30 December, 2012

The Failure of the Marxists!

How Those Who Profess to Carry the Banner of Marxism

Fail in the Clearly Evident Tasks of Today

In 2008 there was a meeting in Manchester University concerning the quite evident worldwide crisis in the Capitalist system, this time precipitated by the latest ruse of the Banks to inflate value out of nothing. Their motives were made crystal clear when one day after the cataclysmic collapse in Iceland a prominent British businessman was seen dashing around that country looking for dirt-cheap acquisitions. There can even be a profit in a major recession, if you know what to do and have the disposable wealth to exploit it!

A Marxist from America (as part of a World Tour) was there to explain who was to blame for the crisis. A very large audience (unknown in recent times for such a speaker) was present, primed and ready to hear what the Marxists had to say about this glaringly evident rip–off: it was just possible that they had been right all along, and the gathering were clearly willing to listen to what these people were saying NOW! Nobody else was giving them any sort of explanation, or delivering a meaningful political response to those who perpetrated this almighty catastrophe. For this time it was clearly Capital itself that had caused the Event, doing what it always does, but here clearly showing where it leads.

But what happened? Did the speaker answer the crucial Question posed, and fill his audience with a real purpose to oppose these parasites and kick them out?

NO! He didn’t!
It was in fact the same old story – the same old activist stuff, which saw NO epoch-making opportunity for political action, but only a bigger than usual protest reaction.
You would have expected unanswerable economic analysis. You didn’t get any!
You would have expected a deep and powerful philosophical standpoint, which better than all other positions could explain the causality of such crises and their guaranteed consequences, by the generated actions of the ruling class as they moved to make the Working Class foot this bill as they always do. But you didn’t get that either!

In spite of a clearly “Left position”, and quotes from Marx et al, the contribution of this imported Marxist expert was mere reportage. And the response of our homegrown versions was worse! What did they do? Have another demonstration? The speaker from America had NO Marxist economics to relate. All his stuff was merely different emphases upon the analyses of pro-capitalist economists. And there was certainly NO profundity of philosophical standpoint at all. What he had to say was what is usually said, but writ somewhat larger. It was pragmatic, idealist activism only: it was the politics of the demonstration ONLY - Protest politics, and NOT politics for action! It was certainly NOT the politics of Revolution, which was not arrived at by Marx and his followers in hope, but because they had realised that all real Qualitative Change only occurs in Revolutionary Events, without which the forces of reaction will always triumph and re-establish their status quo.

Implicit in the reformist position is the assumption that change can be brought about incrementally, and imperceptibly, until the new realm appears. Real Marxists have always known that such an assumption is total rubbish. And they have also always known that the majority will never subscribe to their position, unless it becomes increasingly clear in revolutionary situations. Even in Russia in 1917, Lenin returned to find his own party deeply mired in reformist, gradualist myths. In his April Theses he had to tear them away from their self-delusions and get them the face their ONLY task – to prepare for and then lead the coming revolution!

But any such opportunity at the Manchester meeting was missed completely.
The audience went away with no real understanding, no new conceptions, and certainly no fire in their bellies to strive for significant, revolutionary Change. It seems to me that the present day Marxists are ashamed of their revolutionary heritage. Consider how differently many of those at that meeting would have reacted subsequently to the current series of revolutions in the Middle East, if those delivering there had done their job.

These “Marxists” couldn’t raise any real enthusiasm, because they were NOT Marxists!
They were NOT developing their ideas day by day. They were peddling old stuff yet again. Marxism isn’t an eternal Faith. It is the ongoing and never-complete Science of Revolutionary Change. It may not always be evident in day-to-day politics, but it certainly is philosophically!

For it is about all Reality in the process of Change. It addresses both the longer periods of Stability AND the short and crucial Interludes of Qualitative Change. And it is applicable in ALL disciplines. It can deliver the answers not only to Social questions, but also even to such questions as the Origin of Life on Earth, and the impasses in modern sub Atomic Physics.
These so-called proponents of Marxism seem to know absolutely nothing of all this. They have cut Marxism down to a manageable size: it has become their Book of Truth, and this ceased to be their methodology of revealing ever new truths, and their guide to necessary action.

In this important meeting, where an audience was keen to hear something different to the usual stuff, did not have a single Marxist philosopher rising to his feet and revealing profound and new truths arising NOW out of this remarkable crisis. The old truths were considered sufficient!
It was, it must be said, a pathetic performance.
I watched the audience as they filed out. No signs of realisation were evident. Only one or two went up to give in their names. It was an anticlimax, and any follow-up meetings would inevitably decline as a real programme on ALL the necessary fronts was not conceived of, never mind put in place.

A few months earlier I had got my son who was a member of a “Marxist-left” party to get them to invite me to give them a short contribution at a branch meeting.
I have been a Marxist for 60 years, and was highly involved for 17 years in the sixties and seventies, but I finally dropped out because not only was no one developing Marxism, but my efforts to do so were considered to be somewhat reprehensible. I was always addressing questions, which I didn’t think had been adequately addressed, and this was universally considered to be a waste of valuable time, when I should be on the factory gate, selling papers door-to-door, and arguing with everyone I met to get them “to join”. No one seemed to notice that no matter how much activism was poured in, the state of the organisation was clearly in terminal decline and was getting nowhere. No one was developing Marxism and hence all was in clear retrenchment, but the question had to be “Why was this so?”

For the World was increasingly full of new evidence.
Science was delivering new truths, and even non-Marxists were attempting to develop conceptions of Emergence, which was the same as Becomings for Hegel, and Revolutions for Marx) but though they had realised that these did indeed occur, they were, without the necessary philosophical ground, doomed to failure due to their own inadequate standpoint, and in the end turned to studies which insisted on seeing such Events as mere Form, and attempted to solve it with mathematics alone via a “new” area on Mathematics termed Chaos. Real Marxists should have been romping away in such areas – surely their own areas of qualitative Change, but they weren’t! At this branch meeting, I gave a talk about Continuity and Descreteness as discussed by Zeno, and gave examples of how I had addressed similar problems in the complex Analysis and Teaching of Dance Movement. They could not have been more uninterested. No discussion ensued, and I was not asked to contribute again. Clearly they couldn’t believe that I was studying Dance and telling them about it. I realised that they were no Marxists. They were “left” activists only.

I determined to at least carry my discoveries over into a detailed study of Emergences as my contribution to the Marxism of today, and spent several years gradually taking forwards a study of the inner trajectory of such Events. I have Social Revolutions and biological Emergences such as the Origin of Life on Earth as my starting points, and I was finally able in 2010 to publish The Theory of Emergences on the Internet. And not only that! My son and myself set up a new internet-based Philosophical Journal entitled SHAPE, which had issues every 3 weeks containing new papers, a comprehensive Archive of all previous publications, and an increased number of Extended Special Issues on particular topics.

It is a Marxist Philosophical Journal, which ranges across Physics, Mathematics, and Biology, and also addresses a whole raft of philosophical areas such as Plurality, Holism, Freewill, Scientific Truth, Abstraction and Theory in general. And after two years the Journal has begun to make important contributions particularly in the Philosophy of Science, and has even delivered a Non Copenhagen explanation of the famed Double Slit Experiment and redesigned Miller’s Experiment on the circumstances prior to the Origin of Life on Earth. Now, all of this has been the work of a single isolated person making the best of his long education and participation in revolutionary politics. Yet, So far, the response has been another resounding silence.
Where are the Marxists who revolutionise Thinking?
They don’t even exist to criticise the ideas on SHAPE.
The reason must be obvious. They don’t do Philosophy!

Yet, who else can take Philosophy forwards?
Is it the University academics? My experience with what I have read of their work on Zeno and on Emergences would seem to indicate that they are simply not equipped to address these areas in anything but strictly Formal Logic ways. While in Science the extended 100-year retreat in Sub Atomic Physics, where are those to who can demolish the Idealism of the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory? They certainly don’t seem to exist, and for the same reasons as in Philosophy.
No scientists seem to be sufficiently philosophically equipped to counter the Idealism brought in by Bohr and Heisenberg, which has now ruled entirely unassailed for almost 90 years

So, will such “activists” react to the changing World and indeed attempt to change it? The answer, at present, is a resounding, “NO! Even the tumult in the Middle East has NO Marxists, or even socialists involved. The revolutionists talk only of removing their current dictators and replacing them with a common or garden variety of Democracy as they see in the West. They don’t seem to know that such a revolution will only finally complete the over ripe objectives of the long overdue Capitalist Revolution, which started with the English Revolution in the 17th century, via the French Revolution in the 18th century and culminated in their areas with the Nationalist overthrows of Kings and Imperialists in the 20th century.

