Divine Illumination and Revelation 


Section One

EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY 


                                                                                                   

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Chapter One 

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

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Part Two

THE THEORY OF THE INTELLECT


The intellect is the compendium of all understandings achieved by the individual in his or her lifetime. Experience is the basis of the understanding and the intellect is the sum total of everything that has been learned by the individual from experience.

In this part the nature of the intellect and its workings are explored. Knowledge of the functioning of the intellect aids the understanding of the problem solving process. The intellect drives all mental and physical behaviour and it follows that observable behaviour is the indicator of the quality of the intellect. Intellectual quality is of social as well as personal importance. How an individual behaves in the community is a consequence of his intellectual achievement.

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The Study of Intellects

The understanding of the process of knowledge acquisition must account for the formation and functioning of intellects and the psychological processes by which intellects acquire new understandings. The investigation of intellects has to face the problem of the difficulty of examining the arrangements of individual minds when introspection is ruled out as a method of procedure. In a behaviourist strategy one can start only with the facts of experience and behaviour. Following the approach of the cognitive psychologists the form and functions of cognitive constructs may be defined and conclusions may be drawn to support the thesis that subjective knowledge can be investigated by the analysis of behaviour, and can be explained as resulting from the processing of experience.

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Experience and Knowledge of Reality

The Theory of The Intellect


Chapter One

THE ACCOUNT OF THE INTELLECT


Human behaviour may be explained by the existence of an intellect which comprises a set of understandings. The intellect and the understanding are the basic theoretical constructs. Understandings are formed as the result of personal experience, and may be investigated through the problem solving method.

The formula is:- 

PROBLEM OF EXPERIENCE...> UNDERSTANDING...> BEHAVIOUR 

The processing of the problems of experience gives solutions which are understandings, based on which intellectual and physical behaviours may be defined and selected. Understanding, as a problem solution, is therefore the cognitive construct which relates experience and behaviour.

The intellect is formed within the individual, starting from a state of virtually no understanding, and is self-created in response to experience. The intellect develops in more or less the same way for all individuals until the intellect achieves maturity, which is defined as self-management. The intellect meets the individual's need to understand and act in the world, by giving the ability to explain past experience, deal with current experience, and to predict future experience in some limited way. A competent intellect is one which produces satisfaction and happiness in the individual. An incompetent intellect leads to confusion, frustration and self-defeat. Problems are the signal that the intellect is inadequate.

The self-managing intellect organises its behaviour to achieve its own purposes, and diversity of purposes causes intellectual differences. A typical purpose of the intellect is the improvement of its own ability to deal with experience by extending its understanding of reality. This requires the seeking of knowledge. The development of the mature intellect is no longer subject to the chance of experience but is under the control of the intellect itself. The fully developed intellect can determine its future by choosing the problems it solves and thereby changing both itself and its reality in chosen ways.

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The Development of the New Intellect

The theory of intellectual development explains how intellects develop from virtually nothing to a level of self-management and self-creation. The intellect develops through the extension and improvement of its constituent understandings and models of reality in response to experience. Experience may be in its preprocessed form of education.

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How the Intellect forms from nothing.

In the world of computers there is a process called Booting which takes place every time a computer is restarted. In the start-up process the computer is transformed from an inactive state to a fully operating system. The problem of achieving operational status in computers is solved quite simply since the computer on restart will always bring into operation the software that gives it the required functionality. The human intellect has no such preprogrammed path into operational status.

The initial state of the human being is that of an intelligent self with no understanding at all. The intelligent self, at birth, is capable of distinguishing simple differences and remembering them. The intellect is founded on this capability. The working hypothesis that explains the ability to make distinctions at birth relies upon the baby's experience in the womb. The unborn infant can sense the mother's heartbeat and becomes familiar with the pattern of beat- no beat, event - no event, yes - no. This simple ability is enough to account for a primitive understanding structured on binary logic. It is possible that in its prenatal state the infant can distinguish combinations of events, giving event AND event, event AND NOT event, and event OR event, thus creating the rudiments of Boolean logic. This hypothesis postulates that the child enters the world with an intellect equipped with sufficient logical ability in the form of understandings, to make at least simple distinctions.

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The New Intellect and Experience

The newborn infant is confronted by a reality in which there are few distinctions. He is aware of noise, light, and bodily feeling to some limited extent, and little more. The infant analyses the flow of experience and makes distinctions based on those experiences. He begins to create an ideal or mental model of the world that is differentiated. This is the beginning of the Personal Environment Model which in successively modified forms remains the primary reality of the individual for life.

