Form is the Illusion is a book about Relationship Theory, an unusual system of metaphysics developed by the late David Douglas Thompson. Relationship Theory addresses questions of ontology and epistemology in a way that is likely to be of interest to pagans and occultists.
David Douglas Thompson, the creator of Relationship Theory, passed away suddenly in 2006. Most of his ideas about Relationship Theory and information physics are now lost forever, because he died without ever completely explaining them. Until 2014, the only remnant of his theory was a single sheet of notebook paper with the Ten Laws written on it, and variations developed by people he had discussed the theory with. (He always encouraged others to develop their own variations on the concept, while hinting that his original idea was somewhat different.)
Against all expectation, a long-forgotten notebook came to light in 2014, containing extensive if obscure notes on Relationship Theory as its creator David Douglas Thompson conceived it in 1984. This document was titled “Notes on Relationships” and had the subtitle “Omnology,” meaning “a science of everything.”
The original notes were not written in any logical order, and one note often refers back to an idea expressed several pages earlier rather than to the note immediately preceding it. I have rearranged the notes into a rough structure, and added explanatory text and illustrative examples. I have not included notes that involved random speculation on scientific or paranormal topics rather than Relationship Theory as such. The original text is in italics.
Proposition: We (humans) know only the various relationships an object has with ourselves and the rest of the universe as seen from our point of view. We cannot know the thing in and of itself, only observe its interactions with other objects.
The symbol Ƶ shall mean an interaction(s) between two or more objects.
Commentary: Relationship theory is an omnology, a method for understanding anything that exists. In relationship theory, any relationship of any kind is referred to as a “zed” (Ƶ).
A zed object or “object” for short, expressed as A, B, C, etc, is an ontological entity of any kind, capable of being in relationship with other such entities. An information unit. A zed object could be a living thing, inorganic matter, a concept, an energy, a meme or anything else. A zed object can also be a set of other zed objects, just as a human being is made up of many cells. Relationship Theory treats all zed objects the same way and assumes them to operate in the same relationship patterns according to the same underlying principles.
Kant says that the only thing we can know is the phenomenon, the thing as mediated by our senses, brain structure and so on. Relationship theory agrees that we cannot know the noumenon or “thing in itself,” but asserts that we can know the observed relationship or “zed” between two noumena. These relationships follow patterns we can analyze, understand and predict.
“Interactions are the reality, form is the illusion.” To understand an object, you need to understand the underlying relationship patterns, not the superficial external form. Relationship theory is concerned with how relationships change, under what circumstances and in what patterns. A change in relationship is referred to as “delta zed” (ΔƵ) or “dynamic zed.”
Ƶ + Δ Ɛ = Ƶ¹
i.e. if there is any change of energy in a system the relationships will change.
Commentary: This formula can be read as “A relationship plus a change in energy equals a new relationship.” Epsilon (Ɛ) represents energy, specifically “information energy,” which includes all physical forms of energy but also all conceptual analogues of physical energy. For instance, if you give someone a crucial piece of information about some situation, you have introduced new information energy into that situation. If you come into a room full of gloomy people and break the tension with a joke, you have introduced new information energy into that situation. Whenever you do anything that adds new energy to a situation you change all the relevant relationships, whether that means hitting a log with an ax to chop some firewood or constructing an amulet to protect a friend from negative spiritual forces. In the terminology of Relationship Theory, information energy that changes a relationship is known as “delta epsilon” or “change energy.”
Ϲ ≠ Ε, Ϲ Ƶ Ε
Cause does not lead effect, but the conjunction of a cause and an effect imply a relationship.
Commentary: the use of the words “cause and effect” is a bit misleading here, because the statement effectively denies causality as that is generally understood. It might be better phrased as “Cause does not produce effect, but the conjunction of two events implies a relationship.” Unfortunately, the statement is not fully explained or justified in the notes.
Cause and effect imply delta Ƶ which implies that all cause and effect situations require 3 or more participants.
Ε (event) = Δ ε total
Which implies the introduction of a “third party” to the system.
Two objects can form (excepting entropy) a static relationship only. (Ƶ) Delta Ƶ implies a third object or party “in motion” (Δ Ƶ), which of course implies a 4th object to relate to the 3rd to set it in motion and so on and so on ad infinitum.
Commentary: Ε (event) = Δ ε total means “any event is a total energy change.” A changing relationship between two objects implies a third object in motion. Two zed objects in relationship cannot change on their own, they can only change with the introduction of new energy to the set by a third object, which implies an infinite regress. For example, the relationship between the billiard ball and the billiard table cannot change without the introduction of new energy by the pool cue. The relationship between the pool cue and the billiard ball cannot change without the introduction of new energy by the billiard player. This implies that all cause and effect situations require three or more participants.
Potential energy = matter
Kinetic energy = Ƶ
Therefore Δ Κ = Δ Ƶ
Kinetic energy in a static system = entropy?
Commentary: This formula can be read as “Kinetic energy equals relationship, therefore a change in the kinetic energy equals a change in the relationship.” A zed object (such as matter) is equivalent to potential energy; relationship is equivalent to kinetic energy. Because kinetic energy equals relationship, a change in the kinetic energy equals a change in the relationship.
An object, to all our intents and purposes, is totally defined by the “vector” sum of all its relationships. Thus, in any given system if even one Ƶ changes then all the objects are changed, i.e. become new.
Commentary: A vector is any quantity with both direction and magnitude, and a vector sum is what you get when you add up vectors. So how can a non-physical relationship have a vector?
If “information space” is analogous to physical space, then an “object” in information space can have both direction and magnitude. For example, when the Buddha rejected the Brahmanic concept of the atman or eternal Self in favor of anatman or “non-self,” all of the relationships in that information set had to change accordingly, and a new religion was born.
