PSI-17: Post Stroke Impressions No. 17
Understanding the Deception Whereby ‘Western Culture’ Appears More ‘Advanced and Competent’ than Indigenous Aboriginal and Buddhist Cultures.
Introduction: How can it be that David Bohm, Erwin Schroedinger and others have endorsed the indigenous aboriginal and Buddhist cultures as embodying a deeper and more true-to-experience understanding of the world that is validated by modern physics while the popular and dominant ‘Western culture’ seems so much more ‘advanced’ than indigenous aboriginal and Buddhist cultures?
Experiencing a ‘Stroke of Insight’ opens up one’s ‘understanding’ to the answer to this question through it’s effect of ‘attenuating’ ‘being-based cognition’ which, in modern Western culture, has established a ‘locked-in’ dysfunctional precedence over ‘relational’ cognition.
The cognitive deception of ‘being’ comes to us through ‘language and grammar’, undermining our naturally evolved ‘animal’ capacity for ‘non-being’ relational cognition as in ‘the Tao’ of Buddhist understanding which parallels the ‘everything is related’ “Mitakuye Oyasin’) of indigenous aboriginal culture.
The source of the deceptive ‘superiority’ of Western ‘being’-based culture can be seen by considering the systems sciences ‘attack’ on ‘suboptimization’
(e.g. ‘The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’
“The above aphorism, attributed to Kenneth Boulding, points to the inherent weakness characterizing the mindset and socio‐economic, political, educational and managerial practices of Western Industrial society as it developed over the past 300 years. It has its basis in the analytic‐reductionistic scientific paradigm, which, despite the remarkable technological applications it spawned, is inappropriate, conflict‐generating and dysfunctional in a world characterized by global interconnectedness and mutual interdependence …” — György Jaros and Martine Dodds-Taljaard
That is, Western society, in orienting to improving the living conditions of humans seen as ‘independent beings’ is ‘suboptimizing’ the health of humans understood as relational forms in the transforming relational continuum as is the understanding of modern physics. That is, in indigenous aboriginal culture, the human is understood NOT AS AN INDEPENDENTLY-EXISTING BEING’, but as a complex of relations within the relational continuum, hence ‘mitakuye oyasin’, (‘all my relations’ or ‘everything is related’).
‘Suboptimization’ points to the folly of notionally optimizing a relational form in the transforming relational continuum as if it were a ‘thing-in-itself’, … a practice that is cognitively encouraged by ‘naming the form’ and by naming it, psychologically imputing ‘thing-in-itself-independent-being’ to it, setting the stage for ‘suboptimization’, the attempt to improve the conditions of a form that is perceived as ‘independently existing’ (thanks to the psychological influence of language and ‘naming’) that in reality exists only ‘relationally’, as a relational feature within a matrix of relational features in the manner of a whorl in the flow, where it is not possible to ‘nurture and grow the whorl’ (as in ‘suboptimization’) without ‘transforming the flow’ since’ the whorl and the flow are not ‘two separate entities’; they are a ‘coincidentia oppositorum’.
This is the understanding that comes from modern physics so that ‘humans’, ‘nations’, ‘corporations’, all of which ‘naming’ cognitively imputes ‘thing-in-itself being’ to, remain, in the reality of our actual relational experience, relational features within the transforming relational continuum in the manner of whorl-in-flow. In Buddhist thought, this is expressed; “Whatever originates interdependently is unoriginated”; i.e. ‘being’ and the birth and death of ‘beings’ does not come into play where relational transformation of the overall relational continuum is the only ‘real’ dynamic [being-based dynamics are cognitive illusions stimulated by applying being-based language and grammar to relational flow-forms].
As Einstein said, alluding to the belief in ‘being’ and the associated folly of ‘suboptimization’; “Nationalism is an infantile disease; it is the measles of the world.”
In general, ‘suboptimization’ [optimization by ‘notionally-independent’ parts], because it is based on the false assumption of ‘independent being’ of the ‘part’, … a notion that eclipses the reality of innate relational interdependence, … is, in Western society, the source of ‘incoherence’ where the actual results do not match the expected results. That is, actions aimed at optimizing living conditions for man, insofar as such actions undermine living conditions of other participants in the interdependent relational web of life, undermines the health of man since man’s persisting health and existence is ‘web-of-life relations based. This insidious ‘boomerang’ effect that comes from optimizing one member in a relationally-interdependent membership matrix is what is implied by the title; ‘The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’. In other words, it make no sense to try to optimize conditions for one member of an interdependent relational matrix when the persisting healthy existence of that member IS constituted by relational balancing within the matrix. In other words, ‘suboptimization’ flies in the face of the understanding of ‘forms’ in nature as relational phenomena.
