Understanding Bipolar Disorder via Nietzsche
My sense of why many of us WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS ‘don’t understand Nietzsche’ (my assumption is that most people do not understand what Nietzsche is saying because if they did, they would see our WESTERN CULTURE ‘normal’ as CRAZY and ‘know why’ it is CRAZY).
Here is my view on what Nietzsche is saying.
-1- We WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS use the ‘DOUBLE ERROR’ of NAMING and GRAMMAR ubiquitously in our normal language exchanges. The DOUBLE ERROR is the combining of NAMING and GRAMMAR to construct representations that are LOCAL and EXPLICIT like Lightning Flashes (Nietzsche’s example). Who would disagree with this?
-2- HERE’S THE PROBLEM. We WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS accept the DOUBLE ERROR as a REAL ACTION although it is pure abstraction that imputes LOCAL SOURCING of actions and development. BUT there is no such thing as LOCAL SOURCING and Lightning is NOT a LOCAL THING that SOURCES STUFF like ‘FLASHES’. What is going on is TRANSFORMATION and it is continual and it is relational and thus there is no such thing as LOCAL SOURCING of actions and development regardless of what our EGO claims.
-3- Another example of the DOUBLE ERROR of LOCAL SOURCING is … “ROBIN HOOD’ stole grain from the King’s Granary”. This is just an abstractly CHOPPED OUT LOCAL REPRESENTION from the transforming relational continuum. That is, you can see, perhaps more obviously, in the example ‘LIGHTNING FLASHES’, that we are chopping out a small ‘LOCAL’ picture-piece of a much larger dynamic, … a dynamic SO LARGE and SO NONLOCAL, that we are not sure where it starts and ends but it would seem to involve the movement of sun and earth and the flow of atmosphere. So which dynamic is MORE REAL? I would say ‘the ‘larger dynamic’ or in other words, the NONLOCAL dynamic (how about you?). BUT which dynamic is easier to capture and represent in language? It is the LOCAL ‘LIGHTNING FLASHES’ dynamic.
Evidently, the dynamic that is MORE REAL is NONLOCAL and thus INEFFABLE. This same problem that that which is MORE REAL is NONLOCAL while that which is MORE EASY to capture and share in language is LOCAL and EXPLICIT. It appears to be the same for the example of ROBIN HOOD and the theft of grain. That is, there is a long “shaggy dog” but “true” story there about the King’s abuse of his power over the peasants and the whole history of European civilization and social imbalances etc., so while the LOCAL REPRESENTATION leaves out a lot, the LOCAL representation is far more ‘EFFABLE’.
For the purpose of sharing understanding, we run into the problem that that which is MORE REAL is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT while that which is MORE EASY to capture and share is that which we can reduce to LOCAL and EXPLICIT (e.g. Robin Hood stole grain from the King’s Granary, and/or Jean Valjean stole the loaf of bread).
“As regards the academies, they are established in order to regulate the studies of the pupils and are concerned not to have the program of teaching change very often: in such places, because it is a question of the progress of the students, it frequently happens that the things which have to be chosen are not those which are most true but those which are most easy. And by that division in things which makes different people form different judgements, it so happens that certain people are in error contrary to their own opinion.” – Johannes Kepler, ‘Harmonies of the World’
It is EASIER, where we are called upon to reduce the unfolding dynamics of our sensory experience to language-based constructions, to employ the abstract terms of the LOCAL and EXPLICIT (“that which is most easy”) than to try to capture the NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT (“that which is most true”).
OUR WESTERN CULTURE has TURNED THIS UPSIDE-DOWN, by elevating the role of FACTS, where a FACT is “a thing that is known or proved to be true”, such as the FACT that Jean Valjean ‘stole a loaf of bread’ and the fact that Robin Hood stole grain from the King’s Granary. This WESTERN CULTURE PRACTICE of REDUCING our understanding in terms of the INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT to the EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT gives rise to something very much abbreviated as compared with the sensory experience of inclusion in the transforming relational continuum (‘the Wave-field aka the Tao) leaves us with something we call TRUTH and we use as our official ‘coinage’ that we pass around as if such tokens all we need to understand ‘reality’. As Nietzsche offers, in regard to “TRUTH”;
“What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.” — Nietzsche, –Über Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne, (On Truth and Lies in an extra-moral sense).
