Anarchy and Order
Overview: The following article, ‘Anarchy and Order’ and subsequent discussion was published on the Anarchistnews.org website on July 20, 2010 and includes comments and discussion through to July 27, 2010. The last comment posted at that time was ‘Makes sense! Thanks’ by Squee on July 25, 2010.
This overview is to provide some contextual perspective (the article and discussion is copied ‘as is’ without edits) of where the author of the article is ‘coming from’ since the reader may otherwise ‘come in’ to the reading employing one or other of the very different definitions of ‘anarchism’ that are ‘out there’ in the mainstream media and/or in the intellectual writers forums.
To the author of the article, ‘anarchism’ may be compared directly with ‘decolonization’, a term used by indigenous peoples of North America (‘Amerindians’). The ‘decolonization’ movement (e.g. see Taiaiake Alfred’s video presentation at http://vimeo.com/4650972 ) [taiaiake starts speaking at the 10 min. 22 sec. mark]) orients to ‘the resurgence of traditional ways of being’. It has this in common with the ‘de-westernization’ that is implicit in ‘anarchism’. That is, the quest is for a way of life that is indicated by the Lakota words ‘Mitakuye oyasin’ (‘we are all related’, not just humans but.everything in Nature). This way of life is ‘backwards’ from our western urbanized or government organized way of life in that the organization is ‘extrinsically shaped’ by the dynamics of the space we are included in. For example, if one is in a sailboat in a storm, or driving a small car or motorcycle in the flow of the freeway, the spatial-relational dynamics we are included in extrinsically shape or individual and collective behaviour; i.e. ‘how we are organized’ is orchestrated from the outside-inward. By contrast, if one is on the Titanic and/or if one is in a semi-trailer or tank in the flow of the freeway, the organization is ‘intrinsic’ (directed from this inside-outward) and is deliberate intention/purpose driven.
In the west, since Aristotlelian ‘telos’ became dominantly popular; i.e. the belief that dynamics in nature are governed by ‘intrinsic final cause’ (e.g. the acorn is directed by its inner ‘purpose’ to become an oak tree), western intellectual/scientific man has conceived of himself as a ‘purposeful system’ (i.e. as having locally originating, internal purpose directed behaviour). This Aristotelian notion of the organism as a purposeful system has been built into western biology and into Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The ‘purposeful system’ view of humans and organisms is ‘over-simplied’ in that it ignores the extrinsic shaping influence that we experience in the dynamic space of nature. Nature, as we experience it in ‘real-life’, is ‘purposeless’ (anarchic); i.e. it is a ceaselessly innovative unfolding field of spatial-relationships in which we are each uniquely situationally included. In its entirety, there is no ‘encoding of what Nature is going to become, nor is there any ‘local internal purpose’ directing its unfolding (Nature is not one ‘giant acorn’ knowledgeably pushing out of itself on its way to becoming a ‘giant oak tree’). But western intellectual scientific thinking (the mainstream or popular variety which we build into our institutions::education, governance, justice) has locked-on to the purposeful system model of Aristotle, and imposes it on the individual ‘members’ of the ‘organization’ (the state, corporation, membership club etc.) The social ramifications are huge. As McLuhan pointed out, the purposeful system orientation blinds us to what is really going on. While we purposefully focus on constructing a factory in a small town (where ‘labour’ and ‘materials/resources’, the ‘factors of purposeful production’ are available), it matters little whether this purposeful system makes “Cadillacs or cornflakes”, what matters is how our relationships with one another and with the land are transformed. It’s not that we shouldn’t have technology, its just whether we should put ‘Mitakuye oyasin’ first as the orchestrator of our behaviours, or whether we should ignore it as is the current western way; i.e. our ‘western ethic’ is to focus purposefully on achieving our self-interested objectives/destinations. ‘Decolonization’ and ‘anarchism’ are both to do with ‘restoring to its natural primacy, the ethic of Mitakuye oyasin’. ‘Decolonization’ and ‘anarchism’ implicitly represent the resurgence of natural ways of being, the ‘reconnecting’ in the wake of western ‘disconnecting’. The traditional ‘connected way’ can still be found in the ‘spandrels’, those spaces which form ‘in between’ the arches and supportive beams of a deliberate and purposeful architecture, but as purposeful structures increasingly ‘take over’, the last of the spandrels in which the practitioners of Mitakuye oyasin can ‘breathe easy’ are being eliminated.
* * * Start of ‘Anarchy and Order’ Article * * *
_There is much dissatisfaction with so-called (hierarchical) ‘democratic process’ in both central and local governments, however, the knee-jerk reaction is to try to fix what is there without questioning the fundamentals. ‘Anarchy’ does not appear to be a ‘contender’ to many people because they immediately think of ‘disorder’ even though ‘anarchy’ associates with the highly ordered systems in nature (hierarchy is not the source of order in nature; it is something that linear-thinking science imposes). This mistaken impression deserves to be addressed.
Western culture indoctrination teaches one to think in the Aristotelian [telos] terms that order derives from ‘purposive’ behaviour; e.g. your drive and direction is supposed to come from your interior (you picture yourself like a powerboat with locally originating drive and direction rather than as a sailboat whose source of power and steerage is of ‘nonlocal’ origin). If you succumb to the ‘powerboating’ cultural indoctrination, then it makes sense to architect your organizations the same way, installing a central control authority as the centre of purposeful drive and direction. Nature, on the other hand, is ‘purposeless’. ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans’, as John Lennon said, but ‘purposeless dynamics’ are not without ‘order’.
Nature’s ordering ethic lies in the cultivating of spatial-relational balance in the continually unfolding present. As the meteorologist observes, there is no other reason for a hurricane to gather in the flow of the atmosphere but in the service of bringing about balance by transporting thermal energy from thermal-energy-rich equatorial regions to thermal-energy-poor polar regions. In nature we can observe the growth of have and have-not disparity and at the same time we can observe a pervasive ‘Robin-Hood ethic’, the inherent tendency to always restore balance (which always ultimately prevails). We may think of mountains and wave-crests rising and falling (and ditto for ‘personal empires’ and ‘political hierarchies’) but the reality is that ‘rising and falling’ is more realistically understood in the ‘relative’ terms of the action of a stretched/compressed spring as in ‘range and basin’ and ‘crest and trough’ dynamics. The ‘order’ in the system derives from the continual pursuit of balance in which the visible movement of particular ‘local forms’ is secondary; i.e. movement is orchestrated by nonlocal tensional fields, as in earthquakes and avalanches; i.e. movement does not originate locally but is in the service of always restoring spatial-relational balance(as in energy ‘field’ flow). This is not a ‘purposeful ethic’ but it is nature’s ethic and it can be man’s ethic as well, in which case the term ‘anarchy’ or ‘nullarchy’ would be a good fit.
If it ‘turns out’ that a man’s pile of wealth rises up into a mountain, he can let it go to fill in the valleys as is nature’s way. To actually embrace a purpose of building mountains of wealth may be Aristotle’s grand idea of how nature and humans work, but he also brought us the idea that men have more teeth than women and that bodies fall to earth at a speed proportional to their weight (a rock ten times heavier than another, he claimed, would fall at ten times the speed), Aristotelian ideas that got locked in for centuries/millennia thanks to the indoctrination cultures build into education.
More foundational inquiry into ‘order’ and ‘social organization’ can found at http://goodshare.org/wp/gender-and-space-in-the-social-dynamic/
[[Posted Comments (with threading levels) can also be seen at; http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/11789 ]]
Submitted by anon on Tue, 2010-07-20 12:10.
this is cool and romantic and all… but wtf this thing is all over the place.
Submitted by anon on Tue, 2010-07-20 12:41.
so what about eastern culture? i see a lot of hierarchy there!
Submitted by Squee on Tue, 2010-07-20 14:57.
First of all… if you’re going to talk about Eastern hierarchy, you’re not going to start off with a discussion of Western individualism and artifice. There is not just one way in which the subject forms a knack for this sort of “order”.
Second… I’ve always liked this argument, but overall I think that as anarchists… it has been a losing argument to rely on. Appeals to “natural order” are themselves problematic since human beings and other mammals do rely on a good amount of intentionality. There is an “order” to nature, but I don’t think the idea of “living in accord” with that order is appropriate for a person “an anarchist” that wants to live an intentional life. I am more taken by the idea of respecting the natural order and living in balance with it… trying to mark off some sort of sacred territory in the natural order that is not open to our inconsiderate intentions.
Submitted by anon on Tue, 2010-07-20 16:15.
Sounds like we need to advance the idea of natural order to include intentionality. Kauffman’s book “Reinventing the Sacred” explains that idea rather well. From an anarchist’s perspective I think the problem of our age (in these types of terms) is that what the “totality” is. The aspects of the very complex system we are trapped in that turn people’s intentions away from social harmony. So we have the great psychological dilemma, how may we reverse the effects of “totality”.
Submitted by Squee on Wed, 2010-07-21 16:07.
Walter Kauffman? The one who translated and wrote some of the best work on Nietzsche? That Kauffman?
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 10:16.
Stuart Kauffman, the micro biologist.
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 11:44.
no, i am marine biologist for vandelay industries
Submitted by emile on Tue, 2010-07-20 17:59.
“… human beings and other mammals do rely on a good amount of intentionality. There is an “order” to nature, but I don’t think the idea of “living in accord” with that order is appropriate for a person “an anarchist” that wants to live an intentional life.”
The point is that ‘intention’ or ‘purpose’ is a just a modeler’s way of understanding the dynamics of organisms when they are seen as ‘local systems’. Its largely because it has been woven into our western way of thinking since Aristotle that we automatically fall back on it. Once we declare an organism to be ‘local’ and ‘independent’ and to move about in an absolute fixed [euclidian] reference space [once we remove the natural ‘relativity’ of motion] we are then forced to ‘equip such a model’ with an internally originating drive mechanism and Aristotle chose ‘purpose’ to fill the bill (Plato argued for extrinsic final cause, ‘abtention’?) but Mach’s principle says that extrinsic and intrinsic influences both work together; “The dynamics of the habitat condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat” (wind-and-flag move at the same time).
As Nietzsche observed, ‘intention’ is a human feeling (associated with ‘attraction’ and ‘repulsion’) that we impose on our simple [Newtonian] scientific model of dynamics, making such science ‘anthropomorphism’. If you are caught up in a tsunami, you can say that you still have ‘intention’ and you can announce your intention to flail your arms and legs and do so to demonstrate that you have ‘intention’ but all the while, you are caught up in a dynamic that is bigger than your intention. That’s the general case. ‘Intention’ is just a directional ‘feeling’. ‘Intention-driven results’ as in an ‘intention-driven life’ are ‘idealization’ that should not be confused for ‘reality’. The surfer may ‘intend’ to ride the breaker to shore, but in so doing his power and steerage derives from the spatial dynamic he is included in. His intention does not produce his actions/results. That’s where the fallacy lies in the notion of a ‘productive hierarchy’ or ‘the purposive system/organization’; i.e. as Plato suggested, ‘extrinsic final cause’ takes precedence rather than ‘intrinsic final cause’ (acorn-to-oak-tree purposeful cause-and-effect is euclidian idealization that is part of our transgenerational western cultural indoctrination; it is over-simplification that we have come to confuse for reality), and it obscures the natural efficacy and order in ‘anarchism’ or ‘peer-to-peer’ networking.
Submitted by Squee on Wed, 2010-07-21 15:39.
I’ll admit right off to bat that I am so ignorant of geometry as a formal science that I couldn’t give any dignity to the term “euclidian” if I tried.
That being said, I’m not sure that we are working with the same definition of terms. Nietzsche posed some great arguments for the inversion of cause and effect in the psychology of human beings, also some great arguments against the idea of a free will, and a determined one. But in this case I am not talking about the concept of Will and whether or not it is ‘free’ or ‘determined’. When I use the term “intentionality”, I am using it more akin to existentialists such as Sartre. Which is why I think I didn’t really present my argument appropriately.
You have some interesting notions about what the order of nature is (below) and I have no real disagreements there. The area for my argument is the role human, directional (so be it) intentionality plays in social life… and interaction with life other than human. I doubt the notion that intentionality can be dispensed with in social life. Actually, I doubt that human beings can really ever phenomenally be a part of the natural world as it “really is”. And this is where I find your arguments confusing…
Our cognitive mapping of the universe, nature, etc. isn’t necessarily fated to linear conceptions of “the order of things”… but I’m not sure that such “mapping” will ever be anything more than just that: a map, and not the territory. No matter how exacting and complicated this map is, it is ultimately a image (perhaps a collective one… a big perhaps) of the psyche that in one way or another, we relate to. There is room to play with how much of our subjectivity is determined by “external” or “unconscious” causes, and how it is scientifically possible for the human subject to function individually (though I do reject the notion of “independently”); but, as human beings we have and continue to “plan” our social lives one way or another – intentionally.
The way that I think this process works is that I do not believe that the influence of external or unconscious causes completely dominate the subject. I think that through our abstractions and images (of self, world, universe, nature, whatever), we just as much affect our unconscious states of being and cause effects in the world external to us. One might try to dispense completely with abstractions, images, and this sort of reflective cognition through meditation and other various techniques… but practically, that ability is still there and used for charting personal or social progressions through space and time. Of course space-time is relative, of course there are plenty of realities that we simply don’t (or can’t) consider in this intentional charting. But, existentially: I think we are stuck with that for a good while until some sort of biological changes presumably occur that change our perceptions to the point of making intentionality superfluous.
Here’s an analogy:
The entirety of what I do today may be determined by external/unconscious circumstances or causes. But, today I can still use synthetic reason, abstraction, images (imagination), etc. to dream up some different circumstances or behaviors for next week. I can intend and plan to realize that intended situation as much as possible by next week – but unless I have a damn good handle on the actual way things are… chances are next week that image won’t be realized even near exactly as I imagine it today. But, such a process in general guides my life personally, and our discourse socially guides our lives collectively.
While the role “intentionality” plays in this scenario isn’t immediately significant, in the long run… it is how even an anarchist world can be realized. So I see a conflict inherent in an anarchism that intends to realize an anarchy that is something better than what we have now, without placing a high value on intentionality. To include my doubts that it is even possible for human beings to truly live “in accord” with the way things actually are, that value is granted even more significance for me.
In short, what I am suggesting is that despite the actual order(s) life exhibits without interference from our abstractions and intentions… I can only see us getting anywhere near a harmonious relationship with this actuality through intentional processes.
Submitted by emile on Thu, 2010-07-22 05:03.
“There is room to play with how much of our subjectivity is determined by “external” or “unconscious” causes, and how it is scientifically possible for the human subject to function individually (though I do reject the notion of “independently”); but, as human beings we have and continue to “plan” our social lives one way or another – intentionally.”
I missed your post at the time it was posted as I was looking for new comments at ‘the bottom’ of the interleaved arrangement of posts. I understand your point and I would go back to geometry to explain my point because geometry does play a role in shaping our mental models. For some, it is everything (as Kepler said; ‘God is geometry’). Geometry is ‘a way to play’ with how we mentally model ‘our self’ relative to the world. As McLuhan said, our western culture has demoted ‘acoustic space’ (space, like the gravity field, that is everywhere at the same time) and elevated into an unnatural precedence in our thinking, ‘visual space’ (the space of local visible forms in the flow (reified as ‘objects), ‘their’ actions and interactions).
