29 June, 2020

The Role of Mankind


Sándor Bortnyik: The New Adam, 1924


The Role of Mankind in Understanding 

and Interacting with their World



The Grundrisse Lectures by David Harvey are already-and-unavoidably taking the study of Marxism well beyond a dialectical analysis of Capitalist Economics, to also begin to delve ever more deeply and revealingly into Mankind's essential-and-unique role as the only Thinking species upon Planet Earth, and maybe also in all the possibly reachable Universe at large!

For, productive Labour has long been Mankind's most self-determining and indeed qualitatively-developing feature in their evolution, and therefore has been playing the Key role in their Socio-Economic advances with respect to their increasing knowledge amd control with in their containing-and-developing Living World context, in which they both dwell, seek-to-survive, and even to prosper.

For, along with their bipedal gait, and a flexible and manipulatable hand, with an opposable thumb, Human Beings, in consequence of all their extensive potentialities, have also developed advanced, new and unique cerebral capabilities, which, after millions of years, led first to primitive tool-making, from sharp flint fragments, as well as the means to make and control fire, develop a Hunter/Gatherer, Family group existence, and simultaneously initiate the beginnings of Language, which, all taken together, enabled their considerable geographical spread across literally all accessible areas of our the globe.

And ultimately, via the transforming effects of the epoch-changing Neolithic Revolution, which also brought-in the beginnings of extensive Human Societies - and via Farming and Animal Husbandry, also led, in a remarkably short period of time, to Intellectual Revolutions, primarily in Ancient Greece, but also (and in a very different and important direction) in Ancient India too.

For, though initially somewhat limited by the development, for the first time, of a kind of Reasoning (the strict and damaging, but easily arrived-at Plurality), still managed to deliver both the very first rational discipline, Mathematics, along with a kind of Logic, based only upon wholly fixed relations and concepts!

Thereafter, Mankind was no longer just a continuing development of Homo Habilis (the priginal Handy Man), but, by then, one already capable of Thinking too: and that vastly transformed his capabilities, in that he also sought Reasons for everything that occurred, and NOT ONLY in what way and how he could use those revealed discoveries.

Man was now a Thinker, as well as a Tool-Maker and User, so instead of only asking "How?", he also began to ask "Why?"

So, there arose a division of Labour between achievements by hand, and those by brain, that were ALL still only carried out by Human Beings. And, aids to the making of new things, though involving an essential content of New Thinking, were still the products of Mankind, as also, of course, were the then invented machines.

And though, in modern times, these techniques will be programmed into Computers, rather than being the mere spades and wheeled-vehicles handled directly by people: they are still designed by, driven by, and even programmed by them too!


Sándor Bortnyik: The New Eve, 1924


Artificial Intelligence is merely the instructions devised by an expert in the given field, and then coded by a programmer, co-opeerating with that expert, then entered into a computer-driven-machine. That was the actual Labour-and-prior-knowledge involved in equipping, such a system!

AND, crucially, if that programmer was NOT implementing the detailed knowledge-and-understanding of an expert in the Real World field involved, the program delivered will be useless! The machine is still totally dependant upon the labour of the programmer, and, in turn, that involved in the knowledge of the discipline expert.

As such a System Designer myself, I can assert that NO machine can ever THINK!

Indeed, the quality of Thinking that goes into a Computer Program, AND a controlled machine, even today, is still totally inadequate to do literally ALL the tasks we can currently give them - and will always continue to give them in the future. And the reason for this resides in the kind of Logic (or Reasoning) that is implicit in all current Programming Languages and throughout the whole of Mathematics too.

Reasoning, as we generally know it, is wholly Pluralistic. Formal Logic assumes all relations and concepts are - forever FIXED - like the components of a machine.

Indeed, I spent most of the 1980s designing tailor-made control-programs across a very wide range of diverse disciplines, always along with discipline experts, in a University in Glasgow. Yet, nevertheless, only finally began to successfully address these major flaws via dedicated Multimedia Aids, applied to Film and Video recordings of dynamic Dance Performance and Choreography, in the first decade of the new Millennium. And, frankly, I have seen neither a similar general use, either in that area, or anywhere else, in the time since then.

So what is generally considered to be Artificial Intelligence, applied to computer-controlled machines, is still wholly pluralistic (comprised of fixed and discrete components - very unlike the evolving natural world) and totally incapable of applying any Human-like Intelligence automatically.

Indeed, the calamities frequently experienced in such situations, are not caused by correctable errors, but by irretrievable Pluralist Logic.

As a qualified professional Physicist, it still took me a lifetime of work in the field and latterly a whole decade of dedicated research to demolish the wholly Pluralistic Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory, currently still dominant in Sub Atomic Physics.

Indeed, both ALL Technology, and all the so-called Sciences too, have not only been crippled by Pluralist Reasoning, but also completely idealised in abandoning physical explanations for mere mathematical formulae, in order to conform to the Plurality of ALL Mathematics.


Sándor Bortnyik: Composition II, Pink and Blue, 1921

And Industry, for centuries, has had to break recognised useful Natural processes (always involving multiple, contending factors), to turn such processes into sequences of very simplified restricted separated-single-factor processes, involving purposely arranged-for pluralistic steps to attempt to replicate the Natural multi-factor situations: and, consequently, only skirting around the Real non pluralistic World.

The seemingly unsolveable problems have always been to attempt to handle simultaneous, mutually-affecting factors, in order to both control sequences of different factors, and separate their individual effects, and thereby lose their various cross influences. Indeed, the nearest that could be achieved was by whole sequences of single law steps, but these were not only always approximations, but also always, by the way they were set up, could not but eliminate all cross influences, so that things that always happened in Natural phenomena, were guaranteed to be absent in the whole set of simplified sequences,

Indeed, it was at first considered to be impossible to handle a dynamic and Holistic World scientifically, but modern researches into multifactor circumstances have begun to reveal how so-called temporary, and long-persisting "Balanced Stabilities" can, and indeed do, replace the supposedly-permanent Stabilities on which Plurality is based. And the natural processes, in the Real World, are actually made up of alternating sequences of different long-lasting Balanced Stabilities, interspersed with short-period Emergent Interludes, where one long-persisting Balanced Stability is, via a series of Crises, finally totally dissociated. And, when, in what appears to be a resultant Chaos, a constructive Phase, via a series of partially successful Crises, finally achieves a wholly New and long lasting Balanced Stability! We can call this an Emergence, or even a Revolution. 

These can never be explained or understood mechanistically. 

The role of Mankind now, must be to try and work out a different way...


The real trajectory of Qualitative Change



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