6.2.3. The relation between Man and planet Earth

The brief discussion of the Large Visible Animals (LVA) and their function as time indicators would not be complete if Man-itself was not included as a LVA. The very existence of man on earth at the moment means that its presence belongs in an ‘open’ period. In our company are all the animals, which still living today: their existence might have a long history (like the crocodiles and the tortoises), but the end of their (biological) life cycle is not reached yet. The existence of Homo sapiens on planet Earth can only be appreciated if another point of recognition is found.

The position of man on the planet Earth will first be considered in order to put the present choice into perspective. A very important innovation in thought – as far as our own position in the universe is concerned – took place around the year 1800. The ‘Age of Reason’ opened up because the bonds of oppositional thinking were thrown off. A description will be given of some participants in this transition, which is closely related to the (conceptual) position of Man on the planet Earth. Two contributants, Charles Bonnet   (1720 – 1793) and George de Buffon (1707 – 1788) lived before 1800, one (Georges Cuvier (1769 – 1832) lived on both sides of this year, and two others (Robert Chambers (1802 – 1871) and Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) lived after 1800.

A. The Swiss lawyer Charles Bonnet (1720 – 1793) had a creative mind, which was geared towards the natural history. He described, in his ‘Memoires autobiographiques’, a special interest in and dedication towards such subjects as the Aphids (tree-lice), freshwater worms, the respiration of butterflies, caterpillars and tapeworms. The Aristotelian concept of a ‘Great Chain of Being’, running from man, at the top, to the ethereal matter at the bottom became a credo in Bonnet’s book ‘Contemplation de la nature’ (1764). The writing must have been a very difficult undertaking, because an eye disease in the year 1744 caused a virtual blindness in 1746.

Bonnet

Charles Bonnet (1720 – 1793) (Photo: Wikipedia).

Later, in 1770, he turned to visionary speculations in his book ‘Philosophical Palingesis, or Ideas on the Past and Future States of Living beings’. The idea was proposed that all females carry within them the future generations in a miniature form (the homunculus). These miniature living beings, which pre-existed reproduction, could survive the great cataclysms in the history of the earth (like the biblical Flood) and were able to bring about evolutionary change. The preformation- or ‘encapsulation’ theory, based on the emboitement, attributes to the first female of each animal the destiny of the entire species. He believed that the part should be reflective of the whole, and the whole is a grand order from lower up to higher (closer to human).

Bonnet pioneered, with his ideas on the homunculi, in the field of quadralectic thinking. Here also, is the past, present and future embedded in each (sub) quadrant. Everything what is, is (was) already there. This view is the logical outcome of a cyclic setting. The oppositional view of an epigenetic system, with its idea of development, fits in a general outlook. Bonnets position, shifting from the ‘Great Chain of Being’ to the Homunculi, anticipated the great change from lower to the higher forms of division thinking at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He called for a ‘History of the Attention’. This phenomenon would cover a history of all true discoveries. And probably he was right: ‘Attention, not creativity, is the mother of genius’ (ANDERSON, 1982).

Bonnet’s quadripartite division of all beings reflects his insecure position in terms of division thinking:

1. Brute ——————————— Unorganized

2. Organised————————— Inanimate

3. Organised ————————– Animate

4. Organised  ————————- Animate  ——————— Reasoning

This representation is not a balanced four division like the quadralectic segmentation. Three kinds of antithesis are mixed up. The brute (a physical force) versus the reasoning (an intellectual force) play a part in another antithesis (organized versus unorganized) situated in a world, which is either inanimate or animate. The triple division (organized – animate – reasoning) is finally the ‘highest’ form in a hierarchical context.

B. The French naturalist and mathematician George Louis Leclerc Count de Buffon (1707 – 1788) lived in the same ‘Age of Enlightenment’ as Charles Bonnet. He might be the first to put the ideas of development and organic evolution (transmutation) on the intellectual track. At twenty, he discovered the binomial theorem and introduced differential and integral calculus into the probability theory (Sur le jeu de franc-carreau). These endeavors can now be seen as a (mathematical) approach to the ultimate boundaries of the Third Quadrant. His ‘Historie Naturelle’ – an encyclopedia of forty-four volumes – described everything known about the natural world and is a monument and tribute to the visible visibility of the Third Quadrant.

