The Western CULT[ivating] of BELIEF that ‘TIME IS REAL’
Yes, I AM asserting that ‘it makes sense’ to describe Western civilization as a CULT whose social behaviours are distinguished by its members having a ‘core belief’ that ‘time’ is something ‘real’.
No, this is not an esoteric argument and if you bear with me for just a moment, you can see clearly how it relates to that ‘something different’ about the now-globally-dominant Western civilization as compared with, for example, aboriginal cultures.
And yes, I do believe that this ‘issue’ is relevant to almost everything we see happening on daily news broadcasts and in our everyday lives and thus that we should be bringing it into our discussions on ‘the issues of our times’, and if we do not, we will be unable to understand these issues ‘in depth’.
How does this ‘belief in time’ reduce to some common terms that can give anyone of us ‘traction’ to talk about it?
An ‘easy entrée’ is to compare Western justice with aboriginal justice [restorative justice], as follows; [see also this critique of the physics community as sampled in Morgan Freeman’s narrated Through the Wormhole production: Is Time Real?’]
1. Western justice orients to the concept of ‘the behaviour of an individual [human, nation, or corporation etc.] and the JUDGEMENT of whether the individual’s behaviour is compliant with ‘moral’ and/or ‘legal’ standards of behaviour, as determined by the full community/collective.
2. Aboriginal justice [restorative justice], because it assumes that we are each strands in a relational web, orients to resolving conflicts that arise within the relational web. The full community must take responsibility for ‘restoring balance and harmony’, and there is thus no assumption that ‘individual behaviour’ can be isolated and judged. There is thus, for example, no possibility for a ‘majority’ or ‘powerful minority’, through a web of relations, to monopolize the land or the flow or resources so as to put a great tension on ‘the less powerful’ who may be starving or in some way disopportunized/disenfranchized to act in an unlawful manner and to be sentenced and punished for it while other members of the collective, because their individual behaviours are not breaking any laws [laws which assume that individual behaviours can be isolated], continue, with impunity, to contribute to dissonance in the social dynamic.
1. and 2. differ in the following way; (1.) does not include ‘space’ as a participant in the social dynamic while (2.) does include space as a participant. The concept of a relational web has ‘space’ built into it. The dynamics of a relational web can be expressed by ‘Mach’s principle’; “The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants”. The dynamic social space forming from a web of relations can nurture a strand in the web or bully a strand in the web by purely ‘relational means’. If you are in the flow of the freeway traffic, it is ‘relative movements’ that open up space that enables one’s assertive actions, or that close it down. Individual behaviour is thus a lesser view of dynamics than the relational web of dynamics, the outside-inward accommodating property of which, orchestrates the inside-outward asserting actions of the individuals. It is easily possible, for example, for a group of drivers, working together relationally, to ‘disopportunize’ [stifle, squelch, suffocate, shrivel-on-the-vine] the assertive behaviours of selected individuals, or to hyper-opportunize [amplify, nurture, inflate, turbocharge] the assertive behaviours of selected individuals. If a ‘Dalit’ ‘untouchable’) wants to filter through a crowd to get to the fresh-water spring, he may find it harder going than the rest. India has over 160 million ‘Dalits’;
“India’s Untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs, and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.
Nearly 90 percent of all the poor Indians and 95 percent of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits, according to figures presented at the International Dalit Conference that took place May 16 to 18 (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.” — National Geographic News
The general point is that we live in a relational space where ‘what we do’ is not the whole story; i.e. how outside-inward opening of relational possibilities accommodate the unfolding of our assertive actions is entirely ‘missed’ if we ‘start from’ an assessment of our ‘assertive actions’. In crowd dynamics and in the dynamics of the flow of the freeway, the dynamics are ‘relational’ in the sense that the flow in the channels is, at the same time, the channel banks. This is the general case in the universe, and it is described by Mach’s principle.
The implication is that ‘space is relational’ and it is impossible to isolate the behaviour of an individual that transpires in a relational space. The behaviour of a Dalit cannot be isolated from the dynamics of the relational space the Dalit is included in, the ‘dynamics of the relational space’ [habitat] are being ‘conditioned by the dynamics of the inhabitants [included upper castes] at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are being conditioning by the dynamics of the relational space [habitat].
This example is sufficient to establish the general point; i.e. the Western culture’s world view is in terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what these things-in-themselves do IN SPACE AND TIME’.
Question: Could we capture a busy day in the flow of a freeway using GPSs to record the space and time coordinates of each vehicle, and then use those recordings to program the behaviours of those same vehicles and reproduce the exact same flow?
Answer: Yes and No. There is nothing in a dataset that records ‘what things do IN SPACE AND TIME’, that explains why it took Dalits longer on average to cover the same ground as upper castes. That is, the more comprehensive view of dynamics is NOT in terms of ‘what things do in space and time’ but in terms of THE TRANSFORMATION OF SPATIAL RELATIONS, as given by Mach’s principle. ‘Time’ does not enter into it’.
Western justice is based on ‘what things do in space and time’ while aboriginal justice [restorative justice] sees ‘dynamics’ in the more comprehensive view of ‘the transformation of spatial relations’.
Aboriginal justice [restorative justice] uses the more comprehensive understanding of ‘dynamics’ as ‘the continual transformation of relational space’; i.e. there are no such things in the physical world of our experience as ‘absolute space’ and ‘absolute time’.
“Finally, our Euclidean geometry is itself only a sort of convention of language; mechanical facts might be enunciated with reference to a non-Euclidean space which would be a guide less convenient than, but just as legitimate as, our ordinary space ; the enunciation would thus become much more complicated, but it would remain possible. Thus absolute space, absolute time, geometry itself, are not conditions which impose themselves on mechanics ; all these things are no more antecedent to mechanics than the French language is logically antecedent to the verities one expresses in French.” – Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis
The point is that our experience is of living in a continually transforming relational space. However, rational thought and mainstream science reduces the complicatedness of expressing dynamics in relational terms, by imposing an absolute space and absolute time ‘measuring reference frame’ on the world. Once we impose an absolute space frame, since this portrays forms in terms of absolute locations in this absolute space, we are then forced to impose another measuring reference frame, ABSOLUTE TIME, to capture changes in the form and changes in the location of the form [i.e. we no longer see the world dynamic in terms of a continually transforming relational space aka a ‘holodynamic’]. ‘Absolute space’ and ‘absolute time’ are not ‘real’ in the sense of ‘physical’, they are ‘conventions’ which we invent in order to simplify our scientific description of the world;
“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’.”
‘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” —Albert Einstein.
‘Science’ is not directly describing ‘nature’, it is equipping us with some convenient-to-us principles, laws and models. As Mach says;
“Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought” –Ernst Mach
Conclusion: There is no such thing as ‘absolute space’ and ‘absolute time’. These two ‘conventions’ are abstractions we employ to simplify the manner in which we capture, express and share our observations of the world dynamic. The space of our experience is a continually transforming relational space.
[[N.B. At this point, it is likely to be useful to the firm capture and retention of this conclusion by reading the highlighted text in the short Appendix of quotes by Julian Barbour from his book ‘The End of Time’ , at the bottom of this page]].
