The Confusion in Reducing the Ineffable to the Effable
The Western Culture (Misguided) ‘Solution’ to the Problem of Ineffabie-ness of the Tao
How do we Western culture adherents make the Tao ‘effable’ so that we can talk about and share (some semblance of) our experiences of inclusion within it? As Heraclitus and other philosophers have noted, this is challenging because ‘everything is in flux, including we who are included in it’.
Ok, we know the Eastern approach to rendering the ineffable effable, and it is the same as modern physics; i.e. it is the poetic inference approach, as in modern physics ’Surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’. As Nietzsche also points out, we need to bring into connective confluence the views of many eyes and harvest the coherencies that develop in the confluence (the ‘holographic’ understanding). This is also the approach that is implicit in the ‘sharing circle’ of indigenous aboriginals.
NOW TO THE WESTERN APPROACH (i.e. the approach to rendering the ineffable Tao effable).
This approach, called ‘reasoning’ (popularized by Sir Francis Bacon in Novum Organum, sive indicia vera de Interpretatione Naturae), has been critiqued by Nietzsche, and well before him by Bishop Berkeley, in connection with the related development of differential calculus where we create a new foundation based on “the ghost of a departed quantity”. One can compare this to ‘forgiveness’ which, by annulling a hypothesized ‘wrong’ establishes, in a back-hand sort of way, the existence of the ‘wrong’. ‘Right’ versus ‘wrong’ is a binary concept that, while it is the foundation of ‘reason’ , is absolutist abstraction, which is why Nietzsche identifies ‘reason’ as a major source of social-relational dysfunction in Western culture adherency.
Far from the modern physics and indigenous aboriginal understanding which is in terms of the ‘Tao’ (the transforming relational continuum aka ‘wave-field’, …the Western culture adherent’s version of ‘reality’ is based on the abstraction of ‘thing-in-itself beings’. A ‘being’ or ‘thing-in-itself’ is an abstraction that we create by ‘differentiation’. This creation of ‘something’ from differentiating ‘opposites’ is critiqued by Heraclitus, but has nevertheless made it into the foundational base of Western ‘reason’. Notice that ‘reason’ is ‘abstraction’ that seems to give the Tao (wherein everything is in flux) a more ‘concrete base’, but where does this ‘concrete base’ of ‘reason’ come from? Or, we might ask, how does one ‘break into’ a flow continuum to establish a local fixed platform or ‘launching pad’ so that we are no longer at the mercy of our inclusion in a flow continuum that renders our experience ineffable? (speaking as a pre-literate human) “It would be great to be able to share our experience and learn from one another without having to personally undergo the experience (particularly the nasty and painful experiences).
Even if we had to ‘reduce’ and ‘approximate’ our ineffable experience of inclusion in the Tao, it would be very valuable to be able to find some means of effable sharing of our ineffable experience of inclusion in the Tao.
This is where ‘differentiation’ can play a role, as in the abstract world of differential calculus; i.e. by ‘taking a difference’ within the relational Tao-continuum, one can create an artificial, local, thing-in-itself base, to serve as a ‘foothold’ for locally re-starting (notionally ‘sourcing’) action and development. Language and grammar open the way for us to do this, … i.e. to suggest it via our intellectual abstracting powers. This is the ‘double error’ approach that we Western culture adherents have been using, as exposed by Nietzsche. Our first error is to use language-based ‘naming’ to impute ‘independent thing-in-itself existence’ and to conflate this (second error) using grammar to impute the power of sourcing actions and developments to the name-instantiated ‘thing-in-itself’ (the first error).
As Nietzsche points out, this ‘double error’ allows us to ‘break into the flow-continuum’ of our sensory experience and establish, in the intellect, a LOCAL double error-based jumpstart ontology with its own powers of ‘sorcery’. For example the nonlocal, non-being-based relational phenomenon of ‘resonance’ that we perceive as ‘duning’, thanks to the double error, becomes ‘the dune that is growing larger and shifting along the desert floor. OK, THANKS TO THE DOUBLE ERROR, NO MORE RELATIONAL TRANSFORMATION; INSTEAD (IN ITS PLACE AS A SUBSTITUTE), LOCAL THING-IN-ITSELF BASED SORCERY OF ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS.
—Step by step example of this reduction of the ineffable Tao of our sensory experience to an effable intellectual ‘reason’ based substitute. We start with duning which is resonance (a wave dynamic) that is inducing the gathering of sand into multiple lobular forms as implies the wave dynamic of ‘resonance’.
