Truth? continued

Truth continued

Sigurd started a new thread derived from a subset of my original post

Hi Sigurd,

My argument is not with the truths derived from the acceptance of any set of postulates (ZFC or any others).
I quite explicitly accepted that notion of contingent truth.

My argument, my postulates, relate to the much more difficult notion of “reality”.

We do not have the postulates of reality.
We didn’t get born with a “book of reality postulates” accompanying our births.

Quite the opposite in a very real sense.

It seems that our existence, our ability to think about ourselves and anything else, is the direct result of a process of differential survival sorting essentially random variants in classes of contexts.

Looking very closely at the nature of that process, and the sorts of systems it sorts and selects for (as a recursively abstract process) is very instructive.
I have been doing that for 50 years.
I haven’t been particularly concerned with generating agreement with others about the utility of any of the sets of systems and heuristics I discovered and explored in that time.
I started out different on many metrics (over 4 sd on IQ as one example, and lots of others – vision, hearing, …).
It seems that many would classify me as being on the high functioning autistic spectrum, but because of a serious physical speech problem as a child, I missed out on that diagnosis, and got through the system without any effective effort to constrain my brain back to social norms. I was able to self regulate enough to survive, and retain independence to a degree that very few manage.
That is both strength and weakness.
It allows me to explore conceptual territory that few are even aware of the existence of, but it constrains my ability to communicate much of the results of those explorations.
My awareness of my own constraints is necessarily limited, but well beyond what most people seem to have considered.

So I am aware that many people have far greater knowledge than me about the particulars of their narrow fields of expertise, and few have explored as broadly.

I am very conscious that any level may beat any any level some specific sets of contexts.

So total security is not an option.

Not only must I accept eternal uncertainty, I must also accept eternal risk (at every level).
That is not an easy thing for someone like me to accept, and I seem to have made a reasonable approximation to doing so in most contexts.

So the sort of “Truth” you demonstrate above is a triviality, that has nothing at all to do with the question of Truth in reality.

And I apologise in advance for offending anyone. My brain did not come “pre-configured” with the ability to read social cues, and it is not something that I have spent much time developing as a skill.

I am much more interested in exploring these infinite domains of possible truth values (probabilities in a sense, possibilities in a sense); and it is well beyond Rachel Garden’s paper of the use of trivalent logic to interpret quantum mechanics (and I don’t have Rachel’s command of the formal tools to be able to describe it formally – though I have spent many hours in discussion with Rachel).

As to what truth is.

Truth cannot be the thing itself, that is the thing itself.

Truth must exist as a correlation between one form of expression or existence and another (abstract to any level one is capable of instantiating).

When one is working outside of domains with formal bounds, then one either explores the entire domain, or accepts probabilities – there are no other valid options in logic.

[followed by]

Hi Sigurd,

You makes a good point about seeking agreements.

And that is difficult when one party denies even the possibility of the existence of the other.

You ask “You accept rationality: Semantics and Logic.
But do you actually use it?”

That is a really difficult question to answer.
In my schema there is no singular “it”.
I see infinite possible classes of logic, classic logic being but one.
I see infinite possible classes of theorems from which one can construct systems.
I see massive datasets from experiments carried out by many people in the name of science. And my own tiny sets of things I have actually tested for myself in reality.
I see the process of evolution, which seems very probably to have constructed us as survival probability maximisers in some particular set of contexts (physical and social) over the deep times of biology and culture.
The class of contexts does not seem to fit neatly into the set of constructs most commonly discussed around games theory and economic theories.
Evolution has to produce brains that can produce results fast enough and accurately enough and efficiently enough to survive in a reality that often has very strict limits on the time and energy available for computation.
Evolution also has to have found mechanisms to avoid multiple classes of the “Halting problem”.
Both of those drive systems to deliver “experiential realities” that do fit well with classical logic, and seem very likely to be gross simplifications of the complexity actually present.

The evolution of consciousness seems clear to me, but when I try and start to write in down in a way that I could explicitly clarify each of the relationships present at each of the levels, I can see that I don’t have enough time to do so (without indefinite life extension), and I doubt anyone would take the time to read it.

Its is kind of like flying over a mountain range vs walking over it.
I don’t particularly like walking over mountains (certainly not the steeper slopes and ridge lines), but I love flying over them (have several hundred hours experience of piloting single engine aircraft and gliders in the mountains of New Zealand). I get vertigo when climbing, so don’t actually like climbing steep mountains, and am not very good at it. It can sometimes take me an hour or two to regain self control and be able to move safely again when I get a vertigo attack – and often the weather in this country does not allow such time. So for safety’s sake I don’t climb steep mountains, I fly over them, or helicopter to their summits or other places of interest (as chair of the Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust I sometimes get to go into the steep mountain colonies of these birds for research work – always a helicopter trip for me, though one of the guys I often go with has run out the ridgelines in 2 hours, he is one of the top cross country athletes in this country and has competed internationally – I would be unlikely to survive such an attempt).

When I was young, one of my teachers asked me how I got the answers to maths tests (I usually got 100%, and was usually first finished in tests – often by a substantial margin, even when I went back and double checked everything). I could not explain how I did it. I had no idea back then. My sub conscious autistic spectrum brain was just flying me from peak to peak on the “landscape” of possible answers. Mostly the landscapes only had single peaks, so it was easy.

