Metaphysikos To Thaumatos

Metaphysics of Wonder - Kazis Kripaitis

Chapter 2: Logic

In which we find that logic is tautological and math is ekphrastic metaphor

A) Axiom Symbols
Now we know what is, and what does, but do we have what we need to begin to bring the rest of philosophy up to ontological snuff? What we have today in epistemology, ethics, logic, and aesthetics is woefully unrelated to the ontology I have extrapolated from modern physics – the next stretch of our climb will be steep.

We ascend, incipient, climbing a short spur and straying from the main trail to spend time with the number line, a straightforward concept mocking our scrutiny with a smile! Let us hold it up to the tungsten-bright of wonder, illuminate and fathom it in advance of the existential questions that call us from the approaching summits. Before taking these first strides into an assault on something so imminently reasonable as logic itself, I extend my hand to hoist you to higher and more stable ledges, so we may catch our breath as I explain the purpose and method of this light-footed chapter.

Regarding purpose, my analysis serves two ends. The first is to demonstrate that the embarrassment of logic is its optimism, a blind dependence on a foundation that it does not have, for which it assumes evidence from the physical world that the world does not provide. For this reason, my quarry in this chapter is logic, though we could as easily change the title to ‘Epistemology’ – I identify the root of knowledge as the erroneous logic of individuation ontology, and propose a principle of adequacy as my epistemological model in the context of a principle of entitation ontology. Second, this spur steers us through the existential struggle to communicate the brain’s native experience, and we find that understanding cannot be distilled from expression. Can we ever overcome cliché when we aspire to describe existential ephemera like love, music, or bereavement? Dear reader, fellow mountaineer, ‘words cannot express my sorrow for your loss’. Though it be hyperbole to say that all language is cliché, if ekphrasis is the linguistic endeavor describing music or art in words, logic is an exercise in ekphrasis in which unworked wonder is sculpted against the expectations and limits of language. And if logic and music share the ekphrastic tendency, we should proceed on this spur by limiting logic to aesthetics, to the existential, as we must with music or art. For abstract meaning is born in the deep musk of pre-linguistics – translating the vapor into expression approximates the warm fluid of immediate intuition into icy symbol. When we employ word and number to individuate, the translation is a sloppy act of conventional poetics – we achieve adequacy with the tools we have and call it ‘good enough for jazz’; translation compromises our best effort, confusing meaning and barricading truth. Individuating meaning into discrete ideas selected from a finite list of symbols, communication is always an act of ekphrasis.

The fugitive insight of chapters one and three evade the Sauron’s eye of philosophy by this principle, and only a total deconstruction of the concept of individuation uncovers the tautological machinery. While the marrow of the Metaphysikos To Thaumatos places your author far off-piste from the comforts of well-worn trails of philosophy, my goal is as familiar as your grandmother’s cooking, for we will explore the will to compassion in the thin air of summit heights. Up now, through fresh snow to wide, sound ledges so that we may behold the logic informing individuation! The unimpeded panorama is vexing – how…how! have my ontology and metaethics not been proposed elsewhere in the exhaustion of history?

We can only return to the question: if there are no individual things in nature, what can we use the number one to count? And if the logic of the first number falters, what is the basis of validity for how we use the number line to meter the world as an object of the actual beyond the limit of perspective? The logic of 5+7=12 is sound, if the concept of five reflects something about the world, and not just a fantasy of mind, since the mind’s reasoned abstractions are delimited by axioms of physics, of the actual. In my example, logic functions perfectly well, but it depends on a false ontological predicate. What is the example actually saying? It begins by saying: ‘we agree that there are things in the world that can be counted, and if we take five of those things, and an additional seven of those things, we define the result as twelve.’ Put another way, it is a simple if/then statement: IF there are things to count, and if we combine five and seven of these things, THEN the result is defined by the word twelve. ‘Five’ refers to five individual things, but we can only use that word in a meaningful way with evidence that there is such a thing as an individual thing. Each claim of a whole number is a claim for stasis against infinite regress, and like our example from physics, we must stop the regress somewhere in order to ever plant our feet and say, ‘here, here I have found the stable number, one’. For if we zoom-in to the ruler’s notch, it is a wide notch indeed, ever-wider as we descend forever into the ruler.

While my ontology emphasized the impossibility of parts, this chapter highlights Heraclitus’ claim, the impossibility of stasis. Thousands of years on, our greatest physicists tell us that reality does not mirror perception, and is closer to the world Heraclitus described. Heroes of our time, our laboratory dogs shepherd progress even as their discoveries leave us beyond the comfort of the familiar and the reasonable. They wag their tails even as their findings disappoint our need to sink our canines into the actual – physics no longer reflects our vision of reality, but man is a loyal subject to the kingdom of contradiction: while we know intuitively that stasis is impossible, our sciences depend on logic that assumes it universally.

Physics illustrates the ontological wonder that individuation is illusory, that individual things do not exist, but the logic upon which physics depends requires a physical world brimming with individual entities which correlate to its laws. This applies not only to the numeric and symbolic expression of logic, but equally to language, for just as the continuum of value cannot be individuated, neither can we individuate the continuum of understanding with words. Our best semiotes delimit expression, and beyond these hand-made tools, the faculty of understanding flows as a function of intuition, imagination, and manifest meaning that wants to congeal into the static truth of knowledge. The act of inventing words about individual things does not have the magical power to conjure substance into the actual – consider the 18th century scientific innovation of pflogiston! Immediately prior to the advent of modern chemistry, this invented thing in physics never corresponded to anything in the actual world, but was imagined to be a type of stuff that caused combustion and corrosion. When oxygen was discovered in 1774, we called it “depflogisticated air”, but our pilgrim spirit could not elevate pflogiston to a thing in the world beyond an invented word. So while the creative proclivity in science is a healthy habit, physics alone, and not the abstractions of logic, can substantiate individuation – physics refuses! Leaping to the assumption that there are individual things, we bypass physics and apply the individuation paradigm to a deeper faculty of native understanding, overwriting the programming of understanding itself with digitized words and numbers such that we cast the crippling illusion on ourselves with a form of magical thinking. The result is adequate knowledge, which is the best we can do directly. Our human brains are hard-coded with individuation in this fashion – sensory data satisfies programmed assumptions and perception reinforces the mechanics of belief. Like a persistent child, oblivious to the impossibility of our task, not daunted by the fruitless toil, we never stop trying to grab the river and hold it in our hands.

