Divine Illumination and Revelation 

Section Two




Previous Section

Chapter One 

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Next Part

Read Text Online

The Western Intellectual Tradition has, over the centuries, preferred the material reality, and devalued the ideal. The introspective observation of ideas suggests a lack of order which is almost chaotic. Ideas appear to be very transitory entities. They exist in the human consciousness for a short time and are gone. They are insubstantial, totally lacking in a physical nature, and leave no trace behind them when they disappear. They are never in short supply and at times seem to flow like a torrent through the conscious intellect. The cost of an idea, or of a multitude of ideas, is nothing. They are, on any material scale of values, of little worth.

In a picture like this the mistake is to treat the conscious expression of the idea as the idea itself. All ideas, in the form of understandings, are resident deep in the subconscious part of the intellect and their expressions, only, pass through the consciousness. An analogy may be to compare the understanding to a video recording, where the transient picture that appears on the television screen when the recording is played is its expression. The library of video recordings has a permanent existence and value. In the same way the set of understandings is permanent and useful. The set of understandings possessed by an individual are valuable as the lifetime's achievement of his intellect. While one intellect may be better than another nobody can function in the world without an intellect.

The intellect grows in power by solving problems. Each new solution is integrated into the intellectual structure in a manner which preserves its correspondence to the structure of reality as it is found in experience. True solutions to the problems of experience are knowledge and an intellect which is formed according to the rules for knowledge deals with reality effectively and efficiently.


The Creation of Knowledge

Part One


The application of the problem-solving method to a real problem results in a solution to that problem. This solution appears in the intellect of the problem solver at some time subsequent to the attempt to solve the problem. It occurs as an event of experience, which is to say, it is not a conscious construction of the intellect but simply appears as a complete solution at a point in time. The solution is a new idea to the intellect in which it occurs. This part considers how new ideas, in the forms of solutions or answers, are formed. The problem being examined is where exactly that solution came from. How is knowledge created?

Problems are defined, and their solutions are requisitioned in terms of general purpose languages. A valid methodology for knowledge must always give the same solution to a particular problem regardless of the problem solver's working language. An understanding of language is necessary to show that general purpose languages are transparent to the problem solving procedure.

In pursuing the aim of knowledge, the intellect requisitions new understanding from the psychological processes. These requisitions take the form of language and the language used is, ultimately, meaning. The intellect and the psychological processes therefore conduct a dialogue about reality based on this primitive language. Meaning as a language analyses and models the reality of experience and communicates the facts of this reality. Meaning, as a given language, is the language of reality itself. The psychological processes, using this language, communicate those characteristics of reality required by purposes, to the intellect.


The Creation of Knowledge 

The Origin of New Ideas

Chapter One


Experience in the form of problems of understanding is the foundational matter for the production of understanding and knowledge. Experience, either in its sensible form or in its intelligible form, does not amount to understanding of reality. The problems of experience are transformed into understanding and knowledge through a psychological process. The nature of this process that translates the solution specification into the solution is a problem that requires clarification.

The whole of the corpus of knowledge has originated at various times past as new understandings in individual intellects in the form of problem solutions or answers to questions. This problem is not, however, confined to understanding and theory formation but also concerns all writing and speech. In Karl Popper's view the creation of all understanding, scientific, humanistic, and artistic, has a single explanation. This explanation involves not only the intellect but also the psychological processes by which the intellect grows in understanding.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Creation of New Knowledge

A theory is a formal expression of understanding and as such is produced from subjective resources. Theories are related to problems and to the understanding of problems reached through research of the facts. The formula for the production of new solutions from the problem understanding is 


The stages of problem solving up to and including the solution specification present no special problems. However, the leap from the solution specification to the solution involves a logical discontinuity. It is not possible to trace the ideas incorporated in the solution back to the solution specification or the problem definition. These ideas are new. The problem is to explain where they come from and how they are formed into the meaningful logical construction which is the solution.

According to Karl Popper, there is no such thing as a logical method of having new ideas. Theories, and the understandings they spring from are not, in this view, the products of intellectual logical processes, but their origins lie in the psychological dimension in which the intellect exists. 

The method is given by 

PROBLEM UNDERSTANDING...> SOLUTION SPECIFICATION...> {psychological process for generating new understanding}...> SOLUTION 

Thomas Kuhn says much the same thing. According to Kuhn, no ordinary sense of the term "interpretation" fits those flashes of intuition through which a new theory is born. Instead what happens is that the new theory is invented/discovered/realised by some psychological process.

