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Natural Social Contract Annotations

The Metaphysical Basis of Reality

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

1) The description of the metaphysical basis of Reality that I (Paul Antonik Wakfer) have stated within the definition set for Existent and have further detailed in this annotation chapter is the simplest statement that is adequate to formulate the NSC. Although the description may appear complex to some readers, compared to the complexity of most metaphysical1 descriptions of Reality it is very short and very simple. Nevertheless, I think that it captures the essential aspects of meaning of the defined words, those that are sufficient for my purpose in the NSC. Later in another place and time, I hope to get more heavily involved in creating my own more fully formulated metaphysics, but not just now. For an earlier, less fully formed viewpoint about Existents see my essay: "Collectivism in Language: Its Effects on Valid Reasoning".

2) Existents are very simply all unique things that can effect some alteration of one another and Reality is the name for the set (collection) of them. While Existents may be classified (Categorized) into several essentially different kinds, there is one property which they all have in common - they can be observed by humans2 in some manner either directly or indirectly. This property is not an Attribute, since it does not distinguish an Existent from anything else (there are no non-Existents) and has no measurable a-Value, but is merely implied by the fact that by definition Existents Interact with one another and since humans are also Existents, therefore all Existents must necessarily Interact with humans. Being observable by humans fundamentally means that Existents can have some effect on humans and that the effect of one Existent is objectively distinguishable from the effect of another Existent (another observable effect). This, in turn, means that they are measurable by human senses in some manner, which means they can, ultimately, be measured in a manner that is objectively clear to and accepted by all normally functioning humans (those humans that have the normal phenotypical3 Attributes). This property of being observable by measurement, then, is the definition of what it means to be Real - ie. to exist, to be a Member of the set Reality or to be objectively distinguishable.

3) I use the term Material Existent for matter, energy and combinations of these. It should be noted that while from the point of view of physics, matter and energy are essentially interchangeable, because pure energy particles have a rest mass of zero and are always moving relative to humans from a macroscopic point of view (that of humans directly in their normal InterActions), there are major differences in treatment and effect between the two. Although my definitions separate space and time because this is the way humans view these Existents in all their Social InterActions, it now appears well verified that space and time are merely distinguishable Attributes of a single Existent, space-time, a Category of 4 dimensional Existents that contain no matter - that is in what physicists describe as the vacuum State. Although all matter and energy necessarily occupy space-time, and from the point of view of general relativity space-time does not even exist without matter, space-time itself needs to be handled differently than any of the Material Existents that occupy it since one part of space-time cannot be transferred to occupy another part of space-time. Therefore, I have separated space-time from both matter and energy and left the elucidation of the Social Attributes of space-time until the definition of Real Estate. So also for Actions; even though from the point of view of modern physics the Action of any matter or energy upon another Material Existent is effected by and essentially equivalent to an energy/matter combination itself travelling through space-time, from a macroscopic point of view Actions are very different in kind from matter, energy or space-time and for that reason have been separated.

4) In order to control and alter the elements of Reality for human benefit, there is a need to consider them - ie. to describe them, to think about them, to understand them and to communicate such descriptions and understandings to other humans. However, an analysis of such considerations makes it clear that they do not have the same existential character as do the elements of Reality themselves since such considerations cannot be directly or indirectly sensed by being measured as can the elements of Reality itself.4 This existential difference suggests that such considerations should be better placed in a separate Category termed Meta-Reality.5 However, it then becomes clear that the need to consider the elements of Reality (the members of the set Level-0 Meta-Reality), implies the need to also consider those considerations so that they too might be fully described and communicated to other humans (in fact, this already was done when formulating the concept of a Meta-Reality). Continuing in this manner leads directly to the notion of a hierarchy of distinct Levels of Meta-Reality, each enabling the consideration of the elements of the previous one and their description and communication to other humans. Because the number of these Levels is only bounded by the finiteness of the number of brains doing the considering and the time of consideration, it is necessary to provide a recursive6 definition of Levels of Meta-Reality. It should be noted that, even though it is necessary to define a hierarchy of Meta-Realities in order to logically organize and separate such considerations, ultimately all such considerations take place by means of Representations of them in Reality, if only within the neuronal brain patterns of humans. In thinking about metaphysics, it is extremely important to always distinguish between a Member of a Level of Meta-Reality and its Representation, and to not confuse the one with the other. The Members of different Levels of Meta-Reality are combined by means of the concept of Information. Here in particular, the concept of Well-Defined must be adhered to or else inconsistencies arise.

5) Attributes are the descriptors that humans use to consider, investigate, understand, communicate, control and alter the elements of each Level of Meta-Reality in order to increase their own and others' Lifetime Happiness. The Attributes of Existents are Members of the set of elements of Level-1. Since Existents are observable (by the Events to which they contribute), the a-Values of their Attributes must be ascertained as the result of measurement Processes. However, because the Members of Levels of Meta-Reality greater than 0 are not observable, both the Types and the a-Values of their Attributes (which are Members of the next higher Level of Meta-Reality) must be specified by the creators of the elements. The Identifying Information of any Existent is the minimum set of Information (generally specified Attributes) that is necessary to uniquely distinguish it from any other Existent. Not all Existents can be uniquely distinguished from one another, eg. atoms and other fundamental particles, unless the place and time is part of the specification. Even then, quantum mechanics suggests that unique Identification of such fundamental particles of matter and energy may not be possible.

