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Ymir’s Brain, Rain, and Logic

The Norse creation myth says that the world was created by Odin and his brothers from the slain body of the giant Ymir.  They used his blood for the lakes and oceans, his unbroken bones were used to form the mountains, his teeth and broken bones became the rocks and boulders, his hair became trees, his skull was hoisted by four dwarves and became the dome of the sky, and his brains became the clouds.

It may seem hard to believe that people actually accepted such a fanciful tale as truth but it was once the common belief among the Nordic race.  So, I thought up this little story on belief that revolves around the brains of Ymir as a little jumping off point to begin this article:

One day Ulfgar, Thorkil, and Snori were sitting on a hillside relaxing.  Thorkil said to Ulfgar and Snori, “I don’t believe that the clouds are really the brains of Ymir.  I think that the clouds are really water.”

With this, Ulfgar and Snori began laughing at Thorkil.  Snori said, “That’s impossible.  Water doesn’t float in the air.  If that were the case then the fjords would be in the sky.”

Thorkil continued, though, “The rain comes from the sky, so there must be water up there to begin with.”

Ulfgar and Snori thought about this and Ulfgar said, “Yes, but the rain doesn’t stay up there. It falls to the ground.  It never rises up there.”

Thorkil then explained further, “The other morning I was riding through the valley and it was foggy.  I noticed that the fog looked like a cloud from a distance but when I rode through it I could see about me a short way.”

Ulfgar snickered and retorted, “So?”

Thorkil continued, “Well, as I rode through the fog I became chilled because I got soaked to the bone by the time I emerged on the other side of the valley.”

Snori said, “Yes, everyone has experienced this but what does that have to do with the clouds?”

Thorkil said, “Let me finish. I began to think about where the fog goes when the sun comes up.  The fog seems to just sneak away but where does it really go?  So I sat on the hillside the rest of the morning and watched the fog.”

Snori was curious now.  He asked, “So, where did it sneak off to?”

Thorkil smiled and said, “It didn’t sneak off. It just slowly disappeared.  Don’t you see?  The fog goes into the sky so slow that you don’t even notice it.  The fog goes into the sky and becomes clouds.  When the clouds get thick with water they turn dark and then it rains back down.”

Ulfgar didn’t buy it, though.  “That is crap, Thorkil.  Snori, don’t believe his mad rantings.”

Thorkil replied, “I bet that going through a cloud would be just like going through the fog.”

Snori thought about all of what Thorkil had said and thought that Thorkil was right.  A couple of days later he asked Ulfgar when they were alone, “Why don’t you believe what Thorkil said about the clouds to be true?”

Ulfgar retorted, “Because everyone knows that the clouds are Ymir’s brains.”

Suppose that you held a belief that was so central to who you are that changing that belief would disrupt who you are.  And then suppose that someone presented you with a logical proof that destroyed your belief.  Keep in mind that their reasoning was completely logical to you.  Would you have any choice but to believe logic?  Such is the nature of truth.  When it’s logical there is no arguing about it.

Logic, Meaning, Belief, and the Psyche

Why does a person believe the things he or she does?  I would like to analyze this question in an effort to show that logic reigns supreme in the determining of what a person “should” believe.  I say “should believe” because people believe things not only through logic but also by other means.  I would like to use Jung’s map of the psyche in order to illustrate how different beliefs are formed.  Jung divides the psyche into a symmetrical object called an ogdoad.

Figure 1. shows four of the six components of the psyche according to Jung.  The top pyramid is considered to be the conscious portion of the psyche and the bottom pyramid is the unconsciousportion.  Jung’s use of the term unconscious refers to what might be better understood as the subconscious.  The two poles of the thinking and the feeling compose the rational axis of the psyche passing through both the conscious and the unconscious.  The axis that connects the sensation and the intuition are the irrational functions of the psyche.  The two poles, which are not labeled, are that of introversion and extroversion, which I shall address later.  The egoresides in the center of all of these poles and it should be noted that these poles are not fixed but are in a constant state of fluctuation in and around the ego.

The thinking portion of the psyche (the rational, conscious) evaluates and judges through cognition from the standpoint of “true-false”.  The feeling portion (the rational, unconscious) evaluates and judges through cognition from the standpoint of “pleasant-unpleasant”.  These are 2-valued logic (2VL) evaluation and judgment criteria.  Belief is a term that refers to a truth-value, however.  Ultimately, the unconscious rational 2VL must be brought into the conscious plane and evaluated on the 2VL of “true-false” in order to determine the truth of a belief formed based on the 2VL of the unconscious rational.  In other words, sometimes the truth hurts.

Nevertheless, people still do form beliefs based solely on feelings and the 2VL of “pleasant-unpleasant”.  It is inevitable for people to gravitate towards beliefs that make them feel comfortable or content; and people do this unconsciously.  If they are conscious of these beliefs then it is usually because they attempt to justify these beliefs on the grounds of faulty logic.  That is why it is important to realize this in the conscious field of the psyche and try and bring these beliefs into evaluation in the thinking field through the use of correct logic.