The general significance of the problem of innovation should be evaluated. All understandings, and their expressions as objective knowledge, first occur in the solution formation process. This means that all theories are the direct consequence of this process. For example, the theory of Relativity originated in the intellect of Albert Einstein as the result of his attempts to solve certain problems. At a prior stage only the problems, in various stages of examination, existed in Einstein's intellect. There then occurred an intellectual event with the result that the solution was found to exist in that intellect, ready to be expressed in theoretical form. This is the common case in theory innovation.

The problem of innovation is not confined to science and religion. Philosophers, in applying their methods of logical analysis and reasoning, are tackling and solving a flow of problems, both simple and complex. Philosophical outputs, as solutions, are subject to the same conditions and methods as all other knowledge. The whole of the culture has been produced subjectively by psychological innovation. The culture, as knowledge, has at some time, and in its parts, entered the subjective understandings of individuals in this manner prior to publication in objective form.

These intellectual and psychological events can be explained causally, in terms of the problem solving process. The explanation of the coming into existence of the solution lies outside the explanation of the method. It has already been noted that false meanings may be formed if the problem solving process has been mismanaged. Innovation is the production of both true and false new meanings. The individual may easily pollute his intellect with false understandings, and the culture may be similarly polluted with false theories and philosophies by a careless approach to innovation. Innovation of itself does not guarantee truth.

The new solutions, whether true or false, are innovations which have not previously existed in the individual intellect, and perhaps have never previously existed in any human intellect. If the medieval claim that nothing proceeds from nothing is accepted as true, the supposition that new understandings emerge into existence from nothingness is not valid. Understandings and theories do not spontaneously generate themselves. The onset of these understandings has, for the most part, been initiated by human thinking but individuals no more create these understandings than they create their own bodies. They are given as completed logical constructions from a source external to the enquiring intellect. They are not, however, given in the sense that visual experience is given. They are caused by behaviour, and by understanding the causal process their creation and content can be controlled.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Investigation of the Psychological Processes

The psychological process is utilised every day by everybody to solve the many simple problems of daily living. As a normal function of the psyche it passes notice in the ordinary case. Its employment to solve the complex problems of science reveals something of its character and limitations. Not all problems are solved, and some that are, are not solved correctly. Furthermore, where solutions are achieved there may be a noticeable delay between the completion of the solution specification stage and the achievement of the solution.

The incidence of delayed solutions appears to be fairly common, especially when problems are not simple. In business matters, for example, problems may seem difficult on first consideration and may be set aside for later solution. On the second examination they present no special difficulties and proceed to solutions easily. Something happens between the two attempts at solution and this may be traced to the operation of the psychological process.

The Australian physicist, Paul Davies, described a number of problem solving cases involving delayed solutions. Carl Gauss had for years been wrestling with a problem about whole numbers when, like a flash of lightning, the riddle happened to be solved. He was unable to determine what was the conducting thread which connected what he previously knew with what made success possible. The "break-through" was sudden and dramatic, the problem, only, existing in Gauss's intellect at one moment, and then at the next moment the solution also existed in that intellect.

The French mathematician Jacques Hadamard made a study of this phenomenon, which he referred to as mathematical inspiration. Hadamard gives the case of Henri Poincare, who had likewise spent a lot of time fruitlessly tackling a problem concerning certain mathematical functions. One day as Poincare went to board a bus the solution appeared in his intellect. At the moment when he put his foot on the step the idea came to him, without anything in his former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it. He was so certain that the problem was solved that he put it to the back of his mind and was able to prove it readily at his leisure.

Roger Penrose was working on a problem related to black holes and space-time singularities. He was about to cross a busy road when the solution occurred to him, but only fleetingly. He became aware later of a curious feeling of elation, and remembered the brief inspirational flash. The correctness of the idea was rigorously demonstrated some time later.

The pattern given above is common to all complex problem solving and the occurrence of the solution has been described as taking the form of a flash of intuition. It may be called the "Eureka effect". The pattern may be analysed into a number of steps which are

- an unsolved problem understanding and its solution specification are resident in the intellect but not necessarily in the conscious. 

- there is some delay between the formulation of that problem understanding and the occurrence of the solution. 

- the intellect is suddenly aware of the occurrence of the solution without any immediately prior thought about the problem. 

