Monday, August 28, 2006

The “Four-Way Thunk”

I based this work on original logical thought sequence to develop a base analytic engine which is capable of evaluation of any bulk of data or particular problem/situation humankind is confronting through living on this planet at this time.

Wooof. Heady words, but it wasn't what I actually started out to do. I had been in search of answers to questions my entire life, searching through various “systems” of thought in an effort to find answers. I had studied the New Testament when a youth and found my learning blocked by the varying interpretations and associated dogma, all separate from the original texts – which themselves had been translated into nearly contradictory versions. Some years later, I started a 25-plus year study of a modern West Coast religion, only to find that when I started studying its philosophic roots that its many interpretations had altered the basic truths of those background philosophies. These guys had gone far astray from where they started. That “religion” also turned out to be a broken philosophic study professing to be a “workable system”. They weren't alone in their delusions. Recent studies through conventional college courses and popular literature, particularly in the computer information services arena, showed more failed systems being touted as real solutions.

I was in search of a complete system. I had grown up on a Midwestern farm, observed Nature firsthand, and was educated during and after the “Silent Spring” era of environmental activism. I knew that, while any of humankind's tools would stay broken, and any fool could poison a stream or land temporarily, Nature as a system would heal itself on its own accord over time. The same should be true of any philosophic system.

The search for an actual system meant fitting a few criteria:

1. Systems work the same in microcosm as in macrocosm. The principles apply for both large and small arguments.

2. Systems have to be whole, bullet-proof.

3. Anyone who accurately applied such a system should get expected results routinely.

Practically, this rolls right back into the search and evidence for an underlying system which has shown up in pieces through different belief-systems. New Thought has tended to develop the discovery of the majority of these recurring points. This is, I believe, due to its decentralized nature, much as how Open Source is making far more contributions to the advances in computer science due to the idea that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” (ala Eric Raymond) for any given problem.

Dogmatic hierarchal organization has lost many source references from the Christian religion, for example, through the Council of Nicea under Constantine. Only with the advent of New Thought and improved tolerance of New Age open religion models, plus the current Internet-driven Information Age has Religion been able to confront its own beliefs and make use of recently discovered older texts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi Library. This starts to restore ancient knowledge to our use in developing or uncovering an underlying or base philosophic system.

What is exciting is that with the above discoveries we can start going through all this new data to uncover the natural systems of this universe. But while I was forced to reexamine analysis and produce a streamlined scientific method to process data, this didn't shrink the vast amount of data which needed evaluation. Essentially, I needed to quickly sort through data and either find that the data led toward a system or was able to be discarded. As well, I needed some way to re-include data if I later found that I actually did need it. So some tracking system was required.

Compounding this was that I needed this to operate simply, with principals which could be held in the mind. It would do no one any good if they couldn't digest data rapidly without having to have a computer on their lap or in hand which could spit data back to them. I needed to be able to analyze data while I was riding in a car, or jogging in the woods. You can't take the lightest computer everywhere – except the one between your ears.

The odd thing was is that I couldn't find any sort of analytic engine that existed purely in thought. I found one study of “Analytic Philosophy”, also called “Philosophical Analysis”. However, this just made philosophy itself very complicated, since it brought in the arguments of academic logic into philosophy, stating that the way to analyze philosophy was to review the logic content of its language, via complex mathematical formulas. With my practical Midwest background, I wasn't impressed by anything that wasn't immediately applicable by the man on the street.

While I studied computer programming as part of my studies when returning to college late in life in order to get a sheepskin, I saw that the analytic engines going by this name were complicated computer programs, running specific analysis algorithms – mainly meaning that they were just having computers to crunch this data using the same complicated mathematical analysis models that were developed over the ages. These weren't doing anything original, or refining existing analysis models. Computers only enabled these calculations to be done more quickly – or made far more complicated. This was another dead end, since it lead to more Academic “inbreeding” rather than direct answers and solutions. The man on the street was disconnected from these elite mathematicians and scientists. My idea of philosophy was to make it something anyone could study and use as a tool to evolve upward to a higher state. Ivory towers are profitable only to the professors who live in them and the painters they pay to keep them white.

When your pet theory is dumped on...

Rejection of mystical or metaphysical, even modern scientific theories was outlined by Thomas Kuhn in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, where he coined the term paradigm shift. Historically, some scientists burned as heretics when they presented new paradigm-models which were in violent conflict with existing paradigm-models. (Fortunately, we currently live in a more moderate age, where people are only burned “virtually” by “flaming”.) This is an understood phenomenon of confronting a datum or series of thoughts which doesn't align with an existing belief-system.

