Archive for October, 2019
Copy of Dr. Robert Herwick’s ‘The Limitations of Medical Science in the Solution of Social Problems0
I have reproduced this essay by Dr. Robert Herwick, posting it here on the Goodshare.org website, … for its concise and informative comparison of the historical development of two contrasting ways of conceiving of medicine; i.e. the Hygiean view of medicine with its orientation to the cultivating the sustaining of balance and harmony, and the Aesculapian view of medicine with its orientation to the eliminating of ‘attacking pathogens’.
To a large degree, these two approaches parallel the split in physics with the Hygiean view corresponding to modern physics and the Aesculapian view corresponding to Newtonian physics. While the ‘field’ view of modern physics invokes a 4+ dimensional reality, the ‘material’ view of Newtonian physics invokes a reality constrained to 3 dimensions.
While the Aesculapian approach has become dominant in Western culture (along with Newtonian physics) because of its rapid action results (killing evil agents aka ‘pathogens’ can sometimes be done much more expeditiously than re-establishing balance and harmony ‘relationally’). If the system being ‘healed’ is NOT fully ‘independent’ of ‘other systems’ (if the system is in reality a web of relational interdependences, healing the (perceived as) individual system will constitute ‘suboptimization’. In this case, ‘health’ will only have meaning in regard to the overall suprasystem which is in reality NOT A THING-IN-ITSELF but a web of relational interdependencies, and the notion of ‘the correct/healthy functioning of an ‘independent system’ will not be meaningful. In other words, if humans are innately relational ‘humanings’ within the transforming relational continuum, optimizing the health of humans cannot be achieved out of the context of the health of the transforming relational continuum (e.g. the ecosystem) the humaning is included in. What is at play here is our ability to conceive of reality in a dimensionality that is greater than that of 3 dimensional objects in 3 dimensional space.
[Note: The use of the verb ‘humaning’ in place of the noun ‘human’ is, as with the use of ‘duning’ in place of ‘dune’, for consistency with modern physics (and Taoism) wherein nature’s forms are understood NOT as in intellectual-grammatical abstraction as ‘independently-existing things-in-themselves’, but as in our sensory experience, as relational forms in the transforming relational continuum aka wave-field. Herwick might have also made reference to the Peacemaker myth of the Iroquois where the peacemaker, Dekanawideh, does not seek to overthrow or exterminate the evil (pathogen) Adodarho, but to meet and find re-conciliatory harmony through mutually influencing relational transformation (through dimensional augmentation of the microbiome) that subsumes polarized tensions). Finding the hidden harmony in opposites is also Heraclitus’ theme (the mystery of the bow and the lyre wherein tensions are resolved through harmony; i.e. a melting and transcending of 3 dimensional figure and ground separation). That is, 3 D object based imagery of Western culture’s Aesculapian orientation that seeks to ‘identify and eliminate the pathogen’ is not the only metaphor available for addressing ‘dis-ease’ and certainly not an apt one where reality is the transforming relational continuum rather than the ‘injured and needing-to-be-healed’ ‘independent organism-in-itself’. An alternative is the 4 dimensional understanding as in duning where figure and ground are in a BOTH/AND rather than EITHER/OR relationship.
Allopathic social justice may seek to eliminate a Jean Valjean and/or a Robin Hood on the basis of their ‘pathogenic actions’ even though such actions will be seen, in the more comprehensive relational sense, as balance-restoring actions. When one is driving if a heavy traffic flow, avoiding developing congestive and conflict prone relational configurations can source one’s movements, such a source (where one puts one’s movement in the service of cultivating relational harmony) is external to the acting agent. If the re balancing attempt fails and a collision ensues, an individual that has put his movements in the service of trying to re cultivate harmony may be inappropriately identified as the source of a collision. It is ‘natural’ for people’s actions to be induced in the service of dissolving or nulling out a conflict-in-the-making. Such ‘selfless’ acts are ‘real’ and contribute to sustaining harmonious relational dynamics, however, since they do not associate with any explicit locally sourced ‘events’ they do not ‘go on record’. Relational dynamics can not only nonlocally dissolve imminent conflict, relational dynamics can nonlocally precipitate conflict (e.g. the dog that darts across the busy freeway and induces a long wave of braking and swerving that finally triggers a collision far from the incident, a nonlocal dynamic that will be reduced to ‘local’ terms of an identified perpetrator and victim.
Similarly, the perceived ‘vicious pathogen’ (e.g. clostridium difficile) may in Western medical science induce the bringing on of all manner of (anti-pathogen/anti-biotic) resources in pursuit of its elimination, but the single-minded focus on pathogen elimination may distract from the deeper reality that these so-called ‘pathogens’ are called into action by the ‘need’ to resolve relational imbalance. The real root source of the malady; i.e. relational imbalance, may ‘drop off the radar screen’ as ‘pathogen elimination’ takes over centre stage, as in the case of Jean Valjean, Robin Hood and c. difficile, all of which are acting only in the service of filling in for something that has gone missing. (i.e. the ‘excluded medium’ in EITHER/OR logic that is missing the ‘included medium’ of BOTH/AND logic). ‘Producer-product logic’ of ‘identifying the perpetrator’ will be hung like an Albatross around the neck of the first driver that is unsuccessful in avoiding the long chain of chaos triggered by a stray dog darting across the freeway. David Bohm’s example of ambiguity as to the source of the death of Lincoln also comes to mind.