ONLY this type of revolution is currently happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria, which has its aim only to empower the Middle Class, but not to dispense with Capitalism.

Without a true Marxist leadership, NO Russian Revolution would have been possible, and NO similar overthrow will occur in the Middle East. For in spite of the energy and commitment, without an understanding of these Events and the leadership to re-direct it into what is required today, these remarkable Events could once more merely replace one kind of top down control with another.

Remember Marx with all his years in the Library of the British Museum, and Lenin settling down to write Materialism and Empirio Criticism during the Reaction after the failed 1905 Revolution. Marx was right! Dialectical Materialism in ALL fields is infinitely superior to the conceptions of the “conserving class”, but such things don’t happen automatically. Human Beings have to conquer ever-new areas as they become necessary, and thus increasingly “tool up” the Working Class for Revolution.

Who Agrees?

(A new series of special issues of the Shape Journal on Marxist philosophy are soon to be published on website to address some of the issues raised in this post - watch this space)


26 December, 2012

Issue 28 of Shape

As I pick up my pen and write about what has been percolating in my thoughts since my last session, I frequently find myself returning to the same old questions: and so it should be! For, no matter how apt and succinct a particular contribution may be, it will always be very far from being the last word. Indeed, if this process of writing on Philosophy did not have this cyclic form, it would not be of much real value at all.

For let us be absolutely clear, Man is not God: he is certainly not positioned in some ideal and elevated position from which he can survey and immediately comprehend Everything swiftly and accurately. Man is, in fact, only a part of that Physical Reality that alone and miraculously, can begin to consider his position and that of surrounding Reality, and ask the perennial question, “Why?”

Yet, he has always been well aware of his inadequacies in this regard, and his conceived-of, all-knowing, all-seeing, ideal human being capable of such a task was embodied in an elevated, perfect Entity, which he named as GOD.

It should not be surprising that he should never alight directly and immediately upon the actual Truth, but only on aspects of it, and his consequent and attempted extrapolations would always be fraught with misconceptions.

And the whole method of thinking created and developed only by Mankind, has only come this far by cutting Reality down-to-size, in other words, simplifying it in one way or another, and at best, such processes can only reveal particular aspects or views of a very complex and evolving whole. Indeed, it would not be far from the truth to say that the main gain from any such extractions is that they pave the way for following corrections and slightly better “ground” in a continuing process. The journey is the thing!

Now, this doesn’t mean that we sit on a mountain somewhere and THINK! On the contrary, we have to survive, and a good deal of our thinking is about real problems of dealing daily with this real World. Nevertheless, Philosophy is the Prime Thinking Activity, and in our present pragmatic World has become almost negligible in its serious occurrence.

Left wing politics is now almost 100% activism, and the labours of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to lay a broad and sound philosophical foundation to equip the Working Class to fight against its oppressors, has almost completely vanished. The crucial philosophical questions of the age are never tackled by professed Marxists, and indeed many follow behind the idealist mathematical-scientists of today, not only without the necessary criticism, but instead actually extolling their contributions to a “better” worldview.

So, returning to the same questions is indeed vital, and without it, what we consider to be our philosophical bases change and then ossify into useless fossils of past thought.
So, this is a small set of introductory papers, where some of the bases of a materialist, holist, evolutionary and Marxist standpoint are not only once again brought into focus, but also constantly updated and improved.

Beware! There are implications for YOU!

20 December, 2012

The Myth of Natural Law

Do Disembodied Formal Relations Drive Reality?

What really happens when Form is deemed to be the Essence and Driving Cause of our Universe?

Now, clearly it must first be explained what is meant by Form, or more comprehensively, “What are the possible alternative conceptions of this important feature of all Reality?”

From the standpoint of this writer, Form is pattern or shape!

But it can also be concentrated into formal relations, which within a single equation can deliver with suitable known inputs any situation within its range: it concentrates a whole similarly determined set of cases into one all embracing “law”.

This can be extended to affirm that such “laws” determine what happens in Reality, but it cannot explain why such things occur!

The belief in such determinations leave the answer to the key question, “Why?”, as “Because they obey this law!” Clearly, why it should do so is left completely unanswered.

The time has come for us to pursue the method involved at arriving at such “Laws”.

Actual equations are formal extractions from pure, quantitative data, measured in some corner of Reality, but, most definitely, extracted (isolated) from that World into pure, disembodied relations – Formal relations! So what actually are they?

They are merely (and only) sound, succinct and purely formal descriptions, and, of themselves, cannot cause anything concrete to happen no matter how forcibly we utter the above imperative. What we have in our hands is a mathematical relation only: it cannot explain itself, it merely describes what happens.

Yet, of course, it can deliver something useable: it enables the prediction of consequent states from given values of key parameters. And, this empowers Man to use them to some desirable and intended outcome.

In spite of them being totally disembodied, they do both describe and encapsulate the Forms of really existing situations.

Now, of course, merely inserting chosen values into our relied-upon equations simply gives us a prediction of what will happen if implemented in the source situation. At such a stage, we have merely conceived of a concrete intervention into Reality. So, at that point absolutely nothing has been changed. But, if we can both control and change the piece of concrete Reality to which our equations refers, then, and only then, can we intervene and achieve our objective.

Now, if we take this whole sequence of actions by Man, from the starting point in the study of a piece of Reality, through the taking of measurements, then to concentrating of a whole range of these into a formal relation (an Equation), and finally using it to some required end, we have then managed to come through an interesting set of disciplines, which are NOT a single integrated set but in fact a related series.

The first step has to be effective and continuing control of a Domain of Reality, to keep it pretty “still”, so that any relations are both continuing and clearly visible.

This is the Experimental Stage: Stage A. But, it is certainly not yet Science! Indeed, people who called themselves alchemists or inventors did this for centuries.

Clearly though, the reliability of the data would only increase sufficiently if the ability to control was developed to a remarkable degree.

Once obtained as a Data Set, the next discipline that could turn it into a single, range-wide formulation had to involve the techniques of the mathematicians.

This is the Formulation Stage: Stage B. For mathematicians had long studied such relations in total isolation from their real world and concrete contexts, and had found many fruitful ways of studying and manipulating them entirely within their own purely formal terms! This mathematical expertise was necessary to deliver the “Law” that had been extracted as a mere data set.

Now, using this “Law” was not merely a matter of applying it wherever you fancied. Indeed, even in the seemingly most conducive circumstances, it would invariably fail!

In fact the very same skills that had enabled the initial experiment, and the extraction of dependable data, had to be employed again to replicate the exact same conditions. For only then could the Law be reliably employed.

This stage was the Implementation Stage: Stage C. This was still NOT the sphere of Science, but of the technologists.

So, you must have noticed, this whole set of procedures was possible without a scientists as such being involved.

Now that is not what we usually think, is it?

And, indeed, many self-professed “scientists” would do all those sub processes themselves, and call the overall exercise “Science”, but that would not be true as we have demonstrated above. So what do actual scientists do, which characterises them as different to the perpetrators of the above series of procedures?

The study the results of experiments, and their formulation into equations, and then seek to explain why they are so!

The scientist looks for causes and explanations, for their primary and defining task is to reveal the Nature of Reality. The scientist must contribute to Understanding!

Though revelations, formulations and use are important, the main gain from such activities has also to be the ever increasing and deepening of Understanding of Reality, and without the scientist, this simply doesn’t happen.

Now, perhaps with some justice, many scientists will protest at this analysis. And for centuries they would indeed have had a strong case. For as jack-of-all-trades practitioners in all the above-described stages, their major motivation was to understand why Reality behaved as it does. They spent a great deal of time interpreting and explaining their results. It involved many definitions of newly conceived of entities and revelation of their properties, and always a process of explanatory analysis was considered essential!

