Textual Graveyard

I think that the words that are commonly used in English to describe emotions may not be true. There are assumptions, which have come down to us like language has, and are to some degree part of language. These assumptions that may not be true. Some things people say sound alright, but what do they mean?

  • 'I was very much looking forward to it.'
  • 'I've come to trust this fellow here.'

If someone hurts you, do you feel angry? If someone came up to me in the street and spat in my face, I don't think I'd be angry. I'd be confused. This goes against received natural law beliefs. On the other hand, if I was arguing with some loud-mouthed, fast-talking fool, who is putting into practice the principle of "bullshit baffles brains", that is to say, his bullshit and my brains, and when I try to pause to analyse the subtle logical fallacies he is using in his argument, as well as trying to think of a way to point them out in a catchy way that will stick in the minds of those listening to the argument, and then start upon verbalizing my refutation, he instead obstreperously interrupts my words, sticking his open hand in my face and laughing at me, why then I feel like smashing open his head with a hammer, the little cunt.

If you win money, do you feel good about it? If someone does you a favour, do you feel 'grateful?' I certainly think the last is false. What actually does 'happiness' mean?

I expect that there are terms in English that people use that have a meaning to them, but to me they are just empty buzzwords. When people talk of a 'loving relationship' in a marriage it flies straight over my head. I can see the appeal in young and healthy people having sex because of the enjoyment of those involved and the maintenance of the species by procreation; and the benefit in the father sticking around after childbirth to support the mother and child. But I don't believe it when I hear that an old married couple have been happily married for forty years.' They probably have a picture from their wedding on their mantelpiece. They're always looking back to that time, as if all the time after that point was worthless.

Now I'm probably wrong about this, and they probably do actually love each other very much. So when I say that English is full of lies, it's partly down to not knowing the meanings that people are using.


A sentence expresses an idea, as do words and paragraphs. The collection of concepts invoked by the lexemes and grammatical structures used is similar to the collection of concepts used in thinking. The form of the statement is directly parallel to the form of internal understanding and belief that the writer had.

Historical sentences can be microscopic or macroscopic. To get a good understanding of history, we need good sentences. To have a broad understanding of history, we need macroscopic sentences in a short account. (When browsing Wikipedia, I sometimes look at articles other than the main one if I want a broad summary: 'European history' or 'History of Christianity' instead of 'Renaissance;' 'History of Greece' instead of 'Ancient Greece.') We often categorize events by year. What if we did it by decade, or century, instead? It would be nice to have a short history of the world given as a list of events, indexed by centuries since 10,000 BC.


these will all be out of context

  • We could take different classes of propositions and reduce the truth of one to the truth of another, and so on. At the moment, I can only think of two different classes of statement - physical and subjective. It hardly seems worth developing general ideas about reductionism and so on when what I'm applying it to is so meagre. Nevertheless, I guess you never know when such things will come in useful.
  • Reduce the physical to the subjective, accept the linear view of time, and you obtain a theory of everything.
  • It should be stressed that this list is not claimed to be a fundamental description of reality, but methodological as mentioned in the above footnote. Specifically, we are open to coming back and changing it.
  • A proposition is expressed as a statement, in some language. Language is ambiguous, and the statement could be interpreted to be different propositions. (Additionally, different statements could give the same proposition, not that that matters of course.) Every observer of the statement would be affected in a slightly different way, so when you state Menger’s theorem on graphs the objects imagined might be a different colour or shape or be in a different location in a mental picture. By discussing with each other about it any confusion could be sorted out. You never know if, later on down the line, you will discover that you meant different things, or if someone who had proven a theorem will discover that his thinking was wrong. This is inherent in the process, and shouldn’t make us feel uncomfortable.
  • In attempting to describe all knowledge, at the foundations we easily mire ourselves in pointless word-games. It can be debatable whether some questions actually mean anything, or whether we are just playing with words, going round in circles and arguing about definitions. However, it is not obvious where to draw the line, and I suggest that we should at least consider some of these ‘word games,’ and try to work out where and how we should focus our investigations, and what is of practical importance. I think it could be valuable at least to develop argumentative ability, and to see what this ‘web of pointless fundamental questions and argument’ consists of, because we may be able to bring some argument about a useless question and apply it to a useful question. (For example, this web would contain always asking ‘why?’, doubting everything, treating ‘true’ and ‘false’ as labels, and constantly applying sentences to themselves. (So you might say: ‘There are propositions neither true nor false,’ and then quickly follow it up with ‘But wait, maybe that sentence I just said is neither true nor false! Truly, there are no certain statements in life - except this one - I think?’)) Some of these ‘worthless avenues’ are discussed below, but first we shall describe a framework for the useful development of this site.
  • This principle can be applied to the study of subjective experience and perception. I imagine that I exist and have emotions, sensations and thoughts, and my beliefs come from these combined with my reasoning nature. That itself, now, is a belief. My belief in the reasoning process is itself something which may be reasoned upon. It is an ever rotating circle, becoming more complicated and self-referential. This process could be called the ‘reasoning cycle.’

