A rapid stream is full of ripples, vortexes, bumps and pits, as if they are cut in stone. One could suspect that twists of the stream and twigs and stones in it determine all this, but it is difficult to guess, what it is.
One takes the stream as it is seen and describes its ripples, vortexes, etc. as independent interacting features. It could be described in terms of a finite construction of finite set of elements, grouped into classes of similar features.
One understands that there is an invisible underlying structure, which shapes the stream but describes an Observable Superstructure.
Relationship between this underlying structure (the cause) and the Observable Superstructure (the consequence) is difficult to discern.
More importantly, describing the underlying structure being armed only with the Observable Superstructure is impossible. For example, the stream bed could be smooth, but the stream could carry vortexes caused by passing boat or a taking off duck.
Even small life experience shows that what we know about reality is only an Observable Superstructure – ripples and vortexes. The underlying cause stays hidden.
Some schools of thought conclude that there is nothing to look for in the Observable Superstructure, if there is no way to get to understanding of underlying structure. They conclude that the Observable Superstructure is a “world of illusion” and one should not be preoccupied with it.
The alternative approach would be acceptance of inevitability of being entangled with the “world of illusion” and making the best of it. This leads to consistent analysis of the Observable Superstructure with perpetual reminding that it is not a thing in itself, but merely a consequence of something else.
This approach should work well in analysis of concepts, ideas, words, and so on – in analysis of a World of Ideas.
The World of Ideas is an Observable Superstructure as ripples and vortexes are an Observable Superstructure on the stream. It is impossible to dig-in from the World of Ideas to its underlying cause - reality, it is impossible to reach knowledge of underlying reality using ideas.
Nevertheless, the World of Ideas is an interesting subject of study, at least because it affects our decision-making and well-being. In addition, it is possible to reach some understanding of reality doing so, even when knowing of it is unreachable this way.
There is an obvious interplay between an Individual World of Ideas – something that belongs to an individual mind, and a Communal World of Ideas – something that belongs to a Community. The Community could be a small one – a group, or a larger one – a culture, or the Humanity as a whole.
The Communal World of Ideas is not a collection of Individual Worlds of Ideas. It is a “thing” on its own. Individual Worlds of Ideas absorb ideas from the Communal Worlds of Ideas (in a slightly controlled manner) and bombard Communal Worlds of Ideas with the stream of new ideas, some of which take hold in them.
There is a perpetual (asymmetric) stream of ideas exchange between various Worlds of Ideas (Individual and Communal). Some ideas appear and disappear quickly, and others are stable.
Stable ideas are often interpreted as right ideas. However, the fact that they are stable does not mean that they are right, and this is obvious – it happened so often that stable individual ideas or stable ideas shared by some social group were dead wrong.
Some factors, which made ideas stable are hidden, as factors defining where a vortex emerges in a stream, others are observable.
Controlling observable factors one could affect speed of ideas generation and dissipation and which ideas acquire stability.
For example, it is possible to control, which ideas become stable, simply by creation of barriers for ideas exchange and by repeated injection of particular ideas. It is possible to turn stable ideas into transient ones through consistent destruction of them as soon as they appear.
One who sees ideas as the crowning achievement of Humanity would see the use of such methods of artificial manipulations as immoral.
Definitely, it should be remembered that autocrats, cult leaders, etc. use these methods of manipulation to deprive us all of something very important, which we call freedom. Definitely, every attempt of such manipulation should be closely scrutinized and often fought against.
In the same time, these methods should be used to protect an individual mind or a society from insane ideas. When insane ideas become stable, they cause insane actions, often dangerous actions.
Thee differentiation between acceptable and unacceptable application of methods of control of the World of Ideas is rooted in understanding of underlying reality. This understanding could be presented using concepts only partially and vaguely, if at all.
The usefulness of the World of Ideas in decision-making comes from perpetual participation of ideas in decision-making. Concepts describing and limiting actions and criteria of the quality of outcomes of actions are tried perpetually by individuals and communities. Stable concepts drive decision-making.
As long this process is affected by deep understanding of reality, this subset of stable concepts helps making of quick decisions in concert with understanding of reality.
However, the moment an individual or a society goes insane – looses understanding of reality, detaches from reality, the World of Ideas becomes a trap. For an insane individual or an insane society insane decisions look perfectly justified.
Concepts and ideas are tools of Consciousness, but there are not conscious tools of mentality: Mental Images and Thoughts. They are not conscious stable “ripples and vortexes” in the perpetually changing “sea” of thoughts. It is an Observable Superstructure on the stream of information in the human body.
In turn, Mental Images and Thoughts are a foundation for the World of Ideas.
Animal trainers and hypnotists bring us a glimpse in this obscure world. The other insight comes from the Mysticism.
For many years, the Mysticism studied the Observable Superstructure of Mental Images and Thoughts associated with mechanisms of thinking. Unfortunately, the results were presented as description of reality and not as description of the working of the mind.
It is difficult to differentiate consistently concepts related to workings of the mind from concepts related to some more generic patterns. Usually there is no need in such differentiation. However, sometimes mixing them together is highly dangerous.
An individual mind is perpetually testing ideas against own experiences. Ideas related to the mechanics of mind’s working always pass these tests. Gradually, a strong illusion emerges, that these ideas reflect the essence of reality.
It takes a strong and experienced mind to stand against this illusion.
A weak or inexperienced mind, which learns ideas of the Mysticism, quickly detaches from reality – falls into insanity. Individuals and entire community went insane through premature learning of the Mysticism.
Fortunately, ideas of Mysticism are rarely made broadly known. The wealth of knowledge accumulated by the Mysticism has to be shared in a highly controlled manner.
A human mind in its ordinary state cannot escape the Observable Superstructure of thoughts, Mental Images, ideas and concepts. It does not need to escape. It is its playground.
The problem arises, when it asserts that there is nothing beyond this playground, that this is a direct and accurate presentation of reality. In this case, the mind becomes caged.
Not much is needed to keep mind free – only perpetual recognition of the nature of Observable Superstructure and perpetual quest for understanding of reality.
Unfortunately, the Mind (an Individual Mind or a Communal Mind) often abandons attempts to experience such “external” view – beyond the Observable Superstructure.
Fortunately, the Humanity invented ways to challenge the Mind and remind it the need to make such attempts perpetually.
Some forms of religion provide a logically complete world-view, where a particularly organized Observable Superstructure is declared as true and immutable. They provide a “detailed description” of the cause of everything and embed this “description” into the World of Ideas and into everyday life.
This is a cage for the Mind. Societies dominated by such religion are stable, but they quickly run into conflict with reality and perish.
Unfortunately, any religion could be spoiled in such way. In difficult times, people look for some logical explanation and demand that their religion provides such. Religions providing social stability or intertwined with governance readily sacrifice features requiring perpetual efforts of understanding reality for deceptive clarity of explanation of everything through a few assumptions supported by fear, perpetual repetition and ostracism of everyone challenging them.
These Religion-Cages are examples of how consistent manipulation of the World of Ideas, especially one, which goes through generations, creates a stable Observable Superstructure substantially detached from reality.
Healthy forms of religion challenge the Mind of an individual and a social group, demanding the quest for better understanding of reality. These are Religions-Liberators. Monotheistic forms of religion do just that; forms of religion, which do not do that cannot be called monotheistic.
[ Alexander Liss 2006-03-18 ]