What does this have to do with ‘intentionality’? My point is that the apparent dilemma between whether form and organization is shaped intrinsically (by local internal drive and direction) or whether form and organization is shaped extrinsically (by nonlocal influence; i.e. the spatial opening of possibility that accommodates receptively here, resistively there).
(for a mental picture of this, if one pumps clear plastic under high pressure into sedimentary strata it forms fingers as it intrudes into the sediments. If one ‘digs up’ the plastic form, it looks like a ‘fountain’ or a ‘tree’. We may be tempted to give all the credit for the form to the ‘pump’ or ‘fountainhead’ but in fact, the differential (receptive-resistive) spatial accommodating (extrinsic shaping influence) was equally influential. Philosophically, there is no way to separate intrinsic from extrinsic shaping influence. This is a direct fall out of ‘field’ being in precedence over material movement as in the thermal field that incites the emergence of convection cells.).
What I am suggesting is that ‘both’ (intrinsic/intention and extrinsic) influence at the same time. In other words, the ‘either/or’ form of this questions arises from using our implicit standard ‘geometry’ for space wherein space is a limitless container that we see/understand as being inhabited by a vast collection of local objects. In this ‘geometry’ space is seen as a ‘non-participant’ and that has become our western cultural default, but it is not our only way of understanding things. The alternative is to see space as an energy-charged medium in which concentrations of energy are continually gathering into forms and re-gathering into new forms. Convection cells are an example. We can always describe them as local systems as we do a hurricane (that which is actually a visual feature in a flow, we treat as a locally existing object/system). If there are multiple hurricanes in a common spatial flow (in this case ‘atmospheric’ flow), as there often are (it is the general case), it is no longer realistic to speak of them purely in terms of ‘what they do’ since the relationship of their dynamics now follows Mach’s principle; “The dynamics of atmospheric flow condition the dynamics of the storm-cells at the same time as the dynamics of the storm-cells are conditioning the dynamics of the atmospheric flow”.
The implication here is “space is not euclidian”, “space is a participant in physical phenomena” (these are both Einstein quotes) and “local visual images” are “appearances” (Schroedinger), inviting us to ‘re-think’ ‘what is real’ and what is ‘apparent’. The hurricane is real enough AS A FEATURE WITHIN THE FLOW but it is a case of ‘choosing that which is not most true but that which is most easy’, simplifying the job of describing the hurricane by way of ‘words/language’ by approximating the hurricane AS A LOCAL SYSTEM WITH ITS OWN LOCALLY ORIGINATING (INTRINSIC) BEHAVIOUR.
We can and do choose either one of these ‘geometries’ for any dynamics in the world whatsoever that we observe/experience, as the selected geometry in our mental modeling of dynamics, but in our western culture, the latter is our automatic ‘default’. Language aids and abets this reduction which extracts the inextricable feature from the flow and treats it as a local system with its own locally originating (intrinsic) behaviour. This ‘geometry/symmetry/topology’ was where McLuhan was coming from (he was an English professor), not from physics.
So, what difference would it make if we were to understand ourselves as features within a common energy-charged medium as if we were contemporaneous storm-cells? When we engaged with one another we would, as you say, reject the notion of ‘independence’ and think in terms such as Amerindians whose cultural tradition in fact opted for the ‘features within the flow view’; i.e. we would think or say something like;
‘mitakuye oyasin’, Lakota words that mean ‘we are all related’ and there is a “oneness and harmony with all forms of life: – other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys.” … “You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.” – Wikipedia
It is no accident that physicists delving into the implications of relativity and quantum theory find a replication of what they are currently discovering, in the Amerindian cultural beliefs/understandings (e.g. ‘Blackfoot Physics’ by F. David Peat “What becomes apparent is the amazing resemblance between Indigenous teachings and some of the insights that are emerging from modern science”).
Now, if we ‘give up’ the notion that form and organization is shaped by internal purpose and acknowledge that we are all dependent on one another, this does not mean that we give up on ‘organization’, … we only give up on organizing schemes that are PRIMARILY ‘purposeful’ or ‘intentional’. Before we claim that a ‘purposeless’ social dynamic will collapse into hopeless chaos, we can check out the ‘reviews’ on this, of some highly credible reviewers;
“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women. “ — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders (cited in ‘Anarchy for Saboteurs’ at http://goodshare.org/wp/anarchy-for-saboteurs/ )
The point is, this sort of efficacious anarchical (non-hierarchical) social order did not employ purpose-driven organization or ‘intentionality’ ON A FIRST PRIORITY BASIS. The ‘anarchic technique’ worked as follows;
1. Anchor the collective understanding in ‘Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans’
McLuhan’s point was that all of those that plans that we purposefully try to achieve (making Cadillacs and cornflakes) do not add up to ‘what happens’. What happens is that our activities induce transformation in our relationships and in the spatial dynamics (habitat) that we all share inclusion in. This is consistent with Mach’s principle; “the dynamics of the habitat condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.
In the Amerindian tradition, a ‘current reading’ on the condition of the habitat is used to anchor the collective understanding and this is achieved by the ‘learning circle’ where the talking stick is passed and every one is invited to ‘speak from the heart’ about the condition of the habitat as they are experiencing it. This is not ‘documented’ and what is said in the circle, the sharing of personal intimate feelings, is to ‘stay’ in the circle’
2. Once all the members of the council are brought onto ‘the same page’ by the ‘learning circle’ and thus understand how their social and habitat dynamics are transforming, only then do the ‘what we must do’ agendas appear.
In this two-pronged approach, the ‘life that happens while we’re busy making other plans’ (the changing spatial circumstances) is the ‘gold standard’ and it is acknowledged that purposeful action cannot have a known-in-advance effect on the dynamics of the living space/habitat. The best assessment of how the conditions of the habitat are transforming is to suspend everyone’s giving their analysis of what’s going on at the council table, but instead reporting on what they are currently feeling/experiencing in their inclusion in the common dynamics space of community/habitat.
In our western culture, we don’t use the ‘gold standard’ of how the dynamics of society/habitat are transforming. We start with our personal assessments of what is ‘going right’ and what is ‘going wrong’ and propose plans to ‘set everything right’, to ‘purposefully construct our desired future’. Everyone pushes to get their view accepted and crony groups are formed that support particular views and corresponding purposeful desired future-constructing plans.
There is a built-in ‘I’m all right, Jack’ stance in the common western (bullshit-) notion that; ““You can create the future of your dreams. This may seem far fetched for most people, but what they do not seem to realize is that their present is the future they created by their past actions or inaction. You are where you are today because of the decisions and actions you took yesterday.”
Whether you agree with anything in this post or not, the evidence is pervasive that the condition of our living space (a) conditions our inhabitant-behaviours, and (b) our purposeful actions transform the conditions of our social and nature space in unintended and unanticipated ways. Thus ‘purposeful action’ (‘intentional action’) is not, and never can be the prime mover and shaper of the world we live in.
So, where you said; “as human beings we have and continue to “plan” our social lives one way or another – intentionally.”, … I would offer that ‘purposeful actions’ that are not understood as ‘secondary support’ in the service of cultivating and sustaining harmony in the continually transforming habitat dynamic that we all share inclusion in, are not helpful. Purposeful action, when it is primary, is an approach that leads, logically, to hierarchical organization and to intensification of unintended and unanticipated changes in what is felt and experienced by the little cogs in the purposeful machinery, whose experiences are not given voice at the council table of the ‘big wheels’ who formulate and operationalize purposeful ideas ‘for the good of the community-as-a-whole’. The orientation is to the wrong ‘gold standard’ to ‘intention’ rather than to the transforming ‘actuality’.
When you come right down to it, the problem with intention is captured in a phrase like; ‘my intention is to herd these cats’. The meaning and sense of ‘intention’ has to derive from ‘what actually results’ from the operationalizing of that ‘intention’; i.e. for the cat herder or the man being carried off in the tsunami (by the natural dynamic which is always greater than himself), ‘not a hell of a lot’.
The Amerindian cultural choice (supported by ‘the new physics’) is to assume that the habitat-dynamics are in a natural primacy over the inhabitant-dynamics and that we are stuck with ‘cat-herding’ (intentionally constructing a desired future is a pipe-dream). The western cultural choice is to continue to believe that we can intentionally construct a desired future and to blame ‘inferior people’ for inhibiting our efforts (Ayn Rand’s ‘second handers’, the purposeless Amerindians she sees coming at the top of this list). This leads to the growth of an elitist hierarchy who become pawns in the purpose-driven machinery of the hierarchy.
‘Intentional anarchy’ is an oxymoron.
Submitted by Squee on Thu, 2010-07-22 05:39.
Well, I’m not sure where you think I’m coming from… but, I profoundly AGREE with what you just wrote. Not only did you answer the questions I asked with a very similar answer to what I would myself give (bracketing intentionality, not adhering to our intentions as if they are anything but magical thinking), but you gave a much more elaborate and sophisticated answer than I could have. I am completely satisfied with what you wrote, and I think a lot of the disagreements I stated arise more from my semantic inadequacies.
The Lakota have been great teachers to me, and I jump at any opportunity to be with them again. “Mitakuye oyasin” is one of the most elegant and beautiful concepts I’ve learned. The rituals I have participated in have opened me up to more in hours than years of Western philosophy. Thank you for bringing them up.
Your points about geometry have not been ignored and I would have to note that though I don’t formally think about geometry in terms like “euclidean” and such, my intuitive sense of geometrical principals has a huge impact on my thinking… as would be assumed by your statements on the affect of geometry on cognition or perception. I agree with your points about the predominance of intentionality as our mode-of-relating inherently leads to hierarchical thinking (how I would word it anyway). I guess my defensiveness of intentionality appears out of proportion to where I actually see its use.
Anyway, glad to have this encounter.
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 06:10.
OMG! Emile and Squee have suddenly become retro-primitivists, in other words liberal anthropologists. Don’t give me this shit, don’t abandon Stirner or Foucalt for the mystique of scientific novelty.
Submitted by Squee on Thu, 2010-07-22 06:24.
lol – Foucault’s Care of the Self and his concepts of Power-Knowledge, Stirner’s Creative Nothingness and Ridding of Spooks don’t conflict with any of this? I actually would have to say overall that what I love about both of those philosophers is that they evaluate intentionality and power in a way that breaks with traditional western evaluations. I think Binswanger’s break with modern, Western psychoanalysis is completely appropriate and in line with many other culture’s way of life… especially Taoist thought or what I understand of Lakota traditions. I’ve always looked at the turns in science and philosophy since the 60′s as finally admitting the faults of traditional Western valuations and as coming into close similitude with some non-Western thinking.
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 09:49.
But I was critical of Emiles acceptance of the Lamarckian fallacy in genetics, his/hers inference that external conditions influenced the selective processes of genetic reproduction. Emile is an emotional and social criple, he/she spouts a psuedo-scientific and ancient Milesian doctrine to vent a belief that verges on heresy to logical or sensual modern realities.
Their was no mention of modern influences on the qualities of consciousness, only a crass data spewed account of how vitamin C prevented pneumonia ( I agree with that from recent events I ate 25 oranges in 1 hr and was cured) but that is different to his/hers extrapolation of such cures to the total theory he/she states that this flux/flow aether permeates and controls an omnipresent web of global proportions. As onr poster above described, this is akin to replacing one constructionalist myth with another.
Submitted by emile on Thu, 2010-07-22 17:23.
Hey honey, Aristotle said a lot of things. Lamarck said a lot of things. Some things were bullshit, some things were brilliant. Who can help it if the public picks up on the bullshit, people do like to share good stories. Where’s my anti-depressants, … I need to hang in here long enough to get a few more things off my chest, … that you are trying to put there.
Ok, you believe that jeans open up to unleash the intrinsic purposeful ballooning of tiny acorn to woody-oak, and that’s all she wrote as far as evolution goes, apart from random variations on the theme. Fine, lots of people believe in the one-sided intrinsic drive and direction of evolution, a purposive evolution variegated by ‘random chance’ (how about some ‘wings’ coming up on the role of the dice? Several phyla have been lucky enough to roll ‘wings’) and modulated by ‘natural selection’ (what works well gets to hang out and continue to ‘score’).
This is not bad. Or, rather, it beats the six-day creation story, … but not by a hell of a lot (i.e. the story competition was not that great). Popularity-wise, it has done amazingly well, not yet ranking up there with the Ptolemaic earth-centric worldview, nor with Aristotle’s ‘bodies fall to earth at a rate proportional to their weight’ (unchallenged for almost two millennia), since we are only 150 years into Darwin’s ‘natural selection’ and its tautological complement ‘genetics’.
Ok, the purposive model of the ‘gene’ is still holding up, but a few stress cracks are showing up. Stem cells are said to be able to ‘change into’ whatever type of cell is needed in the, um, er, ‘spatial situation’, … if it is ‘the heart place’ the stem cell can become a heart cell, … if it is the ‘liver place’, the stem cell can change into a liver cell. And the cells in the tail of the salamander, without even a mirror to look into, can reproduce exactly that portion of the tail that was lost. These purposive cells have an amazing intrinsic intelligence that allows them to act on their own, … no need for female extrinsic shaping influence, … its all an insider-job, according to the theory that beat out the six day creation theory. ‘Epigenetics’ suggests that the intelligence of the gene/cell is upgraded by the cells working together cooperatively. There is thus no need to do away with the notion of the cells having ‘purposeful minds’, the answer to this amazing awareness of the cell to spatial geometry can be explained in terms of the multiple purposeful minds of the cells ‘working together cooperatively’; the ‘many-minds-are-better-than-one’ theory.
This one-sided (intrinsically driven) ‘genesis’ has had its critics, of course. Stephen Jay Gould did write an entire book on the ‘intrinsic-extrinsic shaping’ issue. Using the metaphor of baseball, he explained why .400 hitters became ‘extinct’; i.e. why the fitness of the species known as ‘batters’ went on the decline. He pointed out that one couldn’t really split the two dynamics of ‘hitting’ and ‘fielding’ apart. The fitness of the species ‘hitter’ wasn’t really all that solid of a concept since bad fielding made mediocre hitters look really good, and good fielding made superlative hitters look really bad. The baseball field is a space that accommodates receptively over here and at this time, and accommodates resistively over there and at that time. It has a lot of ‘dimensionality’ which ‘complexifies’ the phenomenal description/understanding. It is a lot simpler to reduce this ‘dimensionality’ and just measure the relative frequency of ‘hits’ on the part of the hitter (‘hitter fitness’ if you like). With the notion of their intrinsic fitness, we can rank the hitters against each other on the basis of their intrinsic powers and develop a whole evolutionary schema for different types of hitters, righties, lefties, long hitters and short hitters etc. The most fit get to hang out and continue to score and the less fit are sent to the minor leagues and may never be heard from again.
What did Einstein say about how theory evolves?
“To use a comparison, we could say that creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting point and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles of our adventurous way up.”
Maybe, by and by, the one-sided intrinsic acorn-to-oak-tree evolutionary theory will give way to an intrinsic-extrinsic male-female ‘androgynous’ theory (in keeping with relativity) and we will look back on the one-sided intrinsic genetics as a tiny part of our broad new view, … what you say, big guy?
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 17:52.
