Divine Illumination and Revelation 


Section One

EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY 


                                                                                                   

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Chapter Three

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Part Three

THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE


Subjective Purposes

Every individual has needs and wants which spring from the imperative to survive and the demand for satisfaction of desires. Purposes arise from these needs and wants and the set of purposes determines the intellectual development of the mature individual. Purposes give rise to objectives. Objectives may be formed subjectively, although most people adopt the conventional objectives of their country and class. Thomas Kuhn observes that people who adopt the conventional objectives of their society are more likely to be successful according to that society's scale of values.

Individuation has been widely held to be the consequence of the physical body. It is, however, possible and common, for an individual to be unindividuated mentally, even though he or she recognises physical separation and personal physical characteristics. The subordinated person identifies totally with the group or groups of which he or she is a member. There is an extreme condition of blind acceptance of the culture, and of the ideology driving that culture, in which individuals uncritically accept and obey all ideological demands. Abraham Maslow has identified the opposite condition to subordination as self-actualisation, and claims that self-actualisation is the maximisation of individual potential, and this is the characteristic of outstanding people.

Individuality and subordination are consequences of cultural influences. Group-oriented ideologies inhibit individuality and produce subordination. Knowledge, which is intellectually empowering, leads to individuality and self-development. The understanding of the self, whether as self-actualising or subordinate, and its relationship to the understanding of reality, govern the individual's purposes, objectives and behaviours in life.

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Experience and Knowledge of Reality 

The Pursuit of Knowledge


Chapter One

THE MOTIVATION TO KNOWLEDGE


Philosophy and the Self

Every individual forms a subjective philosophy. The individual's philosophy comprises an understanding of the Self and an understanding of reality. Taken together these understandings give the individual an understanding of his or her life. It defines what reality is thought to be, and the individual's part in that reality. Purposes follow from the individual's needs and wants in relation to the subjective understanding of reality, and these govern behaviour.

The diversity of understandings of reality leads to a multiplicity of opinions on how to behave in pursuing purposes. Knowledge offers a solution to this confusion of opinions. Knowledge is the true understanding of reality and implies behaviours which are most likely to be successful.

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The Theory of Intelligence

The intellect, as the compendium of understandings, contains an understanding of the self. The "I" or spirit which is the nucleus of the intellect is to be distinguished from this understanding of the self. The I is not an understanding but an existent. One is aware in the present moment of the I but can predicate little about it directly but selfbeing and awareness. The I pre-exists its collection of understandings and constitutes the cognitive, emotional, and judgmental entity which assents to and annexes each new understanding. Its nature is, upon examination, intelligence and its function is willing expressed through its power of choice.

Choice, including assent to the truth of understanding, is made on the evidence presented by the set of relevant understandings within the intellect. What is not understood cannot be chosen. The intellect, as the systematic functioning of the I and its annexed set of understandings, is not compelled to assent to any candidate for inclusion as understanding. Nothing is self-evidently true.

The factors of satisfaction and happiness are associated with the self, or the "I" entity. These are sufficiently desirable to the self to influence choice. The self, in pursuing these ends, moves from the passive to the active state. In this state it forms purposes from which it derives objectives. Problems bar the achievement of the objectives and the self actively solves these problems by conscious thought and physical behaviour.

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The Understanding of the Self

The set of understandings includes an understanding of the self which is distinct from the cognitive entity, and it results from the judgments of the self about itself, based on experience. The record of all personal experiences and their explanations is the database from which the understanding of the self is formed. This self-understanding is built on a model of reality which relates the self to external reality, and it is subject to progressive modification. The process of ageing and the changes in the roles played by the individual in the family and in society modify the concept of the self. Military training and religious conversion are influences which can produce radical changes in the understanding of the self. The self, in making decisions, normally acts according to its self-understanding and therefore conforms to it. The self-understanding is a behavioural limiting factor but not a necessarily limiting one, since it is modifiable. The I identifies with its self understanding but can transcend its own understanding for purposes of self examination and self-improvement.