Pause instead, and appreciate brave heroes like the mathematician Gödel, who showed us that numbers only approximate, or the physicist Bohm who told us, patiently, that we cannot evaluate the world into parts. Meanwhile the sun rises and the sun sets and the parts paradigm feels familiar, dependable, comfortable, freeing our reach to something beyond approximation. The focus of specialized academic study is tuned by the powerful brilliance of warriors like Gödel and Bohm, but the parts-ontology has sharp teeth, and its tenacious bite holds that logic is perfect and practical, peddling reliable axioms which reflect the actual world. We concede to contradiction, draping ourselves in the optimism that words and numbers are reliable tools for expressing the pre-linguistic percolations of abstract conscious understanding. For example, while Kant’s entire epistemological architecture is dependent on the reliability of logic, his theory of the synthetic a priori imports the assumption that analytical logic is backed-up by physics in a correspondence claim – the simple assumption that the most basic aspects of the physical world correspond to the mode by which reason parses abstract thought. Our claim to knowledge is hedged in the belief that we think and communicate commensurate to perspective, that there is a correspondence between what we sense is real and what is actual, but one hundred years have passed since Relativity and Quantum Theory began to disrupt the expectations of reason, and we can no longer match the world we know with the world our great thinkers describe. Do you hear? – hills alive with the adequacy of jazz!

Reconciling first principles of logic with physics is a futile undertaking designed to unravel the writer in a fool’s translation. Sprinting up the spur, my plain words want a wide audience but are crippled by my own argument; I can only be certain that I will fail in my task, and that only this failure could properly advocate the certainty in my gut. Sluicing logic’s muddy foundations reveals how abstract reason rests on the axioms of an absurd physics. Meanwhile, Lady Philosophy dreams of universal roots, of ideas that apply to all, even while our era betrays nature and existence by funneling specialized critique into the sticky misprision of academic cobwebbery. Sweating against our will to knowledge, we can never wrap our arms all the way around the world – our efforts nudge philosophy ever away from the human urge to comprehend the world in which it flails.

Consequently, this chapter disregards all of 20th C analytic philosophy which assumes that basic axioms of logic are consistent, reliable, and ontology independent, and it is clear that too much energy is expended on theories which analyze concepts based on these false premises. My priority concern remains the logic of individuation, how it delimits and determines the capacity of knowledge, and here it is the individuation of meaning, represented in logical semiotics, that makes logic suspect. Logic functions at human scale, but does not coincide with the actual world described to us by physics – how could it then transpose onto knowledge of the world? In the spirit of contradiction, knowledge has stalled at a precise theory of parts (quantum physics), while the surprising findings of this same science show us that probability, not singular precision, governs the number line, as “the world is not analyzable into parts”. (Footnote 1)

B. Consistent Transfiguration
The original error cascading through most theories of knowledge is the innocent categorization of varieties of knowledge as empirical or abstract. Springing from the gate, we cripple ourselves by assuming either can be independent of each other, by saying this is a posteriori, empirically testable knowledge, (the faucet is running downstairs), and this is a priori, abstract knowledge (circles exist and are round). But let us simplify our view of the world as we do our philosophizing – remember the simplicity of childhood, when you engaged the world by putting it into your face, gnawing it with your gums – if we want to talk about the world, we should talk with our mouths full of that which we can bite! For how do we abstract the idea of the circle but by having felt perfect roundness with our toothless, gummy minds, mouthing and mawing when we only crawled? Well then, let us crawl higher! Science offers an adequate qualification of Heraclitus' insight that all things change constantly, but it must, at some point, climb out of the comfort of its equations and formulas to express itself in words and by the rules of language if it ever hopes to communicate its insights outside of the laboratory.

And what of language? These tools can only be the antipode of time, futile and self-undermining with nothing static to describe. We living, existing rebels, we language users, always wanting more from our words, are always dreaming that words can give us access to the actual. But words need everything to stop changing to work their magic, as in Shakespeare’s timeless song, when he con-fuses inky stasis and the ephemera of mortal breath against the absolute of death, “Your monument shall be my gentle verse… You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen)”.(43) Language presumes the magical ability to impose life and stasis, and the dream of making life ontologically static and permanent by foiling flux with identity, by identifying nouns outside of time; the poet dreams to hold breath with words, biting existence with the teeth of metaphor. Forever awash in the currents of Heraclitus’ flowing river, a universal continuity beyond the obvious individual objects, things, and parts of perception is revealed: history folds itself into the complimentary ontology of the physics proposed by Bohm who says, “both quantum mechanics and Relativity suggest the world is not made of separate elements, but it is an unbroken whole and flowing movement. The image of that would be flowing water. If you had vortices in this water, each vortex may be thought of as separate but really they merge together – there is never any separation.”(44) So while Heraclitus was weaving enigmas when he wrote, “you cannot step twice into the same river”, modern physics draws the explicit analogy to a fluid ontology.(45) Can anyone doubt that this bleeds into our confrontation with the unflowing, static logic of language and mathematics?

Language is a time-locked process, frustrated in its goal to lock meaning, for the simple fact that speaking, writing, or reading a sentence requires a certain duration. It is incongruous with, and disconnected from, the natural ontology of intuition – a sense that things are fluid, transitory, impermanent. Words must refer to static things when they de-scribe, while meaning remains forever outside of time. A noun has changed by the time we reach the end of a sentence, or in the time taken to intone words, as has its meaning and our understanding of it, because the very objects language equates have already changed, if we argue with Heraclitus that “no entities are static”. In this way Bergson was right to note the operational disruptiveness of duration, for what static things exist that words dream to describe which can endure the duration of a noun’s length? What physical principle of sameness do words assume so that they can accomplish their task? Reason’s logic foundation and the efficacy of semiotics may be coherent in themselves, but the objects of their arguments are nowhere found! Indeed, when we count on language, words are alone with themselves, for, as Derrida commented, “there is nothing outside the text”.(46) Moreover, intelligence can never individuate wonder, can never quantify the fog of intuition generated behind the faculty of understanding, even as we strive for cohesion by delimiting the flow of the mind with blunt chops of reason; translation of understanding is rife with grammatical error, and the discretion of language does not capture the thick milk flooding the space between words. We parse reality in a blurry approximation that exposes the inadequacy and limitation of language – lips and pens drip slushy gruel. And mathematics, the language of numbers, is no better: if we can never count to ‘one’, are we not naive to pretend at governing the number line?

Even for fundamental objects, changes to the quality of a thing can change the in-itself, ontological nature of a thing, such that even fundamental things change. The important point here is that this is at all possible in the first place, for it is in contradistinction to the certain stasis we must impose on elemental reality to facilitate the mechanics of belief and allow ourselves to believe something beyond reason. For example, Bose-Einstein condensates demonstrate how changes to the quality of a thing (the temperature) change the thing; particles in this state blend into each other ontologically, and we lose track of where one ends and another begins.(Footnote 2) Help me push aside the epistemological sophistry of realists and irrealists for a moment to realize that this actually happens in the actual world! We have difficulty accepting physical oddities like Bose-Einstein Condensates because words cannot describe such a strange reality; like cabinet makers with bent carpenter’s squares, we are incapable of precision work. But what is wrong with our tools? Simply put, words expect and need reality to correspond to their own nature – static and designed for grammatical logic. The conceptual basis of every word is identity – this word equals this specific thing that the word is describing – they are identical. Our only means to describe condensates is restricted to the language of a physical reality that contradicts the physics of real condensates – language is not aligned with the underlying physics of that which it tries to describe. We have engineered linguistic tools designed to correlate to static things, and we want words to explain things that are by nature not static. With the idiot’s optimism we strive to objectify that which never qualified as a logical object in the first place.

