As noted in a Walhallen Intelligence / Private Detective Estimate Report: "The hostile intelligence threat to corporate / company computer systems is magnified by the enormous growth in the number and power of computers, the vast amount of data contained in them, as well as dismal Internet security measures. Computers multiply hugely the information to which a single individual may obtain access, hence the vast risk." For businesses, as well as for private individuals, we design, customize and implement encryption communications and storage software; 100% unbreakable.
Governments and private firms cannot afford to ignore cyber-attacks. Nor, indeed, can defense contractors. The size of the military and civil cyber-security market is an obvious why - it grew from $3.5bn in 2004 to $120bn in 2017. The market will expand by an annual 12-15% in the next three years, or twice as fast as global defense-equipment budgets.
Spurred on by Russian Internet attacks against the West, defense departments are considering spending far more on cyber-defenses. In America Congress is emphasizing the importance of cyber-security; Britain's government reportedly plans to shift some of the Ministry of Defense's budget towards repelling cyber-threats. Private-sector companies routinely put cyber-security among their top worries.
Today's rising demand for cyber-security services include the active identification of threats to providing executives with strategies about how to manage the fallout from attacks. Now that both governments and companies are suffering similar sorts of cyber-attacks, any actors that can leverage their historical expertise in military intelligence will excel.
Rise of the incognito Internet does not imply that the maxim of "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" should apply to Internet security... The peculiar psychology of code-breaking often involves one genius trying to work out what another genius has done, at times resulting in the most appalling carnage. To break a code - or the most abstruse cryptogram, even for an experienced private detective / private investigator - is to extend a hand to grasp the sky and hope to catch a bird.
Instead of unconditionally granting intelligence services more power, we need to worry about the coming convergence of the data-gathering demands of the state - nation state - and the business imperatives of Internet companies. This advice, however, compels us as a private detective / private investigator organisation to nothing that we should not otherwise have done.
To reveal the extent of the "suspicion-less" surveillance state is of vital importance. "Whoso would be a man must be nonconformist," as Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put it. "Who are they? And whom do they think they are spying on?" The technology to spy on people has run way beyond the law. Any two individuals - whether in government or private enterprise - are perpetually striving to dominate, master, and possess one another; just as they strive to dominate the rest of their environment. However, if you cannot be monitored - not being under any sort of droit de regard - no one can control you.
Meaningful oversight has become impossible. Until we become conscious of this, we will never rebel. Even I - working with Internet security on a daily basis - sometimes feel like in kindergarten: limpingly espial; vigilant, primordial and tautly syllogizing the convoluted, esoteric ruse without derision or prerogative. If the intention is to collect everything from everybody, everywhere and to store it indefinitely, we have reached a turning point.
We can not find a place in our consciousness for such horror - ergo, someone is reading my private communication; see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil - or do we not have the imagination, together with the courage, to face it? Is it possible to live in a twilight between knowing and not knowing? We sense, or suspect (or perhaps the Nordic/Germanic ahnen which is more ambiguous but also stronger than "suspect"), [that] we are being overheard/listened to. But you cannot "sense" in a void; "sensing" is an inner realization of knowledge. Basically, if you "sense", then you know.
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do, albeit, being quite au fait, should it be de rigueur with communications leaks, or should we dig in and wait for General Winter and a via media? An honourable approach and intelligence method must appeal to reason, abstraction and logic, framed by binary oppositions: conflict and harmony; morality and power. The fly in the ointment is, naturally, that we have the politicians we deserve. "Whose servants art thou?" Omne homo mendax - infra dignitatem - in sempiternum. As one politician, Dick Tuck, reasoned after a lost California State Senate race: "The people has spoken. The bastards."
In an ungoverned state, i e weak state - and civil libertarians may sniff a large rodent here - the individual is neither protected nor free, and "the strong may gnaw on the bones of the weak". The stronger the state, the freer is the individual. Democracy is the dictatorship - in a sense - of the law. However, "democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve," as George Bernard Shaw phrased it
I know there are many today who are afraid of order, albeit, order is nothing more than rules [being followed]. Omnipresent consensus may appear a beautiful thing, but good policy is better; and political ideology [as expressed with heart] is usually just an excuse for behaviour, rather than a reason for it.
If we could learn from history - some say - what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us. Can we demonstrate, perhaps, that the future will conform to the past, or at least offer some evidence that it will probably do so? No, but we can conclude that the past is a valuable guide to the future. Why can one expect certain events to be followed by certain other events, but reply to this only by stating that they have generally been found to do so.
Can some evidence be provided for the principle that the future will resemble the past, or can we just offer but evidence that it had done so in the past? Expectations and predictions are a matter of habit, and extrapolating from what has been observed is something that we are sensibly prone to do. However, in general, even reasonable and dialectic people are incapable of anticipating with gusto and presto a complex future.
The fact is that it is more a matter of instinct than of logic that we use the past as a guide to the future. It is even fortunate for us that we are naturally inclined to extrapolate from experience - rather than using abstract reasoning - because our lives depend on our ability to do so; though, as the saying goes, "The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there." In the context of forecasting and predictability, we might even be compelled to quote Blaise Pascal: "It is not certain that we shall see tomorrow; but it is certainly possible that we shall not."
Practical people - the many; hoi pollo - focus on the next moment and leave the centuries to dreamers, consciously incapable of anticipating the future. "Prediction is difficult, especially about the future," as the famous Danish nuclear physicist Niels Bohr formulated it. Most people would rather die than think and plan ahead. In fact they do. The idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behaviour that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice.
Europe's leading politician until 2020 (Jean-Claude Juncker) recently stated, "we all know what to do; we just do not know how to get elected after we have done it". (Another day, another stupid remark: people who "talk of sports and makes of cars, and daren't look up and see the stars".) Taking a tour d'horizon with this politician, you might as well let une couveuse shoulder la course en tête. Politics for these intermittents du spectacle means neither policy nor persuasion, but only taking stands; and their primum mobile is exactly what we sapere aude - "dare to know": getting elected. Humans must think for themselves.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel states personally: "Wir schaffen das", on immigration, and lately envisions "a true (this void denomination) European army". Slow progress towards common defence procurement, let alone a shared doctrine, renders loose talk about a European army ridiculous;"ein absoluter Schwindel", to paraphraze an earlier compatriot of the Chancellor.
There are times - they mark the danger point for a political system - when politicians can no longer communicate, when they stop understanding the language of the people they are supposed to be representing. The present constitutional means, and the literati tendency omnipresent, show us only the methods, not the [hidden] agenda. On immigration the proud German people responded Chancellor Merkel with "Wir sind das Volk". No doubt the Chancellor has been eating crow over whatever immigration deals she predicted would be smooth, including with Germany's more democratic neighbours Poland and Hungary.
Historical trends are the product of philosophy. To reverse today’s destructive political and cultural trends we must reverse men’s fundamental philosophy. If you don’t know what I am talking about, I couldn’t possibly explain it. If you do – I have you, already, without saying anything further.
Stefan Zweig wrote of his continent in the years leading up to the Second World War, “I felt that Europe, in its state of derangement, had passed its own death sentence – our sacred home of Europe, both the cradle and the Parthenon of Western civilization”. Zweig felt, though, the consolation that “What generations had done before us was never entirely lost”.
More than any other continent or culture in the world today, Europe is now deeply weighed down with guilt for its past. In Europe there is an existential tiredness and a feeling that perhaps for Europe the story has run out and a new story must be allowed to begin.
There is a desire by all-mighty political bureaucrats to demonstrate that in the twenty-first century, Europe has a self-supporting structure of rights, laws and institutions which could exist even without the sources – Greek philosophy; Roman law; Christianity - that had arguably given them life. No doubt a harsh climate (rough weather makes good sailors) and some excellent genetic strains paved the way for Europe's success.
Remember - and this is significant - that of the world’s 100 most valuable tech companies by stock market value in 2020, there remains only one (1) from Europe, Germany’s SAP; a company name most Europeans can’t place in the right context or even identify. And the Industrial Revolution commenced here…
Instead of remaining a home for the European peoples we have decided to become a “utopia” only in the original Greek sense of the word: to become “no place”. The Eastern European peoples and nations have shown some vision, objecting to the bullying from Brussels, and, saying “something has got to give” is not true. Often things just rub along badly for a very long time.
While childless Chancellor Merkel takes selfies with unauthorized immigrant youths screaming "Germany! Germany! Merkel! Merkel! – the majority (+60%) of whom did not even came from war-torn Syria - the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, told the people of Hungary that the new enemies of freedom were different from the imperial and Soviet systems of the past, that today they did not get bombarded or imprisoned, but merely threatened and blackmailed.
PM Orbán, as a glowing beacon among Europe’s politicians, stated, “At last, the peoples of Europe, who have been slumbering in abundance and prosperity, have understood that the principles of life that Europe has been built upon are in mortal danger. Europe is the community of free and independent nations; equality of men and women; fair competition and solidarity; pride and humility; justice and mercy." As a private detective working to a certain extent with immigrant criminality throughout Europe, I could not more agree than with this eminent politician.
Most Europeans have become unable to argue for themselves, therefore, turning himself directly to Brussels, PM Orbán further exclaimed: “It is the right of the European citizens to know what you are cooking up. There is a bubble here in Brussels, the virtual world of the privileged European elite, which has become detached from reality.” PM Orbán's truth reasoning is what political bureaucrats and academics call populism. Vox populi vox dei - "The voice of the people is the voice of God".
Dr Ezra Zubrov - the famous American anthropologist - computed that a difference of only 1 percent in mortality rates between Neandertals and Homo sapiens who overlapped geographically, could have led to the extinction of the Neandertals within thirty generations, well under a millennium. This reasoning (simple economics/mathematics; accumulated interest) applies roughly to nativity rates as well; alas, contemplate the potential contemporary outcome in the Occident after a migration deluge ... however, nothing is a worse guide to the future than common sense.
Like individuals, groups can become stuck in their ways, with fatal results. Forewarned, the proverb has it, is forearmed, and to let these decision-makers escape their cultural silos, people should question everything. With their mania for control, ghoulish politicians and bureaucrats cannot cope with a new world powered by innovation and creativity; and they do not fail the "marsch-mallow test", seeking instant gratification instead of waiting for greater rewards.
The entrepreneurial energy in evidence throughout the [Western] world is largely confined to the private sector - as it has always been - and they (entrepreneurs) should not have to sit in this bureaucratic mess and be disrespected. We lack leaders; successful leaders creating the right conditions so that others can achieve ambitious goals.
In honest truth - being neither a feminist, nor a chauvinist - the qualities men bring to the mix are what transformed the Western world from a backwater in the 16th century to where we are today [and changed the world]. The countries that have harnessed those male qualities of enterprise, discipline, energy, focus and a fierce desire to win have powered themselves to success.
"The civil Western man is born, lives, and die in slavery. At his birth he is sewn into swaddling clothes; at his death he is nailed into a coffin. As long as he retains a human form, he is chained up by our institutions," as Jean-Jacques Rosseau had it described.
Males have been brought up to sublimate feelings into competitive behaviour, and have been responsible for the vast bulk of the West's economic advance. The greatest obstacle for a continuation is the oppressive hand of the state, and the West's "rocket-ship trajectory" might be over unless this hand is removed (we would say that, wouldn't we?). It appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it.
Business is one of the great creative forces - if not the greatest - propelling humanity forwards. Business is driven by competition - the drive to make something more beautiful, more efficient and more appealing than the other guy's product, and competition produces not just economic progress but also drama. Competition drives companies to innovate, and newness is the stuff of stories.
A business that is one of the richest sources of stories is crime, and we have seen Crime, Inc. turning into some of the most successful multinationals of recent years, as well as some of the most murderous; albeit, it also propels creativity. (Personally, I find it challenging hanging out with/talking to grave criminals [of stature...] - whether in custody, or at large - but that feeling is understandably and seldomly reciprocated.)
Politics - and common sense leadership in general - is all about taking people from a place they know to a place they do not know, to somewhere they have never been. And government - in essence not completely differently organised compared to a traditional protection racket - is simply the name we give to things we choose to do together.
The protection business is in fact the core around which most - if not all - nations have evolved. The one actor that monopolizes violence and organizes the protection on a certain territory, is also the one defining the rules its inhabitants must adhere to. Behind rules - the law - there is violence, brute force. We may distrust this authority and the violence it can always call on, but "commanding or obeying, it is all the same". The fee we pay is called tax.
We might argue - and you'd be surprised this reasoning coming from [one of] America's and Europe's most seasoned private detectives / private investigators - that without the growth and development of organized crime in America, that country might have done a lot less growing and developing itself.
According to this theory, nothing much happened in the middle decades of the last century without crooks facilitating or profiting from it, on hand to grease the economic wheels. Many renowned economists today actually believe that [moderate] corruption is, counter-intuitively, a lubricant for growth.
In many societies you do not buy loyalty and protection, you only rent it, and might makes right. It is like the way of rivers: those downstream bear the cost-s, those instrumenta vocale. We have two options: start running, or the other thing. It is a kind of interpretation, shared by many, who continue to view these hybrid bureaucrats/politicians as self-interested pragmatists who can be counted on to take the path of least resistance. Noblesse oblige et haute trahison en plain air.
We harbour a scathing scepticism of bureaucracies - especially the European Commission bureaucrazy - because they pursue their own agenda, gravitate towards the middle ground and drown decision-makers in paperwork. Successful government means escaping their influence. Asking bureaucrats if what they are doing is relevant, you might as well ask a barber if you need a haircut.
Those that give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety. The future will, unfortunately, most likely take a further distinctly dirigiste turn. Nevertheless, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you can observe a lot by watching".
"Trade follows the flag," declared Cecil Rhodes, and as globalization forces many companies to move strategic assets abroad, even to another continent - terra nullius / no man's land - there is a need to be en garde, if not actually aux armes. However, the Mafia - the Mob - the Cosa Nostra - the Camorra - the 'Ndrangheta - the Yakuza, and other criminal movements or structures are cunning, but no more.
(The properties of an organised movement, criminal or honourable, are spontaneity, impulsiveness, dynamic expansiveness - and a short life. The properties of a similar structure are inertia, resilience, and an amazing, almost instinctive, ability to survive.
The principle of the vis inertiae, for example, seems to be identical in physics and metaphysics/human design. It is not more true in the former, that a large body is with more difficulty set in motion than a smaller one, and that its subsequent momentum is commensurate with this difficulty, than it is, in the latter, that intellects of the vaster capacity, while more forcible, more constant, and more eventful in their movements than those of inferior grade, are yet the less readily moved, and more embarrassed and full of hesitation in the first few steps of their progress.)
Formidable as they might be, Mafia button-men do not have the intelligence training of a professional private detective/private investigator, and [they] are tabby cats next to panthers in this particular jungle. As private detective-s / private investigator-s we combat these daggers with inflexible determination, however, given the Underworld's predilection for deception, unique situations present us with some strange bedfellows.
In contacts with these and other monstra horrendum - before contacting private detectives / private investigators - I would paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt: "Speak softly, but carry a big stick." Often, when you want adult behaviour, treat people like babies; while we believe humans are rational, their behaviour is constantly the opposite.
There is only a casual relationship between human behaviour and logic. We simply cannot allow ourselves to assume that bad guys, or anyone else for that matter, will behave in a particular way under a particular circumstance. My experience has borne that out, over and over again. That [some] members of criminal organizations have minds like piranhas and the loyalty of rattlesnakes is, however, occasionally convenient.
To be beaten by one of your own is not as bad as be beaten by a foreign one, however; and roaring like a mouse, fighting like a flea, singing "Give me your arm, old toad; Help me down Cemetery Road", would make us appear useful idiots. A proper attitude can turn a burden to a blessing, a trial to a triumph. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe expressed it: "Unglück ist auch gut."
The major misfortunes of life are not misfortunes at all but opportunities for self-improvement. Even Seneca - in his days - said that adversity was sent to test us, and that it was therefore a blessing in disguise because it enables us to develop our powers of endurance and other virtues.
Being part of a diaspora in dire straits, one can be comfortable imagining existing alongside an independent judiciary rather than in a smash'n grab society - Raubwirtschaft. However, possession is nine tenths of the law, and with foreign officials reasoning - "I am with my brother against a cousin, and with my cousin against a stranger" - many bona fide intentions will be jeopardized.
Growth and developing economies hide a thousand sins, and with the cruel clarity afforded by distance, you might realize you have interests rather than friends. For example, the recent murder of a middle-aged (41 year-old) British businessman - supposedly Aston Martin's representative in Beijing - and a close friend of one of China's fourteen most powerful politicians (Bo Xilai-now imprisoned for life), adds an international dimension to this country's most serious political upheaval in two decades, and exposes uncomfortable truths about how business and politics are conducted in the world's second-largest economy.
In this area of the world your enemy's enemy is probably your enemy too. A friendly feeling does not equalize a friendly intent; alas, often au contraire, a hostile intent blends very well with a friendly feeling.
Always use international, experienced private detective-s / private investigator-s in developing / transition economy countries when you need fast, accurate and reliable CCCI [Control-Command-Communications-Intelligence]. There are effective and efficient bureaus beyond Walhallen - that we can recommend - for a great many lesser undertakings. A key skill in investigative / intelligence management, as in litigation and negotiation, is the ability to quickly, ethically and effectively collect information about individuals who may pose a threat.
Too tough a bargaining for low private detective / private investigator retainer fees could cost you dearly, indeed - nota bene! - more precious things. Free armchair advice is always rich and plentiful. All that is excellent is as difficult to obtain as it is rare. Our international nature is central to our mission. Only investigators with experience around the world can hope to take on globe-spanning criminal networks.
The verb corrumpere means destroy in Latin, and having seen that [corruption], as plaintiffs' private detectives in commercial and criminal courts numerous times, we agreed to co-found The International Intelligence Institute of Commerce (www.wiiic.org). The Principal Investigator of WIIIC welcomes any information of corruption, grand thefts, miscarriages of justice et cetera. "Shame and silence are cousins" - right? Sunlight is the best disinfectant; Lies cannot thrive in the light.
The Institute will be able to provide unbiased Independent Business Resolutions Schemes - lightening the burden of courts, prosecutors, lawyers, accountants, who often miss the "red flags" that private investigators detect - as well as carry out Forensic Audits and Impairment Tests; and this in addition to hosting an academic research and education group focusing on Intellectual Property and Patented Technology.
The Romans used to assess situations metaphorically, e g: Cum catapultae proscripta erunt, tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt - "When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults". Their reasoning implies "rules replace common sense and reason". Maybe some laws are like some sausages; better not seeing them being made.
In a fair and just society, with archaic European and American legal practices - often hiding behind procedure - and an international institutional machinery that grinds along at a pace that would shame snails, preparedness is the key to success and victory. Western governments also often "piggy-back" on existing national investigations rather than undertake their own probes, creating "double jeopardy" by triggering separate prosecutions of the same case in different jurisdictions.
You learn in my business there aren't any rules, whether in corporate or business fraud cases, Internet/cyber-security or computer forensics cases, divorce or alimony cases; you are dealing with infinitely variable factors - the human heart and mind. My role is not to have a formula, and not to take one single thing for granted. It is my business, however, to know what other people do not know ... in particular regarding:
-business intelligence, corporate and international fraud, proof and accounting documentation, court preparations, taxes/VAT - calculations, general surveillance, missing person-s, debt collection and close personal protection.
-Internet/cyber-security, computer forensics and cryptography (the latter meaning "secret writing" in Greek).
-matrimonial affairs - divorce, child custody, infidelity and alimony.
There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times; albeit, to a great mind nothing is little, and the humbler of our private detective / private investigator clients are usually the more interesting. Characterizing sought-after information as elementary does not, of course, imply that it is easy to get or even that it is a simple matter.
As a private detective since many years - in search of evidence and the truth - I prefer to begin at the beginning. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that we should dwell.
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Is there an unquestionable Logic, an absolute Evidence, a perfect Truth, or an ultimate Justice? The estimation of a theory is not simply determined by its truth. It also depends upon the importance of its subject, and the extent of its applications; beyond which something must still be left to the arbitrariness of human opinion.*1; I,II)
In one respect, the science of logic differs from all others; the perfection of its method is chiefly valuable as an evidence of the speculative truth of its principles. To supersede the employment of common reason, or to subject it to the rigour of technical forms, would be the last desire of one who knows the value of that intellectual toil and warfare which imparts to the mind an athletic vigour, and teaches it to contend with difficulties and to rely upon itself in emergencies.
That which renders logic possible, is the existence in our minds of general notions, - our ability to conceive of a class, and to designate its individual members by a common name. The theory of logic is thus intimately connected with that of language. A successful attempt to express logical propositions by symbols, the laws of whose combinations should be founded upon the laws of the mental processes which they represent, would, so far, be a step towards a philosophical language.
Regarding logic as a branch of philosophy, and defining philosophy as the "science of a real existence", and "the research of causes", and assigning as its main business the investigation of the "why", while mathematics display only the "that", we contend, not simply, that the superiority rests with the study of logic.*2).
What is the difference between explaining "why" and describing "how"? Looking back, explaining "why" means to find casual connections that account for the occurrence of a particular series of events to the exclusion of all others. To describe "how" means to reconstruct this series of specific events that led from one point to another.
