If I draw a straight line between two points, how do I prove it is a straight line? Other than drawing it out, what else I can do? Not a lot. I can derive a maths equation, but this also serves to draw it conceptually, there is no essential difference. In order to conclude the matter, I require the other party to see what I am seeing, to see the same proof with his own eyes. But I cannot force him to see it.
The etymology of the word prove is to try, to demonstrate. An idea, for example, is not proof because it is not demonstrated; however it can be cultivated into something that is demonstrable, at which point it is proven. This process of cultivation is through either physical experimentation or a mental simulation thereof.
Similarly, if I hold a particular world view but am not sure if it is water tight, I can sit on it and allow it to ‘cultivate’. It requires minimal effort and with a little time the idea will mature into its proof that can then be inspected. And it is with the proof that the internal contradictions can reveal themselves; as soon as I see them they will disappear as my initial world view adjusts itself accordingly. And the process can start over again.
It is like the student of Zen who builds a temporary house around a bamboo shoot; eventually the bamboo stalk grows through the roof and destroys the house. And so the student builds another house around another bamboo shoot. And so on.
If I do not see the proof that reveals the flaws of my personal world view, and continue to pursue a flawed doctrine, the proof will just continue to grow and everything around it will fall into ruin. This can also happen on a group level where ideals are shared, and proofs collectively denied. An example might be the utopia of communism that promised equality of class and fair distribution of wealth. And yet when this grand idea matured long after its sell by date, it brought only misery.
When the proof is self-evident, be it a straight line between two points, or the oppression of a tyrannical regime, etc, no convincing is required. There is only seeing. Convince means to defeat in an argument, with the word ‘vince’ derived from Latin vincere, to conquer. Defeat is usually against one’s will, as an outcome of a battle. Saying that one is convinced is equivalent to saying one understands… it is a submission to authority. Proof demands no submission, it is simply there to observe. Seeing is effortless.
The cultivation of an idea into its proof is a process that develops over both time and space. Just as a young bamboo shoot will grow into physical space, a new idea will expand into psychological space. This is the movement of nature through its intrinsic dynamic vitality; and in the microcosm it is the flowering expansion of consciousness. It is referred to as the generative principle in some esoteric circles.
Nature does not hurry,
Yet everything is accomplished.
~ Lao Tzu
All conflict is an uncomfortable situation that instinctively seeks relief; and attention is the awareness of conflict that initiates its own process of enquiry. The generative principle responds to attention, and the outcome of this is the proof. To see the proof is to see the conflict… and in doing so bring an end to the conflict.
Culture is an experiment that serves to prove a collective ideal; and when society degenerates it proves how the founding ideal is flawed. When the conflict is thereby exposed, that which was hidden or occulted is now brought into the light of day. The seed that germinated in darkness has now matured and transformed into a plant bearing fruit, spilling the secrets once guarded zealously within the seed. And once these secrets are seen, they cannot be unseen. Conflict is no more, for there can be no contradictions in nature.
Even with a colony of bacteria, its ‘culture’ must mature for the bacteria to be identified. The process is the same in each case. Unless there is specific interest in the bacteria, however, its proof will not be seen. What we see is evidently restricted by, and relevant to, the enquiry itself. When it comes to communication, the challenge then is to get someone’s attention to fixate on the proof so that they will see it and concur.
In order for a peer reviewer to acknowledge a particular proof we are demonstrating, he must independently cultivate the same proof in his own time and in his own psychological space. Since we, as the demonstrating party, have already completed this process, the peer review can be accelerated if we can present good reasoning, which acts as a kind of catalyst. If our original enquiry is unbiased, like a straight line being the shortest distance between two points, then it is quite easy for the peer reviewer to quickly reconstruct the same enquiry… and prove the same result. What is drawn out on paper must find its reflection in the mind.
If our original enquiry is charged with preconceived ideas, like we might be expounding the virtues of communism, then the cultivated proof will be conflicted… either conceptually as mental stress (aka ‘cognitive dissonance’), or actually as social decay. The only way this proof can be denied is for attention to be NOT fixated on it. So if a failing culture is going to resist total collapse, attention must be diverted elsewhere. The question then is where? And how?
In nature all things must fight to survive. A failing culture retains an instinct to survive. But when it cannot sustain itself due to its internal contradictions, then it must seek a more profitable system to feed off. To do this it must convince or subjugate its peer into agreement. Specifically, it must prevent its peer from reconstructing an enquiry, as that would lead to the cultivation of proof, and then no agreement would be feasible.
Evidently the will to survive is stronger than the will to self realize because, in this instance, one will negate the other. To survive, the only option is to NOT see the proof of the conflict. And it is the conflict that enables this possibility, since conflict interferes with the fixation of attention. Ironically one cannot fixate one’s attention on the conflict because it is being distracted by the conflict. It is through such circular reasoning that a flawed system can perpetuate itself.
To feed off more profitable organisms, they must also become infected by this internal conflict. Otherwise the victim would readily fixate his attention and see the truth. When we are being deceived, like when we are led into an enquiry that is charged with preconceptions (and therefore contradictions), the body and mind will register a feeling of immediate discomfort. This is the actual conflict being transmitted. It happens in everyday life more often than we may realize. The new host may deny this sensation, and resist the proof; then by not fixating his attention accordingly he is at once aligning energetically with the intrusive agent. It is the very resistance to the intrusion that allows the intruder to implant itself. It happens right under our noses.
Man’s search for understanding of the laws which regulate his life has been unending, yet always just beyond the veil which shields the higher planes from the material man’s vision the truth has existed, ready to be assimilated by those who enlarge their vision by turning inward, not outward, in their search.
~ The Emerald Tablets of Thoth
The inability to see is masked by the ability to think. One is the ability to sow seeds and to reap harvests, the other is merely an imitation reaping the harvests of others. And if our peers will not see, what can we do?
If our peer reviewer refuses to see, or is incapable of seeing, the proof… what then? It doesn’t invalidate the proof, but it does create a stalemate. The matter can in theory only be resolved through an arbiter, an authority who is able to testify to the proof beyond reproach. A teacher will mark a child’s school work, and if the result is an F then usually that is the final verdict. For more important matters, a panel of arbiters may be required for a consensus… whereby it must be assumed that the collective appraisal lies always in favor of the truth by aggregate; that reason must prevail via logic. A vote in the senate must be for the greater good, so long as the senate itself is not corrupted.
The question will always remain whether a limited collective will retain the means to make a correct judgment. For such is the nature of the universe that there is no cosmic arbiter to guide us rationally along the path of righteousness. So we create instead our own arbiters and elevate them to offices for social affairs, for justice, etc… but this is clearly an act of muddle-headed defiance since there does not exist any such presiding authority in nature. It is there only in man’s failing system, the proof of which is civil disorder and conflict… and for which the authority was set up in the first place. So we have a situation in which a self-righteous authority is established to manage the chaotic fallout of having that authority. Sweet.
The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.
~ J Krishnamurti