Hatch's Certainty Principle


What I Know and Don't Know...

The universe, they said, depended for its operation on the balance of four forces which they identified as charm, persuasion, uncertainty and bloody-mindedness.

- Terry Pratchett

All the limitative Theorems of metamathematics and the theory of computation suggest that once the ability to represent your own structure has reached a certain critical point,
that is the kiss of death: it guarantees that you can never represent yourself totally.
Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, Church's Undecidability Theorem, Turing's Halting Problem, Turski's Truth Theorem -
all have the flavour of some ancient fairy tale which warns you that "To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which will always be incomplete,
cannot be charted on a map, will never halt, cannot be described."

- Douglas R Hofstadter

I don’t want to describe whole systems so much as I want to describe boundaries - that which separates "me" from "them".  Self-organisation (into companies and schemes) occurs within boundaries (a circle of cronies, say).  Because I’m not a member of a crony circle, its boundary would allow me to know (and describe) at most half the information that goes on inside it.

If I’m not mistaken, a guy named Heisenberg once said something very similar.  His Principle limits the information we can have about any system to always exactly half of a complete description (roughly, either we can know what a system is, or we can know what it does - subject or verb).  And only sometimes can we consciously choose which half.

If it's possible, we should choose carefully the half of "available information" we do get to know.  We make our choices by observing the context in which information exists, and by inspecting the available information's relationships with the rest of our universe.  (Do we invest?  Immigrate?  Marry?  Have kids?  et cetera versus Did I deceive?  Am I real?  Is that correct?  Are we mutually benefitting?)

In the case of our forestry trust, I did not attend the meetings where decisions were made, nor, generally, did I have access to meeting minutes.  (I did not know what was happening - the reasons why the participating parties told each other and themselves they were doing the things they did.)

Instead, my information was generally gathered through inspection of official documents periodically issued - picking out what was.

The world is a network of relationships.  That once thought absolute is soon recognised as subject to change and renegotiation, endless reconstruction of the new out of the old, endless waves and repercussions intersecting.

The complete truth is not graspable as a single point of view, but only resides in the totality of several distinct views over time.  (I take this to mean that the involved parties probably aren't as bad as I think, but are several times worse than they think.)

Relationships develop only in succession, in progression.  They aren't so much things as processes.

I’m learning that what is essential in life isn’t (just) money: we need pattern, structure, security and information.

In the world of finance, there is little "free" in freedom — gain for one person is generally the loss for another.

We are continually confronted with each other as the creators of our shared world.  All we may expect of human law is what we take as our responsibility.  I can’t reasonably ask more responsibility of someone else (not even my children) than I expect of myself.  (Nor should I ask less?)

See also:

bulletChairman of the Barred - on the practice by certain peripheral immigration consultants of ripping off would-be migrants
bullet Fraud Occurs When... - for some ideas on how...
bulletGovernment Gives Con Men a Key to the City - for an indication of the prevalence of fraud.

What Are the Seven Arts?

Source: Tull Kupferberg as appeared in Funny Times August 1998

For news articles on the Flat Rock Forests Trust, forestry, the Serious Fraud Office, one immigrant family's experiences, immigration specialists, fraud, juries, logging, and more, check out the News Table of Contents.  Or you may wish to visit the Forestry Trust Table of Contents to read how a unit trust went bust.  Or the Topics Table of Contents which offers a different approach to lots of topics - among them poisonous insects, eating dogs, what's addictive, training vs teaching, tornados, unusual flying machines, humour, wearable computers, IQ tests, health, Y chromosomes, share options, New Jersey's positive side, oddities, ageing, burial alternatives, capital punishment, affairs, poverty, McCarthyism, the most beautiful city in the world, neverending work and more...

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