From the Reducing of Both/And to Either/Or and Back
The real world of our sensory experience of inclusion in the Tao aka the ‘wave-field’ aka the transforming relational continuum IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN BE REDUCED TO THE THREE DIMENSIONAL WORLD based on what Nietzsche has exposed as ‘the double error of language and grammar.
The ‘double error’ is where we intellectualize and discretize our innatel relational sensory experience using language and grammar, and we do this by [first error]‘naming’ to impute abstract ‘thing-in-itself being’ to relational forms in the Tao, and then conflating this first error with the second error of imputing powers of sourcing actions and developments to the name-instantiated thing-in-itself [first error].
WHO SAYS THAT THE WORLD OF SENSORY EXPERIENCE CAN BE CAPTURED IN THREE DIMENSIONS? A language and grammar that reduces everything to three dimensions says so.
The following discussion uses the example of ‘puckering’ to illustrate how our language based expressing of real world dynamics demands more than the usual reduction to three dimensional ‘figures’ in a three dimensional ‘ground’.
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Puckering embodies the BOTH/AND logic of the included medium. It is like the undulating shrinking-stretching action of the ‘gut’ which is the essence of living, … opening up accepting as with flowing into oneself (ingesting) and closing down and rejecting as in pushing out of oneself (excreting). Could these resonantly-complementary wave-field movements be defining the ‘self’? From whence does this tubular channel with innate powers of discriminating accepting/in-corp-orating and rejecting/eliminating that define our relational self-otherness derive? Where is the seat of the intelligence that selects what is to become one with ‘figure’ and what is to remain one with ‘ground’? This enigma in this dichotomy seems to ‘come to a head’ in ‘puckering’.
Evidently, one needs BOTH/AND logic of the included medium to understand Puckering. Puckering is, at the same time, the seductive embracing of the sweet and the repulsing rejecting of the sour, the nondual inwelling-outwelling of nonlocal undulating that is known as ‘wave-motion’, the dynamic topology of the Tao that manifests as the nondual, nonlocal ‘cat’s paw on the ocean surface, a phenomeon that is nondual (no discrete self-other split) and nonlocal (without a local originating centre of development).
‘Puckering’ raises the question as to which comes first, ‘figure or ground’ as it seems to manifest BOTH ‘figure’ AND ‘ground’ at once, a veritable nonlocal nonduality, the emerging of purely relational sweet-and-sour discriminating, the basic sensual intelligence in nature that is more basic still than binary logic based intellection.
The limitation of ‘vision’ comes into play here, along with the reliability (sufficient comprehensiveness) of 3D conceptualizing. We know that 3 dimensional geometry as an effective intellectual support tool for ‘sharing’ our observations and experiences. And it is this ability to ‘share’ observations and experiences that language and (voyeur) visualization opens up for us, that is such a great teacher, … a teacher that allows males to understand females experiences and vice versa and North Americans to understand Africans experiences and vice versa.
Of course, while such language-based intellectual sharing ‘cantilevers’ our knowledge well out beyond our experience, such knowledge is not the equivalent of actual in-situ sensory experience aka ‘carnal knowledge’. As in the story of the chimps who learned that handling a conspicuous red tap got them all sprayed with ice-cold water which they greatly dislike, their teaching of one another never to touch that red tap not only propagated through the current group of chimps, but was passed on to incoming chimps long after the cold-water spraying system was removed and long after the current complement of chimps no longer included any chimp who had ever seen or experiencing the cold water spraying associated with turning the red tap. But the mutual policing to stop anyone from turning the red tap continued on and on.
This effect is clearly an ‘exposure’ that detracts somewhat from this hugely beneficial reducing of experience to language and grammar to shareable knowledge. If the only report we get on what its like to visit ‘lower slobovia’ is like the report on what it’s like to turn the red tap, … while our knowledge is being cantilevered well beyond our actual sensory experience, our understanding is prone to ‘being infected’ with particular biases that may relate more to the personal history of the experient than to what the experient is actually experiencing, as if there were such a thing as an ‘experience’ that is ‘experient-independent’.
