Bilateral Science

This post is working towards a paper I will call Logic Driven Physics. At the moment, I believe that I am the only person in the world writing this story of how the science of the Stoics can be reverse engineered to provide a new, alternative take on physics, logic, and mathematics.

In this post, I consider physical reality as a system. I take a leaf out of system science where there is not one paradigm for understanding a system but two. I argue that the foundations of science, including physics and mathematics, must be bilateral. System science demands two takes on reality. One take is diachronic in nature, the other synchronic. In system science, the diachronic side employs ordinary calculus and studies time series whilst the synchronic side employs the operational calculus pioneered by Heaviside and sees its reality as having a “holographic” flavour nowadays in Laplace and Fourier transforms.

Heaviside photo

Heaviside pioneered
Operational Calculus

I sometimes like informally to refer to this dichotomy between the diachronic and synchronic as expressing “left side” and “right side” rationality respectively. Thus, one can imagine this bilateral architecture as two diametrically opposed but complementary hemispheres of a metaphorical epistemological brain.

Aristotle was the first to remark on the epistemological dichotomy of knowledge. He placed the traditional science on one side charactering them as all studying objects that have a determined genus. On the other side he placed an entirely different kind of science that was characterised by studying entities with completely undetermined genus. The latter science became known as metaphysics which, to Aristotle, was the science of Being, pure otology. Writing about metaphysics, Kant once bemoaned:

It seems almost ridiculous, while every other science is continually advancing, that in this, which pretends to be Wisdom incarnate, for whose oracle every one inquires, we should constantly move round the same spot, without gaining a single step. (Kant, 1781)

The same thing can be said in modern times with the plight of metaphysics now in disarray where metaphysics is often demeaned, even ridiculed by many scientists. The objective of this post is to correct the slide of metaphysics into scientific oblivion. My first step is to demystify the subject by citing the non-diachronic approach of Operational Calculus as an example of what I call weak metaphysics. According to my formulation, strong metaphysics must be strongly synchronous. This demands that all pertinent players must be simultaneously present in any whole. The Operational Calculus can represent a simple system as a whole. That is its speciality. However, these kinds of systems are made up of objects only. There are no subjects present in the synchrony. Strong metaphysics, as we shall see, demands that not only must all objects be present but also the subject.

A characteristic of weak metaphysics is that the relationship between the diachronic and the synchronic is deterministic. For example, for the relationship between calculus (diachronic) and the operational calculus (synchronic) can be actually calculated exactly by Laplace transforms. In strong metaphysics, an exact calculation is impossible—such relationships can only be known in terms of dispositions, not coordinates and determined quantities.

Despite the lack of individual subject, weak metaphysics such as Operational calculus does illustrate a number of important characteristics of a strongly metaphysical right side science. Of crucial importance is Aristotle’s original characterisation of metaphysics. Unlike the world of calculus, the objects that make up the world of Operational Calculus all have undetermined genus with respect to each other. In the diachronic domain, a simple system is made up of a conglomerate of entities of differing genus, such as inputs, outputs, and system behaviours. In the synchronic domain all such categorical distinctions vanish: all entities are represented in exactly the same way as functions of a complex variable. Using a term borrowed from Computer Science, one can say that all the entities in the synchronic domain are first class. Aristotle’s undetermined genus characterisation becomes a demand that all entities in the system must be first class. Operational Calculus also demonstrates another common characteristic of right side methodology. The first class entities form an algebra. All of the complicated operations in the diachronic domain can be expressed in this algebra providing great simplification.

Another weak metaphysics example is Geometric Algebra (GA). which provides an operational alternative to the traditional matrix and tensor dominated approach of linear algebra. In GA all entities are first class where tensors, matrices and vectors give way to the same kind of entity. Everything in GA becomes a geometric entity. Like in OC, the geometric entities form a simple algebra where, in the case of GA, the role of Grassmann’s geometric product is paramount. The work of Hongbo Li highlights this key aspect of this operational methodology (Li, 2008). Li applies the conformal aspects of GA methodology to provide remarkably simple automated proofs of geometric theorems. A key construct in his algorithms is to privilege as much as possible multiplicative operations at the expense of the additive. To Li, more additive operations mean more algebraic clutter and leads to what he calls mid-term-swell. On the other hand, more of the multiplicative means the retention of geometric meaning and results in great simplification. Li clearly demonstrates how automated proofs and geometric computation in general can be greatly simplified using his approach. With more traditional linear algebra and brute force Clifford algebras the resulting mid-term-swell can be so enormous that solutions become, at best, purely notional. Another key term emerging from Li’s work is the purely multiplicative polynomial, the monomial. The monomial expresses pure geometric semantics based on multiplication, free of additive algebraic clutter. In many cases, Li’s methodology resulted in expressing geometric concepts that distilled down to monomials leading to spectacularly simple solutions free of the dreaded mid-term-swell phenomenon that afflicts non-operational methodology. As will be seen further on, the monomial construct will turn out to be of fundamental importance in this project.

In passing, one should note that the modern formulators of GA such as David Hestenes as well as Li consistently claim GA to be the universal algebra of physics and mathematics (Hestenes, 1988). I concur with this appreciation of GA with the proviso of introducing a number of important ingredients reported in this post.

There is one other example of a weak metaphysics methodology that I will be examining in more detail further on. It might seem surprising that I put forward Gödel’s work on the Completeness Theorem and Incompleteness Theorems as such an example. His work is important for this project as it brings into play the logical dimension of metaphysics. moreover, the dichotomy between what is true and, more fundamentally, what is the truth. Of great significance is the fact that Gödel’s work is not mere metaphysical speculation as it takes place in the full glare of an ingenious mathematical formalism. More of that later.

Contribution of the Stoics

Operational Calculus and Geometric Algebra provide clear examples of operational methodology. They illustrate an important aspect of metaphysics in the sense of the first classness of the fundamental entities. However, they do not embrace the most fundamental aspect of including not just a science of object nut also a science of subject. In order to start getting a grasp of what is meant, I turn back to the philosophical terrain of Hellenistic times. The bilateral perspective that I am trying to explain, can be seen in the schism between the Epicurean and Stoic schools of thought of that time.

The diachronic left side take was advocated by the Epicureans. The Epicureans were atomists, and believed in a materialist, deterministic world view that is not incompatible with the view of traditional modern science. The exception to absolute determinism was the famous Epicurean Swerve construct whereby, according to the Epicurean doctrine, every now and then atoms would imperceptibly deviate from a strictly deterministic trajectory. In this way, the unstructured primordial universe somehow micro-swerved to evolve to the state it is today. In the broad sweep of the history of ideas, I see the Epicureans and their atomist forebears as early exponents of the left side, diachronic take on reality.

Of central interest in this post are the much less understood early exponents of right side non-diachronic reality. Here, I am talking about the implacable foes of the Epicureans, the Stoics The alternative right side approach, exemplified by the Stoics, concentrates on studying the world in between the a priori and the a posteriori, the world that exists now relative to the organism in question. For the Stoics, only corporeal bodies with extension exist. Only what exists can act upon and be acted upon. Objective reality is sandwiched between the a priori and the a posteriori. To the Stoics, things in the past or in the future do not exist. It is only what exists now, relative to the organism in question. Heroes of the Now, the Stoics had no fear of anything in the past or the future; as such, things simply do not exist.

As Hahm remarks “For half a millennium Stoicism was very likely the most widely accepted worldview in the Western world.” (Hahm, 1977) However, it was the world view of the diametrically opposed Epicureans that best corresponds to the present day analytic, diachronic world view of our time, not that of the Stoics. Moreover, Stoic physics, according to my characterisation, is not physics as the moderns understand it but metaphysics. As such, their perspective on reality should be operational. This is indeed the case as Stoic physics ticks all the boxes in providing an operational perspective on reality. First of all, Stoic reality is articulated in terms of first class entities according to the mantra: everything that exists is a material body. For the Stoics, the property of an entity was also an entity in its own right thus guaranteeing that entities are first class. Thus in Stoic physics, properties are also material bodies. As for the entities forming an algebra, at least the Stoics identified the letters of the algebra in borrowing the four primordial letter alphabet of Empedocles. This necessarily leads to acceptance of the ancient four-element theory of matter where each primordial element corresponds to one of Empedocles’ four “root” letters.

The Stoics also borrowed from Heraclitus. Heraclitus saw everything in terms of oppositions. Each of the four elements expressed a primordial tension between opposite poles of an opposition. These elements were called Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Air represented an expansive tension. Water a contractive tension corresponding to the images evoked by such naming. Earth would (or should, according to me) have been seen as an unsigned tension between two different extensions. Earth would have been seen as an unsigned tension between two different (but indistinguishable) singularities. Physical reality for Heraclitus could thus be interpreted as the interplay of these four primordial tensions. Heraclitus saw these primordial tensions as four instances of one single even more primordial tension called pneuma. Thus, the four element theory became a five element theory of sorts.

Category Theory and the Five Morphisms

To modern eyes, the ancient four element theory might seem like abstract nonsense. However there is a branch of mathematics that sometimes actually prides itself on its “Abstract Nonsense,” viz. Category Theory. Category Theory, despite being encased in a diachronic axiomatic framework, also reveals operational aspirations. Its first classness is expressed in the mantra: Everything is a morphism. Morphisms can be represented by arrows and so Category Theory sees its reality in terms of dyads, not monads as does straight pure and simple Set Theory. Category Theory rediscovers Heraclitus’s four kinds of tension in terms of four distinct kinds of morphism. Instead of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire, Category comes up with four kinds of morphism, the epimorphism, monomorphism, bimorphism, and isomorphism. In Set Theory these morphisms become functions. For functions, there is no difference between bimorphisms and isomorphisms. Note also the “expansive” nature of an epi, the “contractive” nature of a mono, and that the inverse of a bi or iso is a bi or iso, much as Heraclitus would have expected.

The vocation of Category Theory is to study mathematical structures which are common to all mathematics. Thus one could say that that these four kinds are morphisms constitute the stuff that mathematics is “made of.” Note also that there is an even more primordial morphism in Category Theory than these four, the natural transformation. Saunders Mac Lane, cofounder of Category Theory, once stated that he invented Category Theory in order to study natural transformations. Natural transformations take up the fifth spot in a “five element theory of mathematics.”

Stoic Logic

The Stoics embraced Heraclitus’s theory of the five elements and the primordial tensions they convey and incorporated it as the basis for their physics. The Stoics claimed that their philosophical system included physics together with logic and ethics to make up a harmonious whole. However, as de Lacy back in 1945 commented:

One of the many paradoxes associated with Stoicism is the puzzling circumstance that although the Stoics themselves claimed that their philosophy was a perfectly unified whole – so well unified indeed that its various parts could not be separated from one another, and the change of a single item would disrupt the whole system, yet the opponents of Stoicism, even in ancient times, regarded the Stoic philosophy as a mass of inconsistent and incompatible elements. Since much of our information about Stoicism comes from hostile sources, it is much easier for the modern investigator to find the inconsistencies of Stoicism than its unity. In recent years there have been a number of studies attempting to find the unifying element, but the problem is by no means solved. (de Lacy, 1945)

The situation hasn’t advanced much since then. In this post based on previous work, I provide the unifying element for the Stoic system. For the moment, I will simply point out the structural similarities between Stoic physics and Stoic logic.

Stoic logic in its entirety covered a vast range of subject matter ranging from rhetoric to dialectics including many subjects that would not be regarded as logic from a modern perspective. However, for the purposes of this post we need only consider the core logical system. For the Stoics, rational reality was subject to the logical principles of the Logos L. The Stoic interpretation of the Logos L was in the form of their system Ls based on the five indemonstrables, considered in detail later. A simplistic interpretation of Stoic Logic Ls is to see it as the first historical example of the propositional calculus. In other words it expresses the zero order logic of particulars. In later work, I intend to show further on that Ls can be thought of as a first order logic with powerful spacetime-like geometric semantics Gs.

However, for the moment we must be content with a cursory description of how each of the five indemonstrables map to the corresponding element of the Stoic-Heraclitus physics system Ps.Thus, the question is: how does the Stoic system unite physics with logic? More precisely, how does Stoic logic Ls based on the five indemonstrables relate to the Stoic five element theory of substance Ps? The relationship Ls Ps has already been reported from several different perspectives in previous papers. The essence of the relationship is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Illustrating the Stoics relationship Ls Ps
and the corresponding Heraclitus diagrams.

Stoic physics adopted the four element system of Empedocoles, including the gender typing. The gender construct is explained in my previous works and will be further explained further on in this work. I technically refer to it is ontological gender. Gender is the key to understanding how all of this fits together. There is a learning curve for appreciating the full extent and subtleties of the gender construct the most subtle of all distinctions. For the moment, think of the masculine as expressing pure form. The purest and most primordial expression of form is the singularity. Expressed linguistically, the masculine is pure “is-a.” On the other side of the gender divide is the feminine which, in isolation, can be thought of as pure formless extension. Linguistically, the feminine is pure “has-a.” The gender calculus (yes it does form a calculus) expresses the dialects of the is-a, and has-relationship. As I said, this is the most subtle of all distinction. It is also the most fundamental.

To be expanded upon….

References

Kant, I., 1781. The Critique of Pure Reason. s.l.:The Project Gutenberg EBook: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4280/4280-h/4280-h.htm.

Moore, D. J. H., 2012. The First Science and the Generic Code. Parmenidean Press. 450 Pages
Moore, D. J. H., 2013a. Now Machines
Moore, D. J. H., 2013b
The Whole Thing is a (Now) Number
Moore, D. J. H., 2013d. Logic Driven Physics: How Nature’s genetic code predicts the Standard Model.
Moore, D. J. H., 2013. The Universal Geometric Algebra of Nature: Realising Leibniz’s Dream
Moore, D. J. H., 2013. Generic Model versus Standard Model Interactive Database. [Online Database Application]

Chrysippus and Stoic Logic

The Stoic Five Undemonstratables

There are two kinds of logic, logic with infrastructure and logic that can be carried out with the bare brain, the terra nullus logic. We first consider the bare brained version. This variety of logic is virtually infrastructure free. The logic is abstract and makes extensive use of symbols that do not mean anything. It is often referred to as symbolic logic. At the base of symbolic logic is the propositional calculus and its second order extension, the predicate calculus. The other kind of reasoning requiring infrastructure will be a terra plenus logic. In accordance with our two-hemisphere brain metaphor we refer to terra nullus logic as left side logic and terra plenus Stoic style logic as right side.

