How Rational Thought is Screwing Up Our Understanding
This essay is for sharing with those who may have interest in the intuition that rational thought is screwing up our understanding by ‘going with vision, thought and language’ rather than with our ‘feeling experience’ of situational inclusion in the unfolding spatial plenum.
Rational thought turns us into judges that accept, LITERALLY, the forms we see ‘out there in front us’ and ‘their actions’ as if we were ‘not included’ in what we are looking at ‘out there in front of us’. Thus an oppressive regime that allows extreme wealthy and poor classes to form (protects the continuing disparate wealth shift by ‘right to own and possess’ laws, sees ‘theft’, the inevitable ‘short circuits’ that develop between such extremes, as actions in-their-own-local-right perpetrated by forms or ‘beings’ that exist in their own local right. This notion that ‘local forms’ and their actions are ‘real’ is something that we gather from our visual sensing and that we further affirm in thought and language by defining and word-labeling these forms. As John Stuart Mill observed; “Every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the local existence of the object [form] defined.”
Since judges tend to be appointed by ‘those in power’ (the wealthy classes), they lack the ‘feeling experience’ of the members of the poor classes whose ‘criminal actions’ they judge. Society as a whole is ‘not on trial’ in this system, only the ‘local forms out there’ and ‘their behaviours’. Thus it has happened and continues to happen that disparities in wealth, privilege and opportunity can continue to grow, spawning increasing frequency and violent intensity of criminal acts , as the justice system (rational judging) continues to see the ‘criminal forms’ and their actions as ‘local beings with their own locally originating, intellect and purpose directed behaviours’ that move about and interact with other such ‘local beings’ within an absolute fixed, empty and infinite operating space (i.e. ‘euclidian reference frame’).
Our ‘feeling experience’, as judges, however, informs us rather differently on what is going on, giving us an uncomfortable feeling that we are all included together in the community dynamic and thus that we cannot ‘split out’ the actions of the ‘criminals’ from the community dynamic that we too are included in, and regard these criminal actions as if they are the actions of ‘local systems with their own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour’. Of course, that is precisely the model of our own ego (it deems itself fully responsible for its own behaviour in a doer-deed sense. Thus if a man reaps a huge harvest from his agricultural corporation, he claims personal responsibility for this result, for ‘making it happen’, leaving out ‘mother nature’ which contributes the soil, sunshine, fresh water and air and labourers. In other words, in the overall gestalt of the dynamic, he credits the foreground figures with sourcing all the action and reduces the ‘ground’ of the ‘figure-and-ground’ gestalt to passive resource, as in the male view of the female ‘furrow waiting to be plowed’.
This ‘ego’ model (‘local system’ model) wherein dynamics are seen as being sourced 100% by locally existing ‘figures’ or ‘forms’ and 0% by the dynamics of ‘ground’ (spatial-plenum) is an ‘archetype’ that rational thinking also injects into biological sciences, into the ‘cell’ the and into the ‘organism’ and in general, he (rational man) constructs a world view based on ‘local material objects’ which populate an absolute space that is absolutely empty where not locally occupied by material objects, an absolute space that serves as a non-participating stage or ‘container’ for these local material objects to move around in and interact with one another. In this world view based on local material beings/forms in an absolute fixed, empty and infinite reference frame, there is no way for us to acknowledge our inclusion within a ceaselessly, innovatively unfolding spatial flow-plenum, as is our experience-informed intuition and as modern physics suggests is the more realistic case.
While both our feeling experience and modern physics insist that space is an energy-charged plenum and that local material forms are ‘ripples in the plenum’ in the manner of storm-cells in the flow of the atmosphere or convection cells in the flow of the oceanic hydrosphere, a view that transcends the materialist view of rational man, the materialist view persists as strong as ever due to its being thoroughly infused in thought and language, and in our institutions (rational systems of justice and governance and organization).
Central to the problem of being unable to ‘break out of our bewitchment’ by the visual pictures of ‘local forms’ in thought and language, is ‘the ego’, or ‘I’, a ‘total Fiktion’ as Nietzsche called it, but a ‘useful Fiktion’ enables us to reduce something totally unknowable; i.e. spatial-relational ‘becoming’, to something ‘knowable’. Our problem (in the Western culture) deriving from the fact that over the millennia, we have ‘forgotten’ that our ‘being-based’ world view is a fictional expedient that we were never meant to confuse for ‘reality’ (‘becoming’), so that we (rational man) are popularly confusing it for reality.
So long as we keep putting ‘visual observation’ into an unnatural primacy over ‘feeling experience of inclusion in the unfolding spatial plenum’, we have to ‘open up our visualizing’ so that it includes ‘we’, the ‘observing forms’ in ‘what we are looking out at’. If one hurricane-form as to observe another contemporary hurricane-form, since the two cannot do anything without at the same time transforming the other, the act of observing would be transforming the form being observed. This ‘observer effect’ is what is spoken of in terms of Wheeler’s U-shaped universe and it is what M.C. Escher attempts to capture in the graphic at the top of this commentary; i.e. he is entering into the scene that he is, at the same time, observing out there in front himself; i.e. he is looking at the portrait of the picture gallery that he is, at the same time, entering into (a ‘strange loop’ or ‘non-euclidian’ space view).
