An Essay Featured In (Re)constructing “A is A” by O.G. Rose

The VORD (Part 1)

Sections I-IV

O.G. Rose

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The following exists because of Alexander Bard, Alexander Ebert, Alexander Elung, Cadell Last, Johannes Niederhauser, and Anthony VZ Morley: all strong and engaging ideas are thanks to them. I think through writing, and the following is how I have tried to appreciate and internalize their work, which is to say their ideas are gifts I hope to honor. My main sources are:

“The Theory of Total Relations” and “FreQ Theory” by Alex Ebert

The Work of Cadell Last

Analysis of Situation by Anthony VZ Morley on Leibniz

“The Vector Theory” of Alexander Elung and Alexander Bard

Death and World Grounding” (w/ Johannes A. Niederhauser and Cadell Last)

Bard and Elung are the fathers of Vector Theory, and all thoughts on Vectors which add value can be attributed to them. Bard noted in a March 2022 email that the Metaphysics he has worked on is best called “Transcendental Emergentism,” and there might be times where my terminology referring to the work of Elung and Bard is inaccurate — for that, I ask for forgiveness. Bard also stressed that the Metaphysics is not called a “Dialectical Emergentism,” considering that not even dialectics itself is preconditioned: dialectics is rather the first category after Emergence, which thus announces “difference” and then “difference of difference” (which is relationist), and so “non-reductionism” and “oscillation” accordingly. Yes, it’s fair to say “dialectics” describes “how the universe works” (to the point where “Pandialecticism” is a valid though contingent categorization), but we can’t say the universe had to work this way, nor assume that dialectics can’t be “transcended” by future Emergences.

Moving forward, my points in this paper on what I call “The Leibniz Oscillation” are a product of overlaying the work of Alex Ebert (“FreQ Theory” and “The Theory of Total Relations”) with the work of Anthony VZ Morley, for whom my understanding of Leibniz is entirely indebted. All Hegelian points are thanks to Dr. Last, and what is written on Transhumanism is a product of his discussion with Dr. Niederhauser. Please do not assume that reading this paper will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of these thinkers: the following is based on my understandings and interpretations, and all mistakes should be attributed to me. To refer to their work collectively, I will refer to the acronym “VORD”:

Vector Theory
Oscillations
Relations
Dialectics / Death

The wordplay of “VORD” is the removal of the “i” (“void”), which suggests that if we continue to emphasize “the individual” versus “relationships,” we will end up “falling into a void.” To avoid “the void” (effacement), we need to replace “the I” with “relations.” Also, the following strives to avoid being “A Theory of Everything,” and instead, like Vector Theory, attempts to be “A Theory of Each-Thing” (as described in (Re)constructing “A Is A”). Visually, we can represent Vector Theory by claiming it isn’t “Subphysics/Physics/Chemistry/Biology/Mind/Culture” but rather “Subphysics | Physics | Chemistry | Biology | Mind | Culture,” but what is meant by this will be elaborated on later.

Audio Summary

Elaborations on the VORD will bring us to points on Transhumanism and technology, a topic which Dr. Niederhauser has discussed (see, for example, “Was Heidegger A Technophobe?”). Heidegger’s perspective on technology is controversial, and he is often accused of being a Luddite who opposed all technology. In a recent talk, Dr. Niederhauser addresses this interpretation head-on, even quoting Heidegger directly when Heidegger said he wasn’t against technology. For Heidegger, being “for” or “against” technology was beside the point, for technology represented “the appearance of a new kind of being” that Heidegger was interested in describing and analyzing. Good or bad, “a new being” had appeared, and it was “here” — our response was the question. For me, the nature of our response will be strongly tied to our metaphysical and ontological understanding of the universe, hence why our “response to technology” and our understanding of VORD are directly linked. How we respond to both will determine the meaning of the term “Transhumanism,” if it will suggest evolution or Lovecraft, but that too will be elaborated on later.

Heidegger was not born in prehistoric times, so Heidegger grew up with what relative to past generations was “advanced technologies.” Heidegger never argued for “a return to living like a caveman,” but instead made distinctions between “kinds” of technologies and different orientations to them. What concerned Heidegger was technology that “did our thinking for us” and solved all our problems: he was concerned about a “thoughtless” use of technology that simply assumed “more technology was good” (“a myth of progress,” I think), as he also admonished against technology that kept us from death and made life too easy (a view I associate with Kierkegaard). Heidegger seemed concerned about a world where humans didn’t have to “wrestle” or “live with” anything, for something about our humanity to Heidegger required this fight. Perhaps Heidegger was wrong about this, but I think the point starts to highlight why his view is more complex than simply being “for” or “against” technology. Heidegger saw technology “bringing forth” a being in which we could “solve” all of our problems, which sounds good, until we start to entertain the thought that we need “problems” to be human. Heidegger was concerned we would solve ourselves away, as he was concerned about the ways technology could “capture” us and keep us from facing death, concerns which bring to mind the work of Alex Ebert on “algorithms” and how “death avoidance” could cause us trouble. In this way, Heidegger was concerned about ways technology would “reduce” us, but he sought Being versus Vectors for help. As we will explore, Transhumanism plus Vector Theory could prove to be a source of hope, or at least our only hope, seeing as Transhumanism is probably inevitable like technology. Vector Theory will provide us with a logic of “irreducibility,” suggesting there is something about humans and Mind which can never be replaced without loss. Personally, I think Heidegger hoped to establish a similar doctrine of irreducibility, but I’m not sure.