Buffon

George Louis Leclerc Count de Buffon (1707 – 1788) (Photo: Wikipedia).

Buffon is now remembered for a probability experiment known as ‘Buffon’s Needle’. The problem was first stated in 1777. The story goes that Buffon calculated pi by throwing some French stick loaves over his shoulder onto a tiled floor and counted the number of times the loaves covered the lines between the tiles.

The dropping of a random number of needles on a lined sheet of paper will have the same effect of determining the probability of a needle to cross one of the lines. The lengths of the needles and the distance between the lines play a role in the theoretical discussion of this matter (SCHROEDER, 1974), but the outcome will be always approximate pi. Pi can be calculated from the needle drops by multiplying the number of drops by two and divide the outcome by the number of hits: 2 (total drops) / (number of hits) = pi (approximately) (fig. 76).

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Fig. 76 – Buffon’s needle. Two parallel lines indicate a divided world, which is invaded by a multitude (the French loaves or pins). The probability of crossing a line is a value derived from a cyclic environment (pi). It is relevant in the history of division thinking, because it bridged a gap between the linear (Third) and the circular (Fourth Quadrant) perception.

C. Georges Cuvier (1769 – 1832) was a prolific vertebrate anatomist and paleontologist, who used the comparative (analogy) method in the study of nature. He was opposed to Lamarck’s transmutation theory. The latter pointed to the heriditical nature of acquired properties. Cuvier did not believe in the development of life forms over time. Organisms were functional wholes and any change (of a part) would destroy their delicate balance. He was more impressed by the results of his field trips, which pointed to the fact of extinction of past-life forms.

Baron Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)

Georges Cuvier (1769 – 1832) (Photo: Wikipedia).

Cuvier was a distinct (four) division-thinker. He classified animals into four ‘branches’ or embranchements:

           1. The Vertebrata

           2. The Articulata (arthropods and segmented worms)

           3. The Mollusca (all other soft, bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates)

           4. The Radiata (cnidarians and echinoderms)

 Cuvier proved (in 1816) that these four main groups had distinctive differences in their building plans. Man (order ‘Bimana’) was taxonomically separate from the apes (order ‘Quadrumana’). He noticed revolutionary periods in the earth history and constructed the first biostratigraphy in the Paris Basin (‘Description geologiques des environs des Paris’ (1811; in co-operation with Alexandre Brongniart).

The comparative embryological investigations of the Estonian scholar Karl Ernst von Baer (1792 – 1876) showed independently that the building plans of the four main groups were already present in the development of the egg (BOEGNER, 1983). The idea of a hierarchical progress from the ‘lower’ to the ‘highest’ animals (Bonnet’s chain of being) was therefore, seriously questioned by the four basic types of Cuvier and Von Baer. The unity in the animal kingdom was broken up, in favor of four groups (divisions).

D. Robert Chambers (1802 – 1871) gave, in his book ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’ (CHAMBERS, 1844), an impressive summary of the scientific issues some fifteen years before the intellectual landslide caused by Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ (1859). It is known that Alfred Russell Wallace (1823 – 1913) started his search for a lawful explanation of the species after reading ‘Vestiges’ in 1845. The book showed clearly that many of Darwin’s ideas and causal explanations fitted into the narratives of progress and developmental models, which were current in the middle of the nineteenth century.

RobertChambersRobert Chambers (1802 – 1871) (Photo: Wikipedia).

Chambers was enthusiastic about the circular or ‘quinarian’ classification system as proposed by the naturalist and entomologist William Sharp Macleay (1792 – 1865). He developed a biological classification, which held that all organisms could be arranged in hierarchically, circular sets of five taxa. The taxonomic circles were held together by affinities and not by the misleading functional analogies. All natural groups were circular.

‘Starting from one portion of the group, when it is properly arranged, we can proceed from one to another by minute gradations, till at length, having run through the whole, we return to the point whence we set out.’ (‘Vestiges’, p. 238). The component circles were invariably five in number: five sub-kingdoms, five classes, and five orders, etc.

