The Relational philosophy part II, about knowledge

II.1. The way we understand

The purpose of our mind, or at least one very important purpose of it, now seems clear to me. We are naked, free from technical devices on our body, and therefore it is necessary that we invent surviving-techniques ourselves. And to be able to do that, you need something like a mind.

But how are we doing that? How does it work, this act of understanding?
These imaginary egg-shaped human beings on that other planet will not easily understand our bikes, chairs and trousers, since these articles of use do not fit the shape of their bodies. To understand these kinds of things, one needs more than seeing these things on their own.
These things can only be understood if one sees a second form that matches, the earthly human body on the bike, the earthly fish in the earthly water et cetera.

Now he understands our bike. Earthly human on bike. Now she understands our bike.

So in these examples, understanding simply is seeing relations, seeing forms that fit to each other.
And according to me understanding never is more than seeing relations, simply seeing that forms match.

Monkeys undoubtedly also see shoes and they see their feet. However, they do not see the relation between the form of a foot and the form of a shoe. They can discover that relation by accident or we can teach them the trick, but that is something different than understanding.

We anyhow see more relations than apes do. We for instance see a tree rolling down a hill or we see that same trunk floating on water and a monkey sees the same. But we see more, we look further. We see a wheel in the rolling tree and a boat in the floating trunk.
Apes do not see a wheel in a rolling tree, otherwise they already had invented the wheel long time ago or would invent tools today and escape from the zoo. Monkeys can use tools, can even dis-cover them when they already exist, but can not invent them, I think.
We anyhow see more than apes do, much more .

II.2. Understanding as simply seeing relations

Understanding then is a rather simple act that does not demand any education. Seeing the wheel in a rolling tree is not difficult, since that rolling trunk also is a wheel, like the floating tree is a boat and the flying bird is an airplane.
Why is it that apes do not see that? While every human with a healthy mind can see these relations, without the need of knowledge in the sense of scholarship.

For suppose, we do not deliver that load of human articles of use on an other planet but drop the things on parachutes in the area of an earthly human tribe that never saw (modern) techniques before. Of course these human beings will be surprised at first, when looking at our jeans and shoes and even more when looking at our bike.
But rapidly someone will see the form of his feet in the boots and will pull them on, like they also will step into the jeans. Even the bike will be understood by them, so without knowing theory; you do not even need language for it. They will understand the idea of the wheel, so see the rolling of it.
And sooner or later (soon I think) someone also will see that he fits on the saddle with his bottom, with his feet on the pedals and with his hands on the handlebar. And within a few days or weeks some of them will merrily cycle around.

Bike-form. Human-form. Fitting forms.

They also will understand, simply by looking, the inner-technique of the bike, the relations between the parts, the axle fitting in the hub, the chain rolling over the cogwheels, the bolts fitting in the nuts et cetera. Also here, understanding simply is seeing that forms fit to each other. And without reading books, some of them will, by doing and looking, become good mechanics after a while.
And when they know the bike, we can send them the motorbike with the necessary tools. And that thing too, they will dismantle and assemble again and therefore understand.

So, understanding actually is a simple act, just seeing that forms fit to each other.

Obviously not every human sees the same relations. Some of us especially are focused on relations in sounds, other people particularly look at relations in material, or in color, or in food, or between people, or between animals et cetera.
And patterns of relations can be complicated. Every part of the pattern (bolt and nut for example) then can be understood easily by everyone, while not everybody can see the pattern as a whole in just one view.
You of course can learn that, improve your capability to see relations. But even then a difference in intelligence will always exist between people, I think, like we differ in the sensitiveness of our ordinary sense-organs.

II.3. Language, mathematics and the like

Things on their own can seldom be understood. When we understand a thing, a flower, a fish, a shoe, a bolt and so on, we always see some other thing in the surroundings that matches the form of the flower, fish et cetera. And if you can not discover such matching form, you will not be able to situate the thing, to understand the thing. For you that thing then is nothing but a nameless and meaningless object, a piece of mass .