Hey, remember first you are beautiful, and second, oh gasp, can you spare some liver and brain cells please? You win, but promise to read Stirner and Foucault, goodbye my hearty.
Submitted by anon on Tue, 2010-07-20 17:11.
first, in the “politics” and in “nichomachean ethics” aristotle unequivocally condemns “artificial forms of wealth getting” including especially retail trade and usury. again, in the politics he is unequivocal about the inability of the rich to govern appropriately. for what it’s worth aristotle’s idea of a complete life involved good moral habits that led into the ability to engage in contemplation. pursuing wealth was considered the paramount sign of a person who did not understand the real purpose in human existence. yes, by all means jettison the ridiculous shit about “civilized” and “barbarians” and natural slaves, and “silence is a woman’s glory.” but it is useful to remind people that all the classical philosophers would have condemned modern capitalism.
agree with the poster above regarding using claims to nature as a basis for ethics. one could easily reconstruct the social darwinist argument that evolution proceeds through increasing variety and complexity within species and that capitalism is the evolutionary height of the human species’ development.
might be more useful to think of the nature of humans as a range of possibilities nearly all of which are cut off by the capitalist totality. passions, creativity, the arts, emotion, friendship, family, playing sports and other games, festivals, spirituality, compassion are nearly all eradicated for average people in the name of production and consumption.
Submitted by emile on Tue, 2010-07-20 18:45.
The classical philosophers were working with a different set of ingredients. They had ‘gods’ to complete their formulations. Newton also had God to complete his; i.e. in ‘Principia’ he noted that the three-body problem, the inherent harmonies (interconnectedness) in the overall celestial dynamic and the influence that was responsible for the gathering and regathering of systems of multiple things were beyond his mathematical formulations and, he assumed that they could only be by the hand of God. I am not trying to inject ‘religion’ into this post, only ‘complexity’ that is beyond the standard simplified view of dynamics (including social dynamics); a simplified view that the modern western culture has come to confuse for ‘the way it is’.
Society has ‘nonlinear dynamics’ akin to ‘earthquakes’ and ‘avalanches’ where people or groups of people ‘go postal’. Science has no predictive formulas for earthquakes and avalanches because they arise from ‘nonlocal’ influence (spatial-relational stress). The same applies to people. Economic theory is rational, but people aren’t. When the stress of uncertainty reaches a certain level, the global economy undergoes an earthquake where the accumulated stress (potential energy) is relieved by an explosive burst of stress-resolving kinetic energy (activity).
Similarly, revolutions are preceded by sporadic outbursts of unlawful behaviour (symptoms of rising stress) and finally there is an explosive stress-relieving transformation or ‘inversion’ (bottom becomes top). Morality is supposedly infused into the justice system. The trouble is that it is always the citizen that is on trial and never the society, so the law-breaking behaviour is understood as ‘intrinsic’, coming from the interior of the individual, and never ‘extrinsic’, induced by the spatial (social) dynamics he is included in. This ‘problem’ is otherwise known as ‘Goedel’s theorem of incompleteness’; ‘The judge who judges all those who cannot judge themselves, cannot judge himself.’ (Finite) hierarchical systems of logic are exposed to ‘breakdown’ and the justice system is an example.
The order in nature is based on ‘balance-seeking’ while the order in western society is based on hierarchical control. capitalism is what you get when objectivism/egoism (the notion of ‘intrinsic final cause’) rules. Ayn Rand had that right. The problem is, she studied Aristotle and Plato, loved Ari and hated Plato and so she went with the notion of a human as a local, independent, organism with its own locally originating, internal purpose driven behaviour that acts/interacts in absolute fixed space and whose life could be modeled in the Aristotelian acorn-to-oak-tree fashion (no extrinsic shaping/organizing influence).
Capitalism and egoism (Ayn Rand) are artefacts of hidden conventions built into cultural beliefs
Submitted by anon on Tue, 2010-07-20 23:53.
Finally, an explanation of how magnets and gravity work in a non-linear social environment. Thankyou!
Submitted by emile on Wed, 2010-07-21 04:03.
But this is not ‘new’. Part of the western cultural ‘mind-draw’ is to give human beings a notional exemption from the extrinsic shaping influences of nature, so that we can continue to think of ourselves as little powerboats equipped with our own intrinsic power (biochemical) and direction (narcissist ego-purpose) ‘putt-putting’ around in absolute space (no over-riding thingless-connectedness as in ‘field’ dynamics for us human, no sir!). It is the same kind of notional exemption that we give to ‘sovereign states’ when we Declare them to be Independent. Historians of law (D’Errico et al) refer to this as a ‘secularized theological concept’. First we draw some imaginary lines on a map and declare what’s inside them to be a ‘real object’ which we notionally equip with ‘real powers’ and ‘real purpose’ [centralized hierarchical control authority].
Whether it’s the United States or whether its ‘The Kingdom of Ralph’, the recipe is the same. This ‘reality’ is not ‘physical/natural’; it is based on nothing other than ‘common belief’ (insane beliefs spawn effects that are every bit as real as realistic beliefs). The incentive to sustain belief in this self-declared-as-local-independent-intrinsically-powered-and-directed ‘organism’ is achieved by giving everyone a piece of the real-estate action in exchange for their swearing to bear arms and give their lives to sustain that common belief, and to use the force of arms to ‘make believers’ out of others (e.g. the Amerindians) who rightfully call ‘bullshit!’. This is just the ‘group form’ of the secularized theological concept known as ‘ego’, which can be ‘overcome’. As John Lennon wrote: ‘Imagine there’s no countries, … it’s easy if you try’.
In the ‘new physics’, ‘field’ rules. ‘Field’ is a nonlocal (spatial-relational) form-and-organization-shaping influence. In the western culture, we cling to a view of ourselves as absolute local objects with absolute motion driven and directed from our absolute interiors (thanks to the conventions of absolute space and absolute time). This is bullshit (idealization that only works thanks to ‘common belief’), based on the most simplistic ‘geometry of space and time’ conventions, but try insulting the group ego by burning someone’s flag to test the strength of their ‘secularized theological belief’ in the ‘local independent existence’ of an imaginary-line bounded piece of real estate that they ‘own’ and ‘have the right’ (issued by their self-appointed ‘supreme’ authority of their ‘independent state’) to exploit as they please.
You, we, anyone can continue to issue notional exemptions to ‘organisms’ including humans and groups of humans (notably groups that organize themselves intrinsically using hierarchical controls) so that they can ‘self-declare their independence’ and no longer see themselves as subject to the form and organisation-shaping of extrinsic ‘field’, and that is certainly the majority view in our simple-science-minded western culture, but the majority has no monopoly on the truth/reality. Attraction and repulsion are ‘simplifications’ of ‘force’ which reduce the nonlocal extrinsic/intrinsic influence of ‘field’ to ‘local intrinsic force’ but as physics acknowledges, this only works for two bodies at a time (e.g.’positive’ and ‘negative’, ‘self’ and ‘other’). This ‘self-and-other’ western worldview associates with the emotional feeling of ‘intention’ (what the acorn feels as he pushes everything else aside to become a self-made oak-tree [or self-made man]).
Lamarck’s views were rejected because he believed that evolution derived from the extrinsic shaping influences (on form and organization) of ‘field’ or ‘les fluides incontenables’ (fluids that contain but which cannot themselves be contained) such as gravity, thermal fields, electric and magnetic fields). The acceptance and use of ‘epigenetics’ is currently stirring a ‘revival’ of Lamarck’s basic ideas which, unlike Darwinism, resisted giving organisms/humans a notional ‘exemption’ from extrinsic form and organization shaping influence as pervade nature.
Submitted by anon on Wed, 2010-07-21 11:53.
i enjoy what you are writing. i think there is something to it. but you seem to think that saying something about physics or “nature” necessarily means that you are also saying something conclusive about society, economics, and politics. i don’t think so.
getting people to think of themselves as (entirely?) non-intentional beings who are determined points within fluxes/flows constituting certain fields is a political action. the truth of the statement in the political field (pun intended) will matter to the extent that it alters outcomes. in other words you will be substituting one political myth for another. the issue is the myth’s effectiveness and its tendency to move people in a direction of support for a generally existing set of conditions (private ownership of means of production, electoral rituals, corporate dominated media, etc. etc.) or opposition to those conditions.
i do recognize that there are larger structural currents that will affect (not determine) outcomes. there are conditions when oppositional, revolutionary politics will be more likely to succeed. but those conditions do not determine the decision of one actor or another to organize a rebel army or run a guerilla radio station.
as for aristotle and ayn rand, i still think its worth noting important differences. ayn rand is a sort of lunatic wannabe capitalist heroine. its true tat she might share with aristotle a basic belief in a static, objective, basic order of reality. but on the important issue of private wealth accumulation they are entirely different for intersting reasons aside from general cosmological views. not recognizing that misses so much as to turn aristotle, a really exceptional philosopher, into a strawman. and, worse, to put rand on the same level as him.
Submitted by anon on Wed, 2010-07-21 13:32.
That’s very true about the random nature of Emile’s ‘flux/flow’ field, which he thinks is a static universal constant. I forget the name of the French 19th century philosopher who introduced the non-linear theory of ‘scientific paradigm shift’, what I would call ‘the point of reverse polarity’, the successive spiralling of ideologically formed systems through the positive and negative fields of the environment, the social rotor of variable potentiality spinning in the bipolar field. And then suddenly the field is given reverse polarity, you see the similarities in the political/social environment at the time of revolution.
As for Lamarck, his postulations momentarily co-related with data from the genetics field in their data, nothing more than a random coincidence, like a road accident fatality, nothing to do with a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the world, but due to an exploited worker being too poor to get the brakes repaired on his heap of shit motorcar.
Submitted by emile on Wed, 2010-07-21 17:52.
Thanks for the opportunity to engage.
I am not trying to start a political movement, I am trying to dispel some myths that have been hidden in our western cultural indoctrination that are screwing us up.
Re nature/physics and ‘socio-economic dynamics’. It seems to me that we have taken our ‘understanding of how things work’ from nature; i.e. we analyze things, take them apart, try to understand what each part does and how everything works with everything else (how the whole thing works). The industrial age grew out of our analytical skill (as embodied in science and technology) and the notion of putting machines into ‘the system’ together with (hybridized with) people. Analytical thinking and its embodiments within our social dynamic have transformed our social and economic dynamics. The principles of mechanics where ‘this acts on that to produce this result’ were given a boost by science; i.e. by Newton’s laws.
Newton’s laws are very simple. They allow us to think of a ‘system’ as a ‘local system’ whose behaviour is locally originating; i.e. what things do is seen to derive from a combination of local externally applied forces and internally (in the local system) originating forces. This allows us to explain pretty much anything and everything that moves in this particular sense (of a local system with or without locally originating behaviour). This is where the problem with ‘intention’ or ‘purpose’ arises.
And Nietzsche pointed out that notion of ‘intention’ stands or falls with the notion of ‘cause’.
““Attraction” and “repulsion” in a purely mechanistic sense are complete fictions: a word. We cannot think of an attraction divorced from an ‘intention.’ — The will to take possession of a thing or defend oneself against it and repel it—that, we “understand”: that would be an interpretation of which we could make use. In short: the psychological necessity for a belief in causality lies in the inconceivability of an event divorced from intent; by which naturally nothing is said concerning truth or untruth (the justification of such a belief)! The belief in ‘causae’ falls with the belief in ‘télè’ (against Spinoza and his causalism).” – Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power’
The charge laid by Nietzsche was laid against western science, saying that it was ‘anthropomorphism’ (we are infusing our own emotional definitions into science; maybe this answers the question of why we should associate physics with social dynamics). The problem with ‘intention’ (its ‘intrinsic final cause implication) crops up in a lot of places e.g;
Is streptococcus pneumoniae really a pathogen that ‘causes’ death by pneumonia? Albert Szent-Györgyi got a Nobel prize for showing that while streptoccus pneumoniae was in his body in hordes and holding the smoking gun (he nearly died), his pneumonia was caused by vitamin C deficiency (which provides fertile conditions for the proliferation of over 100 possible pneumonia-causing bacteria and viruses). Streptococcus pneumoniae finds vitamin C deficient ground very good grazing; i.e. they have a cow like innocence and no intention. Western medicine nevertheless still calls them ‘pathogens’ (illness-causing agents). Pasteur, on his deathbed, conceded that Antoine Béchamp had been correct; ‘le microbe n’est rien, le terrain est tout’ (the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything).
So, we are back to this problem with our western culture’s addiction to interpreting all dynamics in terms of ‘intrinsic cause’ and ignoring extrinsic cause (how the dynamics of the habitat conditions the dynamics of the inhabitants).
McLuhan pointed this out in ‘Understanding Media’ (‘the medium is the message’; i.e. ‘le terrain est tout’).
“In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another and to ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out cornflakes or Cadillacs.” – Marshall McLuhan
We sowed this notion of ‘intention’ (intrinsic final cause), coming to us from ‘social dynamics’, into science in the first place, so we are reaping what we have sown.
We don’t get ‘really’ what we ‘intend’ because the world doesn’t work that way (‘we’ as a collective transform the common space we are included in, in an ‘unintended’ way). As Mach’s principle says, the extrinsic and intrinsic are one dynamic; “The dynamics of the habitat condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants condition the dynamics of the habitat’. or ‘the medium is the message’ (the dynamics of the content is not the message.).
Community initiatives today, that seek to get out from under hierarchical control where everyone feels like a ‘pawn’ of central government, are moving away from the term ‘intentional community’ towards ‘resilient community’. Nature unfolds purposelessly (without intention) but it does manifest resilience. The man who gets put in prison is not living an ‘intentional life’ but he may write a great novel and/or learn a new trade (if he is ‘resilient’).
With respect to Aristotle, the man; … my view has the same geometry as Pasteur’s and McLuhan’s, ‘le terrain est tout’. Aristotle’s brilliance is not questioned, some ideas proliferated more than others because the ground was fertile for them. Intention or ‘intrinsic final cause’ associates with ego. The ice cream vendor will claim responsibility for the big peak in his sales, even if it correlates with a stretch of unbearably hot weather. Was his production ‘intrinsically driven’ or ‘extrinsically induced’? Does Aristotle’s acorn give credit to the habitat for blossoming out into an oak tree? No, the acorn caused the oak tree and more than that, it ‘intended to cause’ the oak tree. The ‘driving purpose’ is understood as being inside the acorn. If a western child is given a science lab where he plants an acorn, he will sit there each day and watch the acorn push its new parts up and out of itself in its self-purpose-driven genesis/development. If an Amerindian child was watching it, he would be doing sun dances and rain dances so that the sky could nurture his acorn and pull it up and out into a strong and healthy oak tree.
Ayn Rand, to me, is like an ‘idiot savant’ who takes one simple principle (‘intention’ as in ‘internal purpose’) to its ultimate extreme, the one-sided inflation of the ego and to hell with the ‘medium’ (natural/social habitat) that she lives in (the ‘second handers’ will get ‘her’ trickle downs, but she hopes, not enough to survive.).
* * *
Submitted by anon on Wed, 2010-07-21 18:36.
Oh of course Emile, now that you have admitted to being a member of the physiological dobe dobe non-doctrinal fellowship, welcome, and let’s have the external spiraling social rotor of potentialities interact with our intrinsic cellular diversities.
