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The apparent final word on wisdom was made by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when he pondered over the unknown unknowns. He was worried about enemy plans, but the public loved his phrase “unknown unknowns”. What this series of posts is attempting to do is find a gradation, from the known knowns to the unknown unknowns, in an effort to better understand the obscuring factors associated with each step. If we are to search into the unknown unknowns of reality, and not get lost in the infinity of speculative unknowables, it seems reasonable to first create a general theory of what is preventing us from finding the knowable unknowns. In all likelihood there is a large number of now existing unknown knowables.

This quest isn’t the same as scientific exploration, as that process is generally limited to exploring the periphery of the known world, searching for aberrations to be fixed with better theories. Science is building on the known world by adding to well tested theories by challenging what is known with testable errors in the current working theory, and from the errors to refine a new theory to better fit what is known. It is feeling forward from the edge of the known, and not groping out into what appears to be the untestable unknown unknowns.

We need a method for getting past the obscuring things and finding the knowable unknowns. The first steps are to identify unusual things and verify that they really exist. These speculations seeking into the unknown unknowns to find knowable things residing at present within the unknown started with camouflage; but as that idea was explored it became apparent that even that generalized concept hadn’t been considered very deeply previously. Even though a brilliant and experienced man like Rumsfeld had spent billions of US dollars on military camouflage, there were obvious failures. The money went for such things as redesigning military personnel’s clothing to match the Iraq deserts instead of the Vietnam jungles. This new clothing it was said was designed after the soldiers were already in the field, but such an obvious mistake must have been misreporting. Hum? Even my quickly prepared list below goes far deeper than simply matching the camouflage to the background color. Let us consider first nature’s efforts at camouflage, a DNA-driven type of camouflage of perceptual reality: coloration and shape to background, hiding, distancing – visual, audio, behavioral  – It is followed with defensive/aggressive actions with weapons such as teeth, claws, and armor. Intelligent behavior, hiding by animals: such as freezing, flocking. There will be an order of seeking into the unknown unknowns.

  1. Detection of unusual data points in any realm obscuring factors
    1. Camouflage   making things difficult to discover (Hearts ♥ go to more links.)
    2. Crypsis – is a DNA-driven selected ability of an organism to avoid detection or sustained observation by other organisms.
      1. Nocturnality – using low light to become obscure
      2. Subterranean – living below ground avoids surface depredation
      3. Stillness – not moving lessens visibility
      4. Transparency – allowing light to pass through body
      5. Counter-shading – illuminated side made darker, shaded areas lighter
      6. Counter-shadowing – flattening to have edges blended into a surface
      7. Patchiness – breaks up larger silhouette outlines
      8. Patterning – making colors and shapes mimic background
      9. Mimicry – looking and acting like the background environment
      10. Flocking – creating confusion for predators by many random actions
      11. Herding – healthy members hiding behind slower moving sick ones
      12. Distance – getting far away from a predators habitat, migration
      13. Dead – appearing dead is unappetizing to some predators
      14. Deimatic – sudden faking behaviors and displays simulating threat
    3. Mimesis – DNA-driven mimicry pretending to be dangerous
      1. Batesian    a harmless mimic poses as harmful model
      2. Müllerian   two harmful species similarly advertise harmfulness
      3. Aposematism   multi-modal signal warning, bold, odors, colors, sounds
      4. Frequency-dependent selection – doesn’t outnumber its nasty model

      Those are some methods of camouflage, but a general theory which is going deeper into the unobserved is being pursued. I will go beyond natural DNA-driven Camouflages into the Veils, and Fogs and whatever else I can find. That is where the natural living unknowns might be found, but similar search strategies should reveal the unknowns in non-living realities such as mathematical, verbal and emotional. After those subjects obscuring what exists are reviewed, dissected and amplified, a more productive search into human-motivated deceit will be possible and should be more productive. It should be easy to take the theory beyond … Surface camouflage – military decoration camouflage

      1. Front – fabric patterns
      2. Embedded – ghillie suits of local materials
      3. Behind – positioning behind opaque objects

This is a huge subject so there will be much more to come. It will take time and effort!