Reality-Check: A Quiz for the Metaphysically Inquisitive
Answering the following questions may give some insights on how solid is your grasp of reality.
1. Would you say that the following statement is true; “The earth’s human population has grown significantly over the past 12 millennia”?
2. Since the space on the surface of the earth that humans inhabit is finite, would you say that the growth of human population has a simultaneous reciprocal effect on the space ‘between’ humans’; i.e. on the ‘quality of the living space’? [the back-reflecting of the infusing of new inhabitants in a finite habitat is called ‘reciprocal disposition’ and/or ‘reciprocal compression’]; i.e. is it true to say that the growth of population is SIMULTANEOUSLY ‘reciprocally complemented’ by change in the habitat?
hint: the following figure shows graphic examples of ‘reciprocal compression’ where the inside-outward radial/spherical growth of cells [bee-cells, soap bubble cells, convection cells in a heated fluid layer] confront their own outside-inward [resisting/receptive] back-reflecting pressure.
3. Zeno’s paradox of the arrow says that the arrow always occupies the same space when it is at rest and that that which is in locomotion is always, at any moment, occupying the same space, thus the flying arrow is motionless. Do you agree that there is a ‘paradox’ here that may impinge on how we view the world dynamic?
the lava lamp;
4. The denser [white] of two immiscible liquids of slightly different density initially occupies the lowermost position in the lamp but the white liquid in the lowermost position receives a greater amount of thermal energy from the light bulb in the base. Heating expands the white liquid and its density becomes less that the density of the red liquid and it therefore moves upwards until it cools, becomes more dense and re-descends [the immiscibility giving a great variety of forms to the convecting white fluid]. If we refer to the white blobs as inhabitants and the red fluid as the habitat, do you believe that the ‘dynamics of the inhabitants are independent of the dynamics of the habitat’?
5. Would you agree that the statement is true that [when the heat source is turned on], the body of white fluid ‘grows’ and there is growth in the white blob population?
6. Given that the white fluid and the red fluid are immiscible, do you agree that it is true that the two fluids are ‘mutually exclusive’?
7. Given that the dynamics of the white ‘inhabitants’ and the red ‘habitat’ are in reciprocal complementarity [‘conjugate relation’], do you agree that it is true that the dynamics of the habitat and the dynamics of the inhabitants, in this case, are ‘interdependent’?
8. Philosophically, it has been argued [e.g. by Nietzsche, Poincaré, Wittgenstein] that language has us believing in ‘Fiktions’ or ‘mediocre truths’ by language’s power to ‘subjectize’ ‘things that we consider in themselves’, making them over into notional ‘things-in-themselves’ that we then treat [psychologically] as ‘local, material beings’ in-their-own-right and which we [psychologically] deem to be capable of ‘their own behaviours’, even if they are, like hurricanes, ripples in a flowing medium [‘Dinge an sich selbst betrachtet’ … rather than… ‘Dinge an sich’]. Do you agree that there is truth in the statement that it is ‘Fiktion’ to impute ‘growth’ and ‘motion’ and in general, ‘doer-of-deeds’ capability to the white fluid as if these dynamic behaviours were fully and solely the behaviours of the white fluid, as Nietzsche suggests in his following aphorism;
“Our judgement has us conclude that every change must have an author”;–but this conclusion is already mythology: it separates that which effects from the effecting. If I say “lightning flashes,” I have posited the flash once as an activity and a second time as a subject, and thus added to the event a being that is not one with the event but is rather fixed, “is” and does not “become.”–To regard an event as an “effecting,” and this as being, that is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.” – Nietzsche, ‘Will to Power’, 531
9. Nietzsche’s view of evolution is one in which ‘growth’ on the part of some ‘thing’ is merely ‘visual appearance’ and that our experience informs us that that ‘the transformation of spatial relations’ is the ‘real’ dynamic. Do you agree that Nietzsche has a point of view worthy of consideration, where he says;
“And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income …” –Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power’, 1067
10. Mach’s principle suggests the relativity of space and matter as can be expressed: “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.” Would you say that this ‘Mach’s principle’ expression of dynamics in terms of conjugate habitat-inhabitant relations [i.e. in term of relativity] is a more comprehensive statement of the lava lamp dynamic than formulations in term of ‘what the white fluid does’ such as ‘it grows in size’, ‘it divides into blobs’ etc. which ‘subjectize’ one aspect of a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation dynamic [i.e. a ‘dynamic unity’]. Would you also say that this Mach’s principle expression better captures the dynamic of the bees, the soap bubbles and the convection cells than formulations that ‘subjectize’ such as ‘the bubbles grew and as ‘they’ grew in number and size, ‘their’ form evolved from spherical to hexagonal.