I've observed that most people tend to chase data which only support their existing belief-systems. When a consistently recurring series of data start showing up which disprove an existing system of beliefs, a person has the choices of

a) Re-evaluate the belief-system,

b) Continue to search for data which actually do support that system,

c) Select an alternate reality where only their belief-system is supported (madness).

This is covered here in order that you can see where your own belief-system or world-view is being violated somehow. As mentioned above, getting alarmed or perturbed when viewing new data is pretty normal, especially in this current culture. The point here is that you can either evolve your world-view or reject the data. New data either validates or expands your personal hypothesis of how things run, or makes things less workable. The best new data helps the individual evolve and live an easier, more productive, less stressful life.

How to Build a “Thunking” Machine

Let's review what the goal is here: to create a mental system (analytical engine) which can be used to process any amount of data, distill it into useful pieces, then blend this into your existing world-view so that you can improve your life.

The key is that you have to be able to do it all in your head, or keeping minimal notes on some scratch paper. What we are trying to do is to improve your native ability to figure things out rapidly.

The next point is to establish comparatives to work from. For widest application, these comparatives would be flexible, yet substantial in bringing the result to view. Mere stable data in any particular field wouldn't be useful, since disproving the veracity of a single datum could crash the entire paradigm or model. The working design for my comparatives is based on apparent thought patterns themselves.

The earliest history of this came from an anomaly I found in an interrelated triangle of Affinity, Reality and Communication (CSI). When one point of the triangle is increased, the other two increase as well. This triangle is then said to equate to Understanding (See Wikipedia entry “ARC Triangle” on this.). Some recent works down this line showed that understanding itself could be increased directly, making increases in the other three points. This gave a four-sided figure which was philosophically stable and predictable.

Earlier studies of Buckminster Fuller brought up the point of the tetrahedron being the smallest indivisible platonic solid in the universe (Marks). While space is commonly defined through three dimensions, it actually takes four points or faces to make a physical universe object. The hydrogen atom has a tetrahedral shape and is the smallest element known. This tetrahedron lent itself to enable a graphic shape of how such a four-sided figure would look. Fuller used this data to discover the geodesic dome and other architectural advances.

My leap was to consider that the tetrahedron (or other polyhedral models) could be used as a base for philosophic models. This then immediately led to another hypothesis: if there is one such philosophic-tetrahedral object (ARC=U above), then there might be more.

Review of the counseling material I had covered didn't produce any similar philosophic figures directly; however, review of my later studies into this wider field of improving Ability showed that Responsibility, Confront, Understanding and Purpose did interrelate directly to form such a tetrahedral philosophic model (four-way). Each of these principal points was required to achieve a stable improvement in personal ability.

I've included several essays which go down this line and expand on my use of this “Ability Formula”. By working on these four points, several advances in counseling can be achieved. Simple self-analysis texts can be designed along these points so that a person could examine his/her own beliefs and work them around to achieve an improved world-view.

While I initially called these “tetrads”, this is a bit professorially elite, so let's call them a “Four-Way Thunk”, which is easier to remember and use (one purpose of marketing). I'll use “Four-Way” for short and specific.

I had found one four-way, so looked around to see if these were still all that rare.

Through my college studies, I found that the various specialist courses tended to answer the problems found in other fields. Algebra started answering questions in Humanities. Geography and Economics both studied the problems of human culture, not just maps and number theories. Public Speaking started explaining Business English. I saw that while Academia had carefully separated these various areas into specialist studies, the “well-rounded” effect was being missed by most students, since they were not trying to find a whole system, but just trying to suffer through getting a degree. These different courses contributed in their cross-connection to finding these additional four-ways.

In studying Economics, cross-connecting this with Computer Courses as well as Modern Literature, in both fields I found that Service and Information were key elements to explaining how the Economics in general, and the Open Source software economic model specifically, worked. While these two points were initially thought to replace Supply and Demand in this Information Age, I later saw this wasn't correct, but that these two new points actually tended to complement the original two points. So a four-way was formed of Supply, Demand, Service and Information. This formulation gave simpler explanations for many phenomenons which occurred in working out economic theories and basics. The original dichotomy wasn't as efficient or effective in explaining new economic operating modes.

I now had a second four-way in a completely unrelated field to personal counseling.

Since I had two such four-ways, I looked for a third. In the course of my studies, I was looking over several modern religions. The value of religion in a person’s life – an organized cultural phenomenon, regardless of particular dogma – had proved itself a valid point in living life across the globe. I had run across the New Thought Spiritual Treatment and had read up on many of the early authors, such as Wattles, Haanel, and Allen. Four points came up in this: Vision, Action, Gratitude, and finally Faith – since a certain amount of personal belief was necessary to develop vision or generate action. Increasing any of these points increased the other three, so we had a third four-way.