The tooling is the cause: language is a functional mode of fusion and confusion. When we objectify with language, we confront the paradox of grabbing the river of meaning, objects of language pointing to other objects of language in endless regress – a fractal of dictionary definitions referring to more words hopelessly requiring definition and floundering to define each other. Words reason their meaning circularly – the individuation illusion confuses terminus and translation such that we cannot transcend the tautological vertigo of individuated meaning. Looking up the definition of a word in a dictionary, we encounter a definition comprised necessarily of other words, and looking up one or all of the words in that definition, we face more words requiring still more definition. The same is true for mathematics as language, which reasons circularly by assuming the validity of the first number, ‘one’, and extrapolating a number line from the initial assumption. What does seven mean? We can reach for our dictionary and our philological tomes, find the definition, and see that it means seven individual units. But what is a unit – what is a thing? Who has resolved this question? With no thing in nature that we can count, no corresponding noun, and in the juxtaposition of singularity and sameness, defining an original unit is impossible. Until the original unit has been defined, the notion of number is tautological fantasy.

In this chapter I will show why logic cannot transcend adequacy, by applying the lessons of my ontology to the critique. Setting forth, we must abandon the traditional limits of language and assume Heraclitus’ view that:

τὰ ὄντα ἰέναι τε πάντα καὶ μένειν οὐδέν
All entities are moving and no entities are static.(47)

The Metaphysikos To Thaumatos is anchored by the idea that nothing can be; only doing can be observed, deduced, or described. My thesis compliments particle physics and Relativity to expose a deeply confused quiddity, in which thingness is at once categorically absurd and also the long-sought basis for a complimentary alternative to cosmic absurdity. I place the onus on logic and reason to disprove Heraclitus’ ontology, to qualify the being-based parts-ontology, and the idea that things can have is-ness. But the task of traditional logic is not to describe the “scaffolding of the world”, rather, to give stable ground on which the scaffolding may be erected by perception and reason; however, the scaffolding should inform logic, not the inverse.(48) The physicist De Broglie reminded us of the necessary and reciprocal relationship of logic to physics when he said, “by its successes, the theory of Relativity therefore shows us how extensive is the parallelism which exists between the rules of our reasoning and the order which conceals itself behind the subtle phenomena which physics of today studies; it shows us that this parallelism infinitely surpasses all that the daily experience of the older generations was able to suggest to us.”(49) Brave reader, you will find no urgent global discussion on the necessity of reconciling the theory of Relativity and the principle of individuation! Yet the idea of material divisibility is incompatible with the ontological evidence of field-based Relativity and quantum field theories despite the dedication with which specialists exile overarching metaphysical dilemmas. And what epistemology known to man gives us a solution to reconcile experimental observation and the axioms of math, to harmonize the empirical and the analytical? This would be a solution against which both physics and mathematics are engineered to resist, and by nimble engineers!

We arrive at a corollary to the base requirement of physics we identified in the Foreword: axioms of logic also require a standard indivisible base unit, one which can only be illuminated by physics. Logic, and mathematical abstraction in general, depend on an unambiguously fundamental something, somewhere real and actual that we can call ‘one’, unchanging, reliable, and consistently immune to flux. In this way, logic leans on the assumption that it is possible to understand the structure of physical reality in quantities: we must have at least one piece of evidence that such a thing exists in order to individuate the segments of a number line and begin to abstract anything. But as we have seen, physics plays by its own logic. The usefulness of abstraction and the precipitant knowledge of logic, its genuine correlation to any underlying reality, rests on how well we translate the empirical into analytic axioms. Mathematics affirms that 1+1=2 is a form of analytical knowledge about the world because it assumes that the world contains things that meet the category ‘1’. With no physics backing up the analytic claim, knowledge collapses into belief – from the precision of abstraction to whether language and mathematics can transcend poetry. By choking the physics out of which it sprouts, in the shade of the encompassing canopy of its might, logical abstraction never distills absolute truth from the actual world, reducing the mastery of math and language to the art of how well we can convince – a matter of whether one can convey a conviction that nature corresponds to the message of numbers and words; the moment we beg language and mathematics to do our bidding is a desperate moment in which we do our best to mash and mold knowledge to the fluid contours of native meaning by the mechanism of belief.

When the world entices us to commit to an ontology, when it awakens in man the conviction that these things exist and these things do not, when it, a variety of logical axioms seduce us with their reasonable immediacy: simplifactions like 1+1=2. Inversely, logic leases the parts-ontology for its simplest and most abstract ontological principles: one plus one equals two, obviously. But the parts-ontology, the doctrine of ‘is-ness’ and individuation, deprives logic of the means to correspond to the actual world. Should we dismiss the failure as a technicality, or are we motivated by wonder to pry deeper fissures? We might, like Nietzsche, default to the same logic we are criticizing, and declare that all philosophy is interpretation. A curse on this myopic manipulation! It is only interpretation if we adopt the same logic we are deconstructing! We would otherwise never note the discrepancy, or noticing, would nestle deep into irrealism’s infantilizing complacency. So let us reach in our rebellion against complacency, and give ourselves pain on the steep! For in the pain we reach and gain the unexpected view of the naked real, the really actual, without the emperor’s clothes of reason – reality that is in an endless process of approximating itself, oscillating back and forth around an impossible now in a braid of the actual and the probable.

Who can say from experience that their true sense of the world has never faltered, that their intuition has always reflected what is actual with perfect precision, that the world is easy in granting knowledge beyond the adequate approximation of perception? In fact we are paralyzed with antagonism toward ownership of truth not because of a vain fear of flux, but precisely because the faculty of intuition is programmed for approximation – for its role as the Self’s interpreter. Intuition tells us outright that our best, most truthy truth is approximation; we calculate pi to fifty places, (or fifty-thousand places), call it ‘good enough for jazz’, and build bridges that are adequate, but break-down in a time frame that makes them seem enduring, or even ‘timeless’ to observers. Shall we speed up the timescale ala Koyaanisqatsi, and behold the visible lifespan of our bridge in the thick pathos of time-lapse?(50) A slight adjustment to perspective reveals the temporary object, while a severe shift creates and collapses our bridge in a flash of lightning; poets probe the folly, mining the “despair” of Shelley’s Ozymandias, “look on my works ye mighty...”.(51) By contrast we invented quantum physics to explain light as logical, quantified parts, an alternative to the prevailing wave theory, and are now bewildered and shocked that the theory shows parts behaving as waves in disagreement with parts-paradigm logic.