- the conscious intellect is aware of the event of the occurrence of the solution, but not necessarily of the details of the solution. The solution then resides in the intellect but not in the conscious part of that intellect. 

- the solution may be drawn into the consciousness at leisure and examined in detail.

The significant omission from the pattern is an account of how the solution was put together. In fact, this constructive or formative process doesn't happen in the intellect. The solution appears in a complete state. The view that solutions are man-made interpretations of given data cannot be sustained.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Creative Writing

The problem of the emergence of new ideas is not confined to scientific epistemology. Every writer, whether of novels or more practical papers such as letters and reports, has the experience of seeing his work emerge as a flow of ideas which the conscious mind does not originate but only absorbs. Most people can experience the process of writing, and even if the resulting work is judged to be substandard, the process of having ideas and writing them is not difficult. The ideas, in general purpose language sentences, flow into the consciousness of the writer, whose task is to write them. The creation of new ideas requires that a pattern is set up to initiate and control the flow of ideas in the process of writing. However, individuals are not totally in control of the process. The output from the process is not constructed or assembled or otherwise methodically formed by the individual but simply appears. The intellectual power is to specify, to criticise and to modify.

All writing starts with a purpose and an objective. The purpose is the product of the philosophy of the individual and defines his reasons for writing. The specification of the writing project forms the objective. This specification is rarely complete, or even well-developed, in creative writing.

Dorothea Brande, who was both a novelist and a teacher of fiction writing, explained the origin of new ideas by dividing the human intellect into conscious and unconscious parts. The flow of new ideas was seen to be from the unconscious to the conscious. The process of writing involved tapping the unconscious. In Brande's scheme the unconscious, to do its work, must satisfy a specification existing, initially, in the conscious mind. The specification at the start need not be a complete outline of the novel, but every selection and alteration made by the writer expands and amends the specification.

As the ideas flow, and are written, they are integrated into the meaning of the specification. This specification is then a snowballing complex meaning. Every judgment, in the form of criticism and modification, is also incorporated into the specification, and affects the future flow of ideas within the writing project. The critical process, in evaluating the writing, must necessarily question, and perhaps alter the specification so far developed. Teachers of fiction writing often recommend the suspension of criticism during writing as it interferes with the free flow of ideas. The problem is that doubts and undecided alternative strategies create a specification which is too volatile and vague to be of use.

Enid Blyton, a writer of over 700 children's books, explains the source of her creativity as her imagination or undermind. According to her analysis of the process of writing:- 

* Creativity is different from thinking. 

* Creativity is not controlled but is accessed. 

* The undermind obeys general directions such as the required length of the book in number of words. 

* The specification may be very sketchy consisting of no more than two or three sentences which describe what the book is about. 

* No further thought or planning goes into the book. The writer simply writes the story as it flows through her conscious mind.

This analysis must be taken together with the understanding that the writer's philosophy and purposes enter into the process and affect the flow of ideas. Enid Blyton, by her own account, had very definite beliefs about the upbringing of children and the type of children's literature that is consistent with these beliefs. Her work reflects this philosophy.

The paucity of prior intellectual effort must be judged in conjunction with the fact that this writer was enormously successful in her field.

It is this ability to specify what ideas are wanted and to have them emerge into the conscious intellect that is of interest to epistemologists endeavouring to explain innovation in ideas. What appears to happen is that the writer starts with an idea for the work. This is the covering idea which determines the validity of new ideas, and annexes these new ideas where appropriate, and grows and matures in the process. The covering idea has some influence on the flow of new ideas in that clearly incompatible ideas are not generated. A writer may have an idea to write about the exploits of a fictional bomber group in Second World War Europe. In sitting down to write he would be very surprised if the flow of ideas related to some story about the expedition of the Spanish Armada. Such a violation of the writer's specification does not occur. If this were not the case, not only would it be impossible to write a coherent story, but it would be impossible to think consecutively and constructively about any matter.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Producing Understandings

The difference between the production of creative writing, and the production of understanding considered as knowledge, lies in the method for producing the solution specification. Knowledge production requires that the solution specification should be as true and complete as possible, whereas creative writing may commence with only the sketchiest of templates. However, it is unlikely that any solution specification is complete, and creative writing may, in certain cases, have a very full outline to work to. The main difference between the two is the purpose of the work and the demands for truth, accuracy and precision, which are built into the solution specification. The tying of the solution specification to reality through the correct understanding of truth results in the production of knowledge.

