The presence of life in time
This chapter will enlarge the circle of our imagination by looking at the history of the earth. The chronicle of the planet and its ever-changing features is written in the rocks and can be inferred from the large-scale movements of the continents as they drift over the surface of the earth. However, the present approach to the geological history will differ from the ‘classical’ story as told in the textbooks. It will be an effort to perform historical research in a quadralectic way by using the CF-graph (and its characteristics) as a yardstick. Most important of this exercise will be an understanding of the method, which is employed. The following points of interest will be treated in more detail:
1. The definition of the boundaries of two extinct marine animals (Trilobites and the Ammonites) in the geological history and the significance of these boundaries for their ecological existence (6.2.1);
2. The presence of Large Animals (Visible Life) on the planet Earth as established in the geological history and the prediction of the total presence of large animals in the future (6.2.2);
3. The presence of Man, ‘Homo sapiens’ on the earth and the prediction of the complete visibility area of the human species (6.2.3);
4. The description of the geological history of the Earth (as a planet in the Solar System) and its existence within the Solar System and the Universe will be treated in the next chapter (6.3).
These investigations are carried out in a genuine quadralectic way and are never performed before. The theoretical framework and its premises are put to the test. The procedure gives way to a distinct enlargement of historical understanding. The only thing to do – in order to enter this vast outwardness – is to make a (personal) choice in a comparison between a given ‘fact’ (as a delimited visibility) and a recognized feature on a universal communication graph (as an indication of participation).
The major criticism will be – in particular from the established science – that (geological) data cannot be used in this way. Any personal (or collective) choice or intervention should be banned from a scientific inquiry. At least, that is the theory. Science should be neutral, just like nature. The gap between the facts and the interpretation of facts (see Ellenberger, p. 9) is experienced as a real dividing line between two different constellations. Firstly, there is the collection of facts, supposedly chosen from an infinite number in a strict objective way and, secondly, there is the – admittedly subjective – interpretation of (limited) facts.
Unfortunately, science itself is now so far transgressed, and the human involvement with its own inventions so thorough, that this procedure can no longer maintain credibility. Most scientists today know – if they are able to uphold their independent spirit – that any knowledge is deeply connected with the (subjective) choices, which are made earlier in the collection of facts. There simply is no objective way of data gathering. Sampling is always a process of selection influenced by a (personal or collective) method, which is stipulated in time and place. It is, for that very reason, that science can be as flexible as it is. The paradigm – as a collective scientific agreement – can be discarded at any time when the need is felt, and a better alternative crops up.
However, many scientists still hold on to a past, and a frame of reference, which is no longer generally applicable. They hang on to an old, abandoned rationality, which is built on oppositional thinking. The ghost of Descartes’ dualism lingers on, but it has lost its flavor and creativity. Oppositional thinking only works within the rigid boundaries of the observer’s point of view. Dualism is effective when participants in a communication are able to forget the self-imposed boundaries, for the time being. The reward for this temporary absent-mindedness is paid out as a ‘result’. One might ask what those results are really worth.
Any modern scientist would not like to perform an investigation in a state of trance or reverie, pretending that the self-imposed limitations do not exist. Nature, and the study of nature, is not something outside ourselves, but we are part of it. Nature’s choices are our choices and vice versa, and a modern scientist should face these realities with an open mind. There is no point to gain some success by fiddling the rules.
On the other hand, for those who renounce self-deception, there is no way back. One cannot pretend not to see in a wider psychological setting. The freshly gained subjectivity must have an expression in a scientific way. For a moment, it might seem as if this amplification will lead to chaos, but fortunately, there is a mathematical model, which comes to the rescue. One has to go simple back to the basics of communication – which is division and movement – and state a clear point of departure – which is the four- fold CF-graph, applicable to any given communication.
Visibility becomes meaningful in a process of shifting values within a comparison. Earlier in this book (p. 51) it has been stated that analogy (AN) must be regarded as a separate way of understanding. The mode of inquiry is distinct from the trial-and-error (TE), induction (IN) and deduction (DE) processes in other parts of the communication cycle (although it is used in all these ways of reasoning).
The point of recognition (POR) is important in the analogy method, because it is in this choice that the subjectivity of the observer becomes measurable. These points hold the key to a creative historical experience of everything imaginable. The registration of life in time – which is studied next – is probably the highest form of wisdom, which can be acquired as a human being, because it provides the boundaries of our existence.