Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bob and Christopher's Excellent Adventure

The question is, does reality limit reason, or does man will his own truth? To put it another way, is reason the conformity of mind to world, or is "reality" just the imposition of mind onto an otherwise unknowable world (which reduces truth to will)?

Once again we're back at the crossroads of the Kantian bifurcation of mind and world, between the knowable phenomena and the supposedly unknowable noumenon, whatever that is. Alexander's whole project involves undoing or transcending this bifurcation, because it leads to intellectual and aesthetic chaos and arbitrariness -- from the antihuman misosophies of the left to the ugly buildings of our cities, and everything in between.

Alexander endeavors to resolve this split by positing a metaphysic in which "objective reality 'out there' and our personal reality 'in here' are thoroughly connected." I couldn't agree more, and as a matter of fact, my very first published paper in 1991 was on just this subject.

Really, Bob? Yes, I think so. But it's been 22 years. Better verify that claim.

Let's see. Each moment -- both objectively and subjectively -- is "a translation, or unfolding, of a primordial and multidimensional reality into the more familiar three-dimensions-plus-time modality." Looked at this way, the world is a sort perpetual movement from infinite to finite, or, as we prefer to say, from O to (n).

David Bohm -- whose work in physics links Alexander's to mine -- would say that each moment of time is a projection from the total nonlocal implicate order into a local explicate order, so that "any describable event, object, entity, etc., is an abstraction from an unknown and undefinable totality of flowing movement" (Bohm).

Yeah, I still think that, only more so. For Bohm, "the explicate order of the world of experience unfolds and displays the implicate." The latter "can be thought of as a ground beyond time, a totality out of which each moment is projected into the explicate order."

But it is a circular movement, one I have symbolized (↓↑). Of course, I'm talking about the spiritual world while Bohm is talking about the physical world, but the important point is that it's the same pattern:

"For every moment of time that is projected out into the explicate order there would be another movement in which that moment would be injected or 'introjected' back into the implicate order" (Bohm).

"This whole process -- forms ceaselessly emerging and then being reabsorbed -- accounts for the influence of past forms on present ones, and also allows for the emergence of new creative forms" (ibid.).

In other words, reality is not a linear machine, but again, a kind of perpetual flow of the implicate ground into familiar reality, and then back (and this is strikingly similar to Eckhart's description of the Ground; you could say that we're all -- Bohm, Eckhart, Alexander, and I -- in the same Attractor, just describing it from our own vantage points).

Some human beings, for a variety of reasons, have a compromised ability to "read out" O, the implicate order. This makes them very boring and very predictable. Lifeless. No spark. But good accountants.

Others have no stable explicate order. They can be live wires: charismatic. Life o' the party. Good actors. Just don't rely on them. And whatever you do, don't get involved in an intimate relationship with one of them. It will be fun while the fun lasts, but then hell while the hell lasts. I still have the occasional nightmare...

Alexander is at pains to point out that, in order to understand his approach, one must allow oneself to engage in a totally different kind of thinking in which we are directly connected to the world, in an unmediated way.

The world is constantly speaking to us, most especially in aesthetic terms. All day long we see a constant stream of things that evoke various feelings that are a reliable indicator of the degree of "life" or wholeness present.

Here is what I wrote about that mode back in 1991. But before getting to that, the main idea is that, instead of (k) --> O -- in which we simply project our own preconceptions onto the world -- we must enter a state of O --> (n), in which we constantly listen to subtle messages of the world.

Anyway, here's what I wrote: "Just as the physical universe of stars and galaxies is but a mere 'ripple' on the surface of the holomovement, conventional 'thought' or 'intellect' [read: (k)] is a static, constricted, and limited form of consciousness." It is "basically mechanical in its order of operation, dealing as it does with the already known."