What is interesting about the Stoic logic developed by Chrysippus is that it can be interpreted as a left side symbolic logic as well as a right side logic, all decked out with dialectical infrastructure. Thus, Chrysippus’ logic has both a terra nullus as well as a terra plenus interpretation.

The kernel of the logic is articulated in the form of the “five undemonstratables”. The undemonstratables can be stated as five three step syllogisms as follows (Chénique, 1974):

1 Conditional

If one has the first quality one has the second
one has the first
thus, one has the second

2 Contraposition of the conditional

If one has the first quality one has the second
one has not the second
thus, one has not the first

3 Incompatibility

One has not at the same time both the first and the second quality
one has the first
thus, one has not the second

4. ‘OR exclusive’ or alternative

One has either the first quality or the second quality
One has the first
hence, one has not the second

5. ‘OR non-exclusive’ or disjunction

One has either the first quality or the second quality
one has not the second
Hence, one has the first

All of these syllogisms can be interpreted from the symbolic logic perspective of propositional calculus. As such, it can be said that Chrysippus was the first to discover the propositional calculus. In addition, the first and second syllogisms can be interpreted as definitions of modus ponens and modus tollens respectively. This is all familiar ground for traditional logic.

The third syllogism deals with the incompatibly paradigm. In the propositional calculus context, this corresponds to the Sheffer stroke. In this context, the syllogism loses its explicit temporal nature and flattens down to the simple formula:

NOT (a AND b) is true

Note that the “at the same time” part of the formula has been dropped. Traditional modern logic has no notion of time. To entertain a notion of time, one needs a brain. The brain of the logician does not count, because that is not a formal part of the logic. Modern logic has no such infrastructure. It has virtually no infrastructure at all. Brainless, this is truly the logic of the terra nullus.

Building the Logical Brain

Logic combined with integrated cognitive structure goes from being logical to being ontological. In other words, it starts to become a science of being. Integral to a science of being is the science of the generic subject. The formal presence of the generic subject in the science provides a fundamental point of reference. All propositions become relative, relative to the subject. As we have said before, the subject, any subject, is the centre of the Cosmos. This means that you are located at the centre of the universe. Since you could be anybody located anyewhere, the centre of the can be literaly anywhaere. This identity of the generic centre of the universe and the individual centre of the universe is a most important principle. (In my book to appear, I show that any spatial reality with this property is equivalent to the Special Theory of Relativity. It is not verycomplicated)

As we have seen, the generic subject is endowed with a particular brain architecture. First, the impersonal, undetermined subject is based on a left-right dichotomy, with the subject on one side and its kingdom of objects on the other. The usual polarity convention is right and left sides respectively, but this does not have to be the case.

The above paragraph has a certain apparently outrageous dimension. It is probably enough to make some readers choke on their crumpet. However, it just takes time to become comfortable with the generic viewpoint. The situation can get untenable when we move on to the next paragraph. Written in italics in an effort to ease the reader’s pain, it reads something like this:

The brain architecture of the personal subject, in addition to the left right dichotomy of the impersonal, has a front back determination with the polarity, subject in front and kingdom in the back. These left right, and front back determinations can be explained in terms of gender, where the singular Oneness of the subject corresponds with the masculine and the non-singular wild card Otherness corresponds to the feminine. The configuration at this stage is that of a square divided into four quarters. Reading from left to right, starting from the front, the quarters are gender typed MF, MM, FF and FM respectively. Any subject whatsoever will have this configuration.

Perhaps one redeeming point is that we are not the only ones to have ever argued along these lines. Apparently, the ancients, going back thousands of years, have passed by here many times before. One thing to keep in mind is that we have not yet distinguished between the form of the world and the cognitive structure needed to comprehend it. Our basic thesis on this matter is that:

  1. The form of the world and the cognitive structure are different,
  2. The form of the world and the cognitive structure are indistinguishable.

This constitutes the basis of generic science and is why it is only necessary to study cognitive structures. Just put yourself into the position of that electron over there, the one that’s peering at you. It is a subject just like you. It might surprise you to know that, in this context, it has a cognitive structure indistinguishable from yours.

In the final analysis, the two points above apply perfectly to the two basic building blocks of generic science. These were the pure feminine entity and the pure masculine entity. They are both different whilst being indistinguishable. The masculine, in this sense, is the ultimate embryonic cognitive structure; the feminine corresponds to the ultimate embryonic world.

Bridging Laws of Consciousness

David Chalmers characterised what he called the Hard Problem (Chalmers, 1995) as the problem of explaining the relationship between a physical account of reality and conscious experience. As he saw it, solving this Hard Problem required determining the “bridging laws” that related physical reality and conscious experience.

The “bridging laws” solution to the consciousness question is a natural response of traditional left side scientific thinking. Such thinking is naturally dualistic where dichotomies abound between Mind and Body, the abstract and the real, and in this case, between the realms of the physical and the conscious. The solution to the problem seems like after the fall: How do you put Humpty Dumpty back together again? How do you bridge the broken? Chalmers is looking for an abstract solution to a problem that is a direct consequence of abstract thinking itself. Explaining abstractly how to bridge the abstract with the real is definitely a very Hard Problem, reserved only for the most courageous of abstract thinkers. For the less courageous, an alternative approach is to avoid abstraction and think generically.

From the monist right side viewpoint of the generic, there is never any need for a bridge as nothing was ever broken apart in the first case. At the ontological foundations of the generic, the very first spark of consciousness stirs with the pure unqualified feminine that has the pure attribute of Oneness. The masculine entity is this attribute. The embryonic physical unites with embryonic consciousness: One has an attribute; the other is this attribute. The bridging here is more like how some of the Hindus describe it, as a coital embrace. This couple have no need for a prosthesis, bridging or otherwise.

According to our embryonic Generic Science based on the generic algebra of gender, any being is coded and organised through this generic code. In the case of the biological, the generic code becomes the genetic code. The four-letter code is really based on binary valued gender. Any life form is coded in this gender algebra and organised through it. The original gender construct of the masculine and feminine now becomes a massive complex entwinement of gendered entities. The overall coherence and survival of the organism absolutely depends on maintenance of the coherence of the gender typing that runs throughout every nook and cranny of the organism. If there is failure of coherence then no bridging Band-Aid will ever bring this organism back into consciousness. The organism would be well and truly dead by now.

When viewing the healthy gender typed organism from the perspective of a third party, everything appears to be in ambiguous and chaotic superposition. Gender states are dynamic and something like quantum states, except that they are relative to each other and the organism, not absolute. Unlike quantum states, the subject sees its states quite differently from any third party. Viewed from the perspective of the organism, these states are in coherence with its own being and articulate its being. There must be no ambiguity whatsoever in gender typing.

We propose that the formal mechanism of gender regulation can be articulated in the form of Chrysippus’ third undemonstratable, that of incompatibility.The premise of the syllogism states:

One has not at the same time both the first and the second quality.

In the context of the generic coded organism, this becomes

One has not at the same time both the masculine and the feminine gender.

It is by the implementation and maintenance of this principle that any living being maintains its Self. This solution demands a dynamically gendered system with a global mechanism for the maintenance of gender coherence.

For a cosmological system, the mechanism is that of pure rational coherence, including the non-violation of the causality principle. As a science, it will present as a much more generic version of present day relativity theories. The geometric aspect of the mathematics (or anti-mathematics) will however need a substantial overhaul. In fact, a new geometry is needed. It will be a more generic version of what is now called geometric algebra.

In biological systems, the genetic code, although material, is a different substance from the proteins it codes. In the realm of pure physics, the code and the substance entities are possibly the one and the same. However, the same generic principle is at work in any realm.

Chrysippus and The Square of Oppositions

Chrysippus’ remarkable logical system can be naively interpreted as a simple left side version of the propositional calculus. There the incompatibility paradigm can play a pivotal role as the key operator from which all other logical constructs can be constructed.

The incompatibility paradigm, as Clark Kent, steps into the phone box and remerges as a virtual superman, ready to bring order and life into a chaotic world. Dumb left side logic transforms into the right side logic of the generic.

Having situated one of Chrysippus’ five paradigms into the generic scheme of things, we now have four left. There is no mystery where these fit in. The diagram below shows how they fit together to form a new kind of square of oppositions. Moreover, each of the four undemonstratables fits in snugly with our gender typing. This naturally leads to associating each of the four syllogisms with the corresponding four letters of the generic-cum-genetic code based on the AUGC alphabet. This is quite important, as the four letters now take on more semantic baggage than that of being a mere transcription language.

It is not clear how much of this was known to Chrysippus. Nevertheless, he does follow in the footsteps of Aristotle and his Organon. Here we have our version of Chrysippus’ Logos, the forerunner to the semantic cracking of the genetic code.
Chrysippus and the reconstructed Stoic square of oppositions
Figure 30 Author’s Reconstitution of Chrysippus’ Square of Oppositions.

Chrysippus and Ground Zero

By Ground Zero, we mean the centre of the Cosmos. Ground Zero has a certain shape, the shape of the entity located at the centre of the Cosmos. As we know, this entity is none other than any subject whatsoever that takes the pain to reflect on its particular spot in the universe. Without fail, this subject, like any other subject, sees itself as being located at the aforesaid location, notably the centre of the Cosmos, the centre of its Cosmos, at least.

As for the shape of this entity, the generic subject, it has a left, a right side, also a front, and a back. This is the structure we have been referring to as the semiotic square. It is a structure that can be interpreted in many ways, as a blueprint for epistemological organisation of knowledge, for example.. The same semiotic structure might be taken as a good framework for brain architecture, but we will avoid that topic here.  There are also ontological, and of course many biological interpretations. On the biological front, this structure can be thought of as the structure of a whole, as coded by a chromosomal codon. Any biological organism is organised as an entity viewed as a whole from a myriad of points of views. To each codon, there corresponds a holistic point of view. The genetic cum generic code is the language that articulates the geometric algebra of this exhaustive but holistic view of the organism. Another interpretation of this highly generic semiotic square is that it offers a schematic for elementary cognitive structure.

So prodigiously generic is a structure that it can make the head spin. To top it off, we now have Chrysippus joining the fray. Now Chrysippus was conceded by the ancients to be the equal of Aristotle, so he cannot be dismissed as a lightweight. In above, we have organised four of his five fundamental syllogisms into a form that falls quite naturally into the elementary structure of the generic semiotic square. As can be seen, the premises of the first and the second hypothetical conjunctive syllogisms make one diagonal of the square and the two disjunctive forms mark out the other diagonal. It is becoming clear that we have here, a structure that resembles the Square of Oppositions of Aristotle. The Scholastics added the AEOI four lettered labelling to Aristotle’s system and spent over a millennium probing into its delights. Not to be outdone, we have added our lettering to our reconstructed version of the Chrysippus Square in the hope of preparing it for its reinvigorated role in the present millennium. Suffering from a lack of creativity, we have borrowed the RNA version of the biologist’s genetic code. Why invent when you can steal, is our motto. It took the author a little while to get the right fit, but he is reasonably confident that his allocation of the CAUG lettering is spot on. He would be very miffed if this was not the case.

Chrysippus and the Grand Unification

The ancient Stoics have been the historic mentors for the material presented in this work. They developed the most successful and diverse form of monistic philosophy that the Western world has ever seen. Zeno provided the intuitive and informal core elements of the doctrine. Chrysippus logic marked the first tentative steps towards the formalisation of a unifying science. The full significance of Chrysippus’ contribution has been little understood by the moderns, blinded as they are by the achievements of the current day sciences. Despite these achievements, the present day sciences are lacking in any kind of cohesive unifying discipline. The unifying science pioneered by the Stoics, will provide such a unification.

Of critical importance is to learn how to reason in a different way from what is customarily taught in modern schools and universities. The moderns only have a partial grasp on rationality. Modern science and mathematics only understand the notion of the true and the false. What lacks, is the understanding of truth. However, the very mention of this word, truth, can seem off putting. After all, probably more people have been burned at the stake because of an allegedly incorrect understanding of truth, than for any other reason. However, buried amongst the historic debris of lost causes lurks indeed the rusted hulk of truth.

Nevertheless, as any philosopher knows well, truth of this kind must be self-justifying. For many, such as Karl Popper, the notion of a self-justifying truth is synonymous with the blind faith of religious zealots and doctrinaire extremists, something anathema to science. Popper is content with the kind of knowledge where each proposition is forever condemned to the judgment that it might be false. Even worse, at the same time the proposition must accommodate the stark reality that this judgment might indeed be true. Then again, it might not. Modern scientists are a brave lot.

Sidenote:

Popper did eventually nuance his views on this matter in the light of the self-justifying biological organism notion. In so doing he implicitly admits that the biological organism is obsessed with self-justifying its continual existence in the world. As such, biological organisms seem to have ontologically more in common with the logic of religious zealots and political fanatics, than with the cool, dry head of the analytic philosopher.

The stark truth about truth is that it must be relative and never absolute. Only in this way can it become an absolute truth. In other words, it becomes an absolute truth relative to itself. This is the essence of monistic philosophy: It is the rationality of the self-justifying Self. Relative to this subject, there is only one truth.

We have already made inroads into the science of the subject. Unlike the analytic rhetorical type reasoning of analytic philosophy, the reasoning of this right side, monist philosophy, is expressed in terms of oppositions and oppositions between oppositions. It is in this way that the reasoning becomes a relativistic form of reasoning. Rather than rhetorical, it becomes dialectical. The nuts and bolts of the reasoning deals with the dialect of two entities, one which has and the other that is. These entities differ by gender, the first corresponding to the feminine gender, the second to the masculine. The dialectic of to have and to be, constitues the core essence of the monistic, right side form of reasoning.

This is the dialectic of the subject minimally conscious of itself. It leads to a particular kind of knowledge. It leads to the generic truth that reality, viewed from any particular perspective, is the reality viewed from the point of view of the generic subject, the any subject whatsoever kind of subject,

The elementary form that arose from our investigations was the semiotic square. This structure arose from the opposition between what the subject is and what the subject is not, that is to say, what it has. This opposition was formalised in terms of the gender construct. This leads to the four distinct parts of the square being gender typed MF, FF, FM and MM.

This very generic quadruple structure is highly lacking in determination. The edifice is so undetermined that it is not even clear whether it corresponds to the semiotic structure of knowledge of the world, or the structure of the world itself. Is this epistemology or is it physics? Is this the structure of Mind or is it the structure of Body? Is it the structure of a generic language or that of a generic world?