6) Events or Effects are the observable Changes of Reality - the creations, alterations and deletions of Material Existents that are continually happening. However, there is a subtle difference between Event and Effect in that the former is generally related to both the Change and the end product of the Change, whereas the latter merely describes the end product. In that sense Effect is closer to the notion of State, which is a more complete description of all the Attributes of the end product of an Event. The term Action is used here as a more generalized concept for that of force in physics or for combinations of forces. All Actions take place through space-time with the simplest Actions causing the least alteration of Reality, generally taking place through the least space-time. The term Process is introduced to describe complex combinations of Actions occuring over extended space-time. With the concept of Sufficient, I am trying to capture the notion of a Well-Defined Action or Process inexorably causing the occurrence of an Event or Effect. However, such an inexorable occurrence (ie. certainty of an Event or Effect) is not part of Reality for at least two reasons. First, even though one has always seen in the past the same Event or Effect occur as a result of the same Actions, one can never know for sure that this will happen the next time those Actions take place. Second, there are any number of other Actions that can intervene and cause a different Event or Effect to actually occur. Therefore, I have made these as conditions on my definition of sufficient. Note that in Levels of Meta-Reality above 0, since there is no space-time and there are no forces or initiating Actors, the dynamic concept of Action is replaced by the more static concepts of operation and function.

7) Humans InterAct with external Reality (the non-I) by assessing that environment as many semi-independent States that extend over time to become Life States. In order to make Decisions concerning which Available Actions to take and therefore which possible Continuers of current States to attempt to create (ie. which Life State extensions are more Beneficial), humans need to assess possible future States against current States. While this can (and should initially) be done for each independent State Attribute, in order to reach a final Decision concerning which State is preferred, humans require a method by which the initially independent Attribute a-Values can be compared and added both contemporarily and over the Lifetime of a given State, so that an overall s-Value for the Life State can be reached. This is where the subjectivity of human s-Evaluation arises - each human will have a different Process for the s-Evaluation of any given Life State. Note that a Life State is a specific kind of Information. The concept of Defining State is an attempt to capture the subset of Attributes of a given State which enable a Well-Defined distinction from any other State. For example, the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, plus fingerprints and retinal scans of human (or even just the last two alone, if they remain in their normal form) appear to fully distinguish one human from another, even though they are far from describing the full set of differences between any two humans.

8) A Relationship is the generalization of what, in mathematics, is called a relation, which is in turn a generalization of what is called a function. Just as a Category or Information must be Well-Defined, so too must a Relationship be a Well-Defined set of Attribute Pairs. That is the reason for the requirement that there must be some Process (of definition) by which each Attribute Pair in the second Category (the Dependent Category) can be determined from an Attribute Pair in the first Category (the Independent Category). Note that a Relationship is also another specific kind of Information.

9) While all Existents are capable of InterAction, just as the concept of State is necessary to assess Well-Defined and useful sets of Existents and their Attributes, so it is also necessary to have the concept of System to describe Well-Defined and useful Categories of Existents and their InterActions, particularly and usually only with respect to Changes of a limited set of Attributes of the Existents. Thus, one speaks of the solar System (a gravitationally/radiationally InterActing system) , the cardiovascular System, a mathematical System or a System of InterActing lifeforms (ecosystem). It should be noted that I have reserved the word Society for a System whose Members are human.

10) The reader should note that thoughts are also Actions that induce Processes that result in Events of transformation of Attributes of the brain producing the Effects inherent in a Continuer of itself. As opposed to the brain, which is an Existent of Reality, the mind may be thought of as part of the meta-brain - the set of the Information contained in the brain, and the Processes for manipulating that Information and producing Continuers of it, which is accessible and/or modifiable directly or indirectly by the conscious. This Process of manipulating Information applies to both the use of Models and Representations. In fact, in the final analysis the only manner in which the brain can deal with Reality is through the Process of Modeling it and then Representing those Models in the brain so that they can be manipulated and assessed for their proximity in operation to that portion of Reality that was Modeled. Finally, I want it to be clear that when I make a statement of implication based on some Attributes of a Category of Members of any Level of Meta-Reality, such a statement is not meant to imply that the statement is true for all Members of the Category but only for those Members that do have the Attributes on which the implication is based.

1. "Metaphysics" is a division of philosophy that includes ontology and cosmology - "metaphysics ... treats of the relations obtaining between the underlying reality and its manifestations" -- Fred Sommers, "metaphysics ... analyzes the generic traits manifested by existences of any kind" -- J.H.Randall; - Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (5 Oct. 2005).

2. I refer to humans throughout these annotations merely because Members of that species are currently the only Existents known to have the mental powers to understand, to Choose and to Act with respect to the concepts defined in the Natural Social Contract. If other beings appear with these Attributes or some currently known species are shown to have them, then, in general, what is stated with respect to humans will also apply to them. In this regard, it should be noted that the Natural Social Contract itself does not refer to humans at all.

3. "Phenotype" means a : the detectable expression of the interaction of genotype and environment; b : the visible characters of an organism - Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (5 Oct. 2005) and "normal" in this context means those characteristics that are held by the vast majority of the members of the species as they arise from their genetic expression before any direct intervention and alteration by other members of the species.

4. This is true even though all such "considerations" necessarily must have Representations as Existents in Reality.

5. "Meta-" means a : beyond : transcending; b : of a higher logical type -- in nouns formed from names of disciplines and designating new but related disciplines such as can deal critically with the nature, structure, or behavior of the original ones - Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (5 Oct. 2005).

6. A recursive definition is a definition that is required whenever there are a number of elements to be defined that have no natural bound or for which the number of elements within the natural bound is simply too large to list. It proceeds by defining the first element in the sequence and then defining a general Process by which, given any element of the sequence, the next element is then defined. The numbers specified by the expression n! (n factorial) in mathematics is a pro-typical example of a recursive definition. The first number in the sequence is simply the integer 1 (which is 1! by definition, and from any element of the sequence n!, the next element of the sequence (n+1)! is n! multiplied by n+1.