The EITHER/OR reality of Western culture also has us thinking in such terms as ‘the birth of a new island’ (Surtsey).
The relation between BOTH/AND and EITHER/OR logic corresponds with the relationship between transformation and ‘Creation’; e.g; for the Western mind, ‘Surtsey’ is conceived in the intellect as the ‘birth’ of a new island entity rather than as our sensory experience would inform us is the manifesting of relational transformation;
Surtsey, a volcanic island approximately 32 km from the south coast of Iceland, is a new island formed by volcanic eruptions that took place from 1963 to 1967. It is all the more outstanding for having been protected since its birth, providing the world with a pristine natural laboratory. Free from human interference, Surtsey has been producing unique long-term information on the colonisation process of new land by plant and animal life. Since they began studying the island in 1964, scientists have observed the arrival of seeds carried by ocean currents, the appearance of moulds, bacteria and fungi, followed in 1965 by the first vascular plant, of which there were 10 species by the end of the first decade. By 2004, they numbered 60 together with 75 bryophytes, 71 lichens and 24 fungi. Eighty-nine species of birds have been recorded on Surtsey, 57 of which breed elsewhere in Iceland. The 141 ha. island is also home to 335 species of invertebrates.
This way of thinking; i.e. thinking in terms of the ‘birth’ of something has a simple inverse which, rather than something ‘coming into existence’ is something ‘passing out of existence’. These two abstract concepts expose the limitations of 3-D reality. Meanwhile our sensory experiencing of inclusion in the Tao is not limited by 3-dimensional geometry as Mach and others have pointed out. Therefore, there is no need to ‘dumb down’ relational transformation and speak of ‘the birth of a new entity called ‘Surtsey”, … we can instead acknowledge that the relational space we are included in (aka ‘the Tao’) is a relational space that is itself continually transforming. IT IS NOT A 3-DIMENSIONAL SPACE THAT IS GIVING BIRTH TO NEW ONTOLOGICAL 3-DIMENSIONAL ENTITIES AND EXPERIENCING THE EXTINCTION OF EXISTING 3-DIMENSIONAL ENTITIES. THERE IS ONLY A TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM. The abstract concepts of ‘the birth of Surtsey and/or the ‘death’ of Atlantis are to do with the intellectual impact of our 3-D space name-labelling administration and NOT to do with the relational transformation of our actual sensual experience. In effect, there is no such thing as ‘Surtsey’-the-birth-of-an-island, there is only relational transformation.
In the essay, Herwick seems to capitulate to the excellent results of the pathogen elimination approach of Aesculapian medicine. However, such ‘apparently excellent results’ as measured in terms of ‘the eliminating of pathogens’, may show up very differently where one backs out of the language and grammar based ‘double error’ reality and understands reality, instead, in terms of the transforming relational continuum where there is no such thing as a ‘pathogen’ or ‘pathogen elimination’, these being the abstract artifacts of the ‘double error’ of language and grammar. Constructing reality with 3-D objects in 3-D space forces us to explain change in terms of the ‘birth’ and ‘death’ of 3D objects which has been intellectually/psychologically ‘concretized’ by language and grammar, holding at bey the sensory-experience affirmed reality of wave-field (resonance) based relational transformation.
Western medicine and Western politics are a major bastion of support for the 3-D figure-and-ground ‘dumb-down’ which rewards the perceived ‘sorcerers’ of good actions and developments and punishes the perceived ‘sorcerers’ of bad actions and developments whether microbes or men. Meanwhile, there is no ‘sorcery’ in a transforming relational continuum.
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Herwick, Dr. R., ‘THE LIMITATIONS OF MEDICAL SCIENCE IN THE SOLUTION OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS’
Conference sponsored by The Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST) in cooperation with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) March 12, 1977 The Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio)
Dr. Robert Herwick, M.D. is presently in private practice in San Francisco. He is also on the clinical faculty at the University of California, Childrens Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Francisco. Dr. Herwick received his BA in German Literature at Cornell University and was enrolled in Phi Beta Kappa, 1964. He interned at Childrens Hospital in San Francisco in 1969, after receiving his M.D. at the Cornell Medical School in New York City. He completed his Residency in Dermatology at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco in 1972. From 1972 – 74, Dr. Herwick served as Major in the United States Air Force Medical Corps and Chief of Medicine at the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Omaha, Nebraska.
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In seeking to examine the capabilities and the limitations of medical science in solving problems of social significance, one must begin by tracing the history of medicine as it recedes from its enlightened present into the darkness of ancient times. As with other historical inquiries, it is not surprising to find that perhaps fundamentally little is new … that recurrent themes and patterns are discerned which may at the same time provide a basis for optimism or disillusionment, depending upon one’s interpretation.