But, we must not overlook the wholesale Retreat precipitated by the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

Bohr and Heisenberg latched onto the self-evident widespread nature of the above processes, and having been totally defeated by the theoretical implications of the Quantum, postulated that the “Explanation should be totally abandoned as self-kid”, and also that the Scientific Method would henceforth have to terminate once equations had been reliably extracted. They “threw out the baby with the bathwater”, and this was because they did not understand the process of approaching true Reality via increasingly better Objective Content.

So, they made Equations the driving Laws of Nature, and affirmed that they were therefore entirely sufficient. But, of course, they were no such things!

Such a blinkered and purely formal stance would merely collect Formulae. They would merely amass a prodigious Library of Forms and corresponding Domains of Applicability!

For example, there were at the last count I made twelve different and mutually exclusive models of the atomic nucleus – that is twelve different equations that could be reliably used as long as you chose the right one at the right time: hardly a complete solving of the nature of the nucleus!

Such a “running away” was, and still is, something quite correctly to be thoroughly ashamed of.

Now, there couldn’t be any sort of return to the old theoretical methods, for something vital was wrong with them, as clearly established by the Quantum. For as long as they continued to totally fail with the phenomena involving Quanta, that method had to be banned.

But, some sort of explanations was STILL imperative. So, these “revolutionaries” turned away from Reality, to find necessary answers, and instead relied exclusively on formulae, and the established methods of their investigation – Mathematics.

Finally, the crucial change converted them from materialists into idealists...

Why Socialism X: Socialised Capital I

soviet banknote lenin

Funding Development
Now, once the Capitalist System is no more, the usual way of getting the necessary financial resources for setting up any sort of new business, commissioning any necessary external services, or subsequent re-tooling, will require alternative means.

And it will no longer be the DeLorean Model of acquiring state funding to deliver “sorely-needed jobs” in a depressed area, only to dupe ill-informed politicians, and, in effect, enlarge their own increasing wealth with far from communal motives - such will no longer be allowed to happen.

The question must be, “What must these alternative methods be, and how will their sources both acquire their financial resources and deliver required funding?”

Clearly, from the outset, personal profit will be excluded as a motive.

With Service as the driving force, the usual bids will be suggestions for improving or extending what already exists, and the usual sequences will probably involve funding for some sort of pilot schemes. Thus, very different imperatives will drive that system, more like developments in Hospitals, the Fire Service or the Co-op (CWS) than in the capitalist environment with short-termism and money motives.

Now, clearly, the wherewithall for doing this in Capitalism is the wealth in the hands of private individuals and banks.

But, even they had to start from somewhere.

It was partly to address these present questions that the first paper in this series was the one about Primitive Accumulation that had been necessary before Capitalism had really taken off.

The main way then was the universally applied “robbery-with-violence" (or War as it is sometimes called)

Now though production of food and commodities for sale had been around for millennia, it only rarely concentrated vast amounts of wealth into few hands. So, war was decidedly better at achieving this concentration.

The rewards for victory in those methods were booty and land, and thus great empires were erected upon this means alone.

Now clearly, a new socialist state cannot use the same methods, but to keep industry and commerce working, it can, and must, take back into the possession of the people all the wealth amassed by entrepreneurs, capitalists and thieves of various kinds. All wealth would have to be confiscated and become the resources for the new state and its people.

All Banks and Corporations would be nationalised without compensation for the same reasons, and where individuals or groups decided to run off with their ill-gotten gains, they would be pursued by revolutionary armed forces to free that booty and return it for the benefit of all.

In addition, all firms would be re-organised to be under Worker’s Control, but with a commitment to both their local Community and to the State via taxes, policies and Revolutionary Law, though these would be very different from a Capitalist Regime, where after having paid Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT on most purchases and many other taxes and fees, the proportion of earnings left to be used in whatever way the workers and their families thought fit was, and is, derisory.

There will be, of course, mammoth opposition from the privileged layers of the old regime, who though their power was not necessarily extensive, could live very comfortable lives, and that would no longer be guaranteed by the well-tried methods of ancestors accruing sufficient wealth to ensure it by whatever means available.

The Theme would certainly be Service and Reward, rather than personal Success and Wealth.

So those well used to such things will certainly fight to bring the new State to its knees. [14 capitalist nations invaded Russia after the successful revolution in 1917 with the intention of destroying the new Socialist state and returning it to its previous owners (or perhaps themselves?)].

But, nevertheless, without the multiple layers of profit taken and the Principle of Serving the Community, many things would begin to be achieved. Sufficient houses of sound quality would be built to ensure everyone a home.

Landlords would be no more!

All such functions would not be for profit, but for need, and though the old capitalists will fight to their last breaths to regain their wealth, they will not succeed. Because this time it will not be one isolated revolution surrounded by hostile and powerful enemy states, but the famed “Domino Effect”.

As with the Arab Spring of 2011, one country after another will topple their rulers, and will co-operate with each other NOT, of course, like the UK, France and the USA who “co-operated” with the Libyan rebels, merely to get a piece of the Oil, but as equal partners for mutual good of their peoples.

Now, when managers are running a company on behalf of investors, they must feed the voracious appetite of those people as their prime necessity. So, all possible means are used to maximise profit, and these are only very rarely reflected in increased wages to those workers employed in that company.

My stepfather was regularly sacked when he demanded a better deal for his Foundry Gang, and just as regularly re-employed because his superiors could neither do what he was able to do, nor find anyone else to do it for them.

Nevertheless, his position was unique, and almost all workers just had to keep stum or be kicked out. Indeed, even the defensive organisations of the Working Class were considered by owners to be the main enemy, and in certain eras, such as in the 1980s in the UK, a Tory Government was willing to shut down vast tracts of manufacturing and mining to destroy the most effective Trades Unions. 

So, the question arises, “What will the imperatives be in organisations now owned by the People at large?” No voracious investors wishing to keep (or even inflate) their very comfortable lives, so what would be the incentives and rewards under this new system? Who would get them, and on whose judgment?

12 December, 2012

The Wisdom of Youth?

Chilean Students Protesting

How should we regard old age?

In the latter half of the twentieth century, with rebellions of youth against "their elders", and whole new ideas arising as ever new layers of Mankind finally achieved something of what they needed to begin to be able to make their own contributions and understanding, a positive "Belief in Youth" came to predominate. 

But that has to be a surprising view! For with age people have certainly experienced more, so the long-standing association of wisdom with age seemed reasonable. So why did it happen, and is it a legitimate and better direction to look for answers for the world's problems?

There are good reasons for this change to have occurred, for simply growing older does not automatically ensure increasing wisdom, and crucially, for the vast majority of ordinary people, both their cultural and knowledge deprivation via misinformation from those in control could, and indeed, often did ossify their ideas into ever more conservative, pessimistic and unimaginative ways of thinking. Indeed, the experiences of the majority are rarely of increasing opportunities and success, and much more frequently, of repeated retreats and even defeats of their aspirations. Indeed, their sources of information are quite consciously arranged to have this effect, whether it be in education, news, or even in their entertainment. 

And apart from such personal experiences, it has also mattered greatly how many and how deep were the political defeats endured by working people throughout their lives. Sadly, events like the General Strike defeat of 1929 undermined the political confidence in a whole generation. Old age was directed into disillusionment, privileged service or even quiescence.  

By the time of my own first consciousness of the world (in the 1940s) my working class parents were (as I only discovered later) stuffed full of incorrect knowledge. It was not their fault, of course, they just worked all hours God sent merely to survive and bring up their children. They had literally no education. My paternal grandmother could neither read not write, and my Dad was an unskilled labourer his whole life. My mother was intelligent, but totally uneducated, and though it was certainly she who made me who I was (and am), she could no longer play a role once I got to Grammar School, and into a wholly different world, of which she knew absolutely nothing!

So, it was the reaction of that generation (mine) - which was the first to have a chance of seeing beyond those iron-clad limits of our parents, and who began to learn many new things - to rebel against the conservative and ill-informed views of our parents. Youth knew better!

But, though unavoidable in those circumstances, it could not be a universal truth.

For, of course, given full and unmodified access to Reality in all its aspects, and without political repression, age must certainly grow wiser! How can an inexperienced teenager know and understand more than a pensioner, with a whole life's rich experiences behind him? 

In long gone eras, the situation was the direct opposite. When things didn't change much from generation to generation, there could only be a steady accumulation of wisdom in those who had experienced most and had successfully survived into old age. In the animal kingdom, it is the old matriarchs who frequently lead the herds, and ensure their survival, and certainly not the frolicking youngsters.