If we say that Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread, are we ‘telling the truth’, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God? Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), whether with the support of DNA evidence and Closed Circuit Television recordings (CCTV) will affirm, without a shred of a doubt, that Jean Valjean stole the loaf of bread, and that Robin Hood stole from the King’s Granary. The whole point of these two stories is that the INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT informs us a reality that is innately ‘more real’ than the EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT, … the stuff that WESTERN JUSTICE a la Crime-Scene Investigation concerns itself. The stories concocted by Crime Scene Investigation are INCOMPLETE stories based on the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR; e.g. Jean Valjean (NAMING) stole (GRAMMAR) a loaf of bread. NICE REDUCTION, NON? A DOUBLE ERROR based REDUCTION that is presented as TRUTH; (“truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are”). That is, we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS have forgotten that our language has been made possible by its reducing of the INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT to the EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and EXPLICIT, the latter being a TOOL, which as Emerson notes, has in our WESTERN CULTURE ‘run away with the workman, the human with the divine’.
-4- Ok, we can see that the DOUBLE ERROR seems to MIS-represent the LOCAL as if it were COMPLETE for the purpose of understanding reality, … but is there something wrong with this DOUBLE ERROR COMPLETENESS? Goedel’s theorem proves the incompleteness of all finite systems of logic, so insofar as the LOCAL logical representation may be more ‘concise’ and ‘explicit’ as in ‘LIGHTNING STRIKES’, it embodies an ‘INCOMPLETENESS’. But we can’t get to COMPLETENESS anyhow because reality is the all-including transforming relational continuum which includes ourselves and our eyeballs can’t sprout elastic stems and move on out of our heads so as to move beyond our voyeur viewing of ‘other’ that separates the viewed OBJECT from the viewing SUBJECT, so as to capture ourselves in the visual field of view instead of constraining us to viewing the world as if ‘out there’ and separate from viewing subjejct. It seems that our own view is radically incomplete (subjective) and that we should have to combine the views of many others to overcome the incompleteness of the personal subjective perspective;
There is only a perspectival seeing, only a perspectival ‘knowing’; the more affects we are able to put into words about a thing, the more eyes, various eyes we are able to use for the same thing, the more complete will be our ‘concept’ of the thing, our ‘objectivity’.– Nietzsche
So, “LIGHTNING FLASHES” chops out a LOCAL VIEW from the transforming relational continuum, so in using the DOUBLE ERROR representation technique of NAMING and GRAMMAR, we are extracting something EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT out of the INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT. If we bring into connective confluence the views of various eyes, we may intuit (rather than ‘see’) a storm-system that is NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT which is INEFFABLE and as Wittgenstein puts it in his final proposition in ‘TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS’, .. Of that which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence. “The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao”—Lao Tzu.
-5- While ‘LIGHTNING FLASHES’ is LOCAL and EXPLICIT, the physical reality of our sensory experience is INEFFABLE-because NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT. Should we be satisfied with treating DOUBLE ERROR based LOCAL and EXPLICIT statements like “Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread” as REALITY?
Evidently, we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS ARE (as a social collective) satisfied with regarding ‘reality’ as that which is LOCAL and EXPLICIT, but this is NOT THE CASE in MODERN PHYSICS, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism/Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
DON’T FORGET, the EGO builds from the notion of LOCAL SOURCING of EXPLICIT actions and developments and WESTERN CULTURE invents and celebrates HEROS on the basis of the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR (and invents and denigrates VILLAINS on the basis of the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR).