To comprehend phenomena in the purest rational way - i e, to deduce the why and how of things with mathematical certainty - is not only to see them "from the point of view of eternity," but in some sense to become part of the eternal. "Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers," as Voltaire so wisely advised us.
Any private detective / private investigator must elaborate on "Why?", which in its many variations is a question far more important in its asking than in the expectation of an answer. The first medieval punctus interrogativus (?) was defined as a mark that signaled a question which conventionally required an answer. In a ninth-century copy of a text by Cicero, a question is followed by a symbol that looks like a staircase, maybe implying that questioning elevates us.
What we want to know and what we can imagine are somehow, as well, the two sides of the same magical page. Curiosity in all its forms is the means of advancing from what we did not know to what we do not yet know. A vocabulary, a certain terminology, that we may face or experience, is nothing more than a means, a method.
Prior to experience, anything might be the cause of anything; it is experience - as well as abstractions of reason - which help us to understand life. Curiosity is born from the awareness of our own ignorance and prompt us to acquire, so far as possible, "a more exact and fuller knowledge of the object it represents."
Whether or not a question leads us up the garden path may depend not only on the words chosen to ask it but on the appearance and presentation of those words. We have long understood the importance of the physical aspect of the text, and not only of its contents, to transmit our meanings.
Every text depends on the features of its support, be it clay or stone, papyrus or computer screen. No text is ever exclusively virtual, independent of its material context: every text, even an electronic one, is defined by both its words and the space in which these words exist.
Every form of writing is, in a sense, a translation of the words thought or spoken into a visible, concrete representation. The question of the relation between the revealed word and human language is central. Language, we know, is our most effective tool for communicating but, at the same time, an impediment to our full understanding.
Nevertheless it is necessary to go through language in order to reach that which cannot be put into words. Language may materialize into something tangible, as "speech made visible". All writing is the art of materialized thought. "When a word is written," wrote Saint Augustine, "it makes a sign to the eye whereby that which is the domain of the ears enters the mind."
Writing belongs to a group of conjuring arts related to the visualizing and transmission of ideas, emotions, and intentions. Painting, singing, and reading are all part of this peculiar human activity born of the capacity to imagine the world in order to experience it. Language, even in Hell, grants us existence; and the intellect, the seat of language, is humankind's driving force, not the body, its vessel.
Readers belong to societies of the written word and, as every member of societies must, they try to learn the code by which their fellow citizens communicate. Not every society requires the visual encoding of its language: for many, sound is enough. The old Latin "scripta manent, verba volant", which is supposed to mean "what is written endures, but what is spoken vanishes", is obviously not true in all oral societies. That is also the meaning readers discover: only when read do the written words come to life.
Certainly the passage from spoken to written language was less an improvement in quality than a change in direction. Thanks to writing speakers are able to overcome the limitations imposed by time and space. Either as the inspiration that led to the invention of writing or as its consequence, the assumption that justifies the existence of writing as an instrument of thought is one of linguistic fatalism.
Just as everything in the universe can be given a name to identify it, and every name can be expressed in a sound, every sound has its representation. Nothing can be uttered that cannot be written down and read. Writing does not reproduce the spoken word: it renders it visible.
We use words to try to recount, describe, explain, judge, demand, beg, affirm, allude, deny - and yet in every case we must rely on our interlocutor's intelligence and generosity to construe from the sounds we make the sense and meaning we wish to convey. The abstract language of images helps us no farther, because something in our constitution makes us want to translate into words even these shadows, even that which we know for certain is untranslatable, immanent, unconscious. "A picture may say more than a thousand words, albeit,..."
A language can be incomprehensible because we have never learned it or because we have forgotten it: either case presupposes the possibility of an original communal understanding. Not to be able to communicate with one's fellow human beings has been compared to being buried alive.
The notion of a primeval single common language that was fragmented into a plurality of language bears a symbolic relationship to contemporary theories about the origins of our verbal capacities. Indeed, humans not only can learn an existing language but can take an active role in the shaping of new languages. These are words from Percy Bysshe Shelley in Prometheus unbound:
"He gave man speech, and speech created thought,
Which is the measure of the universe."
Language is "the beginningless and endless One", the imperishable of which the essential nature is the Word. Language is continuous and co-terminus with human existence or the existence of any sentient being. Things perceived and things thought, as well as the relationship among them, are determined by the words that language lends them. (Further on we will delve deeper into the real meaning-s of words.)
We name things and images - in words. Socrates argues (or at least, puts forward the suggestion) that "names rightly given are the likeness and images of the things which they name", but goes on to say that it is nobler and clearer to learn from the things themselves rather than from their images.
A name defines us from outside. Even if we choose a name to call ourselves, the identity purported by the name is exterior, something we wear for the convenience of others. Names, however, sometimes encapsulate an individual essence. "Caesar I was, and now I am Justinian," proclaims the emperor who codified the Roman system of law in the sixth century, and sort of redefines himself as he acts and implements a new system.
In an effort to translate the idea that things are metaphors of themselves, that in an effort to translate the experience of reality into language, we sometimes see things as the words that name them, and the feature of things as their incarnated script. The question "Who am I?" is, however, no more fully answered by a name than a book is revealed fully by its title.
The pursuits of the mathematician, or the technician, "have not only not trained him to that acute logical scent", to that delicate, almost instinctive, tact which, in the twilight of probability, the search and discrimination of its finer facts demand; they have gone to cloud his vision, to indurate his touch, to all but the blazing light, the iron chain of demonstration, and left him out of the narrow confines of his science, to a passive credulity in any premises, or to an absolute incredulity in all.
The reason of which is cultivated by the abstractly logical is the only valuable form available, not reason educed by mathematical study. The mathematics are the science of form and quantity; mathematical reasoning is merely logic applied to observation upon form and quantity. The great error lies in supposing that even the truths of what is called pure algebra, are abstract or general truths.
Mathematical axioms are not axioms of general truth. What is true of relation - of form and quantity - is often grossly false in regard to morals, for example. In this latter science it is very usually untrue that the aggregated parts are equal to the whole. In chemistry also the axiom fails. In the consideration of motive it fails; for two motives, each of a given value, have not, necessarily, a value when united, equal to the sum of their values apart.*3; I,II)
It is an important observation, which has more than once been made, that it is one thing to arrive at correct premises, and another thing to deduce logical conclusions, and that the business of life depends more upon the former than upon the latter. The study of the exact sciences may teach us the one, and it may give us some general preparation of knowledge and of practice for the attainment of the other, but it is to the union of thought with action, in the field of Practical Logic, the arena of Human Life, that we are to look for its fuller and more perfect accomplishment.
If we want to study the problems of truth and falsehood, of the agreement and disagreement of propositions with reality, of the nature of assertion, assumption and question, we shall with great advantage look at primitive forms of language in which these forms of thinking appear without a confusing background of highly complicated processes of thought.
When we look at such simple forms of language, the mental mist which seems to enshroud our ordinary use of language disappears. We see activities, reactions, which are clear-cut and transparent. On the other hand we recognize in these simple processes forms of language not separated by a break from our more complicated ones. We see that we can build up the complicated forms from the primitive ones by gradually adding new forms.
We investigate whether e g "Brick" means the same in the primitive language as it does in ours; and then this goes with our contention that the simpler language is not therefore an incomplete form of the more complicated one. We make it plain that words have the meanings we give them, and that it would be a confusion to think of an investigation into their real meaning. (We might refer to Humpty Dumpty for an ascending logical height: "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less!")
If you have not distinguished between a language and a notation, you may hardly see any difference between following a language and following a notation. But in that case you may well be unclear about the difficulties in connection with the relation between language and logic. Much of all this can be answered by emphasizing that speaking and writing belong to intercourse with other people. The signs get their life there, and that is why a language is not just a mechanism.
What is the meaning of a word? Let us attack this question by asking, first, what is an explanation of the meaning of a word; what does the explanation of a word look like? The way this question helps us is analogous to the way the question "how do we measure a length?" helps us to understand "what is length?"
Asking first "What's an explanation of meaning?" has advantages. You in a sense bring the question "what is meaning?" down to earth. For, surely, to understand the meaning of "meaning" you ought also to understand the meaning of "explanation of meaning".
What one generally calls "explanations of the meaning of a word" can, very roughly, be divided into verbal and ostensive definitions. If the definition explains the meaning of a word, surely it can't be essential that you should have heard the word before. It is the ostensive definition's business to give it a meaning.
I point this out to remove, once and for all, the idea that the words of the ostensive definition predicate something of the defined; the confusion is grave between the sentence "this is criminal", attributing the [culpable] etiquette to some human behaviour or act, and the ostensive definition "this is called criminal".
However, the thought is not [always] the same as the sentence; for an English and a French sentence, which are utterly different, can express the same thought. A phrase or sentence has sense, if we give it sense. We know what a word, or a row of words, means in certain contexts, at specific times and/or geographical locations.*4)
We can here also note a consistent conceptual dilemma. The meaning of a word often depends not just on its dictionary definition and the grammatical context but the meaning of the rest of the sentence. We realize that "the pen is in the box" and "the box is in the pen" require different meanings/translations for "pen": any pen big enough to hold a box would have to be an animal enclosure, not a writing instrument.
Giving a reason for something one did or said means showing a way which leads to this action. At this point, however, another confusion sets in, that between reason and cause. One is led into this confusion by the ambiguous use of the word "why". This when the chain of reasons has come to an end and still the question "why" is asked, one is inclined to give a cause instead of a reason.
The difference between the grammars of "reason" and "cause" is quite similar to that between the grammars of "motive" and "cause". Of the cause - cause in this context naturally only a logical one, not physical, nor medical - one can say that one can not know it but can only conjecture it. For a private detective / private investigator this is of vital importance de jure!
The double use of the word "why", asking for the cause and asking for the motive, together with the idea that we can know, and not only conjecture, our motives, gives rise to the confusion that a motive is a cause of which we are immediately aware, a cause "seen from the inside", or a cause experienced. Giving a reason is like giving a calculation by which you have arrived at a certain result.*5; I,II,III,IV,V)
In themselvselves, causes can be divided or refined into three sub-groups: in fieri causes, i e, in becoming or in progress dittos; in esse causes, i e, in actual existence dittos; and, lastly, in posse causes, i e, in potential or in the state of being possible dittos. That causes can have deux origines - primary and secondary; and more - is another interesting observation. The sobering truth is that everything is determined by a cause "which is also determined by another, and this again by another, and so to infinity."
Most observers maintain that the main function of theoretical reasoning is to enhance individual cognition – a task it performs abysmally. (The word Theory comes from the Greek word Theōria or Theoría, meaning “looking at, gazing at, being aware of”.) Psychologists generally recognize that reason is biased and lazy, that it often fails to correct mistaken intuitions, and that it sometimes makes things worse.
When people disagree but have a common interest in finding the truth or the solution to a problem they start to exchange arguments with each other. The best idea tends to win; whoever had it from the beginning or came to it in the course of the discussion is likely to convince the others. (This is what professional politicians dismiss as populism.)
Reason is more efficient in evaluating good arguments than in producing them, and reason is first and foremost a social competence. However, reason can bring intellectual benefits as the case of science well illustrates, by and through interaction with others. Reason is not a superpower implausibly grafted onto an animal mind; it is, rather, a well-integrated component of the extraordinarily developed mind that characterizes the human animal.
Alas, Descartes justified his rejection of everything he had learned from others by expressing a general disdain for collective achievements. The best work, he maintained, is made by a single master. What one may learn from books, he considered, “is not as close to the truth, composed as it is of the opinions of many different people, as the simple reasoning that any man of good sense can produce about things in his purview”.
Why did Descartes decide to trust only his own mind? Did he believe himself to be endowed with unique reasoning capabilities? On the contrary, he maintained that “the power of judging correctly and of distinguishing the true from the false (which is properly what is called good sense or reason) is naturally equal in all men”. But if we humans are all endowed with this power of distinguishing truth from falsity, how is it that we disagree so much on what is true?
Martin Luther stated that “Reason is by nature a harmful whore. But she shall not harm me, if only I resist her. See to it that you hold reason in check and do not follow her beautiful cogitations. Throw dirt in her face and make her ugly.” In another context, the same Luther described reason, much more conventionally, as “the inventor and mentor of all the arts, medicines, laws, and of whatever wisdom, power, virtue, and glory men possess in this life” and as “the essential difference by which man is distinguished from the animals and other things”.
Perhaps Luther avoided a reason discussion for religious propaganda objectives, but still, if we were to put reason on trial, both the prosecution and the defense could make an extraordinary case. The defense would argue that humans err by not reasoning enough. The prosecution would argue that they err by reasoning too much. The defense and the prosecution could also produce compelling narratives to bolster their case.
The two words “reasoning” and “inference” are often treated as synonyms. We might state that reasoning is only one way of performing inferences, and not such a reliable way at that. We might pose a question: Is this process – attending to reasons – the only way to pursue the goal of extracting new information from information that we already possess? Of course not! After all, even animals form expectations about the future. Their life depends on these expectations being on the whole correct. Since the future cannot be perceived, it is through inference that animals must form expectations. It is quite implausible, however, that, in so doing, animals attend to reasons.
Some institutions put a premium on well-crafted arguments. Lawyers only get one final plea. Politicians must reduce their arguments to efficient sound bites. Scientists compete for the attention of their peers: only those who make the best arguments have a chance of being heard. To some extent, reasoning rises to these challenges. With training, professionals manage to impose relatively high criteria on their own arguments. In most cases this improvement transparently aims at conviction. Lawyers must persuade a judge or a jury. If there are other people, including the lawyers themselves, whom arguments fail to convince, so be it.
By contrast, scientists – and I might humbly add private detectives / private investigators – seem to be striving for the truth, not for the approval of a particular audience. We suggest that in fact their reasoning still looks for arguments intended to convince but that the target audience is large and is particularly demanding. If anyone finds a counterargument that convinces the scientific community, the scientist’s argument is shot down. She cannot afford to appeal to a judge’s inclinations or to play on a jury’s ignorance of the law.
Experts in a given scientific field are likely to share much of the information relevant to settle a disagreement. This makes actual argumentation much more efficient. This also improves the power of individual reasoning. Of all the scientific communities, mathematicians are those who are most likely to recognize the same facts and to be convinced by the same arguments - they share the same axioms, the same body of already established theorems, and the arguments they are aiming at are proofs.
From a formal point of view, a proof is a formal derivation where the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. From a sociology of science point of view, a proof is an argument that is considered, in a scientific community, as conclusive once and for all. In logic and mathematics, the formal and the sociological notions of proof tend to be coextensive.
Reason is one module of inference among many. Inferential modules are specialized: they each have a narrow domain of competence and they use procedures adapted to their narrow domain. This contrasts with the old and still dominant view that all inference is done by means of the same logic (or the same probability calculus, or logic plus probabilities).
Reason draws inferences about reasons! This may look like a vague truism or a cheap play on words – a theatrical semantics exercise (at least in English and in Romance languages, where a single word of Latin origin refers both to the faculty of reason and to reasons as motives). Yet in the history of philosophy and of psychology, reason and reasons have been studied as two quite distinct topics.
An individual stands to benefit from having her justifications accepted by others and from producing arguments that influence others. She also stands to benefit from evaluating objectively the justifications and arguments presented by others and from accepting or rejecting them on the basis of such an evaluation. These benefits are achieved in social interaction, but they are individual benefits all the same.
As private detectives / private investigators - in language games, in philosophical investigations, and in reality - we often encounter what could best be conceived by the Greek word aitia, meaning both cause and guilt; a fact. And, as Mark Twain described the latter: "Facts are stubborn."*6; I,II,III)
Instead of "craving for legal generality" I could also have said "the contemptuous attitude towards the particular case". If, e g, someone tries to explain the concept of number and tells us that such and such a definition will not do or is clumsy because it only applies to, say, finite cardinals I should answer that the mere fact that he could have given such a limited definition, of for example a crime sequence, makes this definition extremely important to us. (Elegance is not what we are trying for as truth seekers.)
Philosophy, as we use the word, is a fight against the fascination which forms of expression exert upon us. Many questions can be raised. Socrates asked: "What is knowledge?" Saint Augustine asked: "What is time?" We ask: "How can we hang a thief who does not exist?" One answer to the latter can, by a private detective - private investigator, be put in this form: "We can not hang him when he does not exist, but we can look for him when he does not exist."*7)
Our investigative method is purely descriptive; the descriptions we give are not hints of explanations. Think of words as instruments characterized by their use [...] "It is no act of insight which makes us use the rule-s as we do," because there is an idea that "something must make us" do what we do. And this again joins on to the confusion between cause and reason. We need have no reason to follow the rules as we do. The chain of reasons has an end.
Many pundits will say, no doubt, please use the language of the law, [that] "to make out your case". This may be the practice in law, but it is not the usage of reason. My ultimate objective is only the truth. Reason feels its way, in its search for the true. Alas, as the philosopher David Hume formulated his experience briefly: "'tis not reason, which carries the prize, but eloquence." Maybe he was right.*The elaborate truth reasoning of Nicolas Malebranche - freely translated from French - is indeed recommended. 8;l,ll,lIl)
Many find it sagacious to echo the small talk of lawyers, who, for the most part, content themselves with echoing the rectangular precepts of the courts. I would here observe that very much of what is rejected as evidence by a court is the best evidence to the intellect. For the court, guided itself by the general principles of evidence - the recognized and booked principles - is averse from swerving at particular instances.*9)
Participants in the system or legal complex will state that "we're doing what we're supposed to be doing - we're weighing the evidence, we're thinking it through, in a collective, collaborative, bipartisan way;" - and that is old hat. People don't have differences because they have different information or intelligence. We are often all looking at the same things. I think the differences depend more on your past experience, the contemporaneity and die Zeitgeist; and the old rule that "one can only be judged by one's peers" has great bearing and validity.*10)
The consummate philosopher Benedictus Spinoza, whom we venture to quote, says [post-mortem] in the discussion that closes Part I of The Ethics, that "everyone judges of things according to the state of his brain". In the same treatise he interprets the proverb, "brains differ as completely as palates", to mean that "men judge of things according to their mental disposition". It must be that one - or this or that particular - single brain, being wider than the sky, can comfortably accommodate a good man's intellect and the whole world besides.
A theory based on the qualities of an object, will prevent it being unfolded according to its objectives; and he who arranges topics in reference to their causes, will cease to value them according to their results. Thus the jurisprudence of every nation will show that, when law becomes a science and a system, it ceases to be justice. The errors into which a blind devotion to principles of classification has led the law, will be seen by observing how often the legislature has been obliged to come forward to restore the equity its scheme had lost.
Do we have revolutionary, or evolutionary, true justice; or the "Absolute paradox" of excessive cleverness? All professions are a conspiracy against the laity, and one way that conspiracy manifests itself - especially amongst lawyers - is in the use of jargon, so that outsiders cannot follow what is going on.
Another tendency is to belittle the contribution that other professionals, more or less intelligent, make. In order to eradicate "inconvenient truths" we might fall back on a kind of nominal legalism, in which the law is less protecting the citizenry than being an instrument of power. Many human beings, learned as well as ignorant, smart as well as stupid, are led into some state of uncertainty and ambivalence. They are looking but not seeing, like fish living in the ocean without knowing of the ocean.*11; I,II,III)
In support of these and other charges, as a private detective / private investigator, both argument and copious authority are adduced. I shall not attempt a complete discussion of the topics which are suggested by these remarks. My object is not controversy, and the observations made are offered not in the spirit of antagonism, albeit in the hope of contributing to the formation of just views upon an important subject.
The expression of a truth cannot be negatived by a legitimate operation, but it may be limited. The equation y = z implies that the classes Y and Z are equivalent, member for member. Multiply it by a factor x, and we have
xy = xz,
which expresses that the individuals which are common to the classes X and Y are also common to X and Z, and vice versâ. This is a perfectly legitimate inference, but the fact which it declares is a less general one than was asserted in the original proposition.
Such is indeed the actual law of scientific progress. We must be content, either to abandon the hope of further conquest, or to employ such aids of symbolic language, as are proper to the stage of progress, at which we have arrived. Nor need we fear to commit ourselves to such a course. We have not yet arrived so near the boundaries of possible knowledge, as to suggest the apprehension, that scope will fail for the exercise of the inventive faculties.
Language, symbolic or not, however, is an instrument of logic, but not an indispensable instrument. Every proposition which language can express may be represented by elective symbols, and the laws of combination of those symbols are in all cases the same; but in one class of instances the symbols have reference to collections of objects, in the other, to the truths of constituent propositions.
Now the question of the use of symbols may be considered in two distinct points of view. First, it may be considered with reference to the progress of scientific discovery, and secondly, with reference to its bearing upon the discipline of the intellect. It may be observed that as it is one fruit of an accomplished labour, that it sets us at liberty to engage in more arduous toils, so it is a necessary result of an advanced state of science, that we are permitted, and even called upon, to proceed to higher problems, than those which we before contemplated.
The practical inference is obvious. If through the advancing power of scientific methods, we find that the pursuits on which we were once engaged, afford no longer a sufficiently ample field for intellectual effort, the remedy is, to proceed to higher inquiries, and, in new tracks, to seek the difficulties yet unsubdued.
