Author’s Preface: The Eastern manner of conceiving of reality (eg. as in the writings of Lao Tzu) is rooted in the purely relational terms of ‘flow’ or ‘the Tau’. In this worldview, there is only an overall ‘becoming’ while ‘being’ is a cognitive abstraction. Nevertheless, as Wittgenstein points out, given that the world is flow and we are flow-features within it, it is impossible to speak about it because ‘everything is in flux’ and there are no fixed/persisting references on which to construct a linguistic representation that we could share with one another. The ‘work-around’ to this obstacle which would otherwise keep us ‘silent’, is called ‘bootstrapping’ where we use the abstraction of ‘being’ to assign ‘names’ to relational forms in the flow. The ‘name’ is something that cognitively persists even though the named form is an inherently transient relational feature in a transforming relational flow [e.g. as with a purely relational ‘whorl’ (hurricane) in the purely relational flow of the atmosphere which we impute ‘being’ to by naming it]. The ‘name’ has cognitive persistence and is not subject to continuous relational transformation as is the form it refers to. That is, a name imputes, cognitively, persisting existence otherwise known as ‘being’. ‘Being’ is cognitive abstraction which is not available to our real-life physical experience (as relational forms in a transforming relational continuum).
Nevertheless, ‘bootstrapping’ is a kind of ‘cognitive sleight-of-mind’ wherein we use language to set notional ‘things-that-be’ in relative motion with (noun-and-verb) grammar. The ultimate aim of this use of language is to get the mind to latch onto the ‘relational dynamics’ and when it does, ‘let go of’ the abstract notion of the ‘existence of things’ so as to ‘bootstrap’ a purely relational cognitive impression/understanding. The ‘being’ of name-labelled ‘things-in-themselves’ is thus an abstract expedient; … a cognitive tool (‘Wittgenstein ladder’) to ‘lift oneself up into purely relational cognitive mode.
The division between Eastern and Western cognition pivots from whether one considers ‘being’ to be ‘real’ or ‘poetic abstraction of convenience’ used in bootstrapping to facilitate language based discussion of a fluid reality that would otherwise be beyond linguistic capture/expression’.
“Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen” … “that which we are unable to capture in language, we must pass over in silence.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein
The following is a short (500 word) comment; ‘Acknowledging/Employing the ‘Insight’ that comes with a Stroke’.
(A supplementary discussion on the salient points follows in a brief ‘Appendix’)
Acknowledging/Employing the ‘Insight’ that comes with a Stroke
A stroke that leaves one with an inability to ‘bring names to mind’ is a stroke that ‘demotes’ the role, in cognition, of the abstract concept of ‘being’. The ‘insight’ that comes with the stroke is where the cognitive faculty goes directly to ‘relations’ without dependency on ‘being’. ‘Relations’ are the basis of the real physical world of our experience. Names signifying ‘being’ are an abstract ‘add on’ that can ‘block’ relational cognition. For example, relational cognition ‘comes first’ in indigenous aboriginal culture. E.g. ‘Dances with wolves’ is a relational way of identifying ‘John Dunbar’ that does not impute ‘being’ to the ‘relational life form as occurs in cognition of a particular thing-in-itself connoting ‘name’.
In the fable ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, Rumpelstiltskin is a curious little fellow who has the power to spin straw into gold. This is an allusion to what a ‘name’ does; i.e. it imputes ‘being’ to a relational form in the flow. A name can transform a pauper into a prince in our Western culture, although not in the indigenous aboriginal culture. What a (left-brain) stroke does is remove the concept of ‘being’ (cognition that is triggered by thing-in-itself naming) so that relational understanding ‘rises to the fore’. (more…)
Why East Doesn’t Meet West
The following is a ‘condensed’ account of how indigenous aboriginal ‘relational reality’ is faithful to our experience while Western ‘being-based’ (abstract) reality is the source of endemic social dysfunction. (more…)
The Anatomy of a ‘Left-Brain’ Stroke
My experiencing of a ‘left-brain’ stroke has a very beneficial offshoot to it, of the sort alluded to in Jill Bolte Taylor’s ‘My Stroke of Insight’.
This is a summary of my stroke-experience-based understanding of the source and nature of the benefit.
In figurative terms, what the ‘left-brain’ stroke damages/destroys includes Western culture conditioned cognitive habits that limit understanding of our natural living experience. An appropriate metaphor for the ‘benefit’ would be that of a ‘prison break’ thanks to ‘damage to the prison walls’. In terms of language, this would refer to the giving way of the dominant rigidity of being-based cognition to allow relational cognition to rise to its natural primacy.
