What if: 

What if only half of our fields of vision were available to conscious inspection, but that half was reflected to create the illusion of wholeness. This has been our condition from very, very early in life. We are unaware that something is always missing. By moving about we are capable of experiencing more, but each “more” is an illusion of a whole.

In some cases we discover relationships between different experiences, and can have knowledge OF what is/was missing, but still can’t experience both halves simultaneously.  This often happens without explicit thought and we live in the delusion that the whole we experience is, indeed, comprehensive – nothing significant is missing.

Now imagine that this occurs for every dimension of experience. When we think about a concept something essential about fully comprehending the topic (comprehensively) is always missing; but we are not aware that something is missing.

This is but a metaphor for the conceptual scheme: that what we experience is but a tiny part of a much greater “whole” – a vast “unconscious” that is never experienced “as a whole” in “consciousness”.

I will call this “more” the context for each experience. This context emerges/evolves/grows/changes over a lifetime; and this is different and unique for each person. Persons who share a physical environment or culture most likely have some structures of their contexts similar – which enables communication. Difficulties arise when we attempt to communicate about “abstraction” which cannot be empirically agreed upon.

This morning:

This morning (01/03/2014) I was listening to an intelligent, radio dialog of experts on a topic. As it proceeded I became more and more frustrated and had to turn the radio off. While their dialog was “factual” and rational (to me) I was constantly aware of very, relevant missing domains. Those in dialog behaved as if there was nothing missing, unaware that their understanding of the topic was severely limited and any action taken from their understanding would either fail or have dangerous consequences.

I “went meta” on this and realized that I have this frustration frequently whenever I experience dialog on TV or in social media online.  This frustration exists for me sometimes in F2F dialog with others, and even when I am composing text. I am always aware of other relevant things needing expression linked to what I am writing (or speaking) – which are impossible to perform.

What I am explicit about is always in a larger context that gives it meaning. I am never able to share that context, as in attempting to do so I find myself being explicit about another part, never the whole.  Indeed, that context is partly in the margins of my experientials and I know most is unconscious. This usually causes no difficulty when others share the same basic context for a topic under discussion. Unfortunately, a quite different context has emerged during my life of worldweaving and I realize that most explicit communication from me is being processed in contexts that block the comprehension intended.

I am sure this is experienced, to some extent, by others. What is disturbing is that we are always unaware of some things missing in our own chain of experiences, myself included. We witness this clearly in the expressions by others who are totally unaware of knowledge we possess (often in our expanded contexts). We also find it nearly impossible to share (via dialog) our contexts with such others.

  •         We are only human to deny that our knowledge of “the world” is significantly less, in ways, than anyone else. We can acknowledge specialized knowledge by others which we can’t comprehend – but it is usually never important to us that we gain that knowledge. When young we may be open to accept we lack critical knowledge and are often driven to gain that knowledge.
  •         Today, those with inferior knowledge attempt to discredit the value (and even the truthfulness) of scientific and evidence based knowledge while claiming their dogmatic beliefs to be THE TRUTH.  The phenomenon is not new; but its growth is new and dangerous (especially in the feedback reinforcement chambers of our media silos).
  •         However, those with truly superior knowledge (in limited domains) also assume that knowledge of most other domains is not necessary – that they already “know” the “Big Picture” as well as anyone. Highly educated persons assume a universal “true” context for all properly educated persons, and that their personal context is consistent with this universal context and that their comprehension of the “whole” is adequate (they are not motivated to expand their personal context).

We are aware that our world is much bigger than we can experience at any moment – we never have many experiences simultaneously. We move from experience to experience, weaving our inner world which we believe is congruent with an objective, external world. Something in our nature blocks us from being concerned about what is missing that we are unaware is missing.

For me, a critical missing domain may be a domain that has been of great importance to me in my past, of which I have written about, but have totally avoided its consideration over months of thinking. Fortunately reviewing my writings reminds me of the missing domain and it astounds me that I had so forgotten it.

As we move between domains of large scope and complexity – “missing relevant domains” can result in great difficulty. Our dialog seems to occur in silos (or boxes). We see this clearly in the actions of others whose expressions we know are false and often fabricated. But, we seem unconcerned about the limitations of our own silos.


I hypothesize that a single human mind/brain, that evolved in tribal settings, is unable to adequately process the complexity and scope of 21st Century reality, even with the assistance of intelligent technology. However, competent teams/crews may be fully adequate when supported by appropriate infrastructure. But, that competency will be in the crew and not in each member of the crew.

  •         This is analogous to how hives of social insects have astounding competencies that are not found in the individual insect organisms. The hive is an organism where its components can move about independently. Human institutions can do what no human person can, and no human member of an institution can fully comprehend what other members can do. What humankind lacks are those collaborative-collective competencies required for human systems to be viable at current levels of complexity. Traditional types of human organizations are now inadequate, but we seem locked into making variations of these by transformation instead of exploring what fully new organizations should be able to accomplish.
  •         P2P or Networks are a basic aspect of new organizations, but the organizations have yet to emerge and form a nu ecology of orgs. The expectation that “swarming” (as currently practiced in online media) will be sufficient to seaf the emergence of new orgs may be wrong. I am not calling for a top-down process [from a person or group] to “direct” the swarming. I see missing swarming about higher level holons which will serve as scaffolding for lower holon development – as lower holon development fuels higher level development.  We need neither top-down or bottom-up but both, integrated.

Further, there is a vast and significant diversity in the human population related to different ways a person processes reality.  Our knowledge of the distribution of innate human cognitive propensities and how they develop in different settings  is in its infancy (compared to where it must go).

A forgotten domain: the need for a global human census/distribution on all relevant human variables.  WHO ARE WE? This is an essential enterprise in my whole model, but I have never developed it specifically – and often forget about it.

Contexts may be nested/networked of component and sub-contexts, with parts more active (in brains) at different moments. The most influential context at any moment is never the whole context. The experiential moment has been characterized as a “gestalt”, an explicit figure-of-consciousness against a “ground” (which nests back into the unconscious).

What may be important is the relationship between the figure/ground at the moment (the experience and its immediate context) AND other relevant contexts. Some persons in some situations may find it difficult accessing these relationships; locked into the silo of the immediate context (and its supportive context network). In different terminology the figure/ground of immediate experience is like a system, with its structures/processes/components in the context that supports that reality. What may be missing is when the figure/ground is viewed as but a component of a larger system – the whole context.

The latter may be how I function sometimes.  Instead of exploring details of a figure/ground I am prone to seek out other figure/grounds that comprise a larger context for my figure/ground.  When I respond from this perspective I am usually viewed as “changing the topic”; whereas I am attempting to shed new and different light “on the topic”.

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.