Chambers distinguished, in a good Macleayan spirit, five leading races in the history of mankind (p. 277ff):

  1. Caucasian or Indo-European
  2. The Mongolian
  3. The Malayan
  4. The Negro
  5. The aboriginal American

He noted colour as the most conspicuous element in the (racial) transition from a white to yellow, black and red skin. These colour differences were, in his view, explicable on the ground of development. ‘Our brain goes through the various stages of a fish’s, a reptile’s, and a mammifer’s brain, and finally becomes human. There is more than this, for, after completing the animal transformations, it passes through the characters in which it appears, in the Negro, Malay, American, and Mongolian nations, and finally is Caucasian’ (‘Vestiges’, p. 306).

The conclusion is that ‘the leading characters, in short, of the various races of mankind, are simply representations of particular stages in the development of the highest or Caucasian type.’ And he continued: ‘The Negro exhibits permanently the imperfect brain, projecting lower jaw, and slender bent limbs, of a Caucasian child, some considerable time before the period of its birth. The aboriginal American represents the same child nearer birth. The Mongolian is an arrested infant newly born. And so forth.’

Chambers’ conclusions were as straightforward as degrading (p. 309): ‘According to this view, the greater part of the human race must be considered as having lapsed or declined from the original type. In the Caucasian or Indo-European family alone has the primitive organization been improved upon. The Mongolian, Malay, American, and Negro, comprehending perhaps five-sixth of mankind, are degenerate.’

It is amazing, that Chambers’ circular (and five-fold) way of thinking can lead to such a bizarre hierarchical outlook, which seem to be fueled by oppositional thinking. The conclusion should be that the unbalanced five-division can be misinterpreted in the same way as the three-division, by emphasizing the inequality (unevenness). It has to be remembered, in this context, that the idea of progress is, in essence, a linear thought, based on a two-division in quality of the things in the past and the present.

E. Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) is probably the most notorious as far as the relation of man and earth is concerned. He is the founder of the evolution theory as expressed in his book ‘The Origin of Species’ (1859). The story of its intellectual and practical realization is well known. It is only in the closing part (conclusion) of the work that a visionary remark pointed to the possibility that ‘much light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history’. Later in his life he took up that challenge and traced the (evolutionary) history of man.

Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) (Photo: Wikipedia).

The result of his (scientific) speculation of the human origin was presented in ‘The Descent of Man (and Selection in Relation to Sex)’. The first edition of the book was published in two volumes in February 1871. The descent or origin of man was, in his view, derived from some lower form, mainly because of homologous structures, embryological development and rudimentary organs. Darwin was, as usual, careful in his conclusions. He pressed the importance of natural selection (‘my conviction of the power of sexual selection remains unshaken’), but also stressed that ‘great weight must be attributed to the inherited effects of use and disuse, with respect both to the body and mind.’

The disciplines of sociology and psychology widely absorbed aspects of Darwin’s way of thinking in the late nineteenth and twentieth century. The intentions of his original ideas were not always properly understood in these young sciences. For instance, the survival of the fittest, a phrase first used by the British philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903), was often placed in a dualistic setting where oppositional forces are at work. The principle of natural selection reached its greatest manifestation in the empirical realm (strength, physical energy, colour, etc.).

Unfortunately, Darwin himself contributed to this limiting interpretation. He proved a prolific oppositional thinker in the discussion of the sexual differences in animals in Chapter IX – XVII (more than 230 pages) of his ‘The Descent of Man’. His knowledge was impressive, but his ranch of division thinking was more limited than in his earlier work. The inevitable conclusion of an emphasis on power leads to a ‘Law of Battle’, first noticed with birds (p. 551) ‘Almost all male birds are extremely pugnacious, using their beaks, wings, and legs for fighting together’ (fig. 77), later also observed with Mammals. The impression is given that the fittest is the (physically) strongest as well.