Will Transhumanism “solve us forward” or “solve us away” (will we “develop with” or “develop from,” to allude to “The Socratic Embodiment” by O.G. Rose)? I personally don’t think the answer is obvious, but I can say that I sympathize with Heidegger’s desire to analyze and describe what’s approaching. There is something about technology that indeed “gives us no choice but to accept it,” which could be good or bad (in various ways) depending on the technology and our orientation to it, seeing as humans (for example) aren’t happy if they have “too much freedom” (as discussed throughout “Belonging Again” by O.G. Rose). Sure, we “can” choose not to use the internet, but this basically means we cannot participate in society, and for Aristotle that means we are either a god or an animal. Humans are social creatures, and if being part of society practically requires us to use a technology, that means “being human” requires a certain engagement with technology. In this way, changes in technology inevitably become changes in “us” (especially “information technology” like the printing press, television, etc., as stressed by Alexander Bard).

Heidegger doesn’t view us as “overcoming technology” by “avoiding it,” as similarly we don’t “learn courage” by avoiding what scares us. Furthermore, “technology” isn’t merely something we “pick up at the supermarket,” per se, like some option we can do with or without, which recalls Dr. James Hunter’s points on culture as being far deeper than food and clothing. Hunter stresses that we cannot change cultures or “fully” explore others — cultures are simply too deep. Something similar applies to technology: even if we don’t use it, it shapes and organizes us. For human society, this cannot be stopped or avoided, which means there is only one question: Will Transhumanism transport or transcend us? Will it be “A Beatific Vision” or “Third Impact?” If Transhumanism occurs without Vector Theory, a doctrine of irreducibility (dare I say “sacredness”), probably the later. And seeing as Transhumanism and technological advancement are likely inevitable, all we can do is spread “doctrines of irreducibility.” As discussed by Bard and Elung, this means there are “essential gaps” in our ontological schemas, which sounds disappointing, but “gaps” also mean there are limits to what systems can “capture.” Lacks free.

I repeat: all good ideas you find here are from others. My hope is that this paper at least sheds light on possibilities and ways thinkers I love and admire might be considered together. If the following is wrong, unnecessary, has already been articulated, or merely a description which entails no ontic significance, please forgive me, and discard this paper as you find best.

I

If something is “totally new,” it has nothing at all to do with what came before it. Something “new” can share connections with the past, but not something “totally new,” which would suggest that “total newness” might be an impossible category that we never actually encounter. The same could apply to “total similarity,” another term for which is “sameness”: arguably, no two things are ever actually the same, for then the things would not be two but one. In this way, the word “same” is never meaningfully applied; whenever it is used, the term is used to actually mean “similar” (and/or “greatly similar”). If the term “same” is meaningfully used, what is used is “sameness.”

In my view, Western philosophy is full of “dashed out terms” which identifying can help us overcome various philosophical problems. As there is only sameness and similarity, there is no such thing as a “wholeness” that isn’t ultimately “a collection of (non-merging) parts.” Whenever the term “whole” is used, it refers to “parts which work together” (somehow), but the parts never cease being parts in of themselves. Thus, “wholeness” is always a term that means “a profound harmony of parts,” but technically there are no wholes, only parts. This isn’t to say that a certain “harmony of parts” cannot arise to emergent results which cannot be located in any of the parts, making it practically the case that the parts constitute a kind of “whole,” but rather only to say that it is impossible to locate a thing that is only that thing. “Things are always concerts,” which would suggest that whenever we use the word “whole” we mean something like “concert” (“emergence,” “harmony” — multiple terms could be used). Otherwise, “whole” is always “whole.” (To point ahead, do note that “The Vector Tower” is a concert.)

Instead of discussing “parts and wholes,” perhaps we should discuss “parts and concerts” (or “parts and harmonies,” which sounds musical, to allude to language used in “Soloing, Harmony, and Singularity” by O.G. Rose). No one wonders why an orchestra cannot all be “the same thing”: it’s clear that an orchestra is a “whole” precisely because it is composed of radical differences which never vanish. The orchestra is possible because the violin doesn’t “vanish into” the flutes and vice-versa, which is to say there is no “melting of everything into everything else” (a “Third Impact” as discussed in “The Noumenon Frame” by O.G. Rose). The orchestra as a whole exists because the parts continue to exist, and yet the term “orchestra” indirectly suggests that the parts all vanish. This is not the case, and I think something similar applies to when we talk about “chairs,” “bookcases,” and the like: it is precisely because the parts don’t vanish into a “whole” that a “whole” of some kind is present. Every-“thing” is a “concert.”

Cars, people, buildings — everything is a collection of parts “playing together” to generate something that couldn’t arise without the parts, and yet the parts themselves continue to be present (which brings to mind Hegel’s “dialectic” once we understand it distinct from a “discussion dialectic,” as discussed elsewhere in O.G. Rose). “Wholes” are always “wholes,” which means there are no wholes, only concerts. Again, this isn’t to say that there is no truth to the word “whole” when used to refer to something like an orchestra, as there are certain uses where “sameness” is valid (even if not “technically”). My point rather is that, technically, the terms “wholeness” and “sameness” are impossibilities: when we talk about “wholes,” we talk about “concerts,” and when we talk about “sameness,” we talk about “similarity.” If we actually could achieve wholeness and sameness, we’d efface ourselves. Please note that I didn’t say “negate,” for “negation” (as used here), following Hegel, gives rise to “something new” (sublation). Nothing new comes from wholeness and sameness, thus why Hegel opposes them (as Dr. Cadell Last explores in his work on Hegel’s famous “Preface,” as the short work “Negation Versus Effacement” by O.G. Rose also considers).