The scarcely less momentous question of the influence of the use of symbols upon the discipline of the intellect, an important distinction ought to be made. It is of most material consequence, whether those symbols are used with a full understanding of their meaning, with a perfect comprehension of that which renders their use lawful, and an ability to expand the abbreviated forms of reasoning which they induce, into their full syllogistic development; or whether they are mere unsuggestive characters, the use of which is suffered to rest upon authority.
The order of attainment in the individual mind would bear some relation to the actual order of scientific discovery, and the more abstract methods of the higher analysis would be offered to such minds only, as were prepared to receive them.
It may not be inappropriate, before concluding these observations, to offer a few remarks upon the general question of the use of symbolic language in the jurisprudence / the private or public investigative science. Objections have lately been very strongly urged against this practice, on the ground, that by obviating the necessity of thought, and substituting a reference to general formulæ in the room of personal effort, it tends to weaken the reasoning faculties.
However, logic must like, for example, geometry rest upon axiomatic truths, and its theorems must be constructed upon the general doctrine of symbols, which constitutes the foundation of the recognized analysis. It is no escape from the conclusion to which it points to assert, that logic not only constructs a science, but also inquires into the origin and the nature of its own principles, - a distinction which is denied to, for example, mathematics. (It is wholly beyond the domain of the mathematicians to inquire into the origin and nature of their principles.)
With the advance of our knowledge of all true science, an ever-increasing harmony will be found to prevail among its separate branches, including the paramount value and importance of the study of morals. All sincere votaries of truth may meet and agree that it is the "characteristic of the liberal sciences, not that they conduct us to virtue, but that they prepare us for virtue". Die einfachen Wahrheiten des Lebens, however, is [as mentioned before, and worth repeating] that everything - including virtue - is determined by a cause "which is also determined by another, and this again by another, and so to infinity".
On moral matters, and concerning the abundance of empty unintelligible noises and jargon describing virtue, one must beware of the hordes of journalists, politicians, and other "we-know-it-all"-pundits, who cover their ignorance with a curious and unexplicable web of perplexed words. With a sense of responsibility for the welfare of all, we must stay close to common sense, avoid raising [an existing] political paradox into profound truth, albeit, instead realize that full truth will not come in a flash (if it will ever come).
Beware, "no impression arising from something true is such that an impression arising from something false could not also be just like it". In other words, an illusion could be just as convincing as the real thing (that, indeed, is the point of illusions), so you might not be able to tell the difference between them just by looking.
Media, politicians - and their ilk - know how to speak many false things as though they were true; but we know, when we will, [how] to utter true things. Remember that the interests of these groups - and of [government] civil servants - is to survive and self-perpetuate; not to get to the truth, living in a "post-truth"-era. This does not mean that media and governments are useless, only that you need to keep a vigilant eye on their side effects.
Clever computer algorithms are indeed patrolling the frontline of truthfulness, and can already outsmart a great many digital practices. The need to understand their interactions is becoming ever more urgent as they - "algos" - become so central in areas as varied as social media, financial markets, cyber security, autonomous weapons systems and networks of self-driving cars.
It may not be too much of an exaggeration to say we are reaching a critical juncture. Is truth, in some senses, being electronically determined? The scale, speed and efficiency of some of these algorithmic interactions are reaching a level of complexity beyond human comprehension. We have let loose the most phenomenal power, although we are far from reaching a critical situation.
The immediate concern is that political and narrow commercial interests have learnt to "hack society", and falsehoods can be replicated as easily as truths. When truth becomes endangered - through spying and propaganda trolls - we have an obligation to record facts, but as we have experienced during the last few years, that is not always a simple task.
To communicate may be ”to convey information about the world”, however, this is not always the case. People can, for example, lie for whatever reason. Only a minority of remarks in any conversation are “propositional” – i e, assertions that purport to be true [or false]. One reliable survey found that just 35% of utterances even purported to be statements of fact.
What then are speakers doing the rest of the time? Outright fibs aside, language that is not strictly propositional might sometimes be called expressive. Someone might convey something about themselves rather than saying true things about the world. Human speech “refuses to follow the binary logic” of truth and falsehood or past and present. It is more slippery and magical than that.
Most people expect leeway for opinion, exaggeration, self-expression, evasion or irony – all the niceties, quips and obfuscation that make up so much conversation, yet, often make insufficient allowance for those nuances when others are speaking, or miss the relevant cues.
“Are you expressing yourself or proposing a fact?” may not make for charming conversation, but it may prevent grave misunderstandings. There are indeed places where what is said is supposed to be factual: legal testimony, say, or scientific research. But these are the exceptions – artificially regulated environments in which the natural foibles of speech stand out.
The obvious principle that a proposition is either true or false - with the exception of the occurrence of future events - means that it is possible to arrive at a system of methods and processes for the treatment of hypotheticals: unconditional truth (categoricals) and probable truth meet together in the constitution of contingent truth, (hypotheticals). If you seek the truth, it is vital to define your terms, or else you will find yourself "entangled in words..."
Never accept anything as true if you do not have evident knowledge of its truth ... and include nothing more in your judgements than what presents itself to your mind so clearly and so distinctly that you have no occasion to doubt it. If you will begin with certainties, you will end in doubts; however, if you are content to begin with doubts, you might end in certainties.
One of my favourite truth philosophers – Simon Foucher; as always at odds with both Descartes and Leibniz – brought to light in his 1673 publication Dissertations sur la recherche de la vérité people’s psychological predilections for certainties. He wrote about the art of doubting - about positioning oneself between doubting and believing. He wrote, "One needs to exit doubt in order to produce true science - but few people heed the importance of not exiting from it prematurely ... It is a fact that one usually exits doubt without realizing it." He wrote further, "We are dogma-prone from our mother's wombs."
There are three obvious alternatives when you look into the subject of finding the truth: Primo, you can think that you have found the truth; Secondo, you can come to the conclusion that the truth cannot be found; Terso, you can just carry on looking for it. "Truth, truth: how in my inmost being the very narrow of my mind signed for you," as Saint Augustine wrote of his immense quest millennia ago.
This eternal thing: truth. Is truth ever barren? Truth (we say) is the daughter of time. When is the truth approaching from the dim horizon? How will it look? Why is it hiding? How will it appear, now and then; in the future, when we need it so desperately? We should insist on probing, seeking, enquiring for deeper and deeper truths. (We might again quote Lewis Carroll, and now the Bellman in The Hunting of the Snark: "What I tell you three times is true!")
How should we fully employ our faculties in the attainment of truth? The firm answer is: we must not trust authority, even in the area of geometrical truth. We must ourselves examine the demonstrations, we must understand how the conclusion follows from the definitions, axioms, and prior demonstrations. For other truths, truths of the world, we must seek them "in the fountain, in the consideration of things themselves".
Each of us must also make truth and knowledge his own. There are no innate principles or propositions, hence there are no innate ideas, ideas being the constituents of propositions. How do we then acquire ideas, and how do we form propositions true of the world? We may use Descartes' term, "adventitious truths", to contrast with "innate"; ideas that result from experience and observation.
The well-disguised truth about truth - and about nature as a whole - is that its properties depend on underlying motion or change; pantha rhei - "all things flow - and you can not step into the same river twice". Thus and hence prediction, not narration, is the real test of our understanding of the world. Things that move, and therefore require knowledge, do not usually have experts, while things that don't move seem to have some experts. "Not even the future is what it used to be."
The surest way to end any [expert enquiry] disputes - often as unwarranted as they are unfruitful - is to establish beyond question what should be the purpose and method of an/the enquiry. For if there are any questions which science (criminal, legal, or other) leaves to private detectives / private investigators to answer, a straightforward process of elimination must lead to their verification and discovery.
We may distinguish between a "strong" and a "weak" sense of the term "verifiable", and that explains this distinction by saying that "a proposition is said to be verifiable in the strong sense of the term, if and only if its truth could be conclusively established in experience," but that "it is verifiable, in the weak sense, if it is possible for experience to render it probable."
For we subsequently go on to argue that all empirical propositions are hypotheses which are continually subject to the test of further experience; and from this it would follow not merely that the truth of any such proposition never was conclusively established but that it could never be; for however strong the evidence in its favour, there would never be a point at which it was impossible for further experience to go against it.
Consider, for example, the case of general propositions of law - such propositions, namely, as "polonium is poisonous"; "all private detectives are mortal"; "dead bodies tend to dissolve in water". It is of the very nature of these propositions that their truth cannot be established with certainty by any finite series of observations.
But if it is recognized that such general propositions of law are designed to cover an infinite number of cases, then it must still be admitted that they cannot, even in principle, be verified conclusively. They can never be necessary; however firmly we believe them, it is always conceivable that a future experience will lead us to abandon them.
And then, if we adopt conclusive verifiability as our criterion of significance, we are logically obliged to treat these general propositions of law in the same fashion as we treat the statements of, for example, a metaphysician or a shaman. However, I am personally convinced that it is absolutely necessary - for progress in science - to have uncertainty as a fundamental part of your inner nature.
It frightens me to realize I do not have time to know it all, and even if we know a lot, our ignorance remain immense. Irreverence is a key to progress, but so is anthropocentrism. Knowledge should be defined as justified true belief; thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to every real advance in science.
No empirical proposition can ever be anything more than probable. It is only a priori propositions that are logically certain. A priori knowledge - from the earlier - or justification is independent of experience (e g, all bachelors are unmarried). You can see that it is true just lying on the couch. A posteriori knowledge - from the later - or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence (e g, some bachelors are very unhappy).
There are many points of view on these two types of knowledge, and their relationship is one of the oldest problems in modern philosophy. We might state that a priori implies "from what comes before; before experience - reason alone". A posteriori implies "from what comes later; after experience - unknowable by reason alone".
This difficulty is not confined to the case of general propositions of law, though it is there revealed most plainly. It is hardly less obvious in the case of propositions about the remote past. For it must surely be admitted that, however strong the evidence in favour of historical statements may be, their truth can never become more than highly probable.
It has sometimes been assumed that the principle of verification to imply that no statement can be evidence for another unless it is part of its meaning; but this is not the case. Thus, to make use of a simple illustration, the statement that I have blood on my coat may, in certain circumstances, confirm the hypothesis that I have committed a murder, but it is not part of the meaning of the statement that I have committed a murder that I should have blood upon my coat, nor, as I understand it, does the principle of verification imply that it is.
For one statement may be evidence for another, and still neither itself express a necessary condition of the truth of this other statement, nor belong to any set of statements which determines a range within which such a necessary condition falls; and it is only in these cases that the principle of verification yields the conclusion that the one statement is part of the meaning of the other. Presupposition and implication are two ways in which the truth of a statement may be connected importantly with the truth of another without it being the case that the one entails the other in the sole sort of sense preferred by obsessional logicians.
Statements about the past may, for example, be verifiable in the sense that when they are conjoined with other premises of a suitable kind they may entail observation-statements which do not follow from these other premises alone. This is not a peculiarity of propositions about the past; for it is true also of unfulfilled conditionalis about the present that their protases cannot in fact be satisfied, since they require of the observer that he should be occupying a different spatial position from that which he actually does.
But just as it is a contingent fact that a person happens at a given moment to be occupying a particular position in space, so is it a contingent fact that he happens to be living at a particular time. And from this we can conclude that if one is justified in saying that events which are remote in space are observable, in principle, the same may be said of events which are situated in the past.
We cannot quite make the simple statement that the truth of statements depends on facts as distinct from knowledge of facts. The truth or falsity of statements is affected by what they leave out or put in and by their being misleading, and so on. Reference depends on knowledge at the time of utterance. It is essential to realize that "true" and "false", like "free" and "unfree", do not stand for anything simple at all; but only for a general dimension of being a right or proper thing to say / write as opposed to a wrong thing, in these circumstances, for these purposes and with these intentions.
The truth or falsity of a statement depends not merely on the meanings of words but on what act you were performing in what circumstances. The total speech / writing act in the total speech / writing situation is the only actual phenomenon which, in the last resort, we are engaged in elucidating.
(Verbs, which seem on grounds of vocabulary, to be specially performative verbs serve the special purpose of making explicit - which is not the same as stating or describing - what precise action it is that is being performed by the issuing of the utterance. Other words which seem to have a special performative function - and indeed have it - such as "guilty", "off-side", et al, do so because, in so far and when they are linked in "origin" with these special explicit performative verbs like "promise", "pronounce", "find", et al.
Are we floundering here? To feel the firm ground of prejudice slipping away is exhilarating, but brings its revenges. Let us take an example: the uses of "I bet the Polish woman committed the murder" as opposed to the use of that verb in another tense or in another person. "I betted" and "he bets" are not performatives but describe actions on my and his part respectively - actions each consisting in the utterance of the performative "I bet".
If I utter the word "I bet...", I do not state that I utter the words "I bet", or any other words, but I perform the act of betting; and similarly, if he says he bets, i e, says the words "I bet", he bets. But if I utter the words "he bets", I only state that he utters - or rather has uttered - the words "I bet": I do not perform his act of betting, which only he can perform: I describe his performances of the act of betting, but I do my own betting, and he must do his own.
We may suggest that the performative is not altogether so obviously distinct from the constative - the former happy or unhappy, the latter true or false. They are very commonly the same sentence used on different occasions of utterance. We shall have to revert to the notion of the explicit performative, and we must discuss historically at least how some of these perhaps not ultimately serious complexities arise. All this is bound to be a little boring to read and digest; however, not merely so much as to think and write. The real fun comes when we - in due course - begin to apply it to reality.)
We may contemplate identical sentences used on different occasions, and Friedrich Nietzsche is father to the notion that you cannot divorce what is being said from who is saying it. Ideas did pour out of him in a torrent of constantly evolving thought; ourselves finding inspiration in his subjectivity; in linguistic game-playing as a philosophical method; and in how Nietzsche merges truth, power and morality so that might is right and speech is itself an assertion of strength.
Many - probably most - people do not really comprehend Nietzsche and his views on God and the Übermensch, although they are clearly visible between the lines of his many works. Nietzsche stated the ultimate objective as a search for the truth, and this has led ineluctably to atheism, "the awe-inspiring catastrophe of a 2,000-year discipline in truth, which in the end forbids itself the lie involved in belief in God". "God is dead..." Nietzsche had written earlier. "And we have killed him."
Yet apart from the man-degrading aspects introduced by religion, the emotional realm is left unidentified, without concepts, words or recognition. All psychological research shows that humans choose and select group belonging before truth and knowledge. Religious abstractions, however, are the product of man’s mind, not of supernatural revelation. Our religion, says the populace, is true; false says the intelligentsia and philosophers, albeit useful according to the politicians.
From the simplest necessity to the highest religious abstractions, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man – the functioning of his reasoning mind. Many – unable to grasp the meaning of man’s volition – declare that man cannot be an object of worship, since they have never encountered any specimens of humanity who deserved it. (It is important here to remember that the only direct introspective knowledge of man anyone possesses is of himself.)
The majority of mankind are struggling not to allow the issue of deep belief to be named - perhaps only imagining a Natura Dei. This does not change the nature of the issue. There is, however, some fundamental certainty which a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to be lost: The noble soul has reverence for itself.
Nietzsche considered the Übermensch not as any - or one - individual beyond our reach and understanding, but simply the heroic soul eager to say Yes to anything, joy and sorrow alike; Standing alone and living independently, sure of the future... (With all due humbleness, this bespoke description might in fact fit a Walhallen operative; da?)
Sometimes, when the task at hand is to describe who someone is, it is helpful to describe who someone is not; and it is also a psychological truism that the higher the number of instances we hear something, the greater the likelihood we'll accept it. Keep in mind, that as critical as the content of the message is, delivery trumps it - it is that important.
Understanding this will make us take a quantum leap in getting to the truth. No matter if the communication conveys a quintessential example of what we call an "unintended message", or what we sometimes refer to as "truth in the lie", no matter how brilliant and compelling the content is, without an effective deliverance the exercise and effort is thoroughly wasted.
The takeaway here is that a message - from Nietzsche or Joe Smith; the same principle applies - needs to be relevant and believable, but not necessarily factual. Convincing messages or statements are made to influence or manipulate perception, and they are extraordinarily powerful. Their power lies in the fact that they are either true, or they are irrefutable.
Nietzsche's intellectual aims were to "unmask" Christian morality; to offer a "critique of modernity"; to show that "the old truth is coming to an end" and find ways of affirming life nonetheless. Certainly no democrat, he had much to say about how the old order was decaying and perhaps too little about what could replace it. "From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step."
How can we use the great thinkers of the past to solve today's problems? Clear writing is the key to clear thinking and how little one needs, in the art of writing, to convey the lot. Nietzsche was a writer; his proper medium is words. By putting into spellbinding words - Nietzsche's metaphors are vital mental shorthand; great balls of fire - his confidence in [discovering] truth gave us something nobody else could: the precise nuance of solitaire and/or Gestalt. Not treating any or some individual en canaille, Nietzsche still believed only petty men seem normal.
As it is a mistake to identify a priori propositions with empirical propositions about language, I now think that it is a mistake to say that they are themselves linguistic rules. For apart from the fact that they can properly be said to be true, which linguistic rules cannot, they are distinguished also by being necessary, whereas linguistic rules are arbitrary. At the same time, if they are necessary it is only because the relevant linguistic rules are presupposed.
Although it is misleading to write about linguistic rules and questions as "factual" language, it is often convenient for the sake of brevity. And we shall not always avoid doing it ourselves. But it is important that no one should be deceived by this practice into supposing that the linguistic investigator is engaged on an empirical or a metaphysical enquiry. We may speak losely of him as analyzing facts, or notions, or even things. But we must make it clear that these are simply ways of saying that he is concerned with the definition of the corresponding words.
Such a system of definitions in use would reveal what may be called the structure of the language in question. And thus we may regard any particular linguistic investigation "theory" of definite descriptions as a revelation of part of the structure of a given language. And in this context, it is not necessary to draw a distinction between the spoken and the written language. As far as the validity of a linguistic definition is concerned, it does not matter whether we regard the symbol defined as being constituted by visible marks or by sounds.
There is ground for saying that the linguistic private detective with an investigative aim is always concerned with an artificial language. For the conventions which we follow in our actual usage of words are not altogether systematic and precise. Thus if I wish to refute a pure philosophically concerned opponent I do not argue about people's linguistic habits. I try to prove that his definitions involve a contradiction.
The ideal, said Thomas Sprat, founder member and historian of the Royal Society, should be a plain language that preferred brevity and clarity to misleading figures of speech, and prevented ambiguity by fixing its terms in agreed definitions (as geometry did).
But it is not necessary that the language in which analysis is carried out should be different from the language analyzed. If it were, we should be obliged to suppose that every language has a structure concerning which, in the language, nothing can be said, but that there may be another language dealing with the structure of the first language, and having itself a new structure, and that to this hierarchy of languages there may be no limit.
The basics of this effort is that private detectives / private investigators should not squander their energies upon the unknowable, but should perform their proper function-s in criticism and analysis. Words matter, however, and they have an obligation to be intelligible in a contemporary context; not covering some practitioner's ignorance with an ancient and complex row of words.
The practitioners did not take us to the moon, but some other people did; not always expressing gibberish [as claimed]. It is necessary to draw a distinction between practical verifiability, and verifiability in principle. Plainly we all understand, in many cases believe, propositions which we have not in fact taken steps to verify, which we could have, if we took enough trouble. But there remain a number of significant propositions, concerning matters of fact, which we could not verify even if we chose; simply because we lack the practical means of placing ourselves in the situation where the relevant observations could be made.
As private detectives / private investigators, we claim to base our practice on own experience and direct observation - perhaps even ultimately possessing an Oculus simplex - and never let us be "deceived by idle speculations". Respecting immensely the past - and its thinkers and writers - we have a belief that fresh experience, which is a pre-requisite for any modern abstract reasoning, is a better guide to life than old volumes and the word of authority. The old adage, or motto, Nullius in verba, may loosely be translated as "Look for your self. Do not take anyone else's word for it."
(Concerning the upheld necessity of own experience and direct observation, I confess that I am growing doubtful whether this account and advice here given is correct; but I am not convinced that it is not. There is a sense in which "it is not logically inconceivable that I should have - or perhaps share - an experience that is in fact owned by someone else". Thus and hence, as legal / security counsellors, in court, we at times judge "an argument from analogy" to be justified.)
When it comes to the crucial questions of ethics and values and morals, our contention is that, in our language, sentences which contain normative ethical symbols are not equivalent to sentences which express psychological, or indeed empirical propositions of any kind. We admit that fundamental ethical concepts are unanalyzable, inasmuch as there is no criterion by which one can test the validity of the judgements in which they occur.
The reason why they are unanalyzable is that they are mere pseudo-concepts. The presence of an ethical symbol in a proposition adds nothing to its factual content. Thus if we say to someone, "You acted wrongly in stealing that money", we are not stating anything more than if we had simply said, "You stole that money". In adding that this action is wrong we are not making any further statement about it. We are simply evincing our moral disapproval of it.
It is as if we had said, "You stole that money", in a particular tone of horror, or written it with the addition of some special exclamation marks. The tone, or the exclamation marks, adds nothing to the literal meaning of the sentence. It merely serves to show that the expression of it is attended by certain feelings in the speaker.
If now we generalize our previous statement and say, "Stealing money is wrong", we produce a sentence which has no factual meaning - that is, expresses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if we had written "Stealing money!!" - where the shape and thickness of the exclamation marks show, by a suitable convention, that a special sort of moral disapproval is the feeling which is being expressed.
