The Elusive Source of Social Discontent: Our Identity
Many people are discontented with modern society and some are very angry. The discontent and anger seeks to point the finger somewhere, … at ‘big oil’, at capitalism, at the corporation, at the state, and at ‘authority’ in general.
It is not going to go away without being dealt with. The discontent and anger is going to continue to deepen until some sort of resolving insight is forthcoming.
The discontent is in me and I often speak the language of anti-authoritarianism or anarchism in trying to address it.
My views are better-described, though, in terms of ‘decolonizing’ as in Amerindian ‘decolonizing’ initiatives. They are about restoring more natural relations with one another and our living space. This, I do not see simply as a ‘good thing to do’. I see it as an imperative in the sense that we are suffering from a malady that is only going to get worse, if it is not attended to. The result will be deepening tensions and conflict between those who are the supporters and defenders of our ‘current way of life’ and the growing number of people who emotionally and intellectually reject it and who try to actively, physically reject it, a task that is extremely frustrating since one is included in it like a fish in water.
My intention is not to ‘change the world’ so as to bring about some Utopian society. It is to cultivate collective inquiry into the psycho-social foundations of our society so that we can all see through to the bottom of this; so that we can expose, for ourselves, the malady that is not going to go away unless we acknowledge that it is there, and which is going to get a lot worse if left unattended.
The Amerindians have been working on decolonization for 400 years so I don’t have a ‘timeframe’ for this action. But the timing might be influenced by the rising discord within our society. People know that protests are not really listened to, especially not when the protests attack the very basis of the existing social order; i.e. ‘statism’. From a global collection of stateless peoples (tribes, sheikdoms etc.), colonization has succeeded in deploying ‘statism’ around the world. We now have 195 authoritarian sovereign states, and that pretty much takes care of the entire world. That is, organization of the world is authoritarian and pushes down through the sovereign states. The United Nations, rather than being a centre of authoritarian control is a ‘committee’ constituted by the sovereign states, and not the sort of global human peer-to-peer networked organization conceived of by some anarchists (although the internet appears to provide some serious potentials in this regard).
What is the nature of the ‘malady’ that lies beneath the surface of social discontent?
Most of the ‘complaint’ is directed against ‘capitalism’ and the ‘ruling elites’ and the peer-to-peer activist network (P2P) expresses their goal as follows;
“In North America especially, this is a movement about reinventing democracy. It is not opposed to organization. It is about creating new forms of organization. It is not lacking in ideology. Those new forms of organization are its ideology. It is about creating and enacting horizontal networks instead of top-down structures like states, parties or corporations; networks based on principles of decentralized, non-hierarchical consensus democracy. Ultimately, it aspires to be much more than that, because ultimately it aspires to reinvent daily life as whole. But unlike many other forms of radicalism, it has first organized itself in the political sphere--mainly because this was a territory that the powers that be (who have shifted all their heavy artillery into the economic) have largely abandoned.” –P2P Foundation, ‘Alterglobalization Movement’
This sounds as if the problem is one of ‘organizational design’, and that the “top-down authoritarian structures like states, parties or corporations” were a poor design choice that needs revision in order to ‘make the world a better place’.
This is not my own view, and not the view of a small circle of others with whom I regularly share ideas on this topic. The view is, instead, that it is not a question of quality of organizational architecture but that there is a deep-seated problem ‘with our thinking’ (i.e. with our ‘understanding’).
I will state it directly here but all of my investigations point to it being very difficult to assimilate, which leads people to think that I (and others who have a similar understanding) are ‘talking nonsense’.
The deep-seated problem is that we have come to believe in the ‘self-other split’ or ‘subject-object’ split and it has a huge effect on how we view the world dynamic. Amongst philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche has in my view best ‘put his finger on the problem’. He rejects the reality of the ‘self-other’ split, ‘cause-and-effect’, Darwinism and more, and while I did not come to these same understanding by reading Nietzsche, I did come to these same understandings, and have continued to rediscover them in Nietzsche and elsewhere.
“Thus Nietzsche has prepared the pessimistic premise: truth is not certain, absolute, eternal, but subjective, relative, forever changing and erring. Reason is not an inborn faculty that possesses the power to grasp the absolute and eternal. … Having reduced intellectual knowledge to the level of subjective and relative symbolism, Nietzsche discovers a new source of knowledge: Intuition. The instinctual forces of man are seen as having the power to reach a more genuine comprehension of truth. They disclose reality in its living, dynamic form and reach into deeper dimensions, closed to science and logic.” – Rose Pfeffer, ‘Nietzsche, Disciple of Dionysus’ (see footnote for expanded citation.)
