The Double Error and the Divided Self
R.D. (Ronnie) Laing’s classic on psychiatry ‘The Divided Self’ remains an enigmatic attractor to those searching for answers to ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bipolar disorder’, which Laing implies is a problem deriving from Western culture social dynamics rather than the symptoms-manifesting individual. Laing states in a loud and clear voice that (Western culture) ‘normality’ is mental aberration.
Nietzsche makes the same point in his elucidation of the ‘double error’ hiding in Western culture language and grammar usage.
They are saying the same thing in different ways. That is, the Western culture belief in name-instantiated psychical creation of ‘things-in-themselves’ (first error) grammatically conflated so as to impute to them powers of sourcing actions and developments (second error), is a crazy-making ‘double error’.
It is crazy making because it has people (individually and/or in national and corporate collectives) actually ‘believing’ in their own powers of sorcery’. This belief in ‘sorcery’ is ‘madness’ that has been ‘shot down’ by Heraclitus, Lao Tzu, Gautama Buddha, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Advaita Vedanta, and modern physics, yet it continues to resurrect within Western culture.
It is crazy making that continues to be supported in Western culture by Western culture’s deep embrace of the ‘double error’ which gives rise to the ‘divided self’.
For example, DNA determinations that establish ‘guilt’ aka ‘sorcery’ in criminal investigations are based on the ‘double error’.
What do DNA based ‘convictions’ really ‘prove’? — They prove that Western culture adherents see ‘reality’ in terms of the ‘double error’
David Bohm and modern physics note that ‘sorcery’ is not how the real world works; e.g. the example of the death of Lincoln… re the role of John Wilkes Booth.
“In the book ‘Causality and Chance in Modern Physics’ Bohm argued that the way science viewed causality was also much too limited. Most effects were thought of as having only one or several causes. However, Bohm felt that an effect could have an infinite number of causes. For example, if you asked someone what caused Abraham Lincoln’s death, they might answer that it was the bullet in John Wilkes Booth’s gun. But a complete list of all the causes that contributed to Lincoln’s death would have to include all of the events that led to the development of the gun, all of the factors that caused Booth to want to kill Lincoln, all of the steps in the evolution of the human race that allowed for the development of a hand capable of holding a gun, and so on, and so on. Bohm conceded that most of the time one could ignore the vast cascade of causes that had led to any given effect, but he still felt it was important for scientists to remember that no single cause-and-effect relationship was ever really separate from the universe as a whole.” –The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality: Michael Talbot:
Western culture adherents will ‘close the case’ once the DNA evidence identifies the ‘sorcerer’ based on the ‘double error’, an abstract finding that ‘wallpapers over’ ‘what is really going on’, blocking us from understanding reality in terms of the transforming relational continuum.
The ‘double error’ will lead us to what we may label as the vicious rapist-murderer (no reflection on our fine community and the fine people we are) but not to the dysfunctional relational social dynamics which lie deeper than the language and grammar based ‘double error’ interpretation. The hurricane is not the source of the relational turbulence, and neither is the relational turbulence the source of the hurricane. The hurricane is NOT a ‘thing-in-itself’, it is an appearance/apparition within the transforming relational continuum. Mitakuye oyasin (all things are related) suggests that harmony and dissonance are inherently relational, and that the transforming of dissonance into harmony is by way of relations. Meanwhile, language and grammar employ the ‘double error’ abstraction to reduce that which in our experience is purely relational as with harmony/dissonance, to that which is in our intellect, ‘sorcery’-based INVENTED REALITY born of the ‘double error’.
DNA testing will establish that Robin Hood was the one who took the gold from the King’s men who had extorted it from the common people. In Western ‘double error’ based reality, the DNA based evidence will be the QED proof of sorcery-based criminal action on the part of Robin Hood. Relational justice is not even on the ‘radar screen’ of this intellectual jiggery-pokery that passes for ‘Justice’.
It is not ‘rocket science’ to understand reality in terms of our topological inclusion within it; i.e. in the manner we understand it in infancy prior to the self-other dividing we impose on ourselves by learning language ‘salted’ with the ‘double error’. That is, the utility of language comes from its capability to rationally express the innately inexpressible reality of our inclusion in a transforming relational continuum;- The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao. of Lao Tzu.