Corollary: Western civilization’s habit of reducing the dynamics of our experience; i.e. of our inclusion within a continually transforming relational space, … to terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what these things in themselves do OVER TIME’ opens the way for us to assume that the behaviour of an individual is fully and solely his own behaviour. In other words, the time it takes a Dalit to get from downtown New Delhi to the airport is commonly seen as depending on nothing other than the Dalit’s own behaviour [his ‘own’ ‘movement in time’]. Science portrays humans and all biological organisms as ‘local, independently-existing things-in-themselves with their own locally originating, internal process driven and directed development and behaviour’. This is an absolute space and absolute time based view of development and behaviour, and it ignores Mach’s principle which gives the more comprehensive view of dynamics in terms of the transforming relational space configuration where the spatial relations amongst the participants constitute an outside-inward opening of spatial-possibility that is conjugate to the inside-outward asserting action of the participants. As in the flow of the crowd, the web of relations is, at the same time, the channel banks and the flow in the channel, and it is a degenerate, reduced special case understanding of such dynamics that we capture in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do over time’ [we use an absolute space and absolute time measuring reference frame to reduce the inherently relational dynamics to these terms].
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Two Different ‘Levels of Reality’ and Two Different ‘Types of Believers’
We can capture the above results in terms of ‘two levels of reality’ which requires ‘two different types of [psycho-] logical operations.
1. The logic of the EXCLUDED middle: —The logic we use when we view dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do over time’ is ‘the logic of the excluded middle’ which implies ‘self’ – ‘other’ mutual exclusion or ‘unique identity’ of the individual inhabitants [e.g. they could not be ‘individuals’ in the manner of two hurricanes in the common relational space of the atmosphere]. This [psycho-] logic of the excluded middle is the ‘dualist’ view of the dynamic world we live in; e.g.
“The principle of excluded middle, along with its complement, the law of contradiction (the second of the three classic laws of thought), are correlates of the law of identity (the first of these laws). Because the principle of identity intellectually partitions the Universe into exactly two parts: “self” and “other”, it creates a dichotomy wherein the two parts are “mutually exclusive” and “jointly exhaustive”. The principle of contradiction is merely an expression of the mutually exclusive aspect of that dichotomy, and the principle of excluded middle is an expression of its jointly exhaustive aspect.” — Wikipedia
2. The logic of the INCLUDED middle: — The logic we use when we view dynamics in terms of a transforming web of relations is the ‘the logic of the included middle’ which implies ‘self’ – ‘other’ mutual inclusion or ‘interdependently connected identity’ of the individual inhabitants; i.e. by way of Mach’s principle. As with multiple hurricanes in a common relational flow-space, or multiple vehicles in the relational dynamics of the flow the freeway, the interdependent dynamics associated with being included within a web of relations, the dynamics of the inhabitants/participants in the relational web are in conjugate relation with the dynamics of the relational web. The dynamics of the individual participants cannot therefore be said to be fully and solely sourced by the individual participants; i.e. the dynamics of the individuals are outside-inwardly orchestrated/shaped by the dynamics of the relational web they are included in. The dynamics of the participants in the relational web are conditioning the dynamics of the relational web at the same time as the dynamics of the relational web are conditioning the dynamics of the participants in the web. As in the example of the Dalit, and/or upper caste participant, the intermediation of the relational medium/web can amplify the assertive dynamics of some individuals and attenuate the dynamics of other individuals. Therefore, the measurement of the dynamics of a single individual in terms of his trajectory in space and time [which uses the psycho- logic of the excluded middle] fails to acknowledge and take into account the outside-inward accommodating [disaccommodating] influence of the relational space [which requires the psycho- logic of the included middle].
Thus, we have open to us ‘two levels of reality’, one given by ‘the logic of the excluded middle’ and another level that transcends and includes the latter that is given by ‘the logic of the included middle’. These levels associate with quantum physics and are discussed and presented by a number of scientists and philosophers included Basarab Nicolescu, Stéphane Lupasco, Julian Barbour and the ‘relationists’ such as Mach, Nietzsche, Bohm, Schroedinger etc.
Not only do we have available to us these ‘two levels of reality’ which involved two different ways of seeing/understanding dynamics [i.e. (a) in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, and (b) in terms of the continuing transformation of spatial relations], each of them requires a different type of logic [i.e. (a) the view of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ requires ‘logic of the excluded middle’, and (b) the view of dynamics in terms of ‘the continuing transformation of spatial relations’ requires ‘logic of included middle’], …. BUT, as Poincaré points out, we also have in our society, two types of people/thinkers, ‘realists’ and ‘pragmatist idealists’;
1. realist: — BELIEVES …. that the reality given by the logic of the excluded middle is ‘the only reality’. i.e. the ‘realist’ believes that there is only EITHER ‘is’ OR ‘is not’ and that once we establish ‘that which is’ there is no point in further discussing ‘that which is not’. This establishes our view of the ‘individual’ as a local, independently existing ‘being’ that is discrete and separate from any other ‘individual’. This is the ‘dualist’ view of mutually excluded ‘self’ and ‘other’.
2. pragmatist-idealist: — ACKNOWLEDGES ….. the BOTH ‘both/and’ reality of relational space AND the ‘either/or’ reality of absolute space and absolute time. That is, the pragmatist-idealist acknowledges that the [mainstream scientific] reality given by the logic of the excluded middle is a ‘reality of appearances’ based on objectifying dynamic forms that we subjectively distinguish in the flow of behaviour, that allows us to construct a reality based on ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what these things do’. The pragmatist-idealist acknowledges the utility of this ‘reality of appearances’ but accepts the reality given by the logic of the included middle is the ‘physical reality’ that we can ‘reduce’ by ‘differentiation’ to deliver the former, lesser ‘reality of appearances’. The reduction is the one we make by ‘differentiating in time’ or ‘taking the time derivative’ of the relational field of sensory data, which yields those forms that persist in time [resonance features] and which eliminates the more transient relations of the flow. An example is storm-cells in the flow of the atmosphere, but the process is general; i.e. we extract visible forms [resonance-features] from the flow and treat these forms that are ‘local, visible, and material’ as ‘things-in-themselves that enjoy local, independent existence and, if they are biological organisms, notionally impute to them their own locally originating, internal process driven and directed behaviours.
While our society is evidently a mix of ‘realists’ and ‘pragmatist idealists’, it is also evident that our society has institutionalized ‘realism’ and built it into ‘government’, ‘commerce’ and ‘justice’. As individuals living within this ‘mix’, how we respond to the realist institutions will lead to more or less social friction with others depending on their responses.
One of the key sources of friction lies in the fact that in the ‘realist view’ where one truly believes that the behaviour of the individual is fully and solely deriving from the individual, using moral law to manage the social dynamic; i.e. building a justice system based on moral law, is fully appropriate. Meanwhile, the ‘pragmatist idealist view’, wherein one believes that the behaviour of the individual cannot be split out from the relational space dynamics, would lead instead to a system of justice in which the community accepted responsibility for the conflicts that arise within it, so that it would be inappropriate to pass absolute judgement on an individual’s behaviour and justice would instead orient firstly to restoring balance and harmony in the community.
Western justice, which has institutionalized ‘realism’ and thus exclusively employs the ‘dualist’ world view and logic of the excluded middle, is ‘purificationist’ in the sense that ‘attenuating bad behaviour or conflict/dissonance in the community dynamic’ is equated to ‘attenuating bad behaving individuals’.