This cognitive dysfunction derives from psychological manipulation via the abstractions of language and grammar wherein relational forms are abstractly endowed with ‘being’ by the intellectual act of ‘naming’ whereby the intellectual pseudo-reality of abstraction supersedes, in cognition, the ‘in-the-flow’ reality of relational experience; e.g. ‘by tapping a kneeling person on the shoulder with the magic sword Excalibur’ and uttering the naming words, ‘arise Sir Galahad’ or ‘Prince Valiant’, a pauper is transformed into a prince (at least within the Western culture that puts intellectual abstraction into an unnatural precedence over relational experience), unlike the indigenous aboriginal culture and/or the Buddhist/Taoist culture wherein ‘non-being’ (‘relationality’) is foundational.)
Whether it concerns ‘organisms within an ecological-relational suprasystem or ‘nations’ within a social relational suprasystem, … if we suspend our penchant for imputing ‘being’ by ‘naming’, …. we open the way to relational experience based understanding wherein the purely relational topology of whorls-in-flow (‘coincidentia oppositorum’) prevails, dissolving the abstract impression of a binary duality of environment and inhabitant, in which case ‘suboptimization’ of a ‘particular’ ‘inhabitant’ not only ‘makes no sense’, it is exposed as delusion and the source of incoherence in the social dynamic.
[begin tongue-in-cheek] It is not that Western culture has not authored wonderful advances that benefit the ‘human beings’ on this planet Earth; it surely and truly (logically) has [end tongue-in-cheek]. But this just-stated understanding is the synthetic product of language and grammar which pertains to ‘humans’ as notional ‘beings’ and does not ‘speak for’ our actual experience of relational inclusion; i.e. this understanding rests on the imputing of the grammatical abstraction of ‘being’ aka ‘independent existence’ to ‘humans’. Those that believe (cognitively accept) the language (naming) based abstraction of ‘being’ accept that it is possible for humans to improve their condition in-their-own-right, out of the context of the dynamic relational continuum in which they are intrinsically, relationally included. This is where the aberrant nature of ‘suboptimization’ comes in. In other words, the notional advances made by Western humans over other humans, or likewise by humans over other notional ‘organismic beings’ is delusion sourced by language and grammar that cognitively re-renders relational forms as ‘independent beings’, in contradiction to the ‘mitakuye oyasin’ relational reality of our actual experience.
“In Reason’ in language! … Being is thought into and insinuated into everything as ‘cause’; from the concept ‘ego,’ alone, can the concept ‘Being’ proceed. … – oh what a deceptive old witch it has been! I fear we shall never be rid of God, so long as we still believe in grammar.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’
‘Being’ and ‘reason’ abstractly (psychologically) have us ‘break ourselves out’ of the transforming relational continuum and set ourselves up, cognitively, as local things-in-themselves’ that we cognitively cast as the ‘authors’ of ‘our own’ self-initiated actions and ‘accomplishments’, contradicting our experience-based understanding of ourselves as inclusions in a transforming relational continuum. Meanwhile, we are NOT, in the reality of our actual experience, local ‘independent beings’ whose ‘productive’ actions and achievements are either internally sourced or otherwise ‘do not happen’ giving us an exposure to ‘under-achiever depression’ when we could instead be celebrating our active inclusion in the transforming relational continuum.
‘Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky.’ — Ojibwa saying
It has been the complaint of some Western women who give their all to the relational network (family, community, environment) in which they are situationally included, that, in Western society wherein one sees ‘being’ as the jumpstart source of actions and developments, that their ‘being’ may undergo meltdown and shrink towards the vanishing point in proportion to the extent to which their relational contribution to the inherently relational community dynamic is not linguistically hyped in a ‘name-based being’ context as paves the way for crediting the name and thus the ‘being’ with a major or minor positive or negative contribution, as is the common practice in Western culture.