The first distinction is that the "I" is differentiated from the "not-I". All "I" experiences and their understandings define "me". All "not-I" experiences and their understandings are distinct from, and related to "me". Once that distinction is made it remains in the intellect throughout life as the fundamental form of organisation of the intellect and of reality.

External reality is broken down by sets of distinctions into environments, objects, and actions. Rooms, garden, and the neighbourhood take shape as different, but linked, environments which have space as the common factor. The form of linking is directional. Objects such as people, animals, chairs, tables, and toys have existences in space, and are separate from each other. They can be thought about as distinct from all other objects and as possessing characteristics in the form of distinctions. Actions, such as smiles, laughter, and speech are distinguished.

The infant learns that common distinction sets have names. An object is called a man. Another object is also called a man. He must see that this man is more like that man than either of them are like a toy, or animal. He sees that the man is one of a class of like things. He must create this, and every other class in his intellect as part of his learning of language. The naming of things is a creative act of the intellect. These class distinctions are understandings and language is a set of named understandings based on common classifications. Thus, identifying an object as a man is a process of recognition in which the object's distinctive characteristics are compared with standard sets of distinctions until a matching set is found.

The understanding of the class of "Men" is built up over some months or years to allow for men of all colours, sizes, and ages but to exclude women, children, and so on. A young child may make mistakes based on incomplete distinction sets. For example, if a chow dog has never previously been seen it may be classified as a lion, based on superficial similarities of colour, shape, mane, and size.

The child thinks in terms of classes of things and everything is described in terms of classes. Classes are rational constructions of the intellect and have no equivalent objects in cosmic reality. They are models constructed out of experience. These models are the normal models of understanding.

Things themselves do not create their class understandings in the intellect, and the understanding is not a copy of some other understanding, as a computer program may be a copy of another. The individual creates his own understanding and does it well or poorly.

Language is the basic form of organisation of the intellect. The child's intellectual processes become ordered from the time it acquires a working knowledge of a language. Children construct their understandings of how reality is, based on models in the form of distinction sets which are related to experience as observed, and which are named for communication purposes. Using their models of reality children become capable of thinking about and talking about places, objects, and actions not present to their senses.

According to Jean Piaget it is a mistake to suppose that a child acquires the notion of number and other mathematical concepts just from teaching. On the contrary he develops them himself, independently and spontaneously. He must first understand the problem and then the solution. The solution becomes meaningful only in the light of the problem understanding. Each understanding, as a model or distinction set, must be created within the child's intellect from the materials of experience given by the teacher. Mathematics is essentially constructed, or re-invented, by the child himself.

The child is engaging in a continuous process of problem solving in which every new event of experience constitutes a new problem. Problems must be structured by distinctions and solved. The problem solving method as such, cannot be complicated. It follows that a simple interest in the problem and a desire to understand is sufficient to produce an understanding. Further experience tests and perhaps modifies that understanding. The child develops from its own inner resources, not only basic logic, language and mathematics, but everything it understands. Real comprehension of an understanding or theory implies the reinvention of this understanding or theory by the subject. The intellect is the child's own creation.

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The Study of Cognitive Development.

Piaget has developed a theory to explain the development of understanding in children from birth to maturity. There are stages of development through which all children must pass in a definite order between birth and adulthood. In the same way that physical developments proceed through successive stages, so intellectual achievements tend to follow one another in a predictable order, the achievements of each stage preparing the ground for the next one.

The successive stages of development are characterised by an increasingly detailed and refined understanding of "reality". The child's intellect acquires new models of reality, and models are expanded to include more possibilities. More is understood, in the form of enhanced distinction sets, about all possibilities. The range and depth of modelling improves with each stage.

According to Piaget, the ability to coordinate means and ends marks the beginning of intelligent activity. The child begins to evolve a subjective philosophy by relating his self-understanding to his understanding of reality and forming purposes. The capacity to represent actions mentally results in intentional, goal-directed behaviour. The child's behaviour indicates that he understands the problem and its solution. The child is able to select behaviours which improve its chances of success. At this stage the child has the capacity to understand the situation based on a model of reality which has developed to the stage of being useful.

The model of reality acquires a future state and the individual is capable, by ten or eleven years of age, of pursuing goals some months distant in time. At sixteen the individual is able to construct models of possible future realities and to consider their practicability and desirability. This is a process whereby the individual develops intellectual resources which are not only adapted to the demands of reality in the form of experience but can influence and shape future states of reality.

