26 September, 2014

Issue 35 of Shape: The Fourth Law


I am reluctant to label my latest contribution “The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics”, because of the absolutely necessary context, into which such a title positions it.

The three original so-called Meta laws of Science, arose within the context of a wholly and exclusively pluralist and technological approach to Science. It could not be other, as that approach was the ONLY one that Mankind could use to attempt to both reveal and use the relations acting within Reality.

Indeed, outside of the found-to-be-essential constraints imposed upon all activities in that investigative AND producing sphere, a law such as the Second Law makes no sense at all!

It is a correct law as an indispensable rider to a pluralist approach, which never investigates entirely unfettered Reality-as-is, but, on the contrary, limits all investigations to within carefully designed, constructed and maintained Domains, without which the sought-for relations could neither be revealed nor extracted.

The Second Law is thus a permanent, accompanying foil to all such pluralistically derived laws. It actually makes totally unfettered Reality into a completely dissociating sump, surrounding the ideal Domains of all investigations and uses.

And, the merest crack in such a fortress, will therefore immediately begin to destroy was so painstakingly achieved in the purposely isolated island of interpretable Form.

Thus the Second Law is not what it is claimed to be! It is actually the World seen reflected in a wholly pluralist, technological mirror.

The incongruity of a Law of Total Dissociation, without an essential countering Law of Construction makes absolutely NO philosophical sense at all!

How can the only way be down?

This issue counters the Second Law with a proved Law of Creation and Construction.

Read Issue 35


Neanderthals: Sub or Rival Humans?



“Neanderthal Doodles hint at Abstract Thought!”, is the subtitle of a recent piece in New Scientist (2985). But, it is an amazingly uninformed quip!

Neanderthals were not apes but the closest relations to Homo Sapiens (ourselves) among the hominid group, who arose from the same crucially defining stock as we did, typified not only by a bipedal gait, but also significantly by a tool using and tool making ancestor, which became the major reason for the vast development in hominid brains, and their consequent mental abilities. Indeed, these abilities are millions of years old, originally emerging in the Homo Habilis ancestor of BOTH ourselves and the Neanderthals. So, to even ask such a question of these hominids is an example of debasing by “damning with faint praise”, and should not be the stance of serious investigators.

Perhaps indeed, such a definition moves the discussion away from whether it is our species that caused their demise. For, if they were a sub-human and evolutionary incapable species, they could well have become extinct due to their inadequate ability to cope with external changes to their environment, rather than being wiped out by the lauded “Homo sapiens”.

Of course, Neanderthals could think!

How could they make tools, if they didn’t use abstract thinking? The attempt to equate such superior mental abilities with “art” puts the cart before the horse. Before we arrived upon the European scene the Neanderthals had be there for hundreds of thousands of years, and were able hunter/gatherers – the SAME as we were when we arrived! To even conceive of a tool, then make it out of a shatter-able hard rock like flint, and to envisage what it would have to be like, would undoubtedly involve abstract thought. Bringing in Abstract Art is amazing! Could it be because we did that?

The insisted-upon step-change between pre-human species and ourselves is the usual way of considering development, and is homocentric! So, the finding of a definitely Neanderthal carving on rock of a simple “cross” design has re-invigorated the assessment of just how good they were at Thinking(?).

NOTE: It is an excellent example of how theories are always predicated upon the current level of Knowledge and understanding of those who put forward such ideas. They can NEVER be the Absolute Truth, but only, at best, the furthest that the thinker could go given his current assumptions and principles. What survives in a theory is due to an increased measure of Objective Content and NOT Absolute Truth!

Indeed, the usual set of clich├ęs, such as Art, is frequently raised, based upon the belief that Homo sapiens is unique, and the epitome of all development!

“Were they advanced enough to make real Art?”, or alternatively, “Could they think abstractly as we certainly can?”, are the usual type of threshold-passing markers of Human superiority! And, the discussion, as is usual, gets stuck in the fabricated mire of homocentrism, with the conclusion, “These inadequate people died out due to Natural Selection! They just couldn’t cope with the changes that were happening in their World!”

Absolute nonsense!

This strain of hominid had the same roots as we did.

Early hominids such as Homo habilis were their ancestors too. They had the important crucial changes, while they were the very same species as we were. They even left Africa long before we did and successfully moved into Europe a hundred thousand years before we managed to get there, and survived many significant changes in climate successfully.

They were indeed our closest cousins, and DNA evidence proves conclusively that they interbred with Homo sapiens successfully with offspring that were viable. What more proof is necessary, that they were NOT fatally inferior to us?

So, are the usual legends true?

The Novel The Inheritors by William Golding didn’t see it that way. Two species found themselves in the same areas – both as hunter/gatherers – needing enormous areas to support such a lifestyle. They would inevitably be competitors!

And the historical record of Homo sapiens, when they have come across other branches of the homo group is not good! In Asia (Indonesia) a small-statured branch was most certainly wiped out by members of our species, and even very much later in America, the English colonists in the East wiped out several native American tribes, who grew crops, and were genetically identical as ourselves.