That new ideas are generated in response to the specification implies a relationship between two logical entities which may be called The Required Idea Set and the Idea Generator. The nature of the relationship is one of learning, choosing, and specifying by the individual and the creation of the required ideas by the source of new ideas. This source of ideas responds to the meanings of specifications and is sensitive to the idea of truth. New ideas, whether true or false, must be seen as creations rather than as interpretations, inventions, or discoveries. The character, function, and mode of operation of this creative source of new ideas should be investigated in order to clearly understand the process of innovation.

Human beings analyse problems and understand solutions through the media of language and meaning, and an examination of these foundations of thought and understanding is necessary prior to the investigation of the psychological processes and the creative resource.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 


The Creation of Knowledge  

The Origin of New Ideas

Chapter Two


Language capability is not necessary for problem solving. Animals solve problems to achieve understandings of their environments. The requirement for true solutions, which are knowledge, demands the analytical facilities of language. Problems are analysed and defined, and their solutions are requisitioned in terms of general or special purpose languages. A valid methodology for knowledge must always give the same solution to a particular problem regardless of whether the problem solver's working language is English, French, or Chinese. An understanding of language is necessary to show that general purpose languages are transparent to the problem solving procedure. In effect, language is a tool which is superimposed on the common problem solving process.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

The Logical Structure of the Understanding

The development of the intellect commences before birth with the unborn child's observation of events surrounding itself. Typically, the child notes the rhythms of the mother's body and constructs models or patterns. These patterns may be subsumed into one general model. This model is not explanatory but simply reflects the order of experience, and aids prediction. The mother's heartbeat is one type of experience which gives rise to a pattern.

The general model that results consists of distinctions of the type: 


The new-born intellect has therefore at least one understanding or program and that has the capability of analysing experience in time according to simple logical rules. The logical analysis program or understanding is applied to all experience following birth.

The course of infant intellectual development has been explored by Piaget and others, and this has already been discussed. On the foundation given there, a theory of intellectual growth based on simple distinctions can be put forward. The new-born child learns to distinguish between itself and external reality, and between itself and its mother, thus learning spatial and personal distinctions. These distinctions are based on I/NOT I and THIS/THAT. These are combined with temporal analysis by distinctions like IS/IS NOT and WAS/WAS NOT. These distinctions may be binary in new-born children, but very soon three- and four-way and greater distinctions can be made.

The understanding is therefore a structure consisting of distinctions and structured internally according to those distinctions. These distinctions as coherent sets are called logic. These distinctions refer to events of experience of reality and their meaning is structured as the model of that reality. A meaning can be simple or complex depending on the analytical depth of the distinction array or logic.

The common models of reality made by the individual have already been discussed. Effectively, the general model of reality forms the base and understandings of experience, as logical entities, are built upon it and relate to it as superstructural extensions. The personal reality of the individual will, for example, consist in a model of reality which relates other models of reality such as those appertaining to the home, the office, the local geography, the shopping centre and so on. Within each sub-model there are further models relating to understandings of physical objects, people, and metaphysical entities such as organisational structures and procedures. These models are arrays of distinctions or logic sets.

Understandings are often combined into one model of reality. For example, the physical sub-reality that is the home may be analysed into smaller segments which are the rooms, and within the rooms are objects all of which are understood in particular ways. The metaphysical sub-reality that is the home is understood in terms of purposes and people and the relationships between those people, which are functional, emotional, and moral. The two sub-realities are integrated in a common model of reality in such a way that there is normally no separation between them.

The whole intellectual construction is an array of distinctions, the path through which follows a pattern somewhat as follows:- 

* Not-I; this is external to me 

* This model of reality; not that 

* This sub-model; not those 

* Physical object; not metaphysical 

* Human being; not inanimate object 

* Colleague; not other John Smith: 

* Distinction array which distinguishes John Smith from all other known individuals. This follows a common pattern based on gender, age, status, appearance, and so on.