Step 1: We visually isolate a visual portion in the multi-lobe resonance feature which has been ‘made visible’ by sand and silt and flotsam that has been inductively gathered within the resonance (wave-field). Note that the wave-field is innately more than the stuff which is inductively gathered into it. For example, if we dump sacks of sand and dust into a resonance-space, the resonance pattern will ‘flesh out’ and become more visible (e.g. as in the Kundt’s tube experiment). Without the sand to give visible expression to the ‘duning’, the resonance field is nevertheless present, and by spilling more dust into the region, more of the resonance-form will become visible. The resonance is the primary reality while the visible forms that the resonance organizes, where material is available to be gathered and shaped by the resonance, are secondary.
Step 2. Language and grammar allow us to articulate what is going on here STARTING OFF BY NAMING A RELATIONAL RESONANCE LOBE (DUNE # 7) TO IMPUTE THING-IN-ITSELF BEING TO IT, AND CONFLATING THIS BY USING GRAMMAR TO IMPUTE THE POWER OF SOURCING ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS TO THE NAME-INSTANTIATED THING-IN-ITSELF. This is the ‘double error’ of language and grammar pointed out by Nietzsche.
Step 3. Constructing an intellectual effable pseudo-reality is now made possible through steps 1 and 2 so that we can reduce the ineffable Tao (the transforming relational continuum), within our language and grammar stimulated intellectual operations (NOTE that we are leaving the understanding that is coming to us directly from our sensory experience) to abstract intellectual ‘double error’ terms of name-instantiated things-in-themselves with powers of sourcing actions and developments. The resonance phenomenon (wave-dynamic) of ‘duning’ (resonance is something we can experience through sensory vibratory feelings of inclusion within it) is thus reduced to intellectual double error language and grammar-based abstraction. Psychological abstracting ability herewith hijacks control over understanding from our sensory experience of relational inclusion in the Tao, the transforming relational continuum. We allow this double error-based hijacking to redefine who we are; i.e. as Emerson points out, the tool runs away with the workman, the human with the divine.
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If we accept the base case as the Tao, (the transforming relational continuum) and the breakdown into local things-in-themselves with powers of sourcing actions and developments as ‘intellectual contrivance’ aka ‘reasoning’ to render the ineffable effable, then it would behoove us to explore how we might ‘mess up’ by literal intellectual acceptance of our ‘reason’ based (double error based) reconstruction.
While the ‘winnings’ we gain from synthetically ‘localizing’ dynamics, even though the Tao is a nonlocal dynamic, is ‘share-ability’ of a reduced-to-effable ineffable, there are also losses associated with the fact that the reduced reality, which is giving us the abstract intellectual impression of locally incipient sourcing of actions and developments is NOT REALITY; i.e. the Tao that can be told is not the true Tao.
IT BEHOOVES US TO UNDERSTAND THE DEAL WE MADE WITH THE DEVIL HERE to render the ineffable effable. (Mircea Eliade describes this Two-and-the One (English title) in ‘Mephistopheles et l’Androgyne’ (original French title).
In a transforming relational continuum (the Tao), there are no local starting points so we can’t explain things in terms of local actions and developments, however, the ‘double error’ allows us to impute ‘life’ and ‘death’ to flow-forms in the continuum so as to give us some intellectual traction within the Tao. ‘Naming’ (baptism) imputes ‘being’ while a ‘death certificate’ imputes the termination of being. The concept of ‘life and death’ enables the intellectual conceptualizing of local thing-in-itself being. Naming establishes ‘being’ while ‘living’ establishes the adjunct concept of locally sourced action and development. With this double error in place in the intellect, there is no longer any need to rely on understanding as associates with the Tao, the transforming relational continuum.
The binary pair of ‘birth’ and ‘death’ (beginning and ending) implies an ‘in-between’ stint of ‘living’, POPPING THIS INTERVAL CALLED ‘LIFE’ OUT OF THE TAO-CONTINUUM. THIS REDUCTIVE RE-CASTING OF THE TAO IN TERMS OF INTERVALS BOUNDED BY LIFE AND DEATH IS WHAT THE DOUBLE ERROR OF LANGUAGE AND GRAMMAR ACHIEVES.
IT IS AN INTELLECTUALLY CONSTRUCTED PSEUDO-REALITY that achieves what we were striving for, the rendering of the ineffable Tao in some or other effable form so that we could articulate and share our respective experiences of inclusion in the Tao and thus learn through the vicarious intellectual contemplation of the sensory experiences of others.