They did it to get their land.

So, all this homocentric discussion avoids the real questions.

Did we wipe out the Neanderthals? In spite of proved inter-breeding, the newcomers could only relax when they were gone! So, those scratches made by Neanderthals, and found in Gibraltar have been dated at 39,000 years ago, and Neanderthals lived for many millennia after that date.

And, here is another relevant question, “If homo sapiens did wipe them out, what were they be likely to do with any found remains and signs of the people they had removed? What would they have done with their artefacts and remains?

Would they have kept them and cherished them?

And, we know what allowed the development of Art in humans, even while they were still hunter/gatherers. It was only possible in highly conducive conditions of life. The Lascaux Cave Paintings were at a place where the migrating herds of wild animals could be counted upon to pass that way, and Men could remain in one place, and not only survive, but actually flourish.

And later, after the Neolithic Revolution, which caused a mammoth change in lifestyles with farming and animal husbandry, which had a very similar effect upon those humans involved – staying in one place and having time to do other things apart from just surviving.

If you wanted to really to really address this question, there would have to be a looking for those enabling conditions in undisturbed Neanderthal remains and sites.

The present-day investigators using today’s morality and prohibitions, will unavoidably mis-interpret how “God’s People” reacted to an alternative and competing species.

15 September, 2014

Socialists for an Independent Scotland!


It is clear that all the pro-capitalist parties in the UK oppose Scottish Independence.

It should tell socialists that these people couldn’t give a damn for the people of Scotland. They have used it as a dumping back yard for generations.

The Scottish People deserve better!

And they wont get it as part of the UK.

Independence will change all political agendas. And because of this all socialists must support Independence.

Why?

It is because the Scottish people have been socialist for a long time. Kier Hardie built the Labour Party for the Working Class. There is only one Tory MP from the whole of Scotland! Even among the SNP there are socialists.

What has been missing both in Scotland, and in the rest of the UK has been a clear and resonant socialist call for Independence!

Think about it!

If Independence is achieved, what will be the agenda of the SNP? They will have achieved the reason for their existence, so what will they do then? The answer is NOTHING! They will no longer have a populist and invigorating policy! Their leaders will revert to being what they have always been – pro-capitalist!

But, what will the people of Scotland expect as a result of Independence as the Will of the People? They will expect Socialism! The nuclear backyard will be kicked out! And they will expect the Oil and Gas reserves of both the North Sea and the Firth of Clyde to be used soley for the benefit of the People of Scotland!

We must shout loud and clear for an independent Scotland!

Forward to Socialism!

08 September, 2014

Dialectics


What is Dialectics?

Dialectics was a discovery of Frederick Hegel – the German Idealist Philosopher, who, some 200 years ago, considered his area of study to be Thinking about Thought, and realised that all our conceptions about Reality are unavoidably constrained by our experiences and the current extent and depth of our understanding. He further realised that such understanding would always be compromised, most particularly, by what we still didn’t yet know, but also, and primarily, by our own arrived-at assumptions, concepts and principles.

The journey to a “full understanding” was not only never-ending, but was also strewn with passage-impeding rocks of our own making. Now, that doesn’t sound either very profound, or even optimistic! Indeed, it is often used as an argument for – “Give up now you’ll never do it!”. But that wasn’t Hegel’s view!

It may appear defeatist, but that wasn’t what he took from this discovery. He recognised that our assumptions were absolutely necessary, to make any progress at all, and, crucially, they were never pure invention. On the contrary, they were always based upon some aspects or parts of an as yet unrevealed Absolute Truth. And, this content gave those conceptions a definite measure of objectivity. But, invariably, such extractions from Reality would be useless if each of them only applied to a single solitary thing.

Mankind wanted more general conceptions that could be used across the board. So the correct parts and aspects were turned into “general truths”: and that was both a breakthrough, and an error!

For, the incompleteness of these forced generalities - clearly unavoidable when they were made, would also unavoidably confer a distorted outcome upon our subsequent uses of these generalities. Though they would work in many cases, they would also, and inevitably, lead to a point where they would deliver contradictory pairs of consequent concepts. These pairs were clearly mutually exclusive: they were in direct contradiction to one another, and yet were BOTH outcomes of our earlier assumptions. They couldn’t both be true! Yet, neither one nor the other could be sufficient to cover what the pair delivered. They were both wrong!

Now these Dichotomous Pairs indicated to Hegel (just as the Pair Continuity and Descreteness had indicated to Zeno some 2,300 years earlier) that the underlying assumptions, in spite of containing a measure of Objective Content, were also, in fact, both at fault in important ways.

The question was, “How can we possibly transcend both these erroneous concepts, and come up with better ones that were not contradictory?” Hegel, therefore, used this to set about finding ways to transcend these impasses that seemed insuperable if we were to keep both of the contradicting concepts.