The dynamics of the nonlocal relational continuum are INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT and when the child slips and falls into the raging river and a complete stranger dives in to rescue the child (at the risk of his own drowning), it is an obvious error to reduce what is going on to LOCAL SOURCING of EXPLICIT actions and developments as the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR allow us to do, making him out to be a benevolently programmed Cyborg animated by rational calculations aimed at maximizing GOOD and minimizing BAD. This is far from understanding the world in the relational terms of a transforming relational continuum, BUT IT IS THE FAMILIAR WESTERN CULTURE DECONSTRUCTION OF REALITY in terms of LOCAL THINGS-in-THEMSELVES with notional LOCAL POWERS of SOURCING actions and developments, as in the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR.
How did this child being swept away in the raging river come to be in this predicament? Was it the rainstorm the day before that caused the river to rage and knock the boy off balance or was it the upstream Dam operators opening the floodgates to relieve pressure on the dam, or was it the old pair of running shoes with the worn out tread that the boy’s parents were too poor to replace? Such influences would take us out of the LOCAL and EXPLICIT into the unending relational field of the NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT where phenomena are INEFFABLE, in which both SUBJECT rescuer and OBJECT rescuee are included relational forms.
The ‘intelligence’ is in this case ‘immanent’ in the relational dynamic and is NOT confined to the interior of the ‘intelligent inhabitants’ in this ‘habitat’ because, in reality, there is no FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO SPLIT (i.e. no INHABITANT-AND-HABITAT-as-TWO SPLIT). Instead, Inhabitant-and-Habitat, Figure-and-Ground, Subject-and-Object, are ONLY ONE.
“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.” – Erwin Schroedinger
YES, LANGUAGE AND GRAMMAR support the DOUBLE ERROR based splitting by way of NAMING and GRAMMAR that supports the abstract (in the psyche) invention of LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments, the basis for the common FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO (pseudo-) CONSTRUCTIONS OF REALITY. This tool gives us the power for inventing intellectual DOUBLE ERROR constructions such as “the hurricane is sourcing turbulence in the atmosphere”, which as we can see, come source a BIPOLAR DISORDER because the DOUBLE ERROR splits FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-ONE into FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO in which case, we also have the option to construct a polar opposite FIGURE-and-GROUND reality wherein “The atmosphere is sourcing turbulence in the hurricane”.
Does the turbulent FIGURE source turbulence in the GROUND, or does the turbulent GROUND source turbulence in the FIGURE? For us WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS who embrace the EGO based understanding that we are LOCAL BEING with our own LOCAL powers of SOURCING actions and developments, we have this ambiguous choice, which we need to make if we are going to use this DOUBLE ERROR based means of constructing WESTERN STYLE (pseudo) reality. As WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS, WE GET TO CHOOSE our preferred POLAR opposite foundation for reality.
If we have a penchant for imposing morally right and wrong judgements to eliminate the bad and amplify the good, we are in effect giving primary power to the FIGURE, as in; “the hurricane/FIGURE is sourcing turbulence in the atmosphere/GROUND”. (i.e. as in “one bad apple sources rot in the whole barrel”). If, on the other hand, if we have a penchant for forgiveness and for helping others to ‘overcome their mistakes’, we can give the primary power to the GROUND, as in; “The atmosphere/GROUND is sourcing turbulence in the hurricane/FIGURE”.
These two polar opposed factions (conservative and liberal) have in common their belief in LOCAL SOURCING of actions and development, the difference being that the conservative sees the individual as the ultimate sourcing agency while the liberal sees the social collective as the ultimate sourcing agency.
Modern physics, as also EASTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS (indigenous aboriginals, Taoists/Buddhists and Advaita Vedanta) understand reality very differently; i.e. NOT as EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT as in CONSTRUCTION and DESTRUCTION wherein FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-TWO, but as INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT as in TRANSFORMATION wherein FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-ONE.
* * *
WE WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS seem to be fearful of opening up our understanding to the greater reality of the INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT, … preferring to stick with the APPARENT CERTAINTY of the EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT even if it is INCOMPLETE and AMBIGUOUS (For example, if whorl/figure and flow/ground are TWO, does the whorl source the flow, or does the flow source the whorl? Ambiguity and the associated BIPOLAR DISORDER is the “PRICE” we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS pay for reducing the NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT to the LOCAL and EXPLICIT by way of the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR.
