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How Can You Know If Something Is True?

(How We Tested Our Theories back in 2008)

This article was written only months before I discovered the map of the mind. And while these ideas are still true, our standards for accessing truth have since been raised a thousand fold. More important, in 2010, I began work on a new scientific method, one with which discoveries are guaranteed. This method, published in 2016, also contains a far more stringent test for truth. I have left this article unchanged as shows the relationships between my work on mind and consciousness (see Solving ther Mind Body Mystery, 2010), Emergence Personality Theory (see Unraveling Human Nature, 2011), and the Emergence Therapies (see Therapy for Therapists, 2020). It also shows how all three prospectives still apply; the view of the mind, the perspective of personality, and as part of a working therapy.

truth test fractals matrix

On What Do We Base Our Three Emergence Based Theories?

The First Truth Test - the Two Geometries
(the meta truth test)

Socrates had four main areas of study. Of these, the nature of Truth must surely be the most valuable. Granted, the nature of Language is priceless. Without it, we would have no way to bridge life's sometimes suffocating aloneness. With no knowledge of the nature of Virtue, life would be a constant battle against the rationalizations of the mind, making life an endless negotiation with the will for the space in which to make a good life. More basic still is the nature of Human Nature, without which we would forever remain strangers in our own land, the face in the mirror a face we could not know leading to the unexamined life not worth being lived as Socrates said.

Despite the immense value of these latter three things, none could exist without the first; the nature of Truth. Thus all knowledge must first address the nature of truth itself. What did Socrates use as his method for discerning truth? His method survives today in a simple Latin phrase; the sine qua non; "that without which." Roughly translated, this phrase means you can define the true nature of something only by deleting all of it's extraneous qualities, all of it's non essential qualities, until at last you are left with only "that without which the thing would be what it is."

Logically, one cannot fault Socrates here. His reasoning appears perfect. Moreover, from this maxim we can see that Socrates believed truth existed only in the essence of things. Thus by inference, the rest of a thing was relegated to the small details, stuff associated to the thing more by chance than by purposeful design.

Interestingly enough, the essence of modernity's underpinnings; the scientific method, begins with this very same idea. They seek to identify the sine qua non of things. To wit, researchers spend lives designing test situations wherein they can, in a controlled way, isolate this very nature.

Unfortunately, there is a logical flaw in their practice, one which exists primarily in their test for knowing they've arrived at a sine qua non. Their test? The ability to reliably produce mathematically meaningful repetitions. The ability to create outcomes which are said to be meaningful by virtue of the fact that they are better than chance outcomes.

Unlike Socrates then, science sees truth in mere mathematical repetitions, even when this result cannot ever generalize to individual cases.

Truth for Socrates was a much purer goal. Reduce the thing to exactly that without which this thing would not be itself but no more. This means the reductions could never be seen as valid if, in the process, the nature of the thing got destroyed.

The scientific method ignores this problem. Hence the root of their frequently assaultive defensiveness. What I mean is, by making mathematically meaningful repetitions their holy grail, science ignores the fact that the nature of a thing no longer exists below a certain level of reductions.

This means they make getting reliable numeric results more important than finding the essence of a thing, even if these reductions destroy the nature of the thing.

To see this as true, let's look at what many see as one of the two leading theories of personality; trait theory. What is trait theory? It is arguably the most reductive scientific effort ever devised, in that it claims to be able to describe the essence of human nature using only five pairs of opposite words. That science accepts this theory as having any validity begs the question, what is it they are using to judge truth. The answer? Mathematically meaningful numeric repetitions, none of which are pragmatically capable of predicting, to any significant degree, the personality features of randomly chosen individuals.

That this alone should qualify this theory as entirely spurious is obvious. Yet three hundred years of scientific chest pounding has scared the pants off most dissenters.

Is a there a sane alternative to using mathematically meaningful numeric repetitions as a test for truth though, one which does generalize to individuals in a scientifically reliable way? What follows claims to be just such an alternative. Before preceding though, we must first explore briefly the tests for truth being used here. Do they, for instance, discern their truth without destroying the nature of the things they explore. Do they truly arrive at the sine qua non?

Our first look into human nature then will focus mainly on this idea, as we aspire to answer the very question Socrates sought to answer; what is the essential nature of truth itself? To do this, we'll use a variation of the most basic maxim in all of Emergence Theory: "You Cannot Change What You Cannot See." The variation is, you cannot test for truth what you cannot see.

How does this apply to our being able to successfully conduct practical, real world tests for truth? Begin with that this success rests entirely on knowing what we can and cannot test a thing for; what parts of a thing we can know as true and what parts we can never know.

Here then is how to know this difference.

