PSI-7: Post-Stroke Impressions No. 7
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’.
In modern physics and related philosophical investigations, this Western cultural habit of ‘obscuring’ relational physical reality by using names to impose notional ‘being’ on inherently relational ‘things’ (forms) has been recognized and described by Ludwig Wittgenstein, David Bohm, Nietzsche and others. Physicist Erich Jantsch formulated a model of cognition that shows three nested levels of cognition, the bottom two have been described as ‘nature’ (thing-in-itself being), ‘nurture’ (becoming of a thing-in-itself) and ‘flow’ (transforming relational continuum or ‘field’ that is the source of relational forms).
Stroke therapy is designed to restore a person’s ability to ‘think like a normal Western person’ without acknowledging the ‘insight’ in ‘the stroke of insight’ which is the ability to make a ‘cognitive leap’ over the lower levels of cognition (being and becoming) to purely relational (the highest) level of cognition (i.e. inclusion as a relational form in the transforming relational continuum)..
However, it could be beneficial to retain the ‘gains’ in the ‘stroke of insight’ while at the same time restoring one’s capabilities in the Western culture mode of cognition which, thanks to noun-and-verb (being-oriented) language and grammar, gives (unnatural) primacy to the lowest levels of cognition (levels 3 and 2). As Nietzsche pointed out, ‘language and grammar’ tend to ‘dumb-down’ understanding that comes to us through our natural relational experience.
“Indeed, nothing has yet possessed a more naïve power of persuasion than the error concerning being as it has been formulated by the Eleatics, for example. After all, every word and every sentence we say speak in its favor. Even the opponents of the Eleatics still succumbed to the seduction of their concept of being: Democritus, among others, when he invented his atom. “Reason” in language — oh, what an old deceptive witch she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’.
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Appendix: Supplementary Discussion on; ‘Acknowledging/Employing the ‘Insight’ that comes with a Stroke’.
The concept of ‘being’ is an abstraction in that there no ‘things-in-themselves’ that ‘persist’ in the world of actual experience; i.e. our experience is of inclusion within a transforming relational continuum (ake ‘field’ or ‘the Tao’). The names or nouns of noun-and-verb language give our cognitive powers ‘traction’ by imputing ‘persisting being’ to relational forms. That is, by naming relational forms we impute ‘being’ (persisting existence’ to them. this is true whether we are naming storm-cells (relational flow-forms) or people (also relational flow forms).
There are no ‘beings’ in a transforming relational continuum. The concept of a ‘being’ cognitively triggered by a ‘name’ is language supported abstraction.
‘Human beings’ are language supported (name-imputed) abstraction that we associate with relational forms within the transforming relational continuum of modern physics aka ‘the Tao’ of the philosophies of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
Children do not ‘really come from’ a ‘mother’ and ‘father’ since the latter, together with their ‘parents’, are relational forms in a transforming relational continuum and it is only the power of language to ‘name’ and thus stimulate cognitive abstraction that would have us understand that a mother and father are responsible for ‘producing a child’. Such a ‘being’ based impression derives from language and grammar rather than from the physical reality of our actual experience in a transforming relational continuum.
“Indeed, nothing has yet possessed a more naïve power of persuasion than the error concerning being as it has been formulated by the Eleatics, for example. After all, every word and every sentence we say speak in its favor. Even the opponents of the Eleatics still succumbed to the seduction of their concept of being: Democritus, among others, when he invented his atom. “Reason” in language — oh, what an old deceptive witch she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols
The word ‘father’ in Western cultural usage suggests ‘fathering action’ or ‘fathering responsibility’. The word ‘mother’ incudes the same sort of ‘progenitor’ cognitive impression. Yet, sperm and ova could be extracted from a male and female as they slept and put together to engender a 100 new ‘human beings’ without an deliberate action on the part of the ‘parents’. Yet where there is deliberate ‘reproductive’ action, we credit the mother and father as being the ‘producers’ of the new ‘human being’. Perhaps the claim by a mother and father to authorship of children comes from ‘ego’?
“In its origin language belongs in the age of the most rudimentary form of psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language, in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere it sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — only thereby does it first create the concept of “thing.” Everywhere “being” is projected by thought, pushed underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, and is a derivative of, the concept of ego.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’.
If we understand the world as a transforming relational continuum (the Tao), then ‘beings’ can be understood as abstractions cognitively triggered by language and ‘naming’. The name ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ induces a cognitive impression capable of transforming ‘straw’ into ‘gold’ or a ‘pauper’ into a ‘prince’.
‘Father’s day’ and ‘Mother’s day’ celebrate and strengthen the cognitive impression of ‘the creation of new beings’ and the ‘authorship’ role of the father and mother whether or not pregnancy was intentional or accidental. What is lost in such a ‘being-based’ impression is the inherent primacy of an overall flow-field in which new relational forms are continually forming and re-forming’. While Taoists and indigenous aboriginals may have an understanding of ‘the self’ as a relational form in the flow, Western culture, at least in its non-poetic, ‘scientific’ perspective, has opted to conflate ‘names’ with ‘being’ (persisting material existence).
The cognitive impression of ‘being’ (persisting existence of a thing-in-itself as contrasted with the persistence of a relational form in the flow) triggered by language and ‘naming’ is the foundation of Newtonian science which is the ‘official’ Western basis of ‘reality’. The fact that abstract, ‘being’-based science has been challenged by the findings of modern physics does not mean that the Western culture’s popular cognitive grounding in a ‘being’-based ‘operative reality’ is ‘on its last legs’ and is about to give way to the ‘poetic’ ‘relational’ view of reality of quantum thinglessness (field/flow). Nevertheless, ‘modern science’ continues to ‘build its case’ while the the 2000 year old roots of Western culture continue to resist such radical cognitive readjustment which would have poets replace rational mechanics as social ‘orchestra leaders’.