[[Note: Escher had strong mathematical intuitions’ “By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analysing the observations that I have made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics. Although I am absolutely without training in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematicians than with my fellow artists.” – M.C. Escher (from To Infinity and Beyond, Eli Maor) …“Two learned gentlemen, Professor van Dantzig and Professor van Wijngaarden, once tried in vain to convince me that I had drawn a Riemann surface. I doubt if they are right, in spite of the fact that one of the characteristics of a surface of this kind seems to be that the center remains empty. In any case, Riemann is completely beyond me and theoretical mathematics are even more so, not to mention non-Euclidean geometry. So far as I was concerned it was merely a question of a cyclic expansion or bulge without beginning or end.”]]
Can we imagine the judge who is trying Jean Valjean and observing the picture presented by the prosecution of Jean Valjean stealing from the bakery, look at that picture in the same sort of wrap-around sense as Escher’s where it curves around to show the adjacent ghetto of the poor and the emaciated children whose cries from hunger inspired Valjean to steal bread for them, the picture continuing to wrap back and around to include the judge and his mansion with larders full and overflowing, and thus inducing the feelings to rise within him of that same sort of difference as in electrical potentials that is the source of ‘short circuits’; i.e. the ‘robin hood’ short circuiting that occurs in the gap between huge wealth surplus and deficiency. In such a ‘competing reality’, the judge can no longer hold on to the ‘rational view’ of Jean Valjean’s actions as if it transpires in the prosecutions flat portrait presentation, a portrayal of a ‘local being with his own locally originating, internal process driven behaviour’ whose actions transpire within a notional absolute fixed and non-participating reference (picture-) frame.
Really?, … is the judge included in Jean Valjean’s criminal act? Are ‘forms’ such as Jean Valjean’s and the Judge’s forms ‘ripples in the energy-charged spatial-relational plenum (Unum)’, as modern physics claims? Is Mach’s principle ‘real’ whereby “the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat” … in which case the material hoarding actions of the judge are at the same time conditioning the behaviour of those without food so that they are (contributing to) inducing the ‘Robin Hood’ actions of the ‘have-nots’, in which case it is NOT TRUE to represent the actions of the Robin Hoods MERELY as the actions of ‘local beings with their own locally originating, intellect and purpose-directed behaviours’ that move about, interact with other such ‘local systems’, enacting their deeds within an absolute fixed and empty reference frame, that it is possible for an observer like the Judge, to look in on without being included in the dynamic, a ‘rational thought’ would have it.
As Nietzsche says, this ego-based sense of the local subject ‘I’ and its ‘doer-deed actions is ‘total Fiktion’ but ‘useful Fiktion’ (so long as it is not confused for reality), and that ‘becoming’ is the greater reality (the all-including ceaselessly innovatively unfolding spatial-relational flow-plenum).
Scientists such as Rupert Sheldrake are trying to open up minds that have grown up from babes in a culture that confuses rational ‘materialist’ thought based on ‘local material beings with their own locally originating internal process-driven behaviours’ for ‘reality’.
While the view of the author of this commentary is certainly supportive of the need for us to bring to public social awareness world view that transcends materialism, as is incorporated in Sheldrake’s work, the view expressed here is the other of the two alternatives that arose as science in the time of Faraday, acknowledged the transcendence of ‘field’ over ‘matter’. The assumption chosen by Sheldrake was that ‘field-forms’ are ‘real’ while the assumption chosen by Poincaré and Schroedinger (and myself) is that ‘forms’ are NOT REAL but are ‘conventions’ that are, as Nietzsche, Mach and Emerson intuited earlier, ‘total fictions’ but ‘useful fictions’ in the manner that the cataract, while giving the impression of a local material object, is a visual pattern within the dynamic spatial plenum that we endow with ‘being’ by way of thought and language. As Poincaré further elaborates (e.g. in ‘Dernières Pensées’, Ch. V, Les Mathematiques et La Logique), there is a deep division in understanding which separates people into ‘realists’ and ‘pragmatists’ (aka ‘conventionalists’) on the basis of whether ‘forms’ are ‘real’ or whether that is a ‘fiction’, a ‘useful fiction’ but nevertheless a fiction.
Does a ‘human being’ really exist as a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal process driven behaviour’, as the ‘realists’ believe? Or is that ‘local existence’ simply ‘appearance’ (schaumkommen) associated with ripples in the energy-charged spatial plenum that we, for reasons of our own convenience and utility, impute ‘local being’ to, as the ‘pragmatists’ believe?
