We experience freedom ("the joy of adventure")
during integration of experience and unstructured reality
The Stages of Water Trail
Stage One: The Experience of Freedom
Purposeful and spontaneous action
Water Trail begins with an arms-length examination of the experience of freedom, like
anticipating a climb by viewing
the mountain from the other side of a
Diverse activities involving freedom are
described in terms of structured experience
and unstructured reality (e.g., card games
governed both by rules and the luck of the draw).
Subjective aspects of freedom frequently experienced
-- e.g., purposefulness, spontaneity
and anxiety --
are used to construct
form, the cluster,
achieving some objectivity thereby.
Stage Two: The Hairy Hypothesis
There's something wild loose in here!
Water Trail descends into the canyon, and faces toward the
marsh of philosophical confusion stands in the way.
The trail skirts
the edge of the marsh and threads cautiously through areas considered treacherous.
a little-used path, guided by the hypothesis that
there is always latent in reality -- and often
active, too --
a source of disruption and confusion
that can only be described
The marsh looks different from this
path, but the marsh is not the goal of this trip.
This happens to be
where the author
found a way to go up.
Stage 3: Generating Structure
Freedom is doing what one pleases
Wild reality suggests
errors are inherent in experience,
by discrepancies between the nature of experience and that of reality.
Water Trail climbs upward, each major leg an exploration
of a kind of error.
Each error points toward psychological processes
that generate it.
The processes are refined
into forms of notation
-- supported by an artificial psychology --
that can be embodied on
The first forms of
notation serve some simple uses. Their limitations
are easily demonstrable, leading to a series
of revisions that develop greater scope and power.
Stage 4: Diversifying Structure
Freedom is discovering the world
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From Base Camp, Water Trail branches into a network of
trails, generally developing in related ways, but with
The approach is that
diversification arises from adaptations of
structural systems to conform to various aspects of reality,
giving rise to
forms of experience -- including space, time, objects, causation, numbers and
investigated by Piaget and his associates in studies of
Actions and relationships between actions, such as causality,
have apparent explanatory power and offer many opportunities
for invention, but, in dealing with them, we do not have
the security enjoyed when dealing with state structures.
Ways and constraints
are introduced and an enlarged structural system
is used to model laws of various kinds and strengths (natural or
scientific law, juridical law, interpersonal/communal practice and custom, moral
Stage 5: Integrating Structure
Freedom is weaving oneself into reality
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Unlike an ordinary mountain, the mountain of freedom grows outward
as the altitude increases. So, a trivially simple system of structure (introduced in Stage 3)
expanded by the end of the fourth stage
into a collection of diverse systems.
These systems sometimes conflict with one another
and often require co-ordination. Under
the hairy hypothesis, the best we can do is to invent partial solutions.
Development has provided tools to
possibilities out of
fragments of images drawn (explicated) from previous experiences.
Using a model based on judicial proceedings, where several
adverse parties may present different versions of reality to a judge who
then issues a decision,
the problem is integration of multiple images into a single image.
Attention is drawn to foci of incongruence where images do not fit together.
Some foci of incongruence resemble issues of controversy in a trial;
more general forms include: contradictions between two images,
terms weakly defined, circularities, novel or unexpected features and pervasive structural mismatch
(e.g. verbal description of a visual image).
Some foci of incongruence can be analyzed and the products of analysis
-- ambiguities -- can be related to exercises of freedom involved in
various human activities. Practical tools will handle
unambiguous aspects of an activity, identify and organize ambiguities, and
guide and assist us in our exercise of freedom.