  • There are two ways we can test things for the presence of an absolute truth; classical geometry, and fractal geometry. Both can be used to test things for absolute truths, things which are true one hundred percent of the time. This stands in direct opposition to things like statistical tests which, at best, can discern only partial truths; things which are true only under certain conditions and never one hundred percent of the time.
  • The key to our being able to test for truth then lies entirely in our having a precise knowledge of our limits. We must know what we can, and cannot, test for truth. What can we test for? Visual patterns; recognizable patterns; already known patterns. What we cannot test for is anything else, including the infinite variations which make real world things real world as opposed to the predictable certainties of ideal world things.
  • The limits of what we use to test for truth then is to contrast and compare something against a known visual pattern. Other than this, we cannot test things or ideas for truth. We can of course test things for trends, for instance, using statistic science. At times, these trends may even lead to the discovery of recognizable geometries. However, until this happens, statistical results cannot be considered a truth. At best, they are a trend and even then, only within the test situation.
  • A test for truth then is, does the arrived at result appear true one hundred percent of the time. Does it? If not, then at best, we are seeing a trend, something “true” only within artificially constructed circumstances, the essence of which is that, in order to get the results to repeat, we must first remove the very things which make this thing a real world object.
  • Stated pragmatically then, the only authentic truth we can test for is what one might call, the "container." As opposed to what we can never test for truth, that which we might refer to as the "content."
  • Here then is the key to knowing what we can and cannot test for truth; knowing the difference between the container and the content. Everything in the real world has both.
  • Applied to a real world object then, say an oak leaf, based entirely on pattern recognition, an oak leaf can be tested and known with certainty to be true oak leaf. What is especially important to notice here is that we can discern this truth despite the fact that no two oak leaves will ever be the same. Equally important, what we can never test for is these variation, albeit, we can statistically discern trends.
  • In other words, our ability to test for truth is limited to the fractal patterns which make a leaf an oak leaf. What we can never test for truth then is the basic qualities which make it a real world object; the infinitely variable content of this fractal pattern which makes each and every real world object unique even within its object group; its color, texture, smell and so on.
  • Finally, using this test for truth, we can discern patterns in human nature which are one hundred percent true, even in cases wherein the content has yet to be seen. This proves false the maxim that because we can never witness all cases, we can never know the whole truth. We can know a whole truth but only in knowing a geometry.

Now let's explore these two geometries, looking at the sine qua non of each. What defines each study as a geometry? What are the limits to their ability to discern truth?

Truth Test 1 - the Two Geometries

The Second Truth Test - the Psychophysical Tests
(the macro truth test)

In the Nineteenth Century, minds were inspired largely by discoveries within physics. To see this as true, one simply need look at how Freud's certainty about there being an unconscious came directly from his applying the one of the Laws of Thermodynamics to the psyche. "Nothing can be created or destroyed. It can only change form."

Freud saw that when an energy comes to exist within the mind, that will continue to exert itself until it is expended. His realizations about the unconscious state then came from that he realized that when the form was unacceptable to the person, that the energy somehow continued to exist but in a changed form.

Herein lies the essence of Freud's great work, an essence largely founded on the then being discovered laws of physics.

Similarly, a century prior, Anton Mesmer assumed that his work in and around "magnetized baquets of water, mirrors the newly discovered laws of physics regarding Leyden Jars; devices used to collect electricity. In essence, he assumed our psychic energies were governed by the same laws as electricity. And a century later, this proves true as far as how Freud's unconscious parallels the laws of thermodynamics.

Of course, the obvious truth here is that the actual content; magnetized water, is entirely spurious. Equally spurious is the idea that we actually have a physically literal "unconscious." At the same time, that our psyches follow the laws of physics as if they do have these same physical characteristics is not only true. It's the basis of the only double check possible when testing for truth in the psyche.

What I'm saying is, similar to the ancient Hermetic maxim, "as above, so below," what lives out in the physical world and what lives in the world of our inner minds both adhere to the same laws. This idea, named "psychophysics" by one of its early proponents, Fechner, has been largely ignored during the last century, mainly because science hasn't learned to see containers as separate from content.

Applied to our search for truth in the world, we now have two methodological guidelines; fractility, and psycho physicality. For truth to exist, both must be present, and appear in the reverse order of what I've just stated; psycho physicality then fractility.

Why this order? Because the laws of physics are fractals. The authentic ones anyway. Thus E=MC2 is a fractal. E=IR is fractal too. Both are recognizable patterns which always repeat differently. Both are knowable containers which are one hundred percent true while at the same time having infinitely variable content.

The Emergence Matrix is similar in that, unlike any normal matrix, this one is fractal. Every cell contains the identical fractal pattern but with infinitely variable content.

In addition, if you begin with the upper left hand cell, you'll find psycho physicality here also. Thus, while this cell contains a fractal description for all of human consciousness, this same fractal mirrors exactly the pattern of Einstein's fractal; E=MC2.

