This PSI-SE (‘Spicy’) ‘Special Edition’ (#18)  is in memory of feisty Martine Dodds-Taljaard, Stellenbosch University Systems Scientist and Apparition who recycled within the transforming relational continuum on June 4th, 2001.  See also; ‘Politically Incorrect Humanism’: The Work of  Martine Dodds-Taljaard.



Brief Summary of PSI-SE Philosophical Research Findings  (Wordcount 236)



  1. Incoherence (formulating one’s actions based on an erroneous understanding of ‘reality’) pervades the Western social dynamic.


  1. Incoherence starts from Western language-based intellection that delivers abstractions which conflict with relational experience.


  1. The Western practice of putting intellection into an unnatural primacy over relational experience sources social dysfunction.


  1. Indigenous aboriginal culture, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta support the natural primacy of relational experience over abstraction.


  1. Western intellectually constructed “_reality_“ errs in the linguistic-cognitive imputing of reality to ‘beings’, ‘authors’ and ‘acts’.


  1. The reality of our natural experience is of inclusion in a transforming relational continuum without ‘beings’, ‘authors’ and ‘acts’.


  1. ‘Beings’, ‘authors’ and ‘acts’ are abstractions of ‘appearances’ aka ‘apparitions’ that are relational experience based.


  1. Language and grammar are used to construct cognitive “realities” based on name-reified ‘apparitions’ [humans, hurricanes etc.]


  1. When behaviour is informed and shaped by such abstract reality constructions, the result is incoherence in the social dynamic.


  1. The reality of indigenous aboriginal cultures, Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta and modern physics is ‘apparition’, NOT ‘being’ based.


  1.  Modern physics affirms the physical reality of ‘apparitions’ (relational forms in the transforming relational continuum).


  1. A whorl in the flow (hurricane), a human, a material form, are ‘apparitions’ (field flow-forms) that have no independent material existence.  Language based ‘naming’ of such ‘apparitions’ imputes ‘thing-in-itself being’ to the ‘apparitions’, literal belief in which is the source of ‘incoherence’ in the relational social dynamic.


* * *


What follows below is supportive ‘elaboration’; i.e. the essential points are covered in the 12 point 236 word preceding summary.



* * *


In conversational terms, the social dynamics of Western society are largely (predominantly) shaped by a majority belief in ‘being’ – based ‘reality’ and thus in conducting our individual and collective behaviour on the basis of assuming that ‘being’-based ‘reality’ IS ‘reality’; i.e. in employing ‘being’-based pseudo-reality as the ‘operative reality’ even though it is ‘abstraction’ based and therefore ‘distant’ from the reality of our actual relational experience.


If one wants to investigate the ‘difference’ between ‘Western reality’ that is the source of social incoherence, and, for example, ‘indigenous aboriginal reality’, which is relational experience-based, one can read the modern physics oriented investigations of David Bohm wherein he contrasts the two ‘realities’.  This has been documented in ‘Blackfoot Physics’ by F. David Peat.  In David Bohm’s own words, at the and of his lifelong philosophical investigations by way of ‘physics’, he concluded that his modern physics based understanding of the world overlaid exactly, the indigenous aboriginal worldview;

 A few months before his death, Bohm met with a number of Algonkian speakers and was struck by the perfect bridge between their language and worldview and his own exploratory philosophy. What to Bohm had been major breakthroughs in human thought — quantum theory, relativity, his implicate order and rheomode – were part of the everyday life and speech of the Blackfoot, Mic Maq, Cree and Ojibwaj.” – F. David Peat, ‘Blackfoot Physics’

In the mythopoetic era, European peoples were also of the same relational experience (inclusion in a transforming relational continuum) based understanding as indigenous aboriginals and this shifted in the West to the lopsided popularity of abstract being-based (language-induced) cognition in the time of Parmenides (450 BCE);

“Heraclitus had declared ‘being’ a perpetual ‘becoming’ and had correlated the two concepts with his ‘hidden attunement.’ Now Parmenides declared the two to be mutually exclusive, and only ‘being’ to be real.” — ‘The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man’, — ‘Frankfort et al’