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Fig. 77 – The Ruff or Machetes pugnax (from Brehm’s ‘Thierleben’) is notorious for his extreme pugnacity. The fighting birds get a lot of attention in Darwin’s book ‘The Descent of Man’, because they support his ‘Law of Battle’. The stronger males gain advantage over their rivals in battles, and their victory leads, combined with the ‘choice’ of the female bird, eventually to a better offspring.

Chapter XVII (‘The Descent of Man’, p. 763) opened with the statement: ‘With mammals the male appears to win the female much more through the law of battle than through the display of his charms’. Then a long list of fighting mammals is produced from the guanacos in Patagonia, the reindeer in Norway, to the wild bulls in Chillingham Park, the descendants of the gigantic Bos primigenius. Tusks and horns were objects of great interest for Darwin (and many modern wildlife programs on television follow this approach). Finally, Darwin admitted that ‘we might feel sure, that the law of battle had prevailed with man during the early stages of development.’

Interhuman relationships are – even today – often placed in an ‘animal’ framework, with the emphasis on domination, power and violence. The choice takes place in the visible realm and is based on physical aspects. However, the definition of the ‘fittest’ as the outcome of a battle is just one viewpoint of evolutionary development. Surely, the ‘Third Quadrant’ view ought to be present, but it is just one of the available possibilities (of which the number depends on the initial choice in division thinking). Darwin himself was possibly aware of such a wider frame of mind. He did not discount the (Lamarckian) ‘inherited effects’ – which are hard to materialize – and left ample room for the possibility that other factors might contribute to the evolution of species.

It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century, that discoveries of human (-like) skulls in Africa, Asia (Java and China) and Australia brought the idea of human evolution to live. The subsequent incidental founds on isolated places of the world carried a theoretical framework build with a great deal of imagination. The problem of boundaries was and still is pressing in the case of the fossil record of the Human Being.

A further complication arises because its historic presence (or non-presence) is a political-theological issue. A firm (Christian) belief, in an oppositional setting, which says that God created the first man, does not leave room for a progressive development from the apes. The same inflexible kernel can be found in the interpretation of the geological record as being the result of gradual processes (uniformitarianism) or the Biblical Flood (catastrophism). The latter debate is – just as the ongoing creation versus evolution controversy – a (deliberate or naive) misunderstanding of the distinctive thinking methods of an observer in a lower or a higher division environment.

The skulls of man-ape and apes are different from the modern human skull, but it is often difficult – due to the scarcity of fossil material – to put a clear demarcation line. The position of the First Visibility (FV) of Man on the CF-graph is therefore a subjective matter. The relative short period of time of the geological track record of the human being on earth gives specific problems in the field of formal limitation. The crucial point, as far as the visibility of the first human presence is concerned, has to be a knowledge of the moment when the human lineage split from the apes.

There was, for some time, a reasonable consensus among scientist with regards to the evolution of man (JORDAN, 1984). A jaw fragments and several teeth were found in the 1930’s (by Louis Leakey and his collaborators) and some more finds (also jaws and teeth) dated from 1977. The Ramapithecus was then identified as the first representative of the hominid evolution line, who started to appear some fifteen million years ago.

However, more recent research has put the idea of the Ramapithecus as the first human in doubt. ‘The dethroning of Ramapithecus’, wrote Roger LEWIN in his book ‘Bones of Contention’ (1987; p. 86), ‘from putative first human in 1961 to extinct relative of the orang-utan in 1982 – is one of the most fascinating, and bitter, sagas in the search for human origin.’ If this is so, new contenders for the role of first man must be found.

The Australopithecus, living some four million years ago, seemed to fit the qualifications. This choice also met with resistance. The earliest known species of the genus Homo was the Homo habilis, discovered by Louis Leakey in the early 1960’s in East Africa. Our ancestors seemed to emerge from an evolutionary line approximately 2.2 to 1.6 million years ago. The fossils found by Leakey and his colleagues were about 1.75 million years old.

The first species to migrate from Africa during the Pleistocene glacial period was called the Homo erectus. The species was widely found in the time frame 1.8 – 1 million years ago in Europe, India, China and Indonesia and includes the Java- (Pithecanthropus) and Peking Man. It is currently believed (in the scientific world) that mankind developed either from a single African stock, or from the before mentioned multiple (geographical) centres.

