Thursday, 7 April 2016

Technovedanta: A technological meta-knowledge philosophy beyond science and religion.


Fundamental science and religion are uncertain ways to know the “truth” about reality. Are we left in the Limbo of complete agnosticism? Or are there clues in nature that reality is not what it seems? The recurrence of patterns of numerical values in our Solar system and in physical constants as well as the modern branch of physics called “Digital Physics” point to the fact that we might be living in a computer simulation. It is Technology that has provided us with this insight as well as the certainty that we have mastered knowledge to such an extent that it has empowered us to be able to apply it. Only Technology will lead the way out of the quagmire of speculative knowledge in our epistemological query towards the truth of reality. This philosophical notion will henceforth be called “Technovedanta”.

A Science Delusion?

Terrence McKenna once said: “Belief is a toxic and dangerous attitude toward reality”. It is even more dangerous than we think, because maybe (probably) there is no such thing as “the truth” in the phenomenal world.

In every dual system (i.e. relative system) there are only perspectives, which each tell a “subjective truth”. It appears impossible from a relative point of view to have a complete knowledge of all the possible vantage points, which makes that any type of knowledge is incomplete and relative at the best.
Science and philosophy suffer from “paradigmatic beliefs”, peer-pressure, cultural dogmas, hypothesis bias, interpretation problems, fallacies etc. Thus science and philosophy can also be considered as a type of “religion”.

Science and religions as mental and/or spiritual frameworks to grasp “reality” have been largely unsuccessful to convince me of their value as a potential grid to get a complete understanding of both the phenomenal and the noumenal “Truth”.

Science essentially connects dots on the basis of hypotheses using statistics. It often fails to recognise that there is more than one possible way to connect the dots of an empirical measurement and that there is more than one hypothesis possible to account for the observed trend. If at all multiple hypotheses are present, the one with the smallest number of assumptions is considered to be the most likely, a principle known as “Occam’s razor”. However, there is no scientific or logical proof that Occam’s razor is a valid principle; it is more an intuitive concept.

Science is also pestered by dogmatic beliefs. Scientists with refreshing revolutionary alternative ideas that challenge an established paradigm run the risk of being excluded from the scientific establishment or will not get their articles published.

Furthermore we are still struggling to get rid of a mechanical materialistic paradigm, which cannot account for quantum effects or consciousness.

Are the laws of physics fixed and if so are they fixed forever? Is all matter inherently conscious are a rudimentary level or is consciousness an emergent phenomenon of sufficient complexity of information transmission? Is the mind merely a material pinball table? Is there a purpose in existence or at least in evolution? These are still open questions in the scientific paradigm.

Science is based on empirical data combined with logic and reason. However, what is often forgotten is that whereas deduction appears a flawless approach to derive a truth from premises, the premises themselves at their most basic level have been gathered by induction. Induction and abduction are logical approaches that do not warrant a truth to be revealed.

In other words it has scientifically and logically been proven that knowledge, as we know it (i.e. knowledge which can be expressed in words and symbols), is not absolute and has its boundaries. There are boundaries to what can be logically and empirically known. Science and logic as we know it is a Cartesian card house built on quicksand.

Science is now discovering more and more that many systems are holistic. Holism (according to Wikipedia) is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts. In other words: The whole is more than the sum of the parts: there is a synergy occurring between the elements, which makes that the whole has new emergent properties, which were nor predictable from the properties of the parts that constituted the whole.

As science is essentially analytical, from the Greek word “analysis” which means “detailed examination of the elements or structure of something”, its modus operandi is exactly to investigate the parts of a thing/phenomenon in order to understand it.

But the problem is that the scientific method fails per definition, as most complex systems, both natural (i.e. physical, biological, chemical) and man-made (social, economic, mental, linguistic ) are holistic. You can’t get to the whole by looking at the parts and how they interact on a pair-by-pair basis: there are higher non-linear levels of interaction that go beyond the pairwise interactions.

This means that if science is to survive as a means to acquire knowledge, its very analytical premise cannot stand alone and science will be forced to incorporate a way to approach synergy and emergence. Ben Goertzel, one of my favourite philosophers and AI designers, has made an attempt to formalise emergence in a certain way, but he has never succeeded in quantifying it in one or another way.

As of yet, it turns out the science is a hopelessly obsolete paradigm, belonging to a world of mechanistic causal relationships, which is per definition unable to pierce into the heart of complex systems, as it can only reason from the standpoint of “quantifiable parts”. More and more science has to take into account “probabilities”, “fuzziness” and “contributions/weightings” of parts, which nevertheless cannot account for the emergent epi-phenomena occurring. There is simply more to the story. Science is now discovering that everything is interlinked and can perhaps describe some characteristics of the links, but it fails to take them all into account, because it would take an infinite time to describe every single thing in terms of its relations to everything else.

Here in the west we have been trained to think analytically, we have been trapped into putting on winkers, which avoid that we see reality as it is.

In fact, mental knowledge is a very limited language determined set of relations, which do not have a real solid ground. Knowledge maps things and events, but the map is not the territory. You don’t know what it is like to be a tree, a dog and orange. You cannot know the quality of something per se; you can only know how you as a subject perceive it. Science may be able to quantify certain phenomena on the basis of similarities and build ontologies on the basis thereof; it does not have the tools to map a subjective experience.

In fact all mental knowledge is a perspective on how one should connect the dots. Which may be true, false, both true and false depending on the perspective or neither true nor false depending on the perspective.
In fact all mental knowledge based on theories deriving from inference, from induction or abduction (logical processes) is merely speculative. And as you cannot be sure of anything else than that existence exists (not even Descartes “I think therefore I am” is a certainty), deductive processes won’t bring you far. That’s why the Ayahuasqueros (psychonauts from the Amazon that explore the mind by consuming an extract of the Ayahuasca plant) have the famous saying: Es pura Téoria!

The worst thing about science is that it cannot prove its most fundamental premise: Namely that you need to prove something for it to be true/real. The very application of science appears to show that truth and reality are relative concepts, with no absolute inherent truth.
More of this chapter in my next book, which I have submitted for publication.

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