One of the most ancient concepts of health was that personified by Hygiea, the Greek goddess of health who watched over the corporeal welfare of the residents of Athens. Health was then based upon a unity with nature, a temperate lifestyle and the belief that good health was a natural attribute. Rather than treating the sick, Hygiea embodied the ideal of the preservation of natural health through living in harmony with nature. Slowly this ancient concept was replaced after the fifth century B.C. by the cult of Aesculapius, the son of Apollo and the god of medicine. Aesculapian temples were erected to which the sick were brought for mysterious healing rituals as well as for mineral baths, exercises (an early precursor of today’s physical therapy) and various unctions. The therapeutic ceremony, performed by the temple priest during a nocturnal trance in which a healing dream was interpreted, was not entirely dissimilar to “modern” Freudian or Jungian psychoanalytic practices. The salient point about the cult of Aesculapius is that it was a therapy of intervention, of combating a disease and seeking its expulsion from the body. The restoration of health was based to a large extent upon superstition: and at times almost charlatan mysticism which effected a magical cure together with an increase in the temple coffers. It is parenthetically somewhat disturbing that the staff of Aesculapius with its single snake has become the symbol of today’s medical profession. This becomes less objectionable, however, when one considers the often inappropriately used caduceus (that winged staff with two entwined snakes). This of course was the symbol of Mercury, the god of commerce and of thieves!
From the Reducing of Both/And to Either/Or and Back0
The real world of our sensory experience of inclusion in the Tao aka the ‘wave-field’ aka the transforming relational continuum IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN BE REDUCED TO THE THREE DIMENSIONAL WORLD based on what Nietzsche has exposed as ‘the double error of language and grammar.
The ‘double error’ is where we intellectualize and discretize our innatel relational sensory experience using language and grammar, and we do this by [first error]‘naming’ to impute abstract ‘thing-in-itself being’ to relational forms in the Tao, and then conflating this first error with the second error of imputing powers of sourcing actions and developments to the name-instantiated thing-in-itself [first error].
WHO SAYS THAT THE WORLD OF SENSORY EXPERIENCE CAN BE CAPTURED IN THREE DIMENSIONS? A language and grammar that reduces everything to three dimensions says so.
The following discussion uses the example of ‘puckering’ to illustrate how our language based expressing of real world dynamics demands more than the usual reduction to three dimensional ‘figures’ in a three dimensional ‘ground’.
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From Lao Tzu to Modern Physics0
N.B. It is impossible to capture in words, the transforming relational continuum (the Tao), but one can use word-based (metaphorical) inference to stimulate an intuitive understanding. –“A man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s a meta phor?” (-McLuhan et al)
We use language and grammar to reduce the inherently nonlocal , relational) Tao to local and explicit abstraction, to render the ineffable Tao (a reduced version thereof) ‘effable’. For example we employ language and grammar to re-cast nonlocal resonance as in ‘duning’ to local material mechanics as in … ‘dunes with their own powers of sourcing actions and developments. This effable-izing is made possible thanks to the ‘double error’ of language and grammar identified by Nietzsche (i.e. using ‘naming’ to impute ‘local existence’ and conflating this with grammar to notionally endow the ‘naming-instantiated local things-in-themselves the powers of sourcing actions and developments. While the EAST employs such abstract reductive tools only as an insight-triggering go-by to enable language-based (effable) sharing of (ineffable) experiencing of inclusion in the Tao, .. the WEST has allowed this reductionist tool and its constructions to be employed as the ‘operative reality’ ; thus, as Emerson observes; the tool runs away with the workman, the human with the divine’.
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Once upon a time there was Chinese philosopher who intuited that the universe was a great ball of fluid energy that was in continuous transformation. He called it the Tao.
While there were many features within this Tao, there were no features that had a distinguishable ‘beginning’ or ‘ending’ nor even a persisting separate thing-in-itselfness, and everything; that is, all visible forms that were included in the Tao, were without beginning and ending and separate existence. They were ‘relational forms’ like boils in a boiling fluid, nonlocal formings emerging locally (because our viewing of them localized them by their emerging into our awareness), forming and enlarging and spreading outwards and becoming one with the flow. Even though our vision distinguished between forms, our experience was of inclusion in a fluid continuum.
Lao Tzu’s understanding was that because all forms were continually transforming features within the Tao, … it did not make sense to give them names since names did not change and all forms were relational forms undergoing continual transformation in the Tao.
But naming the forms was very useful for sharing observations and for discussing the transformation that was going on in the common living space. It was more important to say; ‘watch out, there is big waterspout heading in your direction’, … than to be stopped from speaking by the understanding that ‘the Tao that can be told is not the True Tao’. That is, there is a certain practicality, the practicality of sharing our impressions, in naming ‘formings’ that are purely relational and without ‘being’.
Navigating Our Psyches of East and West0
We all have at our disposal, the psyches of East and West and modern physics has elucidated the conjugate contributions of the twain to our understanding of;… the reality of our sensory experience, and; …the reality of our intellectual rationalizations.