The term "metaphysical" is understood to mean "having a real existence which is not physical" The State, for example, has a real non-physical existence. Metaphysical entities can only be perceived through the grasp of ideas conveyed by language. No animal can become aware of the State.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

The Foundations of Language

Language is the solution to problems of thinking and communication. Its business is to enable the analysis of experience and to facilitate the exchange of understandings. Every general purpose language is founded on experience. The meanings of words are either defined by the experiences through which they were learned or indirectly defined by other words which were themselves learned from experience. The formula for language learning that is applied here is exactly the same as for any problem of experience and results in the understanding of the language. This is:-


The word plus its associated experiences constitute a problem which is submitted, usually intuitively, to the problem solving process and this results in a solution which is the meaning or understanding of the word.

Language rests on useful distinctions and the understandings that attach to those distinctions. MAN is distinguished by the word from all other species and inanimate objects, and those who understand the meaning of the word also understand how to use it. The usefulness of distinctions and the words that indicate those distinctions, may be seen from the labelling of bones. To most people a bone is just that, and if further qualification is expected it may be supplied by the use of adjectives such as small, large, old, etc. Physiologists, and palaeontologists have an elaborate naming system for bones of all sorts. For people who study such things the making of distinctions and the use of names to label those distinctions are both useful and necessary to avoid confusion of thought and failure to communicate.

A distinction set is the solution to a problem. In general, distinctions are made and words naming them are created to suit purposes. The causal chain is 


The pursuit of a purpose leads to a problem and the solving of this problem produces a solution in the form of a set of distinctions structured as a model. The model is named for communication purposes.

This scheme applies to all language. It will be seen that this formula is not different from that which produces any type of understanding except for the fact that most understandings are not individually labelled.

Words refer to understandings. Users of the word understand its meaning and understand how to use it. Understandings have two aspects as a coin has two faces. Understandings have a model of the reality and a meaning. The model structures the set of distinctions which, taken together (distinctions and structure), form a meaning. The meaning and the model are the same in that a model without a meaning is nonsense, and a meaning without a model is impossible. Understandings of words have models to which the word refers and conversely the models have meanings which are invoked when the word is used. The understanding of how to use the word is given by the normal behavioural procedure that attaches to models of understanding. The understandings of language are tied to reality through the process in which the language is learned. Only commonly and frequently used meanings are labelled and remembered in the language. In the process of understanding the problem is understood digitally and logically and the solution is expressible digitally and logically. They are, in other words, analysed and structured in a way which aids solution and understanding.

The set of words that forms an individual's repertoire of a general purpose language has a corresponding set of understandings and these sets are stored within the individual's intellect. The words, individually, act as pointers to their meanings or understandings. In decoding the meaning of a word the pointer is followed from the set of words to the set of understandings. In encoding the process is reversed. It will be remembered that the understanding of a word is also the understanding of how to use it.

In the sentence THE MAN BIT THE DOG there are three models, two of entities and one of action in time. However, the sentence, as a sentence, produces a fourth model or understanding, which is that of a man with his teeth fastened into a hapless dog. What has happened in the reading of the sentence is that the meanings of its component parts have been synthesised into one meaning. The process is again that of 


The problem of the meaning of the sentence has been reduced to a solution, which is the understanding of the sentence. The label of the meaning is the sentence itself.

The intellect retains, as databases, its understandings and models of reality, its sets of words and understandings of languages, and a set of understandings of commonly used phrases and other definitions. This last set contains the conventional meanings and usage of phrases as well as general knowledge definitions. The meanings of all other word sets, phrases and sentences, must be created as they occur in experience.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

Digital and Analogue meanings

Emotion is, in its pure state, a form of energy which is expressed by the intelligent or spiritual nucleus of the intellect. Expressed emotion can be considered as an analogue form of meaning, which has minimal internal organisation. Anger is an example. Organisation of meaning is normally given by sets of distinctions which are referred to as logic.

The process of problem solving produces distinctions and integrates them according to a logic. The process of making distinctions digitises meaning. Digital meaning is therefore logical emotion or energy.

Analogue influences on intellectual behaviour, which may be unexplainable by the individual, are not necessarily detrimental to the task in hand but are uncontrolled. The effort of the individual to understand his emotions may be seen as the process of converting the understanding given by analogue emotions or feelings to digital understandings. Once they are converted intellectual control may be established. Conversion may be partial only. An individual may understand, for example, what fear is, but a complete understanding may be far beyond his reach, although the feeling may be well-known. The understandings only are converted by this process; the emotions or energies remain, although they are often suppressed, sometimes without adequate reason.