Aboriginal justice [‘restorative justice’], which orients to the more comprehensive view of dynamics in terms of the continuing transformation of relational space, acknowledges the ‘convenience’ of seeing dynamics in ‘dualist’ terms, but is ‘pragmatist-idealist’ and recognizes the ‘dualist’ view as an incomplete, degenerate special case reduction of the more comprehensive view of dynamics in non-dualist terms where there is no way to split apart the dynamics of the individual from the dynamics of the social collective [just as there is no way to split apart the dynamics of the individual storm-cell from the dynamics of the storm-cell collective, due to the mediating role of the relational space they develop within.
To close the loop with the title of this essay; The Western CULT[ivation] of Belief that ‘Time is Real’.
If you are a Dalit in a New Delhi traffic court and the prosecution displays a GPS trajectory [in space and time coordinates] taken from a GPS recording system in your vehicle, points to the many little jiggles in the trajectory, the slow progress and, in general, your substandard driving performance [compared to another trajectory taken from the same flow at the same time], and asks you to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to whether this is, in fact ‘your trajectory’ on the date and time indicated, what are you going to say? You are now in very much the same position as Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ where they had a eye-witness account of Jean’s removal of a loaf of bread from a bakery. When they ‘play back’ YOUR trajectory, they are implying that your behaviour can be separated out from the dynamics in which you were situationally included. Instead of your behaviour being RELATIVE TO to the dynamic web of relations you were included in, this trajectory of your behaviour that they are showing is relative to ‘space’ and ‘time’ reference framing. Which is ‘physical reality’? Physical reality is, of course, the relational space view of dynamics, which comprehends both the outside-inward accommodating/disaccommodating influence on your dynamics together with the inside-outward asserting influence. The trajectory expressed in terms of the position and motion of an individual is artificial [thanks to the artificial measuring reference frames of absolute space and absolute time]
Taking this further, thinking about the position and motion of one object is artificial. We are part of Mach’s All, and any motion we call our own is just part of a change in the complete universe. What is the reality of the universe? It is that in any instant the objects in it have some relative arrangement.” — Julian Barber, ‘The End of Time’
In other words, dynamics expressed as ‘what things-in-themselves do over time’ are artificial. In physical reality, dynamics are in terms of a continually transforming relational space.
Sure, we have institutionalized this ‘artificial’ view of dynamics that is in terms of ‘what things do in time’ but where is that taking us? The real physical dynamics are in terms of the transforming of relational space. So in our commercial institutions we present our plans in terms of ‘what we are going to do over time’. We may show a new housing development. But the physical reality is instead in terms of the transforming of the relational space we are in; i.e. forests are going to be cut down, fertile soil is going to be paved over, salmon creeks are going to be filled in, wolf dens and eagle nests will be destroyed, fresh water catch basins will be collecting concentrated effluents such as sewage and commercial wastes, the whole ecological web will be transformed, so how does this ‘show up’ in a commercial plan expressed in terms of ‘what things do over time’. Answer: it doesn’t. Which is ‘the physical reality’? It is certainly not in terms of ‘what things do over time’.
Institutionalizing ‘realism’ [dualism] is thus institutionalizing an ‘artificial view of dynamics’ in terms of ‘what things do over time’, and obscuring the physical reality of ‘the transforming of relational space’, the latter being a view of dynamics which ‘time’ does not enter into.
The belief that ‘time is real’, as has been institutionalized in the globally dominant Western culture, is psychologically imposing on us a substitute ‘artificial reality’, a degenerate, over-simplified, ‘what things do over time’ artificial reality, that obscures from our view/understanding, the ‘physical reality’ which is in terms of a TIMELESS, continually transforming relational space, … Mach’s All.
The supporters of the institutionalizing of ‘realism’ [dualism] can thus be viewed as a ‘cult’ of belief, … that ‘time is real’.
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Appendix I: Quotes from Julian Barbour’s ‘The End of Time’
Julian Barbour writes:
“I was born in 1937 and grew up in the village of South Newington in North Oxfordshire, England. As a boy I became very interested in astronomy. For this reason, I decided to study mathematics at Cambridge, after which I commenced a PhD in astrophysics in Munich. However, at this time I became deeply interested in foundational issues in physics, above all the nature of time. I came to the conclusion that time itself does not exist. If we did not see objects move and things change, we could never say that time passes. Time is nothing but a measure of change. But physics had been developed under the assumption that time exists and flows independently of the objects in the world. I felt this was quite wrong and that physics must be recast on a new timeless foundation.
Since 1963 I have been working on this project and the closely related problem of the origin of inertia. I completed a PhD on the foundations of Einstein’s general theory of relativity at Cologne in 1968 and then decided to become independent, fearing that an academic environment and the associated pressure to publish as many research articles as possible would deflect me from my long-term objectives. For 28 years I supported my family and research by translating Russian scientific journals. This left me free to develop, in collaboration with the Italian Bruno Bertotti, a theory of time and inertia. Another major topic of interest for me has been the implications of this work in quantum cosmology.
I also became very interested in the historical development of ideas about time and motion, the subject of my Absolute or Relative Motion?, Volume 1, The Discovery of Dynamics (now retitled as simply The Discovery of Dynamics and reprinted as a paperback, see writings). In 1996, I retired from my translating work and have since then concentrated entirely on my physics research and on writing. I have summarized my ideas about the non-existence of time for non-specialists in The End of Time, which has been published in hardback (1999) and paperback (2000) in the UK and hardback (2000) in the USA (with paperback to be published fall 2001). Articles about the main ideas in this book were published in The New Scientist in October 1999 and Discover (December 2000). For details about my main publications and ideas in physics, see writings and ideas.
My wife Verena comes from the Black Forest in Germany. We have one son and three daughters.“
“(The Austrian physicist Ernst) Mach was interested in many subjects, especially the nature and methods in science. His philosophical standpoint had points in common with Bishop Berkeley, but even more with the ideas of the great eighteenth-century Scottish empiricist David Hume. Mach insisted that science must deal with genuinely observable things, and this made him deeply suspicious of the concepts of invisible absolute space and time. In 1883 he published a famous history of mechanics containing a trenchant and celebrated critique of these concepts...”
(Barbour: 2000, p. 65)
“(Considering Newton’s bucket argument, Ernst Mach suggested) that it is not (absolute) space but all the matter in the universe, exerting a genuine physical effect, that creates centrifugal force… Mach’s proposal boiled down to the idea that the law of inertia is indeed, as Bishop Berkeley believed, a motion relative to the stars, not space. Mach’s important novelty was that there must be proper physical laws that govern the way distant matter controls the motions around us. Each body in the universe must be exerting an effect that depends on its mass and distance. The (Newton’s) law of inertia will turn out to be a motion relative to some average of all the masses in the universe. For this basic idea, Einstein coined the expression Mach’s principle, by which it is now universally known (though attempts at precise definition vary quite widely).
Mach’s idea suggests that the Newtonian way of thinking about the workings of the universe, which is still deep-rooted, is fundamentally wrong…”
(Barbour: 2000, p. 65)
“It would be much more natural to specify our distances to all objects. They define our position. This conclusion is very natural once we become aware that nothing is fixed. Everything moves relative to everything else.
Taking this further, thinking about the position and motion of one object is artificial. We are part of Mach’s All, and any motion we call our own is just part of a change in the complete universe. What is the reality of the universe? It is that in any instant the objects in it have some relative arrangement.”