Most recently, modern physics has given support to the Eastern understanding of reality as the Tao, the all including wave-field wherein all ‘forms’ including the human form, are understood as fluid ‘features’ within the Tao (wave-field) wherein ‘everything is in flux’ (as Heraclitus also noted). The Western (pre-modern physics) conceptualizing of reality has used language and grammar to objectify the innately fluid forms in nature, and has used the intellect to construct an ‘invented reality’ wherein the objectified froms are understood as ‘things-in-themselves’ locally inhabiting an absolute space.
The psycho-linguistic localizing and discretizing of relational flow-forms is what allows us to effable-ize the ineffable Tao, which opens the way to discursive sharing of (a reduced semblance of) our sensory experiencing within the ineffable Tao. Language and grammar give us the intellectual tools for effable-izing the ineffable. While the understanding that language and grammar allows us to share is a reduction of the spiritual (ineffable) experiencing of inclusion in the Tao-that-cannot-be-told; … i.e. a reduction to the effable-intellectualization that-can-be-told, such sharing expands the horizons of our understanding well beyond the limited scope of our personal experiential reach. With language-based sharing of experience, the self can better understand the experiences of the other, … the male, the female, … the child, the adult, … the white, the black. Of course, only the ‘self’ ‘s understanding is of inclusion in the ineffable Tao while the linguistically shared understanding can only be in the reduced terms of the ‘effable’.
The individual thus has an exposure to switching her understanding of herself through her own ineffable experience, to an understanding of herself as mirrored back to her through the effable reductions of herself as seen by others. Will the real, ineffable ‘she’ make herself known? Or will the ‘real ineffable she’ be ‘replaced’ even in her own understanding by the effable voyeur view of her as reported by to her by others and by her rational scrutinizing of herself as in a mirror? There is an exposure here to her trading out of her ineffable self coming directly from her sensory experience of inclusion in the Tao, for an effable voyeur view of herself as mirrored back to her through the articulated voyeur views of others views of her, and even through her own voyeur viewing of herself reflected back to her in mirrors, photographs, videos, written mentions of her, and from the facial expressions of others during her social encounters. The availability of all this ‘mirrored’ viewing of oneself gives rise to an exposure wherein one bypasses/eclipses one’s own ineffable ‘sense experiencing self’ and instead opens the way for ‘the tool (of language based mirroring) running away with the workman, the effable-human with the ineffable/divine.’
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Understanding things in terms of the flowing wave-field worldview (the Tao) clarifies so many misconceptions that come from the ‘thing-in-itself’ producer-product world view that is the popular and ‘officially’ dominating Western world view.
In the wave-field worldview, everything is in flux and there is no explicit distinction between forms and flow.
How EAST is EAST and WEST is WEST0
INTRODUCTION: In considering how; …. ‘EAST IS EAST’ and ‘WEST IS WEST’ … it is useful to recall that, just as indigenous aboriginals (‘the EAST’) have no choice (if they wish to survive while living within the WEST), but to ‘do as the WESTERNERS do’, so it is for all of us when in such a situation, creating a schism between our being informed by our intuitive sensory motor rhythms (SMR brainwaves) and/or being informed by our rational intellection (Beta brainwaves). That is, as WESTERNERS, we split off our intellect-directed calculations of what our actions should be in our current situation, and give these actions priority over how we are being informed by sensory motor rhythms (as associate with our inclusion in the transforming relational continuum). WESTERN culture adherence (or enslavement, as is the case for EASTERN culture adherents living in a WESTERN culture dominated social collective), may be necessary for survival . Thus the physical dynamics of a social collective, while they may be superficially WESTERN, may conceal a spirit that is EASTERN as in the case of indigenous aboriginals who are living and working ‘off the reservation’.
“The science of psychology is auxiliary to physics. The two mutually support one another, and it is only when they are united that a complete science is formed. From our standpoint, the antithesis of subject and object, in the ordinary sense, does not exist.” — Ernst Mach, The Analysis of Sensations and the Relation of the Physical to the Psychical.
The physical behaviour of EASTERN peoples working within a WESTERN social dynamic appears coherent but something else is going on wherein the psychical is not working in concert/harmony with the physical. This is an aspect of reality that transcends a purely mechanical understanding.
In other words, THE EAST-WEST SPLIT IS NOT SOMETHING WHICH IS OVERTLY MANIFEST; i.e. the split lives in the social dynamic but beneath the visual surface level of the social dynamic. The degree to which the visible social dynamic derives from putting experiential sensorimotor rhythms in primacy over intellectual Beta-wave rationalizations (EAST) versus putting intellectual Beta-wave rationalizations over experiential sensorimotor rhythms (WEST) is not manifestly obvious from observing the WESTERN operative social dynamic but we can be sure that such an invisible division exists where Western culture dominates within a social collective that is a mixture of EAST and WEST understandings of reality.
