So Israel ran into Rome and the rest is history, in retrospect all revelation, God fulfilling his promise to Moses that He'd be seen from behind but, as Newton put it, we're still children on the shore throwing stones in the water, the great ocean of truth undiscovered before us.  Upon what particulars was such foresight based?  God's in the details and we yearn, but knowledge of spirit, of the agency of the thing, seems likely to be a long accumulation.  We have forever so we'd take it if nothing more could be done, but a really good imitation of a matterclad spirit would have what passed, some faculty standing in, for direct apprehension of the spirit, a method, maybe, a trick of the light, a sixth sense be it ever so humble of things as they are.  Intuition's appearance out of the material mix is heartening, but it's not up to the endless ambiguity, nothing like the realtime feline finesse for which the condition calls.  Among the consequences, however, of the definitional shift is a fieldtheory on a pinhead, a matrix which implodes the database (no fooling) and becomes preconscious on recognition, second nature.

Perception, first:  "reality" (said Nabokov, should always be in quotes), if the universe is the outer half of the human condition, lies in the interface.  Einstein likened it to a closed watch, on which we can observe the effects of the mechanism, but cannot hope to see the thing itself, so we invent hypothetical works and create paradigms to account for our observations, to correlate them and point to new sources of information.  The process cannot be adequately described as an accumulation of observation and subsequent fabrication of a conceptual structure.  It is, in fact, the concepts which come first, and account for observation further, enabling it.  Our wealth of empirical concepts, selfevident (now) groupings of things has been gathered painstakingly over the centuries and if we picture ourselves going back through time and watching one concept after another disappear, what happens each time is that the world is suddenly blinded to something we see as obvious.  If at any of these points we stop and go forward, watching closely, we see an individual intuition of an affinity (which, pointed out, anyone can see and soon everyone does) between things not yet grouped thus.  This deblinding illustrates the primacy of concept over (preceding, implying) observation:  you don't know what to look for until you know what to look for, and once you know what to look for, you see it.  In this special case of human development, phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny.

You see what you look for:  the big question is what paradigms do and how, their givenness/idiosyncrasy.  Are they truths discovered or, as Einstein put it, "free creations of the human mind?"  Science has worked out the rule of adequacy, most notably in the relationship between Newton and Einstein, whose systems account for normal conditions equally well from diametric assumptions, but predict opposite behavior in extremity.  If we strapped the two men in twin rockets and accelerated them side by side to lightspeed, as they neared the ultimate velocity the manifold would change into something other than it had appeared to be and Einstein would expect this, but not Newton.  As his assumptions went slowly out of phase with fact, Newton wouldn't notice because the changes he couldn't predict (lengthshrink, massgrow, timeslow) would happen uniformly throughout the ship.  As his theory gave increasingly bad advice, became detrimental to his welfare, it would still seem to work and he'd destroy himself all unwittingly.  Einstein could point this out, but even as it happened a warning would strike Newton as lunacy.  Reality simply does not disavow paradigms.

Under normal conditions, then, contrary presuppositions are equally plausible, predict identical behavior so there's no testing them but in crisis, where most fail miserably but, for those holding them, still ring true.  Reality accommodates an apparently inexhaustible variety of explanations, assumptions about its nature which give meaning to the material and which all seem to work, to give adherents the conviction that they're continually validated.  Even when a paradigm's deficiencies are exposed so badly (Jonestown, the Third Reich; within tighter parameters, Watergate was the same story) that a step beyond its boundary or a moment past its end produces a nearly unshakeable incredulity that a group could thus be taken in, the vast majority never think of jumping ship, emigrating even internally.  All but infinitely acquiescent, the manifold drives a hard bargain in the end and this is the limit on evil God guaranteed Job:  "Thus far."
 
 

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