What is reality? A series of posts follow on this question. Firstly, I will state some positions that I have from which I will proceed in answering this question.
Nature is my ultimate guide
Nature is my ultimate guide: it is the sum of everything, past, present and future; there is nothing outside or above nature; all that there is, is nature; nature is the ultimate authority; everything starts and ends in nature; nature is self-creating, constant and eternal.
Because nature is the ultimate guide or authority in everything, the individual is unable to go wrong in building an argument or strategy based upon the common patterns of nature.
Nature as my ultimate authority supports my LHP stance
Even though in the Left Hand Path (LHP) the individual is the authority in their own life, I argue that there is no conflict with my stance nature is my ultimate authority. If nature is everything, I am nature, and nature is me. In philosophy, the part and the whole, that exists in a paradox of being the same thing is called a Holon. Nature is a Holon, the whole (nature), and the part (me), are one thing. The argument is the same to say that my hand is a part of my body, and my body is the whole, thus part and whole is a Holon. Since self and nature are one thing, the stance of self as ultimate authority is the same thing as nature is ultimate authority. There is no conflict.
Opinion is worthless
The philosopher Heraclitus, who uses nature as his ultimate authority for his conclusions, says human subjective opinions are children’s toys, only worthy of the minds of children. Heraclitus encourages the individual to look to the common patterns of nature (he calls the Common) as the only worthy source of truth. If it is the opinion of one to build a house in a flood or fire zone; and then nature destroys the house with fire and flood; who was right? The one with opinion or the Common?
The empirical stance to nature
To avoid subjective opinion, the starting point to nature is an empirical stance: demonstration; experience; sense. If the question has no backing of demonstration, experience or sense, then it is probably worthless opinion. There must be something in nature that supports the empirical stance for something to be true. If an acorn always grows into an oak tree, then this must be truth, and the idea acorns grow into willow trees is worthy of discarding as subjective opinion.
Like all things, what appears empirically true, may be false. A survival strategy in living things is manipulation and deceit. What appears to be a bee, might be a flower. What appears to be a leaf, might be a reptile or insect. Nature loves to hide says Heraclitus. What is sensed and processed by the individual from nature is a small fraction of what is, and liable to error. The human brain fills in gaps in sensory processing to make sense of incomplete information, and liable to errors of mind. Question everything.
I use the thinking tools of complexity theory
Nature is a system, and thus reductionist thinking fails to appreciate the reality of nature as a system. The reductionist thinks in terms of breaking a complex system into parts, examining the parts, then putting those parts together again based upon conclusions of looking at parts. In systems, there arises new realities and rules based upon the interaction of the parts, but not apparent in examining parts alone. A bee is stupid alone; and examining the bee as a part fails to reach the conclusion of how this part, when it comes into contact with a thousand similar parts, gives rise to an emergent hive mind greater than the sum of the parts. Complexity thinking addresses the limits of reductionist approaches to systems.
On potential and visible states
What one sees as visible is one state of many. If one throws a six-sided dice, it has six potential states, but only one visible state that is rolled. People often conclude the side of the dice rolled is the reality, but fail to appreciate the Holon that it is one part of a potential of six possibilities. To proceed in dealing with reality is to appreciate that nature is always rolling dice, that multiple potentials co-exist with what is visible and known. What is visible and known, that comes about many times, is the common pattern in nature to proceed upon in argument and strategy, the Common. But, appreciate there are potential states in co-existence. If a thing has no potential state, then it will never come into being. An acorn has no potential state to become a willow tree, to think otherwise is ignorant opinion. What is potential, is invisible and unknown, until the dice roll it into existence.
The concept of entelechy
Every object, state, or system in nature, from the atom to the sun, is in a state of entelechy. This is a process that exists in paradox of completion and moving to completion. Dice are being rolled every moment, with the dice moving potential states into visible known states in a constantly changing in-and-out loop. If one was to slow the process down, perhaps a thing would be in a state of changing shadow: what was going out of existence; what will be, coming into being; happening together. It is subjective opinion to conclude that anything is a fixed state, since everything is in a state of motion and change; to say something is in a state of becoming is a better conclusion.
On energy and information
Energy and information co-exist, as qualities of the same Holon. Energy is defined as the ability to move. Information is defined as a pattern that has the ability to form or transform patterns. The key word is “ability”, so a thing must have the ability to move and impact patterns, otherwise it ceases to exist. Heraclitus observes that nature is always in motion and change, which is to say that everything is actively manifesting the ability to move and influence patterns. Nature is both an energy and an information system; and both energy and information is best dealt with together in questions of reality.
The war of opposites drives motion and change in nature
Arche is a philosophy term for the universal rule that is the authority over everything; war is the arche of nature. ‘Strife is Justice’ says Heraclitus: who observes the clash of two or more opposites drives change and motion in everything. Justice as Heraclitus uses it, means becoming; Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon philosophy also means becoming. What drives everything in nature to move and change, to become, is the opposites, which are always out of balance. The Yin and Yang, as the philosophers of the Orient would say, co-exist, are opposites that moves forwards and backwards in a state of war. Peace and balance in nature is decay and death; those that seek a perfect balance are following subjective opinion, and fight against the Common of nature, which manifests the arche of war. It is this war, the tug between two or more opposites, that drives the electrical charges in the brain to have thoughts, and the heart to push blood around the body. If the charge between the parts of the brain and the heart were balanced, death is the result. The ideal of the individual is to seek a harmony between self and nature, moving with the motion and change in systems within and outside of them. Complexity theory calls the point where a system is getting smashed by chaos, but establishing order through self-organisation, the Edge of Chaos; Heraclitus calls this the Unity of the Opposites.