Accepting Responsibility For Our Own Actions … Is The Problem!
This is the lighter version of this article. For the more comprehensive version, go here.
What is the problem [or is there a problem] with our global society dominating ‘Western’ world view?
Hypothesis: There is a deep-seated problem with our ‘Western’ world view in that this world view confuses scientific ‘mental artifice’ for ‘reality’, denying us the ‘truth’ of our own unfolding-in-the-now experience. That is, we are allowing mental artifice [science and the language in which it is conveyed] to hijack our experience. It hijacks our experience where we let our scientific/rational thoughts dominate the orchestrating of our behaviour to the extent that we ignore the orchestrating signals of our sensory experiencing associated with our situational inclusion in the unfolding dynamic of nature. As Mach says; “The function of science … is to replace experience.”
Science is not concerned with ‘nature’ per se but with ‘snippets of nature’s dynamics’ that are repetitive and can be reduced to a rule, law or principle;
“Nature has but an individual existence ; nature simply is.”
“Science acts and only acts in the domain of uncompleted experience. … Where neither confirmation nor refutation is possible, science is not concerned.” – Mach
According to Mach, the development of ‘science’s mental artifice’ is done so as to ‘economize on thought’. Mental artifice captured in language allows us to avoid having to repeat the investigative thinking that, for example, gave us the principle of ‘the lever’ millennia ago, we have captured ‘the awareness of how it works’ in language and can simply ‘take it for granted’. So it is with science in general.
But in order to confirm a scientific theory, we must repeat the experiment to SEE if we get the same, predicted result, … there’s the rub!
Scientific experimentation involves ‘doing something’ for which the scientific theory predicts the results. If the results emerge as predicted, in several repetitions of the experiment, the validity of the scientific theory is confirmed. It is a philosophical question as to whether we can count on the theory ‘holding true’ for an indefinite number of repetitions of the experiment.
Supposing the experiment is to construct a factory according to a set of scientifically devised rules and plans. And suppose that in each of three repetitions of the experiment, the results emerge as predicted and the scientists proclaim the validity of the theory. But on so doing, they are confronted by an angry group of local citizens in the rural location where the experiments were done, who declare that the first experiment transformed their relations with one another and the land, a quiet agricultural town and surroundings, pulling farmhands off the farms, orchestrating the development of new infrastructure, highways and rail-lines, and an influx of foreign workers, and that each following experiment further compounded this transformation of relations with one another and the land. What does science have to say about that?
What Mach says is;
“The space of sight and touch is three-dimensional ; that, no one every yet doubted”
Scientific observations are made within a notional absolute three-dimensional grid [the space of Euclidian geometry] so that the scientific theory is formulated as if ‘what happens’, happens with an absolute fixed, empty and infinite [Euclidian] three-dimensional space. The ‘absoluteness’ of this mental artifice-space ensures that there is no ‘interaction’ between the inside-outward asserting causal agency and its effect, and the dynamics of the space in which this cause-to-outcome experiment is transpiring in. The inputs drawn from the space the experiment is situated in do not measurably change the space because ‘three-dimensional space’ is infinite [Euclidian straight line dimensional axes extend to plus and minus infinity], and likewise for the outputs discharged into the infinite space.
Thus, there will be a standoff between the scientists who claim their theory validated as the experimental outcomes were as predicted, and the angry farmers who claim that the scientists are living in a dream world wherein ‘what we do’ is given a higher status than the transforming space we share inclusion in, in which our actions are an intervention, as in Mach’s principle; “the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.” This conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation, the reality of it, as our sensory experience gives testimony to, is a greater reality than the mental artifice of scientific theory which reduces this conjugate relation to a one sided, purely inside-outward asserting constructivist view, thanks to science’s assumption of a three-dimensional space that does not participate in physical phenomena; i.e. physical phenomena are conceived of by science, purely in terms of ‘material things and what these things do’, as if these ‘doings’ transpire in absolute, fixed, empty and infinite three-dimensional space, which is of course, in Nietzsche’s words, a total Fiktion.
What kind of idiots would go around doing all kinds of stuff believing that the results of their actions were purely and solely in terms of cause and effect outcomes? … i.e. believing that the common living space they do these things in is not affected by their actions?
Oh yes, the collective known as ‘Western civilization’ behaves this way habitually.
But that is not the ways of mothers who stock the cupboards with fresh baked foods to provide a nurturing living space for her family. This habitude was a ‘science’ long before the science that framed things in the mental artifice of three-dimensional Euclidian geometry came along. Mothers are very aware of the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation wherein, we can condition the space we live in so that it is nurturing for its inhabitants. This is, in fact, an ethic that one can live by, rather than by the Western civilization ethic of maximizing one’s cause-effect production. Mach’s principle to this effect simply captures the ‘real’ nature of the relationship between the habitat and its inhabitants [the conjugate relation which is akin to the relationship between the storm-cell and energy-charged flow it emerges in and vanishes back into]
There is evidently a lot more going on in the world than can be seen and touched [“The space of sight and touch is three-dimensional ; that, no one every yet doubted.”]. That is, there is a lot more going on than can be captured in ‘three-dimensional space based mental artifice’.