By a careful study of the members of a Dichotomous Pair, he was able to reveal the assumptions upon which they were based, and his task would be to replace them with other assumptions that could deliver the positive aspects of both, while removing the contradictions. The impasse would only be transcended and a better basis for understanding put in place, if the new suggestions dug deeper and revealed more aspects of the truth than were embodied in those they were to replace. He knew, of course, that even if successfully achieved, this would nevertheless be a never-ending oscillation. For each new premise would, in spite of the gains it had delivered, in the end, reveal its own shortcomings by producing yet another Dichotomous Pair, and with it another seemingly final impasse.

Hegel called this method Dialectics, because instead of obvious adjustments to one or the other of the Pair, the solution had to deal with both, testing what was suggested for one, as it affected the other. In the end the premise had to be as good as possible for both: the process was a dialog between the requirements to solve both the members of the Pair. At the end of the process a single new basis, which dealt effectively with both, had to be delivered, if the achievement was to be anything other than a clever frig.

Clearly, such solutions would never be easy to achieve, and the underlying causes, would not only be well entrenched, but would have repercussions in many different areas. The new assumptions would be revolutionary!

Clearly, the most important feature of Dialectics was that it rejected the methods based upon Formal Logic, for they underlay massive tracts of the prevailing culture. The building of greater truths out of lesser truths, as was the basis in Formal Logic, was totally rejected. Instead of a mere accumulation of new knowledge being sufficient, it was clearly a transformation of how we thought about things that had to be achieved, And, this had to be done every single time! [As V. Gordon Childe, the great archaeologist said, “Man makes himself!”]

Hegel’s contention was that the building of Truth could never be cumulative, but came in fits and starts as prior, misleading bases had to be demolished and replaced on a regular basis.

You may have heard of Dialectics as the method used by Karl Marx, and the evident basis of Marxism, which it certainly was, though, of course, Marx had transferred Hegel’s methodology wholesale into a materialist perspective, and hence renamed his method Dialectical Materialism! But not many know what it actually involves?

Following Supernovae


What happens next?


A completely non-living example of an Emergence Phoenix is, of course, the final “death” of a star in a Supernova Explosion! After a whole consequent series of collapses and “rebirths”, as available fusible elements are necessarily created and then successively used up in different fusion reactions, the last and seemingly final step in this sequence was that which produced Iron (Fe) in that sort of fusion of nuclei, characteristic of the smaller elements. But, that “”final collapse” was different!

It was not the end of the story, for though there were no possible ongoing fusion reactions left, to counteract gravity’s inwards pulling, the star inevitably kept on collapsing down to an unheard of tiny size, which caused not an ongoing state, but an Event – a cataclysmic triggering of the simultaneous fusion of not only everything available, but also their products in one almighty Bang of multiple simultaneous fusion reactions. And, out of that (cosmically) “point source”, the most colossal explosion occurred, outshining whole galaxies of normal stars! Indeed, all the elements, from above Iron, all the way to Uranium were produced in this cataclysm!

Now, it is clear that without such supernovae there could be none of these elements! And, therefore the favourite humanising parable by astronomers concerns this fact – that Life itself, and, of course, ultimately Mankind too, could never have happened without such a final catastrophe. “We are all made of star stuff!”, is their mantra!

So, once again, though on such a colossal, and much slower scale, the cataclysm of the collapse and its following explosion finally (and retrospectively predictably) produced wholly new elements, which were not predictable directly in the usual way. They were not only new as such, but also displayed many wholly new properties too, and hence many previously impossible further interactions and developments.

This undoubted Emergence had created a wholly new context, and consequent set of possibilities, which though very, very slow to begin with, ultimately concentrated under gravity - first into clouds, and finally into new stars and planets, but NOW containing this vast array of new elements, which, as Earth has shown, could, and indeed did, lead ultimately to Life.

NOTE: By the way, if that wasn’t enough for you, how do you now consider what the Big Bang is most likely to have been?

This post is taken from Special Issue 28 of the Shape Journal entitled The Phoenix. Read the rest here.

New Special Issue: The Phoenix


The poets knew it long ago, but could only describe it. Yet, profound though their accounts were, their tale certainly needed a more comprehensive explanation to take their wise observations further. Clearly, the lack of such an answer as to why it was so, shows that the role of the poet is to make profound observations, which others too often, if not invariably, miss!

I am, of course, referring to the description of “The Phoenix arising from the flames of destruction!” Though it is indeed a special and important revelation of seemingly contradictory processes, it does also require not many only good, concrete examples to be described in detail, but also for them to be thoroughly and more generally explained. How and why does such a seemingly inexplicable process actually occur?

To make any progress beyond the cryptic revelation, we also need to know what exactly is being described by such a process. The event is clearly the outcome of a totally dissociative or destructive initial phase, having as its surprising and following outcome, a real, constructive and creative step forward. And, in so doing it certainly completely contradicts common sense in the normal way of predicting future outcomes from current processes.

Read Issue