X = X

It’s obvious.

But obviously not:

X = Y.

So when can we say:

“a difference

makes no difference”?

Can our equations

express a new fact

by elimination

– by reducing the facts

“two into one”

– to restate the reality

and refute the obvious

(that “Y is not X”)

– as when we say:

“mind = brain”?

Mike Laidler


Just because

Just because we’re alive, it doesn’t entitle us to know what life’s all about.

Just because we are made entirely of stardust, it doesn’t prove that there’s nothing more to us.  

Just because we have explanations for the way thing are, it doesn’t mean that we have explained them. 

Just because we can talk about reality, it doesn’t mean we can talk ourselves into it. 

Just because we can see that effects depend on causes, it doesn’t mean that either the cause or the effect explains the difference.

Just because we can equate one thing to another, it doesn’t make them the same.  

Just because we use logic to understand nature, it doesn’t mean that nature is logical.

Just because the stars in the sky are ‘there’ doesn’t mean they are really there.

Just because we know reality as we know it, it doesn’t mean that we really know it.

Just because life is ‘uploaded’ from what ‘is’ already (qua physical necessity), it doesn’t mean that it is not also ‘downloaded’ from what ‘isn’t’ – ‘impossibilities’ becoming possible (qua unrealised potentials).

Just because we haven’t solved the meaning of life, it doesn’t mean that life is necessarily meaningless: it could be that there is more to life and meaning than our narrow version of it – that even the ‘meaningless expanse’ of the universe is a line-of-sight effect – a figment of a narrowed view of what is there to be seen of what can be.

Just because we know what we mean, it doesn’t mean that we know how to say it.

Mike Laidler



What can we say

about what we say?

Do the limits of our language

delimit our world,

or meanings

our understandings?

Must a certain meaning

preclude its opposite

of necessity

– to avoid contradiction

and place logic in charge

of truth?


Mike Laidler




Universals and particulars

What is existence?

Can we capture it in a word?

An ever-flowing presence

replete in its transformations,

particular to everything?


But where is this everything?

Is it more than our universe

– too big to be seen at once

spanning all pasts and futures,

the seeming we cannot see without?


Mike Laidler

Explanations: ‘joined-up facts’ and ‘the God of the gaps’

In the nature of things, if everything is constituted of something else, then is nothing fundamentally itself – but if everything is essentially itself, then what is explanation?

It is now ‘evident’ that the laws of physics had a beginning, as with the fact of life, although we don’t know how since both beginnings remain unexplained; but it is also evident that there are unknown beginnings ‘hidden’ within the regressions of our causal definitions – because causes introduce something else to be explained: namely the source of their originality.

Does consciousness defy explanation because we know of no cause that is similarly aware?  (Tweet pub. March 23, 2019)

In theory, explanation links the ‘facts of life’ to their evolution, but there is a missing link:  the origin of that evolution is linked to a fact of life it doesn’t explain – the origin of life.

If the ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’ then science and religion may be seen to hold a belief in common – in the unverified presence of the ‘knowable fact’.

Without a superstructure of belief, can the fact that ‘speaks for itself’ be validated by the supposition to have found it?

If, the emergence of an ‘objective universe’ introduced a real difference into existence – a new reality defined by the laws of physics – then the emergence of a ‘subjective universe’ may have yet to make its mark – to be defined by a parallel nature yet to be fully realised.

Can a cause explain an effect without the uncanny intervention of a thing called ‘explanation’?

Of all the strange things in the universe, the presence of a questioner is stranger by far than any ‘answer’ to be singled-out from an original cause in the ‘hard’ (insensible) facts.

The day organisms began to think was an equally transformative event for nature and the universe at large – even when confined to those organisms thinking about themselves.

Aside from all the bogey-man stories, there is real evidence for a supernatural level of activity that emerges by way of the capacity for some things in nature to be self-aware.

Time passes: there was a time when ‘the truth’ was the exclusive province of religion and its revelations; now science offers-up a truth we cannot see beyond.

Is science struggling explain the basic fact of life because there is a world of difference between the physical world gaining and giving life – because there are no tiny seeds of life and consciousness to be found in the laws of physics?

Does the causality in existence prove that existence is caused – if not, then is the discovery of a ‘God particle’ any less of an abstraction than that of the ‘God notion’?

Beyond the ivory towers of AI, is it not evident that intelligence becomes of consciousness and not the converse?

Just because virtual reality has become a real experience for us, does it mean that the virtual consciousness and intelligence of AI is a real experience for the machine?

We live in at least two worlds, one of them being ‘a world of our own’, namely the world of thought; however, if that isn’t so, then the reality is even stranger than we picture it – because it is one in which nature is also thinking for us.

Mike Laidler



Candles in the dark

Certainty is a candle that shines in a darkness of its making.