The individual's self-understanding explains to him who and what he is and his relationship to what he sees around him, physically and intellectually. It constitutes the set of apprehensions of the self to which the I has assented but which may be true or false. These apprehensions include not only those capabilities and limitations which have been judged as true in experience, but the underlying determinants of sex, age, race, physical characteristics, and class and educational limitations. These are coloured by emotional limitations such as interest and fear, and likes and dislikes. Individuals understand their past successes and failures and from these their strengths and weaknesses. Their natural dispositions and personal capabilities play a major part in the formation of their personal philosophy and the selection of personal objectives. The value placed on the self varies with the understanding of the self. Self-esteem and self-confidence, and their opposites, are the products of this understanding. The understanding of the self forms the personal attitudes to reality as the intellect sees it and it has been labelled "personality".

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Subjective Reality

The reality with which the individual deals is not the reality of objective knowledge but the subjective reality of personal experience. The set of experiences of this reality are reduced to a high level understanding or philosophy based on a general model of that reality. The highly educated child of intelligent, wealthy and doting parents has a vastly different set of experiences from the streetwise dropout from a broken home in the inner-city slums. The understandings of experience of reality of the two would have little similarity even if they lived in the same city. Their philosophies of subjective reality would, in consequence, define different sets of possibilities.

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Subjective Philosophy

All individuals have a philosophy, or philosophies, of sorts, although these constructions are not necessarily recognised as such, nor are they subjected to the critical examination applied to an objective philosophical system. The subjective philosophy brings together the individual's self-understanding and the understanding given by experience of subjective reality. It is formed by the set of truth judgments of the individual concerning all understandings of experience, whether sensible or ideal. The truth judgment may be absolute or conditional and is associated with a precis or other overview which identifies the understanding of experience and describes it.

The subjective philosophy may also assent to understandings which are not justified by experience. A belief concerning some ideology such as materialism or communism, or some religious doctrine, is a truth judgment and may be incorporated into the subjective philosophy as true, partly or conditionally true, or false. An individual may, for example, accept as true a theory such as Relativity without clearly or even correctly understanding it. He may accept the principle of Evolution while having reservations concerning Darwin's explanation of its mechanisms.

From his position as subjective philosopher the individual knows that which he has assented to as the truth and this guides all his future judgments. This philosophy may be falsified in whole or in part by later experience. Falsification may lead to disillusionment and radical changes, often extravagant, in the subjective philosophy. While the truth of the philosophy stands the individual will resist all challenges since his philosophy appears to him as consistent with his lifetime's experience.

The individual's subjective philosophy is an understanding and has both a model of reality and a set of rules that govern the operation of that model. The philosophy functions in a similar manner to a scientific theory of reality and is the highest level of explanation of subjective reality. The subjective philosophy provides the means to manage present and to some extent control future experience and enables the individual to evolve a set of purposes and objectives.

The self-understanding is a major influence on the subjective philosophy. The understanding of the self as a physical body with a mind produces the materialist philosophy. The understanding of the self as a mind with a physical body produces the Cartesian type of rational or idealist philosophy. Generally speaking, the materialist self-understanding is the normal case for immature and other inadequately developed intellects and philosophical considerations in maturity lead to the rational understanding.

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Multiple Philosophies

The individual may be unable to integrate all his understandings into one philosophy and in consequence is forced to work with multiple philosophies. The common situation is that the intellect is internally divided into understandings based on incompatible realities.

Diagram 1.3.1 shows the basic structure of the integrated intellect. The intelligence or spirit, known to itself as "I" or "me", sees the universe of experience through the philosophical understanding which models those features of the set of models of reality which are regarded by the individual as significant. The philosophical understanding does not replace the set of models of reality which continue to function and develop in normal dealings with experience.

