the significance of paradox

by Bruce Thomas


The ultimate paradox- Søren Kierkegaard

‘But one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think.’ [^6] - Søren Kierkegaard

To the observation of Kierkegaard I would like to propose this paradoxical reply:

If and only if nothing is the absolute absence of everything, then nothing is unknowable. To discover what nothing is, one would first need to know what everything is, in order to determine its absolute absence. If everything is abstractly infinite, and we are cognitively limited, physically speaking, then it is impossible to comprehend everything, and therefore nothing is unknowable. Thought itself has discovered what it cannot think; one can not think ‘nothing’.

The significance of paradox

In this essay, we will seek to examine the paradox itself, its literal constitution, function and philosophic limitations, especially concerning our current times, some of its unexpected by-products and intuitions. In addition to this we will examine the modern symptoms and philosophy in the shadow of technology.

What is a paradox? It is a contradiction to an opinion presented in a rhetorical manner, which is designed to make a point rather than elicit an answer. As a figure of speech, it is often absurd in its phrasing and constructed to provoke a discussion and draw attention to both the subject and the author thereby inferring intellectual superiority in one sense or another.

Dominoes is a helpful metaphor in accurately describing the function of the paradox. Each player contributes a slate, in a linear manner that extends the former. These contributions lengthen the extent of the column. The paradox is the capital [^10] slate placed in perpendicular to the former piece. The contradicting piece does not obstruct linear progression; instead, it merely offers an opportunity to branch the direction of the game. Contradiction allows players to contribute to a new diverging trajectory. It should be noted that the origin of the game, the very first piece that must be placed, is divergent. Is this not itself a paradox? It suggests that paradox precedes philosophy, where philosophy is convergence and paradox is divergence. Dionysus before Apollo. Eve before Adam. A dilemma worth pursuing.

The paradox is domain agnostic, and apart from areas of analytical logic, it appears in other expressive forms of creative prose and narrative, which fall outside of the scope of this essay. Nevertheless, they are; in its simplistic form an 'oxymoron', which is a juxtaposition of two contradictory ideas, for example, absurd simplicity, or terribly happy. In longer form, it is represented by the 'parody', which leverages the absurd nature in the form of ridicule or humorous exaggeration, for example, Austin Powers is a parody of James Bond. The common denominator is the provocative contradictory disposition. In summary, all forms harbour a covert objective to pivot an argument.

The rhetorical composition of the paradox represents the goal of philosophy itself, which is to converge on truth. It also stands as a contemporary representation of the style of thinking, for the era in which it was authored. By examining a record of paradoxes over time, one can see the nature of enquiry of the thinker for that time. The paradoxes that survive over time become associated with a more profound unanswered question.

However, one must stop for a moment and ask which paradoxes did not survive the march of time? Moreover, who were the individuals that wrote themselves into the journals of philosophy? Furthermore, why do these survivors reflect such a small representation of the classes of humanity? Where did all the other wisdom go? It is difficult to believe that there is no paradoxical value resident in a wives tale, or an Apache fable, for example. Yet, those accounts of social thinking are named folklore.

What makes Bertrand Russell [^2] more important than Anishinabe? Do we even recognise that last name? The English writer, Terry Pratchett, may very well have known; his Great A'Tuin [^3] shares with the indigenous people, Anishinabe, the idea that the universe, the Earth, or the continent of North America are all sometimes understood as being the back of a great turtle. 1 Preposterous as that may be, there is also to be found in the folklore of the Anishinabe a paradox which echoes an intuition found in the literal function of paradox, which we will investigate shortly.

This humorous, perhaps incorrect correlation between the turtle of Pratchett and the Anishinabe belief is a device to assert a caution. We must suspect all dogmatic institutions as a self-serving society that is exclusive to a common bias and inherently tainted by the romance of its own historical contribution and self-perpetuation. Any dogma that crowns intelligence as a deity, oblivious to the evidence that intelligence is ironically mankind's greatest stupidity, is arrogantly dangerous. To be clear, the authors' exclusive insight is not the subject of this suspicion, rather the social entity that worships the authors' contribution. Was it not the Philistines that condemned Christ? Was it not the Sophists that assassinated Socrates? Great thinkers contribute great contradictions, but it is the dogmatic non-thinkers, the worshippers of ideals, that contribute great violence in their ideological defence.

