Re: RELIGION: The meaning of Life

Gregory Houston (
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 20:06:36 -0600

Guru George wrote:

> Isn't practical functionality real functionality, true functionality; or

> is there some pretend kind of functionality that would do just as well?

There is more and less functional. Something that pretends to be

functional is, by degree, more or less functional in pretending to be

functional, but not functional beyond pretending to be functional.

Something that pretends to be functional is functional, just not in the

way it pretends, e.g, we often make models of things which are not

functional, but they pretend to be. A model space shuttle has

functionality as pretending to be a functional space shuttle.

You can call functionality real functionality and then true
functionality if you want to, but there is no need to make this

I am invoking Occam's razor here. There is no reason to use the term

truth when speaking of functionality. It is an extraneous and

unnecessary term. Something is either more or less functional in its

intended purpose. There is no reason for me to say it is truely

functional or falsely functional. The word is not needed.

> I don't understand what difference you see

> between what you call 'functionality' and truth, facts.

Thus showing that the term truth is not necessary, I will now list why

it is less functional than either the term useful or the term

functional. The following are my reasons for proposing this shift in

terminology. The following details the differences between functionality

and truth. [This is pretty lengthy, a great deal of recapitulation, but
most of it has been informed and refined by our unfolding discussion.
There is of course, as there will always be, room for further

1. The words useful or functional have a more direct association to our

emotive needs and desires and thus to motivation, volition, and

intention. Science is motivated by desire, even the [unnecassary] desire

for truth is a desire. The term truth inhibits this realization. It is

too abstracted. It is not as functional to believe that we are motivated

by truth as it is to believe that we are motivated by functionality.

When we realize that we are motivated by functionality, by our own needs

and desires, then we are more likely to question those motivations. But

if we believe we are motivate by the almighty truth, then there is

nothing to question. We do not question our motivations.

2. If we do not feel the need to question our motivations then we are

bound to remain determined.

3. If we do not feel the need to question our motivations then we will

not delve into the subconscious in order to make conscious those

underlying forces which are determining our motivation.

4. The term truth has an epistemological bias. It is biased to a

particular modality of consciousness. It does not promote modalities of

consciousness which will allow an individual to attain more emotive

control, and thus more rational control. It does not promote the

exploration of endogenous reality. Our emotions effect our centreal

nervous system (CNS) and vice versa. If we learn to control our emotions

as connoisseurs of consciousness, then we can sustain modes of

consciousness such as rationality and ecstasty for extended periods of

time. Just as conflicting emotions often combine to create new emotions,

perhaps we will discover new modes of rationality when such modes

dynamically clash in the same moment with some form of ecstasy.

5. The term truth has an objective bias. Thus we compound its inhibition

of the exploration and understanding of endogenous reality.

6. The term truth implies the absolute. If I call a theory true it is

less likely to be questioned than if I call that theory functional. It

is much easier to imagine something more functional, than to imagine

something more true.

7. The term truth requires that when we say one thing we mean something

*slightly* different, e.g., "when we call something true that means we

*conjecture* it to be true." When we think of things as more as less

functional we do not run into this problem. When we say something is

functional, we mean it is functional. We are saying exactly what we

mean. There is no room for confusion here. The use of the term truth

confuses the signified with the signifier. Another case of this is when

we say that it is true that x is y, when x is the particular and y is a

constant symbolic ideal. It would be less confusing to say that x

functions as a y.

8. Truth is an authoritarian concept whereas functionality is not.

Functionality is thus better suited to a system such as pancritical


9. A theory is only true in relation to reality, but a theory is

functional in relation to reality *and* in relation to other theories.

This also makes functionality better suited to PCR. A functional theory

is still open to question where as a true theory is not so. It is much

more difficult to criticize something we have given the exalted status

of true than it is to question something we have merely shown to have a

degree of functionality.

10. Truth is an ontotheological sublimation of God. It is a platonic

primitive. An *ideal* absolute. It is a static unchangeable concept, and

is thus not appropriate to science. Usefulness or functionality are not

even nouns, as adjectives they are much less static. As God could not be

questioned, neither can truth. Science has no place for unquestionable


11. Many people believe that the terms of a theory are actual entities

when in many cases this is not true. They think this is so because of

the epistemological fixation truth requires. The forces that Newton

described in his theory do not necessarily exist, but they were useful

to make predictions. Einstein was able to explain the very same

phenomena as Newton, and more, with pure geometry. Einstein did not have

to invoke Newton's forces. When we talk about functionality it is much

easier to imagine the terms of a theory as arbitrary tools that do not

necessarily *truely* exist. It does not matter if they exist or not as

long as the theory is useful for prediction.