In contrast, the O --> (n) mode is analogous to "the continuous and dynamic unfolding of the implicate order," giving access to the "freshly minted moment" (Bohm) and the "ever-moving and self-renewing present" (ibid.). Children are there most of the time, which is why it is so refleshing to be around them.

This is not to suggest that (k) doesn't have its uses. Of course it does. However, "unless there are also profoundly experiential transformations in O, evolution will only occur in (k)," fostering "a sterile evolution of the intellect bearing no relationship to the deeper self." You know. Infertile eggheads. Ideologues. Tenure.

You might say that the circle of (k) can never contain the sphere of O. Which is why, to paraphrase Ted, strange things are always afoot at the Circle K, if only you pay attention to the weirdness...

Well, I got a late start and now I'm due back in the explicate order. To be continued, pending the slightest expression of interest.

23 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

Great read!

My ex-girlfriend also had very little explicate order, but had no problem tossing out her expletive disorder.

Bohm use to also make the assumption that there were preexisting creative potentials in the explicate order. Does this also fit with your thinking? Much like strange attractors giving us our telos.

Lastly, would you ever make some of those old published papers available online (even if for a small fee)?

3/21/2013 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I wouldn't know how to do that, but I think Rick of The War fame once somehow uploaded a couple for potential dissemination to the masses. But I could be wrong.

3/21/2013 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, and I would agree that there are eternal patterns in the implicate order -- archetypes, or Ideas in the Mind of God, so to speak. In fact, Ace had a good riff on one of them yesterday.

3/21/2013 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

There may be more info on that here. I'm seeing more published papers for digital readers on Amazon (some free, some for a fee).

3/21/2013 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The term Maximus uses is 'logoi' meaning (variously) words, ideas...

3/21/2013 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Heck yeah, I'm interested.

All day long we see a constant stream of things that evoke various feelings that are a reliable indicator of the degree of "life" or wholeness present.

we must enter a state of O --> (n), in which we constantly listen to subtle messages of the world.


Yes, it's like there are little teachable moments all around. A is a lot like B where B is some universal truth. They kind of hit you and then you mostly forget them.

3/21/2013 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Children are there most of the time, which is why it is so refleshing to be around them.

Of course, that depends on the children. All too often lately, I see them acting out a live version of Lord of the Flies...

3/21/2013 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Notice I didn't say babies or toddlers. Or teens. Five to eleven, say. Or, just to be on the safe side, seven, maybe eight.

3/21/2013 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

This time yesterday I was having the most fun filmic-music immersion in a while, in that Ginger Baker documentary
Beware of Mr Baker
-Caught his inimitableness live once with a little combo aka BLIND FAITH

3/21/2013 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - that's actually the age I meant. I don't know if it's just Miami, or kids in general at that age and without adult supervision, but out here they tend to act like little psychos. Usually just to each other, but today I actually had to yell at a pack of Jewish (!) kids who were dangerously rough housing in the toddler playground. They left, but eventually came back, loudly announcing over and over that they "didn't have to listen to that lady!" Though notably, for all their bravado they were somewhat subdued. By which I mean they had ceased trying to kill each other (and any passing, oblivious toddler) with the swings and settled for mere punching, chokeholds, and spitting in each other's faces.

Toddlers are crazy, too, but usually the parents are there to restrain them to some degree. The older kids out here, though, seem to be accustomed to having virtually no supervision nor accountability - and act accordingly. Usually happens when we come across kids in a "camp," which out here seems to mean 30 kids accompanying one or two disinterested adults to local playgrounds to act out their developing pathologies. Anyway, they have all year to practice flaunting authority. I never saw much of that in Mesa, though generally we managed to avoid older kids so perhaps it's prevalent there, too.

One thing I do know: if I had gone to my mom or whoever was in charge to complain about parents at the *toddler* playground, she would have wanted to know what I had done to deserve it, and what business I had there in the first place. Apparently those weren't important concerns to whomever was in charge of these kids.

