Dramatic recent developments in actimatics were summarised in Blog. No. 30 and they call, by their presence, for a commentary on what it all means.
Simultaneously my fifth essay in the online New English Review (May 2022) will serve to “out” the concept for a wider audience. Some will realise at once that it is an irreversible conceptual change which is here to stay.
So, how does this ‘anti-mathematics’ make a difference?
Well, it offers a totally unexpected new platform which can restore confidence in humanity’s primary intellectual struggle —to understand ourselves and the great world of which we are an integral part.
It is our world, a world which has to take the form it does, if we are to exist… as players in it. Our consciousness is its most marvellous feature —indeed its defining feature. We can now banish the fear that there is a deeply hostile, wholly autonomous, totally unknowable, cold, formidable, ‘Objective World’ out there. When we apply the word ‘objective’ to this supposed area, we are using a common linguistic device to convey the message that anyone will find the same things there… that it is the invariant zone of human experience.
But now it has become plain —to those who have followed the reasoning— that this invariant zone is ‘invariant’ because it represents the pre-conditions for our free, questing, creative, feeling, caring, minds… to exist.
We know that since the 1970s the human race has been stumbling along in a state of profound intellectual shock. And we are still deeply embedded in this extremely uncomfortable, shaken, fearful, flummoxed, mode. It is called the ‘Post Modern Age’ —in which “anything” is supposed to “go”. It has provoked enragement, identity mania, virtue-signalling, woke absurdities, Trumpian truth and Putinian aggression. It came about because there was, in the 1970s, a sudden collapse of considerable faith in socialism, schooling and science, the three previously much valued Ss. Each S had its core believers, and there were quite a few thoughtful people who pinned their faith on all three. But once the stabilising effect of strong belief in the three Ss had gone, society started shaking about like a flock of headless chickens. Education virtually disappeared. The young were left in a state of utter bewilderment.
Now there is, potentially, a mentally lively sub-group of humanity which may be variously called the ‘intellectuals’ or the ‘thinking class’. They emerge unmistakably when they are quite young, and they tend to stand out at school. They are the worriers, the sceptics, the creatives, the far-sighted ones, the schemers and the natural communicators. Those who are not in this group know that this elusive thinking class is going to be the source of any good guidance which might happen to be around. But in the 1970s this thinking class fell into near total disarray. They could no longer agree about anything… There was no longer a public consensus to which anyone could turn and which counted as being ‘the truth’. The universities became learning factories, and the political Left diversified itself into a loose collection of special causes.
So we need a jolt to shake us out of this unhappy condition. This is what the culture-shock of actimatics does. No one imagined for more than 2,000 years that anything could ever challenge the cognitive dominance of mathematics. It was the final bastion of dyed-in-the-wool-thinking.
So we are at the beginning of a new post-mathematic age. Actimatics is the kernel of a new confidence which can grow and grow. Let’s hope it can grow fast enough to fend-off the awful existential crises which the post-modern world is now in some danger of falling into.
CHRISTOPHER ORMELL May 1st 2022
Great constraint has been removed from science. Previously it was committed to explaining an intrinsically transient, active, ferocious, physical world using an infinitely passive, timeless language: a spectacularly unsuitable logos. Now we have an abstract language tailor-made to create telling, flexible, realistic explanations in science. The cliché that scientific deconstruction must be a blind alley because it implies a mechanical, deterministic world… fades and loses its punch.
The new language has the priceless quality that it is a rational human construction, and it promises to show that the whole working physical cosmos is a human construction. What has gone is any locus of hopelessly unfathomable ontological hostility. There is no deeply unknowable, cold, heartless, Objective World “out there”. From henceforth it is a primary tenet that any hostility we perceive in the physical world must have been put there by us, unconsciously … as a necessary precondition for powers and perceptions which we espouse or favour.
It is only when a finality in knowledge can be demonstrated that it begins, naturally, to colour our deepest emotive response to others and the natural world —on which we all rely. Mathematics has been blessed for more than 2,000 years with having this finality. It (Maths) was, as a result, virtually immune from criticism. No one was minded to point out that it all sprang from neutral tokens (tallies) and that it could only serve as a platform for predictable change. Even after Darwin valourised the concept of evolution, there was no stomach to remark that this ‘evolution’ was expected to be ultimately mathematically accountable and explainable. If so, its effects would be deterministic and predictable —something which the concept of genuine, glorious evolution, had, it was thought, overcome.