Absolute truth

Methodologically, ‘absolute truth’ is that towards all our theory is constantly returning. In that sense, I believe in absolute truth and the value of believing in it.


Absolute truth is what we would have if we could ‘jump outside’ of the ‘reasoning cycle’ described above, answering the numerous questions of doubt that can be asked. No conscious being could have such knowledge, however, and there is plenty we can do without worrying about this fact.

It seems that there is very little which can be asserted without being doubted, and the only thing I can't doubt is my experience at any given moment. I don't know how to talk about absolute truth when I have no examples of absolute truth.

Whether that is true or not does seem like a genuine question. The answer, although it's impossible to get, would describe a more fundamental level of truth. Although everything can be doubted, the question of doubt is nonetheless meaningful; or if it is not meaningful, the question of why the question is meaningless is meaningful; and so on. I think that there must be such a thing as truth, or some level of understanding that would resolve these questions.

Use 'eternal truth' to refer to absolute, transcendent, infinite, eternal, immanent and divine truth. If we take an everyday statement 'X', I would not necessarily say that 'X is eternally true' has the same meaning. Note that I have made a conscious decision to assign a special meaning to this word only, and not some other like 'is' or 'exists'. 'Does that chair exist?' you ask, and I will say, 'Yes.' 'Is the fact of that chair's existence eternally true?' you ask, and I answer 'I am not sure.' Call everyday, subjective, doubtful, practical truth 'everyday truth.' There is no doubt that we can obtain knowledge of everyday truth.

I think this is just too difficult to think about, and it doesn't seem to matter either way (although eternalism could be seen to give no ethical advice).

As well as the proposition classes above, we could suggest an extra division: between ‘eternal’ truth and ‘everyday’ truth.

I'm uncertain about the idea of a theory of 'absolute truth', as I can't imagine one would look like (this is the closest I've got, although it doesn't explain mathematical truth or even try to classify what sorts of experience is possible), partly because I don't know what I mean by a 'theory'. What's more, we'd always be looking outside of the theory for an explanation of why that particular theory is the one which is true and not another one instead, showing us that what we have isn't really an absolute theory. Of course, my opinion on this might change with a clarification of what I meant by 'theory', or by actually obtaining a candidate for an absolute theory.

A non-theory of absolute truth could be that everything is true; all possible worlds exist. A theoretical description of our world would have an external justification in this non-theory. Knowledge of other worlds might not be accessible to us because they include elements that we are just not capable of understanding, just as a man blind from birth might not understand what it's like to see colours and shapes. There may be mathematical concepts that are very basic, but we miss them.

I am sceptical about looking for deep theories and truths. We could ask why is the world the way it is, and not some other way. There is a limit to how deep we can go and how long you can keep on asking for justifications.

Nonetheless, it can't do any harm to consider a few thoughts about why the world is the way that it is. If we postulate certain elements, without which we couldn't imagine a potential world, then we might perhaps argue that the world was created subject to the constraints of the inclusion of those elements. We must have a physical world that progresses according to predictable rules, and we must have conscious actors within this world. The avatars of the actors must be subject to these rules. It is impossible to imagine world where there was a void in people's skulls where the laws of physics didn't apply.

We can say what is in the stream of time, namely perception and the physical world. We can also consider propositions that have not been, and perhaps shall never be, realised in this way. Included in this can be propositions about the totality of perception in time, and mathematical propositions. Such propositions can apply to an entity confined within his own life both by him being aware of them, and in describing the progress of his life. Someone standing outside in some way, maybe after the event or with greater wisdom, could consider propositions that were neither directly realised in the course of the entity's life or thought by the entity, propositions outside his ken or merely hypothetical in nature about how the future course of life may turn out. We, in contemplating the truth of the world, may in a similar way talk about the general nature of truth and experience. We may talk about entities and their lives as outsiders. However, it may be worth considering another possibility: the entity with no one standing outside, the possibilities that we would like to postulate neither being thought nor realised. In this case, there is no fixed truth, not even mathematical. In the final analysis, we cannot jump out of our perception and view the whole totality of human perception as fixed, and we cannot view the whole mathematical truth as a fixed body of truth. If we postulate either totality, we can interpret what we experience and know within the totality in a consistent manner, but we should be careful to consider whether the totality should have been postulated to start off with.

