Archive for June, 2018
Author’s Preface: The Eastern manner of conceiving of reality (eg. as in the writings of Lao Tzu) is rooted in the purely relational terms of ‘flow’ or ‘the Tau’. In this worldview, there is only an overall ‘becoming’ while ‘being’ is a cognitive abstraction. Nevertheless, as Wittgenstein points out, given that the world is flow and we are flow-features within it, it is impossible to speak about it because ‘everything is in flux’ and there are no fixed/persisting references on which to construct a linguistic representation that we could share with one another. The ‘work-around’ to this obstacle which would otherwise keep us ‘silent’, is called ‘bootstrapping’ where we use the abstraction of ‘being’ to assign ‘names’ to relational forms in the flow. The ‘name’ is something that cognitively persists even though the named form is an inherently transient relational feature in a transforming relational flow [e.g. as with a purely relational ‘whorl’ (hurricane) in the purely relational flow of the atmosphere which we impute ‘being’ to by naming it]. The ‘name’ has cognitive persistence and is not subject to continuous relational transformation as is the form it refers to. That is, a name imputes, cognitively, persisting existence otherwise known as ‘being’. ‘Being’ is cognitive abstraction which is not available to our real-life physical experience (as relational forms in a transforming relational continuum).
Nevertheless, ‘bootstrapping’ is a kind of ‘cognitive sleight-of-mind’ wherein we use language to set notional ‘things-that-be’ in relative motion with (noun-and-verb) grammar. The ultimate aim of this use of language is to get the mind to latch onto the ‘relational dynamics’ and when it does, ‘let go of’ the abstract notion of the ‘existence of things’ so as to ‘bootstrap’ a purely relational cognitive impression/understanding. The ‘being’ of name-labelled ‘things-in-themselves’ is thus an abstract expedient; … a cognitive tool (‘Wittgenstein ladder’) to ‘lift oneself up into purely relational cognitive mode.
The division between Eastern and Western cognition pivots from whether one considers ‘being’ to be ‘real’ or ‘poetic abstraction of convenience’ used in bootstrapping to facilitate language based discussion of a fluid reality that would otherwise be beyond linguistic capture/expression’.
“Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen” … “that which we are unable to capture in language, we must pass over in silence.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein
The following is a short (500 word) comment; ‘Acknowledging/Employing the ‘Insight’ that comes with a Stroke’.
(A supplementary discussion on the salient points follows in a brief ‘Appendix’)
Acknowledging/Employing the ‘Insight’ that comes with a Stroke
A stroke that leaves one with an inability to ‘bring names to mind’ is a stroke that ‘demotes’ the role, in cognition, of the abstract concept of ‘being’. The ‘insight’ that comes with the stroke is where the cognitive faculty goes directly to ‘relations’ without dependency on ‘being’. ‘Relations’ are the basis of the real physical world of our experience. Names signifying ‘being’ are an abstract ‘add on’ that can ‘block’ relational cognition. For example, relational cognition ‘comes first’ in indigenous aboriginal culture. E.g. ‘Dances with wolves’ is a relational way of identifying ‘John Dunbar’ that does not impute ‘being’ to the ‘relational life form as occurs in cognition of a particular thing-in-itself connoting ‘name’.
In the fable ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, Rumpelstiltskin is a curious little fellow who has the power to spin straw into gold. This is an allusion to what a ‘name’ does; i.e. it imputes ‘being’ to a relational form in the flow. A name can transform a pauper into a prince in our Western culture, although not in the indigenous aboriginal culture. What a (left-brain) stroke does is remove the concept of ‘being’ (cognition that is triggered by thing-in-itself naming) so that relational understanding ‘rises to the fore’. (more…)
Why East Doesn’t Meet West
The following is a ‘condensed’ account of how indigenous aboriginal ‘relational reality’ is faithful to our experience while Western ‘being-based’ (abstract) reality is the source of endemic social dysfunction. (more…)