Our experience has no problem in acknowledging that we are ‘human becomings’ that are included the unfolding spatial flow-plenum, rather than ‘human beings’, local ‘forms’ that enjoy local existence in our own ‘Ding-an-sich’ right.
Do human beings (and, in general, any local forms) exist in their own right, without the need for anyone to observe them? The realist will say ‘yes’ and the pragmatist will say ‘no’, and getting one or the other to change their minds on this is, according to Poincaré, not likely to happen (unless the prevailing culture actually raises its new members with a new understanding of what constitutes ‘reality’)
“At all times, there have been opposite tendencies in philosophy and it does not seem that these tendencies are on the verge of being reconciled. It is no doubt because there are different souls and that we cannot change anything in these souls. There is therefore no hop of seeing harmony established between the pragmatists and the Cantorians. Men do not agree because they do not speak the same language, and there are languages which cannot be learned.”
If we compare the questions; “Do human beings (or local human forms) exist without anyone observing them?” , and, “Do hurricane beings (or local hurricane forms) exist without anyone observing them?”, we can understand the latter question in terms that the energy-charged atmospheric flow-plenum is continually gathering and regathering forms and it is only recently that we have been naming and tracking these forms, ascribing local being to them; i.e. their local being is ‘fiction’ but it is ‘useful fiction’. It is based on symmetry wherein what we see is a rotating pinwheel with a ‘centre’ (a central ‘eye’), however this symmetry belongs to the rotating flow field and the notion of a ‘local rotating pinwheel’ or ‘local system’ is our own made-up notion that we impose on our own system of thought and language that is in no way imposed on nature.
But in the case of ‘human beings’ as ‘local material entities’, we have a much harder time ‘letting go’ of thoughts of a reality that puts foreground figures or ‘local beings’ and ‘their dynamics’ into precedence over the ‘dynamic ground’ of the energy-charged flow-plenum, in spite of the fact that modern physics, and our own experience-based intuition, is telling us that ‘nonlocal human becomings’ matches the full body of evidence better than ‘local human beings’. With the case of ‘local hurricane beings’ or ‘local cells’, we can not only listen but actually ‘hear’ the argument of John Stuart Mill “every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the local existence of the object defined”, a process which, applied to the symmetry of a rotating flow, allows us to invent a local rotating pinwheel with ‘its own centre’, a ‘local being’ or ‘local form’ that surely did NOT exist prior to our observing it AS SUCH.
What resists in the case of seeing ourselves as ‘a local human being’ is presumably ‘our ego’ since the more humble Amerindian has no problem in understanding himself as ‘included in nature’ (in the unfolding spatial-relational flow-plenum) and in a condition of innate interconnectedness with the winged ones, the finned ones, the rooted ones, the two-leggeds, the four-leggeds etc., rather than ‘being apart from the rest’ as in the rationalist thinking of Western (and post-aboriginal) cultures. The rationalist-Darwinist (total fiction according to Nietzsche) idea that man is the crowning glory of evolution is radically opposed to the understanding that ‘the ground is primary’ in the dynamic figure-and-ground gestalt of the energy-charged plenum of space.
In other words, what stands in the way of the view of reality of the pragmatist/conventionalist and preserves the view of reality in terms of local being of the ‘realist’ is ‘ego’.
It is ‘ego’ from whence comes the dis-including, absolutist ‘moral authority’ of the Judge who looks down on the thieving ‘Robin Hood’, that makes the Judge forget about having stolen the lands, the geese that lay the eggs, from underfoot of the once-free peasants, and in his judgment and condemnation, reinforce the notion that ‘thieving’ is an act that is locally originating within the ‘thief’ driven by nothing other than his internal intellect and purpose, … just as the virtuous people amongst whom the Judge counts himself, take control over their own internal intellect and purpose and turn them to productive doer-deed enterprise that delivers benefits for oneself and the entire community. Such a ‘world view’ understands the health and welfare of community solely in terms of the doer-deed actions/interactions of the ‘local beings’ that populate the community and thus define community as space which is otherwise empty, where not locally occupied by doer-deed agents (as in Ayn Randism, a ego-exalting belief system).
The remainder of the essay is in two parts which the reader can put together herself. The intuition-exercising-gymnastics involved in integrating the two parts seems to bring to the surface the materialism-transcending (rational thought-transcending) version of ‘reality’.
