Advanced ToK Dynamics
The Tree of Knowledge System is a new wholistic map of science and reality
One of the great advantages of the Tree of Knowledge System is that it gives rise to a coherent, wholistic naturalistic ontology. It does this by connecting mathematics to physics to biology to psychology to sociology, and finally to the specific human knower who then has the capacity to know about math, physics, and so on, completing the circle. It does this in a single consilient system of understanding that requires no magic and is, in fact, quite conservative in that it takes the key insights from the various scientific disciplines, assimilates, and then integrates them into a single picture theory of knowledge.
In this blog, I will explain how this works by analyzing an old Tree of Knowledge diagram I came across the other day, that I labeled Advanced ToK Dynamics. I am unsure of the exact date it was generated, but I know that the basic structure it depicts was in place at the time I was producing the Tree of Knowledge Manifesto back in 2001.
We can start by orienting the reader to what they are looking at. On the left side of the diagram, there is the notation: E = hf + mc2.
The E here is energy. The first part of the equation is E = hf, which is the “Planck-Einstein” relation that shows that the energy of a photon is equal to Planck’s constant times its frequency. Then there is the mc2, which is, of course, Einstein’s most famous equation, equating energy to mass times the speed of light squared.
I put these two equations here for several reasons. First, in a nontechnical way, you can interpret this notation as saying that the total energy of a system equals the kinetic plus potential energy of a system. This is because the “hf” of a photon can be interpreted as kinetic, whereas the mc2, when framed as rest mass, can be loosely interpreted as potential energy, at least in this context.
A second reason the equation is there pertains to something called the “Henriques Equivalency,” which I will come back to.
The third reason has to do with why the mc2 part is circled. This is because the ToK maps the material complexification process that emerges out of the initial state of “pure energy.” To understand this, you need to have a basic grasp of (a) the two primary kinds of particles mapped by the Standard Model, which are bosons and fermions and (b) the hot inflationary model of the Big Bang (AKA the “birth” of our observable universe). The current picture given by physics is that the initial state of the universe can be described as a “boson energy information field.” Then, there was an inflationary chain reaction that generated fermions, which are known as the “matter particles.” These are things like electrons and quarks (which make up neutrons and protons), which can be thought of as “matter particles.” This is because they have mass and thus take up space. (They do this because of something called the Pauli Exclusion Principle).
A novel feature of the Tree of Knowledge System is that it divides the universe into different dimensions of complexification. Matter is the first such dimension, and it emerges at the Big Bang. This event gives us the primary time dimension for the observable universe. That is, we can say our universe begins at approximately 13.8 billion years ago. In the language of the Unified Theory of Knowledge (UTOK), we can say that it starts as a “pure energy information singularity” (which, as this blog explains, is different than the old “mathematical singularity” idea for the earlier models of the Big Bang before inflation). This is also called the Energy Information Implicate Order that resides beneath the Matter plane.
We can then follow the evolution of complexification from that point to the present on the time axis. It is worth noting that I used the term “complexity” back then, whereas now I would use the more accurate term “complexification.” This refers to the cosmic “combogenetic” process described by Tyler Volk in his book, Quarks to Culture. The point is that this specific process, mapped by the ToK System, is different than complexity in general because the map is drawn from our perspective back in time.
At the bottom of the ToK diagram is the algebraic matrix equation for quantum mechanics developed by Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan.
Here is a picture of the equation on Max Born’s tombstone. (Please note that the h with a bar through it is equal to h divided by 2π, so it is the same equation).
Why is this equation here? First, it represents the idea that “at the base” of this complexified stack is a quantum field (or foam).
Second, it represents the fact that some variables, like position and momentum, are “entangled” and exist in a “superposition” prior to observation/measurement. It is worth noting that it was the analysis by Heisenberg, Born, Bohr and others that gave rise to the Copenhagen Interpretation that posited that conscious observers must be included in order to have a complete picture of the behavior of the physical world. The third reason the equation is placed there has to do with the Henriques Equivalency, which I will come back to.
Let’s now shift our focus to the vertical axis, paying especial attention to the placement of the sciences. The physical, biological, and sociological sciences are listed in a line next to their respective dimensions. However, the psychological sciences are placed on the right side. Looking at its placement now is interesting and illuminating, given my current work. Let me explain.
I just submitted my second book, A New Synthesis for the Problem of Psychology: Addressing the Enlightenment Gap, which explains how UTOK solves the problem of scientific psychology by clarifying the nature and ontology of the mental. The book explains why the domain of the mental is hopelessly confused and confounded. I frame the confusion in terms of the “BM3” problem, which stands for the “behavior-mind-mind-mind” problem. This points to the fact that the term mental has three different referents in: a) the behavior of the animal as a whole (in the behavioral tradition), b) nonconscious neurocognitive processes, (the first meaning of “mind”), c) subjective conscious experience of being, (the second meaning of “mind”), d) and explicit self-consciousness (the third “mind”). The book deconstructs the “behavior” versus “mind” meanings in mainstream academic psychology and shows them to be completely confused.