(Barbour: 2000, p. 68)
“The proper way to think about motion is that the universe as a whole moves from one ‘place’ to another ‘place’, where ‘place’ means a relative arrangement, or configuration, of the complete universe…
It [the universe] does not move in absolute space, it moves from one configuration to another. The totality of these places is its relative configuration space: Platonia…
… no Sun rises or sets over that landscape to mark the walker’s progress. The Sun, like the moving parts of any clock, is part of the universe. It is part of the walker…
There is nothing outside the universe to time it as it goes from one place to another in Platonia – only some internal change can do that. But just as all markers are on an equal footing for defining position, so are all changes for the purposes of timing…
The history of the universe is the path. Each point on the path is a configuration of the universe. For a three-body universe, each configuration is a triangle. The path is just the triangles – nothing more, nothing less.
With time gone, motion is gone...” [that is, all ‘motion’ is ‘transformation of relational space’; i.e. it is the ‘same space’ reconfiguring, continually]
Appendix II: Religion [and Science] and ‘Time’
The worlds 4200 religions have in common that they provide a sense of a ‘greater power’ than man that is larger than and deemed responsible for the simple birth-to-death material/physical experience of man. Religions impart to man a spiritual aspect to life that transcends the purely temporal and transient material aspect.
Religion and science both derive, historically, from man’s quest to understand himself and the world he lives in, the continuously changing One and the many, ‘Unum’ and ‘pluribus’. What was the Source of innovation in the world. Did the Source reside inside of each of the diverse multiplicity of forms in the world, giving them the power to be ‘things-in-themselves’ with their own divine internal sourcing of development and behaviour, … or was the Source immanent in the dynamic Unum of Nature, a rendering/portrayal of Nature imputing that ‘everything is in flux’ (panta rhea, Heraclitus), implying that the multiple forms, such as humans, that keep gathering and being regathered, which appear to be ‘separate things-in-themselves’, are like resonances within the flowing Unum [i.e. like whorls in the flow].
Historical writings show the quest for understanding ‘the One and the many’ split into two different ‘logics’ of relating this duality, and that that split corresponds to the difference between (a) the ‘non-dualist’ logic of the included middle [of forms within flow], and (b) the ‘dualist’ logic of the excluded middle [of things-in-themselves].
In both camps was the idea that the One had to transcend the many and be the source of the many, however, there were two ways to achieve this. The non-dualist camp was to use the concept of a ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ wherein things that appeared to be opposite to each other were in fact conjugate aspects of one transcendent dynamic [the low notes and high notes in the one dynamic of harmony; i.e. harmony is the One that engenders the low and the high notes]. This SIMULTANEOUS coniunctio of opposites was used to explain the ‘dynamical whole’ and the ‘dynamical parts’ of Nature in ‘neo-platonism’;
“We affirm Nature to be a certain power implanted in things producing like things out of like. For Nature generates, augments and nourishes all things. Wherefore it has in itself the names of all things. … [Nature is] the fruitful parent of all qualities and things. What is therefore Nature? God is Nature, and Nature is God: understand it thus: out of God there arises something next to him. Nature is therefore a certain invisible fire, by which Zoroaster taught that all things were begotten, to whom Heraclitus the Ephesian seems to give consent.” — Proclus’ [neoplatonist] essay on Nature.
In the other ‘dualist’ camp, change was seen as SEQUENTIAL, and this ‘view’ was one in which man ‘took himself out’ of the world and was able to see the world ‘from its very beginning’ [note that there was no ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’ in the SIMULTANEOUS or ‘spatial-relational’ view of change]. The Christian religion exemplifies the dualist view wherein ‘change’ transpires SEQUENTIALLY as in a succession of frames or ‘snapshots’ where the frozen ‘reality’ in each ‘frame’ is regarded as the ‘basic reality’;
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” … Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” —Genesis, 1,2, 26
The implication in this ‘dualist’ camp view which sees things in ‘black-and-white’ [‘day-and-night’] terms, is that man has the capacity to look in through ‘God’s eyes’ and see an objective world out there in front of him [otherwise, this passage would make no sense], implying the existence of an absolute space and absolute time frame in which the sequentially-changing world is included in as it continues to change. God’s words and God’s creative actions render ‘change’ by way of an all-genesis, no epigenesis ‘sequential build’. That is, in this view of ‘change’ as a ‘creative sequence’, there is only ‘emptiness’ to begin with so there is no ‘outside-inward shaping influence’ [epigenesis]on the inside-outward asserting ‘genesis’.
Not only do religions divide into these two, ‘dualist’ and ‘non-dualist’ camps, but so too does philosophy. As Nietzsche 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
As mentioned above, in philosophy, the ‘pragmatist idealist’ accepts both of these strains in the manner that a geometer accepts curved space and rectangular space, the one being more complex than the other in the manner that a polynomial of degree two is more complex than a polynomial of degree one. That is, we can accept, as PHYSICAL REALITY, that hurricanes are ‘dimples’ [relational-space ‘resonance-features’] in a fluid-dynamical continuum [energy-charged spatial-plenum] as in ‘non-dualism’ which requires the ‘logic of the included middle’ [‘coincidentia oppositorum’-capable logic], and we can further accept the UTILITY OF THE SIMPLIFIED ‘IDEALIZATION’, that ‘differentiates’ the non-dualist physical reality, reducing its ‘dimples’ to ‘things-in-themselves’ that we can define and name, allowing us to re-render the physically experienced ‘real-dynamics’ in the idealized ‘lesser terms’ of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’. This reduction that RE-DEFINES REALITY in the absolutized/idealized terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what they do’ recalls the observation of John Stuart Mill; “every definition implies an axiom; that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined.”
We live in a world where dualism is the globally dominating worldview [i.e. where the logic of the excluded middle prevails]. It is a world where ‘competition’ [‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’] prevails, where ‘construction’ is seen as the ‘real opposite’ to ‘destruction’ [as if we could construct a housing development without destroying forest]. In other words, the worldview presented to us in the media and in educational systems IS IN DENIAL of the world being a continually transforming relational spatial-plenum [the coincidentia oppositorum view of ‘construction’ and ‘destruction’]. In other words, the modern world is world in which ‘realism’ [the belief in dualism as constituting ‘reality’] has been institutionalized in sovereigntism/government, commence and justice. Understanding of self and the world in pragmatist-idealist terms lies latent in the global populace, held captive by this unnatural inversion which has put the ‘polynomial of degree one’ [the flatspace or absolutist worldview] into primacy over the ‘polynomical of degree two’ [the curved space or ‘relational’ worldview].
In order to reconcile atheist science with these two religious/philosophical camps of ‘non-dualism’ and ‘dualism’, one has to go back to the historical development of science which followed the Western religions in splitting the world into two separate realms; the lifeless mineral/inorganic world of dead material objects and the vivacious organic world of ‘living things-in-themselves’. This ‘dualism’ was retained in the historical development of science. Atheist scientists belief in a mysterious ‘life-force’ that resides inside of what we call ‘biological organisms’ to make sense of our having defined them as ‘things-in-themselves’ with ‘their own locally originating, internal process driven and directed development and behaviour’, … rather than seeing them as ‘dynamic figures’ in the [continually transforming, relational] ‘dynamic ground’. Atheist science, having committed to this split, had to impute to ‘biological organisms’, a notional, internally resident process called ‘life’. Atheist science has yet to ‘tie down’ where and what this absolute local centre of directing and organizing Sourcing Process is, but we are asked to trust science because; ‘how else could a thing-in-itself’ have ‘its own locally originating, internally sourced development and behaviour’ without it? It must be in there!