Intuition is a means of non-digital problem solving, and is thought to be the mental process of artists as artists and some others, principally the intellectually immature and the poorly educated. Intuition is defined as thinking in analogue or non-verbal form. The understandings of animals rely on some form of intuition. The inability to analyse meanings verbally reduces the number and quality of distinctions that can be made and therefore can result in an intellect of limited capacity.

Insight is understanding gained through problem solving, which is unexpressed verbally, although it may be expressed verbally by properly formed intellects. Understandings are stored in the intellect in analogue form which are meanings and which, when expressed, are converted to the digital form of a general purpose language. Expression relies on the existence of suitable digital meaning constructions and names. This conversion may pass through several stages of analysis, from an analogue unity of meaning to broad concepts, to detailed ideas, to word forms. The absence of the intermediate logical constructions or distinction arrays will prevent precise expression of understanding. The expression of the understanding of PHILOSOPHY which is retained in the intellect as a complex meaning, must pass through several stages of analysis in its complete verbal expression. The stages of analysis compare to the layout process of a book where the subject matter is logically broken down to facilitate expression and communication.

Problems which have been solved digitally and formally, provide the intellectual tools to express insights. Problems which are solved intuitively do not, although the solutions may be understood by the individual. It is a misjudgement to assume that those who cannot express their understandings do not understand. Intuitive understandings and the emotional actions which are equivalent in purpose, and in limited effect, to thinking are valid and may be true or false. They may be found to be operating in many situations, especially where normally good intellectual arguments do not provoke the expected response. The digitally structured intellect may have no advantage over the intuitive if the intuitive understanding is based on absolute truth, and the formal intellect is not.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

Language and the Meaning of Experience

The psychological processes that create new understandings are independent of general purpose languages such as English, French or Chinese, which are used to form the problem definition and solution specification. Irrespective of which general purpose language is used all solution requisitions may be translated into a common form based on the meanings of experience.

A general purpose language is a set of named meanings and constitutes the most basic level of meaning available to the thought processes of the intellect. Translations between general purpose languages are possible because the words of one language share a common set of meanings with the words of the other language. Diagram 2.1.1 illustrates the language translation process in which the set of words of each language are linked by the set of common meanings. The psychological processes are able to recover those meanings from the language database and the general purpose language in use thereby becomes transparent to the processes.



Diagram 2.1.1

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 


The Creation of Knowledge

The Origin of New Ideas

Chapter Three


Analysis and Integration of Meaning

In the discussion concerning the integration of the intellect it was shown that understandings may be analysed into a set of more basic understandings. In principle, sets of understandings may also be integrated to create higher level understandings. Since the terms "understanding" and "meaning" are, for most purposes, interchangeable this may be rephrased to assert that coherent sets of meanings may be integrated to form more complex meanings and complex meanings may be analysed into more elementary meanings.

Complex meanings may be explained. These explanations consist of general purpose language sentences. The words of a general purpose language are the most basic level of meaning available to the intellect. Words may represent simple or complex meanings. Words of explanation which are, themselves, complex meanings may be further explained by other, simple or less complex, words.

The word "ball" is a simple meaning. The word "philosophy" is a complex meaning. The distinction rests on the procedure for defining the meaning of the word. If one can point to an object or action in the physical environment and name it the meaning is basic and simple. In this context, to define a meaning as simple or experiential is to say the same thing.

Words that must be defined by reference to other words or meanings are complex. There are degrees of complexity. To describe something as "concrete" is to say that its constituents are a set of simple objects, and it is made by a simple process. On the other hand, the definition of a subatomic particle relies on several theories and other understandings. Although a particle is the most basic physical entity its meaning is extremely complex and refers to a complex set of experiences. The corpus of objective knowledge may be analysed, proceeding from general theories to main theories to subsidiary theories to defined sets of experience. These experiences may be explained in the terms of a general purpose language or the concepts of a special purpose language such as mathematics by the set of problem definitions. Ultimately every distinction built into a complex idea may be explained by a set of simple ideas. The process of explanation is analytical and the reverse process of achieving a more general understanding is synthetic. Both processes are necessary in the definition and communication of meaning.

The analytical path for the subjective philosophical understanding is not so clear. The subjective philosophy is an understanding, which subsumes all other understandings. The structure of the subjective philosophical understanding is therefore complex. To understand a subjective philosophy it is necessary to know the constituency of experiences and their related understandings that formed it. No two subjective philosophies will be found to be equivalent because each philosophy has a different basis in personal experience. The intermediate understandings may not be obvious but all complex understanding may, in principle at least, be analysed to the level of the words of a general purpose language.

