INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE AND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (“carnal knowledge”) WHICH INFORMS WHICH?
Marie Antoinette was “born with a silver spoon in her mouth”. She did not know what it felt like to be ‘starving’ and could not be coming from sensory experience when she heard complaints from starving people’ (This is a caricature but the archetype is relevant’).
There is CONFUSION in our society arising from how different people’s behaviours respond differently to the mix of intellectual knowledge and sensory experience.
WE WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS have an evident predisposition to putting rational intellection into precedence over sensory experience, in contrast to the EAST, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
Consider the different concepts of JUSTICE in the EAST versus the WEST. In the EAST, the emergence of dissonance is understood as NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT (relational) while in the WEST, the emergence of dissonance is understood as LOCAL and EXPLICIT (causal). Should we expect to be able to solve for a LOCAL source of a disturbing experience? In WESTERN JUSTICE, YES, … In EASTERN JUSTICE, NO! The difference between INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE and SENSORY EXPERIENCE (CARNAL) KNOWLEDGE comes into play here since our sensory experience informs us that life’s interactions can be like the circus game of Bumper Cars where a local Perpetrator-Victim duo can be LOCALIZED by making those two intellectual designations though the real source of the dissonance is NONLOCAL and UNKNOWABLE, as David Bohm affirms is the message of Modern physics
This note explores the peculiar option of WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS which elevates the explicitness and certainty of INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE into an UNNATURAL PRIMACY over the innate uncertainty of SENSORY EXPERIENCE.
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As someone who attended a months long trial for a nephew (physiotherapist) charged with sexual assault, such charges being laid by several women long after the alleged fact, following a public urging by the RCMP for people to ‘come forward’ who felt they had ‘been sexually abused’ in the course of physiotherapy by my nephew (a kind of television news pre-conviction). What was evident to me was the innate potential for different interpretations of an inter-personal experience. One woman patient among many who spoke in support of my nephew’s character stated in a sworn written statement said that while physiotherapy gave her the healing she needed, it also came, for her, with inseparable sexual stimulation. Listening to many hours of testimony from the thirty or so complainants that had been encouraged to formally file charges of sexual assault, the fuzziness of such experiences rose to the fore.
It struck me that some of the accusers ‘felt dirty’ because of how the physiotherapy stimulated them and made them suspect that the therapist’s touching was for the dual purpose of his getting his own personal sexual stimulation.
The testimony impressed me with the fact that while some women had no problem with sexual stimulus associated with physiotherapy (as an unintended ‘side-effect’), others were inclined to believe that they were being ‘used’ at the same time as they were being beneficiaries of therapeutic relief from their muscular pain.
When the allegations were firmed up into sexual assault charges, the trial had to deal with the uncertainty of the alleged sexual arousal of the physio and, if that were true, whether the patients were being ‘used’ by the physio to procure sexual arousal or whether the sexual arousal, if it were present, was an involuntary side-effect that was in no way representative of a diversion or deflection from the goal of healing the patient.
In all of the cases, there had been no charges at the time and patients had continued with multiple additional sessions in almost all cases. In the testimony, many stated that they had responded to the police public appeal fearing that there were others with more serious claims.
I am revisiting this ‘case’ because it points to a basic non-resolvable ambiguity between intellectual knowledge and sensory experience. The woman who wrote the sworn statement in the information gathering phase saying that she experiences sexual arousal during physiotherapy sessions implied that what was most important for her was TRUST in the honesty and integrity of the physiotherapist-patient relation such that such effects were fully ‘incidental and there was no ‘exploitation’ in either direction In other words, what counted was the honesty, openness and harmoniousness of INTENTIONS.
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The subject of this essay is broader than this one example in that it concerns INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE AND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (“carnal knowledge”) and the question of WHICH INFORMS WHICH?
Why should we be interested in exploring this question?