Finding an answer to these kinds of questions is key. It is here that we find the great enigma of this science. Unlike the analytical thinkers who want to understand the relationship between Mind and Body in terms analogous to that between horse and cart, the synthetic monist thinker must take a different tack. The horse will not be separated from the cart, but treated as an organic whole. One cannot have one without the other. We came across the very essence of the monist solution in the form of the gender construct. Rather than plucking attributes from a predefined definitional framework or harvested from empirical measurements, we constructed the one single fundamental attribute from which stem all other attributes of our science. This was the attribute possessed by the pure feminine entity. The attribute, an entity in its own right, was the masculine entity. These two entities are different. They differ by gender. However, they are absolutely indistinguishable. Two entities are distinguishable if they have different attributes. Here there might be two entities, but there is only one attribute between them: two entities; one has an attribute, the other is the attribute.

This gender construct provides the generic formula for all of the science that follows. The dialectic of the masculine and the feminine provides the generic base for all other seemingly dyadic structures such as the popular Mind-Body duality of the analytic philosophers. The relationship between the pure feminine and masculine is a generic form of the same relationship between Mind and Body.

Not everyone will agree with this assertion. Certainly, an analytic philosopher or anyone reasoning from a Cartesian viewpoint would take the abstract road, abstractly arguing that Body is like a machine and Mind is an intelligence that drives the machine. The two are linked together by some kind of “bridging laws” perhaps. There is no dialectic here, as the notion of a bodiless mind and mindless body, is considered quite respectable. They can conceivably go their separate ways: put the brain in the bottle and the brain dead body on life support, should do the trick.

Such a surgical separation is impossible for an organism constructed from the gender construct. The organism is constructed according to a four-lettered code. According to our gender calculus version of this code, each letter is made up of one of the four binary gender typings, MF, FF, FM and MM. On the face of it, the organism might be just a highly complex assemblage of hydrocarbon-based compounds. However, from an organisational point of view, it is a seething mass of intertwined, gendered entities. It is this gender typing of content and form of the organism that ensures systemic coherence. It is in this way that the One can be constructed from the inseparable and indistinguishable Two.

The Stoics saw this dynamic systemic organisation of the organism in terms of the tensions and tenos of a fifth kind of substance they called pneuma.

The pneuma is in constant motion. It is a process into itself, and from itself. The inward process produces unity and substance, the outward process dimensions and qualities. The pneuma is a disposition (hexis) in process. As a disposition, the pneuma holds the cosmos together, and accounts for the cohesions of each individual entity. The pneuma is the cause of the entity being qualified: for the bodies are bound together by these. [Chrysippus views on the pneuma (Reesor, 1989)]

The coherence, the very being of an organism, is synonymous with it maintaining Oneness. The mechanism for achieving and maintaining Oneness is through the establishment and maintenance of gender typing. The organism must know, without a shadow of doubt, what it has and has not and what it is and is not in all cases. These are the key determinants of consciousness. In addition, the determinations are purely relative. They are purely subject-ive. This, one must admit, is truly a beautiful, self-referring system.

Beautiful indeed, but how does it work? With profound beauty, one would expect an accompanying simplicity, a profound but simple principle. Seeing that everything involved in this kind of self-organising organism is relativistic, there should be some fundamental relativistic principle at play. In the traditional sciences of our day, the only relativistic principle known is in physics. There is no known equivalent in biology. In physics, we see relativity theory expressed as demanding that the laws of physics remain invariant from one reference frame to another. Perhaps more pointedly, as shown by Zeeman, the principle of relativity is intimately bound up with the non-violation of the causality principle. It is here that one can grasp the simplicity and elegance of the theory. System coherence demands the coherence of causality. The claim of generic science is that this is not enough. A much more demanding form of relativity is we call generic relativity.

If the work presented in this book is to be more than the usual exposition of inconclusive philosophical prose, then we should be able to advance an equally simple and elegant formulation concerning the essence of generic relativity, the cornerstone of the generic science we are trying to develop. Fortunately, we do not have to look very far. The principle is located at Ground Zero and there is no one who knew this spot in the Cosmos better than Chrysippus, the Stoic logician par excellence. Ground Zero is the location of the Logos, the reasoning faculty of any subject whatsoever. The form of the Logos can be understood in terms of the dialectic of having and being, a form expressed by the semiotic square. Chrysippus provided the logical framework of the Logos semiotic square in the form of four of his five undemonstratables. We have resurrected this structure as an alternative to Aristotle’s Square of Oppositions, discussed previously. We have named this the Chrysippus’ Square of Oppositions. The fit between this structure and the four undemonstratables is comfortable and reasonably self-evident. The structure effectively provides an additional logical impetus to the thrust of our argument. The four undemonstratables provide a logical dimension to the interpretation of the four-element theory and the corresponding four letters.

Absolute Incompatibility

Five undemonstratables minus four leaves one. The missing syllogism is the third undemonstrable, the incompatibility syllogism: One cannot have one quality and the other at the same time. We now come to the fundamental tenet of generic science. It is founded on the premise that there is nothing more incompatible in this world than the masculine and the feminine. This premise does have some intuitive appeal and so we will stick with it. This is not a bad idea, as it appears that the whole cosmos hinges on the concept. It is the incompatibility principle that holds not only the cosmos together, but any being whatsoever that exists.

In the case of biological organisms, the concept should be relatively easy to grasp. A stumbling block might be in accepting that the genetic code is more than a mere transcription language. One should keep in mind that curiously, and apparently accidently, the code became a convention adopted by all living organisms since the year dot; without exception. Accidents do happen, but this accident does seem a little bigger than most. Life might be subject to evolution, but the language of life seems absolutely impervious to change. The gamble of Nature seemed to have hit the jackpot absolutely spot on, right from the start.

The reader may rest with that interesting accident hypothesis or move on to considering that the code may be based on a generic semantic and ontological structure. According to our take on the question, this structure is based on the dialectics of being and its naturally orthogonal counterpart, that of having. This can be formalised in terms of the gender construct and leads to a four-letter code based on the four possible binary combinations of the two genders. It is generally accepted that all biological processes are coded by the genetic code, what we claim to be the generic code. Moreover, in multi-celled creature, the same code is repeated for each cell. We say that this code expresses a relative typing on all aspects of the organism. At the very ground roots level, the typing is in terms of complex combinations of gender typing. We claim that the organism relies on this form of organisation in order to arrive at knowledge and consciousness of itself. It is via this absolutely relativistic gender typing that the entity knows what pertains to it or what does not. This is the most elementary and most essential feature of life.

Moreover, the basic health of the organism will be placed in peril if this typing mechanism starts breaking down. The cohesion of the system demands the constant maintenance of the integrity of gender typing through the organism. The Stoic picture of a pneuma permeating every aspect of the organism is very helpful. The pneuma is constantly attracting and repelling, constantly maintaining the equilibrium of the organism.

The Stoics claim that there are two primary principles working through the pneuma: the active principle and the passive principle. This terminology is also helpful, as long as we recognise that the active and passive ultimately refer to the masculine and feminine, in a particular configuration. For example, we refer to the feminine as active by the mixed gender term FM.

The masculine as active becomes MM and so on for the passive MF and FF variants.

Maintenance of the integrity of gender typing throughout the organism is paramount. Since the system is changing and reacting to its environment, this integrity must be synchronised. This brings us back to the key logical ingredient that guarantees such coherence: the coherence principle.

The Gender Coherence Principle

The organisational coherence of an organism is regulated through gender typing. The maintenance of organisational coherence is synonymous with maintaining the integrity of gender coherence. This can best be expressed in the form of Chrysippus’ third undemonstratable, the incompatibility syllogism. The premise can be restated in the form:

In no single moment can an entity be both masculine and feminine at the same time.

We will call this the gender coherence principle, the fundamental organisational principle of Nature.

Note in passing that an entity can have multiple gender typing. However, it cannot have two different gender typings at the same time. This raises interesting question regarding the degeneracy of the genetic code. Take the amino acid asparagine, for example. It can be coded by the bases either AAU or AUC. In gender terms, this translates to the gender typing MFMFFF or MFMFMM. According to the gender coherence principle, such an entity has two possible “quantum” gender states. At any time, it can be functioning as either MFMFFF or MFMFMM, but not both at the same time. Remember that gender typing at any instant of time is not absolute and cannot be measured deterministically by a third party. Gender typing is relativistic and dynamic and in coherence with the organism so typed.

Note that the so-called superposition of states addressed by quantum mechanics disappears if they are considered to be more like relativistic gender states. Any observer that deterministically tries to measure a relativistic gender state of an organism will encounter superposition. For the organism in question, there is no superposition whatsoever. Relative to its integrity system, the gender coherence principle demands that the very opposite apply at each and any instant.

As for the organism, in the life sciences the organism might be a cat on a slab in the lab. For the physicist, the organism might be a much smaller or much larger creature. However, it is still an organism based on the same generic organisational principles.

Physics Interpretation

In an appendix attached to this work, elementary particle physics will be interpreted from a generic point of view. This leads to elementary entities like quarks and leptons being gender typed in terms of codons reminiscent of biology. In this way, any being in nature codes itself in terms of the generic code based on gender typing. This includes the cosmos itself, as a dynamic self-organising being.

In traditional relativity theory, one can discern an elementary organisational coherence that can be stated in a form comparable to the gender coherence principle. In this case, it becomes the principle of causal integrity. The principle states the dialectic of cause and effect:

The cause event is always antecedent to the effect event.

This is the most fundamental organisational principle known to traditional physics. The law must not be violated in any context (i.e., in any reference frame) and so demands a system that obeys Einstein’s Special and General Theory of Relativity.

One can see that the form of Einstein’s relativity has a certain resemblance to the generic form expressed, not as a causality coherence, but as gender coherence. There is also a fundamental difference. Einstein’s relativity demands coherence across time: causes must precede effects in time. In other words, Einstein’s relativity is diachronic in nature. In contrast, the generic version of relativity demands coherence at the same time. In other words generic relativity is synchronic in nature and, up until now, has been totally ignored in physics.

Computer Science Interpretation

It is important to keep in mind at all times when dealing with the generic that it is not an abstract science. Generic science is capable of formalism but not as an abstraction, which is necessarily dualist. Generic science is monist and non-abstract. Some effort is required to become accustomed to this totally different paradigm. Interpreting some of the concepts in a Computer Science setting can help, in this regard. Unlike axiomatic abstract mathematics, Computer Science is a constructive science and naturally synthetic in nature. The science also enjoys a natural tendency towards monism in the sense that the theory of code can be expressed in code.

Generic science is a discipline, which has for its vocation the task of articulating the structure and organisational principle of any living being. The science is naturally constructionist. This raises the question of how to construct an organism based on generic science principles. Such an organism would have to be based on gender typing and be organised on the gender coherence principle. In addition, the whole system must not violate the principle of First Classness. Is this possible?

This is a silly question as our very own presence on this globe is at least some kind of feasibility proof of the concept, a living proof in fact.

What we wish to do in this section is to provide a very simple example of how Computer Science, unknowingly, has already started to go down the path of Generic Science. Our example is the very computer itself, the Von Neumann computer.

Before Von Neumann, there already existed programmable calculating devices. However, they all had one thing in common. They were based on an absolute dichotomy between data and program. For example, the program might be hard wired into the device and the data fed in via paper tape. If we want to put some gender typing into the mix, we could say that the program was masculine stuff and the data feminine. With this arrangement, the gender coherence principle could be satisfied because at no time is any confusion possible between what was program stuff and what was data stuff. Data was always on the paper, and program in the machine. The only problem was that such a device violates First Classness.  First Classness is incompatible with such a blatant and absolute duality. First Classness cannot tolerate a world cut up into two, one made of paper and one made of the other stuff.

Von Neumann started the process of moving the calculating machine into the realm of a generically organised entity. He made two innovations. The first innovation was shared memory where there was no longer to be any absolute dichotomy between data stuff and program stuff. They were all loaded into shared memory in the same format as small chunks of information. Von Neumann was then faced with the problem of how the computer could tell the difference between program stuff and data stuff. It was here that Von Neumann decided to invoke his version of Chrysippus’ incompatibility principle. The principle was that:

No chunk of information in shared memory could be both data and program at the same time.

In order to implement this principle, he came up with his second innovation. It was called the Program Counter. The Program Counter is a pointer into the shared memory of the computer. The rule was that a program instruction was the chunk of memory pointed to by the Program Counter at a particular instance in time. All the rest of the chunks were considered data. Having executed that instruction, the Program Counter would be incremented to the next memory location, and that would then be considered a program chunk and no longer potential data. In the case of a JUMP instruction, the Program Counter would be moved to some other distant place in memory and the process continues. The computer was born.

Like practically every major advance in computer science, the Von Neumann’s computer was an exercise of eliminating violations in First Classness; in this case, eliminating the fixed dichotomy between data and program. Henceforth, the distinction became relative to the dynamically changing Program Counter. What was program and what was data depended on context.

However, such a device is far from freeing itself from violation of First Classness. The Program Counter itself becomes a rigid privileged memory location, totally estranged from the run of the mill information chunk in shared memory. That is yet another dichotomy to be eliminated by generic engineering principle. There is a long way to go.

The Von Neumann computer needed a few further innovations in order to become operational. However, not many other innovations were needed. Add a stack, interrupts, and a few input/output ports and that is about it.

The Semiotic Logic of Chrysippus

Before reaching an understanding of our reconstruction of the Chrysippus semiotic square, we need to know a bit about semiotics, or at least, our version of it. We provide here a summary of our approach.

The author’s first acquaintance with the semiotic square came from following the courses of Greimas back in Paris, many years ago. The term “semiotic square” is nowadays generally associated with his name. The big weakness in the Greimas approach was his failure to come to terms with the subject. His semiotics is sans sujet. We will sketch out here a more fundamental approach to semiotics and the semiotic square that does include the subject.

To begin with, there are two kinds of semiotics, one associated with Ferdinand de Saussure (dyadic, arbitrariness of the sign etc.) and one associated with Charles Sanders Peirce (triadic). In our view, the approach of de Saussure is not semiotics, but General Linguistics. Like Greimas, the approach of de Saussure is sans sujet. If there is a subject, it is part of the Spectacle, not the Spectator. It is merely what Hegel referred to as the empirical ego. In this perspective, the de Saussure approach is like that of the traditional sciences and mathematics. All of these sciences are sans sujet. We call all of these traditional science left side sciences. Left side sciences claim to be objective, which is another way of saying that they only concerned with a reality of objects where any reference to the subject has been excluded. They are all sans sujet. As such, these sciences look at the world from a very specific point of view. This point of view has been described as the “view from nowhere” or the “God’s eye view”. This is a general characteristic of science sans sujet. It is a general characteristic of all the sciences and mathematics of today.