Just look around to every thing you understand. You then see a thing with a form and also some other thing in the surroundings that matches and that is why you understand. If it concerns human articles of use, that other thing always is your body as well. 'As well' I write, because these tools also point to something else, like the screw-driver fits in our hand and also in the screw. Our tools and also our clothes mediate between our body and our surroundings.

So in these cases, understanding is a concrete activity. You in a way can grasp ideas, the idea of the screw-thread for example by feeling the bolt and the nut with your hands, or the idea of the shoe by stepping in. That feeling, that is the whole idea, that is our comprehension.

The idea of the screw-thread becomes touchable.

Sometimes the forms are less solid, like the form of light that opens the flower, or the form of water and air fitting fishes and birds. But also then we see fitting of forms and that is why and how we understand.

Flower searching the form of light.

But how about more abstract knowledge, abstract ideas? Understanding language for instance or mathematics?
Do we only see matching forms then as well? Yes, I think.
It anyhow is true that every human being, even a child, can see a chair or bike in a picture of a chair or bike. The child then recognizes the form of the real bike in the form of the drawing or photo. We also could construct a language this way, so by drawing the things. Also then our understanding, so understanding language, simply is seeing forms that match.

And since we have that capability, we can make the drawing more abstract. Every human will recognize his own house in his own street on an aerial photograph. And since we can do that, we can also make the photo more abstract by changing it into a map of the city. On the photo we see the real world, on the map we see the photo.
Understanding then happens in a kind of indirect way, in two steps or maybe even more steps, but nevertheless remains simply seeing that forms match.

In the same way we can make our written language more abstract, by not drawing the concrete things, but instead of that picturing the sounds we use to describe things. There are thousands of different things. However, there only exists a small number of sounds we use to express these things, a e i o and u as vowels for example.
By limiting ourselves to these vowels and consonants, we can limit the extent of our written language very much. The sharp S sound, we can picture as S and the round open O sound as O et cetera. And once having made these agreements and having learned them, we no longer have to draw a house, chair or bike in our language, but can confine ourselves to rows of simple signs like 'house', 'chair' and 'bike'. Or we do it in a digital way with only the signs 0 and 1.
But the root of understanding language then still is, seeing that forms fit to each other.

Understanding the inner-structure of language too is seeing forms that fit to each other, forms of letters in this case, the consonants that enclose the vowels in a word, the nouns that are related by verbs, sentences that form a paragraph et cetera. When we see an unknown language, we also see the letterforms, but we do not see the relations between the forms.

So understanding language too is a simple act, simply seeing forms that match. These forms then can be related in a complicated way. This intricacy of language, or of a building-scheme, a city-map, a machine et cetera, does not therefore make it difficult. However complicated the clew may be, in many or even all cases it remains a thing built of simple parts with simple relations in between.
Straighten out the clew then takes time, but 'taking time' is something different than 'being difficult'. And even if we do not succeed in unraveling the clew, it does not mean that we are dealing with something very difficult. Even a desperately knotted clew of wool, remains a simple thread with many simple knots in it .

That also is the way we understand mathematics, we simply see relations between forms then. When we see 3 trees or 3 people or 3 elephants, we see they have something in common, namely being a trio pictured as III. And since we see a trio in III, we also can make the sign more abstract as 3 or in a digital way. In the same way we can invent simple signs for adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing et cetera.
But the root of understanding mathematics always remains, simply seeing relations between forms in real reality, wherein a 3 meter long trunk happens to be always 3 times longer than a tree with a length of 1 meter and wherein you always are left with 3 pieces of 1 meter if you divide the tree in 3 equal pieces.
And in practice we also see and measure that every circular thing has a circumference that is (pi) times longer than the diameter. Like we also measure that all triangles with a right angle resemble each other in the relations between the 3 sides, and that is how we discovered the propositions of Pythagoras.
All mathematical relations have been dis-covered this way, so in nature, like all physical and technical relations.