When the scientists and the angry farmers make a tour of the factories together, the scientists will point to their design drawings and show how each of the features predicted in their plans has in fact been realized through the engineering sciences. All of these predictions can be validated by sight and by touch and by related quantitative measurements, using standard measuring rods and clock times. The scientists are not interested in hearing the farmers talk of ‘the way it used to be’, bloody Luddites that they seem to be. The farmers are evidently ‘simple people’ who are afraid of ‘progress’.
But if there were an Ernst Mach among the farmers, he would say to the scientists that the dynamics of their reality is mental artifice, not natural reality, for it is impossible for an inhabitant of the space of nature to causally engineer an effect according to his plan since everything he does as an inhabitant is in conjugate relation with the natural habitat in which he is situationally included. His validations of the predicted result are merely in terms of sight and touch applied to material objects, but that is far from the full capability of our sensory experience.
For example our senses inform us of spatial inclusion. As Giambattista Vico observed, when we find ourselves in a thunderstorm, we run for shelter to remove ourselves from spatial turbulence. This action is orchestrated from the outside-inward and derives from the variable quality of the space we are included in. Birds do not need a ‘migration plan’, they can let their movements be orchestrated by the availability of food and conditions; i.e. by the quality of the space they are situated in. The reindeer graze on exposed lichens and so they follow a trail of crumbs. It is the variable quality of the space that orchestrates their behaviours. Scientists like to invert the sourcing of animation and impute it to reside in the animals as some kind of rational ‘migration plan’. This is anthropomorphism that follows the way that scientific man thinks of himself, science and its rational rules having been progressively substituted for his ability to ‘experience’.
‘Three-dimensional space’ is too simplistic a mental artifice to capture our full blown sensory experience. That is, it cannot capture the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation of relativity and quantum physics. A more comprehensive mathematical mental artifice is ‘relational space’, a four-dimensional or multi-dimensional space where space is no longer non-participating emptiness, but where space is instead an active medium in the manner of an energy-charged field whose influence is nonlocal, non-visible and non-material.
So much for our science grounded in sight and touch, when we upgrade with a multi-dimensional mental artifice wherein space/habitat is a participant in inhabitant dynamics; i.e. where space/habitat not only inhabits the inhabitants, it creates them [in the manner that atmospheric space/habitat both inhabits and creates storm-cells, leading to the situation where “the dynamics of habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.” – Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity.
No doubt the angry farmers would have spoken of these ‘externalities’ of little interest to the scientists, that are not given by the cause-and-effect terms of ‘what things do’ which is the basis of mainstream scientific theorizing, and which flaunts, ignores and implicitly denies the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation.
But all over the world, there are individuals, groups, corporations, sovereign states, … all in the process of implementing scientific/rational cause-and-effect plans and expecting to achieve the theorized results. Like the scientists in the above example, they can largely expect to achieve those results and be able to validate them by sight and touch, as if they had been achieved in a three-dimensional space, an absolute, fixed, empty and infinite space that does not participate in the material ‘what things do’ dynamics that transpire within it.
Of course, if the space they are implementing their scientific/rational plans in turns out ‘not to be a non-participating three-dimensional space’, there could be hell to pay.
The location of ‘hell’ is thought to be in the ‘fourth dimension’ so the above phraseology may be appropriate in a literal as well as figurative sense.
If we up the ante, in terms of mental artifices for grounding our scientific theorizing in, from ‘three-dimensions’ to ‘four-dimensions’ [or more], we allow for sources of animation to come from the spatial-relations amongst things, relations that are themselves nonlocal, non-visible and non-material, like the relations in a ‘field’ of influence [thermal, e/m, gravity etc.]. As far as sight and touch go, [aspects of our sensory experience but by no means the full sensory experiential capability], we can still use the economy of language to break out ‘storm cells’ which are visible and touchable and use these as a starting point so as to conceive of dynamics in terms of material entities and what they do.