Part I deals with our changing view of space and matter, which is explored by way of a critique of Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘morphogenic resonances’ since this gets into the two different ways in which we can understand how ‘fields’ transcend matter. In this part, we have the question of the relationship of the ‘local form’ with the ‘spatial plenum’; i.e. whether the ‘local form’ is defined by the spatial plenum or whether the spatial plenum is defined by the local forms, or whether neither of these either/or options prevails. This is the problem of ‘figure’ and ‘ground’ and their relationship within the concept of ‘gestalt’. As Sheldrake points out, the genes in our cells are not a sufficient explanation for how the form of the embryo develops. ‘Genes’ are more like the components of a television set which do not go so far as to explain the picture on the tv, which comes from the ‘field’ that the tv is included on. How does the regenerative capacity of the newt work when it grows a new lens for its eye when its eye is damaged? That is, when the eye lens originally develops, it grows inwards from the tissue covering the eye, but when a damaged lens is regenerated, it grows from cells along the edge of the iris. It’s as if there are ‘plans of the eye’ accessibly to the regenerative process that are not only available when the organism undergoes its original development, but are somehow accessible later on.
Part II deals with our common (in the Western culture) approach to bringing a diverse multiplicity of views into a common view. Here we run into the issue of the relationship between ‘content’ and ‘context’, ‘inhabitant’ and ‘habitat’; i.e. whether the context is defined by the content or whether the content is defined by the context (or, whether the habitat is defined by the inhabitants or whether the inhabitants are defined by the habitat. This is similar to the question in Part I and the point of the essay is that it is easier find an answer to Part II and from considerations of symmetry, the solution to this question in Part II can provide the answer to the symmetric question in part I.
The order of the two parts is not critical but my gut feel is that the Rupert Sheldrake piece is better served up first.
Part I Two Ways of Understanding How ‘Field-Based World View’ Transcends ‘Materialist’ World View
The essence of Sheldrake’s theory (‘morphogenetic fields’, ‘morphic resonances’) is that modern physics has shown that ‘fields’ transcend ‘materialism’; i.e. matter is secondary to field.
What is ‘at play’ here is the way in which we understand ‘space’; i.e. our traditional western assumption is that ‘space’ is an absolute fixed, empty and infinite [rectangular] void populated by local material ‘beings’ that move and about and interact in this ‘euclidian’ operating theatre which, where it is not occupied by local material beings, is empty’.
This is the materialist view which has been transcended by ‘field theory’ in modern physics. References to our moving beyond the materialist views are many, and here are a few, by Einstein and Poincaré;
‘Space is not Euclidian’ … “Space is a participant in physical phenomena” … “Space not only conditions the behaviour of inert masses, but is also conditioned in its state by them.”, … “the recognition of the fact that ‘empty space’ in its physical relation is neither homogeneous nor isotropic, compelling us to describe its state by ten functions (the gravitation potentials g(μ,ν), has, I think finally disposed of the view that space is physically empty.”…”Relativity forces us to analyze the role played by geometry in the description of the physical world.” . . . “A thrown stone is, from this point of view, a changing field, where the states of greatest field intensity travel through space with the velocity of the stone” —Einstein.
“Space is another framework we impose upon the world” . . . ” . . . here the mind may affirm because it lays down its own laws; but let us clearly understand that while these laws are imposed on our science, which otherwise could not exist, they are not imposed on Nature.” . . . “Euclidian geometry is . . . the simplest, . . . just as the polynomial of the first degree is simpler than a polynomial of the second degree.” . . . “the space revealed to us by our senses is absolutely different from the space of geometry.” . . . Henri Poincaré, ’Science and Hypothesis’.”
Ok, modern science; i.e. modern physics, since modern biology and modern psychology etc. have not yet gone through any materialism-transcending rebirth which reduces local material being to something secondary, where ‘material forms’ no longer imply ‘local being’ but are instead visual eye-candy for human observers. Thus, ‘human beings’ live on in the new view as ‘human becomings’ (storm-cells in the flow, the flow being the ceaselessly innovatively unfolding spatial-relational energy-charged plenum of space, concisely referred to as ‘the becoming’ and/or ‘the spacetime continuum’).
So, the first part of this package that your mission, should you accept it, is to integrate, is this understanding that field transcends materialism, and as you will see when you get into this ‘part I’ of the integration project, there are two ways in which we can understand ‘field transcending matter’; ‘with or without the notion of ‘aether’ (space as energy-charged flow-plenum).
To give a flavour of what is involved in this choice, consider the form of the iron filings that develop in the presence of a magnetic field. Think of this of this ‘form’ or ‘pattern’ that the magnetic field seems to have, in the context of the pinwheel form of the hurricane in the flow of the atmosphere. In that case, as Gabor’s quantum physics compliant communications theory would say, the rotating field is the reality while the rotating pinwheel (vector) form is mere ‘appearance’ (schaumkommen). That is, the flow of the atmosphere, animated by solar irradiance and polar-equatorial thermal energy concentration differentials, induces circulation in the overal spatial-relational atmospheric plenum. What we ‘see’ when we look at this, is the ‘rotating pinwheel’ which is the assertive material aspect which is secondary to the invisible, nonlocal spatial-relational field dynamic.
