Author’s Subtext: AFGHANISTAN
Though it is unlikely to show in the body of writing in these APN pages, I have been drawn to Barack Obama’s innate ‘potentials’. However, my impression from before he ran for president was that he was applying himself in the wrong place. As an ‘American’ in a world leadership position, YES, … but as an ‘American leader’ positioning the world, NO.
‘Wag-the-dog leadership’: If the tail is to the dog as the leader’s baton is to the body public, the job of the natural leader is to capture, articulate, nurture and sustain the resonances/rhythms emerging freely in the body public (the natural leader’s dynamic is the RESULT of the collective dynamic), whereas ‘wag-the-dog’ leadership is to make the body public captive of the leader’s own top-down imposed rhythms , the result of which is a kind of goose-stepping mono-rhythm (in wag-the-dog leadership, the leader is the CAUSE of the collective dynamic).
From the viewpoint of aboriginal physics, the Western culture believes it lives in a flat space [rectangular, Euclidean space] rather than in a curved space. The basic difference in living in a curved space that could have been pointed out by any aboriginal traditionalist, but in a manner that appeals more directly to nature, was pointed out by Einstein in his lecture ‘Geometry and Experience’. In rectangular space, the notion in the mind is that you can keep piling blocks up in the space, in the x-y plane (a floor or flat horizontal plane) and then pile them up vertically like pillars, and you can keep expanding the flat surface area of the floor and the height (and depth) of the pillars FOREVER not only without ever filling up the space but without ever feeling like you are even getting close to it.
This is not the case in curved space. As Einstein point out, in curved space (more like the space we live in), our experience is as if we were tiling the surface of a sphere with circular disks. The more disks we put on the surface, the fuller it gets until what Einstein referred to as the ‘reciprocal disposition’ (the complement to the positive space of the tiling disks) exerts a resistive backpressure against our continued tiling. The finding is not simply that the curved space is finite and can ‘get full’, but that ‘filling-in-area’ is always in reciprocal, complementary relation with the ‘area being filled in’.
If one is used to thinking in terms of rectangular space, this confounds them mind. For example, it is common for us to speak of the ‘civilized areas’ and the ‘wilderness’ as if they are two different areas (mutually exclusive). Imagine the king whose kingdom is growing and he has to keep expanding the walls of his kingdom and pushing them out farther and father into the wilderness. In a rectangular space, he can keep doing this indefinitely. But in a curved space there is ‘resistance’ or ‘backpressure’ due to ‘reciprocal disposition’. The more he pushes out his walls, the more vicious the wolves and bears become. As he looks overs the invoices for the construction costs of his expanding walls, he notices something curious; i.e. the invoices are decreasing. When he questions his wizier, the wizier hands him some binoculars and invites him to come climb up on the wall and have a look. To the king’s surprise, he can see all of the circular walls around his kingdom and what he was calling the ‘wilderness’ OUTSIDE of his kingdom walls is now fully contained INSIDE of the now-small circular ‘wilderness’ area about one mile in diameter. NOW, as he looks down at the ‘savages’ shaking their fists at him and the snarling animals, he understands why the creatures of the wilderness were becoming increasingly nasty and why the invoices for the kingdom circular surrounding walls, which had been continually expanding in diameter, had been decreasing. BECAUSE this is what happens in a curved space and he had been assuming that his kingdom was in a rectangular space.
So, what’s this go to do with Obama and the US Presidency?
Inside the expanding ‘empire’, everything may be great, but IN A CURVED SPACE, simultaneous and reciprocally complementary to the ‘improving conditions’ inside the empire, the opposite (in some fashion or another) is occurring; i.e. we do not live in an ‘infinite space’ wherein we can claim that our living area is ‘independent’ of the rest.
Now the king and the people of the expanding kingdom were ‘good people’ and they wanted ‘the best’ for everyone, and they thought; ‘if the others work hard like us, and educate their children and are clever, inventive and industrious like us, then they too will be able to enjoy what we now do. This is implicit in our ‘Declaration of Independence’ and our ‘Constitution’ which specifies that everyone is entitled to own property and to pursue their self-interests to that they may be happy and fulfilled’.
No, this is confusing ‘idealisation’ for ‘reality’ (space is not really rectangular, … it has the same characteristics as curved space, so that the notion of an area/kingdom that is ‘independent’ is delusionary nonsense.