The development of individual intellects has as its aim the improvement of the ability of the individual to function in the world. Intellectual development is evolution towards what the individual needs to know to achieve self-management and self-responsibility. The newly mature intellect can formulate those purposes and objectives which will support its independent existence within the culture, and it has the necessary understandings to select and execute those behaviours which will achieve those objectives. The individual will understand how to maintain himself and pursue his interests, and he will also understand how to avoid dangers and misfortunes generally.

In this analysis of intellectual development it is possible to see the structure of the intellect taking shape. On the simple logic that distinguishes "this" from "that" the intellect learns the rudiments of his sensible environment. For example, the preschool child develops understandings of time, space, physical objects, the self as a body, other people as bodies, language, and conventional behavioural procedures as separate modules based on a set of models of reality.

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Education and the Intellect

The individual intellect develops within the culture. An intellect, in the course of its development, absorbs a large amount of cultural wisdom. The problems and solutions of the culture provide the environment which shapes the individual intellect. The experience of the individual as he lives his life and copes with his problems is always related to the culture. An individual who becomes separated from his culture is helpless, at least until he can acquire the rudiments of another culture.

Knowledge, which is itself the product of expert understandings, accelerates and controls the development of the growing intellect. It increases the power of the developing intellect to cope with extended environments. It provides the student intellect with intellectual structures as well as knowledge content, and also provides the immature intellect with criteria for judging what is and is not knowledge.

The process of learning, and the gaining of new understandings, proceeds from a basic or primitive level to the more advanced and there cannot be omissions of significant understandings from the progression. The intellect has a definite level of capability and power at any stage of its development. Students who have not completed their basic education may be disqualified from undertaking more advanced education because the strata of understanding necessary to support the advanced course are not present. Educationalists understand this order of intellectual development and plan courses of study which fit the current need. Within the courses the order of lessons is similarly determined. In preparing his lessons the teacher is doing what a computer programmer does. The programmer translates the program specification into a code that the computer can process. In the teaching situation the lesson material, suitably communicated by the teacher, takes the form, within the student intellect, of a program to control the internal processing of specific problems.

The study of Maths requires the understanding of a Language. An understanding of algebra, or geometry, requires a prior understanding of arithmetic. The understanding of numbers precedes any understanding of even the simple operations of arithmetic. Arithmetic however, does not require the prior understanding of algebra or geometry. This order of simple to advanced understandings, in the case of Maths, can be found in any good textbook on mathematics since it coincides with the best order of presentation of the material.

If a physics textbook is examined it will quickly become clear that a good understanding of all branches of mathematics is necessary before any significant progress can be made in the understanding of physics. The successive layers of understanding and knowledge required to enable the study of physical science can be established by simple analysis of the required textbooks. In general, the layers or strata of knowledge need the presence of the antecedent strata beneath them in order to be properly understood. Other disciplines and technologies rest in a like manner on an understanding of physics.

The presence of levels of understanding is transparent to the intellect. In Physics, access to and selection of mathematical understandings is possible without consciously crossing intellectual boundaries. In History, access to and selection of geographical understandings is similarly possible. The whole set of understandings is available to the solution of any problem.

The structure of understandings based on formal learning is fairly easily defined and this structure is built on the basic understandings gained in infancy. Knowledge of the structure and content of the immature intellect can therefore be predicted, and the theory can be compared with reality by the normal tests of education.

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Learning Problems

The human intellect differs from the computer in having an independent will, and being subject to emotional influences. The intellect cannot be divorced from the emotions in the development of the young. J. Bowlby, in "How Personalities Develop", claims that deprivation of love results in a damaged and alienated personality, and these alienated individuals cannot, in later life, comprehend the reality of love. Fear and not love forms the individual's basic attitude to experience. Jon Holt, in "Why Children Fail" claims that individuals who fail to make the full developmental progression are often insecure and afraid. Bad intellectual and emotional development results in damaged personalities. The disinclination to study, resulting from an attitude of defeat and apathy, obstructs the teaching process and produces intellects unprepared for more advanced learning. In this situation emotional causes are to be understood as understandings which are not capable of being expressed verbally by the individual. They may be compared to analogue data, where expressible understandings are digital. Lacking form, they are not analysable by the individual and are not therefore subject to the understanding of truth. This makes them irrational and beyond modification by argument. The understanding of his emotions by the individual provides a means of control but not of cure. For this reason, the protection of the child's emotional being is a first priority if normal intellectual development is to be achieved.

The conclusions of the study are that the individual creates his or her own intellect, the intellect has a definite structure and content, this structure and content are necessary to correct development, and direction and the rate of development are more or less common for all immature individuals within Western culture. The developing intellect may be mapped fairly precisely and the minimum standard of intellectual development of people in general as they reach maturity may be defined.