So mathematics is not a human invention or creation but is existing in nature in the relations between forms. We only have to measure these relations and map them.

Actually, the human creativity is not a creativity but a capability to copy relations that exist between forms in nature. Everything is in nature, music, poetry, art, mathematics, physics et cetera.
And of course we can relate the parts then in new ways, just like nature is doing. We see the creativity in nature and copy it, use nature's creativity in our own recreations.

We for example see that the proton-electron couple bears the possibility of many different atoms and molecules. After having seen that, so this electromagnetic relating, we started our chemical experiments. And all we discover then, in future as well, was already there in the first proton-electron couple, as a possibility.
We are not creators, but only arrangers, even when we compose a new melody. All possible music is already existing. We only have to dis-cover, to un-veil, to de-velop as well.

We anyhow have not made electricity, magnetism, fire, warmth, freezing, evaporation, light, wind, weight, sound, color, floating, rolling, pressure, resistance and the like, and these are the real building-blocks of all our techniques.

Thus, even understanding the most difficult thing is a simple act, seeing forms that match. And a scientist who wants to unravel the deepest secrets of life and reality, actually tries to see relations between the many different facts and forms he sees.
Every new discovered relation results in more unity in our mind. And in the end we want to discover, and also to understand of course, the building-block that creates everything. This ultimate building-block is the relation itself, I think .

And even in our most abstract ideas, we still are connected with the real world and its touchable relations. We can invent 10-dimensional mathematics. But also then our understanding is based on the fact that we bodily experience dimensions. We bodily experience size, measure, borders, in and out, up and down, big and small, far and nearby and the like. Since we really feel 3 dimensions, we also can imagine 2 or 4 or 10 dimensions.

II.4. The relativity of truth

Understanding not only is a simple act, even if the clew we want to unravel is long-winded. It also is a fact that the truths we often so firmly believe in, only are relative truths in many cases or even subjective. The trousers or shoes are not absolutely or objectively trousers or shoes but only for beings with legs and feet like we have. And a flower or bird too only is relatively a flower or bird, only in circumstances like on earth.

A bike for us. Not a bike for him.

Much knowledge therefore is not objective but, if it concerns human articles of use, subjective, and relative in nearly all other cases. A nut only is a nut because we also know bolts, an electron is negative because there also exist positive protons, a man is a man because there also is the woman et cetera.
Without the existence of these antipodes, the things themselves do not have any function or meaning. A nut then no longer is a nut but just a thing, or a ring at the most.
Without relations there only would be meaningless mass, even measureless mass. The meaning or significance of things therefore always is relative, lain in a relation with an other thing .

Which judgments can be called objective truths then or absolute, so true in all circumstances and seen from every possible point of view?
Actually, that only applies to the mathematical measures of things, so the figures and numbers we use to express the form of a bolt or shoe or bird or flower. Only mathematics can be called objective science, the mathematical aspects of other sciences too of course, the figures we use to express the measures of forms and events.

But when you call such a form a shoe, a bike, a flower, an electron, a charge, a color, a house, a family, a language, a sound, a drink, a meal et cetera, then you no longer give an objective judgment but only a subjective or relative one.

That even is true for colors. The wavelength of red light is objective, the redness however is subjective, like music. Why is it that the one length is red for us, while a shorter length is blue? The short blue wave can even become red if we move away fast .
Color does not exist objectively but in a way is made by us, when we see, provided that we are not color-blind. Color is lain in the relation between our mind and the light-waves. Color is like music. For us an objective length also is a subjective distance .

So only mathematics can be called objective science, while all other knowledge is relative, or even subjective if it concerns our human articles of use. And even our mathematics can be called relative, when we assume the possibility of other realities with more or less than the 3 space-dimensions we experience. Our mathematics could be relative. The basis of all these different mathematics then still is a kind of objective knowledge, I think. Can 3×1 ever be 4? No, I think.

