Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge: Issue 39 (2023)

Future Perfect: Imagination and Ideology

Victor Peterson II
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is not to detail what kinds of systems of belief there are or the capacity to discern between individual beliefs. It does not attempt to demonstrate the character of belief. My hope is to disclose a mechanism whose function details the operation that articulates concepts whose content are expressed by the function of our beliefs. I propose a theory of imagination based on a generative recursive and creative capacity. What I am interested in are the possible realities that can be mapped out by virtue of the models of consequence derived from the employment of belief systems. I intend to do this by illustrating a means of these systems’ construction and deployment. Imagination becomes an expression of possibility by way of a modal operation characterized by the functional-content of our propositions regarding the world. Ideology, then, will be considered a system that dictates the necessity of beliefs prior to ascertaining their possibility and before their assertion.

By ideology I mean the mental frameworks – the languages, the concepts, categories, imagery of thought, and the systems of representation – which different classes and social groups deploy in order to make sense of, figure out and render intelligible the way society works.
- Stuart Hall, “The Problem of Ideology” (1986)

From the functionalist perspective employed in this paper, ideology can be described as a mental framework that encodes a relationship between different aspects of the world such that when that frame’s projected into future contexts it instantiates a worldview, concretizing a belief that organizes experience in a particular way—i.e. allowing or disallowing particular responses to and within that state of affairs. This follows Stuart Hall’s 1986 interpretation of ideology in “The Problem of Ideology.” Ideologies are held collectively and yet are reproduced individually. We are not saying that a distinction between collectives and individuals with regards to ideology is as clear-cut a bifurcation as it may superficially appear. However, questions of collectively held beliefs can be transformed into questions of what it takes for individual but not mutually exclusive agents to assent to or satisfy the criteria of becoming affiliated with a group by virtue of ascribing to a belief indexing a particular world-view, an orientation held by that group and determining that group’s position in the world and to others.  Ideology’s output, a concept indexing a worldview, becomes input for others who’ll decode that projection in terms relevant to them and, now in possession of a world-concept to which they defer, proceed to organize the future in accordance with that view, with others, both seen or unseen yet relative to their condition. They go on testing the extent to which that de- now re-encoded index of a relationship between those features of the world is believed to map similar relationships going forward. Statements in this system are claimed to be significant insofar as the function of the different terms under which that concept operates are shared across these contexts and individuals. Individuals who will test and verify claims licensed within that framing of the world.

Encoding/decoding practices set the conditions licensing subsequent projections of that concept in the circuit composing a world with others. The connection between this individually complex yet collectively simple en/de-coding process is discussed below. We’ll explore how ideology emerges from and amongst individuals who’ve on boarded a worldview that when used reproduces or reimagines their position in/to a world composed of relationships between them and others. Licensing individual statements by deferring to collective means, the claims by which individuals participate in this world-circuit requires a formalization of the mechanism by which individual expressions are taken on and projected. This must be done while not holding these individuals mutually exclusive from others, mapping the affairs of the world(s) that ideology captures and those in which it fails. In this, motivation for imaginative improvisations with and by what’s given in experience emerge, producing alternatives in excess of what was previously codified.

For now, let’s consider a maze. This time, in this labyrinth, you are not on the outside gazing upon some predestined goal; you find yourself an outsider within the maze. This maze is different; the walls move! In a traditional maze, a choice affects what choices are available next, yet here conditions evolve in response to those choices. Here you come to realize that every avenue you could take has the same present value, for the route is as yet determined. While at the center, at the beginning of your quest, each choice has equal value. But in the maze, a choice, once made, opens or forecloses the next set of choices available to you. Each choice engenders conditions in which predetermined options do or don’t apply from the bird’s-eye view. So by choosing, it seems that one is manipulating the parameters such that a choice in one set of conditions affects those available in the following set of conditions. How can this be? This state of affairs intensifies for not only does a choice not have a determinate value prior to choice, but also the walls move as you do. Pursuit of a determinate goal seems to land you in an unexpected region of the maze. The centripetal force generated by the walls compounds the inward inertia of your awareness that to ask the significance of a choice, while presupposing that move as significant, misses the point. That presupposition entails that when looking at what’s actually there, you are compelled to look elsewhere. A sign that one is abused by the notion that meaning lies behind these moving walls.

Occasionally, however, throughways appear. The cuts in the walls align if only for a moment. One sees the end, but a wall quickly moves in, obstructing your view. Each choice moves you towards that end but that move only brings you to the next stage of the maze on account of the rotating walls. After that insight, we can say that each move actualizes a future presently. Remaining aware of the function of things, when the walls line up every so often you can see straight through to where one’s act leads to a definite output, displaying the ceiling to the inner workings of your predicament. One need only actualize that future, presently: an act expressed by a function of a choice within a domain over a range of appropriate conditions. This state of affairs forces you to affirm yourself at the center of this maze. To know oneself, then, is to know no one thing as of yet, for the value of the determinate is hitherto undetermined. You realize that all there’s to do is cultivate therein. As the walls move, the avenues to the next phase appear right in front of you. That which was closest to hand, once farthest from comprehension, is now disclosed even though you still have a ways to go. Once the avenue emerges, all you must do is walk straight ahead.

Imagination seems integral to the predicament above. We find ourselves playing with parameters, not taking the end game as given from the outset. Playing with parameters, certain configurations emerge while others are quieted for later use or barred. Our operation is one of poetic computation: an act projecting the composite image of an equivalence between the function of an option within a domain of selection to one in which that option renders composite the next state of affairs. This concept reveals that the functional-content of our propositions regarding what it is to inhabit a particular state of affairs is indexed to their contexts of appropriate application. This does not mean that once one gets to an image, this is what will be the case merely because it has always been. Once you get there, that image’s function does not really mean that much anymore. [18] A function’s determinate is its zero. The zero iteration defines a function in itself, prior to its application. That function, claiming a relation between input and output, relates no one thing as of yet, but once applied it proceeds to construct an extension of the current context by taking an object and projecting it to some definite place within space and time. One only grasps at the shape of things to come, as they walk through the maze.

In this paper we make a connection between creative capacity, imagination, and ideology. In the above, choice alters the environment but the choices available are dependent upon evolving environmental conditions. Within this framework, mind is considered an emergent quality expressed as a function of the internal operations of a subject with respect to external conditions. Creativity and imagination, then, are expressed insofar as ideological systems permit output from those operations in that mental sphere, guiding action in the environmental sphere. Ideological systems are composed between minds and projected into other contexts, serving as a conditional input to the subject’s internal arrangement of operations within that latter state, each operation indexed to a particular external or secondary factor and composed with respect to that subject’s prior experience in response to the conditions expressed by a relationship between those factors. These sets of operations institute a framework guiding what actions are considered within current conditions and whose function expresses output relevant therein. As such, subjects onboard ideological frameworks, effecting which outputs are permissible given what’s apparent. This in turn affects the probabilities of that subject’s observed responses to stimuli above a certain threshold and by which we identify that subject. If the prevalence of a stimulus is above a certain threshold—e.g. an opportunity to advance, based on our priors, being more appealing a choice than others—that option factors into one's world as significant. Therefore, one's behavior adapts to those circumstances by using internal resources in creative ways, i.e. imagining a preferred outcome by creating different arrangements of operations. The successful arrangements of finite internal resources—combinations whose composite express different outcomes dependent upon input from current conditions—are stored (=learned), thereby changing that subject’s apparent behavior, therefore its identity, across contexts.