We can think about the ‘basic flaw’ in Western thinking (the popular mainstream ‘Newtonian’ thing-in-itself being-based thinking, not Western modern physics relational thinking) like this.  Consider the whorl in the flow; i.e. the relational form in the transforming relational continuum; e.g. ‘hurricane Katrina’.  As Nietzsche has laboured long and hard to make the point, there is no separation into two things here; i.e. there is no separation into the ‘whorl’ as content and the ‘flow’ as container because the whorling is just ‘appearances’; i.e. ‘the whorl’ is an ‘apparition’, it is not a ‘thing-in-itself’.  But when we name it ‘a whorl’ or ‘Katrina’, since the name holds constant, ‘naming’ gives the cognitive impression of persisting ‘being’ WHERE THERE IS NO PERSISTING BEING.  That is, the ‘whorl’ is not a ‘thing-in-itself’, it is ‘appearances’ or in other words, an ‘apparition’.  Once we ‘name it’ and start using the name in grammatical constructs as the subject, we generate the cognitive sense that there is this ‘being’ that is the ‘author’ of ‘acts’ as in; ‘Katrina is growing larger and stronger’, … ‘Katrina is ravaging New Orleans’, … ‘Katrina is weakening and dissipating’.


Ok, there is a general pattern here; … the ‘basic flaw’ in popular (socially dominant) Western thinking, which is to impute ‘being’ to an ‘apparition’ (a relational form in the transforming relational continuum).  We do this for humans just as we do it for hurricanes; i.e. the ‘human’ is a relational form in the transforming relational continuum; it is an ‘apparition’ and NOT A THING-IN-ITSELF aka ‘BEING’.


Now, you might say, … whoa there, … we know that a human is a real locally existing material thing because we can ‘take it apart’ and show how it is composed of ‘parts’ that explain its ‘workings’; i.e. its heart and lungs and kidneys and liver and so forth.


Of course, such decomposition is just a language game which we play while we ‘turn our back to’ the transforming relational continuum in which we are included and which is sourcing the relational transformation that includes the objects of our investigation, along with ourselves who are huddling over and examining the objects of our investigation.   This inclusional topology holds, as well, not just for humans but for countries and corporations (organizations as well as organisms) and all manner of ‘things’ that we purport to be ‘independently-existing’ and yet sourcer(or)s of their own behaviour and development.


This leads to the ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ dichotomy where we can’t explicitly say whether development and behaviour derives from inside-outward asserting influence, or from outside-inward inductive influence.  In the case of the organisms we call ‘plants’, the situation becomes more confounding still since plants manifest ‘intelligent behaviour’ yet they have no brain or central nervous system [see the ‘Smarty Plants’ presentation on David Suzuki’s ‘Nature of Things’].


These enigmas are resolved simply by acknowledging the abstract artificiality of ‘being’ as imputed by ‘naming’ and instead accepting that ‘organisms’ are relational forms in the transforming relational continuum, as modern physics [Bohm, Schroedinger, Boscovich/Nietzsche) would have it.


The self-deception that is incorporated in Western culture based on belief in the abstraction of ‘being’, and in the process, denying the experience-affirmed reality of ‘relational forms’ aka ‘apparitions’ (appearances associated with relational forms which have no basis in ‘being’).  ‘Humans’ understood as relational features in the transforming relational continuum are ‘appearances’, NOT ‘beings’.  Yes, I know ‘apparitions’ sounds spooky and non-scientific, but ‘apparition’ is a word whose meaning has been hijacked by ‘spiritualists’ who employ it in the sense of ‘being’ so that there are as many ‘apparitions’ as ‘departed beings’ which is nothing like the sense of an apparition as a relational form in a transforming relational continuum, such as a whorl in the flow or ‘hurricane’.


It’s true that the many holes in ‘being-based’ scientific theory were psychologically patched by a popular version of modern physics which resorted to ‘probability theory’ which ‘blurred’ the discrete ‘reality’ of ‘beings’ (things with material existence).  Schroedinger, who, like Bohm, understood the reality of nature as a transforming relational continuum critiqued this ‘statistical’ ploy to conserve the ‘being’ basis of physical reality;


“Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum physics held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody.” (Schrödinger E, ‘The Interpretation of Quantum Physics’). … “I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” (Erwin Schroedinger speaking about the probability-based interpretation of Quantum Physics which was legitimized by majority vote).
“What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances).”  — Erwin Schroedinger


Ok, that completes (almost) the ‘supporting background’ to the fairly terse 236 word summary of my philosophical research findings.  The reader may still be left wondering why, if Schroedinger, Bohm, and Nietzsche’s ‘case’ for ‘non-being’ is as strong as they maintain it is, … why hasn’t it ‘taken over’ from the over-simplistic ‘being-based classical physics worldview (and the probability enhanced version  of Max Born et al that was made official by ‘majority vote’?)