If we start to build an understanding of dynamics from the local forms such as the pinwheel form of the hurricane which is material based (circulating water vapour droplets based), we are going to lose sight (we are going to stop taking into account) the originating source of the dynamics which is the ‘flow’ in which the rotating pinwheel is a ‘ripple’. This view of ‘form’ as ‘ripples in the spatial-relational energy-charged plenum of space’ is where Schroedinger, Poincaré, and Bohm are ‘coming from’, which is not the same place as Sheldrake is ‘coming from’; i.e. Sheldrake holds that ‘local form’ is ‘real’ rather than ‘apparition’ that forms in the mind of the observer, like figures that one sees in the flames of a bonfire.
The discussion of Sheldrake’s theory, which brings out the alternative view of how ‘field’ can transcend ‘matter’ is found in Component I below.
A LOT … in our understanding and worldview and consequent social dynamic, DEPENDS on whether we hold ‘form’ to be ‘real’ or ‘apparent’. This is the ambiguity that arises in Part I which could resolved by what is required to integrate Part I and Part II.
[Note: Elaboration on this Part I can be found in Part I Reference Notes, below]
* * *
Part II Two Ways of Evolving a Common View or a Coordinated Social Action From A Collection of Individual Perspectives
Our observations and experience derive from our unique situational inclusion in the ceaselessly, innovatively unfolding spatial relation dynamics of the energy-charged spatial plenum.
This ‘situational inclusion’ is responsible for our ‘individual perspective’; i.e. we have no way of sampling everyone’s experience of unique situational inclusion. Philosophers argue about how to ‘transcend’ or ‘combine’ individual perspectives to get a world view that might be shared generally. The Amerindians used the ‘learning circle’ as a tool to help them overcome this fact that individuals, because their situational inclusion in the spatial unfolding is unique, have their own unique views of the world. In the ‘learning circle’, each participant speaks from the heart and makes no attempt to theorize about the world and respectful listening without comment or question is the prevailing ethic, and after the talking stick has been passed around the circle and everyone has had the chance to share what is important to them, in their own unique situation within the unfolding spatial becoming, each participant has access to a kind of multi-perspective synthesis, or a-perspectival view of the world (a perspective-integrating view that transcends one’s individual perspective).
The ‘western’ approach to bringing together multiple perspectives into a common view is not approached in the same manner as the Amerindians and the ‘learning circle’ but is instead addressed with a ‘voting’ procedure.
If one acknowledges that each idea as an item of content is like the figure in the figure-and-ground gestalt that is ‘the child of the ground’, then each idea as it is presented by an individual embodies the situationally included perspective of the individual, and is not, therefore, a stand-alone, thing-in-itself, item of content.
While the Amerindian ‘learning circle’ approach to integrating multiple views so as to evolve a common understanding implicitly takes this into account, the western ‘voting’ approach implicitly presumes that the ideas/views offered by individuals are indeed ‘items of content’ that ‘stand on their own two feet’ (such views are ‘rational’ views) so that the evolving of a common view from multiple views is approached through a majority voting process. One of the problems here is that the assumption that expressed views ‘have stand-alone meaning’ is in denial that what is NOT said in presenting the view is the situational perspective of the experient. The literal/factual description of Jean Valjean’s criminal act by (a) the apprehending policeman and (b) Jean Valjean’s friend (all that the Judge wants to hear) will be more or less the same. Meanwhile, the situational perspective, the view from the ground of the gestalt that the literal/factual figure is the child of, the ‘inclusional view’ that brings meaning from the fullart historical development of the act, will be very different in those two cases.
The de-situationalized ‘rational views’ that fail to wrap back around and include the observer (Judge) within them are ‘absolute’ views and after a common view is evolved by a ‘voting process’ that establishes the common view as ‘the majority view’ (that of a jury or electorate), the ‘absolutism’ of the view brings with it a ‘moral authority’ as in ‘this is the way it is and we must act accordingly’. As Nietzsche points out, the fiction of ‘being’ brings on this ‘moral authority’ associated with imputed ‘objective truth’. The observer who dis-includes himself from the space that he is observing, that reports on ‘the truth of what is going on out there’, ends up with an ‘absolute’ factual ‘reality’; a view THAT IS AS IF FROM GOD since this ‘rational view’ has been purified of all observer-involvement and is 100% one-sidedly ‘out there’ and 100% explainable in terms of the ‘local beings’ ‘out there’ in the observed space (the observers see themselves with the neutrality of surveillance cameras) and their ‘locally originating, intellect and purpose-directed behaviours’.
The God-like ‘moral authority’ that comes with the ‘rational, objective, observer-dis-including view’, which is amplified by the ‘majority voting’ process, gives rise to the ‘Christian nationalism that Nietzsche complains of, which brings out the ‘herd instinct’ wherein one feels security in being amongst a large number of others. Thus the evolving of a common view and the evolving of a coordinated social dynamic by way of rational views and the majority vote process is seriously flawed, both by the synthetic ‘moral authority’ which comes with this approach, and with the ‘herd instinct’ that encourages people to become ‘part of a majority’ rather than ‘thinking for themselves’.