Outbreaks of violence can come both from those demanding less imposition of WESTERN EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium relative to EASTERN BOTH/AND (modern physics) logic of the included medium, or more of the former relative to the latter. This is NOT to be confused for the WESTERN ‘conservative’ – ‘liberal’ polar split, both poles of which are based on belief in the double error of ‘thing-in-itself based sourcing of actions and developments’, the conservatives believing that ‘sorcery’ is ‘one-to-many’ and the liberals believing that ‘sorcery’ is ‘many-to-one’.
THAT IS, THERE IS NO SUCH BELIEF IN ‘SORCERY’ IN THE EAST, since there the understanding of reality is in terms of inclusion in the Tao, the transforming relational continuum, an understanding that is without need for the WESTERN double-error abstraction of invoking name-instantiated ‘things-in-themselves’, notionally with powers of sourcing actions and developments.
This INTRODUCTION has been to point out that the EAST-WEST split has not simply ‘weakened’ with the WESTERN way of understanding having ‘gained ground’ on the EASTERN way of understanding. While this may seem true, to think in this manner would imply that EAST and WEST are competitors in one and the same field, as if they are ‘birds of a feather’. THEY ARE NOT!
The WEST sees producer-product developments based on EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium; e.g. ‘the dune can EITHER grow larger OR shrink in size, … move EITHER forward OR back etc.” (note the independence of figure-and-ground and the implied male-female active-passive dichotomy)… while the EAST sees transformation based on the BOTH/AND logic of the included medium; e.g. ‘duning’ can BOTH incorporate manure AND discharge gold coins (note the non-independent [androgynous] topology of figure and ground in this case.). Evidently, the WEST uses language in such a manner as to fabricate the abstraction of binary certainty, while the EAST uses language so as to leave in the uncertainty characteristic of nature (the Tao) as suggested in the Tai-chi symbol and captures in the following Zen story;
The Farmer’s Horse
There is a story of a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.”
The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.”
And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.”
The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”
The yin-yang view of the world is serenely cyclic. Fortune and misfortune, life and death, whether on small scale or vast, come and go everlastingly without beginning or end, and the whole system is protected from monotony by the fact that, in just the same way, remembering alternates with forgetting. This is the Good of good-and-bad.
Tao: The Watercourse Way
It is clear that the EASTERN way of understanding is not simply a peer competitor with the WESTERN way of understanding which has ‘lost out’ in a fair and square competition. Instead, the EASTERN way of understanding has ‘gone underground’ in a modern world that is dominated by WESTERN ‘double error’ based ‘visualization’, forcing those with EASTERN understandings of reality to ‘hold this understanding quietly in their heart’ while participating in the dominating WESTERN ‘sing our WESTERN song or get no supper‘ social dynamic.
In spite of complying with those physical actions and behaviours necessary for surviving within the WESTERN culture dominated social dynamic, the EASTERN ‘spirit’ burns brightly in many, even if beneath the mantle of Western culture. While there have been WESTERN campaigns to fully eliminate EASTERN understanding, such as the WESTERN culture’s North American attempt to ‘kill the Indian in the child’ , the culture of the EAST (indigenous aboriginal, Taoist/Buddhist, Advaita Vedanta) persists in the spirit of the social collective, even as the binary logic fuelled physical power of WESTERN CULTURE has risen to dominance.
One has to wonder, therefore, whether it makes sense to try to understand reality in purely physical terms, as appears to be the approach of the WEST, with its double-error based language and grammar, … while the EAST accepts the ineffable nature of the Tao, the all-including, transforming relational continuum aka wave-field. This question recalls Mach’s earlier-cited point that understanding in physics must address the artificial separating of physics and psychology.
Did we WESTERN culture adherents ‘really’ physically construct cities and highways over the surface of the globe, or has our Western culture conditioned psyche bought in so deeply to ego-inflating voyeur viewing of ‘our works’, that we are forgetting that we are included in the transforming relational continuum (the Tao) that is innately greater than ourselves and our ‘double error’ based pseudo-powers of sourcing actions and developments?
END OF INTRODUCTION:
This EAST – WEST split in how reality is conceived represents a schizophrenic ‘malaise’ that society is not addressing or attempting to ‘heal’, but which is left alone to cultivate ferment and eruptions of violence whether by those whose EAST based actions depart from the binary values of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or by those whose WEST based actions aim to enforce the binary values of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. A splitting of the social collective into opposing camps of Jean Valjeans, and Inspector Javerts.
END OF INTRODUCTION:
The human social collectives that are part of our planetary experience [I am intentionally avoiding the figure-ground splitting phraseology ‘that live on our planet’] are a curious mix of things. The particular curiosity that I am discussing in this note, and sharing (for your possible interest) is the division of ways of understanding ‘reality’ into what we popularly refer to as the cultures of EAST and WEST.
My philosophical/psychological researches point to the EAST being the ‘sane’ culture and to the WEST as being a ‘crazy-making’ culture. I realize and naturally accept that a great many people may not be interested in, or open to this type of philosophical investigation that could have the potential to ‘unsettle one’s psychological-apple-cart’. My interest in sharing these ideas of Nietzsche et al comes with my belief that they carry important potentials for deepening our understanding of our complex social dynamics and, and thus help resolve some endemic aberrance-based conflicts.
