Life as Field Being - Part II
Life as Field Being - Part II
Section B: What is required to develop effective working knowledge of the new living reality?
Steps Required to Form a New Science:
Inquiry probably begins in art, but for my purpose here I will start with the second step; philosophy. Philosophy is done in natural language that is shared in an observer community. That which is being searched for is not every-day objects of experience but, what can be discerned as constants of experience, what might be called universals. But there is something frustrating about it. Even inventing new words to report our deepest experience, there is a feeling of inadequacy. Since the meaning behind the word is a private experience, others may not understand it. A better way is needed.
The better way is to turn to formalisms; for example, mathematics, one of the most known of formalisms. Formalisms provide for expression of form over content (meaning). For example in mathematics, a circle can be defined as a continuum of points in a plane all equidistance from a common point. This defines a form. Nothing in it physically exists. Whitehead has pointed out that mathematics is the freest creation of the human mind. That such a free creation can have so much power in helping us understand reality has been a surprising mystery. I will address this mystery below.
Organizing principles are forms. Whatever is manifest will fulfill some form. Knowledge of form can be fully shared without invoking individual past experience. Every line of mathematics involves commands to do something. Mathematical statements are injunctive, not descriptive. This is true for all such formalisms. Formalisms provide thought recipes through which we can all experience the same dynamics in reality.
Science breakthroughs require new formalisms. Science is formal theory development (sign or symbol system) applied to subject matter (philosophies).
When you interpret the elements of a formal system with the elements of experience (subject matter), it leads to scientific understanding of that subject matter. Once significant understanding is developed, the theory can be applied and tested.
In science everything is synthetic. We explicitly create connections between elements of theory when we specify their properties. Theory requires following explicitly stated rules. This is called calculation.
In science we give up ordinary language in favor of calculating with formalized systems of symbols/signs. Through such a language of calculation we synthesize. Thus we have a closed loop: subject matter => linguistic analysis => fundamental insights =>axioms => calculation => subject matter.
A short history lesson on how this has occurred and the historic Role of Formalisms, e.g. Mathematics:
Bear in mind that philosophy and science are community sports. Or to put it more seriously, life forms societies to develop them. Many minds have to work together. In philosophy it requires sharing ideas. But often, shared ideas are not completely the same ideas. Thus philosophy can develop many divergent schools of thought on any given subject.
Mathematics functions quite differently. Mathematical concepts are spelled out in detail. To draw a circle will never produce a circle, and an actual circle cannot exist. This is the mystery of mathematics. Nothing in mathematics is manifest, yet it provides the most powerful way of thinking and understanding reality. The secret is that mathematics does not describe; it provides thought recipes. Everyone in the society of inquiry can now think the same way. When that happens the inquiry becomes scientific rather than philosophical.
Science is based on the discovery of organizing principles. I think not many realize that for physics mathematics had to come first. Breakthroughs in physics require new math. The following history lesson gives examples of this.
- Galileo (1564-1650) experimented with motion. He established the relationship that distance traveled equals speed multiplied by time. He also expressed the hope that everything could be reduced to calculation. Then, instead of arguing, philosophers could get out paper and pencils and calculate.
- Descartes (1596-1650) developed a coordinate system for expressing locations in space. Today it is called cartesian coordinates. (It is considered a rare honor that cartesian is spelled with a small c.) He also introduced analytic geometry relating algebra and geometry. This ultimately enabled the development of Newton’s calculus.
- Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) observed planetary motion producing a catalogue of planetary orbits.
- Newton (1643-1727) inherited all this. With Descartes’ contribution force and speed would become vector quantities. That means some numeric quantity pointing in some direction. Speed became velocity. Now the problem became relating force and velocity. Many philosophers of the time got involved, including Descartes. Obviously, the stronger the force, the faster the speed or velocity. None of them could solve the problem until Newton. He recognized that force changed the rate of change in velocity, i.e., force produced acceleration. To express his discovery Newton invented the calculus, which is a mathematics of change.