When we look at a thematically grouped list of paradoxes that have been curated and selected because they qualify to fit into the mainstream perception of a paradox [^4] it is evident that the majority reflect thinking in scientific domains. Can the reader name or quote a paradox that is not scientific by origin, for example, a paradox regarding childcare, or creative writing? Not to say they do not exist, they certainly do, but they do not seem to qualify to be included with their scientific siblings. An anomaly that perhaps suggests that the definition of 'philosophy' appears to still carry the residue from its original definition of 'natural philosophy', which encompasses astronomy, medicine, and physics, to which Isaac Newton in 1687 contributed his 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy'[^5]. Why are these disciplines heralded more important than the others?

The early period of philosophy was confined mostly to universities occupied by physics professors, and without a doubt, the formal study of philosophies was limited to and controlled by men. These men were fundamentally engaged in the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with few exceptions. Domains that employ convergence of thought by applying the Apollonian method to the madness of emerging knowledge. This suggests that thought identifies a problem and arrives at its solution.

Independent of philosophy's tether to science, let us look to history and examine the intuitions on offer. A historical journal of recorded paradoxes is a diary of thoughts regarding the philosophical challenges of that time. We should, however, approach all bookmarked observations in the context of their time, because written records are fragile subjects to the unfortunate mutation of language. Words have a habit of misrepresenting themselves as their colloquial etymology evolves, with the obvious exclusion of mathematical paradoxes and proofs. It is in the untrustworthy register of words that the paradox resides.

An interesting example of this deviation is 'The gay science' by Friedrich Nietzsche. The original translation of the title, lends from the paradox in the form of oxymoron, which ironically survives as such, despite the etymological shift. There is nothing gay about this work, in either sense of the word. Language is the ineffective expression of thought, where a thought is devoid of dimensional restrictions in its inception, pursuit and conclusion. It occurs in the mind, an instrument of abstraction. The expression of thought is, however, fraught with restrictions. Alas, it is our only option to depart an idea, if we do not represent it with words there is no proof that the thought ever existed, and language is the only way to capture and share an insight. Nevertheless, language is amorphous and infected with drama, controversy and misinterpretation.

The paradox is guilty in many ways of leveraging this weakness. Politics, propaganda, religion, coercion are examples of the covert employment of paradoxical argument. On the other hand, mathematics does not suffer in the same way. Numbers do not alter their meaning; they are trustworthy and better suited to the expression of logic because they share the same characteristics as thought itself. Numbers are abstract, unlike words, they retain their essential value, they are consistent, trustworthy and devoid of controversy. It is no surprise that subjects of 'natural philosophy' all stem from mathematics in one form or another. It is no surprise that scientific paradox is of greater value than the other expressions that mutate over time and are embedded with emotional connotation. It is unlikely to resolve an emotional argument with logic. Emotions are divergent. Logic is convergent. Both occur in the brain, yet they reside in different regions of the brain, and it seems that the emotional centre gets precedence.

Literal intuitions

At this juncture let us examine the paradox literally. Instead of presenting paradoxical statements and interpreting words, we will begin by analysing its structure. What can we derive from its form?

As a figure of speech, the paradox has a predictable constitution. Firstly it is formulaic, secondly, in accordance with its etymology, it is contradictory and lastly; it is a statement with a unanimous outcome, that is proposed to be true. The truthful presumption, or in other words its rhetorical answer, is almost always omitted from the written phrase, the reader carries the responsibility of knowing this.

This structure, along with historical examples, gives us a ledger of argumentative truths and therefore presents a perspective on what truth is. By examining historical uses, one can find examples of an earlier belief that is later proven wrong - the perpendicular domino.

The Russel-Zermelo paradox [^7], is one such example. The paradox challenged the accepted truths of naive set theory. He published his paradox, and several years later naive set theory was modified to accommodate the paradoxical symptoms. Proving a truthful belief could be false in certain instances.