The process of definition is not confined to experience of the physical environment, although definition is simplest in physical terms. Some understandings have no physical equivalent. The word "idea" may cause confusion in immature intellects because it has no obvious physical characteristics. Emotions fall into the same category. The meaning of the word "fear" is grasped when the individual relates the word to certain feelings which have been experienced and distinguished from all other feelings. The meaning of the word "state" is grasped through explanations given in education, and augmented by reports in the media. These acts of understanding follow from particular events of experience.

The general definition process rests on the set of common human experiences of which physical experiences are a subset. Every meaning is based on, and tied to, a model of reality, where that reality may be any aspect of any natural division of observed reality or may be virtual, assumptive, fictional, or false. Meaning is meaning of reality and, from the position of knowledge, it may be true or false.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

The Meaning of Reality

According to Einstein, the Cosmos is understandable, and is therefore meaningful. The universe may be seen as a complex meaning which is analysable into a set of more simple meanings. The culture, morality, the life process, and the idea of God are also complex meanings which are analysable. Reality, as a whole, and in its parts, has meaning and may be considered as a structure of meanings.

The integrated intellect is likewise a complex meaning which may be decomposed into a set of simple meanings. Subjective understanding and knowledge, and objective knowledge, may be defined as meaning constructions organised as models of reality, or parts of reality. The reality construction, in this sense, is not necessarily true. The relationship between reality, viewed as a structure of meanings, and the intellect, taken as a construction of meanings, may be explored.

Reality is perceived as experience, and experience rightly understood, and correctly structured, models reality. However, intellectual experiences do not amount to sensory observations. They are constructions of the psychological processes. The psychological processes stand between the senses and the data they capture, and the intellect. The sequence of transmission is given by:- 


Sense data are subjected to processes which convert them to intellectual experiences. Sensory data, as coherent sets of meaning, are translated into intelligible form as simple understandings by the psychological processes. As simple understandings they may be classed as experiences of reality. They do not amount to understandings of reality. Experiences of reality are converted to understanding of reality by the problem solving method. The form is:- 


Sets of experience when subjected to the problem solving method result in understandings of those experiences structured by models of reality.

The understanding of experience is, therefore, given in psychological processing and the general case is:- 


The set of sense data is translated into the set of intellectual understandings by certain psychological processes.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

Selection of Meaning According to Purposes

A Boeing 747 may be modelled by another Boeing 747 built to the same specification. The second Boeing is a true and complete physical model of the original. The aircraft may also be modelled logically. The relationship of the physical and logical models may be examined.

The manufacturing process for aircraft requires that all components, assemblies and systems are defined prior to production. The set of definitions of the aircraft, in the forms of drawings and instructions, constitutes a logical model. Since these definitions are the products of human intellects it is reasonable to say that the combined intellects of the plane's designers and engineers contained, at some time, the complete logical model of the aircraft. This subjective logical model was then expressed as an objective logical model. The relationship between the logical and physical models is one of exact correspondence since one determines the other.

In the manufacturing process the real world entity follows from the intellectual modelling process. In knowledge research the reverse is the case. The logical model, consisting of a set of understandings, is built upon a set of meaningful experiences of the real state of affairs.

Reality may, in principle, be modelled in whole or in part. Intellectual models are made for purposes and generally abstract those characteristics of the real state of affairs which are relevant to those purposes. These purposes result in subsets of experience and partial understandings of the real world structures. A purpose to understand reality as a whole would override the selection mechanism but for most intellects reality in its entirety is too vast to be a practical field of study. The general case is that the intellect is aware only of a subset of reality.

The abstracted characteristics comprise a subset of the characteristics of the real state of affairs. The characteristics that are not abstracted form the complementary subset of characteristics. The original situation may be recovered by integrating the two subsets into one.

For example, it is possible, in principle, that an aircraft could be designed and engineered by one individual whose intellect must contain the complete definitive logical model. If it were designed by two individuals working together, one intellect would hold a subset of the design data, and the other the complementary subset. The integration of these two subsets would produce the definitive logical model.