“My father was a famous engineer, my mother had no name”; –Claribel Alegria (Nicaraguan-Salvadoran poet)
This is the aberrant effect of the reduction of relational dynamics to the abstract existential pole of ‘being’ notionally situated and acting within an equally abstract ‘absence of being’ known as a Cartesian reference frame.
*As alluded to in this introduction and expanded upon in the discussion in the following body of this comment, the foundational role of being-based delusion has become a ‘locked-in’ characteristic of Western culture cognitive mode and ‘switching costs’ have become enormous in that those most successful in exploiting the delusion are the most socially influential in assessing the need for revisions to the (delusional) understandings and practices of the culture as-is.
* * * end of introduction * * *
This article (PSI # 17) is about reconciling post-stroke impressions with Buddhist and indigenous aboriginal understandings. This line of investigation opens the portal to the following simplifications;
… There is no such thing as ‘being in the real world (transforming relational continuum) of our actual experience, as affirmed by modern physics.
… Once we impute ‘being’ to relational forms such as humans, we have to invent ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ to explain their growth and development. Note that it is not necessary to invent either to understand the development of a relational form in the transforming relational continuum; e.g. a whorl in the flow which is the general case in modern physics.
… Western culture is so busy fighting over whether ‘nature’ (genetics) with its inside outward asserting development, … or ‘nurture’ with its outside-inward (environment-inducing) development), … predominates in shaping the development of children as they grow to adulthood, … that this eclipses, in their cognitive understanding, … what is really going on, which has the topology of the whorl in the flow; i.e. there is no ‘being’ involved at all. ‘Being’ is intellectual abstraction that is stimulated by ‘naming’. BEING is ABSTRACTION.
… What gets ‘eclipsed’ from cognition, in Western culture conditioned humans, is ‘non-being’ as in the whorl in the flow which is purely relational; i.e. the whorl in the flow are a ‘coincidentia oppositorum’, just one dynamic that Western cultures synthetically break down into two things; i.e. a container (flow) and its content (whorl). Humans and the environment, according to modern physics cannot be split apart into ‘two separate things’ (containing environment and content) in the reality of our actual experience any more than the ‘flow’ and the ‘whorl’ can be split apart into ‘two separate things’ (containing environment and content). As philosophers have long pointed out, flow and whorl, and ‘environment’ and item of ‘content’ are a ‘coincidentia oppositorum’, and it is only language and grammar that PSYCHOLOGICALLY breaks the experience-affirmed unum into two separate ‘things-in-themselves’ (environment-and-inhabitant’.
… Noun-and-verb language and grammar facilitates abstract, intellectual break-down from one into two of the unum or ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ of flow-and-whorl’. In general, the ‘habitat’ and ‘inhabitant’ are not two things-that-exist separately but one ‘coincidentia oppositorum’, … and this applies to those flow-forms or ‘coincidentia oppositorum we name ‘humans’, ‘animals’, ‘plants’, and ‘rocks’. None of these (forms in the flow) exist as things-in-themselves since they are all relational forms in the transforming relational continuum. Just because language and grammar, by ‘naming’ relational forms, induce the cognitive impression of their ‘independent being’ does not mean that such abstraction over-rides our natural experience which affirms that the world we live in is a transforming relational continuum.
… Meanwhile, as we well know, the Western culture we live in gives more credence to abstract being-based language than to our own actual relational experience. This leads to ‘incoherence’ in the social dynamic since we let abstract being-based language rule our psychological impression of ‘reality’ which we in turn use to shape what we think is ‘our behaviour’. Note that we do not have ‘behaviour of our own’ since we are relational forms in a transforming relational continuum. This means that if we want to cultivate hormonies in the relational dynamic we share inclusion in, we must let the unfolding of relational harmony inductively shape our individual and collective behaviour. This is implicit in the philosophies of indigenous aboriginals, Buddhists and Advaita Vedanta.
SO WHAT IS HOLDING US WESTERN CULTURE ACCULTURATED FOLKS FROM ACKNOWLEDGING RELATIONAL REALITY IF THE BUDDHISTS AND THE INDIGENOUS ABORIGINALS AND THE ADVAITA VEDANTA CAN ACKNOWLEDGE IT? WHY HAVEN’T WE?