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The Intellectual Development of Mature Individuals

The intellect is an operating system based on a set of models of the various environments apparent to the individual and it gives the power to deal with those environments. The intellect should, ideally, emerge from its immature phase, adequate in every way to cope with the adult cultural environment.

The fully developed intellect can determine its future by choosing the problems it solves and thereby changing its reality in chosen ways. The intellectual philosophy sees itself, as a mature individual, to be a self-managing entity, responsible for setting and pursuing its own objectives.

The intellect management function includes responsibility for its own development through learning, and ensuring that intellectual activities are conducted on the basis of truth and knowledge. The intellect in its activities calls upon understandings to instigate behaviours, intellectual and physical. Where those behaviours don't exist, or are inappropriate, the intellect calls other routines to set problem solving behaviours in process. The problems of the future require special understandings based on predictive models of reality.

The life-situation of the mature individual is the consequence of his set of understandings and models of reality, and the behaviours that these require, and it changes as these factors change. Social limitations constraining the individual such as social rank are no longer effective in Western culture. Success and failure are the result of intellectual quality. The degree of success the individual has in dealing with experience is founded on the faithfulness of his model of reality to reality. Success is measured by the degree of achievement of the individual's purposes. In business terms, for example, if the individual thoroughly understands his reality, which is his market, and pursues business objectives consistent with the market realities, he will be successful.

Reality is rarely static and changes create new problems and opportunities. A progressive and efficient intellect produces a continual flow of new insights and understandings in the direction of the interests being pursued by the individual. The failure to achieve individual aims is always accompanied by the presence of anomalies and problems which indicate failure of understanding and an incompetent intellect. In practice all individual intellects lie somewhere on the scale between competency and incompetency. Success in one sphere of activity, such as business or politics, can often go together with failure in other areas such as family relationships. An intellect broadly based on experience of all types has the power to understand and act in all areas of human experience.

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Experience and Knowledge of Reality 

The Theory of The Intellect


Chapter Two

THE ACCOUNT OF UNDERSTANDINGS


The understanding is created, or modified, as the result of the solving of a problem of experience. Once a particular problem has been solved within an intellect the means to deal with repetitions of the same problem exist within that intellect as automatically invoked routines in the form of understandings. The set of understandings is equivalent to the library of programs maintained within a computer and it gives the functionality required by individuals to operate in the world.

The subjective understanding entity may be studied through expressions of this understanding. These expressions are a form of behaviour and the studies conform to behaviourist theory.

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The Relationship of Understandings to Reality

The understanding is a representation of reality as experienced, and the set of understandings model the world as experienced by the individual. The understanding as a model of reality, provides the database from which behavioural, including verbal, expressions of understanding may be drawn. The understanding is therefore both a representation of reality in the form of one or more models and a procedure to be executed.

The understanding follows from the problem of experience and the operation of the problem solving method. The solution, as understanding, is normally a model of reality, an explanation of that model and a behavioural set which dynamically transforms a recurrence of the problem state into the solution state. The explanation defines what the model means. The conscious recognition of a known problem automatically leads to the consciousness of its solution in the form of the understanding of the problem and its solution and the mental and physical behaviour necessary to deal with it purposefully. For example, the event of experience of a problem in the form of an arithmetic equation is followed almost immediately by the recognition of its meaning and the understanding of how to solve it. The purpose to solve the equation sets in process a behavioural sequence consisting of mental operations and physical actions.

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The Procedural Structure of Understandings

Understandings have a procedure by which the solution is achieved from the problem. This procedure is expressed as mental and physical behaviour where mental behaviour includes structured thinking and physical behaviour includes, amongst other forms, speech. The procedure recognises and conforms to the processes of the model and the quality of the model determines the quality of the procedural output. For example, a poor understanding of the operation of a motor vehicle restricts the behavioural ability of the individual to diagnose faults and to perform repairs.

The understanding is an item of processive logic. A computer program is also an item of processive logic and it is the program's logic that determines the processing of the computer. It is the logic of understanding that determines the selection and execution of human behaviour. This logic is always subject to intellectual choice and judgment. The summing of a series of five digit numbers may be carried out manually using the columnar method. If an electronic calculator is available, that may be selected instead and a different set of mental and physical actions will be performed.

Structured thinking processes are possible because the understanding or logical entity is structured. These thinking processes are behaviour and are governed by the structure and meaning of the model being expressed. For example, the ability to solve arithmetic problems is based on a set of models which define number systems, and the several arithmetic operations. The individual, when multiplying positive and negative numbers, will mentally invoke the models for determining the sign of the product. The capability of the individual to think constructively and deeply depends on the quality of the philosophical models of reality which synthesise the total experience of that individual.