In the case of the chimps and the red tap, we not only have the ambiguity wherein some odd chimps might have enjoyed the experience that ensued with the turning of the red tap but also the uncertainty as to the linking of the turning of the tap to some a ‘related’ ancillary action. This is an example of the ‘double error’ of language and grammar wherein we use ‘naming’ (or recognition in the case where we point to a red tap) to identify a notional thing-in-itself and conflate this with (second error) the imputing of power to the thing-in-itself of sourcing actions and development.
The point is SHARING. SHARING of observations and experiences is made possible by language which has the huge benefit of cantilevering individual first hand sensory experience, making it (through this lingually reduced impression of sensory experience) INTELLECTUALLY accessible to anyone speaking the language without them having to themselves undergo the sensory experience. The chimpanzee-ice-water parable reminds us that the ‘sharing’ benefit that language enables is not ‘all gravy’; i.e. if a white man who has strayed from the white collective and experienced a troublesome encounter with a black man, as with the chimps and the ice-water, such ‘knowledge’ can undergo widespread sharing via language-ungrounded-in-experience, as if it were ‘the truth’.
Most of our knowledge of the world is NOT grounded in direct sensory experience but is through language-based ‘hearsay’ that we construe as ‘the truth’ as with the gesture-language of the chimps;
“What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.” — Nietzsche, –Über Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne, (On Truth and Lies in an extra-moral sense).
BACK TO ‘PUCKERING’ AND WIND-ON-WATER ‘CAT’S PAWS’
What comes to the fore here is the need for language that ‘goes beyond’ 3 dimensional figure and ground geometry. Of course, this point that 3 dimensions-limited language is innately inadequate for capturing the relational reality of our sensory experience has been Bohm’s point and also Wittgenstein’s and Nietzsche’s.
Mach’s discussion of the need for 4+ dimensions is copied here for reference.
As you will see if you read this piece on understanding beyond 3 dimensions by Mach, … those of us who (try to) open the door to understanding reality (i.e. of inclusion in the Tao) in more than in the constrained terms of 3 dimensional geometry (i.e. in more than the constrained terms of explicit and mutually exclusive ‘figure’ and ‘ground’ or ‘inhabitant and habitat’) tend to be grouped together with ‘spiritualists’ or ‘ghost-world-channeling ‘mediums’.
‘Puckering’ and ‘duning’ take us beyond the limits of the geometry of 3D objects in 3D space. However, while we may understand ‘duning’ and/or ‘puckering’ or ‘cat’s-paws’ in a nonlocal relational (4+ dimensional sense), language has us reduce these forms to 3D objects that move and change within 3D space. Thus, the nonlocal resonance that associates with duning is subsumed by the 3D representation of ‘dunes’ as local explicit figures that move within 3D containing ground whose bounds of unspecified extent.
The nonlocal nature of puckering and the cats paw and duning is beyond capture in terms of the solids of geometry, but we use geometry anyhow, because by reducing nonlocal phenomena to local phenomena with the double error of language and grammar, we render that which is nonlocal and ineffable in local, effable form; hence ‘duning’ becomes ‘the dune’ (first error) with ‘the power of sourcing its own action and development (second error). Meanwhile, ‘duning’ is a nonlocal (wave-field resonance) phenomenon as also is ‘puckering’ and ‘dats paw-ing’. If we snapshot a fixed image of duning, we get ‘dunes’; i.e. ‘duning’ as wave-field dynamic (resonance) reduced by way of the double error of language and grammar to 3D objects with their own powers of action and development. The 3D reduction ‘gets the REDUCED message across’ by dividing out a small piece of reality from the all including Tao (wave-field aka transforming relational continuum).