It anyhow is true that except for mathematics, and maybe some logic, there is no objective knowledge. All other judgments are relative truths. That even applies to electric charge and mass and the like. Would our light have a different speed, then charge would be different as well .

Such relative judgments nevertheless are true in many cases. For every human being on earth, every shoe is a shoe, even for people without feet, and given the existence of bolts and protons, every nut is a nut and every electron an electron.
We then express a truth, though a relative or subjective truth.
I will return to this subject in chapter 8 about the place of value-judgments in science.

II.5. Plato and his eternal ideas, rationalism and empiricism

Ideas about knowledge and truth form a very essential part of Western philosophy and that also is understandable since we are human because of that extra mental capability we have, our mind, our spirit, our ratio.
How do we understand? What is happening when we are understanding? What do we mean with comprehension and knowing and having ideas?

That also was the question Plato asked himself about 400 years before Christ. Plato lived in Athena, Greece, in about the same time Aristotle lived there. Actually, with them the history of Western philosophy starts.
Plato wrote about many subjects, state-affairs for example. But in this context his thoughts about ideas especially are interesting.
Plato's theory about the origin of ideas and general knowledge, so science as well, can be illustrated by the next simple example. Suppose you see ten different flowers in bloom or ten different fishes in an aquarium or ten differently shaped chairs?
You see differences then but also unity. That is also why we use sort-names like chair, flower, fish and the like. All chairs are related in one way or an other, that is what we see.

How do we see this correspondence in different shapes and forms, the Chair in every chair, the Flower in every flower, the Circle in all circular things? Seeing unity in the world, that is also what we call understanding. It also is the fundament of all our science.

What is the essence of a seat?

How do we see this unity, the Chair in every chair? That is the question Plato asked himself.
According to me, we see unity because of our ability to see relations between forms. In every thing that clearly is made as a seat, we recognize our own body in sitting shape, like we see our foot in every shoe et cetera. And every flower opens for light, every fish fits in water, every plant roots in soil and every bird floats on air.

We then see that all these different forms fit to only one other form, all human articles of use to the same human body, all different flowers to the same light, all different plants to the same soil, all different fishes to the same water et cetera.
So understanding the essence of things simply is seeing forms that fit to other forms, even when the forms are vague like water, light and air.

But how did Plato see that? Obviously he did not see his own body in every chair, like he did not see the sun in every flower. And if you do not see these relations between forms, how then to explain our act of understanding?
Plato came with next explanation. Next to the world of touchable and differently shaped things, there also exists a world of unchangeable ideas elevated above the world of concrete things.
So there are two worlds for him, matter and ideas, body and mind, object and subject. And a human is a special being for Plato since he not only lives in the concrete world with his body, but also in that elevated world of ideas with his mind. And in that world of ideas he then sees eternal ideas, like the idea of the Chair, Flower, Circle et cetera.

According to Plato a newborn human already has all these ideas of essences in his mind, as memories from the eternity. And when the child then later sees a chair or flower, he remembers these eternal ideas again. In ten different chairs or flowers he then recognizes the eternal idea of the Chair or Flower, according to Plato.

But how about these egg-shaped human beings on that other planet then, who do not fit in our chairs, trousers and shoes?

No seat for him. A seat for us. No seat for her.

What then is the real eternal idea of the Chair or Shoe? And if our flowers can not grow and bloom there, what then is the real eternal idea of the Flower?

Plato made our mind to something super-natural, a receiver tuned in to higher and heavenly spheres. Plato saw a difference between body and mind, even a sharp gap.
And since then this dualism has plaid the leading part in Western philosophy and is still playing that role.
We can see many different schools in the philosophy of the West, and whether they see ideas or spirit as the root of everything, or on the contrary see matter as the real fundament, they all have this object-subject dualism in common. If a philosophy is not characterized by this dualism, we not even call it Western philosophy.