Inspired by Deleuze, there is an emphasis today on “difference” as the ground for identity and ontology, a move that I generally think is productive and useful. However, I think Deleuze argues for a “pure difference” and/or “essential difference” (as I like to call it), which is a difference that entails no similarity whatsoever. All of this is elaborated on in “The Essential Difference of Deleuze vs the Dialectical Similarity of Hegel” by O.G. Rose, but here I want to note that while we in English have a term for “pure similarity” (“sameness”), we don’t have a term for “pure difference,” which I think contributes to us thinking that “difference” cannot fall into the same “effacing error” as can similarity at the point of sameness. As a result, it’s easy for us to think that “pure difference” cannot be “pure difference,” but I am not sure. To allude back to our introduction, it is possible that Transhumanism is leading us to “pure difference” while believing that it praises and values diversity. A desire to “return to the womb” in Freud was the mistake of wholeness, but Transhumanism, a “return to our thought dreams in the lived future” (to be vague and esoteric) might be a mistake of “pure difference.” If so, that would mean Transhumanism is leading us to an encounter with “The Great Old Ones” — but I am not sure. What we will signify as [ ] may love.

II

Where the “equal sign” rightly applies, it doesn’t apply, for there are not “two distinct entities” between which the sign could be meaningfully placed. Where there is an “equal sign,” there is an abstraction, but please note that this doesn’t mean the “equal sign” is useless, only that we are dealing with a “pure thought” (to allude to Hegel), meaning something that can only exist in thought and never be realized into “the real world.” Strangely, that means “equivalence” is similar to “contradiction,” even though we often think of “equivalence” as a kind of opposite to “contradiction.” We think of equivalence as stable and reliable, while contradiction is tense and unreliable, but both are equally “pure thoughts” (even if “pure thoughts” in different ways). There is neither equivalence nor contradiction in reality, but here we can actually start to see how “equivalence” and “contradiction” are two sides of the same coin (I do not mean “contradiction” as Hegel does here, as will be explored). This is because a contradiction is generally when an “equal sign” is wrongly applied: it’s when I say, “a cat = a dog” or “I now = me tomorrow” (if the “=” didn’t exist, there would be no contradiction). And in reality, no two things are identical, which means the equal sign can never be rightly applied (except regarding a thing-to-itself, which is when the equal sign is applied meaninglessly, to establish a truism which only applies to a “now” that’s always gone). No, this isn’t to say “=” can’t be used in logic, mathematics, or the like, but it is to say that the equal sign carries little if any ontological weight. In fact, it’s arguably dangerous, considering all the confusion it might cause.

Strangely, while we cannot meaningfully apply “=” (“sameness”), we nevertheless require thinking according to “similarity.” If there was no “similarity” between entities, we couldn’t comprehend or understand anything, and yet “similarity” that isn’t “sameness” is itself because there must be some degree of “difference.” “Similarity,” the necessary precondition for thinking, is present precisely where there is difference negating it. Wherever there is a thing, there is a (Hegelian) “negation” and “sublimation” occurring, for “difference” is what cancels out similarity and at the same time makes it possible (because if “similarity” was “sameness,” similarity would be effaced, and again please note the term “effacement” and “negation” are not the same). Wherever there is understanding, there is “negation.”

Understanding is the result of a sublimation in the negation of difference/similarity (the “/” means dialectic here). We understand a thing as itself because it is not other things but also because it is “similar enough” to other things for us to “place it.” When we try to understand a thing, we are simultaneously grasping it in the context of being distinct from things but also “like” other things. The bookcase near my desk is “distinct” from the wall and pictures around it, but it is also “like” them in that it has color, shape, weight, and so on. It is not so similar to the wall that it “melts into it,” per se, but it is also not so different from the wall that I can’t “wrap my mind around it.” If the bookcase had no color or shape — if it wasn’t “like” the things around it in this way — I could not begin to understand it. Because the bookcase is a blend and “concert” of difference and similarity, I can process it. If the bookcase was entirely distinct or entirely identical, the bookcase would be a bookcase to me.

All processing is a process of “similarity/difference,” not just difference and not just similarity, and that means all processing is ultimately dialectical. Now, there are perhaps Physical and/or Subphysical processes which aren’t dialectical, for Hegelian dialectics entail Mind, but when we are discussing Transhumanism (for example), which inherently involves the human mind, we are discussing dialectics, and more particularity “a dialectical concert (of similarity/difference).” The language of “process” today is often discussed alongside “Events,” and the question we face today is if the “Event” of Transhumanism will prove to be “totally new/different” to the point where it breaks “process” (via Utter Transcendence) or rather redirects it (via transition and transformation). In other words, will Transhumanism announce the coming of Jesus or the coming of Cthulhu? Is there a third possibility? [ ]?

Every Event occurs in a process — where there are no processes, there are no Events — and thus they always occur “always already” in the middle of processing, of trying to understand the Event (and thus translate it into a lowercase-“event,” per se). The question we face with Transhumanism is the following: Can an Event occur which can never be “processed?” If not, then we do not have to worry about Transhumanism ever arising to a “Great Old One”: our concerns can be eased. If all Events can eventually be “processed,” this would mean all Events are ultimately just lowercase-“events,” and that would mean that no Event must necessarily overwhelm us like a deity out of Lovecraft. However, that still leads open the possibility that the initial encounter with an Event prove itself so great that we couldn’t handle it long enough to finish “processing” the Event into an event. If this were the case, though all Events could eventually be “processed” into events, that technical detail would not practically matter. Practically speaking, the Event would (always) be an Event.

If we are “transcended” out of our humanness (in an Event), we will be lost in the act of thinking we evolve, but if we are instead “transformed” (in an Event which is processed into an event) we might finally rise to the fullness of our potential. Hegel would have us find our home and fullness in alienation (A/B vs A/A), but it is possible that the “Transhuman” (as I’ll call him/her) is so alien and “different” that it cannot be a source of alienation (A/B), which might actually strike us as a good thing, but existential anxiety is necessary if we are to undergo negation/sublation into higher forms of becoming. If “too different,” the Transhuman cannot be “an other” which Hegel wants us to incorporate into ourselves, which means we might be totally overwhelmed or “two ships passing in the night” which have nothing to do with one another. “Incorporation” requires “similarity” (to some degree) to make possible any “bridging,” and that brings us to a question: How could “similarity/difference” be possible with Events (to make them events)? This will bring us to Vector Theory.