The bounds of the logical entity of understanding are determined by the problems of experience that it addresses, and the purpose of the individual in solving those problems. The development of understandings progresses from small beginnings. Understandings are not necessarily complete at any phase of their existence and may be augmented by further experience. The understanding is therefore built up in stages, earlier forms of the understanding being modified to annex new learning. This progression occurs in all learning. A child's understanding of physics may be limited to a small number of mechanical problem solutions. The professional physicist's understanding comprehends many more problem solutions, but includes the child's understanding in some form.

The understanding has parts and these parts may be accessed, changed, and deleted without the necessity of deleting and replacing the whole understanding. Extra steps or subroutines may be added to an already known internal procedure or program and the modification may be brought into operation at the desired point in the execution of that procedure. The physical behaviour of an individual may be modified, for example, by requiring that individual to notify the fact verbally when a divisor in any calculation within a series is zero. The individual must modify his mental behaviour to monitor the procedure by testing at appropriate points for the presence of the designated condition and to call into operation the special physical behaviour when the condition is satisfied. Internal processing of problem solution procedures appears to differ from computer processing only in the fact that the conscious intellect can make modifications in real time.

Procedures may be conscious or subconscious. When one is learning to drive a car, all behaviours are governed by conscious thought. Since thinking takes time, and the time available for behavioural responses to sensory information is limited, mental concentration on driving is intense. With practice, driving behaviours become automatic and may be relegated to the subconscious. Most repetitive behaviours are initiated and controlled outside the conscious intellect. Conscious control may be re-established by choice, or may be forced by the inability of the automatic procedures to handle emergencies or other non-standard states of affairs. When intellectual processing fails, and psychological processes must be invoked, processing time increases significantly, and time constraints may force the intellect into best guessing or even panic.

Short-circuiting the conscious thought mechanism out of behavioural procedures improves response times and efficiency. The effect of conscious interference in automatic procedures may be seen in, for example, stuttering where the individual is consciously monitoring and attempting to modify normally non-conscious vocalisation of thought. In trying to execute two procedures, vocalisation and monitoring, concurrently the stutterer is overloading the resources in relation to time, and the predicament causes anxiety. Emotions such as fear and anxiety disintegrate intellectual processes and waste resources.

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The Understanding as a Model of Reality

The set of understandings function as models of reality which, among other things, define the set of possibilities that may exist in the world of the individual and the relations between these possibilities. The understanding or meaning is integral with the model.

The Idea of Models

A model can be any entity which has some or all of the characteristics of another entity or state of affairs, taken as reality. Models are formed in the course of problem solving and are made for a purpose, or purposes. Wittgenstein described the Paris traffic accident model which defined and communicated the facts of road accidents. Solar system models and molecule structure models show students the essential features of the real world entities. Wind tunnel models show scientists how real world objects will behave at high speeds.

Some models are not physical. Mathematical models which are used by scientists to analyse and predict, exist only as mathematical terms. System behaviour models which are used to analyse and predict conditions within particular systems, such as the electricity supply network, exist as mathematical and logical terms, usually within a computer program. Commonly used models may also be non-physical. People who use a public transport system are usually familiar with its characteristics. This understanding, and the model which supports it, is learned through experience and retained intellectually, and called up whenever the problem of travel by public transport occurs.

Static and Dynamic Models

The mental model may be static or dynamic. The dynamic nature of a model may be obtained by concatenating a series of static models. In a mental model of an internal combustion engine all the stages of fuel input, compression, ignition and gas expansion, and gas exhaustion can be visualised as occurring consecutively. The dynamic model may represent discrete change in the model over time, but it also may be visualised purely as a dynamic system. A car travelling along a road, or a moving pendulum are of this type. Mental models of reality take the dynamic nature of the reality into account.

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The Structure of Models of Understanding

In all cases of understanding of perception, where the perception changes due to changes in viewpoint, light quality, and growth or deterioration, individuals can easily accommodate their understandings to the current state of affairs and see unities in the series of changes. In a simple case, a coin may be examined. As the coin is turned over it apparently changes shape. Starting as a circle it becomes oval, and then progressively flatter until it appears as a thin rectangle. This sequence is a series of views of the same object and all views are never seen simultaneously. Individuals are, nevertheless, able to integrate these views into one model, such that they are always able to recognise the object as a coin irrespective of the particular shape that they are currently viewing. They are quite capable of visualising a model of a coin within their intellects in which the coin is spinning, quickly or slowly. The individual, through his model, both understands the relationship between successive views and has the ability to explain the successive differences.