In my view, we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS have been moving deeper into an unnatural INVERSION wherein INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE is rising into an UNNATURAL PRIMACY over SENSORY EXPERIENCE based INTUITION.
This AMBIGUITY in whether INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE is the PRIMARY informer of UNDERSTANDING or SENSORY EXPERIENCE is the PRIMARY informer of UNDERSTANDING is a general question that crops up in many situations. For example, as an ‘older’ person, I have to train myself to AVOID using language that was ‘OK’ when I was growing up which has become INAPPROPRIATE as in ‘politically incorrect’ in the current ‘modern’ era. The changing pressures of politically correct speech continue to evolve; e.g. see, for eample; https://languagemonitor.com/category/politically-incorrect/.
The philosophical question arises as to whether the person that utters a ‘politically incorrect’ expression is ‘guilty’ of an offense to public propriety WHETHER OR NOT WITH INTENTION TO OFFEND. As we age, youth are acculturated with new standards as to what is ‘proper’ and ‘improper’, so as in the beginning of this note, we come back to the ambiguity as to whether something ‘offensive’ can be ‘offensive in the eye of the beholder without being ‘offensive in its own right’.
We speak of the “Freudian slip” (an unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings as for example, when a child in school accidently calls her teacher ‘mom’). This suggests that our NAME-LABELLING may ‘package’ emotional content so that if we are quote/unquote “WHITE” and use the word NEGRO, it may come as a package including sense emotions. The person who is referred to by this ‘label’ may wish to encourage the switch to an alternate “LABEL” such as “BLACK” so as to distance the NAME from a negative or inappropriate impression that she and others feel is ‘triggered’ by the “LABEL”. Those persons NOT AFFECTED by such negative impressions (e.g. BLACKS who feel free to call one another “NIGGER” as a kind of gesture of being a brother or sister in their experiencing and dealing with oppression) are able to use such language without fear of reprisal and in fact as an expression of solidarity.
INTERWOVEN INTO ALL OF THIS DISCUSSION is the evident DIFFERENCE between the WORD as a simple conveyor of information as in RATIONAL INTELLECTION, or, … the WORD as a TRIGGER for INTUITIVE RESURFACING of SENSORY EXPERIENCE; e.g. of how certain others may be SHOCKING (invoking EMOTIONAL REACTION) simply by way of OVERT UTTERANCE. The “PURELY RATIONAL” computer-like person may hold back on the meaning of the word and wait for context, accepting it as a brick in a building which is the still-under-construction intended meaning wherein the entirety of the construction conveys meaning that is greater than the sum of the parts, and which one ‘can’t get to’ if one stops and debates the meaning of each of the component parts.
To STOP and OBJECT to a word such as, for example, NEGRO, fails to consider the continuing delivery of context … e.g. the full sentence being … “NEGRO …… is a term for people ‘of Colour’ who we now refer to as BLACKS”.
Philosophically, this is like the problem of the physiotherapist placing his hands close to the ‘private parts’ of his scantily clad female client. His explicit touch may be one NOTE in a symphony of movements which, on its own, can be construed as DIS-CHORD, but which is ‘made good’ by the harmony of the overall context. In fact, any single NOTE, because it breaks the SILENCE, IS DIS-CORD and it is only when one opens up to the notes brought into connective confluence that the real message of HARMONY becomes manifest. If the third NOTE or TOUCH is interpreted as DIS-CHORD as ‘sharp’ or ‘flat’ and the proceedings are suddenly stopped with a HEY BUSTER, WHAT ARE YOU DOING! … there is no evidence ‘on the table’ of any aesthetic symphony in the making. The symphony may include a number of sharps and flats but does it ‘rise above that’? Is it something innately more, and is the real intent the ‘something innately more’? How would we evaluate that hypothesis unless we experienced the full symphony instead of getting hung up on a single bothersome sharp or flat?
The musician may make numerous ‘slips’ that he could be JUDGED on, but the overall work could be a work of great art and genius regardless.