11. Would you agree that Darwin’s theory of the development of organisms ‘subjectizes’ the development of species, implying that the source of development is inside-outward asserting? That is, do you agree that Darwin’s theory implies the ‘mutual exclusiveness’ of ‘habitat’ and ‘inhabitant’, much as in the case of the ‘mutual exclusiveness’ of the red and white immiscible fluids which then allows us to impute the sourcing of development to the inhabitant as a ‘thing-in-itself’? [i.e. a ‘subject-animated-dynamics’ view]
Note: An issue is shaping up here in terms of whether bodies/fluids which are ‘materially independent’ [mutually exclusive as with immiscible fluids] can at the same time be dynamically INTERdependent [mutually included within a common dynamic, in the manner that multiple storm cells are included in atmospheric turbulence induced by differential solar irradiance].
12. Lamarck and Nietzsche defined an overall dynamic; i.e. an overall ‘evolution’ in which outside-inward fuelling influx [endosmosis] and inside-outward fountaining outflux [exosmosis] are in conjugate relation, as in the candle flame analogy of Heraclitus. ‘Matter’ itself is described in quantum physics as the confluence of energy ‘source’ [endosmosis] and energy ‘sink’ [exosmosis]. No question at this point, just an observation.
13. In the lava lamp dynamic, due to the psychological ‘attraction’ of the blobs, it appears as if the blobs are the ‘active inhabitants’ that are ‘doing the moving’ within a passive habitat even though the dynamics are ‘relative’ and arise from the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation. Rather than speaking in the doer-deed terms of ‘what the blobs do’, would you agree that it would be more truthful to suspend imputing dynamic behaviour to the white fluid and its blob-making and the blob dynamics, and to instead describe these dynamics in terms of the transformation of spatial relations? Do you agree that ‘situation animated dynamics’ is a more apt description than ‘subject animated dynamics’?
14. Howard Zinn, in ‘A People’s History of the United States’ observes that the colonizers of North America, in their historical narratives, describe their actions in the one-sided inside-outward doer-deed terms of creating a wonderful new world in the Americas. At the same time, the colonized indigenous peoples, in their historical narratives, describe the actions of the colonizers as destroying a wonderful established world on Turtle Island. Both agree to the reality of living in a common space that is undergoing transformation of [spatial] relations; i.e. relations of one with another and the land they share inclusion in. Do you agree that the actual dynamic has been more like the lava lamp wherein the colonizers and colonized might be seen as [largely] immiscible cultures, and where one appears to be the ‘subject’ that dominates the ‘animating’ of the dynamic [hence ‘subject animated dynamics’], even though the dynamics are interdependent [as in Mach’s principle] and that the ‘situation animated dynamics’ [transformation of spatial-relations] is the more comprehensive view? That is, do you agree that just as in the case of the evolving of hexagonal forms of the soap cells etc. it is a Fiktion to ‘subjectize’ the dynamic and make it appear that the changes are determined one-sidedly, from the inside-outward asserting of the white blobs or the white men etc.