So, what has happened to my generation and the rebellion of Youth?

Has it gone from strength to strength and conquered the world? Or has it lost faith and found other things to indulge in, whether sex, or alcohol, or drugs? 

Even the political surge of the 1960s (my generation's surge) was already retreating by the early 70s, and today's students are seemingly more intent upon seeking middle class security, or Hippy escapism! The reaction to the 2008 financial crisis worldwide was pathetic! And things have not improved one iota since then.

So, what is to be done?

Do we just perpetuate this cycle getting nowhere, and in a different way, still end up conservative and disappointed? Or can we put away our prejudices and look for wisdom where it must surely reside?

It will not be in Youth! It will be in the Old who have not been defeated.

Where will we find them?

04 December, 2012

The Problem With Science

Documentary by Michael Coldwell on the work of philosopher Jim Schofield. "The Problem With Science" looks at several flawed assumptions at the heart of the scientific method, and how they have adversely effected how we see the world.

While few would deny the great technological and scientific advances of the last century, even fewer are aware of the methodology's many drawbacks and pitfalls, and how these have lead us to a distorted view of reality, and an inability to understand both qualitative change and the inexplicable emergence of the wholly new.

Is the answer to adopt a more holisitic approach to Science

The Last Farewell to Concrete Reality?

The antics of current scientists in attempting to rationalise their pragmatic use of formal relations (equations) gets weirder by the week.

The problem was made literally permanent by the victory of The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory as the final overt switch in a long process within Physics that had always been present, but had previously managed to co-exist with an incompatible materialist standpoint. For though these two major elements regularly produced contradictions, there were always enough points of growth for these inconsistencies to be 'temporarily' shelved, to be addressed later.

For this overtly stated and steadfast standpoint impelled its disciples to reject physical explanations as always untrustworthy, and insisted that all 'true scientists' could only rely upon extracted (and abstracted) formal relations, which were the only 'truths' available to us that we can both discover and extract.

Theory, thereafter was deemed to be in Equations.

But that, I'm afraid, didn't solve it, for the simple reason that all equations are mere descriptions of phenomena: they are never explanations.

So, an amalgam of physical entities - the fundamental particles, with all sorts of 'add-ons', odd properties were found to be necessary to add substance to the purely formal (and hence totally disembodied) patterns and forms delivered by equations.

And this latest compromise was founded upon the surprising primacy of equations, which actually then (and unavoidably) became the True Field for all 'investigative research'.

'Entities' and 'Properties' of various kinds were identified with sub-forms within these entirely dependable equations. And, remarkably, experiments thereafter took on a completely inverted role within Science. Instead of being the source for new facts, they were conducted merely to prove or deny the latest formal theories (based solely upon maths forms).

But, as with all such compromises, while they allowed continuing researches and theoretical developments, there was still a major problem. The equations could not deliver Matter!

The extrapolation of patterns that elsewhere had been used to explain forces and fields were employed to 'bring' Matter into the same kind of patterns, and the Higgs Field and Higgs Boson were devised to create Matter - but as an illusion, rather than actual substance.

Of course, all of this only delayed the inevitable, and if you're honest, you would expect the evident, contradiction would surface once more. Physicality - particles were becoming an embarrassment, and the solution was to only include formal relations and absolutely nothing else!

If accepted, this would break the final concrete link with Reality, and move the whole study into the area of Pure Form - into what I have called Ideality. Indeed, 'theory' would be dead as a physical explanation, and without even the vestige of 'possible particles', the whole world of Sub Atomic Physics would become a mere subset of Mathematics. Idealism will finally replace Materialism entirely.

03 December, 2012

New Special Issue: Stability

Previous papers on Stability, though essential, have not adequately dealt with the full Nature of, and reasons for, Stability, and why this happens is, when you think about it, very clear. For we are talking about Systems, and these are not unidirectional as are all simple processes, but indeed include many very different, and even contending processes, which nevertheless arrive at some overall system-state, in which opposites are both transcended, yet at the same time maintained. They are neither wholly removed, nor are they cancelled out. On the contrary, they continue unabated, but only because they are contained within a higher order, overall balanced system, where they do not determine that state, but are included within it, and are part of the overall balance.

Now, such statements can seem to involve hard-to-accept contradictions, until it is realised that the new Stability is based primarily upon other things, and can maintain a balance, actively, without cancelling out its clearly directly contending components. It is not a co-operative, all-pulling-in-the-same-direction system, but an effective compromise, which manages to deliver by working at a higher level, with all things balanced for those higher-level purposes.

To help illustrate some of the rather complex issues raised by this study, Shape commissioned a short film entitled The Problem with Science, which aims to address the current myopic consensus on Stability and Emergence, and to proffer an alternative way of looking at the world around us.

16 November, 2012

The Origin of Us

The Origin of Us - What drove Human Evolution

George Gaylord Simpson made perhaps the most telling contribution to the Evolution of Life on Earth with his interpretation of his extended investigation into the development of the horse, with the work that he carried out in what is now the US State of Wyoming, and in which he unearthed in an amazing series of fossils covering many millions of years of the history of this unique animal.

From the dog-sized eohippus all the way to the modern Equus, he collected enough evidence, on the one hand, from fossilised skeletal parts, and, on the other, about changes of climate during very long simultaneous periods of time, to begin to throw important light on the mechanisms involved.

A varying climate put changing and very different demands upon this evolving animal, which varied in response in several important ways. These involved the feet, the teeth and the brain, as evolutionary pressures selected for major changes, with each significantly different imposed lifestyle dictated by how the horse survived, reproduced and even prospered.

Now, the initial animal in this sequence eohippus had five toes on its feet, and teeth for browsing on leaves. It also had the brain functionalities and size of that needed by most prey animals of that size and mode of living.

But as climate changed, the most successful selective response in our dog-like animal was for increased speed of escape and for wide ranging locomotion to find ever-rarer areas of appropriate food. And these pressures gradually selected for a decrease in the number of toes, down first to three, and finally down to one. (See image below)

At the same time its teeth became those for grazing rather than browsing, and, most significantly of all, the brain grew considerably in functions and in size.

Now most evidence from the very distant past is invariably very incomplete, and conclusions drawn about the actual trajectory of development, between these scarce and widely separated signposts were naturally very unreliable.

Evolution of the horse

But Simpson’s chosen ground was remarkable for its truly large and relatively complete fossil record of these animals, that seemed to have lived in the same area for vast periods of time as both the ground beneath their feet, and the prevailing climate, changed dramatically.

Literally, the whole development was regularly delivered by enough fossils to make much sounder interpolations than were usual in most other circumstances.

And, of course, it was Simpson who was doing the investigating and the interpreting.

He was able to align his fossil evidence in a time-sequence, and could see developments in different parts of the animal’s anatomy as often parallel and connected changes. He was able to match these sequences both with a known sequence of climate changes and also, and significantly, with each other.

Crucially, he was able to see how changes in climate demanded changes in behaviour, which selected for important changes in the animal’s structure in various parts of its body. And, with such an almost sufficient record, his conclusions were much more reliable than usual.

Now, this section of my paper is only supposed to be a brief preface to a review of a TV programme, The Origin of Us, presented admirably by Dr. Alice Roberts as a BBC series (currently being repeated by The Eden TV Channel). So, clearly, I am not attempting a thoroughgoing description of Simpson’s work. [By to those who don’t know of this work, I recommend his great book, The Meaning of Evolution].

But his relating of a changing environment to the selection of modifications in the mode of life, and resultant changes in various functional parts of the animal as it evolved were exemplary.

For his crucial conclusion was how the single-toed foot for maximum speed on the plains, plus all those muscles that could facilitate the turns and changes of the chase, also and inevitably led to changes in the brain to control these new features effectively.

The various possible means of movement of the “horse”, which included co-ordinated use of both locomotive and balance muscles led to a rapid development of the brain to cope with such demands.

And, once the brain had significantly expanded in this way, the possibilities of other new functions could also arise to take advantage of the extra brain cells.

And it is this interpretation that I believe throws important light upon Alice Roberts similar interpretation of the development in human evolution over several million years. For in this series, Alice draws attention to the developments evident from the skeleton in finally producing homo sapiens as it was in its evolved state as a hunter/gatherer.