From this account it may be seen that such a model consists of 

1. a description of the entity, process or state of affairs, 

 

2. a predictive capability based on an observed regular process or behaviour and 

 

3. an explanation which reflects a purpose or purposes

The description comprises the features of the coin that distinguish it from all other non-coin objects. The process consists in the changes of apparent shape as the viewpoint changes. There is an order involved in these changes which, broadly speaking, is circle - oval - rectangle - oval - circle. It is never any other sequence. This order enables the prediction of the next state in the sequence and of all states in the correct sequence. The explanation may, for example, reconcile the apparent changes in shape with the fact that no changes occur to the physical characteristics of the coin.

In problem solving, a state of affairs, not understood by the individual, is examined and analysed and a predictive model is built from the observations. The asking of a question, as the result of a purpose, produces the explanation which is understanding. For example, the experience of seeing the lid of a kettle moving leads to the examination of the kettle in its various states and the conclusion that the lid only moves when the water is boiling. The question of what power moves the lid leads to the understanding of steam power. The explanation for the phenomenon is therefore based on the understanding of the power of steam. Further questions may be asked based on the same general model. These inquiries may be concerned with the precise conditions for the occurrence of the phenomenon, in terms of steam pressure measurements.

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Models and Realities

Understandings have a structure which defines:- 

1. The reality in which it exists 

 

2. Its internal reality 

 

3. The input or problem state 

 

4. The output or solution state 

 

5. The behavioural steps by which the problem is translated into the solution.

The reality in which the understanding exists is the understanding of the reality in which the problem of experience revealed itself. Its internal reality is given by one or more models of reality which are defined by the problem analysis. The input or problem state is that event of experience which triggers the execution of the understanding and the output state is that state of affairs required by the individual's purpose in solving the problem. The behavioural steps form an executable program consistent with the understanding of reality and the purpose being pursued.

Understandings therefore have models of their external and internal realities. The external model is specified in a preamble which points to that general segment of reality to which the understanding belongs. It's meaning is therefore given by that general model. For example, the understanding of a physical object must be viewed from the general understanding of space and matter, whereas the understanding of a model of understanding must be comprehended from the perspectives of the intellect and the universe of ideas.

Not all understandings are linked to a more general understanding external to themselves. In these cases the understanding is free-floating and constitutes a compartment of the intellect. For example, an individual may have received a rudimentary religious education at school. He may not subsequently be able to relate this understanding to any other reality of his personal experience and it forms an independent compartment within his intellect. All intellectual compartments have unsecured, or dangling, external interfaces and the psychological inability to follow a logical path between compartments makes inter-compartmental processing impossible.

The internal model of reality describes a particular natural subset of the field of experience in such a way that rules may be derived. These rules are predictive, and the ability to predict, to some extent, the processes of reality constitutes, in part, the individual's understanding of it.

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General solutions

An understanding is the solution to a problem or a set of problems of the same type. A project to solve a class of problems must consider elements of reality common to every problem and define the problem set in terms of this generalised reality. The solution gives a model of the field of understanding having a generalised and skeletonised form, which may be classed as a prototype. The prototypical model leaves specific distinctions, or variables, undetermined, to be decided in particular circumstances by information. Information enables the intellect to relate its prototypical models to specific real states of affairs.

For example the prototypical model of "man" will allow individuals with a range of skin pigmentations but will disallow other abnormal colours. No man is blue. Skin colour is a limited variable. Information enables a particular man to be distinguished from the set of men by determining all the variables.

An understanding, whether specific or prototypical, defines its external and internal realities. Prototypes do not exist in the real or external world of experience and therefore can exist only in a constructed ideal or virtual reality. Virtual realities may be envisaged as skeletonised versions of the real world states of affairs. They are defined by those essential characteristics which are common to the set of real world situations in which the forms, modelled by the prototype, occur. The sea, unspecified and therefore virtual, is the background reality to ships of all types, but not to castles. In effect, the virtual reality is a prototypical model of the reality in which the object under examination occurs. As with all models, only those characteristics of reality relevant to the problem in solution are built into the prototype.

For example, Newton's picture of a physical reality in which a body can exist and not be subject to impressed forces, is virtual. The body, unspecified, is a prototype.

All understandings of languages are based on prototypes. The word "castle" is not specific and models all those characteristics which distinguish castles in general from not-castles. Prototypes model classes of entities or actions rather than specific cases. It is information, either in the form of sensory data, or as a specified context, which realises the virtual. The word "castle" refers to any castle and no particular castle. The word in the context of "Windsor" fixes the understanding to the ground. The label "Windsor Castle" refers to a specific castle.