OUR ERROR IS IN SUBSTITUTING THE DOUBLE ERROR BASED INTELLECTUALLY CONSTRUCTED REALITY FOR THE REALITY OF OUR SENSORY EXPERIENCE, RATHER THAN USING THE FORMER AS A ‘WITTGENSTEIN LADDER’ FOR MAKING AN INFERENCE BASED JUMP TOWARD THE INEFFABLE WHICH LIES INTRINSICALLY BEYOND THE SCOPE OF REASON BASED (LOGICAL) ARTICULATION.
The tool runs away with the workman, the human with the divine. — Emerson
The tool of the ‘double error’ uses ‘naming’ (baptism) to jumpstart ‘the birth of being’, then ‘sorcery’ (the power of sourcing actions and developments), to animate the ‘living’ phase and ‘death’ to close out the period of ‘existence’ of the name-instantiated thing-in-itself. This intellectual abstraction (the ‘double error’) ‘breaks into’ the transforming relational continuum (the ineffable [because it is an uninterrupted transforming continuum] Tao) so as to reduce the flow-form in the flow-continuum to a name-instantiated thing-in-itself with a ‘birth’, ‘life-time’ and ‘death’. This language and grammar abstraction-based ‘animation’ of the relational form in the flow (eg. where ‘duning’ becomes ‘the dune that grows and shifts’) CHEAPENS OUR SENSORY MOTOR RHYTHM EXPERIENCE OF INCLUSION IN THE TAO, ‘reducing’ us and switching us over to a purely visual ‘voyeur’ sense of reality as if we were watching a stage-play or a film. We can describe this visual reality by naming the forms and notionally animating them with language and grammar, as if we are not included in a common space with them; i.e. as if we are in a separate observing space which is not visible ‘to us’ because we are ‘looking out’ from it, while what we can see ‘out there in front of us’ lies within an objective space which IS visible to us. This situation would be different if we had eyes on all sides of our head (or if we had a spherical body with eyes all over it) rather than on just one side.
In fact, we do have sensing capabilities on all sides of our head and body so we are ‘equipped’ for holographic sensing, however, how could we get more in touch with this omni-azimuth-sensory capability when our visual sensing, even though it is only bilateral and constrained to a ‘voyeur view, is giving us such impressive visual image information?
Our Western culture language and grammar constructions serve up this ‘voyeur space representation’. If we are included in the resonance (wave field dynamic) that is otherwise known as ‘duning’ we can FEEL (sense-experience-wise) this omni-azimuthal resonant organizing turbulence that is doing the organizing. As Mach has pointed out, this ‘holographic’ understanding requires more then the 3 dimensions of voyeur visual observation that we capture in terms of ‘the dune is growing larger and longer and is shifting to the East’. However, once we go beyond 3-dimensional visual representation, our sensory experience (e.g. of inclusion in the holodynamic Tao), while available, is no longer ‘effable’. This puts us in a quandary; i.e. 4+ dimensional holodynamic sensing (our sensing of inclusion in the Tao resonance/wave-field) is accessible, but our visual sensing is ‘effable’ and thus shareable. As Wittgenstein points out in his final proposition in Tractatus; Of that which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence.
Ok, sure, but should we just let go of and drop/forget about this ‘higher dimensional’ understanding and give the 3-D visual imagery priority in the shaping of our actions? Should we let ourselves be moved more by visualization based ‘reason’, or more by our overall sensing of inclusion in the holodynamic (the Tao)?
IS IT NOT ‘UNNATURAL’ TO GIVE PRECEDENCE TO VISUAL SENSING, WHICH IS INNATELY ‘LOWER IN DIMENSIONALITY’, OVER OUR SENSING OF INCLUSION IN THE TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM?
Our natural ‘inertial guidance’ sensing informs us of our inclusion in the Tao in a manner that visual sensing of ‘what is going on out there’ cannot. Much has been written about the ‘fourth dimension’; e.g. by Ernst Mach in The Science of Mechanics.
“An instinctive, irreflective knowledge of the processes of nature will doubtless always precede the scientific, conscious apprehension, or investigation, of phenomena. The former is the outcome of the relation in which the processes of nature stand to the satisfaction of our wants.” – Ernst Mach, ‘Science of Mechanics’ (introduction)
One way of using language to extract an innately limited, but effable 3D voyeur visual representation of 4D duning (the transforming relational space we are included in) is to invent the concept of thing-in-itself being, and the adjunct dynamics of ‘birth’, ‘life’ and ‘death’. Instead of the resonance phenomenon of ‘duning’ which is an ‘appearance’ or ‘apparition’ in the transforming relational continuum, we can use the ‘double error’ of naming to impute a locally existing thing-in-itself and conflate this with grammar to give the power of self-animation the name-instantiated thing-itself (e.g. ‘the dune is moving and growing larger’).