The other possible scientific paradigm goes in the opposite direction. It demands that the subject is always present. In other words, if there is a spectacle there must also be an accompanying spectator. You cannot have one without the other. We call the science based on this paradigm, right side science. The right side science becomes, in fact, the dialectic of the Spectator and the Spectacle, the Subject and its kingdom.

Unlike the many left side sciences, there is only one right side science. This is because its focus is on the science of the subject and this is quite different to the science of objects. It is the science of the Self. For a Stoic logician like Chrysippus, it is the science of the Logos. This generic entity, the Self, the Logos, the Ego, has a generic form. This form can be worked out from pure reason.

Now Charles Sanders Peirce was more inclined to the right side paradigm, but he did not make much headway. He also despised the Stoics, which did not help. Thus, we have to start from scratch. Starting from scratch means that we start with a subject and its kingdom. Alternatively, we start with a kingdom and its subject, the same thing. Both spectator and spectacle must be present in the same moment.

This is where we have to put our thinking caps on. The relationship between the Subject and its Other is a very particular kind of relationship. They each determine one another. The Hindus sometimes see this as a coital relationship. The subject corresponds to the masculine. The mysterious other is the feminine where gender gets interpreted as sex, poetic licence oblige. The Stoics saw the relationship as that between the Active Principle and the Passive Principle. Vedanta philosophy often refers to the Active principle as the Principle of Individualization, the Spiritual Principle, or simply the masculine principle. We have here the building block for right side science. It is getting a bit steamy, so here is one way to arrive at a dispassionate view. It involves the gender construct.
Semiotic square personal and impersonal subject
Figure 31 The generic semiotic square is constructed from the feminine masculine opposition applied to itself.

The main role of the subject in this right side science is that it does provide a determined point of view. As such, it is a pure singularity. What is non-subject is non-singularity. This can be formalised with the concept of gender. The gender concept is very ancient, in both the West and the East. First, there is the unqualified substance totally devoid of any determined specificity. Such an entity is typed as the pure feminine. One might say that the pure feminine is devoid of specificity and so has no attribute. This is not the case. It is only devoid of a determined specificity. It has an undetermined specificity. That is its attribute. This attribute, using the argument of First Classness, must be an entity in its own right. (Note that the Stoics always claimed that the property of an entity is an entity in its own right). This attribute entity will be said to be of masculine gender. Two entities; one has an attribute, the other is the attribute. The first entity corresponds to the feminine, the second to the masculine. These two entities provide the building blocks for the right side science paradigm.

The first thing to construct is the semiotic square. One way of understanding this square is as the architecture of a whole. Totality can only be understood from a determining point of view of the subject. Instead of comprehending the totality in any moment, which is impossible, it is understood as a whole. A whole is totality looked at from a particular point view. There are as many wholes as there are points of view. This requires that the subject must be present in the whole. Right side science always understands things in terms of wholes.

Thus, the semiotic square, as a generic understanding of a whole, is a map of the subjects conscious understanding of the whole, any whole. The first moment of understanding is “Wow, here I am, this is me and the rest is not me.” We thus draw a square, cut it down the middle and adopt the convention that the right side corresponds to subject and the left side to what is not subject. The right side is masculine typed and the left side is feminine typed.

However, the subject in this particular configuration is not you or I. It represents the impersonal subject. In fact, it is this subject that corresponds to the “view from nowhere”, the “God’s eyes view” of the traditional sciences. These sciences, in their quest for objectivity, remove all reference to subject from consideration. They even remove this impersonal subject from consideration, as they have no need for it. They demand a godless science, a pure science sans sujet. Thus, the semiotic square for the left side sciences is the same as for the right side science, except that the right side is blacked out. Left side sciences thus suffer from a symptom well known to the psychiatrist. It is called hemi-neglect. Right side science knows about the left side, left side science wings it alone, content with half a brain, so to speak. Curiously, in passing, the human brain exhibits exactly this same bi-lateral specialisation. The right hemisphere does not exhibit hemi-neglect and sees a whole world. Only the left side exhibits hemi-neglect.

This is now where left side and right side science part company. Not content with just the presence of the impersonal subject, right side science must find a way of introducing a more determined subject, the personal subject. This is constructed by applying the first feminine-masculine opposition to itself, an opposition of two oppositions. It might sound complicated but is easily visualised with the semiotic square. The second opposition is orthogonal to the first and so instead of a left-right dichotomy, the dichotomy is front-back. We use the convention of masculine in front, feminine at the back. It appears that we are not the only ones to adopt this polarity convention.

The end result is that we end up with a square shaped kind of placeholder for dealing with knowledge. The first kind of knowledge involves an elementary consciousness of self, a knowledge of what is and what is not. This is expressed logically in our reconstruction of the Chrysippus square. For the moment, note that the four parts of the semiotic square have been binary typed with gender. For example, the left front part is typed as MF. This reads that, from the impersonal subject perspective, it is typed as feminine. From the personal subject perspective, it is typed as masculine. Thus, the first letter in the binary gender typing is that of the personal subject, the second letter is that of the impersonal.

The semiotic square is a placeholder, the architecture of the generic mind, so to speak. The semiotic square is static and unique, for the purposes of the science. You only need one brain, it can be said.

In addition to the placeholder, there are values relative to it. These values are mobile. There are the four kinds of elementary substance that can be binary typed by the four binary gender types. The binary typed substance corresponds to MF, FF, FM and MM. The ancients called them air, earth, water and fire respectively.

We now come to the semiotic square constructed with four of the Chrysippus undemonstratables. Note that one diagonal is constructed from the conjunctive syllogisms. These are known to logicians as Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. The other diagonal is constructed from the two forms of the disjunctive. The diagram can be gender typed by matching the is copula with the masculine and the is not with the feminine, as shown. This matches perfectly with the semiotic square gendering shown above.

What is interesting is that the logic of Chrysippus has introduced yet another dimension into the semiotics, a vertical axis. The square becomes the “Chrysippus cube”! We have used the convention of the implication arrows in the diagram going left to right to signal the upwards direction, and the downwards for the right to left. Talking intuitively, this indicates that the top two entities have an “upward flow” and the bottom two entries have a “downward flow”.

One should note that the gender coding of the top two elements correspond to the “elements” of air and fire. These are the “light” elements, being predominantly masculine and less substantial than the feminine bottom two elements of earth and water. Such reasoning is not very rigorous, as we are not talking about the same kind of elements as in the left side, traditional science. The logic of Chrysippus however adds a different complexion to the matter.

These principles must have been part of core Stoic teaching, as Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations.

Your aerial part and all the fiery parts which are mingled in you, though by nature they have an upward tendency, still in obedience to the disposition of the universe they are overpowered here in the compound mass. And also the whole of the earthy part in you and the watery, though their tendency is downward,

The Stoics claimed that theirs was a unifying science that integrated logic, physics, and morality. Some people are attracted to Stoic values whilst thinking that their science has been completely eclipsed by the modern day sciences. However, how antiquated is the science of antiquity? Consider the following.

In our diagram, we have added in the four letters CAUG matching up with the gender typings MM, MF, FF and FM respectively. This is part of another story in this book. These are the four letters of what we call the generic code. We have taken them from the RNA version of the genetic code. The genetic code is a standard code that codes all living beings, without exception. This is an established fact. The generic code is impervious to evolution and has remained unchanged since the year dot. By extending the notion of the living to that of the universe, itself considered as living by the Stoics, this same code takes on a generic vocation. In this book, we explore its application to understanding elementary particle physics from a new angle (see Appendix). We use the generic code to code quarks and leptons. These claims may test our short-term credibility. However, in the longer term that is the way it will pan out once we have properly digested this new science, a science with such ancient roots.

Ground Zero and Chrysippus

By Ground Zero, we mean the centre of the Cosmos. Ground Zero has a certain shape, the shape of the entity located at the centre of the Cosmos. As we know, this entity is none other than any subject whatsoever that takes the pain to reflect on its particular spot in the universe. Without fail, this subject, like any other subject, sees itself as being located at the aforesaid location, notably the centre of the Cosmos, the centre of its Cosmos, at least.

As for the shape of this entity, the generic subject, it has a left, a right side, also a front, and a back. This is the structure we have been referring to as the semiotic square. It is a structure that can be interpreted in many ways, as a blueprint for epistemological organisation of knowledge, for example. There are also ontological, and of course many biological interpretations. On the biological front, this structure can be thought of as the structure of a whole, as coded by a chromosomal codon. Any biological organism is organised as an entity viewed as a whole from a myriad of points of views. To each codon, there corresponds a holistic point of view. The genetic cum generic code is the language that articulates the geometric algebra of this holistic view of the organism. Another interpretation of this highly generic semiotic square is that it offers a schematic for elementary cognitive structure.

So prodigiously generic is this structure that it can make the head spin. To top it off, we now have Chrysippus joining the fray. Now Chrysippus, the most important thinker of the Stoics, was conceded by the ancients to be the equal of Aristotle. In the figure below, we have organised four of his five fundamental syllogisms into a form that falls quite naturally into the elementary structure of the generic semiotic square. As can be seen, the premises of the first and the second hypothetical conjunctive syllogisms make one diagonal of the square and the two disjunctive forms mark out the other diagonal. It is becoming clear that we have here, a structure that resembles the Square of Oppositions of Aristotle. The Scholastics added the AEOI four lettered labelling to Aristotle’s system and spent over a millennium probing into its delights. Not to be outdone, we have added our lettering to our reconstructed version of the Chrysippus Square in the hope of preparing it for its reinvigorated role in the present millennium. Suffering from a lack of creativity, we have borrowed the RNA version of the biologist’s genetic code. Why invent when you can steal, is our motto. It took the author a little while to get the right fit, but he is reasonably confident that his allocation of the CAUG lettering is spot on. He would be very miffed if this was not the case.


Figure 1. Four of the five undemonstratables of Chrysippus from a semiotic square.

Chrysippus and the Grand Unification

The ancient Stoics have been the historic mentors for the material presented in this Blog. They developed the most successful and diverse form of monistic philosophy that the Western world has ever seen. Zeno provided the intuitive and informal core elements of the doctrine. The logic of Chrysippus marked the first tentative steps towards the formalisation of a unifying science. The full significance of Chrysippus’ contribution has been little understood by the moderns, blinded as they are by the achievements of the current day sciences. Despite these achievements, the present day sciences are lacking in any kind of cohesive unifying discipline. The unifying science pioneered by the ancient Stoics, can provide such a unification.

Of critical importance is to learn how to reason in a different way from what is customarily taught in modern schools and universities. The moderns only have a partial grasp on rationality. Modern science and mathematics only understand the notion of the true and the false. What lacks, is the understanding of truth. However, the very mention of this word, truth, can seem off putting. After all, probably more people have been burned at the stake because of an allegedly incorrect understanding of truth than for any other reason. However, buried amongst the historic debris of lost causes lurks indeed the rusted hulk of truth.
Nevertheless, as any philosopher knows well, truth of this kind must be self-justifying. For many, such as Karl Popper, the notion of a self-justifying truth is synonymous with the blind faith of religious zealots and doctrinaire extremists, something anathema to science. Popper is content with the kind of knowledge where each proposition is forever condemned to the judgment that it might be false. Even worse, at the same time the proposition must accommodate the stark reality that this judgment might indeed be true. Then again, it might not. Modern scientists are a brave lot.

Sidenote:
Popper did eventually nuance his views on this matter in the light of the self-justifying biological organism notion. In so doing he implicitly admits that the biological organism is obsessed with self-justifying its continual existence in the world. As such, biological organisms seem to have ontologically more in common with the logic of religious zealots and political fanatics, than with the cool, dry head of the analytic philosopher.

The stark truth about truth is that it must be relative and never absolute. Only in this way can it become an absolute truth. In other words, it becomes an absolute truth relative to itself. This is the essence of monistic philosophy: It is the rationality of the self-justifying Self. Relative to this subject, there is only one truth.
We have already made inroads into the science of the subject. Unlike the analytic rhetorical type reasoning of analytic philosophy, the reasoning of this right side, monist philosophy, is expressed in terms of oppositions and oppositions between oppositions. It is in this way that the reasoning becomes a relativistic form of reasoning. Rather than rhetorical, it becomes dialectical. The nuts and bolts of the reasoning deals with the dialect of two entities, one which has and the other that is. These entities differ by gender, the first corresponding to the feminine gender, the second to the masculine. The dialectic of to have and to be, constitues the core essence of the monistic, right side form of reasoning.

This is the dialectic of the subject minimally conscious of itself. It leads to a particular kind of knowledge. It leads to the generic truth that reality, viewed from any particular perspective, is the reality viewed from the point of view of the generic subject, the any subject whatsoever kind of subject,

The elementary form that arose from our investigations was the semiotic square. This structure arose from the opposition between what the subject is and what the subject is not, that is to say, what it has. This opposition was formalised in terms of the gender construct. This leads to the four distinct parts of the square being gender typed MF, FF, FM and MM.
This very generic quadruple structure is highly lacking in determination. The edifice is so undetermined that it is not even clear whether it corresponds to the semiotic structure of knowledge of the world, or the structure of the world itself. Is this epistemology or is it physics? Is this the structure of Mind or is it the structure of Body? Is it the structure of a generic language or that of a generic world?

Finding an answer to these kinds of questions is key. It is here that we find the great enigma of this science. Unlike the analytical thinkers who want to understand the relationship between Mind and Body in terms analogous to that between horse and cart, the synthetic monist thinker must take a different tack. The horse will not be separated from the cart, but treated as an organic whole. One cannot have one without the other. We came across the very essence of the monist solution in the form of the gender construct. Rather than plucking attributes from a predefined definitional framework or harvested from empirical measurements, we constructed the one single fundamental attribute from which stem all other attributes of our science. This was the attribute possessed by the pure feminine entity. The attribute, an entity in its own right, was the masculine entity. These two entities are different. They differ by gender. However, they are absolutely indistinguishable. Two entities are distinguishable if they have different attributes. Here there might be two entities, but there is only one attribute between them: two entities; one has an attribute, the other is the attribute.

This gender construct provides the generic formula for all of the science that follows. The dialectic of the masculine and the feminine provides the generic base for all other seemingly dyadic structures such as the popular Mind-Body duality of the analytic philosophers. The relationship between the pure feminine and masculine is a generic form of the same relationship between Mind and Body.