Therefore, the king must represent the people OUTSIDE THE WALLS at the same time as he is representing the people INSIDE THE WALLS; i.e. he must be impartial in his leadership rather than ‘loyal’ to those inside the walls, who are really joined-at-the-hip with those outside the walls.
Now Obama seemed like a person who wanted to lead in a manner that represented, with impartiality, the people on both the outside and the inside of the walls.
But there is obviously a problem here if the people inside the walls, who elected him, believe that they are living in a rectangular space, because nothing he has said in his running for election questions the basic premises of the western worldview.
Furthermore, taking counsel from military strategists is not a good idea since they, above all, impose a mutually excluding distinction on those who are outsiders (the’enemy’) and those who are ‘insiders’ (‘friends’), so that their approach and their training and their strategy ignores this ‘reciprocal disposition’ based ‘backpressure’. Their job, as they see it, is to move the friendly front (the kingdom walls) continuously outwards and drive the enemy back. In their communities, they will drive the coyotes out of town, and as the town grows to a city, further and further ‘out into the wilderness’, and they will do that ‘independently’ without thinking that there are many circular disks of ‘community’ and that these are all expanding, setting up a snarling backpressure from the ‘outsiders’ that, in there view, is due to something internal in those outsiders (i.e. they are becoming increasingly evil, both in the intensity of their evil and in the frequency of their evil actions).
Talents like Barack Obama’s need to be deployed in positions with a mandate to represent the insiders and outsiders at the same time, as is required when sharing inclusion in a curved space or, as the aboriginals say, when one is a strand in an interdependent web-of-life.
So, I guess I have this sense of geometry in me that is providing the ‘author’s subtext’ for the article on AFGHANISTAN. That is, Einstein’s lecture was on ‘Geometry’ AND ‘Experience’ and experience is the source of one’s understanding of ‘geometry’. In fact Henri Poincaré gets into this more deeply than Einstein and, to me, understands it better than Einstein, and when I make this assessment what I am saying is that Poincaré’s discussion of it ‘fits better with my experience’ than does Einstein’s discussion of it.
In any case, the ‘author’s subtext’ is that we implicitly use some kind of ‘geometry’ in giving ‘representation’ to our experience and our western culture has a ‘standard geometry’ that is ‘flatspace’ based and that this ‘flatspace’ is the theatre of operations for a cast of characters understood as ‘local causal agents’ whose actions and interactions are the cause of the world dynamic. This is a nice simple and easy to talk about geometry which is unfortunately far from the truth as given by our experience. To confuse this ‘idealisation’ for ‘reality’ is the source of incoherence and dysfunction in our local and global social dynamic.
I am already up to 1200 words in this comment, which is the very limit for a comment suggested by ‘experts’ on internet based communications, so I had better ‘shut up’.
In closing this ‘author’s subtext’ comment, I would just like to reiterate Kepler’s comment that science is in the habit of “choosing not that which is most true but that which is most easy” which means that our science-conditioned habit is to look for brevity and clarity in a comment; i.e. to assume that truth can be encapsulated in brief and clear statements. But the trade-off is that the person hearing the comment has to ALREADY have immense knowledge to give sense to the brief and clear comment.
The ‘knowledge’ that the person already has is implicit in ‘the question’ that the ‘answer’ corresponds to. That is, if I am rambling on giving the answer to a question you don’t have, then what I am saying isn’t going to be meaningful; i.e. you will look in vain for any meaning in what I am saying. This situation is captured in Douglas Adam’s ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ wherein ‘the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything’ is delivered by a giant supercomputer called ‘deep thought’, the answer being ‘42’ which is brief and clear enough, at which point the descendents of the computer’s creators (now long gone) realize that though they now have the ultimate answer in hand, they don’t know the ultimate question.
So, insofar as one looks for brevity and clarity in the sharing of understanding that purports to give answers to currently puzzling paradoxes, the assumption is that the question is already known and in hand. And, insofar as it might be safer to assume that the question is not known and in hand, the shared understanding then has the job of developing both the question and the answer together and in relation to one another, and this takes quite a few ‘more words’.
But, otherwise, the danger is that a brief and clear ‘curved space answer’ will be interpreted in the context of a ‘flat-spaced question’. Another way to say this is; ‘the world that is given by representations of dynamical forms notionally construed as ‘local organisms/groups, notionally with their own locally originating (internal purposed directed) behaviours, is not the real world of our experience (it is an idealised world based on ‘schaumkommen’ or ‘appearances’).
* * *