The impact on how we view the world is huge, and the impact on how we organize ourselves collectively, is equally huge; i.e. authoritarianism, the main target of anarchist, anti-capitalists and other alterglobalization activism is a ‘symptom’ of this deeper source of what David Bohm calls ‘incoherence’.
In order to avoid incoherence, we must let ‘intuition’ override rational/logical thought.
When we reject the notion of ‘doer-and-deed’ (‘cause-and-effect’) we reject the basic premise, not only of capitalism, but of dynamics in general, and put our understanding of ‘who we are’ in the lurch.
Could it possibly be that we are not ‘the doers of deeds’? Are we not gifted with free will and capable of actions and results that we are fully and solely responsible for?
No, we are not, says Nietzsche, and no we are not, says I.
Before the questions arise such as ‘well, did man not invent science and technology and has it not CAUSED huge EFFECTS which would otherwise have never occurred, beneficial effects, … we must return to Nietzsche’s claim that we took our ‘ego’, our view of ourselves as doer-of-deeds (causal agents) and we plugged it into our ‘scientific world view’; i.e. the notion of mechanical cause and effect is our ‘ego’ that we are looking at. The notion of a biological organism is our ‘ego’ that we are looking at. That is, we saw ourselves (still see ourselves) as a ‘local systems with our own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviours who move about and interact with other objects/organisms in an absolute fixed and empty operating space.’
This scientific world view, this view of the world in terms of the dynamics of local material objects/organisms/organizations, is built from OUR EGO (i.e. our [pre-relativity/quantum] ‘science’ is anthropomorphism). Our ego conceives itself as the ‘author of change’ as the ‘doer of deeds’ and what’s good for us becomes what’s good for the universe; i.e. ‘every change must have an author’ (every ‘effect’ must be due to a ‘causal agency’). But this is a recipe for OCCLUDING THE PLENUM, removing from our consciousness that the plenum of space, the continually transforming spacetime continuum, as it is understood in the ‘new physics’, the physical-phenomena-parenting medium. For example;
“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
This error essentially OCCLUDES THE PARENTING MEDIUM of the physical phenomena, the resonant-energy-charged space tensioned by electromagnetic fields, within which a stream of ions form and flow.
Science and rationality have been a recipe for OCCLUDING THE PARENTING MEDIUM (space as a plenum, as is the understanding of the new physics and the ancients).
Just as we can do this occluding with ‘lightning flashes’, we can do it with ‘the storm rages’, the ‘farmer farms’, and in general ‘the doer does his deed’, the ‘causal agent produces its effect’.
This ‘error’ truncates our depth of viewing; it lifts foreground images of visual forms out of the plenum and recasts them as actors in their own right. The word ‘lightning’, ‘storm’, ‘farmer’, ‘doer’, … stops our inquiry and seduces us into thinking that we know it in terms of ‘is’, of ‘what it is’ so that we can concentrate on ‘what it does’; i.e. we see a flash in the sky and its jagged trajectory and when our child asks; ‘what was that’, we say ‘that was lightning’ as if offering that ‘word’ was offering some kind of ‘explanation’.
“We set up a word at the point at which our ignorance begins, at which we can see no further, e. g., the word “I,” the word “do,” the word “suffer”:–these are perhaps the horizon of our knowledge, but not “truths.”” – Nietzsche, Will to Power, 482
This technique, of using ‘doer-and-deed’ to ‘occlude the plenum’ had come to my awareness firstly by thinking of our habit of personifying convection cells, ripples in the flow, such as a storm cells (convection cells), and imputing ‘doer-of-deed’ status to them, clearly ‘occluding’ the primary dynamic of the parenting medium, occluding the primary physical phenomenon, … and having our minds drift off into this secondary reality wherein we observe local doers-of-deeds interacting in empty space, this one ‘strengthening’, this one ‘heading north’, this one ‘weakening’.