The answer to this question involves the interplay of two influences that reinforce the two and a half millennia entrenched Western culture way of thinking kicked off by Parmenides in 450 BCE; i.e.
“Heraclitus had declared ‘being’ a perpetual ‘becoming’ and had correlated the two concepts with his ‘hidden attunement.’ Now Parmenides declared the two to be mutually exclusive, and only ‘being’ to be real.” — ‘The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man’, — ‘Frankfort et al’
Ok, the two points are as follows;
(1) Distraction from the real ‘error’ by the nature – nurture mirage.
Western society is ‘distracted from the real error in Western culture assumptions’ by taking sides over an ‘imaginary difference’ termed ‘nature’ vs. ‘nurture’. There are no such influences in the reality of our actual experience! i.e. ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ are abstract concepts arising form the abstraction of ‘being’.
If we withdraw the abstraction of ‘being’, we also withdraw the paradox of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ which seeks to explain the ‘development of beings’; i.e. whether from inside-outward asserting (‘genetic’) developmental and behavioural influences (termed ‘nature’) or whether from outside-inward environmental inductive development and behavioural influences (termed ‘nurture’).
Neither of these influences exist in the physical reality of our actual experience; i.e. they are abstractions of language that derive from the first abstract assumption of ‘being’ which triggers the follow-on question; ‘what is the sourcing agency responsible for the development and behaviour of beings? [we might as well ask what the ‘sourcery’ is, since we are imputing intelligent influence as responsible for the development and behaviour of plants which have no brain nor central nervous system yet we commonly purport to manifest complex ‘intelligent’ developmental behaviours. Wait a minute, I just said plants manifest ‘intelligent behaviours’!
That statement that gives powers of authorship to the plant doesn’t make any sense since plants are relational forms within a transforming relational continuum. The ‘form’ is the manifestation of ‘relational transformation’ and is not a ‘thing-that-is’ that jumpstart authors its own development and/or behaviour; i.e. the whorl in the flow does not author any ripples in the flow since it is a ripple in the flow. As Schroedinger puts it, ‘things-in-themselves’ such as humans are purported to be, are not real, they are ‘schaumkommen’ (‘appearances’). Language can impute ‘being’ to them, whether a human or a whorl such as ‘Katrina’ (the hurricane) by ‘naming them’. The name persists but there is nothing that persists in the phenomena of whorling flow. Just watch ‘Katrina’, the hurricane, as she emerges within a flow, grows larger and stronger, moves towards the Gulf Coast, ravages New Orleans, and then weakens and dissipates’. HEY! What I was actually observing was all the while a feature within a transforming relational continuum which never did ‘individuate’ as a separate item, except cognitively and abstractly thanks to naming and name-and-verb language and grammar.
There are no such ‘developmental influences’ in the reality of our actual experience as ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’. These concepts arise from first assuming the existence of ‘things-in-themselves’ like ‘whorls-in-themselves’ like ‘Katrina’ who, in our cognitive capacities becomes a ‘thing-in-herself’ with ‘persisting being’ as soon as we ‘name’ the whorl in the flow (the relational feature in the transforming relational continuum).
So, that is the first part of the explanation of how Western culture confuses its adherents where indigenous aboriginals, Buddhists, Advaita Vedanta informed people and modern physicists do not confuse their adherents; i.e. ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ are ad hoc descriptors that seek to explain the source of development and behaviour in ‘beings’ when there are no such things as ‘beings’ in the real relational world of our actual experience. If there is no such thing as ‘being’ then there is no meaning in the ‘nature or nurture’ dichotomy which is invented to explain the development and behaviour of ‘beings’.
(2) Lock-in and switching costs are the second influence that has been holding up Western culture from abandoning its insupportable abstract ‘being’ basis of reality.
Have you ever wondered how it is that a new manager will move in and get credit for a great year of accomplishment even though those accomplishments were the culmination of efforts that had gone on years before the manager arrived! In fact the managers who simply cashed in on the work of their predecessors and thus depleted all of the ripening fruit without adding to the future prospects would reap the largest rewards! ‘Lock-in’ and ‘switching costs’ relate to this sort of phenomena; i.e. People and practices get ‘locked in’ on the basis of ‘what is produced’ on ‘their watch’ regardless of whether the ‘crops’ had been carefully cultivated by other influences long before the crops had been harvested by an ‘opportunist’ (e.g. the logging and cashing in on the development in a hundred year old forest).