I do not wonder if formal logic will flinch at my disruption – I am satisfied to demonstrate why it can only ever be a relatively useful tool, despite noxious claims like, ‘mathematics is the language of nature’.(Footnote 3) Far from reflecting anything universal about the actual, logic distracts philosophy from its original goal, misinforms the special connection between ontology, existentialism, and metaethics, however endlessly practical it is when we tether understanding to reason and constrain logic to epistemology. This second volley of my argument reveals the pernicious machinery of logic and language, why they can only ever interpret and approximate to our comfortable perch of adequacy. And as I begin to pivot to existential themes over this chapter, I will turn the logic of individuation to introspection and show that, as the mechanics of belief, logic misdirects knowledge such that we are not the Selves we believe we know. We will climb to a view of systems of Self as ever-changing and existentially fluid as the Heraclitan river – that we living entities are a contiguous aspect of the ontology I have described, rendering the experience of Self ontologically significant and more than a matter of psychology – that our psychology is a thing-in-the-world. The challenge of associating my ontology with the existential is that the logic of individuation leaves us no good semiotics to describe that which we all experience quite naturally, that which no one doubts – and this is an ominous blind spot on philosophy! In our existential participation, we the living extend ourselves ontologically, such that our relative morality is a feature of the universe itself, not of the subjective psychology that fuels post-modern irrealism. It is our capacity for creativity and the absurd that is compromised in the distraction, and this compromise which draws the flowing stream of Heraclitus’ tears.(Footnote 4)

C) Being Doing
“All entities move”, but motion is not the same on the sub-atomic and macroscopic scales; unperceived sub-atomic parts feel free to exist at more than one place at a time, while perceived collections of parts are bound to the logical conditions of four-dimensional perception. As I showed in my ontology, unperceived things only exist in a state of probability, leaving the static thingness of things tenuous and relative, and we only make it worse when we turn to language and numbers. The root of the semantic error lies in the two concepts which clash at the intersection of ontology and existentialism, being and doing. Confusing being with doing is a habit formalized in the Aristotelian, Cartesian, and Newtonian traditions, and is the reason why logic and language can only ever be tenuous and relative; we have been at this some time: Socrates was the first to take aim at wonder and forsake the value of mythology, insisting that we reason the gods out of existence and transform Dionysian temples of wonder into Apolline classrooms of reason; the Pythagoreans were famously disturbed by irrational numbers; Plato was wrong to hope that geometrical symmetries would resolve the philosopher’s petition on the material foundations of the cosmos as much as Spinoza dreamed to angulate the existential a few thousand years later; myriad traditions have assumed a reality in which we can stop time and discuss a thing as it ‘is’, as a paused river sparkling with the static clarity of reason, apart from what it does when we start the flow of time again. They imagine parts independent of responsibility to time, as though space and time are not mechanically interdependent and perspective is not comparatively relative. By my ontology, only process exists, and a thing only exists in terms of what it is in the process of doing, such that the doing is the thing.(Footnote 5) Human hope and our lust for knowledge cannot budge the fact that there is no pause button on the Heraclitan river.

Among our grammatical appliances, we are in love with the logical copula (any form of the word ‘is’) which functions like an equals sign in an equation.(Footnote 6) I say love because we engage the copula with reckless, pathetic, epistemological devotion. The copula joins two potentially related things together in an identity relation, and with a hissing ‘is’ declares that this thing equals this thing, a=b, or a is b. At the intersection of logic with cerebral programming, this device of our craft bores its taproot into our epistemic foundation, informing logic and knowledge as it has informed natural philosophy forever.(Footnote 7) It is the beastly rhetorical engine of realist belief, containing a hidden ‘because I said so’ provision which allows the user to skip the ontologically juiciest parts of any question. One says, ‘this is that, not because of explicit evidence, but because I said so, and I refuse to qualify my ontology’. When we deploy the word ‘is’, we cram an equals sign into the thick of an approximation – we pretend we have physical evidence that we can never have, and hope for the best.

Do you feel the exhausted optimism of the copula? It is embarrassed by the futility of inference, of having to do a special dance to accommodate contradiction, proclaiming both individuation and sameness, first with a howl and finally with a wheeze. We realist copula wielders pound our fists like bratty children, shouting, ‘individuation is adequate!’ We stop at the asthma of adequacy to ‘get things done’, or worse, to ‘do philosophy’, and maintain a realist paradigm in the light of modern physics.(Footnote 8)(52) And this is why epistemological irrealism can only ever be reflexive to realism – neither transcend the tautology hiding in the copula’s ‘because I said so’ provision. Because both irrealism and realism are intrinsically reliant on the trusty copula, the two perspectives never resolve, drawn into hopeless orbit like binary stars – an irresolvable sophistry that only subverts philosophy’s noble ambition. Crippled by the critical error, we trade a clear view of the nature of the universe for the basis of a useful analytical method. Without the trade, we could not build bridges, nor would we need to repair their inevitable break-down. Individuation is the error, as applied to ontology and existence, such that even our bridges are born “astride of a grave”.(53)

When we pivot perception inward and try to grasp the essence of what it means to be human, ontologically, we are unjustly prone to the same error: we imagine ourselves as single things, disturbed by the idea that we are no more than chaotically striving swarms of abstracted identity, collected together around a mushy, ambiguous core. Vulnerable in the world and dwarfed by the inconceivable cosmos, how can we not take refuge in the idea that we ‘have being’ or that something is becoming? But time governs the essence of being – following a finite count of breaths, breaths cease, for life gives us only so many. Is-ness dissipates, and the uncanny collection of parts we thought we were giggle away down Heraclitus’ river. We are never more than that which we did, never more than the energy that motivated us, a continuous motivation persisting through our every day as the distinct fingerprint of Self – perceiving otherwise while we are drunk with the illusion of being and becoming. The central error in the paradigm of is-ness is revealed in our temporary belief that there is a sameness or continuity between a living person and their corpse: death shows us that the dead thing is indeed no longer becoming dead, but is no more from one moment to the next – is no longer ‘doing is-ness’.(54) To correct the error introduced with the copula, we aught say a dead thing was never a thing, and correlate body-object and person-subject as the reciprocation of time-physics and Self-spirit. Interring a corpse in a sarcophagus does not preserve the ‘is-ness’ of the person, so at what specific point in time does the corpse of the dead thing cease to have ‘is-ness’? One day? One thousand years? Should we wait for the wispy ghost to float off and up 20 feet? 120? And what can it possibly mean to ‘have is-ness’? The person that will ‘become’ the corpse was always the corpse and did not have ‘is-ness’ even in life, so our investigation should hold its focus on the error of is if we wish to understand Self and world as energy, in a world that “cannot be analyzed into parts”.

D) Temporary Individuals
From birth to death, we never stop doing until we do no more; the Self that does never pauses to ossify in a comfortable noun. But the faculty of reason, in concert with the rules of logic it invented to explain itself, seduces us into the dream that we exist, and are individual. Do you feel trenchant atoms against your skin as you brush your hand through the smoke? Zoom-out of the time scale so that a lifetime appears as a single notch on the number line, and see that nothing can be: everything is relative, for all entities are as fleeting as morning mist. Break the spell cast by the patchwork of process we call a thing! We living would rather not confront the insight that nothing can achieve being – we are temporary, and only process is real, as long as the sliding and relative scale of time remains an adjustable configuration setting on the durating universe. Nothing can be, but ego’s devotion to identity obfuscates the insight.