It is possible (as can be seen in the chaos theory) that mutations do occur in clusters and that when a particular mutation has occurred once, it’s repetition is more likely (GLEICK, 1988). In that situation, the genetic action (mutations) in the different centres would follow a similar pattern.

The early Homo sapiens, like the Neanderthal Man, appeared about 250.000 years ago (with a range between 200.000 and 300.000 years). The Homo sapiens structure is similar to that of the Homo erectus, but the latter has a slightly rounder and larger skull. The boundary between the two species is not clear. A recent predecessor of the present Homo sapiens sapiens is the Cro-Magnon Man, which goes back to about 30.000 years.

This variety of names and dates of the ‘first appearance’ of Man poses a serious obstacle to any clear definition of First Visibility (FV). The best way to attack this problem – from a quadralectic point of view – is a preliminary proposal for a first visibility, bypassing the scientific problems of names and limitations. This action seems a bold step, but it is the only way forward. Three examples (or choices) will be given here, leading to very different results. Neither of them claims, in a genuine quadralectic spirit, to present the ultimate truth. The names and boundaries are just suggestions, aiming at a faithful representation, and not more than that. This method gives, in the meantime, a perfect example of a quadralectic approach to the uncertainties of science.

I. The first example places the Ramapithecus (15 mya) at the beginning of the communication cycle V (the CF-graph) – even if its direct hominid origin is not established or in doubt – and the Australopithecus (4 mya) is seen as the first visibility point (FV).

 The following figures can now be calculated as follows:

Beginning of V   (communication cycle)     =   – 15 mya

Beginning of FV (first visibility of Man)      =   – 4 mya

                  5/16 V (invisibility area 0¹)           =     11

                              16

                 V =   ——— . 11 = 35.2 my         (full communication cycle V)

                               5

                             10

                 X =    ——— . 35.2 = 22 my         (visibility area X)

                             16

                               1

               BU =   ———- . V = 2.2 my             (basic unit)

                              16

The basic calculations follow the theoretical rules, in which the invisibility area (O¹) in the First and Second Quadrant consists of five units (BU). One basic unit (BU) is 11: 5 = 2.2 million years. The visible visibility area (X), consisting of ten BU’s, has a duration of 22 million years. The total communication cycle (V) lasted 16 x 2.2 = 35.2 million years.

The inflection points (Y) for the visible visibility period (X) of Man (Homo spec.) on earth are given below. The Points of Recognition (POR) are the appearance of Ramapithecus, some 15 mya and the first visibility (FV) of mankind in the form of Australopithecus at 4 mya. X is expressed in million years.

X = -4                    Y = 11.00 (FV)                              X = 9.2                   Y = 13.00 (SVC)

X = -1.8                 Y = 11.00 (AP)                              X = 13.6                 Y =   6.00 (SMA)

X = 0.4                   Y =   6.00 (FMA)                           X = 15.8                 Y = 11.00 (RP)

X = 4.8                   Y = 13.00 (FVC)                            X = 18                     Y = 11.00 (LV)

X = 7.0                    Y = 10.00 (PP)

The abbreviations of the inflection points on the (visible) visibility area X of the CF-graph are given on p. 122, fig. 51.

These values characterize the CF-graph, which represents the occurrence of Man as interpreted by a human being in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Fig. 78 gives the full communication cycle V (for this particular interaction) and also indicates the position of the observer.

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Fig. 78 – The CF-graph for the occurrence of Man on the planet Earth. The POR’s (Point of Recognition) are placed respectively at 15 mya (Ramapithicus) and 4 mya (Australopithecus).

The CF-communication graph shows the beginning (-4 mya) and the end (18 my in the future) of the visible human presence on the planet earth (as derived from the given premises). Our present point of observation (OP) is situated in the third part of the Second Quadrant, which is fairly at the beginning of the visible time span, heading towards the First Major Approach in 400.000 years time. Problematic times will occur in about 4.8 (FVC) and 9.2 million years (SVC). Mankind will be around on the earth for another 18 million years.

