viewpoint, viewpoints, and reality
Scientology 1.0.0 – addendum
Philosophy is the subject that covers reason, even religious reason, because it gets at the principles that underlie all human thriving and flourishing.
Principle: a fundamental source or basis of something.
Here are the four logical fundaments, the basis of rational thought (New World Encyclopaedia):
First, the “principle of sufficient reason” states that everything has a rational explanation. It goes: for every entity “x,” if “x” exists, then there is a sufficient explanation for why “x” exists; for every event “e,” if “e” occurs, then there is a sufficient explanation for why “e” occurs; and for every proposition “p,” if “p” is true, then there is a sufficient explanation for why “p” is true. For example, if the countryside is wet, then it is wet because it rained.
Second, there is the “principle of non-contradiction.” It says it is impossible for the same thing to belong and not to belong at the same time to the same thing and in the same respect. For example, it is not possible that at precisely the same moment and location it rains and doesn’t rain.
Then third, there is the “principle of excluded middle.” This is the principle that either A is B or A isn’t B. It is also known as “tertium non datur” (“A third (thing) is not”). For example, it’s either raining or it isn’t; there is no third option (dealing with half-truths is called “fuzzy logic,” see article, Infinity-Valued Logic).
Along with the fourth principle, the principle of identity (what something is: that drop of water that just fell out of that cloud is “rain”), the principles of non-contradiction, sufficient reason, and the principle of excluded middle, are classically considered to be the most important fundamental laws of rational thought.
But something even more fundamental may underlie these fundamentals.
First, a few more definitions. (I know a lot of people know this stuff, but I like to lay out my little arguments step by step.)
Rationalism: the practice or principle of basing opinions and actions on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional responses.
Empiricism: the theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses.
Rationalism and empiricism are competing schools of thought. But what is fundamental to both is the principal status of reason as objective and sufficiently competent to observe reality—in contrast to the faith, mysticism, and often “intellectual authoritarianism” of earlier ages. Of course, this is where the line in the sand got drawn and a scrap ensued that we are still dealing with today. Yes, we really, really do love our little clubs.
The principle of reason is based on there first being an observer, or a viewpoint, observing and considering an object, which is a dimension point (see article, Space, Emotion, and Well-Being). This is so extremely obvious that it seems silly to point it out, which is probably why it never does. Get pointed out, I’m saying. But again, it is often properly noticing the things right in front of our noses that often provides such great dividends (I guess this is why the observations of children are often so brilliant).
This is where describing the metaphysics might be useful.
There isn’t just one viewpoint in the equation; there are about 7.9 billion viewpoints at this time of writing. Running all these vectors (viewpoints) back and forth in one’s mind could produce the theory that there are minimally three universes, using both definitions of universe. Definition 2 is: a particular sphere of activity or experience, as well as definition 1: all existing matter and space considered as a whole, the cosmos.
In Scientology 1.0.0, these three universes are described as: the universe of the self (“I”), the universe of another or others (“they,” “them,” or “we,”), and the physical universe (“it”). “Hi. My name is Cosmos. My pronouns are “it” and ‘its.” Haha.
Anyway. The subjective is the universe of “I.” It is how the world, the objective universe, looks, how it feels, how it seems from the personal perspective. The subjective is the individualistic, unique and distinct experience of the quality and quantity of things, both what they mean and what they are.
So, subjectively, a chair is something you sit on; a tree is shade from the sun; a hill is a place you can see farther from; a cup of coffee is the thing that wakes you up. She is someone you adore, he is someone you admire, and you enjoyed the story. These are some types of meanings (apologies if I’m sounding pedantic, but I’m going somewhere with this, I promise).
The “we” universe is where things get corroborated by others. They may have somewhat different feelings or ideas about some of the things in the objective universe, but, because their faculties of perception (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) are so similar to yours, then their experiences tend to closely approximate your own (unless you or they are completely nuts, or someone’s brains got broken somehow – or they work in Hollywood). Add to that, their measurements of the objective world will approximate yours (hopefully using tools of measurement that have been calibrated the same way – don’t buy cheap tools!). This provides confirmation that there is enough shared reality to provide the cooperation so necessary in the building of things like towns, cities, and civilisations.