In such a dualistic view, mind not only is separated from body, but human also from nature. And that this way of looking at things also has great practical consequences, we all daily see in our environment. We are always struggling with nature, as if nature is our enemy.

Dog. Isolation. Bird.

In the relational view however, our understanding, so seeing a fitting seat in every chair or a satellite dish in every flower, is something very natural that does not involve any super-natural activity. And then there is no gap between body and mind or nature and human. Ideas then play in nature.

We do not need these eternal ideas either. It suffices that we look good. Then we see, everywhere in reality, forms that fit to other forms. We see relations.
When we see that forms fit, we speak of understanding, the nut fitting to the bolt, like the man to the woman and the electron around the proton.
Understanding then is being able to situate things. Ideas then play in concrete reality, like the idea of the screw-thread that even can be touched when you feel both bolt and nut.

But what then is the origin of the idea of the screw-thread or the real origin of the electricity between proton and electron? Why is it that patterns of relations are possible and harmony in these patterns? Is not that real origin some pre-natural thing, existing even before the Big Bang?
Whatever the answer to this question may be, we anyhow do not need inborn ideas of the shoe, the bird, the bolt, the nut, pi, 3, ½, red, warm et cetera. All these ideas are lain in nature in the relations between forms and we only have to look, and map if we wish.

Aristotle did not like these supernatural eternal ideas of Plato either. For him understanding the essence of things was lain in the natural forms of things.
However, he saw these forms as forms existing on their own, while a form on his own can seldom be understood. A shoe, seat, flower or fish for example, will on a planet where the circumstances are different than on earth, and where the people have an other form as well, not easily be understood and will not be a shoe, seat, flower or fish there.

It is not turning on the forms alone but on the fitting of forms to each other. It is turning on the relations, the immaterial relations in nature. These relations in nature, I also call the spirit of nature, and I come back to this subject later, in part III about reality. Spirit and ideas are not playing above nature but right in the middle of nature.

Later in history of Western philosophy, the theory of Plato about ideas is toned down considerably. According to philosophers who are called rationalists we are not born with Plato's thousands of concrete ideas in our mind but only with a few general ideas we use to order and arrange our multitude of impressions.
We then must think of a kind of mathematical or logical inborn knowledge, knowledge of dimensions in space and time and the like. A little bit of logic is inborn according to the rationalists and with this knowledge we arrange our impressions and that is why we see unity and understand the world.

But that is not necessary either. We do not need inborn knowledge of for example the propositions of Pythagoras since these propositions simply exist in nature, in all triangles with a right angle. It suffices that we look good, and then we see mathematics and laws playing in nature, in the relations between forms and the harmony in these relations.
Nature knows mathematical and logical structures, visible under a microscope but also in our daily environment. And again, whether the possibility of these structures is pre-natural or not, it anyhow is a fact that we do not need any inborn idea of these structures. We only have to look and to dis-cover and map these structures.

So we do not need any inborn idea. It suffices that we look good and then see relations.
That is also what empiricists thought thus that no single idea is inborn and that all knowledge comes through the senses. For empiricists, our mind is completely empty when we are born, so without inborn knowledge.
But the empiricists too apparently did not see their own body in every chair and shoe and the sun in every flower. The empiricists too did not see the relations in nature as the source of knowledge, and that is why they could not situate general knowledge.
They could not accept supernatural ideas, but did not see the ideas in nature either. They could not situate ideas. That is why they sometimes even denied the existence of laws in nature and other general knowledge; David Hume was such a skeptic.
They did not see our mind as an extra sense-organ.

II.6. Our mind as extra sense-organ

We often see a sharp gap between on the one side our thoughts and on the other side our feelings. That distinction between thinking and feeling runs parallel with the distinction between mind and senses. Our mind is rational, analytical and cool, our feelings are bodily, sensual and warm. Our mind is like a map, our senses feel the real area. Our feelings are nature, our mind has a kind of supernatural character.