III

Parts and wholes are always “concerts” (parts/wholes), as similarities and differences are always “dialectical” (similarity/difference). Both “concerts” and “dialectics” (arguably identical) are matters of understanding, and so they will be present where there is understanding (meaning, recognition, and the like). Where there is no understanding, there is effacement (versus negation, the sublimation of which defines understanding), for the mind is at least “practically” effaced in being unable to understand.

“Similarity” without “difference” would be “sameness” and thus effacement (the term “effacement” is always “effacement,” per se). But the same applies to “difference without similarity,” which would be “pure difference” and thus also effacement. As is the case with the presence of the “=”-sign, so where there is “pure difference,” there is nothing which can be recognized as distinct, for there is not enough “similarity” to render that recognition intelligible. Thus, “pure difference” is paradoxically a kind of “sameness,” in that “pure difference” must be “alone” and thus “all the same” relative to “all that is.” Both hence efface, while similarity/difference is “negative” and Hegelian, “the process of understanding.” But can we really say “sameness” and “pure difference” have no place beyond effacement? What if they dialectically relate? Well, a dialectical relation between them would constitute a Vector, a topic just ahead.

There is no symbol like “=” which means “pure difference” like “=” suggests “sameness.” It could be argued that the “unequal sign” accomplishes this goal (“≠”), but I don’t think so, because where there is “similarity/difference” there is an “unequal sign” (to some degree), not just where there is “pure difference.” As a term for “pure difference” is missing, so too is a symbol, contributing to confusion. And yet if “pure difference” is practically identical to “sameness,” then in a very paradoxical way, the equal sign (“=”) symbolizes “pure difference,and that means we do have a symbol for it. If “2 = 2,” this means 2 is “purely different” from everything else (it “stands alone”). “Equal signs” are found in math, and that means math has nothing to do with anything but math, as perhaps logic which uses “=” has nothing to do with anything but logic (though this doesn’t mean math isn’t incredibly useful). Where there is a “=,” there is a simultaneous presence of “pure difference” and “sameness,” which suggests that “pure difference” and “sameness” might under some circumstances avoid effacement thanks to a dialectic. On this point, we will bring in Alexander Elung and Alexander Bard.

I have learned from both Elung and Bard about Vector Theory, and I am a big fan of it. It fights reductionism and opens up new horizons of thought which I think are invaluable. Helping clarify some key ideas of Vector Theory while considering Alfred Whitehead, Alexander Elung wrote (on IDW):

‘[Alfred] Whitehead’s transitions are seamless and a theory of all, where our theory is rather a theory of ontological limitation and the need for irreducible difference […] Whitehead is to some extent avoiding the problem of Emergence, by erasing all radical differences […] we go in a different direction and accept that radical differences are an essential part to Emergence — but we also do not think the hard problem is necessarily a problem at all, when proper Emergence Theory is taken into consideration […] We embrace the difference and reject a theory of all, where there are seamless transitions — rather we embrace the gaps and see them as a natural part of ontology and the nature of identity. Identity requires irreducible differences in order to emerge’ (alluding to Hegel).

‘Though Whitehead solves ‘the hard problem,’ he ends up in reductionism by saying everything is monist (i.e. all that exist must share the same fundamental qualities), which means he avoids the gaps. But we embrace difference as an essential and necessary part to ontology as identity requires difference.’

For Elung, a few primary Vectors of note are Subphysics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mind, and Culture (Technology might also be a Vector, but we will avoid that category here). Using these categories, we can say that Physics is a unique Vector from Subphysics and cannot be “reduced” to Subphysics without something essential being lost — a logic which applies to all Vectors. Each Vector is not merely “different” from each other Vector, but essentially different and/or “purely different”: we could say they are “a different kind of different” entirely.

Regarding the Vector of Chemistry, hydrogen is “different” from lithium, but hydrogen and lithium are “similar” in that they are both defined within Chemistry. However, lithium is “totally different” relative to gravity, which is defined and “processed” within the Vector of Physics. Thus, similarity/difference describes processes within Vectors, while “total difference” describes Vectors between one another. Following earlier logic, wouldn’t that mean each Vector undergoes effacement (as a Vector)? Ah, well that’s a problem, isn’t it? (Moving forward, rather than say “similarity/difference” every time, I might just use the word “process” more often, seeing as “process” is “similarity/difference”).

For the sake of argument, let us assume that somehow Subphysics arose to Physics, Physics to Chemistry, and so on. We can chart the Vectors as follows, which I am going to call “The Vector Tower” (for lack of a better phrase), though please note this is not a hierarchy (each Vector is irreducibly valuable):

Culture
Mind
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Subphysics

This is a tentative chart, and Mr. Elung and Mr. Bard may in the future change it, adjust it, and may even disagree with it now. Dr. Gregg Henriques, reviewing this paper (IDW 5.20.22), noted an absence of deep architecture offered by his Unified Theory of Knowledge, suggesting that Mind and Culture are notably distinct from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Subphysics, and yet on “The Vector Tower” they all look to be treated as interchangeable. A fair critique, and certainly the focus in this paper on Vectors and Emergence leaves out much: Dr. Henriques offers relevant and alternative contributions:

‘Thus, in the ToK System language, the ontic stack is Energy Matter Life Mind Culture which is then mapped by the ontological/epistemological scientific domains of subphysics/physics/chemistry (physical sciences) followed by the biological sciences followed by the (basic) psychological sciences, and finally the human/social sciences.’