The Structure of the Integrated Intellect 

Diagram 1.3.1

Diagram 1.3.2 shows the structure of the fragmented intellect. The individual is unlikely to have an "understanding of everything", and the fragmented intellect is the common case. The individual compartmentalises his philosophies and their related understandings and deals with experience through one compartment only at any one time.

The Structure of the Fragmented Intellect

Diagram 1.3.2

This does not normally present difficulties except where a matter affects two or more compartments in which case only confusion follows since the intellect cannot resolve such problems.

Fragmentation of reality produces multiple philosophies. An individual may have separate philosophies covering business, religious matters, politics and social matters, and his personal environment. Inconsistencies may become apparent between these philosophies but, in the face of continued failure to integrate the models of reality, they must be separated into exclusive compartments to avoid confusion.

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Purposes

The individual's philosophy, or philosophies, provides the basis for the determination of purposes and the fixing of objectives. From the subjective philosophy, based on the models of reality that result from experience, the individual derives purposes appropriate to his self understanding, and these purposes shape and colour his set of understandings and to some extent determine his future experience.

Purposes may be clearly defined intellectually or may be unexplainable emotionally based wants. The pursuit of these purposes brings the individual into confrontation with ignorance and determines which problems are real for the individual. The solving of these problems are necessary steps on the path to the achievement of purposes. The intellect in solving real problems annexes the solutions as understandings and grows in the process. The mature intellect controls its own development according to its purposes. Diversification of vocations and interests in the more mature intellects produces individualised development.

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Behaviour

All behaviour is the expression of understandings. This is given in the formula:- 

EXPERIENCE...> UNDERSTANDING...> BEHAVIOUR 

Philosophical understandings enable the individual to control his mental and physical behaviour, enabling purposeful behaviour to achieve aims and desires. All human behaviour is purposive, no matter how vaguely discernible the purpose may be.

Where the expressed behaviour is less than successful in satisfying the purposes being pursued the cause may be traced to the understanding that is driving that behaviour. The most successful behaviours follow from knowledge. Since all his purposes require behaviour for their satisfaction they are all dependent to some extent on knowledge and the individual may decide to base all his behaviour on knowledge as far as this is possible. The pursuit of knowledge then becomes the primary purpose of the individual.

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Experience and Knowledge of Reality 

The Pursuit of Knowledge


Chapter Two

THE INTELLECT AS AN OPERATING SYSTEM


The individual, with sets of purposes, objectives, and problems, must face the daily world of experience, and execute behaviours believed to be to his or her advantage. Success and failure follow from the quality of the individual's intellect.

The intellect may be compared to the computer operating system which responds to outside stimuli and produces appropriate outputs by invoking the appropriate routines. An understanding functions like a computer program to be retrieved from the library of such programs and executed, under the control of the intellect, when the trigger conditions arise. A fundamental difference between the computer operating system and the intellect is the individual's ability to make unprogrammed decisions in situations where pre-programming does not exist or is inadequate. The intellect is therefore the programmer with a previously produced set of programs at its disposal. These understandings are produced by the intellect, as the programmer, over the lifetime of the individual. The individual's problem solving method is also the programming method.

The existence of the library of preprogrammed mental and physical behaviour definitions relieves the intellect of a vast amount of repetitive problem solving. The individual behaves like a computer user who can apply the system to his purposes and problems without having to consider the basics of system operation.

The understanding, and the model of reality on which it is based, is a logical entity. When that understanding is invoked to deal with experience, or problems generally, it is expressed and its expression is behaviour. Behaviour is both mental and physical. Any behavioural sequence is a mixture of the two forms and they cannot be separated. Behaviour is always purposive, although purposes may be trivial and irrational. Every experience and problem of action is viewed in relation to one or more purposes and the objectives that flow from these.

The intellect with its set of understandings is sufficient to account for that subset of human behaviours which is common to all mature individuals within Western culture. These behaviours are 

1. The ability to maintain second by second control of the thinking processes and physical behaviour. 

2. The ability to deal with day by day experiences of all types and to respond to those experiences in a more or less appropriate manner. 