But why is it that these egg-shaped human beings on that other planet do not understand our trousers, chairs, shoes, bikes and flowers? And why is it that the members of that simple earthly human tribe nearly immediately understand the shoe, the pair of trousers and even the bike?

It is a rather bodily happening actually, this act of understanding, a sensual act too, a seeing, an in-sight. Our mind as inner-eye then sees relations between forms, fitting of forms.
You do not really need to pull on the shoe in order to understand the shoe. From a distance too, you already can see that fitting of forms. But even this seeing from a distance is based on a bodily experience. You know your foot, the form of your foot, and that is why you can understand the shoe. And you know your foot bodily.

So understanding in itself already is a kind of feeling, a sensing, a bodily act, an act of the senses. Also when you understand the flower, so see the relation with the light, this understanding is based on a bodily experience of what light and warmth is. We can imagine reacting like a flower.

Flower searching the light.

Even if it concerns mathematics, it has a meaning for us because we have a body in three dimensions, with a height, a width, a depth, a weight and the like. Without this bodily experience, we would not understand much of mathematical relations.

So our mind actually is a sense-organ, an extra sense-organ with which we see. With our ordinary sense-organs we see, hear, smell, taste and feel forms. With our mind as extra sense-organ, as meta sense-organ, we additionally see what plays between these forms, the relations in nature, the fitting of forms to each other.
Our mind is a kind of inner-eye. Also when we taste food or hear sounds, our inner-eye sees relations between the forms of the ingredients or sound-waves.
Our mind can be understood as a sense-organ. Our mind can be understood in a touchable way, like ideas can be understood in a touchable way.

Actually, we do not have a mind in the sense of spirit, but only see the spirit of nature, the relations in nature. More about this spirit of nature in part III.

So in fact there is not such sharp distinction between mind and senses, thinking and feeling. The only difference is lain in the fact that our inner-eye can see more deeply and at the same time more embracing. Our ordinary sense-organs in a way are focused on a certain thing (the bolt for example or the nut) while our inner eye has a more open and wider view.
This inner-eye nevertheless can be understood in exactly the same way we understand our ordinary sense-organs, so in a natural and even touchable way. It then always is a seeing, an in-sight, also if it concerns relations in food or in sounds. We in a way see the music, see the quality. And these relations then always can be compared with the relation between bolt and nut. If food is good and music is nice, then it fits.

Maybe it particularly is time we see with our mind. Our ordinary senses feel space and points of time. Our mind sees what plays between the points, the relations, the time.

II.7. About beauty and quality

For Plato not just ideas like the idea of the Flower or the Chair are inborn but also ideas like the essence of Beauty, Health, Justice and other qualities.
However, beauty, health and all other qualities too exist in the relations in nature. We see fitting of forms and we additionally see harmony in these relations.
A shoe for instance can just fit to a foot, and then a distinction between a left and a right shoe not even is necessary. But next to just fitting, a shoe also can fit perfectly, even as an extra skin. And if that is the case, we call it a comfortable shoe and even a nice shoe. We then also are readily willing to call the shoes beautiful; we anyhow will become attached to the shoes.

We see fitting of forms to each other and then we speak of understanding. We also see harmony in that fitting of forms, perfection in the fitting, or a lack of harmony, and then we speak of feeling, good or bad.
But that feeling too is based on understanding, like understanding, of for example the shoe, already is a feeling . Also when a cook has combined forms of food, so that we call it nice food, we like it because we see that the ingredients perfectly fit to each other and to our taste-buds of course. And if you are thirsty, nothing more perfectly fits your dry tongue than a simple glass of water. Water then is the most delicious and also the best.
Understanding and feeling go together then, nice often is wise.

Understanding and feeling in my opinion are both part of one and the same sliding scale with on the one side the seeing of simply fitting of forms (a human body fitting on a bike for example) and on the other side seeing of perfect harmony in that fitting of forms (a healthy human on a beautiful bike for instance).
And between that sober understanding on the one side and seeing of beauty on the other side, we see comfort, safety, health, soundness and all other qualities.

