I suppose the best thing about Pierce was that he thought in threes. When it comes to how this actually takes place in the real world I have a sense of a line in the sand between the sorts of abstract thinking that take place beyond the ordinary world of this and that. In the latter world Triadic Philosophy believes that triads are real and, yes, they do contain and convey and process information. For example. If what Pierce calls the Icon or First is those two reflected lights, no wait four, that I see in my window, as visible as the desk lamp they reflect, they are indeed real. Just as the sound of me scratching my head is real. Now if I have decreed to myself that the Index or second consists of four terms that make sense to me as ethical benchmarks, it shows (me) that a Second or Index can and does contain information. It is interposed between Reality and the Third in the triad which is Aesthetics (the conclusive element which will soon contain information derived from the incipient meeting of the Sign Icon First (those lamp reflections) and the Second Index (information) which consists of the terms Tolerance, Helpfulness, Democracy and Non-idolatry.
Now to put that colander to work. From where I sit these reflections are real and I have no idea why they remain so ineffably stable. The cords which hang from the building across the Broadway blow in the light wind. But these lights are as stable as the objects between me and the window.
I surmise that I can tolerate this miracle. My flexibility is such that I can regard it as real. It is part of vision and perception.
It helps to be able to take what one actually sees as part of reality. It would make me better able to empathize with any account of anyone else’s perception. Even to honor it.
Democracy? All have a right to their visions without regard to their sophistication or even their truth. Acceptance is, in this sense, all.
Non-idolatry. We have been given the capacity to see things in ways unique to us but at the same time by sharing what we see we unearth commonalities and can arrive at the joy that the Holy One takes in recounting to Job the wonders of creation.
I then arrive at the threshold of the Third Aesthetic and I say to myself what Keats said – Truth is beauty. Beauty is truth. And I am impelled to EXPRESS this with the sentence Reality is beautiful.
And my action is to send this along in response to the notion that the first contains all the information, for it seems that the Second contains essential information. And that it is the Third – the aesthetic action – that contains the fruit of the entire consideration which is Triadic Philosophy.