What if one tries to resist the simple popular formula wherein those who ‘deliver results’ are deemed ‘the author of the results’?
Ask yourself whether you or anybody is really the ‘author’ of the ‘results’ that ‘are delivered on your watch’ that get credited to you in our Western culture? If you move into a new management position on the last accounting day of the year and the results are superb, then you will get the bonus; i.e. the abstract nominal ‘manager’ of the operation will be given a bonus even if ‘manager’ is just a name that imputes a special type of ‘being’ to whomever is assigned the name ‘manager’.
If we say ‘Katrina is growing larger and stronger’, are we not really talking about unbounded relational dynamics (a whorl) that is capped with a hole, the non-being of Zen? Is ‘the boss’ not like this? He might be very active and seemingly ‘in charge’ or he might be a lazy, absentee boss who shows up on payday. That ‘hole’ in the hurricane that is called the ‘eye’. If one were to maintain position within the ‘eye’ while declaring over a loudspeaker, … ‘I am growing larger and stronger’, …, ‘I am coming your way’, …’fall on your knees and deliver me up the goods that I demand’, … would this not resemble the dynamic associated with a powerful industry magnate?
The centre of a relational whorl is not the energizing source of the relational whorl nor is the animating source the whirling doughnut shaped body of the whorl [e.g. a pressure low in the atmosphere that eludes our focus as we concentrate on the ‘whorl’ can be the ‘out-of-sight’ inductive source of the rotational flow we ‘name’ ‘the whorl’]. Once we have ‘named’ the relational feature in the flow ”whorl’ and are thus imputing ‘being’ to it, … this abstraction ‘pulls us like dupes, by the nose, inviting us to attribute the sourcing of the ‘rotation’ to the ‘whorl’. From this error of imputing ‘being’ to the whorl, by way of language, the ‘whorl’ is cognitively understood as the author of ‘its own’ whirling; e.g. then we make assertions such as; ‘Katrina’ (the hurricane) ‘is growing larger and stronger’. This language-implied notion of the self-animating of a relational feature in the flow is self-deception. More than this, it is a form of self-deception that plays a foundational role in the cognitive construction of Western abstract ‘being’-based (pseudo-) ‘reality’ (which is then used as the ‘operative reality’) wherein we re-cast relational forms in the transforming relational continuum as ‘beings’ and impute to these notional ‘things-in-themselves’ that we have linguistically created and grammatically animated, the authorship of their own actions and development.
“Our judgement has us conclude that every change must have an author”;–but this conclusion is already mythology: it separates that which effects from the effecting. If I say “lightning flashes,” I have posited the flash once as an activity and a second time as a subject, and thus added to the event a being that is not one with the event but is rather fixed, “is” and does not “become.”–To regard an event as an “effecting,” and this as being, that is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.” – Nietzsche, ‘Will to Power’, 531
The same dysfunctional cognition holds for ‘whorling’ as holds for ‘lightning’ and in general; i.e. the language and grammar based re-casting of relational forms in the transforming relational continuum as notional ‘independently-existing’ ‘things-in-themselves’ (name-instantiated ‘things that be’ aka ‘beings’) notionally equipped with their own internal powers of self-animation. Hence; … ‘the whorling’ (Katrina) ‘is growing larger and stronger’ whereby we are “positing the whorling once as an activity and a second time as a subject, and thus added to the event a being that is not one with the event but is rather fixed, “is” and does not “become.” — To regard an event as an ‘affecting” and this as being, that is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.”
I know it is ‘weird’ in the manner of ‘sourcery’, but ‘naming’ a relational form in the transforming relational continuum cognitively imputes fixed and persisting ‘being’ to it where in the reality of our actual experience ‘everything is in flux’ (Heraclitus). In the case of the ‘whorl’, we are left arguing over whether the centre-based ‘axle’ part is the inside-outward asserting source of the turning of the enveloping rotating wheel (we refer to this view as the ‘nature’ interpretation of the ‘nature-nurture dichotomy’), … or whether the enveloping ‘wheel’ part is the outside-inward inducing source of the turning of the ‘axle’ (we refer to this view as the ‘nurture’ interpretation of the ‘nature-nurture dichotomy’).