3. The ability to impose the will, in the form of purposes and objectives, on present problems in order to shape the future. The following discussion considers how the system gives the individual control of his life situation.

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The Management of Current Status

The individual needs to know at all times certain facts which are subject to change with time. He needs to know the date and approximate time, where he is, the relationship of these facts to his current short term schedule, and the current status of all his relationships and projects. When the individual wakes each morning the first activity of the intellect is to re-establish this data. This control information is updated during the operational day. Current status is an aspect of self understanding and is always influenced by that understanding. An individual who loses control of his current status is at best confused and at worst could be regarded as mentally sick.

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Information Systems

Human beings are purposeful and all human behaviour is directed to one or more goals. The determination of a purpose and the fixing of the immediate objectives results in a goal-seeking system. The common state of an individual is that of working within one or more goal-seeking systems. This type of system processes information, modifies understandings, and selects behaviours.

Goal seeking behaviour brings into operation personal information systems. These systems provide the individual with the necessary current status information. An information system is therefore created by the adoption by the individual of a purpose, and is shaped by the setting of objectives. An information system may be stable or dynamic. Dynamism implies a high rate of change of the environment and therefore of the model; stability is the opposite state. A dynamic model cannot be divorced from its information data, as given in experience, or it quickly becomes obsolete. Information changes the model in some way that is relevant to immediate behaviour. An example is given by the model of reality in use when driving a car, and its continuous modification in the light of the stream of data about road and traffic conditions. With more stable systems the events and time intervals are recognisably large. For example, data that measures changes in the state of the economy provide information to money management systems. Understandings of experience which are modifiable by experience, in the form of information, are prototypes, and they are based on models of virtual reality. Information is necessary to relate them to real world states of affairs. The current status of the intellect is given by the state of all projects as modified by the latest information.

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The Management of Experience

People develop over their lives a set of understandings which covers their normal experiences, and which incorporates techniques for dealing with recurrences of those experiences. Most of what is experienced is familiar to them and is dealt with more or less successfully. Their past experiences are explained by their set of understandings which are based on models of reality. These models reflect what they have judged to be the essential features of the experiences for which they are accounting, and structure the environments which they infer give rise to them.

The recurrences of events of experience lead to the automatic selection of predefined behaviours. Behaviour is both mental and physical. Any behavioural sequence is a mixture of the two and they cannot be separated. The act of summing a set of numbers may involve physical activities in recording intermediate workings. Even where the arithmetic is performed mentally physical activity is usually inhibited to permit concentration of effort and this inhibition is a physical behaviour. New experiences are incompatible with existing models of reality and are recognised as problems. As such they must be dealt with by the individual's problem solving behavioural programs. The invoking of these routines is again automatic.

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Reality Model Types

The intellect has no innate or given structure but is structured by experience, and by the order of that experience. Diagram 1.3.3 shows an intellectual structure typical of a mature individual in Western culture. The main division within the intellect is between understandings of the self and understandings of external reality. Personal understanding comprises the understanding of the self in relation to external reality in the form of roles or functions, and the understanding or meaning of the self as an existent. External understanding comprises understandings of the personal environment, the cultural environment, and the religious and moral reality. The understandings of purposes and objectives are outputs of the subjective philosophy.

                        THE STRUCTURE OF THE MATURE INTELLECT 

                    Diagram 1.3.3

The Personal Reality Model

This model is formed in the first instance in reaction to experience and is always subject to modification by further experience. The model grows from birth through all the stages of life. Initially all experience comes through the senses from the immediate personal environment. Later education and rational consideration of experience, which is mental experience, re-orders sensory experience.