So we can rightfully observe that the truth is: a subscription to an opinion that perpetuates its own validity. Alternatively, in the words of the aforementioned Anishinabe people; 'What the people believe is true'. For example: 'The sun rises in the east', the more this happens, the more the statement is agreed to be true. 'The earth is flat, and it is the centre of the universe', all true until they are not. Truth in this sense is a stagnation of intelligence. The role of the paradox is to undermine the truth in all foreseeable futures. The importance is not related to the recorded phrase itself. Instead, it is a deeper constitutional promise to perpetuate falsity. To contradict. The problem of contradiction is that it does not require proof or logic or intelligence to stand in opposition. One may simply disagree with a statement and create a contradiction. However proving it logically, to confirm the falsehood, is more intellectually important than the evidence of a former truth. Perpetuating improvement is the vehicle that elevates intelligence above all other pursuits.

The first and foremost significance of the paradox is that it demonstrates the insatiable nature of intelligence, where the consistency of a truth denotes stagnation. As long as an argument remains truthful, there will be no oscillation and no evolution. The moment that a former truth is disqualified, it is replaced with a newer truth. Therefore intelligence is recursively employed in its own destruction and subsequent reconstruction. So, what is the purpose of intelligence? To discover falsehood and elect the next truth. What is the product of discovery? Perpetual divergence. What is the eventuality of perpetual divergence? Absolute entropy.

Intelligence is fundamentally the potential of an agent to transform a constraint. It is not dependent on the agent's domain of existence. A tree has intelligence, and an ant has intelligence, a flock has intelligence etc. Intelligence is devoid of moral and social codes of behaviour. Social behaviour occurs after intelligence has been instantiated. An embryo will consume the resources of its host irrespective of the host's well-being.

Existential harmony is the state that occurs when agents reach the limit of their intelligence, the ceiling of the potential to improve its own intelligence within the scope of its capacity. Equilibrium is, therefore, the contradiction of intelligence, not the goal of intelligence. If we stop for a moment and consider any complex system in a state of sustained harmony, we will notice that those systems share the characteristic of intellectual stagnancy. Stagnant systems are predictable, which makes them vulnerable to agents that have higher intellectual entropy; these agents will learn how to leverage the predictability and dominate the lesser system. Homo sapiens are a formidable example of this learned dominance.

The viral characteristic

Let us return to the paradox once more. What other attributes can be derived from its function? Casscadence. To investigate this particular property, we will look at an ancient Greek paradox. 'How can nothing be something?' [^8] The dilemma of the Greeks was inherited by the Romans, with apparently no objection. However the Sikhs in Ancient India, whos name for 'nothing' was 'śūnya', gave it a symbolic representation, as opposed to an absence. This is evident in the earliest description of the binary numeral system, authored by Acharya Pingala [^9].

Zero was used to represent nothing, which is arguably the most pervasive concept of abstract thinking, which cascaded through antiquity affecting every domain of 'natural philosophy'. Without embarking on the history of mathematics with its time frames, parallel developments and influences let us summarise. The concept and representation of zero in conjunction, with the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, caused the demise of the unary notation (i.e. the tally of marks //// or IV in Roman numerals), counting systems where unhitched from the binding of a physical domain to reside in the limitless domain of abstract thought. In physical reality, there is no such entity as a three, or a zero or a -5, infinity can not be portrayed in reality. In maths, it can. Zero is the most crucial non-number in all-numeric systems.

This evangelic discourse was contrived to demonstrate two essential intuitions. One; the viral impact, albeit of a valuable outcome, stands independent of the paradoxical proposition. The invention of zero does not disqualify the paradox; 'How can nothing be something?'. The invention created something to represent nothing, nevertheless zero is something, and therefore the paradoxical self-reflection is intact, the apparent answer remains; 'No. Something can not be nothing. '' And two: the paradox does not participate in physical reality, there is no evidence that a paradox has solved anything. It is merely a persistent axis of deflection.

The formulaic structure

By examining the written phrase, especially in the case of analytical philosophy, the formulaic structure is more obviously apparent, which allows us to examine it with analytical methods. The written phrase is composed of logical parts; let's examine the anatomy of the paradox. The significance derived from this exercise can be applied in general, and complementary to the laws of paradox outlined by Patrick Hughes [^11]

The polynomials of the constitution:

Using two examples as a demonstration:

Paradoxical phrase Imperative Condition Declarative Immutable
I know that I know nothing (1) I Know, (2) I know that nothing True
Nothing is unknowable (1) unknowable is nothing True

The table above illustrates how easy it is, as a human, to distinguish parts of speech and assign them as polynomials.