If the imagination is a “workspace” in which various arrangements of the functional-content of propositions utilized to organize our experience and guiding our behavior in context appropriate ways are stored—i.e. utilized in ways not necessarily caused by those stimuli—creativity is an operation over that workspace that projects those arrangements to test outcomes, composing action with thought. Ideology comes to the fore as an emergent environmental factor. Subjectivity, then, is an operation that runs through that environment, projecting relevant identities that behave in context appropriate ways, ones in which the value of a projection is determined prior to application. The subject changes as it interacts with and changes its environment. Some framing arrangements are retained for later use, some rejected, and some never get the opportunity to emerge, being disallowed by that environment.

Ideology emerges in the environment by way of attempts at organizing experience. Once that framework is encoded, it indexes those conditions. When they arise, responses towards aspects of the environment deemed significant relative to that framework are licensed ​while others are deemed irrelevant or barred. The success or failure of this process is communicated to others such that if these frames can be shared across individuals and contexts, and if those individual's output is functionally equivalent, i.e. their output shares the same relationship to the environmental inputs filtered through that frame, we can say that those individuals share the same concepts (=encodings). That group of individuals are themselves organized relative to that framework and begins to understand the world in similar ways. Different classifications of peoples, then, are organized around access to these frames. However, the outputs of those responses are added to the environment. When similar conditions arise calling for the application of that frame, that frame must adapt to these altered conditions, evolving over the course of its continued application. However, ideology is marked by a resistance to this adaptation, bending but not breaking. In setting norms to guide behavior, aiming to produce output readily recognizable by others, and solidifying a relationship between those individuals by way of recourse to that frame, ideology must work to keep the conditions licensing its use, the environment in which it operates, the same.

The question becomes, how does this model produce unexpected ends? Perhaps this next example will shed light on the above. A particle in quantum mechanics is represented as the zero of a function describing the conditions in which that type of entity emerges. By the definition of a function, we can treat that function as an object when those conditions are satisfied. The physicist Werner Heisenberg showed us that the more accurately a particle's location is determined, the less accurately we can measure its speed. The zero of that function places that particle at the center of a coordinate-wise plane, marking the intersection of two axes in which phases of its emergence and evolution over time (=locations in that plane) are determined with respect to our future expectations defined from the outset by that function. A movement in any direction maintains a relationship between these axes as determined by that function based on the particle’s prior location. However, where that particle ends up given some input from present conditions may land us in an unexpected region of that plane despite our being able to structurally (=functionally) account for its movement based on that function’s previous output, over time. The determinate of that function, its zero, defines what satisfies that function given certain conditions; how that particle shows up may differ from what we expect, yet we understand that it is the same particle. Taking the present position as input, the output’s location maintains a relationship between these axes with each application of that function. The optimization of that determinate path, the integral sum over its histories, imagines each present differently based on future expectations as determined by the zero of the function defining that particle’s operation. Cascades of phase changes result with respect to how that entity appears in each of its context-wise (=framed) positions in that plane. The entropy, i.e. information reducing the uncertainty regarding the imagined (=future) satisfaction of that determinate based upon present conditions, affects what the next set of conditions is which in turn affects what options emerge in that context’s successor.

With respect to our maze, although decisions are psychologically prior to action, imagination is nevertheless a material process. "Material" in the sense that a framework utilized to organize experience and held constant over changing sets of conditions, i.e. an ideology, allows or disallows responses to that environment with respect to what aspects of the world are determined to be significant or not in that particular context. However, a response in those conditions produces output that then becomes a part of that same environment; meaning that the projection of that same framework in these now altered conditions may allow input that wasn't anticipated by that frame and yet is revealed in the current context. This leads to alternative responses that can be acted upon yet cannot be normalized within that framework, thereby representing a change in the material that makes up the world. As such, implied in that act is the presence of an alternative mental framework at play. These alternatives were “imagined” in the sense that they seem to actualize what was once a future possibility, already present yet previously unable to be actualized, in these current conditions. This imagined frame may then be applied later to test its extension, i.e. applicability, however, even if it’s retained we have shown how one can imagine a world differently and how that harbors material a/effects for that subject within its environment. These alternatives are relevant because they cite chains of prior decisions whose outputs have changed the environment in a way licensing the current option’s availability.

With respect to particles, the effect of a particular action harbors consequences in that domain and it is by the application of the function qua object to which that act refers that one occupies and thereby changes that space qua its relation to other particles in that plane over time. The sets of conditions in which it is situated are a function of its position from one phase to the next with respect to others. Feedback is built-in to both systems whereby agents seem to manipulate conditions rather than respond to single paths, for those paths are contextualized as relevant or not to a future imagined presently. Paths are ascertained only when the walls align. Contextual considerations mean there is psychological, social, and/or political noise (=external factors) that we must consider when mapping how the effect of ascribing a belief to an action relates different particles (=individuals) within a particular state of affairs. Herein lies our connection between imagination and ideology. Taking an option sets up conditions in which future choices are either opened or foreclosed. If ideology is a system that determines the function of belief within that system, thereby setting conditions in which action occurs, what happens when we treat ideology as a “physical” entity?

Taking the above as a model for our study, we will interrogate the connection between ideology and belief, functionally. We will posit this discussion along two lines: significance and meaning. Significance is defined:

Sig :=DF the object which is signified (referenced) by a symbol or the syntax of a string symbols.

Meaning, then:

mng :=df the functional-content of an assertion indexed to the context in which that assertion’s application is appropriate.

The individual, yet not mutually distinct, character of these concepts is important to disciplines such as Black Cultural study. Henry Louis Gates Jr. in the Signifying Monkey shows us how states of affairs can be structured between rhetorical and semantic axes, organizing experience and archives in ways that the geometry of movements and forms of life may be studied. Modes of expression model modes of inhabiting the world organized by impositions within this onto-epistemological grid. Recalling Stuart Hall above, ideologies are the mental framework deployed to organize experience, thereby determining what responses to that environment are relevant or not. Hall actively applies this to the study of Race and racialization in, “Encoding and Decoding in Television Discourse,” a 1973 study of how racialization emerges and evolves when the function of terms like “mugging” are applied to organize experience in such a way that this act is only attributed to certain classes of people. Studying how the function of belief is fixed within a system of belief, and how this functions to organize and distribute material effects, is key to Hall’s program and that of Black Cultural studies at large.