Homo sapiens possessed two remarkable things: first, it kept all five digits in its forelimbs, which also ceased to perform any part in locomotion, because the species became bipedal. It stood and moved on only two legs. This totally released the forelimbs as arms. And their digits became manipulative fingers. So, clearly this meant that a whole new set of possibilities, and consequent uses of their hands demanded, and got, by selection appropriate control developments in the brain.

But, this was a very unlikely predator. It certainly wasn’t strong, and had NO enormous claws or teeth. Indeed, the most important evolutionary development was (as with the horse) in its supreme ability to run and it could also sustain that for very long periods.

Many associated and necessary developments occurred, due to the emergence of a natural Running Man.

Balance, as well as locomotion, required appropriate changes in the brain, while the liberated hand became the most dextrous limb in the whole animal kingdom, and consequent brain changes ensued in that connection too. To see just how brilliant this limb became, merely watch a concert pianist playing a major concerto.

Now my reason for writing this review – apart from thoroughly recommending the viewing of this excellent series, is also to disagree with Alice Roberts allocation of the development of the large human brain to adequate sustenance and hence down to the use of fire in cooking food.

Though this was undoubtedly very important, I cannot agree that merely sufficient cooked food caused the growth of the human brain. It helped, of course, but Simpson’s reasons for a similar development in the horse far outweigh sustenance in the rapid acceleration in brain size.

Working Human Hands

As Engels outlined in The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man, it was the hand that did it. And his 19th century contribution, plus the revelations from George Gaylord Simpson, and even Alice’s comments on the Running Man, are surely the main generators of the developed human brain. For once it had been established it could do a great deal more.

Kuhn’s Non-Revolution

Staying in the Right Mode
In a 50th Anniversary celebration of publication, Ian Hacking contributes an article on Thomas Kuhn, the author, in 1962, of his book The Structure of Scientific Revolution.
Now Kuhn’s idea of revolutions in Science stands in direct contrast with the Emergentist description and explanation of such things in general, which, of course, they do not restrict to a single area such as Science, but are said to occur in all spheres of human endeavour, as well as in natural developments in all areas of Reality.

For Kuhn’s version considers only the Forms of scientific research, and the consequent treatment of the acquired results, and as such concerns itself with appearance only, and is by no means a causal revelation of either the “revolutionary” contribution, or its consequences in the conceptions and research of those who thereafter followed that event.

He explains that what most scientists did after such a revelation, actually only conforms to a new current template of what legitimate research should be. Kuhn described what was taken on by the scientists as a new paradigm (though he also considered calling it an exemplar).

For, once established in any new area of study (by a brilliant new discovery, say), the actual work is taken as the new way of doing such research, and is rapidly copied as to its forms and method by literally everyone thereafter. Not, it must be emphasized, by just repeating the very same research, but certainly by doing their chosen work in-the-same-way as was thereafter a consensus paradigm or template.

The “successfully used way” of the innovator becomes universal, but because it is mainly an approach, method and means of presenting the results (perhaps as an equation), it is certain to be, to some extent, an example of “the tail wagging the dog” – in that it, to a remarkable degree tends to determine the sorts of areas and sorts of questions that are tackled.

An excellent example is the discovery almost a century ago that Accelerator Experiments with elementary particles, would be a very productive form for research in Sub Atomic Physics, and that paradigm has persisted ever since: only the size and power of the Accelerators used changing to give results unobtainable by earlier kit.

This paradigm, being only a template pattern, has long ago turned into a straight jacket for such research, and has merely demanded ever bigger machines culminating currently in the Large Hadron Collider, and search for the fabled Higgs’ Boson – the supposed creator of all matter. [It begets a fixed theoretical standpoint and keeps well within its assumptions and ideas]

You similarly have to follow the effects of the Giant Astronomical Telescopes, which commenced with Hubble at Mount Wilson, and has worked up through ever-larger devices in ever more conducive circumstances, until the process moved out into space with the famed Hubble Space Telescope.

Such a paradigm gives the most blinkered, yet “productive”, trajectory of progress. For, being technology driven, the newest and most powerful kit will always deliver new information to interpret, which wasn’t available previously. Pure kit development, doing exactly what was done before, is guaranteed to deliver an ever-increasing access to entirely new data.

I could go on with many other examples of the same ilk, but what is crucial is that instead of a new piece of crucial research opening up the prospect for a different and revolutionary stance, and the necessary of a complete change in our assumptions and basic beliefs, we get instead the easiest way to “progress” along a well tried and developable path.

And because of this, it turns out to be basically reactionary: it does NOT focus all efforts at correcting the previously wrong stance. No major reassessing and redefining of the fundamental bases occur.
It does not have to recognise real revolutions in conceptions, and errors in our assumptions, and because of this cannot lead to the necessary root and branch revolution in Science, that the original work warranted.
On the contrary, it merely re-directs research into a “proved-to-be-successful” method.

So, as such, it wasn’t revolutionary or even revelatory in the way it was responded to.
It was instead a definition of a Royal Road by a well-established route, but as to your destination, that would be put down to trusting the pattern-setting innovator, or alternatively producing the same as before, only more so!

Now, it may be asked with justice, why I am critical of Kuhn’s contribution. And the answer is, “It is because it doesn’t in any important way lead to the implied and necessary revolution in Science!
Indeed, it led to the exact opposite in particular with the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

For, instead of the significant discovery of the Quantum leading to a major break through in Science, and the conscious abandoning of the incorrect assumptions and principles on which it had previously stood, it not only kept many of the worst of these (Zeno must have been spinning in his grave), but, in addition gave cover for a debilitating retrenchment in Science, away from an increasingly materialist approach, to strengthen immeasurably the ever-present conception of eternal and abstract Natural Laws driving Reality like the Hand of God.

A thoroughly idealist, maths-led approach was not only considered justified, but actually demanded, and attempts by anyone at “old-fashioned”, theoretical explanation were henceforward banned as purely misleading self-kid.

Clearly Kuhn, in looking for an absolutely necessary revolution in Science, was waylaid by a mere change in approach and method – a paradigm.
Instead of a switch to the study of Emergences – where revolutions actually occur, we grasped at the “templates” for productive, technological and pragmatist Science. We joined the side of the innovators by “doing what they did”.

The main objective of moving constantly towards an ever better explanation of Reality was abandoned “Because” as they insisted, “it is always mistaken anyway!

Now, having mentioned the study of Emergences as the only way to deal with Revolutionary (qualitative) Change In Science, as everywhere else), we must go a great deal further, and make clear the significant differences between an Emergence and a Change of Paradigm.
The former, if completed, really is a Revolution, but the latter certainly isn’t: it, at best, involves a change of standard exemplar or template for scientific endeavours, established by a significant piece of scientific work, which demolishes many “past truths”
But let us be absolutely clear what a “revolutionary” contribution in Science ought to engender, and judge whether a paradigm shift, in any way, fulfils that requirement.

Detailed study of all kinds of Emergences (revolutions), in a whole variety of situations has revealed the essential trajectory of different phases that has to happen in such an Event.
For example, all such Events start with a thoroughgoing cataclysm. The whole edifice of the preceding Stability seems to be crashing down into total chaos. Yet at some Nadir of Dissolution, and almost miraculously, things change around and, though none of this is smooth, a vigorous growth of a New Order emerges, which can be finally established as a wholly New Level of Reality. [For the original work on Becoming, as he called it, read Hegel].

The initial dissolutory Phase is essential for it in terms of Science, leads to a total re-evaluation of the basic assumptions and premises, which we unquestioningly assume as our basis. And, as each one collapses, it trips another and thereafter causes a chain reaction, and the whole edifice crumbles.

NOTE: The writer of this review on Kuhn mentions the attitude of Pauli who definitely felt this avalanche of dissociation and seriously thought of quitting Physics altogether.

Now, this certainly began to happen with the Quantum, but somehow the usual transformation process was stopped.

An analogy can be made with the 1905 Social Revolution in Russia, which certainly also began this avalanche of dissolution, but it too was stopped, and returned to Stability, if only for a time.
Of course, both these cases involve thinking Human Beings and hence forces for the status quo can act strongly against the tumult of changes, and sometimes win.

With the Copenhagen Interpretation a significant move was made to halt the avalanche. To avoid that calamity certain major changes were essential, and as in the 1905 revolution had to be reactionary: they had to be a strong step backwards!

