After reading an article we published on Monday titled ‘Terrain Theorists Are Not Terrorists but Neither Are Germ Theorists’ a reader has written to us with his thoughts. He notes how dualistic, two-part logic, has been weaponised and proposes that we need to step back and regain our ability to habitually use four-part logic.
Before we get into his letter: a brief introduction to logic as food for thought. To some degree, in the age of computers, there has been a conditioning of humans towards dualistic, or binary, logic – either right or wrong and nothing in between. For illustration purposes then it would seem appropriate to compare the relatively simplistic and mathematical “thinking” of machine learning algorithms, or artificial intelligence (“AI”), to innately complex human thinking.
The final frontier in artificial intelligence is “intelligent” machines, sometimes called “hard” AI, or “general intelligence” – an AI that is intelligent “like us”, that is “conscious” or “self-aware”. The quest is to design machines that imitate us and our logic tells us we should not be trying to imitate machines – we are far superior to man-made machines in every way and we always will be.
American logician and philosopher Nuel Belnap considered the challenge of a computer answering questions where two contradictory facts were loaded into the computer’s memory and then a query was made.
“We all know about the fecundity of contradictions in two-valued logic: contradictions are never isolated, infecting as they do the whole system,” he wrote in his 2019 essay ‘How a Computer Should Think’.
So, he proposed a four-valued logic where values are true, false, both (true and false), and neither (true nor false).
Machine learning algorithms work on the principle: given a set of data, a collection of observations about the world, the algorithm attempts to construct a set of rules – a model – which explains those observations. Some might say that just like AI, we construct models to explain the world around us.
But we aren’t man-made machines that are mathematically programmed to search for information and merely repeat the results our search returns. Yes, we should at the very least apply four-valued logic – a fact our reader highlights in his letter – but for those who recognise that a shift from binary towards four-part logic is required, there is more to being human.
We will always surpass the inherent limitations of computer logic – algorithms and artificial intelligence – because our human minds have the ability to explain the actions of another being, or ourselves, by reference to the existence of hidden mental states – our beliefs, emotions, intent, and knowledge. This allows us to make sense of complex behaviour by turning it into a kind of narrative.
The magical “spark” that awakens in a complex system that transforms it from a lifeless machine into a conscious being, wrote Towards DataScience, is not the product of its ability to think, but rather it is the product of our ability to empathise.
As we read the letter below let’s bear in mind the complexity of human thought and the ability to process and make sense of information as only we humans can.
Weaponised Oppositional Dualism
I greatly appreciated your recent article, ‘Terrain Theorists Are Not Terrorists but Neither Are Germ Theorists’. I offer these further perspectives that I have not yet heard introduced into this scrum:
The vast majority of the world operates on archaic, dualistic, two-part logic. I hypothesise that we have been subjected to – indeed programmed at a neurological level by – weaponised oppositional dualism to predispose us to us-vs-them reactivity to everything via an activated egoic identity threat, thereby dividing and subdividing us to ensure control by classic, yet now scientifically sophisticated, divide and rule methods.
In two-part logic, a thing is either true or false; and in the egoic identification with one side or the other, it becomes moral (right or wrong). The opposing side is made “the enemy” and commonly painted with the operational cognitive shortcut like “Terrorist” or “Conspiracy Theorist” or whatever epithet has been established in the public mind to tag “that kind of person”. That’s what we see playing out everywhere, and certainly in this false notion that debate on terrain theory and germ theory should appropriately set the theorists at each other.
In four-part logic, a thing can be true, false, both true and false, or neither true nor false – often indicating the wrong question has been asked. Most things in the human realm fall into the third category and are complex, often paradoxical. This both/and quality is what “mature” egos navigate with grace and equanimity, adapting and integrating, reconciling those apparent opposites that provoke cognitive dissonance, being comfortable with being uncomfortable, admitting to not knowing.
With a paradigm shift to four-part logic, germ theory and terrain theory become complementary frames of understanding, like Wave/Particle Duality and many other examples in science that extend the scope and depth of our knowledge. Einstein didn’t invalidate Newton, he added (yes, radical) nuance in a paradigm-shifting expansion of perspective and possibility. There, hopefully, will be no settling of any scientific debate, but an ongoing refinement that hews closer and closer to the truth.
The duality-indoctrinated egos that have gotten drawn into this virus/no-virus nonsense “debate” are causing damaging polarisation in the movement, but every time we also get drawn into it by only considering the evidence (as Verkerk masterfully did) and not naming the underlying limitation of framing the conflict as either/or, we enable the discord and prolong the fracture. This has also emerged recently in Breggin* (because he’s stuck at an immature level of ego development and can only go so far as “enemy” identification and shadow projection) calling out Desmet as controlled opposition without apprehending the (self-) liberating nuance that Desmet is brilliantly pointing towards.
As Einstein noted, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
What is needed, I think, is a reconciliation via a paradigm shift, a schooling in four-part logic and the history of science that leads us forward into integrative cooperation and collaboration and breaks us free of those indeed controlling us by division (primarily of Self). Four-part logic opens up a new axis and dimension, a new “level of consciousness” in which there is enough space to co-create peace.
Let’s Lead the Way, USA
*Note from The Exposé: The Breggin/Desmet debate stems from a book review by American psychiatrist Peter Breggin and his wife Ginger Ross Breggin. The review was on a book authored by Professor of Psychology at Ghent University Mattias Desmet titled ‘The Psychology of Totalitarianism’.