(The meanings of words - in the right context: In a typical criminal linguistic diversion, the Georgian Joseph Stalin, who commenced his revolutionary career as a bank robber, slyly called/named his robberies not stealings/thefts, but confiscations.)
It is clear that there is nothing said here which can be true or false. Other people may disagree with us about the wrongness of stealing, in the sense that they may not have the same feelings about stealing as we have, and they may quarrel with us on account of our moral sentiments. But they cannot, strictly speaking, contradict us. Sentences which simply express moral judgements do not say anything. They are pure expressions of feelings and as such do not come under the category of truth and falsehood.
They are unverifiable for the same reason as a cry of pain or a word of command is unverifiable - because they do not express genuine propositions. This may seem, at first sight, to be a very paradoxical assertion. For we certainly do engage in disputes which are ordinarily regarded as disputes about questions of value. But, in all such cases, we find, if we consider the matter closely, that the dispute is not really about a question of value, but about a question of fact.
We find that argument is possible on moral questions only if some system of values is presupposed. It appears thence, that ethics, as a branch of knowledge and/or truth, is nothing more than a department of sociology. Hence, neither ethics, nor empathy or feelings, have anything to do with truly analyzing criminal cases in a broad sense. "Plato is dear to me, but truth is dearer still," as Aristotle expressed it in his desparate search for a final verification.
Personally, I believe you can often be too profound. Truth is not always in a well. In fact, as regards the more important knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably superficial. The depth lies in the valleys where we seek the truth, and not upon the mountain-tops where she is found.*12)
I have concluded that in our [each one's particular] lives ... every act almost inevitably meets with opposition; everyone who is active rather than passive has rivals and unfortunately also enemies. Not because people want to be obstructive, but rather because they react differently to the particularly taxing pressures and relationships of our working lives. "If you want to avoid controversy, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." Aut homo aut mus?
I believe in competition and contention - as means of encouragement - but not only. The simple concept is not always the best, but the best is always simple. What and whom we encounter in a great majority of grave criminal and fraud situations are envious men - and women, individuals without character and empathy and firmness, and this for a variety of reasons. Envy is the eternal worm that never rests, and each worm has its own individual terroir.*13)
What really determines the course of human affairs is finally never logic, truth, talent or intelligence. It's feelings, isn't it? Good and bad; behind what often lays a nightmare of unavowed knowledge, a mine field of unalleviated guilt. Hardships in the early years, it seems, often instill both discipline and strong ethics - up to a point. "The human who will reach their desired goal must, while a child, suffer and labour much, and bear both heat and cold" - Qui studet optatam carsu coningere metam.*14)
We are feelings. Philosophy has its origin in something healthy. Psychology has its origin in something unhealthy, something malady or malaise. The established practice historically was to regard feelings as out of the scientific picture. Until quite recently science studiously avoided the assignment of feelings to any brain system; feelings were just out there, vaporously hanging in or around the brain.
For me, however, the study of affects - the two ingredients of feelings and emotions baked together - although not understanding every nuance of them, makes you feel as though you are taking a witch ride or wrestling with a cobra. The scientific study of feelings comes - almost like Fred Astaire described his (one of them) favourite woman: "She came at me in sections; she had more curves than a scenic highway." The subjects - the nature of emotions and feelings and the relation of mind to body [and actions] - are those same subjects that have preoccupied many other thinkers of the past.
Feelings of pain or pleasure or some quality in between are the bedrock of our minds. We often fail to notice this simple reality because in mental images of the objects and events that surround us, along with the images of the words and sentences that describe them, use up so much of our overburdened attention. But there they are, feelings of myriad emotions and related states.
One of the values of philosophy is that throughout its history it has prefigured science, criminal and other ones. In turn, I believe, science is well served by recognizing that historical effort. The fact is that the history of philosophy is more the history of a sharply inquisitive cast of mind than the history of a sharply defined discipline.
The traditional image of it as a sort of meditative science or pure thought, strangely cut off from other subjects, is largely a trick of the historical light. The illusion is created by the way in which knowledge tends to be labelled, chopped up and re-labelled. Philosophical work is regularly spirited away and adopted by other disciplines. Yesterday's moral philosophy becomes tomorrow's jurisprudence or welfare economics; yesterday's philosophy of mind becomes tomorrow's cognitive science.
And the road runs in both directions: new inquiries in other disciplines prompt new questions for the philosophically curious. Tomorrow's economics will be meat for the moral philosophers of the day after. One effect of these shifting boundaries is that philosophical thinking can easily seem to be unusually useless, even for an intellectual enterprise.
This is largely because any corner of it that comes generally to be regarded as useful ceases to be called philosophy. Hence the illusory appearance that philosophers never make progress. Who remembers, by the way, that Sir Isaac Newton was not a professor of physics, but indeed, a professor of natural philosophy?
In the attempt to understand the various parts of a human mind, we analyse feelings and emotions. Is the attempt to understand feelings of any value beyond satisfying one's mind? I do believe so. What comes before emotions for example? In the beginning was emotion, but at the beginning of emotion was action. Even Shakespeare in his time announces that the unified and apparently singular process of affect, which we often designate casually and indifferently as emotion or feeling, can be analysed in parts.
It is true that the common usage of the word emotion tends to encompass the notion of feeling. But in our attempt to understand the complex chain of events that begins with emotion and ends up in feeling, we can be helped by a principled separation between the part of the process that is made public and the part that remains private. Emotions are actions or movements, many of them public, visible to others as they occur in the face, in the voice, in specific behaviours.
Feelings, on the other hand, are always hidden, like all mental images necessarily are, unseen to anyone other than their rightful owner, the most private property of the organism in whose brain they occur. Emotions play out in the theater of the body. Feelings play out in the theater of the mind.
As far as the mind is concerned, feeling is what really counts. "There lies the substance." We suffer or delight from actual feelings. In the narrow sense, emotions are externalities. But "principal" does not mean "first" and does not mean "causative". The centrality of feelings obscures the matter of how feelings arise and favours the view that somehow feelings occur first and are expressed subsequently in emotions. This view is not entirely correct.
One of the main aspects of the history of human development pertains to how most objects that surround our brains become capable of triggering some form of emotion or another, weak or strong, good or bad, and can do so consciously or unconsciously. Some of these triggers are set by evolution (height, darkness, snakes), but some are not, instead becoming associated by our brains with emotionally competent objects by virtue of our individual experiences. Emotions are instantaneous, but feelings, recent evidence suggests, occur over several seconds, two to twenty seconds being common.
In normal conditions the speed with which emotions arise and give way to feelings and related thoughts makes it difficult to analyze the proper sequence of phenomena. As thoughts normally causative of emotions appear in the mind, they cause emotions, which give rise to feelings, which conjure up other thoughts that are thematically related and likely to amplify the emotional state.
The scientific value of single-subject studies is always limited. The evidence usually is a starting point for new hypotheses and explorations rather than the end-point of an investigation. Nonetheless, the evidence in this case is quite valuable. It supports the notion that the processes of emotion and feeling can be analyzed by component.
Emotions and feelings are often taken as synonyms. My view is that feelings are functionally distinctive because their essence consists of the thoughts that represent the body involved in a reactive process. Remove that essence and the notion of feeling vanishes. Remove that essence and one should never again be allowed to say "I feel" happy, but rather, "I think" happy.
A feeling in essence is an idea - an idea of the body and, even more particularly, an idea of a certain aspect of the body, its interior, in certain circumstances. We can use the body to explain joy, sorrow, and fear, of course, but certainly not desire, love, or pride. It also is apparent that the brain can simulate certain emotional body states internally, as happens in the process of turning the emotion sympathy into a feeling of empathy.
In keeping with Spinoza when he discussed sorrow (tristitia), the maps of sorrow are associated with the transition of the organism to a state of lesser perfection. The power and freedom to act are diminished. In the Spinozian view, the person in the throes of sadness is cut off from his or her conatus, from the tendency for self-preservation.
Feelings are the mental manifestations of balance and harmony, of disharmony and discord. They do not refer to the harmony or discord of objects or events out in the world, necessarily, but rather to the harmony or discord deep in the flesh. Joy and sorrow and other feelings are largely ideas of the body in the process of maneuvering itself into states of optimal survival.
There is growing evidence that feelings, along with the appetites and emotions that most often cause them, play a decisive role in social behaviour. Thus, when men say that this or that criminal- or physical action has its origin in the mind, which latter has dominion over the body, they are using words without meaning, or are confessing in specious phraseology that they are ignorant of the cause of the said action... Remember that actions - as when a mouse takes the cheese in a trap, a frog snaps an insect, or even when an immature, short-tempered human culprit commits manslaughter - come first; before emotions and feelings.
But one wonders how the world would have evolved if humanity had dawned with a population deprived of the ability to respond toward others with sympathy, attachment, embarrassment, and other social emotions that are known to be present in simple form in some nonhuman species. (One might be tempted to dismiss this thought experiment summarily by saying that such a species would have been extinct soon.)
In a society deprived of such emotions and feelings, there would have been no spontaneous exhibition of the innate social responses that foreshadow a simple ethical system - no budding altruism, no kindness when kindness is due, no censure when censure is appropriate, no automatic sense of one's own failings. In the absence of the feelings of such emotions, humans would not have engaged in a negotiation aimed at finding solutions for problems faced by the group, e g, identification and sharing of food resources, defense against threats or disputes among its members.
There would not have been a gradual build-up of wisdom regarding the relationships among social situations, natural responses, and a host of contingencies such as the punishment or reward incurred by permitting or inhibiting natural responses. The codification of rules eventually expressed in systems of justice and sociopolitical organisations is hardly conceivable in these circumstances, even assuming that the apparatus of learning, imagination, and reasoning could be otherwise intact in the face of the emotional ravages, a most unlikely possibility.
The essence of ethical behaviour does not begin with humans. Evidence from birds (such as ravens) and mammals (such as vampire bats, wolves, baboons, and chimpanzees) indicate that other species can behave in what appears, to our sophisticated eyes, as an ethical manner. They exhibit sympathy, attachments, embarrassment, dominant pride, and humble submission. They can censure and recompense certain actions of others.
Nonhumans can certainly cooperate or fail to do so, within their group. This may displease those who believe just behaviour is an exclusively human trait. As if it were not enough to be told by Copernicus that we are not in the center of the universe, by Charles Darwin that we have humble origins, and by Sigmund Freud that we are not full masters of our behaviour, we have to concede that even in the realm of ethics there are forerunners and descent. But human ethical behaviour has a degree of elaboration and complexity that makes it distinctly human.
Importantly, situations that evoke emotions and feelings call for solutions that include cooperation. It is not difficult to imagine the emergence of justice and honour out of the practices of cooperation. Yet another layer of social emotions, expressed in the form of dominant or submissive behaviours within the group, would have played an important role in the active give and take that define cooperation.
As conscious, intelligent, and creative creatures immersed in a cultural environment, we humans have been able to shape the rules of ethics, structure their codification into law, and design the application of the law. We will remain involved in that effort. Yet it is apparent that, as human societies became more complex and certainly for ten thousand or more years since agriculture was developed, human survival and well-being depended on an additional kind of nonautomated governance in a social and cultural space.
I am referring to what we usually associate with reasoning and freedom of decision. It is not just that we humans show compassion for another suffering being as chimpanzees and other nonhuman species can. We also know that we feel compassion, and, perhaps as a consequence, we have been doing something about the circumstances behind the events that provoked that emotion and feeling in the first place.
And what about good and evil actions? Good actions and evil actions are not merely actions that do or do not accord with individual appetites and emotions. Good actions are those that, while producing good for the individual via the natural appetites and emotions, do not harm other individuals. The injunction is unequivocal. An action that might be personally beneficial but would harm others is not good because harming others always haunts and eventually harms the individual who causes the harm. Consequently such actions are evil. "... our good is especially in the friendship that links to other humans and to advantages for society" (The Ethics, Part IV, Proposition 10).
It is reasonable to hypothesize that the tendency to seek social agreement has itself been incorporated in biological mandates, at least in part, due to the evolutionary success of populations whose brains expressed cooperative behaviours to a high degree.
Our route to understand human development is through the use of reason and feeling. Reason lets us see the way, while feeling is the enforcer of our determination to see. We are out to make free humans of ourselves ultimately. Freedom is what gives us dignity. "Let every human think what he/she wants and say what he/she thinks." There is a struggle between control, power, and freedom, but whatever the intensity of this - often open - conflict, a spark was needed to light the fire of human creativity, and that spark was freedom.
The importance of feeling free is vital; it gives any sentient being grace and honour. The moment you give that up, you give up a great deal. You basically - as a human - give up the pleasure of looking yourself in the face in the mirror saying "that is me".
Our terms are drawn from psychology or philosophy; they are “nebulous”, as philosopher of science Alfred I. Tauber has pointed out, adding that “the self can hardly be viewed as a scientific concept”. While the soul was probably “discovered” by Christians (and Jews) reading Plato, the self was never discovered; it simply grew by accretion, apparently starting in Renaissance Europe.
Historians have generally agreed on the vague proposition that nothing like either the soul or the self existed in the ancient world. Ego, yes, and pride and ambition, but not the capacity for introspection and internal questioning that we associate with the self. In fact, it was barely even a concept at all until the seventeenth century, when languages such as English and German began to use the word “self” as something other than an intensifier (as in “I did it myself”).
Then, the “self” began to replace the “soul” as a special kind of kernel within each individual, walled off in part from everyone else. Attention turned inward, as people were encouraged to know themselves through, for example, the widespread use of mirrors, the writing of journals and autobiographies, and the painting of portraits, often self-portraits. “Western individualism” was born, along, eventually, with psychoanalysis and any number of afflictions of the self.
Lionel Trilling wrote that “in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, something like a mutation in human nature took place,” which he took to be the requirement for what historian Frances Yates called “the emergence of modern European and American man”. As awareness of the individual self took hold, and fixed feudal roles and obligations lost their grip, it became easier for people to imagine themselves as individuals capable of self-initiated change, including upward mobility.
Today we take it for granted that inside the self we present to others, there lies another, truer self. How do I fit in? How do I compare to them? What impression am I making? We do not look into mirrors, for example when going to town, to see our “true” selves, but to see what others are seeing, and what passes for inner reflection is often an agonizing assessment of how others are judging us.
Psychoanalyst Garth Amundson writes: “People, however, continued to look inward, into the private life of the mind, so as to locate essential truths about their lives, though without the additional notion that these truths are the fruit of a dialogue with God’s presence within the self. Hence, the Deity that Augustine thought that we discover by looking within the self was dethroned, and replaced by an invigorating confrontation with powerful private emotional states, fantasies, hopes, and needs. An authentic and immediate awareness of one’s affective experience became the new center around which to create a life lived truthfully and ‘fully’. In this way, the development of the private life of the self became something of an object of worship.”
Albeit, neither the self nor God is demonstrably present to anyone or everyone. Both require the exertion of “belief”. What could go wrong? Of course, with the introduction of “self-knowledge” and “self-love”, one enters an endless hall of mirrors: How can the self be known to the self, and who is doing the knowing?
Existential commitment is the aspect of secular faith that most occupies Kierkegaard. He understands that our lives can matter to us only if we are existentially committed to what we do. “Passion” and “appropriation” are two of Kierkegaard’s favourite words to describe such a commitment. For an activity to matter in an existential sense, it is not enough that you learn to do it correctly: you have to be passionate about doing it right and appropriate the activity as your own by putting yourself at stake in it.
However, the more you devote yourself to something – the more you allow a given passion to define who you are – the more you put yourself in peril. By committing yourself to a person, a political struggle, or a way of life, you become dependent on something whose continued existence is objectively uncertain. Yet Kierkegaard maintains that it is only through such an existential commitment that you can become a self.
Biologically we may be described as human beings, but who we are – our “self” in Kierkegaard’s existential sense – is defined by what we are committed to as well as how we sustain those commitments. This is why our self can live in more than a biological sense, but also why it can “die” before our biological death. If you fail to sustain a life-defining commitment – or you have to give it up because it has become unsustainable – you suffer an existential “death” of your self, even though your life continues.
For things to be resolved we must thus include the reckoning of finitude. In sustaining my commitment to someone/something, I must continually forgo other possible ways of living my life. Without this finitude – where the commitment to one future closes down other possible futures – my commitment would be meaningless and automatic, since there would be no alternative.
Do we have joy and freedom, rather than human tragedy and anguish? Do we experience sorrow because of our feelings, in addition to having consciousness and memory, two biological gifts we share with other species but that attain their greatest magnitude and degree of sophistication in humans? In the strict meaning of the word, consciousness signifies the presence of a mind with a self, but in practical human terms the word actually signifies more. With the help of autobiographical memory, consciousness provides us with a self enriched by the records of our own individual experience.
What we do not know cannot hurt us. If we had the gift of consciousness but were largely deprived of memory, there would be no remarkable anguish either. Were it not for this high level of human consciousness there would be no remarkable anguish to speak of, now or at the dawn of humanity. What we do know, in the present, but are unable to place in the context of our personal history, could only hurt us in the present. It is the two gifts combined, consciousness and memory, along with their abundance, that result in the human drama and confer upon that drama a tragic status, then and now.
One, or perhaps the greatest, question posed to science is: what is consciousness? Other phenomena - time and space, matter and energy, even life itself - look tractable. They can be measured and objectified, and thus theorised about. Consciousness, by contrast, is subjective. A conscious being knows he is conscious - "Cogito, ergo sum" - but he cannot know that any other being is.
Subjective though it is, consciousness looks like a specific phenomenon, not a mere side-effect of something else. That suggests it has evolved, and has a biological purpose. These things - specificity and purpose - give researchers something to hang on to.
A crucial property of consciousness is that it integrates many sorts of experience, both sensory and internally generated. Discovery how this integration happens is known as the "binding problem". A phenomenon correlated with consciousness, which some think may help solve the binding problem, is a pattern of electric impulses, known as gamma waves, which beat at an average frequency of 40 HZ, in synchrony in different parts of a person's brain.
These waves are strongest during conscious concentration on tasks, are always present when someone is conscious, and largely disappear when he is asleep, unless he is dreaming. Many neuroscientists suspect gamma waves' synchrony means they are acting like the clock in a computer processor, co-ordinating the activities of disparate parts of the brain - in other words, binding them together.
Seeking an evolutionary explanation for consciousness, we might suggest that an animal which can model another's behaviour can gain an advantage by anticipating it. We further suggest that, since the only model available to a mind that wishes to understand another's is itself, a theory of mind necessarily requires self-awareness. In other words, consciousness.
It would be impossible, for example, to define a [conscious] being, or rather generally being, as a presence since absence too discloses being, since not to be there means still to be. The object does not possess being, and its existence is not a participation in being, nor any other kind of relation. That is the only way to define its manner of being; the object does not hide being - not for the wonder private detective - private investigator de nos jours; nor for a poisson d'avril - but neither does it reveal being.
Consciousness is not a mode of particular knowledge which may be called an inner meaning or self-knowledge; it is the transphenomenal dimension of being in the subject. The existence of consciousness comes from consciousness itself. By that we need not understand that consciousness "derives from nothingness". There can not be "nothingness of consciousness" before consciousness.
"Before" consciousness one can conceive only of a plenum of being of which no element can refer to an absent consciousness. If there is to be nothingness of consciousness, there must be a consciousness which has been and which is no more and a witnessing consciousness which poses the nothingness of the first consciousness for a synthesis of recognitions.
Consciousness is prior to nothingness and "is derived" from being. That certainly does not mean that consciousness is the foundation of its being. On the contrary, there is a full contingency of the being of consciousness. We wish only to show (1) That nothing is the cause of consciousness. (2) That consciousness is the cause of its own being.
As a private detective - private investigator, not using haut en bas verbiage but legalese, describing consciousness as ipso facto or mutatis mutandis or sui generis might be proper. Consciousness has nothing substantial, can not be compared or related to anything other than its opposite; it is pure "appearance" in the sense that it exists only to the degree to which it appears. But it is precisely because consciousness is pure appearance, because it is total emptiness (since the entire world is outside it) - it is because of this appearance and existence within it that it can be considered as the absolute. Il faut en finir.
Finding the neural correlates of consciousness, or even understanding what it is for and how it evolved, does not truly address the question of what it actually is - of what it is people are experiencing while they are conscious. This question has come to be known as the "hard problem" of consciousness. The nut of the hard problem is to make ineffability effable.
Some scientists concede that consciousness is real and may actually have great moral and political value, but that it fulfils no biological function whatsoever. Consciousness might just be the biologically useless by-product of certain brain processes. Consciousness might be a kind of mental pollution produced by the firing of complex neural networks. It does not do anything. It is just there.
The worm of consciousness mines but also proves our existence; it is no use denying it, even as an act of faith. "The myth that denies itself, the faith that pretends to know: this is the gray hell, this is the universal schizophrenia," as one philosopher wrote a long time ago.
However, unconsciousness, or subconsciousness as I would prefer to name it in this context, is another matter altogether - not directly the opposite of consciousness - but rather as Carl Gustav Jung defined it, "reality in potentia". We question ourselves throughout our lives, seeking for clues. The unconscious feeds us with such clues in our dreams, "backward-looking dreams or forward-looking anticipations," which have always, in all cultures, been read as intimations of the future. As images from the unconscious become conscious, telling us something about ourselves, they add to our sense of who we are, like the pages that are already read in a book.