The title of this NOTE is INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE AND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (“carnal knowledge”) WHICH INFORMS WHICH?
The references to ‘POLITICAL CORRECTNESS’ point to a trend wherein relational context is OVER-RIDDEN by immediate judgement of an ITEM OF CONTENT which stops the music, so to speak, before CONTEXT, which is the real message, has sufficiently formed to supersede and RISE ABOVE explicit items of CONTENT.
This is not some kind of exception, this is insight into the evolving of WESTERN CULTURE as conditioned by language and grammar usage and in particular by the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR as cited by Nietzsche, which is a means of reducing REALITY from the NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT as associates with our sensory experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, to the ABSTRACTION of the LOCAL and EXPLICIT as associates with our RATIONAL-INTELLECTUAL construction of a SUBSTITUTE REALITY that we can use to shape our (MALE, ASSERTIVE) actions and developments.
The SUBSTITUTE REALITY is a notional WORLD OUT THERE that is available to our VOYEUR VISUALIZING which is what we capture in language and which we process with our rational intellectual function to put into a “visualizable” format. For example, ‘The TOWN is GROWING” … is a DOUBLE ERROR based construction consisting of a LOCAL and EXPLICIT REPRESENTATION (it is BOUNDED in SPACE and TIME) WHICH IS VOYEUR VISUALIZABLE yet WHICH IS NOT REALITY.
Here, I would like to point out what is intended by VOYEUR VISUALIZABLE. This is a FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO form of ‘seeing’ wherein the viewer is NOT included in what is being viewed. This is not REALITY since, in reality, we are included in the world we are looking out at. M.C. Escher’s lithograph ‘Print Gallery is a depiction of a man in a gallery viewing a print of a seaport, and among the buildings in the seaport is the very gallery in which he is standing. As Robert Burns said in “To a Louse’, … if only we could see ourselves as others see us.
Evidently, our vision is unable to capture our sensory experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, the Wave-field aka the Tao in which we and everything is included.
REALITY is this all-including ‘TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPE” which is NOT VISUALIZABLE with our VOYEUR SENSING CAPABILITY because it is purely RELATIONAL and unbounded in SPACETIME.
PROBLEM! — WE WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS are putting RATIONAL INTELLECTION featuring DOUBLE ERROR based ABSTRACTIONS such as ‘The TOWN is GROWING’ as our OPERATIVE REALITY!
The GROWTH of a “LOCAL’ and “EXPLICIT” THING-IN-ITSELF such as ‘the TOWN’ … IS NOT REAL in the sense of ‘affirmable by way of our sensory experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum’, but the abstraction “THE TOWN IS GROWING” CAN serve up an impression of a SUBSTITUTE REALITY.
That the “LANDSCAPE IS TRANSFORMING” … “IS” AFFIRMABLE by our sensory experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, but since it is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT (purely relational) is it INEFFABLE in LOCAL and EXPLICIT terms, unlike the DOUBLE ERROR formulation – ‘The TOWN is GROWING’.
So, when the virgin with the Ph.D. in sexual relations speaks WITH AUTHORITY as to the reality involved in sexual relations, a problem arises akin to Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cake’ in that Marie only knows in a RATIONAL INTELLECTUAL SENSE what it is like to be starving to death; i.e. she has a VIRGIN like knowledge of starving and no CARNAL knowledge (no sensory experience based knowledge).
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE BECAME A SOCIETY OF MARIE ANTOINETTE’S, MANAGING OUR AFFAIRS ON THE BASIS OF INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE?
What would happen if we used our intellectual knowledge of GROWTH oriented technologies to continue to GROW AGRICULTURAL and INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION?
NOTA BENE: “GROWTH” and “PRODUCTION” are not “REAL”, … they are one-sided MALE-ASSERTIVE RATIO-based ABSTRACTIONS that impute LOCAL SOURCING of EXPLICIT PRODUCTS. What is REALLY going on is TRANSFORMATION which is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT and it is only by way of a DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR that we CONSTRUCT a SUBSTITUTE REALITY featuring the GROWTH of the LOCAL and EXPLICIT as in the expression ‘the TOWN is GROWING’ which is in no way compatible with ‘the TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPE’.