When speaking of ideology, we are talking about the parameters set on the conditions in which certain beliefs emerge while others are prohibited. We are talking about the obtainable shape of an individual’s or group’s imagination within particular conditions—recall Gates’ geometry. The functional-content of a concept is indicated by the function of the output of some operation. Thus, that object of thought is not necessarily an extra-mental thing; albeit these propositions can be mapped over or can be used to consider the arrangement of what we consider to be the constituents of the world we experience. Thus, the object of our assertions is here considered to have functional-content. How?

A function can be defined by an element of one domain and an element of a sub/co-domain such that the pair of those objects is an element of that function. If the element of the domain and the element of that co-domain form a pair, and the same element of that domain and an element of another co-domain forms a pair, then there is a functional equivalence between those co-domain’s elements. [23] They appear different but operate the same. A function, then, becomes an abstract object, determining a relation between a set of conditions and a range of contexts in which it applies. This is significant to discussions of meaning, for the second part of a function’s definition shows how the same object of thought can be expressed by different signs or things just so long as there is a function of equivalence between those sign’s operation across contexts (=co-domains). So if x is an element of a domain and y an element of a sub/co-domain, then the pair (x,y) is an element of that function and if x to y is a pair where y is indexed to one context and x to some y-successor is a pair where that y-successor is indexed to another context, then there is a functional-equivalence between how y and that y-successor operate although they may appear different across contexts.

This is essential to a theory of imagination for a context-successor or future articulation can be functionally determined presently albeit the object to which it refers is as yet actualized. Just as well, we can imagine the operation or behavior of some “thing” in a way that is different from the way it’s behaved before so long as its current operation is functionally equivalent to what we know is possible given present conditions. That thing acting differently does not contradict what’s expected although its current action was unexpected. Consider that, in the past, Turing machines modeled this same concept, albeit in the language available at that time, as the image of a function that we fulfill, step by step, day by day.

So, if the zero of a function indexes the initial context in which it was abstracted, marking that context as a constant that that function cites as its assertability conditions, then a function that relates that constant to sub/co-domains of appropriate application maps the operation of an object of thought. Each use of that function, expressing that thought via its operation, can be mapped. Its projection from the domain in which it was abstracted to a domain-successor in which it applies creates an image in that domain-successor that can be satisfied by the action of some agent given those conditions. There is a functional-equivalence that can be modeled between the function projected and the functional-content of the object of thought, determining its significance only if it can be satisfied in those conditions. Thus, the definition of a function as an abstract object, i.e. the content of an assertion, can enter another function extending its range of application, producing unforeseen output from the stance of the original domain. Yet, that output is over determined by the domain defined by the function putting it to use. From our definitions above, we can show how the content of a sign’s use can express an output appropriate to, yet unforeseen within, a composite set of conditions, i.e. the function of a function. The output of this functional composite may not obtain the domain (=conditions) indexed by the first function, but through this process, the first produces unexpected output but output functionally, structurally, appropriate within those composite conditions.

Recall that, formally, the zero of a function indexes the initial context of that assertion by naming the conditions in which what is considered a successor of that context was determined and in which an instance of that name’s use can be considered significant. These context-successors are constructed by the application of that function, referencing previous contexts of use, not necessarily things in those contexts. Consider the content of an assertion C that names the conditions marking the context of its initial application, e.g. naming a child. This can be formally represented as the constant by which we “refer” to that child, where f(c)=c is the content of C-assertions. The name c only applies when and where condition C is available. Successive applications of that name are licensed based on this initial context, what has been referred as that name’s “initial baptism.” This baptism represents the “zero” of the life of the use of that term. A “citational” line emerges based on the following: f(c)=c only when c=0, representing the content of a C-assertion in and of itself; the next use of c marks a C-successor (=C’) such that, C’=C1; a citational line forms in which, regardless of where one enters that line, one can validate whether use, application of c, is consistent or not; if not, instead of merely being incorrect, that context can be marked as creative with respect to that line; the citational line, then, is such that, C1’=C2, C2’=C3, etc. If current use is consistent, then we can say that one has “referred” to the appropriate “object” of that assertion by way of the function of that name’s use. If inconsistent, we can correct or justifiably mark that instance as the zero of what is deemed a “creative” use, starting its own citational line with respect to the former. Upon this model, we can verify whether or not the functional-content, how that name ought to be used, has been shared or not.

Adding the notion of a “physical” thing as the reference of a name or assertion of identity produces avoidable issues. How would one account for the capacity to speak in a way understood by others without that “thing” present? When one is introduced to a concept expressed by the function of a name, is one given a “physical” thing? What expresses the concept of “physical” in the first place save the function of that label within a particular framework, applicable within set conditions? If that thing is given up so as to “share” the object of that assertion, how does the one who shared it justifiably say that they retain that concept for later use? It seems that the object of the use of the term “physical” is the function of applying that term. Arguments over the importance of imagination seem to hinge on this point. To be imagined is to exist metaphysically in some sense. Since we can treat functions objectively, our theory of reference avoids some of the issues a naïve theory of reference carries. [23] Which assertions are licensed or not, apply or not, shape the conditions in which the content of one’s propositions are available, in turn shaping what can be imagined within those conditions given what’s available therein. Names, concepts, become a part of our world without having to be a thing in it. Their use harbors material affects regarding how we see and manipulate the world. Entities carry the information these concepts provide.

Within our model, imagination is expressed by applying an object of thought with respect to set conditions. An image of that function is projected in a context in which some object therein may obtain a functional equivalence with the object in the imagined context. For example, improvisation with respect to blackness’ modes of expression has been studied extensively in Black and Cultural studies as an exemplar of playing with the same thought in different ways. [2] [12] [19] If the content of, say, imagination or some object of the mind is functional, we can attend to issues of encoding infinite possibility with/in finite means for the functional-content of these objects are the zeros of these functions. [1] [4] Just as well, if in the philosophy of mind the question is how a finite vessel can retain large amounts of information in excess of its physical limits or recall it when appropriate, then here we propose a modular configuration in which the concept of mind is expressed by way of arrangements of the functional-content attained through abstracted experience and the range of those sets of arrangements’ applications (=models’ or images). Creative use has been appealed to above wherein notions of memory or recollection emerge when considering that the functional-content of a thought becomes available when a context-successor of that marking the initial conditions in which that concept was introduced are also available.

Along these lines, ideology can be analyzed as the predetermination of the function of an object of belief within a system of beliefs. The concept of ideology is expressed by a function that takes the functional-content of belief as its object. Ideology treats beliefs as “objects” to manipulate. In order to discern between ideology and imagination, we must be able to abstract the functional-content of assertions, i.e. the act of applying a proposition within certain sets of conditions, with our only recourse being the apparent use of that assertion. Appeals to something other than or behind use produces issues of justifying that connection without it merely being a stipulation to the benefit of a previously held theory. So, an object x is said to be ideologically overdetermined when, through composition, sig (mng (x)).