3/21/2013 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This makes them very boring and very predictable. Lifeless. No spark. But good accountants.

An artist can masquerade for years as a good accountant. Some are just quirky like the guy I wrote stat programs for in Dallas in the early '90s who knew every fragment of Elvis minutia imaginable. He was very intense about everything else, but, get him started on Elvis, and he was still very intense and really weird.

3/21/2013 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ted,
Take two of these and call Bob in the morning.

Dr Bob's Whirl Famous Elixirs:

PDF 1

PDF 2

Instructions:

Step 1. Cut the red wire.
Step 2. But first, cut the green wire.

~ Your Dispatcher

3/21/2013 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Wow Rick, thank you very much! And of course, thank you Bob for the authorship! I got some nice bedtime reading to do.

3/21/2013 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

My pleasure, Ted.

3/21/2013 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Finally, I have something horrifically apropos, via Ace: The Thought Leaders of Tomorrow

This is what happens when language becomes completely unmoored from reality, or indeed from anything but the constant expression of "personal truth."

Homer: Marge, I'm feeling a lot of shame right now.
Marge: I'm hearing that you feel a lot of shame.
Homer: And I feel that you hear my shame.
Marge: I'm feeling annoyance and frustration, but also tolerance.
Homer: I feel validated by that.
Marge: Good! I'm glad we had this talk.
Homer: Me too. [walks off whistling]


Heh - of course, for this to work, somebody has to agree to be tolerant...

3/22/2013 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Julie, I got through 5 minutes of that entropy. But I think we have found a new torture method that may be considered politically correct.

3/23/2013 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

One trendy phrase I wish they'd added: 'That said...' [true, it's usually in Comments to articles or reviews but why not a place in everyday say-0 parlance too?]

3/23/2013 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I read this post right after I came across yet even more controversy surrounding Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos". It's incredible, this atheist philosopher is really being treated like a heretic by his peers for daring to question the intelligentsia's sacred cow of Darwinian materialism.

3/23/2013 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Ted said "I got through 5 minutes of that entropy."

That's positively heroic. I ended their world at 2:19.

"I don't understand how you as a marginalized person can further marginalize another marginalized person."

Click.

3/23/2013 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"Let's see. Each moment -- both objectively and subjectively -- is "a translation, or unfolding, of a primordial and multidimensional reality into the more familiar three-dimensions-plus-time modality." Looked at this way, the world is a sort perpetual movement from infinite to finite, or, as we prefer to say, from O to (n)."

Well, yeah.

I mean it's artwork, isn't it?

You need a canvas, and space+time seems to be an excellent one.

3/24/2013 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"But it is a circular movement, one I have symbolized (↓↑). Of course, I'm talking about the spiritual world while Bohm is talking about the physical world, but the important point is that it's the same pattern:

"For every moment of time that is projected out into the explicate order there would be another movement in which that moment would be injected or 'introjected' back into the implicate order" (Bohm).

"This whole process -- forms ceaselessly emerging and then being reabsorbed -- accounts for the influence of past forms on present ones, and also allows for the emergence of new creative forms" (ibid.)."

It's not really circular.

It's spiral.

I think you need a new word or maybe a new symbol.

The up/down arrows are great and all, but it doesn't quite hit the nail on the head.

3/24/2013 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

(↺)

3/24/2013 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Time is a spiral, and space as well, a spherical spiral... "The vision of the spherical spiral, the true vision of space. Very elusive, must be practiced. Important because it is the just representation of time-space, abstracted from the infinite flow and extension that pulls us into the facts. The spherical spiral is impossible to imagine, you must see it become in space."
And he concluded with a convoultion of hands and forearms that came closer than a thousand impossible words to evoking this double helix, no longer linear and gaining dimension in contrary motion by folding the edge of its space back onto itself..."

[Al-Kemi: Hermetic, Occult, Political, and Private Aspects of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz]

3/24/2013 09:43:00 AM  

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