Thursday, December 10, 2009

I AM is Somebody

Chapter four of The One and the Many discusses the well known fallacy of ignotum per ignotius. Need I say more?

Er, yes. Actually, I had never heard of this fallacy prior to reading this book, but it's a big one that infects bad philosophies at the very foundation. And exactly what is it? It involves "an unknown thing supposedly being made known by means of some other unknown thing" -- like two negatives adding up to a positive. (The most extreme case must be the postmodernist who claims that "nothing can be known and I know it!)

As we have discussed in the past, science proceeds from the known to the unknown, i.e., (k) --> O, whereas religious practice proceeds from the unknown to the known, or O --> (n); or, on a slightly more concrete plane, you could say that science proceeds from facts to principles, whereas religion proceeds from principles to facts.

According to Bolton, "Genuine explanations relate the unknown factor to one which is already understood, while the more superficial ones relate it to something familiar, though not well understood."

To rip an example from the headlines, look at the intrinsic fallacies involved in the tautological science of "climate change" (climate stasis -- now there would be a novel theory!). The warmystics take something with which they are familiar -- their computer models -- and substitute it for something they want to understand -- the "global climate." But as Bolton says, "unfortunately, familiarity can be confused with understanding, and in such cases, things can appear to be understood when they are not." For example, I am familiar with electricity. But I would only be pretending if I said I understood it.

If I may take the liberty of translighting Bolton into plain english, the nondualists try to explain reality, which they do not understand, with reference to consciousness, which they also do not understand. Voila! Perfect understanding.

B-b-b-but hold on a sec. The fallacy here is that nondualism "aims at a state of awareness, which is taken to be an ideal despite the fact that a non-self-aware consciousness is in any case the normal condition of nearly all forms of animal life." Indeed, this is the case for the great majority of human beings, most especially the further we travel into the past or the left, when people were "aware of themselves more as members of races or tribes than as individuals."

In fact, in a patented, non-greasy formula I have applied at length, "developmental time = cultural space," so that different nations, cultures, and subcultures reflect differing levels of psychospiritual development. As Bolton puts it, "Insofar as we can understand past cultures, it appears that large numbers of ordinary people in the last few millennia had little awareness of their own egos, not through any spiritual practice, but simply through ignorance. And yet, despite such facts, monists and non-dualists look to this twilight zone of consciousness as though it were the embodiment of some fine ideal" (emphasis mine).

As a psychologist who often deals with these types of human beings, I can assure you that they're out there -- people who have not yet reached the stage at which their self can be an object to itself. I don't like to say this, only because willfully malevolent assouls take it the wrong way, but these people occupy a shadowy zone somewhere between animal and human. Either that, or some people are "supermen," like a new species that has emerged from the soil of the humanimal hybrid. (To be clear, I don't agree with either characterization.)

Bolton touches on a subject that is central to my thinking, and arises out of my understanding of developmental psychoanalysis. Specifically, there is no doubt in my mind that human consciousness unfolds along a developmental coontinuum, and that it has a telos, or purpose, just as in the case of any other organ; it is just that this organ -- consciousness -- happens to be nonlocal and hyperdimensional instead of local, material, and fixed in four dimensions.

Non-dualists (and one could easily add multiculturalists, moral relativists, and romantic anthropologists), according to Bolton, "ignore the fact that self-aware consciousness is the highest kind of consciousness in this world, and regard it as a burden instead, and envy what they take to be the unreflecting peace of the backward parts of mankind among whom tribalism rules."

Well, first of all, it is a burden. Duh! It's not a struggle to be as stupid as Harry Reid or Barbara Boxer, who "travel light," if you catch my drift. I am reminded of when William F. Buckley was asked why he always remained seated during his television program -- something to the effect of, Because of the great weight of what I know. Who wouldn't want to cast this burdensome knowledge aside and go native once in awhile? But that's what beer is for. As Toots Mondello taught us, you can't spell "beer" without BE. Which is why he was always 'AMmered.

This is something I simply cannot accept: that the human subject, with all its marvelous abilities, is just a "a spiritual dead-end," as Bolton puts it, or a nul de slack as Petey does. Is it really that simple? That the modern self that is painstakingly won from the formless and infinite void should just be tossed back there like a little fish?

This is like saying that the human organism, in all its infinite complexity, is really of no more ultimate value than a simple rock star. Does the arrow of spiritual development really point down and back, to a "place" where humans never existed?

