The Difference That Makes The Difference
Looking again at the highlighted quadrants in the diagram above, the reductionist/life bridge is clearly marked as #8. This bridge is positioned at the overlap of the brown and green quadrants. Upon completion of my bicycle trip, I will talk more about the events that contributed to the creation/discovery of this quadrant idea, but until then I have a few concluding words about the other bridge, the one that is positioned where the blue and green and the blue and brown lines cross. As marked, the #9 bridge both connects and separates the mind quadrant to– the life quadrant and reductionist quadrant. It is because of this bridge that we can read, write, and understand meanings. It is also because of this bridge that (to borrow a phrase from Clifford Geertz), we can “understand how it is we understand understandings not our own.”
[In the above diagram the bridges (black triangles), ~bb (8) and b~b~bb (9), are identified. These bridges support life and mind (mind representing the psychological/sociocultural environment of human discourse), respectively. The bridge ~~b, being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is, is not identified, but it supports evolution (the brown line reductionist platform) which, in turn, liberates ~bb reality, which, in turn, liberates b~b~bb reality, which, in turn, liberates civilization.]
It was not easy finding words to describe the #9 bridge, but, in the end, I chose the computer jargon words of uploading and downloading. Where the blue and green lines meet, at the front end of this bridge, a kind of uploading occurs, and where the blue and brown lines meet, at the other end of the bridge, a kind of downloading occurs. At the uploaded blue/green intersection, we confront/discover the fundamental problems of human existence—including the nature and meaning of life as well as the ways in which human identity is defined and maintained. It is also at this intersection where the universe, as an object of thought, takes on at least as much significance as does the more necessary effort of satisfying our own personalized needs. At the front end of the #9 bridge, discrimination, curiosity, inquiry, imaginative insight, creativity, skepticism, and analysis are uploaded.
At the off-ramp of the #9 bridge, where the mind quadrant connects to the reductionist quadrant, we, once again, encounter the body/brain/mind event. At this intersection, however, we discover recorded history—and the many past, present, (and future) scientific events where, as a consequence of logical and mathematical based predictions, we observe, via scientific instruments, e.g. telescopes, cyclotrons, etc. (blue quadrant material engineered for the purpose of extending the range of our five senses), the success or failure of said predictions. All inquiry, at this intersection, is restricted to sensed events and, according to Harris, “relationships that are knowable by means of explicit, logico-empirical, inductive-deductive, quantifiable public procedures or ‘operations’ subject to replication by independent observers.” (James Lett, The Human Enterprise, p. 89).
Evolution is not just driven by adaptation/survival; it is driven also by consciousness/freedom. Evolution is not just associated with biology; it is associated also with structure, the structure that embeds consciousness/freedom. At its source, consciousness/freedom is contained in the ~~b structure, or the space that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the structural space of logical implication. After a sufficient level of evolution/complexity is achieved however, ~~b becomes ~bb. At this level, the level of biological life, consciousness/freedom becomes free to evolve an even more free and conscious life form—or the b~b~bb structural life form that builds civilizations and asks questions like how, why, when, and where did consciousness/freedom come from—the above questions, however, reduce to just one question: Who Am I?
Well, I hope this new model of the observer/observed relationship is clearer now, but if not, stay tuned because at the completion of my northwest bicycle trip I will continue to talk about this observer/observed relationship—the relationship that connects consciousness/freedom up with our internal and external lived worlds.