Normality is an artificial measure of reality calibrated by the fact of what we find ourselves doing.

Ignorance is the fact of what we don’t know created of what we choose to know.

Answers are the prescription narcotics of a thorough education.

AI was invented long before the computer – through our ambitions to define intelligence as IQ.

We are apt to forget that a simulation, which is just like the real thing, is still a simulation.

Just as logic offers no antidote to madness, so science contains no cure for bad philosophy.

If the quantum world is real, it does and doesn’t follow that the real world is quantum.

‘All pathways lead to physics’ so long as we keep on walking backwards – down the chain of being.

We look upon a universe that is more than us only to see everywhere the evidence for what is obviously missing.

There is a world of difference between an objective fact and our knowledge of it.

We see as we believe, believing we see as we see.

Equality is the image of a sameness made from the perception of a difference.

Politics is a balance of powers which pivots upon how much unfairness can be tolerated in the name of necessity.

Contradiction is a fact of life we are happy to accept so long as we can avoid being caught in the act.

Mike Laidler

Certainty and doubt

A point of view affords but one certainty, that there will be others who beg to differ.

It is a fact that money really doesn’t make money even though lots of people can testify to the converse.

‘Certainties’ are intellectual over-compensations for a world we do not understand.

Doubt is the only certainty, the only anchor-point for reflection.

Doubt is a signal to ourselves that we are thinking for ourselves.

Certainty in the absence of doubt is like a cause in the absence of an effect (incomplete).

Every legitimated certainty entails the suppression of a legitimate doubt – evident only when we bother to think about it for ourselves.

Faith has no integrity without a doubt to be vanquished.

It’s not the philosophical musing over certainty and doubt that wastes our time and efforts, but our failure to do so.

Of ‘known unknowns and unknown unknowns’ we can be more certain of the latter.

We make of experience statements of fact which we make do with until we know better.

The fact of what someone has said about a fact is our least certain measure of it.

Assurances of certainty are dubious – firstly by the fact that they need to be given and then by the fact that they are taken as sureties.

Certainty is our attempt to reduce the unimaginable to the imaginable.

Morality is a conviction made of a wish.

In practice, certainty and doubt have more to do with the meaning of a fact than the fact of it.

History is shrouded in uncertainties, even as we witness it unfolding before our eyes.

Logic is a pact with certainty that we impose on the world.

Contradiction is the only certainty to be made of language.

We receive no certainties from experience that we do not first offer-up to it.

Certainty involves the suspension of doubt – and despite appearances, no one can truly furnish you with a certainty any more than they can do your doubting for you.

Without doubt it is easy to think that there is no more to us than the fact of the brain thinking for us.

We identify with images of ourselves by looking upon ourselves in order to discover who we are.

The world of perception is bounded by what perception brings to it and reshaped by what we think about perception.

‘I think therefore I am’.  I doubt therefore I think.

Mike Laidler


Proof is the presumption of presumption transcended.

What is proof in a universe that needs nothing of it?

There is no proof of anything without a mind to be convinced.

Objectivity doesn’t come into being until subjectivity comes into being.

Proof proposes to seal the fact of what must be the case on the presumption of what must stand as the evidence.

Every proof is construed of a selection of facts, perceived as if the facts had driven our selections.

There is no proof of an objective reality that does not rely upon a subjective realisation.

We are certain that we are conscious and yet we cannot discern its nature in any preconscious state of nature. Nor can we prove that such preconscious states relate to the fact of consciousness without relying implicitly on the very fact we are trying to establish explicitly in terms of those other facts.
(The consciousness uncertainty principle)

Proof idealises our ideas of reality, as if to elevate them above ourselves.

We offer proofs to the facts in the belief that the facts have offered us the proofs.

Proof reflects what we want to know in the belief that it shows us what we need to know.

No amount of proof proves that only the provable facts are worth knowing.

Our proof of causal relations relies on the assumption that causal relations provide the proofs.

Human agency introduces causal contingencies that no other facts can explain for us.

There is no proof that one fact belongs to another but for the fact that we believe it is so.

A proof gives the impression of having resolved implicitly the most irksome of all questions: What is a fact?

Proof represents the belief that we have dispensed with belief.

Every proof is an index of what is assumed in the understanding and what cannot be understood because of those assumptions.

Science validates its proofs by failed attempts at disproof.

No amount of proof can equate the fact of change to the fact of what was.

What can amount to the proof of subjective existence that is not satisfied by the subject being satisfied.

Every answer is a psychological construct of the psychology built into the question.

Everything we understand about the world is laced with anthropomorphisms because our understandings are anthropic.

Thinking is a fact of existence that cannot be made more real by recognising it as a fact of something else, as if the something else is the source of the thought, proving that our thoughts are not what they seem.

Mike Laidler