Now let's look at how the psycho physical laws governing waves created transverse waves (as opposed longitudinal waves) explain the way the matrix fractally expands.

A Psychophysical Fractal Example: Transverse Waves

(the fractal for all developmental processes)

All processes in nature, including human nature, involve change, and all changes in some way mirror the fractals for the ways waves change. To see this, we'll need to look at the fractals for the two most basic kinds of waves, transverse and longitudinal. With transverse waves (e.g. most water waves), the motion of the wave is to the left or the right, while the motion of the medium is up and down. In other words, the motion of the medium is perpendicular to the motion of the wave. Whereas with longitudinal waves (e.g. sound waves), while the motion of the wave is also to the left or right, the motion of the medium is to the left and right as well. Thus the motion of the medium is parallel to the motion of the wave.

Now consider how this occurs. Transverse waves result mostly from an initial displacement, the rock thrown into the pond, for instance, causing the water beneath it to be pushed down. Longitudinal waves derive mostly from oscillations. Again, all of nature includes the influences of both.

Transverse Waves as How Personlity evelops

Applied to how the Emergence Matrix develops, the matrix originates in the upper left hand corner cell (the Meta Meta cell), then spreads outward in waves, creating first the Meta, then the Macro, then finally the Micro.

Transverse Waves as How the Emergence Mtrix Develops

The Third Truth Test - The Mind Body Connection
(the micro truth test)

The Third way to test for truth is by using the Mind Body Connection of a single person. This test is based on the idea that the rate at which information is perceived creates a bias as to which brain interprets the data, the mind's brain (brain in the head) or the body's brain (the brain in the gut).

Truet Test 3 - Mind Body Connection

How does this test work? It's simple really. Human consciousness has but three basic properties; information, meaning, and time, and the speed at which you sense this information (rate of time) determines the form in which you experience it; as thoughts, or as feelings.

Now can you see the problem already? I've just made a rather outrageous statement; that all of human consciousness can be reduced to three interactive properties. Unfortunately if I proceed without first proving how I test for this truth, we will step into the same mire much of modern science currently wallows in; the idea that tests for truth which yield mostly true outcomes are as close to the truth as we can come.

Tests for truth which only yield mostly true outcomes are, at best, only starting points, first steps on the way to the truth, and never truth itself. That most of modern science chooses to ignore or forget this logic means many of their so called scientific "truths" rest entirely on artificial circumstances; they are true only in a laboratory.

The problem of course lies not so much with the good folks who do scientific research. It lies more with how scientific research gets funded. People who get repeatable, reliable results get funded. People who do not, don't. This has led to a form of scientific research which has more in common with the Emperor's New Clothes than with truth.

In other words, because funding mainly goes to those getting results, researchers make the truth fit their tests, rather than fitting their tests to the truth.

This means the better you are at designing test situations which lead to statistically significant outcomes, the more money you get. Unfortunately, the very foundation on which all these tests rest; the artificial environment, invalidates the test. In other words, We do not live in artificial environments. We live in a messy, chaotic world. Thus while statically significant outcomes may indeed begin the process, to mistake these beginnings for the truth is to mistake sugar cane for a gourmet meal.

Can we do better? For instance, can we test my outrageous claim for truth? Yes. More to the point, if this claim does not pass all three truth tests at a one hundred percent true level, then we will not claim it is true, not even partially true.

Does this sound too stringent? Consider this. Would you be comfortable with a pregnancy test which said you were probably pregnant but could not say for sure? How about a marriage certificate which said you were married thirty two percent of the time? How about a college degree that said you were qualified to do twenty nine percent of your career? How about a television that worked eighty six percent of the time.

Scientific research settles for far less than this. Anything above random is seen as significant!

We, on the other hand, require our truths to be true one hundred percent truths, in all three test situations.

  • It must be fractal (be a recognizable pattern which always repeats differently).
  • It must be true psychophysically (this truth must conform to both the laws of physics and the laws of psychology)
  • It must be a truth which can be witnessed by both the mind and the body in real life situations (never just mere logic nor intuition alone.)

So can my claim about human consciousness; that it has three but three basic qualities, meet these three truth tests? Yes. And my claim about the mind and body as well. Along with a way to empirically define wounds, and healing as well. As well as a proof for whether you have actually learned something versus having merely memorized data.

All this is possible only if you can prove truth in real world situations. This is what we have discovered. Imagine knowing an empirical proof for truth itself? We claim to be able to offer you this.

To see this though you must be willing to set aside what you've been using to test truth and apply a more critical measure. One which may crumble the very walls of scientific research. One which requires one hundred percent truths in real life situations.

Curious where I'm going? I invite you to see for yourself.