As the Zen proverb of wind and flag suggests, there is no answer to the question of whether the flapping flag sources the movement of the air or whether the movement of the air sources the flapping of the flag. Likewise, there is no answer to whether the ‘boil’ in the river sources flowing motion in the river, or whether flowing motion in the river sources the ‘boil’.
The answer, in both cases, is that the assumption of ‘sourcing’ is wrong, since in physical reality, there is only relational transformation, and it is the ‘double error’ of language and grammar that gives us the impression that ‘actions and developments’ are ‘sourced’. The first error is to use ‘naming’ to psychologically instantiate ‘thing-in-itself’ existence (based on forms in flow) and the second error conflates the first by imputing powers of sourcing actions and development to the name-instantiated thing-in-itself.
For example, relational transformation is immanent in nature and thus ineffable (“Of that which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence” – Wittgenstein), but we can use the double error so that we can ‘speak’, … although what we are then speaking of is no longer relational transformation but a reduced INVENTED REALITY created by the ‘double error’. The ‘boil’ in the ‘flow’ is ‘how the purely relational phenomena of flow can appear’ to us. Reducing an ‘appearance’ to a ‘thing-in-itself’ by ‘naming it’ (first error) and conflating this first error with the second error of ‘grammar’ to impute the power of sourcing actions and developments (second error) to the ‘thing-in-itself’ is psychological aberrance that Nietzsche identified as a ‘double error’ of language and grammar.
This ‘double error’ is otherwise known as ‘sorcery’, psychological aberrance that we use to INVENT (a surrogate form of) REALITY in an articulable form. Since we can’t REALLY overcome the innate ineffability of the transforming relational continuum, language gives us the ability only to speak of something that is NOT ‘reality’ but allows us to make inferences about the ineffable reality of our actual experience of inclusion as relational forms in the transforming relational continuum.
Western culture ‘insanity’ on a culture-wide scale, develops when, as Emerson says, ‘the tool runs away with the workman’; i.e. when we employ language that only qualifies for the job of ‘inferring’ reality understood as ineffable relational transformation (innately relational energy-field-flow) that includes ourselves, as if we Western culture adherents were capturing the elusive Leprechaun in our intellectual vice-grip fists. This is where madness is built into Western culture.
For the infant, there is no self-other division; i.e. no ‘divided self’. The divided self is an acquired understanding seeded by language and grammar. Of course, language and grammar could be understood as ‘capable of no more than inference’ as in ‘The surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ or as in ‘the sharing circles of indigenous aboriginals where the ‘talking stick’ is passed, NOT so as to hear various accounts of ‘reality’ and select ‘the truest account’, but to being them all into connective confluence in the mind so as to develop understanding from the coherencies that show up within the connective confluence. There is no ‘explicit reality’ when reality is a transforming relational continuum wherein ‘everything is in flux’.
The Double Error and the Divided Self are a common phenomenon. They arise from the need to ‘reduce reality’ in order to be able to linguistically articulate our experience of inclusion within it. In order to ‘get a look at it and discuss it’, we have to ‘get outside of it’, but that is impossible without distorting our experience of inclusion within it.
The distortion of the ‘double error’ and ‘divided self’ is the price we pay to even get to a makeshift discursive construction that alludes to it, which is not the ‘reality’ of our actual experience, but an INVENTED REALITY that we present in terms of pictures and word captions; e.g. “Katrina is growing larger and stronger”, “Katrina is ravaging New Orleans”, … “Katrina is weakening and dissipating”.
‘ECLIPSED’ is the transforming relational continuum. And superimposed on the darkness that now obscures and blocks from conscious awareness the transforming relational continuum, are words and word-instantiated pictures to serve as the replacement psychological ‘take-aways’. These new word-based take-aways ‘break down’ the transforming relational continuum into ‘parts of interest’ to us, even if such ‘break down’ is purely intellectual abstraction and thus a departure from the ‘reality’ of the transforming relational continuum.