Admittedly, readers will not find in this paper arguments that “zoom in” on particular Vectors and specifics on their relations, such as can be found in the work of Dr. Henriques. For that, please investigate UTOK, writings on which Dr. Henriques has labored over tirelessly for years, much to our benefit. That all said, even if “The Vector Tower” above proves deficient, I hope the logic and argument described in this paper still applies. All the same, please forgive me if my details eventually prove outdated or lacking.

Within each Vector, there are processes, but there are no processes between Vectors. We could say that each Vector designates a unique and irreducible space of “processing,” with the “ing” designating a continual “acting out” of that Vector to itself. (Vectors hence are continual “acts” of becoming versus being.)

Culture
(No processes)
Mind
(No processes)
Biology
(No processes)
Chemistry
(No processes)
Physics
(No processes)
Subphysics

I repeat: we could actually say that each Vector designates a unique space of “processing,” with the “ing” designating a continual “acting out” of that Vector to itself. In fact, akin to Hegelian “becoming,” Vectors are primarily actions versus states, for they designate unique ways that time unfolds in and through a unique ontological schema. In this way, we could write:

Cultural Processing
(No processes)
Mental Processing
(No processes)
Biological Processing
(No processes)
Chemical Processing
(No processes)
Physical Processing
(No processes)
Subphysical Processing

(Please note that the precise nature and mechanism of each “processing” is unique, which is to say that we cannot generate a “single theory of processing” which applies to every Vector. This is what I take Bard to mean when he stresses that “A General Emergence Theory” will not do: we have to be “polytheorists,” as discussed in “Monotheorism” by O.G. Rose).

Nothing is solid and unmoving: there is only action and action upon action. Vectors are always Processings, and I say “Processsing” versus “Processes” because each Vector is also “realizing itself,” not merely enacting itself. Each unique Vector is “realizing what it is,” which is to say the Vector of Physics “is in the continual process of processing” Physics into being. When an Event occurs and a new Vector emerges, a New Processing begins that doesn’t even know what exactly it is: it has to “figure that out,” which means “processing” the new information (into being). But the “processing” is simultaneously “the making of” the new Vector: what is “figured out” and “made” are simultaneous. Hence why the word “Processing” seems better to me than “Process” (and the capitalization isn’t Platonic, only meant to help connect it with Vectors).

Now, a major question stares us in the face: If there are no processes “between” Vectors (I will keep using the term “Vectors,” though please keep in mind it always means “Processings”), then how can Vectors be intelligible to one another? It was said earlier that “processes are necessary for intelligibility,” which would suggest that Vectors are incomprehensible: Chemistry should only be able to understand Chemistry, as Mind should only be able to understand Mind, and so on. But we know this isn’t the case — I can understand Physics, however imperfectly — what’s going on? Ultimately, considering the lack of “processes” between Vectors, there are some questions that must be addressed:

1. How is understanding possible between Vectors? (Intellectual Processing)

2. How is transition possible between Vectors? (Ontological Processing)

After these, there is a third question which should be addressed, but we will shelve it until Section XII:

3. How is interaction possible between Vectors

First, Biology doesn’t understand Chemistry, and Chemistry doesn’t understand Physics: each Vector is indeed “stuck in itself,” per se. Understanding doesn’t come into the picture until the emergence of Mind (which might be simultaneous with Culture), which is when there starts to be ways that Chemistry and Physics are “understood” together. But this still begs the question of how Mind could understand Vectors distinct from it: Shouldn’t Mind be “stuck in itself” just like the Vectors which came before it? A very fair point, but I think we can address this by describing the unique mechanism of how Mind “understands.” No “General Emergence Theory” applies to Vector Theory, as Bard stresses, and critically we don’t need to address “the problem of understanding” until the emergence of Mind. Biology doesn’t understand Chemistry and Chemistry doesn’t understand Physics, so though Question 2 will still need to be addressed relative to these (Mind-less) Vectors, Question 1 can be shelved.

“The problem of understanding” (Question 1) emerges with Mind, and now we find ourselves having to understand “mechanisms of understanding” for ourselves and for Culture (and Vectors yet to come). Studies in mechanisms of social understanding are perhaps the focuses of Sociology and “studied in collective consciousness,” and to the degree we will be able to understand these fields will perhaps be relative to the degree Mind and Culture emerged together or if Culture actually came before Mind (a curious twist). Why is this the case? Well, because I think understanding is only possible between Vectors “from the bottom up” (to themselves, not over) but not “the top down,” which is to say that Subphysics can “see itself” (process) in Physics, as Physics can see itself in Chemistry, etc., but Chemistry cannot “see itself” in Physics, as Physics cannot “see itself” in Subphysics. In other words, we can “intellectually process” from “the bottom up” but not “the top down,” so if Culture is an Event after Mind, then we will never be able to “fully get” Culture beyond conclusions we can reach based on our participation in Culture. In other words, we can learn about Culture insomuch as we can learn about ourselves in Culture, but we will never be able to learn about Culture as Culture is to itself. Similarly, Physics can “learn about itself in Chemistry,” but it can never learn about Chemistry (as it is to itself). If theoretically there was Chemistry in Physics, then Chemistry could “learn about itself in Physics,” but emergence doesn’t work backwards.

Strangely, this suggests understanding operates “bottom up,” and yet Mind emerged toward the top of “The Vector Tower.” That doesn’t make sense, for didn’t we just say that Chemistry can’t “learn about itself in Physics,” which was to say that Chemistry wasn’t “in” Physics (a notion which makes it seem as if understanding can’t “work itself down”)? An advantage of saying, “Chemistry can’t be found in Physics,” is that we avoid reductionism (a movie I agree with Elung and Bard is desperately needed today), but in gaining a defense against reductionism, don’t we in the same move lose the capacity to “intellectually process” different Vectors? It would seem so, but I think we can grasp why this isn’t the case if we explore the precise mechanism of how Mind “processes” and comprehends.