[Note: Elaboration on this Part II can be found in Part II Reference Notes, below]
* * * end of discussion, beginning of reference notes * * *
Part I Reference Notes;
Sent: February-05-11 3:35 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Fw: Rupert Sheldrake – The Morphogenetic Universe
You might call Sheldrake a biological platonist (downward causation).
Establishment science, as you know, is aristotelian (upward causation).
. . .
You might call Sheldrake a biological platonist.
Establishment science, as you know, is aristotelian.
Sheldrake has substantial scientific evidence.
Rupert Sheldrake – The Morphogenetic Universe
1:20:27 – 2 years ago
In 1981 Rupert Sheldrake outraged the scientific establishment with his hypothesis of morphic resonance. A morphogenetic field is a hypothetical biological field that contains the information necessary to shape the exact form of a living thing. A presentation at the Biology of Transformation Conference in 2007.
Also just google on rupert sheldrake.
From: ted lumley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: February-05-11 12:59 PM
To: ‘email@example.com’; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Subject: rupert sheldrake, morphic fields/resonances
sheldrake identifies two ways of interpreting ‘fields’ (starting from faraday’s musings);
(a) the invisible structure of space (einstein, general relativity)
(b) the aether or the subtle substance of space (poincaré, schroedinger, bohm)
sheldrake’s morphic fields and morphic resonance goes with (a) [once one assumes (a) one has to come up with something like ‘morphic fields’]
einstein and poincaré differed on which of these assumptions to go with, and this difference brings in questions of perception; i.e. poincaré believed that we could not trust visual observation of form since we impute the notion of ‘multiplicity of forms’ when our experience informs us of the continuum of the energy-charged plenum of space (as in ‘the relativity of space’)
schroedinger also (and ralph waldo emerson, and heraclitus and nietzsche) viewed ‘being’ as ‘schaumkommen’ (appearances) and assumed that ‘becoming’ was primary.
in other words, they did not impute ‘reality’ to ‘forms’, but suggested that the observer imputes discreteness to forms, as nietzsche says, as a convenient fiction that enables us to ‘know becoming’ since ‘becoming’ is too elusive on its own to talk about.
everything that sheldrake says, about flocks of birds, schools of fish, and all of the other examples he discusses, assume that ‘forms’ (in the plurality) are ‘real’ while a schroedinger, poincaré, nietzsche, would say that ‘forms’ are ‘idealizations’ that we cannot confuse for ‘reality’. (i.e. they are like ‘storm-cells’ in the energy-charged spatial-relational plenum aka ‘becoming’)
in emerson’s terms (which agree with nietzsche’s), the ‘genius of nature’ or ‘will to power’ that is resident in the energy-charged plenum of space “not only inhabits the organism but creates it”. one can visualize this in terms of storm-cells in the energy-charged plenum of atmosphere; i.e. what is ‘real’ is the overall spatial plenum of flow (ceaselessly, innovatively unfolding spatial-relational flow) and the ‘forms’ that we ‘see in the flow’ are local and plural by our own imputing of ‘being’ to them. this ‘being’ of the ‘forms’ is not ‘real’ and ‘out there’ but is what we project on the continually transforming spatial-relational plenum.
there is thus no need to invent ‘morphic fields’ and ‘morphic resonances’. such a requirement comes about only if we impute ‘reality’ to the ‘forms’ and deny our subjective role in imputing reality to that which impresses us as ‘local’ and ‘multiple’.
‘resonances’ are certainly the essence of the energy-charged plenum and the source of gathering and regathering forms, as has been hypothesized since pythagorus, so there is no disagreement with sheldrake in his summary wherein he states that fields transcend ‘materialism’ and the fields explain the ‘interconnectedness of space’ and why ‘the brain is not where it is happening’.
as schroedinger pointed out, if we assume that visible forms are real, then our theory of the evolution of form has to bottom out in a mathematical framework; i.e. probability. probability is not ‘real’ but a ‘logical framework’ as schroedinger commented;
“What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances). … Let me say at the outset, that … I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum physics held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody.” – Erwin Schroedinger
as bohm also says, ‘forms’ are ripples in the energy-charged plenum of space.
sheldrake follows the path of einstein rather than the path of poincaré and schroedinger, by assuming that ‘forms’ are ‘real’; i.e. he follows what nietzsche calls ‘the fiction of being’.
sheldrake’s exercise is therefore to try to explain ‘the evolution of forms’. this is like explaining the evolution of storm-cells in the atmosphere. these forms are not ‘real, local entities’ that ‘evolved’, they are patterns in the overall flow that we impute ‘local being’ to, and in so doing, impose a ‘being-based’ foundation to reality (to our world view). the alternative is to assume that reality is the ceaselessly innovatively unfolding energy-charged spatial-relational plenum, and that ‘forms’ or ‘being’ are ‘useful fictions’ (nietzsche) that allow us to ‘talk about’ ‘becoming’ in terms of ‘beings’. but though we talk about the world dynamic in terms of the ‘fiction’ of ‘beings’, this is an expedient since, as in the buddhist parable of wind/flag/mind, ‘becoming’ is not something we can directly talk about, though it is what we directly experience, and which our ‘intuition’ informs us of. (our logic requires ‘being’ to give it traction).