“In Newtonian and special relativistic physics, if we take away the dynamical entities – particles and fields – what remains is space and time. In general relativistic physics, if we take away the dynamical entities, nothing remains. The space and time of Newton and Minkowski are reinterpreted as a configuration of one of the fields, the gravitational field. This implies that physical entities – particles and fields – are not all immersed in space, and moving in time. They do not live on spacetime. They live, so to say, on one another. It is as if we had observed in the ocean many animals living on an island: animals ‘on’ the island. Then we discover that the island itself is in fact a great whale. Not anymore animals on the island, just animals on animals. Similarly, the universe is not made by fields on spacetime; it is made by fields on fields.” — Carlo Rovelli, in ‘Quantum Gravity’
The being-based concept of ‘father’ and ‘mother’ that purportedly ‘co-create children’ is not compatible with either the modern physics understanding of the world of our experience as relational forms in a transforming relational continuum
That is, the notion of ‘organisms’ that are the source of more organisms as in ‘mother and child’ and/or ‘father and child’ are being-based abstractions that ‘blot out’ (cover over) our cognition of inclusion within a transforming relational continuum (the Tao).
The concept of a ‘father’ and a ‘mother’ are God-like insofar as they are understood as the jumpstart creators/pro-genitors of new ‘organisms’ within an otherwise intrinsically ‘dead’ universe; a Newtonian science architected, inanimate ‘holding tank’ for animate life; … a ‘holding tank’ cognitively ‘held in place’ by the abstraction of a ‘Cartesian reference frame’ into which we can notionally ‘implant’ ‘living organisms’ suggested by ‘names’. The assigning of names (e.g. ‘homo sapiens’ and thousands of other names) to relational features in a transforming relational continuum gives us the ‘language-ready’, abstract cognitive impression of ‘things-in-themselves’ or ‘beings’, and the world as a collection of such ‘existing beings’. Together, the abstraction of an absolute non-participating ‘containing space’, a cognitive ‘holding tank’ that facilitates language-based abstraction of material beings cognitively instantiated by ‘names’ serves as an abstract ‘intellectual playground’ that serves, in our Western culture, as a cognitive pseudo-reality’ or intellectualized commons.
Language and names that can induce cognitive impressions of persisting ‘beings’ furnish an ‘operative reality’ for the (Newtonian) science-oriented in Western culture.
“A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
In this culture-conditioning psychological shift from the transforming relational continuum of our living experience, to a world inhabited by ‘living beings’, we must accept the binary division of the world into ‘habitat’ and ‘inhabitant’, as is facilitated by ‘noun-and-verb’ languages. That is, the cognitive impression of being is established by a noun or name and the cognitive impression of ‘change’ is established by a verb that imputes motion to ‘things-that-be’ along with ‘inter-actions, implying, at the same time, a fixed venue that does not participate in the motion [as can be cognitively invoked by the abstract notion of a ‘reference frame’].
Just as it is ‘upside-down’ to speak of whorls (storm-cells, hurricanes) ‘stirring up the atmosphere since it it the atmospheric flow (energized by solar irradiance) that ‘stirs up within itself storm-cells/hurricanes, … so is it also ‘upside-down’ to speak of ‘parents’ ‘raising’ their children. My experience has been that my children are little ‘father-makers’ in the sense that they are new whorls in a common flow that is transformed by their ’emergence’; i.e. WE are transformed by our emergence and subduction.
Change does not ‘need an author’, not if the change is relational transformation.
“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
As our experiencing of nature discloses, change can be purely relational and need not involve the genesis of ‘new things’ [‘lightning’ can be a relational flow within the transforming relational continuum]. A hexagonal cell is a highly efficient storage compartment which has no waste space as with packed spherical containers. A hexagonal a ‘cell’ does not exist as a ‘thing-in-itself’ except in our abstracting intellect; i.e. such a cell is purely relational rather than a ‘thing-in-itself. How did honey bees ‘author’ such an ‘intelligent design’? As it turns out, a multiplicity of spherical forms growing larger (as in the case of soap bubbles) together set up mutual (purely relational) outside-inward influences wherein the spherical forms transform into hexagonal cells.
Relational transformation, as in this example, offers a means of understanding dynamic forms in nature; i.e. a means of understanding that transcends the simpler cognitive concepts of level 3 (the ‘genesis’ of new ‘being’ aka ‘nature’ and level 2 (undergoing development/modification deriving from external influence aka ‘nurture’). That is, there are no ‘things-in-themselves’ that pop into existence or that ‘change their form when exposed to ‘external influence’ in level 1 cognition since ‘forms’ associate with ‘relations’ within relational transformation as in a fluid energy field/flow (aka ‘the Tao’).
Like the soap bubbles, we do not develop as ‘things-in-ourselves’ but co-develop within a matrix of relational influences; i.e. we are relational forms that must remain nameless, since a name implies persisting ‘being’. As Wittgenstein says,
“Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen” … “that which we are unable to capture in language, we must pass over in silence.”
‘Bootstrapping’, is, once again, … a cognitive technique wherein things are named not to assert their being-based thing-in-itself existence, but as expedients to set up a cognitive network of relations among notional things so that the ‘cognitive take-away’ will be purely relational.
Level 1 cognition is thus cognition of a reality that is purely relational and without dependence on thing-in-itself ‘being’ and/or ‘becoming’.
A ‘stroke of insight’ is where access to cognitive levels 3 and 2 (‘nature’/’being’ and ‘nurture’/’becoming’) is inhibited while access to level 1 (relational cognition) remains open.
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