Not everyone will agree with this assertion. Certainly, an analytic philosopher or anyone reasoning from a Cartesian viewpoint would take the abstract road, abstractly arguing that Body is like a machine and Mind is an intelligence that drives the machine. The two are linked together by some kind of “bridging laws” perhaps. There is no dialectic here, as the notion of a bodiless mind and mindless body, is considered quite respectable. They can conceivably go their separate ways: put the brain in the bottle and the brain dead body on life support, should do the trick.

Such a surgical separation is impossible for an organism constructed from the gender construct. The organism is constructed according to a four-lettered code. According to our gender calculus version of this code, each letter is made up of one of the four binary gender typings, MF, FF, FM and MM. On the face of it, the organism might be just a highly complex assemblage of hydrocarbon-based compounds. However, from an organisational point of view, it is a seething mass of intertwined, gendered entities. It is this gender typing of content and form of the organism that ensures systemic coherence. It is in this way that the One can be constructed from the inseparable and indistinguishable Two.

The Stoics saw this dynamic systemic organisation of the organism in terms of the tensions and tenos of a fifth kind of substance they called pneuma.
The pneuma is in constant motion. It is a process into itself, and from itself. The inward process produces unity and substance, the outward process dimensions and qualities. The pneuma is a disposition (hexis) in process. As a disposition, the pneuma holds the cosmos together, and accounts for the cohesions of each individual entity. The pneuma is the cause of the entity being qualified: for the bodies are bound together by these. [Chrysippus views on the pneuma (Reesor, 1989)]

The coherence, the very being of an organism, is synonymous with it maintaining Oneness. The mechanism for achieving and maintaining Oneness is through the establishment and maintenance of gender typing. The organism must know, without a shadow of doubt, what it has and has not and what it is and is not in all cases. These are the key determinants of consciousness. In addition, the determinations are purely relative. They are purely subject-ive. This, one must admit, is truly a beautiful, self-referring system.
Beautiful indeed, but how does it work? With profound beauty, one would expect an accompanying simplicity, a profound but simple principle. Seeing that everything involved in this kind of self-organising organism is relativistic, there should be some fundamental relativistic principle at play. In the traditional sciences of our day, the only relativistic principle known is in physics. There is no known equivalent in biology. In physics, we see relativity theory expressed as demanding that the laws of physics remain invariant from one reference frame to another. Perhaps more pointedly, as shown by Zeeman, the principle of relativity is intimately bound up with the non-violation of the causality principle. It is here that one can grasp the simplicity and elegance of the theory. System coherence demands the coherence of causality. The claim of generic science is that this is not enough. A much more demanding form of relativity is we call generic relativity.
If the work presented in this book is to be more than the usual exposition of inconclusive philosophical prose, then we should be able to advance an equally simple and elegant formulation concerning the essence of generic relativity, the cornerstone of the generic science we are trying to develop. Fortunately, we do not have to look very far. The principle is located at Ground Zero and there is no one who knew this spot in the Cosmos better than Chrysippus, the Stoic logician par excellence. Ground Zero is the location of the Logos, the reasoning faculty of any subject whatsoever. The form of the Logos can be understood in terms of the dialectic of having and being, a form expressed by the semiotic square. Chrysippus provided the logical framework of the Logos semiotic square in the form of four of his five undemonstrat-ables. We have resurrected this structure as an alternative to Aristotle’s Square of Oppositions, discussed previously. We have named this the Chrysippus’ Square of Oppositions. The fit between this structure and the four undemonstratables is comfortable and reasonably self-evident. The structure effectively provides an additional logical impetus to the thrust of our argument. The four undemonstratables provide a logical dimension to the interpretation of the four-element theory and the corresponding four letters.

The Chrysippus Semiotic Square of Oppositions

Before understanding our reconstruction of the Chrysippus semiotic square, we need to know a bit about semiotics , or at least, our version of it.

The author’s first acquaintance with the semiotic square came from following the courses of Greimas back in Paris, many years ago. The term “semiotic square” is nowadays generally associated with his name. The big weakness in the Greimas approach was his failure to come to terms with the subject. His semiotics is sans sujet. We will sketch out here a more fundamental approach to semiotics and the semiotic square that does include the subject.
To begin with, there are two kinds of semiotics, one associated with Ferdinand de Saussure (dyadic, arbitrariness of the sign etc.) and one associated with Charles Sanders Peirce (triadic). In our view, the approach of de Saussure is not semiotics
, but General Linguistics. Like Greimas, the approach of de Saussure is sans sujet. If there is a subject, it is part of the Spectacle, not the Spectator. It is merely what Hegel referred to as the empirical ego. In this perspective, the de Saussure approach is like that of the traditional sciences and mathematics. All of these sciences are sans sujet. We call all of these traditional science left side sciences. Left side sciences claim to be objective, which is another way of saying that they only concerned with a reality of objects where any reference to the subject has been excluded. They are all sans sujet. As such these sciences look at the world from a very specific point of view. This point of view has been described as the “view from nowhere” or the “God’s eye view”. This is a general characteristic of science sans sujet. It is a general characteristic of all the sciences and mathematics of today.
The other possible scientific paradigm goes in the opposite direction. It demands that the subject is always present. In other words, if there is a spectacle there must also be an accompanying spectator. You can’t have one without the other. We call the science based on this paradigm, right side science. The right side science becomes, in fact, the dialectic of the Spectator and the Spectacle, the Subject and its kingdom.
Unlike the many left side sciences, there is only one right side science. This is because its focus is on the science of the subject and this is quite different to the science of objects. It is the science of the Self. For a Stoic logician like Chrysippus, it is the science of the Logos. This generic entity, the Self, the Logos, the Ego, has a generic form. This form can be worked out from pure reason.
Now Charles Sanders Peirce was more inclined to the right side paradigm, but he didn’t make much headway. He also despised the Stoics, which didn’t help. Thus we have to start from scratch. Starting from scratch means that we start with a subject and its kingdom. Alternatively we start with a kingdom and its subject, the same thing. Both spectator and spectacle must be present in the same moment.
This is where we have to put our thinking caps on. The relationship between the Subject and its Other is a very particular kind of relationship. They each determine one another. The Hindus sometimes see this as a coital relationship. The subject corresponds to the masculine and the mysterious other is feminine where gender gets interpreted as sex, poetic licence oblige. The Stoics saw the relationship as that between the Active Principle and the Passive Principle. Vedanta philosophy often refers to the Active principle as the Principle of Individualization, the Spiritual Principle, or simply the masculine principle. We have here the building block for right side science. It’s getting a bit steamy so here is one way to arrive at a dispassionate view. It involves the gender construct.
The main role of the subject in this right side science, is that it does provide a determined point of view. As such it is a pure singularity. What is non-subject is non-singularity. This can be formalised with the concept of gender. The gender concept is very ancient, both in the West and the East. First there is the unqualified substance totally devoid of any determined specificity. Such an entity is typed as the pure feminine. One might say that the pure feminine is devoid of specificity and so has no attribute. This is not the case. It is only devoid of a determined specificity. It has an undetermined specificity. That is its attribute. This attribute, using the argument of First Classness, must be an entity in its own right. (Note that the Stoics always claimed that the property of an entity is an entity in its own right). This attribute entity will be said to be of masculine gender. Two entities, one has an attribute, the other is the attribute. The first entity corresponds to the feminine, the second to the masculine. These two entities provide the building blocks for the right side science paradigm.
The first thing to construct is the semiotic square. One way of understanding this square is as the architecture of a whole. Totality can only be understood from a determining point of view of the subject. Instead of comprehending the totality in any moment, which is impossible, it is understood as a whole. A whole is totality looked at from a particular point view. There are as many wholes as there are points of view. This requires that the subject must be present in the whole. Right side science always understands things in terms of wholes.
Thus the semiotic square, as a generic understanding of a whole, is a map of the subjects conscious understanding of the whole, any whole. The first moment of understanding is “Wow, here I am, this is me and the rest is not me.” We thus draw a square, cut it down the middle and adopt the convention that the right side corresponds to subject and the left side to what is not subject. The right side is masculine typed and the left side is feminine typed.
However, the subject in this particular configuration is not you or I. It represents the impersonal subject. In fact, it is this subject that corresponds to the “view from nowhere”, the “God’s eyes view” of the traditional sciences. These sciences, in their quest for objectivity, remove all reference to subject from consideration. They even remove this impersonal subject from consideration as they have no need for it. They demand a godless science, a pure science sans sujet. Thus the semiotic square for the left side sciences is the same as for the right side science, except that the right side is blacked out. Left side sciences thus suffer from a symptom well known to the psychiatrist. It is called hemi-neglect. Right side science knows about the left side, left side science wings it alone, content with half a brain, so to speak. Curiously, in passing, the human brain exhibits exactly this same bi-lateral specialisation. The right hemisphere does not exhibit hemi-neglect and sees a whole world. Only the left side exhibits hemi-neglect.

This is now where left side and right side science part company. Not content with just the presence of the impersonal subject, right side science must find a way of introducing a more determined subject, the personal subject. This is constructed by applying the first feminine masculine opposition to itself, an opposition of two oppositions. It might sound complicated but is easily visualised with the semiotic square. The second opposition is orthogonal to the first and so instead of a left right dichotomy, the dichotomy is front back. We use the convention of masculine in front, feminine at the back. It appears that we am not the only ones to adopt this polarity convention..

The end result is that we end up with a square shaped kind of placeholder for dealing with knowledge. The first kind of knowledge involves an elementary consciousness of self, a knowledge of what is and what is not. This is expressed logically in our reconstruction of the Chrysippus square. For the moment, note that the four parts of the semiotic square have been binary typed with gender. For example, the left front part is typed as MF. This reads that, from the impersonal subject perspective, it is typed as feminine. From the personal subject perspective it is typed as masculine. Thus the first letter in the binary gender typing is that of the personal subject, the second letter is that of the impersonal.

Figure 1 The generic semiotic square is constructed from the feminine masculine opposition applied to itself.


The semiotic square is a placeholder, the architecture of the generic mind, so to speak. The semiotic square is static and unique, for the purposes of the science. You only need one brain, it can be said.
In addition to the placeholder, there are values relative to it. These values are mobile. There are the four kinds of elementary substance that can be binary typed by the four binary gender types. The binary typed substance correspond to MF, FF, FM and MM. The ancients called them air, earth, water and fire respectively.

Stoic Qualia
Pure Gender Algebra
Element
masculine active
MM
Fire
masculine passive
MF
Air
feminine active
FM
Water
feminine passive
FF
Earth
Figure 2 The ancient four elements can be can be understood in terms of gender.

We now come to the semiotic square constructed with four of the Chrysippus undemonstratables. Note that one diagonal is constructed from the conjunctive syllogisms. These are known to logicians as Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. The other diagonal is constructed from the two forms of the disjunctive. The diagram can be gender typed by matching the is copula with the masculine and the is not with the feminine, as shown. This matches perfectly with the semiotic square gendering shown above.
What is interesting, is that the logic of Chrysippus has introduced yet another dimension into the semiotics, a vertical axis. The square becomes the “Chrysippus cube”! We have used the convention of the implication arrows in the diagram going left to right to signal the upwards direction, and the downwards for the right to left. Talking intuitively, this indicates that the top two entities have an “upward flow” and the bottom two entries have a “downward flow”.
Chrysyppus Logical Semiotic Square
One should note that the gender coding of the top two elements correspond to the “elements” of air and fire. These are the “light” elements, being predominantly masculine and less substantial than the feminine bottom two elements of earth and water. Such reasoning is not very rigorous as we are not talking about the same kind of elements as in the left side, traditional science. The logic of Chrysippus however adds a different complexion to the matter.
These principles must have been part of core Stoic teaching, as Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations.
Your aerial part and all the fiery parts which are mingled in you, though by nature they have an upward tendency, still in obedience to the disposition of the universe they are overpowered here in the compound mass. And also the whole of the earthy part in you and the watery, though their tendency is downward,

The Stoics claimed that theirs was a unifying science that integrated logic, physics, and morality. Some people are attracted to Stoic values whilst thinking that their science has been completely eclipsed by the modern day sciences. However, how antiquated is the science of antiquity? Consider the following.
In our diagram we have added in the four letters CAUG matching up with the gender typings MM, MF, FF and FM respectively. This is part of another story in this book. These are the four letters of what we call the generic code. We’ve taken them from the RNA version of the genetic code. The genetic code is a standard code which codes all living beings, without exception. This is a known fact. The generic code is impervious to evolution and has remained unchanged since the year dot. By extending the notion of the living to that of the universe, itself considered as living by the Stoics, this same code takes on a generic vocation. In this book we explore its application to understanding elementary particle physics from a new angle (see Appendix). We use the generic code to code quarks and leptons. These claims may test our short term credibility. However, in the longer term that is the way it will pan out once we have properly digested this new science, a science with such ancient roots.

Dualism, Monism and the Stoics

The Double Articulation

Two birds living together, each the friend of the other, perch upon the same tree. Of these two, one eats the sweet fruit of the tree, but the other simply looks on without eating. The two birds are the Jiva and Isvara, both existing in an individual compared to a tree. [Mundaka Upanishad]

What interests us about Stoicism is the paradigm. The paradigm does not belong uniquely to the Stoics but stretches back from Heraclitus and Parmenides right through Leibnitz to Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Marx, and Yung and to some of the more recent moderns. The paradigm has been referred to as monism.

The natural opposite to monism can be seen in the present sciences of our day. These sciences are characterised by atomism, fundamental dualities and abstraction. These traditional sciences, which include axiomatic mathematics, are aligned on virtually the same epistemological axis as Epicurean. Charles Sander Peirce pointed this out likening the Epicureans to John Stuart Mill’s philosophy. Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper could be added to the list. As you know, the author characterises the Epicurean type paradigm as left side science, as this is this kind of thinking is privileged by the left hemisphere of the brain. Initially we used this as a metaphor but things have started to become a little more literal. A lot is known about the functioning of this side of the brain, its syntactic language capability, but semantic limitations, its attention, even obsession, to fine detail, its tendency to fabulate when in doubt. A general characteristic of left side thinking is the continuous attempt to meld the mind to the world.