So all ideas, from scientific to poetic, are lain in nature, in the relations in nature. And in our culture too of course. But our culture too is nature, everything is nature, a relating between electrons and protons in the end. The harmony in our human art is based in the end on the harmony we already find in atoms and their structures.

But where do we draw the line then between science and art? Understanding in itself already is a feeling. You understand the shoe, because it fits your foot. You understand the flower, because it fits the sun. And fitting well then is part of the thing. The better the shoe or flower fits, the more truly it is a shoe or a flower. The quality of the thing is the thing.

What then is science and what just a question of taste? Which ideas can be called scientifically true?
The mathematical descriptions of the things are true of course, even objectively true.
All other judgments however are subjective or at least relative. A shoe is a shoe only for a human body, and a flower only is a flower in circumstances like on earth.
But a bike then is a bike for every human being, and the same is true for a shoe, a flower et cetera. We all must agree then, and that is why it is true. We can not deny these truths, like one can not deny that the nut fits the bolt.

So when we all (must) agree, we can speak of truth, inter-subjective truth.
If it concerns the sober fitting of a human body on a bike, we all will agree. So "That is a bike." then is a truth, though a human truth. If a bike is strong and safe, we also will agree. So "That is a good bike." or "That is a healthy person." also is a truth, even scientifically true if tested.
The beauty of a bike however is much more personal.
The more we agree, the more truth there is. And again, except for mathematics, all judgments are relative truths.

II.8. Values and science

I conclude this part II of the relational view with a few remarks of practical value.
It is a fact that science plays a very important role today in our world-wide society. And then I am not only thinking of science practised on universities but also and even particularly of scientists working in the industrial circles.
Science has much more defined the way the world looks today than politics did. Henri Ford for instance performed an act, when producing his first T-Ford on the assembly-line, that would have much more influence on world-history than all decisions taken by all politicians together.

Red cabriolet.The car also is politics.Yellow car.

Also the character of the second world-war was defined by developments in science. Without modern techniques, world-war two would have been a rather innocent struggle between soldiers on battlefields.
And in the last twenty years, nothing has had more influence than the invention of the computer or in general the semi-conductor technology. Before the computer we only had machines to help us with our hand- and foot-work. Now we also have machines for our mind-work. Now we have machines for all our kinds of work and other activities.

Politicians could not and can not do much more in these cases, than follow the accomplished facts. At the most they can try to lead the developments in better channels and even then they do not have much influence. Today they can make a law in order to prevent undesirable developments, about the protection of our privacy on digital net-works for example. But tomorrow there can be a tool in the shops making all these measures old-fashioned again.

So the scientists actually were and are the real men in power or their employers like Bill Gates with his Microsoft.
Are these scientists aware of their power? They can not deny the facts I describe here, I think, and Bill Gates can also see it on his bank-accounts, with which he possibly can place his own president in the White House.

Nevertheless scientists in general think that they may and even must take up a value-free position, and that thoughts about the quality of products must be left to politics or philosophy. But like I already wrote, the politicians then have to deal with accomplished facts which can not be changed much.
In other words, thoughts about the quality of our technological developments just do not come fully into discussion nowadays.

That is why I think that all possible values, all possible consequences of new products, must be thoroughly reflected already during the process of development of the product. 'Must' I write because afterwards it is useless, it is too late. But there also is a scientific reason; see later.
Already during the process of development of the car for instance we could have paid much more attention to the public transport function of the car. Then we could have had a system of public transport now, not only by train but also by car and bus, that would suit everyone. In every village a square with mini busses that all depart within 15 minutes to all possible destinations in the neighborhood, with bigger squares with bigger coaches in the bigger cities that also depart within a quarter of an hour to all further destinations. On roads with always plenty of room, because roads we have more than enough.
Now it is too late. And have we learned something? No, we still let everything happen.