Now I see landscapes of peaks without end and dimensions without end. And there are always nearby peaks (at least if the “aircraft” I am flying is fast enough). But there is no possibility of me walking (one step at a time) the paths I have flown, not enough time in the universe that has existed to date to do that. And the dimensional jumps, changing paradigms to deliver entirely new sets of landscapes, that cannot be explained.

So do I use classical methods of stepwise logic?
I don’t do that very often.
I sometimes do it for low integer instances, just to demonstrate trends. Some analogue of mathematical induction.

Am I rational in the classical step wise fashion?
Not that.
Not very often.
Too slow.

Can I explain to others where I have been?
Only if they are really keen “pilots”, and have flown the landscapes themselves. Otherwise I can indicate the direction of what looks like from a height to be reasonable a path (but it may have some bluffs in it that I wasn’t looking at closely as I flew by, and might require a detour or two to get there).

Is my experience “real”?

It is what it is.
It gives me the sets of constructs and relationships that I have.
For most of them, there is no singular or simple relationship to the constructs in normal use.

Am I making any claim to the “perfection” of the relationships I “see”?
Absolutely not.
They are sets of heuristic “sketches”, nothing more.
The complexity present does not seem to allow anything else, ever.

And it does seem very probable to me that they encode messages with significant survival utility in the contexts rapidly approaching us.

If I have one key message it is that reality cannot be known in any sort of classical sense – it is beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt far too complex, far too reactive to every interaction with it, for that notion to have any substance.

Reality seems to be an extensible set of complex adaptive systems, that at some scales closely approximates a classical causal system; but isn’t really.

It does seem to be the sort of system that does sustain real degrees of individual freedom, and all freedoms come with limits if they are to survive. There is a sense in which any entity has the freedom to go extinct (individuals, species, ecologies – biological, social, technological). A sobering thought is that geological record clearly indicates most of the individuals and species and ecologies certainly have gone extinct.
We don’t have masses of technologically advanced galactic tourists rocking up and introducing themselves as such. We seem to be disquietingly alone in our part of this galaxy.
So existence as complex systems is far from certain, and we seem to have the existence we have right now.

All systems (all levels) require boundaries to give them form, and all boundaries need to be contextually sensitive in the properties of things like active or passive transport (in or out) of various classes of entities, and the degree of resistance or accommodation at those boundaries to various classes of entities and novelty.

And if survival is a goal, then both the necessity and the limits of freedom must be acknowledged (every level – so many levels!!!).

The trap of postulates is in assuming that the first set of postulates one encounters is the one that applies.

You ask
“And what ARE your postulates?
That all there is … IS ENERGY?”


There are no terms in common use that give any sort of reasonable approximation to what seems most probable to me.

I just spent a couple of minutes sitting here, trying to come up with something, even some sort of analogy; and I couldn’t think of anything that has any reasonable probability of being interpreted as something like the picture in my head.
I’ll try again.

If what I write seems trite, then try reading it a different way, until it doesn’t.

It seems that at every level, existence is a balance between order and randomness – some set of probabilistic constraints.
At every level, and in every context, what is survivable varies.
Some systems go extinct because of too much order.
Some go extinct due to too much randomness.
That seems to be as true at the quantum level as it is at our level, and at all levels in between.

Perfect order, eternal unchanging unconsciousness, doesn’t seem particularly useful or desirable.

Consciousness is a process of continual change, continual becoming. Prediction, actuality, adjustment to adapt to variance.

That seems to be what we have, what we are.

Perfect certainty does not seem to be a real option (however much we experience it in our simplistic experiential realities).


Sometimes agreements must begin with an acceptance of diversity.

If one party refuses to accept the existence of another, and keeps insisting that they are something they are not; then not much is going to happen.

I have been party to several processes of constructing community consensus (from local level to national governance level). It takes a lot of time and energy, and requires of all parties their highest levels of craftsmanship and integrity.

I don’t challenge anyone’s experiential reality, and I certainly challenge the assumptions that they have about the relationship between that and whatever reality actually is.

Such process dynamics are well documented, and normally include “storming” and “norming” modalities before they reach effective “performing”.

If done well, it can contain many levels of utility simultaneously.
It demands of all participants the highest levels of integrity and acceptance of diversity that they can create.
If done badly, if any one, any level, fails to clearly express a “truth” (relevant heuristic) present at that level, then it will very probably fail catastrophically.

In many real world instances there are often one or more levels of attempt to hijack the process by some party to instantiate a predefined system and outcome – that is a fundamental breach of trust, and instantiates existential level risk to that system.
Everyone must be willing to step into fundamental uncertainty, and see what eventuates. Any failure at this level is a failure of process authenticity which almost certainly guarantees system failure.
Everyone must come in with a plan – that is how we are constructed. And the plan must have room to move, or it will fail,

I don’t care where anyone sits at the table, I care only that everyone has equal vote and equal right to speak, and that everyone has to agree to live with whatever the group eventually agrees upon. Genuine consensus has at least that set of qualities.
The outcome might not be anyone’s first preference, and everyone has to be able to see real benefit in it.
That sort of process is never short.

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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