Not for me, and not for Bolton, who asks, "What if these higher orders of self-awareness could become as concretely real as the one we already possess? In that case, the path of spiritual advance would move into ever-greater complexity, not into reduction. The fact that man has a self-aware consciousness, even if only one degree of it, confirms the belief that he belongs to the order of spirits."

One important caveat, however. In my belief and experience, "complex" is not synonymous with "complicated." To the contrary, the more spiritually advanced the person, the more simple and transparent -- not to mention humble -- they become. Why? Because they have successfully incorporated and assimilated more consciousness into a higher dynamic unity, with fewer split-off and semi-autonomous parts at cross-purposes with oneself. In contrast, complicated and convoluted people -- the beasts of high maintenance -- are almost always "unspiritual," because they lack the wholeness -- both in time and space -- to truly embody the spiritual. So,

If your I be single, your whole body will be full of light.

28 Comments:

Blogger Warren said...

>> This is something I simply cannot accept: that the human subject, with all its marvelous abilities, is just a "a spiritual dead-end"

Yes, all forms of monism (or non-dualism, if you wish) entail this kind of conclusion: namely, that the cosmos is an accident, an illusion, a mistake, and/or a disaster. There's just no getting away from such conclusions on monistic grounds.

But if that's really true, why even bother to say it? Why not just drink a lot and semi-deliberately spin grand and pleasing illusions for ourselves? (Well, OK, this is what most of us do anyway...)

12/10/2009 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

"Specifically, there is no doubt in my mind that human consciousness unfolds along a developmental coontinuum, and that it has a telos, or purpose, just as in the case of any other organ; it is just that this organ -- consciousness -- happens to be nonlocal and hyperdimensional instead of local, material, and fixed in four dimensions."

The eye of the needle, purpose.
A nondualist looks at an umbilical cord and says "It is one."
While the Whole looks inside and sees many.

Life and death only serves the one purpose of coontinual life, everlasting.
By the time the sun burns out we won't need it.

"Climate change," HA!
When isn't it f^*king changing.
I just wish it would get warm again.
BRrrr!

12/10/2009 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm freezing here. Got my luxuriant coonskin cap on, so that helps. It not only conserves heat, but light.

12/10/2009 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The fallacy here is that nondualism "aims at a state of awareness, which is taken to be an ideal despite the fact that a non-self-aware consciousness is in any case the normal condition of nearly all forms of animal life." "


Seeks 'awareness' in order to deny the value of awareness, uses (alleged) consciousness in order to deny the value of consciousness... they steal the benefits of the very concepts they neglect to mention they're using, in order to attack them.

Sounds similar to Ayn Rand's “Stolen Concept” fallacy, which is 'using a concept while denying the validity of its genetic roots, i.e., of an earlier concept(s) on which it logically depends.'

and,
"When modern philosophers declare that axioms are a matter of arbitrary choice, and proceed to choose complex, derivative concepts as the alleged axioms of their alleged reasoning, one can observe that their statements imply and depend on “existence,” “consciousness,” “identity,” which they profess to negate, but which are smuggled into their arguments in the form of unacknowledged, “stolen” concepts. "

wv:rityrips
Right 'e rips... on the left...and many other applications

12/10/2009 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Does the arrow of spiritual development really point down and back, to a "place" where humans never existed?"

While we of course answer No, the Earth Firster's answer not only 'Yes', but 'Hell Yes!'

12/10/2009 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"One important caveat, however. In my belief and experience, "complex" is not synonymous with "complicated." To the contrary, the more spiritually advanced the person, the more simple and transparent they become. Why? Because they have successfully incorporated and assimilated more consciousness into a higher dynamic unity, with fewer split-off and semi-autonomous parts at cross-purposes with oneself. In contrast, complicated and convoluted people -- the beasts of high maintenance -- are almost always "unspiritual," because they lack the wholeness -- both in time and space -- to truly embody the spiritual."

The person of Character, habituated to Virtuous, principled behavior, is going to be free(er) of contradictory entanglements and errors... and that was once the purpose and goal of Education; now it is to learn pragmatic skills, effectiveness at this and at that, no matter their 'long term' results. Keynes said "In the long run, we'll all be dead"... and with that view, in the near term too.

Frédéric Bastiat's "The Law" tells you all you really need to know about law and economics in about 50 pages, and all his other books elaborate the truths expressed in it, without contradiction.

On the other hand, Keynes 'The General Theory' weighs in at 336 pages, and he almost immediately had to sling out tome after tome after it in order to reexplain and/or correct for the contradictions, errors and unforeseen consequences made in the previous one. Btw, Henry Hazlitt's The Failure of the New Economics (free pdf online here) blasts all of the Keynesian gyrations to smithereens.