Let us clearly lay out the new rules:-

Explanation was to be jettisoned!

Formal Equations were to become the main objectives!

Materialism was to be rejected and replaced by positivist idealism: for Reality was as it was because of the immutable Natural Laws that drove it!

Finally, the pragmatism of Technology was to replace the “always wrong” theoretical explanations, so USE could carry on as usual.

To gain from radical and revealing experiments, we should “copy its Form” – use it as a template, exemplar or paradigm, which if followed will keep new work “within the ground” of the revolutionary contribution.

But, note the major changes instituted and acclaimed as revolutionary changes, were in fact reactionary returns to past modes of activity.

The retreat was acclaimed as a victory!
Forms changed but the foundations remained the same, and Theory took a major step backwards.
The crucial thing about these paradigms is that they effectively blinkered scientists from the true revolutionary implications of significant system-breaking contributions, and allowed things to continue as before in precisely what had to be thrown out.
Indeed, the walling-off (like a Berlin Wall) kept the revolution at bay until a Back Door could be found into a World where the revolution wasn’t necessary.
That was, and still is, the parallel World of Ideality – the World of Pure Form alone, where most modern physicists prefer to dwell.

The Paradigm We Call Fashion

As someone who has spent a lifetime attempting to understand the World, and hence assuming that everyone else must be doing that too, though perhaps to a greater or lesser extent, , I always found fashion to be somewhat perplexing.

For it seemed to indicate that certain “things were in”, yet only for an indeterminable short time, after which what was the fervent aim of almost everyone, had suddenly become extremely derisory and extremely passé. The whole thing certainly didn’t bode well for Progress, and seemed to be a measure of how the successful.practitioner could be most like everyone else.
I am, of course, well aware of the so-called fashion-setter, but that is a very different thing, as for every one of those, there must be hundreds of “weirdos”, and tens of thousands of fashion-followers.
And the most striking thing about those followers is how poor they generally are at wearing what suits them. It is a slavish conformity that seems to make fashion what it is.

Now, elsewhere (see above) I have been considering the ideas of Thomas Kuhn with regard to paradigms in Science, where once a significant piece of scientific research has been achieved, and applauded by all, the form or paradigm of that work is rapidly taken as the new norm for all following research.

Everyone follows the leader in doing the same sort of investigations: surely they too are “following the fashion”, and it will change again with the next serious and significant contribution. Once you recognise the “follow-the-leader" pattern, you begin to see it absolutely everywhere.
TV programmes fit like a glove. Each successful and innovatory contribution is immediately followed by a rash of similar or closely related offerings on all channels.
Indeed, a whole TV channel culture has been built on merely repeating successful programmes from the past, time after time.

Paradigms it seems are for the totally unimaginative.

06 November, 2012

A Shell Model

Is This How Our Universe Actually Is?

This image of a supernova is very significant!

Most images are of the actual explosion itself, and hence what is photographed is visible light – in other words when the supernova is producing vast amounts of energy by nuclear fusion.

What is really required is a picture of the totally inert Matter ejected by such an event, and, of course, that would be “dark” – not producing any visible light at all.

Fusion may occur again much later when these “dark” fragments aggregate and burst into new stars, but not for a very long time. So, by choosing this image taken only in the infrared and X ray parts of the E-M spectrum, we might well be getting the image we require.

Now, if we are, it is extremely significant, for we can see right through the middle to a background of stars.

This implies NOT a sphere of ejaculates, but a shell!

And the use by this author of a multiplied-up version of a supernova (the final explosion of a single star) to also be a model for a collapsed, then exploding Universe, which acts in a similar formal way. The analogy shows that the assumption of a Shell Universe from the Big Bang Event could indeed be valid. And, if it is, many consequences have already been demonstrated to follow.

For though, in this image, we are seeing only inert matter from a single star, in our scaled-up version, the shell would comprise all the matter from a preceding and collapsed Universe. Indeed, it would be so packed with matter, that within it not only new stars would eventually form and shine, but whole galaxies of such stars would also appear given sufficient time.

And all would be occurring within that thickness of the Shell itself, and such width would be defined by exactly how long that initial Bang lasted.

Now, of course, the scale of such a shell would be gigantic – so large, in fact, that even this thickness would be an enormous width.

Any observer within such a Universe , would not be aware that he/she was existing within such a shell: they would misinterpret what they see, without any doubt.

What such observers might “see” is unlikely to inform them of that context. Indeed, this author assuming total internal reflections of all radiation arriving at the boundaries of that shell, would create significant illusions, by delivering multiple images of the same source, at different times in their histories and at seemingly different directions, depending upon the actual paths travelled by that received light.

An Apologist for Liberal Capitalism

Marxism Will Give Health To The Sick

Joe Jervis’s article Is Marxism Dead?, as published on e-International Relations on 26th October 2011, is a remarkably biased, complacent and finally ignorant document.

And, because of this, it isn’t evident exactly who his intended audience is supposed to be! It is neither addressed to those who might “misguidedly” consider that Marxism may be the place to look to guide their own political activity, nor, absolutely certainly, to those who want to participate in the further development of that philosophical standpoint.

It is clearly a criticism from without, that is, from an a priori and clearly opposing position. For, when you do that you never attempt to explain anything. You already know “the Truth”, and hence cherry-pick your arguments to prove it.

Indeed, it was much more like a speech at a Party Political Conference – an applaud-able prejudice against the agreed enemy: an unlikely obituary by the graveside, hardly able to hide the broadest grin.

He catalogues the myths that were Marxism, and the unavoidable triumph of what he chooses to cal Liberal Capitalism. And he writes this in 2010, without a syllable on the World Capitalist Crisis, which commenced two years earlier, was deepening again at the time of writing, and has continued unabated, to be accompanied by the Arab Spring long before he actually published at e-International Relations. He clearly lives in his own tiny world, where none of these events are in the least significant.

He speaks of ideology and politics at length, and only once mentions philosophy in the same sentence as Marxism (and then entirely incorrectly).

It is clearly all about alternative Belief Systems to him, and that people arrive at their chosen position by listening to people like him, who can prove historically that Marxism was always mistaken, and could give you Chapter and Verse as to its total lack of validity with ordinary people “like us”. Some observers of the political landscape arrive at a particular ideology, more in hope than by good judgement, while others by careful consideration can, and do, approach “the real truth”. A major group of the former type he identifies as the Revolutionary Left, and “demonstrates” that they are chock-full of self-kid, and no real understanding of the World.

And he does this while identifying the very least revolutionary organisations as examples, such as the various Communist Parties, and even says that the McCarthyite Witch-hunt of the USA were understandable due to the intention of these lily-livered organisations to first foment, and then lead actual Revolutions (in the USA?).

He ranges over recent history picking out the salient features, and in conclusion pronounced Marxism as finally and permanently Dead!

What does he think Marxism is?

Clearly, he considers it an inverted myth, meant to guide political action: a programme for activists only, which he believes, he has proved to have failed entirely.

But, to write about Marxism without a single word on any of its historical origins in academic Philosophy, reveals that he had exactly what he wanted long before he did any research.

He does not mention Hegel, and the revolutionary nature of his contributions to Philosophy, nor the inversion of his idealist standpoint to Materialism by the very best of his disciples – the Young Hegelians, led by Marx and Engels, nor of the fact that Marx for many years wrote on European history and politics for a leading newspaper in the USA. He finds it irrelevant that these philosophers also integrated the brilliant contributions of Michelet in his Materialist conception of History, or of the great British contributions the Political Economy that were also a cornerstone of Marx’s developed position. To read this ignorant account, you would think that Marx was an uneducated dreamer.

Indeed, the width and depth of the contributions of the major figures in these developments get the briefest and most misleading of mentions. and only then when he thinks that such things could be made to fit his own damning analysis.

The First, Second, Third and Fourth International Workers Associations don’t get a single word, and without any proof at all he makes Stalin the natural consequence of this “ideology”

Revolutions he ignorantly thinks were the intentions of these Marxists, as if anyone at any time could merely decide to have one.

Clearly, this commentator is totally ignorant of what a Social Revolution is, how it happens, and what it actually achieves. The past revolutionary phase with Cromwell following the English Revolution, Napoleon following the French Revolution, Stalin following the Russian Revolution and Mao following the Chinese Revolution, he makes no comments upon.