Concomitantly, Leibniz also invented the calculus but giving it easier notation. Today we use the Leibniz notation. The equation of motion became F = d(mV)/dt where mV is momentum. (Capital letters are vectors. Small letters are scalars.) The expression d(mV)/dt is the derivative, the rate of change. This is known as a differential equation. The calculus process of integration solves it.
Having produced the equation of motion Newton turned to Tycho Brahe’s planetary orbits. The orbits have a peculiar property known as the equal area law.
To picture this, imagine that the orbit is an ellipse around the sun. Draw a line from the sun to a point on the orbit where the planet is. Next, draw a second line from the sun to where the planet will be after some time interval. The two lines and the orbit enclose an area.
Next, sample twice. First draw lines to the orbit where it is close to the sun. Then draw the lines to the orbit far from the sun. Use the same time interval for both. The two cases will enclose the same areas. This is the equal areas law. Far from the sun the planet is moving slowly. Near the sun the planet is racing along.
Newton wanted to find the force that would produce this effect. He found it as an inverse square law:
F = kMm/r2
Where M is the mass of the earth, m is the mass of the planet, and r is the distance between them, while k is just a constant. (Forget about the apple, it played no role. There is some speculation that Newton started the apple story in answering a question.)
Now in mathematics it can be proven that any orbit in an inverse square law field has to be a conic section. The orbit of Mars became a problem. Its orbit is almost an ellipse, but it is rotating in space. The Newtonian theory is false. But we use it anyway because for most practical purposes it does fine. But something else is going on! Something else has been found to be relativity.
Now I want to move on to another example that can be stated briefly. From Euclid on, mathematicians worried about his fifth postulate, also called the parallel postulate. If two lines are parallel they will never meet even if extended to infinity. From the very beginning there seemed to be problems with the postulate. I think most practical people would think it too obvious to waste time thinking about it.
In 1840 mathematicians realized that they could test the postulate by denying it and proceeding to develop geometry. The test was to see if they would ultimately derive an inconsistency. They proceeded and derived new geometries; curved geometries. They were convinced that the real geometry of the world was Euclidean, but the curved geometries were interesting so they continued to develop them. Of course in curved geometry what is locally parallel can converge at a distance.
- Early in the 20th century Einstein was able to develop relativity because there was Riemannian geometry: a curved geometry.
- Maxwell, in 1860, reduced what was known about the interactions of electricity and magnetism to four differential equations. He noticed that they were wave equations. Could it be that there are electromagnetic waves? There was no experiential evidence but Maxwell went looking for them; and found them. There are octaves of electromagnetic waves accounting for radio waves, x-rays, cell phones, light waves and photons carrying energy from the sun to us.
- In 1928, P.A.M. Dirac made a change to Schrödinger’s quantum wave equations. The result led to the discovery of zero point energy, which fills all space. This is a very exciting area of research. It promises to change all our notions of reality in ways that are very important to understanding life itself.
- But my favorite example is the square root of –1. I am not sure when this first appeared. It was in the far distant past. It is my favorite since it results from mathematical esthetics. Given a system of algebraic equations including X2-1 = 0, the solution is obvious. X = 1 or X= -1. However change it to X2+1 = 0 and we have a problem. Now X is equal to the square root of –1. There was no known number to satisfy that condition. However, mathematicians made up a number. They called it i. This led to numbers with two parts, X + iY. X was called the real part; iY was called the imaginary part. Such numbers were called complex numbers. In the past some people objected to the teaching of imaginary numbers. It was alleged to be a waste of time. Now we know that such imaginary numbers play a very important role in some very real and practical disciplines, such as electronic circuit theory. More, this imaginary number plays a starring role in quantum equations. Quantum equations typically employ complex numbers.
Philosophy and Science: Complementary Methods of Inquiry Needed
I believe many people think the difference between philosophy and science is the subject matter. This is a common mistake! The actual difference is the method of inquiry. That is, philosophy and science are complementary methods of inquiry. Both should be applied to all subject matters and applied as is needed and appropriate. In Newton’s time, physics was philosophy; philosophy was all there was. Newton developed and applied new mathematics. Physics became a science. (Locke protested 30 years after publication of Newton’s Principia. Locke believed that we could understand man but only God could understand nature.)