In our experience-grounded reality, we are not justified in using language to impute ‘being’ to relational forms in the flow, but we do anyhow, and this sets up the artificial problem of discerning whether the language-imputed ‘being’ is its own source of assertively sourcing and shaping its action (‘nature’) or whether the environment in which the ‘being’ is situated’ is the inductive ‘sorcerer’ and shaper of its action (‘nurture’). This dichotomous ‘nature’-‘nurture’ paradox disappears if we bring to mind the fact that ‘naming’ is the artificial and abstract source of the impression of ‘persisting being’ where there is none; i.e. in the reality of our actual experience, there are only ‘relational forms’ within the transforming relational continuum.
Let’s be honest, there are no influences in our real life experiencing in nature, that jumpstart from a point source as is the basis of force and deterministic cause and effect actions and results in Newtonian physics. This language-induced psychological/cognitive mis-impression based on ‘being’ and ‘beings’ to which we impute jumpstart sourcing powers by way of language-and-grammar, is the source of incoherence in the Western culture social dynamic.
Anyone who works within a large Western corporation or Western government organization joins in a psychological system (‘game’) wherein one must go along with the belief in ‘being’, wherein the ‘corporation’ or ‘governed nation’ is considered to be a ‘thing-in-itself’ with ‘its own jumpstart powers of action and productive development’. In other words, a blatant lie that is psychologically deployed through the intellect as the ‘operative reality’ when everyone (a sufficient number of followers) begins to behave as if it were ‘the truth’. It may be an abstract logical truth ‘construction’ but it sure as hell is not ‘reality’ as could ever be validated by our relational experience.
We know better;
But when we join a ‘company’ with a hierarchical structure (or a government agency or etc.), … we are required to uphold the belief that this ‘organization’ is an ‘independent thing-in-itself’ (a ‘being’) even though we know that ‘organizations’ are relational dynamics within a transforming relational continuum. Nevertheless, if we are going to accept a ‘senior position’ with the ‘independent organization’, we must play the game;
“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.” – R.D. Laing
The ‘game’ is to go along with imagining the ‘organization’ as a local, independent ‘being’ with a brain that is directing a body with limbs that is capable of its own self-animated action and its own achievement of ‘results’. This is pure abstraction that is in no way affirmable by our natural relational experience within the world as a transforming relational continuum.
Most of us have participated in this Western form of ‘organization’ where we are asked to believe in its ‘independent existence’ aka ‘being’ which is total bullshit abstraction. Meanwhile, we must agree to believe in it in order to become a paid cog in its gear-works which is how the overall machinery of the Western world culture works. The system has been described by Thomas Mann through the voice of his ‘magician’ character in ‘Mario and the Magician’, written during the rise of fascism in Europe in the late 1920’s and 30’s;
“The capacity for self-surrender, he said, for becoming a tool, for the most unconditional and utter self-abnegation, was but the reverse side of that other power to will and to command. Commanding and obeying formed together one single principle, one indissoluble unity; he who knew how to obey knew also how to command, and conversely; the one idea was comprehended in the other, as people and leader were comprehended in one another.”
Of course the ‘corporation’ is NOT REALLY a ‘being’ aka ‘thing-in-itself’ as it is treated here and as one must commit to belief in, in becoming a paid cog in the machine. I have been there, of course, it is not that I am pointing the finger at others, I am simply making observations on the workings of our Western culture. Workings that, as Bohm observes, are the source of ‘incoherence’ in the social dynamic.
Now, as I know and have experienced and as we all know (at some level which our culture’s habits encourages us to forget), the above-cited remarks of R.D. Laing and Thomas Mann hit the nail on the head; i.e. the belief in ‘being’ is a ‘game’ that our culture requires us to play in order to be ‘citizens in good standing’. We know better; i.e. we know that ‘corporations’ are not independently-existing things-in-themselves (things-that-be). We know that ‘countries’ are not ‘independently-existing things in themselves (things-that-be); e.g. John Lennon invites us to imagine what is ‘really real’, .. “Imagine there’s no countries, … it’s easy if you try”.
Let’s face it, ‘being’ is a deception! There is no ‘being’ in a transforming relational continuum, the world as modern physics and our own natural relational experience understand it.