The fathoming of the unconscious is never exhausted. That lifelong quest, the embodiment of intuitions and and revelations about ourselves, we can call "individuation". Jung defined individuation as "the process by which a person becomes a psychological 'in-dividual,' that is, a separate, indivisible unity or 'whole'" of all parts assembled and coherent, including those that feel unfathomable and unfamiliar to the person.
Other fields of scientific endeavour circumvent ineffability with mathematics. No one can truly conceive of a light-year or a nanosecond, let alone dimensions or wave-particle duality, but maths makes these ideas tractable.
No such short-cut invented so far can take a human inside the mind of e g an animal. Indeed, for all the sophistication of theory-of-mind it is difficult, as everyday experience shows, to take a human being inside the mind of another human being. The hard problem may thus turn out to be the impossible problem, the one that science can never solve.
Knowing oneself is important - and difficult - however, knowing others, not only treating them like oneself wants to be treated, is a worthy objective, aim, and goal on this great planet. To behave "authentically" is to understand that we can make and remake ourselves by our actions and thus become what our acts define us as being.
To talk rather than act is moral self-deception - "mauvaise foi" (bad faith) - which involves our behaving as insensate things rather than "authentic" human beings. In bad faith, we evade responsibility by not exploiting the possibilities of choice; in short, by not being fully human.
When considering the degree to which "authenticity" is marketed as a substitute for value, echoes the words of George Burns. When asked his secret to success the sage and screen deity replied: "You have got to be honest. If you can fake that you have got it made." A cynik - one might say - is a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
People are capable of Bad Faith to the most important general characteristic of consciousness itself, namely its being separated from the world of things by a gap or Nothingness. It is the experience of this gap which reveals itself to us first and foremost by our ability to negate propositions, to deny the truth, and to describe things not only truly but also falsely, which makes us conscious of ourselves as different and distinguishable from the world which surrounds us.
In being thus conscious of ourselves we are thereby rendered conscious of the world. Consciousness therefore, as well as imagination and freedom are all brought into being by the emptiness of Nothingness.
Since we have restricted reality to the phenomenon, we can say of the phenomenon that it is as it appears. Why not push the idea to its limit and say that the being of the appearance is its appearing? This is simply a way of choosing new words to clothe the old "Esse est percipi" (To be is to be perceived) of Berkeley. The percipi would refer to the percipiens - the known to knowledge and knowledge to the being who knows (in his capacity as being, not as being known); that is, knowledge refers to consciousness.
John Locke insisted that "Whatever idea is in the mind is either an actual perception or else, having been an actual perception, is so in the mind that either that by the memory it can be made an actual perception again". Locke said that "Thought and Idea are the same thing", and showed how this account of ideas can be derived from a few definitions, the main two being (1) the definition of "idea" as "the Representation of something in the mind" and (2) "a Representation of something in the mind, and to frame such a Representation of an Object, is to think".
Locke further speaks of ideas as the objects of thought, as if ideas are something different from thought, but we take his broad explanation for his conviction that to have ideas and to perceive are the same. He professes ignorance as to what ideas are, "any further than as they are perceptions we experiment (i e, experience) in ourselves".
Perception, Knowledge, Consciousness and Truth; Are we squaring the circle at last?
Locke defines knowledge as "the perception of the connexion and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy, of any of our ideas", and he explicitly includes among his list of types of agreement that of coexistence. To the extent that we can discover truths by careful observation and experimentation, Locke accepted the corpuscular account of matter and perception.
Insisting that each one of us must, if we are to avoid borrowed opinions, see truths for ourselves, like Descartes, he placed intuition (cognitive "seeing", grasping, apprehending) at the head of his list of methods to knowledge. Whatsoever is, is; or a more particular idea be affirmed of itself, as A man is a man. It is the difference of the ideas which, "as soon as the terms are understood, makes the truth of the proposition visible".
"The Understanding is the most elevated faculty of the soul," Locke said, "so it is employed with a greater and more constant delight than any of the other. Its searches after truth are a sort of hawking and hunting, wherein the very pursuit makes a great part of the pleasure. Every step the mind takes in its progress towards knowledge makes some discovery, which is not only new, but the best too, for the time at least."
There is no doubt that the methods of arguments used can appear grotesque and absurd. But they arise out of the existentialist conviction that to understand, a man - or a woman, as is nowadays important to emphasize - must find out and experience for him/herself. For consummate philosophers as Kirkegaard and Sartre alike, it was of no use to tell people that something was true; they had to feel that it was so, and accept it for themselves.
Sartre even construed and concocted the expression Verité vecué meaning communicated truth - in its origin, lived truth, experienced truth. Many, or I would argue even most, metaphysical utterances are due to the commission of logical errors, rather than to a conscious desire to venture outside the limits of experience.
We are, however, entitled to have faith in our procedure just as long as it does the work which it is designed to do - that is, enables us to predict future experience, and so to control our environment. Of course, the fact that a certain form of procedure has always been successful in practice affords no logical guarantee that it will continue to be so.
But then it is a mistake to demand a guarantee where it is logically impossible to obtain one. This does not mean that it is irrational to expect future experience to conform to the past. For when we come to define "rationality" we shall find that for us "being rational" entails being guided in a particular fashion by past experience.
Human understanding is so constituted that it will lose itself in contradictions when it goes beyond the limits of possible experience and attempt to deal with things in themselves. This may, or may not, be a matter of logic or a matter of fact. Our minds can not conceivably have the power of penetrating - as it appears - beyond the phenomenal world, but they are merely devoid of it.
How then, asks the attentive critic, is it possible to know only what lies within the bounds of sense-experience; and how can any wise pundit tell what are the boundaries beyond which the human understanding may not venture, unless he succeeds in passing them himself? Well, "in order to draw a limit to thinking, we should have to think both sides of this limit." Es kommt drauf an, und es ist ein ganz einfaches Ding...
The fruitlessness of attempting to transcend the limits of possible sense-experience will be deduced, not from a psychological hypothesis concerning the actual constitution of the human mind, but from the rule which determines the literal significance of language. The sentences produced will fail to conform to the conditions under which alone a sentence can be literally significant.
Finally, recent evidence and wisdom supports the view that cooperative human behaviour engages pleasure/reward systems in the brain. Violation of social norms causes guilt or shame or grief, all of which are variants of unhealthy sorrow. 'Therefore, in life, more than anything, or anywhere else, partner-up with a strong, happy and unselfish rather than with a weak, sad and selfish person - the former all necessary qualities for a cooperative, mutually beneficial existence, ...'
Are mind and body two different things or just one? If they are not the same, are mind and body made from two different substances or just one? The above reasoning reveals the connection to the almost ultimate private detective / private investigator mystery, but not the mystery itself.
We have always lived alongside evil, but it has never been so patient, so avid for carnage, so eager to carry innocence along with it into oblivion. Western civilisation must rout out this evil wherever it hides, or she risks defeat at the hands of global terror; in the nuclear age, unimaginable.
People do not think any more. They feel. One of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas. Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. Watch your character for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.
Consciously, and unconsciously, we enter the world of things shared, but here, we realize, communication, full communication, is no longer possible. Through perfunctory verbal excuses we allow ourselves to commit terrible deeds because, we say, others committed them [first]. In the world at large, we repeat the same justifications endlessly, doing violence to the violent and betraying the traitors. We set ourselves up as actors and as witnesses, each a "single individual" and each part of "humanity as a whole".
This continent - this whole civilization - is running huge budget and current-account deficits. Investors find its courts stacked against them. The bureaucracy is unaccountable and sclerotic, and we may appear nonconformist, but nobody is asking us to embrace the "Madman Theory", feigning craziness to keep foes off-balance.
Our system of justice - especially corporate and taxation; not to mention corporate taxation - is like the one set up to judge the Knave of Hearts, in Alice in Wonderland; incomprehensible and unfair. Few of us, however, has Alice's courage at the end of the book, to stand up (literally: - addressing the legal bunch with "stuff and nonsense; abuse of authority; the impotent knowledge of unpunished crimes and unfair punishments") for our convictions and refuse to hold our tongue. Because of this supreme act of civil disobedience, Alice is allowed to wake from her dream. Many of us, unfortunately, are not.
We believe, for instance, with the Duchess, in punishing the annoying behaviour of the young, but we have little interest in the reasons for that behaviour. We should be interested. Alice sees herself as the hand of ghostly justice, she never insists on proof of what is crystal clear, she believes in immediate action.
Alice confronts unreason with simple logic. Convention (the artificial construct of reality) is set against fantasy (the natural reality). Alice knows instinctively that logic is our way of making sense of nonsense and uncovering its secret rules; and we must communicate our demands, for otherwise we are dependent upon the demands of the world.
If one does not wish to despair and if one recognizes that the battle is on many fronts, then one knows that the first victory is to say time and again "Yes" to individual human beings. However, I personally stem solely from an uninterrupted centennial+ line of jurists / police commissioners-police commissaries - paternal as well as maternal - and I think I understand about the world's so-called compassion or conscience.
At times, combining hereditary traits with tradition and socioeconomic factors produce something ... good. The best, the excellent, albeit, is often the enemy of the good. That the Swedish police force is primus super pares relative all other law enforcement departments globally - perhaps on par with dittos in Finland, Russia and Germany - remains in no doubt [with us], however constrained by naïve political splashes that have little underlying logic.
The term criminal is a value judgement, and given that empathy is finally a gift, and cannot be learned, we must not forget that, even in an enlightened and contemporary world, clemency is a matter of grace, not of right... "Let right be done even if the world perishes" - Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus.*15; I,II)
Penalties have been deterrents to crime, but no matter how severe, penalties have not obviated crime. There will always be [culpable] people to whom the penalty is a secondary consideration. Some would choose to disclose state secrets of a given order of importance even though the penalty were death.
There is little evidence supporting behavioural and psychological therapies of grave criminals. But most studies have been small, amateurish and poorly designed - and on convicted felons, who are likely to be more impulsive and anti-social, and less intelligent, than those who have not been caught. As a well-known practical philosopher in New York recently stated: "Our representation of the standard criminal might be based on the properties of those less intelligent ones who were caught." That is definitely true.
Now I am only speaking of culpable morals, not minds, although the more one sees the less one feels the two could be separated, albeit, as René Descartes wrote: "Doubt everything". Humans are naturally governed only by a principle of self-love, and this is a difficult thing, to corrupt nature, for us humans, to deny ourselves of our present interest, trusting in providence to make it up to us.
Our genes have survived, in some cases for millions of years, in a highly competitive world. This entitles us to expect certain qualities in our genes. We argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour.
Though, there are special circumstances in which a gene can achieve its own selfish goals best by fostering a limited form of altruism at the individual level. ("Special" and "limited" are important distinctions in this sentence.) Universal love and the welfare of the species as a whole are overall concepts which sadly and simply do not make evolutionary sense.
As a private detective / private investigator, I am not advocating a morality based on evolution (I have seen that on one too many occasions), but rather telling how things have evolved. A human society based simply on the gene's law of universal ruthless selfishness is indeed a very nasty society, however, we may deplore something, but it does not stop it being true. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.
However, there are those who say "we are in times where there are no human heroes" and I would retort, saying "these people just do not know where to look". I meet heroic people on a regular basis, people who consider spineless appeasement a "no, no", individuals who would say "I will do my utmost as if the whole issue of this rightful struggle depended on me alone". There are persons - close, and amongst us - who want to make that difference...
Investigating serious crime and fraud globally, I can not abstain from reflecting over that a man is not what he does so much as what he is allowed to do; otherwise what would each of us not do to change the world and our lives? Whatever the mix of motives, we are all, through our upbringing, entombed by reinforced structures of dogma and reason. Fear buttress the system overall.
Does crime pay? Newspapers report on the criminals: murderers, fraudsters, thieves, terrorists, burglars, some politicians, a few bureaucrats, a dozen-lawyer here and there, a number of Polish policemen, an array of myopic accountants, a palette of banksters, et al - who get caught, but once we seep ourselves into the notion of silent evidence, so many things around us that were previously hidden start manifesting themselves. (Ad hominem? I think not.)
Do we need prisons? Prisons are an essential tool to keep society safe. A burglar who is locked up cannot break into your home. A mugger may leave you alone if he thinks that robbing you means jail. Without the threat of a call to keep them in check, the strong and selfish would prey on the weak, as they do in countries where the state is too feeble to run a proper justice system. And we must never forget; prisoners are not able to propagate offspring [for a while].
Given that [the specifics of any] human nature is what it is, we have seen individuals like Epstein, Weinstein, et al – with their token Teutonic names – behave in di goldene medine like no other animal; as if there was neither general nor individual deterrence. Solche bodenlose Schweinerei! Whose fault is that?
Though all crimes be in their own nature public, yet there is a distinction between crimes really public and those that are private, which are so called because they are more injurious to individuals than to the community. However, there are times when a higher law must override the details of man-made law. Do we need to “kill a few chickens to frighten the monkeys?”
Having interviewed inmates a great many times, I might be a person that may combine an insider's feel and an outsider's ability to challenge the status quo. Overall consensus mostly stifles creativity and initiative. In an ever-shifting world, dispute and argument are not just inevitable, they are welcome because they lead to renewal.
The future will tell us what to do; more than ever we live for the moment, and no amount of looking back or forward offers any explanation or interpretation, only a wall of impenetrable darkness. However, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and, as Marcus Aurelius stated millennia ago: "Bad natures should not lack crimes and errors, and this should console us when bad people wrong us; it is natural that they should."*16)
In an attempt to maintain the idea of natural law but to divorce it from the idea of man's perfection, natural law can be deduced from how men - and/or women - actually live; from the most powerful force that actually determines all men, or most men most of the time, can it be effectual or of practical value.
The complete basis of natural law must be sought, not in the end of man, but in the beginnings, in the prima naturae or, rather, in the primum naturae. What is most powerful in men most of the time is not reason but passion. Natural law will not be effectual if its principles are distrusted by passion or are not agreeable to passion. Natural law must be deduced from the most powerful of all passion.
But the most powerful of all passions - the desire for self-preservation - will be a natural fact, and we are not to assume that there is a natural support for justice or for what is human in man. The desire for self-preservation is the sole root of all justice and morality, and this fundamental fact is not a duty but a right; all duties are derivative from the fundamental and inalienable right of self-preservation.
There are no absolute or unconditional duties; duties are binding only to the extent to which their performance does not endanger our self-preservation. Only the right of self-preservation is unconditional and absolute. By nature, there exists only a perfect right and no perfect duty. The law of nature, which formulates man's rational duties, is not a law, properly speaking.
Since the fundamental and absolute moral fact is a right and not a duty, the function, as well as the limits of civil society must be defined in terms of man's natural right and not in terms of his natural duty. The state has the function, not of producing or promoting a virtuous life, but of safeguarding the natural right of each. And the power of the state finds its absolute limit in that natural right and in no other moral fact.
Liberalism - originally thought - purposefully championed free trade, free markets and limited government as central principles of a new political philosophy. Liberalism has succeeded by serially reinventing itself while staying true to four elements.
The first is that society is a place of conflict and that it will and should remain so; in the right political environment, this conflict produces competition and fruitful argument. No antagonism, no progress. This is the law that societal civilization has followed up to our days. The second is that society is thus dynamic; it can get better, and liberals should work to bring such improvement about.
The third is a distrust of power, particularly concentrated power. The fourth is an insistence, in the face of all power, on equal civic respect for the individual and thus the importance of personal, political and property rights. (Many liberals have, in truth, become conservative, fearful of advocating bold reform lest it upset a system from which they do better than most. A great many need to look at the degree to which self-interest blunts their reforming zeal.)
They (liberals) enhance freedom, enable free enterprise and bring about a broader embrace of progress. Or at least that is what their liberal creators believed - and what today's liberals need to make sure of. Liberalism does not believe it has all the answers. That is possibly its greatest strength. (If we delve into, e g, Vergerio's De Ingenius Moribus et Liberalibus Studiis, or read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, we will find that today's so-called liberals have strayed far - way too far - from the original thoughts on freedom and liberty. Shame on you; minds impervious to sorrow!)
I might add that I am not the first to tie myself in knots trying to define liberalism. If we may call liberalism that political doctrine which regards as the fundamental political fact the rights, as distinguished from the duties, of man and which identifies the function of the state with the protection of the safeguarding of those rights, we must call that the human foundation. For Kant and Hobbes alike, it was already a question why moral philosophy was called the doctrine of duties and not the doctrine of rights.
The tradition which was opposed had assumed that man cannot reach the perfection of his nature except in and through civil society and, therefore, that civil society is prior to the individual. It was this assumption which led to the view that the primary moral fact is duty and not rights. One could, however, not assert the primacy of natural rights without asserting that the individual is in every respect prior to civil society: all rights of civil society are derivative from rights which originally belonged to the individual.
Who is then to be the judge of what means are required for a man's self-preservation or as to which means are proper or right? The classics will answer that the natural judge is the man of practical wisdom, and this answer will finally lead back to the view that the simply best regime is the absolute rule of the wise.
However, everyone is by nature the judge of what are the right means to his self-preservation. For, even granting that the wise man is, in principle, a better judge, he is much less concerned with the self-preservation of a given fool than is the fool himself.
But if everyone, however foolish, is by nature the judge of what is required for his self-preservation, everything may legitimately be regarded as required for self-preservation: everything is by nature just. We may speak of a natural right of folly. Furthermore, if everyone is by nature the judge of what is conducive to his self-preservation, consent takes precedence over wisdom.
One could simplify moral philosophy by reducing morality either to magnanimity or else to justice. Moral law is greatly simplified by being deduced from the natural right of self-preservation. Self-preservation requires peace. The moral law becomes, therefore, the sum of rules which have to be obeyed if there is to be peace.
Justice (in conjunction with equity and charity) does remain a virtue, but its meaning undergoes herewith a radical change. If the only unconditional moral fact is the natural right of each to his self-preservation, and therefore all obligations to others arise from contract, justice becomes identical with the habit of fulfilling one's contracts. Justice no longer consists in complying with standards that are independent of human will.
Natural public law - jus publicum universale seu naturale - is a fairly new discipline, emerging in the seventeenth century. It emerged in consequence of that radical change of orientation which we are trying to understand. Natural public law does not supply an answer to the question of what is the just order here and now, but an idea of the just social order once and for all, i e, regardless of place and time.
We may call this type of thinking "doctrinairism", and we shall say that doctrinairism also made its first appearance within political philosophy - for lawyers are altogether in a class by themselves - in the seventeenth century. This whole philosophy is the first philosophy of power.
"Power" is an ambiguous term. It stands for potentia, on the one hand, and for potestas (or jus or dominium) on the other. It means both "physical" power and "legal" power. The ambiguity is essential: only if potentia and potestas essentially belong together, can there be a guaranty of the actualization of the right social order.
Potentia and potestas are both intelligible only in contradistinction, and in relation to the actus: the potentia of a man is what a man can do, and the potestas or, more generally expressed, the right of man, is what a man may do.
The sound use of "physical" power as well as the sound exercise of rights depends on prudentia, and whatever falls within the province of prudentia is not susceptible of exactness. There are two kinds of exactness: mathematical and legal. From the point of view of mathematical exactness, the study of the actus and therewith of the ends is replaced by the study of potentia.
The state as such, is both the greatest human force and the highest human authority. Legal power is irresistible force.
The state exists in relation of will among a plurality of persons. Men who command and others who obey form the basis of the state... In the state the relations of will, concentrated in an organizational unit, are essentially relations of domination. The quality of domination does not exhaust the essence of the state.
But relations of domination are so necessary to the state that it cannot be conceived without them. The state has the powers of rulership (Herrschergewalt). To rule (herrschen) means the ability to impose one's own will upon others unconditionally... Only the state has this power to enforce its will unconditionally against other wills.
It is the only organization that rules by virtue of its inherently autonomous powers... The state, then, is that organizational unit equipped with underived powers of command. Alas, mimorian, since power prestige derives from power over other political communities, it also promotes expansionism and is thus a major component cause of war!!!
My experience is that in the contest between formal justice and natural justice, natural justice wins eventually every time. Constitutions and laws exist to serve citizens, not the other way around. Rather than uphold the rule of law - short-term - courts, sometimes or often, end up tarnishing the legitimacy of the state; the state that they belong to and depend upon.
If the political bureaucrats - longing for thymos; recognition and respect - wish to keep a cat's paw in the legal darkness they should have set straight themselves a long time ago, we can assure oh-so-pure minds that historically constitutions have altered; in extreme cases, legislatures emasculated. We may accept the non sequitur that has yielded little more than piles of worthless paper, albeit, a luta continua.
As the aristocrat - given his "Latin garrulousness" - in Giuseppe di Lampedusa's The Leopard formulated it: "Everything must change, so that everything stays the same. The history of the world is who gets eaten and who gets to eat." The bureaucrats often follow the peasant logic of Nikita Khrushchev: "Scare your opponent enough, and he will give you what you want."
Can the mind of the individual be capable of liberating itself from the opinions which rule his society? I think that the natural inequality of human beings in regard to intellectual gifts is inconsiderable; if the common people are properly taught, the ambition and crookery and avarice of the few will become powerless.