The former makes use of the DOUBLE ERROR abstraction of NAMING-and-GRAMMAR to fabricate REPRESENTATIONS in terms of LOCAL things-in-themselves with notional LOCAL powers of sourcing actions and developments.
We might excuse ourselves for this WESTERN CULTURE trickery designed to deliver a LOCAL and EFFABLE-because EXPLICIT version of the REALITY of our sensory experience which is INEFFABLE because NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT (“the Tao that can be told is not the true Tao”) if we openly acknowledge that it is good only as a tool of INFERENCE of a REALITY that lies beyond its representational reach.
The Tao that we are ‘telling’ is a SUBSTITUTE REALITY and this is fine if we constrain its use FOR INFERENCE of a REALITY that lies beyond reach of EXPLICIT language. But that is NOT the case and self-deception is arising from our employing of this SUBSTITUTE REALITY as our OPERATIVE REALITY, the MISTAKE that we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS are currently making.
We can make our choice between ‘The LANDSCAPE IS TRANSFORMING’ or ‘the TOWN is GROWING’, but we can’t have it both ways. ONLY ONE OF THESE IS AFFIRMED BY OUR SENSORY EXPERIENCE! The “OTHER” i.e. ‘the TOWN is GROWING’ is DOUBLE ERROR abstraction as pointed out by Nietzsche (he uses the example ‘Lightning flashes’). The DOUBLE ERROR allows us to impute LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments so that we can construct representations of reality that start LOCALLY, allowing us to SIDESTEP the INEFFABLE NONLOCALITY and IMPLICITNESS of the TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPE.
The “EAST”, inferring our indigenous aboriginal, Taoist/Buddhist and Advaita Vedanta brothers and sisters, has chosen a different way to SIDESTEP the INEFFABILITY of REALITY as inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, this being the HOLOGRAPHIC IMAGINE approach as achieved in the SHARING CIRCLE wherein a multiplicity of participants contribute accounts of their respective experiences, the coherency in the interference of the multiple accounts being then brought into collective connection, and understood as a reality that includes the participants within it. Modern physics researchers such as David Bohm have pointed out the NECESSITY of having a ‘holographic’ tool such as this to inform us on our experience of inclusion in the SPACETIME continuum.
This approach, necessary when trying to REPRESENT a fluid reality starting from a base of words with frozen/persisting meaning, is called (by philosophers of modern physics such as Geoffrey Chew and John Wheeler) BOOTSTRAPPING (aka the Wittgenstein ladder approach) where, in spite of being forced to use a base of words with fixed meaning to try to get to something intrinsically fluid (the Wave-field), one can deploy such words in a manner so as to suggest a purely relational (fluid) dynamc;
Geoffrey Chew]: “when you formulate a question, you have to have some basic concepts that you are accepting in order to formulate the question. But in the bootstrap approach, where the whole system represents a network of relationships without any firm foundation, the description of our subject can be begun at a great variety of different places. There isn’t any clear starting point. And the way our theory has developed in the last few years, we quite typically don’t know what questions to ask. We use consistency as the guide, and each increase in the consistency suggests something that is incomplete, but it rarely takes the form of a well-defined question. We are going beyond the whole questionandanswer framework.”
We WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS, and the reader can easily check this out, continue to EMPLOY THE DOUBLE ERROR based SUBSTITUTE REALITY ….. AS THE OPERATIVE REALITY, thus, for example, the abstraction of GROWTH is treated as if GROWTH were something REAL. HOWEVER, if GROWTH is treated as REAL, then TRANSFORMATION cannot be treated as REAL since the GROWN and TRANSFORMATION are not reconcilable in that GROWTH requires the splitting of FIGURE-and-GROUND-into-TWO so as to allow the FIGURE to GROW “IN ITS OWN RIGHT”.