Ok, but the concept of ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’ points to the reality that it is not going to be easy to make the switch from Newtonian physics, the physics based on ‘material being’, to modern physics, the physics of waves and relational transformation wherein there is no such abstract thing as ‘being’; i.e. where everything is in continual flux as Heraclitus pointed out, shortly before Parmenides psyched out the Western masses with his overturning of the relational understanding shared by Heraclitus;
“Heraclitus had declared ‘being’ a perpetual ‘becoming’ and had correlated the two concepts with his ‘hidden attunement.’ Now Parmenides declared the two to be mutually exclusive, and only ‘being’ to be real.” — ‘The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man’, — ‘Frankfort et al’
So, the ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’ that Western culture is currently confronted with arise from the locked in ‘belief in being’ even while we admit to living in a world of ‘field’ or ‘flow’; i.e. a ‘transforming relational continuum’ wherein our dysfunctional habit is to give ‘names’ to the forms that would have us impute ‘persisting being’ to them.
Actually, the dysfunction is not simply in assigning ‘names’ to relational forms, since indigenous aboriginals, Buddhists, Advaita Vedanta adherents also employ names, … the dysfunction lies in imputing ‘being’ on the basis of ‘naming’ since names can be used in (purely relational) poetic mode as pointed out by philosophers such as Wittgenstein, in order to induce cognition in relational terms and not get stuck on ‘literal thing-in-itself’ interpretation of the named forms; e.g. ‘Dances with wolves’ and ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ invokes understanding in relational terms whereby we can ‘let go of the’ named forms without imputing to them ‘thing-in-itself’ being. E.g. as in the ‘surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ of the modern physics understandings of Geoffrey Chew and John Wheeler.
The ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’, associated with the ‘dropping of being’ have been building in Western culture over the past 2500 years and are not ‘insignificant’. That’s why modern physics, which has been around since the early 1900s if not before, has not yet assumed the foundational role in our Western cognitive dynamics, that it effectively has, in the indigenous aboriginal culture and Buddhism etc.
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’
You can imagine how much ‘status’ would be lost by the ‘switch’ from Newtonian ‘being’-based physics as the grounding framework of our ‘operative reality’ to the non-being flow-based cognitive conceptualizing of our operative reality. Our whole society has been (and is being) ‘graded’ and ‘rewarded’ on the basis of the values inherent in the ‘being’-based worldview. In essence, the ‘poets’ have always been on the more realistic course. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ and ‘she makes hungry where most she satisfies” exemplify a relational approach to understanding a relational form (human) without assuming ‘thing-in-itself being’. But poetic expression was superseded as the primary (popular) basis for conceiving of ‘reality’, by ‘being’ in the Western culture back in 480 BCE as implied in the earlier quote from ‘the Adventure of Ancient Man’ re the eclipsing (in the popular conception of ‘reality’) of Heraclitus’ flow-based worldview by Parmenides ‘being-based’ worldview.
The resistance to a ‘changing of the guard’ from ‘being-oriented philosophical proponents’ to ‘flow-oriented philosophical proponents’ is what ‘lock-in’ and ‘switching costs’ are all about, which explain the ‘delay’ in pickup on the findings of modern physics which support the indigenous aboriginal, Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta understanding of ‘reality’.
Henri Laborit observes in ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ (the new framework) the difficulty one has in trying to share findings that support non-being based understanding within a society which celebrates those who have been elevated in status and public acclaim through their superior skills in being based cognition and actualization of being-based plans and developments.
‘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. – Henri Laborit, ‘La Nouvelle Grille’
Ok, that remark speaks to the ‘lock-in’ problem; i.e. those who are doing well within the current system may not support any fundamental changes that undermine their current situation and status. It is the successful group of people who have status and influence deriving from ‘being-based values’ that have most influence on what changes to the current system will be endorsed. What will be encouraged in this situation is that people must work longer and harder and faster to overcome the issues that continue to develop, enlarge and complexity, however, this amounts to accelerating the deepening of the hole we are digging ourselves into.
Hmmm; … how to summarize this note?!
