Fire Vestal Fire Pot
Fire Vestal Fire Pot


Symbolism and Language and Consensus

Perception drives the creation of symbolism, and symbolism the creation of language, finally from language comes thought… the understanding. As I said in my Formal Statement of the “Philosophy of the GOOD”, “I perceive therefore I am”. This means that perception “precedes” all else in human reality; even existence itself.

The “perceiver” is a construct, which is, at the same time, a part of perception, and the only way perception can become “self-aware”. The perceiver is the all important “viewpoint” or “constant” around which perception can build the world it perceives. To inject meaning into the representation of the world that perception builds, it must have a backdrop or constant frame of reference to build upon. This is the “self” or perceiver’s Ego that builds an identity, or persistent memory store to hold itself. This identity can now construct the world by making distinctions through the actions of its will on the gestalt it is presented with.

Time, space and causality are the three dimensions 1 that the “self” uses to construct the world. Overwhelmed by the uniqueness of the world it is presented with, the self must simplify it by creating distinctions and using its perspective as the commonality upon which all other change is made. Thus it is able to distinguish itself and its own actions in the gestalt, from the actions of “fate”, and other perceivers, the only other causes of change in the system. Driven by this “distinguishing of causes of change” in the gestalt, it forms the world of useful objects that are the actors and the acted upon, in the gestalt. It finds that its changes can be followed by changes that will “answer” it, signaling to it other perceivers like itself. So, it builds a world of objects, and the classes or groups that define these objects within the precision that makes them useful.

This resolution or precision defined is an important attribute of the whole system. Lets use an analogy to outline this. Let’s say we have a machine which produces a certain action repetitively. Lets say that that machine’s purpose is to create this action for a fixed amount of time before failure.

The machine's parts are the axioms of the system; but each part must be machined to the correct tolerances before the machine is assembled and run. The machine will run as long as all the parts are consistent, that is, within the tolerances that they were when first assembled. If say one part wears to the point that it is outside the tolerance specified, it may still allow the machine to function but not quite correctly. If the machine continues to run, other parts may themselves be adversely affected by the misaligned part and they may also lose their tolerances due to extreme wear. This acceleration of the loss of tolerances will eventually cause the machine to fail. The system has lost consistency outside the resolution which was deemed for it. Also the probability of failure increased with the amount of consistency lost within the confines of error set for the system. Once any single tolerance is lost the chance of catastrophic failure becomes much more certain as the machine continues to run. The parts of the machine are actually axioms of the system created within certain resolutions defined by the designer, which are the tolerances for each part. These tolerances are created from the relationship between the different parts that are hypothesized when the machine runs. These are the theorems that allow the parts to run together to accomplish the purpose of the machine. A part that wears outside of the tolerances allowed in essence becomes a different part from what was designed at first. Its relationship with the other parts is problematical at best, and catastrophic at worst, in that it may cause the relationship to fail, causing stoppage of the machine.

Another way of looking at it is that the resolution of the system has changed for that part or axiom. Will the relationship with the other axioms still hold at this new resolution? Or will the axioms now be consistent for the new resolution of the system? The new resolution now introduces new relationships between the parts involved, like the circle, which at a certain resolution becomes in essence a line segment.

Within the confines of the resolution of the system the parts (axioms) have a meaningful relationship with the other parts – there is consistency, no contradictory behavior results. But outside of this defined resolution the parts (axioms) are no longer mutually consistent, instability and contradictory or unpredictable behavior results. There is no meaning attached to the parts; they are no longer the parts defined, and consequently lose meaning within the system, in that the function of the machine is not certain or predictable because of them.

So overall consistency is dependent on the resolution within which the system was conceived. A change of resolution changes the axioms of the system and thus introduces the possibility of inconsistency. Also meaning changes since definitions exist only within certain resolutions, and have no meaning within a new resolution.

Abstraction allows the modeling of certain parts of the perceived world, in the mathematical relationships which allow deductive prediction through these relationships. The objects of reality which are modeled, must also take into consideration the resolution at which the objects modeled have meaning. At one resolution a circle may become a line, but not at another. But are these true circles or lines? Yes, in that within the resolution defined they assume complete identity, and behavior of the corresponding objects.