It is a compelling idea to attempt to unite mathematical knowledge and perception. If we ask where this world comes from, and why it is the way it is, an answer that occurs to us is that there are certain propositions that are true, independent of any experience. As the world is necessarily the way that it is, without any external explanation, the only justification we can use are self-evident truths that do not demand from us explanations: such as mathematical truths. We can then simply unite the two, through aspects of perception (qualia, if you like) that are non-mathematical - such as the sense of balance, or the sensation of breath - that are grafted onto a mathematical skeleton. footnote —We have little explanation for the nature of the world of qualia. Are there senses that we do not know about, or colours that we have never seen? A possible way out is to suggest that there is a hidden unity between all aspects of perception, but one which we don't understand, owing to the very limited and specialized subset of this unity that we have known. There may be a perception that is half way between hearing the sound of middle C and seeing the colour of a sodium lamp, and if we could experience it, we would wonder less at where all the different perceptions came from, but be helped to see the unity between them, as a single realm of potential perception. —/footnote Under this outlook, the world is the way it is out of mathematical necessity, in fact the world is mathematics, as applied to the description of various possible combinations of aspects of perception.

(more source material)

We postulate the following, that is to say, we recognize them as something to talk about: the physical and the mental. The physical is a world which exists and develops according to the laws of physics. (You may or may not imagine the physical as a static 'block universe', but it is doubtful whether it matters). The mental is ‘subjective experience’ of conscious actors, and which we call perception.

The physical determines perception. Physics explains everything within the physical, and it impossible to discover or prove scientifically the existence of actors or of souls.

Time is linear. At a given point in time, actors can have knowledge of past states both of the physical and of their own experience, but they don't have knowledge of the future. They can make decisions and thus change the world around them, affecting the future.

(important to talk about ethics)

To develop knowledge, I will give theory describing the world that everyone could understand, even if they didn't fully agree. I will not claim that this is an absolute truth. I am open to thinking about and developing it, in a similar manner to how I would consider other questions.

The development may work backwards to more fundamental concepts like 'epistemology' and 'ontology', and forwards to more concrete concepts like 'politics,' 'economics,' and 'personal time management.' There are different levels of truth, each explained by the next. The centre and the justification for everything else is what we mean by 'absolute truth'.

A system that aims to describe reality must, a fortiori, describe the deriviation of the theory, how one came to believe in that theory. The system has to look inward and hang as a interconnected whole.

Any system may be reasoned upon from outside the system. We can imagine any finite chain of systems observing other systems. It is unknown as to how far this can extend. We don't know what the limit is of what ideas we are capable of having. It is of course still possible possible to talk about a class of ideas. We know what a set is, so can talk about the class of sets. As an actual object, that class is not just mathematical in definition, but is defined in the real world that mathematicians inhabit, to contain all objects that mathematicians may think about. I do believe that a proposition is true independent of it being thought, though. A set, or member of the cumulative hierarchy, will be defined as the end result of a finite sequence of deterministic generalizations.

This principle can be applied to the study of subjective experience and perception. I imagine that I exist and have emotions, sensations and thoughts, and my beliefs come from these combined with my reasoning nature. That itself, now, is a belief. My belief in the reasoning process is itself something which may be reasoned upon. It is an ever rotating circle, becoming more complicated and self-referential. This process could be called the ‘reasoning cycle.’

I think that this demonstrates that it's possible to get a complete philosophical theory, but then because it is a dead end you can almost forget about it and move onto other questions. Saying reality is 'all possible experiential frames' does seem to explain everything, but it says nothing about what those experiential frames could be. We can't explain what emotions and sensations are part of these frames. We have an intuitive idea of someone's consciousness being a thread of these frames, and again we have no way of describing what these threads are.

It's hard to be convinced of someone's beliefs. They can state what they are, and you can understand them, but still not really take them on board. Part of the reason for that is that you might not really see how you can go forward from that point, and still feel that there are questions left unanswered. At that point one should take a step back towards his intuitive understanding of the world, and consider if he has overextended himself with too much abstraction.

