Western Culture’s ‘Invented Reality’ – A Design for Dysfunction
Suboptimization of the human condition within the global diversity would only make sense if ‘humans’ were ‘independent beings’ (an abstraction that is NOT grounded in experiential reality). But there are no ‘independent beings’ in a transforming relational continuum, ‘reality’ as understood by modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. Nevertheless, Western culture not only embraces such ‘suboptimization’, it celebrates the continuing advancement of the conditions of living enjoyed by ‘human beings’ irrespective of ‘the rest’.
The ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ is a concept wherein ‘independent existence’ arises from ‘difference’, in the manner of the ‘constant’ (persisting thing-in-itself) in mathematics that replaces continuing change/transformation, by means of the process of ‘differentiation’. In human social dynamics, while the inter-relating activities of many people may manifest as relational webs, there may be no explicit separation from the larger web of relations in which a local human relational web is included (i.e. the relational-social system that is included within a relational-social suprasystem may be a purely relational phenomenon). Local polarized opposition may be the development that establishes a new ‘apparent’ ‘stand-alone’ entity. The new entity arising ‘out of division’ may provide ‘psychological traction’ as a base for the sourcing of actions and developments. The fact that the self-declared independence of a new thing-in-itself nation may have internal political poles (e.g. conservative and liberal polarization) suggests that that the ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ can provide the psychological base for ‘independent being that can serve as a notional (psychological) ‘launching-pad’ for the sourcing of actions and developments; i.e. a notional ‘difference-based’ thing-in-itself.
The ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ thus appears to be a ‘means’ of instantiating ‘being’. As Carl Jung said; “The self is made manifest in the opposites and the conflicts between them; it is a coincidentia oppositorum.”. The opposition of ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ may not simply be ‘within the nation as pre-existing thing-in-itself’ but may instead be the coincidentia oppositorum that is the very basis of the persisting ‘thing-in-itself’. As in the mathematics of differential calculus, the persisting ‘difference’ gives birth to a ‘constant’ (persisting thing-in-itself) that hijacks centre stage’ while the transforming continuum it was ‘abstracted’ disappears from view. Could the Western concept of an ‘independent nation’ acquire its ‘self-hood’ from a political coincidentia oppositorum? Is the conservative – liberal split the psychological source of persisting ‘thing-in-itself being of the Western nation as an ‘independently-existing thing-in-itself with the notional powers of sourcing actions and developments?
But there are no such things as ‘beings’ outside of the language-based ‘Invented Reality’ of Western culture so this ‘suboptimization’ of the social dynamic, custom-tailored for humans seen as independently-existing beings (things-in-themselves), is a ‘design for dysfunction.
The aberrant thinking of Western culture that manifests in the ‘suboptimizing’ of planetary living conditions for the ‘human’ is the source of rising dysfunction given that there is no ‘independent being’ that associates with the intellectual abstraction that language identifies by the name ‘human being’. As modern physics would have it (and indigenous aboriginal belief tradition), ‘everything is in flux’; i.e. we are relational features that form and unform within a transforming relational continuum. Western culture language and grammar may ‘cover this story’ with the reductionist abstractions of ‘beings’, notionally with powers of ‘sourcing actions and developments’, but such Invented Reality construction is not to be confused for (but is being confused for) the ‘reality’ of our experience of inclusion within a transforming relational continuum.
The fallout out from this Western culture confusing of ‘Invented Reality’ for ‘reality’ is the illusion of human engineered ‘suboptimization’ of living conditions for the convenience and benefit of ‘humans’. The transformation of the world as we see it (intellectually understand it) based on a human convenience-oriented design, is a ‘design for dysfunction’. The essential condition necessary for ‘suboptimization’ to ‘make sense’, is missing; i.e. the ‘independence’ of the ‘subsystem’ that is being ostensibly ‘optimized’. Only in a language-based ‘Invented Reality’ can humans be considered ‘independent beings’, inhabitants of a ‘habitat’ that is ‘independent’ of the inhabitants that feed on it.