Today physics is a science. But there comes a time when the science becomes full of mysteries. That is when physicists might become philosophers once again. For example while the mathematics of quantum theory works very well the underling reality is unknown. So today, we often hear physicists speaking philosophically.
I believe quantum physics has crossed a line from the non-living domain to the living domain. We need both a new philosophy and a new science.
Today physics is considered to be the most fundamental science. Quantum physics comes close to life but not close enough. Soon a new science of life will be seen as the most fundamental science. And I don't mean biology as we know it today, since today's biology has its foundations in physics, mechanism, and separation of mind and matter. With the new science of life as the fundamental science, physics will be but a part of the science, not the foundation.
Science is the discovery of organizing principles. Such principles are hard to find since they are never absent. We see elephants because normally we do not see elephants. Organizing principles are always at work. Non-living science is organization involving cause and effect. Living science is science of organizing principles for self-acting entities. (They are what field being has been pointing towards.)
Science is the study of change or process. Change cannot be random or without order. If it were, there would simply be chaos instead of us. Also, change cannot be deterministic. If it were, there would be no meaning. Values would be irrelevant. Science discovers and expresses, brings into consciousness, those organizing principles that order, but do not determine, change.
Always, science involves metaphysics with a matching logic. For non-living science, you can have Substance Metaphysics, and "Thing" Logic. And for Life-itself science, you have Process metaphysics and the Logic of Acts.
Today process philosophy has become a very active branch of inquiry in which there are many competing positions. Without becoming involved in any one such position Rescher characterized process philosophy as "a doctrine committed to certain basic teachings or contentions" as follows:
Basic contentions of the process metaphysics
- time and change are among the principal categories of metaphysical understanding
- process is a principal category of ontological description
- processes and the force, energy, and power that they make manifest are more fundamental - or at any rate not less fundamental - than things for the purposes of ontological theory
- several, if not all, of the major elements of the ontological repertoire (God, nature as a whole, persons, material substances ) are best understood in process terms
- contingency, emergence, novelty, and creativity are among the fundamental categories of metaphysical understanding.
Actually, process philosophy has a long history. It began with Heraclitus in the 6th. Century B.C. Some process philosophers include: Gottfried Leibnitz, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Charles Peirce, William James, Henri Bergson, Samuel Alexander, C. Lloyd Morgan, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, Alfred North Whitehead, Wilmon H. Sheldon and Charles Hartshorne.
There are many approaches to process metaphysics. Whitehead’s is probably the best known. I also see field being as process metaphysics.
A Matching Living Logic (I prefer the word i-logics):
The logic of non-living matter (discrete things or objects) is much concerned with truth preservation, consistency, mono-polar, and cause-and-effect. The "living" functions are very different from the "non-living." The logic of life is creative, rich in variety and even paradoxical as it embraces both poles of contrasts (strong/weak). Even psychology shows that paradox is a fundamental principal in the human psyche. Instead of cause and effect, life logic is governed by willful intensional acts. For 2000 years it was believed that paradox was fatal. We now know that it need not be, but it does require a different kind of logic.
I do have problems with the word logic. Logic is a collection of formal systems originating in the need for sound arguments. Needed now is a class of formal systems with different properties for different purposes. They could be called intensional logics; (intensional refers to meaning). Google leads me to believe that intensional logic now means modal logic. I think we are losing distinctions. It could also be called axiologic for value logic. For now I will call them “i-logics.”
Distinction between Old and New Logics or Formalisms:
Characteristics of Traditional Logics:
- truth preserving
- thing oriented (extensional)
- consistent which denies process
- excludes self-reference (self-knowing)
- excludes values
Characteristics of Living i-logics:
- meaning oriented (intensional)
- allows oscillation
- requires self-reference (self-knowing)
To understand what biophysics is revealing, today, a new form of logic and thinking are also required.