The basics of the EAST – WEST psychological split have been identified as follows;
The EAST understands reality on the basis of the BOTH/AND logic of the included medium. This form of logic can be understood by way of the ‘Gestalt’ understanding of ‘figure-and-ground’, where this is understood NOT AS TWO but as ONE wherein the distinguishing of ‘figure’ and ‘ground’ is by ‘appearance’ and NOT by intellectually assuming an ontological splitting into two. By this I mean that the familiar ‘whorl’ in the ‘flow’ (e.g. as with a a ‘swirl’ in a river flow, it does not have to be understood as something ‘apart from the flow’, because if we do considerate it as something separate, we run into the question as to whether the ‘whorl’ is sourcing ‘the flow’ or whether the ‘flow’ is sourcing the ‘whorl’. This is the same ambiguity as in the Zen parable (koan) of wind and flag, which moves?
In the EAST, the answer is that neither the whorl sources the flow nor does the flow source the whorl because THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘THE SOURCING OF ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS’ AKA ‘SORCERY’. It is only the WEST that believes in sorcery, and this is where ego comes from and ‘the ‘hero’ and ‘the villain’. Meanwhile, in the EAST, there is no such thing as binary opposites, there is only relations that can be harmonious and dissonant.
The Western Culture ‘Double Whammy’ of History and Reason0
-Source: ‘The Confederacy of Locked-Ins by High Switching Costs’ , a voice from deep within Western Culture: -‘Wherein Honest and Popular Don’t Go Hand-In-Hand’
Reason and History are the names for two types of BULLSHIT co-contributors to the dysfunction known as Western culture.
It is significant that modern physics endorses the basic understandings built into indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, but NOT Western culture.
Western culture cultivates belief in ‘the double error’ of language and grammar which in turn plays a foundational role in both ‘reason’ and ‘history’. Thus the leadoff statement identifying REASON and HISTORY as the names for two types of BULLSHIT.
These are not new findings, but they seem to slip away from Western culture adherents like water off a duck’s back. First, just to cite a couple of complainants;
“History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.” George Santayana
“In Reason’ in language! ……..(Note how Nietzsche points to ‘being’ as the underpinning of ‘reason‘; i.e. … “Being is thought into and insinuated into everything as ‘cause’; from the concept ‘ego,’ alone, can the concept ‘Being’ proceed.”……….– oh what a deceptive old witch it (reason) has been! I fear we shall never be rid of God, so long as we still believe in grammar.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’
If you ponder these two comments a bit, I think you will find that they are pointing to the same’double error’ based flaw in Western thinking.
An Exploration of a ‘Humilityless Twits’ Labelling0
The Background to the Humilityless Twits Label Applied to top University Graduates Going into Management
This title attaches to a backwards reflection on my part to the surprising (to me) reference that some experience-seasoned (salty-dog) managers made to the best and brightest of the college graduates coming into the workforce. I discovered that this was (and is) very much tied up in the difference between intellectual learning and experiential learning. This note is about how our understanding is becoming increasingly ‘CANTILEVERED’ by intellectual learning and correspondingly increasingly UNgrounded in sensory experience. The confidence that modern internet-informed youth have in their intellectual understanding even though it is ungrounded in experience, is quite amazing (The inexperienced virgin youth may know far more about sexual intercourse than her experienced parents), And whereas youth was in prior eras more reticent than bullish in throwing their bodies behind intellectual-conceptual ‘truths’, modern youth are now, even when still on the slim end of the experience-based learning curve, … highly confident of the ‘truth’ of their intellectual convictions. This can be seen in the ‘climate change’ demonstrations by youth where their reasoned assumption is that ‘man’ is the ‘source’ of rising global temperatures.
To ‘cut to the quick’, my understanding, like Nietzsche’s, is that ‘reason’ is NOT a tool that can give us understanding of our experience of inclusion in the Tao. However, modern Western youth tend to be confident that their ‘reason’ is delivering ‘the truth’ about ‘reality’.
“In Reason’ in language! ……..(Note how Nietzsche points to ‘being’ as the underpinning of ‘reason‘; i.e. … “Being is thought into and insinuated into everything as ‘cause’; from the concept ‘ego,’ alone, can the concept ‘Being’ proceed.”……….– oh what a deceptive old witch it (reason) has been! I fear we shall never be rid of God, so long as we still believe in grammar.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’
“Reason” comes under full frontal fire here.
‘Reason’ may be a handy tool for loosely INFERRING ‘what is going on in the world, but it is not a capable tool for dealing with inclusion in the transforming relational continuum of modern physics (aka the Tao’). REASON IS INTELLECTUAL ABSTRACTION THAT HAS PULLED AWAY FROM ITS MOORINGS IN SENSORY EXPERIENCE.