The two poles that comprise the irrational axis are sensation and intuition.  These functions operate on raw perceptions, which are not evaluated or interpreted.  Sensation perceives things as they are.  It is the functioning of pure sensory-neural stimuli.  It is the closest that a human comes to interacting with the environment without any mental interpretation.  Intuitionperceives things on a more internalized, unconscious level.  Jung describes intuition as the irrational perception, which is an inner or inherent potential of reality.  To intuitively perceive something is to have knowledge, or form a belief, outside of the rational realm of rationalization.  Obviously, it is necessary to once again bring these beliefs into the thinking realm in order to subject them to the 2VL of “true-false”.  There have been many amazing insights and discoveries made with intuitive leaps, however.  But, ultimately, it is the thinking function that determines the merit of these insights.

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume IV gives a very comprehensive definition of intuition. “Intuition:  The broadest definition of the term ‘intuition’ is ‘immediate apprehension’.  ‘Apprehension’ is used to cover such disparate states as sensation, knowledge, and mystical rapport.  ‘Immediate’ has as many senses as there are kinds of mediation.  It may be used to signify:

  • The absence of inference
  • The absence of causes
  • The absence of the ability to define a term
  • The absence of justification
  • The absence of symbols
  • The absence of thought

The principle meanings of ‘intuition’:

  1. Intuition is unjustified true belief not preceded by inference (‘a hunch’)
  2. Intuition as immediate (not preceded by inference) knowledge of truth of a proposition
  3. Intuition as immediate knowledge of a concept (knowledge which does not entail the ability to define a concept)
  4. Intuition as non-propositional knowledge of an entity. This sense of intuition is exemplified by:
    1. Sense perceptions, considered as products of a cognitive faculty
    2. Distinct from the faculty of forming judgments concerning the entity sensed
    3. Intuitions of universals (as time and space) (intuitive knowledge of a prioritruths)
    4. Mystical or inexpressible intuitions (as Bergson’s duration, Fichte’s Transcendental Ego, the mystic’s intuition of God).”

It is interesting to note that Jung uses the term “potential” in his description of human intuition.  In the stripping away of logical constraints we ultimately arrive at 2VL itself.  To go beyond this point is to venture into the realm where logical comparison is no longer possible.  The most that can be said about this state is that it is pre-logical.  So, it might be better to use the term pre-rational rather than irrational to describe the axis of the sensation/intuition – the point at which our cognition intersects with reality.

Jung called the other axis the extroversion/ introversion portions of the psyche.  These terms explain the psyche’s attitude towards the world.  I find Jung’s terms to be limited in their definitive scope and would replace the terms with external and internal.  This would broaden the scope of the psyche to be the union of the environment external to the human biological organism and the cognition taking place internal to the human body.  The concepts of extroversion and introversion would then be encapsulated within a broader and more explanatory concept.

Before moving on from the topic of Jung’s Ogdoad of the Psyche, I would like to point out an interesting comment by Jung about causation.  Jung mentions that the human psyche can’t be understood by causation alone, but we must also take into account the aims of the psyche.  This introduces finality, and not just causality, in the accounting of human cognition.  Essentially, Jung is saying that determinism is not adequate to explain our cognitive faculties.  We must also take into account self-determinism in order to understand the psyche.

Correlated and Non-Correlated Realities

 Ultimately, there is but one reality.  Yet, the human condition is such that there can be innumerable interpretations and beliefs about the nature of reality.  A person’s subjective view is often not in accord with objective reality.  When two people’s views are not in accord with each other or one person possesses knowledge that another does not possess then we can say that their views are non-correlated.  If, however, they agree with each other then their views are correlated.  We can further divide our subjective views of reality into external statements of reality and internal statements of reality.  For example, if I say that a picture is beautiful and you view the same picture and declare it to be ugly, we are both making true statements about the same picture.  We agree about the correlated external object because we both agree about which picture we are describing.  But we have an instance of non-correlated internal truths about reality.  Because we are describing individual taste, or aesthetics, it is acceptable for our realities to be non-correlated.  So, is there no hope for ultimate truth?  Fortunately, these differences are the root of many beliefs and interpretations of meaning, which make each of us unique.  But, when properly understood, it doesn’t jeopardize ultimate truth.  Remember the 2VL of the rational function of the psyche has two poles.  The unconscious portion is the feelingportion and it judges by the 2VL of pleasant/unpleasant.  Aesthetics, taste, and personal preference falls under the feeling function and it would be more accurate to say that “the picture is beautiful because I find it pleasant” rather than “the picture is beautiful because it is the ultimate truth”.  These views are shaped by our genetics and our experiences throughout our life.  They evolve unconsciously and to truly understand them is to raise them to the conscious portion of our psyche.  If we both rationalize why I find the picture beautiful and you find the picture ugly then we begin to have empathy and sympathy for each other’s views.  Then we begin to correlate our internal realities and understand each other.  I may then say, “I think the picture is beautiful but I can understand why you think it is ugly”.