What is of interest here is the complementary mode of thinking, right side thinking. Much less is understood about this side of brain functioning. Here I am talking about the biological brain and also the “epistemological brain”. The latter brain contains, or should contain, two hemispheres of complementary knowledge.  In this right side case, rather than mould mind to the world, the task becomes that of moulding the world to fit the mind. In other words, if the traditional “left side” sciences are bottom up oriented, the right side science will be a top down science – non-empirical, all worked out from pure reason alone – the Kantian scenario.
In our view, the right side thinkers par excellence were the Stoics. It appears to us that the Stoics were more advanced in many ways than even Hegel, the most prominent right side monist Western thinker of modern times.
It might seem strange that we have difficulty talking about the Stoics without continuously considering them in oppositions with their opposite number, the Epicureans. Even worse, we keep spreading the discussion across a left side right side epistemological dichotomy, a dichotomy that has distinct biological reverberations. Not only is knowledge organised along these lines, not only the universe but the very architecture of our brains also has this shape – a left side, a right side and even a back side with frontal lobe front side. Everything surely is connected and intercalated, as the Stoics claimed. Maybe they were right.
The basic message we want to get across is that there are two basic philosophical paradigms. Now everyone knows that already. The Western philosophical tradition has been split right down the middle almost since the year dot. What interests me is the multi-paradigm paradigm. This has been a long interest even in the author’s professional work developing computer languages. To many in the IT community, computer languages are like religions. The author treated each of the four fundamental computer language paradigms as separate dogmas and integrated the dogmas. This gave him a lot of practical experience in integrating what appear to be totally conflicting dogmas. Single doctrine doctrines are just doctrines and dogmas. Multiple paradigm paradigms become systems.
And so we finally come to the main point. We believe that one cannot arrive at a deep fundamental understanding of Stoicism without simultaneously understanding the nature and way of thinking of its opposite, which in the occurrence, is incarned in the Epicurean dogma. In addition, this great epistemological divides should be looked at from higher perspective than merely this historic occurrence. These two doctrines are instances of a greater generic dichotomy that has further instances in Cosmology right across to brain architecture.
Right side thinking expresses itself in oppositions. Thus, even to promote a particular doctrine such as the basic paradigm of right side thought itself, that paradigm must be put in opposition against others. Perhaps one should note in passing that Chrysippus himself practiced this technique. As Diogenes Laërtius wrote, early on in his studies “he got the habit of arguing for and against a custom.” (LAERTIUS)Chrysippus was also known for his prolific and lengthy citations. This is an important aspect of the critical nature of right side thinking. The demise of a vibrant critical tradition in politics and the social sciences is a lamentable fact in present day society. In the case of the sciences, such a tradition is totally absent: the only critique is that of peer review. What we need is a totally different kind of science to put the cat amongst the pigeons.
At this present time, our Western culture and our education system place all the emphasis on left side thinking. This is particularly apparent in the sciences. There the fundamental left side paradigm goes right back to the first atomists, Leucippus and Democritus, forerunners to Epicurus. The present day traditional sciences and modern formal mathematics continue the development. Some of the key aspects of this tradition are:
·        Dualist and atomist – tolerates rigid dichotomies.
·        Abstraction
·        Languages
·        Bottom up methodology
·        Likes labelling things.
All of these characteristics are interrelated and are expressions of s single underlying paradigm. From a neuro-psychological perspective, these are also fundamental characteristics of left hemisphere brain function.
When it comes to right side thinking, it has its own tradition with the Stoics occupying a most prominent position. Some key characteristics of right side thinking are:
·        Monist – no rigid dichotomies, everything relative.
·        Generic (Non-abstract)
·        No Languages just bare meanings – semiotics and a semiotic code.
·        Top down methodology
·        Likes expressing knowledge in terms of oppositions, not labels.

Language Difference

On the biological front, a most dramatic differences between the two hemispheres for humans is that the left hemisphere can speak and the right hemisphere cannot. A subject with the left hemisphere immobilised will be mute. With the right hemisphere immobilised the subject will be able to generate syntactically correct speech, although it may be severely impaired with regard to its meaning.

Hemi-Neglect

Another dramatic difference between the two hemispheres is that the left hemisphere, on its own, suffers from hemi neglect. This means that the left hemisphere appears to be only conscious of one half of reality. It will only recognise and be conscious of one side of the body, the right side. It will not be conscious of its left side or of anyone or anything on its left side. It may even only be able to see the right side of a clock. The right hemisphere exhibits no hemi neglect, recognises both sides of the body as its own, and sees a whole world.

Biological versus Epistemological Brain

In brief, the left hemisphere can have languages whilst the right side is mute. The left hemisphere sees a half world; the right hemisphere sees a whole world. These are differences easily observable in the clinic. However, these are differences between the biological hemispheres. A persistent theme in this work is that the biological brain and the structure of knowledge, the “epistemological brain,” share a common generic structure. If indeed this were the case, then the phenomenon of hemi-neglect for the left hemisphere and language muteness for the right hemisphere should have some epistemological analogues.
It finally comes down to the fact that there are two distinctive modes of thinking, a left side and a right side. If we admit of a second dichotomy, as indeed we must, then we end up with four modes of thinking. This secondary dichotomy is the front back dichotomy that we have been talking about. We argue that this four-cornered playing field provides the common ground for organising knowledge. For right side science, all knowledge is defined relative to this playing field, relative to the generic subject.

Biochemistry and the Double Articulation

The architecture of the generic subject was worked out starting from the Parmenidean question: What is? Answer: Reality is. This entity that really is, this Parmenidean incarnation of the real that is the eternal now, this thing can be thought of as the impersonal subject. It is from the point of view of this subject that situates the God’s eye view, the view from nowhere of what is not Everything is relative of course. There are no absolutes. This Other, that is not (relative to the Subject), this other entity corresponds to the impersonal object. The impersonal subject and the impersonal object relate to each other in the most intimate and profound way. The Other, from the perspective of the science, is totally devoid of any specificity whatsoever. However, so pure and profound is this lack of specificity is that the lack of determined specificity becomes a characterising principle. This lack of attribute, this utmost purity can actually be thought of as an attribute. This Other has the attribute of such purity and lack of specificity.
We have already discussed this dialectic of to be and to have and cast it into a relative typing system called gender. The pure feminine was characterised as the entity having the pure attribute and the masculine, considered as an entity in its own right, becomes that attribute. The feminine has it, the masculine is it. What has the attribute can only be known via the attribute, via what is. This fundamental dichotomy between the feminine and the masculine is that between the object world and the singular subject, what we have been calling the left right dichotomy.
This is the dichotomy between reality and the impersonal subject, the result of the “view from nowhere.” In order to arrive at a tractable science, a tractable view of the world, a more determined purchase is necessary than the view of from nowhere. What is required is a view from somewhere.
The view from somewhere is the view you get when you are at this location, be it in time and space or whatever. In order for this to be the case, you must take on the determination commensurate with a subject sufficiently qualified to do the job. No longer are you an impersonal subject, but you become a personalised subject. The same gender qualification will do the job, but it is a qualification relative to you and not reality. The qualification must provide the singularity of you. This is the masculine side of the qualification. The feminine is the other side of the qualification. The side that is not a singularity in itself but has the singularity all the same – as an attribute, but not as its essence. The essence of the feminine remains a total mystery in this metaphysic: the mystery is its essence in fact. The feminine remains the wildcard at all times. It is the masculine, which is the open book.
The Indian Hindu thinkers, particularly the Advaita Vedanta school, understand this metaphysic very well and in detail. Many interpretations are of religious and spiritual nature, which illustrate these difficult the allusive ideas in vivid colourful detail. Sometimes the concepts are adorned with ancient mythical stories dating right back to Vedic times. At the more technical level, the absolutely unqualified entity, which even escapes any subject object dichotomy, is the Brahman. The Brahman is the cosmic self and is identical to atman, the self of all living beings. At the first level of qualification, the pure subject object dichotomy associated with the view from nowhere, corresponds to the Nirguna Brahman, the non-manifested form of the Brahman.
The next determination leads to Ishvara considered as both a transcendent and immanent entity. By coming into being, he creates the world and thus ends up living in it. In fact, he is the world in the sense that “this world is covered and filled with Ishvara”. After these two determinations, the world is divided up into four. This is ground zero, and like the North Pole, all roads from here lead in a single direction South. The interpretations of this original semiotic square abound. In all cases, there is the usual Three plus One form of the square. Since we know that the most generic labelling of the four elements of the square, we can consider different variants using the gender typing as a constant frame of reference. In other words, we use a gender-labelling scheme, noting that the labels are not arbitrary, as for left side methodologies, but ontologically constructed. One semiotic description of the Ishvara semiotic square consists of the triad Ishvara, all sentient entities and the World. The triad is complemented by the One, corresponds to the Brahman. Other accounts explain creation in gender terms resembling the Stoic version. The feminine is unqualified, formless substance. The masculine expresses the Individualisation Principle that fertilises the feminine, bringing about individualisation.
From all of this a universal structure emerges based on two oppositions and the mutual opposition between them. One opposition, the impersonal, is between Reality and its Oneness. The other, is the opposition between an individual being and its oneness. Oneness translates as the masculine, the Other as the feminine. We adopt the left right polarity convention for the first opposition and front back for the second. The masculine Oneness sides of the convention correspond to the right and front sides of the resulting semiotic square. This square becomes the generic reference frame for all that follows. An intuitive interpretation is to see this structure as the architectural layout for the generic mind. In terms of gender typing the four parts of the square are typed MF, FF, FM, and MM. These binary typed entities can be labelled with four single letters. We have chosen the convention of the four letters A, U, G, and C respectively, using RNA coding. A central tenant of this work is that these letters correspond to the four letters of the genetic code. We call it the generic code as we claim it can code any material being whatsoever, not just the biological.
From this generic Ground, the development must take into account the generic Figure. Ground, relative to itself, is obviously static, that is the nature of any ground, the nature of anything relative to itself for that matter. On the other hand, Figure, relative to Ground, is mobile. Figure itself can be understood in terms of a semiotic square structure. The structure of Ground is a Three plus One structure, where the Oneness part is typed MM and denoted by the letter C, the singular singular. The same applies for Figure. Figure can be determined relative to Ground where the AUG triad of quarters of Ground act as placeholders for the mobile quarters of Figure. So mobile are the quarters of Figure that for a determined Figure any triad of combinations are permissible including even repetitions and duplicates. This is like a dynamic Rubik Cube of prodigious complexity. Everything might appear jumbled and all over the place but there is a higher plan to produce an Oneness from this apparent chaos.
Figure and ground are the two moments of Self. Relative to Self, both Ground and Figure are mobile. Ground determines where, Figure what. Ground determines angle of point of view, Figure the view.
This kind of discussion can easily lapse into either poetry or abstraction. In an attempt to escape from this temptation, we provide the following easily understood example from biology as illustrated in the diagram below. The diagram is a schematic, not a detailed functional diagram. It shows schematically the relationship between the genetic code and the biological body that it is coding. The body is coded in a sequence of triads called codons. Each codon will consist of three letters from the alphabet A, U, G, and C. To each codon there is an implicit semiotic square where the fourth element corresponds to the body being encoded, looked at as a whole. The first codon is AUG and is the start codon. It determines the body to be coded as ground, the initial reference frame for all that follows. Each succeeding codon articulates a succession of holistic prescriptions for biological synthesis. Although lacking in determination and qualification to begin with, this sequence of holistic views increases in qualification. The specification becomes increasingly more precise as requirement on requirement compound and stack up. However, this code is nothing like the recipe for a cake, the sort of thinking characteristic of left side science. By continually viewing and recognising the organism as a whole, no matter from what viewpoint as the specification progresses, the wholeness of the whole becomes an invariant in this kind of language.
This generic language is hardly the kind of language that you would want to use to order your lunch. For that problem environment, a left side language is adequate. However if the objective is to create an autonomous unity of Oneness, you need a code whose very essence is abse3d on Oneness. For that you need the generic code, the genetic code, and as some call it even in its genetic version, the G Code.
Now the important point to note in the diagram below is that this biological body language of the genetic code illustrates what some French linguists call, the double articulation. The first articulation is what the biochemists see. This is the same view as the pastry cook. The recipe says, “Add an egg”, the pastry cook adds an egg. In the example below, the second codon says “UCC.” Looking up a table, we see that UCC codes the amino acid serine. We would thus expect to see, via the standard biochemistry mechanism, the synthesis of a component of the amino acid serine. Biochemists confirm that this is indeed the case: The organism is being constructed along pastry cook lines.
Biochemists can then write detailed memoirs of the role of the amino acid serine in the body chemistry of living organisms. Any mention or reference to the code that inspired its necessity in the scheme of things has been long forgotten. The genetic code only has one articulation. It is little more than a mere transcription language.
However, looking at the diagram we see that there is an implicit second articulation at work. The opaque four-letter code harbours an underlying generic structure based on ontological gender. Rather than
Rather than three letters per synthesis event, the diagram implicitly refers to six as each letter is double gendered. Rather than a dumb sequence of three opaque letters, we see revealed the seeds for a kind of generic geometry. This code is no longer just transcribing, it is building a highly elaborate structure of generic interiors and exteriors and so forth that make a Klein bottle look like child’s play.
The big challenge before us is to understand this second articulation. Until we make important inroads along this direction, we will have to downgrade the incredible achievements of the biochemists. They need provocation. Our finger points to the moon and the biochemist only sees the finger.
In the next section, we look at the generic logic behind the generic code. In a later section we will look at generic geometry.
Figure 25 A schematic illustrating the two articulations of the genetic code when encoding a biological body. The first articulation is biochemical transcription. The second articulates the specification in terms of a sequence of wholes. The genetic code becomes the generic code.

Parmenides, Ontology and the Stoics

There are two takes on reality, two kinds of knowledge, two kinds of science. In this work the traditional sciences, traditional knowledge we call left side. This kind of knowledge relies on a priori knowledge. Right side knowledge is unconditioned by any a priori and must be developed using pure reason alone. The two kinds of knowledge sit on opposite sides of a great divide. A deep understanding requires a deep understanding of this great divide. The ancients had their say on the matter. Consider, for example Parmenides who came after Heraclitus but before Empedocles.

Parmenides

Parmenides was one of the first to put forward a clear view of the structure of reality from a reasoned perspective. The philosophy of Being, ontology, starts with him. His poem, On Nature, recounts the epic voyage of the young man on his quest for knowledge.

The tone is dramatic and urgent. Despite only disparate fragments of the text remaining, one can almost hear the pounding hooves and see the sparks flying as the wise chariot steeds gallop at a furious pace through the black darkness on the renowned way of the Goddess. Streaking towards where Dark meets Day, maidens show the way. There is no room for dilly-dallying here. This is not the time for fine-spun arguments. It is time to confront the truth. The goddess, with her own hands unerringly conducts this man who knows through things. Wheels swirling, the chariot axle glows red in the socket and gives forth the sound of a pipe as they approach the gates. The daughters of the Sun hasting to convey him to the light, take back their veils. Having arrived at the gates of the ways of Night and Day, after much persuasion they pass through the gates. The young man is greeted kindly by the goddess. She welcomes him to her abode, far from the beaten tracks of mortal men.