Transformation, unceasing extension, and the impossibility of stasis cannot dissuade Self from forming the belief that it is ‘coming into itself’, that conscious experience and intuition coalesce as we “become who we are”, that a mendacious thing is taking massy shape in the smelly fire. We dream that time will pause to allow us to enjoy being that which we have finally become.(55) We are dropped into existence without this illusion, and only the very youngest of us have access to alternatives, as those who are closer than any of us to existing as a pure function of wonder and intuition, especially those of us who are pre-linguistic or even still womb-bound. Unfurling in time and place into an entitation that we believe is an individual being, we correlate our view of the discrete to external reality, and, extrapolating the basic concept of individuation, manage to confuse both the value of the faculty of understanding and our assumption that perceived reality is made of unambiguously solid material. From here both physics and logic enchant with their mystical axioms, even as we swell with zeal and conviction about the ghost in the atom and the Self in the person – even as we qualify the abstract with qualities of existence. Indeed something emerges on the inside, but it is not individuated Self: the mushy bones of identity and social imprisonment are a second skeleton within us, which want to articulate a sturdy spine against the anxiety of unlimited human possibility, to depressurize the stress of existence under the tyranny of tireless flux, and to deliver us to the useful simplicity of ‘is-ness’.

From our weary days of living, diurnal roll, we take long-term refuge in the soothing stasis of identity, in the calm of the lie that we can ‘be’ something substantial, permanent, even as we all know that any condition of ‘is-ness’ can only occur in the non-existent, causal past. Identity would root us to origin, lock us to determinism, calculate our existential trajectory, extinguish the fire that transforms us from ‘one’ thing into something else – would freeze Heraclitus’ river and make eternal that which is inherently transitory. And because we are too proximate to ego to see the full skein of our personhood, like trying to perceive a full view of the entire Milky Way from a position within it, we approximate physics and logic with the adequacy of language and numbers, imagining ourselves brimming with ‘is-ness’, progressing in time, becoming that which we are at the present moment. Identity, ego, and belief – all phantomry! For while we can reason the present moment out of the flow of time like we can reason pflogiston, reason alone cannot manifest perception against the actual, cannot grant us powers to individuate the indivisible continuum. In this way it is stunning to realize that the central problem of correlating perception to the actual is not epistemological, not existential, but raw and physical! At the intersection of existence and metaphysics, time is the cause of Heraclitan flux: we cannot perceive of the ontologically probable until it has collapsed into one dimension of time, which slips into the past before we can perceive it – this goes for Self as much as it does for electrons. But while individuation is an impossibly temporary condition on both large and small time scales, we nonetheless harbor a deeply embedded sense of individual things, and of ourselves as individual.

In this way reason gives us every excuse to believe that we exist as individual things. With such confident footing we deduce that all physical reality correlates to perception, that the actual world itself is also comprised unambiguously of solid, material ‘parts’ – a bottomless premise!(Footnote 9) Swaddled in the consoling certainty of our invention against sameness, the illusion that one thing is not another thing, we build on the error and formulate the fantasy of logic and mathematics, crafting grammar and syntax to express logical relationships between discrete, individual things. The paradigm of individuation feels natural and comprehensive, and perspective keeps us safe from alternatives. Humans believe in things and in individuation, and we import the tautologies into the fabrication process such that theory precedes axiom. Believing we have poured a foundation of durable mathematics, we erect the impressive halls of science, but our best science can only complete the tautological farce, delivering us to our origin. We arrive, exhausted, at our point of departure with Bohm’s ironic statement that, “the world is not analyzable into parts”.(Footnote 10) The optimism of logic is predicated on the categorically temporal, temporary, and impossible nature of parts.

E) Theory Precedes
Science builds on science with the hazy daydream of transcending theory. That all empirical knowledge is necessarily theory-laden should be clear to us insofar as all hypotheses require auxiliary adscitition; no empirical knowledge exists in isolation from basic axioms and definitions, and knowledge reflects what we know of the actual – represents what for us is the physically real. Positive knowledge about a concept like the speed of light, for example, requires that we import knowledge about axioms of motion and location, extrinsic ideas that come from our experience of what we know as the solid, physical, material world, ideas that cannot be abstracted. Analytical knowledge requires its own axioms, and the logic we import assumes the ontological framework of being. But being is really only the ‘lawful’, four-dimensional understanding of Heraclitan doing – the constant flux of deep reality in which we are immersed. Underneath all logical axioms lies an ontological theory about what in the world correlates to the axiom, such that theory would make the thing-in-itself accessible to the scope of perception. The faculty of understanding plays a suspicious role in building axiom from theory by presuming semiotic unanimity.

Abstract reasoning tries to juxtapose the real (what we perceive) against the actual (the real beyond perception). To ensure that our trusty theories are in crisp lockstep with axioms, we need an agreed-upon language, one which is extensible but concise; mathematics seems to serve this function well and provides universal linguistic consensus. Here we have a language that justifies its realist claim by speaking only in terms that are outside of the scope of physics while assuming the basic physical principles behind its axioms. Math has us comprehend number as noun regardless of how convinced we are of the validity of our abstractions: Real Number must be a real aspect of the abstract actual, not fantasy, and must be based on some individual thing that can possibly exist and can be discerned, while the representation must not contradict our physical context such that it must at least be possible for number to be noun and for noun to count number.(Footnote 11) We long to know mathematics as pure and freely self-representing abstraction, but we are incorrect to assume that it is free of theory, incorrect to believe we import no a posteriori association from the physics outside its foundation. Free of theory, we are optimistic that it stands on its own. We depend upon this unhealthy fancy, building our very functional bridges despite how adorably temporary they are in time-lapse; temporality exhibits their ultimate ephemerality, which makes it hard for the four-dimensional perceiver to place it in the context of the actual – leaving us to wonder if the bridge was ever real… if anything is ever real… or if the actual is made of more than one real.

