This is the first Blog for the year 2022 and it comes after an anxious few weeks during which the Omicron version of Covid 19 has spread like wildfire. It reminds us there is no escaping the fact that humanity is now moving through Crisis Passage. (It is not only the Pandemic and Global Heating which spell possibly catastrophic disaster, but other looming existential crises like endemic online fraud, crime, international aggression, water shortage, oceanic pollution, mental health breakdown, etc… as well.)
So how can the amazing, unprecedented intellectual breakthrough represented by Actimatics —and the unexpected self-generating architecture of the universe— help? Well, we first need to look hard at the situation in which we now find ourselves:
This is the principal difficulty about which we evidently need a lot of help.
There is one overriding syndrome which has led to our present plight: current almost universal deep aversion to thinking about the world out there. The first signs of a kind of over-bearing world-weariness appeared in the 1960s, after the four Whammies had virtually cancelled Belief for the younger generations —in the advanced world at least. It was a loss of appetite for meaning (curiosity). Alvin Toffler called it ‘Future Shock’. Humanity had been effectively stunned into thinking that the problems of the human world as a whole were too big, too tricky and much too entrenched, to be addressable by the average, intelligent educated person. It reflected a mantra which had incubated in the 20th century —<<That the experts know best>>. Everything had become foggy. Specialism had become the order of the day in universities, directly contrary to the universality they were supposed to embody. And to make matters worse, almost every university department had polarised itself into conflicting, warring interpretations of the common specialist discipline involved.
Another, more general, unwelcome trend which has been having a bad effect is social tribalisation.
We were fortunate when the arrival of the PC, brought a massive rejuvenation of free-market business, and the consequent collapse of the credibility of paralised, totalitarian socialism… It appeared to save the day. These effects were really only relatively superficial antidotes to mass depression, but they succeeded in holding it at bay. They provided hope for the future —of a wholly materialist and hedonistic kind— but underpinned by the digital computer which was a technical marvel and was soon being credited with much magic. (Much of this ‘magic’ was down to the fact that the maths hierarchy had rolled over and let the computer industry claim all the credit for clever applications which would have formerly have been credited to maths.)
So a period of three decades of superficial, qualified, materialistic euphoria came into being (for those affluent enough to enjoy it), masking the deep underlying problems which were being neglected. (One of these was how to motivate bright young students to become mathematicians when it appeared that their expertise could contribute little to the common good. The leading gurus of the higher subject had gone along with the computer industry when the industry started calling mathematical modelling operated on computers ‘computer applications’. This is like saying that the Bible is only a ‘printing application’. Yes it comes in a printed form, but that is hardly the heart of the issue.)
This qualified euphoria lasted till the financial crash of 2008. Since that time the underlying cognitive fogginess circulating in the advanced world has got considerably foggier. Extra fogginess was being generated by tribalisation, because, to avoid endemic conflict, all kinds of verbal restraints were being placed on what could be said in public space.
The essence of this fogginess is that it is a loss of focus on who we really are, what the physical world really is, and how we should treat others. It not only betokens an unwillingness to look at the physical universe, but to look at what others are doing to the physical universe. This <<couldn’t care less>> attitude to what others are doing, is the underlying reason why the Pandemic and global heating crises have materialised.
Today’s society is like a football XI which has lost the habit of playing as a close-knit team.
There is now a commercial-scientistic part of society which openly treats human beings —though not themselves— as predictable, manipulable, robots. This became clear in 2016 when various hostile agencies were furiously trying to manipulate the US election. It brazenly contradicts the freewill, the independent-mindedness and creativity of human beings: in this it is grossly out-of-sync with the Godlike image of human being which had previously prevailed. Belief and a sense of there being a Moral Order were still quite strong in the early 20th century —-though they did not go unchallenged. However there has been an anti-Belief wind blowing stronger and stronger through the advanced world ever since the four whammies appeared after WW2. Belief is far too antiquated to be the main social glue of an advanced society in the modern era. (Many traditional institutions have shown no stomach whatever to face up to the important fact that their very existence is predicated on Belief and a Moral Order. Now, at this late hour, the unpalatable fact has hit them that this is waning fast.)
Education in the proper sense of that much misused word, has been almost non-existent in state schooling systems since the 1980s. It was taken over by so-called ‘Cognitive Scientists’ who have promoted a shallow “swallow learning” culture which does nothing to build the strength and independence of the child’s mind. (Rather it weakens it.)
Today’s society is predicated on sophisticated modern knowledge which requires more and more thoughtful, creative, recruits of the highest calibre. Instead it has been getting new recruits who have come through shallow-learning schools, and are often well below the problem-solving norms which used to exist prior to the take-over by “Cognitive Science”.
We urgently need a powerful new intellectual light. It is there in the Post-Mathematic concepts of Actimatics and The Self-defining Universe, but the number of thinkers who can take in advanced ideas is falling off, the number of people who can still muster robust, independent judgment is quite small, and the new ideas are provoking the discredited existing elites to try to fight back. The rational, open-minded element in society should be welcoming the new paradigm for science, as the much needed basis to take the Western Project forward. But this ‘open-minded’ network has shrunk to an historic low, and there are many refuseniks out there who seem to think that the clock can be turned back or that the ‘Western Project’ is disgraced . They cannot see that the Western Project is now irreversible: the fabric of our lives —in the economy, food supplies, clothes, energy, mobility, law-and-order etc.— utterly depend on it. But it lacks an inspiring vision of the future.
The new Post-Mathematic Enlightenment embodies a very potent vision of the future. It can enable a much more principled, fair, thriving society in which differences in language, race, cultural traditions, etc. are seen as being trivial and of no concern.
How can the Post-Mathematic message have this power? Because it does not put up with the muddled ambiguities of not-yet-falsified science, but goes to the heart of the question how science can achieve its final goals. It also represents a theory capable of bringing unobvious assumptions about reality down to zero. This is unprecedented. It is repudiating the immensely heavy portfolio of necessary, complicated, mind-numbing assumptions pre-adopted —i.e. not questioned— by modern science. It can give us all a great cognitive lift, but it won’t if those who could lead opinion are too paralysed to consider it.
The Pandemic has had terrible consequences in the form of deaths and long-covid disability. But it has also done quite a lot to remind us that we need to spend far more mental energy understanding the hidden threats of the natural world, the need for a strong commitment to the common good, and the need for intense caring in society.
As such The Post-mathematic Synthesis presents today’s only viable basis for a rosy moral, social and cultural future —based on an account of the nature of physical reality which pushes self-knowledge to the limit.
CHRISTOPHER ORMELL 1st January 2022