The objective is the universe of “it”. It is the world as it can be measured and quantified. These measurements can be verified over and over again with little deviation regardless of who does the measuring (using the same tools, as mentioned). It’s that part of reality that seems to exist whether you do or don’t, and is generally reported on in a consistent fashion by lots of other people, regardless of region, race, sex, or culture. This apparent separateness of the physical world is reenforced by the observation that it rarely seems to give a damn about how anybody perceives it or what they think it means, as in “facts don’t care about your feelings.” Continuous observation and reporting, as well as cross-referencing with others looking at the same things, from the same angle, with the same rulers, are all part of “science,” or, more specifically, Descartes’ Discourse on the Method.
So, objectively, a chair is what it is made of (wood, metal, plastic if it’s from Ikea) and is so many inches high (U.S. customary system), so many wide and so many deep, etc. A tree is of a specific taxonomy, is so and so tall and wide, etc. A cliff is a naturally formed ledge that is x number of feet high, and a cup of coffee is a container made of (clay or whatever) containing an infusion of minute coffee bean particulates (very few of these if you like Caffè Americano), suspended in the chemical formula H2O, an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odourless (unless you live in L.A.), and nearly colourless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms. She is your wife, he is your father, and the story was a high-seas adventure written by so and so, so many pages long, and published by such and such a publishing house.
Imagine you somehow coming into your existence entirely alone. No mother, no father, and no one in the entire field of your perception but yourself. Well, you’d have to deal with objects, obviously. You’d be somewhat “glued” to the ground (gravity), you’d see, smell, taste, touch, and hear everything in your vicinity, much as you do now. But how would this “objective” universe seem? I mean, really? A bit like a dream, perhaps, or a trip on LSD or mushrooms. But a trip with a tad more predictability, at least so far as acquiring what you’d need to survive. There’s also force continually exerted upon you (wind, light, other living organisms) as well as exerted by you, which, when incorrectly handled, would result in pain. In fact, the pain and no pain dynamic, even pleasure (“mmm, Juicy Fruit”), would inform almost the entirety of the evaluation of your universe.
I think it’s a useful experiment. In that thoroughly subjective world, you might somehow acquire the things you’d need to survive, but actually, reality would most likely contrast deeply with what’s actually there and happening. That is, if it were also suddenly being experienced by others. Yes, your subjective view would be working, and yes, you would be viewing, or perceiving, an objective world. However, I think the line between the two would be very fuzzy, at least until you could compare your experience with others of your kind.
(Playing around with this small experiment may also provide some insight into the very private realities of insane people, many who are “insane” because they’ve lost the ability to do the cross-referencing of realities with others and therefore cooperate with them rationally.)
So, in Scientology 1.0.0, there are these three universes. The universe created by one viewpoint, “I.” The universe created by every other viewpoint, “we,” and the universe created by the mutual action of viewpoints agreed to be upheld, the physical universe, “it.” Simple, no? (Possibly too simple, sorry if you think so.)
Except that materialists definitely won’t agree to any of this “created” business, especially not this thing about the universe being “created and agreed to be upheld.” Hell no! But what they might be missing here is that, in a very peculiar and mysterious way, perception, as in sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, has to be created, not just because there seems to be some sort of feed-back loop between what is real and what reality is being experienced, but because, in successful therapies, if you treat the patient as being the effect of everything, they just get worse. Confusing? Well, maybe, since nobody, literally nobody, can actually say what consciousness actually is nor how it works, mainly, perhaps, because it is an experience, not a thing. Besides, in Scientology 1.0.0, what works in therapy is what matters. Leave it to other philosophers and scientists to figure out the mechanics, which they surely will.
Plato got at this idea of what is real with his Theory of Forms, first introduced in the Phaedo dialogue. Kant took it up energetically with his Transcendental Idealism. The thing is, all this time and space stuff, whether nailed down by Isaac Newton, or conceived of by Gottfried Leibniz, or blown-up by Albert Einstein, is just plain slippery as all get out. The interplay between your awareness and “it” is just plain, well, weird.
Reality is nothing if not thoroughly strange and weird. It’s fortunate that it’s somewhat predictable.
This physical universe, the universe of “it,” can be pretty difficult to shift around without help. One can do it on a small scale, but it’s not easy. Luckily, there are all these other people looking at the same things and facing the same problems attempting to shift things around too. The point is, individually, everyone is actually seeing things and experiencing things quite differently. If a group is going to cooperate to shift stuff around in enough quantity and in a way that makes human-thriving possible as well as more comfortable, then there has to be a consensus as to what’s being looked at and pushed around. In other words, there has to be agreement about “it,” the third universe, called “physical.”
