C-53. Partial understanding

The Nature of Things’ partial order assures partial understanding in two ways, one favorable and one not so favorable. In the first instance, our understanding will continue to grow as we come to know more by trying new things (IX), especially compositions (as in development and research ventures). This is favorable because it signals that we are at a frontier in this World of Possibility (App. XI), with exploration via composition (C-48) stretching endlessly before us.

In the second instance, our understanding has been and still is limited when viewing the Nature of Things after the fact through a template of order – which discards (as non-orderings: e.g., “chance,” “error,” “random”) what it doesn’t obscure. The template may be as gross as the assumption that the Nature of Things and the order of things are the one and the same. Such templates, followed single-mindedly (0: S-P), can be a serious impediment (IV) to increasing our understanding.

Consider, for example, some of the troubles found in discussions of “free will” if and when it is viewed as a question of freedom of choice – that is, when it is framed within the template of decision making. The latter takes on the responsibility of characterizing behavior. After the fact, an observer (or actor observing self), can indeed interpret any particular behavior as though it constituted a decision – if only in the sense of having to opt to do what was done. But how accurate is that with respect to (all of) what happens before the fact of the observed behavior? Even after the fact, hasn’t the behavioral problem been collapsed, unattended, into a situational problem characterization? How big – and unanalyzed – is the behavioral unit observed, molecularly speaking? Typically, the argument is pursued situationally, as if we were talking about no more than judging available alternative solutions. The taint of the BPO bias (C-38, C-39) is very evident. As is the penalty attached to minding only part of the past and not preparing to better mind the future.

(c) 2012 R.F. Carter