Predetermined behaviours are often based on virtual realities and prototypes. For example, an individual who is qualified to drive a car on public roads cannot possibly have models of all the roads in the country but will have models of typical road features.  These are models of intersections, curves in the road, T-junctions, and so on. These models do not refer to actual cases but represent all the relevant characteristics of these typical road situations. They are prototypes and exist in virtual realities. They are selected and reduced to understandings of actual roads in the reality of experience by sensory information. These prototypical models plus sensory data take intellectual form as puzzles which intellectual procedures reduce to solutions which are the understandings of the real roads. These then become the realities which govern driving behaviours.

People who drive on a particular road frequently, will remember every detail of that road. This intellectual record, if true, amounts to knowledge of the road. Knowledge of this type reduces intellectual puzzle solving and often permits automatic or semi-automatic behaviours. A driver who knows a road may do so while thinking of matters other than the conditions of the road.

Scientific knowledge is founded on the ability of the intellect to abstract models of the common elements of the problem reality and form prototype solutions. With this method, problem and solution situations may be generalised, either in their essential form as prototypes, or in their exemplary form as paradigms. Physical models are normally prototypical and mathematical. Cultural models are often based on paradigms.

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Power and control

The problems perceived with reality give rise to models which attempt to emulate that reality. The more accurate the modelling, the more accurate will be the predictions based on that model. Valid explanations of sets of experiences, based on accurate models, constitute knowledge, and give rise to correct and effective behaviours, both mental and physical. Validity requires the correct application of the problem solving method.

Every true understanding is the consequence of the correct processing of the problems of experience and gives the power to solve specific problems. True understandings, which are knowledge, therefore enable the individual to achieve objectives in life through correct and therefore effective mental and physical behaviours, and from this power the capability for self-management. In general, the power of understandings is limited by the range of past experience. For this reason immature intellects are too limited to enable intellectual self-management. The range and quality of understandings is an important factor in intellectual competency and the purposeful seeking of a wide range of experience, as recommended by Descartes, results in a broad spectrum of powerful understandings.

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Experience and Knowledge of Reality

The Theory of The Intellect


Chapter Three

THE INTEGRATION OF THE INTELLECT


The Problem of Fragmentation

Understandings are solutions to the problems of experience. In an uncontrolled situation the intellect may have one solution in the form of an understanding for every problem it has solved. Each understanding has a model of reality and this is formed from the understanding of the problem. Since every problem is different every model of reality incorporated into the solutions will be different, and the different models of reality will be incompatible with each other. The net result is that the intellect possesses a non-integrated collection of understandings. In this state it is unable to understand reality as a whole.

This situation is comparable to the state of traditional science in which problems are solved independently of each other, by different workers, and at different times. The result is a collection of theories that have no common base in reality and do not hang together. The intellect endeavours to overcome this problem by searching for higher level understandings that explain some part of the set of understandings of experience. The ultimate goal is an "understanding of everything" which provides a common platform for dealing with all experience.

The structuring of experience is aided by the nature of education which imposes order on the teaching matter. This order is most developed in the field of intellectual tools such as language and mathematics. In the learning of mathematics the student, in starting with number systems, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division and so on, is grouping understandings into modules. These modules form layers in the understanding of mathematics, where every layer, in the sequence as taught, is a prerequisite for all subsequent layers. The set of modules is integrated and structured into an understanding of mathematics by the knowledge of the teacher. In education the student benefits from the expert organisation of the set of understandings.

Complete integration on this basis is not possible since the theory system is incomplete. Education is dependent on the state of knowledge, and where knowledge does not exist the student is deprived of the necessary understandings and intellectual structures.

In Western culture the student intellect has only limited support from objective knowledge and must structure its collection of understandings, true and false, in the best manner possible. In this, the intellect is guided by the natural divisions of experience. In thinking about experience and knowledge the intellect endeavours to explain each natural division of reality, and reality as a whole. The nature of these divisions provides assistance to the integration process. Physical experiences, for example, are easily distinguished from all other types and may be grouped together.

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The Structure of a General Model of Reality

The general model of reality is based on, but not limited by, experience, since the model goes beyond experience to make claims of universal truth. General models may exist of mental, cultural, moral, and spiritual realities in addition to the physical. There may be a general model of fundamental reality which subsumes every other model.