Submitted by anon on Wed, 2010-07-21 19:16.
Emile, I think that a reading of Stirner and Foucault will fine tune your theoretical range to include the consciousness as a variable essential ingredient within the social machine.
Submitted by Squee on Wed, 2010-07-21 15:52.
But Western philosophy HAS dispensed with this notion of the ego, of the subject/object and mind/body dichotomies, with may of the things that you are pointing out as problematic. This happened in the 60′s and since (existential phenomenology, post-structuralism, and whatever is out there now – a lot of good stuff). So I’m not sure if you haven’t explored this region of philosophy… or if you don’t recognize a difference between these older Western notions of intentionality, and these other notions of intentionality that I accept as more sound?
Submitted by emile on Wed, 2010-07-21 18:05.
I am not writing about the history of philosophy. I am writing about how certain (over-simplified) ideas/understandings (e.g. hidden conventions of space, time, matter and force) have been woven into our western cultural beliefs and have become part of our continuing transgenerational cultural indoctrination. If I were assessing philosophy and philosophers, my view is that we should have stopped with Heraclitus (maybe let Socrates in there).
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 02:06.
I was thinking hard Emile about how to explain ‘paradigm shift’ to you, and then I realised, via the cultural evolution of music, the universal language. I tired earlier on the repetitive yet alluring melodies of medieval guitar, I found the 12 bar blues a modern flowing relevent tendency, it expresses the consciousness of the era. When playing classical it returns one into the mindset of that particular era, often sooo structured, so imprisoned within the eras unenlightened feudal perception of hierarchical duty and pompous royal artifices, its sentimental fake ruthlessness hiding behind a masquerade of gracefulness, hiding when it would have been more noble to just declare war and have it on, in the Spartan or Viking manner. Its hypocrisy means it doesn’t flow, passion has been shackled, in that era one must have to have been either a privileged royal or an enslaved peasant weakling! No wonder the Vikings plundered their corrupt perverse hierarchical kingdoms!
And so, these ancient cultures, with all their logic and science fell to the rampaging variable social potentiality that emerges out of chaos, not rationality.
Submitted by Squee on Thu, 2010-07-22 03:44.
So with the elimination of ’cause’ and ‘intentionality’ – with a cosmology or what-have-you attuned to these notions of fields, flux, etc. – what manner of being-in-the-world do you think is appropriate? Are you only enumerating the anthropomorphic fallacies of Western world-views, or are you suggesting also a specific transvaluation of these values? Or no values at all? Or what?
What are the implications of your writing for my existence, in other words? The resignation of synthetic reason or analysis to a being-in-the-now, a being that doesn’t project images into the future in an attempt to survive, one that rejects the illusions of psychological space-time because of its truth-value and not its use-value? Or just better images, a change in the media of our socio-cultural imaginary instead of the medium?
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 08:04.
POST-ANARCHISM! : )
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 09:23.
I almost feel silly jumping into the middle of this already happening and lively discussion, but in any case I feel I need to make some comments/ask questions.
First off I just want to say that I’m very glad to have stumbled upon this discussion. It adds nicely to my ongoing study of modern and non-modern societies.
Now, I’m aware that many people use the term “modernity” to describe completely different things. I’m using (the severely misunderstood historian) Leo Strauss’ definition of the term, referring to the ‘revolutionary’ break with classical philosophy that was first initiated by Machiavelli and then refined by Hobbes, Locke and the like, roughly correlating with the “enlightenment.”
The fundamental essence of this break was the suggestion that in freely and open-mindedly asking questions about the the nature of virtue itself, and thus of what the best order for humanity is, classic philosophy “aimed too high” and ended up wasting time and energy blabbing on about Utopian fantasies that were too difficult to try to effectively achieve. A very careful reading of Plato and kin reveals that the classics knew that ultimately the order of society was in many ways up to chance, people’s sensibilities could be cultivated and honed, precautions taken, but “fate” would decide how things turned out, sometimes more favorably (from the standpoint of hopes or intentions) and sometimes less. In any case the trick was to recognize ultimate perfection as an unreachable but worthy goal, a constant orientation rather than a destination that could actually be arrived at. According to the new, modern, revolutionary philosophers, the sensible thing to do was, rather, to “lower ones sights” to that goal which was eminently achievable. Real, substantial progress in human society could only be made if philosophers stopped dreaming and set about perfecting concrete institutions that would be held to the standard of only those ‘virtues’ which were easy to cultivate, or rather were thought to be natural and inherent. The question of “what” was replaced by “how.” At that time and place they thought that greed was the highest natural morality to which social order could reasonably orient itself, but ultimately this disregard for the importance of which virtue was to by held high introduced a radical relativism that denies the superiority of any one “virtue” over any other. In this way it was thought that “fate” or “nature” could be conquered completely, humans could successfully realize their plans to exacting standards without bowing to chance. The scientific process became the guiding tool used to try to understand and predetermine human destiny. This denial of the importance of any particular virtue released people to commit unspeakable horrors in the name of ordering society scientifically, in pursuit of the perfect actualization of a far-from-perfect goal.
We have seen this delusion play out to ruinous ends in the past few centuries.
Perhaps this spreading of the form of the natural sciences to social issues, creating the “social sciences,” relates to the issues discussed above in the original and subsequent comments? In as much as prevailing notions of physics and spatial geometry were (perhaps somewhat unconsciously?) applied to the designing of social systems those things have in fact come to influence social realities.
Of course as Strauss points out, modernity came in waves, each of which set out to destroy and replace the earlier, but which in fact actually radicalized and obscured the original suppositions of modernity. The second and third waves of modernity were initiated by Rousseau and Nietzsche respectively. Of course both offered real and valuable insights into the deficiencies of the earlier waves of modernity, and into other things in general. That is to say, they do have much to contribute.
However, Rousseau’s critique and proposed solutions, outraged by the fist wave’s cold denial of real virtue and passionately concerned with justice as they were, hinged on identifying that which was good (or virtuous) as that which was obtainable by all. Essentially, his theories, democratic through and through, suggested that if large numbers of people agreed on something, and if that thing was obtainable by large numbers of people, then it was good. But in practice this equates to just more relativism, as large numbers of people can relatively freely agree on and/or obtain many common things, horrible/atrocious/ non-sustainable things included.
Ultimately the rise of Marxist, communist ideology was one result of the interplay between the first and second waves of modernity. Scientific, materialist dialectics is as much a result of modernity as is any capitalist or liberal ideology.
What was utterly fascinating to me was to find that several notable indigenous authors agreed heartily with this particular theory, espoused by some stuffy, personally somewhat conservative 1940′s era German historian dude.
Russel Means, Vine Deloria Jr., Frank Black Elk and Ward Churchill, in the book “Marxism and Native Americans” all made arguments against standard Marxist (Leninist) revolutionary aspirations for various reasons that related to the fact that Marxist communism is a part of modernity (and more specifically, industrial civilization) no less so than capitalism. An more concise, summary article by Ward Churchill on this very topic can be found here: http://cwis.org/fwj/22/falsep.htm
So then I’m reading through the above post and see many of what may prove to be the exact same points brought up, references to Lakota world-views included. Imagine my surprise and interest!
At this point I want to hazard a guess that as various strains of anarchism develop clearer and more biting critiques of Marxism and classic Marxist influence (and thus, if only unconsciously, modernity) it absolutely makes sense that they would would lean towards one or another insurrectionist interpretation of what appropriate revolutionary action looks like. As I’ve come to understand it, insurrectionary politics have in fact developed something of a critique of the centralized/intention-as-primary model for social change that was more prevalent amongst the “red” anarchist(-communists). If this is true, than insurrectionist tendencies couldn’t help but be benefited by the analysis offered in the original post.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that a group formed in Portland Oregon, largely inspired by Ward Churchill’s arguments in this regard, focusing on Decolonization and solidarity with indigenous communities, was largely made up of insurrectionist anarchists… Does it seem like I’m drawing too many connections where perhaps none exist?
As for a very specific question, I just want to make sure I understand Emile’s stance.
For example, with the person caught in a storm metaphor, you wouldn’t suggest that the appropriate response is to give up all intention, would you? That is, while intention plays very little into this situation, there’s no reason not to do simple intentional things like cover your head and attempt to avoid obviously dangerous objects being tossed around. And furthermore that a will to live will give you at least slightly increased chances at survival. Right?
Submitted by Squee on Thu, 2010-07-22 09:41.
I don’t think you would be pushing the buttons of any Insurrectionary Anarchists to note the connections they have been making with indigenous people – not just in Portland, OR, USA. I know that in Phoenix, what may be called Insurrectionary Anarchists are making close ties to the Indigenous groups effected by the border issues. I think that in Greece, this is also happening a lot with IAs. But, I’m not familiar enough with the literature to make any certain claim.
Ummm – as far as the definition of modernity you are using and anarchists who have been attempting to make theoretical and practical breaks with modernity, you can find some good literature from the emerging “school” of post-anarchism. I don’t know how much of a stretch there is between post-anarchist works and the recent insurrectionary anarchist tendency… but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a small gap.
Then there’s David Graeber and his work from anthropological studies or anarcho-primitivists or post-civilization anarchism… which for the most part I am not well versed in at all.
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 19:59.
As a pragmatically anti-civilization (somewhat post-)anarchist and fan of most of David Graeber’s ideas/research, I will not hesitate to say that the connections do indeed abound.
I think it would also be fun to look more closely still at the connections between the issue that Emile brings up and the insurrectionist attitude. How much have insurrectionist theories already primed people for these specific analyses, or conversely have they gotten people sort of close but still missed the mark?
Oh yeah I forgot to put my name above
Submitted by anon on Fri, 2010-07-23 05:30.
And a nice rant Al, thanks.
Submitted by emile on Thu, 2010-07-22 11:12.
‘intention’ only exists when we portray dynamics as being intrinsically shaped; i.e.
“As for a very specific question, I just want to make sure I understand Emile’s stance.
For example, with the person caught in a storm metaphor, you wouldn’t suggest that the appropriate response is to give up all intention, would you? That is, while intention plays very little into this situation, there’s no reason not to do simple intentional things like cover your head and attempt to avoid obviously dangerous objects being tossed around. And furthermore that a will to live will give you at least slightly increased chances at survival. Right?”
The metaphor of the storm, I use to try to bring out the ‘extrinsic shaping influence’ on human behaviour which orchestrates both individual and collective behaviours. When the ‘habitat-dynamic’ gets stirred up, it tends to orchestrate our individual and collective behaviour. To then inquire into the makeup of the individual, so as to impute to his internal capacities what might explain his movements, is to bypass the possibility that the spatial-dynamic (habitat-dynamic) is in a natural precedence over his local object dynamic (inhabitant dynamic), the situation as emerges from ‘the new physics’ for example, and which has been implied by Lamarck (there is only one physics for all things [‘animate’ and ‘inanimate’] and by Emerson (‘The Method of Nature’) who derives from our ordinary observations and experiences that forms that appear to have a persisting identity (e.g. ‘cataracts’) are ‘made of spatial-relational motion’ and thus that what we call the organism is not only inhabited by ‘the flow’ is created by ‘the flow’ (the ‘cell’ as a ‘convection cell story’).
Modern biologists, experimenting with the evolution of multi-species microbial communities (e.g. Douglas E. Caldwell et al) suggest that natural selection (based on one-sided intrinsic evolutionary drive and direction)is too small a view and that evolution derives from ‘bidirectional innovation’. The mutually supportive not-yet-species are drawn together by the spatial dynamic (community dynamic and environment dynamic in which the constituents inclusionally nest) so that the constituents of the community (the ‘constituents’ whose organization we describe in terms of ‘genetics’; i.e. intrinsic shaping influence) are induced in form and organization by the extrinsic dynamics of the community that, in its turn, nests inclusionally within the spatial flow. This inclusional nesting is ‘figurative’ to navigate the layers of words we have imposed on the spatial continuum we are included in.
If we can suspend our ‘default’ presumption that we can get to an understanding of social dynamics by the route which takes us through the internal drive and direction of the individual, then the alternative suggestion emerges that ‘resonances’ in the spatial dynamic (habitat-dynamic) are the extrinsic source of form and organization that emerges and develops within the flow (e.g. as suggested by the ‘one mind’ of Schroedinger).
Explaining one’s behaviour in the terms that it is shaped ‘extrinsically’ by the spatial dynamics one is included in seems like ‘mindless’ behaviour on the part of the individual. Another metaphor that helps ‘fill in the details’ is the wildgeese in ‘V’ formation which can also be experienced on a motorcycle when riding within a group of motorcycles or mixture of vehicles. With every individual there is an associated ‘turbulence envelope’ and these turbulence envelopes ‘interfere’ either constructively or destructively. One is naturally drawn to the co-evolved ‘sweet spots in the slipstream’ wherein destructive interference greatly attenuates the turbulence and allows those inside the slipstream to ‘go faster and farther for less expenditure of effort’. This says that the habitat-dynamic CAN be the extrinsic shaper of the form and organization of the ‘biker group’ or wildgeese flock. There is no reason not to assume that this situation is anything other than general. The reason why we do not normally consider it, and consider only the movement of the individual is because the moving individual is VISIBLE and LOCAL while the turbulence in the flow-medium is INVISIBLE and NONLOCAL
In this biker example, we CAN move (rather, let ourselves move under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence) so as to cultivate and sustain being in a sweet spot in the turbulent slipstream. That is, our movements can be orchestrated by the spatial dynamics we are included in. We COULD call this an ‘intention’ (to cultivate and sustain balance and harmony with the spatial dynamic we are each uniquely situationally included in) and we would always be able to express this, in unfeeling voyeur observer mode, in terms of the local internally originating drive and direction of the individual WITHOUT EVER HAVING TO MENTION THE ACTUAL PRIMACY OF THE EXTRINSIC BEHAVIOUR SHAPING INFLUENCE. i.e. we can feel it but the outside voyeur observer cannot see it, he can only see our movements.
‘Bikers’, from my experience, are very ‘independent’ people in the sense that they do not ‘take orders’ compliantly (apart from Hell’s Angels wannabees), not from other human beings. But they do give themselves up, like the wildgeese, and allow their movements to be orchestrated by the spatial dynamics they are included in, … and when cruising through the hills and mountains, relativity makes it ambiguous as to whether one’s behaviour is being orchestrated by the changing landscape or whether one is deliberately pushing one’s way through the mountains. Hills and mountains are not obstacles to a biker, they are a delight and a pleasure. To the seasoned sailor, the storm can be the same (an ‘into the wild’ experience).
So, where you say; “while intention plays very little into this situation, there’s no reason not to do simple intentional things like cover your head and attempt to avoid obviously dangerous objects being tossed around. And furthermore that a will to live will give you at least slightly increased chances at survival. Right?”
… my answer is that you are capturing the dynamic in a particular way; i.e. this is the ‘intrinsic shaping influence’ portrayal of the dynamic, but there is no reason why we cannot (and many reasons why we should) portray this dynamic in terms of ‘extrinsic shaping influence’ wherein the spatial dynamic (habitat-dynamic) is orchestrating the local object dynamic (inhabitant-dynamic). This way of understanding the dynamic, taken across all of the inclusionally nested levels of dynamics (environment, community, organism, organs, cells, molecules, atoms), recalls Emerson’s understanding wherein, the spatial dynamic (flow of nature) not only inhabits the organism, it creates it) and gets us back to Lamarck’s ‘one physics’. Since we tend to revert to this mode ‘in a storm’ when we are shaken out of our civilized protective shell, we might call this our ‘pre-intellectual’ ‘evolutional mode’ of behaviour.
