The tetradic way of thinking is probably just as old as mankind itself. Signs on the wall of the cave of Lascaux in Southern France, drawn by Stone Age people some fifteen thousand years ago, show the combination of circles and crosses. This universal graphic symbolism points to a four-fold division of space, which can only be visualized if there is also a mental division at the same time.
This historic setting seems logic: the individual development of man – starting with birth and growth and ending with old age and death – is a re-enactment of the development of mankind as a whole. BRONOWSKI (1973/1977) sketched in his book ‘The Ascent of Man’ a picture of man as a unique animal climbing to the top of its intellectual capacities. The title was a direct reference to Darwin’s book, which was written a century earlier and was called ‘The Descent of Man’ (1871).
Both titles (and evolutionary intentions) carry the linear thought within them. Darwin’s ideas could be interpreted as an effort to pull man down from its statue at the pinnacle of creation. He proposed a decendency of mankind from the apes. Bronowski put the human race back again on the ladder of creation, culminating in a gigantic knowledge about the universe, the world and ultimately, itself.
The long journey from the forming of amino acids towards the proteins, the configuration of the four fundamental constituents into the genetic alphabet (of DNA) led eventually to the origin of life. The self-copying molecules differentiated in ever more complex forms. Hundred of millions of years ago life forms left the seas and settled on land, either in a rather stationary way as plants or in a more dynamic way as burrowing, crawling, walking or flying creatures known as animals.
It was the enormous variety of nature and the richness (of species) which puts Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) and Alfred Wallace (1823 – 1913) on the trail of discovering the theory of evolution by natural selection. They found the key to their discovery in many field observations and the notion that the environment (geography) played a major part in the distribution of the species. Both naturalists were equipped with a new sense of multitude thinking, which could envisage the local setting of nature in a much wider context.
Darwin observed on the Galapagos Island and Wallace in the Amazon Basin and the Malay Archipelago (Borneo) that isolation, due to geographical circumstances and geological changes in time, led to a differentiation of species. Wallace drew (in 1855) the conclusion that new species arose from related, pre-existing species. Darwin wrote a ‘Sketch’ (in 1842, two years later retitled ‘Essay’) on natural selection.
. The ‘Sleeping Lady’ in the back ground was the peninsula where Wallace did part of his studies (on evolution) (Photo: Marten Kuilman, November 2013)
The Leaping Blenny or Alticus saliens is a saltwater fish. It gets its name from the ability to jump from place to place, outside of water. Animals like these might have inspired Wallace in his ideas about evolution (Photo: Marten Kuilman, November 2013).
The most important result of their investigations – and the subsequent popularity of their conclusions – was the return of dynamism in thinking. The visibilities of the Third Quadrant (observations) became flexible and people came to realize that a particular fragment of nature (in time and place) was not immovable, but was part of a development.
The understanding was gained that any presence in the world (including our own) is a matter of time and place and is part of a sequence of events, which are determined by the principles of visibility. The cries and joys of the early existence are followed by the first conscious experience of an outside world. Than the process of division can start to distinguish and order the outlines and features of the environment. This process starts, again, in an unconscious environment, but will develop into real visibility and an understanding of its creation. Finally, the new understanding of visibility will be celebrated and extended into all realms of life.
The present study tries to follow the implementation of the four-fold way of thinking in our personal life, the world-as-a-whole and the existence of the universe. This seems ambitious and maybe far-fetched, but it is just the consequence of a line of thinking. A complete novel world will open on the very moment we are able to comprehend the importance of higher division thinking as a means to enrich a communication. So why not follow this line of thinking into an unknown and uncharted territory?
The guided tour follows a trail, which has a close resemblance to the way of thinking itself. It aims at a familiarization with the landscape and gives an introduction to innovative terms. The exploration into the unknown will give us a variety of views, both in the country behind us (called: history) and towards a distant horizon (better known as: future). However, those are only two directions in a linear fashion. The new vision aims at all directions and includes the ground we are standing on and the sky above us. None of these four outlooks will be rated higher than another. There is in the four-fold way of thinking no hierarchical position. The past is of no more importance than the future or visa versa, and the universe might be overwhelming, but is still of the same class as the earth beneath us.
Sometimes knowledge has to find new terms to express itself. The discovery of an original set of references poses basic problems in terms of communication. Words have to be developed to catch the intentions of hitherto unknown meanings. Often the new discoveries might sound like a modern gnostic belief. The use of the term ‘invisible invisibility’, for instance, will sound as a tautology to a person, who is still trapped in oppositional thinking. And the term ‘communication factor’, abbreviated to a cryptic CF, does not mean much for someone, who is not introduced in the theory of quadralectic unification.
Hopefully, these, and other, terms will come to live during the acquaintance with the rich and colorful world of tetradic (quadralectic) thinking. The course will be run in an educational spirit. That means a repetition of the major themes at certain intervals, with a recapitulation at the end (Chapter 4.5). A shortcut to the practical side of quadralectic thinking – for those readers who are not interested in a theoretical background (which is quite excusable) – can be made to Chapter 5. A glance at the Universal Communication Sequence (UCS) in fig. 44 and the names of the inflection points of the CF-graph (in fig. 50) is then recommended to follow the line of reasoning.
A glossary with definitions and descriptions of various quadralectic terms is added at the end of this book to facilitate the understanding of the (new) names.