Of course, atheist science was not prepared, as history shows, to question ‘the existence’ of absolute space and absolute time upon which the very notion of a ‘thing-itself’ depends. Thus science also split into two camps on this same dualism — non-dualism issue; i.e. Ernst Mach charged that the belief in absolute space and absolute time was belief ungrounded in physical experience, and that science had to ‘let go of this belief’ [the implication was that science had to let go of ‘belief’ in the ‘existence’ of idealized ‘things-in-themselves’ which had been foundational to science since Newton and his professed belief that; “God in the Beginning form’d Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable Particles.”]. Mach was ‘rewarded’ for his view, which urged the scientific community to suspend ‘belief’ in the ‘metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time’ by being marginalized as a ‘heretic’’;
“After exhorting the reader, with Christian charity, to respect his opponent, Planck brands me, in the well-known Biblical words, as a ‘false prophet.’ It appears that physicists are already on their way to founding a church; they are already using a church’s traditional weapons. To this I answer simply: ‘If belief in the reality of atoms is so important to you, I cut myself off from the physicist’s mode of thinking, I do not wish to be a true physicist, I renounce all scientific respect— in short: I decline with thanks the communion of the faithful. I prefer freedom of thought.” — Ernst Mach, ‘The Guiding Principles of My Scientific Theory of Knowledge’. See also ‘Ernst Mach leaves the Church of Physics’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Br J Philos Sci (1989) 40 (4): 519-540.))
As Julian Barbour observes;
“Mach insisted that science must deal with genuinely observable things, and this made him deeply suspicious of the concepts of invisible absolute space and time. In 1883 he published a famous history of mechanics containing a trenchant and celebrated critique of these concepts.” … “Taking this further, thinking about the position and motion of one object is artificial. We are part of Mach’s All, and any motion we call our own is just part of a change in the complete universe. What is the reality of the universe? It is that in any instant the objects in it have some relative arrangement.”
So, atheist science has to this day retained the concept of ‘local material things-in-themselves’ as enabled by the ‘metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time’, as part of official/legitimate science’s ‘belief system’. What determines which science is ‘legitimate’ is the informal council of ‘scientist-practitioners’, the ones who decreed that Mach’s so-called ‘scientific ideas’ were ‘outside of legitimate science’.
Of course, Mach was not the only scientist to be declared a ‘heretic’ and be ‘excommunicated’, there have been many others, including Erwin Schroedinger, the developer of quantum wave dynamic theory. Schroedinger, also, did not believe in the ‘metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time’ and saw ‘space’ as a relational energy-charged continuum’ wherein ‘local material systems’ were resonance features within the continually transforming wave-flow continuum, or, ‘schaumkommen’ (‘appearances’) rather than ‘real things-in-themselves’. The latter term being oxymoronic since to be real-and-physical meant being part of the transforming relational space-plenum which is incompatible with ‘thing-in-itselfness’.
In order to protect the notional ‘thing-in-itself’ material systems as foundational in quantum theory, those who sought to do this supported an interpretation of quantum physics in terms of ‘probabilities’. Imagine that you were trying to ‘tie down’, at the same time, both the ‘position’ and the ‘movement’ of a particle. Imagine, further, that the particle was a ball bearing in the space on the surface of a giant ball bearing that a bunch of ball bearings were rolling around on. This is like the example of the vehicles in the flow of the freeway. For the participants inside this continually transforming configuration, the configuration is what gives ‘location’ and in order to measure the movement of an individual participant it has to be relative to the transforming relational configuration. If we ‘freeze-frame’ the configuration we can get the ‘location’ of the individual participant. And if we unfreeze the configuration we can see the individual participant in motion, but there is no way to, at the same time, both ‘freeze’ and ‘unfreeze’ the configuration. This is Heisenberg’s ‘uncertainty principle’. That we ‘bump into it’ suggests that the space we live in is ‘relational’ so that the notion of ‘individual motion’ is a non-starter.
To get a better feel for what is ‘going on here’, if one views the video-clip of the ‘Atlantic Hurricanes: 2008 Season’ one sees different, individual hurricanes ‘forming’ and ‘moving’. We can watch the hurricanes move relative to the frame of the video-screen, but if there were no fixed reference frames, we would have to see the movement of the hurricane relative to the configuration of the relational [fluid-flow] space it is included in, which is continually [relationally] transforming. The notions of ‘where IT is’ and ‘ITS motion’ collapse, because the implied notion of its ‘thing-in-itself’- as a being’- collapses. What we are looking at is the ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ of ‘dynamic figure’ in ‘dynamic ground’ as given by Mach’s principle; “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.”
This is why Schroedinger compares this physical phenomenological paradox with ancient Vedic belief in his essay ‘What is life?’. Where Schroedinger ‘is going’ with this, is that, if we consider ourselves to be a hurricane in the flow, then since we know that we, ourselves are directing the behaviour of our bodies, this ‘we’ that is doing the directing must be ‘Mach’s All’, the entirety of the continually transforming relational space. In Schroedinger’s words;
“…let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises:
(i) My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature.
(ii) Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take full responsibility for them.
The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I — I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt ‘I’ — am the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the Laws of Nature. Within a cultural milieu (Kulturkreis) where certain conceptions (which once had or still have a wider meaning amongst other peoples) have been limited and specialized, it is daring to give to this conclusion the simple wording that it requires. In Christian terminology to say: ‘Hence I am God Almighty’ sounds both blasphemous and lunatic. But please disregard these connotations for the moment and consider whether the above inference is not the closest a biologist can get to proving God and immortality at one stroke.
In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records to my knowledge date back some 2,500 years or more. From the early great Upanishads the recognition ATHMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts. Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God).”
Ok, everyone, scientists, religion-seekers, is struggling with these same problems of understanding ‘self’ and ‘other’ and whether they should be understood in terms of the dualist logic of EITHER/OR or in the non-dualist logic of BOTH/AND. Since the former logic relates to the latter in the manner that curved space [a polynomial of degree two] relates to rectangular/flat space [a polynomial of degree one], two corollary options arise; i.e. if we start with non-dualist BOTH/AND logic, we can see things;
(a) as a ‘pragmatist-idealist’ sees things, making use of BOTH ‘both/and’ logic AND ‘either/or’ logic, or,
(b) as a ‘realist’ sees things, where we start with EITHER/OR logic and after having considered whether we are going to go with EITHER ‘both/and’ logic OR ‘either/or’ logic, we opt for ‘either/or’ logic, at which point [as Parmenides observed], there is no point in further considering ‘both/and’ logic.
Anyhow, to finish the story of how the ‘legitimate science of quantum physics’ [the ‘legimate-ness’ having been determined by the council-of-legitimizing scientists who found against Mach and Schroedinger, and in favour of themselves], preserved the foundational role of the ‘thing-in-itself’ [and thus the foundational role of the metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time], they used the mathematical device of ‘probability’. So in the case of the ‘electron’ which is notionally a ‘particle’ that is needed to make the notion of an ‘atom’ as a ‘local, material ‘thing-in-itself system’ hang together logically, thought the ‘electron’ could not be ‘isolated’ as a ‘thing-in-itself’ due to the uncertainty principle, the notional, particulate-thing-in-itself ‘electron’ was ‘bookmarked’ by a notional ‘probability cloud’ that implied that the electron was hanging around somewhere in there, like a gravity field or acoustic [wave] field, EVERYWHERE AT THE SAME TIME, and that in the act of measuring it, the ‘probability field’ COLLAPSES, precipitating the notional thing-in-itself electron by the measurement process itself.
