.

To me, science is not a model (though any given scientist will have a specific model at a specific time) – it is a method – the method of ongoing inquiry – into all aspects of everything, and as it is dealing with at least one infinity (the class of the possible), and is recursive, it must always remain open and unbounded and essentially incomplete – a never ending journey.

[And another one to Mike]

mikeS said:
Holy shit, this thread is fooking serious stuff, yo!

Science is too damn serious. I wonder, do “scientists” have a sense of humor? Do they ever laugh at the sheit they come up with? Or is it just all SERIOUS stuff? All deep and profound like, “whooo, wow, ahhhh, yessss, eureka!”

Hi Mike

Speaking only for myself – I laugh a lot, I cry a lot.

I often find that I am the only one in a theater laughing at a particular time – my children hate that.
My daughter is disgusted with me, as I am the only person she knows who has cried at a “Barbie” movie.

Often the things that appeal to my warped sense of humour are not those that appeal to most others.
Very fortunately I have been able to find a partner (in my wife Ailsa) who has a very similar sense of humour (and has similar sensitivity – though we also have our profound differences).

[Thomas came back]

Hi Thomas

For me the distinction is different.

There may, or may not be “absolute truth” in reality – of that I am uncertain.
For the most part, it seems that there is some sort of objective “reality” out there; though the closer we examine it, the less certain we become about what it is we are examining.

What I am very confident of, is that for the most part, we may not have certain knowledge that what we believe to be so is in absolute fact, so – in so far as it refers to “reality” (whatever that is).
It may be.
It may not be.
It seems that all we can have is some degree of confidence (with it’s associated and complimentary degree of uncertainty).

Thus I am not talking about truth being relative; I am talking about confidence (a very different distinction).

There may be some forms of absolute truth, and it seems that there is no mechanism for us to be absolutely certain that we have found one of them.

There is then the separate issue of the things we ourselves “know”.

We certainly experience having constructs, concepts, abstracts, referents and all manner of like experiences. These seem to be personal. In so far as they relate to shared “reality” and shared language; then there seems to be a level of commonality between them in different individuals.

It seems that the further these experiences go from the shared space, the lower the degree of commonality. By the time we get to second or third order abstractions, there is a possibility of a very low probability of significant overlap between one individual and another. This seems to me to be one of the things that makes communication about such abstractions extremely difficult.

The thing to get, is that the things we experience as knowledge are not the reality that they refer to, they are, in a sense, maps of reality. A map is never the thing itself – only the thing itself can be that.

The other thing to start to appreciate, (as I mentioned earlier in this thread) is that it seems that our awareness is not directly of reality, but is already a map of a map. Thus our personal experience of “truth” is of a map of a map of a map (at best – and may in fact be several further nested layers of mapping removed from “reality”).

[Switched to a different thread]

comments on facebook
Just got home from a checkup for cancer in Christchurch – all clear – no sign of it, they don’t want to see me again for 3 months.

Thanks Caspar, Lee, Jen & John

I think of it as multiple overlapping probability functions, a lot from diet, some from actions, some from mental context, some from social context and support networks.

Whatever, the combination seems to be working.


Thanks Lizzie, Ian, Nick Ed, and Robin
I am very much enjoying life, and getting back into work, and into thinking about the systems that underly the large scale incentive structures within the systems that currently dominate the planet – and what else might be possible.

[followed by]

Hi Sheryl – I think I’ll keep on avoiding steaks for a year or two yet.
It seems that on my old diet I have a tendency for cancer to get away on me – and that on this diet my body can get on top of cancer – so I’ll stick with the diet. It is too hard going through the withdrawals to face doing it too often – better just to stay withdrawn (from meat, dairy, sugar, etc).

[followed by]

I think both spirit and diet are important.
The spirit was there previously, but the diet wasn’t. The only thing to have changed significantly was the diet, so in this case I think I need to attribute the change mostly to diet; which is not to say that diet is the only factor, simply the only one to change significantly in this instance.

The Two Truths…
Continuation of earlier thread

Starlight/tlcoriginals said:
Ted, can we at least agree that we are experiencing in this time and space (whatever we might be and whatever it might be)? Temporary as it might be, it is still all we have and where we seem to be, presently…

In that sense, would it not be absolute?

Hi Star,

It seems to me that you are confusing the concepts of the existent and the absolute.

Certainly – there is a tautological sense in which what we are, when we are, is existent.

That leaves the question of “To what degree do my existent thoughts, in so far as the refer to reality, accurately model that to which they refer”? This is the question of the absolute – the coincidence of the map with that which it maps.

Of course, there is always a sense in which the map always less than that which it maps – to be otherwise is to be the thing itself.

I kinda like the way Bill phrased it – and all the distinctions he has raised in the thread to date.

[followed by]

Starlight/tlcoriginals said:
uh…what if it is not a map Ted? will you at least allow for that possibility?

Hi Star

When we refer to anything that is either existent, or a possibility, the thought construct we use is not the thing that it refers to. In this sense, it cannot be anything other than a map.

In so far as we think about reality, our thoughts are not reality itself, they are, rather, a map.

In the instant of the existence of the map, it become part of the reality, and becomes part of a potentially infinitely recursive system – Bills never ending story – my never ending inquiry.

I suspect we are not really focusing on the really interesting stuff – which to my mind is the linkages between the possible and the real, and the role of “holographic connectedness” in both the experience of being, and in the deep access of manifesting from the realm of the possible into the realm of the real; and the even deeper question of the role of “nothing” in creativity.

All this explanatory stuff is interesting, in a sort of academic way.

Right now I am much more interested in the practical application of it to manifesting abundance.
The map is about how we manifest abundance.
The existent is the actual manifesting.

[Followed by]

Hi Star

Rather than simply saying things, provide me with some evidence of something that is outside the framework.

It seems to me that the framework consists of an infinity of infinities, and is a matrix for infinite creativity of diverse individuals in a shared reality.

It seems to offer infinite scope for creative discovery and contribution.
What more have you got to offer?

I have guests arrived, may be a day or two before I get back to this.

Question of the Day January 21st 2011

How do you feel about reading/viewing the daily news? Is it an important part of your world?

I haven’t bought a daily Newspaper since July 1984.
At that time I was standing for parliament here in NZ, in Tauranga, as the Labour candidate against Winston Peters. Over the 6 weeks of the campaign I was interviewed for the major daily newspapers 9 times – and on only one of those occasions could I say that what was written in the paper was something like what I actually talked to the reporter about, the other 8 bore no relationship that I could find to what we discussed.

I decided that if that was the state of reporting, then by reading the papers I was actually decreasing the content of accurate information in my mind.

I usually watch the TV news – often with the sound off (it’s much more difficult to make the pictures lie).

The one show I do watch is the BBC’s Hard Talk – with Stephen Sackur – he is (IMO) the best investigative reporter on air at present.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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4 Responses to Some fairly deep stuff on knowing

  1. holessence says:

    WOW! Lots of thoughts and ideas to consider and ponder for a while. I imagine they’ll be on the back burner of my brain as I go through my day today, providing a nice gentle workout.

    Thank you, as always, for collecting everything into one reading spot – sort of like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!


  2. Robert Hagedorn says:

    But what IS the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Do a search: The First Scandal Adam and Eve. Please.


    • Hi Robert
      Had a look. Interesting speculation, and I think it may be pointing to something a bit deeper. They had no idea of geological time, or evolution, but they did have some interesting insights on the nature of consciousness and awareness – flawed in some aspects, and interesting none the less.


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