And so it resonates loud and strong (I have written similar things myself in regard to emerging clusters of storm-cells before coming across Nietzsche) when I hear Nietzsche saying;
“Die fortwährenden Übergänge erlauben nicht, von „Individuum“ usw. zu reden; die „Zahl“ der Wesen ist selber im Fluß. Wir würden nicht von Zeit reden und nichts von Bewegung wissen, wenn wir nicht, in grober Weise, „Ruhendes“ neben Bewegtem“ zu sehen glaubten. Ebenso wenig von Ursache und Wirkung, und ohne die irrthümliche Conception des „leeren Raumes“ wären wir gar nicht zur Conception des Raums gekommen.” – Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, 520
“Continual transition does not allow us to speak of “individuals,” etc; the “number” of beings is itself in flux. We would say nothing of time and know nothing of motion if we did not, in a coarse fashion, believe we see stillnesses beside turbulences. The same applies to cause and effect, and without the erroneous conception of “empty space” we should certainly not have acquired the conception of space.”
WHY NOT understand emergent forms as ‘energized ripples within the plenum’?
This was the view of Heraclitus and as Thomas McEvilley documented in ‘The Shape of Ancient Thought’, it is a near layover to the understandings in Mahayana Buddhism (the ‘plenum-void’) and to the understandings in the Upanishads (‘that which is formed is unreal, that which is formless is the real’).
WHY let our ‘ego’ with its ‘doer-and-deed’ self-defining impose itself, so that all outside the ‘ripples’ becomes empty space?
Well, that is where we are, that is what we, as a collective, have done, and that is what we are now trying to deal with because this confusing of the idealized world in terms of doer-and-deed interactions (cause and effect) within empty space, for reality, is sourcing huge dysfunction which continues to intensify.
How does it do this?
Anarchists whose demonstrations continue to build and terrorists who oppose the imposing of a foreign-to-them monoculture on the world are right and wrong at the same time, in pointing the finger to the ‘elitist classes’ that are the alleged perpetrators of ‘statism’ and ‘authoritarianism’, but it is more subtle than that, since what I have just said is expressed in ‘doer-and-deed’ terms wherein the ‘states’ and the ‘authorities’ and the ‘elitist classes’ are portrayed as doers-of-evil-deeds.
If we acknowledge the plenum of space as primary, then the understanding carried in the above statement will be transformed; e.g. ‘all wars are civil wars’.
What Nietzsche suggests is that while the ‘doer-and-deed’ worldview is a ‘total Fiktion’, it is at the same time a ‘useful Fiktion’, so long as we don’t forget that it is ‘Fiktion’.
This ‘insight’ came to me in the early 1990s when I was researching ‘exceptionally performing teams’, teams whose actions were respected by the full collective in which they were included, the host community, their customers, suppliers and service providers, their family. They had all ‘let go’ of the rational model of a team; i.e. ‘rationality’ implies some sort of optimal processing of the available information which can lead to the design of logical operating structures capable of achieving some goal.
This is the spatial-plenum occluding doer-and-deed model. In reality, the spatial plenum is a ceaselessly, innovatively unfolding spatial-relationally transforming continuum so that new information is arriving in the continually unfolding present. The exceptional teams ‘let go’ of their logical structure and allowed their form and organization to be orchestrated/organized by the spatial dynamics in which they were situationally included. They bussed themselves out to meet and understand their customers, suppliers and service providers and let their own internal procedures (quality control, inventory, maintenance) move into a more resonant association with them (e.g. expensive QC processes that had to be run by the customers could be done for almost nothing by the team since they simply had to modify their own QC processes which were being run anyway. Maintenance could be done when the service providers already had expensive equipment and expertise in the area, rather than being on an on-call basis etc. etc.).
These exceptional teams did amazing things such as cutting their overheads in half, after they had already spent years using best practices to reduce them to a minimum.
This is example is just to say that these teams all had the same basic approach, they let go of their logical structure and they let the spatial dynamics they were included in orchestrate/organize their behaviour. They, together with their customers, suppliers and service providers moved away from being a collection of doer-and-deed local systems, in the direction of a mutually supportive ecosystem. Or, in the direction of a cluster of storm-cells within a common flow-plenum.