We can flag the dune with its name (dune A-17) and visually observe, photograph and document ‘its growth’, seducing our intellect to follow a path of intellectual focus that abandons the ineffable relational world of resonance (wave dynamics) and into another ‘reduced world of geometric things-in-themselves as in the abstract intellectual double error based 3D world of object making and animating. This intellectual abstraction divides the relational form in the Tao out of the Tao (the transforming relational continuum), converting it into a stand-alone ‘3D object’ by naming it, and employing grammar to equip it with notional powers of action and development. At some point, we may be asked to clarify the two end-points of the dune’s life-cycle; i.e. its birth and death. This is as blurry and obscure in the case of ‘duning’-reduced-to-‘dunes’ as it is in the case of ‘humaning-reduced-to’humans’’ (i.e. there is no ‘birth’ and ‘death’ in a transforming relational continuum aka ‘the Tao’, there is only emergence and submergence of relational form).
What has been done is the following. Resonance ‘shows up’ as a ‘wave-field’ as in ‘duning’ which can be intellectually reduced to a wave-train (which APPEAR as separate lobes that follow ‘one-after-the-other’, as if they are ‘things-in themselves’) from which we can ‘abstract out’ a ‘multiplicity of waves, as if the ‘lobes’ were ‘separate waves’ [intellectually abstracting out ‘a wave’ as a ‘thing-in-itself’).
This language and grammar supported intellectual reduction of purely relational ‘resonance’ pulls apart innately relational resonance induced wave-field lobes, abstracting these purely relational ‘lobes’ as ‘waves’ that our intellect captures (and uses in linguistic discourse) as abstract things-in-themselves named ‘waves’, which gives us a ‘first step’ on our way to localizing the nonlocal phenomenon of resonance.
So long as the ‘duning’ was understood as a purely relational resonance phenomenon, it could be understood as ‘one of the ways in which the Tao manifests, … but once we ‘objectify’ a ‘dune’ as a locally existing ‘thing-in-itself’, we oblige ourselves to come up with an explanation of ‘how it came to be’ in local terms. Since it has a ‘female’ and ‘male’ aspect (peak and trough), we might say that male and female conjugation are the source of the growing family of males and females in equal numbers. This ‘conjugal relation’ theory-of-reproduction satisfies our need to impute ‘local origination’, which is the primary mission in the quest to reduce the ineffable-because-nonlocal Tao, to effable-because-local terms.
If we search for abstractions capable of reducing the innate nonlocality of resonance to local instantiation, the option of ‘conjugation of opposites’ comes to the intellectualizing mind (the age-old ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ symbolized by the ouroborus, the snake-like form with ail-in-mouth which seems to be ‘issuing forth from itself’. This conjugate topology is congruent with the pervasive Western culture logic; i.e. the EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium which plays a foundational role in Western culture ‘reason’, the abstract Western culture tool used for understanding ‘reality’. ‘Reason’ is quick to pick up on the reduction of ‘duning’ as ‘resonance’ to ‘duning’ as the movement and growth of things-in-themselves instantiated by naming purely relational resonance lobes so that ‘duning’ reduces to ‘dunes’, things-in-themselves that develop and shift and grow and disperse. GOODBYE PURELY RELATIONAL RESONANCE, THANKS TO THE ‘DOUBLE ERROR OF LANGUAGE AND GRAMMAR’.
But by this ‘double error’ language and grammar ploy, we succeed in reducing the nonlocal-ineffable to the local-effable which means furnishes for us a very concise and explicit ‘reason’ based way of ‘sharing’ our ineffable relational resonance-based experience. Don’t forget, the cultures of the EAST manifest popular embrace of the approach to reducing the ineffable to the effable by another route which leaves in the non-locality’ based ‘fuzzy logic’ (the BOTH/AND logic of the included medium) of the wave-field (resonance-based) reality of our sensory experience.
Moving this discussion back from EAST to WEST again, the WEST employs the EITHER/OR logic of the excluded medium to effect (within the abstracting intellect) the ‘localizing’ of phenomena so that we can escape the ineffable problem as associates with non-language-filtered (raw sensual experience) of inclusion in the Tao intuited as a transforming relational continuum; i.e. now we talk about male and female (peak and trough) and claim that this conjugate pair ‘come together’ to give rise to more dunes on a continuing basis. NOW WE HAVE LOCALIZED THE NONLOCAL AND THEREFORE EFFABLE-IZED THE INEFFABLE TAO PHENOMENON SO THAT WE CAN REDUCE IT TO EFFABLE EXPRESSION IN DOUBLE ERROR TERMS. In order to reconstitute ‘reality’ in locally incipient terms, we needed this abstract concept of conjugation based reproduction, the ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ of the ouroborus that invokes IN THE INTELLECTUALIZING ABSTRACTION-CONSTRUCTING MIND, LOCAL ORIGINATION, the necessary foundation for effable-izing the ineffable-because-non-local immanence of the Tao (wave-field).