That is; reason reduces the BOTH/AND (modern physics) logic of the included medium to the EITHER/OR (classical physics) logic of the excluded medium; e.g. it reduces ‘duning’ as resonance-based (wave-field-based) transformation to ‘dunes’-and-desert floor’, two ABSTRACT ontologically separate and distinct things-in-themselves that, with binary ambiguity, play off of one another, giving us the crazy-making … EITHER figure OR ground … MENTAL impression wherein the ‘dunes’ ARE “UNDERSTOOD” as THINGS-IN-THEMSELVES that can ‘shift across the desert floor’! (or is it the desert floor dynamic that pushes those dunes around? How crazy-schizo is that! How crazy -schizo does that make us as believers of either of these binaries?
As Bohm discovered, EAST IS EAST (embracing the BOTH/AND logic of the included medium aka quantum logic) AND WEST IS WEST (embracing the EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium), … and Kipling was pretty much on target in suggesting that ‘never the twain shall meet’. Because, as it turns out ‘reason’ is a psychological derivative of the EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium, and as Nietzsche points out, reason is anchored in place by ‘ego-that-swells-the-head‘ while the Eastern ‘mitakuye oyasin’ (everything is related) associates with inspiration that fills the heart.
We Western culture adherents brag about how we have ‘improved’ the land by constructing roads and railways and skyscrapers and modern cities. That slips off the tongue easily, but all the while, continents are ‘drifting’ and subsiding and being ‘recycled’ and seafloors are spreading and sea-mounts rising while humans are outwellin/emerging-and-inwelling/subducting (popping out and popping back in) and everything is in a continuing transformational flux, so how do we isolate within this, an inventory of local, human sourced producer-product developments?
ANSWER: we have the ‘double error’ of language and grammar that allows us to reduce all of this ineffable-nonlocal-relationally IMPLICIT FLUIDITY/TAO, by means of language and grammar stimulated intellection, to a local, explicit and thus effable ‘INVENTED REALITY’. (One doesn’t REALLY produce a product’ or construct a vibrant and bustling city in the wilderness). As with ‘duning’-and-‘the-dune’, it is not the dune that ‘grows larger and longer and shifts across the desert floor’, duning is relational resonance-based transformation, and likewise, it is not ‘reality’ we are talking about when we speak of ‘the city in the wilderness’ that grows larger and more dynamic’, we are instead looking at how relational resonance manifests (“Of that which we cannot speak (the ineffable) we must pass over in silence” –Wittgenstein) and using the double error of language and grammar to ‘reduce, idealize, localize and re-cast relational resonance’ in the producer-product (locally incipient sorcery) based terms of a name-instantiated thing-in-itself notionally with its own powers of sourcing actions and development.
Faith in Reason is the Craziness of Western Culture0
This is a philosophical discussion that explores the fundamental (mind-splitting) flaw in ‘reason’, as has been pointed out by Nietzsche. This faith in ‘reason’ is the ‘craziness’ that permeates Western culture adherency.
I realize that ‘reason’ is a ‘respected concept’ in Western culture, but I am of the same mind as Nietzsche that ‘reason’ is a ‘crazy-maker’ (the source of a foundational ‘schizophrenia’ in Western culture).
* * * FIRST, … A REVIEW OF FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS * * *
“Reason is the effable-izer of the ineffable Tao, the language and grammar splitter of the figure-ground-unum so that reason gives more reality to the construction of a city (figure) than to the transforming of the (ground). We and all our relations belong to the ineffable, undivided Tao. In our Western culture adhering, the effable-izing tool of reason is running away with the worker, the effable human with the ineffable divine. The alternative effable-izer of poetic inference is a more transparent effable-izer than reason and is without the reason-based exposure to schizophrenia that comes with reason’s hard figure-ground split and the associated ambiguity as to whether figure sources transformation of ground or whether ground sources transformation of figure’. In modern physics, the ambiguity does not arise because the concept of ‘sourcing’ is not necessary where there is ‘resonance’; i.e. we do not have to decide whether the dune moves by way of the peak asserting into the trough, or by way of the trough seducing entry of the peak. That is, in modern physics there is only the resonance-dynamic (wave-field) of ‘duning’, there are no ‘dunes’ with ‘peaks’ and ‘troughts’. The understanding of the ‘forms’ of nature as resonances within the wave-field (Tao) so that the ‘figure and ground’ are ‘one with one another and everything’, an allusion not only to the one-ness of the Tao but which also recalls the Gospel of Thomas citation;
Again when Jesus saw infants being nursed by their mothers he said, “These infants being suckled are like those entering the Kingdom.” And the disciples asked, “Shall we, then, as little children, enter the Kingdom?” He answered them, “When you make two one, and when you make the inside the outside and the outside the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and female one and the same…then you will enter (the Kingdom).” —The Gospel of Thomas
My citing from the Gospel of Thomas was simply to show that the understanding of reality in terms of what modern physics researchers have called QUANTUM LOGIC; i.e. the BOTH/AND (figure-in-ground) logic of the included medium, has been ‘around’ in early Christian philosophy and not just in indigenous aboriginal, Taoist/Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta philosophy. However, Western culture ‘reason’ is based on the EITHER/OR (figure-and-ground) logic of the excluded medium which opens the way to the ‘doer-of-deed’ abstraction, the abstract basis of ‘reason’ that Nietzsche is rejecting, and which is the source of schizophrenia in that ‘reason’ is ambiguous where it comes to whether the figure-dynamic is sourcing the transformation of the ground, or whether the ground dynamic is sourcing the transformation of the figure. This schizophrenia-inducing ambiguity does not even emerge in the Tao or in ‘quantum logic’, but is an artefact of our effable-izing kluge of splitting the figure out from the ground and reducing the relational dynamics of our experience of inclusion in the Tao, to voyeur observer ‘double error’ based (reason-based) terms.