What became apparent to me was that the ‘identity’ of the team became less and less ‘local’ and less and less ‘visible’. Sure, the accountants in headquarters could still measure the team’s economy in the same way, run the same spreadsheets and assess the ‘gross domestic product’ of the team, as usual, but they can run their spreadsheets on anything. If you give them a banana-shaped area that sits in the middle of the lower forty eight, they will give you its population and demographics and the historical growth etc. They will give you the gross and net income of those residing with the banana shaped area, and show how income and wealth is distributed and how that is changing. In other words, they can show all those things for an arbitrary-shaped area, as they show for a ‘sovereign state’ which doesn’t prove anything other than that the ‘sovereign state’ is a arbitrary-shaped area that exists for no other reason than people believe in it and have a ‘central authority’ and ‘military’ with the power of violence to make believers out of the non-believers (e.g. the Amerindians within the sovereign states imposed by colonizing armies on the Americas).
All of this ‘spreadsheeting’ and talk of ‘local economy’ (of team and/or nation) gives you the idea that one is dealing with a ‘local, doer-and-deed system’ but that is pure illusion.
And so it is with the notion that the 195 sovereign states that make a patchwork quilt of the space on the surface of the earth, have ‘independent local identities’ and ‘local economies’. This is a ‘total Fiktion’.
The message in this ‘team’ example extends our understanding of how the Fiktion of the ‘doer-and-deed’ worldview ‘plays out’ in our social dynamic.
What is says is that the logical structures that are hatched by rational thought are Fiktions. The notion of a team as a local doer-and-deed system is a Fiktion, … a useful Fiktion, but at ‘total Fiktion’ that should not be confused for reality. The reality is the dynamic plenum within which the ‘team’ is a ripple-in-the-dynamic-plenum. The ‘exceptionally performing team’ accepted this reality and allowed it to be restored to its natural precedence over logical structure.
At ‘some level’, we know what is going on here; i.e. at some level we are aware that the ‘local system’ needs to be understood instead as a ripple in the spatial plenum it is situationally included in.
The logical structure is like the emperor and his new clothes; it is not ‘real’, it is Fiktion. The exceptional team ‘let it flex’ like the structure of a flame whose general form persists but not its internal structure, which is the manifestation of the outer-inner (inflowing fuel)-inner-outer (outflowing byproduct) transformational flow. The ‘logical structure’ is like the crowd pattern that forms in a busy piazza as people come in from all points of the compass and leave to all points of the compass, never the same people, but the general structural pattern persists, just as in Heraclitus river and Emerson’s cataract (its structural form persists but it is made of flow).
In an earlier article, ‘Anarchism, Authoritarianism and Nietzsche’, http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/13102 , I captured this as follows;
Authoritarianism: – Insists on putting logic into an unnatural precedence over intuition
Anarchism: – Insists on preserving the natural precedence of intuition over logic.
We are still on this same subject, of how our belief in this Fiktional view of the world in terms of local ‘doers-of-deeds’ infuses dysfunction in our social dynamic. We are making a mapping to the views of ‘protestors’ that reject ‘capitalism’, ‘statism’ and ‘authoritarianism’.
The example of the ‘exceptionally performing teams’ illustrated the point that it is not necessary to ‘hold on to’ an understanding of the ‘team’ (ourselves) as a ‘local doer-of-deed system with its own locally originating, internal knowledge and purpose-directed behaviour that interacts with other such systems within a fixed and empty space’.
We are talking here, about ‘letting go of our own ego, our ‘self’, our local identity’, and accepting instead, an invisible, nonlocal identity born our situational inclusion the spatial plenum.
The old ‘local doer-of-deed self’ was a total Fiktion. Sure it was a ‘useful Fiktion’ so long as we didn’t confuse it for reality. The reality is that which was acknowledged by the exceptionally performing team; i.e. that we are ‘ripples in the spatial plenum’ and our identity is thus invisible and nonlocal.
THIS is the ‘übermensch’ that Nietzsche is talking about.