But now we have climbed hard and high, and we have broken a sweat to see that the entire constellation of logic is rooted in erroneous ontology: mathematics requires a valid principle of individuation that the world does not provide, such that our abstract knowledge has no relation to the reality physics describes. Our newest and most magnificent bridges are pregnant with a forceful entropy bulging and kicking at the system’s kernel, and the relative scale of time straddles duration and our ability to define pi. But we do not flinch when our bridges eventually break-down and beg the patient hand of maintenance, for we know that “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.” What is less obvious is that there is no center to do the holding, which is why things only ever fall apart and why the currents of the river are stirred forever by entropy.(56)

In our very approach to mathematics, we bring with us the assumption that we have identified individual things to count and to compare in the first place – objects and nouns, from which we dream to forge the axioms of an abstract and useful language. We assume the possibility of individuation and, by extension, the reliability of understanding, which convinces us of the stasis of objects before we begin to theorize – we ask for things to hold still while we take a picture! We insist that things not shift or sway as we name them, not confuse us as we develop our clumsy, protean linguistics. Assuming a theory of sameness, which we extrapolate tautologically from the logic we invented, we say, “don’t you ever change – you’re perfect just the way I have named you”. Objects must concur with these terms for any mathematical and linguistic abstractions to be valid. But our best physics qualifies the fact that even ancient questions which knead the problem remain unresolved. For example, the legendary paradoxes of Zeno are argued to this day!(57)

Kant posited that some abstract logical knowledge requires experience of the world, and he called this species of knowledge the synthetic a priori. He wanted to say that while we understand pure abstraction is independent of perception, some abstract knowledge is contingent on the synthetic unity of the sensory manifold, and this in a world where things change. By my ontology, I cannot do otherwise but to maintain that even pure abstraction assumes the validity of the physical reality we perceive, something we self-program by virtue of our experience with a cosmos we believe is populated with individuated things. Ignoring, for the moment, the problem that a perceived thing is already in the past by the time the signal braves the course of the nervous network, before we have the privilege to experience it, and that physics shows us that we only perceive the thing-as-probability after-the-fact, a posteriori, the theory underneath the axioms of logic, that there are abstract things to count, cannot precede synthetic a priori validity of physics itself.(Footnote 12) Otherwise, we are in the uncomfortable position to call what amounts to perspective a priori knowledge about the nature of the actual. As such, the synthetic a priori imports theories from perception that feel axiomatic by virtue of an assumed ontological theory, though they do not correlate to the ontology established by modern science. The result is not only that math and physics are riddled with paradox, but that the faculty of understanding is coded in this programming language. Against the physics we know, we theorize that what we perceive reflects the actual, with a conviction that we are precise. Meanwhile, the physics we developed from the self-same habit of abstraction concludes that unperceived entities are not individuated. We are all guilty of this error – I as much as you, intrepid reader! It could be said that this is a simple limitation of the meat of which we are made, and the rules of perception to which our meat is bound.

We abstract the actual with logic and mathematics to invent thingness in the absence of direct, perceptual access to natural entities, to real, objective things, and then justify the core axioms of logic with a principle of sameness which is extrapolated from the logic we invented. Mathematics uses the ‘=’ sign to express this tautology, while language uses the verb ‘to be’. Theory-laden with theory-laden results, logic never reflects physics and the cosmic actual as entitation! We are caught forever in paradox: physics must precede logic, for physics is that which determines the nature of the parts from which all abstraction abstracts thingness, and from which every ‘thing’ is made.(58) Precisely because logic precedes physics necessarily, quantum mechanics demonstrates the real tautology inherent in the philosophical systems of physics and logic. Order predicated on chaos predicated on order – the seed of the yin in the yang and the yang in the yin – exactly such irresolution gives us the drumbeat of causality and the very flow of time. The challenge is that particle physics regards objects which do not remain themselves, static parts that never attain stasis.(Footnote 13) And here is a foothold for metaphysics, the only avenue of explanation immune to the paradox, and one that is ironically not up to epistemological snuff because of its dependency on language, a dependency that begat formal logic as an alternative. Individuation hamstrings metaphysics as it delimits physics, and makes us forever bad at philosophy.

Before 20th C physics, our basic idea of the actual was fundamentally wrong about individuation, and almost all Western philosophy and physics had its roots in an ontology we have since outgrown. This habit persisted through thousands of years, for science and logic were able to dash in leg-lashed tandem and make confident strides.(59) But our freshest science generates the surprise and shrugs its shoulders when it breeches the borders of the mystical, while logic is stranded in the real world of an outdated physics, tethered to perception, drunk on sameness, muzzled by individuation. Ultimately, if the concept of thingness depends on a physics that correlates abstract, logical understanding to observation, what is the value of thing-based logic to knowledge and philosophy if the concept does not reflect the physics? Logic can be reduced in its optimism to a dumb process of deactivating meontological phenomena by the principle of entitation – of pausing time so that a thing can be described and discussed before Heraclitus’ chaotic river washes it away. But we need better axioms to resolve the conflict, and we find ourselves struggling to disambiguate Heraclitan Change and the grand Parmenidesian One, which describe each other in a balanced reciprocal as the uncanny satisfaction of change and the same.

F) Rational Chaos
What axioms, then? Turning to the rational and harmonious music of mathematics, let us begin by holding a string across a circle’s center. Cutting it at the edges, we ask our kindly mathematician how many times the string goes once around the circumference. We hear the reply, “pi”, but this is an ‘irrational’ number; if we proceed, we must do so irrationally. Rational language fails, mathematics cannot meet the empirical challenge – it can only speak irrationally. In the case of pi, number cannot correspond to that which it describes, and the reason is ontologically mysterious – the confounding irrationality of pi betrays the dependency of abstraction on physics, of logic on ontology, of axiom on theory. Pi approximates, rests on adequacy, dancing a step that is ever more precise without ever being precise, defying our quest to identify pattern in the chaos. Pi is an uncountable idea because it is an attempt to measure curvature precisely using individuated abstraction, numbers. If reality is a curved surface, nothing is countable, and as this is an insight on the nature of the real we perceive, it demonstrates a realist principle.

What is this law of nature, and what physical force is responsible? Is the collapse of the rational ever enough to attribute mysticism to the adequate knowledge of ratio and irrationality? Our mathematician holds out pathetic handfuls of ontological poetry, desperate and constrained by the ‘because I said so’ provision, by the call of reason and intelligence to explain what a thing is. But we are only comfortable when we understand ratio as noun, and when we want to calculate pi, we must map the unpatterned chaos to a sensible and is-ness-ful object in the outdated physics of the logical abstract, if we are to find a useful axiom here.

We turn to the physicist to assist us in the challenge, and give us a measurement of the string by zooming-in on the particles that make up the string at the two end-points. But they also shrug their shoulders and ask for our help, pivoting to solicit our explanation of the surreal, non-local dance of the electrons which form the stuff of which the ends of the absurd string are made, which physics reveals but cannot explain with reason.(Footnote 14) We reply to the mathematician and the physicist that our logical errors began when we invented a theory that the string is a thing in the first place, before we defined the ontology clearly, and that the tip of the string’s end is a singular, individual, static point, before we had a satisfactory definition of point. The definitions of thing, point, and so forth are predicated on an outdated ontology, which begs to be correlated to physics so we can arrive at axioms representative of the actual. Until then, we play the fool and pretend we can pause time so that nothing moves while we do the show-and-tell of the principle of individuation. Math ignores the physicist, constraining ontology to perception and condemning knowledge to irrealism when it finally confronts modern science. For two thousand years, logic exploited this vulnerability while physics was distracted and derived no evidence with which to object, but now the two disciplines are philosophically twain because physics has achieved a scope beyond the scale of the perception we use to build our theory about what kind of things exist. And while physicists default to irrealism whenever the philosopher rears their head, both physics and mathematics sway away from chaos for lack of a rational, local solution – only metaphysics stands its ground. Mathematics responds irrationally to our otherwise simple question, evoking the ontological irrationality of particle physics, while physics retreats with a nervous backwards glance, deep into irrealism to gain a comfortable distance from the surrealism of the reality it describes.(Footnote 15) Imagine the problem of the string and the circle in a real-time, real-life scenario: we ask our patient mathematician for the number of diameters that make up a circumference, and with beaming confidence, they begin to sing the digits, “3, 1, 4, 1, 5...”! Each calculation is correct – logic and mathematics are functioning perfectly! We wait eagerly for the conclusion to the answer as they continue to calculate, rattling digits, rambling out the door and down the street, chasing in vain after the final number as pi skips on ahead with a mocking giggle. Our devoted mathematician never returns, never answers our question, never explains reality and never exposes the actual. We are left to understand that the answer to the question, ‘how many diameters make up a circumference’ is a strange song-and-dance work of performance art never ending once commenced, at once never correct nor incorrect in the bizarre and unsatisfying irrationality of its ambitious calculations.