II. The second example of the expected occurrence of man on earth takes two different Points of Recognition as references. The beginning of the communication cycle V is determined at the Australopithecus (at 4 mya) and the First Visibility (FV) of Man is put at the Homo erectus appearing some 1.8 million years ago on the earth.

The main features of the CF-graph are calculated as follows:

   Beginning of V   (communication cycle)      = –   4     mya

     Beginning of FV (first visibility of Man)     = –   1.8 mya

                      5/16 V (invisibility area 0¹)           =     2.2

                            16

                 V =   ——— . 2.2     = 7.04   my     (full communication cycle V)

                               5

                               10

                 X =     ——— . 7.04 = 4.4 my        (visibility area X)

                                16

                                 1

                BU =   ——— . V = 0.44   my         (basic unit)

                                16

The basic calculations follow the same route as before assuming that the invisibility area (O¹) in the First and Second Quadrant consists of five units (BU). One basic unit (BU) is now 0.44 million years. The visible visibility area (X), consisting of ten BU’s, has a time span of 4.4 million years. The total communication cycle (V) is 16 x 0.44 = 7.04 million years.

The specific inflection points (Y) of the visible visibility period (X) of Man (Homo spec.) on earth are as follows (X is expressed in million years.

X = – 1.80               Y = 11.00 (FV)                       X = 0.84                  Y = 13.00 (SVC)

X = – 1.36               Y = 11.00 (AP)                       X = 1.72                  Y =   6.00 (SMA)

X = – 0.92               Y =   6.00 (FMA)                    X = 2.16                  Y = 11.00 (RP)

X = – 0.04               Y = 13.00 (FVC)                     X = 2.60                  Y = 11.00 (LV)

X =   0.40                Y = 10.00 (PP)

The abbreviations of the inflection points on the (visible) visibility area X of the CF-graph are given on p. 122, fig. 51.

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Fig. 79 – The CF-graph for the occurrence of Man on the planet Earth. The POR’s (Point of Recognition) are placed respectively at the Australopithecus, appearing some 4 mya and the First Visibility (FV) at the arrival of Homo erectus, some 1.8 mya.

The communication graph (fig. 79) shows the beginning (- 1.8 mya) and the end (over 2.6 my) of the visible human presence on the planet earth. The present (OP) is situated in the second part of the Third Quadrant, just after the First Visibility Crisis (which took place some 40.000 years ago).

The Pivotal Point (PP) will be reached in 400.000 years and the Second Visibility Crisis (SVC) takes place in 840.000 years (SVC). Mankind-as-a-whole will be around on the earth for another 2.6 million years.

III. The third example comprises the most recent approach to the Points of Recognition. Homo erectus is placed at the beginning of the communication cycle (V) as the first sign of any real human presence on earth (about 1.8 million years ago). Homo sapiens is chosen as the beginning of the first visibility of man, appearing some 250.000 years ago. The following calculations can be made:

   Beginning of V   (communication cycle)    =     – 1.8 mya

   Beginning of FV (first visibility of Man)     =    – 0.25 mya

                      5/16 V (invisibility area 0¹)         =       1.55

                            16

                 V =   ——— . 1.55 = 4.96   my       (full communication cycle V)

                             5

                            10

                X =     ——— . 4.96 = 3.1 my     (visibility area X)

                            16

                             1

               BU =   ——— . V = 0.31   my           (basic unit)

                            16

The features of the communication graph (in particular the inflection points) are known with this basic data at hand (fig. 80). One basic unit (BU) has, in this example, a length of 0.31 million years. The visible visibility area (X), consisting of ten BU’s, comprises a time span of 3.1 million years.

The important inflection points (Y) for the visible visibility period (X) of Man (Homo spec.) on earth are given below. The Points of Recognition (POR) are the appearance of the Homo erectus at 1.8 mya and the first visibility (FV) of mankind with the Homo sapiens at 0.25 mya. X is expressed in million years.