An example: Life requires the use of both poles of categorical contrasts. Traditional logics were constructed in such a way that would cause collapse if there were inconsistency. Traditional logics were designed for argument. Therefore they required truth-preservation. Life is creative and can quickly move beyond current truth. Logic for Life must be able to grow and evolve. Thus traditional logics cannot handle the requirements of Life. (See Life Requires below)
To this day, infinitesimal calculus is the primary, if not the only, formalism used for scientific inquiry. The infinitesimal calculus is founded on real numbers. Thus it produces real numbers, creating the illusion that science must be quantitative. Life, however, is not computational. Thus we need new formalisms based on forms of order other than numbers, in working with life and living processes.
Due to crises in mathematics at the end of the 19th century more research was done on logic in the 20th century than in all previous known history. The results show new formalisms never seen before that can be used to meet the requirements for Life-itself, e.g., see Combinatory Logic by Curry and Feys for a primitive frame.
The primitives of the i-logics:
- will not be things
- there will be acts and inner relations (Inner relations are relations that change the related)
- the rules will not be inference rules but transformations
- they will not have truth-values
- they will not have subject-predicate forms of propositions.
- categories will not be object categories but function categories
- The questions we will ask of i-logics will not be “is it true”?
- We will ask, “Can one get there from here”?
i-logics can be used for application to social change, for example: We are working on the problem of running out of sufficient jail space. We might ask if we could reduce the number of prisoners, and crime, by tougher sentencing. Would not harsher punishment cut down on recidivism? No! When the Congress imposed tougher punishment recidivism increased exacerbating the problem. The logic of life itself explains why.
As mentioned, living organisms are functioning internally, as super jazz bands. We do not have inputs or outputs. Our brains are not computers. In no way are we processing inputs or outputs. Our theories of perception have to be reversed. Perception does not begin in the senses. Perception begins as the organism acts. Acts may be physical or mental. Acts, I think of as a soloist playing a riff. The riff creates perturbations. Now the rest of the band has to form closure.
The process of forming closure is how we learn. What we know and what our capabilities are depends on the history of our acts. Thus no two people live in the same world. Punishment tends to exert maximum control. Thus the person is unable to find new acts and learn. Punishment freeze-frames them as they are, or makes them worse.
Section C: Outline of Subject Matter for which we have to account using the new philosophies and logics.
The overall subject matter for the new science is Life-itself as energy and energy flows, as well as the organizing principles within the primordial matrix and manifest living organisms.
The work at hand is to do philosophy using process philosophy, establishing the primitive frames for new logics and further developing the empirical philosophy for Life-itself as a pre-cursor to a science of Life-itself.
We begin with "What is Life?"
The living state is a “metastable energy structure” within the physical structure of a living organism. Being metastable it requires energy to maintain it. Turn the energy source off and it is gone.
I have often said that there is no similarity between living organisms and machines. But we can make an analogy with computer memories. The computer memory is a physical structure in which there is a distribution of electromagnetic energy. In the old days it was a structure of tiny rings that could be magnetized clockwise or counter clockwise representing, in our minds, zeros and ones. Today it is a structure of some kind of two state elements that can represent zeros and ones. But it is common knowledge that before you turn the power off you had better save it to disk. Without power to maintain it the metastable pattern of zeros and ones vanishes.
I believe this is a good analogy. Computers are hardware. The behavior of the hardware depends on the energy structure within. The same hardware can do many different kinds of tasks by entering different programs that change the energy structure. When the power is off the energy structure vanishes. All that remains is hardware that can do nothing.
If a person who has never heard of electronics found a computer in a dump, he could take it apart to examine the hardware structure and never find a clue as to what it does or how it does it.
This is the position we have been in with regard to biology. Having studied structure we wind up with nothing but misleading guesses as to what processes are going on. Now, electronic biology has been discovered. The living energy structure in our bodies is electronic and biophoton energy flows. The last paragraph in Szent Gyorgi’s book on sub molecular biology states:
“In an earlier chapter I emphasized the biological importance of "organization," by which I meant that if Nature puts two things together a new structure is born which can no more be described in terms of the qualities of it components. The same holds also for functions. In living systems the various functions, too, seem to integrate into higher units. We will really approach the understanding of life when all structure and functions, all levels, from the electronic to the supramolecular, will merge into one single unit. Until then our distinguishing between structure and function, classic chemical reactions and quantum mechanics, or the sub- and supramolecular, only shows the limited nature of our approach and understanding.”