Our kindly mathematician begs forgiveness for humiliating the optimism of math, for it simply can never be more than adequate in translating the perfection of a harmonic ratio into a discrete and stable value. But this only frustrates our metaphysical curiosity, so we climb and turn a corner on the trail to face a new view: the well-tuned and harmonious music of mathematics is composed from a decidedly non-harmonic, cacophonic, chaotic-irrational transposition. Physics remains in sight when we listen to logic, as we fix our gaze at the place between where the string ends and the non-string begins – we should let go of our need for mathematics and logic to provide reason why we seem to see but can never describe, so we can find our way to a modern realism that is compatible with physics and life – something that can answer the root question of ethics: what should we do? Our optimistic number line is pocked with fractal pits and irrational recesses that do not resolve with logic, but we should hold strong in the face of unreason and avoid the paranoia of the Pythagoreans; take solace in physics, for the very reason that it will never provide a ‘one’ thing to count. This is no scandal – mathematics is incapable of the precision metaphysics requires, so we should never commit the error of calling it the ‘language of nature’, or we must concede that nature itself is somehow irrational, and that the tautology of physics and mathematics describes an essential principle of the structure of an absurd reality. Otherwise, physics must author a description of the individual things that logic references in its axioms, which can then reciprocate back into physics. But as physics importunes that the nature of things is absurd and partless, and logic insists on reason and parts, we can expect most numbers will be irrational, and languages will be exclusively approximative despite the quality of the instrument or the impassioned claims of the instrument maker.

G) Moving point divides the One
Next, we turn to Euclid, and ask him for his root axiom, the first definition of his geometry. He replies with squinted eyes and one brow raised: “a point is that which has no part”, singing an enigmatic definition by negation: point described as that which is not. The most basic thing must not be a thing in order to be a thing, and subsequently in order that there be things to anchor semiotics to the logic of abstract concepts; theory (parts) precedes the axiom (point), in the crude stitch of logic to physics. As with empirical physics, when it is time to explain the basic idea, the fundamental unity from which Euclid abstracts his impressive system, he takes pains to guarantee unverifiability, to ensure it is outside of the scope of experience and perception, keeping us safe from an ontological reality that we intuit is in disagreement with our system. Here again is our instinct and our means to preserve the wonder at the core of all desire to comprehend reality, to keep wonder safe from what we know our intelligence and our science want to do to it. Safe, until a courageous soul opens page one of Euclid's Elements and tries to reason the metaphysics of something which “has no part”, or a text on quantum physics staring us down with a statement like “the world cannot be analyzed into parts”, or even when we try to determine how many times a simple diameter wraps around a circle. Lo – the third cornerstone of my metaphysics: for all of the sobriety built into science and knowledge, reason rests on axioms of wonder.

At the same time that we circumscribe the reciprocation of wonder and meaning, we hoist heavy bags of theoretical assumption onto our weary backs, condemning us to climb only so high. This is natural, for we have programmed ourselves over thousands of years with the frosting of identity over thick cultural reinforcement.(Footnote 16) Is our species so complacent that we cannot harness and cultivate this welling of potential in an aesthetic prescription, an ethical medicine, or a political charge? What adorable, endearing innocence in our fear of the murk, reaching for the nightlight in the deep of reality’s dark! Euclid’s is a poetry of innocence, mirroring the metaphysics of chapter 11 of Tao Te Ching: “thirty spokes converge upon a single hub; it is on the hole at the center that the use of the cart hinges... thus while the tangible has advantages, it is the intangible that makes it useful”.(60) Is the taoist axiom any less concrete than Euclid’s poetry, or the performance of pi? Can we be satisfied with the idea that what isn’t, rather than what is, is all we can examine at the foundation of the actual – can we build physics from poetic logic? To reconcile the two stupidities we need a concordance of axioms and theory. The metaphysics of point and pi are too recondite for our tools – they demand greater precision than language and number can satisfy. And while countless philosophers have explored the complexities of pi, and as many have detailed the limits of language, here we see the value of pi and the language of that value concatenated in rebellion against individuation such that we can re-focus our metaphysical access to the actual.

Let down these burdensome bags that we might climb higher! If logic must regard things, and if these things cannot be excused from determinism and the flow of time that changes them, we should not expect logic to reconcile their difference. Let us climb higher, and leave logic as the beastly spider that she is – devourer of mosquitoes, useful friend, a cherished partner who we do not want in our bed! Though Gödel exposed the recursive, closed-loop of all knowledge, that it must refer to its own axioms in demonstrating the validity of any axiomatic truth, thereby holding logic to answer for the impossibility of individuation, does this not evoke a deeper ontological view of reality and the kind of things that can exist? Before we gaze out from the cliffs of recursive knowledge, our eyes must be wide open. For example, what are the ontological implications of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, which shows that mathematics can only ever approximate and is always, in essence, theory-laden? How does such an important insight become stranded in specialization? Why are we not trained in the unreasonable, the absurd irrational, the illogical, when we think across disciplines, for example, in metaphysics or music?

We climb now, together, to a perch that should not seem impossible to reach at this point in our adventure, and behold a complete view of this chapter: human logical systems are sound and useful only insofar as they ignore their ontologically erroneous foundations, much as we manage to suspend belief in even our weirdest physics despite the discomfiture of cognitive dissonance. Epistemologically, we employ a logic which is adequate and functional (‘good enough for jazz’) but fundamentally erroneous. We can learn from the chaotic nature of the irrational that our mathematical and logical axioms are necessarily post-lawful, perhaps best described in poetry. But ‘post-lawful’ logic still feels too strong a contradiction, so we should keep our understanding of logic as-is, and relegate it to the toolboxes of engineers and analysts, for whom it suffices to produce work of a relative slop, functional tools that only need to be so perfect, buggy software that basically works, music that is ‘good enough for jazz’. Metaphysics always has its face turned toward the imprecise farce of logic, and when we approach the existential questions awaiting us at the summit, we will require a strong purchase on solid physics and logic, or we subscribe to adequacy, and the informed belief that first principles always fail but always seem to ‘get the job done’.