15. In question 14., it is apparent that we can form perspectives from the point of view of the ‘red liquid’ and/or the ‘white liquid’ since the two are ‘immiscible’ [materially independent] , imputing subjecthood to either one and/or the other in forming the respective perspectives. Do you agree that the dynamics of two mutually exclusive material bodies can be ‘mutually inclusive’ (i.e. ‘relative’ i.e. ‘interdependent’), and that the subjectification-based perspectives of growth, development, populating, of a particular ‘species’ is ‘Fiktion’ or as Nietzsche’s alternatively put it; ‘mediocre thinking’?
Note: While matter is considered a local curvature in the energy-charged spatial-plenum, physicists ‘split’ on whether to ground physics [to ground the formulation of theory] on matter [atoms] taken to be ‘real’. The ‘material realists’ won the battle while those like Mach and Schroedinger who believed in a purely relational space [where change/evolution is by way of the transformation of spatial relations] drew the short straw;
Ernst mach (1838-1916) realized that science (physics) was becoming ‘the church of science’ and quit ‘the church of physics’ when the self-appointed high priests who were hijacking the concept of a ‘relational space’ [transformation as the world-dynamic] where he was confronted with the demand that he commit to a belief in the reality of atoms or be excommunicated. Albert einstein, one of the self-appointed high priests, was commissioned to ‘convert mach’ so that he too would be one of the faithful, but as his notebooks show, he refused . Schroedinger (1887 – 1961) refused on the same grounds as mach had refused. Schroedinger said;
“What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances). …” “… The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist. …” “Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, 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.”
16. Once we have defined a word like ‘Poland’, we can add verbs and predicates to it, to make it appear that Poland is a doer of deeds rather than as an artefact of transforming spatial relations, but if we look at the history of the ‘secularized theological concept’ signalled by the word ‘Poland’ , we can see the power of the word ‘Poland’ in implying ‘local existence’ or ‘local being’ or ‘the buck starts here’, sufficient ‘sign-ifying’ power to have us accept ‘pure idealization’ in the form of ‘local being’, and relieving us of having to search for a source of meaning for ‘Poland’ in the continually transforming spatial-relational dynamic it is inextricably bound up in. Would you agree that, thanks to the power of ‘words/language’, we tend to accept ‘idealizations’ of ‘being’ as if we understood ‘explicitly’ what was intended when such understanding is missing or extremely tenuous?
Note: ‘Poland’ is like the electron in quantum physics, the probability is that it is there somewhere and we bring it into local explicit existence in the process of actually measuring it. This was schroedinger’s complaint; that ‘particles’ are not real, they are ‘appearances’ that are concretized in the measurement process.
17. Given all of the above questions, and the answers you have given, would you agree that the initial statement, which is clearly a ‘subjectified, doer-deed’ formulation, is ‘Fiktion’; i.e. “The earth’s human population has grown significantly over the past 12 millennia”, or, at best, ‘mediocre thinking’? [since, as modern physics contends, ‘space is a participant in physical phenomena’, and since, as discussed above, ‘growth’ is impossible in a world of spatial-relational transformation in the sense that transformation is a more comprehensive understanding of ‘growth’ and/or ‘decline’. [in a holodynamic, there is ‘noTHING to grow’ since a holodynamic is based purely on the coherency of a continually transforming web of spatial relations].
Note: Humans as continually transforming dynamics forms included in the continually transforming flow [spacetime continuum] are not only ‘no less human’, they are ‘more worldly’ and ‘naturally human’ by way of avoiding the psychological alienation brought on by a belief in a dualist self-other, inhabitant-habitat split. Neither do they lose ‘individuality’ within a dynamical figure/ground gestalt, since they retain their unique perspective [as the colonized indigenous peoples did] without having to confuse it for ‘reality’; i.e. without inverting the natural primacy of sensory experiencing of inclusion in the flow [inclusion in the continually unfolding spatial-relational transformation] over ‘reasoned perspective’ as expressed via historical [time-based] doer-deed narrative.