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a meta-phor? –– Marshall McLuhan
The basic understanding shared in this essay is this; … what a ‘left-brain’ stroke does is to have the stroke experient revert to a ‘bootstrapping’ mode of cognition which ‘drops out’ cognition based on notional ‘things-in-themselves’ connoted by name-labels. This is why the stroke experient ‘forgets’ people in a name-based sense, yet does not forget them in a relational context. Understanding is conserved within relational context but cannot be easily expressed, by the stroke-experient, in terms of ‘thing-in-itself’ based rhetoric.
How does ‘Bootstrapping’ relate to ‘Stroke’? (see footnote explaining ‘bootstrapping)
It is possible to understand our ‘mode of understanding’ nature’s dynamics in terms of ‘bootstrapping’. Physicist Geoffrey Chew was a notable proponent of this mode of understanding as was John Wheeler. Wheeler’s ‘surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ is a ‘relational’ way of constructing portrayals of physical dynamics (‘what is going on out there’) that has no dependency on the existence of ‘things-in-themselves’. In other words, ‘bootstrapping’ can use the temporary notions of ‘things-in-themselves’ for the purpose of describing an experience to ‘trick the mind’ into ‘understanding’ and then pulling out the apparent thing-based foundations that one used to construct the picture that served to convey the understanding. In bootstrapping, ‘things’ are not ‘primary’ but are used to set up a web of relations to convey an understanding that, once understood, has no dependency on the ‘things’ that were used to create the web of relations (hence the notion of ‘bootstrapping’). Wittgenstein alludes to the necessity of the ‘bootstrap’ in the final two propositions in Tractatus Logico Philosophicus.
6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.
7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
My point in sharing a description of ‘how bootstrapping works’ is to illustrate why a ‘stroke-experient’ such as myself (or Jill Bolte Taylor in ‘My Stroke of Insight’) would refer to a seemingly entirely negative, mind-damaging experience like a ‘stroke’ in ‘positive’ terms. (more…)
Cognition by ‘Scatter and gather’ (simultaneous scatter-gather) a la Heraclitus
‘Field’ is relational and the scattering and gathering implies local centres as in vortices (e.g. water spouts and whirlpools or outwellings-and-inwellings )
Western thinking imputes sourcing agency in a flow to the vortex understood as a thing-in-itself [e.g. waterspout or whirlpool] rather than imputing the sourcing to the flowfield that the waterspout-whirlpool (conjugate) develops within. Noun-and-verb language ‘reifies’ the eye-catching flow-field-features [that which manifests most obviously] so that they serve as, at least in language-based cognition, … the notional ‘thing-in-itself’ that is the purported ‘source’ (sourcerer) of its own behaviour. Within a flow, gathering and scattering are flip sides of the same coin; i.e. the waterspout that is scattering water is inseparable from its water-gathering vortex-source.
Linguistic constructions formed from noun-and-verb grammar serve to both ‘reify’ and ‘animate’ the relational feature in the relational flow so that, at least in language-and-grammar based cognition, there is ‘concealment’ of the inherent ‘nonlocality’ of ‘identity’ as associates with a relational feature within a transforming relational flow-continuum.
The notion of self-sourcing arises from the noun-and-verb grammar of Western languages. The vortex is thus portrayed by language as a ‘thing’ that has ‘causal powers’ when, in the relational reality of our actual experience, the power-sourcing belongs to the relational field influence and not to the ‘form’ that is ‘forming’ within the flow-field; i.e. the forms arising in nature are never ‘independent’ of the energy-flow in which they are transient relational developments. Their portrayal as, and our coming to cognitively regard them as ‘things-in-themselves’, is the synthetic product of intellection based on the objects of language and grammar. There are no ‘things-in-themselves’ in the relational understanding of the ‘right brain’, there are only ‘relations’ as in ‘relational features’ in the flow-continuum.
Jantsch’s ‘three levels of cognition’ illustrate how the understanding of the sourcing of ‘dynamics’ in the world of our experience shifts from local-jumpstart source to relational sourcing over three levels.
This ‘afterthought’ arises from reviewing my Post-Stroke-Impression (PSI-2) comment. I will keep such ‘Afterthoughts’ short, and use them to add perspective to core concepts that I have tried to capture within the ‘body’ of the ‘Post-Stroke-Impression’ commentary.