But what I really want to say is this, and this also is the scientific reason why values always must play the leading part in science. Scientists never act value-free. Only when one talks about the mathematical measures of a form, one is making objective and therefore value-free judgments. But when you call such a form a flower, a shoe, a stove, a bike, a car, a pair of glasses, a door, a house, a drink, a meal et cetera, then you make a subjective or at least relative value-judgment.
Always when scientists invent a new product, it is a product that fits the human. They know they can not bring shoes on the market that do not fit the feet of human bodies, no screens that people can not look at, no jars of jam that people do not like.

Values always play a role, even play the leading part. And given that fact it seems a scientific duty to me, to judge all possible values completely already during the process of development of the product. The fitting of a thing, also is the thing. So the better the fitting, the more truly the thing is.
Not only the fitting of a form to an individual human needs to be judged then but also the fitting of a product as a totality, the car in general for instance or the computer in general, to the totality of mankind and to nature as well. And I repeat, afterwards value-judgments also are quite useless since the facts are accomplished.

And it also can be done. I mean, not every value-judgment is just a personal preference. We all can agree on qualities like comfort, safety, health, soundness, durability, accessibility and the like, not only if it concerns a bike or a house, but also if it concerns a system of transport or even a society as a whole.
Only the beauty of things is really personal. And even then, qualities like comfort, safety, health, soundness, durability, accessibility and the like often bear a kind of inter-subjective beauty.

And to those scientists who still want to limit themselves to really value-free judgments, I say that they must be honest then. Only mathematics is objective, only the figures we use to express things and events are value-free and objective.
A really value-free scientist is not allowed to call a certain form a fish, flower, bike, human, school, book, cake, language et cetera.
Except for mathematics, value-free science does not exist. Value-free sciences other than mathematics are completely empty.
Science always is busy with value-judgments. These value-judgments can nevertheless be truths, like the shoe that perfectly fits, is a truthful shoe.

And if the harmony is disturbed, then the thing is not truthful. In this sense we can say that our Western society is not a truthful society. Destroying our environment is equally untruthful as making shoes that do not fit feet.

Do we have to wait then until the industrial circles and the scientists who work there really start to do that, so start thinking about all values that may play a possible role in future? No, of course, for these circles of industries also are we, the consumers.
As consumers we can make much more demands on the producers, instead of letting everything happen. Why for instance, and it is just an example, there exist more than hundred different ink-cartridges for printers? That is troubling every user, by limiting freedom.
We can ask the producers of printers, and all other producers, that in future they use the same inner-technique in all their products. And they will do that, for the customer really is king. Things would become much easier then, cheaper as well.
We can make the same demands on the producers of cars. We like differences in the shape of our cars and nothing is wrong with that. But if all middle-class cars would have exactly the same engine, gearbox, electronics, brakes and the like, then most of us would not mind at all, would not even notice the difference. We then could go for repairs and maintenance to every garage all over the world and for a much cheaper price too.
That kind of demands we can make as consumers and we will find a willing ear then, for the producer also is the consumer.

Standard car.Standard car.Standard car.Standard car.Standard car.

Of course, such kind of measures, so standardization of the inner-technique of all our products, will involve a shrink of our economic activities, even a big shrink. It would save us work, material, fuel, waste-products, transport, roads, shops, garages, factories, offices, even schools and hospitals.
Actually, at the moment we are wasting a lot of time in the West, maybe even half of the hours we work. We are wasting time in producing waste-products and superfluities.

Standard inner-techniques would safe us very much. Without making our world less beautiful, because I am not talking of the outside form or the color of things, but only of the inside which most of us never will know. Standardization would be very rational.
And since producers then have to cooperate, to produce common building-schemes, all knowledge will come together then, resulting in the best products we can think of, the cheapest as well. Cooperation then is better than competition.

And it easily can be done. We only have to want it and to express our wishes. And political arguments against standardization (loss of employment for example) actually are untruthful.
The remaining work then of course must be divided honestly among people.

Jan Helderman
end 1999 - beginning 2000

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