The Critic and The Architect

Betsy Calabaza
9 min readMar 11, 2018


Think about anything abstractly and you’ve already reached a conclusion. When reading this, you have already reached the conclusion of what each word means up to this point. The next few words I write may be said in another language or be unintelligible gibberish but whatever they are you already know what they are. That is to say, you already know what these word mean before you read them. And the words coming from me to convey the impression I want to convey on you are going through your consciousness as you read this as they went through my consciousness. So you already have an idea of some of the conclusions this pretext can carry because potentially every premise can have multiple conclusions. But for the premises to function as conclusions, you need conclusions that will serve as the premises for the oncoming conclusions. What are the source of these conclusions that serve as premises?

When you ask “Why?” in the abstract philosophical sense or you ask any deep philosophical question, your only context for an answer is the references that you have available. Ancient philosophers had conclusions to premises and those conclusion influenced the premises of the following philosophers until they conclusions led towards different branching of different disciplines; such as biology, astronomy, physics, psychology, logic, etc. But still the premises are deeply philosophical if you go deep enough.

So it’s physical processes by which your consciousness reaches a conclusion of what to be aware of based on the various sensation are consistently washing over your sense organs.

The sensation that’s “loudest” functions as the premises that lead to the conclusion of what you are aware of. So if you’re conscious of these words at this very moment, then the sensation that’s loudest right now are those responsible for you to not only visually take-in the words but also contextualize the words so that you know what they mean. To reach a meaning means to reach a conclusion; you’re using that conclusion of the meaning, then, to reach the “deeper” meaning beyond the words, to what they’re “pointing” at. If my explanation is coherent, then the words are pointing at the structure in your physical body that makes you aware of what I’m saying.

Regardless if you understand what I’m saying or not, you’re aware whether you understand or not. And that level of perplexity is measurable because you already have a conclusion that is based on premises. Those premises are based on impressions that form beliefs. Those beliefs are subjective and based on a concept of absolute truth. You have a certain expectation and if what you read doesn’t coalesce favorably with your expectation, then you’re dismissive or overly critical of the implications created by the conclusions. So that the conclusions could possibly serve as premises for further conclusions but for whatever reasons you arrive, those conclusion invalid, unsound, false, useless, nonsense, etc.

Philosophy, in a very fundamental way, is grounded in irony. Lions, for example, have an impression of the world based on premises based on their sensation and how their biological system interprets those sensations, and they’re aware of the significance of the premises enough to reach conclusion that guide their actions.

When you read these words, again, you’re aware of what they mean because of the same process by which the lion reaches its conclusion. The only difference is that you can reflect more abstractly and reference abstract concepts to reach more abstract conclusions; thus the consequence of being able to do that is understand premises that are way more abstract, which in turn allow you to accept more abstract conclusions as true. Once you accept the premises, you can accept the conclusions. But you always start with the conclusion; ironically.

The irony is precisely found in that to change the premises you are always effectively using to reach the conclusions which guide your actions, you first need to reach and accept new conclusions as true. We don’t know where we come from and we don’t know where we’re going. This unknown can be referred to as the abyss which is the black nothing our thoughts fall into with the passage of time as we move forward into the abyss into a world unknown, the future; but we move through this abyss with premises which guide our actions so as to ensure our future conclusions (the conclusions we work towards; life goals or aspirations, motivation, etc). Sometimes we measure these conclusions by length of time (eg, what I’m eating for lunch and what I have to do eat that for lunch, etc) and this in turn functions as determining our premises used to reach that conclusion. Our actions are also guided by long time goals (eg, wanting to buy a house and thus using that conclusion as a premise to reach the conclusion of saving money, etc).

Sometimes in the abyss we find loops. If I eat cookies, I’ll always instantly feel good and thus you eat cookies (unless the conclusion changes so that you feel bad when you eat too much cookies). These loop are easy to fall too because sometimes we like the conclusions we reach or we have no reason to accept any other conclusion and thus the premises we find ourselves in determine our actions because we already know what actions will lead the conclusions we want. Factors can change this so that we recognize premises differently are able to use the same premises as before to reach new conclusions.

This reminds me of Daniel Dennett talking about the taste of beer being an acquired taste. For example, each time you taste it, you already know what it taste like. But if you taste it enough and acquire a taste for it, you change the process by which you interpret the taste. The sensations that used to turn you away from the beer now are sensations which are more savory to the senses. Or it reminds me about how I didn’t like Bob Dylan or The Doors in middle school but eventually I found a way to enjoy them. We can in general say that somehow the premises changed so that new conclusions could be met.

Whatever belief or premise or conclusion or sensation you reach could be separated by premise and conclusion since that’s what everything is made out of.