Identity within the real world can never be had, for all objects that are perceived are individually unique. Abstraction alone allows identity to exist, for it limits the perceivable qualities or attributes, and the relations of an object to a manageable number that allow a class, category or pattern for that object to be constructed. This abstract class becomes the object itself. But by not including resolution as one of these attributes within the definition of the class, one introduces inconsistencies, for the attainment of identity may not be achievable at resolutions which were not considered. In fact at certain resolutions all meaning for the object may be lost; and the object may lose all resemblance to the object at the defined acceptable resolution.

Predictability is defined in terms of the complete explication of the objects in question. In other words, it is dependent on knowing the complete behavior of these objects as defined. Obviously resolution is an important factor in detailing this behavior, for objects considered at different resolutions may not exhibit the same behavior. So even causality is dependent on the resolution for which the objects are defined. The symbolism of objects for “existents” within the gestalt allows it to group many objects together in the “concept” that is their “class”; and define them with a limited set of attributes and relations that makes them a particular object in that class.

Relations between objects are discovered by the will as constant “effects” that the object always causes either alone or in concert with other objects. Thus the attributes of objects also hold certain relationships with other objects through cause and effect. Without causality there could be no relations (really, mutually induced changes) between objects. 2

To be able to assert (or describe) a certain way something is in the gestalt (a fact), the perceiver must know the objects involved, and their particular circumstance at the time of description. The circumstance here mentioned is the spatial and relational connection of the objects involved. The language constructed in thought to assert a fact symbolizes the objects and relations by names and predicates. The language does not say which names and predicates can go together, only that they are in the language. The language is also redundant and can use many names for a single object or predicate. Only perceivers can know what is the right combination of relations and objects in order to state a fact. Truth is an assertion that holds (is a fact) in a gestalt. Falseness is an assertion that does not hold in a gestalt (is not a fact). Nonsense is the total disregard of all gestalts in stating a fact. Here existence comes into being.

An assertion says that some things and some relationships are present or “exist” at a certain time (or, such and such, is a fact). Simply, it says that they “exist”. But it disembodies this existence from a perceiver, in symbolizing the assertion. The objects actually only “exist” in the perception of a certain perceiver (the Dasein), but this (personal viewpoint) language cannot do, so it creates instead “existence” in “theory” (a dependent non-existent existence, that depends on their “being” something existing in the world outside a perceiver).

The modalities, time, space and causation really determine the logic of the whole system. Logic is the form that the modalities give to help create a workable symbolization process within a certain resolution. An object cannot exist and not exist in the same time, in the same gestalt: translates into an object cannot be and not be (at the same time, within the same assertion), the logical law of contradiction. “Logical or” describes the possibilities of certain facts holding, any of which can be the fact; “logical and” the simultaneous assertion of facts, thus a calculus of logic is built through time, space (objects) and causality (relations).

Causation creates relationships and these in turn create facts as the assertion of these relationships between individual objects or classes of the same. The combination of many different objects and their relationships create the “molecular” facts that logic deals with, in the form that the modalities allow.

Perception and its continuum creates the postulates (or tautologies of logic) within the resolution of the human perceiver’s senses. So going outside this resolution creates new postulates, and defines a different system. Science’s quantum mechanics, and the theory of relativity show this to be true; strict causality breaks down into probabilities and infinities there, since new unknown postulates hold at these new resolutions.

Since two actualities hold for every perceiver, the mental (or “generic” where equality and mathematics holds), and the “real” where there is only unique individuals (and no equality or identity), the former can use analogy to construct hypotheses about the whole system (including the modalities of perception themselves), in essence transcending the limits of the “real” world. In speaking in analogies, one must realize that “nonsense” can be produced, just as it can be produced in not representing the true attributes and relations of objects represented in the facts of perception, in the symbolic language used. Kant and Wittgenstein have accused philosophy of doing this very thing in the past.