Moving from our “metaphysical” concerns [6a] with respect to ascertaining the emergence of ideology, [17] an intersubjective framework is required that allows us to formalize the composite relationship between the functional-content of assertions and an operation whose function determines the value of its output. Functional composition can be defined as the process wherein the output of one function becomes input for another, producing output appropriate to the conditions indexed by those functions. This framework is required to explain how, once introduced to a concept, one can translate that object into terms appropriate to their condition, positing a relation between context dependent terms, disciplines, etc., and the articulation of these concepts in relevant ways. [13] This process is no longer impossible because we are not inextricably tied to a presupposed notion of the significance of these assertions’, beliefs’, or thoughts’ constitution. The presupposition of their value is not integral to the data but brought to it. Thus, the presupposed theory cannot be justified by the data itself and, just as well, often negates relationships that may emerge from that domain because they don’t fit within the applied framework. The mechanism expressing these concepts, and from which we deduce these relations, is not a thing but is materially objective. Material in the sense that this object’s behavior exemplifies a functional relationship between inputs and the consequences of those functions’ application. Our theory proceeds from inferring causal relationships between the means, i.e. the operation, of the functions put to use to express an object of thought and by which what is constituted in our experience is explained.

We begin to formalize this abstraction process by stating that an object of experience implies the function by which it was expressed. How we abstract this function will be detailed below. We state that if f(x) determines the function of that object, then if f then x given f. As functions are abstract objects, x’s meaning is objective. So ‘x’ is (understood by) f(x) within the domain of our experience. From here, we deduce a second-order function relating these objects, indicating a relationship between functions. This composite relationship details a causal framework of inferences often called a frame of reference. It is within this frame that the application of a function can be said to be significant for its determinate is understood in relation to where it does or does not apply given the function of which the former became an object; i.e. it is defined in a way in which others can gain access to the concept expressed by the use of that function. If it is the case that the functional-content of an assertion F is determined when f(x)=x, then the function of that function is such that f(f (x)) ≠ x for f(f(x)) ≠ f(x). We find that f(x, x) can only be determined when [f(f(x))=f(x)] which is only the case when f(x)=0. Thus we name that there is function g such that g(x, f(x))=[f(f(x))=f(x)] to avoid contradiction. The function g is composite, indicating a function putting another to use in which output is relevant to both. As a result, we arrive at the underlying basis for a relation between the objects produced by beliefs. In effect, g is the determinate of, i.e. means of constructing, the conditions in which these second-order relations constituting our reference frame apply.

We posit a relation between belief and objects of belief such that, if g then x,y, is the case, if and only if, if g(f(x)) then y given g(f(x)). So, ‘f(x,x)’=g(x, f(x)) whereby the functional-content of a G-frame is defined, g(x, f(x))=f(x). From here, our reference frame posits a relation between thought and frame such that G(x, F). So, if x is the object of belief and y is a proposition relating that object to some observation, we can model relations between them such that we link beliefs and propositions about the world from the context of the observer given that the function of applying that proposition obtains in the available conditions and can be shared.

With these resources, we model how one cultivates the objects of one’s thought by way of functional composition. A two-place relation between object of thought and the propositions available within the framework one employs to organize their field of experience, and in which details of the world they inhabit can be said to be significant, can be modeled by the composition of functions f,g. This process we call, ‘poetic computation,’ a process that is poetic in that the function of this operation is characterized as a projection of a functional-equivalence from a domain of selection A to a sub/co-domain of composition B. Relations between x,y from A to B can be modeled within the following framework [8]:

(1) f (x): not-g(x,x) given f(x)

(2) f (x), f(y), and x< ≠ y: g(x,y) or g(y,x) given f(x),f(y)

(3) f( x), f(y), f(z), and xyz: if g(x,y) and g(y,z), then g(x,z)

Given these parameters, we can model how the objects composing the substrate of one’s domain of beliefs can have equal value yet remain unique before application. (1) determines that an object can have a fixed point within the domain of selection and (2),(3) shows how different arrangements of the functional-content of that domain can be applied and projected into domains in which statements about the world are composed. (2)(3) give us a way of testing how these arrangements (=theories) can be tested to see the extent to which they apply or not. In fact, (2) shows that we can test different arrangements, either ‘x to y’ or ‘y to x’. Formally, (2) represents an if/then/else operation. It also shows that if the functions of x or y are indexed to the contexts of different agents (=intersubjectivity) or between an agent and a larger system (=ideology), then we model how they interact. The ability to maintain equivalent but not interchangeable values at these functions’ zeros is important to the understanding of what the contents of a ‘mind’ might be. The content of an expression of the subject is a function indexed to its context of appropriate assertion; the object recalled and put to use by mind is the zero of that function; thus, mind exhibits a capacity that is in excess of finite characteristics. However, once applied, these functions articulate different thoughts. Functions f(x)=x, f(y)=y are both valid when x,y =0, yet x1y1 because indexed to different conditions. As such, it is the relation between these objects of belief that express the constitution of the subject putting these functions to use. Although the same subjects can have access to similar functions, dependent upon the relations they compose as a result of the relation between their output (=behavior), they will be identified as different subjects and yet retain the possibility for inter-subjective understanding via the frameworks employed. As x,y,z are f-related before application with f being the content of F, the descriptor indexed to a particular framework employed by the subject.

Through this model, we ask, what licenses exchanges between these dimensions? If a domain of belief B is determined at b (x=f(x)), a composite relation between propositions and belief, the abstract object that is the content of those propositions is such that B(b,p). Understanding that if f then b given f, we look to see where and when it is the case that if B (f,p) obtains, we can state that there is an f such that B(f,p). [6b] This relation can be modeled on our assumptions above for if f then p given f, we assume that f(p, p), i.e. p is f-related to itself. However, this is only the case when p=0. To account for the application of the content of p, we find that f(p, f(p)) gives us that p is f-related to itself in so far as f(p). The function of the application of p expresses the consequence q of that application. Thus g(p, q) constitutes a reference frame in which the relation between the function of belief and the function of our propositions, whose objects are those beliefs, compose a co-domain in which the output of the function of belief is determined. This implies that the prior domain in which relations between functions are constituted and then tested in a domain of composition so as to ascertain their range of application describes an act of imagination. Our theory, then, models the conditions in which those thoughts can or cannot be actualized.

Here we make a more detailed definition of abstraction. The abstraction of a function of application proceeds from the following principle: if it is the case that, if B then f, then f, therefore B. [8] If it is the case that from the application of B we abstract its function of appropriate application and infer the function of its application across the sets of conditions it obtains, then from this we can determine where and when B applies. From the above, we take it to be the case that conditionalization on a domain of thought given one of experience can be modeled for the objects therein are independent but not mutually exclusive from each other. We model this from “if/then, else” formulae, wherein another “if/then, else” operation can be embedded forming arrangements of functions whose operation organizes how one interacts with/in their environment. Conditionalization means that either the antecedent does not apply, or the consequent obtains given the appropriateness, i.e. relevance, of that antecedent condition. This is valid if and only if it is not the case that there is a valid antecedent and an invalid consequent given that antecedent condition. The nested construction of these if/then, else formulae imply an order of operations such that from a finite domain, groupings or arrangements of the constituents of that domain can be produced in excess of that domain. Although unaccounted for in prior determinations of that domain, these groupings represent that domain’s extension, i.e. contexts to which the functional-content of those group descriptions, citing their means of construction. Although the set of natural numbers is infinite, we understand “natural number” by the function of its determinate, i.e. definition by which each number is constructed. As such, the subdomain of all “even natural numbers” is not itself a natural number but is composed of its constituents. The use of the function that collected that subset does or does not apply wherever there are or are not natural numbers and in which case it makes sense to determine whether there are even numbers therein.