TRANSFORMATION, on the other hand assumes that FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-ONE so that the FIGURE can move or grow or develop INDEPENDENTLY of the GROUND. This understanding requires QUANUM LOGIC; i.e. the BOTH/AND logic of the INCLUDED medium, whereas GROWTH requires BINARY LOGIC, the EITHER/OR logic of the EXCLUDED medium.
NOTA BENE: HERE LIES THE PROBLEM!
The FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO REPRESENTATION OF REALITY, which employs the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR that generates LOCAL and EXPLICIT REPRESENTATIONS constituting a SUBSTITUTE REALITY, … is only good for INFERENCE of the real reality of our sensory experience which is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT as is the basic nature of the transforming relational continuum, … HOWEVER (and this is the problem issue), we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS ARE EMPLOYING THE SUBSTITUTE REALITY AS OUR OPERATIVE REALITY!
THIS IS DYSFUNCTIONAL! WHEN WE TAKE “GROWTH” to be “REAL” as in ‘the GROWTH of AGRICULTURE and INDUSTRY, we ignore the SHRINKAGE of WILDERNESS, or in other words, we ignore the REALITY of TRANSFORMATION wherein there can be no such thing as GROWTH.
GROWTH is a RATIONAL concept; i.e. it is based on the abstraction of RATIO. If we have a Farm, the MERRYDALE FARM that is 40 acres of cultivated land, we say that it can GROW to three times its size; i.e. to 120 acres. Note that we regard it as the same FARM; i.e. it is still the MERRY DALE FARM but the FARM has GROWN. IS GROWTH POSSIBLE?
NO! NOT WITHOUT THE CONJUGATE SHRINKAGE (or ACCOMMDATION in the female sense) of the WILDERNESS LANDS.
If we don’t mention the conjugate female ACCOMMODATING and go solely with the MALE-ASSERTIVE GROWTH, we are DECEIVING ourselves by imputing that GROWTH is something REAL. We WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS may GET PAID in ratio based proportion to this GROWTH which could be an incentive to think in RATIO-based terms and thus support a GROWTH ECONOMY which, as we now know, is riding roughshod over the REALITY of TRANSFORMATION wherein in the LOCAL and EXPLICIT GROWTH of cultivated land is matched by a conjugate shrinkage of a notionally reciprocal WILDERNESS, the two being, BOTH OF THEM, ABSTRATIONS that CO-INFER TRANSFORMATION of the LANDSCAPE that is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT. Note that the LOCAL and EXPLICIT derived from ANOINTING RATIONALLY DESIGNATED LAND with BEING by way of the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR.
Who would argue against the premise that this construction of a SUBSTITUTE REALITY could not be a tool of great intellectual utility? But that is not the POINT being discussed herein. The point is that we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS have fallen into the habit of treating this SUBSTITUTE REALITY as the REAL, OPERATIVE REALITY, rather than simply as a tool of INFERENCE of reality that lies innately beyond the reach of LOCAL and EXPLICIT descriptors as in the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR.
There is AMBIGUITY here. If I speak to you in terms that ‘the HURRICANE is SOURCING the stirring up of the ATMOSPHERE’ (the view corresponding to the CONSERVATIVE masculine assertive pole), you might actually understand this in terms of ‘the ATMOSPHERE is SOURCING the stirring up of the HURRICANE’ (the view corresponding to the LIBERAL female seductive pole). (The HURRICANE is rising up like an erect penis but is that just secondary to the seductive pull of the ATMOSPHERE?)
TRANSFORMATION lies beyond reach of both MALE and FEMALE abstractions as it is inherently ANDROGYNOUS.
WHAT IF WE GET STUCK IN EITHER THE MALE-ASSERTIVE (conservative) or FEMALE-INDUCTIVE (liberal) MINDSET? Since NIETHER representations are REAL, there is no direct way to permanently resolve this POLARIZATION.