Life Requires Variety:
Biodiversity is not just something nice to have for aesthetic reasons. It is now known that biodiversity plays an important role in how the ecosystem manages the energy it requires. By eliminating biodiversity, our life support can be eliminated. Even our bodies require inner diversity of cells having maximum freedom to maintain coherence. Our bodies are not biochemical machines, as many physicians believe. Society requires variety in people. Each of us learns from our own inner inquiry forming and contributing to the common knowledge. Each of us is making unique and essential contributions for our collective good. We each learn some aspect of reality; some part of what is TRUTH. No one can know all that is required to make society work or to know the whole TRUTH. In life, we are not separate. We are all connected, not separate or discrete objects.
Life requires the Use of Both Poles of Categorical Contrasts:
Life is creative and can quickly move beyond current truth. Life must be able to grow and evolve. It does so using oscillation.
Life Requires Cooperation:
To begin, manifest reality is created by Life itself. It creates change and novelty. It creates evolution. We don’t need random processes and survival of the fittest. I wonder if survival of the fittest hasn’t led to our belief in the law of the jungle; nature red in tooth and claw. I wonder if such beliefs made competition seem attractive. It is now known that life in nature is primarily cooperative. Yes people insist on calling predator-prey relationships competitive. That's our interpretation without fully realizing the living processes involved. Trying to interpret activity that we see based on materialism leads to false interpretation because it doesn't recognize the over-all cooperative nature of Life-itself. Cooperation between interspecies and intra-species is dominant. Without cooperation there would be no life.
Competition is only appropriate in activities that are "auto telic," such as football. That is, games have their own built-in goals that should not be relevant to anything but the game. In normal life, competition is destructive!
Life Requires Autonomy:
Living process requires acts that can make a difference. Each living entity has to distinguish itself to develop a unique point of view. This means each living entity has to develop, through experience, its notions of reality. This reverses theories of perception. Perception does not begin in the senses as input. Perception begins by acts of inquiry. Each act is done for a reason, its intension. When the act is done, senses are asked what changed. If the intension is satisfied, the act is successful and contributes to the entity’s view of reality.
Inside> out autonomy: informare is to form within. The only thing the organism really knows is it’s inner experience. By inference and by abduction, it makes hypotheses. There are no in-puts in living organisms. By body field awareness, intuitions are developed from experience formed in the body/mind directly through fields of energy. It’s a kind of “feel-think process we call "felt sense." Free will plays a key role in the functioning of an organism.
Life Requires Communication:
All living entities communicate. Humans communicate in both body language and spoken language. Given the differences in worldviews there can be no literal spoken language. A literal language could not communicate. Spoken languages can only work by interpretation. Interpretation assumes enough similarity of experience to close the gaps.
Spoken languages work for exploration as in philosophy. Since they have no literal meaning they can be reshaped to provide meanings that aren’t normally talked about. This makes reading philosophy difficult.
Even the molecules communicate by sending electromagnetic signals and it is accomplished in simultaneity.
Life requires coherence:
Values are the coherence conditions that life imposes on living processes and entities.
I think of coherence as conditions permitting freedom to act in parallel with a multitude of acts without destructive interference. For example, driving on a designated side of the road. That gives maximum significant freedom to drive anywhere without crashing into someone else.
Life is the process of forming a coherence or unity within, which is developed through a multiplicity of events within and coupled with events without. It is a series of evolving events of birth, growth, maturation, integration and fulfillment.
The key concepts for understanding life are process, coherence, freedom and harmonization. These processes do not function by causal mechanisms. Instead these processes function by value decisions I call valuation.
Living processes are carried out by living entities capable of acting. Actions are based on perceived facts of experience when an event is starting. Those facts set the stage for what is possible. Value processes select the most effective acts. The living entity acts and the stage is now changed to include a mixture of old and new perceived facts ready for the next event.
Harmonization is the process by which we creatively find a way to resolve differences between conflicting coherence conditions to find a new coherence unity. Understanding the role of values and valuation is essential to carry out this process.