One might conclude that western humans are reluctant to remain in ‘evolutional mode’ since while we ‘can’ let our behaviour and organization be extrinsically shaped by the spatial dynamics we are included in, we most often ‘choose’ not to and attempt to drive our behaviour ‘intrinsically’ from some kind of knowledge or idea/concept that we have acquired [look out, that’s not a ‘real’ choice because we’re included in the unfolding spatial dynamic whatever we ‘choose’]
The British stiff-upper-lip bicyclist, back and shoulders erect, cruising down the coastal road at the customary time and by the customary route, will not deviate from the rules and cross into another lane without signalling even as the tsunami surges towards, and engulfs him. We say this is ‘his choice’ but the choice is simply to live in his own self-constructed reality in which his intrinsic drive and direction (aka his ‘intention’) ‘rules’. His ‘intention’ certainly doesn’t ‘rule’ in the ‘real/natural world’; he is continually dancing to nature’s tune while blithely smiling and claiming that it is by his own ‘intention’ that he does so.
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 11:56.
Just wear a helmet 24/7, then you don’t have to ponder the inevitable
Submitted by emile on Thu, 2010-07-22 14:28.
we ARE wearing it; it is called ‘intentional community’ aka ‘western civilization’
Submitted by anon on Thu, 2010-07-22 19:25.
Too late Emile, I have scars all over my head from authoritarian batons, but that is the price of true individual freedom!
Submitted by Squee on Fri, 2010-07-23 02:38.
Have you ever read a book called “The User Illusion” by a guy with the last name Noretrander (sp)? He uses information theory, mirror neurons, quantum physics, and etc. to cover a lot of the ground you are writing. In it he gets really into entropy in information, consciousness, and physics to explain the illusion of the intentional subject. But, also concludes that the relatively minuscule information processing of consciousness (to the brain) is a noise-to-signal phenomenon and that the real power of the conscious mind is it’s ability to “veto” impulses, desires, and what-have-you. It’s very good…
Anyay, there is also a recent Ted.com talk about mirror neurons and their Lemarkian implications. I would suggest watching it for the arguments sake n
Submitted by Squee on Fri, 2010-07-23 03:29.
Also, most of what I think is useful in the concept of “intention” comes from addiction psychology, hypnotherapy, sigil magic, and semiotics. I really think I may be talking more about the powers of mental images to influence the unconscious and shape human evolution than I am talking about the “internal cause” or the personalization of the imaginary’s dynamics in human life. Dawkins’ meme theory is also interesting to me here; along with the gene altering effects of neuropeptides and such that suggests not only natural selection, but even sex economy (Freud, Reich, Darwin) is not everything when it comes to human evolution.
Then there is personality and charachter developmental theories which could go a long way to explain the illusion of a intentional subject. But, I must still say that even if it is an illusion, it has it’s practical merits ias a concept for psychotherapy and daily life. Empathy is important to understanding art (often used to suggest an intentional subject at work), but many artists aren’t creating their works through intentional processes. They are in the pre-reflective mode when art is happening. Regardless, if because of our Pronoun use in language as a nominal, subject-creating force alone, the Subject still exists and is phenomenologically significant to our existence, at least us Westerners. Therefore, it is necessary to work with what is and address the Subject as a subject (individualized consciousness, personality, identity, with “intentions”)… not for the sake of truth, but for the sake of getting from “here” (impotent self-images subjugated to other self-images in this state-capitalist, individualist, spectacular society) to “there” (anarchy).
The subject doesn’t initiate it’s own development, but does bend back on itself through categorized knowledge and self-care in “maturity” to influence it’s development. It is this reflective mode of being we identify with as subjects and are working our way through. So until we can collectively exist-together without the exhausting over-mediation of the “intentional subject”, I think it is safe to say we will continue to need “intention” as a tool in order to resist. The thing that makes an “intentional community” intentional is that above-all in our society, there isn’t much “community” at all until we come together through a shared vision of something different. This doesn’t apply to communities that have resisted because they are not mediated and completely atomized by civilization and thus, are first a community, second one in resistance. For us, we are “consumers” first and maybe a community mediated by commodities second, a community resisting this system as a rare third (which requires “intentionality” to get from atomization to inter-subjectivity – at least a conscious inter-subjectivity that isn’t defeated by conflicting identities and such). That is my point.
Granted, we may be coming together and in reality attributing it to our “intentions” when it is other dynamics at work… we get to coming together whilst relying on our user-illusions, “intention”-concepts, etc.
Submitted by emile on Fri, 2010-07-23 06:21.
the ‘disconnect’ you point to is worth exploring.
“the real power of the conscious mind is it’s ability to “veto” impulses, desires, and what-have-you.”
I agree that we don’t have to abandon ‘language’ with its subjects and objects, but I do believe that in order to understand ‘order’ and ‘organization’, we need to be aware of how language can ‘take us captive’ by the visual imagery it conjures up: “A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Ok, compare that with “the real power of the conscious mind is it’s ability to “veto” impulses, desires, and what-have-you.” which is highly relevant to ‘understanding order and organization’.
The result? … The influence ON DYNAMICS of the ‘real power of the conscious mind’ is not accessible through our faculty of vision, nor through our language when used to convey ‘what things do’ (PICTURABLE DYNAMICS).
Conclusion: ‘visible dynamics’ or dynamics portrayed through language (picturable dynamics) are not the ‘big story’ on dynamics (this is only the ‘intrinsic’ view). This ‘invisible’ (nonlocal, extrinsic) essential aspect of dynamics was being explored in the east at about the same time as Aristotle was exploring ‘intrinsic’ dynamics (telos) in the west.
Chang Tzu argued that the processes of nature unify all things so that it was wise to live in harmony with nature rather than imposing upon it (i.e. to let our behaviour/organization be extrinsically shaped/orchestrated. He suggested that we could do more by doing nothing (being intention-less).
What comes to mind is the familiar experience of driving in the flow of the freeway. In this case we move under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence, and what is responsible for sustaining harmonious flow is ‘what we don’t do’. In this mode, we let the spatial dynamics orchestrate our individual and collective movements, and thus descriptions of ‘what we do’ fail to capture the essentials of this harmonious order/organization. The western observer considers harmonious flow ‘un-eventful’ and waits and watches for something ‘remarkable’ to happen, something he can describe. He builds his worldview on the basis of ‘what things do’.
[Note: Quantum Electro-dynamics (Feynman)says that space is not empty but is an energy-charged medium composed of dynamically balancing particles and anti-particles. What we 'can see' is thus the departures from this harmonious spatial dynamic. QED is the most correct validatable theory]
Chang Tzu suggests that there is a world’view’ (i.e. non-viewable reality) based on ‘what is not done’;
“They were upright and correct without knowing that to be so was righteous. They loved one another without knowing that to do so was benevolence. They were sincere without knowing that to do so was loyalty. They kept their promises without knowing that to do so was to be in good faith. They helped one another without thought of giving or receiving gifts. Thus their actions left no trace and we have no records of their affairs” – Chuang Tzu
Our experience informs us that the larger aspect of life is the spatial possibility that opens up that we do NOT impose ourselves into. Some may call it ‘morality’, but men and women spend plenty of time alone with innocent, defenceless children but do not impose on them for sexual pleasures (except by rare exception). ‘Morality’ is generally understood in the context of purposeful behaviour. If behaviour is purposeful, then there is ‘good purpose’ and ‘bad purpose’ and pedophilia is ‘bad purpose’. But if our behaviour is orchestrated by the cultivating of harmonies in the spatial dynamics we are included in, there is no ‘morality’ involved; i.e. as Chuang Tzu would say; ‘They refrained from pedophilia without knowing that to do so was ‘good moral behaviour’.
It has been written that man’s downfall was in eating from the tree of knowledge; i.e. (Genesis 2.9 …) “God directly forbade Adam (Eve having not yet been created) to eat the fruit of this tree. A companion tree, the Tree of Life, was in the garden, also. A serpent tempted Eve, who was aware of the prohibition, to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent had suggested to Eve that eating the fruit would make one wise. Eve and then Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and they became aware of their nakedness.”
Let’s examine our notion of ‘knowledge’. It seems to be defined by our simplistic model of the ‘self’ as a ‘local, independently-existing organism/system with its own locally originating, KNOWLEDGE-INFORMED, purpose-directed behaviour.’. ‘Purposeful behaviour’ requires ‘knowledge’. The notion of ‘purpose’ (or ‘intention’) stands or falls with the notion of ‘knowledge’.
But man has behaviour that is pre-intellectual. As Vico suggested, when early people heard thunder, they thought it was the voice of an all powerful God who might zap them with a thunderbolt if they didn’t pay heed and flee for shelter in a cave. When they found a woman taking shelter in the cave as well, they hung about and had sex and decided to cohabitate (God’s will?). Some of the people claimed that they could translate the voice of God and they became the priests and clergy and along with it came God-governed behaviour or ‘government’. As law professor emeritus Peter D’Errico observes, western sovereign state government is a ‘secularized theological concept’;”The notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” is a definition of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. This “God died around the time of Machiavelli…. Sovereignty was … His earthly replacement.” – Walker, cited in http://www.umass.edu/legal/derrico/nowyouseeit.html
Government (western) is thus based on the concept of knowledge-informed behaviour. ‘Intentional’ behaviour would make no sense unless it was ‘knowledge-directed’. So ‘knowledge’ and ‘intention’ stand and fall together.
Furthermore, there is the implicit understanding that the knowledge that informs purpose derives from God. That’s the implication of order/organization that is purely ‘intrinsic’ as in the central governance of the sovereign individual and/or the individual sovereign state. So long as we are in denial that our behaviour is informed by nature, by extrinsic invisible, nonlocal influence, we are stuck with the notion that our behaviour is intrinsically shaped by knowledge-informed purposeful (intentional) behaviour.
Extrinsic behaviour and organization shaping influence in nature may be ‘nonlocal’ and ‘invisible’ but it is ‘real’. The gathering of the storm cell and its behaviour is shaped extrinsically by nonlocal, invisible influences (‘thermal/pressure field dynamic’).
‘Intentional behaviour’ kind of ‘butts in’ and ignores extrinsic behaviour shaping influence. It is not ‘the way of Chuang Tzu’, to be sure, and it is not ‘real’ but rather a way of ‘thinking about dynamic behaviour’.
So, we have a kind of disconnect here. The dynamics of our experience incorporates ‘what we do not do’ and ‘what we do not do’ is ‘not visible’. Meanwhile, our description of ‘what is going on’ is based on ‘what things do’ and our linguistic description (most ‘descriptions’ are ‘de-pictions’) presents a ‘picture’ of ‘what things are doing’.
Politics and government start from ‘what things are doing’ and seek to shape ‘what is being done’ using various moral and ethical principles and laws. so that the entire dynamics of government are ‘knowledge’ and ‘intention’ based.
But this is like ‘herding cats’ because the over-riding aspect of dynamics derives from ‘what is not done’, which is invisible and spatial (nonlocal). The two semi-trailers rolling side-by-side up the hill on the two lane (each way) freeway doing twenty miles an hour keep you creeping along behind them. Your behaviour is being extrinsically shaped. The behaviour of the individual drivers complies with the rules because the rules are based on individual intention (knowledge-informed, purpose directed individual behaviour). But there may be the smell of a control ethic of the ‘what’s good for general bullmoose is good for everyone’ in the air.
Dynamics are not fully describable in terms of ‘what things do’ (intrinsic shaping influence). Dynamics are more generally described by Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity; “The dynamics of space condition the dynamics of the included matter at the same time as the dynamics of the included matter are conditioning the dynamics of space”. That is, we can arrange ourselves spatially so as to inductively shape the behaviour and organization of others who share inclusion in our living space, and as in this example, we can really piss them off, all the more so because the law is based on the ‘intrinsics’ of ‘what individual people do’ and it blinds itself to ‘extrinsic shaping influences’ even though extrinsic shaping influence is in a natural primacy.
We don’t have to put all our dynamics-understanding eggs into the ‘knowledge’ and ‘intention’ basket, but that’s what western governance and justice systems do. All of the stuff we don’t do so as to cultivate and sustain harmony in the spatial dynamics we share inclusion in, goes unconsidered. In our western worldview, this harmony is ‘silence’, ‘nothing’, the uneventful ‘norm’ that sets the stage for us to focus on ‘departures from the norm (‘good’ and ‘bad’).
Western social dysfunction, spearheaded by innate incompleteness in western government and justice systems, arises from understanding social dynamics as being fully and completely attributable to ‘purposeful behaviour’; i.e. ‘fully intrinsic’.
By way of common belief in this innately incomplete view of dynamics, we make ourselves over (in our minds) into little automatons constrained to purposeful behaviour that is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ according to the judgements laid down by the elite amongst us who are somehow able to interpret what the thunderous voice in the sky is saying. This opens the way for big movers to manipulate the over-riding EXTRINSIC social dynamics shaping influence which is not even on the radar screen of western ‘intentional-behaviour’ based justice systems.
Submitted by Squee on Fri, 2010-07-23 11:51.
I get your points, I am not arguing against your understanding of social dynamics. I am arguing that right now, in the Western muck we are writing of, the degree of atomization and mediation by images is so undermining that to get anywhere else, a Western subject is going to rely on their “intentions” to form a community, and that there isn’t a way around this. It’s a matter of strategy: first come together, then resist this atomization and mediation by Western norms, values, ideology; etc. The point is this… since most people are stuck in the perceptions you just described, the way “out” must be transformative and therefore it starts where people are “at”. In Bujinkan Taijutsu, you don’t learn the flow of the waza immediately because you are a Westerner that doesn’t pay attention to space and the “invisible”, but learning it does require some knowledge and intentionality. MI didn’t learn to meditate immediately after studying and practicing meditation… but wouldn’t have learned without that instruction and the “intention” to eventually reach a state of no-mind.
Am I making any sense?
Submitted by emile on Sat, 2010-07-24 06:29.
Comparing sense-making approaches
“It’s a matter of strategy: first come together, then resist this atomization and mediation by Western norms, values, ideology; etc.” .. “a Western subject is going to rely on their “intentions” to form a community, and that there isn’t a way around this” …. [We need] “that instruction and the “intention” to eventually reach [the transformed state].” … “Am I making any sense?”
In my view, ‘yes’ and ‘maybe no’. There is an ambiguity here, it seems to me, that has to brought to the surface and addressed.
If you can suspend, momentarily, any bias you may have against ‘geometric/topologic reasoning’, which I have been using and would like to use in this instance, I will try to explore the issue of ‘ambiguity’, which can lead to different ways of understanding the ‘strategy’ you are suggesting.
Geometry/topologic reasoning is simple, if uncommon, and has some powerful attributes (it was the mainstay of Henri Poincaré who, in the 1890s, came up with ‘chaos theory’ [chaos is actually highly ordered behaviour associated with sensitive dependence on initial conditions’]. This way of understanding dynamics was so contra-cultural to the ‘causal’ (intention/cause) way of understanding dynamics that few scientists ‘got it’ until Edward Lorentz, an MIT meteorologist, rediscovered it (accidentally) in 1962 in a way that it was demonstrable; i.e. thanks to supercomputer simulations).