In the reality of our actual experience (rather than in the Invented reality of language and grammar constructions), the world is given only once, as a transforming relational continuum and there is no ‘inhabitant’ – ‘habitat’ dichotomy, other than that ‘invented’ by the intellect on the basis of ‘language and grammar’ constructions.
As systems scientists Martine Dodds-Taljaard and György Jaros observe, optimizing a ‘system’ such as ‘human society’ is a recipe for dysfunction if the subsystem is not ‘independent’ of the suprasystem it is included in.
The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’
“The above aphorism, attributed to Kenneth Boulding, points to the inherent weakness characterizing the mindset and socio‐economic, political, educational and managerial practices of Western Industrial society as it developed over the past 300 years. It has its basis in the analytic‐reductionistic scientific paradigm, which, despite the remarkable technological applications it spawned, is inappropriate, conflict‐generating and dysfunctional in a world characterized by global interconnectedness and mutual interdependence …” — György Jaros and Martine Dodds-Taljaard
A Review of the Overall ‘suboptimization’ Problem
The above introduction brings forth the basic ‘problem geometry’ of suboptimization. This leads into the larger view of how this problematic assumption of ‘suboptimization’ triggers general dysfunctionality characteristic of Western culture, as outlined in the following;
The key point (that keeps emerging and strengthening’ in this philosophical investigation is how Western languages like English are incapable of sharing the understanding we are experientially capable of since language is visual while understanding can derive from a more profound form of comprehension (of “higher dimensionality” than visual). After one participates in a (indigenous aboriginal style ‘pass the talking stick and speak from the heart’) sharing circle with others, even without the four-leggeds, winged-ones, crawlers and/or ‘their spokespersons’, one acquires a kind of omni-perspectival or ‘holo-graphical’ understanding by getting in touch through being in the center of things as a sensory experient and not just a visual observer (who is limited by ‘perspective’ that ‘looks outward’ without capturing one’s situational inclusion in the ‘ongoing relational transformation’).
If one listens to a lot of different people sharing their experiences within a ‘sharing circle’, experiences within the same space that one is themselves sharing inclusion in, … one’s own understanding of ‘who one is’ seems to ‘flesh out’ in one’s understanding, in the circle process.
Enigmatic questions may arise such as ‘does the man make the times or do the times make the man’? Such questions as posed in that ‘split-into-two’ format lead to the ‘nature’-‘nurture’ dichotomy which carries with it the implication of ‘sourcing influence’; i.e. who says that our development or sense of ‘who we are’ should be EITHER ‘sourced’ from the influences inside of us OR ‘sourced’ from outside influences. Such a question presupposes that we are ‘separate’ from the world we are living in; i.e. it presupposes an ‘inhabitant’ – ‘habitat’ split.—WHERE DID THAT NOTION of the INHABITANT-HABITAT SPLIT COME FROM? Only when we mentally make this abstract split does the dichotomous ambiguity arise in regard to the ‘sourcing’ of developmental influence of the one on the other.
[Note: in modern physics, the ‘either/or logic of the ‘excluded third’ is insufficient for dealing with a transforming relational continuum and the ‘both/and’ logic of the included third is required. For example, the ‘boil’ and the ‘flow’ are both included in ‘the (all-inclusive) transforming relational continuum, and the container-content division is only ‘appearance’.]
Wherever the notion of the Inhabitant-Habitat split came from, our WESTERN CULTURE system of language and grammar keeps repeating it to us over and over again until we can hardly help but think of ourselves as ‘inhabitants’ that are separate from the ‘habitat’ we are included in. Of course, modern physics disagrees with the inhabitant-habitat split, and so does the indigenous aboriginal culture and so do the adherents of Taoists/Buddhists and Advaita Vedanta, and so do I. So this Western culture language-and-grammar based splitting of the ‘undivided self’ amounts to culturally imposed psychosis/schizophrenia.
