C-100. Let’s history!

Let’s history. Not “Let’s do history” … which relegates the term to entity status, placing it as a 3rd stage of consequentiality product (App. XIX), a technological product removed and remote from its behavioral roots in the memory component of the function requisite (VII) … in consequence of the Nature of Things’ behavioral necessity (III) – as somewhat obliquely understood as “learning from history.”

Histories, like the languages in which they have been expressed, serve as memory technologies. And, like languages, not all that well. That our present may bias our interpretation of the past is an established sin of commission. A sin of omission, however, is more to the point here. We saw earlier that not all stages of consequentiality are given complete and/or accurate representation by behavioral terms (C-88). This impacts our grasp and involving of, and needed development of, capabilities needed to compose solutions to our problems.

Historians have this same failing in seeking answers to their questions about consequentiality. They do not see far enough, nor well enough, back through all the stages of consequentiality. But once we anchor history in the needed memory capability, as one of behavioral necessity’s functional requisites, then the subsequent stages of consequentiality tell us to look at “history” as if it were also an intransitive verb and then too as if it were a transitive verb: first as a capability and second when exercised re a focus of attention – and only after that, in addition and finally, as a product.

In this way we see that Presence serves history (C-96, C-99). Its minding contributions (e.g., the relations employed in sensory vision’s peripheral component) work as well for history after the fact as they do for making the future we need. While the present may bias history, Presence can nurture it.

To history (verb) is to compose. Not just the narrative compose of the expressed product (history: noun), but that compose – for past and future – which we have developed theoretically as the symbiotic relating of cognition and communication to enable a compose capability (App. III, App. XI, App. XII, App. XVI). Conceptually familiar as imagination, this is – at its best — pointed questioning (X), a relatively high degree of Presence (C-99).


This is also about the what and how of historical reductionism. As with so many other concepts (C-85), historical reductionism may not convey all that explication and a theoretical construct can offer. Too readily, as concept, it lends itself to definition by example (e.g., imputing thoughts and conversations to historical figures – and, in myths, hypostasizing behavioral entities).

But having established history as a theoretical construct (above) we can now do the same for historical reductionism. Then it is as though we come to be able to see composition fully both forward and backward, not settling for abbreviated after-the-fact accounts of behavior – especially, but not solely, human behavior – as though consequentiality were but matters of circumstantial change, to the neglect and distress of compositional change (II). We should able to extend history qua realization from one brim of consequentiality to the other, from the Nature of Things to beyond the current frontier of history.

And while we pursue entity reductionism avidly, investing heavily in technologies (e.g., super colliders), to discover hierarchical contingency after the fact, we have not invested in behavioral (i.e., historical) reductionism – at least not very productively. Consider, in light of what we have said about Presence (C-96, C-99), the kinds and amounts of relating and relations brought in need of being remembered that have been brought to bear on conditions.

“All that it takes” (II) reminds us that even this inside-outside view of contributions to a behavioral product (e.g., an event) points to compositional as well as circumstantial elements. And each of the nine contributors implies behavioral aspects (before-after relations) yet to be elucidated – i.e., in need of further historical reductionism. Agency especially. But all of them.

Recall that in developing ideational mechanics (X), we proposed interposing the ATIT matrix between “before” and “after” to indicate a more general case than either or both of “necessary” and “sufficient” … and more in accord with consequentiality than mere sequence. Still, this minding procedural tool (App. VII) just begins to meet needed memory functionality – and the need for better history and histories. Inside-outside “thinking” is not relating and relation enough for human consequentiality and realization given the Nature of Things’ general persisting condition of partial order.

Too often, historical reductionism has amounted to little more than a focus on agency, with before-after relating (relation unspecified) reduced to the exercised capacity of this or that “responsible” agent. (Unless one adopts the order of things view of necessary and sufficient as the sole applicable relation. But needed applicability would have us ask about how problems get solved.)

Incomplete and inaccurate histories have been put forth because of underdeveloped historical reductionism. But they thrive. They thrive not just because they may sometimes help solve situational problems. They can also help on the behavioral problem in so far as responsibility for consequentiality is ceded to another agency (e.g., adopting rather than composing an observation – it’s less effort). They also seem to thrive because, given their deficiencies, their partisans (C-98) can argue with each other unceasingly without resolution – but with continuing prominence (point AT-ableness). This conflictual manifestation of late-stage functionality (C-97) can be seen in such controversies as that of Creationism vs. evolution, the former history  impoverished  for its emphasis on agency qua entity, the latter for its neglect of needed (and escalating) functional development (III; C-39).

What’s needed for improved history as a capability, and for the histories we shall make here in and on the frontier (App. XVI), is also what’s needed for improved composition. The relating and relations of Presence that we can develop and exercise, that we can develop via positive restructuring (C-83), such as by reinventing memory and language technologies, should and  would enable us to be more consequential – to become more realized beings.

The historical should not cede explanatory authority to the ahistorical. The latter’s puzzle is not the same as the former’s problem. Functionality, the gist of problem solving, as explicated via the four stages of consequentiality (App. XIX), is not the same as – it is more than – the “y=f(x)” of the ahistorical perspective. What realization and explanation require is P=> S mapping before and after the fact. Lest, for example, we misread past behaviors, not seeing them as the problems  they presented before they and their outcomes became questions for observers after the fact (XII), questions attacked via math’s ahistorical functionality rather than a perhaps more productive historical functionality. For all its power via math and logic technologies, ahistorical analysis working alone has missed too much of consequentiality – of process consequentiality and of consequentiality per se. It is precisely the leverage for that added realization of consequentiality which the body-step and general-particular distinctions (XI) provide.