18. More generally, do you agree that all statements that impute doer-deed capability to particular subjects are Fiktion, and that the one-sided notion of ‘growth’ is Fiktion, since transformation of spatial relations is the more comprehensive understanding of dynamics?
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How did you do? In other words, how consistent with one another and your overall world view do you feel your answers were? Is ‘your reality’ aka ‘your world view’ a ‘robustly’ constituted, fully coherently-reconciled-within-itself plenum or are there a few ‘loose threads’?
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Zeno’s paradox has never been resolved and is not resolvable as long as the scenario is one that imputes absolute being to material objects which in turn requires the imputing of ‘absolute space’ for the absolute being to reside in. That is, Zeno’s paradox is rooted in the notional ‘absolute existence’ of a ‘material object’ [e.g. ‘the arrow’], a notion that depends upon ‘absolute space’. Zeno’s proof that motion is impossible dissolves when one envisages space as ‘flow’ [energy in spatial-relational transformation] and material objects as ‘ripples in the flow’ [Bohm, Schroedinger]. Motion is then [in the case of a ‘relational space’] the fundamental substrate, rather than something derived secondarily such as ‘the activity of an absolutely existing material being’.
Language equips us for ‘subjectizing’ ‘visually independent’ forms such as the red and white immiscible liquids and/or the red-man and white-man’s immiscible cultures/populations. Even though these categories of things are independent in a material sense, does not mean they are ‘independent’ in a dynamic sense. Thus our habit of re-rendering dynamics by way of subjectification of the materially independent forms gives rise to the fictional notion that these materially independent forms ‘have their own behaviour’. Language-based historical narratives impute to them ‘their own growth’, ‘their own evolution’ [Darwinism] and ‘their own behaviour’, all of these concepts being ‘Fiktions’. Thus, the historical narrative of the red-fluid or red-man is bound to be irreconcilable with the historical narrative of the white-fluid or white-man.
These historical narratives are ‘rational perspectives’ [‘reason-based perspectives’] that do not jibe with our experience of inclusion in a common dynamic habitat. That is, we ‘reason’ that since the red and the white are ‘immiscible’ or ‘materially independent’ that they are also ‘dynamically independent’, and thus we impute to each ‘their own behaviour’. But our sensory experience informs us that when red and white share inclusion in a common space, both contribute to a ‘reciprocal compression’; an outside-inward accommodating [spatially variably resistive/receptive] inflow-ence that is conjugate to their inside-outward asserting outflow-ence. In other words, our experience informs us that Mach’s principle is actually operative: “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.” It is ‘reason’ concretized by the subjectifications of language that converts the ‘appearances’ of dynamic forms to notional ‘truths’. That is, ‘reason’ notionally converts ‘things-considered-in-themselves’ [transient forms in the flow that appear to be things-in-themselves] into, quite literally, ‘things-in-themselves’.
“Reason” is the cause of our falsification of the testimony of the senses. Insofar as the senses show becoming, passing away, and change, they do not lie. But Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction. The “apparent” world is the only one: the “true” world is merely added by a lie.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’
Now, we can either operate out of our sensory experience or we can direct ourselves out of our reason, and in general we mix up the deployment of these two [situation animated dynamics and subject animated dynamics] . The one-sided inside-outward asserting reason of the commanding officer comes down through us and instructs us to drop napalm on a vietnamese village. Our sensory experience of shared inclusion in a common living space dynamic, however, includes an outside-inward orchestrating influence which is always working on us in-the-moment to moderate [so as to cultivate and sustain balance and harmony] our inside-outward asserting behaviour. The world of the reasoned perspectives of politician and commanding officer, they claim, is the ‘reality’, the ‘way things really are’, the ‘true world’, a collection of facts assembled in historical narrative form that can be extrapolated beyond the present into the future to depict what will happen without any interventions into the unfolding narrative; i.e. reason gives us a predictive model of what is going to happen if we don’t pre-emptively stop it or at least deflect or warp it. Historical narratives are ‘reasoned models’ based on the subjectifications of language [the creating of independent ‘beings’] which are in doer-deed terms such as; ‘what the red man is going to do’ if ‘we white men do not deflect, pre-empt or suppress his initiatives’.