When we think about Vectors, we don’t think from Mind into (Biology, then into Chemistry, then into) Physics (like descending stairs), for example, but rather we jump down into Physics and think about Physics there, from within its Vector to itself. This is critical: to think about Physics isn’t to “turn Chemistry into Physics,” per se, or even to “descend” from Chemistry into Physics: rather, to think about Physics is to mentally “appear” in the Physics Vector, whole and entire, without any transitions at all. From there, we can “work back up.”

IV

Every field of understanding naturally entails a “bracketing out” of all other Vectors except the Vector in question: a Physicist studies Physics “as if” independent from Chemistry; a Chemist studies Chemistry “as if” independent from Mind; and so on. Interestingly, a Chemist needs to know Physics more than a Physicist needs to know Chemistry, while a Culturalist needs to know Subphysics, Physics, Chemistry, etc. This suggests that, indeed, “intellectual processing” and understanding works “from the bottom up” but not “from the top down.” Subphysics doesn’t have to know Physics to understand itself, but Chemistry has to understand both Physics and Subphysics while at the same time not reducing itself to either of those Vectors (a difficult balancing act). We “bracket out” what is “overhead of us” in “The Vector Tower,” while we “incorporate” what is “below” us on the Tower without reducing ourselves to it. Critically, we must keep in mind that when we “incorporate” Chemistry into Biology, Biology remains over Chemistry the whole time: it never “vanishes” as reductionism would have us believe.

When dealing with Biology, for example, we can depict the “process of understanding” as follows (* represents the starting point):

From Mind (where all understanding must start), I mentally “make myself appear in Biology,” and from there I “jump down” to Subphysics and “work my way up” back to Biology. Notice I don’t “work myself down” from Biology to Chemistry to Physics to Subphysics, reducing Biology all the while, but instead I, from Biology, “make myself appear” in Subphysics, and from there can “climb up” Vectors (“toward me”). Note that the arrow to the rightmost only “points up,” for I cannot go down (that would be reductionist).¹

With the emergence of Mind, so emerged the possibility of imagination, and imagination is critical for understanding across and between Vectors (note I didn’t say “interaction,” which will be explained later according to “the impossibility of intervectivity”). Imagination makes it possible for me to “make myself appear” in Vectors beyond Mind, from which I can then “work my way up” to other Vectors. Before Mind, Biology could not “imagine” and “make itself appear” in Physics to explore the Vector without reductionism, nor could Biology even begin thinking of Subphysics or Physics beyond particular manifestations (say how the concept of gravity could not be considered beyond the experience of “a ball falling,” or how the element of lithium couldn’t be experienced beyond “seeing it in/as” a rock). Separating Vectors and thinking of them independent of one of another all requires imagination, and imagination doesn’t exist until Mind.²

We often think of “imagination” and “learning” as somehow opposites, that imagination has to do with fantasy while learning deals with “taking in” the real. Indeed, imagination makes it possible for me to fantasize, to experience “what isn’t,” and the like, but it is erroneous to assume that what I imagine is false. It is possible for me to imagine something true or that has something to do with reality, or at the very least I can imagine something that is “partly true,” leaving it up to me to then determine what’s true and what’s false. I can imagine my brother dressed as a clown, for example, and though I’ve never seen my brother dressed as a clown, it is true that my brother exists, as it is true clowns exist. The image of my brother dressed as a clown doesn’t correspond with anything which happened in reality, and yet the existence of my brother and clowns do correspond with actuality (and one day my brother could yet prove creepy). If I was dedicated to determining actuality and this image popped into my head, it would then be my responsibility to “pull apart” the clown outfit from my brother and “look at them” separately. In doing this, I would closer approach actuality.

Whenever an image enters my head and “I see something,” I am using my imagination (“image-maker”), whether that image corresponds with actuality or not. When I recall a memory of playing as a child and “see myself” playing, I am using my imagination to “process” a memory into images. When I am trying to figure out where my protagonist should go in a story, I “process” the ideas into images that I then “show” through writing, using my imagination. Considering this, we use imagination constantly, as we also use and entertain memories. Nearly everything in our heads is a kind of “memory” (or so it seems), including the thought, “2 + 2 = 4,” for I recall where I learned this idea in school. Imagination is how I process memories into images, sights, sounds, and the like; without imagination, thoughts would only be premises (I could think sentences, but I could not see “a movie playing in my head,” per se). I’m not sure if every idea that enters my head becomes a memory, but it does at least seem as if the loss of memory would be extremely consequential.

Thanks to imagination, I can “make myself appear” in different Vectors, thinking within and according to them, and then store what I learn in memory (perhaps we could say that imagination makes it possible for the “remote viewing” of different Vectors). With imagination, I can then process those memories at a future and later date. With the emergence of Mind, this relationship between memory and imagination became possible, and this process is central to “the process of understanding” according to which Vectors can be made intelligible, even though Vectors are “totally different” from one another. However, this “process of understanding” is not one we can have certainty in, only confidence, and so it goes with our understanding of Vectors. There is always the possibility of error, but arguably if there was no such possibility, we would intellectually be stuck within a given Vector (seeing as there are no processes between Vectors), precisely because we can never perfectly “enter” another Vector. If we were perfect, we would be stuck.³