This double error of language and grammar is a technique for rendering the ineffable Tao effable must be consistently applied in order to use to INVENT REALITIES that are ‘believable’; i.e. if we apply the double error technique to the visible flow-forms of nature such as the ‘hurricane’ in order to make relational transformation ‘effable’ then we must do the same to ourselves order to achieve the logical consistency that we use to distinguish the ‘real’ from the ‘apparent’.
Since the real can only be ‘apparent’ (appearance) within a transforming relational continuum, this language-and-grammar based objectification of relational phenomena is not ‘capturing reality’, but INVENTING REALITY that is in terms of psychologically instantiated (by naming) things-in-themselves notionally with powers of sourcing actions and developments (the double error). The Divided Self follows from the need for logical consistency in the reducing of relational flow forms to psychologically instantiated (by naming relational forms) things-in-themselves. We thus create the ‘independent-thing-in-itself’ concept of the ‘human being’ (from the human form in the flow) by ‘naming’ and we follow this up by ‘animating’ the ‘name-instantiated thing-in-itself’ with grammar that imputes to it the power of sourcing.
The ‘divided self’ arises from ‘the double error’ through the need for logical consistency in INVENTING REALITY based on the ‘double error’ concept.
That is, the undivided self of our infancy (prior to the self-other splitting necessary for language-based share of impressions of reality) does not ‘go away’ as we ‘learn better’, it is simply eclipsed and occluded as our ‘talk’ constructs its INVENTED REALITIES over top of it. The problem is not in the language-based constructing of INVENTED REALITY, the problem is in NOT remembering that such language-and-grammar based INVENTED REALITY is only capable of oblique inference as a ‘Wittgenstein ladder’ to tickle our psyche into latching on to an understanding of the ineffable relational transformation that is inherently non-articulable.
The ‘double error’ makes it possible to articulate the ineffable (the transforming relational continuum) but at the price of reducing reality from a continuum by breaking it into separate pieces by the intellectual-psychological act of ‘naming’ relational forms in the transforming relational continuum, and using the intellectual device of language and grammar to psychologically ‘animate’ the now-objectified (thanks to naming) relational forms.
Because of the need for logical consistency (the reality test in the post-lingual real of named objects mobilized by grammar), we must do our selves as we do to all other relational forms, i.e. divide out the form from the flow, the ‘self’ from the ‘other’, the ‘inhabitant’ from the ‘habitat’, and likewise endow (grammatically and psychologically) the intellectually liberated relational flow-form with notionally powers of sourcing actions and developments.
So which comes first, the divided self or the double error? clearly the double error that is necessitated by language. The divided self is something that follows from the double error, the expedient that reduces the ineffable to the effable.
This language and grammar-based reduction of the ineffable to the effable has been Biblically cast as ‘the fall of man’. Emerson, schooled in the psychological underpinnings of religion, speaks of this same reduction in terms of ‘the tools run away with the workman, the human with the divine’. Mircea Eliade, in ‘Mephistopheles et l’Androgyne’ (English title ‘The Two and the One’) similarly casts this reduction of the One-ness of form-and-flow to two-ness (self and other) as a devilishly clever self-deception that has confused and divided us.
In the same manner, in Martine Dodds-Taljaard’s and György Jaros’ sustems sciences paper ‘The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’, there is this same topological-geometric reduction of the ONE to the TWO that notionally unleashes the abstract concept of ‘sorcery’. This is the object of their critique; i.e. a system and subsystem need not be understood as explicitly ‘two’ but instead as one that ‘appears’ as ‘two’ (the boil in flow). Transformation of the ONE is ineffable which is fine for the experiential understanding of ourselves as sentient relational forms within the transforming relational continuum; i.e. as with our related forms in the common flow, being able to articulate and share (even crudely) the ‘reality’ that we share inclusion in, that we experience uniquely and differently, has the upside of furthering our ability to understand, cultivate and sustain relational harmonies.
While the ‘double error’ gives us a view of reality (i.e. an INVENTED REALITY) in which we re-cast ourselves and other relational flow-forms, thanks to the abstracting powers of language and grammar, as name-instantiated psychologically things-in-themselves with powers of sorcery driven by notional internal ‘will’ (Sayonara, ‘transforming relational continuum!’, ‘here comes double error based ‘Divided Self’)
“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. In the beginning there is that great calamity of an error that the will is something which is effective, that will is a faculty. Today we know that it is only a word.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’
‘REASON’ THAT DEFINES ‘EGO’ AND ‘SORCERY’ (BEINGS WITH CAUSAL POWER); I.E. THE ’METAPHYSICS OF LANGUAGE’.