so, there is more than one way to accept the material-transcendence of field that explains the connectedness of the world, sheldrakes, which imputes ‘reality’ to ‘forms’ is one, and schroedinger’s, poincare’s, emerson’s, nietzsche’s, which assumes that ‘forms’ are ‘schaumkommen’ that we impute local being to by way of thought and language (both ‘fictions’ in nietzsche’s view), is the other alternative that sheldrake alludes to in his opening discussion of faraday’s musing, then ignores.
my own experience and intuition resonates with the materialism-transcending views of schroedinger, poincare, emerson, nietzsche, rather than those of sheldrake.
* * * * *
Part II Reference Notes
Anarchistnews.org post re ‘voting’ (as a means of discovering how much support there is for individual items of content) and ensuing thread of commentary
emile – Sat, 2011-02-05 04:39
voting assigns hierarchical superior-to-inferior value to items of content (acts, comments) as if these fragments were meaningful ‘in their own right’. voting-on-content; i.e. ‘out-of-context value-assessment’, is what identifies the man who lashes out once as an expression of an entire life of frustration in an oppressive system, as a ‘criminal’. does the quality of the community-dynamic he is included in, which brews up his act, come under assessment at the same time in the voting-on-items-of-content practice? no, it does not.
voting thus establishes hierarchical (superior-inferior) value for items of content (e.g. comments or acts of a member of a group) as if the value/quality of the group dynamic is unrelated to the value/quality of the ‘item-of-content’ act or comment.
the implication is that the value of items of content (acts or comments) can be assessed ‘absolutely’, as in ‘moral judgment’ of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (a God-like judging).
the majority that arises in the voting process where items of content are valued ‘in their own right’ therefore become the moral majority. at the same time, the quality of the group dynamic which spawns the items of content (spawns the items of action or commentary) judged absolutely-in-their-own-right has absolute impunity and protection from the assessment process.
(philosophically, this assumes that the group dynamic is the sum of individual-enacted items of content, rather than acknowledging that items of content are relative to [in conjugate content-context relation with] the context they are situationally included in).
voting on items of content (acts, comments) as if their value were ‘absolute-in-themselves’ is a way of establishing a ‘moral majority’ and endowing them with absolute powers of judgment (the ‘tyranny of the majority’). the quality of the group dynamic will therefore ‘go’ wherever ‘the moral majority take it’; e.g. to an increasingly oppressive and dysfunctional group dynamic or an increasingly incoherent and dysfunctional group thinking, which spawns increasingly frequent and more violent acts and critiques, which continue, by the voting process, to be judged absolutely as ‘items of content in-their-own-right’ (as in God-like ‘moral judgment’)
items of indivdiual-enacted content (acts, comments) cannot IN REALITY, be understood ‘in themselves’ out of the context of a parenting milieu (= the group dynamic), therefore they cannot be ‘valued’ as ‘items of content’ ‘in themselves’ (an ‘absolutist’ assessment or ‘moral’ assessment).
so what does ‘voting’ do if it does not, cannot, establish the value of an item of content (an act or comment) ‘in-itself’? what voting does, is to establish and give purificationist powers to a ‘moral majority’ as we see in our current authoritarian society (e.g. ‘christian nationalism’). the moral majority assesses individual items of content such as dissident acts or comments, ‘in-their-own-right’, ‘absolutely’ (by ‘moral assessment’) so that, for example, a grossly out-of-balance/dysfunctional group dynamic which spawned the items of content never, itself, comes under scrutiny and assessment.
imagine how ‘idiotic group thinking’ that may arise in different groups can and does become, thanks to an implicit or explicit voting process which assesses ‘items of content’ as if ‘in their own right’, continues to flourish and become increasingly idiotic. again, the inevitable result of voting is not the assessment of value of items of content in-their-own-right (such absolutism cannot be confused for ‘reality’) but the establishment of a purificationist moral majority that protects any sort of group thinking, idiotic or otherwise, from scrutiny and value assessment, since dissent, either in the form of acts or comments which are inevitably ‘relative’ to the group dynamic or group-think, cannot be assessed as if their value was inherently ‘in-themselves’ (such absolutist assessment self-anoints the assessor to God-status; i.e. gives him moral authority).