The reluctance of people to ‘let go’ of the old being-based theory/worldview (the statistical preservation of ‘being’ is just a dodge), is due to what has been called ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’.  By simple analogy, if you buy some Microsoft computers and later discover that they are trash compared to Apple or systems running UNIX, by the time this becomes overtly apparent, all kinds of investments in tailored fittings of ancillary programs and hardware devices have been made which results in ‘lock-in’ due to ‘high switching costs’.  There is this same ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’ associated with moving from the over-simplistic being-based understanding of reality to the relational understanding.


The relational understanding is not so easy to share; e.g. while the being-based understanding of crime (dissonance in the relational social dynamic) looks for a criminal that authors the crime, the relational understanding of crime is that ‘it takes a whole community to raise a criminal.  In other words, as with the ‘surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ (the modern physics model of Geoffrey Chew and John Wheeler), the source of the action ‘bottoms out’ in ‘relational dynamics’ rather than ‘beings’ (abstractions).


In regard to ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’, Henri Laborit outlines in ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ (the new framework) the difficulty one has in trying to share findings that support non-being based understanding within a society which celebrates those ‘human beings’ who have been elevated in status and public acclaim through their superior skills in ‘being’-based cognition and actualization of notional ‘being’-based plans and developments.

‘We’ who explore such topics, cannot easily share them because (a) they do not fit into the typical dinner conversation format of our present culture, since to express them takes a lot of relational connections that can’t fit into a rapid-fire repartee, and (b) because the humanism  implicit in trying to share them is not seen as “a humanism of real worth” since it undermines, besmirches or topples the esteemed icons, pillars of society, founding fathers, and celebrities of the culture-in-place.  – Henri Laborit, ‘La Nouvelle Grille’

Ok, that remark speaks to the ‘lock-in’ problem; i.e. those who are doing well within the current system may not support any fundamental changes that undermine their current situation and status.  It is the successful group of people who have status and influence deriving from ‘being-based values’ that have most influence on what changes to the current system will be endorsed.  What will be encouraged in this situation is that people must work longer and harder and faster to overcome the issues that continue to develop, enlarge and complexify.  However, this amounts to accelerating the deepening of the hole we are digging ourselves into.

This ‘lock-in’ is also explained in systems science theory in terms of ‘sub-optimization’ as in the paper by Martine Dodds Taljaard and György Jaros; ‘The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’.

The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’

“The above aphorism, attributed to Kenneth Boulding, points to the inherent weakness characterizing the mindset and socio‐economic, political, educational and managerial practices of Western Industrial society as it developed over the past 300 years. It has its basis in the analytic‐reductionistic scientific paradigm, which, despite the remarkable technological applications it spawned, is inappropriate, conflict‐generating and dysfunctional in a world characterized by global interconnectedness and mutual interdependence …” — György Jaros and Martine Dodds-Taljaard

So, the evident problem is that, ‘in real life’, everything is related (‘mitakuye oyasin’) so it is pure intellectual abstraction to divide the world up into ‘independent nations’ [Einstein’s ‘Infantile disease, the measles of the world’] and then try to optimize each notionally ‘independent part’ which is in fact not independent at all, but innately interdependent as in relational forms in a transforming relational continuum.  Dividing a relational continuum into notional ‘parts’ and ‘naming’ the ‘individual parts’ succeeds, cognitively, in imputing independent ‘being’ to the named parts, but experientially, the relational unum remains a relational unum in spite of the cognitively conditioned belief in the ‘independent existence of the parts’.

So, yes, clearly, there is ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’ [e.g. ‘nationalism’, ‘corporatism’] that are slowing down (indefinitely stalling) the acceptance of the understanding of Bohm, Schroedinger, Nietzsche and others, as described in the above 236 word, 12 point précis.

This has been a Brief Summary of my Philosophical Research Findings  (Wordcount 236)

Yes, it’s true that I added another 1,748 words of supporting commentary, but the core explanation of what is going on is contained in those 236 words of the summary.

Is anyone likely to ‘change their view’ on the basis of the sort of argument presented herein?  That’s akin to asking whether a Christian is going to convert to Buddhism on the basis of reading a short pamphlet.  Things don’t happen that way.  As Wittgenstein observes;

There is a truth in Schopenhauer’s view that philosophy is an organism, and that a book on philosophy, with a beginning and an end, is a sort of contradiction [Elsewhere Wittgenstein quotes Heraclitus “everything is in flux” on this same problem of being forced to capture a complex continuing dynamic by notional ‘parts’]. One difficulty with philosophy is that we lack a synoptic view. We encounter the kind of difficulty we should have with the geography of a country for which we had no map, or else a map of isolated bits. The country we are talking about is language, and the geography its grammar. We can walk about the country quite well, but when forced to make a map, we go wrong. A map will show different roads through the same country, any one of which we can take, though not two, just as in philosophy we must take up problems one by one though in fact each problem leads to a multitude of others. We must wait until we come round to the starting point before we can proceed to another section, that is, before we can either treat of the problem we first attacked or proceed to another. In philosophy matters are not simple enough for us to say ‘Let’s get a rough idea’, for we do not know the country except by knowing the connections between the roads. So I suggest repetition as a means of surveying the connections.”  — Wittgenstein

In other words, we must reduce our entire suite of ‘what is’ facts to a matrix of relations whose relational mode of informing supersedes the explicit being-based facts that were the basis of the relational matrix.