So, here’s a geometric sense-making view of ‘transformational strategy’;
1. “first come together”.
‘Mitakuye Oyasin means that we are ‘together RIGHT NOW’. We don’t have to ‘do anything’ other than acknowledge that THE REALITY IS THAT ‘we are all together’ in this unfolding spatial-relational world dynamic. ‘Mitakuye Oyasin’ or ‘we are all related’ is consistent with the geometric/topologic principle (of space-matter relativity) of Ernst Mach; “The dynamics of the habitat are conditioned by the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat”. The ‘connectedness’ implied here (by ‘relativity’ of all movement) is that of the storm-cells (convection cells) in the flow of the atmosphere. The western habit is to reify these flow-features (storm-cells, body-cells, organs, organisms etc.) and portray them IDEALLY (NOT-AS-IN-REALITY) as ‘LOCAL systems’ with their own LOCAL INTRINSIC intention-driven behaviour. Thus what was ‘already together’, we re-render and consider to be ‘apart’ as in dispersed ‘local systems with their own local intention-driven behaviours’.
The point here is that this togetherness is the REALITY that we experience RIGHT NOW, so that there is ambiguity in statements such as “the “intention” to eventually reach a state of ..”.
We live in a ceaselessly innovatively unfolding spatial-relation dynamic continuum, call it the universe or paradise, RIGHT NOW and the challenge is not to give the universe a make-over, but to take off our blindfolds, or rather our western mindset viewing lenses which present the world to us in terms of a collection of disconnected things, including ‘our disconnected self’. That is, we do not have to ‘work towards something’ BY A SEQUENCE OF CHANGES TO THE WORLD THAT WE WILL MAKE ‘OVER TIME’, we have to acknowledge that we are already ‘one with everything’ and begin to let our individual and collective behaviour be orchestrated by this un-spin-doctored (de-acculturated) realization.
2. ‘resisting … Western norms, values, ideology etc.”
The geometry of ‘mitakuye oyasin’ was implicit in the IWW (Industrial workers of the world) by way of the common identity of the ‘worker’. ‘The worker’ is a ‘nonlocal concept’ implicitly defined in a conjugate habitat-inhabitant dynamic relational sense. While the definition may have been SECONDARILY overprinted by ‘class difference’ (management, labour), anyone in the world could be defined as a ‘worker’. The implicit idea is that ‘we are all brothers in a common world-space’. What ‘has to be demoted to secondary level’ here is the notion of LOCAL SELF-INTEREST DRIVE ‘the American worker dream’ and/or ‘the British worker dream’.
That is, western ‘norms’ put ‘local intrinsic drive’ into an unnatural precedence; i.e. western values see LOCAL SELF-INTEREST or INTRINSIC ORGANIZATION SHAPING INFLUENCE as a ‘natural driving force’ (they are decidedly UN-NATURAL in spite of Darwin’s contrary assumption). The western world puts imputes the primacy of this ‘local intrinsic drive’ whether we use ‘local’ to refer to ‘the self’ seen as a ‘local organism/system’ or we use ‘local’ to refer to ‘the sovereign state’ seen as a local organism/system. Putting a notional ‘first cause intention’ into a local system (cell, organism, state) is a ‘theological concept’ equivalent to putting a God with first cause powers of creation/origination inside of the ‘local thing’ to notionally drive from out of itself its form and behaviour (fully and solely from within, in acorn-to-oak-tree Aristotelian fashion), reducing the parenting medium in which it is included to a passive, secondary role.
nce we have outlined, defined and named the hurricanes, we take out our eraser and get rid of any traces of the invisible nonlocal dynamic ‘body’ of the parenting medium and its NONLOCAL FORM AND ORGANIZATION SHAPING INFLUENCE (‘extrinsic’ shaping influence) so that we are left with a clean slate (euclidian space) inhabited by discrete ‘local systems’ whose ‘trajectories’ and ‘interactions’ provide a new and simpler ‘reality’ (pseudo-reality) for us to discuss and orient our behaviours to (the resonant-energy-charged spatial-relation fluid-dynamic ‘field’ ‘parenting medium’ has been mentally banished).
The ‘worker of the world’ IMPLICITLY takes our mind/understanding into ‘non-euclidian space’ (bear with me). In non-euclidian space (which Einstein and others found to be needed in order to understand/explain the spatial-relational dynamics of nature that we actually experience), such as the space on the surface of a sphere (think of ants crawling around on a smooth, reference-feature-less sphere), the notion of ‘local’ vanishes, and so does the notion of ‘intrinsic form and organizational shaping influence’. Now there is a conjugate extrinsic form and organizational shaping influence for every intrinsic form and organizational shaping influence (expansion is, at the same time, compression; the one or other are by subjective ‘local focus’ only). Furthermore, the notions of ‘attraction’, ‘repulsion’ and their association with ‘intention’ and ‘cause’ (as tied together by Nietzsche in ‘Will to Power’) all ‘collapse’ (they are, as he suggested, human emotional impressions).
When the ants (people, whatever) ‘spread out’, they are at the same time, gathering together. This is characteristic of the inherent ‘relativity’ of inside-outward and outside-inward in a finite and unbounded spherical space. It ties to our real life experience; e.g. if everyone on one part of the earth increased the distance between one another, others in the common finite and unbounded space on the earth’s surface would have to squeeze together to accommodate it. Expansion is, in spherical space, at the same time, compression. This is true for us because we do live on the surface of a sphere. This is why I use (in describing organization) the picture of the cluster of growing soap bubbles which are becoming hexagons due to the ‘back-reflecting pressure’ (extrinsic shaping influence) coming from their own ‘intrinsic driven growth’. That is, their form and organization is NOT SIMPLY intrinsically shaped but is given by Mach’s principle where the shaping force is neither purely intrinsic nor purely extrinsic but ONE FORCE with a dual extrinsic-intrinsic aspect.
Ok, this also captures McLuhan’s point (he discusses things in terms of ‘euclidian’ and ‘non-euclidian’ space in his interview with Powers in ‘The Global Village’) that what matters is not ‘what things do’ which is our ‘visual space’ focus, but how ‘our relations with one another and with the common space we share inclusion in are transformed. For the ants or people on the surface of the sphere, whatever one does, back-reflects on everyone (actions are relative and space is relative) by the mediating role of space. That’s ‘everyone’ not ‘everyone else’, a point that can easily be missed (i.e. if one storm-cell in the flow pushes out (expands) then it puts pressure not only on ‘the others’ but also, at the same time, on itself. This is what we experience in ‘acoustic space’ which is ‘everywhere at the same time’ (as in the gravity field).
Now, so long as there is ‘curvature’ to this space, and it doesn’t matter what the radius of the planet surface happens to be (how great the curvature is), all of the purely one-sided intrinsic locally originating dynamic stuff ‘has to go’; i.e. ‘intention’ and ‘cause’ and ‘attraction’ and ‘repulsion’ which all imply locally originating ‘shaping influence’ all ‘have to go’ because there is no such thing as ‘locally originating’ force or dynamics in this sort of space, the curved space which far better approximates the reality of our life experience than ‘euclidian space’, an ‘idealized space’ where ‘intention’ and ‘cause’ and ‘attraction’ and ‘repulsion’ are all viable; i.e. they are viable because of the hidden implicit assumption that space is absolute (euclidian).
How do we (geometrically) get from ‘spherical space’ to ‘euclidian’ (rectangular) space? We simply increase the radius of the sphere to infinity so that the space becomes ‘flat’ so that when the storm-cell or the ants/people ‘push out’ there is no ‘back-reflecting’ because we ‘push out’ in a ‘straight line’ and it doesn’t boomerang on us and come back and hit us from behind (from all around as in ‘acoustic space’ aka ‘curved space’).
Western thinking is ‘flat earth’ thinking. Western values and ideology are ‘flat earth’ thinking. The ‘secularized theological concept’ of the ‘sovereign state’ stems from ‘flat-earth’ thinking. Flat-earth thinking forces us to put a God inside of every LOCAL cell and organism and organization (e.g. state) so as to invoke the notion of absolute local ‘first cause’ origination of dynamic behaviour.
Ok, this is getting ‘too long’ a post, so I will cut it short here and try to summarize.
1. Mitakuye Oyasin is ‘reality’. We already are ‘all together’ and what we do ‘locally’ (as individuals and/or as individual states) effects everyone because ‘space is a participant’ in physical dynamics (Einstein) and because the dynamics of habitat condition, at the same time, the dynamics of the inhabitants and vice versa (Ernst Mach’s principle; Mach was a mentor to both Einstein and Poincaré).
2. Where we need to get to is already here. The challenge is to remove blindfolds.
3. The ‘workers of the world’ concept is a ‘we are all in this thing together’ concept which elicits the geometry of the ants on the surface of the sphere; dynamic INTER-DEPENDENCE (NOT ‘LOCAL INDEPENDENCE’) mediated by the common space we share inclusion in.
4. We can stimulate ‘ initiatives’ if we do it like the ‘wildgeese’ (or honey bees) and acknowledge that extrinsic and intrinsic are ‘one dynamic’; e.g. they stir up the parenting medium they are included in and let the resonances in the turbulence orchestrate their individual and collective behaviour (spatial resonance-based organization). The bees do not set out to produce hexagonal cells, they (implicitly) eschew the notion of independent tracts of property and respect the fact that the outside of their property is at the same time the inside of someone else’s property (as in spherical space). There is no such thing, in this case, as ‘inside-outward movement (locally originating movement) since such direction can only be established by subjective local self-interest. This is a problem today with local governance that seeks to put a ‘habitat-preserve-and-protect’ ethic ahead of the ‘local self-interest driven’ ‘right to own property and to develop it as one pleases. The former incorporates a ‘curved space’ ethic while the latter incorporates a flat-space ethic.
In speaking of the strategy for transforming out of the western cultural overprint, you say:
“The point is this… since most people are stuck in the perceptions you just described, the way “out” must be transformative and therefore it starts where people are “at” “…. [and involves] instruction and the “intention” to eventually reach [the transformed] state”
My point boils down to the fact that, in doing this, ‘intention’ cannot be associated with LOCAL SELF INTEREST (‘intrinsic organizational shaping influence) that pits ‘one side’ against ‘the other’. When we as a ‘local group’ push out, it back-reflects on ourselves. As the Amerindians say, “Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” [Note: Mach's principle is about transformation in terms of 'spatial relations', there is no dependency on the notion of 'time' as in x,y,z,t flatspace transformation which 'takes time'.]
Giovannitti and Ettor were involved in a social transformative initiative (activist demonstration) in Lawrence Massachusetts, a kind of ‘pulse’ like the wildgeese approach wherein a group ‘stirs up’ turbulence in the social-spatial-medium which back-reflects on everyone as outside-inward pressure and which got Giovannitti and Ettor out of jail where the ‘local self-interest’ driven faction had put them by framing them. The ‘global pressure’ is a real thing. It is McLuhan’s ‘acoustic space’ (which is everywhere at the same time extrinsic/intrinsic) shaping influence. Everyone is included in it even though a ‘subgroup’ (‘local’ only in the RELATIVE sense that a storm-cell in the flow-medium is ‘local’ or a subgroup of ants in the ant collective in spherical space is ‘local’) stimulated the turbulence (conditioned space) in manner that comprehended that the dynamics of space are at the same time conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants.
If Giovannitti and Ettor had chosen to develop a local faction that MERELY (plainly, simply, exclusively, without comprehending the participation of space) went head to head against the local non-immigrant control-seeking establishment, then that would have turned into a standard ‘war’ of ‘good’ versus ‘evil’, one side against the other, each side having ‘intentions’ of an ‘intrinsic’ LOCAL SELF-INTEREST seeking nature. But the IWW was a global movement which was IMPLICITLY (intuitively, poetically, romantically) seeking ‘global transformation’ by way of Mach’s principle (i.e. the Mach’s principle ‘geometry’ is implicit in the global approach.) It was not a case of ‘we’ll transform this local place this year, those other places in subsequent years until we have succeeded ‘OVER TIME’ in transforming ‘the entire world’ (that is the hierarchical flatspace view).
The ‘anarchic’ approach of the IWW, of ‘establishing/inducing order in the world’ transformatively by way of Mach’s principle; i.e. by conditioning the habitat-dynamic which is at the same time conditioning the inhabitant-dynamics, … is an alternative to ‘establishing/imposing order on the world’ by ‘oligarchic hegemony’ by the self-appointed few who feel that they have ‘goodness’ in their hearts and in a patronizing sense (God made me superior and more intelligent and compassionate than the poor relatively ignorant and primitive little others so that I have the ‘noblesse oblige’ responsibility to govern them, all of them). The latter ‘hierarchical’ approach only makes sense in a ‘flat space’ view of the world where ‘intrinsic actions’ are not simultaneous associated with (conjugate) ‘extrinsic back-reflection’. If the space of our experience is more like ‘curved space on the surface of a sphere’, then the anarchic Mach’s principle approach to transforming the social dynamic makes more sense, and the ‘flat-space hierarchical approach’ is exposed as ‘insane’.
Does any of this ‘make any sense’ to you?
Submitted by Squee on Sat, 2010-07-24 08:09.
It does make sense in a very “big-picture” way and even with the IWW example, I am still confused about what you are suggesting. Ok – so we are already together in this global movement, we are removing our Westernized blindfolds, and this is causing changes because ________ ? Or ought those like you, without these impediments to reality, to communicate this message widely? Lol, I know this is probably frustrating… It seems like resigning to the dynamics of the universe to me, and like somehow the change in my perception and resulting behaviors will have an impact despite my solitary life-style? It’s like you are telling me I gotta just pop my balloon and all the revolutionary juices inside will meld with the natural forces of the universe and simultaniously change me, the universe, and ssocial life in the US or somewhere else in this sphere. Almost like I remove my Western ‘block’ and that will be one more clog of damned up revolutionary energy released into the aether. Is that what you are getting at? I can grasp that in a way but it is so counter-intuitive for Kentish it feels like “giving up” or “letting the order take care of everything” or something along those lines nit really sounds a lot like my mother’s mysticism and her way of being the change that changes everything. I guess I am best to ponder this all more instead of expecting a ‘a-hah’ moment to happen right away.
Submitted by emile on Sat, 2010-07-24 18:29.
Just to recap, my posts have been about ‘architecture’; i.e. ‘anarchy and order’, to try to describe how the order in nature is ‘purposeless order’ (order that does not assume ‘intrinsic’ locally originating drive and direction) and to argue that our western culture is dysfunctional because we have infused our thinking and social dynamics with a radically over-simplified view of ‘dynamics’ (we left out ‘extrinsic’ form and organization shaping influence).
Ok, so far as that goes, it was in support of what many feel is the intuitive ‘correctness’ of ‘anarchism’, and it was an attempt to ‘ground’ that support in ‘architecture’ of nature’s dynamic that is being revealed by ‘the new physics’, a key expression of which is Mach’s principle which makes the same point as McLuhan’s ‘the medium is the message’ (“the dynamic of the habitat conditions the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat’. This understanding of nature is fundamentally contentious with ‘intrinsic shaping influence’ (Aristotle’s acorn-to-oak-tree time progression), and Darwin’s natural selection wherein, like almost all mainstream western science, ‘space is a non-participant’ [there is no ‘substantive (energy-charged) medium’, only the emptiness of absolute rectangular euclidian space]).