the trouble with voting-based purification of acts and/or comments is that our assessments can only come from our unique and particular situational experience or ‘individual perspective’; e.g. “we should be proud of what we have achieved as an intelligent and capable collective” (so the reasoning goes). “we are a hard-working and a generous and benevolent people and those who act against us and who critique our god-blessed nation/society, are not with us but against us, and we must purify ourselves of those who want to bring our system down. that is, we must be ever-vigilant, launching moral judgment guided policing actions as necessary to punish, correct and/or disable/eliminate those who act to bring our system down. we must protect and preserve our rich and valuable heritage, the result of the labors of love of generations of honorable forebears.”
voting doesn’t/cannot establish the value of items of content-in-themselves. all voting can do is establish a ‘moral majority’ that indemnifies its own actions and ideas by treating ‘items of content’ (acts, comments) that are, in fact, relative to the group dynamic, as if their value/meaning is assessable ‘in-their-own-right’. ‘morality’, the self-anointing with God-like powers of value judging, is the device that justifies this absolutist mode of assessment; i.e. ‘voting’ and ‘morality’, working together, are a recipe for social dysfunction.
Fuck ME, for once I agree with Emile.
Voting will only enforce labels like TROLL. the majority says you are, so you…………………..ARE
doesn’y matter if you “think” you are a performance graffiti artist, you are just a troll at least the majority thinks that, no get away from our clique filthy beast!
I agree with what you’re saying, but hate the way you say it. You really need to learn to make your posts less lengthy and absurd.
Here’s emile’s post, only without all the pomo bullshit:
Voting enables the tyranny of the majority over the will of the minority. if 100 people vote and 51 say one thing and 49 say the other, too bad for the 49 because their voice doesn’t count.
See how easy that was emile?
Now you try.
take off your dumbing-down blinders. of course we know how voting works as a mechanical procedure, what we’re concerned with is how voting contributes to the evolving of a common collective understanding and/or how it contributes to the evolving of a coordinated social dynamic. would you like to comment on that? i.e. is the introduction of voting on isolated items of content (isolated comments or isolated acts) a sensible way to improve the evolving of our common understanding and/or a sensible way to achieve a coordinated social dynamic?
But this voting doesn´t make any decisions, it just displays the opinions of non anonymous people, like wiggling yer fingers at a consensus meeting when someone says fuck the police.
so if voting ‘doesn’t do anything’, why do we do it? to give our limbs exercise? and if it ‘does something’, what does it do? could it, perchance, influence the evolving of a common view or coordinated action by way of the ‘security that derives from being one amongst many’ (herd security), or is that a silly notion?
chances are, emile does nothing remotely revolutionary but use his/her brain to dismantle abstract concepts and lord them over others with confusing intellectual lingo. Wait Wait …I can already hear you in your pompous New England accent ” ‘some ideas need intellectual language’ stop dumbing everything down’ ” etc etc….
No I’m not doing that. I’m saying, you are a beauracrat by nature, one who likes to play mind games and in reality, that usually translates to slightly irritating, overly analytical windbags.
But hey … then again maybe I’m wrong and I’ve got it all twisted. Who knows.
ok, it’s shoot the messenger time again, … the exit route of convenience that comes with squandering all your reasoning potentials on the manufacture of superficial KISS-quips. (and yes, this is return fire but that’s only because while my interest is in continuing on the high road of discussing the real issues, this is the only door you leave open)
no, we’ve always left the door of “emile not posting pomo bullshit” open, you just refuse to walk through it. So instead, you’ve taken a sledgehammer and knocked down a wall and called it “the only door left open”.
you’re rhetoric is wandering, wandering, wandering, … slithering away into the swamp of irrelevance (that you call home?)
what we’re concerned with is how voting contributes to the evolving of a common collective understanding and/or how it contributes to the evolving of a coordinated social dynamic. would you like to comment on that or not?
Most of us have already passed Anarchy 101 and have no need to have these conversations for the millionth time in an online forum with other anarchists. We don’t all get off by rephrasing common sense in the most verbose way possible.
‘these conversations’ as you call them, are not conversations, your aim is to ‘summarily dismiss’ and lock out; i.e. in spite of the unlimited space on an internet forum or ‘bulletin board’ for any number of parallel dialogues amongst people with particular common interests, interjections such as yours represent refusals to engage and to instead negate and block out whatever does not interest you and thus to control the overall network of threaded dialogues. you do this by comments that not only do not make the slightest attempt to engage, but which seek to heckle and drown out, to kill what might otherwise sprout up on the broad space of the bulletin-board/forum. personally, i have no desire to control the forum space and as is easily seen, make comments selectively where i have particular interest in the topic in the hope of stimulating some interesting philosophical discussion. my interest is in engaging, not in drowning out and locking out, and surely the space of this internet bulletin-board/forum is ample enough to accommodate a rich and diverse assortment of parallel dialogues, so when you speak of ‘most of us’ and what your interests are and are not, what makes you conclude that there is no room in this discussion space, for anything that is outside of what your ‘most of us’ happen to be interested in, and thus to take it upon yourself to purge the space of anything other that what you and your ‘most of us’ find interesting?