Scientists may have a purpose to test an aircraft in hurricane conditions. A purpose-relevant model may be built, incorporating only those characteristics of the aircraft which are being tested. The test model is true to both the reality given by the actual aircraft and the purpose, but, since it omits features of the craft unnecessary for the purpose, it is not a duplication of the real aircraft. A complementary subset of the logical data could be specified. The two subsets together define or model the aircraft. The abstracted subset may be seen as the selected meaning, and the complementary subset is the information set necessary to reconstitute, logically, the actual state of affairs.

Within the intellect meaningful constructions are purpose-relevant models existing in the selected reality described by the philosophical understanding, which is the highest level of understanding within the intellect. These intellectual models of reality do not reflect reality as a whole and may be seen to define a virtual reality constructed by the individual for his own reasons.

If these constructions truthfully model, in part, the structures of reality they can be fleshed out by integrating them with the complementary subset of experience, as originally given, to recover the sensory or other data that gave rise to them. This complementary data performs a similar function to information in that it reduces the selected or virtual to actual.

If the original sequence is given by:- 


then the reverse sequence may be given by:- 


Intellectual models of reality may be compared with the actual data, sensory or otherwise, that produced the original experiences.

The comparison process may be seen to be a function of the psychological processes, being a straightforward reversal of the earlier translation of perceptions into understanding. If the intellectual constructions are false, any attempt to match them to primitive data will fail. The jigsaw pieces will not fit together. The problem solving process, which demands the careful and complete analysis of the problem situation attempts to ensure that the resulting intellectual construction matches its observed reality in all relevant distinctions on a one for one basis. If this is achieved the pieces fit together.

The accuracy and precision of the relationship between reality, viewed as a structure of meanings, and the intellect, taken as a construction of meanings, may be determined psychologically. Intellectual truth may be evaluated by the process of matching the understanding construction and the set of data abstracts of the reality it claims to model. Intellectual constructions that do not match experience are false.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

Meaning as a Language

In an earlier chapter it has been claimed that a language is no more than a frequently used set of understandings which have been individually labelled for reference purposes. It is possible, in principle, to label every understanding ever created within the set of human intellects. This would result in a vast extension of the language's stock of words and would therefore be impractical. However, the set of understandings within an intellect may still be envisaged as the set of meanings of a language, even if the set of words or other symbols that uniquely identify each individual understanding is incomplete. The problem solving and psychological processes that result in new understanding may be seen to function as a selective translation system, abstracting from, and modelling, the real world state of affairs. The set of understandings that emerges from the sense data to experience translation process is meaning, coded or not, and is, in other words, a language.

The language of meaning or understanding may be further translated into a general purpose language for analytical and communication purposes. The relationship between the two languages is that the language of meaning encompasses the whole set of understandings, most of which are uncoded and unusable for human communication, and the general purpose language in use labels a frequently used subset of the set of meanings, employing names non-systematically.

Meaning as a language analyses and models the reality of experience and communicates the facts of this reality. Meaning, as a given language, is the language of reality itself. The psychological processes, using this language, communicate those characteristics of reality required by purposes, to the intellect. In pursuing the aim of knowledge, the intellect requisitions new understanding from the psychological processes. These requisitions take the form of language and the language used is, ultimately, meaning. The intellect and the psychological processes therefore conduct a dialogue about reality based on this primitive language.

The above discussion should be balanced against the fact and functions of objective knowledge. Through the corpus of objective knowledge, and the education process, the intellect can achieve understandings of segments of reality. Objective knowledge is a secondary language to communicate important and useful meanings. The origins of objective knowledge lie, of course, in subjective understandings gained through the problem solving psychological processes.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

Plato's Reality of Ideas

In considering meaning, the distinction should be made between meaning itself, and the representation of meaning. The Cosmos has meaning and represents that meaning. Words similarly represent meanings. Neither form is, in itself, meaning. Meanings, in their essence, are states taken by spiritual or cognitive entities, and are meanings of reality where those entities are reality. Representations of meaning are their expressions. The meaning of a Perfect God is omniscient and unchanging. Nothing can be added to or subtracted from such a meaning. The meaning of a human individual is fragmentary and volatile.

In relating this to Plato's concept of ideas, the comparison may be made between the understanding of the intellect, as integrated by its philosophy, which is based on a virtual reality, and the Perfect Understanding which is reality itself. The final, if impossible, objective of the programme of knowledge is to achieve the perfect understanding. Plato argues that the intellect can reach the Perfect Meaning directly. Communication between the two entities, which is initiated by the Perfect Intelligence through the psychological processes, is based on the language of meaning.