"So,

If your I be single, your whole body will be full of light."

Yep.

12/10/2009 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

If your I be single, your whole body will be full of light.

Hmmm, all of Norway's probably mulling that one this morning.

12/10/2009 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Tristan said...

"Specifically, there is no doubt in my mind that human consciousness unfolds along a developmental coontinuum, and that it has a telos, or purpose, just as in the case of any other organ;"

If I may, do you have any thoughts as to the cause for the origin of consciousness and time period that it occurred? Circumstantial or divine intervention? -- In the middle of reading Julian Jaynes (asked you about him recently) and found this relevant... thanks.

12/10/2009 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

They ...envy what they take to be the unreflecting peace of the backward parts of mankind among whom tribalism rules. Like the fools who romanticize the Dreamtime of Australian Aborigines, before the British came along and changed everything.

If your I be single...

I think the hardest part of that is trying to stay balanced at the infinitesimal point where the horizontal and vertical meet. At least I've finally figured out which way to fall. Climbing back up never gets any easier, though.

Robin, that would have made for a heck of a photoshoot. Did you see the video? I wonder who the Russians have in mind with their testing. And whether the TOTUS will re-think his position on nuclear disarmament, since clearly everyone else is not playing along.

12/10/2009 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Tristan:

Good question. The answer is laid out in chapter three of my book, which could easily have been a book -- or several books -- in itself. But that's what the blog is for.

12/10/2009 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Julie noted, "I think the hardest part of that is trying to stay balanced at the infinitesimal point where the horizontal and vertical meet."

I agree. Will Johnson suggested that "... we align our minds around the vertical axis of the present moment. However, if we start getting pulled this way and that by the tugs of involuntary thoughts, we inevitably forfeit our alignment with the present moment and move forward into the future or withdraw backward into the past."

For me, there are red flags to watch for in that statement -- 'involuntary,' 'future,' 'past.' That subconscious gossip will get'cha every time!

Very yeasty post today, Bob!

12/10/2009 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Retriever said...

Your last paragraphs on the complex becoming simpler in the quest for God reminded me of the pearl of great price (sell everything one has for that which has real value) and also the many agricultural metaphors in the Bible. Specifically God pruning the faithful like a vine. We do the same thing to this day to keep fruit trees healthier and more productive of good fruit. Pull off suckers, trim branches that cross each other so as to let more air and light in. The Japanese produce gigantic chrysanthemums by training up one main stem to produce one rather spectacular bloom, outsized.

12/10/2009 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "I think the hardest part of that is trying to stay balanced at the infinitesimal point where the horizontal and vertical meet. At least I've finally figured out which way to fall. Climbing back up never gets any easier, though."

Yep, falling the proper direction doesn't help keep the backside from getting bruised though does it.

But, (ahem), it seems as if, if while being focused upon the present, we keep in mind that the present is place of the Many, and at the same retain focus on the One which the present many is a refraction of, or at least be aware of that principle which is an aspect of the One which contains our present many... it can serve us as an inverted cane with which we tap-tap-tap with while alternately resting our weight upon in the above, while choosing our footing in the below.

12/10/2009 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

An hour passed in the Sistine Chapel this morning as though minutes. There is nothing that can be said about such a place, nor is it possible to experience it through books or online images (it literally surrounds you on all sides -- even the floor).

I'm not Catholic (yet) but wife is. You don't have to be Catholic to be drawn to the epicenter of Christendom. Everyone should go there at least once IMHO.

12/10/2009 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

falling the proper direction doesn't help keep the backside from getting bruised though does it.

Heh - nor the cranium, should one be wearing one's backside as a hat at the time...

12/10/2009 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "Heh - nor the cranium, should one be wearing one's backside as a hat at the time..."

Ah yes, so I'm told... not that I'd have any experience with that youunnerstand... jus saying'....

;-)

And not that there's any relation whatsoever, but NB said,
"(yet) but wife is"

Congratulations NB!

12/10/2009 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Thanks Van. She's 4.5 months pregnant so we figured getting in good with some priests and nuns can't hurt ;-)

12/10/2009 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Sez Julie - Heh - nor the cranium, should one be wearing one's backside as a hat at the time...

Ha ha! That's actually one of my future options.

12/10/2009 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that burning alot of gasoline the way we do is not wise.

That much burning dirties the air.

Back in Medieval times the drinking water supplies of cities were thoughtlessly used as waste receptacles. In later enlightened times, we keep it clean.

Same for air supplies. Dumping combustion products into it on the stupendous scale we do is Medieval stupid. Criminy it is the same stuff that goes in our lungs. Do we drink toilet water? No? Then why "piss" in our air supply?