The ‘exceptional performing team’ had to ‘let go of their rationality’ in order to get there. They had to trust their ‘intuition’ and allow their local identity to be continually reinvented, and this is not a rational/logical operation (recall that; “‘rationality’ implies some sort of optimal processing of the available information which can lead to the design of logical operating structures capable of achieving some goal.”). As Poincaré observed;
It is by logic we prove, it is by intuition that we invent. … Logic, therefore, remains barren unless fertilised by intuition.– Henri Poincaré
We are very proud of our scientific knowledge and the ‘doer-and-deed’ power that it brings to us [not surprising because we infused the ‘ego-model’ into the foundations of causal science] so it is straight forward to see us building logical team structures [organizations] and visualizing them as ‘local systems with their own locally originating, internal intellect and purpose directed behaviours’. Now, we can continue to use rational intellection to refine such local logical structure to improve ‘its efficiency/productivity’, but what if it is a candle-making organization established before the advent of the distribution of electrical power. How much control do we have over the health and vitality of our organization when we are coming strictly from a doer-and-deed sense of self? Should we let our identity flex and be orchestrated by the dynamics of the spatial plenum in which we are situationally included?
It is not our ‘rationality’ that reinvents our ‘identity’ in this case, but ‘irrationality’ (we let the highly ordered chaos of the innovatively unfolding spatial plenum in which we are included re-invent our identity). This ‘irrationality’ is otherwise known as ‘intuition’. It is not ‘science’ but the mother of science.
In ‘Rationality, Science and the Human Mind, the Inherent Limits of the Rational Faculty, by Gary Jacobs, Jacobs observes;
“Popper concluded that there is no logic to the process of scientific discovery and, moreover, that a rational model of discovery is impossible. Scientific discovery is irrational, there is no reasoning to hypotheses. “My view may be expressed by saying that every discovery contains ‘an irrational element or ‘a creative intuition’, in Bergson’s sense.” And we have the testimony of many distinguished scientists to support this view. Jules Henri Poincaré, one of the greatest mathematicians and mathematical physicists at the end of 19th century, made a series of profound innovations in geometry, the theory of differential equations, electromagnetism, topology, and the philosophy of mathematics. He said, “It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.” Einstein spoke of the search for those highly universal laws … from which a picture of the world can be obtained by pure deduction. There is no logical path leading to these laws. They can only be reached by intuition, based upon something like an intellectual love of the objects of experience. “Intuition does the work. Reason comes to harvest.” Carlo Rubbia, Nobelist and CERN director, said “Scientific discovery is an irrational act. It’s an intuition which turns out to be reality at the end of it”. … It is ironic, that although intuition is widely recognized as essential to science, there is no organized effort to study, teach or cultivate this faculty by the scientific community.”
This realm of understanding, from sensory experience, that we term intuition, deeper than rationality/logic, was also the finding of Mach and Nietzsche;
“Having reduced intellectual knowledge to the level of subjective and relative symbolism, Nietzsche discovers a new source of knowledge: Intuition. The instinctual forces of man are seen as having the power to reach a more genuine comprehension of truth. They disclose reality in its living, dynamic form and reach into deeper dimensions, closed to science and logic.” – Rose Pfeffer, ‘Nietzsche, Disciple of Dionysus’ (see footnote fpr a longer citation)
Going back to the conflict between ‘anarchists’ and ‘authoritarians’, it may now be possible to see that the common public view, of anarchists and authoritarians, is that political ‘isms’ are competing ‘rational/logical designs or architectures’ for how to organize socially/relationally. This contrasts with the ‘exceptionally performing team’ approach which sees rational/logical organizational structure as a mere ‘suggestion’ that will be continually over-ridden by the orchestrating influences of the spatial-plenum in which the organization is included (the members of the exceptionally performing teams retired their business cards since they had included ‘job titles’ which implied hierarchical authority status).
The ‘identity’, then, is continually shaped by the dynamics of the spatial-plenum in which the organization and its members are situationally included. We could thus redefine ‘identity’ as follows;
Plenum-Identity: – The conjugate relation between the opening of spatial possibility in the flow-plenum the organization is situationally included in, and the blossoming of creative/productive potentialities in the organization.
as compares with;
Ego-Identity: – A local, independent, doer-of-deeds system within its own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour’.
As individuals, few of us are positioned at either of these extremes of identity, but more important is the fact that we can ‘wear’ either or both of these identities at the same time PROVIDED ONLY THAT we let the ‘plenum-identity’ have precedence over the ‘ego-identity’. That is, the ‘exceptionally performing team’ members can describe their internal logical structure without regarding it as primary (they met as a single collective in an aircraft hanger and any good or bad operational performances they were currently experiencing were reviewed and a show of hands solicited as to who thought they had ideas as to how to make the good operations persist and the bad operations go away, and these people would form into teams to help make that happen. They did not rationally optimize their operations, they accepted that what was happening inside their organization was being orchestrated by the dynamics of the spatial plenum in which they were included).