This idea of correlating our beliefs amounts to a search for ultimate truth.  In order for a true correlation to occur there must be a Theory of Everything (TOE) established from which all derivative knowledge will flow.  The current quest for a Grand Unified Theory (GUT) can never fit this bill as long as the focus is so narrow.  If and when a GUT is realized, it will merely be a sub-theory, which must fall under a true TOE.  As long as science ignores its metaphysical mother it will never produce a true Theory of Everything.  But a true correlation of beliefs coupled with the proper TOE creates what is known as a world-view.  We each have our own world-view which shapes who we are.  Unfortunately, most people’s world-views are not grounded upon a logically valid TOE from which a healthy world-view would form.  At first it might sound like this correlation of world-views would produce an entire species of brainwashed humanoids having very little in the way of freewill.  Is there no escape from the quest for truth producing within us all a collective mind with no room for individuality?  Is science not headed down this path already?  Well, don’t panic just yet.  Your individuality and freewill are perfectly safe.  It just so happens that nature has just enough “wiggle” room to give us our truth with our freewill still intact.  We can all share a common understanding of the logical fabric of reality while still contributing our own, unique quality to the world.

Characteristics of a Correlated World-View

 The Belgian philosopher Leo Apostel foresaw the need for our species to embrace a correlated world-view.  In his short book entitled World-Views, From Fragmentation to Integration he spoke at length about some of the benefits of the human race realizing such a thing.  Leo’s little book set the challenge for humans to come together and collectively pool their knowledge in order to integrate and create a TOE from which we could prepare for the next stage of our development.  The human species has had a good run so far but let’s face it, we need a little direction.  Unless we can come together and start thinking about our future we may not get a second ride on the evolutionary-go-round.  But poor Leo underestimated the power of the human brain.  He predicted that a well-formulated world-view would have to be a massive project requiring the dissecting and dispersing of different areas to many humans.  Fortunately for us (and sadly for Leo), we have Christopher Michael Langan.

Chris has single handedly realized what Leo predicted to take many minds and much time.  The Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU) not only is a TOE to be reckoned with, it is logical to the core.  But the CTMU is “more” than just a TOE, it is a world-view right after Leo’s own heart.  The CTMU not only explains reality to us, it also shows the reason why we need to get off of our haunches and start contributing to the utility of not only our species, but to reality itself.

Let’s take a look at the seven key components a world-view must address right out of Leo’s book and show how the CTMU fits the bill – and leaves a good tip too:

  1. What is the nature of our world? How is it structured and how does it function?

The CTMU shows that our reality is ultimately reduced to infocognitive state-syntax, which is cross-refined from Unbound Telesis (UBT) through a Self-Configuring, Self-Processing Language (SCSPL) via a process known as Telic Recursion.  The structure of our world is SCSPL created infocognition and it functions through telic feedback.

  1. Why is our world the way it is, and not different? Why are we the way we are, and not different?  What kind of global explanatory principles can we put forward?

Our world is the way it is because of the logical constraints which reality must adhere to. Through Telic Recursion reality selects the best possible future that will support its self-actualization and global utility function.  Since we are agent-level telors who are local expressions of the holistic medium of which we reside, we inherit the ability to either contribute to or take from the utility of reality.  As for global explanatory principles – here’s a few:  The Reality Principle, The Metaphysical Autology Principle, The Mind Equals Reality Principle, The Multiplex Unity Principle, and The Extended Superposition Principle.

  1. Why do we feel the way we feel in this world, and how do we assess global reality, and the role of our species in it?

Generally we feel the way we feel because of the level of understanding (or lack thereof) we have of our world in which we live, the amount of utility or worth we possess in relation to it, and the amount of freedom or control we have in our lives.  That is why the CTMU is not only the logical explanation of reality, but is also the basis of a new ethics for the future of mankind.

  1. How are we to act and to create in this world? How, in what different ways, can we influence the world and transform it?  What are the general principles by which we should organize our actions?

 The concept of each agent-level telor possessing a unique self that is stratified over reality leads to a vested interest in not only personal utility, but also group and global utility.  The CTMU suggests a globally and temporally extended version of the Golden Rule and Negative Golden Rule.  Contributing to the betterment of our species is the most basic method of transforming the world.

  1. What future is open to us and our species in this world?

 Our future is potentially infinite; but, for starters, a person can begin by deciding to make positive contributions within the means currently available to them.

  1. How are we to construct our image of this world in such a way that we can come up with answers to (1), (2), and (3)?

 Read A New Kind of Reality Theory. The answers are all there.

  1. What are some of the partial answers that we can propose to these questions?

 Why settle for partial answers when you can have the whole ball of yarn?  I’m telling you, it’s the cat’s meow!

RESOURCES:

Myths of the Norsemen – From the Eddas and Sagas, H. A. Guerber

The Psychology of C. G. Jung, Jolande Jacobi

World-Views, From Fragmentation to Integration, Leo Apostel

The Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe – A New Kind of Reality Theory, Christopher Michael Langan

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