Let’s face it! There is no ‘inhabitant’ – ‘habitat split’ in our actual relational experience. We farm ground that is enriched with the recycled remains of our predecessors and this all transpires in a kind of giant ‘blender-dynamic’ with heating and cooling and spinning, …. all of which is purely relational as in ‘relational transformation’ which is the nature of ‘experiential reality’.
Of course we have ‘language’ and can ‘name’ whatever forms we want and use grammar to ‘animate’ those notional ‘things-in-themselves’ we create by naming flow-forms and portraying them as having the powers of ‘sourcing’ actions and developments, … all of which is very useful for sharing experiences and understandings, … at least a kind of trivialized talking-head version of them; i.e. your child can know more than you ever knew about sex and reproduction without yet experiencing any of it. The rich man can talk about how the poor man lives but understanding it requires the relational experiencing of it. Of course, that’s where the Buddha was coming from; i.e. a language-based ‘Invented Reality’ is very different from the reality of our relational experience, no matter what our IQ is and how clever we are with language and grammar.
Ok, that’s probably the ‘core point’ in my philosophical investigations, and it’s not at all ‘new’ (though the force and ‘fit’ of it are continually growing in our awareness; e.g. as modern physics slowly ‘seeps in’ to general mindfulness.).
Again, the core point is that Western culture employs an ‘Invented Reality’ as its ‘operative reality’ based on belief in the abstractions of ‘beings’ psychologically instantiated by ‘naming’ and notionally vested with the powers of ‘sourcing actions and developments’, thanks to language and grammar. There is no ‘sorcery’ in the real world of our relational experience, but ‘sorcery’ is the mainstream belief in Western culture and because there is a dichotomous quirk in how we imagine the ‘sorcery’ dynamic, … it splits the population roughly in two; i.e. (1) the conservative-minded who believe that sorcery is a power possessed by beings or ‘naming-instantiated things-in-themselves’ that is inside-outward asserting, and (2) the liberal-minded who believe that sorcery is a power possessed by collectives that is an outside-inward inductive kind of sourcing. For the conservative-mindset, the rotten apple can contaminate the whole barrel of apples if it is not quickly ‘corrected’, which suggests at the same time, that even the most pristine apple can be contaminated by the apple collective (barrel of apples) it finds itself in).
Since this abstract dichotomy is logically viable in either direction, Western culture adherents are roughly evenly divided as to whether the sorcery of a human being that is nasty is of inside-outward asserting origin (sourcing), or whether it is of outside-inward inductive origin (sourcing); i.e. is the child murderer-rapist fully and solely responsible for his actions, or is it the ugly behaviour of the social collective that is inductively shaping his behaviour?
Western people cannot agree on ‘which it is (whether the sourcing agency is inside-outward or outside-inward). Meanwhile this pair of opposing choices (dichotomy) does not even arise without first assuming that people are ‘beings’ with the power of ‘sourcing actions and developments’.
That is, the ‘nature’ – ‘nurture’ dichotomy does not even arise in indigenous aboriginal cultures since in those cultures, there are no abstract assumptions of ‘beings’ with ‘powers of sourcing actions and developments; i.e. as Heraclitus and modern physics affirm, ‘everything is in flux’, … the world is a transforming relational continuum and the forms within it are continually transforming; i.e. they are ‘appearances’ in the flow or ‘apparitions’. Western culture assigns names to them which psychologically anoints them with notional/abstract ‘thing-in-itself being’. Indigenous aboriginal culture assign names only as a relational expedient to provide some linguistic traction as a means of getting to a ‘thingless’ relational understanding. The indigenous aboriginal approach (mitakuye oyasin, … ‘all my relations’) is consistent with the ‘surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’ of modern physics where reality is understood in terms of a transforming web of relations without dependency on ‘beings’ with ‘powers of sourcing actions and developments’.