Later on people will marvel at our complacement idiocy. It is by no means difficult to keep waste out of the air.

So why poke fun at the "climate change" people? Perhaps they aren't exactly correct but they are nevertheless smarter than those who don't see anything wrong with lighting millions of gallons of gasoline on fire every day and bathing our bodies inside and out in the by-products.

And buring all that produces a stupendous amount of heat. Global warming? Of course its freaking obvious it makes it warmer. Perhaps not by much but of course its there.

Get on the green train you traitors. Traitors to the species.

12/10/2009 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Yodar Critch said...

Right. Why don't you ditch the computer and go back to smoke signals? Or trade in your car for a filthy and flatulent horse? According to the EPA the United States now has the cleanest air it has ever recorded and probably the cleanest air (in the cities at least) for the last 150 years. Just read about what London was like in 1850. The air in the cities is now twenty times cleaner than it was at the beginning of the last century. Besides, we need pollution to save us from global warming.

12/10/2009 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

NB - double congratulations! Do you know yet if it's a girl or boy?

12/10/2009 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Julie:

thanks! Looks like a new crop of coon kits is on the way! Assume you're still doing fine. Girl/boy: gonna find out the old fashioned way according to DW.

12/11/2009 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

“Do we drink toilet water? No? Then why "piss" in our air supply?”

You know, next time I’m at the aquarium, I’m going to ask those big-brained dolphins this question.

“Later on people will marvel at our complacement idiocy. It is by no means difficult to keep waste out of the air.”

I’m not sure complacement is a word. Maybe it means non-complacent. Anyway, OT, I saw a youtube video the other day. Someone converted an old home movie from the 70’s of some crazy kids jumping stuff with their motorcycles. It was so weird. Every time the guy floored-it before a jump, this blast of blue-ish-gray smoke came out the tailpipe. I like totally forgot what that like looked like. Because it was 30 YEARS AGO! Anyways, looks like things are going pretty well in that department. I almost remember what that smelled like too. I sorta liked that smell. It’s gone now.

“So why poke fun at the "climate change" people?”
Well, I believe in climate change. You can’t mean me. The wind chill in CT is 8 degrees F this morning. Yesterday it was about 40. That’s a lot of change! I told my kid to wear a hat.
(Seriously though. I even believe in AGW. But in more realistic terms regarding “scale” or proportion. Here’s an example. I’m quite certain than when I dropped my cell phone yesterday, it upset the earth’s axis a bit. I mean, this is just settled science. Unless you’re into that kinky homogenization science, then it won’t show up in your results. But we are serious here about our science. We factor in EVERYTHING.)

“lighting millions of gallons of gasoline on fire every day”
You know what? You’re right. I am sick and tired of that neighbor of mine with the Lake Pontcharitrain-sized open pit of gasoline on fire. I mean, everyday! I’ve had it! I am going to write some strongly-worded letters to him. Or buy a bumper sticker. Whichever comes first.

Ok. So we’re all on the same team now. When it’s my turn to be tribal leader, can we get a better fantasy world? Cause this one’s a downer.

Bob, two questions:
1. If the libs can have their own fantasy world, why can’t I?
2. Why do they pick such a horrible one? Not that it’s any of my business (hint).

RR

12/11/2009 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NB said "She's 4.5 months pregnant so we figured getting in good with some priests and nuns can't hurt ;-)"

Ha hah! Congratulations again NB! You're in for the biggest adventure in the Cosmos, you get to see Three create One... ain't no bigger thrillride out there.

(and make sure those Ultrasound techs know you don't wanna know, they tend to let things slip, or tease you with "I know what it is... are you sure you don't want to know?")

12/11/2009 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Robin,
it would seem the cosmic screensaver accidentally kicked in over northern Norway because nothing at all happened in a long time.

(We'll certainly not reveal that it was a test flight of Santa's next generation reindeer. No sirree.)

12/11/2009 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Magnus, I had wondered, too. That does explain a lot. I was kind of hoping you had reached enlightenment, though ;)

12/11/2009 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger mkfreeberg said...

Ignotum per ignotus:

From Ashton-Tate's dBase III manual, glossary section (going by memory here)...

Endless Loop: See Loop, Endless
:
:
Loop, Endless: See Endless Loop

12/12/2009 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger philmon said...

Keynes said "In the long run, we'll all be dead"

Did he really say that?

Because that would explain a whole lot about his brand of economic theory.

Wow.

12/14/2009 01:14:00 PM  

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