Introduction to ‘Western Culture is a Crazy-Maker … Here’s How (in a nutshell)
It may seem incongruous to write an introduction to an article that has been worked on to be made as condensed and complete in itself as one can make it, but perhaps there is merit in using two views, one speaking as a voyeur of some complex phenomenon, and a second where the voyeur re-situates so as to add dimensionality to the first view by adding a view from within it. As a tour-guide, one spends most of the time pointing and talking about ‘what is out there’ in front of us, but what we are sensing/experiencing as we participate in the guided tour is being involuntarily captured and could also be shared in a memoir. The tour guide needs to be objective and focused mainly on ‘what is out there’ but all the while he is included in a relational experience which he might recount later in stories of ‘my life as a tour guide’. Such double entry book-keeping has been suggested as a general approach to group discussions wherein, in the left hand column one records one’s actual comments, and in the right-hand column, one records ones inner thoughts arising as one is speaking, something that we normally do not share as our private thoughts can be X-rated or critical of sacred/revered works or of others in the group.
In any case, we do have these two sources of expression, our deliberate, openly shared intellectual expression as in knowledge-sharing,… and our situational experience induced private thoughts that we ‘edit out’. The evident need for integration of the objective fact and the associated subjective emotions is suggested in Ernst Mach’s ‘Analysis of Sensations’ and it is a constantly ‘felt need’ in my sharing of ‘psychological investigations’. As Mach observes;
“The science of psychology is auxiliary to physics. The two mutually support one another, and it is only when they are united that a complete science is formed. From our standpoint, the antithesis of subject and object in the ordinary sense, does not exist.” — Ernst Mach – The Analysis of Sensations, and the Relation of the Physical to the Psychical.
My thought is that bringing into connective confluence what we are feeling as we are using language in rational communications mode could help to overcome the incompleteness of language-based communications relative to relational experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum.
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This short ‘introductory’ note in the ‘double error’ series of comments describes ‘the double error’ and ‘the divided self’, as is the implicit topic of Mach’s ‘Analysis of Sensations where he suggests that we are NOT talking about the reality of our actual experience in either (Newtonian) physics, nor in psychology, but would need to bring the two together to get to the reality of our actual experience. But can two language-based intellectual conceptualizations of ‘reality’ ever ‘add up’ to meaningful reproduction of our relational experience-based understanding? What are the ‘limitations of language’? How should we interpret Lao Tzu’s observation; ‘The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao’.
Why is the perspective or voyeur view so dominant in language based discourse. As prelingual infants our experience is relational and without the self-other disconnect that comes with language and grammar. We understand ourselves as included within the transforming relational continuum. We are like a hurricane or ‘stirring’ within the flow (we are the flow) but when language and grammar come to us, we become the one that stirs up the flow. We become ‘sorcerers’. Relational transformation is the pervasive reality, but as in the atmospheric flow, relational forms in the continuum have local expression, as with a hurricane. ‘Local expression’ describes ‘appearance’ or ‘apparition’ (a ‘forming’ that never concretizes as a ‘form’ other than in the observer’s psyche with the help of language). Local expression does NOT mean ‘local sourcing’. Nevertheless, language and grammar equips us for the ‘double error’ of using ‘naming’ to impute local thing-in-itself being to the flow-form and grammar to impute powers of sorcery to the name-instantiated thing-in-itself’. ‘Appearance’ that is purely relational is thus psychologically objectified by language (‘naming’) and this ‘objectified appearance’-come-‘independently-existing thing-in-itself is further enhanced with ‘grammar’ that we use to endow it (in our psyche) with powers of sourcing actions and developments. This ‘double error’ is otherwise known as ‘sorcery’.
The hurricane is NOT the source of the stirring up of the atmosphere and the water, the stirring is the hurricane; i.e. the stirring is how relational transformation ‘appears’. In other words, there is no ‘sorcery’ involved. ‘Sorcery’ = a language-and-grammar based double error’. The hurricane is a relational form in the transforming relational continuum; there is no sorcery involved. ‘Sorcery’ is the abstract psychological artifact triggered by language and grammar based ‘double errors’ that nevertheless plays a foundational role in Western culture INVENTED REALITY.
At the bottom of all of this is the intellectual (imaginary) splitting apart of inhabitant and habitat, self and other and this splitting of the whole (the transforming relational continuum) may have because it is ineffable; i.e. because of the limitations of language. When we name a relational flow-form, it takes on, in the intellect/psyche, a notional persisting thing-in-itself existence even though our experience informs us that the forms in flow, insofar as we think of them as ‘things’, are ‘apparitions’ or ‘appearances’, and that is ‘all there can be’ in a transforming relational continuum.
It is not hard to see that ‘INVENTING REALIITY’ by means of language-invoked psychological abstractions such as name-instantiated ‘things-in-themselves’ that stimulate the impression of persisting thing-in-itself being, … can substitute and replace, in our intellectualizing psyche, the experiencing of relational forms in the transforming relational continuum of our prelingual infancy. The eye-to-intellect coordination enabled by language allows the infant, as they learn language, to divide reality up into named forms, such as ‘self’ and ‘other’, this splitting apart based on ‘appearance’, becoming psychologically ‘concretized’ within the realm of language-based intellectual rhetoric; i.e. within an intellectual INVENTED REALITY.