But the first two mentioned established Capitalism!

He is clearly an ill-informed apologist for Liberal Capitalism, and his analysis of the decline of “communism” as an ideology, rather than of Marxism as a philosophy, does nothing to re-arm the Working Class during this extended Recession.

He is certainly NOT on our side!

16 October, 2012

Clay and the Collective Body

Interesting stuff on the Red Eye Portal about sculptor Antony Gormley's latest installation Clay and the Collective Body. 

12 October, 2012

How The Tail Wags The Dog

Observing the death-throes of Idealist Science

The scientific investigation of things is always channeled quite markedly by our established preconceptions, assumptions and even our well-established methodologies. How could it be otherwise? And, of course, such determining elements do not just fall out of nowhere. Mankind has had a very long history of such methods, starting as long ago as when they were rather well-equipped apes in the trees of East Africa millions of years ago.

Yet, by a long series of adaptions and consequent changes in modes of living and processing sense perceptions, as well as survival and interaction problems, they have become differentiated from even the closest of their other ape relatives, to be able to do things quite unimaginable in their long past ancestral world.

Mankind, almost miraculously, began to Think, Communicate and Act to an unprecedented degree. And all of these developments were totally unpredictable within their immediately pre-origin states, or indeed any prior stages of development. Adaptions not only fitted this species for necessary actions and methods, but, as always, also extended things into the wholly new possibilities of which Mankind became increasingly capable. Entirely new tasks emerged for the first time capable of being both conceived of, and then attempted.

But, that amazing development route, does not mean that that he directly climbed a pre-existing ladder towards some totally and always available level. Indeed, though most gains were both pragmatic and rarely fully understood, certain conceptual gains “had the legs” to enable a whole series of quite different developments too in an ever-increasing range of areas.

But, every single one, because it was pragmatic rather than conceptual, always had its limits, and could, and indeed did, ultimately lead him astray. But, this was not a flaw, or even an error. It simply could not be otherwise. Progress solely by discovered processes, which attempt to lift you up by your own bootlaces, will necessarily have this property.

What is remarkable is that along the way they did, most definitely, lead to considerable gains, but NOT as a continuous and clearly consequent sequence. On the contrary, each productive set of methods and their retinue of emerging ideas would always and inevitably, come up against an unavoidable crisis, wherein the current tools did not match up to the jobs that presented themselves. And such crises meant that extended periods without any significant new gains were very common.

Something very unusual had to happen to make possible the actual surmounting of any such “terminating” impasse, and as soon as a single individual had reached and somehow surpassed the barrier, Mankind’s communication abilities soon propagated the solution throughout that person’s in-contact groups.

But, if this inevitable “accelerator-brake” trajectory is not appreciated, then the exponents to the most currently fruitful ideas and techniques, will, when confronting such an inevitably final impasse to their accepted mix of ideas and methods, are made inevitably prisoners of their beloved paradigms and techniques, and we can quite definitely say that they had encountered yet another case of the “tail beginning to wag the dog”!

The once progressive standpoint, if insisted upon as the “Truth”, becomes reactionary, and will never traverse the self-generated impasse. Further development will halt at such a point, and future achievements will be limited forever to within the same prior area.

You continue to swim, but only in your own pool: the infinite sea lies forever just around the corner, and unconsidered.

Now, this may sound very pessimistic, but in fact it can be the very opposite, for as Hegel insisted, “Once you are aware of a limit or boundary, you have already passed it!

The seeker for ever closer approaches to the Truth – the scientist (for example), must be constantly aware of the above described trajectory, and when he or she encounters what appears to be a terminal halt to proceedings, must recognise it, and critically review their previously untouchable assumptions, principles and methods.

Let us look at the current crisis in Physics, which has now lasted for almost a century, and shows, as yet, no signs of any conquest of it at any time soon.

It is, of course, the Copenhagen Era in Sub Atomic Physics! And the ideas and techniques which have terminated progress in this important area are NOT new, but have finally outlived their usefulness: these are the principles of Plurality and Formalism, and have forced a significant philosophical retreat, that previously was seemingly not required.

Now, many will guess what Formalism is, but may not recognise Plurality, though the latter is not only much older than the former, it is also more profoundly important, and has, for well over 2,000 years, been the unrecognised cornerstone of all conceptual developments since that time.

To understand how these remarkable principles have been extremely effective ideas, and have also generated a whole set of successful investigative techniques and consequently extremely valuable theories, we have to, as always, go back to the ancient Greeks.

It is they who most successfully learned to abstract from complex and unfettered Reality certain crucial simplifications, which very effectively revealed what were previously hidden, glimpsed or unreliable in Reality-as-is.

The cornerstone of their method was Geometry, where by the amazing simplification of points, lines and planes into what were actually unachievable forms – dots of zero extension, lines of zero thickness and completely flat and infinite planes, managed to extract shapes, forms and relations which were truly universal.

Euclidian Geometry delivered just such an available World. And working solely within this idealisation, they could address certain problems, relationships, and Theorems (geometric derivations), which were certainly NOT obvious when the natural entities were studied.

The abstract versions had separated Form from its complex, real World Content, and studied it in “splendid isolation”. They believed that they had uncovered the Essences of Reality, but actually they had only revealed the universal features of Purely Abstract Form.

They were working in a totally formal subset of Reality, which because of that major restriction did funnel down into a very much smaller number of common patterns – Forms.

Indeed, it is very clear to me that we should never endow this area of study with the idea that is Reality. In truth it is NOT about Reality as such, but only about the Shapes, Patterns and Forms that constitute a majorly simplified reflection of Reality, which I insist should be clearly labelled as that World of Pure Form alone - Ideality.

It was indeed a magnificent achievement!

It was the beginning of Mathematics in general, for it is the same sort of thing – abstracted Form dealt with entirely separately from Reality, and in its own terms. Indeed, it is the process of Abstraction applied to Pattern alone!

But, of course, this constitutes only one aspect of Abstraction, and for those who require a broadening of their study of its methods and achievements, there is a vast country in Ideality.

Yet, at the beginning of my own investigations, I took many months to arrive at a general diagram entitled The Processes and Productions of Abstraction (shown here)

And this figure shows what a small corner of the whole we are concentrating on with Formalism and Mathematics. [The index identifies that sector which constitutes Ideality, and that it amounts to only about one sixth of the diagram in the bottom right corner.]

I feel that I should say at this point that I am not an external and perennial critic of Mathematics. Throughout my education in Grammar school and University I was always at the top of the class in Mathematics, and have since dedicated very large periods to solely mathematical researches. I am indeed a mathematician.

So, these criticisms and revelations are well-informed and well-founded - and, of course, totally incapable of being the basis for most problems and decisions in Life (though two Indian mathematicians recently published a novel in which the hero is sure that the truths and logic of Mathematics are indeed just that).

So, because they are so closely related, I must, before I go any further, reveal the content of that other principle – that of Plurality.

This is the basis of all Analysis!

It assumes that any Whole can be analysed into its constituent Parts, which subsequently could be brought together to actually make that Whole. And repeating the analysis exercise, with each and every Part, would reveal its components in the same way, and thereafter be repeated to end a “possible infinite regress” with a final arrival at a set of fundamental units related by eternal laws.

Now that descent we all know as Reductionism, but hidden within it is the pluralist assumption that the various Parts are entirely separable. This is a crucial assumption, and in certain cases a valid one, but it is only very rarely true.

It means that Wholes are the result of these separable Parts coming together – nothing else is involved in the essential thing that we are abstracting. When we invert Reductionism, along with the assumption of Plurality, we believe that there is a causal set of links all the way from the fundamental and final basic elements to everything in our World. They are inevitable consequences of particular mixes of those bases, complicated in layer upon layer.

Now, this sounds quite reasonable but if we find those Parts by experimental techniques in specially constructed and constrained set ups, we can assume that what we get by these means will be the same as exist in the Whole in which they exist in totally unconstrained Reality. They are totally separable and unchanging as contributions, and hence, when we have by the same sort of methods identified ALL the component parts, we should be able to produce the Whole from them. Now, though this can be true in certain stable situations, it is usually totally wrong. They are NOT separable! Plurality is wrong!