To imagine myself in Physics, I must “pull away” my Biological and Chemical understandings from my worldview, enter into a Vector where only Physics applies, and then “buildup” into Biology and Chemistry. By doing this and avoiding all “working downward” (which would have me “move aside” Biology and Chemistry on my way to Physics), I use imagination to avoid reductionism (just as Bard and Elung stress), while at the same time respecting the irreducibility of Vectors and yet not leaving myself in a state where it is impossible to understand beyond the Vector of Mind. If anything, I risk what I will call “elevationalism,” which is to “see things as being ‘most truly’ what they arise to through emergence.” However, at least in elevationalism the thing being “elevated” is not “reduced away”: the thing is still present, to some degree, in what it is elevated into, whereas when Biology is reduced to Chemistry, Biology is lost. If Chemistry is elevated into Biology, Chemistry is “in” Biology, whereas reducing Biology to Chemistry makes Biology “made up of” Chemistry, effacing Biology. Elevationalism loses something too though, for Vectors are irreducible and irreplaceable, and it is a “kind of reductionism,” for lower Vectors are “reduced in” the shadows of Vectors over them (as “less than”), so the term “elevationalism” might not be needed. At the same time, it’s funny to note that elevationalism isn’t a problem like reductionism for society, even though both are logically similar. This suggests how much “lived experience” shapes our thinking, whether we like to admit it or not.

To return to our visual aids, critically, once I “climb back up” to Biology, I must avoid the following mistake:

What’s so wrong with this? Well, I cannot “climb up” to Culture from Subphysics if my starting point is still Biology. I must change my starting point, or otherwise I’m reducing Culture to Biology (at the start versus during the process). In this example, I fall into “reductionism” because I start off by “framing” Culture in terms of Biology, when really I need to start by “framing” and “organizing” my entire inquiry in terms of my aim. If I want to render intelligible Culture, I must start in Culture and from there “make myself appear” in Subphysics, from which I then can “work back up” to Culture. I must start where I hope to finish, to know it for the first time, as Eliot expressed in Four Quartets. Thus, to avoid reductionism, I must:

But, regarding Culture, we now have ourselves a problem. We cannot really “start” from Culture (the previous graphic is erroneous), because we are Mind, and Culture is a “higher Emergence.” We can’t by “bracketing off” consider what it’s like to be “Culture to itself” (which is to say we can never fully access a Collective Consciousness), and a result we can never hope to know our “starting point” from which we can “jump down” into Subphysics and “build our way back up” to Culture’s full self, avoiding reductionism all the while. We can’t really “begin a process” if we misunderstand or cannot understand our starting point.⁴ This being the case, for us, Culture and/or Collective Consciousness is always across a kind of “noumenon” or “gap” we cannot across, in the same way that, relative to Physics, Chemistry is “across” a kind of “noumenon,” and so on.⁵ Now, I don’t mean to say this “gap” is absolute, meaning we with Mind can know nothing at all about Culture (that would require being “across the noumenon” to say), but I do mean to say that we can never know Culture as Culture is “to itself.” At best, we can know Culture so much as we can know ourselves “in” Culture (as we can know what is across the noumenon “in” phenomena). To visualize the point:

Thus, I can only ever “start in” “Culture(/Mind),” never just “Culture,” if you will.⁶ Readers may find this point funny and argue that I always start in a Vector with a “(/Mind),” per se, precisely because all understanding is necessarily through Mind. Humans never really access “The Ontic” (even if they develop methods to uniquely grant themselves “reason to think” that x is “more like the ontic” than y, say the scientific method), so surely Mind is always influencing our take on a Vector (which is to say “Biology” is always “Biology(/Mind),” “Chemistry” always “Chemistry(/Mind”) and so on). Fair enough, but the presence, influence, and role of Mind is not equal across all Vectors, in the same way that the “inaccessibility of consciousness” is not always identical. Yes, I am full of self-deception, subconscious thoughts, and other psychological mechanisms that make “knowing me” difficult, but I am still able to know my “subjectivity” in ways unique compared to how I can know the subjectivity of another person. My own mind is hard to access (due to all the psychological tricks I play on myself), but the minds of others are significantly harder. Yes, I don’t undergo the same methods of self-deception they undergo on themselves, and arguably this means I can sometimes “see things” in other people that they can’t see in themselves, but despite this possible advantage (that I think we sometimes overstate), I still cannot experience the memories, thoughts, sensations, and the like of others. For this reason, their subjectivity is radically inaccessible.

Since I am “in” my consciousness, I can know it better than I can know the minds of others, in the same way that we can know the Vectors we are “in” better than the Vectors which emerge “after us.” Now, by “better” I don’t mean “entirely,” and I also don’t mean to suggest that “higher” Vectors are entirely unknowable and/or inaccessible (for we can know Mind in Culture, at least). Rather, I mean to suggest there is a distinction between “embodiment” and “participation,” where we can know better what we embody versus what we only participate in. Yes, we can “know” what we participate in through our participation and to a relative degree organized by that participation, but “the whole” of what we participate in isn’t even theoretically knowable, let alone practically. Chemistry, on the other hand, which I experience “embodied,” is theoretically knowable even if practically I as one person can never know all of it. What I “participate” in is what I cannot even theoretically know in its entirety, while what I “embody” is theoretically knowable even if not practically. This changes humanity’s relationship to the Vector significantly.

The exact functions of an Emergence can prove mysterious, and though we know Collective Consciousness and Culture are able to generate results and outcomes which transcend explanations based on individual realities, that doesn’t mean we know how exactly. So it goes with Vectors we “participate in” but don’t “embody”: we may “know” those Vectors do x and y, but how they do such can be beyond us (as would be saying that the Vectors only do x and y: there could be a z, a, b, c…we don’t and/or cannot know about). But isn’t Subphysics and many Physical realities unknowable? I’m not so sure: perhaps practically, but I think there is plenty of reason to think that Subphysics is theoretically knowable, and that’s what matters for the point I’m making. This might sound crazy, but please note that we’ve indeed successfully come to know about atoms and quarks even though they exceed “at hand” human experience. Though not easily or quickly — science has developed over centuries — there are numerous scientific realities we have learned about that are not self-evident (“at hand”). Higher Vectors though cannot even be “theoretically” known entirely (like God) — glimmers through participation are the best for which we can hope.