“… 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… 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. ”
The Double Error and the Divided Self are one and the same psychological aberration. This is the ‘deal with the devil’ as implied in Western religious histories, and it CAN BE a ‘crazy-maker’ if we make the mistake of understanding it ‘literally’ and ‘explicitly’. In other words, in order to render the ineffable ‘effable’, we make a ‘double error’ of language and grammar. In this way, we can psychologically ‘break up’ the transforming relational continuum into separate ‘parts’, the ‘cost’ of which is our having to artificially ‘re-mobilize them’ as if ‘sourced’ by ‘their own locally incipient powers’. Since language is not bound by the constraints of nature and reality (abstract invention is the forte of language and grammar), the concept of ‘sorcery’ is an ever-available expedient to ‘cover’ for a parts-wise reduction of ‘change’ experienced as inclusion in the transforming relational continuum. As Nietzsche puts it;
“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 Double Error and the Divided Self
are a mutually supporting duo, a kind of ‘deal with the devil’ (Mephistopheles et l’Androgyne) that allows us use language and grammar based abstraction to ‘pry open’ the ineffable relational continuum, are re-invent it (re-animate it) in the discretist terms of local things-in-themselves with notional powers of sourcing actions and developments. The price we have to pay for this (our debt to this devilishly clever scheme) is to ‘divide our self’ in this same manner, for logical consistency, so that we, too, are portrayed by language and grammar, as ‘independently-existing things-in-ourselves’, notionally endowed with powers of sorcery’. Thus is born Western culture ‘ego’ wherein we give credit to notional name-instantiated things-in-themselves’ (humans, nations, corporations) for ‘sourcing’ actions and developments.
As humans, this language and grammar tool of reducing the ineffable transforming relational continuum to an effable INVENTED REALITY based on abstract ‘independently-existing things-in-themselves notionally with their own powers of sourcing actions and developments (the ‘double error) conflicts with the natural and innate understanding of the ‘undivided self’ that is our natural relational experience but which gets ‘paved over’ and occluded by the abstractions of language and grammar;
To the infant’s developing mind, topology comes before geometry. In general, deeper and more fundamental logical operations are developed earlier than more specific rules and applications. The history of mathematics, which is generally taken as a process of moving towards deeper and more general levels of thought, could also be thought of as a process of excavation which attempts to uncover the earliest operations of thought in infancy. According to this argument, the very first operations exist at a pre-conscious level [i.e. ‘pre-intellectualizing’ level in the conscious and intuitive infant] so that the more fundamental a logical operation happens to be, the earlier it was developed by the infant and the deeper it has become buried in the mind.” – F. David Peat,
The deal with the devil to render the ineffable effable; i.e. the tool of language and grammar has, in the case of Western culture, ‘run away with the workman’. Western culture man now sees himself as a ‘sorcerer’ and Western culture has on that basis built a system of rewards and punishments based on the ‘double error’ belief in the name-instantiated existence of things-in-themselves with grammar-instantiated powers of sorcery. This double error based values system has led to Western culture’s current self-entrapment by way of ‘lock-in by high switching costs”. The high switching costs have resulted from rewarding and elevating in stature and giving disproportionate influence over ‘defining what is real’, on the false basis of ‘sorcery’. There Is no such thing as ‘sorcery’ in our experience-grounded reality of inclusion as relational forms in the transforming relational continuum. Meanwhile, ‘sorcery’ is not only accepted as ‘real’ in Western culture, it plays the foundational role in social values, both in the positive and negative sense (‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’), therefore, it is difficult to ‘call out’ as the language and grammar instantiated vacuous illusion that it is.
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’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Laborit
In sum, the ‘double error’ results in the ‘divided self’ which is anchored in place by the ‘ego’ which swells and shrinks in proportion to the perceived sourcing power achievements of name-instantiated things-in-themselves assessed as either smaller or larger in magnitude and as either positive or negative in value polarity.