This skullduggery on the part of the committee responsible for distinguishing between ‘legitimate science’ and ‘illegitimate science’ [e.g. the science of Ernst Mach and Erwin Schroedinger] did not impress Schroedinger who also opted to ‘quit the Church of Science’, saying;
“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. …”
“The scientist only imposes two things, namely truth and sincerity, imposes them upon himself and upon other scientists.” … “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.” (Schrödinger E, ‘The Interpretation of Quantum Physics’). … “I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” (Erwin Schroedinger speaking about the ‘legitimate science’ interpretation of Quantum Physics).
‘Probability’ is the same device that the atheist science of Dawkins and Darwinism deploys to deny and obfuscate outside-inward orchestrating of ‘organizings’ such as ‘the biological organizing’ as a ‘dynamic figure’ in the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum aka ‘dynamic ground’. That is, the mainstream science model of ‘a biological organism’ as a ‘thing-in-itself organizATION’ whose development/evolution is due purely and solely, so the story goes, to internal all-genesis-no-epigenesis processes, is ‘too small a story’ to make sense of the historical evidence as to the nature of change. That is, ‘change’ as a succession of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ actions is a very simple and limited model, that can’t explain change in form that happens in ‘jumps’. If one sees change as the ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ of outside-inward orchestrating influence and inside-outward asserting influence, then one can explain how it is that a cluster of expanding spherical soap bubbles can suddenly become a matrix of hexagonal cells; i.e. this step-wise evolution of form arises from the ‘coniunctio’ or ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ of outside-inward back-reflecting and inside-outward-asserting influence, as in ‘wave dynamics’.
But, since atheist science, the science of the metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time, insists that space is empty and therefore cannot contribute any outside-inward shaping influence to the ‘change’ process, another device must be invented to ‘fill in the gap’, and what could be better at this, at filling in any gap you like, but ‘random chance’, … ‘it just happened, see!’ ‘from time to time, things just happen’. This is a wonderful general purpose device for filling in the holes in one’s theory. This is what is used to keep Darwinism with its one-sided all genesis no epigenesis change architecture ‘hanging together’. Darwinism postulates that ‘change’ or ‘evolution’ is by way of ‘reproduction with random variation’. ‘Random variation’ is the same device used by Max Born et all to preserve the notion of an ‘electron-as-thing-in-itself’. In order to prove it exists, you measure its influence and the probability distribution collapses with the measurement/observation. It’s like defining something with words [measurements] so at to artificially endow it with ‘thing-in-itself-existence’ as we do in naming a hurricane and measuring its internal pressures and wind velocities.
“Hey son, where did you get those wings. insects like us have never had wings up to this point in our evolutionary history!” “Dad, I don’t really know, but they sure fit in well with the air in our natural space and its viscosity and density relative to the physical architecture of my new wing structures. If that’s what they call a ‘random variation’, it sure is a coincidence as to how it facilitates my relational engaging with the dynamic space we all share inclusion in. It’s almost as if the space we live in was orchestrating the change in me.” “Son, its a lucky thing that your ‘random chance variations’ come out so symmetrical and tilting the way they did, otherwise you might have had to fly upside down and backwards and the wings wouldn’t have meshed with your already installed visual and balance sensing equipment.” “Yes, dad, it almost seems as if our developing of new features constitutes our ‘rising to the occasion’ as participants in a transforming relational space, rather than this development being the ‘further development’ of our existing ‘thing-in-itself’ ‘being’ that powerboats around in an absolute space and absolute time operating theatre, reproducing and hoping for some random chance variations to improve our lineage.”
The device of ‘probability’ or ‘random chance variation’ is a general purpose theory-hole-filler. It is ‘another metaphysical device’ that goes along with the metaphysics of ‘absolute space’ and ‘absolute time’. It allows us to continue to use an over-simplistic model of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ without having to ‘strain our brain’. As Mach says;
“Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought” –Ernst Mach
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Summary of this section on Religion [and Science] and ‘Time’:
Throughout the recorded history of man, there has been a struggle to understand the nature and relationship of ‘the One and the many’ and ‘change’ as manifestly transpires therein.
Two views were developed which can be distinguished by their portraying of ‘change’ as (a) simultaneous [as in relational transformation] implying ‘dynamic figure’ and ‘dynamic ground’ as a ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ or ‘non-dualism’, or as (b) sequential [as in a creative succession, as in a sequence of frames in video film footage] that renders dynamics in the dualist [matter/figure and space/ground binary-opposite] terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’.
Two ‘philosophies’ also ‘sprang up’ in regard to the use of these two views; ‘pragmatic idealism’ philosophy that starts with BOTH/AND logic and acknowledges the physical reality of (a) and the utility of using the idealized view of (b) in a support role.
On the other hand, ‘realist’ philosophy starts with EITHER/OR logic and selects (b) as the one and only ‘reality’, rejecting (a) which, to pragmatist-idealists, is the primary [physical] reality. This has ‘been gone through’ before in history; e.g. the Vedics understood the ‘reality’ of (b) as “Maja”, ‘illusion’ [from sanskrit ‘ma’ ‘ya’ in english ‘not’ ‘that’];
“Maya or Māyā (Sanskrit माया māyā), in Indian religions, has multiple meanings, usually quoted as “illusion”, centered on the fact that we do not experience the environment itself but rather a projection of it, created by us. Māyā is the principal deity that manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. For some mystics, this manifestation is real.Each person, each physical object, from the perspective of eternity, is like a brief, disturbed drop of water from an unbounded ocean. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this—more precisely, to experience this: to see that the distinction between the self and the Universe is a false dichotomy. The distinction between consciousness and physical matter, between mind and body (refer bodymind), is the result of an unenlightened perspective.” — Wikipedia
The institutionalizing of the ‘realist’ worldview in dualist terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, has been assisted, as discussed by Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf and Wittgenstein, by the deployment of ‘language architectures’ that support it. In the nondualist view where ‘becoming’ is the primary physical reality and ‘being’ is the secondary idealized/simplified reality, the noun must at the same time be a verb, as it is in aboriginal languages such as Hopi.
The ‘biological organism’ thus becomes ‘the biological organizing’. Everywhere we use ‘organizATION’ in our realism based institutions, we should be using ‘organizING’. This shifts the sourcing of dynamics [e.g. development and behaviour] from exclusively locally originating inside-outward assertive sourcing of development and behaviour to the ‘coincidentia oppositorist’ sourcing of ‘outside-inward orchestrative influence in coniunctio with inside-outward assertive influence’. This has now been discovered to be the physically actual case in cell biology; i.e. it is now recognized that ‘receptors’ and ‘effectors’ [epigenesis and genesis] are a coincidentia oppositorist non-duality. As Bruce Lipton observes, the notion of the biological cell as a ‘unit of being’ is now being superseded by the notion of the biological cell as a ‘unit of perception’. . In other words, rather than understanding the cell in the dualist terms of a ‘thing-in-itself-organizATION’ that is mutually excluded from its operating-theatre space, the cell-ATHMAN = the cell-BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self)
The wars that are currently going on are based on our having institutionalized ‘realism’ where we totally believe the ‘existence’ of sovereign-state ‘things-in-themselves’ organizATIONs that have their own local ‘thing-in-itself’ behaviours, and ‘compete’ with one another as mutually excluding ‘machines’ rather than acknowledging that all forms in nature are organizINGs in the common relational space we all share inclusion in.
