Understanding REALITY as TRANSFORMATION
This note explores the psychological-philosophical influences shaping our different conceptualizations of ‘reality’; e.g. as differ between WEST and EAST. While I present this in a WESTERN style, my understanding accords with the EAST as does modern physics based understanding that is very different from the WESTERN ‘reality’..
In other words, this note explores how we are NOT using the TRANSFORMATIONAL understanding of what is currently going on (the understanding of modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. In our WESTERN ‘popular reality’, our standard news coverage is ‘double error’ based. The ‘double error’ is constituted as follows; the first error is NAMING that imputes LOCAL thing-in-itself existence, while the second error of GRAMMAR conflates the first error by imputing the power of SOURCING actions and developments to the NAMING-instantiated thing-in-itself. This ‘double error’ mode of representation REDUCES the reality of our sensory relational experience to an abstract-but-effable (articulable) pseudo-reality that we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS are accustomed to using in our discourse (this ‘ineffable reality reduced to effable reality) as our ‘operative reality’. The ‘double error’ reduces NONLOCAL TRANSFORMATION to LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments.
An example of the ‘double error’ is where we say things like ‘The hurricane grew larger and stronger and devastated New Orleans’, or, ‘the fighter jet successfully took out the targeted enemy leader’. In both cases we fail to mention the greater reality of relational TRANSFORMATION. We sometimes ALLUDE to transformation by references to ‘collateral damage’. That is, a lot more is going on than is covered in our simple and explicit language and grammar constructs. For example, we speak of the GROWTH of our farm or of our town but THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “GROWTH” and such statements illustrate Goedel’s Theorem of the inherent incompleteness of all finite systems of logical propositions. That is, the growth of cultivated land is at the same time, the (unmentioned) shrinking of Wilderness area. We can talk about the GROWTH of cultivated area and we can talk about the RECIPROCAL SHRINKAGE of Wildereness area (which implies a spherical rather than FLAT space) but the limitations of language won’t let us go that ‘one step farther’ to capture relational TRANSFORMATION as characterizes the universe aka ‘Wave-field’ we are included in. This inclusion-in the transforming relational continuum (aks Tao aka Wave-field) is ineffable; i.e. it is beyond EXPLICIT capture in language and grammar ‘double error’ terms of LOCAL THINGS-IN-THEMSELVES, notionally with their own powers of SOURCING actions and developments.
Reality is INCLUSION IN THE TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM and while we understand it through our sensory experience of inclusion in it, because it is inherently NONLOCAL and comes in one uninterrupted bundle; i.e. ‘the transforming relational continuum’, … it is INEFFABLE. The ‘double error’ is the use of abstraction to REDUCE the ineffable to something effable and this is where WEST and EAST (together with modern physics) part ways as to the understanding of REALITY with the WEST opting to employ the reduced-to-effable peudo-reality as the ‘operative reality’ while the EAST holds on to the ‘ineffable’ as the ‘operative reality’, employing the REDUCED-TO-EFFABLE double error based pseudo-reality featuring LOCAL things-in-themselves notionally with ‘their own powers of SOURCING actions and developments’. This is WESTERN CULTURE “REALITY” and it is a CRAZY-MAKER! The self-deception that can come as a surprise to us WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS is that ‘reason’ (logical analysis based understanding, otherwise known as REASON) is at the bottom of this CRAZY-MAKING WESTERN CULTURE; i.e. our natural intuition avails us to an understanding of the ineffable; i.e. our inclusion in a transforming relational continuum in which there are no LOCAL things-in-themselves because ‘everything is in flux’ (Heraclitus).
What this boils down to is that our means of understanding REALITY (our inclusion in the transforming relational continuum) can’t be based on LOCAL things-in-themselves with the notional powers of SOURCING their own actions and developments, as is the double error basis of REASON (don’t forget, our intuition, even as babes-in-arms, can give us understanding that transcends the ‘limits of logic and reason’; e.g. as infants our understanding of the world is topological and without the explicit self-other split.
Nietzsche makes this point about how logic, which is innately limited in its ability to serve up ‘understanding’, is a CRAZY-MAKER (if we confuse it for ‘reality’) because it ‘dumbs down’ our understanding (for a good reason; i.e. to reduce the ineffable to a reduced effable so that we can use language to share and learn from one another).. But this is where WEST (together with Newtonian physics thinking) and EAST (together with modern physics) PART WAYS, with EAST employing the reduced-to-effable tool of language only as INFERENCE of the ineffable Tao that lies innately beyond reach of effable REASON based discourse.