The alternative to this assumption of Plurality is Holism, which insists that such separability is a myth, and though “something-like” our extracted relation (in an experiment) occurs in Reality, it is certainly not exactly the same. Reality is NOT produced by contributing separable laws.
Laws are produced by particular interacting and mutually affecting mixes within Reality, and when that changes so does the Law, sometimes so radically that you could not even relate the new Law to the old law; they could be entirely different.

Yet Science is built upon Formalism and Plurality.

How was it so successful, for it most certainly was?

It worked because we didn’t apply the extracted laws in totally unfettered Reality. On the contrary, we had learned to first rigorously constrain a section of Reality to a remarkable and maintained degree to reveal, and then extract relations more easily. And then we also found out that our laws would only work when applied in those exact same Domains, from which we had extracted them.

We are the horticulturalists of Reality!

We create the ideal plots, cultivate and maintain them, learn all we can to improve them to most effectively extract our necessary “truths”, and then apply them within our perfect plots to grow what is possible there.

Now, this has worked well in very many areas for several centuries, but you cannot cover all of Reality with greenhouses, controlled environments, irrigation and appropriate fertilisers. At certain crucial points, we must confront Reality as it is! And that occurs mightily in Sub Atomic Physics.

Now, the effect of all our constraints and consequent extractions upon our conceptual and practical approaches was not immediately evident, but turned out to be nevertheless absolutely crucial. We only very rarely address qualitative change!

Our construction of Domains, and the extensive constraints within them, effectively impose an artificial stability upon an invented situation: we make absolutely sure that the area of study does not qualitatively change under our hands into something significantly different. We kneel on its chest and hold down its arms and legs to study its properties.

Stir thoroughly, then wait for equilibrium, before taking any measurements” is the usually applied imperative, which encapsulates this approach more generally. We know that to get results we must study stability! We, very sensibly, only look in stable conditions for our relations. We, effectively, reveal the Science within various versions of Stability.

Indeed, each and every law (equation) that we uncover is always a law of the precise conditions that we set up and maintain in our experimental area – our Domain, not only of extraction, but also essentially of application too. Though we know well enough that qualitative changes do always happen naturally in all unfettered Reality, we don’t reveal why they happen, because we very effectively prohibit them in our experiments.

Now, the usual response to this assertion is the bringing forward of the many examples of Change of State (Phase Change) readily admitted to by each and every scientist. They all with surprise explain how they are very well aware of the changes from solid to liquid, and liquid to gas, and are then admonished by reference to rules about Latent Heat. But any such laws are about energy transfers only! They don’t explain why these qualitative changes occur: they merely describe what occurs energetically. Causes are never part of equations: they are succinct descriptions only!

And whenever we are confronted by such changes, we institute two quite different responses. We turn away from causes and instead do overall statistics!

Latent Heat is merely a measure of the energy involved, that is necessary as part of the transition, which will transfer from one organisational regime to another, and, as it stands, merely as a quantitative amount, it could never be said to be any sort of explanation of the change!

So, in the past there has always been what we can describe as an accompanying explanatory narrative, which is additional to any constants and equations, and which derives from our knowledge of and theories about the structure of solids and liquids, so that when these True Theories are coupled with the quantitative stuff we feel we have a solid handle on what is going on. And, when real explanations are extracted from scientists in an area such as this, what they say derives very little indeed from the quantitative descriptions, and almost entirely from the qualitative theories, that appear in the always-accompanying narrative. Then, we hear of balances between opposing forces, which settle into stable arrangements, and which can explain everything from ordinary expansion on energy input, the breakdown of the current Phase into something very different on a Change of State.

This is our solution!

We do NOT actually explain anything with our purely quantitative formulae and the various thresholds, which signal Phase Change. We give our static forms together with purely verbal explanations, based upon qualitative models or metaphors. And this is always the case over the widest range of phenomena too.

But, we do not know how to address Dynamic, Qualitative Change in process: we just get out at the relevant “floors” where stability has been attained, and there is very good reasons for this. Such transitions are never simple and formulatable as are relations within stability, especially when the latter are extracted in artificially stable and specially constructed Domains. Our sciences and our scientists do not know how to deal with Significant Qualitative Change.

Now again, many would dispute this, but they are mistaken.

What we do is state what we know about some particular changing phenomenon, especially if the various stages map onto something else that we are very familiar with. We “explain” by analogy! “Just like that over there!”, is not, I’m afraid an explanation. It is certainly useful, and allows some things to be inferred, and others to be seen more generally, but it is appearance and not essence. It is something we know from experience to be the case, and not something we understand.

Our investigations are either carefully chosen or rigorously constrained (or both) to allow our usual extraction of relations. We build Roman Roads through the countryside of Reality; we do not usually investigate Reality’s own passages of creative change. But, of course, this means that we ignore vast tracts of the most important areas and processes that are actually transforming Reality.

Let me illustrate this with the most important example.

We know nothing about Revolutions! Now, the reader might reject such an area as freakish, biased and unimportant, but this only demonstrates that they do not even realise that all qualitative changes of real significance only happen in just such Events, not only in Society but also at every single Level in the development of Reality since its start.

These Events are termed Emergences. Indeed, at every single significant turning point in the history of Reality, all important qualitative changes only occur in relatively short episodes of truly revolutionary change, in Emergences! And, in between, there have been many very long periods of Stability, in which most things stay relatively the same, varying only in inconsequentials – usually quantitative and formulateable!

Even the absolutely crucial relationship between Stability and Emergence is never addressed. We merely take the transformed situation and study it entirely within its own terms as a “New Science”!
After the, actually certain, Origin of Life from non-living substances and processes, we merely address the new Level of Living Things and call it Biology! And it is really studied in isolation.
To report that non-living processes still occur, is of course true, but to assume that when they seem to be happening within Life they are exactly the same is rubbish!
The crucial question of exactly why and how the first Life came to be is nowhere known or understood.

NOTE: In Brian Cox’s repeated comments in the Wonders of the Solar System TV series on BBC TV, he seems to infer that the occurrence of Life would be automatic given only conducive conditions, appearing more like reproduction than miracle.

It is not part of what we do, is it?

But, the Quantum Crisis did a great deal more to disable Sub Atomic Physics. It ultimately led to the victory of Bohr and Heisenberg at Solvay in 1927 and the establishment of a new order in that branch of Physics, for the essential explanatory theories or accompanying narratives were declared to be wholly self-kid, and all such contributions banned.

Instead the only reliable and hence “truthful” gains of past methods were deemed to be the extracted and “essential” Equations alone. And, without that crucial explanatory framework, the causes of phenomena became the extracted, “objective” laws themselves. Science was not only transformed to be entirely pragmatic (like Technology), but also switched around to now be also idealist!

Theories, as they used to be, vanished, and were replaced by equations alone. And, if you had one that worked, it was thereafter termed to be a “theory”.

Of course, it was no such thing: an equation is a description only, and a purely formal one at that. Yet, if you consider it to be more than that, you are saying that, “Obeys this equation!”, is the cause of a phenomenon.
It most certainly is not!

So, how does this once so appealing, “waggily-tail” get to remarkably wag the whole dog in very misleading ways?

We still have to set up more and more exclusive and extreme Domains to get the reproducibility required for reliable relations to be extracted as “the underlying essences”, and the contents of these defined and maintained Domains become more and more special and unlike any current or past situation. So much is removed or held constant that all holistic effects are also totally absent. We usually limit our entities to at most two, and sometimes only one(?). And gigantic machines costing billions of pounds are constructed to add what they consider to be the only necessary ingredient possible – Energy! And the only phenomenon they can conceive of, conducive to this style of investigating, is the majorly destructive Collision – the total dissociation of their accelerated entities and their targets (now often the very same things) into whatever is the result.

Of course, they can never control what happens after a collision event, but because the conditions have been so strictly erected and constrained, they infer the construction of each Whole in terms of its “broken” Parts. Now, where have I heard that before?

You are right! It is indeed Plurality, applied not in the greenhouse-type conditions where it is usually employed, but in an arranged cataclysm. And guess where all the evidence for such mammoth dissociations occurs? It is only in real world Emergences, which always commence with a cataclysm of enormous dissociation, but then go on to a series of alternating Phases in entirely opposite directions, involving on the one hand creative construction of New Order, and on the other by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, until an entirely NEW complete Level is created out of the almost totally unconstrained detritus of a complete Level dissociation.

Do you think that our Copenhageners at the Large Hadron Collider will do it?