It seems that the core of the summary must be that ‘being’ is ‘abstraction’ that Western culture has built its conceptualizing of reality on, … and it is an unrealistic, abstract concept that has no place in the reality of our actual relational experience. Sure, Western advocates of Western culture will argue that Western being-based conceptualizing has put Western society ‘ahead of the rest’; e.g. ‘ahead of the aboriginals and the Buddhists and Advaita Vedanta, … but in what respect? Is it the Western culture’s superior ability to produce goods and services? … or to ‘heal the sick?
This would be consistent with the notion of humans as independently existing human ‘beings’. But as pointed out in investigations by ‘systems theorists’ such as Martine Dodd’s Taljaard, ‘The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’. That is, by trying to ‘optimize’ part of a system out of the context of the overall system or ‘suprasystem’, we screw up the overall system since the overall system is a transforming relational continuum rather than a collection of ‘subsystems’ or ‘independent parts’, the performance of which can be ‘optimized’ on an individual basis.
The belief that optimizing by parts will lead to overall optimization is delusional. Humans are not ‘beings’; i.e. humans are not ‘independently-existing things-in-themselves’ whose actions can be ‘optimized’ by themselves as they appear to be in Newtonian physics. The misguided attempt to optimize the dynamics of human populations as if ‘humans’ are independently-existing things-in-themselves is what Martine (and Kenneth Boulding whose systems sciences work Martine was citing) are referring to as ‘sub-optimization’. It doesn’t work. It can’t work. Humans are not ‘independent beings’ just because we adorn them with unique names whereby the ‘named entities’ seem, cognitively, to take on the guise of ‘persisting thing-in-itself being’ when it is nothing other than a relational form in the transforming relational continuum.
Bohm calls such being-based thinking ‘the source of incoherence’ in the social dynamic and Martine is saying the same thing in the language of the systems sciences.
Is science, the way we are using it, improving man’s lot on earth? The very notion (portraying ‘man’ and ‘earth’ as separate entities) is inappropriately ‘legitimizing’ ‘suboptimization’ which is based on the assumption that humans are independent beings; i.e. ‘independent’ of the ‘environment’ they are included in. If humans are instead relational forms in a transforming relational continuum as modern physics suggests, then our use of science to ‘suboptimize’ the condition of humans is bound to backfire since the ‘health’ of ‘relational forms’ in a transforming relational continuum is secured only by cultivating sustained harmonies throughout the relational system. As indigenous aboriginals say; ‘mitakuye oyasin’ (‘all my relations’ or ‘we are all related’; … the crawlies, the four-leggeds, the winged ones etc. etc.). The notion that we can optimize the human experience ‘on its own’ is ‘superstition’ that also goes by the name Newtonian science. Suboptimization is the source of ‘incoherence’. It derives from ‘naming’ a relational form and thereby imputing persisting, independent ‘being’ to it.
Every system is included in a relational suprasystem. A nation is NOT an independently existing thing-in-itself just because we give it a unique name. As Einstein said; ‘Nationalism’ (the belief in ‘independent being of a named state’) is an infantile disease; it is the measles of the world’. ‘Suboptimization’ is where we impute ‘being’ to a ‘system’ by ‘naming it’ and then try to optimize the functioning of the system as if it were an ‘independently-existing-thing-in-itself’. This is ‘incoherent behaviour’ that happens to be the current underpinning of Western culture’s popular mode of dynamic organizing.
But here we are, locked in to a way of thinking we have been building infrastructure for for 2500 years so the switching costs are monumental.
If you didn’t read through down to here, I don’t blame you. I know it is tough text and that you may not be that interested or you may not have that much stamina to penetrate the dense prose.
Ok, I thought this was going to be a lot shorter, but maybe I will, by-and-by, find a way to condense it without losing cognitive traction.
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Postscript: To repeat, for background context; …. the stroke of insight is where name-based being ‘drops out’ of one’s cognitive dynamic leaving only relational associations as the source of understanding. This makes understanding and communicating difficult where the subject matter and collective dialogue orients to being-based concepts, but since relational understanding is ‘more basic’ than being-based understanding, it is not the stroke-experient’s understanding that takes the big hit (since the relational functionality is left intact in a left-brain stroke) but his ability to communicate within a group conversation where ‘being-based’ cognition is deemed the highest level of cognition. This doesn’t happen in a group of poets, indigenous aboriginals or Buddhists since non-being based (relational) messaging assumes the highest level role in reality-oriented discourse [Jantsch’s level 1 relational reality].