“Reason” in language!—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
This is where WEST parts ways with EAST and Nietzsche’s views are decidedly ‘in common’ with EAST.
In the WEST, ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’ continue to be elevated to an unnatural (aberrant) precedence over our intuitive sense of inclusion in the Tao. And while the Western religion based understandings are ‘all over the board’, there is a strong following that supports elevating reason as developed with the DOUBLE ERROR of language and GRAMMAR; e.g;
“Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts. — Catholic Catechism.
These philosophical-cultural issues come into play in our belief in PATHOGENS which in the EASTERN cultures and in modern physics are understood ‘relationally’ so that ‘relational’ and inherently NONLOCAL ‘dissonance’ can be interpreted, via the ‘double error’ in terms of the actions of a LOCAL PATHOGEN. When the social relational dynamic manifests intensification of regions of relative surplus and regions of deficiency, the ‘rebalancing’ initiatives of a Robin Hood and/or a Jean Valjean are naturally emergent. However, the ‘double error’ of language and grammar is popularly invoked IN WESTERN CULTURE although not in EASTERN CULTURE nor in modern physics; i.e. all relational rebalancing movements are reduced to notional LOCALLY SOURCED actions;
the first error is NAMING that imputes LOCAL thing-in-itself existence, while the second error of GRAMMAR conflates the first error by imputing the power of SOURCING actions and developments to the NAMING-instantiated thing-in-itself.
So, in modern physics, and in EASTERN modes of understanding (i.e. indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta) what is going on (the primary reality) is the all-including Wave-field aka ‘the Tao’ aka ‘the transforming relational continuum’. Since this ‘overall reality’ is ‘ineffable’, yet we are aware of the huge benefits that can come from ‘sharing our experiences’, we make use of REDUCTIONS of the ineffable that render the ineffable effable and for us WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS, the popular means of achieving this effable-ness is the ‘double error’ reduction tool. In the WEST, as Emerson notes, ‘this (double error) tool has ‘run away with the workman, the human with the divine’, meaning that we use it to FALSELY remove ourselves from the all-inclusion transforming relational continuum and RE-CAST OURSELVES as LOCAL THINGS-IN-OURSELVES WITH OUR OWN POWERS OF SOURCING ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS.
That is, … in our WESTERN culture, we employ the ‘double error’ REDUCED REALITY as our ‘operative reality’ although THIS IS NOT THE CASE in modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
Our use of the ‘double errror’ reduction makes a difference to how we ‘understand reality’ and this impacts how we understand things like the ‘COVID 19 PANDEMIC’. That is, we present it as the attack of a PATHOGEN rather than understanding it in terms of relational imbalance in ourselves understood as a microbial assemblage within the Tao or as a tornado or gyre within the transforming relational continuum (the Heraclitean/Taoist view equivalent to the modern physics Wave-form in the Wave-field that is innately RELATIONAL and NONLOCAL),
We WESTERN CULTURE ADHRENTS trick ourselves into LITERAL BELIEF in this double error reduction of language. By using the abstractions of NAMING to impute thing-in-itself being conflated with GRAMMAR to impute the power of SOURCING actions and developments to the NAMING imputed thing-in-itself, we ‘do an end run’ around the NONLOCAL, INEFFABLE nature of the Tao (full-blown reality), by substituting an effable reduction that ‘drops out a whole lot of reality’ but succeeds in offering up a crude effable ‘effigy’ of the ineffable transforming relational continuum.
Understanding this reduction is very relevant to the COVID 19 Pandemic since COVID 19 is popularly presented as THE ATTACT OF A PATHOGEN rather than as a relational imbalance. The reduction of relational dissonance to the double error terms of PATHOGEN is common in our WESTERN CULTURE language and grammar constructions of REALITY.
HOW MUCH TROUBLE WILL THIS THIS MISTAKING OF RELATIONAL BALANCE IN DOUBLE ERROR TERMS OF ‘THE ATTACK OF PATHOGENS’ GET US INTO, for example, in the case of COVID 19?
In order to visualize ‘how this goes’, we need to explore some simple examples of how our thinking gets twisted by the ‘double error’ such as the following.