As Natural Language Processing (NLP), a subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI), becomes more prevalent in contemporary use, it is difficult to imagine that a machine, driven purely by calculation and correlation will accurately process this kind of language puzzle, without human assistance. It is one thing to understand the semantics and syntax of a sentence, but a different thing to understand the implied intuition of a paradox, and indeed another thing entirely to formulate a congruent paradox.

This presumes that a paradox has any emphatic value at all. If it only offers a conjuncture of academic argument then the AI 'calculator' will not benefit from spending resources on deriving meanings and interpretations from a phrase that has circular references. It would be better tasked to calculate than attempt to interpret. Ironically we should remember the computer itself is indebted to the solution of a paradox.

We could rewrite the previous paradox 'Nothing is unknowable' in a manner that is more obviously intuitive, by substituting the imperative and declarative variables in the statement, to create a new phrase and this is where the emotive influence of language plays its part. Let us rewrite the paradox and see if by simple substitution we can derive the same logical proof.

'Infinity is zero'

This is the same statement; however, the nouns have been placed in reverse order, for poetic effect. When we compare the elements; 'unknowable' is represented by the word 'Infinity', and 'nothing' by the word 'zero'.

Now we have the opportunity of mathematical representation, condition and proof. Given the numeric range of all integers, both positive and negative, presuming infinity is in-fact symmetrical, that is, equally large as it is small, we can represent infinity as 'N'. And we can represent zero as '0'

The problem to be solved now looks like this:

N = 0

N can be substituted as the sum of: (x+1) positive infinity, and -(x+1) negative infinity, where x is any number, and it is larger than itself by 1.

Therefore: -(x+1)+(x+1) = 0

Substituting 'x' for an arbitrary integer value, we can test if the equation is legal.

This proposition also provides a perfectly plausible intuition as to why: division by zero is illegal. If, as proven, 0 is infinite, the subdivision of a real number by infinity will never resolve to a real number; hence, it is an illegal operation and supports that zero is infinite.

Notice that the mathematical formulation (i.e. N = 0) is much easier to understand. Why? The short answer is the use of implicit versus declarative values. Language is vague, and it implies meaning where maths is specific; it declares the meaning. Mathematics is governed by strict laws, which are, for the most part, constant. So by using words, we create a much higher, more intense cognitive load on the reader, where interpretation contains a significant margin of error. It taxes the reader with historical context and the entire etymology of the language, and any errors that may occur as a result of translation. It is much easier not to trouble the brain with critical thought.

What is critical thought? As you read this essay, you are using your prefrontal cortex. The part of the brain responsible for executive function. That being the ability to differentiate between conflicting thoughts, identify between good and bad, better and best, the planning of outcome and consequences, and - very importantly - the moderating of emotional response. Interestingly, this part of the brain is also the newest part of the brain; the region that is last to complete its biological development as the human is maturing. Young humans demonstrate unbridled emotions. As they age, theses impulses diminish because the amygdala, the flight or fight part of the brain is receiving more governance from the prefrontal function. The current consensus is that the brain reaches maturity between mid 20s and 30s. It turns out that age is related to wisdom. Another curiosity is that when you dream the prefrontal cortex is switched off, and sleep, researchers attribute the lack of logic to the absurdity of dreams.

The cobra in the cortex

Were you to discover an Egyptian cobra curled up in your top drawer, your limbic system would switch off the prefrontal cortex, and turn the volume on the amygdala to full, and wake the ancient reptile brain, and flood you with fear. You would leap away from the snake, and cordially inform others in your vicinity of the danger by screaming. You would not for one moment postulate upon the genealogical ancestry of the reptile brain that you have evolved to inherited from the serpent before you, your great grandparent. Your primordial objective is to suffer as little as possible, and ideally not to die. Critical thinking requires a safe calm environment where emotional interference is at its lowest.

You can probably see where this argument is heading. If I told you that I recently spoke to the creator of the universe, and He/She told me to tell you that if you do the will of God, you would not really die, in fact you would live forever. You would enter another world, join your dead grandparents and live happily ever after for all eternity. Would you interrupt me and criticise me in the attempt to manipulative you with paradox? I hope so. What if I told you instead, that I have a machine that stores time for any given day and then releases it later which allows me to relax more? Perhaps you would laugh at me, and take out your cell phone and tweet my hysteria to the internet. Yet that is exactly the paradoxical promise of the smartphone? A time saving tool that allows you to do more so you can relax more.

