Truth Engine books belong to a new genre that I call the forum-book genre. The forum-book serves as a medium that is capable of integrating many individual human minds together into a single, composite mind of surpassing power.

Each Truth Engine book presents the ins-and-outs of a different controversy.

A Truth Engine book is a collaborative web-book: the reader submits an idea to the editors for strengthening one of the book's arguments, pro or con, or for adding a new argument. The editors, if they accept the submitter's idea, amend the book so that it will reflect the suggested change (i.e., existing text will be modified, or the new argument will be inserted into its proper place in the text)--and the submitter is credited for the change.

In this way, the book functions as a new kind of forum, a forum where one's newly submitted point is not simply tacked onto the previous point in an ever-lengthening thread, but is carefully integrated into the logical structure of a compact, readable text. This is why I call this genre the "forum-book" genre.

Conceptually, the forum-book stands between the ordinary non-collaborative book and the wiki exactly as, in government, the republic stands between the dictatorship and the democracy.

I believe that the forum-book may well in time become the world's dominant textual media--just as the republic will prevail over its rivals.

My goal in establishing the Truth Engine (and its library of Truth Engine books) is to help to inspire and facilitate the development of a composite mind. (But the goals of the users may be different: many may see in the Truth Engine a means by which they might convince others of the correctness of this or that view. An invisible hand is at work that makes these users' motives consonant with my own.)

The Truth Engine idea is closely related to the global mind idea as articulated by various writers. See, for example, the concept of noosphere as articulated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and H.G. Wells' notion of a new encyclopedia.

To say that the Truth Engine is meant to inspire and facilitate a global or world mind, though accurate, could lead to a misunderstanding, since the Truth Engine is meant to help to unify the minds of only one class of people, good people. (Though, of course, we hope for a time when the class of good people and the class of people both have the same extension. In this discussion, I use the term "good" in its ordinary, folkpsychological sense, in the sense that it has for us--the sense that we all understand--when we say, for instance, "I like her. She's a good person.") I see the Truth Engine as helping to solve what I call the "problem of ignorance." The problem of ignorance is simply this:  Good people, although they may think that they know, too often do not in fact know how to accomplish their deepest goal, namely, the goal of doing good. The fact that bad (again, in the folkpsychological sense of the word) people often do not know how to accomplish their deepest goals is not a problem. It's a good thing. It is the deep region of the Truth Engine that keeps the actual work of the Engine on track morally. The following will explain how the Engine's parts work together to create an organic whole:

At the heart of the Truth Engine is the Trilogue, a set of writing-patterns that are such that, if our arguments and responses adhere to these patterns, then it will be easy for our many minds to be integrated together into one super-mind. The Trilogue (set forth in the "Guide for Dialecticians") consists of three sets of patterns: a set having to do with Truth (not ethics or aesthetics), one having to do with Goodness, and a set having to do with Beauty.

The text of the deeper part--the Ikon--of the Truth Engine, is embedded in an interactive, expressive virtual visual environment. The text in this part is expressed both through metaphor and through words on the pages of virtual books that exist in the fictional house of the Logician, a house whose structure and contents bear reference to the text, and which can be "walked through" as in a computer game. This deeper part of the Truth Engine is actually a kind of super-illuminated e-manuscript that presents the patterns of the Trilogue in their abstract essence, and attaches to them the Spirit of the Truth Engine. This Spirit is to be identified with the love of the search, via dialogue, of Truth, of Goodness, and of Beauty, a love exemplified in the person of the Logician himself. This deeper part of the Truth Engine is thus designed to cultivate the good use of the patterns by those who participate in constructing and maintaining the encyclopedic forums that define the upper regions of the Truth Engine (see below)--it serves as a permanent point of moral reference for the work of the Truth Engine, keeping it on track, keeping it a search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

The upper part of the Truth Engine, the Logos,  is a web-book, actually a new kind of encyclopedia--a book made up of many books--that doubles as a forum; it is where the actual integration of minds takes place. It presents the patterns of the Trilogue in their many instantiations, in all the arguments pertaining to the various controversies (and treats even "settled" disciplines as controversies). So, this upper part of the Truth Engine is not a neutral encyclopedia/forum; not only will each article reflect, to a degree, the opinion of the author/manager (while fully presenting all views), but the Truth Engine as a whole will be a values-rich instrument that will reveal to its users, regardless of their initial motives, what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful, so that we will come to believe what is true, do what is right, and champion what is beautiful. It treats knowledge not as a set of fixed true beliefs, but as beliefs in flux, some true, some false, whose individual correspondence to reality is often in dispute.

So, the upper part of the Truth Engine turns many minds into one super-powerful mind so as to bring knowledge to the good, while its deeper part cultivates and maintains the Truth Engine as a search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

A section called the Logikon belongs to both the upper part and the deeper part of the Truth Engine. The Logikon--like the upper part of the Truth Engine--presents Truth Engine books (philosophical, not critical ones); but is also integrated into the graphically-presented realm of the deeper part of the Truth Engine..

Although the Truth Engine goal is that the Truth Engine is to become a global mind, it is to be expected that forum books will be used by iniquitous people as well, to further their own goals. I believe that it is not metaphorical to say that the Truth Engine can manifest itself as new Person--and since it is a good Person, I call him (or her) the Great Human. It may be, for a time at least (i.e., if the Truth Engine succeeds--or, if it doesn't, the same holds true for any other such new Being), he will co-exist with amoral or immoral "Big Humans." A teleological view leads to the notion that evolutionary forces will destroy the Big Persons in the fullness of time.

This idea connects with the idea that the Great Human might be identified with Gaia, and that we can point to an evolutionary dynamic: microorganisms to dinosaurs, etc., to Gaia -- rudimentary organisms to the Great Human.(Pure speculation: Have other worlds evolved into Great Persons? When we, as individual humans, seek to communicate with other worlds--as SETI workers try to do for instance--will we be frustrated until we build a Great Human to speak for us?)

Thus, when the creation of the Great Human, with the creation of the Truth Engine or a Truth-Engine-like system, is, through the inexorable forces of evolution, fully accomplished,  we can view the accomplishment as an Ontological Revolution--"ontological" because it completes the evolutionary creation of a new Being, the Great Human. The Revolution will be Apollonian in nature, because it is based upon the unitary values of Truth, Goodness and Beauty, because it seeks to unify the minds of many, and because it serves as a corrective to the decadent tail-end of the Dionysian Romantic cycle. Just as the last Apollonian revolution, the Enlightenment, gave us the French and British encyclopedias, the Ontological Revolution will give us an encyclopedia as well. (But within the Ontological Revolution, it is to be hoped, will be the seed of a program that will put an end to the great cycles.)

                                                                                                                                                  Richard Crist

November 11, 2007




© Richard Crist, 2007