She invites him to have an open and critical mind, to learn all things, but above all the unshaken heart of persuasive truth. There are two takes on reality. On the one side there is that taken by mortal men as they blindly stumble about in a world of opinions. On the other hand, away from the world of fickle beliefs, there is another world that harbours unshakable truth, a world where reason holds sway. At the epicentre of this world of reason is the simple truth that there are two possibilities. The goddess declares:

“The first, namely, that It is, and that it is impossible for anything not to be. This is the way of conviction.”

She then recounts the other possibility:

“The other, namely, that It is not, and that something must needs not be.” She then explains, “That, I tell thee, is a wholly untrustworthy path. For you cannot know what is not – that is impossible – nor utter it.”

The Parmenidean Paradigm

An epic journey is always a good ploy to get the reader into the right frame of mind. Excuse the pun. Parmenides’ allegory like any allegory can be read in many ways. One could see the tale as taking place on two levels, a logical foreground a gender background. The background imagery displays the feminine in all its plurality, culminating in the abode of the goddess. There the ethereal feminine welcomes the singular masculine, he who knows through things. However, he is but a youth still in quest of knowledge. Nevertheless, he knows he has been conducted here for a purpose.

Across the unsaid background tapestry, spreads the ephemeral abode of goddess and teaming maidens. It is far from the world of mortals and untainted by their bumbling subjectivity. This is the pure feminine, so pure that it is totally devoid of attribute. It is completely unknowable. She is not even real. The goddess, the feminine incarnate, explains that “you cannot know what is not.” You can only know what is. It looks as if the goddess has negated herself out of existence.

This is Ground Zero of rationality. Many thinkers have come here over the ages, each making their own interpretation. Parmenides paints his picture in great clarity. On one side, we have the land of mortals enmeshed in opinions. On the other side is the immortal land of Truth. This other side is what we have been referring to as the right side take on reality. It is in this domain that Parmenides must construct his version of monism philosophy. He must explain Oneness. Like all who have toiled in this domain, he must tackle the dialectic of the One and its other. His reasoning is stark, even brutal: The One is, the Other is not.

As we have seen in previous sections, right side reasoning is expressed in oppositions and oppositions applied to oppositions, a dialectical, semiotic form of thinking. Left side reasoning starts from given preconditions such as opinions, traditions, rumours, gossip, innuendos, measurements, experiences, sensations, axioms, stabs in the dark, fabulation, and sometimes wicked self-serving deception, just as the good goddess explained: This is the natural lot of mortals. Right side reasoning has no preconditions. It must start from the primary opposition. It is here that we find the primordial form of Ground Zero. The task for the philosopher, the ontological scientist, is to provide an explanation of Ground Zero in terms of the primary opposition. The understanding of this primary opposition varies, depending on the thinker. In the case of Parmenides, his position can be summarised as follows.

  • What is the primal entity?
    Answer: It.
  • What is its specificity?
    Answer: It is.
  • What is the primary opposition?
    Answer: The opposition between what is and what is not.
  • What exists?
    Answer: Only what is exists, what is not does not and cannot exist.
    Comment: What is determines the knowable. Even more strongly, it determines the known. The deep essence of It is known. It is, end of story. What is not determines the inherently unknowable. The totally unknowable is tantamount to not existing.
  • Where is the origin of the primal entity located, i.e., where is Ground Zero?
    Answer: In the eternal present.

The above five points do not cover the complete ontological paradigm of Parmenides. Like any ontologist worth his salt, Parmenides must provide the enveloping rationale for why the above points are necessary.

David Furley has honed in on a passage from the narration that attempts to explain the noyau of the argument, the raison d’être of It:

The last section of the Way of Truth is particularly difficult. Parmenides repeats his assertion that there is no not-being and there are no different degrees of being; what exists is equal to itself everywhere and reaches its limits everywhere. From this he concludes that it is “perfect from every angle, equally matched from the middle in every way, like the mass of a well-rounded ball” (Furley)

We see here Parmenides’ attempt to explain First Classness, the central, all enveloping characteristic of rational reality. A world satisfying First Classness must be totally unconstrained in every way, the ultimate in perfection. It is here that resides the great challenge to ontology. This is the task confronting us. We have to understand such a world that is totally unconstrained with no one behind the scenes pulling strings, and no king pin calling the tune wether seated on high, low, in the middle, in or out of reality.

If there were to be hidden forces at work behind the scene, then a fundamental science of reality would be impossible. On the other hand however, if reality is left free to be dominated by the draconian requirement of the totally unconstrained system, then indeed it must be exactly that, a totally unconstrained system (the only constraint allowed) The iron laws of First Classness(FC) spring in to play, the laws of ontological fair play organise fair play. In this great riddle, there is only one answer and, as the goddess said, only one “unshaken heart of persuasive truth.”

Reconciling the coming into being, the genesis of reality, with FC is not easy. The very notion of a determined beginning violates FC as this privileges the starting point entity from all others. FC does not allow privileged entities and there is nothing more privileged than coming first. Parmenides resolved that violation by saying that an entity at the beginning does not exist, as it no longer is. He then argued that it never could have existed, finally ending up with the formula of the only thing real is the eternal present and nothing changes.

It is interesting to look at how the Stoics resolved the problem, as they too adopted a doctrine based on FC. For the Stoics, the only immortal was Zeus. They were pantheists so the universe was the body of Zeus. The body changes, is born and dies away in the conflagration but Zeus stays immortal throughout the process. The universe had a beginning and eventually ended up in the conflagration. In this more complex scenario, avoiding the violation of FC becomes more difficult. The beginning and the end of the Cosmos in the conflagration become privileged moments, one preceding all that will exists and one succeeding, thus violating FC. The Stoic solution was that time was circular with the whole story exactly repeating itself the next time around. In this way there are no privileged points in time and FC is not violated. This Eternal Return solution retained many aspects of the Parmenidean solution. Bodies in the past did not exist, nor did those in the future. The only bodies that exist are those in the present. By eternal repetition of the cycle, nothing really changed and no state of being was irreconcilably privileged over any other. FC was respected.

Parmenides’ allegory of the young man streaking across the heavens waved on by the veiled daughters of the Night, heading straight for the abode of the goddess evokes the image of a spermatozoid streaking to a rendezvous with the unfertilised egg. However Parmenides’ does not allow the union to be consummated.

There will be no masculine principle uniting with the feminine principle in this scenario, despite the atmospherics being full of it. The closest we get to any explicit such union is at the level of logic: one proposition in the affirmative and the other in the negative and never the two shall meets. Parmenides pitched his paradigm at the loftiest level and really could not embrace any explicit masculine feminine union as this would imply an explicit beginning and so violate FC. For a work around for this conundrum, we have to wait for Empedocles.

In the meantime we understand that there are two ways of understanding reality, one is the Way of Truth and the other is the Way of Opinion. For Parmenides, the only repository of truth was in the One, a pureness of eternal, ungenerated Oneness. It is that unique Being that “neither was nor will be, because it is in its wholeness now, and only now.” In truth only the One is.

For Parmenides “The only true reality is Eōn—pure, eternal, immutable, and indestructible Being, without any other qualification. Its characterizations can be only negative, expressions of exclusions, with no pretence of attributing some special quality to the reality of which one speaks” (Calogero, 2010) As for the Way of Opinion, this is the world of appearances, a misleading world of falsehood. It is this Being and only this Being that truly, objectively is. All else is illusory.

Parmenides provided a vivid image of how the very deepest reality could be comprehended. This image in useful to carry forward in one’s mind in the development to follow.

Ontological Calculus of Empedocles to the Stoics

This is not a scholarly work. In writing about Empedocles and the Stoics, for example, we imply that this is the way they thought and expressed their ideas. Clearly this is not the case. Rather than being scholarly, our approach is to fundamentally reverse engineer ancient thinkers’ concepts. As a consequence what we write is often more of what the ancients could have thought, and sometimes what they should have thought, if they remained true to their doctrines.

Keeping this in mind, we will now repeat the summary of Parmenides doctrine and adapt it to the next phase in the development of ancient physics. In order to develop the theory of the Four Elements, the initial structure of Parmenides must be pushed to the next stage. What follows is a brief summary of this next step, as seen from a modern perspective. The key idea is what we call ontological gender. It is this structure that explains how the fundamental starting point for our unifying science. The ancients got there first, but there is some cleaning up to do.

We have already considered these concepts in earlier sections, but here is yet another angle.

The Gender Paradigm

  • What is the primal entity?
    Answer: Any entity whatsoever.
  • What is its specificity?
    Answer: Entity has the attribute of absolute non-specificity.
    Comment: This attribute, that of absolute non-specificity, is an entity in its own right, in accordance with First Classness.
  • What is the primary opposition?
    Answer: The opposition between what has the attribute and what is the attribute.
    Comment: The entity that has the attribute determines feminine gender, the entity that is the attribute determines masculine gender. This is the definition of ontological gender. These two entities are different by gender but indistinguishable.
  • What exists?
    Answer: Only what is exists.
    Comment: This follows Parmenides but adds some detail: Only what It, that entity of pure masculine gender, fundamentally exists. The pure feminine entity has something (the attribute of total non-specificity) but when it comes to whether it is, clearly it is not. Having something differs from being something. However, the pure feminine entity, although different, is indistinguishable from the pure masculine. Parmenides glossed over that point.
  • Where is the origin of the primal entity located, i.e., where is Ground Zero?
    Answer: The location is that determined by the primal entity.
    Comment: The whole Cosmos gyrates around this location. Thus, Ground Zero can be thought of as any location whatsoever.

This summary has added in some innovations that don’r belong to the ancients. However, it is in keeping with a strictly generic approach that the Stoics were pioneering.. The summary represents where they were heading more than where they were at.

Traditional sciences, what we call left side sciences, express all knowledge in terms of attributes of things. This is quite reasonable because it is impossible to directly know the thing that has the attribute. The knowledge of things is always indirectly achieved via attributes of things. Note also that in pure left side science, an attribute is not a proper thing as it is in pure right side science.

In our work we are endeavouring to develop the right side science that does not rely on any preconditions whatsoever. Harvesting attributes as a precondition for theorising is a fundamental left science activity, but not so for right side science. Thus, all the empirical attributes that abound in left side sciences are forbidden on the right side. If right side science is to have any attributes then it has to reason them into existence, not measure them. This reasoning process leads to the attribute par excellence, that of masculine gender.

Then comes the incredible aspect of right side science. This is the only attribute we need! All other attributes can be constructed from it or with it. We enter into the web of gender intrigue. The only guiding principle at our disposal is that of FC. FC demands that an attribute must be capable of being considered as an entity in its own right: In this context it becomes the masculine qua feminine MF. What is good for the gander is also good for the goose. The feminine entity must also enjoy the possibility of being considered as an attribute in its own right: It becomes the feminine qua masculine FM. Here we are starting to get compound gendered entities, depending on roleplaying. The other two combinations are the pure gendered entities qua themselves, notably the masculine qua masculine MM and the feminine qua feminine FF.

In the process we have advanced from the primordial Parmenides paradigm through to the Doctrine of the Four Roots of Empedocles and later developed into the four-element doctrine of the Stoics.

There are four elements that have mixed gender MF, FF, FM, and MM entities, corresponding respectively to expansive air, water, converging water and fire.

These binary terms can be thought of as noun adjective pairs where F and M can play the role of noun or adjective, depending on their position in the pair. These terms are the elementary terms of the generic code. The genetic code is the biological instance of the generic code where the four letters, using RNA notation, are A, U, G and C respectively.

As a side note, it is interesting to look for traces of generic structure in natural languages. English, because of its huge vocabulary and penchant for labelling things does not offer fertile ground. However, French is a good place to look as it retains a strong version of gender typing. In fact it is rather pure in this regard as it even allocates gender to the names of countries. Ignoring gender constructs though and just considers the noun adjective example:

   une histoire vraie

which means a true story. Reversing the noun adjective order gives

   une vraie histoire

which means a made up story, providing a certain kind of negation of the first construct.

In the generic code, reversing MF to give FM produces an even more dramatic kind of negation, as will be seen. MF and FM, or air and water in the old book, are really like chalk and cheese.

D. J. H. Moore

Epicureans, Stoics and the Code


In this Post: Even featuring the Tea Party!
The history of philosophy is constantly punctuated with battles between two practically orthogonal ways of thinking. A case of this philosophical dichotomy that was particularly well thought and well fought was that between the Epicureans and the Stoics. This ancient joust of ideas is quite pertinent today. Epicureanism, with its atomism, dualism and extreme nominalism, can be taken as a roughhewn template of the thinking of the modern sciences. Charles Sanders Peirce remarked on this opposition between the Epicureans and the Stoics and noted “Epicureanism was a doctrine extremely like that of John Stuart Mill.” In the twentieth century, English philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Peter Frederick Strawson took up the relay. Judging by the obituaries, Strawson would have to go down as a very successful Epicurean as he was noted for leading a remarkably pleasant and happy life in step with an equally pleasant style of philosophy
Continue reading “Epicureans, Stoics and the Code”

Stoics and Epicureans play Tennis


Synopsis

A bunch of sheep shearers abandon their sheep and turn to metaphysics. The CEO dreams of a tennis match between Epicureans and Stoics.

First Classness and Being Stoic

Why then do you strut before us as if you had swallowed a spit?
– My wish has always been that those who meet me should admire me, and those who follow me should exclaim, ‘Oh, the great philosopher.’ (Epictetus, 55-135 AD)

The shearing shed was alive with curiosity and excitement. Times had been tough and so the crew had given up the wool trade and had gone off trying their hand in markets more in tune with the twenty first century. Everyone was there, the Ringer, the Jackeroo, the Tracker, the Roustabout, the Sheila who did the books, and of course the CEO.

The CEO gave a short speech introducing the speaker and the overall direction of the company. The company was to go into the business of explaining reality. Apparently the question of what’s real and what is not was of growing concern among the general populace. The speaker was to be Jackeroo, who had been doing some background research on the problem.

Jackeroo started off awkwardly, “The problem is to find the underlying principle governing the universe.”

“What if there isn’t any underlying principle?” asked Ringer dryly.

“If there were no principle then the world would be in total chaos” answered Jackeroo

“To me, the world always looks to be in total chaos anyway,” piped in Roustabout.