Like that thought experiment, if one were some kind of First Man, or Adam, version of Robinson Crusoe, totally alone in the world (no Eve, no Friday), one would, of course, have various views of the physical universe, a universe of both measurement and meaning. You would be looking at things and things would be looking at you. As soon as you hooked up with others, though, things would probably start looking, possibly even behaving, very differently (argh). The question would be: if the “it” universe was really real, then why does it change depending on how one looks at it? Or is it that one’s way of looking at it is all that is changing and “it” remains the same? And why does this way of looking change as one discusses these observations with other people? What is constant and what is changing? Is anything constant? Aye, yi yi!
Since it is obvious that consciousness runs on a spectrum, another thought experiment could be run: What would our whole experience look like to levels of consciousness ten times as conscious as ours? Or even just twice? It could be that, to this higher awareness, many of our behaviours would seem bizarre indeed. This small idea could make it possible to realise that maybe we are limited to our habits and routines because we can only perceive just so much. We could then think about what possibilities would open up if we were all just a tad bit higher on that spectrum, and so how to get up there.
This perception equation is described and discussed at length in Scientology 1.0.0 and is the subject of many processes that can result in a far better experience of all three universes and significantly increase the pleasure of being alive. Plus, there’s no ceiling to how conscious and alive one can be; the possibilities astound.
Doubts and Certainties
It does eventually occur that the loss of this ability to coordinate could cause quite a bit of confusion. Such is happening in our own day with the introduction of postmodernism.
The Enlightenment philosophers tended towards a category of particular certainties: the idea that objective things really do exist in some foundational way that is separate from the observer. The Counter-Enlightenment philosophers had their doubts, and the philosophies that followed them are even more sceptical, perhaps too sceptical, which can run to the cynical.
But what these later thinkers may have over-looked is the function of “certainty” in a dynamic, non-static, seemingly stubborn universe, and that is what one could call “traction.”
Traction, of course, is the grip one must have on a road or a rail if there’s going to be any directional movement. What I‘m describing is, if you keep pondering and wondering endlessly if things, objects, are in fact real, that’s like throwing oil on the road or grease on the tracks. You need only consult the Vedas to know this is a slippery, bar-of-soap universe, and it doesn’t help much to get too into it, to think about it overly much. Leave that to the navel-gazers and bong-bunnies. You’ve got to pretend to “know” things, pretend to be “certain” about them, as if they really are separate objects. These useful pretences are what allow you to grasp, get hold of, “reality” and get some motion, some action, and actually get somewhere, get stuff done.
Motion is vital to survival. I mean, try not to move. Sure, you think you’re sitting still, but you’re not. But, and this is where relativity plays its role, something has to be made to be still enough if anything in motion is going to have a direction, a vector.
To build civilisations, you need direction, and to have direction, you need these sorts of certainties.
This is what the Enlightenment philosophers were, in fact, emphasising and codifying.
Viewpoints and negotiation
By being able to analyse and assess these three universes, one potentially gets to get really good at a thing that is often seriously lacking in today’s society, and that’s “walking a mile in the other person’s shoes.”
Imagine a world where this practice was the norm. Boy, it’d be a whole different game. Certainly, the behaviour of many people would be less baffling. Or annoying. People might even be more polite to one another, something that’s seriously dropping out.
Not only is navigation a matter of you discerning your position in space and time, and your direction, but it is also a negotiation between you, an apparently real enough world, and all the others in it. Failure to do this wisely or successfully equals a life full of misery and pain.
A primary cause of upset is when these categories become unnecessarily conflated or confused. The thing is, they needn’t be. There’s no conflict once everyone agrees that this “it” universe is ultimately real and then learns the rules of how to navigate it, which is philosophy. Yes, reality is a bit like a chimaera, but there are enough similarities in how it is described and how it is dealt with to make cooperation possible. It is only through cooperation that it is possible to get through it.
So. Three universes are factors that give rise to the principles of logic.
The precise outline of the three universes is properly described in Mr. Hubbard’s book, The Fundamentals of Thought, first published in 1956.