The major constituents of the Personal reality model are:- understandings of people:- family, friends, acquaintances, others, and understandings of places:- buildings, roads, working and recreational areas. Understandings of behavioural conventions when interacting with the environment are included in the model. These inter-relate historically in the P.R.M. so that there is a chronologically determined logical separation between the childhood environmental model and that model which reflects the current environment and the current status of that environment.

The individual exists in the environment described by his Personal Reality Model. He has first hand experience of all aspects of the model and its events affect him in real terms.

Cultural Models

All other models are formed from information supplied by personal communication, education, research, or the media. These other models include a General Environment model in which the individual models the cultural reality he sees through the reports of others including the media, and a Theoretical reality model which reflects the reality or realities given by objective knowledge. These model types relate to cultural reality.

Personal and Mental Models

There may also be a model of inner personal reality. The inner model tries to explain its intellectual nature and the existence of the self. It is the reality of the self-understanding. It sees itself in many everchanging roles; as a child, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, student, team member, member of a trade or profession, spouse or partner in a family arrangement, parent, holder of various positions and offices in commercial and public organisations, grandparent, senior citizen, and so on. The meaning of the self may be physical, intellectual, or spiritual. An individual may, in his own estimation, be an animal as described by Biology. Another may see himself as a thinker in the Cartesian manner, with a physical body as an appendage. A third may see herself as a moral and spiritual being with rational capabilities, and a temporary body. In a self-creating system the meaning ascribed to the self, whatever it is, is self-determined and true for that individual, although it may not adequately reflect future possibilities.

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The Management of Behaviour

Behaviour is always purposive, although purposes may be trivial and irrational. Every experience and problem of action is viewed in relation to one or more purposes and the objectives that flow from these. Experiences that are irrelevant to purposes and objectives are automatically ignored by being treated as noise. Behaviour is more or less successful in relation to the individual's purposes and objectives. Where the behaviour is successful the understanding on which it is based is good. Failures stem from poor or false understandings. Success and failure are known from later experience. Later experience therefore corroborates or discredits the understanding and its preferred behaviour set.

The individual must select behaviours which he considers appropriate having regard to the understandings and information available to him. The set of behaviours from which he selects may be inadequate to the achievement of the goal of influencing the environment according to his purposes. Information feedback reveals the success or failure of the behaviour. Establishing the correct behaviour in a situation of ignorance is a difficulty which is dealt with either as an exception if it is short term or as a problem to be solved in the medium to long term. Exceptions must be dealt with on a trial and error basis. Problems must be submitted to a problem-solving process.

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Time Management

Short Term Planning

This activity is concerned with choosing an order in which to proceed through the operational hour and day, having regard to both the immediate goals and the obligations and other demands which must be fulfilled. It is based on a series of models which schedule normal events such as waking, catching trains, arriving at the workplace, and so on. These are supplemented by appointments, group meetings, and the need to make telephone calls. Written notes are sometimes used to further support the system but it may be observed that the busiest people rely on them the least. The system works if one has confidence in it. The understandings and the models on which they are based must be created in the face of experience. It is sometimes called "learning the routine". The requirement for efficient use of working time leads to a highly structured framework or model of the operational day.

The Management of the Future

The individual is compelled to select behaviours in the present which will affect his experience in the future and must base his selection on what he sees as rational grounds. This type of decision is normal and unavoidable. We do not usually postpone consideration of how to satisfy our needs and obligations until they become immediately urgent. For example driving a car requires continuous short term forecasting of the future state of road and traffic conditions based on what may be seen in the distance. The business of buying and selling shares requires some predictive information relating to the medium term future.

The most common approach to forecasting assumes that the same sorts of experience will occur in the future as in the past. This simple model always operates in a set way, and is unaffected by future change. Physics deals with this type of model. Nobody seriously expects that atoms or molecules will behave differently one hundred years from now. For Physics the normative model and the predictive model can be one and the same. This correspondence between the two models accounts in large part for the success of Physics in comparison with other disciplines. At the other end of the scale there are models whose present status offers only minimal guidance as to its future behaviour. Economic models fall into this category.