On full justice one might quote Matthew 5: 45: "For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust," brilliantly and ingeniously and wittily rewritten by Lord Justice Bowen as follows:
"The rain it raineth on the just,
And also on the unjust fella.
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella."
As the famous Swedish chancellor Axel Oxenstierna told his son during the seventeenth-century Thirty Years' War: "You see, my son, by how little wisdom the world is ruled." Appearing positive is, though, as always, a self-serving argumentum e silentio. There is always one last stratagem left, because Fortune persistently leaves one door open in disasters to admit a remedy, and men meet men before mountains meet.
One should not give advice unheeded, however, since you have read this far I shall offer an essential ditto:
"When in a conflict amongst humans - and conflicts are natural to occur for any substance of existence - you should side with the part asking for it. That individual is your friend. The one part asking for your neutrality is not [your friend]. 'Small wounds and poor relatives/companions' usually do not remain static, and in the long-haul you will end up being treated irredenta and with indifference - despised by all parties - using neutrality as your modus vivendi. Bear in mind that great personages do not forget old injuries in lieu of new benefits, and vice versâ, they do remember overt tokens of loyalty; in particular if written in or shown with blood, i e, with great sacrifice."
Becoming a whole-hearted human being implies understanding the principles of emphatic reciprocity. Good guys do not start wars, and the guys starting wars seldom end up with the wars they wanted or wished for, because, as the greatest president of any country in modern times formulated it: "When someone shoot at [our] good boys, they shoot back."
Amassing enemies overall - being a successful private detective / private investigator; or showing advancement in any area of activity - is, however and lamentably, often a sign of progress. Able men - and women - carry many burdens. People do not hate other people for their weaknesses, they hate them for their strengths. Assez minable!
We need to emphasize that organizing a life that is well-balanced, well-tempered, and above all, well-intended, is rewarding. Some of the regulatory devices available to humans have been perfected through millions of years of biological evolution, as are the cases of the appetites and emotions. Others have existed for just a few thousand years, as with the codified systems of justice and socio-political organization.
Asking, as Hamlet's disquieting, inaugural question, "Who's there?" - meaning who is out there to let us persist as our endeavour of self-preservation mandates - the answer by and from a seasoned private detective / private investigator is unequivocal: "No one." Only the blind hand of evolution lies behind the ascent of man. Aloneness is the stark reality...
The Cognitive Revolution amongst humans - it is estimated - took place some 70.000 years ago. Ever since there has not been a single natural way of life for us. There are only cultural choices, from among a bewildering palette of possibilities. When the next evolutionary step or mutation will take place is completely beyond our reasoning power, as ludus naturae is completely unpredictable.
Any reasoning will have to be an act of faith, a spiritual thing, producing mere acedia. Any worthwhile prediction must also take into account the eventual ability to re-engineer human minds, and this is impossible. Hearing this resounding trumpet blast for truth may appear refreshing, but here "ich untersuche nicht, ich fühle nur; ich hab' mein Sach auf nichts gestellt". Some thing-s will happen, or rather, some thing-s will happen that have not happened before, but what is a coin-flip or a toss-up.
Most people do not realize that we are dawning into a new epoch. We have propelled earth into a novel episode of geological time: The Anthropocene. The Holocene - the present geological epoch, which has lasted for 12.000 years - is giving in to a new one which, as its name suggests, is to acknowledge that humans, far from being mere passengers on the planet's surface, now fundamentally affect the way it works. We have unexpectedly been promoted to the status of geological movers and shakers.
Markers of the Anthropocene will surely be visible in the fossil record. On present trends, numerous species will vanish from that record - exterminated by human activity. Fallout from nuclear-weapons testing scattered plutonium, an element vanishingly rare in nature, far and wide across the planet. We might even vote these "bomb occasions" to be the marker of our new age, making the Anthropocene more than half a century old already.
Alas, nature might indeed itself be even more cruel and indifferent than we previously thought, albeit, while humans are equal opportunity victims of this casual, unpremeditated evil, we are not obliged to accept it without proper response rather than hope.
"Hope is nothing else but an instant joy,
Arising from the image of something future or past,
Whose outcome to some extent we doubt."
Why is there something rather than nothing? Everyone by nature desires to know, albeit there are always true statements that the system is not strong enough to prove. Where does this leave us? There may be things people will never know, and/or perhaps they do not even know what they are, these unknown unknowns. It is the desire to know the unknown that inspires humankind's eternal search for knowledge in the first place.
The everlasting quest for truth is surely not an easy one, and it has no limits or boundaries in neither time nor space. We might define eternity as the existence of eternal truth, the essence of a thing, rather than a continuance over time. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in Crime and Punishment, had his own thoughts on eternity, as follows:
"We always imagine eternity as something beyond our conception, something vast. But why must it be vast? Instead of
all that, what if it is one little room, like a bath house in the country, black and grimy and spiders in every corner, and
that is all eternity is?"
If we fantasize about eternity, truly then, what really is infinity? If we remove the notion of finitude - that which surrounds us with its manifestations of mortality, incompleteness, imperfection - we are left only with its absence, or its opposite: id est, infinity, which we then can attribute to the One, Wralda. Most likely there will never exist a full truth about everything, about the universe and human conditions, for there is a crack in everything; that is how the light gets in.*17)
It is quite simple, mon vieux! Tempus fugit - and, ignoramus et ignorabimus (we do not know and will not know).
Maybe the best approach to it all is by "denying or removing all things that are". The point of this is to plunge us into a "super-essential darkness of general investigation" in which we are stripped of our ordinary ways of thinking and so try to grope beyond them. And then and there, like in complex private detective / private investigator capers, perhaps, just perhaps, Heureka!!!
(There are excerpts from The Ethics herein.)
*1; I) "Strictly a Science"; also "an Art." - Whately's Elements of Logic. Indeed ought we not to regard all Art as applied Science; unless we are willing, with "the multitude", to consider Art as "guessing and aiming well?"- Plato; Philebus.
*II) The same desire for order, interestingly, applies to scientific pursuits - it is just that, unlike art, the (stated) purpose of science is to get to the truth, not to give you a feeling of organization or make you feel better. We tend to use knowledge as therapy.
*2) Alas, Aristotle says: The Why belongs to mathematicians, for they have the demonstrations of Causes. It must be added that Aristotle's view is consistent with the sense (albeit an erronous one) which in various parts of his writings he virtually assigns to the word Cause, viz. an antecedent in Logic, a sense according to which the premises might be said to be the cause of the conclusions. This view appears to me to give even to his physical inquiries much of their peculiar character.
*3; I) Mr Dawson of Sedberg in a small treatise - written in the early 19th century - lays down three axioms as the foundation of his motive and truth reasoning: I) If we make a false supposition, and reason justly from it, a contradiction or absurdity will be contained in the conclusion; II) Every action or exertion voluntarily made is with a design, a motive, or in hopes of obtaining some end; III) All practical principles must either be founded in truth, or believed to be so for the moment that they operate.
II) It was, and is held, that only that which either was or would be true was possible. This claim in old philosophy was supported by means of the Master Argument, which claimed the omnipotence of the three propositions (I) all that is past and true is necessary, (II) nothing impossible follows from what is possible, and (III) what neither is nor will be the case is impossible.
*4) In [complex] contexts, words and meanings do not only have to be defined and/or stipulated, but understood in the probable "objective situation" affected by at least two elements, which are likely to be ever-present; they are the element of geographical location and the element of time. By "objective situation" I mean the situation stripped of the subjective characteristics with which a prejudiced human observer is almost certain to endow it. I use the word "probable", because, whereas knowledge of the objective situation is of highest desirability, any frail human being probably can never apprehend the true objective fact. He/she should, however, strive until it hurts.
*5; I) But if we take reason strictly, not for the faculty of mental perception in general, but for ratiocination, or a power of inferring by arguments; I say if we take reason thus, the perceiving of spiritual beauty and excellency no more belongs to reason, than it belongs to the sense of feeling to perceive colours, or to the powers of seeing to perceive the sweetness of food. It is out of reason's province to perceive the beauty or loveliness of anything: such a perception don't belong to that faculty. Reason's work is to perceive truth, and not excellency. 'Tis not ratiocination that gives man the perception of the beauty and amiableness of a countenance; though it may be many ways indirectly an advantage to it; yet 'tis no more reason that immediately perceives it, than it is reason that perceives the sweetness of honey; it depends on the sense of the heart. Reason may determine that a countenance is beautiful to others; it may determine that honey is sweet to others; but it will never give me a perception of its sweetness." - Jonathan Edwards; A Divine and Supernational Light (1733).
II) The Roman philosophers were also concerned with things that bring something about, called causes; and then with the things brought about by the causes that bring them about. Marcus Tullius Cicero did indeed give examples of these, as of other topics, derived from the civil law; but their application is wider. There are two kinds of causes (according to Cicero): one, that which by its own power brings about with certainty what is subject to it, as fire burns; the other that which does not have a nature that brings something about, but without which something cannot be brought about, as if someone wanted to call bronze the cause of a statue, because the statue cannot be brought about without it. Of this kind of causes without which something is not brought about, some are inactive, do nothing, and are in a way inert, like place, time, material, iron implements and the other things of the same kind; others however provide a certain beginning for bringing about the effect, and contribute certain things that in themselves assist, even if they do not necessitate, as "meeting had provided the cause of love, love of disgrace". It is from this kind of causes, linked together from eternity, that fate is bound together by the Stoics.
And just as Cicero have distinguished the kinds of those causes without which a thing cannot be brought about, there are also the kinds of those that bring things about so they can be distinguished. For there are some causes which bring about a result simply, with nothing assisting them, and others that require assistance, as wisdom on its own makes wise men wise by itself, but as to whether it makes men happy on its own by itself there is a question. Therefore, when there enters into an argument a cause that brings something about necessarily, it will be possible to infer without hesitation what is brought about by that cause; but when the cause is such that there is in it no necessity of bringing about the result, the necessary inference does not follow. And indeed that kind of causes which has a necessary power of bringing about the result does not usually introduce error; but this kind, without which a result is not brought about, often causes confusion. For it is not the case, if sons cannot exist without parents, that for that reason there is in the parents a necessary cause of begetting.
III) The Greek and Roman philosophers argued at length about cause. Chrysippus argues to his conclusion as follows: "If there is a movement without a cause, it is not the case that every proposition (what the dialecticians call an axioma) will be either true or false. For what does not have any causes that bring it about will be neither true nor false." But every proposition is true or false; so there is no movement without a cause. But if this is so, all the things that come about do so through antecedent causes [...] Further, even if it were granted that nothing can happen except by an antecedent cause, what would be achieved if that cause was not said to be attached to an eternal sequence of causes? A cause, however, is what brings about that of which it is said to be the cause, as a wound is the cause of death, undigested food of illness, fire of heat. So "cause" should not be understood in such a way that what precedes each thing is the cause for that thing, but what precedes each thing and bring it about. But they say it makes a great difference whether something is of such a sort that something cannot be brought about without it, or whether it is of such a sort that something must be brought about along with it. So none of those things is a cause, because none of them brings about by its own power that of which it is said to be a cause; nor is that, without which something does not come about, a cause, but rather that which, when it comes to apply, necessarily brings about that of which it is the cause.
Cicero (later murdered at night in his bed) contemplated regarding these conclusions: "What amazing presumption and pitiful ignorance of logical discourse! For if something that is stated is neither true nor false, it certainly is not true; but how can what is not true not be false?" Or how can what is not false not be true? They (earlier philosophers) argued as follows: "If all things come about by fate, all things come about by an antecedent cause; and if impulses do, so too do those things which follow on impulse; and therefore so do assentings. But if the cause of impulse is not located in us, impulse itself too is not in our power; and if this is so, neither do those things which are brought about by impulse depend on us. So neither assentings nor actions are in our power; and from this it follows that neither praise nor blame nor honours nor punishments are just." Roman philosophers consider this reasoning wrong, and they think that the conclusion can persuasively be drawn that it is not the case that all things that come about do so by fate.
IV) For it is possible for the Greek philosopher Epicurus to grant that every proposition is either true or false, without fearing that it will be necessary for all things to come about by fate. For it is not through causes that have always existed, deriving from natural necessity, that such a proposition as "Carneades is going down into the Academy" is true, nor yet is it without causes, but there is a difference between causes that precede by chance and those that contain within themselves a natural effectiviness. Thus "Epicurus will die when he has lived 72 years, in the archonship of Pytharatus" was always true, and yet there were no fated causes why it should so happen; but because it did so happen it was certainly going to happen just as it did happen. Nor do those who say that the things that are going to be are unchangeable, and that a future truth cannot be turned into a falsehood, establish the necessity of fate; rather, they are explaining the meaning of words. It is those who introduce an eternal series of causes who rob the mind of free will and bind it in the necessity of fate. - Cicero; De Fato.
V) But reasoning has just been contrasted with understanding. reasoning is said to consider the enmattered form in universal terms, and the transcendent Platonic form observed by understanding is contrasted with the particulars rather than present in them like the enmattered form; it therefore seems natural to interpret Boethius' words also as "passing above the sphere of universality", suggesting that understanding is no longer concerned with the one-in-many, the universal, in the way that reasoning is. A contrast is drawn: "nor does imagination observe the universal forms, nor does reasoning grasp the simple form."
*6; I) The equivocal use of the word true is often combined with an error that runs through much of contemporary reasoning. That is the confusion of words with things; physical cause is confused with logical reason, truth with reality, and certainty of the mind with certainty of the object. - Edward Copleston; An Enquiry into the Doctrines of Necessity and Predestination.
II) All things come about by causes that precede them, antecedent causes (causis antecedentibus), but these are not perfect primary [or secondary] causes; rather auxiliary and proximate ones. And [even] if these themselves are not in our power, it does not follow that impulse too is not in our power. This would follow, if we said that all things come about through perfect and primary causes, so that, since those causes are not in our power, impulse too would not be in our power. Antecedent causes are not necessarily perfect or primary, nor necessary antecedent causes or necessitating ones, and assentings come about through causes laid down beforehand; assentings that could not occur unless aroused by sense-impression. This sense-impression is proximate and not primary cause, and assenting is a necessary condition. Assenting is and will always be in our power. The proximate and contiguous cause of assenting is located in the sense-impression. Compare:
I was provoked and insulted.
I felt provoked and insulted.
We can only conjecture a [logical] cause. A complete treatise on causes might be compiled by academics at WIIIC in due course.
III) One might further distinguish between respectively:
-causea perfectae et principales, and
-causea adiuvantes et proximae,
and this distinction is subsequently illustrated by that between the push that starts (causes) a cylinder rolling and the shape that [causes] it to roll when pushed and to continue doing so.
*7) Consider as an example the question "What is time?" as Saint Augustine and others have asked it. At first sight what this question asks for is a definition, but then immediately the question arises: "What should we gain by a definition, as it can only lead us to other undefined terms?" And why should one be puzzled just by the lack of a definition of time, and not by the lack of a definition of e g "chair"? Why shouldn't we be puzzled in all cases where we haven't got a definition? Now a definition often clears up the grammar of a word. And in fact it is the grammar of the word "time" which puzzles us. We are only expressing this puzzlement by asking a slightly misleading question, the question: "What is...?" This question is an utterance of unclarity, of mental discomfort, and it is comparable with the question "Why?" as children so often ask it. This too is an expression of a mental discomfort, and doesn't necessarily ask for either a cause or a reason. Now the puzzlement about the grammar of the word "time" arises from what one might call apparant contradiction in that grammar. It was such a "contradiction" which puzzled Saint Augustine when he argued: How is it possible that one should measure time? For the past can't be measured, as it is gone by; and the future can't be measured because it has not yet come. And the present can't be measured for it has no extension.
*8;l) About the use of the word true: People are not aware of the laxity with which this word is employed. We speak of a true man, a true maxim, a true line, a true representation, a true diamond, a true report, without suspecting that in each case the word bears a different sense. For by such phrases is meant an honest man, a reasonable maxim, a perfect line, an accurate representation, a real diamond, a faithful report. However slight the shade of difference may be, it is perhaps essential to the point under consideration; and the more subtle the enquiry is upon which we are engaged, the more likely is it that some nice discrimination may be necessary. For example, as regards the question concerning the certainty of future events, which we used to infer from the necessity of the truth or falsehood of the proposition which predicts them, in order to shew the fallacy of this argument it becomes necessary to define exactly the sense in which truth is used when we speak of a true proposition. And if it be found to mean, what all accurate writers define it to be, the agreement of a representation with the thing represented, there must be some thing previously existing, before this idea of truth can be entertained at all. 'Propositio vera QUOD RES EST dicit.' The original must be antecedent to the representation. An assertion therefore respecting the future may be probable or improbable, it may be honest or deceitful, it may be prudent or rash, it may have any relation we please to the mind of the person who makes it or of him who hears it, but it can have no relation at all to a thing which is not. Any reasoning therefore which assumes it to bear this sense, which really does not and which in fact cannot belong to it, is illusory. It turns merely upon the equivocation of a word.
If this method were rigidly pursued with all the terms most commonly employed in abstract reasoning, it would tend to abridge many a useless and to settle many a mischievous controversy. It is the key to a thousand errors which have abused mankind under the false name of philosophy; and nothing, I believe, would tend more to the advancement of knowledge than such an enquiry into the use of words; because the same vigour of mind which is now often strained and baffled in contending with imaginary difficulties, would then be exerted in a right direction, or at least would not be spent in vain. Something of this kind I hope hereafter to be able to execute, not however without apprehension of incurring the displeasure of those who, if my speculations are well-founded, will appear to have lost their time in logomachy, and to have wasted their strength in endeavouring to grasp a phantom, or in fighting the air...
ll) To present the truth properly, it would be necessary to overthrow the fundamental principles of pagan philosophy, to explicate the disorders of sin, to combat what is falsely called experience, and to argue against the prejudices and illusions of the senses. Hence it is too difficult an understanding in a preface to make the truth perfectly comprehensible to ordinary men. When we consider the various occupations of men, we have every reason to believe that they have such a low and crude opinion of themselves. For as they all love felicity and the perfection of their being, and as they strive only to make themselves happier and more perfect, are we not compelled to judge that they have a higher estimate of their body and the goods of their body than of their mind and its goods? For we see them almost constantly occupied with things related to the body, and they hardly think at all about things that are absolutely necessary for the perfection of their mind.
Those who, through good fortune or through their luck at birth, give no better evidence by their conduct that they regard their soul as the most noble part of their being, are not subject to this necessity. Hunting, dancing, gambling, and good living are their usual pursuits. Their soul, as the slave of the body prizes these diversions, though they are completely unworthy of it. But because their body is related to all sensible objects, their soul is not only the slave of the body but is, moreover, the slave of all sensible things through or because of the body. Even the learned and those who pride themselves on their intelligence spend more than half their life in prely animal actions or ones that lead one to believe they care more for their health, their goods, and their reputations than for the perfection of their mind. They study more to acquire a spurious grandeur in the imagination of other men than to strengthen and extend their mind. They turn their head into a kind of furniture warehouse into which they indiscriminately cram anything bearing some mark of erudition, i e, anything that might appear rare and extraordinary and that might excite other men's admiration.
Yet men are not altogether unaware that they have a soul and that the soul is the most important part of their being. They have also been convinced a thousand times over by both reason and experience that it is no great advantage to have fame, riches, and health for a few years, and, in general, that all bodily hoods and those we possess only through or because of the body are passing, imaginary goods. Men know that it is better to be just than to be rich, to be reasonable than to be learned, to have a lively and penetrating mind than to have a swift and agile body. These truths cannot be erased from their mind, and they infallibly discover them when it pleases them to think about them. For example, Homer, who praises the swiftness of his hero, could have seen, had he wished to, that this is the praise one should give to hunting dogs and horses. Alexander, so celebrated in history for his plundering exploits, sometimes heard in the most secret recesses of his reason the same reproaches that murderers and thieves hear, in spite of the tumultuous din made by the crowd of flatterers surrounding him. And Caesar crossing the Rubicon could not conceal the reproaches that terrified him when he finally resolved to sacrifice his country's freedom to his own ambition.
Alexander did not need the Scythians to come and teach him his duty in a foreign language; he knew the rules of justice he should have followed from the same one who instructs the Scythians and the most barbaric nations. The light of truth that illumines everyone illumined him as well; and the voice of nature, which speaks neither Greek nor Scythian nor any barbaric tongue, spoke to him, as it does to the rest of men, a very clear and very intelligible language. The truth does not abandon men, it is they who abandon the truth. Its light shines in the darkness but does not always dispel it, just as the sun's light surrounds those who are blind or who shut their eyes, although it enlightens neither of them. We ask that the facts and experiences we relate be believed (for these things are not learned by applying the mind to sovereign and universal Reason); but as for all the truths that are discovered within the true ideas of things (which the eternal Truth represents to us in the most secret recesses of our reason), we expressly warn that our opinions about them should not be taken as final, for we take it to be no small crime dominating other minds in this way. We must constantly resist our senses, for this must be the continuous occupation of those who, following Saint Augustine, "love the truth a great deal". -Nicolas Malebranch, 1698; The Search After Truth.
lll) What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be, that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them, as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor, which men take in finding out of truth, nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural though corrupt love, of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians, examineth the matter, and is at a stand, to think what should be in it, that men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell; this same truth, is a naked, and open day-light, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs, of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond, or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds, vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds, of a number of men, poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves?