Perhaps wrongly, I believe there is “reason to think” we can learn about what we “embody,” even if not easily or readily, while what we only “participate” in is what we can only know to the degree we are “in” (as in Christianity it is said we can “know God” to the degree God shares in humanity through Jesus). Regarding “The Vector Tower”, we can say:

Again, “participation” means we cannot even theoretically understand the Vector fully, while “embodiment” means it is theoretically possible to understand the Vector(s), even if not practically or “to themselves” (as will be explored in Section XII). This is to say that efforts to “change our starting point” (through imagination) to a Vector we embody could be possible and fruitful, whereas we cannot “make our starting point” a Vector we only participate in. Yes, knowledge about such “higher Vectors” is still possible through and in light of that very participation, but it is inherently limited by and to that participation. I participate in and am formed by Culture and the Collective Consciousness, but I cannot embody them, while I can embody Chemistry, rendering Chemistry (theoretically) fully knowable.

Thanks to “participation” and “embodiment,” it is possible for Mind to achieve understanding (“intellectual processing”) between Vectors, and this is because the Mind makes possible imagination and memory. This addresses “Question 1” from Section III, but Question 2 remains: “How is transition possible between Vectors? (Ontological Processing).” It is to that question which we will now turn, but it is also the case that we will have to eventually address Question 3 from Section III. That will be taken up in Section XII.

Looking ahead, if the Transhuman is “totally new,” it will participate in an entirely new/different Vector (all “true difference” is new), and that means it will “embody” us while we only “participate” in it. Since there is “participation,” there is reason to think that the Transhuman will not necessarily efface us, but if our “participation” is radically limited, then the Transhuman could still practically prove “totally different” and hence cause effacement. Are we confident in our ability to “manage” the emergence of the Transhuman to assure that negation/sublimation occurs versus effacement? On what grounds?

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Notes

¹Now, a big debate here could be how much I can ever really “bracket out” Mind, seeing as Mind is required for all understanding, and that would get us into debates about “the ontic” which I will explore in “The Ontic” by O.G. Rose. What is inaccessible isn’t necessarily nonexistent: the ontic could be there even if we can’t experience it “there.”

²As discussed in “Absolute Knowing” by O.G. Rose, the Mind makes possible a state of “here/there”-ness, which is necessary and critical for “intellectual processes of understanding.”

³We could almost say there is a “noumenon” between each Vector, but this is different from Kant’s “noumenon,” because we do as Mind “cross” what constitutes a “noumenon” relative to say Physics, even if we can’t cross “the noumenon” into Culture and/or Collective Consciousness (which is to say we cannot not know what x is like “across the noumenon of Culture” to know what Culture is like outside a given culture or outside my given part of the Collective Consciousness I happen to be in). Imagination also plays a role here, for it makes it possible for me to “remove view” across noumena (which suggests that it is my imperfection which makes possible “remote viewing,” a point which enables and undermines “remote viewing” at the same time). Then again, we never really know what “Biology is like to Biology,” so perhaps no noumenon is crossed at all.

⁴Do note that this suggests Vector Theory is deeply tied to self-knowledge and understanding, Hegel and Hume.

⁵Please note the ways that the concept of “the noumenon” is inverted in Hegel, as described in “Absolute Knowing” by O.G. Rose.

⁶Please note that, as both Bard and Elung suggest, this problem can be avoided if we say Mind and Culture arise together. For example:

Culture/Mind
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Subphysics

Or if we say Mind emerges after Culture:

Mind
Culture
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Subphysics

Either of these reformations of “The Vector Tower” would solve the problem explored here. Yes, this opens new questions, but I think the possible reformation needed to be noted, an alternative Bard notes when he writes (IDW, 12.15.21):

‘There is mind and there is culture and culture predates mind. Consequently, there is both an Emergence Vector Theory of Mind and Emergence Vector Theory of Culture since they are both separate Emergence Vectors. We are all working with the Emergence Vector Theory of culture which is tribopoiesis itself. The experience of that process constitutes the Emergence Vector of Mind.

‘The first response to the mind versus matter duality is that there may be Emergence Vectors that are neither mind nor matter but entirely different things. The abstraction of written language in culture for example is neither mind nor matter. But ontological nevertheless. And the reason why we determine Culture as its own Emergence Vector.’

Alexander Elung makes similar points (IDW, 12.15.21):

‘I do put a cut on self-aware consciousness, which to my estimation requires the emergence of Culture/Interpersonal, in order to create a justification of the existence of senses being to the subject (otherwise subject and sensation is the same) but there is not a culture of chairs which can allow the chair to create a virtual justification for its own sensations. So if said chair is a society of events with its own sensations, then there is no awareness that “it” is having the sensations.’

Bard leaves us with a few questions and points that should be taken into consideration for future work (IDW, 12.15.21):

‘Since there is apparently another hard problem residing in the difference between sentience and consciousness, which Emergence Vector do we place each within and what is their actual difference? What qualifies here as concrescence and what does not?’

‘Furthermore, we can view consciousness as the emergence of the Mind […] by framing Biology as the implicate order and Culture as the explicate order of Mind.’

‘Why not then think of Mind as an emergence which has Biology as its implicate and Culture as its explicate order?’

(Please note that this might suggest we can associate “implicate order” with “embodiment” and “explicate order” with “participation,” as described in the paper.)

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For more, please visit O.G. Rose.com. Also, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram, Anchor, Facebook, and Twitter.

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O.G. Rose

Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Write Launch. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. O:JA&L. West Trade. UNO. Pushcart. https://linktr.ee/ogrose