Reconciling Experience and Thought
Reconciling our experiencing of inclusion in a transforming space with our thoughts of ‘what things do’
Please read the following ‘preparatory’ comment before watching the video-clip …
This video clip draws attention to the fact that while the space we are in is continuously transforming, our thoughts tend to be in terms of ‘what things do’, and in particular ‘what people do’ (the social dynamic).
The video gets at the fundamental point in Nietzsche’s philosophy, and Scroedinger’s and Poincaré’s that our cultural habit is to ‘overpower our experience’ in which “outside-inwards orchestrating influence predominates over inside-outward asserting influence” [as in the swirling fluid sphere representing the earth]…. with our visual based thought in terms of ‘what things are doing’ [as in the urban rush-hour traffic dynamic]. The latter is purely in terms of inside-outward asserting influence.
In watching the video of the swirling fluid sphere, a representation of the earth (the swirling being plate tectonics, climatic and atmospheric variation etc), one might consider the fact that our experience is of being included in this dynamic, but that our thoughts tend to be focused on what people are doing, … what things are doing. The purpose of the video clip is to bring the fact that we are in ‘two different realities at the same time’; i.e our experience is of the reality on the left, the reality of being included in a relationally transforming space, and the reality on the right is of being in a common operating theatre where ‘what people do’ and ‘what things do’ occupy our thoughts. In the reality on the left, which associates with our experience, the animating source of the dynamics is the ‘universe’, the energy-charged spatial plenum where outside-inward orchestrating influence predominates over inside-outward asserting actions. But in the reality on the right, we seem to share being inside some kind of fixed operating theatre where the dynamic is in terms of ‘what people are doing’ and ‘what things are doing’, and the animating source of the dynamics lies within ‘the material objects/organisms’ that are moving about within that fixed reference frame or operating theatre.
* * * This is a good point to watch the video, and then, after watching it, returning here for the ‘post mortem’.
* * * Post Mortem to be read after watching the video.
The video brings the question to mind; ‘how are we reconciling our experience of being included in one reality and our thoughts which are putting us into a very different reality?’
As Nietzsche (and Alan Watts and others) have pointed out, in the reality ‘of our thoughts’ on the right, we trick ourselves with language and grammar, by saying such things [to ourselves during our visual observing] as ‘the traffic moves’ or ‘lightning flashes’. That is, in the continually transforming space (the reality on the left), we focus in on a pattern within the transforming space; i.e. ‘traffic’ and/or ‘lightning’ and we use the word ‘traffic’ or ‘lightning’ to describe the pattern that we see within the continually transforming space. BUT THEN what do we do? We impute the actional pattern-within-the-transforming space to be the SUBJECT of ITS OWN ACTION, and we say ‘the traffic moves’ and the ‘lightning flashes’, making it seems as if the ‘source’ of the dynamic is local as in ‘it is the traffic that is doing the moving’ and ‘it is the lightning that is doing the flashing’.
This imputing of the source of motion to the word-name we have given to the pattern in the transforming space leads us to think of the phenomena as locally originating. For example, if we had no word for ‘hurricane’ we would be thinking that the atmosphere was getting very turbulent, so much so that it was swirling around violently. But once we have the word ‘hurricane’ which is talking about the turbulence in the atmosphere, we say things like ‘the hurricane is intensifying’ and our thoughts start thinking of the ‘hurricane’ as a local ‘thing-in-itself’ and that ‘IT’ is ‘growing stronger’. But it is the turbulence in the atmosphere that is intensifying, not the hurricane. That is, the hurricane ‘IS’ the intensifying turbulence in the atmosphere.
As Nietzsche points out, what starts off as ‘Dinge an sich selbst betrachtet’ (things considered in themselves), by an ‘error in grammar’ become ”Dinge an sich’ (things-in-themselves).
If we were the old hermit on the hill who comes out once a year to look in on the city, he might notice, in the picture screen of his mind, all of the new aspects of the city and the new models of cars and he might recall the fields of cattle that were there, and the years of droughts, then floods, and how the fields were replaced with houses, then later with office buildings, skyscrapers, railway stations; i.e. his thoughts might be closer to his experience of inclusion in a transforming space, in which case the source of the dynamics would be the world, or nature or the universe. They would definitely be from a greater source than the interiors of the people.
But in the video of the rush hour traffic, the static streets and buildings seem to provide an absolutely fixed reference frame so that the motion appears to start from the people in the streets and the drivers of the vehicles. And once we start thinking that the action starts from the people, it soon follows that we start thinking in terms of the people constructing the future state of the city, … and the hermit’s view of the larger world being the source of the city will then be ‘trumped’.
In other words, our thought-based reality, thanks to language and ‘grammar error’, tends to trump our experience based reality.
This is the problem!
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