In other words, the whole edifice of Western culture as it currently is ‘seen to operate’; i.e. as it is presented via intellectual INVENTED REALITY rhetoric, is an ‘intellectual house-of-cards’ construction. that serves as an ‘operative reality that is one big ‘crazy-making illusion’. We Western humans who consider ourselves to be ‘the most advanced’ come to this conclusion by putting the double error based INVENTED REALITY into an unnatural precedence over the reality of sensory experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum. This is what leads to the title ‘The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’ since ‘sorcery’, the basis of Western man’s egotist belief in his ‘superiority’ over ‘others’ is illusion; i.e. ‘the Emperor’s new clothes’.
Western culture is aware of its problems, however, it is interpreting its problems on the basis of the correct way of understanding ‘sorcery’ which divides Western culture adherents into two opposing factions; conservatives, who see sorcery as deriving from the individual (“one bad apple spoils the barrel”) and liberals, who see sorcery as deriving from the collective (“It takes a whole community to raise a child”).
Understanding dysfunction in the Western culture social dynamic in the context of ‘sorcery’ and problems arising therein, leads to endless initiatives aimed at improving the quality and/or quantity of sorcery in a ‘producer-product’ sense. Since sorcery can be seen as either positive or negative, optimization is approached by way of rewards or punishments. Because the ‘reality’ is that there is no such thing as ‘sorcery’ (relational transformation is the reality), amplifying ‘positive sorcery’ while attenuating ‘negative sorcery’ is psychological aberrance; i.e. it is ego-driven Sisyphusian madness in world where relational transformation is the operative dynamic rather than sorcery.
This madness is not hard to avoid. It is avoidable by understanding reality as a transforming relational continuum, as in the reality of modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta wherein ‘sorcery’ is not ‘taken literally’ but used only as a Wittgenstein ladder as in ‘The surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’.
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.
7.0 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
–Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus
What Wittgenstein does not say here, is what results when we reduce the web of language based relational inferences to explicit stand-alone statements of ‘the truth’. What ‘results’ by way of ‘the double error’ of language and grammar, gives rise to the ‘divided self’, and once the self is divided out of the transforming relational continuum, ‘sorcery’, and with it, ‘ego’ become the abstractions needed to ‘fill the hole’. The ‘double error’ is thus the filler, with its abstract imputing of powers of ‘sorcery’ to notional name-instantiated things-in-themselves, notionally with powers of sorcery. This Double Error abstraction is the source of the Divided Self and the ‘devil’s bargain’ in which we as relational forms ‘sell out’ our inclusion in the transforming relational continuum in exchange for our own ‘independent being’ and endowment with powers of sorcery. That is just Western culture language and grammar based abstraction ‘talking’, of course, but such abstraction conditions the psyche so as to support the continuance of ‘lock-in’ due to ‘high switching costs’.
The ‘Divided Self’ (R.D. Laing’s psychiatric classic) can thus be seen in connective confluence with Nietzsche’s ‘Double Error’, opening the way to a ‘Culture Against Man’ (Jules Henry) view of Western culture adherency, which in turn opens insights into the ‘whys’ of Western culture induced schizophrenia and ‘bipolar disorder’, and how to immunize against it by first understanding it as and endemic Western culture social disorder that afflicts the social collective while most visibly manifesting through a small minority (miner’s canaries) whose sensibilities rebel against psychological dysfunction that many adapt to living within. That is, ‘a majority has no monopoly on the truth’ (Giordano Bruno) and it is far easier for a majority to give 2% of the crazy making Western culture adherent population chemical lobotomies, than to engineer a deprogramming of the adhering majority who give their continuing support to a crazy-making status quo (however willingly or unwillingly). The lock-in is further secured since the rejection of ‘sorcery’ undermines, besmirches or topples the esteemed icons, pillars of society, founding fathers, and celebrities of the culture-in-place. And what voice do ‘irrationals’ (‘relational romantics’) have within a society where rationality is equated with sanity and irrationality with insanity? In a culture wherein Ego is a swelled head while Inspiration is a full heart, who are the ‘miner’s canaries’ and who are those who are impervious to relational dysfunction stirred by analytically impeccable social dynamics?.
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