X = – 0.25                 Y = 11.00 (FV)                     X = 1.61              Y = 13.00 (SVC)

X =   0.06                  Y = 11.00 (AP)                     X = 2.23              Y =   6.00 (SMA)

X =   0.37                  Y =   6.00 (FMA)                  X = 2.54              Y = 11.00 (RP)

X =   0.99                  Y = 13.00 (FVC)                   X = 2.85              Y = 11.00 (LV)

X =   1.30                  Y = 10.00 (PP)

The abbreviations of the inflection points on the (visible) visibility area X of the CF-graph are given on p. 122, fig. 51.

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Fig. 80 – The CF-graph for the occurrence of Man on the planet Earth. The POR’s (Point of Recognition) are placed at 1.8 mya (Homo erectus) as the very beginning of the communication cycle (V) and the occurrence of Homo sapiens at 250.000 years ago as the first visible visibility (FV).

The human presence on the planet earth begins 250.000 years ago and will end in 2.85 million years (as derived from the chosen assumptions). The observational present (OP) is situated at the end of the second part of the Second Quadrant. The First Major Approach is 370.000 years away. Problematic times will occur in about 0.99 (FVC) and 1.61 million years (SVC). Mankind will be around on the earth for another 2.85 million years.

These three examples can be placed in a wider field in order to find more general rules in the relation between the different choices of visibility. A summary of the three positions of mankind follows here first:

Examples3

The most notable feature is the observational present (OP), which is different in the three examples. The position (of the present) is situated in the Second Quadrant in the first and third example and in the Third Quadrant in the second example. The time towards the First Major Approach (FMA) will take another 400.000 years in the first example and some 37.000 years in the third example. This particular moment (FMA) has already been past in the second example. An important question looms: What is the real present?

An observer in the present (OP) has to determine two parameters on the communication cycle to find out. The beginning of the communication cycle (V) and the moment of the First Visibility (FV) are two possibilities (fig. 81). If the beginning is put further backward in time (to the left; and the FV remains fixed) then the place of observation (OP) will shift towards the first visibility FV (i.e. to the left). Say, for example, that Ramapithecus is not 15 but 24 million years old, then the OP shifts 1.8 million years back in time (BU = 4 instead of 2.2). The OP is then situated at the inflection point of the second and third part of the Second Quadrant. If, on the other hand, the beginning (of V) is closer towards the FV (moving to the right; and FV remains fixed) than the OP moves further along the CF-graph (to the right). The present gets older…

This play of movement (making choices in visibility) can also be inverted. The two parameters are no longer used to find OP, but the OP and FV are used to find the beginning of the communication cycle V. This approach implies the crucial question: where is the present (on the CF-graph)? The question becomes even more interesting if FV is not fixed, but also flexible.

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Fig. 81 – The four parameters (a – d) involved in the choice of a visibility, which determines the observational present. The interpretation and definition of the beginning of the communication cycle V and the First Visibility (FV) are essential elements (situated in the past) to anchor an observer in a communication – including the position of man on earth. Other subjective characteristics of the (universal) communication graph (either in the past and/or in the future) can also be used to determine that position.

The presence of a Fourth Quadrant, allowing the inversion of (the Third Quadrant) and the choices/subjectivity (of the Fourth Quadrant) at the same time, offers a new scope on the history and future of mankind. Ultimately, we are in the mind of the beholder. Roger Lewin’s conclusion, as written down at the end of his detailed and somewhat depressing book on scientific bickering (‘Bones of Contention’ (1987; p. 318), is worth mentioning:

‘The truth about man’s place in nature is therefore to be sought in four quite separate dimensions. In the first three levels – of time, form, and behavior – there is scientific evidence, from fossils, stone tools, comparative anatomy and behavior, and molecular biology. Using this evidence, it may one day be possible accurately to draw lines back through time, connecting ourselves with our forebears, their forebears with theirs, and so on until a detailed evolutionary tree traces the link between humanity and brute nature. Exactly where brute nature ends, however, and humanity begins is not a question for molecular or comparative biology. Here there are no lines accurately to be drawn, no hypotheses to be tested, for humanity’s view of itself is constantly shifting, depending on the experience of the moment.’

It might, indeed, be the fourth dimension of subjectivity – as experienced in the Fourth Quadrant – which holds the key to the real position of man at the moment. The graciousness of our being is – in the most veracious investigation – found in the definition of visibility.

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