Our reduction to ‘reason’ based terms is where, for example, the ineffable (non-local, non-material) wave-field dynamic of resonance (which manifests as ‘duning’) is reduced by naming to ‘the dune’ (a notional local, thing-in-itself), the first error, which is conflated by the second error of grammar that imputes the power of sourcing actions and developments to the naming-instantiated thing-in-itself (first error). In this ‘double error’ manner, the ineffable Tao (wave-field) is reduced to something ‘effable’, which is of great benefit in that it allows us to articulate and share at least some semblance of our unique and ineffable experiencing of inclusion in the Tao, so that we can learn from one another.
However, the reduction of ineffable to effable is a reduction of sensory awareness of inclusion in the Tao to the voyeur visualizations of ‘reason’ and while the virgin teenager may acquire a reason-based understanding of sexual relations that far surpasses the reason-based understanding of her sensory-experienced informed parents, such ‘reason’-based understanding, being a radical reduction from sensory experiencing of inclusion in the Tao, only qualifies for use as a ‘support tool’, so that it is problematic, as Emerson points out, where ‘the tool [of reason] runs away with the workman, the human with the divine’. In fact, this problem of ‘reason’ running away with the ‘reasoner’ is the schizophrenia-breeding signature property of Western culture adherence.
* * * END OF REVIEW OF FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS * * *
Accord re the Reality of ‘the Tao’ with a Philosopher-Friend0
thanks for your thoughtful response. it is a rare pleasure for me to receive comments such as yours. it seems that many if not most of my correspondents, while some may be interested in exploring the philosophical and psychological underpinnings of language and thought, hesitate to go there, for one reason or another (i.e. are more energized to receive and consider, than to interactively engage).
with respect to what we refer to as ‘reason’, I admit that there is some ambiguity here which begs for clarity in what we mean by ‘reason’ with respect to the ‘logical’ underpinnings. since my reading is limited, I would propose this distinguishing of two types of reason by the names ‘ontic logic’ and ‘fluid logic’. in classical physics the logic used is ‘ontic logic’ or the EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium (I have chosen to change the traditional words ‘middle’ as in ‘excluded middle’ and/or ‘third’ as in ‘excluded third’ which are ‘ontically biased’, to ‘medium’ which doesn’t prejudice the mind against the fluid interpretation where ‘boil’ in ‘flow’ can be understood in the sense that the flow is the all-including ‘medium’ as in wave-field based understanding.
these terms refer to distinguishing between the EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium and the BOTH/AND logic of the included medium. In my terms ‘ontic logic’ and ‘fluid logic’. These distinctions become important in distinguishing between the appearance versus reality in wave phenomena such as ‘resonance’ (an example is ‘duning’ as in desert dynamics).
The Confusion in Reducing the Ineffable to the Effable0
The Western Culture (Misguided) ‘Solution’ to the Problem of Ineffabie-ness of the Tao
How do we Western culture adherents make the Tao ‘effable’ so that we can talk about and share (some semblance of) our experiences of inclusion within it? As Heraclitus and other philosophers have noted, this is challenging because ‘everything is in flux, including we who are included in it’.
Ok, we know the Eastern approach to rendering the ineffable effable, and it is the same as modern physics; i.e. it is the poetic inference approach, as in modern physics ’Surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’. As Nietzsche also points out, we need to bring into connective confluence the views of many eyes and harvest the coherencies that develop in the confluence (the ‘holographic’ understanding). This is also the approach that is implicit in the ‘sharing circle’ of indigenous aboriginals.
NOW TO THE WESTERN APPROACH (i.e. the approach to rendering the ineffable Tao effable).
This approach, called ‘reasoning’ (popularized by Sir Francis Bacon in Novum Organum, sive indicia vera de Interpretatione Naturae), has been critiqued by Nietzsche, and well before him by Bishop Berkeley, in connection with the related development of differential calculus where we create a new foundation based on “the ghost of a departed quantity”. One can compare this to ‘forgiveness’ which, by annulling a hypothesized ‘wrong’ establishes, in a back-hand sort of way, the existence of the ‘wrong’. ‘Right’ versus ‘wrong’ is a binary concept that, while it is the foundation of ‘reason’ , is absolutist abstraction, which is why Nietzsche identifies ‘reason’ as a major source of social-relational dysfunction in Western culture adherency.
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