While logic and lawfulness are traditionally synonymous, the marrow of logic we scoop from the bone of this chapter has the fire-roasted flavor of the chaotic and the irrational. With this extra-lawful foundation, my inquiry shifts to existential, metaethical principles, which assume that human logic is not traditionally post-lawful. Only now can we recognize that which resides between logic, my ontology, and the core of metaethical conviction: the clever kobold belief. My metaethical thesis compels me to analyze the mechanics of belief systems and how belief makes its invasive home within us, at the epistemological juncture of ontology and existentialism.

H) Mechanics of Belief
If there is an existential purpose to my ontology and logic analysis, I want to bring to light the mechanics of belief with the hope to inform my metaethical deduction: how we come to form belief, how we become inadvertently beholden to the beliefs we form, and how we unwittingly create identity from belief. Belief lives at the nexus of Self and the world, and the glaring, unresolved consequence of my ontology is that it leaves open the question of the reality of the unified subject. In an ontology of doing, do we need a subject to have things done to, a doer and that to which something is done? And doesn’t this subject require some quality of is-ness, of being and becoming, in order to do? In my assessment, we do not need the subject, and it is only by belief that we invent and propagate this error.

What is belief, and how does it form? In the most pathetic way, the flow of fate and circumstance steers existence, and for this reason alone no one has ever freely chosen their beliefs, just as hand-made software never chooses how it is programmed. And if we are subject to the mechanics of belief with no meaningful control of the formation, then belief is the deterministic effect of mechanical cause – the accidental, transactional alignment of Self with circumstance over time, the function of the ego’s symbolic form which transforms the conceptual status of the ‘I am’ from the possible, to the probable, to the past. It is cholesterolic, choking imagination, cramping freedom, and constraining the Self’s free growth as it grows and congeals within us. Belief is a slamming shut of doors in a failed rebellion against the impossibility of becoming. But freedom coaxes us to overcome the asthmatic constriction, to fill our lungs and breathe freely. We undo the accident and master belief by comprehending the mechanism, understanding how it enslaves and controls us, foiling its automation, or manipulating it to our advantage; it otherwise manipulates us, takes advantage of us, clabbering in the cracks of approximation as the grout of adequate knowledge. In mastering belief, we are left with two options, shepherd the annihilated Self into a child-like liberation saturated in wonder, (what is casually called ‘enlightenment’), or self-manipulate belief mechanics to achieve intentional, desired outcomes.

The deeper epistemological machinery of belief and its underlying architecture is impressive and abstruse; we are quickly over our head mapping the features, forms, modes of attribution, states, and systems of the theoretical apparatus of belief related to particle physics alone. As a tool for abstracting the actual from the approximate, belief employs intelligence to operate the faculty of understanding as effectively as knowledge and wonder, and ultimately has as much value as a substitute – in this way it is the caulking that fills and smooths the sharp gaps in the tiled surface of adequacy.(61) It resolves impossibility with sanity; how else can we maintain a post-modern equilibrium with challenges like quantum physics? We understand an effect like wave-particle duality, but most of us have no knowledge of the math behind it, requiring that we form a belief that the math can be known by someone in order to maintain the optimism of logic when we try to grasp the absurd and the impossible. My principle of entitation suggests that we also extend our suspension of belief to the philosophical legitimacy of mathematics itself, for the sanity that someone understands the mathematical basis of quantum physics. To know the world mathematically, even the mathematician must believe that perceived physics has access to fundamental principles of the actual, and that these principles legitimize the concept of ‘one’ things; pure abstraction requires that there be no ambiguity in physics or ontology. But the methodology of belief is only ‘good enough for jazz’, which is all that is needed with the tools we have to program our understanding.

In this way, belief builds on what has already affixed itself to us as belief, until we approximate new knowledge and form new beliefs to clog fresh gaps. The effect is cumulative, such that we have few if any beliefs in early youth, before we have acquired the vast, oppressive knowledge of later age. As it curdles into identity, existing beliefs govern and regulate what new beliefs solidify, with little or no input from the spirit of the person. Oblivious to the capacious manipulation to which we subject ourselves in this process, we translate cumulative belief imprints into forms of static identity, and with no practical control over the automation, identity and personality manifest accidentally, organically, inadvertently woven from the mechanics of belief and ossifying into who we are. The pesky copula creeps into our personal experience of ourselves as we hear our voice shouting to the world, ‘this is who I am!’ Subsequent transactions with existing belief condition both the belief and the resulting forms of identity.

Belief being a topic worthy of its own book-length study, this brief section is but a slate chip skipping nippily atop a vast lake – though it is sufficient for the purpose of this work, which is not meant to steer academic minds or exhaust the topic. In the chapter on metaethics that follows, I describe the mastering of belief mechanics as a shift from what I call the lawful paradigm to the chaotic paradigm. A final ascent, into and through the clouds – we bring with us our ontology, our logic (for what it is worth) and our view on the nature of Self and belief.


1.Cf. 1D.4.1: “Axioms”. (back)

2.Cf. D.3: “Bose-Einstein Condensates”. (back)

3.Oft-cited examples of this like, e.g., the Fibonacci sequence, are examples of nature endlessly approximating itself. (back)

4.Heraclitus was called the “weeping philosopher”. (back)

5.Cf. my interpretation of the principium individuationis as a principium entitationis, described in 1A: “Thesis”. (back)

6.Rather than a ‘pseudo-copula’, like ‘seems’, or ‘feels’. (back)

7.Some languages, including Hawaiian, do not have the standard copula. (back)

8.Other paradigms, also: e.g., the entire monotheosophic premise is the demonstration of a ‘one’ thing, because without it, ontology can only be Heraclitan, and there is no money to be made in selling sadness. (back)

9.“It’s turtles all the way down”. (back)

10.Cf. 1D.4.1: “Axioms”. David Bohm is a parts-physicist. (back)

11.Cf. Forward of this work. Mathematicians insist that ‘real numbers’ must exist, if for no other reason, so that irrational numbers can exist. (back)

12.Cf. Section G.1: the dual-slit experiment. (back)

13.Cf. Section G: “Physics”. (back)

14.Cf. Section 1D.4.1: “Attributions”. Indeed, the end of the string by my ontology must be as a rushing waterfall, the nexus and pulsing extent of the dance of probabilistic entitations near the extreme of the rational and the absurd. (back)

15.Cantor’s uncountability proof indirectly demonstrates that most numbers are irrational, and that there are as many transcendental numbers as there are real numbers. But what are the ontological implications of finding that mathematics can only ever approximate, with, e.g., Gödel’s incompleteness theorem? And why are physicists and mathematicians silent on this point? We take this as the point of departure for this chapter. (back)

16.This very book is an example of the tendency! (back)

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