These OPPOSING POLES of ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are both based on the belief in LOCAL SOURCING of one or other of the two polar opposite varieties. We can see the forming of the HURRICANE in the ambiance or ATMOSPHERE of the social collective and as the HURRICANE FORMS (notice how language invites me to speak in the male assertive perspective) that ATMOSPHERE gathers around it and supports and encourages its growth. OR DOES IT? Perhaps there is a SEDUCTIVE influence in the ATMOSPHERE that excites and organizes the forming of the HURRICANE such that the asserting HURRICANE is secondary to seduction of the ATMOSPHERE.
UNDERSTANDING REALITY IN TERMS OF TRANSFORMATION that is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT (relational) resolves the MALE-assertive — FEMALE-seductive AMBIGUITY but only with the LOSS of the concepts of LOCAL and EXPLICIT BEING and SOURCING OF ACTIONS as given by the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR. That is, the polar concepts of MALE-ASSERTIVE and FEMALE-INDUCTIVE disappear with the shift of understanding to NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT TRANSFORMATION which is our sensory experience of what is going on with the LANDSCAPE before we open our mouths and start speaking in DOUBLE ERROR terms of TOWNS GROWING and HURRICANES stirring up the ATMOSPHERE and generally giving imputed REALITY to the MALE assertive. In this process, we DROP OUT the FEMALE SEDUCTIVE as if the MALE-assertive were sufficient and the FEMALE not needed as it indeed IS NOT in our DOUBLE ERROR (NAMING and GRAMMAR) mode of LOGICAL REPRESENTATION of REALITY as currently employed in our WESTTERN CULTURE ADHERENCY.
The WESTERN CULTURE “BIPOLAR DISORDER” of belief in BINARY LOGIC based representation of “RELALITY” manifests in the POLAR opposites of CONSERVATIVE and LIBERAL with their opposite views of SOURCING which will never be resolved since THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS LOCAL SOURCING whether by an individual or by a social collective. There is only TRANSFORMATION.
Once one comes to grips with what is going on here; i.e. the we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS are afflicting ourselves with a BIPOLAR DISORDER that manifests in the CONSERVATIVE—LIBERAL split and many other ways, which is made clear by Modern physics and by the understanding of reality in the indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, … the way is clear to move out of the entrapment in binary thinking.
However, it is our fixation on the presumed-real PATHOGEN as derives from BINARY THINKING, in the many senses that this manifests in our WESTERN CULTURE that locks us in to continuing PSYCHOLOGICAL ENTRAPMENT.
Note that BINARY THINKING supports INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE which often competes with how our SENSORY EXPERIENCE informs us of reality, as in the example of the virgin Ph.D. in sexual relations.
IN the EAST, sensory experience is informed by intellectual knowledge while the pattern in our WESTERN CULTURE has become SHOOT FIRST WITH INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE and ask questions later that probe SENSORY EXPERIENCE. Todays questions include, Does economic GROWTH implicitly take care of issues arising from putting GROWTH into primacy over sensory experience of TRANSFORMATION?
The answer, of course, is NO! GROWTH is INTELLECTUAL ABSTRACTION while TRANSFORMATION is the stuff of our sensory experience which leaves us flailing as with a loose sheet on a sail in the wind. GROWTH abstraction that is short of dimensions like the GROWTH of cultivated land as if on a sphere which we mistake for a flat plane and so forget that the GROWITH of cultivated land has a CONJUGATE which is the SHRINKING of Wilderness. GROWTH is HOPELESSLY SHORT OF DIMENSIONALITY as is needed for addressing the REALITY of TRANSFORMATION.
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INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE AND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (“carnal knowledge” WHICH INFORMS WHICH?
Hint: INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE IS “RATIONAL” as in ‘The TOWN is GROWING’ (sensory experience is the intuition of inclusion in TRANSFORMATION).