Using these conditionalization principles, “if (there is a function “x”) then B(x), else R(x, b).” If given f as input to that formula, we understand that B(0)=f and the application of f projects a B-successor in which the pairwise collection of f and function in R of f and b. The extraction of f is plausible given that in B, there is an f and when f is applied b is implied. As f represents the zero of the serial construction of B-successors, then B(f(b)=b). This concept follows the notion of a pre-function as the use of a term implies the function of its application which before its use is valued at 0, but when applied is 1 for in that domain-successor, sub/co-domain, it is appropriate to/within the context constructed. This pre-function is recalled insofar as we understand where it does not apply by way of subsequent assertions being indexed to a line of appropriate successors from that initial context—see citational line above.

Below, we show that imagination is the manipulation of the zeroes of various subdomains of B, put into different relations of logical possibility but as yet actualized. The enactment of the imaginary applies these frameworks to see whether these descriptions qua models of possible states of affairs hold in reality. If they do not hold, one articulates another arrangement and tests that. If that model does, we can occupy that context for a moment as a prototype of a successor state. [12] The use of that function indexes that subject to the context it inhabits as it constructs it. Therefore, what is inter-subjectively shared between individuals but not mutually exclusive of inhabitants of those conditions, is the functional composition of that state of affairs. As functions are indexed to their contexts of appropriate assertion, these frameworks can be stored and tested elsewhere. Where they hold represents an extension of the citational line of that mode of expression qua model of thought; or a limit, for where it is unable to hold represents where that model terminates. [9]

We’ll now consider what “appropriateness” of application entails. We handle this under the rubric of the relevance of conditionalization. Traditional readings of conditionals bring to the fore the question of relevance, how are the antecedent and consequent connected so that “if/then” statements can be said to be meaningful? Consider if f then g results in either no f is the case or g given f. We attended to this with respect to contexts of assertion being indexed in such a way that reference, thereby relevance, is secured in a citational line. What we seek then, is an explanation of conditionalization based on the following reading. If “if f then g given f ” is represented (g | f), g with respect to f. We evaluate this statement based on our observations, (f | g), representing our evidence that the conditional is appropriate. Thus, the appropriateness of the statement, (g | f), is represented as (g | f) = [(f | g) AND (g) ] GIVEN to f. Appropriateness resides at the intersection of the evidence of f given g and g observations with respect to f. The force, as Amiri Baraka would say “impulse,” [2] behind this conditionalization upon our state of affairs is the prospect of the application of the functional-content of belief within that network of beliefs. 

We realize that appropriateness is not identical to evidence. The determinate of b is set to b (x=f(x))=b which is valid at its zero. The zero of that function posits that function before its application. Taking the formulation above, given one’s experience, which implicates them in some way in the state of affairs in which that observation is deemed significant, we say that [(f | g)(g)]=1, for the consequent is apparent. However, f on its own is 0, leaving us with 1/0. By definition, 1/0=infinity, showing the functional-content of belief as a recursive operation. The function of actualizing thoughts entails a syntactic-structure to thought that implies an operation by which those thoughts were produced, i.e. imaginings. As with linguistics’ characterization of language capacity as a means to produce thought, not necessarily what comes out of one’s mouth, the capacity outlined above exemplifies infinite use of finite means, dependent upon yet not caused by context. Therefore, this capacity is not random but generative. Imagination, then, is characterized as a recursive operation. To predetermine the function of that operation, attempting to render that operation determinate with respect to others, indicates a system of beliefs. The function of that operation expresses the concept of ideology. As advocated by Amiri Baraka, we consider imagination in light of improvisation. Imagination is captured in the capacity to actualize the future, presently—the ‘impulse’ behind ‘improvisation’ [2]—thereby manipulating the parameters in which certain expressions’ functional-content emerge for application, while others do not. As groupings of the zeroes of functions index a particular state of affairs in which they jointly apply, their future possibility is a function of that composite’s current applicability. We conclude, then, that the assertion of a totalizing or universal ideological determination of conditions can be vacuously true. It obtains no one object in particular for f (x)=x when x=0 and f(y)=y when y=0, thus f(x)=f(y) before application as x,y are f-related. Ideological absolutes may also produce contradictory results, for f(x,y) entails x=y, however, if x=x and y=y to avoid contradiction, there is a possible context in which x=not-x. [10]

Consequently, an ideological statement by itself is non-determinate. This does not entail that the objects of our thoughts are vague, for then the world would be evacuated of all significance. Instead, how we talk about those objects is vague. An attempt to stipulate a universal or absolute evaluation of those statements is self-defeating. [10] [11] Systems whose sole purpose is to maintain this either vacuous or internally inconsistent affair can name contexts in which one can formulate an assertion that it is true that these absolutist statements are false or claim a vacuous state of affairs. However, this results in an infinite regression. Evidenced by the recursive capacity exhibited by imagination, which is not vague in itself for its means of expression can be shown, [11] any one can posit either an extension or an alternative to the system. It seems that a general absolutist system is only had by arbitrary stipulation, albeit to determinate ends external to that system.

A prescient example to study the proposed ideological framework comes from former President Donald Trump’s September 2020 Memorandum M-20-34. Therein, Trump identifies Critical Race Theory (CRT) with anti/un-American propaganda. He couches this indictment within a framework whose operation can be described within our ideological model. Its functional content indexes a system that sets the function of one’s belief and thereby their adherence to CRT principles within that system. Trump defines CRT initiatives as “training” programs that “run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation [the U.S.] has stood since its inception,’ that ‘also engender division and resentment. . .” because CRT “. . .claimed that there is racism embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity or the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.”