If we take off the western cultural blinders, then we are in pretty much the same boat as ‘indigenous people’ in that western society and its institutions are forcibly ‘disconnecting us’ from ‘who we are’ (‘mitakuye oyasin people’) making ‘decolonization’ (de-westernization) an imperative.. The strategy and tactics are up for grabs but one thing is for sure and that is that this problem cannot be solved “from the same level of consciousness that created it” (Einstein); i.e. it cannot be solved by intrinsic organization shaping; e.g. by a ‘de-westernization MOVEMENT’ (we need a Mach’s principle approach).
Taiaiake Alfred (‘Peace, Power and Righteousness: an indigenous manifesto’), in my view, has a lot of good insights on the problem of ‘de-colonization/de-westernization’. For example, he observes that the way of the indigenous peoples is in fundamental contention with the western way (governance, institutions, values etc.). The justice that the indigenous peoples want is not ‘social justice’ in the western sense of economic prosperity (that is like ‘pouring gasoline on the fire, as in Hobbema’, a Cree reservation in Alberta) nor in the sense of legal justice (e.g. land claims). These are the two prime features of ‘western justice’. ‘Justice’ for the indigenous peoples is ‘decolonization’ which means ‘reconnection’ with the land and with one another. Their measure of the success of their ‘decolonization’ efforts is whether their great grandchildren will be able to live in a more ‘reconnected’ manner than today’s ‘disconnected’ generation are living.
Taiaiake notes that when he speaks on behalf of the indigenous way, he is intellectually well prepared but compared with native chiefs who went to Europe a century ago, it is like he is standing on a small boulder compared with their huge rock they stood upon (they still lived the traditions and were fluent in the language), so for him, all the energies spent on ‘social justice’ and ‘legal justice’, as fine as these objectives are, draw energy away from central imperative, the re-strengthening of the cultural base before it is lost.
Perhaps this is what you are talking about with respect to the unsatisfactory feeling in simply developing a strong ‘architecture’ that shows why de-westernization is an imperative; i.e. it is still just intellectual and we have no ‘rock’ to stand on that comes from living the theory.
Taiaiake’s observation is that there are no ‘decolonized communities’ because of the way the western system puts co-opting stress on a community and ‘decolonization’ seems to happen individual by individual. In small intimate groups, rather than in a big televised meeting/movement, people can have profound effects on one another. ‘Networking’ is thus a more effective way of nurturing decolonization and in the groups he works within, accountability keeps you ‘on the path’; i.e. you declare that you are on the path within the small group and hold yourself accountable and have your friends help to keep you on the path..
The western ‘crowd’ is not an ‘object’ in itself. If you mount a video camera on the balcony of your apartment overlooking the Ponte Vecchio and take shots of the crowd that mills around and over it, a mental image may form of the character of the people constituting the crowd. Of course, if you left the camera on for 400 years, this notion of who the people in the crowd were wouldn’t make much sense since the crowd is not a collection of discrete people but is being continually ‘replaced’. The crowd is like Emerson’s cataract (in The Method of Nature); i.e. what we call a ‘crowd’ is the spatial relational dynamic, while particular material bodies are something secondary since the crowd persists while it is added to from the bottom and subtracted from at the top. Disagreeing factions within the crowd do not have to battle it out since a new belief system can be streamed in from the bottom.
Taiaiake says; “We cannot expect a better future in the absence of a commitment to take action, to attack and destroy the heart of colonialism. … The goals that flow from our traditions demand an approach based on undermining the intellectual and moral foundations of colonialism and exposing the internal contradictions of states and societies that promise justice and practise oppression. Non-indigenous people need to be brought to the realization that their notion of power [intrinsic] and its extension over indigenous people [people trying to de-westernize] is wrong by any moral standard.” … “… most urgently, we must begin to re-create a place of honour and respect within our societies for young people.” [not what western education system does].
He rejects both violence and pacifism as forms of political action. This ‘scholarly warrior’ served in the U.S. Marines for 3 years in Asia and Central America doesn’t advocate the old model of revolutionary armed struggle (“That only makes sense if your aim is to impose your power on someone else and create a new state. … I believe we should use arms only as self-defence, as is the right of anyone who is defending his home, his family and his basic human rights against criminals and other armed aggressors.”)
Decolonization (de-westernization) aims to restore ‘connectedness’ that is being blocked by obligatory western cultural institutions, values etc. so that it will be once again be possible to reconnect with one another and the habitat in an attuned manner, rather than behaving as intention-driven and directed systems. The suggestion is that we can’t solve the problem “from the same level of consciousness that created it” which means that we can’t use local intention-driven behaviour to transform the current system. That seems to be being built in to the ‘decolonization’ approach of the first nations (no mass movements, no imposing of power to create a new state etc.).
Submitted by Squee on Sun, 2010-07-25 02:20.
Makes sense! Thanks
Submitted by anon on Fri, 2010-07-23 04:43.
Well a musician uses noise-signal veto processes, or maybe this is something else? but will look into this, if I wasn’t so tired I’d rave more, and thanks, seeya.
Submitted by Squee on Fri, 2010-07-23 04:56.
It’s part of this persons notion of what consciousness is. He is really making a general statement about consciousness itself using information theory and such… not just human behavior.
Submitted by anon on Fri, 2010-07-23 05:13.
Is the book a rarity or available through amazon, just wondering? But I only have a few years, and 50 books to read, along with freedom chores, I want quality, Foucault or Rimbaud, or radical pulp, it may just be it. Nice, bye.
Submitted by Squee on Fri, 2010-07-23 05:26.
Tor Nørretranders (born June 20, 1955) is a Danish author of popular science. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. His books and lectures have primarily been focused on science and its role in society, often with Nørretranders’ own advice about how society should integrate new findings in science. He introduced the notion of exformation in his book The User Illusion.
Submitted by anon on Fri, 2010-07-23 05:48.
A sociologist/scientist, they are so common now, whereas the 19th century had a few, but thousands of religious missionaries, the paradigm shift now has thousands of scientists and a few missionaries, how fickle is history? There are no poet beserkers roaming the hills now, battle-axe in hand, except myself, oh how I wish to die standing upright in battle! But I am interested in this text, you have previously been an inspiring source of sustaining empowering discussion, but I would rather read extracts, time is short, I must move on.
Submitted by anon on Fri, 2010-07-23 06:13.
oh how I wish to die standing upright in battle!
Submitted by anon on Fri, 2010-07-23 06:41.
It’s about context you moron, or are you a random shooter?
Submitted by Squee on Fri, 2010-07-23 11:37.
Yeah – I would put it on the back burner too (and did for years). It just fits this particular debate well.
New Thread Started on July 26
Submitted by Squee on Mon, 2010-07-26 12:45.
Talk about ‘new science’:
“Do the languages we speak shape the way we think? Do they merely express thoughts, or do the structures in languages (without our knowledge or consent) shape the very thoughts we wish to express?
Take “Humpty Dumpty sat on a…” Even this snippet of a nursery rhyme reveals how much languages can differ from one another. In English, we have to mark the verb for tense; in this case, we say “sat” rather than “sit.” In Indonesian you need not (in fact, you can’t) change the verb to mark tense.
In Russian, you would have to mark tense and also gender, changing the verb if Mrs. Dumpty did the sitting. You would also have to decide if the sitting event was completed or not. If our ovoid hero sat on the wall for the entire time he was meant to, it would be a different form of the verb than if, say, he had a great fall.
In Turkish, you would have to include in the verb how you acquired this information. For example, if you saw the chubby fellow on the wall with your own eyes, you’d use one form of the verb, but if you had simply read or heard about it, you’d use a different form.
Do English, Indonesian, Russian and Turkish speakers end up attending to, understanding, and remembering their experiences differently simply because they speak different languages?
These questions touch on all the major controversies in the study of mind, with important implications for politics, law and religion. Yet very little empirical work had been done on these questions until recently. The idea that language might shape thought was for a long time considered untestable at best and more often simply crazy and wrong. Now, a flurry of new cognitive science research is showing that in fact, language does profoundly influence how we see the world.
The question of whether languages shape the way we think goes back centuries; Charlemagne proclaimed that “to have a second language is to have a second soul.” But the idea went out of favor with scientists when Noam Chomsky’s theories of language gained popularity in the 1960s and ’70s. Dr. Chomsky proposed that there is a universal grammar for all human languages—essentially, that languages don’t really differ from one another in significant ways. And because languages didn’t differ from one another, the theory went, it made no sense to ask whether linguistic differences led to differences in thinking.
The search for linguistic universals yielded interesting data on languages, but after decades of work, not a single proposed universal has withstood scrutiny. Instead, as linguists probed deeper into the world’s languages (7,000 or so, only a fraction of them analyzed), innumerable unpredictable differences emerged.
Of course, just because people talk differently doesn’t necessarily mean they think differently. In the past decade, cognitive scientists have begun to measure not just how people talk, but also how they think, asking whether our understanding of even such fundamental domains of experience as space, time and causality could be constructed by language.
For example, in Pormpuraaw, a remote Aboriginal community in Australia, the indigenous languages don’t use terms like “left” and “right.” Instead, everything is talked about in terms of absolute cardinal directions (north, south, east, west), which means you say things like, “There’s an ant on your southwest leg.” To say hello in Pormpuraaw, one asks, “Where are you going?”, and an appropriate response might be, “A long way to the south-southwest. How about you?” If you don’t know which way is which, you literally can’t get past hello.
About a third of the world’s languages (spoken in all kinds of physical environments) rely on absolute directions for space. As a result of this constant linguistic training, speakers of such languages are remarkably good at staying oriented and keeping track of where they are, even in unfamiliar landscapes. They perform navigational feats scientists once thought were beyond human capabilities. This is a big difference, a fundamentally different way of conceptualizing space, trained by language.
Differences in how people think about space don’t end there. People rely on their spatial knowledge to build many other more complex or abstract representations including time, number, musical pitch, kinship relations, morality and emotions. So if Pormpuraawans think differently about space, do they also think differently about other things, like time?
To find out, my colleague Alice Gaby and I traveled to Australia and gave Pormpuraawans sets of pictures that showed temporal progressions (for example, pictures of a man at different ages, or a crocodile growing, or a banana being eaten). Their job was to arrange the shuffled photos on the ground to show the correct temporal order. We tested each person in two separate sittings, each time facing in a different cardinal direction. When asked to do this, English speakers arrange time from left to right. Hebrew speakers do it from right to left (because Hebrew is written from right to left).
Pormpuraawans, we found, arranged time from east to west. That is, seated facing south, time went left to right. When facing north, right to left. When facing east, toward the body, and so on. Of course, we never told any of our participants which direction they faced. The Pormpuraawans not only knew that already, but they also spontaneously used this spatial orientation to construct their representations of time. And many other ways to organize time exist in the world’s languages. In Mandarin, the future can be below and the past above. In Aymara, spoken in South America, the future is behind and the past in front.
In addition to space and time, languages also shape how we understand causality. For example, English likes to describe events in terms of agents doing things. English speakers tend to say things like “John broke the vase” even for accidents. Speakers of Spanish or Japanese would be more likely to say “the vase broke itself.” Such differences between languages have profound consequences for how their speakers understand events, construct notions of causality and agency, what they remember as eyewitnesses and how much they blame and punish others.
In studies conducted by Caitlin Fausey at Stanford, speakers of English, Spanish and Japanese watched videos of two people popping balloons, breaking eggs and spilling drinks either intentionally or accidentally. Later everyone got a surprise memory test: For each event, can you remember who did it? She discovered a striking cross-linguistic difference in eyewitness memory. Spanish and Japanese speakers did not remember the agents of accidental events as well as did English speakers. Mind you, they remembered the agents of intentional events (for which their language would mention the agent) just fine. But for accidental events, when one wouldn’t normally mention the agent in Spanish or Japanese, they didn’t encode or remember the agent as well.
In another study, English speakers watched the video of Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” (a wonderful nonagentive coinage introduced into the English language by Justin Timberlake), accompanied by one of two written reports. The reports were identical except in the last sentence where one used the agentive phrase “ripped the costume” while the other said “the costume ripped.” Even though everyone watched the same video and witnessed the ripping with their own eyes, language mattered. Not only did people who read “ripped the costume” blame Justin Timberlake more, they also levied a whopping 53% more in fines.
Beyond space, time and causality, patterns in language have been shown to shape many other domains of thought. Russian speakers, who make an extra distinction between light and dark blues in their language, are better able to visually discriminate shades of blue. The Piraha, a tribe in the Amazon in Brazil, whose language eschews number words in favor of terms like few and many, are not able to keep track of exact quantities. And Shakespeare, it turns out, was wrong about roses: Roses by many other names (as told to blindfolded subjects) do not smell as sweet.
Patterns in language offer a window on a culture’s dispositions and priorities. For example, English sentence structures focus on agents, and in our criminal-justice system, justice has been done when we’ve found the transgressor and punished him or her accordingly (rather than finding the victims and restituting appropriately, an alternative approach to justice). So does the language shape cultural values, or does the influence go the other way, or both?
Languages, of course, are human creations, tools we invent and hone to suit our needs. Simply showing that speakers of different languages think differently doesn’t tell us whether it’s language that shapes thought or the other way around. To demonstrate the causal role of language, what’s needed are studies that directly manipulate language and look for effects in cognition.
One of the key advances in recent years has been the demonstration of precisely this causal link. It turns out that if you change how people talk, that changes how they think. If people learn another language, they inadvertently also learn a new way of looking at the world. When bilingual people switch from one language to another, they start thinking differently, too. And if you take away people’s ability to use language in what should be a simple nonlinguistic task, their performance can change dramatically, sometimes making them look no smarter than rats or infants. (For example, in recent studies, MIT students were shown dots on a screen and asked to say how many there were. If they were allowed to count normally, they did great. If they simultaneously did a nonlinguistic task—like banging out rhythms—they still did great. But if they did a verbal task when shown the dots—like repeating the words spoken in a news report—their counting fell apart. In other words, they needed their language skills to count.)
All this new research shows us that the languages we speak not only reflect or express our thoughts, but also shape the very thoughts we wish to express. The structures that exist in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality, and help make us as smart and sophisticated as we are.
Language is a uniquely human gift. When we study language, we are uncovering in part what makes us human, getting a peek at the very nature of human nature. As we uncover how languages and their speakers differ from one another, we discover that human natures too can differ dramatically, depending on the languages we speak. The next steps are to understand the mechanisms through which languages help us construct the incredibly complex knowledge systems we have. Understanding how knowledge is built will allow us to create ideas that go beyond the currently thinkable. This research cuts right to the fundamental questions we all ask about ourselves. How do we come to be the way we are? Why do we think the way we do? An important part of the answer, it turns out, is in the languages we speak.”
—Lera Boroditsky is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and editor in chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology.
Submitted by emile on Tue, 2010-07-27 09:21.
Boroditsky & Vygotsky . . .
This is not the same as ‘language a la Vygotsky’ (‘мышление и реч’) and what’s missing in Boroditsky seems to me to be very important.
“The structures that exist in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality, and help make us as smart and sophisticated as we are.”