I had three four-ways, which was quite enough to work on, in addition to full-time college and part-time work. However, working in four-values prompted an idea that there would be a fourth set. Since a person (Ability) had to work (Economics) somewhere, it was intuitively obvious that Nature would be the four-way to find. Nature was composed of Life. (Death can be defined as only the absence of life, much as darkness only exists in the absence of light.) Integrity appeared as the second item, since unless properly constituted, one could attempt to put life into a bunch of chemicals but would only end up with an elemental mess unless it was integrally organized and kept that way. Universe was filled in by intuitive deduction and this worked, particularly as it might be defined as System by synonym. Life had to operate somewhere and increasing Integrity made the Universe stronger. What would be the fourth element? Intuition again supplied: Gift. While this is again derived from New Thought roots and studies, it seems to fit in place. Our lives in these bodies can certainly be thought of as a gift from some Higher Intelligence or Great Creator. And we certainly make more of the gift if we live our lives with integrity in this universe. It's also pointed out by several modern finance authors that you have to give first in order to receive.

Certainly we had four points which can be used to analyze any given situation: Ability, Economics, Religion, and Nature. Within each of these four-ways, we have four elements to analyze that particular point.

There are or can be alternate wordings for each of these points, since the concept is important, not the form. Economics could also be called Work and could also be defined as Exchange. Religion might be Society or Health/Healing. Nature might be God or Higher Intelligence, though Environment certainly serves. Each of these four-ways' elements also could be worked by their synonyms.

By any name, we have a way to breakdown any presented situation into smaller parts and then sort these out. Given that these various combinations of points cover any known situation or world problem, I got busy working this new analytic engine to see if I could find some problem which would break it.

So far, it has solved anything I've thrown at it.

Additional points to four-ways and analysis

Some additional points are worth discussing here before we move on.

Fuzzy Logic is a key point in making any conclusion. Where a result is only 80 percent of what you wanted, this is probably better than a 40 or 60 percent solution. So while it isn't perfect, it is still a more optimal solution, so it qualifies. Perfection is rarely possible by humankind efforts, so let's not kill ourselves over it. If you shaved an hour off your time getting there, but didn't achieve your goal of two hours faster, it is still progress toward that goal. Refine your hypothesis and work the problem again.

Other platonic solids exist. I don't pretend that one couldn't make philosophic systems out of octahedron's or icosahedron's. There are some useful interrelationships which have five, six, and seven points. My work so far has only been on tetrahedral formats, four-ways. The more elements you have to keep track of, the seeming more difficult it would be to find instances which work as simply as four-ways, thought I don't say it is impossible. Certainly two four-ways might be interlinked to build a stable, integrated format. I just haven't tried it as what I've covered before has opened up so much to investigate that I haven't revisited the scene. (Were one to approach this system from a geodesic view, it would interlock various three, four, five, -- up to twelve-pointed figures in order to cover a volume – but this is completely beyond the scope of this book.)

There is also the recurring use of seven in various ancient texts. Again, this is way beyond the scope of this book, but is its own fascinating study.

There are also other four-ways which have been uncovered as other authors use them. Physicists map out four forces which compose this material universe: gravity, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces. Another four forces keep an aircraft in flight: lift, gravity, thrust, and drag. However, simply being composed of four parts, (such as the four factors used to determine fair use of copyrighted material) doesn't include them into a four-way. The four points have to be in constant interaction. For my use, I selected those four-ways rooted in the philosophic. Four-ways limited to specific physical applications, as those above, limit their ability to be useful in broad analysis. Again, the immediate applicability of the above overall four-way system (Ability, Economics, Nature, Religion) has me too busy evaluating results to review for more interactive four-ways.

Advanced analysis along this line actually points that any four of the 16 elements can be used to analyze a particular situation. That would be the subject of another complete book, beyond the scope of this one. That is provable, since if you improved any of the 16 points of the four four-ways, you actually improve all the other points to some degree. As well, it does require mentioning in passing that the hexadecimal basis of this philosophic concept actually lends this engine to computer programming at some time in the future, since hexadecimal is a machine-level language format and the basis for networking addresses, etc.

If you want to develop this into a computer program, please let me know about it. But go right ahead and work it up, regardless of hearing from me or not. The idea deserves such attention.

Let's dissect each of these four-ways and see what we can figure out by using these...

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