This commentary is entitled;
From the Reducing of Both/And to Either/Or and Back
for the reason that human social collectives over the ages have split into EAST and WEST ‘camps’ based on grounding ‘reality’ in terms of BOTH/AND (figure-and-ground and mutually inclusive) logic and/or in EITHER/OR (figure and ground are mutually exclusive) logic. The former sees ‘figure and ground’ as ONE with the appearance of two and is termed ‘the logic of the included medium’ and the latter sees ‘figure and ground’ as TWO and is termed ‘the logic of the excluded medium’.
Exemplary of the first case, … in ‘puckering’ as in ‘duning’, there is no physical separation of ‘figure and ground’ (only relational transformation within the Tao) and thus no implication of ‘figure’ and ‘ground’ being two distinct and separate ‘ontologies’.
Exemplary of the second case, … the ‘pucker’ and the ‘dune’, … there IS a perceived separation of ‘figure’ and ‘ground’. That is, the ‘pucker’ and the ‘dune’ are ascribed as local ontologies with a ‘life of their own’ and we speak of the ‘pucker’ and/or ‘the dune’ as developing and becoming more prominent and then later receding, as if they were ‘figures’ separate from the ‘ground’ undergoing ‘their own life-cycle’.
THE POINT INTENDED AS THE TAKE AWAY FROM THIS COMMENTARY is that Western culture use of language, as popularly deployed reduces the ‘dimensionality’ of our sensory experience of inclusion in the Tao. That is, ‘poetic’ language styles are needed to capture our experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, however, ‘rational language’ that uses the ‘double error’ to ‘reduce the Tao’ and break it down into explicit local material ‘inter-actions’ has ‘taken over’ with the result that Emerson expresses; ‘The tool (of reductionist language) runs away with the workman, the human with the divine’.
Western culture ‘guardians’ have been ‘spooked’ because when the door to higher dimensionality than 3-D is opened, this new explanatory ground that lies beyond the visible and material opens the way for speculation in all manner of exotic invisible higher dimensional world possibilities that one can notionally bring to bear to explain our obviously limited 3D representations of reality. This has led to a Western culture popular ‘discrediting’ of ALL ‘more-than-3D’ renderings of reality, leaving us with a void where we most need means of expression due to the innate inadequacy of 3D matter and space representations in delivering an understanding of the Tao.
The validation of 4+ dimensional representations has been intuitively approached on the basis of ‘coherency’ as may be extracted by bringing a multiplicity of relational impressions into connective confluence in the mind, as in modern physics ‘Surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ and as in the indigenous aboriginal ‘sharing circle’ where the ‘take-away’ is not some ‘mechanical mix’ of the mulitiple experiential stories shared, but the implicit ‘coherence’ that arises in the ‘relational interference’ among them; i.e. the ‘holographic’ understanding that has no dependency on explicit particulars but arises purely relational or ‘holographically’. That is what Bohm discovered near the end of his life in his investigation of indigenous aboriginal ‘sharing circles’.
A few months before his death, Bohm met with a number of Algonkian speakers and was struck by the perfect bridge between their language and worldview and his own exploratory philosophy. What to Bohm had been major breakthroughs in human thought — quantum theory, relativity, his implicate order and rheomode – were part of the everyday life and speech of the Blackfoot, Mic Maq, Cree and Ojibwaj.” – F. David Peat, ‘Blackfoot Physics’
OK, if the reader is wondering why I titled this essay;
From the Reducing of Both/And to Either/Or and Back
I can only refer to similar titles like Mircea Eliade’s ‘Mephistopheles et l’Androgyne’ (Title in English translated version ‘The Two and the One’) and point to the fact that the most appropriate title for conveying the main message in this discussion ‘in kind’ would have to be ‘beyond language and naming’, but that can only be alluded to rather than directly delivered since ‘the Tao that can be told is not the true Tao’.