It then shows how UTOK solves the problem. First, via the Periodic Table of Behavior, which extends the Tree of Knowledge System, we can clearly see why “Mind,” the third dimension of complexification, can be defined as the set of mental behaviors and how mental behaviors are different from material, living and cultural behaviors. The book then introduces the Map of Mind which clarifies the meaning and interrelationships between mind as neurocognition (Mind1), mind as subjective conscious experience (Mind2), and mind as self-conscious justification (Mind3) and frames them in relationship to epistemological access.
Let’s get back to the Advanced ToK diagram. What is striking to me is that this analysis of the BM3 problem and its solution is essentially present in the diagram. If we home in on the boxes next to the psychological science domain we clearly see the three different layers of the mental that run from nonconscious knowing, framed by (input-storage-output), sub(self) conscious knowing (framed by P - M = E), and finally self-conscious awareness (framed by the ego/self/justifier). This is directly aligned with how I map the three domains of the mental, with Mind1 being defined as the nonconscious layer, Mind2 as the subconscious layer (which should be read here as “sub-self conscious”, meaning the layer beneath self-consciousness) and Mind3 as the egoic self-conscious explicitly justifying mind.
The alignment with the concept of Mind2 becomes clearer when we focus in on the circle around the P - M = E. That circle represents the “epistemological portal” that frames the subjective conscious experience of being. We can think of the outside frame being what John Vervaeke calls the adverbial qualia, whereas the inside would be the adjectival qualia.
One of the cool things about the diagram is that it places Mind2 in direct relation to the concept of behavior, which is represented on the bottom of the diagram, connecting to the input output function. As shown, behavior is represented symbolically X = object and Xo as field, and then that is referenced against another frame to map change.
To understand how this works, we can return to a quotation from the first paper on the system, The Tree of Knowledge System and the Theoretical Unification of Psychology (Henriques, 2003, p. 157):
The most general definition of behavior is change in an object–field relationship, which can be algorithmically represented as (X)(Xo)t1 — (X)(Xo)t2, where X is the object, Xo is the field (not X) and t is time. This is important because it highlights that all sciences are sciences of behavior. Physics is the science of the behavior of objects in general. Particle physicists study the behavior of very small objects (e.g., fermions) using quantum theory, and cosmologists study the behavior of very large objects (e.g., galaxies) using the theory of relativity (Greene, 1999). If it is agreed that physicists study the behavior of objects in general, then it logically follows that other scientists study the behavior of certain objects in particular. Chemists study the behavior of molecular objects; biologists study the behavior of living objects. This analysis highlights that there are obviously significant problems with defining psychology as “the science of behavior.” It is not the fact that animals behave that makes them unique; it is that they behave so differently from other objects. The key then becomes defining the subset of behaviors that psychologists’ study.
One key point being made here is that this diagram shows how to frame UTOK’s Mind2 relative to the concept of behavior writ large. But there is another point that is being made with the lines on the right side of the diagram. Those lines connect psychological science both “down” to the physical scientist and “up” to the humanistic philosopher.
Framed this way, we can align the physicist with what is “objectively known” relative to the philosopher who is concerned with how humans know. Now, I like to frame the Enlightenment Gap as the conceptual gap between a materialistic Newtonian ontology and an idealist Kantian epistemology. These lines can be then framed as representing the way UTOK’s metapsychological solution to the problem of psychology addresses and bridges the Enlightenment Gap.
On the top of the diagram we see an inverted depiction of the ToK System. This represents the difference between the ontic reality (i.e., the actual Energy-Matter-Life-Mind-Culture processes that evolved long before science) and the scientific onto-epistemological system of justification as mapped by Advanced ToK Dynamics. In other words, it represents the human knower, emerging out of the Culture plane and obtaining knowledge about the real, natural world.
This final point becomes even clearer when we connect all this to the Henriques Equivalency. The Henriques Equivalency frames the epistemology of science as being about “observing behavior.” It works by drawing a bridge between the Planck-Einstein relation of E = hf with Heisenberg, Born, Jordan equation. Specifically, it states that if one where to observe a single frequency of a photon, then that observed/measured behavior would be equal to the kinetic behavior. If you do that, you get where E = pq — qp, then hf = h/2πi. The two hs cancel and you get 2πif = 1. This is the Henriques Equivalency, and it sits on the top of the diagram.
What does it mean? I argued that these were the “mathematical conceptual operations” that connected human knowers to real physical behaviors. That is, the circle, imaginary and real numbers, and the frequency of observed behaviors represent the metaphysical and mathematical concepts that ground the bridge between math and science and subjective knowing. If you look to the left side of the diagram, you see how I drew some associations between the circle and the frequency with the “particle-wave” duality.
Basically, I am trying to link the 2πi with the knower knowing the particle and the f with the super-imposed wave of probability. I will spare the detail here, but I can say that this linkage ends up becoming much clearer as the Henriques Equivalency ultimately evolves into a path that leads to the development of the iQuad Coin. To learn more about the Henriques Equivalency, see this blog.
To conclude, Advanced ToK Dynamics refers to the capacity to take the whole, consilient naturalistic, scientific ontology mapped by the ToK and use that totality as a lens to track all the behaviors and all the observers in the world. As such, it gives a scientifically grounded onto-epistemology for mapping the ontic-epistemic relations from a subjective knower into mathematics into physics into biology into psychology into the social sciences into subjective knowers knowing about mathematics.