Talking about values with our current linguistic habits turn values into ideals to live by. For example, always tell the truth. However, there are times when truth is essential and there are times when truth is better not said. What life requires of us are the value process skills to know when truth is required and when it is not.
If you think values are ideals, then you make harmonization impossible because your values are right and theirs are wrong and there is no room for harmonization. Rather, ideals are abstractions. Abstractions do not hold the entire reality in which they are thought to function. Thus they cannot be achieved, and even if they could be, given the dynamics of life, there is no absolute right and wrong set of ideals that apply to everyone all the time.
Living Process Events
To talk about values I want to look at the events in a living process, i.e., those events when you choose a set of acts for the next step in your evolving process.
In this moment of now, what might you be aware of? It is certainly not restricted to sensory input. If you only believe in what you can touch and measure, you are disconnected from primary knowing based on connectedness of all life. Your intuitions and feelings are telling you all about this connectedness, unless you choose to ignore it. In your holistic awareness of the moment, there are three distinct interwoven value domains. Each value requires a different way of knowing.
The three distinct domains of value are: Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Systemic described as follows:
- Living entities that are self-defining, self-valuing and self-acting. Any interaction with a living entity will produce results beyond our expectations and, perhaps, beyond our control. Living entities are valued intrinsically; living entities must be valued for their own uniqueness; that is called unconditional loving.
- Things that are passive. They cannot violate forces of nature. Otherwise we can control what they do. Things are judged extrinsically by comparison to other members of the class concepts to which they belong, i.e., chairs or jobs.
- Structures and rules that are invented by us. They are invented to provide order, reason, agreement and the possibility of creativity. Since we invent them, they are what we say they are. We judge them by applying them to our experience and then judging them as to whether or not they work, judging them as right or wrong. This is the domain of systemic values.
Now begins valuation leading to harmonization-valuation
I believe the most serious mistakes result from the failure to understand Life itself and the role of values. Life itself needs a huge variety and harmonization. The many different societies are like different cells in the larger organism of unity. Each society has it's own coherence. However, too often people have different criteria for coherence. Some societies are seen as analogous to cancer cells needing to be destroyed. Finding ways to harmonize and utilize that variety creates a healthy body/world. However, not being aware of the possibility of harmonization we resort to violence and destruction.
Step 1 in valuation is to learn what domain each item of your experience is in: living entities, things or rules/structures.
Mistakes here are common and life destroying. For example “No Child Left Behind” leaves no child free to be self-defining, self-valuing and self-acting, able to learn, self-manage or find meaning.
Similarly the external focus of values as rules-to-live-by produces most crippling results. For most people when thinking about themselves, they show disinterest in their intrinsic value compensated by striving hard to fulfill some theory of what they ought to be. Such self-theories can never be fulfilled leaving people with a constant feeling of failure and discontent.
Step 2 in valuation is recognizing what ever is valued can be valued intrinsically, extrinsically and systemically.
For example a person is of intrinsic value. Intrinsic valuation is some form of love. However they can be valued extrinsically. For example in hiring some one. A person can be valued systemically in, for example, determining their rate of pay. Also there is the possibility of disvaluing in all three ways. A person may be intrinsically disvalued by hate, extrinsically by being fired, or systemically by inadequate pay.
Step 3 in valuation is recognizing that what one values is up to each one; there are no laws governing what should be valued.
However, there are laws of valuation that are absolute and universal. In deciding how to act in any situation there may be conflicts to be resolved. If so, intrinsic values take precedence over all. Next extrinsic values take precedence over systemic. This is the natural value hierarchy. Evidence shows that humans have inverted the hierarchy. Call to Action I told my son, George, who volunteered to edit this, that the non-subtantialist turn is very important and needed to be known now! He was then inspired to add the following last paragraph:
Living the debate rather than speaking it - the embodiment of the Life-itself cannot be grasped with description any more than a house can be built by describing it. This debate must not be limited to words and papers; we cannot continue to leave our wisdom in the library; we must strive to live this debate, to become our argument through action and deed; in this we ascribe more value to our words than mere speech - no matter how eloquent - can achieve. We must *act*