That’s the basic summary, and I think its clear how it follows that Western culture induces aberrant thinking and psychosis in its adherents by imputing belief in, and assigning value to, the individual’s powers of sorcery. This, in turn, makes those who are ‘not into playing the game of pretending to be great sorcerers’ (e.g. like those who exploit slaves to augment THEIR producer-product developments so as to deliver sorcery credits to THEMSELVES).
Of course, women in Western culture have been short-changed in the ‘sourcing’ accreditation department, as captured in statements such as that of El Salvadoran poet Claribel Alegria; ‘my father was a famous engineer, my mother had no name’. Unfortunately, in Western culture generally, such statements have been interpreted in terms of unfair allocation of sorcery credit, rather than rejecting the bogus concept of ‘sorcery’. This failure to pinpoint the real issue (the bogus concept of sorcery) has helped to put Western culture on a grand program of reassessing and reallocating ‘sorcery credits’ to make them more ‘equitable’ and ‘gender-blind’ etc., an initiative that serves to re-affirm and concretize belief in ‘sorcery’. [What is needed, instead is to ‘debunk’ belief in ‘sorcery’].
The sensitive miner’s canary’s distress problem comes in here as well, since their distress is well-founded; i.e. they are immersed in a psychologically toxic environment (known as Western culture) and the Western culture remedy for the miner’s canary in distress induced by their immersion in a psychologically toxic environment, is to have them take drugs (chemical lobotomizers) to remove their sensitivity to the psychological toxicity inherent in the Western culture ‘sorcery-values-based’ environment.
Yes, I know, such a view of Western culture would never be accepted by present day Western culture adherents, particularly when those adherents are split down the middle between conservatives who believe that sorcery stems from the individual, and liberals, who believe that sorcery stems from the collective.
Of course, Western culture’s national politics infuses belief in the ‘independent existence’ of the nation which unites conservatives and liberals within that nation. What would conservatives and liberals do for pole-itical energizing if the hot-air-balloon of sorcery (aka ‘ego’) that is holding up both the conservative ‘basket’ and the liberal’ basket were ‘popped’? One might conclude that the vitality of the notionally ‘independent thing-in-itself’ is energized by internal opposition.
But does ‘individuating’ by means of a ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ make sense? Does the nation or individual as an ‘independent thing-in-itself’ make natural sense or is it a form of ‘psychosis’? This recalls Carl Jung’s suggestion “The self is made manifest in the opposites and the conflicts between them; it is a coincidentia oppositorum.”, … and that each ‘individual’ must strive to integrate opposing tendencies (anima and animus, persona and shadow) within his or her own psyche. This sounds like a description of Western government in an arbitrarily invented ‘independent thing-in-itself nation-state’; i.e. its ‘independent being’ springs forth (so we say), from the coincidentia oppositorum of polar politics, a pseudo-being notionally endowed with the powers of sourcing actions and developments.
Is this ‘real’? Are nations ‘really things-in-themselves’ with powers of sourcing actions and developments? Or is this an ‘Invented Reality’ conjured up with language and grammar and employing the abstract concepts of ‘being’ (things-in-themselves) notionally endowed with the powers of sourcing actions and developments? Clearly, it is intellectual abstraction and not ‘real’ in the natural sense that relational experience is real.
The psychological impression of ‘opposites meeting’ is one of standoff or stasis and is incompatible with the dynamics of a transforming relational continuum, …yet it can serve, in the imagination, as a launching pad for the ‘from-scratch’ ‘sourcing’ of actions and developments, as in the culture and politics of Western ‘Invented Reality’. This is intellectual illusion, whether we are speaking of a ‘nation’ , ‘human’, or any other ‘being’ thus conceived and notionally equipped with the ‘powers of sorcery’.
Of course, ‘lock-in’ of this ‘Invented Reality’ due to ‘high switching costs’ is not going to give way easily, particularly since we have elevated the ‘leading sorcery advocates’ into positions of disproportionately high decision-making power and influence.
As for those of us who sense something amiss and who investigate and report on it;
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’
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