Ideas have Consequences, Especially this One
"In some instances it refers to a process that occurs prior to evolution and gives rise to the cosmos, in others an aspect of evolution, and still others a process that follows the completion of evolution in the human form."
In skimming the wiki article, I don't see anything that exactly coincides with my view -- perhaps because I've never actually explicitly thought it through, or at least written it out in plain english. (I have, however, described it in unglish in the Cosmonaught section of the book.)
Rather, for me it is a strong intuition; not only does it make sense, but perhaps more importantly, without it, nothing makes sense. It is a unifying concept. A heuristic. In this regard, it is somewhat analogous to God. Remove God and not only is there no meaning, but there is no possibility of meaning. Nothing makes sense because only Nothing Is.
This line of thought was inspired by something Mitchell says about artificial intelligence. She points out that there are several things human intelligence readily accomplishes, but which artificial intelligence can't. Each of these goes to the very nature of humanness, and has no scientific explanation.
For example, computers cannot make analogies, which "is the ability to perceive abstract similarity between two things in the face of superficial differences." But "this ability pervades every aspect of what we call intelligence."
It is also the basis of much humor. Siri can retrieve jokes. But could she invent a new one? I hear my son watching the Simpsons in the background. Homer gazes upon the Grand Canyon, and says something like, "And people say we're running out of space for our trash." The joke is based on the unexpected analogy between the Grand Canyon and a landfill.
Nor do computers have "sensitivity to context." It minds me of a Get Smart episode, when the Chief tells Hymie the robot to knock it off. In another episode Max tells him to "hit the light," and he proceeds to smash a lightbulb.
Another thing computers cannot do is describe a picture. This is because they cannot see holistically, only atomistically. For a computer, the sum cannot be greater than its parts.
But perhaps the most important deficit is the inability to perceive universals. This is truly one of the things that defines human intelligence. For Aquinas, it is the first act of the mind, the thing we must do before we can properly can think at all. A five year-old can do this with ease -- for example, see that the dog is a dog, i.e., part of a larger category of universal dogginess.
Now, the modern view appears to be that there is no such thing as universals. This is the consequential idea Richard Weaver writes about in his Ideas have Consequences. Yes, ideas have consequences, but perhaps the most consequential idea of all is that they do -- i.e., that ideas are ontologically real.
You might say that ideas have consequences, especially this one! Can a computer understand this? No, because a computer is confined to its own program, and can never take a perspective from outside or beyond itself. A computer is always in the loop. But humans routinely escape from the loop, a la Gödel. How?
Above I said that my intuition tells me that involution is a key concept for understanding reality. And now my intuition is telling me that there is a strong relationship between involution and universals. What could it be?
I guess we'll have to find out tomorrow, because I'm really out of time.