The predictability of future experience commonly decreases with increasing projection into the future and the individual must resort to forecasting techniques. Using these techniques the individual builds a model of the future state of reality. The model may be static or dynamic. In a more sophisticated model trends and cycles are taken into account. There has to be some definable relationship between the normative and the predictive models for forecasting to work. Where the predictive model is less than credible, or is otherwise unacceptable, the effort may be put into creating an objective model and attempting to realise that instead. An objective model is one that reflects the wants of the individual and implies that behaviour is directed by some plan of action towards the achievement of aims. Long term human activity is normally based on an objective model of reality envisaged by the individual.

The least certain model is that which is subject to discontinuity. Discontinuities are introduced into economic models by recessions, social upheavals, and war. At the individual level the individual's future predictions and plans may be upset by, for example, weather variations in the short term, and job loss, bereavement, or family breakup, in the medium to long terms. Human beings cope with misfortunes and endeavour to reconstruct their working models of reality on some more certain basis. Every long term model, and the plans that are made on the basis of it, must consider the death of the individual. For the atheist little can be done, and therefore little needs to be done other than to make a will. For the theist the possibility of a life after the death of the body needs to be considered, but it cannot be planned for in the manner that life in the world is planned. These considerations are taken up in the subjective philosophy and can affect all behaviour.

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The Search for Knowledge

The efficiency of the intellect as an operating system may be seen in experience. If objectives are achieved and purposes satisfied then the intellect is performing well. If failures result the individual must consider the causes. He may question whether he has correctly understood the reality, whether the right problems have been solved, if the problem solving method has been properly applied, and whether he has asked the relevant questions.

If the individual, in the midst of the wreckage of his purpose, determines to base further behaviour on true understanding he stands in need of knowledge. His purposes, objectives, and behaviours are then directed to improving his set of understandings using criteria for knowledge.

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Experience and Knowledge of Reality 

The Pursuit of Knowledge


Chapter Three

THE CULTURE AS KNOWLEDGE


This chapter discusses the relationship between the individual and group cultures from the point of view of knowledge

The culture is the set of solutions to the common problems of the group and it determines the nature of the group and its institutions through the selection and definition of problems for solution. The State, for example, is the solution to certain problems of the culture.

The culture is formed, extended, and improved by new solutions to common problems. Cultural solutions may rest on opinions, which may be ideological, or irrational. When the culture insists on true solutions to its problems it requires conformity to the standards of knowledge and cultural decisionmaking and behaviour is then driven by knowledge. 

The form then is 

CULTURE = KNOWLEDGE --->CULTURAL BEHAVIOURS 

The culture, as the set of true solutions to the common problems of the group, amounts to knowledge. Knowledge is the correct solution to the problems of reality, and cultural knowledge is the set of correct solutions to the problems of cultural reality. Knowledge enables the correct behaviours for dealing with reality and the successful achievement of cultural purposes follows from knowledge. Knowledge is therefore a form of power. At the cultural level 

CULTURE = KNOWLEDGE = POWER

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The Development of Intellects

The set of solutions to the problems of an individual form the set of understandings within his intellect. This set of understandings is the individual culture. To a large extent the set of intellects is formed by education and training based on group cultural solutions to the problems of experience. Generally speaking, intellects are the products of the group culture. 

The form is 

CULTURE ---> THE SET OF INTELLECTS

If the culture is based on knowledge then education will be based on knowledge and the set of member intellects will be founded on knowledge. 

CULTURE = KNOWLEDGE ---> SET OF INTELLECTS = KNOWLEDGE 

At the individual level knowledge, whether culturally given or personally achieved, empowers the individual. 

INTELLECT = KNOWLEDGE = POWER

If the culture is based on an ideology the set of member intellects will be ideological. 

CULTURE = IDEOLOGY ---> SET OF INTELLECTS = IDEOLOGICAL 

The picture of reality drawn by an ideology may or may not correspond to the reality given by experience. 