We've presented here subjective experience as a by product of the laws of physics, with no causation the other way. We have no concept of ‘ætherial’ souls being able to influence the physical world. If we view the physical world in the clockwork way that it is viewed as in Newtonian physics, then of course there is no room for such influence: the state of the physical world is completely determined by the laws of physics. All sensations of making decisions are just sensations, and nothing more. However, with quantum physics there is randomness in the theory and there is room for viewing someone's soul as having an actual causative effect.

There is another problem with the idea of experience being completely determined by physics. The physical develops in a similar way to how thoughts can develop in someone's mind, along formal and deterministic lines. If we view the physical world as something else entirely from experience, then in our model of the world we have the one mathematical object of physics, and the many minds which are actually developing in a very similar way to it. We would then wonder what was so special about the physics object, what it was and where it came from. It would seem simpler to view the world as a collection of interacting minds, and to view physical reality as a dream of some entity.

A development of the initial theory is that linear time as we commonly think of it may not be correct.

How should knowledge be gained and developed?

It's possible that our reasoning may be completely dishonest or ineffectual. There's nothing we can do about that, so we might as well work with what we've got. In any case, this kind of doubt does not recommend any particular course of action, so it's not worth worrying about.


All knowledge is obtained by individuals. The only source for knowledge is what we are inclined to believe is true. For example, ideas of what is right can only come from people's minds.


A theory is a system of named entities and relationships between them. You could say that that is a bit simplistic - what if everything doesn't fall into discrete categories? To argue against that point, in language we have discrete words, which don't blur together.

In fact, any collection of non-contradicting propositions constitutes a theory. It may not seem to cover everything, but can trivially be made to. A theory of an animal is also a theory of reality when an entity covering ‘everything else’ is added. This is turning the outside in.

Even if they do contradict each other, then they still constitute some level of understanding. We should include general ideas, feelings and beliefs swimming around inside the mind under the umbrella of 'theory'.


If one says what he thinks his theory is, and thinks about it for a while, then after he has completely understood what he believes, he may start to believe something else, maybe because flaws in the theory will become obvious when an attempt is made to state it rigorously. This second belief would not be completely a result of logical reasoning, because logic must have an extra-logical justification.

I can present various philosophical systems and ideas, and see how they relate to one another, how one is expressed in terms of the other. When I hit a dead end with one I can think about another on its own, and once I've described it a bit more the ideas could feed back into and develop my ideas about the first one, and I could see whether I still think it's a sensible thing to believe.


Paedagogy is important. It must be possible to convey one's understanding to others. The exposition of one's beliefs cannot contain a full explanation of the cognitive processes which came to them, as that would require absolute self-knowledge, which is impossible. The exposition could still contain a stylized description of the process though, with the intention that the student would follow a similar process in coming to the understanding. It would be similar to poetry, in that its aim would be to invoke some emotional or mental reaction.

All of these aspects can relate to some kind of propositions, and we aim to work out what the relation is.

The motivational example is a person. We interpret an individual behind a material body. The belief in the individual is not a meaningless feeling, but reflects a truth, that there actually is, for some meaning of 'is,' another person out there in the grand scheme of things. But some perceptions are meaningless, including abstraction. The ancient Romans believed that each family had its own gods. Belief in a god is like belief in a person, but just because you can interpret a group of people and historical facts about their biological relatedness and cohabitation to obtain the concept of a family does not mean that this concept reflects any further truth.1


Emotions may relate to an eternal truth, but they are not a simple reflection of it. That one is working towards good doesn't mean one's emotion will reflect that prospect. Emotions can be out of touch with reality.

As one's emotions are based on abstractions of the world, if those abstractions are inaccurate, then the emotions too are inaccurate.

Someone might underestimate danger and therefore feel safe when they should be scared. There are several situations where humans are wont to estimate badly the likelihood of certain events.

Somebody might be stuck doing some activity which requires a lot of physical and mental effort and time. For example, they might be stuck reading a book. If they would stop for a moment and come outside the immediate context of what they are doing, they might realize that they're wasting their time reading that book and should be doing something useful. There are two perspectives on the situation, an immediate perspective from the person's action deciding process and a broad perspective from taking a step back and looking at the broader context. (The immediate action deciding process is very simple. If you do the same thing for three days you will not be able to tell how many days you have been doing it.) That's why it's suggested we augment it with planning and organization. I might have to give this self-organization lark a look myself.)

A deluded religious person might feel good about engaging in meaningless rituals. I would put some emotion caused by music and emotion caused by sexual activity that does not lead to procreation in this category (masturbation, buggery, sex with contraceptives).