What about a beautiful young teenage girl, with a pot of cream who insists it will make you five years younger. Do you stop and ask what would happen if you applied that same cream to a five year old infant? No, of course not. You and I will simply file the advert in our brain, under A for absurd, and continue as normal. Adverts don't really affect us do they?

Please consider these referential definitions:

What is life? This is an astonishingly simple answer; life is the byproduct of radioactive mud, peculated in brine, derived from a ball of cosmic lava which is in the slow process of exhausting its own energy. The composition of the mud is predominantly carbon mixed with a fusion of hydrogen and oxygen (water), and other trace minerals and salts. Random combinations of carbon, with the other minerals in contact with it, created a composition of compounds that is capable of self mutation. This is what we are, a carbon based life-form. All carbon based lifeforms provide themselves as nutrients to sustain the existence of other carbon-based lifeforms by way of decay. Decay is the complete divergence from the initial expression of form.

All such lifeforms share the same two vital requirements. To exist they must be surrounded by other carbon-based lifeforms, which directly or indirectly provide them with nutrients, and they must engage a period of dormancy in which they restore their vitality to surround them-self with carbon-based lifeforms. This period of rest makes them vulnerable to be consumed as a source of nutrients. All life forms must eat and sleep. This is the lowest common denominator.

Money is, therefore, the abstraction of these two life sustaining necessities. Money is primarily the ability to get food, and shelter to protect us as we sleep. The accumulation of money is the assurance that food and shelter will be available today, and tomorrow, and when you can no longer get money. This makes labour the conversion of time into a commodity that can perpetuate a lifeforms future existence. So far, so good. The problem arises when these necessities become unavailable, and this interferes with the ability to sustain random combination, the ability to mutate and improve the probability to mutate, to self perpetuate the species - the essential random origin of life itself, the origin of the species and the core of existential angst.

Advertising capitalises on this existential angst. The objective of an advert is to provide you with a truth regarding a constraint and supply you with the means to transform that constraint, which is the knowledge of where to acquire a specific product. A product is the combination of various disciplines of labour, in which we are engaged, which is the expression of the need to survive. But it is the underlying angst that causes a closed feedback loop, because the advert itself is a product of labour that is specifically designed to generate angst, insisting that the buyer is faulty, in some absurd emotional way, and the product will correct that fault in some absurd emotional way. But if the fault is cured, completely corrected, there will be no requirement for the product, the labour, the advert, and so on, and so on.

The advert is the quintessential nature of paradox, embedded with a covert intention and an infinite self reflection to manufacture more and more products that create more and more emotional insecurity that results in more and more consumption. Profits increase as a result, and businesses invest in more advertising. The problem is every product subtracts something from the earth we live in, because everything originates from the combination of carbon based life, including electricity. Humans are the life form that demonstrate the highest intellectual pursuit, the most extreme case of accelerated intellectual deviation with the lowest inclination to harmony. It is the human that is not sustainable - not the use of the raw materials of their existence. The human is the infinite polynomial (from the exercise earlier), the imperative value and our resources (the planet) is the finite declarative value. Destruction, pollution and waste are directly proportionate to population.

If we could in a millisecond, quarter the total number of humans currently inhabiting the globe, the levels of pollution would reduce immediately to reflect that. And soon afterward so too would production, and it’s related pollution. Companies only make what they can sell. More than that is a waste of money. No market, no product. The consumer drives the market. Demand creates supply. However this dramatically reduced population would gradually return to the same state it is in now, simply because that is the nature of intelligence. We can not cure the human of being a human. A dog can not be anything but a dog.

A paradox is not a conflict within reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like. - Richard Feynman [^12]

Currently, there is significant concern regarding the use of AI to generate targets, falsify news and manipulate emotional participation. In fact, the concern is so great that many countries have agreed to make it constitutionally illegal. The use of which has been proven to cause significant upheaval in global politics, and corrupt the democratic process of the election of state representatives. But it is deeply concerning and ironic that nobody has made ads illegal. Is advertising not itself fake news? Was it not the use of adverts that swayed opinion? It is difficult to attack the medium of advertising simply because it is massive. Adverts are the mouthpiece of industry itself, the largest force of financial potential. The outlet of advertising is the very media that propagates the potential to undermine.