One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum doemonum, because it filleth the imagination; and yet, it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt; such as we spake of before. But, howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments, and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last, was the light of reason; and his sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First he breathed light, upon the face of the matter or chaos; then he breathed light, into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light, into the face of his chosen. The poet, that beautified the sect, that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: It is a pleasure, to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure, to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below; so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling, or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
To pass from theological, and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged, even by those that practise it not, that clear, and round dealing, is the honor of man's nature; and that mixture of falsehoods, is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding, and crooked courses, are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice, that doth so cover a man with shame, as to be found false and perfidious. And therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason, why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge? Saith he, If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much to say, as that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of falsehood, and breach of faith, cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal, to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men; it being foretold, that when Christ cometh, he shall not find faith upon the earth. -Francis Bacon, 1610; On Truth.
*9) Bear in mind, the advocate's job, after all, is to argue a case - not just to argue for what he personally believes in. Albeit, presenting arguments for both sides of a question is the only way in which the probable truth (veri simile) can be discovered. - Cicero; De Fato.
*10) With Intelligence in this context - not the intelligence that psychologists try to measure in a given human mind - we mean the kind a strategist must have to lay his plans and carry them out; it is the Intelligence contained in the abbreviation CIA - Central Intelligence Agency. Although there is a good deal of understandable mystery about it, Intelligence is a simple and self-evident thing. As an activity it is the pursuit of a certain kind of knowledge; as a phenomenon it is the resultant knowledge. In a small way it is what we all do every day... Sometimes it is formal and arduous and systematic.
*11; I) With all offences it is important that again and again someone is seized. He can be very bad, he can be someone who has had bad luck - that is a matter of indifference. Whoever is seized must atone and pay the penalty - that is indeed the sense of every law - in order that his death be a lesson and a warning to thousands of others so that they in their unreason do not do the same. - Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer SS; On justice and capital punishment.
II) In ancient Greek philosophy there is a distinction to be drawn between "soft" determinists like Chrysippus, who believe that determinism does not exclude people's responsibility for their actions, and "hard" determinists (like Manilius, Astronom. 4.107-116) who argue that people should be punished even if they are not responsible for their actions, in order to protect society.
III) When the aggressive Sophist Thrasymachus declares that justice is nothing but "a generous innocence" and injustice a matter of "discretion," we know he isn't right, but Socrates' interrogation will not lead to the incontrovertible proof of Thrasymachus's error: it will lead to a discussion concerning different societies and the merits or demerits of their governments, just and unjust. According to Socrates, justice must be included in the class of things "that, if one wishes to be happy, one must love as much for their own sake as for what from them may result." Before discussing what is a just or unjust man, and consequently what is justice, Socrates proposes to investigate the very concept of a just or unjust society. "Are we not saying that there exists a justice proper to a particular man, and yet another, as I believe, proper to an entire city?" Apparently seeking to define justice, Socrates' dialogue leads farther and farther away from that ineffable goal, and instead of a straight path from question to answer.
If every form of government is somehow nefarious, if no society can boast of being ethically sound and morally fair, if politics is condemned as an infamous activity, if every collective enterprise threatens to crumble into individual villainies and betrayals what hope do we have of living together more or less peacefully, profiting from mutual collaboration and looking after one another? Thrasymachus's pronouncements on the virtues of injustice, however absurd, have been repeated throughout the centuries by the exploiters of the social system, whatever that system might be. His dictum is briefly "what is just is merely what is convenient for the strongest", the consequence of a natural law.
*12) Some men take a great deal of pleasure in learning, in studying and increasing their knowledge of the truth. But Solomon, who had great experience, long ago observed that this also is vanity, because he that increaseth know increaseth sorrow; "I gave my heart to know wisdom and truth, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." - Eccles. 1:17-18.
*13) People's desires and capacity are commensurate one with another. Where there is envy and strife, there is confusion in society. The prevailing of envy and contention exceedingly hinders the flourishing of science and technology amongst a people. When a people are contending - such things are soon famed abroad - science and technology runs very low. And it - envy - hinders industry and commerce, in a place another way, viz. as it takes up people's thoughts. Where there is envying and contention, ten to one but there will be misrepresentations of things and lying, carried on [without] end by one or other. There will be slandering; there will be abundance of false reports spread about that have been raised by one busybody or other. Sometimes envy and contention is the occasion of abominable cheating. People will take fraudulent, knavish, vile methods to accomplish their designs, and to get their wills, and to carry their purposes against those that they envy.
Be strict in examining yourself whether you harbour this feeling. Examine whether or not you don't indulge this vile temper and disposition in you to envy the high achievements of others. Don't you find that you are concerned about it? Envious individuals hate to admit that they do envy, for all the world knows that envy is a base disposition. If you are a good individual, you'll bear to be searched. Don't lay your uneasiness to your love of justice, but lay it to envy. Is it worthy a human individual to grieve because your fellow [worm] gets more of this [earth] than you, and to be so engaged in your plotting and contriving how to pull down your fellow [earthling], as if you had nothing else more worthy to be minded about. An envious disposition is a devilish disposition. Consider how much it destroys your own comfort here in this world. A person of true wisdom and greatness of soul won't have the calm of their soul disturbed by such things as envy. How impertinent is such a person that is hurt because another person prospers [!!!].
*14) "It appears a wonderful thing to those who have considered the matter, that all men, or the largest number of them, who have performed great deeds in the world, and excelled all others in their day, have had their birth and beginning in baseness and obscurity or have been aggrieved by Fortune in some outrageous way. They have either been exposed to the mercy of wild beasts, or they have had so mean a parentage that in shame they have given themselves out to be sons of Jove or some other deity. I believe that these lowly beginnings of great men occur because Fortune is desirous of showing to the world that such men owe much to her and little to wisdom, because she begins to show her hand when wisdom can really take no part in their career: thus all success must be attributed to her." - Nicollo Machiavelli; The Prince.
*15; I) The theme that evil is essentially negative, the absence of power rather than its expression, is taken up by the Roman philosopher Boethius. But even while claiming that no true evil can befall the good man, he also feels the need to argue that even the apparent misfortunes of the virtuous and the apparant prosperity of the wicked have some providential rationale. To argue this he claims, essentially, that we are in no position to criticise divine providence, since we cannot see the whole picture; the misfortunes of the righteous may serve to exercise their virtue, and the prosperity of the wicked may either indicate to them how worthless is the worldly fortune which they clearly do not deserve, or else reflect the awareness of providence that adversity might lead them to commit even worse crimes. In Consolation IV.2 Boethius, following Plato's Georgias 467-8, argues that the will of all men is directed towards the good; what the wicked lack is not the will for the good but the power to achieve it, and they lack the power to achieve it because they pursue it in the wrong way. (Boethius was later imprisoned and eventually executed by King Theodoric the Great.)
II) Again, the approach to punishment is Platonic; it corrects the wrong-doers themselves or serves as a warning to others - the motive is not revenge.
*16) Suppose that there should be someone who behaves so well that divine and human judgement are completely in agreement about him, but who lacks strength in his mind; if anything adverse should happen to him, perhaps he will cease to cultivate innocence, which has not enabled him to preserve his good fortune. So a wise dispensation spares the man who could be made worse by suffering, so as not to allow that person to struggle for whom it is not suitable. Another man is completely endowed with all the virtues, holy and close to God; providence judges it so wrong for him to be touched by any misfortune that it does not even allow him to be vexed by bodily deseases. For as someone even better than me (Boethius-In Consolation) said, "The heavens have built the body of a holy man". Moreover it often happens that the greatest things are entrusted to the control of good men, so that flourishing wickedness can be beaten down. To others it gives mixed fortune according to the nature of their souls; some it vexes, so that long-lasting happiness should not make them self-indulgent; others it harries with harsh circumstances, so that they may strengthen the virtues of their minds by experience of endurance and struggle. Some fear more than they should what they can in fact endure, others despise more than they should what they cannot in fact endure; these she (Fate-/Providence) leads by misfortune to make trial of themselves. Not a few have purchased, at the price of glorious death, and name to be revered by the ages; some, who could not be overcome by tortures, have provided an example for others to show that virtue is not overcome by evils. There is no doubt how rightly these things come about, in how organised a way, and for the good of those to whom they are seen to happen.
For that the wicked at one time enjoy misfortune, at another time what they have wished for - this too derives from the same causes. Concerning their misfortunes no-one is surprised, because all judge that they have deserved ill; indeed their punishments at one time deter others from crimes, at another correct the very people on whom they fall. But their good fortune too provides the good with ample evidence of what they ought to judge concerning happiness of this sort, which they see often attends upon the wicked. In this regard I think that this arrangement is also made, that because someone's nature is perhaps so rash and savage that lack of property could actually urge him on to crimes; providence cures this man's disease by the remedy of bestowing money on him. Another, considering his conscience which is defiled by disgraceful deeds and comparing his own condition with his good fortune, perhaps grows fearful that he will find it grievous to lose what he enjoys with pleasure; so he will change his ways and, fearing to lose his good fortune, abandon his wickedness. Others are hurled into the ruin they deserve by good fortune they have handled unworthily; some are allowed the right to punish, in order to exercise the good and punish the bad. For just as there is no agreement between the upright and the wicked, just so the wicked themselves cannot reach agreement among themselves. How could they, seeing that they are each at variance with themselves as their faults tear their conscience apart, and that they often do things which when they have done them they judge ought not to have been done? As a result of this, that supreme providence often produces the outstanding marvel that bad men make other bad men good. For certain people seem to themselves to be suffering things they do not deserve at the hands of very bad men; burning with hatred of those responsible, they have returned to the excellence of virtue, in their desire to be unlike those they hated. To the divine power alone evil things too are good, since by using them skilfully it brings forth some good result. For a certain ordering embraces all things, so that what departs from its place in that order falls back into an order, admittedly a different one, so that in the kingdom of providence nothing should be permitted to random chance.
A wise man ought not to bear it ill, whenever he is brought into a trial of fortune, just as it is not fitting for a brave man to complain when the strife of war grows noisy. For the difficulty is itself an opportunity to both, to the latter for spreading his glory, to the former for fashioning his wisdom. This is why virtue is so called, on the grounds that virtue, resting on its own strength, is overcome by adversity; for neither have you, situated on the road to virtue, come this far in order to be abandoned to delights and weakened by pleasure. You are joined in fierce battle in your spirit with every sort of fortune, so that neither shall adverse fortune overwhelm you nor pleasant fortune corrupt you. Hold the middle ground with sure strength; whatever stops too soon or goes beyond involves contempt of happiness, but not reward for effort. It rests with you what sort of fortune you prefer to fashion for yourselves; for all fortune that seems adverse, if it does not exercise or correct, is punishment.
In Boethius' discussion we may distinguish:
[A] The prosperity of the good:
(i) A good man who is spared from suffering because he could not in fact stand up to it;
(ii) A man so good it would be wrong for him to to suffer;
(iii) Good men whose power and prosperity serves to punish the wicked.
[B] The misfortunes (of the good, it is implied):
(iv) Misfortune intended to restrain self-indulgence, strengthen the weak, or test the over- or under-confident;
(v) Misfortune that brings glory or serves as an example to others.
[C] The misfortunes of the wicked, which create no problem.
[D] The prosperity of the wicked:
(vi) The prosperity of the wicked shows how worthless such happiness is;
(vii) Providence allows some wicked people to prosper because they would commit worse crimes if it did not;
(viii) In other cases a wicked man's realisation that his good fortune is undeserved may itself lead him to repent;
(ix) Good fortune badly used may bring ruin;
(x) Some evil people are given the power to punish others because this will exercise the good and punish the wicked.
- Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius; Consolation of Philosophy.
*17) The first mathematical symbol "+" was introduced by Nicole Oresme in 1360, "x" by William Oughtred in 1618, and "÷" by Johann Rann in 1659. The infinity symbol, the god of them all, "∞", came in 1655, introduced by the English mathematician John Wallace. It is probably the most intelligent piece of graphic design in the world. To say something in a complicated way is very easy. But to find a way to say it simply - that takes a lot of work. "∞" is somehow about the fight we have with ourselves to try to understand more and more.
- - - - - - - - - -
Modern business and private lives are complex, and many sang-froid judges realize not even they are equipped to parse the facts; proximity to real power, though, is intoxicating - and misplaced pride melts away. Retaining an International Private Detective should be a "game-changer" - levelling the playing field; not looking sheepish, or even hare-brained - without proof or evidence.
Throughout college- and university, I trained and served as an air artillery aviator, worked as a shop/department store detective, ordinary guard, heavily armed body-guard for Ambassadors / Charge d'Affaires from Germany, England, Yugoslavia, the U.S., Iran and Russia, as well as within the Swedish Penitentiary / Prison Authority; later as chairman of an authorized guard- and patrol company, and as an international legal administrator, approved by Swedish courts, in Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
As a teenager I flew solo (myself) to Paris - and also London for that matter - six years Charles Lindbergh's junior, although covering a shorter distance, in a more modern aircraft, and far better and more broadly educated, however, under far worse wintry climatic conditions; a Scandinavian/European youth flying record that still holds, and ever since I worship boldness, boldness, and boldness, more than any other human trait. "Nations as well as men," de Tocqueville observed, "almost always betray the most prominent feature of their future destiny in their ealiest years." Perhaps so...
Reading about Scandinavian air forces not flying at night - or some of them; not even following Russian atomic bombing exercises nearby country capitals, but leaving surveillance to NATO's Baltic team - is that so more tragic. No initiative, less Viking boldness than we have seen for a milliennium, or two millennia - a "Commander-in-Chief" / ein Oberbefehlshaber even admitting overtly having less than a week's supply of combat munition. Maybe energetic domestic officials are more occupied with immigration issues than securing peace at its origin - whether in northern Europe or in the Middle East - or for sure so.
I do not know what this particular individual - the "C-in-C" - was seeking at the time, and to tell the truth, I still do not know today, and I presume he himself did not know, moved as he was solely by the desire for truth, and by the suspicion that the truth was not what was appearing to him at any given moment, but rather that peace - and/or funding - will atrophy. Se non è vero, è molto ben trovato - "If not true, it is well conceived", and, as always: "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."
This seemed to me a hypothesis dictated by crude common sense, but I have learnt subsequently that the men - and women - of his trade often define things in ways in which it seems that the enlightening power of reason has scant function, and the [campaign] appeared lamentably vacuous. Instead, show some old-time Libido!; show some old-time Ardore!
I am not anti-Russian - some even "accuse" us of being Russophiles, considering it (Rossiya) a great civilisation, with history on its side, free of the growing decadence and weakness of the West, and with a solid, extremely well-educated, political leadership - nor am I anti-NATO, or [almost] anti-anything, but pro-independence and pro-free enterprise.
However, for the future, we need Russlandverstehen, nicht Russlandangst. Political visions must entail an acknowledgement of a common human heritage amongst neighbours, not necessarily due to remote racial and religious disasters. Making sense of the contradictory, whimsical and largely evidence-free doctrines present-day politicians espouse is difficult, and their latest immigration actions will foment chaos - and widespread alienation; causing havoc - in due course.
No man is an island, and we're born not alike, but with different talents. "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots" is an old adage that we in our modern world can disregard. Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated. The only thing in life achieved without effort is failure, and surely, we'll always find the good people on the rough road.
Admiration is a form of inverted envy, and this is what I have and feel for all those entrepreneurial individuals out there in the ball-game of life, being bold and taking risks, on behalf of us all, intrinsically not hurting anyone else, and at the behest of no one ... but themselves. Despite dodgy odds, the best entrepreneurs push on. People often persevere, from what I can tell, because they have an almost irrational commitment to a cause.
An entrepreneur - from the French entreprendre, meaning to undertake - is defined as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable intitiative and risk. We care about entrepreneurs - they may be inventors, but more often than not innovators - and we care especially for young entrepreneurs. There are forces at work in young people, the greatest of which is growth, and they may experience a certain hopeless helplessness, leaving juveniles bitterly acrimonious.
Instinct and law demand of young people obedience. But growth demands disobedience; and here truth and myth may collide, if we are not misreading our meek compatriots completely. Any government or state of society which fails to win for itself some measure of the generosity and loyalty natural to youth is in for grave trouble. And, indeed, experience has proved it: of all forms of breeding, that of human cattle is one of the hardest. The young West glows white-hot with talent, and they are indeed our most valuable asset, surpassing all others by a wide margin.
Why rely on belief and tradition when you search for evidence? Should we rely upon European/American indigenous youth and free enterprise for the future; or [mass] immigration and bureaucrazy on a Brobdingnagian scale? Politics and human affairs are not inscrutable mysteries, instead they are a bit like weather forecasting, where predictions/analyses are possible and reasonably accurate; also longue durée.
Research show that the average expert, on the basis of a 20-year forecasting tournament, is "roughly as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee". But the future can indeed be foreseen, at least in the near term. And, crucially, prophecy is not a divine gift, but a skill that can be practised and improved.
Excellent forecaster are clever, on average, but by no means geniuses. More important than sheer intelligence is mental attitude. Humility in the face of a complex world makes excellent forecasters subtle thinkers. Excellent forecasters do have a healthy appetite for information, a willingness to revisit their predictions in light of new information, and the ability to synthesize material from sources with very different outlooks on the world. They think in fine gradations.
Excellent forecasters have a "growth mindset": a mix of determination, self-reflection and willingness to learn from one's mistakes. The best forecasters are less interested in whether they are right or wrong than in why they are right or wrong. They are always looking for ways to improve their performance. In other words, prediction is not only possible, it is teachable.
Getting rid of discrimination against indigenous minorities - etwas ganz anderes - represents a triumph for natural justice, as well as a chance to make society as a whole stronger. Alas, if we do not have political awareness enough, we might become minorities ourselves, and the women will become the men they wanted to marry. "Cherchez la femme?" as the historically famous detective question was formulated. Western women are not downtrodden, and the aim to make women and men interchangeable is ... questionable. Only [perceived] and real self-interest may drive us all together.
Competitive war is part of nature, and struggle breeds greatness. It is Mother Nature's way of testing her creatures; sort of refining the pecking order. Doing well is not enough; we also always want to do better than our peers. This status anxiety - unfortunately and sadly I must add - runs [too] deep. True humbleness comes from not comparing oneself with others, in each and every single area. From a society that valued the creation of a unique storehouse of ideas in each individual, alas, man is moving fast to a socially constructed mind that values speed and group approval over originality and creativity.
My partners and associates may on occasion exceed me in experience and ability, albeit, the private detective team courage d'esprit will always be decisive and of paramount importance. The International Corporate Detective Process is one of group - as opposed to individual - effort; there must [almost] always be a complicated and careful division of labour, which is peculiar to the nature of the enterprise, and by no means characteristic of all familiar and homely searches for the truth.
When we search for consummate, state-of-the-art private detective / private investigator partners, we always look for persons who - beyond having shown verifiable boldness and initiative - can find things out for themselves; for no one without imagination was ever very great in his / her profession. If imagination makes for honour in many things, it will, above all, honour you in the private detective / private investigator competition; a sort of war with words, action and information / intelligence.
Genius, nor fortune, are altogether necessary to attain excellent investigation results, but rather imagination, creativity, and a happy shrewdness. We should and must also: "Try! Fail! Try harder! Fail again!" We must have perseverance - showing grit, combined with patient fortitude - and be undismayed in adversity. A "little shot that keeps shooting" - or an Edison trying and probing ten thousand experiments - come to my mind. Success does not always breed success, and alas, we often sort of conceive it as ... conclusive.
And it is to be observed, that every creation (applied fantasy; imagination), even though minor, is celebrated by historical writers, as is seen where they, for example, praised Alexander the Great, who, in order to break camp more secretly, did not give signal with the trumpet, but with a hat on the end of a lance.
Information, or Intelligence, is in essence like any other commodity, and collecting it might demand a huge investment - but it gives you a [much] freer hand, and finally victory in markets, domestic and global; or likewise in private affairs. Investigation and Intelligence are the life blood of each other. The two are mutually exclusive, and we are a corporate private investigation firm - or a corporate-investigations firm - focusing, with commitment, competence, and sheer will, on private-sector intelligence.
We produce knowledge - or objective information; a reasoned opinion - in prophecies or hypotheses, our most deeply and carefully considered estimate, but I argue that in the ever murky world of intelligence, the truth is never simple or singular. Many facts must be considered. It is very easy, in secret work, to draw two vastly different conclusions from the same set of facts; one right, the other wrong.
When there is a will, there is a way, however, we are not telling individual or corporate clients under duress what they are going to think and do before they had even thought of doing it. Private detective / private investigator missions betoken both care with detail, love of truth and modesty about what we can not know or should not ask; at all times decidedly withholding, or suspending, premature, biased judgement.
My mission is to unearth - in divorce, alimony, infidelity, child custody, corporate fraud, surveillance, missing person, personal protection, cyber-security, computer forensics, et al cases - the truth. Other investigative professionals may undertake to disclose hidden feelings, interpret laws for the benefit of clients; that is fine with me. The pure, naked truth – in a timely context – does let people judge according to their own conscience what was and went wrong, what was and went right; not now, but then, when it occurred…
Describing something that exists is much easier than describing something that does not exist, even when you know it is going to exist. What we see today with the unaided human eye is not necessarily the truth. The truth is what we must be, what is going to happen tomorrow. Our wonderful “tomorrow” is what detective writers or writing detectives ought to be describing today.
