The Universe is infinite. We can divide it between Me† and the World†. The World† is everything that is not subject to my will. (Yes, i know those assertions deserve lots of analysis but i will leave this for another day).
So, in order to live in the World†, we must deal with it, that is, balance our purposes and the Circumstances‡ that the world offer us. To achieve this, there are basically no rules. Everything is valid. But the absence of rules, instead of being a good thing, is a big problem, for it means that there are no absolute regularities‡ in our experience‡ that we can exploit.
Notice, though, that i say no regularities‡ in our experience‡ — and not in the world. This is because the Universe† is infinite, but the World† might not be. We† do not know at first (a priori) if the world has exploitable regularities‡ or not, nor which are those.
There are no rules, but not every action (or every form of acting) is equally powerful. Therefore, we can (or must) find ways to potentize our† relationship with the world†. This means creating structure for our actions. This structure is akin to a basic philosophy, a set of ideas, but because of language-dependence issues with ideas, it would be more precise to speak of attitudes or basal-beliefs, at such a primal level. Those basic attitudes can have profound effects in our life, as they will affect everything else. I will call it Belief-Structure‡.
It is very doubtful to speak of an action without such basic philosophy for, in the absence of a reflected-upon set of ideas, prejudices and biases would play the same part. Instead, we prefer to assume that there is an structure and to explore whatever it is that plays this part, for the order of those first tenets can be very meaningful at times.
So, i will write some words which i believe to be somehow connected to my basic belief-structure‡. Needless to say, those ideas do not imply any guarantee of truth-ness or efficacy. The elements of someone’s Belief-Structure‡ are not to be valued on a True/False dichotomy of value, but instead in a scale of efficacy, without maximum or minimum limits. That is, no matter how stupid some philosophy is, you can always go even dumber, and conversely, no matter how enlightened some world view is, you can still enhance your comprehension.
My fundamental rule — and it is implicit in all of this text, from the first word — is SELF-RELIANCE. It means that i recourse to myself in order to think and act.
The foremost consequence of such an attitude can be understood as an ethical principle: that i assume responsibility for what happens with me, for my present and my future. Expressing it negatively, i blame only me for anything that has to do with me — even when this might mean that i only can achieve the worst result of all, that is, even if i am to die. The worst that can happen is that i will die — and this let’s me face life serenely, with a comforting calmness.
In an epistemological sense, it means that my Experience‡ is the basis for my reliance on ideas. That is, the ideas that you can rely on (in other words, the ideas you consider to be truthful) are the ones in accordance with what i have experienced. That means that for every idea you should ask: what leads me to believe in that, what personal reasons do i have to believe in it? What this idea will bring to my life? This is a flexibilization of the idea of Truth — and it frees us.
(I do realize this can serve as an excuse to prejudiced arguments like Intelligent-Design, but on the other hand if you have the intention of becoming fairer in your beliefs you must start by realizing that both prejudiced beliefs and fair beliefs are Beliefs‡, and that fairness-achieving is a long, complicated process.)
Now what this all has done is only establish (or try to establish) a sort of stance in the dealings with the world. To actually turn this stance into action still more consideration is needed. I will continue to scratch at those problems in this “in which” series, but let me raise some issues that could/ would/ should lead us in our attempts:
What is comprehension? What is it to comprehend the world? Is it a form of grasping the world, or is it a form of modeling it so as to reproduce it’s characteristics in advance, or is it a form of enhancing our senses so as to capture more and more of the world? Or are all of those different forms-of-comprehension? Or are those all different modes-of-behavior that have actually nothing in common but we lump together artificially? And finally: do we need to comprehend the world in order to live in it, or is comprehension a luxury?
Is power-of-action violence? If not, what exactly is it? Can we make this idea more precise, since in this belief-structure‡ it acquires a central measuring role? Can this structure even work with a simple and naive idea of power-of-action?
How to use the notions of Experience and Circumstance without inadvertently referring to space and time (which are too complex ideas to share space with our basal beliefs)? How to explain “a given circumstance” without talking about such and such moment or place?
What other references are we using unconsciously?
Despite having split the Universe into Me|World, i want to notice that it remains implied that both the World changes what the I is and the I changes what the World is. Those ideas are not to be taken for things, for static units, but instead as processes, as forever changing variables, as flux. That is why the idea of Regularity is so important.
To explore the Regularities in the world we need adequate behaviors. The many forms of Behaviors that we can choose to present in each circumstance compose our repertoire-of-modes. This repertoire is a very important asset for our survival. Indeed, if we have a broad concept of behavior, we can say that even things as “strength” and “hit points” are forms of behavior.
Another important notice is that nowhere here we assume the World is devoid of other “Selves”. In fact, we are trying to make as few assumptions about the world as we can (the ideal is to only make one assumption: that the universe is infinite). When dealing with other actant-conscious-beings, it is very important to be able to negotiate, in various levels, including the very Belief-Structure of the other, which is more likely to be very different from our own than equal.
[This has been the most difficult post to write since the beginning of this blog. Not only i had two attempts before(but actually four if you count the two approaches i discarded for the present one), i spent almost the whole day writing this one and i had been trying to do it for 3 or 4 days now. I am happy though, for those ideas are very crucial for my Belief-Structure ;-). I actually posted this on day 19, but i am faking the date in order to pretend it was written in my Mom’s birthday — which i wanted to… So, there it goes, this post is dedicated to my mother whom probably was the most important person in my learning to be self-reliant. Mom, i know you hate it when i confuse your birthday with February 19th, but hope you like the post anyway.]
For the sake of completeness, let me begin a short vocabulary. We will use the dagger symbol (†) as a token for existential-concepts, that is, our basic philosophical building blocks. The double dagger symbol (‡) is for the second level of concepts, that is, the ones stemming directly from the first.
- Everything. Also: the Self + the World. We consider it infinite a priori.
- I, Me, the Self†
- the point of view, the origin of action, you, basically, whatever it is that is thinking those thoughts
- everything that is not subject to the will of the I
- [second-level concept] the sensible and subjective life of the Self, that which is experienced in a given point-of-view, in a given standpoint
- attitudes, ideas, fears, prejudices — which are characteristics of the Self, and that influence it’s actions and purposes
- [second-level concept] a present and whole aspect of the World which is in contact with the Self at a given moment/place/coordinate