But there are facts attainable outside the knowledge of science, and only within the personal realm of the perceiver. These are the feelings and intuitions, which are personal states within the perceiver himself. Psychology has tried to investigate these through examining the pathology of man. And religion has investigated them through the ethical normative systems it builds under its dogmatic systems and its God.

Art comes closest to realizing the symbolization of this aspect of man’s reality, in creating “feeling symbols” that bring forth the connotative web of associations that best represents this side of humanity. And this is where analogy can best attain its proper place in representing this part of the perceptual structure.

The facts, “all of them”, that Wittgenstein 3 asserts is the world, are actually a multitude of worlds; each one, a world where each perceiver lives and makes his own unique interpretation of the “real world”; each one a little different than all the rest. But this produces the “real world” for all; a world that is “identical” to all at least within the precision a sharable symbolism defines for it.

But normative systems bring out the discrepancies lost in this “identity” of symbolism; these are the very same connotations that ultimately differ in each of us. And the impact of the differences shows up in our cultures, societies, economies, governments, and religions where the identical is no longer identical. They show up, where the “self” is paramount, and the small difference makes all the difference in making up the world itself. These differences are very intimately tied to the very thing that science can never touch – the self. The unexplainable “self” is the real cause behind all the differences we finally meet here.

The “self” is that which forges purposes and hopes, and therefore is the ultimate stuff of religion and philosophy. It lies outside of the symbolism we found in language, and the logic of reason and science because it is so very personal and distinct. It has been formed in its interaction with the world, but also it gives the world “designs” and “purposes” that are beyond the “logical form” of the modalities of the perceptual apparatus.

So this brings us to the point of this essay: how are we to reconcile the various realities of so many different “worlds” into a reality that will allow us to bring unity to the institutions of culture, society, government, economy and religion, and their moralities and justices?

The “self” or “will” is an unknown, in fact, the ultimate unknown, but amazingly, it is possible to characterize it, the same as we have characterized the many existents that the world presents into the many “objects” we create to do this. We can know the attributes of the will through its functions 4 ; and there is one attribute that is indisputably its most basic, and unassailably its most common attribute: love. Love exists in every world without exception; and acts as the strongest force that is derived from the will. It is, in the final analysis, this very force that has created all the institutions that are the very ones in dispute. And when a human will exhibits this force, it is in basic harmony with all other wills.

So why is there still problems? The answer is simply because the other strongest force known to the will, greed, has crowded out the true nature of this force. Greed, or the “insatiableness of the will”, reigns in love by disguising itself as love. It does this by burying love in the partisanship of the “group”; by losing it in the “justice” of the morality of the chosen, instead of all; By changing government and the economy into the supporters of the individual instead of the society; by replacing justice and duty with “charity” and “donations” instead of the “benefit of all” that was the very purpose upon which societies formed; by changing the responsible freedom of democracy into the license which actually destroys all freedom, as it is now doing in our “free” economies. In short, love is turned into greed by shutting down the expanded view of the GOOD.

Greed is a disease of the human will; if left to itself it will destroy the will it infects. When it has replaced love with itself, it becomes the sole purpose of life, and in this guise knows no limitations; thus it reveals its true nature and is known. It does not “bring together”; it divides.

Look you religions of the West on the last two thousand years of religion: Have you brought the world together?

The last two thousand years have been years of unending division, and the contention it brings about; is this the result of the force you call love? Love that same great force of unity that religion proclaims?

What is the problem? Perhaps what you proclaim as love is really greed in disguise? The elitist greed of the “group”, or the “chosen”? The greed that practices exclusion instead of inclusion? Your love divides instead of bringing together; can you still call it love? Call it what it is: greed; greed of moral power; greed of importance; greed of unlimited arrogance in your own ideas!

By your effects, you will be known! So religions of the world is your love, the true love you proclaim it to be, or is it something else? Look at your effects: unlimited division; another sect born almost everyday. Is that the effect of true love?

Fifty million needless deaths in the last century in wars; is this the effect of morality?

Look to the Bible for the answer: God is love!