‘Reproduction’ through conjugation is one step forward in the effable-izing of the ineffable in that it ‘localizes’ the ‘nonlocal’. That breaks the origination of forms out of the transforming continuum on the front end, and the concept of death and decomposition can take care of the exiting ‘on the back end’ so that we have successfully overcome (in our intellectual language and grammar based abstracting though not in our sensory experience) the ineffable-ness of the Tao, through reducing the transforming relational continuum to terms of name-instantiated local things-in-themselves with their own powers of sourcing actions and developments, that are born, live, and die. [once the relational continuum is reduced to figure and ground or inhabitant and habitat, language and grammar can refocus on the dynamics of the inhabitants, as if realities constructed on the basis of inhabitants grammaticaly (ontologically) separate from habitat ‘makes sense’. This assumption gives rise to the ‘producer-product concept’ used as the basis of the Western culture ‘operative reality’. This one-sided abstraction has been built into Western language and grammar, so that the intellect accepts it as the ‘operative reality’, ignoring the reality of the Tao; i.e. of our inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, wherein ‘transformation is all there is’.
THE PRODUCER-PRODUCT DYNAMIC IS INTELLECTUAL ABSTRACTION STIMULATED BY LANGUAGE AND GRAMMAR. IN THE REALITY OF OUR SENSORY EXPERIENCE, WE ARE INCLUDED IN A TRANFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM (THE TAO) AS MODERN PHYSICS AFFIRMS.
Once we have the ‘producer-product’ logic as a talking point, a group of people can now ‘talk this up’, as Western culture adherents have done, then it can be supported as a common ‘invented reality’ that can be used to coordinate the actions of all those believing in it; i.e. all those believing in independent beings that are born and later die that are equipped with their own powers of sourcing actions and developments. This gets Western culture adherents out of the bind of not being able to share their ineffable experience because of its ineffable nature. In other words, the double error based invented reality incorporates the abstraction of local sourcing of actions and developments. This abstraction avoids the non-locality implicit in the Tao, and furnishes a pseudo-localizing of incipient actions and developments that reduces the ineffable Tao to something local, explicit and ‘effable’; i.e. a pseudo-reality that is ‘reason’-based, which the Tao, clearly is NOT.
Don’t forget, the Eastern culture adherents way of making an end run around the ineffable roadblock was by using the surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions to build a holographic sense of the inclusion in the Tao. The Easterners (indigenous aboriginals, Taoists/Buddhists and Advaita Vedanta) have not bought in to the Western culture kluge of the ‘double error’. Since the double error kluge to sidestep the ineffable roadblock gives rise to a ‘perceived reality’ that is a far cry from the actually experienced reality, the damages continue to rise even while pride in sorcery continues to mount. Recall also, that the double error based pseudo-reality, while it does establish ‘local incipience of actions and developments’ necessary for ‘effable-izing’ the ineffable, comes with the basic ambiguity of the Zen wind-and-flag koan which manifests as the conservative liberal polar opposition. Since Western reality achieves ‘localizing’ by way of the ‘double error’ that not only invents the abstract concept of local sourcing of actions and developments but splits apart inhabitant and habitat. There is nothing stopping us from using language and grammar to impute the power of sourcing actions and developments to any name-instantiated thing-in-itself,, whether a nation-in-itself or a human-in-itself. Does the man source the times (do the actions of the leader motivate and rally the masses), or do the times source the man (does the leader rise to the calling of the masses?).
As Zen has made clear, as well as modern physics, there is no such thing as ‘sorcery’ so the division into conservatives and liberals is groundless. i.e. check out the use of ‘source’ in the last sentence I the previous paragraph. The Tao, aka the wave-field aka ‘relational transformation’ does not entail the ‘sourcing’ of actions and developments, that being the abstract artifice of Western culture adherent language and grammar usage.
Modern physics doesn’t encounter this difficulty as Classical physics does since in the former, there is no name-instantiated ‘break out’ of the flow-form (birth/baptism) and no ‘re-presenting’ the flow-form as if it were a thing-in-itself. But Classical physics does struggle through this to ‘make up a good story’ to preserve the credibility of the ‘double error reduction’ by way of the ‘name-instantiated thing-in-itself’ being with powers of sourcing actions and developments’. In fact, this ‘abstract-based story constructing’ is otherwise known and revered in Western culture as ‘reasoning’.