The concepts and beliefs that constitute Buddhism were moving away from Brahmanism (a direction) to a greater or lesser extent depending on the Buddhist sect in question (a magnitude). So if Buddhism, as a metaphysical object, is “defined by the vector sum of all its relationships” what this means is that Buddhism is definable by the sum of its differences with other belief systems, in terms of which ideas move in different directions and to what extent. According to Relationship Theory, all relationships work this way and all zed objects can be defined this way.
A Ƶ can be seen as an exchange of information.
Ex: Energy cannot be released unless there is someplace for it to go. The receiver “learns” that the sender has energy and is changed by it, however minutely. The sender “learns” that the receiver has energy and will spend itself until a balance (static Ƶ) exists.
Every Ƶ is a mutation of all parties concerned.
Commentary: For example, the teacher learns that the student lacks knowledge, or the lover learns that the beloved lacks love. When the student knows what the teacher knows, a state of balance is attained. When the lover and the beloved are in love with each other, a state of balance is attained.
Every zed is a mutation of all parties concerned. The teacher transfers knowledge to the student and both are transformed; the lover kisses the beloved and both are transformed. Relationship is an exchange of information and energy that transforms both parties.
Α (Ø, 1,2, …) Ƶ Β (Ø, 1,2, …)
Α Ƶ Β (Ø, 1,2, …)
A Ƶ Β
Any set of objects will have all possible individual Ƶs with another set of objects as well as set to individual Ƶs and a hierarchical Ƶ to Ƶ set.
Commentary: Any set of zed objects will have three types of relationship with any other set it interacts with:
1- “The set of all objects that make up A exists in relationship with the set of all objects that make up B.” (All possible individual zeds.)
2- “Object A exists in relationship with the set of all objects that make up B.” (Set-to-individual zeds.)
3- “Object A exists in relationship with Object B.” (A hierarchical set-to-set zed.)
The third relationship is “hierarchical” in the sense that one object set gives some form of energy to the other object set.
Since the vector sum of an object’s Ƶs defines it, the sum of sums defines a set (i.e. molecules → matter: cells → human body).
Ƶ1 Ƶ A is possible.
Commentary: “If a particular relationship is made up of the relationship between two objects, then it is possible for that relationship to also be in relationship with a third object.” In effect, this means that a relationship can function as a zed object and form relationships with other zed objects.
An “Experience” perceived, is a dynamic Ƶ (Δ Ƶ).
Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y
An “absolute” reference point cannot be defined therefore all references are relative and all measurements are relative. Sensory perception is a form of measurement. But what are we measuring? What is our reference no matter how arbitrary? Our eyes have millions of rods and cones sensitive to light. What does that mean?
All dynamic Ƶs = Δ X / Δ Y
In other words, “information” about a Ƶ can only be had by noting a change in something per a change in something else. To us, 99% of the time, that second something is either time or space. Our eyes respond to the periodic changes in amplitude defined by a light wave (or quanta). The reference used to compare is the light energy of just a millibleep before. We are co-relating a rate of change to a rate of change to a rate of change. Inertia creates a time lag in the “resonation” so that in effect our eyes have memorized the last level of energy.
Δ Ƶ = Δ X / Δ Y describes a slope, i.e. acceleration.
Since any Ƶ is a mutation of all concerned parties and information is exchanged (a form of Δ X / Δ Y) a truly static Ƶ is impossible because if no information is available an “object” cannot exist.
Commentary: “A relationship change equals a change in something per a change in something else.”
“It’s getting dark” = a change in light relative to the amount of light available a moment ago. Therefore, an “experience” perceived is simply a dynamic zed.
I = Δ Ƶ
Ƶ = Δ (Δ X / Δ Y) / Δ Ƶ
Information = a rate of change of a rate of change of a rate of change.?
Commentary: all information is some form of delta zed. The question marks seem to indicate uncertainty about the specific formulae used to express this concept.
If all info is described as angular velocity then all “objects” may be viewed as a series of vector quantity pairs (90 degrees apart or perpendicular) relative to the other “hypothetical” objects.
Ƶ = √ (Ƶ1² + Ƶ2² + Ƶ3²… Ƶ ∞²)
The Serendipity Factor = X Ƶ the usually insignificant X Ƶs with the rest of the universe. However, if the vector sum comes out mostly one sign or the other… watch out! Strange things may happen.
Commentary: the specific formula should not be taken too literally in this case. The idea here is that any existing relationship, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is the product of all relationships in the entire universe and therefore a reflection of vast underlying relationship patterns. Incidents of serendipity reflect the presence of such a pattern.
A quarter wave implies all the info of a full wave.
The precise alignment and position of any wave slope must be determined by the universe as a whole since there are no “insignificant” factors. Therefore any given ¼ wave implies the whole universe and all information could be extrapolated from that one slope.
Commentary: ΔƵ = ΔX/ΔY describes a slope, i.e. an acceleration in information speed. If you think of the slope as being a portion of wave, then you can predict the rest of the wave pattern by measuring the slope. “A quarter wave contains all the information of a full wave” implies that all the information in the universe could be extrapolated from any given delta zed.
“Notes on Relationships” is a short document, and was never intended as a complete or systematic statement. Relationship Theory was only preserved in fragments. Some aspects of it were never completely explained and others were never developed as originally intended. Although my father often spoke of using physics calculations to model the interactions between information-units, he never developed this “information physics” into a working system. Rather than attempting to complete this work – which I am not qualified to do – I have decided to simply present the fragments and invite any interested reader to develop the concepts further.
From this point on, I’ll be branching out in various directions and using Relationship Theory only as a starting point. The metaphysics of Relationship Theory has some intriguing implications for the philosophy of religion – implications that tend toward polytheism and occult philosophy.
Image by William Blake