If we put ego-identity with its logical doer-of-deed structure into the primacy then we shall be continually ‘coming out of ourselves’ (our cup will be continually overflowing).
Authoritarian organizations tend to be like this, to put ego-identity first. Sovereign states cultivate this through ‘nationalism’. While Hitler’s national socialists may have cherry-picked and distorted Nietzsche’s philosophy, as philosophical historians have noted;
“The fascists forgot Nietzsche’s hatred of German nationalism; his admiration for the Jews; his advocating of racial intermarriage; his disgust of ressentiment (of whom Hitler is the personification of par excellence); and his disdain of the State, the market and the herd mentality, all of which the fascist system depended on.” -Spencer Sunshine, ‘Nietzsche and the Anarchists (2005)
Darwinism (survival of the favoured races) was another philosophical/scientific hijack by the nazis, and since nietzsche was anti-Darwinist, this was another Nietzschean philosophical view that the fascists had to overlook.
Anarchism is, today, all over the board (it is whatever the anarchist wants to define it as) but generally speaking it is ‘anti-statist’ and ‘anti-authoritarian’. As already mentioned, the political ‘isms’ typically refer to rational systems with logical structures that are designed to achieve certain goals; e.g. to further the self-interest of individuals (capitalism) to further the self-interest of human collectives (socialism) [both of these being anthropocentric]. Those people who believe that the sustaining of order and organization demands a logical structure are not going to see ‘anarchism’ as anything other than a collapse into chaos and disorder.
That is, it is irrational to let go of one’s identity in terms of a rational doer-of-deed system supported by logical structures.
But the irrational alternative does exist within ‘intuition’ wherein the rational/logical aspect of the identity would be ‘let go of’ to be continually reinvented, orchestrated by the dynamics of the spatial-plenum in which it was situationally included. In this case the rational/logical identity would be a current ‘guideline’ or tangible way of expressing that which is inherently inexpressible (because it is in continuing transformation), since it is continually arising from the invisible, nonlocal orchestrating influence of the spatial plenum in which the identity is an emergent form/feature (a ripple in the spatial plenum).
To close this essay, one has to admit that accepting our identity as a ripple in the continuously transforming spatial plenum is a challenge, and it is this challenge that has led man to make some simplifying assumptions, to invent some ‘total Fiktions’ that are at the same time ‘useful Fiktions’ so long as we don’t forget they are ‘Fiktions’. To restate Nietzsche’s proposition 520 from Will to Power, of which only the first portion was previously stated;
“Continual transition does not allow us to speak of “individuals,” etc; the “number” of beings is itself in flux. We would say nothing of time and know nothing of motion if we did not, in a coarse fashion, believe we see stationary forms beside transitory flow. The same applies to cause and effect, and without the erroneous conception of “empty space” we should certainly not have acquired the conception of space. The principle of identity has behind it the “appearance” that it refers to the same things. A world in a state of becoming could not, in a strict sense, be “comprehended” or “known”; only to the extent that the “comprehending” and “knowing” intellect encounters a coarse, already-created world, fabricated out of nothing but appearances but become firm to the extent that this kind of appearance has preserved life–only to this extent is there anything like “knowledge”; i. e., a matching of earlier and more recent errors with one another.” – Nietzsche, Will to Power, 520 (1885)
In other words, it is a practical expedient to invent a world of forms even if the Upanishads is right (‘that which is formed is unreal, that which is formless is the real’).
But that doesn’t mean that we should forget that the real primacy of being is the spatial plenum or Mahayana Buddhist ‘plenum-void’ that is pure spatial-relational becoming, which is like the invisible, nonlocal transformative dynamics of energy-field-flow.