As has been described in this section on Religion [and Science] and ‘Time’, by institutionalizing ‘realism’, we have been institutionalizing ‘illusion’. All the while that we are focusing on ‘what things are doing’, we are making ourselves oblivious to ‘how we and the relational space we are included in are undergoing continuing transformation. We are like the colonizers of America who, because they were stuck in the ‘what things-in-themselves do’ mode of understanding dynamics, saw themselves as ‘constructing a wonderful new world in America’ while the indigenous aboriginals, looking at the same dynamics in the same place at the same time, understood what was going on as the destruction of a wonderful established natural world on Turtle Island. Only by understanding dynamics in terms of a continually transforming relational space can we resolve the ‘false dichotomies’ that inevitably arise from the clash of ‘individual perspectives’ that are in ‘realist/dualist’ terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do in a time-based succession’. The dynamics of our physical experience are simultaneous and spatial-relational;
“… thinking about the position and motion of one object is artificial. We are part of Mach’s All, and any motion we call our own is just part of a change in the complete universe. What is the reality of the universe? It is that in any instant the objects in it have some relative arrangement” — Julian Barbour, ‘The End of Time’;
“That which is given to all in common we call the ‘physical’; that which is directly given only to one we call the ‘psychical’. That which is given only to one can also be called the ‘ego’ [ich].” – Ernst Mach, ‘The Guiding Principles of My Scientific Theory of Knowledge’
This is what the ‘learning circle’ of the indigenous aboriginal tradition is there for. The differing perspectives of individuals, each in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do in a time-based succession’ are innately non-resolvable, like the perspectives of colonizers and the perspectives of the colonized. The only resolution that is possible is by the ‘principle of Lafontaine’, “La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure”. The aboriginal ‘learning circle’ tradition would be the approach ‘of choice’ to develop understanding of self-and-other, Unum and pluribus, chosen a collection of storm-cells in the atmosphere who are, at the same time, ‘dynamic figures’ and ‘dynamic ground’, Athman and Brahman.
The modern world is now challenged by having globally institutionalized the substituting of dualist illusion for non-dualist physical reality, and being faced with the necessity [if all sorts of unfolding dissonance is to be avoided] of restoring non-dualist physical reality to its natural precedence, a process that some are calling ‘decolonization’.
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Appendix III: Causality and ‘Time’
The core goal of science is ‘generalization’ and the imposing of absolute space and absolute time as reference framing for our observations serves this process, since in a continually transforming relational space, a ‘dynamical All’ or ‘One’ in which the observer is included, the very concept of ‘repetition’ makes no sense.
In order for ‘repetition’ to make sense, we have to split the observer/inhabitant apart from the observed/habitat and then define ‘repetition’ in terms of ‘I have seen this happen before’. Science thus defines itself as ‘economy of thought’-seeking;
“Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought” –Ernst Mach
The ‘facts’ of science derive from ‘human observations and experiences’, but scientists admit to doing some ‘pre-processing’ to reduce the complexity of our observations and experiences. For example, if a man throws a stubbed cigarette butt into a forest 100,000 times, nothing remarkable may happen, but on the 100,001 ‘repetition’, the forest may ignite and explode in flames.
There are a few points of note in regard to this.
1. It is convenient for us to say that the man ‘caused the fire’ even though what had changed was ‘the response of the forest/habitat’ rather than ‘the actions of the inhabitant’.
2. If a boy tickles the chest of a female schoolmate while she is lying down, she may smile and giggle. But on the n+1th repetition, she may ignite and explode in flaming anger or in fear.
3. Scientific thinking of the common type says that the boy ‘caused’ the fiery explosion in the girl and that his ‘tickling fingers’ are the causal agency. Why is this?
4. Science, in order to achieve an ‘economy of thought’, conveniently assumes that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past, and not
“Origin of Mathematical Physics. Let us go further and study more closely the conditions which have assisted the development of mathematical physics. We recognise at the outset the efforts of men of science have always tended to resolve the complex phenomenon given directly by experiment into a very large number of elementary phenomena, and that in three different ways.
First, with respect to time. Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down its differential equation; for the laws of Kepler we substitute the law of Newton.
Next, we try to decompose the phenomena in space. What experiment gives us is a confused aggregate of facts spread over a scene of considerable extent. We must try to deduce the elementary phenomenon, which will still be localised in a very small region of space.” – Henri Poincaré, ‘Science and Hypothesis’
5. Just as in the case of the forest fire, the historical record of the girl’s inhabitant-habitat experiencing spring-loaded her in such a manner that a certain pattern of experience could now ‘trigger’ an explosive release of tensions within her. One might say that ‘she had lost her innocence’.
6. If we model these goings-on using an absolute space and absolute time reference frame as the ‘operating theatre’ and imagining the boy and the girl as ‘things-in-themselves’ interacting within this non-participating space [i.e. re-rendering these dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do in time], then we would say that ‘the boy caused this ‘flare-up’ in the girl. This is a bit like saying; ‘the soldier caused a great uproar by stepping on the land-mine’.
7. Moral judgement, as psychological experiments establish, is based on empathy for a person or thing that is ‘suffering’. This is called ‘outcome aversion’. Based on the negative experience of the recipient of the action [the burning forest or the enflamed woman], the third party will seek to identify the causal agent and proscribe/arrest the behaviours that are presumed to ‘cause’ the negative experience in the recipient of those behaviours.
“A dominant view, tracing back at least to Hume (1739), holds that the proscription of harmful behavior is rooted in a concern for the victim‘s distress (Hoffman, M.L. ‘Empathy and moral development, implications for caring and justice’, Pizarro, D.A., ‘Nothing more than feelings: The role of emotions in moral judgment’) that emerges at an early age (Eisenberg-Berg, N., ‘The development of children’s prosocial judgment). The inhibition of violence depends largely on empathic concern, an affective response that stems from the apprehension of a victim‘s emotional state, and which is congruent with what the victim is feeling or is expected to feel as a consequence of the harmful act (Batson et al., 1993; Batson,1994). Neuroscientific findings support the existence of empathy by showing similarity in the activation patterns during actual experience and observation in others of a range of emotional states, including pain (Morrison, Lloyd, di Pellegrino & Roberts, 2004). These activations can be elicited by looking at facial expressions (Carr, Iacoboni, Dubeau, Mazziotta & Lenzi, 2003), bodily expressions (Jackson, Meltzoff & Decety, 2005), as well as by mere imagination of another‘s experience (Singer et al., 2004; Jackson, Brunet, Meltzoff & Decety, 2006). Moreover, trait ratings of empathy are correlated with the strength of these activations (Lamm, Batson, &Decety, 2007; Singer et al., 2004). When this initial empathic response is activated, the agent‘s behavior can reflect increased concern for the victim‘s welfare (Batson, 1991). We call this the outcome aversion model: it posits an affective mechanism responsible for proscribing harmful behaviors based on the negative outcomes that they bring about, and is largely motivated by empathic concern for the victims.” —Excerpt from ‘Act and Impact: Differentiating Affective Contributions to Third-Party Moral Judgment’ by Ivar A. Hannikainen, Ryan M. Miller and Fiery A Cushman.
8. There are people that are like spring-loaded walking ‘land-mines’, conditioned by historical experience like the forest, that, if one plugs in the right code, will ignite and explode. Science, with its ‘economy of thought’-seeking pre-processing of the data/facts, will nevertheless claim that the agent that ‘punched in the correct code’ ‘caused’ the explosion, even though that same code punched into other people or other forests did NOT result in any explosion.