12. Reality is not static and unchanging. So how could there be a static

and unchanging truth that accords to it? There cannot be. The term

functionality does not intrinsically say that things are static or

unchanging. It is thus more useful, less confusing.

13. The sum total of all the inconsistencies in the use and meaning of

truth makes it a sort of mystification. It defers the actual meaning of

itself. The term function does no such thing.

14. Since function does not have a bias towards a single modality of

conscioussnes, it allows us to employ a greater portion of consciousness

in attempting to create artificial consciousness. Since truth has a bias

towards cognitive modalities of consciousness, it is unlikely that

employing it we will ever attain something which functions very well as

an artificial intelligence. That thing would lack intuition, a very

necessary modality of consciousness for intelligence.

15. There is no reason why we must revert to using the concept of truth

to say something is either true functionality, or false functionality.

There are degrees of functionality. Something is not either functional

or not functional, for some things are more functional than others. Here

we employ occam's razor. Truth is an extra unnecessary term.

16. A focus on truth leads to purely cognitive education, whereas a

focus on functionality leads to cognitive, intuitive, and emotive

education. Thus the latter engenders inidividuals who have the emotive

control to rationalize more rigorously than the former.

17. A focus on truth hinders genius due again to the fact that it leads

to a purely cognitive education. Genius requires emotive control, and an

extremely refined intuitive capacity.

18. A person focused on truth is incapable of being as honest as a

person focused on usefulness and functionality. The person focused on

truth will be determined by unchecked underlying motivations,

motivations that they are unaware of and have made no sustained attempt

to become aware of. This is because truth's epistemological bias

attempts to limit consciousness to the cognitive modalities of

consciousness where functionality begins with emotion and moves up

through the modalities of consciousness until it reaches its final check

point in a cognitive modality. The person focused on function is then

going to have made a greater attempt of making unconscious motivations

conscious so that person can take responsibility for those motivations

and alter those motivations as needed via rationalization.

19. A person focused on function will be better apt at directing science

because that person has become more free by degree and thus less

determined than the person focused on truth.

20. We can create things in the name of truth, but we cannot create

things in the name of functionality. Truth can be used to justify

destructive creations, whereas functinality requires that the creation

itself be justified. Truth displaces and defers the purpose of creating

something, whereas it is obvious with functionality that the purpose of

creating something is its practical functionality, what it does and how

well it does it.

21. In general, shifting from truth to functionality broadens, empowers,

and impassions science. It makes science more robust, more autonomous

and capable of sustaining itself. Truth, epistemology, and knowledge are

limited to things we can cognitively think. Functionality deals with a

much broader spectrum of consciousness which includes emotions.

22. A shift from truth to functionality will may just be what of the

things which will enable singularity.

23. Science is intrinsically an emotive tool. It is a tool for

predicting things so that we can better attain that which we need or

desire. The terminology of science should thus reflect this. The term

truth denies this.

24. The concept of truth buffers people from their emotions. It makes it

so they do not have to deal with them in a highly disciplined fashion.

Truth is perpetuated by people who are either too lazy to deal with

their emotions and subconsious. Truth is perpetuated by people who are

repulsed by themselves and who thus have no desire to delve into their

emotions and subconscious. Truth is perpetuated by people who fear

themselves and their subconsious and who are thus unwilling to delve

into their emotions and subconscious.

25. It is more important for a person to be useful to society than for a

person to be true to society. A person can question and criticize

society while proposing useful reforms, thus being useful to it while

not being true to it. The same can be said in relation to science.

26. Because truth is thought to be the current goal of science, many

people believe then that there can be anything greater, beyond, or

transcendental of science. This is extremely misleading. Truth was the

goal of religion, and then we developed philosophy. Truth was the goal

of philosophy and then we developed science. Truth is the goal of

science and someday we will probably develop something more useful than

science. Except this time, truth will not be the goal any longer. We are

going to make a shift similar as that between Newton's theory and

Einstein's theory. We are going to adopt new terms in order to predict

more phenomena more usefully.

27. "The definition of truth stipulates an *ideal* scenario. It defines

what we *want*. It doesn't help us to get there." The definition of

functionality does help us to get where we want to go because it is

grounded in practicality and not in idealism.

28. With a goal of usefulness, general discourse will become more useful

rather than merely true. I could tell you true trivial things all day

which are "true" and never attain any depth, but if we are more

concerned with the communication of useful information we will progress

to greater depths.

