Alien Anthropology Philosophy

The Boundaries of Logic, Abstraction and Knowledge

The logic of language, narrative thought, explanation and communication finds itself poorly equipped as a method by which to represent or communicate the sophisticated complexity of living systems.

Matters of social, cultural, psychological or technological differentiation are more often a consequence of arbitrary decision than of any intrinsic academic or implicit logical distinction. The ontological methods by which object or entity labelling, value-attribution or analysis occur are generally also closely aligned to an underlying mechanical or algorithmic and sequential process of thought. Those objects of analysis which find themselves most readily and transparently dissected, reproduced, reassembled and (as concepts or constrained and defined information entities) communicated hold a special and privileged place in the taxonomy and logical structure of our reality.


The thought process captured by an “exploded diagram” view is that replication of an abstraction of linear and mechanical logic. The visual order and sequential assembly decompresses the structure of an entity, process or system in ways which mirror the grammar of language and thought: it is visible, differentiated and provides meaning because every part of the whole possesses clear functional purpose. Even where the purpose of a sub-component is not immediately obvious, a degree of trust in the overall rationale of functional purpose appears warranted. The irremediable logic of contextual relevance provides certainty that this system or entity considered as a whole is unlikely to possess redundancy in the way that organic systems commonly continue to bear material properties no longer apposite to their context.


Further on the topic of differentiating organic and mechanical (or irreducibly algorithmic and logical) systems, it seems that the mental visualisation of a material system composed of manufactured or planned components and sub-systems possesses a fundamental difference in kind, under consideration, than does an organic or living system. An exploded view diagram of a gun, a typewriter, a car, a jet plane or a city has existence as a mental concept in a way characteristically alternative to a fly, frog, a tree, a forest or an integrated Global ecosystem. Inorganic configurations of material components avail themselves of mental visualisation, reorientation and an associated conceptual or teleological rotation in ways which organic or living systems do not.


A living system, specifically, manifests such a radical interdependence between its component sub-systems and orientation and interpenetration towards its broader historical or material context that it can not in any comprehensive way avail itself of the linear proposal endemic to reductive algorithmic or (a purely) sequential logical analysis. There are far too many caveats, exceptions and suspended definitions implicit in the mental model (not to mention – the manifest reality) of a living or complex emergent organic system to find any direct route to capturing or modelling the system in any logic of control and teleology such as that with and through which we generally think and communicate.


The logic of language, narrative thought, explanation and communication has emerged as something of a probabilistic inevitability from the material world. This logic finds itself poorly equipped as a method by which to represent or communicate the sophisticated complexity of living systems such as those that bear the rational burden of seeking existential advantage (or individual and collective Self improvement) through the application of that logic. This is, among other things, an indication of the critical importance of intellectual creativity and authentic innovation. While the ongoing process of refinement towards comprehensive analysis (and explanatory synthesis) of both biological and non-biological natural systems represents an important requirement for our continuing and sustainable scientific and technological development, there exist deep conundrums within the narrative logic of thought and communication which make this an exceptionally difficult task.


Logic is of reality but does not contain it.


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