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Philosophy

There is no final truth…

MC Escher, “Drawing Hands”, 1948.

There are no final, complete or self-contained answers. Language, for one, and as much as cognition itself, is not oriented towards closure. It is like a genetic code that acquires optimal, sustainable continuity through the counter-intuitive utility and value that incompleteness and uncertainty brings. Without the random mutation that logical or physical necessity creates, the rich structural complexity of this moving coding mechanism would never have existed. Even mistakes are constructively-oriented towards overall information system continuity.

Language, however, is a wily fox. It possesses no agency, no volition or will and yet as a unified system of distributed information-processing, it persists and – indeed – thrives upon, through and as the transmission medium of human minds, interdependent behavioural dynamics and semiotic or symbolic grammars of cognition. A key to understanding these kinds of naturally-occurring emergent complexity is not to become obsessed on the specifics of any particular instance, language or (even) generalised information-processing system.

The kernel and functional core here is that by endemic orientations towards the structural impossibility of closure, the ambiguities of human language reveal themselves as being not so much weakness or fallibility as they are strength and mechanism of resiliency. The fact that all material, mechanical, algorithmic or otherwise logical systems exhibit an indefinitely extensible property of structural openness is a gesture to deep mystery.

I can not give you final answers because they do not exist but this presence of absence is as useful to philosophical analysis as it is (and just as error and mutation in genetic encoding or linguistic ambiguity is) a useful discontinuity. The absence of holistic system self-containment is itself the inverse presence of systemic self-containment.

Language is limited, and limits cognition every bit as much as it sets us free. This limitation provides a coherent ontological slingshot into deep understanding of how and why there is no endpoint but that, mischievously, also sits outside the scope of this text.

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