Some time ago, I wrote

It is indeed impossible for us finite creatures to comprehend properly our infinite Creator (or, if you will, us creatures of a lower degree of infinity to comprehend properly our Creator whose attributes are all of a higher infinity) but He gives us finite means to see some part of Him, and we can rejoice in these, and find great warmth and consolation through them. But further than this, God the Son takes on our lower finite form while at the same time remaining truly God, and in this we can see Him as God made man.

In these essays, I elaborate on this; the project was initially an attempt to explain how the work on reflection and reification that I developed in studying computer science has influenced my philosophical and theological thought, but it has now grown beyond this.

The essays are a series of short articles on specific topics. they refer to each other extensively, and I have not found it possible to avoid all cycles of reference, so it may be necessary to go back to re-read sections, or to skip ahead to look at a reference, at times.

Some of my notes on things are in other directories, in particular some specifically religious ones, and some about thoughts and personality.

The essays

The texts after the essay titles are extracts or summaries of the essays themselves. Follow the link on the essay title for the full essay.

Fundamental stasis
This group of essays is about the static structure of the non-sentient universe and the mindscape other than consciousness.
Time, things, existence and creation (largely complete)
One of the most significant things about time is that it goes in one direction, along a single line. You cannot go back, nor can you change what has been.
Space and movement (largely complete)
Just as some things exist within time, some things exist within space. Spatial movement, unlike time progression, is not monotonic.
The meta-system tower and its grounding
A reflective system is part of its own structural field... thus, the self-referential nature of the system is also part of the structural field.
About CS and non-CS (so-called); study and non-study (so-called); etc. -->
Fundamental flux
This group of essays is about changes that happen within the framework described in the static structure. Change, is, of course, in itself, something that exists statically; and is also something that changes.
Entropy (complete)
Part of living above the entropically-ruled biological level is to be able to take things other than emotions into account before acting.
Evolution (incomplete)
The rapidity with which an evolving population adapts to produce individuals of high fitness in the population's environment is made possible by the combination of partial solutions from each of several ancestors.
These essays cover consciousness and phenomena which have things significantly in common with consciousness. They are meant to be more abstract than to specialize in human consciousness.
Why self-reference does not develop by evolution
Darwinian-Mendelian evolution adapts populations of structures within structural fields. A field cannot become fully reflective (self-referential) unless its metafield has made it so....
The significant non-emergence of self-awareness
The (potential) self-awareness must be provided from outside (or beyond) the entity -- from the creator of the entity.
Communications between our higher and lower natures
In a being of more than one nature, when information (or whatever it is that a being handles -- desires, motives?) it could be seen as being reified from one nature and reflected into another... which is also a possible description of what happens in communication between two beings.
What is creativity? -->
This will be somewhat more detailed than Asimov's laws of robotics! -->
Being Human
Sometimes I feel like having nothing to do with my species... it really makes me cringe, increasingly so with larger quantities... but we are told that our Creator made us in His image, and did not stay aloof but came to dwell among us, and we have beheld his glory, full of grace and truth. Perhaps being human isn't so bad after all.
Self-control (complete)
I can see increasingly the importance of self-discipline, and can see that I haven't really made a start on it. It's one of those things with a self-starting problem... I need self-discipline in order to become disciplined.
Affectivity (incomplete)
Some conscious creatures have affectivity -- the ability to feel emotions.
Pleasure (complete)
I have observed that there appear to be two routes to emotional satisfaction.
Anger (sketchy)
When angry, a creature wants to do more than just change its situation; it wants to make things worse for those it regards as responsible for the situation -- revenge.
People form emotional attachments to each other, which can be nice for both concerned, and also emotional dependencies, which are nasty for both, and they often can't tell the difference!
Love (stub)
The term love is used to mean many things; I will also try to avoid addressing as love things that are commonly mistaken for love, such as desire.
Genuine loving Relationships
Some notes about good and bad relationships
Being loving while having high standards
Sometimes it seems that having high standards is in tension with being kind...
Partnership and independence
Some thoughts about thoughts about pairing up.
Sexuality and innocence: overlaps and boundaries
About being ``just friends'': why and how do we have the idea of a border or limit?
Problems and substitutes
Although it is possible for people to relate well, this needs both to relate well to each other... one can hardly go on taking up the slack without something going wrong underneath. I've made some notes about some things I've noticed people doing instead of relating well. Many of them seem to stem from feelings of inadequacy or powerlessness.
People needing to control others
Some people, in trying to take control of their own lives (a daft concept if ever I saw one) try to control the people around them to make them safe. I've been stung by these, and have made some grumpy notes about them.
On people made frigid by the fear of being used (instead of valued?)
These are often the same people as in the previous entry.
People using others to affirm themselves
I wrote this in resposnse to annoyance at being used by someone to make them feel that you're accepting them.
An exploration of the idea that it is better to give than to receive. -->
Harm, retribution and forgiveness (incomplete)
A harmed being may be able to repair its affective state by causing some harm to the thing that harmed it... which, logically, seems rather strange to me, however much I naturally feel like that myself at times.
Things people ask deceptively
Please listen to me
we should be nice to each other
Please accept me
Don't be judgemental
Things that influence people
The fragility of peace under constraint
How easy it is to feel pressured by such small things!
(not very deep yet!)
Things people do (especially silly ones)
and what's wrong with it
About people who can't get nearer to creativity than ``choosing'' things that other people have thought up. -->
I don't have a television. Here is (will be) something about why. -->
Ethics and practicalities of ``recreational'' drug use
There are many veiws around on the ethics and practicalities of the legalization of drugs; I am slowly forming some ideas on this, which may reflect interestingly on problems with utilitarian morality.
Society (incomplete)
The complexities of interactions among collections of sentient beings.
Politics and social justice (incomplete)
My most central view is that everyone should take responsibility at least for themselves; they may choose to take more, but not less. See also my Values directory.
On soldier termites and honeypot ants
On useful (and used) responsible specialists within societies.
About normalization of people (but, I hope, not standardization)
A look at what I see in the behaviour of some, who are widely referred to as idiots, and who are unwilling to take on any burden of responsibility.
how some administrative regions try to force other regions to be like themselves
Gated communities and graffiti
Double population conflicts
The daftness of metrication.
Some sections of society are founded on tacit agreements to treat particular lies as truths, greatly increasing the esteem and comfort of those in them. -->
Some utopian communalist ideas
This also has its own index.
Communalism (sketchy)
Sharing (stub)
Back to basics (stub)
Appropriate use of technology
Law with kindness
Back to Eden (incomplete)
Bare feet on the ground
The flip side of feet?

See also Links to related topics for writings by other authors.

For my engineering purposes, there is a status table of these essays, and a list of essay stubs for things about which I plan to write.

[pen] [John's home]

For other essays, see the index to this collection.

Contact me
Last modified: Sun Jun 10 22:32:04 GMT Daylight Time 2007