Jackeroo was beginning to get mired down into technicalities before he had even started. In desperation to cover all angles Jackeroo blurted out, “The universe is organised on a principle which is not a principle,” and then added as a consolatory but desultory explanation, “It’s a principle, which negates itself.” A look of baffled glazed eyes flashed across faces of the audience.

Well that quietened every one down.” commented Ringer, “A principle that isn’t a principle but negates itself, eh? Well, good luck.”

Jackeroo took a deep breath and, reading from rough notes, launched into his monologue,

“We cannot make much headway without starting to come to grips with a very fundamental concept. Borrowing from Computer Science terminology, we call it First Classness. Glimpses of this concept can also be discerned in String Theory in the guise of some kind of ‘democratic principle.’ Of particular interest will be the notion of First Class systems and those systems which are not First Class, that is to say, systems based on Second Classness. There is no notion of Third or Fourth Classness. First Classness introduces a strictly binary notion; you either make it through the pearly gates of heaven or you don’t.

One system that doesn’t make it through the pearly gates is formal mathematics. Mathematics is fundamentally wallowing in hardwired, incurable Second Classness. This is due to the fact that the only candidates for being First Class entities in mathematics are the axioms. Everything else in any mathematical formalism is qualified and predicated by axioms and hence Second Class. This includes even the entities defined in the axioms as also any theorem which can be deduced from them. This absolutist, undemocratic structure banishes all those entities which are dominated by the emperor axioms to stagnate in a static, dead world of Second Classness. Mathematics is not based on First Classness. Mathematics is a Second Class system.”

At this point the CEO interrupted, “Well that sounds all fine and noble but where’s the business opportunity?”

Jackeroo, starting to get excited, and exclaimed, “There it is! Clearly mathematicians have been flooding the formalisation market with Second Class systems for years. Surely then, there must be some people out there that would snap at the chance to take possession of a totally pure First Class Formalisation System. When offered the choice between a Second Class banana and a First Class banana, which one would, you take? Cursory market research will show that most people will choose the First Class over the Second Class, even if only because it just sounds better”.

This small team of former farmhands were fast transforming themselves into entrepreneurial metaphysicians. They decided that there was a market for this first class product. But it is here that they met a snag. There was a market but they didn’t have a product. Presently the market was being flooded by a product based on Second Classness, notably mathematics and the mathematical sciences. Mathematics is fundamentally riddled through and through with Second Classness. What they needed to put on the market was a formalisation system based uniquely on First Classness. They needed something that was entirely the opposite to mathematics, something that didn’t rely on a priori assumptions like axioms and data and so forth, something that could be built from reason alone. Something like what Kant was talking about.

The CEO suddenly rose to his feet, almost delirious with excitement. “And so what we need is…” he yells, but doesn’t have time to finish the sentence as his voice is drowned out by an immense shout from the floor. “We need anti-mathematics!” everyone shouts in unison. And so it came to pass that the case for anti-mathematics was proved; by general acclaim. The shearing shed would never be the same.

The CEO was all fired up by the idea of launching his First Classness super charged anti-mathematics onto the world stage. As the excitement died down, the CEO turned to his Ringer, who was his acting CTO. He asked in a whisper, “What exactly is First Classness?” The Ringer shrugged his shoulders, admitting that he had no idea but maybe the Rouseabout might know as he seemed to know a bit about everything.
 

In the weeks and months that followed, the CEO asked many wise and learned people the same question. Each time he got the same negative response. The only remotely promising response was from an aging computer scientist who said that First Classness was Good. His eyes glazed and he then entered into an explanation which was totally incomprehensible.

Finally, in desperation, he decided to pose the question to a mysterious Oracle who happened to be passing through town at that time. The Oracle replied enigmatically, “You will find your answer by taking on the complexion of the dead.”

The CEO was rather shaken by this, but after some reflection, he decided that this meant he had to read about the ideas of dead people. He started off by reading about the ideas of very dead people. In fact, he started reading about the ideas of Zeno of Citium, born in 334 BC. Coincidentally, it appears that Zeno also had a similar experience with his Oracle. Zeno, of course, was the founder of Stoicism.

Hellenistic Tennis

After the life of Socrates, Hellenic philosophy started a process of splitting into two poles. The early signs of the process were already becoming apparent with the differences between Aristotle, and Plato his teacher. By the time it came down to the philosophies founded by Zeno of Citium and by Epicure, the separation was complete. The aim of philosophy was to resolve the central problem of man, notably how to achieve happiness. Unlike any of the world religions that came later, both philosophies addressed how to achieve happiness, not in the afterlife, but now in the present. Philosophy became the art of living happily. Both philosophies agreed on the aim but believed that the means to achieving this aim was located on different sides of the tennis court.

Let the game begin.

On the left side of the court are the Epicureans, inspired by the ancient philosopher Democritus. On the right side of the court are their arch enemies, the Stoics inspired by the ancient philosopher Heraclitus. It’s a familiar sight then, with the merry making atomists on one side and the brooding holistic thinkers on the other. In the middle, sitting in the umpire’s seat, are the Sceptics. The Sceptics in their attempt to be absolutely objective have suspended judgment and sit with their backs to the game.

Despite a verbal hand grenade being tossed over the net from time to time, play is slow. The object of the game is the pursuit of happiness.

Epicurean Tennis

The Epicureans have set up a dinner table on their side of the court and are enjoying themselves with pleasant chit chat, pleasant drink and pleasant food. Epicureans love bathing in pleasantness. All their friends are pleasant people who all behave pleasantly at all times. For them happiness is to enjoy oneself. Happiness is synonymous with pleasure. Pleasure however does not mean unrestrained hedonism as the excesses involved inevitably leads to unhappiness which is contradictory to the basic intent. As Epicure himself remarks, “It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of revelry, not sexual lust, not the enjoyment of the fish and other delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life”.

The tension between the Epicureans and the Stoics on the other side is intense. However, despite the deep rivalry, the two schools share a lot in common. Both sides are dogmatic materialists in belief. Both sides are also in agreement that the fundamental aim in life is to live happily. Furthermore, they both unify and justify their doctrines by turning to the science and structure of nature and reality itself. It is at this point they part company. The Epicureans are atomists whilst the Stoics are monists.

Epicure was a great cosmological pastry cook. His strictly materialist creation was a recipe for responding to any question under the sun. The adherent, armed with such a world view, is thus free to lead a life unencumbered by doubt or fear arising from the metaphysical. The task was to be accomplished without recourse to the heavy hand of necessity, so popular in other brands of philosophy. His was to be a world of the laissez faire where even the gods went about their daily business without interfering with human affairs.

A perennial problem for materialists is how to allow a world which admits of beings which somehow behave in a way which is contrary to the absolute mechanical determinism of matter in motion. How can you have free will in such a world? Epicure came up with an innovative response, something that could be very useful on a tennis court moreover. He invented the Swerve. All bodies consisted of matter made up of atoms. The space in between bodies and atoms was filled with the void. Atoms moved about and interacted with each other in a very deterministic manner except now and then there was an exception to the rule. An atom would spontaneously make a tiny imperceptible swerve from its deterministic trajectory. This explains how the universe gradually micro swerved to its present state and the spontaneity of movement in animals and man.

It is interesting to note that Darwin’s theory of evolution introduces the Swerve into the reproductive process of living organisms. Each child organism may differ slightly from its parent or parents explained by a swerve arising from the latent indeterminacy involved in genetic coding arising from combinatorial variation and accidental mutation. Some swerves are successful and the organism lives on to reproduce. The unsuccessful swerves lead to failure of the organism to propagate. Evolution thus becomes the sum total of the successful swerves.

Some writers of recent times working under the banner of Atheism want to push this process further back to a time when the only matter that was, was dead matter. They postulate that somehow dead matter experienced swerves that lead it to leap the bridge from the dead to the living, from the inanimate to the animate. This is all part of the declared war with the stalwarts of Creationist Theory. The Creationists need God to create the world. Like Epicure, the new Atheism only needs the Swerve.

Swerve theories have taken different forms across the ages to express that allusive difference between strictly mechanical deterministic behaviour and the observed spontaneity of the animate. One non-materialist approach proposed by Bergson postulates an elan vital, an underlying “current of creative energy operating on matter directed to the production of free acts.” And so the Epicurean Swerve becomes powered by an elan vital. But, as Julian Huxley dryly remarks, the elan vital is about as illuminating as describing a locomotive as being powered by an elan locamotif.

Epicure’s cosmology starts off with a universe of atoms all moving vertically downwards in straight lines. The idea of the predominance of an absolute vertical up and down axis in the Cosmos might seem curious, but is easier to grapple with if one considers that the world may have been flatter in Epicure’s neighbourhood. His Swerve was necessary to explain how the predominately vertical state of affairs could possibly end up in the complex structured world around us. The world became the way it is by trillions upon trillions of micro swerving atoms. In addition, the Swerve was to be the genesis for explaining non-mechanistic animal and human behaviour. Nowadays modern science has replaced the indeterminacy immanent in the Epicure Swerve with the fundamental uncertainty which reigns in Quantum Physics. This is summed up in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, a fundamental tenant of Quantum Theory.

In the Uncertainty Principle we find the most fundamental expression of the Epicurean theory of the Swerve.

Stoic Tennis

While the Epicureans quietly party on the left side of the court, the Sceptics find their particular brand of happiness in their customary fashion by always sitting on the fence. In that way they experience the comforting satisfactory glow of never going down the wrong path, which is their way to a particular kind of happiness,

On the right side of the court we find an entirely different ambiance. Towards the far corner a Stoic called Leon has been captured by the enemy and is being tortured on the rack. The Torturer, a tattooed, seedy looking creature, leers down at Leon and taunts, “I bet you’re not feeling so good now.” “Perfectly good thank you,” replies Leon, “Quite happy.” “Happy?” exclaims the Torturer. “How can you be happy being tortured on the rack?” “I’m always happy as this must have been meant to be. Things might appear to be going badly for me, but that is only how it appears when, in reality, things are going perfectly well. Things couldn’t be better, in fact.” The Torturer was a bit taken aback and countered by boasting, ”You know, I can take your life on this rack.” “Yes, you can take my life,” declared Leon, “but you can’t take my soul: if taking my life profits you, then take it.” This was too much for the Torturer. He gave an almighty twist to the rack and watched to see how the Stoic reacted to real pain. Sweat broke out on the Leon’s brow as he quietly muttered between his teeth, “My friend…” “I’m not your friend, I’m your torturer!” came back the snarl. “I know” said the Stoic “but Dion, that person standing right behind you is my friend.” The Torturer spun around to come face to face with an Athenian soldier in the process of pulling out his sword. He gave a blood curdling scream and ran off.

Dion cut Leon loose from the rack, rubbed down his poor twisted limbs, and the two of them rambled off. “It was lucky that I just chanced to be passing by” commented Dion. “That was not chance.” replied Leon, “It was fated.” Leon was starting to clear his head and muttered, “What appears as chance is caused, but beyond our comprehension.”
They kept walking until they came to the home of Chrysippus where they stood, hesitating at the open front door. They could see Chrysippus in the kitchen inside, warming himself in front of the stove. Chrysippus beckoned to them “Come in; don’t be afraid: there are gods even here.” As they walked inside Chrysippus laughed out loud, “I’ve always wanted the chance to say that. Those were not my words but those of the ancient Heraclitus.”

They sat down at the table and Chrysippus served up a plate of dried figs, his favourite. They started talking and Dion was curious to know how the Stoics related to the gods. Chrysippus explained that men were on the same levels as the gods. There was no friend behind the scenes. Zeus was a friend to men, as men were friends to Zeus. Chrysippus then went on to explain the universe and how it was governed. Dion, who had always been curious about Stoicism, asked Chrysippus a question which had been bothering him for ages. “Chrysippus my dear friend,” asked Dion, “what is virtue.”

Chrysippus paused and said that virtue was the cornerstone of Stoic philosophy
and demanded careful explanation. He drew in a breath and started his small
lecture on the subject: “From Parmenides we learn that the only real truth is founded in
  that which exists in the eternal present. Nothing else exists, neither in the past nor in the future.
  Existence is limited to the pure Oneness of the present. Everything might appear to change,
  but that is only in appearance. In reality nothing changes. That is the truth.
  The ultimate knowledge is knowledge of this truth, according to Parmenides.
  Heraclitus taught that such knowledge could only be understood in terms of pairs
of opposites. He described the oneness of the world as ever-living fire saying:..

This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made. But it always was and will be: an ever-living fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.

The ever-living side of the world is Nature; the fire side of the world is Zeus, the only immortal of the gods. Zeus and Nature are two sides of the one reality, expressions of the masculine and the feminine which is the Gender Principle. The Gender Principle expresses the opposition between the singularity of subject – the masculine – and the expansiveness of what
  accompanies subject – Nature, the feminine.

Oppositions even have oppositions. In opposition to the Gender Principle is the opposition of the Active Principle and the Passive Principle. The Active Principle and the Passive Principle are the personal expressions of the masculine and the feminine principles. The masculine and the feminine principles are the impersonal expressions of the Active and Passive Principles. This is how everything can be expressed in terms of oppositions. Gender is impersonal Active-Passive and the Active-Passive is personal Gender. As every Stoic knows, these two oppositions explain the four letters.”
Dion interrupted, “Chrysippus, are these the four virtues?”

… (book extract)

Mantra: The Stoics were Right Hemisphere Thinkers

This is just a fragment posted to Stoics mailing list:
Mantra
A mantra usually refers to a verbal repetitive chant.  This is particularly therapeutic for the left hemisphere of the brain. The left hemisphere is the side that characterises modern Western thinking and the sciences. This is where you find the angst.  It specialises in abstract, symbolic, analytical thinking. The angst comes from the alienation of the abstract to anything substantial.  The right hemisphere specialises in the creative, dominated by context,  concerning itself with the whole.

Apparently, at any particular time, one hemisphere will be dominant. Empirical studies have shown that, in humans, the hemispheres switch from being dominant every ninety minutes.  Repetitive reciting of a mantra is a good way to switch over to the right side. The left hemisphere is comforted by the mantra, gets bored, and falls asleep, leaving the right side, in a mild meditative state to contemplate the whole.
In Hellenistic times there was a dichotomy is philosophical outlook: The Epicureans on one side faced off against the Stoics on the other. The Epicureans were left side thinkers and precursors to the analytical, atomistic, amoral, dualism that characterises Western thought today. The Stoics were right brained thinkers, monist, rationalist moralist and holistic. They also sketched out the framework for a unique, unifying science. Over two thousand years later, it is up to us to complete their long neglected project.