-1- GROWTH. There is no such thing as GROWTH. It is an abstract logical FLATSPACE construct. We WESTERN CULTURE farmers claim that ‘we are the producers of products’ such as wheat and that we have grown our farm from 2 acres to 64 acres over that past 20 years. As Goedel’s theorem points out, such logic is INCOMPLETE. Growth in the area of cultivated land sounds good, but it fails to mention the reciprocal shrinkage of Wilderness lands. In other words, GROWTH is a flatspace concept since if space were flat, the concept of GROWTH wold be ok, but if space is more like can be envisaged as the surface of a sphere, the GROWTH of cultivated land will at the same time be REDUCTION of Wilderness land, and, more accurately, the low-dimensional concept of GROWTH will be better understood as the infinite dimensional concept of relational TRANSFORMATION.
-2- PATHOGEN/VILLAIN. There is no such thing as a PATHOGEN. The abstraction that goes by the name PATHOGEN is constructed using the ‘double error’ of language and grammar;
the first error is NAMING that imputes LOCAL thing-in-itself existence, while the second error of GRAMMAR conflates the first error by imputing the power of SOURCING actions and developments to the NAMING-instantiated thing-in-itself.
What IS going on, that has us talking in terms of the ‘attack of PATHOGENS’ is relational dissonance. Robin Hood and Jean Valjean are exemplary of activism induced by the natural need to restore relational balance. The origins of such action are NONLOCAL and thus INEFFABLE but the ‘double error’ constructions that we WESTERN CULTURAL ADHERENTS give a foundational role to are LOCAL which makes them EFFABLE, .. so we use the DOUBLE ERROR to reduce the INEFFABLE so as to come up with something (much less in complexity) that is EFFABLE and thus shareable through language based discourse.
-3- HERO-and-VILLAIN. The ‘double error’ is he source of EGO by way of the belief in LOCAL SOURCING of ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS.
If the SOURCING AGENT or ‘sorcerer’ is seen as delivering beneficial actions and developments, the designation HERO may be accorded to the perceived LOCAL SOURCING AGENT. On the other hand, if the SOURCING AGENT or ‘sorcerer’ is seen as delivering destruction actions and developments the designation VILLAIN or PATHOGEN may be accorded to the perceived LOCAL SOURCING AGENT. This is a double error of language and grammar abstraction that can be lodged in the psyche; e.g. “Hurricane Katrina is growing larger and stronger and is ravaging New Orleans’. While what is actually going is TRANSFORMATION which is INEFFABLE because NONLOCAL, language and grammar allows us to EFFABLE-IZE the NONLOCAL by way of the double error reduction to LOCAL incipience.
This double error based impression of LOCAL incipience is what gives rise to EGO and EGO inflation, … which, while it ‘swells the head’ and displaces INSPIRATION that fills the heart, .. at the same time ‘opens the door’ not just to the concept of HERO but also to the concept of VILLAIN and provides the makings of PARANOIA as well as EGO-INFLATION. The popular opinion of the social collective is the author and determinant of who get’s crowned with the laurels or thorns of HERO or VILLAIN.
To understand the social dynamic associated with COVID 19, it is useful to consider the above philosophical observations as to what shapes our psychological understandings of relational dynamics that range from relational resonance through relational dissonance which are interpreted through their reduction to language and grammar ‘double error’ representation.
Key to an overall understanding is the concept of ‘collateral damage’.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE euphemizes what is really going on which is TRANSFORMATION of the relational continuum, … TRANSFORMATION that is abstractly REDUCED to enable capture in the DOUBLE ERROR terms that are standard in our WESTERN CULTURE discourse.
The attack on a PATHOGEN to eliminate it is abstraction akin to Shylock taking a ‘pound of flesh’ in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. That is, in light of ‘mitakuye oyasin’ (all is related) and as in the understanding of modern physics, the concept of PATHOGEN ELIMINATION is a CRAZY-MAKER. E.g. if relational imbalance manifests as ‘the attack of a PATHOGEN’ as in the case of Robin Hood and Jean Valjean and as in general in the relational reality of our actual sensory experience, then we need to avoid, as Emerson points out, ‘letting the tool; (of intellectual double error based reductive abstraction) ‘run away with the workman’, the human with the divine. Just because the tool lets us portray ourselves as LOCAL things-in-ourselves with powers of SOURCING actions and developments, … for ‘talking purposes’ (as effable reduction of the ineffable) does not mean we should confuse it for ‘reality’ and use if for our ‘operative reality’.