Our relational experience, at least in our pre-lingual infancy, is consistent with modern physics ‘field’ with its form-in-flow fluidity in that it makes no ‘hard/explicit’ ‘self-other’ distinction. The developing intellect, supported by language and grammar (e.g. with ‘naming’ that imputes ‘being’ and grammar that animates the name-instantiated being WITHIN THE UNBOUNDED-BY-NATURAL EXPERIENCE INTELLECT) , is the ‘DOUBLE ERROR’ based source of the self-other split. If language and grammar can split apart ‘inhabitant’ and ‘habitat’, which it evidently can within the intellectual activity of the psyche, then the intellect has solved the problem of the ineffability of our experience of inclusion within a transforming relational continuum (“The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao” – Lao Tzu. “Of that which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence” –Wittgenstein)
Evidently, while language seems to overcome the problem of the ineffability of our relational experience of inclusion in a transforming relational continuum, there is ‘price to pay’ for the reduction from the continuum to the language and grammar based INVENTED REALITY. The ‘price’ is, as Nietzsche has described the ‘double error’ invoking of the abstraction of the name-instantiated independently-existing thing-in-itself’ (first error) conflated with the (second error) where we impute powers of sourcing actions and developments to the name-instantiated independently-existing thing-in-itself (the first error).
Out of this ‘double error’ comes the abstract concept of ‘sorcery’ which we Western culture adherents use to overcome the ineffability of our inclusion within a transforming relational continuum. Given the ‘double error’ based split out, we overcome the ineffability constraint that is fundamental to the ‘transforming relational continuum’ of our actual experience, BUT IT DOES COME WITH A PRICE and this is why we see titles on philosophical treatments of this such as ‘Mephistopheles et l’Androgyne’ (‘The Two and the One’) as anthropologist Mircea Eliade has entitled his book describing it.
Of course, the capability of the intellectual tool of language to ‘name’ a relational activity in the flow (an ‘apparition’), such as a human (or nation or corporation) ‘overcomes’ the ‘ineffability’ of the relational form in the transforming relational continuum as associates with our actual relational experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum. The catch-22 trap has been described by philosophers as ‘the burden of concreteness’, wherein, when we use language and grammar to break the continuum down into parts, we are forced to use grammar to put some facsimile of ‘flow’ back into our ‘double error’ based INVENTED REALITY.
“In the writings of Heraclitus, to a larger degree than ever before, the images do not impose their burden of concreteness but are entirely subservient to the achievement of clarity and precision.” — Frankfort et al, ‘The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man’
The point is that relational use of language, as in poetry, can deliver clarity and precision with far less effort than reductionist analytical discourse.
“English compared to Hopi is like a bludgeon compared to a rapier.” – Benjamin Whorf [i.e. ‘English’ as employed NOT poetically but logically]
Relational use of language ‘backs-in’ on the essence of what is to be shared. Wittgenstein speaks of ‘approaching the surface of truth from the outside moving inwards, from ‘what is obviously not the case’ towards ‘what is not so obviously not the case’. This contrasts with language that starts from absolute/explicit name-based ‘things-in-themselves’ parts and builds out towards the ‘whole’ starting from the smallest parts and keeps adding parts to get to the ‘whole’.
There is an inbuilt commitment to the ‘local’ and the ‘explicit’ by starting from the notional ‘component parts’ and adding more parts to build out towards a local ‘thing-in-itself’ ‘whole’. Of our, in constructing an INVENTED REALITY in this way, the focus is on the ‘thing’ under construction as if it were an ‘inhabitant’ independent of the ‘habitat’ in which it is included.
The burden of concreteness further forces upon the ‘user’ of such abstraction, the logical-intellectual need to supply a ‘sourcing agency’ once the relational form is ‘psychologically liberated’ from the relational flow continuum, as the ‘second part’ of the ‘double error’ associated with the intellectual language-and-grammar based ‘break-down’ of the relational continuum. ‘Sorcery’ is supplied by grammar by conflating the first error of using ‘naming’ to instantiate ‘independent thing-in-itself existence’, endowing (in the intellectualizing psyche) the ‘thing-in-itself’ with powers of sourcing actions and developments.
In other words, the ‘double error’ is part of the ‘burden of concreteness’ abstraction package. If we want to use language and grammar to effect a ‘double error’ that splits out a boil from the flow (even though the separateness of boil and flow is illusory), we inherit the psychological management overhead of having to ensure that this split apart INVENTED REALITY makes ‘logical’ (intellectual) sense. This means that we have to equip the part we have artificially split out and made over into an ‘independent thing-in-itself’ by ‘naming’, with ‘its own powers of sourcing actions and developments’ aka the powers of ‘sorcery’. This is the source of sorcery-based ‘ego’ and thus ‘inflated ego’ and ‘deflated ego’, intellectual concepts that do not arise where language is relational and/or poetic and stops short of imputing name-instantiated ‘thing-in-itself being’ and conflating this with powers of sourcing actions and developments (sorcery).
Once Western man accepts name-instantiated being based sorcery, the logical support is in place for sorcery-based ‘pride’ and ‘shame’ and sorcery-based reward and punishment, and sorcery-based social esteem and revulsion, as have become fixtures in Western culture INVENTED REALITY.
In fact, the belief in double-error based ‘sorcery’ is pretty much defining for the Western culture social dynamic. Meanwhile, there is nothing preventing a Western culture adherent from adopting the non-sorcery based relational understandings of modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, and there is continual transitioning there, as exemplified by Bohm and Schroedinger, who have pointed out how modern physics supports indigenous aboriginal and Taoist/Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta relational understandings of reality.
Western culture is slow to tune in, largely (it seems) due to the nonlinear dynamic of ‘lock-in-by-high-switching-costs’.
OK, THIS WAS MEANT TO BE AN INTRODUCTION TO SHORT ESSAY ENTITLED
I’m not sure which note is shorter, but since this is an ‘introduction’ to the other, I will post it as such;