If the formula 

EXPERIENCE OF REALITY ---> KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY ---> MENTAL AND PHYSICAL BEHAVIOURS 

is considered, knowledge determines the individual's behaviour. When an ideology is substituted for knowledge the formula becomes 

INITIAL ASSUMPTIONS ---> IDEOLOGICAL REALITY ---> MENTAL AND PHYSICAL BEHAVIOURS 

The ideology then determines the understanding of reality and how the individual will think and act in that reality. If the ideological understanding of reality departs significantly from knowledge the behaviours that follow will be incorrect. In terms of power to achieve purposes the usefulness of the ideology depends on the extent to which it is knowledge compliant.

Understandings of reality which are at variance with knowledge of reality may be classed as illusions and behaviours based on illusions have unpredictable consequences. If the culture rests on illusions in the forms of traditions, customs, and superstitions, member intellects will comprise collections of ideas of doubtful worth. 

CULTURE = ILLUSIONS ---> SET OF INTELLECTS = ILLUSIONS 

By definition an illusion is an unjustifiable substitute for the understanding of reality, and is disabling. There may be little difference in value to the group between an ideology and an illusion

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Three stages of cultural development.

Cultures, to be successful, must address themselves to real problems. Primitive cultures are concerned with problems of survival. They need to appropriate, exploit, and defend their means of survival. Primitive cultures are therefore philosophically materialist. They are concerned with "know-how" rather than knowledge. Know-how comprises techniques for manipulating reality for material gain whereas knowledge is the true understanding of reality.

Rational cultures are concerned with the problems of social and economic organisation and methods, and truth and morality are important considerations in problem solving in these environments. Truth and morality can only be applied within cultures that have knowledge of these subrealities. However, rational cultures also depend on the prior existence of successful materialist cultures. Knowledge and education, in all its forms, physical, cultural, intellectual, moral, and religious, have to be paid for.

Spiritual cultures are concerned with the meaning of life. Cultural survival and moral and efficient group organisation and procedures are insufficient in themselves to justify the effort and cost of life. Successful spiritual cultures rest on the knowledge achieved by prior successful rational cultures. Spiritual cultures which are irrational are often unprogressive and oppressive and are sometimes dangerous. Conflicts between religious groups may often be traced to ignorance of the truths given by rational knowledge of reality.

In the 20th century several societies have tried to evolve a more moral and efficient culture but have employed irrational and immoral ideological means. The result has been failure and disaster. The correct path of cultural development is from the sensible reality, through the rational, to the spiritual, and it must be based on true knowledge of reality. The evidence of the historical record indicates that most cultures never evolve past the materialist stage and are ultimately extinguished by cultural competition.

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Cultural evolution

Individualised development is often discouraged by dominant cultural ideologies because the non-standard intellect may conflict with the desired cultural understanding. Generally, systems of thought which are uncertain of their ability to defend their understanding of truth demand rigid adherence to the established creed. Systems of beliefs which have recourse to a valid theory of knowledge can both accept true advances in knowledge and show how erroneous claims to knowledge deviate from the truth. Cultures which are founded on knowledge evolve through knowledge development. Cultures which are open to short term progress and long term evolution require a sound theory of knowledge which can support the transition of the culture through all stages of development and they also need a growing edge of advanced thought based on that theory. All knowledge is achieved subjectively and is produced by knowledgeable individuals. The development of outstanding individual intellects should therefore be encouraged in the interests of cultural progress.

Relative knowledge is subject to periodic refutation and replacement and is therefore unstable and unreliable. The theory of knowledge must show that it can reach absolute knowledge and truth, and therefore have absolute truth status itself. The success of the problem solving method is relative to the theory of truth used in the problem solving procedure. Where that theory of truth can be shown to be absolute the problem solving method gives absolutely true solutions.

The next section examines the problem of truth.

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V9