Apropos! Detective writers and writing detectives: I think it is vitally important to preserve that feeling - also of pain - that wants us to crawl out of our physical existence. The ancient Greeks had the expression gnothi seauton - "know thouself" - albeit, let us never be contained, caged, immobilized or broken by ourselves or others. Other people - many, even most; not all - will try to impose a levy on you, make you conform, but thoughts are "free of duty". That is the varnished truth, and, in art, truth is important, not sincerity. L'enfer c'est les autres - "Hell is other people," as J-P Sartre formulated his experience. We would say, "Hold your ground; firmly!"
On critics and criticasters: We should remember the consummate poet writer Alexander Pope’s remark about “the constant and eternal aversion of all bad writers to a good one” and ask where the provocation began. Pope further stated that “the Dunces (showing a calm contempt for them on all occasions) after all, did not have to write – there were other ways of earning a living"; but having committed themselves to the pen, their chief quarrel with Pope was his creative energy and their own impotence, which they exposed even as they denied it.
He angrily wrote “the Dunces’ natural habit is sewage; ev’n those you touch not, hate you.” The idea that writers such as these compete only to reach the bottom first, has been growing in Pope’s imagination ever since reading the elegant jibe of the Earl of Dorset:
"As skilful divers to the bottom fall, Sooner than those who cannot swim at all;
So in this way of writing without thinking, Thou hast a strange alacrity of sinking."
Pope further questioned why the flow of bad writing was so unquenchable. Because it was so much easier to write badly than well. But why did the Theobalds of this world not try harder? Because they were in love with their own productions, and refused to acknowledge any talent larger than their own.
Horace had seen what Pope was in the process of discovering – that the writing of effective philosophy was first and foremost a technical problem, of achieving easiness without loss of weight, and authority without dogmatism.
"True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance."
Pope was a learned writer, not for scholarship’s sake, but from a sense of responsibility: he had to know where each word came from, and what work it had done in the past, before he could decide what work it could do in the present. But this is only the beginning of communication...
Contemporaries of Pope were struck by the fact that he was a cripple, and ambitious, and a genius (in that order); I would put it the other way around – that Pope was a genius, who was therefore ambitious, and who happened to be a cripple. Even Voltaire’s pity gradually turned into admiration and at last even into envy.
It is rattling in all of us to compete, and we humans are the recent descendants of shy, murderous apes. What is left behind after years of observations and questioning is a pervasive sense that beneath the veneer of human civility, something wilder is always lurking. My long-time advice is, and remains, "compete with yourself [only]." All honour to benchmarking, however, bear in mind you stand above the rat race, not outside of it, if you do so by choice. Securus judicat orbis.
My scientific writing about Logic, Evidence, Truth, and Justice, in general, have not the good luck to please, yet if anybody is gravely offended with me, please be assured that – with the exception of half a dozen individuals – this [writing] was not intended for them. But if anybody thinks fit to be angry and rail at it, he or she may do it securely, for I shall find some better way of spending my time than in such kind of conversation. I shall always have the satisfaction to have aimed scientifically and sincerely at truth and usefulness.
Science shows us regularly that our intuitions are mistaken. Science is constantly learning something new, and more often than not such learning means jettisoning wrong ideas. That is why science often clashes with common sense – our intuition, for example, wants Earth to be flat and still, and time to be the same everywhere. None of this is true.
Perhaps our difficulty in dealing with impermanence (or the passing of time) is at the root of our anxiety and suffering. It might have been in order to escape from this anxiety that the Greek philosopher Parmenides denied time’s existence, Plato imagined a world of ideas outside it and Hegel spoke of the moment in which the spirit transcends temporality.
In our emotional fog – with a temporal structure far removed from our intuition – perhaps, ultimately, we end up losing our own sense of time; and the emotional dimension of time is not the film of mist that prevents us from apprehending its nature objectively. “Here-and-now” is a well-defined notion in science, but “now” on its own is not. If we call reality that which exists now, what is reality after we have realized that there is not a well-defined “now” everywhere?
The very grammar we use to talk about things, in which verbs have only a past, future and present tense, is inadequate to describe the ways of nature. Is our perception of time illusory? No, not necessarily, however it indicates that what we perceive as time may not be a simple and elementary aspect of nature, but rather a complex phenomenon with many layers, each needing to be addressed by a different chapter of science.
The full complexity of what we perceive as the flow of time has to be understood by studying the structure of our brain: evolution has shaped our brain into a machine that feeds off memory in order to anticipate the future. Time remains – also for explorers of international criminal structures and ditto legal issues – a mystery; a mystery that relates to issues of our individual identity and natural consciousness.
So perhaps the best we can hope is that science gives us verisimilitudinous knowledge of the universe; that is, gives us a narrative that appears to describe reality. What seems is the sensory veneer of what we see, what we hear, what people say, what people do. What is hides beneath what seems. For truth is not what happens, but how and why what happens happens.
Ignorance is not bliss, but it does not have to be a misery. For humans, ignorance is inevitable. It is our natural state. There is too much complexity in the world for any individual to master. Ignorance can be frustrating, but the problem is not ignorance per se. It is the trouble we get by not recognizing it.
One typical type of investigator assignment that tends to be repetitive over time is the inheritance case, where siblings and sometimes cousins contest whatever there is to contest. “A man has to do what he has to do”, as the old American saw goes, however, here we have as culprits without exception what Simone de Beauvoir calls le deuxième sexe.
We have brought multiple of these – “the second sex” – to court in inheritance duels, always successfully. Things usually commence with a "Taken is taken; Given is given" and base confidence tricks often work, to a degree. Alas, after strife there is rest, sometimes an uncomfortable one. That the opportunity makes the thief, I can only and deeply lament.
Unlike the “soul” that preceded it, the self is mortal (right?). When we are advised to “come to terms with” our mortality, we are not only meant to ponder our decaying corpses, but the almost unthinkable prospect of a world without us in it, or more precisely, a world without me in it, since I can, unfortunately, imagine a world without other people, even those I love most. If you do care about those – most loved ones – you have to plan!
Construe an impeccable will - soft words will break bones, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn expressed it - that is an essential component of your true testament, of your reality. Words mean something only between people, and life's meaning, its virtue, have something to do with the depth of the relationship we form. After reading your testament parties should feel inadequate, due to the testament's honesty, a truth in the writing that takes their breath away.
When people are about to die, Sir Don McCullin – the famous photographer – observes, “they often look up”, searching for “one last chance that maybe somebody can save [them].” Life may be nasty, brutish and short, hence treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Realize you are old enough to die. Given what I have seen, heard and experienced, I think I have a right, even a duty, to elaborate on the subjects of inheritance and the grim Reaper. John Donne wrote thoughtfully - and ruefully - in 1628:
"Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee."
Why must or should this happen? Perhaps a better question is: Why shouldn’t it happen? The survival of an older person is of no evolutionary consequence since that person can no longer reproduce. It might even, in a Darwinian sense, be better to remove the elderly before they can use up any more resources that might otherwise go to the young. In that case, you could say that there is something almost altruistic about the diseases of aging.
In another Darwinian sense we want to live only because evolution produces only things that want to live [and re-produce], be they bacteria or Nobel prize-winning scientists. Things that don’t want to live disappear from the world and those that are left therefore think that continuing to live is their prime imperative.
The desire to conquer death, or at least delay it, is a human universal and continues in modern science – and pseudoscience. We have invented numerous ways to postpone death with pills, pacemakers, injections, transplants, operations, not to mention exhortations to healthier living. Diseases that were once a death sentence are now cured or at least controlled. Some optimistic scientists suggest that by 2050 humans will have become amortal, meaning that in the absence of fatal trauma their lives could be extended indefinitely.
Beliefs in magic are powerful in that they can alleviate distress and the fear of dying and offer hope. Fear and Hope… Heads down and get things done; nyet? Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of Pay-Pal, plans to live to be 120. Compared with some other tech billionaires, he doesn’t seem particularly ambitious. Dmitry Itskov, the “godfather” of the Russian internet, says his goal is to live to 10,000; Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, finds the notion of accepting mortality “incomprehensible”, and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, hopes to someday “cure death”.
There is, to say the least, a profound sense of entitlement here. Oracle’s Ellison is reportedly “used to getting his way, and he doesn’t see why that should ever stop”. “Death makes me very angry,” he has said, explaining why he has spent hundreds of millions to fund antiaging research. If you are one of the richest men in the world, and presumably, since this is Silicon Valley, one of the smartest, why should you ever die? Surely another inflection point between hunkered-in-the-bunker and signed-on-for-the-wild-ride, and get-me-out-of-here.
Maggots are the hallmark of death and decomposition; Shakespeare remarked that “we fat [fatten] ourselves for maggots” and was amused by the fact that even kings are eventually eaten by these little worms.
As Longfellow famously wrote:
“Dust thou art,
to dust returnest,
was not spoken of the soul.”
Eternity, personal eternity; ditto infinity – cessation of life, death!!! Who am I to touch with words such a sensitive, personal and ever-lasting subject? The best I have read and experienced about the subject – memento mori; the good death - is written as follows: “Do not seek to have everything that happens happen as you wish, but wish for everything to happen as it does happen, and your life will be serene."
For the Stoics, as for Heraclitus (a Greek philosopher living between 453 – 398 BC), a key ingredient in the recipe for happiness and meaning and purpose was learning to live with the inevitable. As the latter wrote: “It is not the things themselves that disturb men, but their judgements about these things. For example, death is nothing dreadful, or else Socrates too would have thought so, but the judgement that death is dreadful, this is the dreadful thing.
When, therefore, we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never blame anyone but ourselves, that means, our own judgements. There is simply no point in getting worked up about things you cannot change. And there is no point in getting too attached to things you are bound eventually to lose. For the prepared mind, forget the Faustian spirit, the desire to possess anything even at the cost of one's soul. Let go! It's not what you have but who you are that counts.
What you must do is to avoid leaving any hostages to fortune. Any possessions whose capture would distress you should be handed over willingly before fate gets a chance to tear them away. You hand them over by ceasing to care about them, or rather by learning to care about them in a new way: “Never say about anything ‘I have lost it’, but only ‘I have given it back’.”
Is your child dead? It has been given back. Is your wife dead? She has been given back. “I have had my farm taken away.” Very well, this too has been given back. “Yet it was a rascal who took it away.” But what concern is it of yours by whose instrumentality the Giver called for its return? “So long as He gives it to you, take care of it as a thing that is not your own, as travelers treat their inn.”
Epictetus (a Greek philosopher living between 523 – 465 BC) drew a distinction between the things which are under our control, namely our thoughts and desires, and those which are not, namely what happens to our bodies, our families, our property, our reputation and fortune in life. He argued that if you suppress or redirect your emotions in order to focus on what is in your power, and ignore everything else, then “no one will ever be able to exert compulsion upon you, no one will hinder you – neither is there any harm that can touch you”.
“Withdraw into yourself,” said Marcus Aurelius. He spent much of his time as emperor keeping invaders at bay, and seems to have thought of it as a similar exercise in self-defence. Seneca, too, advocated a tactical withdrawal to safer high ground: “The happy man is not he whom the crowd deems happy, namely, he into whose coffers mighty sums have flowed, but he whose possessions are all in his soul.” This recalls Socrates’ insistence that the welfare of the soul is the only thing that matters in life. Well, well; ancient sophistry or not, and definitely in vino veritas.
Surely people who can do, people who can not teach and tell, and we - as private detectives / private investigators - sometimes make and do unpleasant things so that ordinary people can rest and sleep assured. Intelligence should never forget that the attainment of the truth involves a struggle with a human enemy who is fighting back - or that truth is not the goal, but only a means toward victory [for our clients].
Detective intelligence work remains the simple, natural endeavour to get the sort of knowledge upon which a successful course of action can be rested. If the information is there, we'll find it (and exploit it), as much as Carl Hempel stated: "All ravens are black. What is not black, is not a raven." A deeper look at this particular puzzle, however, reveals that the Raven paradox is not just a philosophical test-of-wits, but has implications for the way we think about observation and proof.
What is not only a paradox, but indeed a case of non distributio medii, is the wrongful and deceitful assertion or supposition or ratiocination of, for example, [that] since all fools are poets, thence inferring that all poets are fools. Falsus in uno, Falsus in toto (perhaps).
If the preceding text contains words new to the reader-s, if they seem unduly concerned with semantics, I plead, as once John Locke, that, "It may perhaps be censured an impertinent criticism in a discourse of this nature to find fault with words and names that have been obtained in the world. And yet possibly it may not be amiss to offer new ones when the old are apt to lead men into mistakes, ..."
On the other hand, I don't suppose there's anything in here that somebody somewhere doesn't covet. The Detective Underworld is not only queerer than we suppose; it is quereer than we can suppose. When you enter the shady world of criminality, you will discover that there are layer upon layer of deceit, and you have to be both clever and persistent to find out the truth.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste and - should worse come to worse - it's not part of private detectives' job description to add mirth to the party, but provide and demonstrate solid, tangible, admissible evidence and stark proof...
Thank you for reading my introduction, and,
"all's well that ends well," and,"all's not about you or me."
Claes Reinhold Ekman
Claes Reinhold Ekman
Walhallen Detective Group
"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."
"And when is enough evidence enough?"
"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide that
proves they should value evidence?"
"The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you."
"Real evidence is usually vague and unsatisfactory."
"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious evidence."
Rules of Evidence
There are many rules of evidence, and most of the rules have exceptions.
Besides the federal rules of evidence, there are also state rules, most of which are patterned after the federal rules. You won't need to memorize these - your attorney will handle that - but it's important to gain a general knowledge of the rules that are seen most often in the courtroom. It's also important to know how to research a rule when you need to. These rules play a large role in whether or not your collected evidence is admissible in court.
The Federal Rules of Evidence govern the way evidence is allowed to be introduced in Federal courts, both civil and criminal. In judging whether evidence is acceptable, most courts look first at its relevance.
Rules of Admissibility
There are three basic rules concerning the admissibility of evidence. Evidence must be relevant, material, and competent.
Relevancy is the logical connection that one thing has to another. In most cases, fingerprints on a weapon found at the scene would be relevant to a murder case, and therefore, admissible as evidence.
Material evidence must be proven to have bearing on the case. If it's proven to be snowing on the day a valuable artifact was stolen, that fact wouldn't be admissible unless it had some bearing on the theft. The truth of the snow has nothing to do with proving who stole the artifact, so the fact is true but immaterial.
Competency means that evidence must meet traditional proofs of reliability. Since this section concerns testimonial evidence, the four criteria for a competent witness will be discussed. To be competent, the witness must:
Take the oath and understand it.
Have personal knowledge about his testimony; he must have experienced it with his senses - touched, smelled, tasted, heard, or seen it.
Be able to remember what he has experienced.
Be able to communicate what he experienced.
Even relevant, material, and competent evidence can be ruled inadmissible and can be excluded if, in the court's opinion, the following conditions exist:
Evidence is prejudicial.
Evidence may confuse the jury.
Evidence is speculative - if many different conclusions can be drawn from it.
The sheer amount of the same evidence is unnecessary and wastes the court's time. Evidence can be ruled admissible for one purpose or party and not another; the jury will be instructed to consider it relevant regarding only the party or person to whom it is ruled admissible.
State courts aren't bound by federal rules, but many states have used them as a foundation for developing their own rules of evidence. While differences in civil and criminal court exist, federal rules apply to both.
What's the difference between civil and criminal trials?
Civil trials are concerned with resolution of claims by individuals or groups against other individuals or groups. In reaching a decision, the burden of proof is governed by "a preponderance (or weight) of evidence". Criminal trials deal with prosecuting those accused of violating criminal law. The burden of proof (for proving guilt) in a criminal trial is "beyond a reasonable doubt", a stricter standard.
How Rules Work in Court Procedure
Civil procedure, or courtroom conduct and etiquette during a civil case, is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The government's criminal code and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, outline conduct and procedure in federal criminal courtrooms. These rules are designed to protect the rights of defendants.
The first attorney (usually the defense) will begin by questioning a witness during what's called direct examination. Cross-examination follows, where opposing counsel either questions the witness or passes. Only subjects brought up or introduced during direct examination can be questioned in cross-examination, unless the judge chooses to allow it. In re-direct, the original attorney can again question a witness to clear up anything that's unclear or has been introduced or distorted by cross-examination. This can be followed by re-cross. During questioning, either side can object to specific questions. Responses to objections are as follows:
Judge can overrule - witness is permitted to provide the answer.
Judge can sustain - question must be asked again in a different way.
Judge can ask for further information so she can decide how to rule.
When an objection is made, it's important that you stop talking immediately and wait for the judge's response. Once a ruling is made, you'll know what to do. If the question is sustained, you must answer. If it's overruled, you must wait for the next question. The most common objections you'll hear in court follow:
Leading the witness. A leading question suggests the answer: Didn't you see the subject driving erratically? Nonleading: Did you see the subject driving? In your opinion, how was she handling the vehicle?
Hearsay. A statement made by someone other than the testifying witness. There are many exceptions, some of which will be discussed later.
Relevancy. Questions and statements may be challenged if they do not directly relate to the case.
Leading questions are allowed on cross-examination when the attorney is questioning an unfriendly witness. They aren't allowed during direct questioning, when the attorney for whom you work questions you, because leading questions suggest the answer for the witness to supply. However, when your attorney asks a leading question, knowing it'll probably be objected to and overruled by the judge, it's a clue as to where he wants you to go with your answer.
Hearsay evidence may be accepted under several conditions:
Dying declaration. Although it is hearsay because the person declaring isn't in court, a person who heard a dying person's statement may repeat that statement because of the general belief that someone aware of dying doesn't have any reason to lie. For example, "I heard her say, 'John stabbed me.'"
Excited utterance. It is still hearsay if the person who uttered the statement isn't in court, but this is admissible testimony because in the heat of an exciting incident, a witness may blurt out something that he refuses to testify to later. For example, "Look, that blue car ran over that little boy!"
Admission against interest. A witness can testify that she heard a party in a lawsuit make a statement that runs counter to the party's case. For example, a witness can testify she heard the suspect admit he committed the crime for which he is on trial.
Business records. These must be introduced by a qualified witness who can identify them and testify how they were recorded.
Official government records that have been properly maintained.
Notes. These must be made close to the time of an event and can be used during testimony to refresh the memory of a witness.
Judgments in other cases.
Statement explaining a person's future plans. For example, "I'm going to choke the life out of her and keep her from hurting anyone again". The person who heard this can testify to what was said.
There are many other exceptions to the hearsay rule. Besides these exceptions, the judge always has power to declare an exception at his discretion.
Direct evidence, sometimes called real evidence, is the evidence to which you can testify - what you know or have seen or done. Direct evidence is tangible and requires nothing to prove the truth of its existence. Examples are the production of a receipt identifying the defendant as the purchaser of a specific firearm. This doesn't prove that the defendant used it to kill anyone, but it does prove he purchased that weapon. Direct evidence is usually ruled admissible.
Hearsay or Indirect Evidence
Indirect evidence is evidence that you've heard from someone else. It can be hearsay, but not always. The most common exception is the party opponent exception. When a party to the lawsuit says something that you actually hear her say, your testimony concerning the statement is admissible. For example, the following statements are not hearsay and are admissible:
He said, "I agree to your offer". Because this isn't a statement of fact that can be proven true or untrue, you can testify that you heard it; the issue is not whether the statement is true, but whether it was said.
She yelled, "Help me!" It's a cry for help; some say the excited utterance exception applies here.
"Jones told me that Smith is a thief and a liar". If this is offered as testimony that Jones had motive to kill or assault Smith, it's acceptable as evidence. If it's offered as testimony that Smith is a thief and a liar, then it's considered hearsay.
There are many more exceptions to the hearsay rule, and you may hear them from time to time, but not as often as the ones discussed here.
This type of evidence doesn't prove the existence of a fact - at least not directly. It does, however, provide logical suspicion that the fact exists, but reasoning is required to prove its existence. The general belief is that circumstantial evidence is weak, but often this type of evidence proves a case, as physical evidence isn't always available.
The compilation of inferential evidence can lead to the belief that no other conclusion is possible. For example, the defendant may have been seen in the area around the time of the murder. He may have been heard threatening the deceased and may have owned the weapon that killed her. He may also have hurt the deceased in the past. His prints may even be in the house, but they are considered circumstantial if he has been in the house before. All of these things are circumstantial, but together they begin to point to a strong conclusion. If you have enough of them, they make a case.
Photographs or video recordings of evidence are important to your case. In order to be admissible, someone must testify that they reasonably represent the thing or person that was photographed or filmed. The person giving testimony concerning the item either must have taken it herself or been present when it was taken, so she can verify that the film or photograph accurately represents what it is purported to represent.
Charts, models, and maps, sometimes called demonstrative evidence, are not evidence in and of themselves; they must be authenticated, usually with the testimony of the person using these objects. They are used in court to make a point or to demonstrate a fact, and marks made on these items may be used to prove a fact. If so, they may be admitted into evidence. Again, admissibility is at the discretion of the judge.