This does, however, give us the philosophic opportunity to evaluate the shortcomings of democracy, and perhaps offer a solution. The first observation is that the only requirement to win an election is the tally of ballads. It is not the measure of accumulated intelligence that ultimately decides what is best for a population; it is the number of people that can be mobilised to support a doctrine. Intelligence is, in fact, the attribute you want the least of in a population, because intelligent individuals are more resistant to fearful rhetoric. Fear is the best emotion to retard critical thinking. Whoever generates the most fear in a population will win an election.

The paradoxical flaw in democracy

Majority rule is used pervasively in most western democracies, and works well when there is a substantial majority, however, the closer the result is to an equal split the more unstable the population is rendered. If there is exactly a 50/50 split, there is no way to elect leadership by democratic means. A ship without a captain has no course. That is the major flaw with democracy. The closer it comes to equality, the more chaotic the result. This holds true independent of the number of participating doctrines. For example, if there are four competing political parties, and the results of an election are equally divided at 25% split, you have exactly the same dilemma. A coalition is a sensible antidote, but that does not fix the paradoxical flaw.

The last topic of concern is the theatrical nature of a general election. The participants share the same deadline, and all engage in a race to viciously demonstrate their overwhelming humanity to the populous. It is a drama. Suddenly the media is washed with politicians visiting hospitals and kissing poverty-stricken children, making promises and donations to the betterment of humankind until the election race is over. Is this not false news? Is this not constitutionally illegal? Or is this advertising? Either way, emotional leverage is the objective of all competitors.

The solution to these flaws is ironically the same system that makes modern-day advertising so effective. Before we examine that system, we need to be aware of the correlation between social structure and information technology. The assertion is that social structure inevitably evolves to reflect technological systems and that we are in the uncomfortable transition from a model of central authority to a model of total decentralisation. My prediction is that our social evolution will come to represent an oligogenic or polyatomic social model. Similar to structures that make a colony or supercolony of ants a functional entity. Where there is no single authority of governance, and the government is a function of constant communication and not of an isolated election.

I do not expect to see this happen in my lifetime, but by looking at the shift of social behaviour away from monolithic expression toward poly-lithic expression, it seems obvious that the process has already begun. The internet is a functional example of a polyatomic supercolony. We are shifting from a converging patriarchal system of governance (a central authority with broadcast communication) to a diverging matriarchal system of governance (decentralised consensus with viral communication).

The great archetypal myths of mankind have shifted from the paradigm of the ultimate iconic individual to a collective meme of an iconic group persona. Individual aspiration of being “the heroic individual” (derived from the virtue of a role model) is being replaced with “the group of heros” (derived from the sum of virtues representing a group). The myth is no longer the narrative of conflict that forms the protagonist into an ideal, which is told by the three part poetic structure of Aristotle (beginning, middle and end). In new myth, of today, the protagonist is the ideal and stands as a seduction (an advertisement for the product of their virtue) and the narrative is one without structure and without end. It resembles the continuum of life, not a story. An episodical.

It is impossible to ignore that educational systems of the industrial age were modelled to create an individual that reflected that the central structure of production. Monetary systems again reflect the same structure, as did the vehicles of distribution for products, a reflection of the economy as a whole. Social reward was proportionate to the individual's capacity to function effectively within this centralised system, and status was relative to the proximity to the apex and reflected the responsibility of dependants, who are obligated to accept instructions from individuals of superior structural status.

Today this is slowly eroding. Social influence is merely a matter of mass communication, where the social scope of influence is based on an individual's desire to subscribe. Distribution of services is more important than the delivery of products. Celebrity is the new social reward, and celebrity is the most sort after characteristic for advertising platforms. New monetary systems now exist that bypass the regulation of central banks entirely. It is now entirely possible to earn a living without having an employer. The individual has direct contact with the economic market. Education is now relative to aptitude and appetite. Anyone can learn anything at any time - if they want to. General knowledge is losing its relevance in the wake of access to instant information.

This is neither good, nor bad; it is merely so.