That the logical doer-and-deed view, the view based on treating transient forms in the continually transforming space-plenum as ‘local systems with their own local agency’ is a ‘useful fiction’ as well as a ‘total Fiktion’ is elaborated on by Nietzsche in the following passage. Implicit in this stepping beyond the apparent truth in rationality/logic into the greater truth of our sensory experiencing of inclusion the continually unfolding/enfolding spatial plenum, is the movement from ego to Übermensch;
“The falseness of a judgement is not necessarily an objection to a judgment: it is here that our new language perhaps sounds strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-advancing, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-breeding; and our fundamental tendency is to assert that the falsest judgements (to which synthetic judgments a priori belong ) are the most indispensable to us, that without granting as true the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a continual falsification of the world by means of numbers, mankind could not live — that to renounce false judgements would be to renounce life, would be to deny life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life: that, to be sure, means to resist customary value-sentiments in a dangerous fashion; and a philosophy which ventures to do so places itself , by that act alone, beyond good and evil.” – Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 333
[[Note: To give additional perspective to the above, the following]]
“The most strongly believed a priori “truths” are for me provisional assumptions; e. g., the law of causality, a very well acquired habit of belief, so much a part of us that not to believe in it would destroy the race. But are they for that reason truths? What a conclusion! As if the preservation of man were a proof of truth!” – Nietzsche, Will to Power, 497 (1884)
The rising dysfunction that we are currently experiencing derives from this forgetting. We are confusing ‘local systems with their own locally originating, internal-process driven behaviours’, the ego-homunculus that we have built our science on, for ‘reality’, and it it is not jibing with our real-life experience. Space is not empty, it is the orchestrator of our form, behaviour, organization. Our behaviour and organization does NOT issue forth from ourselves seen as local systems with our own local agency who interact in absolute fixed and empty space, as is the operating principle of 195 sovereign states that ‘divide up the world’. And the more we try to make stuff happen that way, the more people get hurt.
We have been building this God-like (absolutist) local doer-of-deeds ego-identity, a total Fiktion, into our science and into our logical organizational structures and are confusing it for reality, rather than accepting that it is a ‘useful Fiktion’. Nationalism (collective ego) and competition at all levels of organization (state, corporate, etc.), where rigidly and seriously applied (taken literally) are stoking the fires of dysfunction and conflict.
In order to avoid incoherence, we must let ‘intuition’ override rational/logical thought.
Rising social discord and discontent (the symptoms of incoherence) are arising from the fact that we are putting rational/logical thought into an unnatural primacy over intuition. The intensification of the incoherence does not necessarily mean that we are intensifying our confusing of the ‘total Fiktion’ of the doer-and-deed (causal) worldview for ‘reality’, but may instead be coming from the maturing of the rational structures that we have put in place; i.e. the authoritarian pressures of sovereign states and corporations, thanks to science and technology advances, are propagating more broadly, swiftly and efficiently. The relative freedom for ‘getting authoritarianism out of our face’ is rapidly declining.
While many of ‘the discontented’ tend to assume that the problem lies in the faulty logical structures and ethics of ‘capitalism’ and ‘statism’, the roots of the problem go deeper, to the MISPLACED TRUST that we, as a culture, have put in ‘rational thinking’ and the ‘doer-and-deed’ (cause-and-effect) based view of the world dynamic.
Meanwhile, the philosophical works of Nietzsche, Mach, Emerson, Poincaré, Bohm, all point to a deeper source of incoherence. In Nietzsche’s analysis, the problem starts with our sense of ‘identity’. Are we really ‘local systems with our own local agency’ that interact in empty space, or is that just ‘our ego speaking’. Because we have taken that logical model and infused it into our science (making our science ‘anthropomorphism’).
Our experience/intuition (supported by ‘the new physics’) informs us that space is a plenum and that we are ‘ripples in the spatial-plenum’. If we are part of the ceaselessly innovatively unfolding spatial-relational plenum, but instead give ourselves an ‘identities’ as local systems with their own locally originating, rational thought and purpose directed behaviours, … then we can surely expect ‘incoherence’.
The way out of this mess is through reconceiving our own identity, as individuals and as collectives [going beyond the ego and beyond ‘good and evil’] rather than demolishing and reconstructing social relations organizational architectures.
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Footnote: Mach and Nietzsche
Because I have always becoming from pure ‘dynamics’, the ideas of Ernst Mach first came to my attention, particularly ‘Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity’ (where space is a plenum); “The dynamics of space condition the dynamics of matter at the same time as the dynamics of matter are conditioning the dynamics of space”. Nietzsche’s rejection of causality and Darwinism are strong statements of this same principle, and while Nietzsche came to my attention later than Mach, I was interested in finding out if Nietzsche and Mach ever ‘collaborated’. A brief inquiry into this question has turned up the following, so far;
Nietzsche: disciple of Dionysus, By Rose Pfeffer
“Nietzsche himself does not refer to Mach’s writings, but his sister Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche relates in ‘Das Leben Fr. Nietzsches, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Naumann, 1895-1904) that he studied Mach’s ‘Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwicklung’ in 1884 in Zürich and was greatly influenced by it.”
