What follows is the conclusion of my philosophy book, Homological Composition. I decided to share some of the book on this blog, in the hope that it may entice some readers to get curious. The book was written for two audiences: the philosopher who knows nothing about psychotype theory, but is open to a completely new perspective on philosophy, and the psychotype community, who may know very little about philosophy. My main argument is that we cannot engage in philosophy unless we understand how the human psyche works and how it creates our own limitations and those of philosophers in the past. Likewise, we need philosophy to provide psychology with a larger perspective.
We are individual travellers, keepers of our own inns, never in agreement with each other, in conflict within and about our societies, and psychologically unable to experience each other’s perspectives. Yet we do get along; we make connections, build technology, make progress and communicate with each other. There is a realm in which individual travellers meet; where they have something in common and where subjects can share: the realm we experience as our reality, and the only evidence we have for this reality are our shared experiences. Or to turn this statement around: Our reality is what we believe and build in the realm that is shared between subjects.
The collective conscious is the databank of all the information available to humanity as a whole and which includes all that which we have stored. Each of us has access to this databank and each of us has the possibility to add to it, but each within the limitations of our psychological make-up: the filters of our personality, without which we could not deal with information at all.
In the introduction I mentioned the difference between natural born scientists and natural born philosophers. The former will not accept a theory until they have evidence, because they are after knowledge. But too many philosophers also take that attitude; dismissing more than three thousand years of evidence for fundamentally different perspectives in name of a dogmatic belief in “objectivity”, for which there is zero evidence. In no other field would such a belief be considered acceptable.
However, evolution theory explains Jungian theory and psychotype theory can explain why three thousand years of philosophy has never provided agreement and why the same ideas keep returning. It explains why some people are willing to give their life for their belief and why some take their life for having lost it. It explains why some people are so set in their ways, determined to preserve the traditions and others are equally determined to break them down, why some make better parents or leaders than others and why some appear to blindly accept what they are told while others argue everything.
We are different psychotypes and to believe that “we” can and should have similar views on reality, ethics, politics and truth, and thus should be able to come to agreement by rational argument, is an delusion. This expectation not only gives us an unrealistic picture of each other’s ability or willingness to adapt, but also influences how we investigate ‘reality’ and thus what we discover – just as the innkeeper got sick from the food, many of us experience what we already believe, even if this process is largely unconscious.
Giving up one’s core beliefs is impossible for even the most open-minded of people; we are bound to our archetypal perspective – the ethereal perception deep inside us, which we cannot conceptualize, but which moves our desire for ultimate beauty or good, expressed in a sense of aesthetics or ethics and our desire for an ultimate truth. This desire is what keeps us looking, learning, exploring and speculating, but as it underlies the need to believe, it also causes an eternal fear that something may overrule the view we currently hold; that we are proven wrong. Obviously, if belief is a survival mechanism, people make short work of that risk: they prejudge and dismiss, using justifications acceptable for their time – faith-believers in the Middle Ages eradicated all danger by rendering scepticism evil and today’s sceptics do so by ridiculing emotions and faith.
We will never have definitive knowledge about the nature of existence, but we need to have (justified) beliefs that help us cope with life. It is absolutely irrelevant what the contents of that belief are (though that is what people fight over), whether the justifications make sense to others (even if they are presented as objective), or whether that belief is true (which is what philosophers argue). The only thing vital to the individual is that they keep believing (and searching), which is why people change their story rather than give it up.
Each person makes meaning from the context; from their position and relationship within the whole. If you look from above at a system, you observe those relationships differently than if you are part of it and to be able to understand humanity one needs to be in the above position, the position none of us can take individually. As keepers of our own ‘inns’, we are travellers in time, each bound to a personal perspective, and not one of us is better equipped to assess the needs of “the traveller”, who is but an abstract entity without particulars. However, we can gather all our perspectives together and create a holistic picture; we can broaden our horizons, get a better understanding, and thus greater wisdom… and is that not the goal of philosophy?
What I hope to have achieved with this book is to stop people judging and especially judging each other “wrong” if they don’t agree. I hope to have shown that the endless debates about which philosopher of the past was right, are simply restating the perspectives of different types and that this will never stop, unless we simply accept that these types exist. If philosophy is ‘a love of wisdom’ – and “wisdom” is understanding the dynamic processes that constitute our Social World (politics), our Humanity (ethics), and our Cosmic Existence (metaphysics) – then this understanding of it necessarily depends on our perspective (our perceptual limitations).
What I envision is a revolution in our thinking, akin to the way visual artists changed how they depicted ‘reality’ when perspective was added to paintings. From two dimensional or linear thinking – thinking in dichotomies – we need to get to a multi-dimensional approach, one that can accommodate all our inborn perspectives, and the first step towards this would be to stop using information as if it is something we can make a claim to: something objective. The perspective revolution is still to start, but only then will we be able to evolve beyond the boundary humanity is currently stuck at, since on a dimensional perspective you can understand that there are things you don’t know, even if you cannot know them. We create reality as we focus, perceive, justify and express, because that is how information becomes materialized – whether in semi-permanent (eventually decaying) matter or in temporary interaction.
We all take a slightly different place in existence; like the members of an orchestra will have a slightly different perception of what is being played, so we cannot expect to perceive existence exactly alike. That is all relativism is saying: I am aware that we have each a slightly different perception. In the end, even objectivity is in the eyes of the beholder.
Whether the greater whole – the cosmos – has a purpose, a telos, is something I do not know and no person will ever know. We are part of its fabric and cannot step outside to have a look. But considering the magnificence of this fabric, I am quite satisfied to allow each and every one of us their philosophical viewpoint. Instead of universalizing, we need to personalize. Instead of justified true beliefs, we need justified personal beliefs. Mine is that this greater whole is made of a pure energy which acquires consciousness through the relationships between its parts, which are at different stages of becoming material or returning to energy, in an endless cycle of composition and decomposition at every level. It is an ever-changing melody, a story in the process of being told and retold. Occasionally bits of it are written down, but only for a while.
I call it The Music of Life, but it covers more than life; it covers existence itself. In my fiction I called it a cosmic song. This fiction is a different portrayal of the same philosophy. But instead of discussing viewpoints, fiction shows how people survive, cooperate and make sense of what is happening around them. A work of fiction is a very long thought experiment (a theory-testing simulator which can account for emotions as well as data), and it can show that every type of person has merit in the make-up of a society. It can show how some adapt and others are reluctant. It can take the reader into their minds and show them different viewpoints, how each deals with new ideas, how new ideas are communicated and what each perceives as best. It can show how conflict arises without a ‘bad guy’. In short, it can show philosophy at work.
Whether a Cosmic Song or a Music of Life, we are composers and musicians, but we are part of the composition, evolved from a common source; not identical, but homological psychotypes that together make up humanity. Not one of us better, more in touch with reality or truth, not one of us wrong; only different and that is okay.
A whole that vibrates in congruence is harmonious. It is music, a composition; each of us a vibration, together a note; all of humanity maybe a song: The music of life.