When relational imbalance manifests as the emergence of PATHOGENS, what needs to be addressed is the relational imbalance. In indigenous aboriginal tradition, the persisting trouble-maker may be ‘taken out’ with apologies to him since it is understood that his popping off like a popcorn in a strife-heated relational ambience, is a NONLOCAL relational phenomena and is NOT LOCALLY INSTANTIATED. But in this innately relationally connected world of our sensory experience, it is impossible to ‘punish an individual’ without doing ‘collateral damage’ to friends, family, community since everything is related (mitakuye oyasin). ‘Collateral damage’ is the general case and selective punishment or elimination is unreal abstraction.
The point is not that we WESTERN CULTURE adherents are in the habit of ignoring ‘COLLATERAL DAMAGE’ as when the military destroys a whole village and its residents to eliminate a perceived PATHOGEN, the point is that there is no such thing as a PATHOGEN (there is only relational dissonance) and therefore there is no such thing as ‘COLLATERAL DAMAGE’ since this assumes that THERE IS A LOCAL PATHOGEN which could be isolated and eliminated when there is NO SUCH THING. That is, there is, in reality, only RELATIONAL TRANSFORMATION wherein we can concern ourselves with cultivating and restoring relational balance and harmony (as is the EASTERN and indigenous aboriginal ethic).
The above are considerations relevant to the WESTERN CULTURE BELIEF IN ‘PATHOGENS’.
The current WESTERN SOCIAL (near-hysteria?) with COVID 19, the alleged PATHOGEN that is currently viewed as being ‘on the rampage’, is inducing avoidance tactics involving MASSIVE COLLATERAL DAMAGE that entails much loss and suffering; i.e. collapse of businesses , de-stabilization of social relations, unemployment, loss of access to products and services, fear uncertainty and doubt; i.e. THESE ARE NOT FROM THE PATHOGEN PER SE, BUT FROM OUR INTELLECTUAL ANTICIPATION OF THE IMMINENT ARRIVAL OF THE PATHOGEN.
This entire ‘mess’ is comprehended in a unified sense when we understand things in terms of TRANSFORMATION. We are included within the transforming relational continuum. That is the understanding of modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
That doesn’t mean we should sit around and do nothing, but it does suggest that we come to grips with the psychological deficiency of the PATHOGEN model, because when everyone is busy feeing and/or defending against the PATHOGEN, there can be monumental COLLATERAL DAMAGE of the type where people get crushed by stampeding crowds.. The COLLATERAL DAMAGE associated with COVID 19 is massive and mounting. We don’t talk openly about it because it does not seem to be ‘under our control’. It is like the fact that we focus on those who are smokers who we say ‘cause’ forest fires, even though their actions in the wet season do nothing, which demonstrates that forest fires are not simply do to ‘their actions’ but to transformation of the forests into tinder-dry bombs ready to explode with the slightest of encouragements.
My point is that we talk about and organize around what we can clearly understand in a double error based sense. COLLATERAL DAMAGE is not included in such discussions, however, the COLLATERAL DAMAGE is included in the GREATER, ALL-INCLUSIVE REALITY of relational TRANSFORMATION.
The COLLATERAL DAMAGE we are cultivating with our COVID 19 PATHOGEN AVOIDANCE initiative is huge. Just as the military needs to understand the role of COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN THE SENSE OF RELATIONAL TRANSFORMATION, associated with the elimination of a perceived ‘enemy pathogen’, this is also the case in our COVID19 PATHOGEN-AVOIDANCE INITIATIVE. In short, the REALITY IS NOT ‘PATHOGEN AVOIDANCE’ BUT RELATIONAL TRANSFORMATION which INCLUDES the so-called COLLATERAL DAMAGE that we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS treat as if it had nothing to do with what we take to be our PRIMARY REALITY; i.e. the challenge of SUCCESSFULLY AVOIDING OR LIMITING OUR ENCOUNTER WITH THE COVID 19 PATHOGEN. We know that when people in a crowd at a football game get scared by some local trouble and focus single-mindedly on avoiding an encounter with that trouble, the collateral damage in terms of others being crushed can be severe.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE IS A DECEPTIVE TERM THAT POINTS TO THE INADEQUACY OF OUR DOUBLE ERROR PERSPECTIVE IN THE RESPECT THAT IT BLOCKS OUR UNDERSTANDING OF RELATIONAL TRANSFORMATION WHICH IS THE PRIMARY REALITY OF OUR ACTUAL SENSORY EXPERIENCE OF INCLUSION IN THE TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM.