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SCIENCE OF MECHANICS
A CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL ACCOUNT
OF ITS DEVELOPMENT
- ERNST MACH
PROFESSOR OF THE HISTORY AND THEORY OF INDUCTIVE SCIENCE IN
THE UNIVERSITY OF VIENNA
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN
THOMAS J. McCORMACK
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*As the outcome of the labors of Lobatchevski, Bolyai, Gauss, and Riemann, the view has gradually obtained currency in the mathematical world, that that which we call space is a particular, actual case of a more general, conceivable case of multiple quantitative manifoldness. The space of sight and touch is a threefold manifoldness; it possesses three dimensions ; and every point in it can be defined by three distinct and independent data. But it is possible to conceive of a quadruple or even multiple space-like manifoldness. And the character of the manifoldness may also be differently conceived from the manifoldness of actual space. We regard this discovery, which is chiefly due to the labors of Riemann, as a very important one. The properties of actual space are here directly exhibited as objects of experience, and the pseudo-theories of geometry that seek to excogitate these properties by metaphysical arguments are overthrown.
A thinking being is supposed to live in the surface of a sphere, with no other kind of space to institute comparisons with. His space will appear to him similarly constituted throughout. He might regard _it as infinite, and could only be convinced of the contrary by experience. Starting from any two points of a great circle of the sphere and proceeding at right angles thereto on other great circles, he could hardly expect that the circles last mentioned would intersect. So, also, with respect to the space in which we live, only experience can decide whether it is finite, whether parallel lines intersect in it, or the like. The significance of this elucidation can scarcely be overrated. An enlightenment similar to that which Riemann inaugurated in science was produced in the rnind of humanity at large, as regards the surface of the earth, by the discoveries of the first circumnavigators.
The theoretical investigation of the mathematical possibilities above referred to, has, primarily, nothing to do with the question whether things really exist which correspond to these possibilities; and we must not hold mathematicians responsible for the popular absurdities which their investigations have given rise to. The space of sight and touch is three-dimensional ; that, no one ever yet doubted. If, now, it should be found that bodies vanish from this space, or new bodies get into it, the question might scientifically be discussed whether it would facilitate and promote our insight into things to conceive experiential space as part of a four-dimensional or multi-dimensional space. Yet in such a case, this fourth dimension would, none the less, remain a pure thing of thought a mental fiction.
But this is not the way matters stand. The phenomena mentioned were not forthcoming until after the new views were published, and were then exhibited in the presence of certain persons at spiritualistic séances. The fourth dimension was a very opportune discover^ for the spiritualists and for theologians who were in a quandary about the location of hell. The use the spiritualist makes of the fourth dimension is this, ‘it is possible to move out of a finite straight line, without passing the extremities, through the second dimension ; out of a finite closed surface through the third ; and, analogously, out of a finite closed space, without passing through the enclosing boundaries, through the fourth dimension. Even the tricks that prestidigitateurs, in the old days, harmlessly executed in three dimensions, are now invested with a new halo by the fourth. But the tricks of the spiritualists, the tying or untying of knots in endless strings, the removing of bodies from closed spaces, are all performed in cases where there is absolutely nothing at stake. All is purposeless jugglery. We have not yet found an accoucheur who has accomplished, parturition through the fourth dimension. If we should, the question would at once become a serious one. Professor Simony’s beautiful tricks in ropetying, which, as the performance of a prestidigitateur, are very admirable, speak against, not for, the spiritualists.
Everyone is free to set up an opinion and to adduce proofs in support of it. Whether, though, a scientist shall find it worth his while to enter into serious investigations of opinions so advanced, is a question which his reason and instinct alone can decide, if these things, in the end, should turn out to be true, I shall not be ashamed of being the last to believe them. What I have seen of them was not calculated to make me less sceptical. I myself regarded multi-dimensioned space as a mathematico-physical help even, prior to the appearance of Riemann’s memoir. But 1 trust that no one will employ what I have thought, said, and written on this subject as a basis for the fabrication of ghost stories. (Compare Mach, Die Geschichte und die Wurzel des Satzes von der Erhaltung der Arbeit.)
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