I can understand the psychological appeal of both the conservative view and the liberal view and also how easy it is to ensconce oneself in debate over their relative merits. But as soon as the mind engages on this top, the sense of the existence of TWO polar opposites becomes the operative reality, otherwise where would be nothing to polarize the debate! The deeper reality lies beneath the abstract binary split into conservative and liberal, that split coming from the FALSE belief in LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments put into our psyche by the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR, as in the WHORL and FLOW example. We can only argue over whether the WHORL (figure) sources the stirring up of the FLOW (ground) or whether the FLOW (ground) sources the stirring up of the FIGURE (whorl) if we first of all believe in the reality of LOCAL SOURCING of actions and development. There is no basis in sensory experience reality for ‘LOCAL SOURCING’ of anything. LOCAL SOURCING IS THE DOUBLE ERROR OF NAMING AND GRAMMAR.
So all that the conservative – liberal arguing is about, at base, dependent on a belief in LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments, and there is NO SUCH THING in the transforming relational continuum. LOCAL SOURCING is abstraction based on the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR.
The conservative – liberal polar opposition is thus a BIPOLAR DISORDER deriving from belief in the REALITY of LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments per the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR which gives rise to the perception of FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO. In the physical reality of our sensory experience, HURRICANING (FIGURE) and ATMOSPHERIC FLOWING (GROUND) are ONE, but thanks to the DOUBLE ERROR of NAMING and GRAMMAR, we create the ‘intellectual impression’ that the HURRICANE and the ATMOSPHERE are TWO separate things such that the dynamics of the HURRICANE belong to the HURRICANE and the dynamics of the ATMOSPHERIC FLOW are like a separate GROUND or HABITAT in which the perceived-as-separate FIGURE or INHABITANT. The impression, WHICH DERIVES FROM THE DOUBLE ERROR OF NAMING AND GRAMMAR, is that the FIGURE (INHABITANT) and GROUND (HABITAT) are TWO whereas, in reality, FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-only-ONE.
Notice that if we suspend language-based thinking and talking and ‘go with’ our sensory experience, we can understand HURRICANE-and-ATMOSPHERE-as-ONE where the HURRICANE is a ‘flexure’ in the atmosphere but NOT something distinct and separate from the GROUND of the atmosphere. As with DUNING in the DESERTING all of which is relational forming and re-forming within the transforming relational continuum, FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-ONE.
If it seems hard to break the hammerlock hold on the psyche that WE-THE-FIGURE are separate and independent of the GROUND, that insistence within us that is hold us back IS EGO. But for those who have had a near-death experience, perhaps from being close to drowning, and having been resuscitated, there has been a momentary experience of ‘being one with everything’ as the EGO ‘lets go’. The fact that the EGO can ‘let go’ without the entire loss of SELF (the SELF resumes it deepest essence of oneness with everything) gives us ‘something to shoot for’, another aspect of ourselves which Schroedinger speaks of in ‘What is Life?’.
“ … Yet each of us has the indisputable impression that the sum total of his own experience and memory forms a unit, quite distinct from that of any other person. He refers to it as ‘I’. What is this ‘I’? If you analyse it closely you will, I think, find that it is just a little bit more than a collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely the canvas upon which they are collected. And you will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by ‘I’ is that ground-stuff upon which they are collected. You may come to a distant country, lose sight of all your friends, may all but forget them; you acquire new friends, you share life with them as intensely as you ever did with your old ones. Less and less important will become the fact that, while living your new life, you still recollect the old one. “The youth that was I’, you may come to speak of him in the third person, indeed the protagonist of the novel you are reading is probably nearer to your heart, certainly more intensely alive and better known to you. Yet there has been no intermediate break, no death. And even if a skilled hypnotist succeeded in blotting out entirely all your earlier reminiscences, you would not find that he had killed you. In no case is there a loss of personal existence to deplore
Nor will there ever be.”
– Erwin Schroedinger, ‘What is Life?’
* * *