System Theoretic Metaphysics and the Unification of the Transcendent and Empirical Sciences (#1663)

Related Documents:
(#1430) Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
Computational Paradigm
Global Awakening
Metaphysical Context
(#1406) Computational Metaphysics
(#1415) SMN, Free Will and Unification of Paradigms
SMN, Computational Metaphysics, Free Will and Duality: see section "Re: Computational Metaphysics"
(#1427) Labels, Essence, Awareness, Computation, SMN
(#1428) Free Will, Attitude, Awareness, Self Control, Causality, Karma, Cosmic Will, Computation and Consciousness
Mathematics of Intension
(#1437) The Chinese Room, Experience, Knowledge and Communication
Computational Processes (proof)
(#1470) Religion/Spirituality, Energy/Information and the Unification of Material and Spiritual Science
(#1495) Relative/Absolute Reality, Empirical/Transcendent, Experience/Knowledge, Unification of Material and Spiritual Sciences and the Coming Paradigm Shift
(#1638) Trusting the flow, the Cosmic Dance, the natural holistic process (#1638)
(#1639) Breaking the Code of Secrecy, the Cosmic Dance includes Light and Dark, the Process of Awakening, the Human Collective Paradigm Shift, plus some comments from the I Ching (#1639)
(#1640) Paradigm Shifts and the Changing Nature of what is 'Fact' (#1640)
Also see other excerpts from my discussions with the Society for Scientific Exploration.

Underlying all of our ideas regarding the nature of the reality that we experience there is an implied metaphysics. The ramifications of that metaphysics influences everything that we believe to be possible and impossible. It determines that which we focus on, it creates a filter through which we interpret our experiences and the manner in which we conceptualise them. Different metaphysical perspectives lead to different world-views and thereby to different experiences of the phenomenon of existence.

The most common metaphysical foundation is an empiricentric materialist conceptualisation of reality, where the objects of the senses are assumed to be an accurate portrayal of the nature of reality and we assume the existence of an objective world that is simply existent and composed of matter. Matter is a conceptualisation of the inert "stuff of perception", stripped of all cognitive attributes, which are assumed to belong only to the human perceiver. The 'objects' are thereby made primary and the consciousness by which we become aware of those objects is assumed to be an emergent property of the interaction of those objects, i.e. matter creates brains, which then create consciousness.

But what if one was to disregard the whole of this materialist branch of theorising and began with the fundamental postulates of general system theory? What would be the ramifications of such a metaphysical foundation? What would be the resulting world-view? Would it have similarities with other currently existing world-views? Would it be able to shed light upon other world-views and show how they relate?

I chose to begin from general system theory because it is the most general foundation with the least assumptions. Rather than assume that everything that exists is 'matter' (a very particular kind of 'stuff' with particular properties and requiring space and a quantum vacuum), we instead assume that everything is a 'system'. A system requires only the coherent flow of information (discernable difference), input signals, transformation of signals and output signals. The exact medium in which the signals propagate is irrelevant thus systems can form in any medium. In this manner we are not bound by initial assumptions regarding the medium of existence and we can focus upon the general principles of existential structures.

From the system theoretic perspective everything that exists is a system. Systems interact; these interaction pathways form a complex network that integrates the systems into super-systems. Systems are also composed of sub-systems. This forms a fractal structure of systems within systems within systems. Thus everything that exists is a system embedded within a fractal systemic structure and bound within a network of interaction pathways. This structure does not arise in physical space; the concept of physical space itself arises from the interaction network.

We are systems in this context, so our understanding of the world begins from our own subjective experience of our own existence. Each system throughout the systemic structure has its own unique perspective upon the structure. The structure is not composed of inert objects that we perceive, it is composed of 'systems', which are perceptual entities, thus each element of the structure is perceiving things from its own perspective, including ourselves.

There are two principle elements to a system, the interface and the core. Picture a circle where the circumference is the interface and the area inside is the core. The interface has two aspects, input and output or perception and response. The core is that which transforms input signals into output signals and it is implemented by sub-systems. Thus each system has an outer and inner aspect. An external system can only interact with the outer aspect of a system and the inner aspect underlies the behaviour of the system.

Now consider what can be perceived from the perspective of being a system within a systemic world. A system can only perceive those signals that are incident upon its input interface. These signals can only travel through the network of interaction pathways that interconnects the systems. Thus each signal originates from the output interface of a system, travels along an interaction pathway and is then incident upon an input interface. Thus the only thing that a system can perceive is the output signals from systems. It cannot perceive the systemic structure, the interaction pathways, the input interfaces or the inner aspects of systems. It can only directly perceive a small aspect of its total reality.

For the general functioning of systems this is all that is required. By perceiving the output signals it can interpret, experience and respond to them, and as each system does this the signals percolate through the network of interaction pathways and the systems evolve, thus the systemic dynamics is 'driven' by perceptual processes.

But what if a system wished to comprehend its situation as well as participate in it. It could begin from its direct experience of reality via its perceptual interface (looking outward), but this just gives access to the perceptual state of the situation. If it relied solely on this it would form ideas based upon the objects of its perceptual experiences, it would propose that those objects were simply existent, that they were 'objects' with an independent existence that were defined by the perceived properties of those objects. This leads to an objectivist materialist understanding of the situation that only captures a small proportion of the total situation, the outer aspect.

Another approach could be to realise that those perceptual objects are not simply existent, but rather they are constructs of a perceptual process that is operating within the perceiving system itself. The objects are based upon incident signals that are then interpreted and experienced. Thus the external objects themselves are not primary and the phenomenon of perception and experience is primary (looking inward). The objects of perception do not exist "out there"; instead they exist "in here". So the focus of the enquiry turns from "out there" to "in here". It is not a matter of contemplating what is happening out there but rather a matter of contemplating what is happening in here. This leads to the conclusion that "out there" there is a vast profusion of signals, information, energy, spirit, maya, etc and the real issue is what is "in here", which is pure awareness, consciousness, the core, the soul, atman, etc. This leads to a spiritual or mystic understanding of the situation that only captures a small proportion of the total situation, the inner aspect.

In this proposed systemic scenario neither of these perspectives gives the whole truth. That is because they are derived from the perspective of particular systems embedded in that world. The complete situation cannot be directly perceived or experienced from a perspective that is embedded within the situation, it can only be inferred. But if one comprehends both of the above perspectives, clinging to neither one nor the other, and takes them both seriously as valid perspectives on reality but not as absolute facts about reality. Then one is driven to question, how could it be that both perspectives are true in their own way? How can they be reconciled?

The reconciliation of the two opposing perspectives (inner and outer, mysticism and materialism, subjectivism and objectivism, transcendent and empirical sciences), leads us to infer contexts that can accommodate both, showing how they relate to each other and how they arise from a deeper unified context. There is perhaps only one underlying context that can do this but there are many ways of conceiving it, representing it and expressing it. Two such ways are through system theory and the computational paradigm (see Metaphysics of Virtual Reality (#1430)). These are not distinct separate ways, they are intimately related and are essentially just two ways of expressing the same underlying general principle. The common general principle is that they are both information theoretic. This suggests that reality is not fundamentally made of 'matter' or any other kind of high level 'stuff', it is made of information/computation, signals/transformation or spirit/consciousness.