The view we need is neo-Kantian. Today’s version can be described as ‘Total Epistemology’, an epistemology based on the promise inherent in anti-mathematic modelling. Anti-mathematic modelling is a no-brainer, because it makes no assumptions about anything. Active objects which are transient but reliable (with a longish life of their own) can be built within it. (Higher mathematicians have been insisting for years that the mathematic objects they research are experienced as ‘very real’. Anti-mathematic objects —once widely experienced— can therefore be expected to be experienced as even more ‘real’, because they have a life of their own. )
Now there is every reason to believe that an anti-mathematic model of the human brain is possible. In which case it is this anti-maths-like brain which imposes the final anti-axioms needed to secure both its own existence and physical reality. This is the new (totally unexpected) research programme which brings to life Kant’s vision —which he originally expounded more than 200 years ago— that the so-called ‘laws of nature’ are imposed onto a substratum (of ‘things in themselves’) by human mental process.
In effect, Kant’s ‘things in themselves’ are now revealed as long, jumping, random, sequences of shadows… real “shadows” which can be represented by sequences of random jumping tallies, but which have no deeper substance.
Kant also observed that the ‘goodness’ we experience in personal relationships is entirely located in the individuals of goodwill in our world. If Kant had been able to see the functionality of ordinary language as clearly as Wittgenstein, he might have said that the word ‘God’ is itself an unconscious reification of the total network of all the people of goodwill “out there”, i.e. far beyond the ones we actually know.
This idea that the word ‘God’ is a reification of the total network of people of goodwill in the world, actually ticks all the boxes. Treated as a reality it is far larger than we can ever fully contemplate. The consensus conclusions of this totality are extremely unpredictable, and they constitute an invisible force (the only one we can rationally expect) for good.
This is today’s genuine, rational, positive, exceptionally welcome, news: an ‘anti-mathematic code’ which offers an outline explanation of why anything exists at all —something which we never previously thought possible.
It means —given that these ideas have a huge potential appeal— that we can now look forward to a much more comfortable human world, and a conceptually much more lucid, interestingly challenging, conceptual world.
But it is also an insight —implying exceptionally good news— which has emerged into the public domain at an unprecedentedly bleak, downtrodden, disillusioned, weary, just-hanging-on moment. Very few people are even slightly mentally aware of its possibility. (It’s ‘possibility’, like any scientific synthesis, was long ago written-off when the epistemological crisis of the 20th century broke in the 1970s.)
It has caught most people on the hop. It is a bit like having the good fortune to win a lottery, but not realising it… and idly brushing aside a scruffy brown envelope containing a seven figure cheque.
It comes with another kind of stimulating news: a fantastic suite of fascinating problem-solving challenges which await our attention. A vista of anti-maths modelling problems appears… And, finally, there is the alpha problem to be addressed: how to understand the human brain. (This highlights the infuriating, frustrating fact that there has been no remotely credible way of conceptualising how the brain might generate consciousness and freewill during modern times.)
It adds up, too, to a quasi deconstruction of monotheistic religion, which was based ultimately on traditional, antiquated, consciously mystified, mathematics. The two —mono-theistic religion and mystic mathematics— were inter-twined from the beginning: because it was most likely the growing reputation of mathematics between 3,000 and 1,500 years ago which heaped importance onto the centrality of the right-wrong distinction, and thereby turned the spotlight onto the necessity of personal accountability. (It meant that a strict Moral Code was essential in any community if harmonious civic human relationships were to be achieved.) So we can identify the wonderful lucidity of mathematics as the factor which insisted 2,500 -1,500 years ago that there was a need for a simplified mono-theistic version of religion… It took the place of the previously rather muddled, personal pieties associated with an unwieldy family of fallible tribal gods and goddesses. We know that when St. Paul preached in the ampitheatre at Ephesus his audience at first became alarmed… and then finally rose up against him… because they thought he was an atheist (!) —he appeared to be (and was) trying to sweep away their local goddess of fertility (Artemis) on which the economy of Ephesus incidentally rested. The monotheistic Christianity he was proposing to put in its place must have looked very abstract to these rustic, provincial Romans.
CHRISTOPHER ORMELL 1st February 2024