The great 19th-century poet Matthew Arnold in his greatest poem, "Dover Beach," spoke of a sea of faith that was endangered and then of ignorant armies clashing by night. He saw the 20th century. Triadic Philosophy replaces Arnold's image. The sea is still there, but it is a sea of mystery. And the mystery is Reality itself, of course. It contains too many truths for anyone to parse. And the mystery is us.

In today's world, the binary ways of the past are in their death throes, and the triadic is coming to rest, gently upon the roiling shore. We are seeing that reality and we are one.

This means there are some rules that are here whether we accept them or not. We do not live in a mechanistic prison. We have some freedom to make choices. But there is something else.


Among the rules that we can do nothing to change is that of logic itself and the character of logic is to arrive, with halting steps, at what is better, even what is good. We have a small window called progress that is stronger than all of the binary thinking that gets thrown at us, whether from our rulers or their binary subjects. The blunt truth is what intervenes between reality and us is Values. We are meant to become good.

Values are pointers to the logic of the universe and they are the only authoritative guidance we have to what will ultimately work for us all.

The values of Triadic Philosophy are housed in what I call Ethics. It is the second term in the triad Reality, Ethics, and Aesthetics. The principal action values are tolerance, helpfulness, and democracy. These sit upon an anchoring value that almost every wise person at all times has understood.

Ancient truth

I call the underlying value non-idolatry.

In Abrahamic texts, non-idolatry emerges as a caution against idolatry. It paves the way for scientific method in its most exalted sense, as an objective measure of what we can know. Even knowing of this sort is provisional and fallible. But it works better than ignorance.

We are on the threshold of the triadic. It was understood by Wittgenstein who carried Tolstoy's version of the New Testament in his pocket.

It was known by Nietzsche who failed against the one he admitted may have been the only true Christian and then went mad. It was known by Charles Sanders Peirce who provided the roadmap to the triadic more than any thinker ever.

Binary's last gasp

The prospects for Triadic Philosophy are excellent because it happens to be true. Reality is a sea of mystery. Values are our only hope. And we are in charge of history. Most everything else is binary and that is becoming history.