The essential reason why we live in a world at war with itself is that many have become identified with one of a pair of opposites, such as the sex of one’s body, the colour of one’s skin, or a particular religion or nation, denying their opposites. As we saw on the previous page, Aristotle encapsulated this egoic split between opposites in his Law of Contradiction, rejecting Heraclitus’ Hidden Harmony, sending Western thought into the cul-de-sac it finds itself in today.
The central problem here lies with the linearity of deductive logic, built into computers as machines that execute a sequence of instructions, one after another, occasionally taking a jump into another sequence depending on a particular condition being met. When computers became operational in businesses in the 1950s and 60s, the storage devices that held the records of organizations were similarly sequential, mostly in the form of magnetic tape.
This situation led to computers getting quite a bad name. For when customers rang companies enquiring about their orders or bills, they were often told something like, “Sorry, I don’t have that information, it’s on the computer.”
What changed this was the invention of direct access storage devices (DASD), enabling computer programs to go directly to a particular record of interest, thus providing customer service personnel and other staff immediate access to the stored data. IBM invented the first computer disk storage system in 1956, called the RAMAC (random access), displaying it at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, where it was used to answer questions on world history in ten languages.
With the availability of direct access devices, computer scientists began to puzzle about the underlying structure of data. The pioneering figure in database management systems (DBMS) was Charles Bachman, who took a nonhierarchical, network approach in a system called Integrated Data Store (IDS), when working for General Electric. In contrast, IBM took a hierarchical approach with its Information Management System (IMS), developed by or with North American Rockwell.
Not surprisingly, in a world dominated by either-or thinkers, a war broke out between these competing systems, which was not resolved until 1970, when Ted Codd of IBM wrote an eleven-page seminal paper with the prosaic title, ‘A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks’. The relational model had evolved from the mathematical theory of relations and first-order predicate logic, which Charles Sanders Peirce had pioneered a century earlier in his Algebra of Logic, further developing Boole’s initial studies.
Now as Codd noted in the second paragraph of this little-known paper, it described a nondeductive system of thought, the most fundamental change in Western reason since Aristotle. Linear reasoning had given birth to nonaxiomatic, nonlinear reasoning, just focused on the semantic relationships between the various data patterns underlying what has now become the Internet. For instance, this page you are reading now has been explicitly designed with the relational model in mind, with the various elements being retrieved from a MySQL open-source, relational database management system.
It is impossible to describe the exuberance one feels by being liberated from the shackles that either-or thinking imposes on our lives. For when we look at the Universe holographically with Self-reflective Intelligence, enlightened by the Coherent Light of Consciousness, anything is possible. In particular, it is no longer necessary to eliminate paradoxes from our thoughts; we can welcome them unreservedly.
Nevertheless, we need to note that even in this day and age, conflict-ridden, either-or thinking still predominates, especially in the West. For here is a short list of pre-eminent both-and thinkers from the last century in chronological order of their birth, all but one from the East: Mohandas Gandhi, J. Krishnamurti, Ramesh S. Balsekar, David Bohm, Vimala Thakar, and Osho.
Today, one prominent peace worker is James O’Dea, formerly President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, who wrote in an essay titled ‘You Were Born for Such a Time as This’ in 2007, “Can you hold both the meaning of the nightmare and the signs of our collective awakening—because the only way to get a grip on reality is to see that it is indivisible, reflected in both the shadow and the light, the bitter and the sweet.”
Let us then see how Project Heraclitus, integrating Projects Agape, Aditi, and Arjuna, could enable us to intelligently face our destiny as a species, fully awakened to the Hidden Harmony that underlies the Cosmos and hence all our lives.