Like playing a piano piece and practicing the piece you want to achieve successfully. You probably either write the piece down or read it from somewhere if you want to play it note for note. The piece itself functions as the premise and the conclusion. If you don’t write it down, the premises you’re working with are subject to change with time since our memory is like that. But pretending that the piece is written down, you play it until you play it at an acceptable manner. You do this by reaching the conclusion of what it sounds like when you play it and changing the way you play it until the way you play it sounds like the conclusion you want to reach. This depends on your ability to judge yourself and perform to the capacity that you have concluded you want to perform at.

All this depends on your ability to be aware and your ability to use your awareness to change the premises you function with by changing the conclusion. This is what it means to have power, or ability. Ability to be aware and daring to know increase the power you have to reach the conclusions you want to reach by using the reflection itself to change the premises.

Ourselves being a system that processes premises into conclusions, we use conclusions that are already reached to reach further conclusions. Being part of a greater system in the sense of being guided by the same principles that guide the stars and the planets, and atoms and molecules, it might seem that it’s possible that the conclusion we reached are always reached before we reach them. Thus it would seem plausible that the conclusion we maintain are conclusions that the greater system that guides everything has already reached; it would seem we have a limited ability to change any system at all.

Reflecting on this, however, doesn’t change our reaction to the conclusions we reach. A desire to reach different premises because of the conclusions we belief in.

Thus, everyone is a critic. Because every point of reflection is a premise that serves as a conclusion. And then those conclusions are used to reach further conclusions. The most relevant conclusion being our reaction and how we reached that reaction. Which in turn is what guides our actions. The question is then if everything is a reaction of a reaction, what factor allows for freedom or rather what factor gives us power in the equation so as to have the ability to change the conclusion to what we want it to be because we belief a different conclusion to be the case.

Irony, then, is the mirror that allows for reflection and seeing the fork in the roads and awareness is what allows us to see what each road has to benefit us. Because irony is the ability to break an idea into all type of conclusions. Some conclusions are absurd and funny. Some conclusions are crystal clear reflections of “truth”; eg, scientific principles resulting from the scientific method, which is a rigorous system that takes in theories as premises and then observe how the premises change the theories (conclusions) into being more reflective of the premises. Some conclusions are founded in the sublime. Some conclusions are founded in aesthetics and beauty. Some conclusions are founded in spiritual faith of some beliefs.

The point is that reflection works as a conclusion. When you exercise the power to reflect, you’re reaching a conclusion which allows you to reach further, fragmented conclusions. Which is why sometimes people feel fragmented. Who we are as a conclusion is a conclusion that we always reach with premises that depend on further chains of premises and conclusions that escape into the abyss, into darkness.

That’s why some people agree that it’s the sign of an educated mind to entertain ideas and the conclusions/implications of those ideas as valid while not necessarily accepting the ideas as true.

The thing about that is that regardless of the conclusion, the conclusion always contains traces of the premises and systems which concluded it. If you don’t know what the conclusion is, you don’t know what the premise is.

An apple pie will always show evidence of the system which produced it, baking, and the ingredients and preparation which served as premises. That’s why when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back. Because it’s where we come from and we’re traces of it. It’s part of us in an integral way.

The whole conclusion about all those premises being that if you have ever experienced something that you may call “sublime” or “beauty” or “love” or “humor” or “happiness”, you may wish to idealize the idea of it all and use the reflection of those conclusions as a basis to judge all other conclusions. If you love something, you may wish to maintain the premises that keep you in love with that thing and allow you to experience that love. But maintaining those premises requires maintaining certain conclusions that need to be enforced by further premises. The implication of which are that to receive something your action should be this and that.

You may wish to live a long and happy life with your significant other but for that to be true, certain premises need to be enforced by other conclusions. So you may need to maintain a certain lifestyle if your attraction to each other is based on a similar lifestyle. But with time, our lifestyles naturally change and we find ourselves with different habits. So we may have to work with those habits to still maintain the premise of the similar enough lifestyle to keep the attraction between the two people active, or true.

If you’ve ever felt love, you live with a certain belief of love based on your impression and experience with it. You somehow stare into the unknown, into nothing, into the abyss and know that in the darkness there’s love that can be brought to light with the right premises and conclusions. Which may imply that a system which produces necessary premises and necessary conclusions is a creator or architect of systems because the only way to create premises and conclusions is by creating a system. Some system are created by faith. Some system are created by fate.

Anything outside of a system is nonsense. A system may produce nonsense if it produces something that doesn’t function for any system.



Betsy Calabaza

blooms — crazy rants masked as abstract experimental philosophy. s/o CS Peirce