Not your love… unlimited love!
Love without a doctrine attached!
Love without a membership attached!
Love without Exclusion!
Love without a judgment attached!
Love of all…not just the love of some!
Love without a government or bureaucracy attached… the love Christ spoke of!

So how can consensus be reached?

Very simply by finally practicing real love, not the greed that has created social classes, poverty and the division of mankind into thousands of groups unable to agree with each other. The only way to finally see God is to see Him as all ultimately see Him in relation to themselves: a God who accepts us no matter how bad or foolishly we act. That God is the real God; the hope of something better that all humanity feels through love.


To return to note's origin click the footnote number at left

1 Time, Space and Causality are the “dimensions” or more properly “degrees of freedom” within which change in the gestalt occurs. They are the backdrops for intelligibility, in that they allow the “existents” a way of being known, and a way through which the perceiving will can create change in different ways. Causality creates an actual medium for change, similar to what the early physicists in the last century called the “ether” or the hypothetical medium for the electromagnetic fields to function within. These modalities are not really separate but intricately interwoven in that they all are a part of each other and none can exist alone. They actually “define” change and thereby define our way of knowing change. They also provide a type of meta-language through providing ways of symbolizing the perceptual apparatus separately from the continuum of the “real world” that is represented by it. Thus they are the perceptual language that is describable separately from what they describe. Time is the overall wrapper that allows change to act on Space; Space allows the continuum to be represented with “attributes” and therefore allows the creation of “objects” and their classes. Causality allows connections between the different objects and their classes through relations, the most important of all being a limited identity or equality based on the fixed resolution within which the human perceiver functions.

2 Here the frame problem in artificial intelligence makes us realize the fussiness of the relations that objects show between each other, and in their definitions. For instance, one takes for granted that one knows that when a boat sinks (in the most common denotation of this term) it fills with water. A machine intelligence may not take this for granted. It is really amazing just how much we take for granted (these are mostly the connotes that are specific for cultures and societies). Also circumstance can change the relationships between objects; cause and effect may hold in certain circumstances and not in others; therefore context is very important in creating or determining meaning. Also language is formed, “in use”, so to speak, and changes with the passage of generations for the very reason that definitions and meanings may pass away and be born in different groups (also idiomatic expressions, are very society oriented, and change with the society that uses them); this only goes to show how very personal meaning and truth are in the human being.

3 Wittgenstein, in “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” seems, at least as I interpret his remarks, to confuse the “form” of intelligibility with the symbolism of logical thought. In saying that logic has a form in common with what it expresses or the “fact”, he is really speaking about the intelligibility factor that the modalities confer on existents to make them capable of being symbolized as objects. Intelligibility lies “below” symbolism in that it is needed by symbolism for it to function as such. The fact lies in the realm of symbolism, not intelligibility. It relies on intelligibility, but is in the domain of logic which intelligibility makes possible. The modalities are the form of logic, or its intelligibility; facts are only possibilities that can be asserted within the realm of the symbolism that logic expresses. Objects determine the facts through presenting the “hard and fast” of the world in terms of themselves. They may also be formed about the condition of the symbolic representational system itself: this is their meta-language, which itself makes the whole (even the perceptual system itself) something that can be “known and communicated” through symbolism in language. Of course, as we approach the limits which intelligibility imposes, things get harder and harder to “talk about”.

4 The function of the will is outwardly to perceive, but perception ultimately unites through simplifying through division (another of the paradoxes of life). Through the simplification of division and categorization, knowledge of the world is possible, and through knowledge the human race can be brought together in the expanded viewpoint love, through the GOOD, offers to the will. This love is a part of the will; not a part of reason or the living (physical) substance that produces reason. It is love that allows the will to create purpose, for it is love that keeps the will focused on survival of the “self”. Through the agency of the GOOD is the psyche enabled to understand that an expanded view which encompasses all humanity is the most beneficial way for this survival to be achieved.

This is why I differentiate the love force from the agency in the psyche (the GOOD) that directs it. If the GOOD does not rechannel love in the expanded view of all humanity, the love force become greed; and the purposes the will creates are the purposes of greed, not Universal Love.




Originally Published:

May 31, 2009


June 24, 2014