Jason Stanley defines propaganda as a framework in which language is manipulated to close off debate. [21] Through its employment we discover a system put in place wherein all agree to an ideal, however, when an empirical instance of an act counter to that ideal is brought up, we find a certain class is forced to explain their position whereby another can validate or invalidate that point. If invalidated, accountability for that act is eschewed from individuals perpetuating that instance and placed on the system—in this case, something that has infiltrated the system—effectively reversing accountability onto those who identified that flaw in the first place. The dominant class, then, does not need to explain their position and evidential critique is forgone for the sake of maintaining the status quo. Those who abide by the status quo whilst members of the subordinate class are captured by the dominant as evidence against systemic critique, acting as an interface and buffer between the two whereby they are coerced into translating the evidence provided into terms that substantiate their own position and further the subordinate’s. Or, the complaint is determined null within the dominant’s domain. This has been termed “elite capture” by Olufemi Taiwo. [22]

Within the framework outlined by Trump, we all seem to universally agree that these axioms of our union—opportunity, freedom of belief, etc.—lead to theoretical social goods that should be actualized and protected. However, what is CRT and what are its claims? According to Derrick Bell Jr., Patricia Hill Collins, and others, CRT is explicitly concerned with the internal contradictions of racist tendencies that emerge and are indicated by the instrumental operation of legal means within a society that purports itself color blind. The program works toward exactly what the memo wants to eradicate: “(1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” This reveals the pronouncements of Trump’s memo as not concerned with the analysis offered by CRT or its factual historical basis, only its functional content. M-20-34’s framing attempts to delimit where CRT can or cannot apply. This makes the memo’s indictment either contradictory or vacuous, albeit its function is clearly defined by the operation, i.e. mode of critique, it enacts. According to M-20-34: “The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.” This points to what has been analyzed as omega inconsistency. [5] We find groups throughout the U.S.—Republican led legislatures and proponents of the 1776 project for example—who universally agree with those on the other side of the aisle of the good of the individual tenants licensing M-20-34’s outlined program, but based on particular conditions in which certain expressions are licensed and others are not, there emerges a subgroup of those licensed to obtain a prominent position within this framework to which any evidence brought to their attention is either resolutely denied or the subordinates within that framework are forced to explain their position, leading to another hearing to which their point will most likely be denied.

We discover a motivational apparatus within this framework whose function is to capture what can only be called the “elite” of the subordinate group who, within this incentivized structure, actively work to assimilate while (possibly unintentionally but with full knowledge) cementing in place the position of the very group of which they’re members. [22] This process explains why ideology is so entrenched in seemingly irrational yet structurally accountable ways.

As a result, all legislation coming out of the domain determining the nominal function of CRT as defined by M-20-34 admits to omega inconsistency. Our functional interpretation allows for an analysis that makes sense of current trends in legislation. In successive congressional hearings, the dominant ideological position only cedes position insofar as the output of the mode of expression of the subordinate, now object of the mode of the dominant, produces output that maintains the relation between the dominant domain and the sub-domain and the co-domain (=assimilationist) of those who abide the status quo. In utilizing the actual goals of CRT—citing ideals of “fairness,” “freedom,” and “non-discrimination on the basis of race” while actively fighting against that program’s content, an analysis of the cost-benefit and past effectiveness of legal means to combat those very things—we find a repurposing of terms to benefit the status quo, i.e. the setting of the function of the belief in these ideals within a system of belief that benefits that domain. Exemplars of these developments come in Texas (HB 3979), Idaho, and Tennessee. Thus far, anti-CRT legislation has been proposed in 22 U.S. states, an effort bolstered by the release of Trump’s 1776 report shortly before he left office in 2021.

The explicit link between this issue and the economy in M-20-34 implies a value determination in its pronouncements. M-20-34 instantiates a framework in which exchange value can be determined and in which the concept of elite capture is realized. The functional interpretation pursued in this essay makes sense of the concept of ideology in the following way. The value of a term, here the expression of an individual’s position within the matrix of values constituting the status quo, is a function of the conditions of its appropriate assertion and the range of contexts in which its use is licensed given those conditions. These markers are coordinates that become an element of that function and, in this way, we can treat a function as an abstract object. [23] That object here is ideology, making ideology the study of a relation between domain and licensed expression, a system that may seem immaterial but is objective.

If a function defines a particular operation—i.e. the form of life licensing the use of a term within certain conditions—then, given those conditions, a finite set of output (=value), recognizable in that system, obtains. A function determining the output of another function is defined by functional composition, carrying the output of one into another and producing a single output. This provides a model of the ideological mechanism we describe for that objective function takes the output of another, determinate of a set of conditions, as its input and produces output appropriate to the conditions it indexes, conditions defined by that now composite function and in which the former is no longer superficially apparent from the output. This process defines the use value of another function prior to the latter’s operation. The former’s conditions must obtain for the latter to be heard, to be recognized, at all. In sum, our functional interpretation of ideology describes exactly what elite capture entails, the putting to use of terms in ways that may be contradictory to their determinates and yet obtains a value in the system over determining that function to the benefit of this relationship between a domain and the contexts in which what is or is not licensed as a valid expression obtains. The future perfect comes in by way of M-20-34 instantiating exactly what undermines its position, the point of a CRT analytic frame, thus CRT instantiates what is willed, presently unbeknownst to the system that seeks to overdetermine its operation. As conditions change, anti-CRT instantiates its own demise.

What we’ve searched for is a mechanism by which imagination is mobilized by way of causal relations between the functional-content of objects of thought. This mechanism for creating thought does not necessarily invent new things in the world so as to impose them but allows us to see the underlying features of how the constituents of that world are/can be related. This is no different than any method of inquiry in which the goal is to construct reference frames in which inter-subjective agreement on the use of terms and their translation into various contexts of application can obtain. [6b] [14] In this way, we see more of the world, not reduce it. We find the possibility to rearrange conditions so as to construct alternative contexts in which our state of affairs can change in plausible ways. This is possible because the means of construction are provided and open for use. Infinite use of finite means entails that we actualize more of what is already there. Others can learn what seems to come out of nowhere for sharing the functional-content allows for others to recreate those conditions so context-appropriate articulations of that framework of thought may emerge.

The possibility of applying these frames brings into our discussion how modes of expression are the modes in which the conditions we inhabit are constructed biologically, racially, culturally, politically, et al. Taking a proposition p of the functional-content of our belief f—for b (f(x)=x)=b—such that an observation of a manifestation of that belief q is realizable given that proposition, we must talk about the identity obtained between context and assertion. It just so happens that q is dependent upon p for if we take p to be our constant, f (p)=p, then what we are saying is that the domain p is such that if f then p given f. The necessity of q is contingent to the possibility—probability or prospect, e.g. (q | p), see above—of p. Thus, what we need to define is a way of enumerating the domain composed by p so that subdomains in which q or not-q obtain, i.e. f(n, f(n))=pn. Identity is necessary within the contexts in which that assertion obtains. We removed the stipulation of the reference of identifications being extra-mental things because of the ambiguities that arise, contradicting the necessity of that identity regardless of context. Thus, modality, here the prospect of that framework being applicable or not, is understood in the following way:

Necessarily-q:=df for all p, if p then q

Possibly-p :=df there is not a q such that if p then, both q and not-q

We know from the above that p obtains in so far as f, for if f then p given f since f indexes a domain in which the range of p is defined as a co/sub-domain. In this way, we see whether q models a change in p-conditions, for q is the necessary consequence of changes in p. As such, p sets the condition in which q necessarily emerges, while others, contingent upon p, are foreclosed or no longer apply. Necessity, then, is derived from possibility, for the context of p is only such given the appropriateness of the application of the function implied by its use. The use of p implies the function by which the context of its assertion is appropriate; thereby the necessity of what is enumerated as a member of that context is indexed to that context.