Diagram 1.2.1 shows the structure of a general model of reality. The general model of reality is supported evidentially by the highest levels of submodels (SM) which in their turn are supported by lower level submodels. At the lowest level the whole structure is warranted by the set of experiences that it represents. The general model may represent the personal environment of the individual. Its overall reality may be divided into models of the individual's residential, employment, and shopping environments. The residential model distinguishes the individual's home from every other home in the area, and that home is further subdivided into rooms and contents. The whole edifice is built upon personal experience. The individual is perfectly capable of describing his or her home, and giving directions for finding it, from the understandings supplied by the general model.

THE GENERAL MODEL OF REALITY 

Diagram 1.2.1

Alternatively, the model may represent a theory system. The general model of reality, given by the fundamental theory, may be divided into models of the physical, cultural, moral, ideal, and supernatural subrealities. These in turn may be divided into a number of scientific theories which describe what is known about these environments. Every theory incorporates one or more models of reality. The structure rests on defined sets of experiences.

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Top Down Integration

If an integrated set of understandings is examined the relationship between the higher and lower levels of understanding may be discovered. For example, within the general model of physical reality every entity model which has physical characteristics has a place. The definition, or model, of a particular physical entity carries a preamble which states that it should be viewed according to the characteristics of the physical universe. No physical object has any meaning outside the general model of the Cosmos. Particles can only be understood within the context of the theory that defines them, and that theory can only make sense within the quantum understanding of physical reality. The meanings of submodels in a general model of reality are therefore conditioned by the higher level models, and their meanings might be very different if the higher level models were different. In short, the general model of reality determines the meaning of every constituent of that reality.

The same is true for all general models of reality. The spirit is an entity of the reality of God and must be understood within that general reality. A moral law is an entity of the Moral Universe and the characteristics of this domain must be understood prior to a full evaluation of the specific law.

This rule carries a number of implications. The first implication is that the general model is prior to its subsidiary models. It functions in the problem solving method by supplying the criteria of truth. In effect, the problem solver stipulates that the general model is true and the subsidiary model must be compatible with it. This is the rule of top-down development. The integration of understandings proceeds on the basis that the general model is true. If it is false every subsidiary model is also false and the integrated structure has little value as knowledge. Experience is the common test of truth.

A second implication is that if there is no general understanding of the field its collection of subsidiary understandings cannot be integrated. It will also be the case that these subsidiary models will be incompatible with each other. Thomas Kuhn shows that this non-integrated state is a characteristic of knowledge schools in the predisciplinary stage. However, it is also the state of physics at this time since that discipline has no general theory and only incompatible subsidiary theories.

A third implication is that if the intellect is to be integrated on the basis of truth the general understanding must explain all human experience. Where general models of partial sets of experience exist with no overarching general model, there is no way of determining if these partial understandings are true.

For example, Physics, in modern times, has had its Cartesian/Newtonian model, its relativity model, and its quantum model. It is likely that both models of reality currently used by physics will be replaced by a model which integrates the discipline's knowledge structure. However, a series of general physical models is possible in the future with no means of determining the truth of any of them. Even if a final physical theory is achieved which accounts for every physical phenomenon it still may be false. This may be seen by the examination of a possible higher level theory.

If the problem of mind and matter is considered any explanation of their interaction must be given from the standpoint of a higher level theory. To amalgamate the intellectual and physical realities into one overall general model of reality a concept of reality is required in which physical objects and idea sets are both possibilities. Such a higher level theory could disqualify the then current theories of the mind and the physical universe.

An intellect without a general understanding of fundamental reality cannot be integrated. An individual intellect, in its fragmented state, may have more than one general model of reality. There may be, for example, understandings of the physical universe, the inner world of the mind, and the Moral Universe with the rules governing personal relationships. The general models of these subrealities may defy integration and the individual will compartmentalise each general model version to avoid confusion.

In its unintegrated state the intellect has no assurance of the truth of any of its constituency of understandings. It is likely to be wrong to some degree in every aspect of its mental and physical behaviours and these errors cause failures in the pursuit of objectives. This state is mentally confusing and self-defeating. The solution must be to solve the problem of fundamental reality and to derive the common model for the explanation of all experience from it. The development of fundamental and general understandings is a specialist problem beyond the capabilities of most intellects. The proper development of the set of intellects is therefore dependent on adequate objective knowledge unified by a fundamental theory of reality.

Rationality, as formulated by Rene Descartes, is the endeavour to secure the intellect in knowledge and truth as the prerequisite for correct dealings with the affairs of life. Rational integration of the intellect is dependent on absolute objective knowledge in the form of a fundamental theory which models and explains both the set of general understandings of the natural divisions of reality and the fundamental and absolute reality that underpins them all.

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