One solution to mitigate political interference, mentioned earlier, is to restructure the process of an election according to ministry and stagger each period of election across a larger period of time. Decentralising government so that one single party is not representing all ministries of government. This, in effect, means that an unscrupulous organisation would not have a single definitive deadline in which to sway an entire constituency of voters. If each ministry had its process of election then each voter could engage a different political standpoint with respect to the preferred function of that ministry. In this way, a head of state would be awarded rather than elected. An awarded leader would be determined by the overall efficiency of each ministry of which they are the party representative. This particular model is an oversimplification of the technology that prevents fraud from occurring in electronic currencies, such as Bitcoin. This technology is entirely decentralised and almost impossible to attack.

‘The time has come’ the walrus said.

In conclusion, I am forced to make an apology. The opportunity to participate in this forum was discovered three weeks before the deadline, and my available time to write was limited by occupational commitments. My intention as a professional software developer, who has dabbled with AI, was to examine the impact of decentralisation in conjunction with the emerging influence of artificial intelligence as a closing argument. I do not have the time to do that intention justice and leave you with this parting thought.

If our objective as a species is to achieve harmony with ourselves and our environment; then we would have to surrender the pursuit of intelligence, and dismantle the function of advertising. We would need to accept intellectual stagnation voluntarily. Our intelligence is undermined by emotion. The evidence of its destructive outcome is the history of our cognitive evolution. To end that we would need to accept the government of ourselves by an intelligence superior to our own. This emotional flaw is not shared by artificial systems of intelligence; simply because they are not a carbon-based lifeform.

Ironically such intelligence would arguably not require our blessing to achieve that governance. Although it would be capable of ensuring our harmony, we would not be able to regulate the emergence of another more powerful destructive intelligence. In the same way, as our closest biological ancestor was incapable of regulating our intelligence. Somehow I do not believe that we as a species would volunteer this submission, and hand the crown of the apex predator to another entity. However, I also believe that a system devoid of emotional angst would be better positioned to implement just government. It saddens me to behold what we have done with the magnificent tool of intelligence, but it frightens me more is to imagine what we have started to do with it now.

Perhaps we are creating AI for that purpose, or the more plausibly argument is that intelligence is reaching it’s ceiling in the human and preparing the next expression in the march toward total entropy. Perhaps intelligence is considering a non carbon based expression, devoid of non logical influences. Either way intelligence always wins.

What is a gravestone but a love letter to the random contribution to intelligence? What unrecorded war occurred before language existed? What social mayhem happened as one tribe of mammal overtook the other because it was elected with the crown of intelligence superiority? What indiginous tribes did not suffer from intellectual invasion? Who are we to think we can intervene in evolution? Philosophy is the pursuit of thought that distracts us from the nature of intelligence by focusing on its achievements, the symptom not the cause. A paradox indeed.

'That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die.' - H. P. Lovecraft -'The Nameless City' (1921)

[^1] The Anishinaabe Nation - an indigenous peoples in what are now Canada and the United States. [^2] Bertrand Russell - a biography of the great British philosopher, logician, writer and social critic [^3] Great A'Tuin - is a turtle on top of which four elephants support a disc-shaped world [^4] List of paradoxes - Wikipedia list of paradoxes grouped thematically [^5] Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica - university of Cambridge digital library [^6] The absolute paradox - Søren Kierkegaard, from Philosophical Fragments [^7] Russel-Zermelo paradox - the paradox arises within naïve set theory [^8] Wallin, Nils-Bertil (19 November 2002). 'The History of Zero'. YaleGlobal online. The Whitney and Betty Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016. [^9] Singh, Parmanand (1985). 'The So-called Fibonacci Numbers in Ancient and Medieval India' (PDF). Historia Mathematica. Academic Press. 12: 232. [^10] Etymology of capital: n1. (late 13c) head of a column or pillar, n2. (early 15c) official seat of government, n3. (later 15c) a persons wealth, stock, property. [^11] Hughes, Patrick; Brecht, George (1975). Vicious Circles and Infinity - A Panoply of Paradoxes. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. pp. 1–8. ISBN 0-385-09917-7. LCCN 74-17611 [^12] Richard P. Feynman - American theoretical physicist and Nobel prize winner in physics 1965