But, given that our white and red movements are relative/interdependent, our move by one to pre-empt the anticipated move of the other becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just because we are materially independent or ‘immiscible’ does not mean that our dynamics are independent. Our experience informs us that the only ‘real’ dynamic is the continuing transformation of spatial-relations that we share inclusion in. The subject animated dynamics brought to us by language and based on one-sided inside-outward asserting doer-deed ‘constructive actions’ are ‘Fiktions’. These ‘Fiktions’ or ‘reasoned perspectives’ are clearly very useful if they are not ‘confused for reality’. The approach of the colonizer culture has been to use the ‘reasoned perspective’ of the most powerful [‘La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure’ – Lafontaine], taken as ‘reality’ or as a ‘believed truth’, to organize individual and collective behaviours in the colonizer communities. Whether this ‘reasoned perspective’ is imposed by a dictator or by way of a ‘democratic process’, it uses a piecemeal ‘historical narrative’ to centrally direct, coordinate and organize the community dynamic, and insofar as it over-rides the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation, it disrupts the natural quest for cultivating and sustaining balance and harmony in the web of relations between self, other and the land. The Amerindian tradition, rather than organizing by way of central direction, let the mirrored-back-from-the-centre [of the learning circle] experiences of the people be the primary orchestrator of their individual and collective behaviours.
figure: note that the little circles are people’s heads as seen from above. -(left) the colonizer culture’s selection of one reasoned perspective amongst many, -(right), the Amerindian learning circle where experiences are shared and their connective confluence is mirrored back from the centre to inform the individuals and the group.
The statement “The earth’s human population has grown significantly over the past 12 millennia” is ‘Fiktion’. It may be ‘useful Fiktion’ if it is not confused for reality, but it is quite literally ‘Fiktion’. The more comprehensive ‘truth’ is that our living space dynamic is a dynamic continuum/unity, a continual spatial-relational transformation. The colonizer culture used a common ‘reasoned perspective’ as a centrally-directed organizing theme; i.e. ‘the construction of a new world in the Americas’. The one-sided inside-outward asserting notion of ‘construction’ obscures its own flip side, ‘destruction’, the two of which are inseparable conjugate aspects of the ‘real dynamic’ of our sensory experience which is spatial-relational transformation. The colonizers largely ignored the greater reality of spatial-relational transformation and thus they ignored the ‘destructive flip side’ of their ‘constructive’ dynamic.
This same ‘mistake’, the ‘double error’ of subjectification that Nietzsche calls it, is rife in the/our globally dominating culture. Corporations and sovereign state governments take for the truth, statements of doer-deed production/growth such as “The earth’s human population has grown significantly over the past 12 millennia”. It is this ‘double error’ of subjectification that encourages corporate chiefs and sovereign state presidents and their operational machinery to mistake for ‘real’ the one-sided inside-outward asserting dynamics of ‘growth’ and ‘construction’, and the [technology-amplified] magnitude of this mistake, fostered by our reliance on reasoned ‘truth’ by way of language constructs, is slowly rising into public awareness. For example, as Frédéric Neyrat observes in ‘Biopolitics of Catastrophe’
“In extending his living space in a manner that destroys the space of others, he destroys his own space. Not initially his inside space, his ‘self’, but his outside space, this real outside-of-self which nourishes his ‘inside-of-self’. The protection of this outside space now becomes the condition without which he is unable to pursue the growth of his own powers of being.”
Neyrat is warning of the ‘shooting-oneself-in-the-foot’ action of the ‘whites’ when they, because of their material independence/immiscibility, REASON that their dynamics are independent of the dynamics of the ‘reds’ [others]. Meanwhile, our experience is continually informing us of our conjugate relation as per Mach’s principle which acknowledges the relational/transformational nature of our living space dynamic.
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