Both Nietzsche and Mach followed Kant in limiting knowledge to phenomena and in stressing the synthesizing and organizing function of the categories; but they differed from him in their rejection of synthetic ‘a priori’ judgments, which allegedly make an objective science possible. To Kant’s phenomenalism they added Hume’s scepticism. Their categories are not Kant’s ‘a priori’ static forms of the mind which bestow certainty and universality upon knowledge. They are fictions—what Vaihinger called “the most expedient forms of error”—but they are fictions that serve life and, as such, they are truer than traditional truths which weaken life. “The falseness of a given judgment does not constitute an objection against it. . . . The real question is how far a judgment furthers and maintains life.”
Thus Nietzsche has prepared the pessimistic premise: truth is not certain, absolute, eternal, but subjective, relative, forever changing and erring. Reason is not an inborn faculty that possesses the power to grasp the absolute and eternal. The categories of the mind do not give us objective knowledge, but are simply pragmatic tools for ordering the phenomenal world. With the fall of absolute authority of reason, the validity of all rationalistic and conceptual systems of knowledge is destroyed. They are merely artificial structures which are built on the basis of unproven presumptions and have led to empty meaningless deductions that are far removed from the tangled, painful complexities of life and existence. The will to truth of traditional philosophers was, in fact, a will to illusion, motivated by lack of courage and integrity, and guided by the unconscious desire to justify and preserve the moral and religious prejudices and values of their time.
Having reduced intellectual knowledge to the level of subjective and relative symbolism, Nietzsche discovers a new source of knowledge: Intuition. The instinctual forces of man are seen as having the power to reach a more genuine comprehension of truth. They disclose reality in its living, dynamic form and reach into deeper dimensions, closed to science and logic. Although Nietzsche made his own important contributions to the study and understanding of man’s instincts, which greatly influenced twentieth-century depth psychology, the emphasis on instincts in the process of knowledge does not originate with him. It is a thesis that had been advanced by the “Sturm und Drang” movement, by Hamann and Herder, in opposition to the rationalism of the Enlightenment. In 1873 Nietzsche read Hamann at the suggestion of his friend Ritschl, and was thus not acquainted with Hamann’s works when he wrote ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ in 1872.
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Nietzsche and science, By Gregory Moore, Thomas H. Brobjer
Heller quotes the following lines from Kleinpeter in order to show that Mach must have admitted in a previous letter that he had been unfair to Nietzsche; ‘I have had exactly the same experience with Nietzsche. Until recently I hadn’t read a sing sentence by him. But I have found him to be much better than his reputation would lead one to think.’. Kleinpeter then goes on to repeat his view that Nietzsche, Like Mach, wants to base everything on sensations. None of this suggests any acceptance by Mach of Nietzsche’s ethical views.
I should emphasize that explicit evidence that Nietzsche specifically had Mach in mind is not easy to come by. We should remember that, though Nietzsche does not often publicly acknowledge his debt to other thinkers, this does not mean that there was not a significant influence; consider, for example, the case of Friedrich Lange. Mach’s book wasn’t published unti 1886 and, even assuming that Nietzsche immediately got his hands on it, it could presumably only directly influence ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ and subsequent books. In Chapter 1 of this volume Thomas Brobjer points out that Nietzsche sent Mach his ‘Zur Geneologie der Moral’ at the end of 1887, suggesting that he read Mach that year. Much of what is explicitly laid out in Mach’s ‘Contributions to the Analsys of the Sensations’ was, however, already presented in his earlier work and in many of his public lectures. Indeed, in the book he points back to his earlier work.
. . .
Indeed, correctly or incorrectly, Mach takes his monism [space-as-plenum] to be a view shared by many other contemporaries in their ‘allied thoughts’.
So I think there is quite a bit of support for the claim that both Mach’s view and other similar views were ‘in the air’ early enough to influence Nietzsche. Of course, part of my claim, and Mach’s for that matter, is that his particular brand of empiricism, and the more specific monistic claims it involves, is at least one natural development of certain shared conceptions of the role of sensory evidence and the …
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