Much has been accomplished by utilizing the ahistorical perspective’s inside-outside relation to provide leverage as part of our minding capability (C-99).  However, as we see on geological matters such as metamorphism and plate movements, there’s more to entity composition than what entities are included and what entity that entity is – or might be — included in.


It seems the reliance on the inside-outside relation for leverage owes much to our overwhelming reliance on observed particulars as the foundation of our knowledge (C-39). We look out upon a virtually inexhaustible, most assuredly expanding, world of particular processes and products. We sometimes seek universals among these particulars, promoting these universals as a generality of sorts – which sorting amounts to confessing to an ahistorical limit on such universals, a kind of limited generality that has more to do with the partial order among particulars than it does with the implications for generality of the Nature of Things (III: where we distinguish every thing from Everything).

Consider, then, two universal propositions about particulars (aka things):

(1) Every thing is made of something; and,
(2) Every thing is made.

These two propositions speak to two aspects of composition, conceptualized in terms of particulars. They also address two approaches to, and strategies for, reductionism after the fact.

(1) is the very familiar (noun) kind of product reductionism, as exemplified in the science establishment’s search for ever- smaller entity components (e.g., atomic, then sub-atomic particles, as parts of a whole).

(2) is familiar in the search for,  and sometimes invention of, “causes” and “origins” as a (verb) kind of process reductionism.

Both of these have encountered difficulties. Not just because of their conceptual aspect, although this does present problems (C-81, C-85, C-88), in part because a concept becomes itself a particular of sorts (sic: no pun intended), representing a selected group of other particulars. (If we were to worry that we might run out of things to observe, be assured that conceptual particulars adduced to groups of other particulars, past or new, is inexhaustible for all practical purposes. Consider too that relationships, past or prospective, can be – and typically are – treated as particulars. Communication’s objectification, to enable representation, then adds names, words, terms to the already-growing accumulation of particulars.)

(1)-type reduction has the well-known difficulty that, in dissecting a particular entity for its comprised particulars, we sometimes encounter what appears to be a non-particle. It’s something behavioral, as the how in “that which makes it work.” Concepts like “interaction” and “complexity” may be brought into the picture, albeit as relationship particulars, to rescue the strategy – if not the understanding.

(2)-type reduction, which we have called “historical reductionism,” has been plagued by conceptual terms (e.g., “cause” and “origin”) … terms that obscure, when not distorting, behavioral structure’s manifest relating and relations (X; C-96, C-99) in response to the Nature of Things’ partial order—and thus incomplete instruction for behavioral entities and the need for compositional capability. Not just what steps are taken to build an intended product but, even more consequentially, what must be done, is done, and still needs to be done to build the steps themselves – i.e., a full realization of behavioral architecture (C-90).

The behavioral molecule is poorly known after the fact (e.g., “action” and “event” as observed globby particulars) and behavioral architecture unrealized before the fact, leaving our past and our future incompletely – and incompetently – realized. In the worst case, of Behaviorism (C-92), observer attention to relating is limited to, and after the fact of, the behavioral entity’s moving, to the exclusion of its consequential use of relating — and relations — in minding (VII; C-5, C-99).

Particulars, of the observed and of the observations made, need the attention and help of the Nature of Things’ generalities about Everything, not just those about every thing. How badly do the particulars need that expanded sensery vision (C-96)? Well, consider a geological view of the Escarpment, that barrier to a better quality of life rising high before us in consequence of the intellectual tools we have been using (0: S-P; App. XI, App. XII; C-56).

The Escarpment, in addition to its façade, can be seen as the cumulative product of a continuing effusion of observed particulars, its sediments loosely stratified and subject to spasms of metamorphism (some from the heat and pressure of the behavioral problem: C-41) … a precipice at its top and beyond it an extensive plateau of territorial ambition and possession, of mining and cultivation ventures (e.g., scholarship) … but also of problems arising from solutions to situational problems (0:Ps) – solutions that failed the full test of consequentiality (see C-93).

Of all the particulars embedded in the Escarpment, concepts may be the least fertile — and, like plastic objects, they are not easily degradable (C-81). Concepts promulgate the inside-outside relation of Presence, when they are not themselves the focus of attention for sensory vision (imposing vexing tertiary Read problems: C-8) … this when Presence development could use much more of the before-after relation (C-96) to effect (sic) consequentiality and help solve problems. Concepts capture relatively little of consequentiality (that differences make a difference, useful re focal attention) … unless, in their corralling large segments of behavior, they tragically encapsulate and obscure matters of consequentiality (e.g., C-16: Process consequentiality; C-90 Behavioral architecture). Hardly an adequate description of, nor prescription for, effectiveness in problem solving.

Concepts, employing the inside-outside relation, are typically ahistorical. To effect a historical representation, they may be linked in and by conceptual models (with sequence and/or consequence imputations: arrows are common). Consider, for example, the masking (0:S-P) and blockage (IV) that conceptual models invoking “cause(s)” and “origin(s)” may impose on problem solving’s map of “all that it takes.” Seen as ingredients and/or as agency, they constitute but two of nine contributions needed, unless one wants to account – loosely and only conceptually — all the contributions as just kinds of ingredients or just kinds of agencies. Then agency may be no more than attributed responsibility, unminding of needed and principled capabilities (unless one wants to assign omniscience and omnipotence capacities to a single or to multiple agents).

Concepts are not the worst feature of the Escarpment. The working assumption that ahistorical questions will suffice to provide adequate explanation is worse (0:S-P; App. XVIII). Consequentiality is not fully served if we neglect the historical, if we forsake the leverage for realization available to us in the step making necessitated by the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions (esp. partial order), if we do not confound and confuse puzzle with problem (XII). The Escarpment is our doing, of our making … and it may, if that doing is not corrected, become our undoing.

History: weakly made, before the fact; weak as memory, after the fact.

(c) R.F. Carter