29. Without emotion or functionality science could not even exist. No

one would feel the emotion of need or the emotion of desire in order to

create science. Science can exist without truth though. It can exist in

a subjective world without absolute absolutes just as long as things

remain nearly the same long enough for us to treat them as objective and

thus to enable us to predict things. We can functionally entertain the

idea of absolute things without them *truely* being absolute. Suppose

what we think of as constants are merely shifting in degree at an

infintessimal level beyond our ability to measure. Its possible. But in

the end it does not matter as long as we can functionally consider them

absolutes. Thus truth is not necessary to science whereas function is.

30. Where truth, an authoritarean concept, hinders the dissolving of

government, a focus on functionality helps prepare us for the dissolving

of government. "It might not be the best word to use, anarchy, but I

believe that it is in a sense where Libertarianism is leading us ...

just in a sense perhaps, but in any fashion, Libertarianism requires

that we take responsibility from the governement and claim those

responsibilities for ourselves. In a psuedo-anarchic system we will need

to have learned a great deal more about our emotions and how to

effectively employ them before we can imagine such a system to remain


31. A focus on truth promotes external regulation, whereas a focus on

functionality promotes individual responsibility. This is because truth

is by defintion absolute and authoritarian where as functionality is

grounded in the emotions, need and desire, and thus in motivation,

intention, and volition. This makes function more useful than truth both

in libertarianism and pancritical rationalization.

32. Again, a focus on functionality leads to a desire for greater

emotive control. Another example of where it would be beneficial

[useful] for scientists to gain greater control over their emotions is

when the government and other instituitions cut funding to them. Instead

of "squealing" they might speak with emotive passion and charisma.

Instead of waisting hours, perhaps days and weeks, being pissed off,

they might be using that time *usefully* working on an appeal or seeking

funding elsewhere. Also, it is better to argue that your research should

be funded because of its function rather than your research should be

funded because it is seeking truth. The government does not want your

*ideal* truth. It wants something that functions [particularly something

that functions destructively].

33. Though the person focused on truth can rationalize violence as

irrational, that person is more likely to be violent and to participate

in the creation of violent technology because that person does not have

the same control over his/her emotions as the person focused on

usefulness. A kleptomaniac might come to the realization that what he is

doing is *wrong* and that he would like to stop, but in that same

instance he steals something because he has not delved into his

subconscious in order to truly take responsibility for his emotive

drives. He may have the cognitive and rational skill to realize his

problem, but not the emotive capacity to truly deal with it.

34. Based on the same argument in 33, a person who holds truth as a

higher priority than usefulness is more likely to be a Charlaten,

saying/thinking/rationalizaing one thing while feeling and doing yet

another. Severing emotion from cognition severs the individual.

35. When people seek truth they seek answers from the other. Thus those

seeking truth are much more likely to conform to the beliefs of others.

A person who seeks functionality is not going to be concerned with the

supposed truth of others. The person who seeks functionality is going to

question everything and determine for themself what is most functional.

36. The concept of functionality is more consistent with the concept of

a theory than truth is. A theory lasts until a more functional theory

comes along, not until a more true theory comes along. Theories serve a

function, a need or desire. They do not serve a truth. Theories predict

functioning phenomena and events, they do not predict truth.

37. With functionality we can get rid of refuting. Instead of attempting

to *prove* something right or wrong, we criticize the usefulness of

something and attempt to create something more useful. Criticism is not

useful without an alternative. Refuting does not require an alternative

where as functionality does. Occam's razor compounds the reason to make

this shift. [Note: the criterion for criticism is not truth yet rather


This list continues to grow and refine. The distinctions are subtle, but

the shift will have monumental effect.

> It seems to me that you are following the postmodernists into a blind

> alley. Let me put it this way: if I put a stick in the ground, then

> things have an objective distance from it. My placing of the stick may

> have been 'arbitrary' in some sense, but the distances are not.

The *actual* distance is not arbitrary, but the name we give it is. The

concept of inches is an arbitrary convention. The concept of meters is

an arbitrary convention. The are ways we have chosen to break larger

things up into smaller things. The way in which we differentiate the

organs or systems in a body is an arbitrary convention. We say we have

the circulatory system, the digestive system, etcetera. These are

arbitrary distinctions. They are not as distinct as the naming implies.

Either system could just as usefully be said to be part of the other

because neither would work without the other. Or we might choose to

define smaller arbitrary systems. This helps us understand complex

systems and events better.

Gregory Houston