9. To make the claim that the person that was just doing their normal stuff which normally did not result in any explosions ‘caused’ the fire, boils down to implicitly making the assumption that ‘all people are more or less the same’ or that ‘all forests are more or less the same’. Only by this assumption will the notional ‘causal sourcing’ of the explosion shift to the ‘triggerer’. This principle is know as ‘Rubin causality’;
“The fundamental dilemma of causality, according to Rubin, is that, if we use an experimental unit (a bacterium, e.g. ) to show that “X causes Y,” we cannot use that same unit to show that some “non-X does not cause Y.” We solve this dilemma [statistically] by assuming that all units are more or less the same.” – Donald B. Rubin
That is, the operative assumption in establishing causality is that ‘all women’ or ‘all forests’ are more or less the same. In that way, we establish that the launching of the pyrotechnics does not differ from woman to woman or from forest to forest. Eg. if some women are ‘more innocent’ or ‘more conspiracy theory prone’ than others, the same action may not or may trigger pyrotechnics in them. That is, if there is some ‘historical conditioning’ in some women or in some forests that makes these women and/or these forests more or less susceptible to the launching of pyrotechnics, then a focus on the particulars of the dynamics of the alleged ‘causal agency’ is a case of ‘barking up the wrong tree’. It is like investigating the difference in the actions of three cross-country skiers because it was the third skier that ‘caused’ the avalanche.
10. In order to understand complex phenomena, one must suspend the convenient simplification wherein we assume that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’ because it is this assumption that blinds us to ‘historical conditioning’ of the recipients of action, that may be more important to what unfolds, than the particulars of the applied actions.
11. Historical conditioning, as used here is spatial-relational [rather than change to a ‘thing’ over ‘time’], as in the spatial relational conditions of wind and weather that dry out a forest and turn it into a bomb waiting to go off, or similarly for historically conditioned mountain slopes and people. Taking into account this ‘historical conditioning’ is not as convenient in ‘identifying cause’ as forming conclusions based on the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’, but it is far more ‘realistic’. Where it leads to is ‘Machean physics’ where dynamics are seen in terms of a continually transforming relational space, rather than the idealized [metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time based] terms of ‘what things in themselves do’ in an absolute space and absolute time framed operating theatre.
12. Psychologists have shown, as mentioned in point 7., that people are ‘outcome averse’. This means that when they look at the bodies of children being pulled from the snow in the wake of the avalanche, they will look for the ‘smoking gun’ as the target for moral judgement and culpability. The ‘third skier’ will be identified as the agent that ‘caused’ the avalanche. This is based on two assumptions (a) that the present depends only on the immediate past, and (b) on ‘Rubin causality’ wherein we assume that all slopes are more or less the same.
13. The general case is that the recipients of action are ‘historically conditioned’ so that ‘the same actions’ applied to different recipients can associate with ‘different outcomes’. It is therefore not reasonable to conclude that the actions applied to the recipient are the ‘cause’ of those [different] outcomes, since the outcomes are shaped by the historical conditioning of the recipient [of the actions].
14. The common reference to ‘carelessness’ on the part of the alleged ‘causal agent’, the ‘third skier’ who caused the avalanche that caused the deaths of several children, is not a ‘carelessness in his actions’, but a less than needed thoroughness in discernment of the historical conditioning of the recipients of his actions [the mountain slopes which are ‘not all more or less the same’]. This is generally true, the man who playfully tickles the chest of a female is careless, not in regard to his actions, but in regard to his discerning of the historical conditioning of the recipient of his actions [the women who are ‘not all more or less the same’].
The habitat that we inhabit is being continually, historically conditioned in a spatial-relational sense. The sun and winds and climate is capable of developing ‘bombs’ such as ‘tinder-dry forest’ that are waiting to explode, no matter if by lightning, the spark of a chain-saw, the focusing of a convex piece of glass, or by the spark in a stubbed cigarette butt. To the man in the forest, his actions in disposing of cigarette butts may be ‘more or less the same’ but not all forests are the same. Mike Barre of McLure, British Columbia [a volunteer fire-fighter], according to his own tally, disposed of 38,000 stubbed cigarette butts in forested area without incident. However, his 38,001st stubbed butt disposal triggered the McLure-Barriere fire of 2003 which first headed away from the town of McLure then after a windshift came back and burned down the entire town of McLure. It was not that Mike Barre’s actions were ‘careless’. It was instead that Mike Barre’s carelessness was in regard to insufficient discernment of differences in historical conditioning of forest regions; i.e. not all forest regions are the same.
If you are 12, tickling the chest of a female playmate innocently or otherwise may produce smiles and giggles. This gradually becomes a ‘mine-field’ in regard to different ‘outcomes’ from different friends from exactly the same behaviour. The outcome where the recipient of the actions launches into pyrotechnics is not the result of the actions per se, but in the historical conditioning of the recipient of the action. Not only are not all females the same, neither are relationships the same [the white guy does not try using the N word with his black brothers just because he has seen his black brothers use it with one another].
In general, the ‘scientific method’ includes certain assumptions that are rarely questioned parts of the scientific modeling process. The assumption that it is realistic to model dynamics ‘in time’ is one of those assumptions. Causality is a concept that is tied to the modeling of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do in time’. And as Poincaré observes, in science [mainstream], this includes the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’. Therefore, when the children’s bodies are pulled from the avalanche, the parents look uphill and see the third skier ‘whose actions caused the avalanche which killed their children’. ‘His careless actions killed their children’.
That is not the ‘reality’. It was not ‘his actions’ that caused the avalanche, it was the historical conditioning of the mountain slope. His actions were perfectly ok with 99% of mountain slopes. His carelessness was not in his actions but in his insufficient discernment of the historical conditioning of the slope he was on; i.e. ‘not all slopes are the same’.
Dynamics that unfold, in general, cannot be realistically ‘mapped against time’. To say that ‘time has more dimensions’, as some physicists are saying, is true in this sense, when one explores how ‘time’ enters into our psychological modeling, it becomes apparent that it plays an ‘economy of thought’ role as described by Poincaré in his above quote; i.e. ni order to simplify our modeling of dynamics, we re-render dynamics in terms of a ‘time derivative’.
“We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down its differential equation; for the laws of Kepler we substitute the law of Newton”. – Henri Poincaré, ‘Science and Hypothesis’
What goes missing in this ‘time’ based re-rendering of dynamics is the spatial-relational historical conditioning of the habitat [the continual spring-loading of spatial-relations with potential energy at the same time as spring-unloading of kinetic energy into spatial-relations]. In other words, what goes missing is Mach’s view of physical dynamics in terms of the continual transforming of the relational spatial-plenum.
When we use our mental model of ‘what things-in-themselves do over time’ to guide our actions, we blind ourselves to how our actions contribute in the continuing historical conditioning of the dynamic habitat that we share inclusion in, that is the essential reality underlying the dynamics of our physical experience; i.e. our experience is not ‘in time’ but ‘in relational space’. ‘Time’ is an economy-of-thought-producing device, that allows us to ignore the complexities of living in a historically conditioned [spatial-relationally conditioned] habitat; i.e. it enables us to re-render dynamics in fictive terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do in time’. But the actions of historically conditioned inhabitants of the habitat do not transpire ‘in time’, they transpire in relational space, per Mach’s principle; “The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”
This entry was posted by ted lumley on November 22, 2012 at 1:25 am, and is filed under APN. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.
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