Without the instant global communications capability we have today, we would lose some of our capability for sharing information that can assist us in working together to solve complex problems that threaten our community health and welfare. That’s the good news, but the bad news is that such instant global communications also open the way to massive amplification of COLLATERAL DAMAGE where many people may suffer injury (physical, financial, emotional) that has little to do with the ‘attack of pathogens’, as in the manner of the missile attack that destroys an entire town to ‘get’ a suspected ‘terrorist’.
The “collateral damage” associated with the defensive action against the “PATHOGEN” COVID 19 has been massive and it is a reminder that REALITY is not capturable in the double error based terms of language and grammar (the stuff that PATHOGENS and associated defensive/avoidance actions are made of) but comes to us through our sensory experience of inclusion in TRANSFORMATION. WARS OF ANNIHILATION are based on abstraction; i.e. what is really boing on is relational TRANSFORMATION.
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NOTE TO ADD …. When a rock falls down the side of a mountain of rocks, it is no longer the same rock nor the same mountain of rocks. In this FIGURE and GROUND relation, FIGURE and GROUND are a TRANSFORMING UNUM. There is nothing LOCAL in this TRANSFORMATION based REALITY and there is no INHABITANT – HABITAT DIVISION and thus no opportunity to actual ‘identify’ and ‘apply’ the double error of language and grammar which uses NAMING to identify the FIGURE and GRAMMAR to impute the power of SOURCING to the NAMING-instantiated thing-in-itself. This DOUBLE ERROR abstraction allows the EFFABLE-IZING of the INEFFABLE; e.g. where the FIGURE and GROUND are a BOIL and FLOW in a fluid dynamic, the DOUBLE ERROR allows us to NAME BOTH and thus to impute LOCAL EXISTENCE to BOTH. While such abstraction renders the ineffable effable it also introduces a troublesome ambiguity into the GRAMMAR wherein it may be understood that the FIGURE sources the actions and development of the GROUND, … OR, … the GROUND sources the actions and development of the FIGURE.
This is the source of a basic WESTERN CULTURE permeating SCHIZOPHRENIA or BIPOLAR DISORDER which manifests in the collective as the CONSERVATIVE – LIBERAL political division and in individuals that resist ‘taking sides’ and thus become embodiers of the split, ‘schizophrenics’ or ‘bipolars’.
EASTERN CULTURES, modern physics, Taoists/Buddhists and Advaita Vedanta adherents accept that ‘the Tao that can be told is not the true Tao”. In other words, the binary division of FIGURE AND GROUND is not to be taken ‘seriously’ but used only as a ‘tool’ or ‘Wittgenstein ladder’ to assist an intuitive leap to the ineffable because NON-LOCAL and NON-DUAL.
WESTERN CULTURES do not follow suit in using the split merely as a tool to BOOTSTRAP an intuitive leap beyond DUALITY/LOCALITY to NONDUALITY/NONLOCALITY, but accept the split LITERALLY AND EXPLICITLY, giving rise to a WESTERN CULTURE WIDE collective schizophrenia. It is only when sensitive individuals use ‘themselves’ to buffer the social conflict that arises because of the split, that they ‘take the hit’ of this CRAZY-MAKING double error on their own shoulders to ‘buffer’ the schizophrenics polarized one way or the others (WESTERN CULTURE “NORMALS”) that they ‘suffer psychotic breakdowns’.
The so-called Mahavits of the Taoists/Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta understanding (as well as indigenous aboriginals), if they are living within WESTERN CULTURE, because they understand the fallacy of the split, avoid psychosis of the conservative, liberal or bipolar variety, but must nevertheless find a way to live in relative harmony within a CRAZY-MAKING WESTERN CULTURE SOCIAL DYNAMIC.
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On the surface of a sphere, the cultivated area and Wilderness area (FIGURE AND GROUND would relate according to the BOTH/AND logic of the INCLUDED MEDIUM, rather than according to the EITHER/OR logic of the EXCLUDED MEDIUM.
When we let FIGURE and GROUND lose the concreteness that establishes their mutual exclusivity, and become a NONDUALITY, GROWTH is superseded by TRANSFORMATION. The cultivated lands on the surface of a sphere that seem to intersperse with the Wilderness lands, appear like the spots of decay on an apple, suggestive of overall NONLOCAL TRANSFORMATION rather than ‘growth’ of the cultivated patch as a LOCAL thing-in-itself.
“In the writing of Heraclitus, to a larger degree than ever before, the images do not impose their burden of concreteness but are entirely subservient to the achievement of clarity and precision
“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’, — ‘Henri Frankfort, H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild Jacobsen, and William A. Irwin.