Emotion relates to potential action. Think about some distant mountains, surrounded by forests and mires. They are distant and difficult to get to. A truly awe-inspiring and beautiful sight! Now imagine we build a motorway through the mountain range complete with gas stations and commuter villages. Also we have planes flying over the top all the time. The landscape thus loses its beauty and power; the emotional pull of the landscape only came from the potential story of someone making a journey of many days across the wilderness and up the snowy, hard-to-reach slopes of the mountains, and other stories, and perhaps stories of birds flying over the tops too. When you can drive to the visitor centre, walk up a well-maintained path wearing your plastic hillwalking clothes, and look out over the patch-work of irrigated fields and tarmacked roads, it hasn't nearly as much emotional power. The emotional power that remains lies in the dream of the wilderness extending to the horizon and the wilderness actually meaning something to our lives.

Some emotion is based on perception and structural description of the world. If people are annoying you, then you have an entity corresponding to them in your structure. If you have aesthetic appreciation of a well-proportioned building, then the shape of the building is part of your structure, although a deeper level of truth doesn’t have those shapes but just has atoms.

Thought is hard to separate from sensation. Thought is structure, and images and sounds that come to us have a structure already attached.

Objects aren't physical facts, as our idea of them is the result of a statistical process carried out by our brains. The existence of an object such as a cup can be seen as a mere idea based on the actual physical facts of atoms, quarks, quantum fields, or whatever theory of physics is correct. Our idea of it comes from the brain looking for distinct objects and describable forms in the data obtained by the senses.

However, that's a very materialist way of looking at things. Materialism is the philosophy that we should view the world as nothing more than the proceedings of some system of physics, with consciousness somehow tacked on as an afterthought. It may even be claimed that there is no such thing as consciousness, and anyone who protests that they know that they themselves have consciousness is labeled as superstitious, subjectivist and non-scientific, who would be more at home five hundred years ago, before our great modern age of progress and enlightenment.

If we are to start from our perception in our investigations, and reserve judgment on the question of an external reality, we do indeed perceive structure in objects. Then it could be said that they truly do exist, insofar as existence of physical objects is meaningful.

If such perception of objects and structure is just an illusion we create, then past events don't have meaning. Today, we discern patterns, which helps us to act, but in the past, all our structure is not just a description, but also a guide to action and potential. An individual object, which is said to exist in the past, can be thought of being moved to different locations in three-dimensional space. We imagine the force of gravity operating on these objects wherever they are moved. People who acted in the past, we imagine reacting according to how they are treated in different ways. But if all of that is just a structure that we have imposed ourselves, then it is all meaningless. The past is just a dream, a cloud of moving atoms and electrical fields. None of our abstractions have any further meaning or purpose. Old empires and old street names and street plans were nothing.

If it can be said that any structures are true at all, at the very least we must have the physics of atoms and the actions of human beings. Plants and animals are also possibilities. I'm extremely doubtful of any larger structures. Trees exist, but forests don't. Humans exist, but villages don't.

It would seem impossible to doubt that we can perceive structure. This is something which we shall have to take for granted, and view as part of common sense. As I've said before, any argument against the idea of structure can be seen to be hypocritical, by seeing that the argument is in a language, which contains a collection of words that are all viewed as distinct from one another.

It is a question as to whether there exists structure outside of thought. The practice of physics seems to assume that there is a structure at the bottom, out of which more complicated phenomena emerge.

If the world were turned off, and we were all removed to a purely mental world, I would still feel that the world I knew, what I called 'reality,' would still be 'out there,' lost, and I might hope to return some day. According to brain science, there are certain relationships between ourselves and the physical that are hardwired. For example, the creation of a mental map of one's physical environment and one's place in it, knowing which way is up and which way is down, knowing what our body is, even the mechanism of moving one's hand and pointing at something. All these give us internal sensations which relate to beliefs about what the world actually is. If the removed mind still had the capacity for these sensations then the belief would still be there.

Perhaps there is no infinite physical reality, it just gets created as and when you look at it.

The view of time as a number in physics may have prevented other ideas about what how we perceive time is, and perhaps a finite system is closer to how we actually think about subjective experiences.

If you have a past experience, and feel a certain way about it, that has to do with your memory of it. Your independent existence and these memories are only temporary. We're looking for the essential attributes of Experience and Memory that would lead to these feelings being felt any time a person has experience and memory where these are present. These emotions may, however, only occur in conjunction with contingent memories, so it's a slightly tricky exercise to separate them. It's like separating The-Desire-For-Food from the desire for any specific piece of food.

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