To the scientific thinker who has gotten used to the ‘economy of thought’ wherein the world dynamic can be seemingly described in terms of the cause-and-effect of ‘what things do’, who focuses on the successful construction of the new factories and simply accepts as ‘progress’, without reflection, the relational transformation of habitat that is conjugate with the inhabitant dynamic [construction of factories], opening the door to the primary source of animation of the world dynamic coming from ‘the fourth dimension’ is downright spooky. As Mach observes;
“Yet in such a case [as where science would postulate a higher dimensional space], this fourth dimension would, nonetheless, remain a pure thing of thought, a mental fiction. But this is not the way matters stand. The phenomena mentioned were not forthcoming until after the new views were published, and were then exhibited in the presence of certain persons at spiritualistic séances. The fourth dimension was a very opportune discovery for the spiritualists and for theologians who were in a quandary about the location of hell…. We have not yet found an accoucheur who has accomplished parturition through the fourth dimension. … I myself regarded multi-dimensional space as a mathematico-physical help even prior to the appearance of Riemann’s memoir [on the equal legitimacy of non-euclidian relational spaces to the absolute space of euclidian geometry]. But I trust that no one will employ what I have thought, said, and written on this subject as a basis for the fabrication of ghost stories.”
Scientific thinking people take great comfort from the fact that it is in their power to formulate predictive cause-and-effect plans and bring them to fruition as predicted. This is the world they prefer to live in, a world wherein change can be brought about by, and determined/controlled by them.
When the angry farmers come to them, saying; ‘look what you have done to our living space!’, the scientists retort, ‘this is progress, get with it, you can’t stop it, it is a relentless tide coming from the creative fountainhead of humanity’.
Of course, all the scientists are doing in taking this position, is obscuring shortfalls in their theorizing paradigm, wherein they have infused thought-economizing simplifications that are pure abstraction based, such as ‘three-dimensional space’. Such ‘mental artifice’ allows them to ‘get rid of’ the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation in nature’s dynamics, reducing the scientific notion of dynamics to one-sided, inside-outward asserting cause-and-effect constructivism. This mental modeling of reality is one in which we can scientifically predict and determine the future state of things. ‘On these three sites, three new factories will arise, which will produce these beneficial products …’
This is a mode of activity that one can really ‘get into’ and it can get smarter and smarter and cleverer and cleverer and more and more creative so that wonderful new factories and products can be produced.
How is a scientific thinker going to feel if some simpleton farmer comes along and claims that this reality that the scientific thinkers think they are living in is a secondary reality derived by their own mental artifice, and that the reality of nature is one in which the source of animation in the world derives from nonlocal, non-visible, non-material influences as might merit an ‘upgrade’ in scientific mental artifice from geometrical space-framing assumed as ‘three dimensional’ to ‘four or more dimensional’.
Here comes the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relational reality and there goes the satisfying simplicity and comfort of being able to predict cause-and-effect outcomes.
Can you imagine how the scientific thinker, long respected for his ability to predictive create desired determined outcomes, feels about being accused of having used smoke and mirrors [mental artifice born of the limited sensing of sight and touch] to obscure what is really going on? That the greater reality is the transformation of spatial relations, as the angry farmers contended?
Faced with such a loss, the scientific thinker may prefer to ‘cry foul’ or ‘new age foolishness’ whenever there is talk of a ‘fourth dimension’ as being a source of animation that transcends the cause-and-effect ‘what things do’ scientific world view.
So, even though ‘all hell is breaking loose’ as the world gets into full swing of implementing predictive cause-and-effect outcomes, letting the ‘reality’ of the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation flap like a loose sheet in the wind’, the globally dominating ‘scientific civilization’ insists on dealing with the plethora of resultant problems, using the over-simplified cause-effect mental artifice that is the very source of them.
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Mach; [quotes from ‘The Science of Mechanics: A critical and historical account of its development’]
1. Science is communicated by instruction, in order that one man may profit by the experience of another and be spared the trouble of accumulating it for himself. ; and thus, to spare posterity, the experiences of whole generations are stored up in libraries. Language, the instrument of this communication, is itself an economical contrivance.
2. There is no cause nor effect in nature ; nature has but an individual existence ; nature simply is.
3. Cause and effect, … are things of thought, having an economical office.
4. The space of sight and touch is three-dimensional ; that, no one every yet doubted.
5. Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought.
6. The function of science, … is to replace experience.
7. Science acts and only acts in the domain of uncompleted experience. [Where neither confirmation nor refutation is possible, science is not concerned.]
Poincaré [quote from ‘Science and Hypothesis’, Ch. ‘Hypotheses in Physics’, subsection ‘Origin of Mathematical Physics’ ]
“Origin of Mathematical Physics. Let us go further and study more closely the conditions which have assisted the development of mathematical physics. We recognise at the outset that the efforts of scientists have always tended to resolve the complex phenomenon given directly by our experience into a large number of elementary phenomena. And to do this in three different ways : first, with respect to time. Instead of taking into account the progressive development of a phenomenon as a whole, we simply seek to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We assert that the present state of the world depends only on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the memory of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down “its differential equation” ; for the laws of Kepler, we substitute the laws of Newton.” — Henri Poincaré, ‘Science and Hypothesis’, Ch. ‘Hypotheses in Physics’, subsection “Origin of Mathematical Physics”