That identity is epistemologically necessary yet ontologically contingent is handled without falling into ceaseless ambiguity in the following way. Intuitively we understand this for the same individual can be known under multiple names, the same name can be used for various individuals. Consider the various functionally equivalent yet not universally interchangeable ‘Black’ identities that obtain in different contexts all the while each expressing an aspect of a global Black-ness. Formally, epistemic necessity as frame dependent is modeled above by the frame posed by G. That frame includes the functional expression of individuals in F such that a relation holds (or not) between possible arrangements of the functional-content of the assertions obtaining that frame. A perspective can be defined as the context from which one views these relations becoming the object of a function positing the conditions it indexes with respect to others. For example, all F-successors from the stance of x are such that they hold constant, are related by, x=f (x), while f(f(x))=f-successor is indexed to an F citing an F-predecessor. So G (x, F) entails a relation in which G necessarily obtains if and only if F is true at x, i.e. x therefore F. if a relation between x and F holds for all G-successors, then F is necessary in G. If x only holds for some, then x is only possible in G which entails that G may or may not be the case.

It follows that necessity and possibility are co-definable: not-possibly-not=necessary; not-necessarily-not=possibly; not-possibly=necessarily-not; and not-necessarily=possibly-not. From here, the force behind this argument for imagination comes to bear for if a given framework is possible, then it is necessarily possible. [3a; 3b] This does not entail that everything goes but that if the means of constructing that state arrangement are provided, the possibility that it can be applied makes its consequence necessary in so far as its use obtains. However, this does not mean that that proposition’s functional-content will obtain. It means that it is only by virtue of testing this framework that one can determine whether it will be permitted. In effect, we test and quickly find out if it does not apply. Attempts to continue application in the same conditions regardless of what is the case reveals an inconsistency with the user’s attempt to generalize one system universally across others. It reveals the desire to maintain a context as constant, as they are, which we know the output of a function changes dependent upon changes in the conditions in which it’s applied.

We model the application of a framework B in the following way. B represents a relation between a belief and a system of beliefs, i.e. B=G(x, F).

B:=df possibly 

Not-B-not :=df necessarily

From these definitions we obtain the following system: [15]

B is B → possibly-believed

not-B → not-possibly-believed

B-not → believe-not

not-B → necessarily-not, for not-possibly-believed

not-B-not → necessarily, for not possibly-not-believed

We have seen why ideology may turn up vacuous. Fixing the function of belief as necessary within a system of beliefs and applying it universally, may be vacuously true for there is no one who holds that belief or, as the sole believer, contradicts every other upon assertion. In sum, we see what happens when F=G, when the individual is a non-member member of a frame.

Ideological absolutism posits that its propositions are universally necessary to fix consequences. As such, superficially, it seems that that system purports: if necessarily-q then q. Consider the following: if necessarily-q then q given necessarily-q; so, if not-B-not-q then q given not-B-not-q. Following conditionalization we obtain, either not-B-q or q. We cannot for certain ascertain the connection between belief and its object without the application of that proposition of belief, although no contradiction arises. Recall our anti-CRT example, its claim and the object of its claim are dubiously connected.

However, upon consideration of the apparent goal, we are motivated to analyze its syntactic structure. We find that ideology claims to fix the function of belief within a system of a belief, thereby predetermining the value of its output. Recall CRT’s convergence with the ideological stance of the memo and yet its value is determined antithetical to the memo’s project. Ideology seems to wish to fix conditions so that certain outcomes emerge without direct interaction. As such, it attempts to set the conditions in which the actualization of certain beliefs can or cannot occur. What we are talking about is necessarily determining possibility. The “function” of that function can be represented as not-B-not-(if B-p then p). We have come across this before under f (f(x), x)=g, if we take it to be the case that ((if (if B then f) then f) then B) given our abstraction principle. As f (x)=x when x=0, and not-f-not-x is equivalent to not-f then not-x, we show that no matter how stringent the fixing of a belief within a system of belief, that system is derived and therefore remains an external stipulation to what is apparent, not necessary in that domain only to the domain constructed.

Take the case that “necessarily, if possibly-p then p.” If we were to test a counter-example to prove by its falsity that the ideological system is true, our test would ask if it is not necessarily the case that if possibly-p then p. We find that this supposes that it is possible that it is not the case that if possibly-p then p, which results in possibly-p and not-p. We are left with a world in which p exists outside of the necessity of the system imposed. Predetermining the possible output of belief towards a particular output must reach outside the system for its justification, that “meta”-systemic justification proves its own non-necessity for it has no recourse save to the motivation of the one employing that system. From our example, anti-CRT stances seem to instantiate what they refute, highlighting the vacuousness of their claims.

If we can construct conditions in which an observation can be made, then we can imagine that object obtaining those conditions. The claim asserted is indexed to the context in which those conditions were determined.​ That object may obtain those conditions but just because the context of those conditions can be determined by the function of their construction, does not mean that all contexts marking those conditions are actualizeable. This does not preclude that our imaginations’ positing the image of a composite of functions do not inform the contexts from which the functional-content for those resources were deployed.​ The prospect that ‘if p then q’ is such that prob(q) is proportional or is in correspondence to qp. [9] In other words, q is the case in so far as the conditions set by the function of p do not apply, only in those conditions is q necessarily-possible. If one to one, q would be p, making the assertion senseless.

In conclusion, discussions of creativity in some shape or form seem to privilege either rationality or imagination. In fact, our study of ideology shows how systems are placed to limit what can be imagined, predetermining the outcome of creativity and belief. Looking to the logico-syntactic as well as philosophical underpinnings of both, we see that the severing of imagination from rationality falls flat. This privileging based on either preference of fit to problem, a valuation of biological capacity, or a mind/body distinction, seems to fall apart at the seams. Since Newton, there is no way to explain the term “physical” solely in terms of mechanical interaction. Ridding ourselves of the need for this distinction, the problems associated with these distinctions do not arise. For example, even if a mind were to be in a vat connected to a computer through which it received information like that of the nervous system, that set up does not account for that information needing to be filtered through bodily organs before it reaches the brain. The aspect of mind developed via the expression of a creative capacity making infinite use of finite means, whether it be from an alphabet or sensory-motor functions, remains. As human action cannot be solved by mere mechanics, the ‘mechanism’ we seek is one unwed from a presupposition of its physical constitution. Constitution considered as given is akin to considering a function by only its outputs but a framework in which the physical is explained. [7] This has inadvertently led to a prioritization of ideological fixation over imaginative capacity.

Creativity is expressed as an operation that function’s through experience and part of the faculty producing that experience for it operates through an imaginative workspace. There is no degree of mind or, in this respect, “human”-ness for to assume so would be to onboard the issues listed above in some sort of biological vein with no means of justification save for preference alone. In this light, notions of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. can be rejected outright as not a necessary component of what makes us, us. What are called “humans” are not strictly determined by their environment for a key marker of that nomination is the capacity to play with the parameters in which our personal environments arise. We are mutually constituted. The strict determination or over determination of an individual’s expressive capacity generally falls short for any generalization based on minor degrees of physical difference in a system which cannot properly formulate a concept of what is “physical” save by another system of terms, displays its internal contradictions. Presupposing the significance of what exemplifies a category before attending to how that category was constructed leads to the negation of much of what would fill in that category because it does not fit one’s preconceived image of its members.

