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Our ignorance vastly exceeds our knowledge. As we learn the horizons of our ignorance expand far more rapidly then those of our understanding. The Human Genome Project, for example, has completed the mapping of a human genome, but the result is primarily an expanded outline of the depths of our ignorance. The genes encode an enormous number of proteins. The next step is to understand what these proteins are and how they interact with each other and the rest of the body. That is a problem that is ultimately unbounded. For we are interested not simply in what existing structures do, but also in how we can alter them and what the consequences will be. That problem is recursively unsolvable. It will continually expand as we more deeply understand it.

Gödel's result applies to mathematics, but almost any ``interesting'' physical system, like the operation of our genes, is powerful enough to embed a Universal Turing Machine and thus subject to the limits of Gödel's proof. Of course we need to be interested in the implications into an indefinite and unbounded future to meet the requirements of unlimited time and storage.

The search for truth in any nontrivial field is a divergent not
a convergent process. We cannot find *the truth*. We can at
best explore all the possibilities and thus insure that no truth is
ignored.

How do we deal with an ever expanding ignorance in a universe in which we must make decisions? Truth is an art. It is an experience that must be lived and not a goal to be conquered. Evolution has been working this problem for billions of years. The solutions it has come up with are encoded in our genes.

Inevitably our instincts move us in ways we do not understand. We are beginning to explore some of the cruder and simpler ways that our instincts operate through evolutionary psychology. Long before this analytical discipline existed Carl Jung used the term archetype to denote aspects of the evolutionary structures of our mind[31]. Jung approached this topic with the most profound respect for the depth and power of these instincts.

Those instincts that we have developed and integrated into our ego can make us very uncomfortable. We cannot explain why we feel a certain way or have a certain attitude. There is a powerful human tendency to create fantasies to explain the incomprehensible. Doing this with our instincts is dangerous. The fantasy can displace the deeper reality the instincts are striving for. Avoiding such fantasies is difficult. We like to have good clear reasons for our decisions. To go with what feels right without understanding why can be alarming. Truth is an art that we are learning slowly and painfully.

PDF version
of this book

**Next:** Boundary conditions for creativity **Up:**
Applying mathematics to consciousness
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