Author’s Preface to PSI-2; Post-Stroke Impressions: No. 2.
In his preface to ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ (the new framework)… French Author and physician Henri Laborit, who was also an early explorer of the effects of the anti-psychotic, chlorpromazine [his patents funded his further researches and writing], points out the problems associated with attempts to ‘break out’ of the existing cultural-psychological social framework. The following intro is from an earlier essay ‘Exploring a Double Bind’; http://goodshare.org/wp/exploring-a-double-bind/
Henri Laborit (La Nouvelle Grille), whose research was also ‘outside of the scientific orthodoxy’ captured what it feels like to be in this double bind by saying that ‘we’ who explore such topics, cannot easily share them because; (a) they do not fit into the typical dinner conversation format of our present culture, since to express them takes a lot of relational connections that can’t fit into a rapid-fire repartee, and; (b) because the humanism implicit in trying to share them is not seen as “a humanism of real worth” since it undermines, besmirches or topples the esteemed icons, pillars of society, founding fathers, and celebrities of the culture-in-place.
What I am suggesting in this preface to ‘Post-Stroke Impressions: No. 2’, … is that comments such as Laborit’s ‘feel’ very relevant to the problems in communicating one’s post-stroke experience, and for the same reasons as Laborit stated. For example, in my post-stroke understanding, ‘the relational’ is in a natural precedence over ‘the discrete/rational’.
When David Suzuki was gathering material to make films on (North American) aboriginal culture which included interviews with aboriginal elders, he could not use them ‘as is’ since the comments of the elders were too long and seemingly indirect (rambling) for standard Western viewer tastes (as is the nature of raw relational experience prior to its reduction, Western style, to analytical-rhetorical terms of ‘what things-in-themselves’ are doing’). Suzuki was saddened by the fact that a lot of great footage he had obtained in his interviews of indigenous aboriginal chiefs and elders had to be discarded or left out of the final film presentation.
For me, it is clear that ‘the new framework’ or ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ is the same thing that Jill Bolte Taylor intends in ‘My Stroke of Insight’; i.e. it is the restoring to its natural precedence of relational understanding [as occurs in a stroke where notional ‘named things-in-themselves’ ‘drop out’ while relational forms of recall persist’ and rise to the surface to resume their natural precedence]. That is, while names like ‘Jack’ imply the existence of a thing-in-itself which noun-and-verb grammar credits with being a local thing-in-itself source of ‘their own’ ‘actions and deeds’, giving them a ‘thing-in-itself’ identity fleshed out by ‘what they say and do’, … by contrast, ‘Dances with Wolves’ is a relations-based identifying approach. Relations-based identities do not depend on isolating individuals and understanding them ‘in their own right’ as ‘things-in-themselves’ with inside-outward asserting behaviour; i.e. there is an implicit acknowledgement in relational representation that things do not exist ‘in their own right’. That is an abstraction manufactured by noun-and-verb language-and-grammar that, in Western culture, has come to equated with ‘reality’.
Among the many forms of linguistic communication, noun-and-verb languages such as English stand out in that their mode of communicating ‘breaks down’ relational understanding into abstract terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’. Meanwhile, this type of communication is what modern Western society has come to officially (socially) endorse as a legitimate conveyor of ‘reality’. It is the ‘scientific’ reality of Thomas Gradgrind in Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’ (and Western rational thinking in general). This contrasts with the ‘poetic’ or ‘romantic’ reality of Sissy Jupe that is decidedly ‘relational’, and like indigenous aboriginal reality, considered by the mainstream of modern Western society, to “convey a humanism that is not of real worth” (Laborit).
Experiencing a stroke can put one ‘back in touch’ with relational values/understanding which Western noun-and-verb language influenced culture has obscured. That is, the ‘loss’ associated with a stroke, at the same time, removes superficial clutter, unveiling relational experience-based insight that has been unnaturally ‘buried’ beneath simplified thing-in-itself based (‘scientific’) rhetoric. Since ‘stroke therapy’ aims to restore one’s cognitive functioning to its Western cultural standard condition, the challenge for a post-stroke experient such as myself, is to retain access to the mindspace wherein relational understanding prevails, while redeveloping facility with the abstract worldview fostered by ‘literal’ interpretation of Western noun-and-verb languages, which, for convenience, puts into an unnatural primacy, a worldview based on ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’.