The problem is that there are not degrees of “intelligence,” a term that only obtains a sense within a framework external to those measured. Allowing or disallowing certain expressions to emerge and by which tertiary attempts at segregation come about explains the ranking of individuals. In this way, subjects are not compelled by their environment in some mechanical way but are inclined and incited to apply the content of assertions as a function of their appropriateness indexed to the capacity to manipulate of those conditions. This latter creative process is exemplified in the fact that there are many ways to solve the same problem. Creativity is expressed by the function of the operation of solving a problem within the domain of experience with the finite resources therein, producing objects unaccounted for in those prior conditions, not necessarily to merely fit into those conditions.

The explanation must be built into individuals before expressions are formed. This is not essentialism for what that individual becomes is dependent upon the context in which it is perceived. The fact of the matter is that all have this capacity, expressed in different ways as a function of what is used given their environment with respect to others. One cannot form a question without somehow knowing where to look for the answer, otherwise, the question does not arise. A lot of times people ask if there is any food while their head is in the refrigerator. What is revealed in the deep structure of the question itself, is that the means of interrogation comes from the one asking the question, an interrogation of self in relation to the world they inhabit constituted by others. There is no metaphysical fact to which they would have recourse to deny that others retain the same capacity as they. [17]

Therefore, there is no thing in and of itself that is “creative” or “rational” or “genius.” The pre-determination of those facts of inquiry are revealed as the maintenance of an irrational attitude, e.g. racism. [5] These are concepts relative to a framework in which the function of their operation expresses a capacity in which the various answers to problems are revealed by a consideration of their means of construction. They are merely labels affixed to solutions supposed as given without an account for their employment. Alluding to the “future perfect” above, this concept is not as far-fetched as it may seem when looking at a plausible logic of imagination as a result of creative capacity. The future perfect tense details a future action presently. If implied by a domain are all the possible arrangements of its constituents with no one as of yet held significant with respect to others—e.g. the null set as the only set with itself as a member, thus as a proper subset of itself is conceivable by its mean of construction by some infinite-recursive operation [11] [20]—the context of a particular set of experiences demarcating a section of this domain can be as yet experienced by some but inhabited by others. When these contexts are related, one is acquainted with a different territory of that domain. This different territory becomes the “as yet” for those in the context at present. Known because shared with them is the function implied by its construction. Although the operation may differ but posits the same relation between input and output, one can actualize that as yet, presently, to see if it holds.

Creativity, then, bends our experience of this domain by poetically computing different arrangements of apparent parameters. This allows for certain expressions to emerge, and others to not. How is access to these alternative domains attained or missed? A rigidity principle by way of an ideology is introduced. Either by predetermining the consequence (q) or rigidifying the necessity of the conditions (p), ideological absolutism or universalism runs into issues. Interpretations are made interchangeable with the creative capacity, ossifying that operation during certain critical periods. For example, in a visual system, when you look at a circle, you see a ‘circle’; otherwise, you cannot be said to have that concept. If on a piece of paper, you turn that paper until the image disappears, what you ‘see’ is a circle rotating until it disappears. However, the data constituting your visual perceptions register different shapes until that drawing disappears. Reality, then, is based on the consequence of one’s interpretations over what is the case. Interpretations become rigid after those propositions and their consequences are impressed, entrenched, made interchangeable. Creativity stems from the capacity to resist or manipulate this rigidity, to question, or to pose different interpretations based on the same capacity that produced those now concrete. If the mind can be said to have functional-content, thereby proposing a solution to how one encodes infinite possibility within a finite structure, then possibly our “humanity” may be entailed by the ability to hold two opposing assertions, whose functional-content is valued the same but when applied evaluate to different ends, and apply neither. The language with which the world we inhabit is constructed is evaluated by the terms assigned. The relation between these terms is experimented with to see the extent to which one set, whose use does not result in contradiction, is captured by another. When these sets of terms no longer overlap, we say that the description of the state of affairs, the conceptual fabric we weave and whose threads are causal inferences contouring the shape of our affairs, no longer holds.


This piece was written while a Cheryl A. Wall fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University and as a RACE.ED fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities. I would also like to note my appreciation for the reviewers and editors helpful feedback.


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[12] Hayes-Edwards, Brent. “Louis Armstrong and the Syntax of Scat.” Critical Inquiry 28, 3 (2002): 618-49.

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  1. Play has been considered a necessary condition for constructing our state of affairs. [16] One imagines prototypes and tests. It is not always the case that one rearranges predetermined outcomes, rather, one manipulates the parameters by which those outcomes emerge. In so doing, one articulates, composes, outcomes unable to be accounted for in the original domain. Ideology presupposes the outcomes whereas imagination take the conditions in which one is implicated themselves and manipulates them so that different outcomes emerge .
  2. Consider, “if red then apple.” Traditionally, we would evaluate this statement as making the claim that either nothing is red or there is an apple. Readings in this light state that conditionals are valid just so long as the consequent is true. The inference rule, modus ponens, states that we can also evaluate this conditional as: red, and “if red then apple,” therefore, apple. But the following is true as well, if not-apple then not-red. From where does this necessity come from? It appears that the connection is necessary, however, we know it to be the case that not all red things are apples and that apples are different colors. We have tried to ameliorate this by stating ‘if red, then apple given red’ which seems to indicate that there is a domain in which we are operating so that these two concepts are related in some way. We have tried to decouple the idea that what is ‘red’ and what is ‘apple’ does not refer to things in and of themselves, but indicate the deployment of particular concepts that are related in some way. What we explore here is the consequence of stating that insofar as there are ‘red’ things, there are ‘apples.’
  3. For example, one can construct conditions in which the object of the term “unicorn” obtains, but that does not mean that they will ever find a unicorn. However, there is a possible world in which that term has meaning, namely that of fables, which is implied by the function of the term unicorn being significant within those conditions.
  4. Our analysis shows that the function of ideology makes it easy for those who wield it to absolve themselves of accountability. Their use of the terms of belief without access to the objects of those beliefs, while still making assertions regarding our state of affairs, entails that their use implicates in the system employed. Although these assertions may have consequences as shown above, because the system on which they rely does not have access to the objects of those beliefs or individuals, for ideological concern predetermines the conditions so as to allow for certain consequences to emerge without direct interaction, one can just as quickly state, “it’s not me, it’s the system!” This leads to dangerous outcomes for blaming the system reveals that it is possible to further that system’s goals, both willingly and unwillingly, for if disavowed one still falls under the extension of that overarching frame of reference. One’s position and role, whether known or unknown to them, results in the same epistemic consequence within the system. The more pressing issue is how the one abdicating from accountability proves they are not implicated in the framework whose terms they employ which only have significance in that frame?

Cite this Essay

Peterson, Victor, II. “Future Perfect: Imagination and Ideology.” Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, no. 39, 2023, doi:10.20415/rhiz/039.e04