Just about all of the old presumed-wise philosophers imply that the truth of our experienced reality is ‘ineffable’; e.g. ‘the named path is not the true path’, and where Vygotsky was coming from was to say that at the very bottom of language, all there is for ‘foundations’ is relational webs (pseudoconcepts); e.g. “Vygotsky’s discussion of the phenomenon of pseudoconcepts has far-reaching philosophical implications. First of all, if the conscious awareness of one’s own intellectual operations (“concept for me”) is only a secondary achievement, which follows the practical use of these operations, then the individual cannot be considered a self-conscious center of activity.” – Alex Kozulin (Kozulin is the translator from Russian To English of the popular ‘Thought and Language’ version of мышление и реч (‘thinking and speech’))
What’s missing in Boroditsky’s thinking, at least in the excerpt you cite (I have never read Boroditsky), is that we may also be shaped by believing that what we say is ‘coming from us’; i.e. that we ‘know what we are talking about’. This sort of thinking aligns us with a view of ‘self’ as a local system with its own locally originating, internal knowledge-informed purposive behaviour’.
This view of self is one in which ‘we know what we are doing’ because ‘we can listen to ourselves talk’.
Consider the difference between the Amerindian languages as discussed by Dan ‘Moonhawk’ Alford; i.e. they are ‘poetic’ rather than ‘explicate’. They only ‘allude’ to things by way of ‘metaphor’. This keeps everything ‘relational’.
So, we can use language in a relational sense so that we never expect ‘meaning’ to ‘bottom out’ as something ‘real’, or, we can use language in a manner wherein we believe that there is something real at the bottom of our statements. Is there a ‘real object’ that corresponds to the word ‘hurricane’? When we say ‘Katrina is strengthening’ or ‘Katrina is dissipating’ is this ‘really happening’?
No, what is happening is spatial relational; i.e. as the sun’s irradiance varies and the earth’s orbit goes through its various wobble cycles and as the solar flares issue particles that flare up in the earth’s magnetic field, the atmosphere moves towards and away ‘from the boil’ and ‘boil-like’ flow-features gather and regather in this mess and thanks to language, we can focus in on an interesting one to us humans, … as far as Nature is concerned, the whole thing is ‘of interest’ and there is no need to ‘break it apart’ and if we do, it is insanity to use the broken-up-into-bits rendition as a ‘substitute reality.
According to the new science, the world dynamic is a dynamic unity or ‘enfolding-unfolding spacetime continuum’ It is an energy-charged spatial-relational dynamic. Anything we want to talk about, if we want to preserve this inherent relational character, has to be by way of metaphor and poetic talk which is ‘spatial-relational’ and which never ‘bottoms out’ in anything ‘local’ and ‘explicit’.
There is thus a radical split in how we ‘construct reality’ based on whether we assume that language derives from something explicit that we ‘know’ or whether language is, at the bottom of it all, ‘arm-waving’. This arm-waving is not arbitrary, it ‘makes sense’ by comparative allusion to ‘the method of nature’, the examples of natural phenomena which we don’t need to understand ‘absolutely’ but only by the common patterns in our experiencing. According to Vygotsky, there is no way to know anything absolutely. Poincaré makes the same point about science. There are those who he calls ‘Cantorian realists’ who believe in the reality of their own definitions and there are also (in a minority in which he included himself) ‘pragmatist idealists’ who accept that scientifically defined sets of things are ‘idealizations’ which we can make use of, but which are not ‘real’. He uses the example of the thermal field. On the one hand, we say that it is nonlocal in its influence (as in the hurricane example) but we want to ‘make it local’ because that’s how science, in choosing not that which is most true but that which is most easy, constructs things, by way of locally applied forces that ‘cause’ some result, so we invent ‘temperature’ which we define as ‘the average kinetic energy of the molecules’. This is like applying differential calculus to a complicated surface, it will show up all the local ‘irregularities’ but it will ‘drop out the subtle long wavelength spatial curvature trends’ which parent the short terms trends in the way that the sliding body of continental sediments creates its own fault systems and ‘overthrust’ structures. The ‘mistake’ as he says, is hidden in ‘averages’ which allow us to portray things in terms of ‘departures from the norm’ (the ‘norm’ because an infinite flatspace plane or ‘datum’).
So, the result is that what started off as nonlocal influence is reduced to locally arising influence. Newton did the same to the gravity field and declared so; i.e. the gravity field is in itself a motive influence, but that’s too complicated so we come up with a method whereby we calculate the gravity based on mass distribution at any/all points (whatever we need) in absolute (x,y,z,t) space and then claim that things move as a result of ‘the local force’ of gravity being applied to the local mass.
This reduction of spatially extended (nonlocal) motive influence so that it re-appears driving out from the opposite direction as local origination doesn’t stop with ‘matter’, Aristotle derives the notion of ‘morality’ from it which forces a retro-fit on how we model our human ‘geometro-dynamic’. Aristotle says;
“Again, it is possible to fail in many ways (for evil belongs to the class of the unlimited … and good to that of the limited), while to succeed is possible only in one way (for which reason also one is easy and the other difficult—to miss the mark easy, to hit it difficult); for these reasons also, then, excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of virtue; For men are good in but one way, but bad in many.”
That ‘mark’ that seems to keep on changing is otherwise called ‘the norm’ and its origin is buried in the averaging just as it chops up the thermal field by way of ‘temperature’. This allows us to use the Aristotelian ‘intrinsic final cause’ and portray all behaviour as being locally originating.. Extrinsic (invisible, nonlocal) form and behaviour-shaping influence is what the word ‘occult’ was originally invented for. To westerners, the notion that what happens derives from invisible nonlocal influence (from ‘occult’ forces) is too spooky to allow. Far less spooky for the western psyche is the assumption that the form and behaviour shaping influence is ‘locally originating’ (intrinsic). That way, if Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread we need not look beyond the local Jean Valjean physical person to discover where that behaviour originated from. And if the behaviour is ‘really wicked’, guess where it originated? There is nowhere else to put the origins of it in the western Aristotelian view, but in the interior of the local smoking gun. We can call this local point source origination power ‘evil’ (making the person ‘evil incarnate’). This will save us from having to extend our inquiry and have us looking for invisible, nonlocal influence such as a spatial stress field imposed by an oppressive regime. Everybody ‘feels’ stressful spaces but in the west, we claim that ‘it’s all in our mind’, even though we accept, after the earthquake happens, that there was an invisible, nonlocal stress field that was real, lurking furtively in them there hills.
When Poincaré said that ‘Cantorism is a disease that mathematics will have to recover from’, he was talking about ‘Cantorian realism’ where we define things locally (intrinsically rather than extrinsically). We proceed from the general to the particular not from the entity’s unique situational inclusion in the dynamic spatial energy-flow medium but by first assuming a ‘locally existing’ common genus; e.g. ‘humans’, and studying the differences in their similarities; e.g. two legs, two arms (long or short, hairy or smooth), three orifices (..) etc. Once we have defined the genus and the qualification for membership, it is, to the Cantorian realist, as if we can have as many of these things as we want, as if we can order them from a supermarket of infinite supply in the sky (there is no extrinsic conjugate spatial relation as in Mach’s principle; e.g. as in the convection-cell – flow relationship).
Another name for ‘Cantorian realism’ is Aristotelianism (constraining dynamic shaping of form and behaviour to (‘intrinsic’) locally originating influence).
“Language’ deals in both ‘spontaneous concepts’ and ‘scientific concepts’ and Vygotsky disputed Piaget’s conclusion that ‘spontaneous concept formation’ got in the way of ‘scientific concept formation’. Piaget’s view reinforced the ‘structured’ architecture of education, whereas Vygotsky advocated ‘situational learning’ which means that the dynamics of the spatial situation we are included in can orchestrate our behaviour, rather than using what we have learned (knowledge) to bull our way through into the unfolding dynamic space of our experiencing of the continuing present. That way, the precipitation of knowledge always follows spatial experiencing so that the point is never reached where we would start using our accumulated knowledge ‘backwards’ to start off locally and drive ourselves forward through the unfolding spatial dynamic we found ourselves situationally included in. That is, we would have all that knowledge just the same, but we would use it in a ‘secondary support’ fashion and we wouldn’t be using it as a locally originating behaviour drive, we would continue to be ‘open to experience’ and to letting our individual and collective behaviour be orchestrated by the particular spatial dynamics we found ourselves to be situationally included in (we would continue to ‘sailboat’ rather than converting to ‘powerboat’ mode when we had a sufficient stockpile of knowledge to drive the system backwards, as is what characterizes those Boroditsky evidently refers to as ‘smart’ and ‘sophisticated’).
Its not hard to see that this ‘split’ between ‘Cantorian realism’ (intrinsic reality) and ‘pragmatist idealism’ (relational reality) is going to impact our view of self and worldview. this can be explored as follows;
The invisible, nonlocal, extrinsic shaping that organizes a collection of iron filings on a piece of white paper derives from an invisible, nonlocal magnetic ‘field’ which is focused by a large filing (aka ‘magnet’) that serves as a ‘lens’ for the field-flow, which lies underneath the paper (every science student has seen and ‘accepts’ that there is invisible nonlocal extrinsic shaping influence in the world. But, we say, “that doesn’t apply to us humans because when we come into being, we are local, independently-existing systems with our own locally originating, internal purpose-driven behaviours, and thus the dynamic social organizing of a human collective is from the inside-outward starting from the internal purpose of the individuals, as Aristotle insisted”.
Clearly, something ‘has to give’ here with respect to where we ground our mental models. Marshall McLuhan (the ‘global village’, the ‘medium is the message’) pointed out that when you fire up local purposeful systems; e.g. a factory in a town, it matters little ‘what this purposeful system does’, what matters is how our relationships with one another and the land are transformed. Mcluhan is saying the same thing as Einstein, that spatial-relational transformation is the ‘greater reality’ while ‘what local systems/organisms do’ is a kind of visual object/feature based secondary reality which ignores the inherent primacy of ‘field’ and the secondary nature of local matter (E=mc^2). ‘Language’ is where we define and name label these ‘local visual features’ (the ‘reifying process’) and as John Stuart Mill noted; ‘every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the local existence of the object defined’.
So, for example, the convection cell ‘form’ in the flow becomes a local object with its own local agency (after we name-label and define it, we start saying stuff like; ‘it strengthens, it moves, it wreaks destruction, it weakens, it dissipates’). Thanks to language and our ability to visually isolate interesting features (whorls in the flow), we render ourselves incapable of seeing the flow for the whorls.
It is not that hard to believe that ‘it is Katrina that is doing the growing’, as if she were a shapely rubber balloon that is being inflated from the inside (her form and behaviour being 100% intrinsically driven, as Aristotle persuaded us). Plato, on the other hand, argued that extrinsic form-and-organization shaping influence prevailed and that such growth was ‘celestially-driven’ (aka, in our terms, ‘field driven’). Instead of the acorn-pushing itself ‘out-of-itself’ to fountain forth into an oak tree, Plato argued that ‘space pull-pushed itself into shape’ (as is the ‘way’ of ‘fluid dynamics’). Plato would have made a better meteorologist than most because he would have acknowledged, as some meteorologists do, that the hurricane takes shape and moves for no other reason than ‘extrinsic shaping influence’; i.e. to transport thermal energy from thermal energy rich equatorial regions to thermal energy poor polar regions. That is, the mover-and-shaker persona of the hurricane is first and foremost an invisible nonlocal dynamic (aka ‘energy-field’) that is ‘everywhere-at-the-same-time’ and it is our use of linguistic definitions and labels that objectify/localize the extrinsically-engendered flow-feature and notionally infuse within it, its own (notional) locally-originating behavioural fountainhead. So, when we set up a dairy products factory in the town and offer good wages and benefits, we pull all the workers off the farm who were milking the cows (‘what we do’ is the ‘little reality’, ‘how our spatial relations transform’ is the greater reality).
Is ‘motion’ spatial-relational transformation as ‘the new physics says it is’ (e.g. Mach’s principle) or is it ‘the dynamics of local systems with their own locally originating behaviours’ acting/interacting in absolute space’ (space that is not a participant in the local object dynamics)? It is clear that which alternative we ‘opt for’ and impose on our view of dynamics in general, depends on our sense of who we are as ‘humans’. This is why Nietzsche described science as ‘anthropomorphism’ because we are going to model ‘the cell’ and ‘the organism’ after ‘the human organism’ so that everything we need to have in a ‘human’ will ‘come out right’. The Amerindians opted for extrinsic form and organization shaping (by ‘the Great Mystery’) so that what shapes our ‘form’ is an invisible, nonlocal influence or ‘field’ which is unique to each of us because of the uniqueness of our situational inclusion in the invisible nonlocal field. The Aristotelian ‘intrinsic final cause’ option that dominates western culture thinking claims that we are ‘wysiwyg’ (what you see is what you get [‘all she wrote’]); i.e. in this popular western view of ‘dynamics’, there is no extrinsic, nonlocal, invisible ‘overcoat’ as in ‘fluid (energy-field-flow) dynamics, that shapes our form and behaviour, there is only notional internally encoded information and inside-out pushing directive influence. That’s the anthropomorphism we plugged into Darwin’s theory, a theory that is currently under siege and undergoing (epicycle-based) ‘repairs’ ever more frequently (‘epigenetics’, resurgent Lamarckism, bidirectional innovation in evolving microbial communities, etc.).
So, what we are talking about here is that we can build two types of anthropomorphism into our language; “(a) an anthropomorphism that restores the invisible nonlocal overcoat that shapes our forms and our spatial relations with one another”, and/or (b) an anthropomorphism that leaves us naked and wysiwyg in absolute space, a disconnected (non-mitakuye-oyasin) view that portrays ‘dynamics’ in terms of ‘our’ (disconnected self-engendered) actions and interactions in non-participating (fixed and empty) space.
Of course, we are going to have to ‘face up to the occult’ (the invisible, nonlocal form-and-behaviour-shaping force) if we are going to ‘restore’ the anthropomorphic worldview where form, behaviour and organization is understood as being shaped by energy-field-flow’.
It is ‘human nature’ that we must choose one of these anthropomorphisms; i.e. we have to put ‘the God of First Cause’ (creation) into dynamics somewhere/somehow. There is a clue to the thinking we use in making this choice, in the popular western habit of inventing the ‘sovereign state of being’. As the Amerindians have pointed out, this depends on nothing other than ‘common belief’ on the part of self-interested ‘believers’, there is nothing ‘real’ at the bottom of it.
“The notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” is a definition of the Judeo- Christian-Islamic God. This “God died around the time of Machiavelli…. Sovereignty was … His earthly replacement.” (Walker, R. B. J. and Mendlovitz, Saul H. “Interrogating State Sovereignty.”
So, which will it be, God as the intrinsic-mover-shaper who blows up balloons that putt-putt about in fixed and empty non-participating space, or, God as the extrinsic-mover-shaper, the supplier of nonlocal invisible overcoats that line holes that gather and regather in a fluid-dynamic (energy-field-flow) space? (that’s only a metaphor for the ineffable, of course; i.e. a man’s reach must exceed his grasp or ‘what’s a meta phor’?.)
what would God say in regard to these two options? how about; … She said, …. ‘come look, there’s a wardrobe of love in my eyes… Take your time, look around and see if there’s something your size.’ (Ishtar)