6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly. [the penultimate proposition in ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’]

Ok, I ‘retired’ early at age 55 in 1996 to work on this project and I have worked intensively on it for the past 22 years, probably averaging well over 40 hours per week (I would say, more like double that).  I don’t think that many people are going to put that much effort into probing these philosophical issues other than dedicated philosophers, many of whom will remain nameless because philosophy is not that popular in our Western society.  In fact, I recall a friend who is a professor of microbiology (Doug Caldwell) observing that Ph.D. biologists in our modern era go straight for the ‘science’ without reflecting on the philosophical underpinnings of science that is guiding their investigations.  In such an approach, one would never come to question the very basics of genetic theory, as he did (which was not popular in his environment and created major problems for him).  In one of his research papers reporting on actual experimental results, he questions whether it is not the case that the relational dynamics of the community of organisms is not the source of the genetic makeup of the participants in the community; i.e. he suggests that relations are the source of beings rather than vice versa.

“It is normally assumed that the recombination of genes generates innovation and that this innovation is then judged as useful or not through natural selection. Genetic information presumably serves as a blueprint that controls the features of organisms and their communities. However, studies of bacterial associations in continuous culture suggest that innovation also flows in the reverse direction, from the structure of the community to the structure of the nucleic acid. In this situation, it may be the structure and architecture of the community that serves the initial blueprint.” — ‘Cultivation of Microbial Consortia and Communities by Douglas E. Caldwell, Gideon M. Wolfaardt, Darren R. Korber, Subramanian Karthikeyan, John R. Lawrence, and Daniel K. Brannan, Manual of Environmental Microbiology

 This inversion of the role of ‘being’ and ‘relations’ has been emerging in many research environments, but it has so far ‘hit the wall’ of ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’; e.g; ‘bootstrapping’ provides a means of understanding physical phenomena in ‘relational’ terms without having to first assume ‘being’, but the resistance to popular uptake is huge because of ‘lock-in’ due to ‘high switching costs’.

[Geoffrey Chew]: “when you formulate a question, you have to have some basic concepts that you are accepting in order to formulate the question. But in the bootstrap approach, where the whole system represents a network of relationships without any firm foundation, the description of our subject can be begun at a great variety of different places. There isn’t any clear starting point. And the way our theory has developed in the last few years, we quite typically don’t know what questions to ask. We use consistency as the guide, and each increase in the consistency suggests something that is incomplete, but it rarely takes the form of a well-defined question. We are going beyond the whole question-­and­-answer framework.”

This same approach shows up in Nietzsche’s philosophical investigations; e.g; in the ‘Geneology of Morality’, Nietzsche describes an investigative technique that recapitulates the ‘learning circle’ of indigenous aboriginal inquiry;

“The more eyes, different eyes, we know how to bring to bear on one and the same matter, that much more complete will our ‘concept’ of this matter, our ‘objectivity’ be.” —Nietzsche

I would close this Brief Summary of my Philosophical Research Findings  (Wordcount 236) with the observation that there is ample research-based understanding to expose the dysfunction-infusing incompleteness of our established ‘being-based’ scientific paradigm, and also expose the ‘lock-in’ due to ‘high switching costs’ that is holding us back from making natural upgrades to our cognitive modeling of reality in Western culture based society.  From my own experience in this investigative undertaking, I would doubly emphasize the holdup as it has been identified and expressed by Henri Laborit, which really ‘rings a bell’ with me;

‘We’ who explore such topics, cannot easily share them because (a) they do not fit into the typical dinner conversation format of our present culture, since to express them takes a lot of relational connections that can’t fit into a rapid-fire repartee, and (b) because the humanism  implicit in trying to share them is not seen as “a humanism of real worth” since it undermines, besmirches or topples the esteemed icons, pillars of society, founding fathers, and celebrities of the culture-in-place.  – Henri Laborit, ‘La Nouvelle Grille’

* * *