One’s post-stroke ‘stroke of insight’ can be understood in terms of restoring ‘level 1’ cognition to its natural primacy [see Erich Jantsch’s ‘Design for Evolution’, a discussion of which can be found at http://goodshare.org/wp/inclusionality-update-june-14-2013/ ]. That is, our manner of perceiving is capable of three levels, as follows; (level 3) ‘objectively’ (Gradgrind’s view) as things-in-themselves or ‘independently existing objects’ ‘out there in front of us that move about separately’; … (level 2) ‘relatively’ as in a dual self-other relational sense (two people swimming in a common flow); and; (level 1) ‘inclusionally’ where we understand ourselves as inclusions within a transforming relational continuum. Level 1 cognition implicitly includes level 2 cognition which implicitly includes level 3 cognition. The ‘stroke of insight’ ‘re-grounds’ one in level 1 cognition while at the same time de-emphasizing level 3 cognition which is abstract and dependent on language-based ‘thing-in-itself’ definitions and labels along with verbs and grammar to fabricate synthetic cognitive animations. Because level 1 ‘understanding of reality’ ‘includes’ levels 2 and 3, there is no fundamental loss of ‘understanding’ of self and world in ‘retreating to level 1’, but there is ‘loss’ in one’s ability to articulate, in common language-and-grammar based terms, what one is experiencing, since the common (Western) means of sharing experience is to use noun-and-verb language constructs based on the abstract notion of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’ (level 3).
Stroke recovery, viewed not as a ‘stroke of insight’ but as a net ‘loss’ of cognitive capability, involves re-learning how to use language to reduce one’s relational experience so as to express oneself in level 2 and 3 terms, level 3 being the Gradgrind-like scientific view/portrayal that has become the common [and legal standard] communications mode of Western society which, while it is efficient at constructing and articulating visual imagery in terms of notional ‘things-in-themselves-and-what-things-in-themselves do’, … garners its efficiency by dropping out the primary level 1 relational context of ‘real life experience’. The ‘stroke of insight’ connotes the recovery of access to level 1 cognition that has been, in Western culture, buried by the cultural elevating of level 3 to an unnatural primacy via noun-and-verb language constructs.
* * * End of Author’s Preface * * *
April 2, 2018
PSI-1 March 29, 2018
I began this note on March 29th but here I am finishing it on Easter Sunday which is at the same time, ‘April Fools Day’. Is that a coincidence or is there some hidden meaning in it?
Here is the elusive ‘understanding’ that I am trying to bring ‘down to earth’ at this time. That is to say, it is not yet an ‘understanding’ that I have brought down to earth as an explicit finding; i.e. it continues to flirt with me and yet elude me, in a manner that calls to mind a phrase that stuck with me from earlier philosophical readings;
“For Kepler, ‘geometria’ was the source of nature’s mystery and divinity (Kepler once asserted; “Why waste words, geometry existed before the creation, is co-eternal with the mind of God, ‘is God himself’) and the uncertainty associated with its multivalent harmonies and self-referentiality was an innate source of beauty in nature. Kepler quoted Virgil in regard to the elusive absence of finality in astronomical space-time relationships; “Galatea seeks me mischievously, the lusty wench; she flees to the willows, but hopes I’ll see her first.”” — The Sleepwalkers, Arthur Koestler
This observation was something I made note of in an essay written 20 years ago which I introduced with the following quote from Lao Tzu;
Geometry and Culture: ‘Burying The Hatchet’
May 15, 1998
“Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.”
— Lao Tsu, “Tao Te Ching”
As the title of this essay is meant to suggest, the physical world of our actual experience is ‘relational’ but the relational view is obfuscated by semantic constructions depicting the world as a world of independent things-in-themselves that are the imputed authors of the world dynamic, among which; ‘Western humans’, Western nations and Western corporations. This essay exposes the deception in this Western scientific-materialist, thing-based world view and shows how individual and collective ‘ego’ continues to block the restoring of ‘relations’ to their natural primacy over scientific materialism/dualism.
[1.] Everything is in continuous relational flux.
“The real facts bear witness that humans are not at the top of some self-conceived food chain that we ourselves dominate because we have imagined it as such, but that we exist in what is referred to as a food web, wherein all forms of life are interconnected and thus subject to a variety of codependencies which are necessary for the possibility of life on earth as we know it.” — JJD77, UPEI
Relations are all there is, … relational forms are relational activities within the transforming relational continuum. (more…)