Friday, December 26, 2014

Everything Must Go

I apologize in advance for this disjointed offering.

I hope everyone is having a fine Boxing Day. In my case, in the course of moving some boxes from the garage back to the slackatoreum, I discovered a cache of early church documents. I wonder what's in them? The oldest ones seem to go back about thirty years. Will they prove embarrassing to the Lodge? Do they fill in some of the gaps in our sometimes frankly mythological understanding of Raccoon history? More importantly, wouldn't it be nice to extract any worthwhile nuggets, so I can toss this dusty pile into the recycling?

There is way too much for a single post, unless I exercise the strictest self-indulgence.

Now, this is a little weird, because a loose page on top of the pile speaks to our recent discussion of what happens when inside and outside are conflated. It is undated, but I'm pretty sure it's from the '80s (more often than not the notes are incomplete sentences, but the meaning is clear): "Apparatus for perception is split into minute fragments and expelled -- leaves him in a state which is neither alive nor dead."

This is a key principle, because when a person conflates inside and outside, perception obviously becomes distorted. It is more like apperception, whereby the person makes "sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses." We all do this to a certain extent, but the pathological version is characterized more by a forced expulsion of the unwanted psychic fragments into the outer world, which then causes the person to feel persecuted by them:

"Perception becomes impossible -- imprisoned by menacing presence of expelled fragments [which] lead independent and uncontrolled existence outside him."

Then what? "Each particle is contained by or engulfs a real external object." It is as if the mental process is reversed, and instead of objects becoming ideas, ideas become external objects. The nicest thing we can say about it is that inductive reasoning is rendered impossible, because the person will generalize from his own systematic misperceptions.

So, I think we can toss that page in the trash. Only about a thousand more to go.

This is from a paper I seem to have written around the same time, with a real typewriter. It shows how some people never change: "As opposed to the horizontal accumulation of unconnected facts taking place in time -- something which western science does par excellence -- this is a vertical process, a way of connecting ourselves with the primordial reality that is now." However, it would take many years for Bob to explain how such diffuse pneumababble is any different from merely deepaking the chopra.

Here is another one that goes back to our current subject: "It is possible to be in a language, but for the language to not be connected to reality." Or, in a word, tenure. So "Be quiet! God is not done talking!"

The "first human crisis is consciousness itself; the next crisis is leisure, prosperity, affluence..." I still think this is true: that human beings are still adapting to this new and strange state of being self-conscious, and that when people have affluence and leisure -- AKA slack -- they don't generally know what to do with it. Often they find that the space is populated by persecutory mind parasites, which I think is largely what animates the left. I mean, when you're reduced to scanning the world in search of microaggressions, that is a hint that you have no real problems -- or that you are projecting your internal persecutors into the world as a way to manage and cope with them.

Here are some notes concerning theoretical biologist Robert Rosen: "Organisms are not a special case but an indication that the laws of physics are profoundly incomplete. The universe described by these laws is an extremely impoverished one in which life cannot exist."

Or in other words, there is no way with the existing laws of physics to get to biology: "biology is unreachable by physics," so we end up "looking at a universe in which we cannot exist." D'oh! Physics is a necessary but not sufficient cause of life. The sufficient cause is vertical.

"Where does the genotype end and the phenotype begin?" ("An organism's genotype is the set of genes that it carries. An organism’s phenotype is all of its observable characteristics...") Now, all the characteristics that define us as truly human are phenotypic. A merely genetic human would not really be human at all, because, among other reasons, humanness is intrinsically relational, or takes place in a phenotypic space between genotypes. To put it crudely.

"Our model is not identical to the thing modeled." If we forget this, we may "create worlds with no external referent." This is a more subtle instance of the more primitive apperception alluded to above, because everything outside the model is subsumed into it. Like Marxism, for example. What is Marxism -- or leftism in general -- but an all-encompassing way to misperceive and misunderstand human nature and the world more generally?

Some things cannot be simulated -- economies, for example. Or human minds. Of course, we can reduce anything to number. But there are some things that, if reduced to number, are denuded of meaning. For example, you could say that a human being is 97% water, or $3.52 worth of minerals, or a member of the 99%, but this tells us less than nothing, because it obliterates the deeper and higher truth.

In short, "The physics of color can be just as well understood by the color blind." Indeed, even Stevie Wonder knows that leaves are green / They only change to brown when autumn comes around. The question is, could a place like this exist so beautiful / Or do we have to find our wings and fly away / To the vision in our mind?. Yes. The latter, so long as it is connected to reality.

Rosen felt that biology needed to readmit teleology if it was to provide an intelligible basis for life: "final causation is simply describing something in terms of what it entails rather than exclusively what entails it."

This is especially relevant for human beings, who are able to consciously initiate causes. In other words, we are not merely caused, but cause -- a truth which Marxism again denies, since it says that we are essentially the consequence of our class. We are materially determined, and have no soul-essence that may freely determine our future. Or else!

"Is time the process of pulling the objective into the subjective?" I would say so. In other words, of we go back, say, 4 billion years ago, there is only an "objective" world, since there are not yet any subjects in it, no points of view (we will exclude God from this discussion). The first itsy bitsy teensy weensy bit of matter that wrapped around itself and decided to go on being is like a huge tear in the fabric of objectivity. Suddenly there is a hole in the cosmos -- the very rabbit hole through which life jumps in.

Cosmic evolution blah blah yada yada, what is human knowledge but the interiorization of the exterior, or a pulling of the object(ive) into the subject?

18 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

...the pathological version is characterized more by a forced expulsion of the unwanted psychic fragments into the outer world, which then causes the person to feel persecuted by them...

I'm reminded of so much of today's "science": someone comes up with a conclusion (i.e., mankind is making the world hotter!!!11!1!), gathers some data, then ejects any of the data that doesn't fit the conclusion. But since the weather isn't formed by the conclusion, it fails to get with the program, and thus informed people keep reassuring everyone that record cold and growing icecaps are merely "weather," not climate, and the sea levels are still set to rise and wipe out islands and coastal regions around the globe.

12/26/2014 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Like the lie that Democrats are the party of the little guy and Republicans the party of the rich, some ideas are ineradicable. The conclusion comes first, followed by the apperception.

12/26/2014 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This is something, I found old notes that I have made, maybe rephrasing somebody I'd read. Even though I realized it was noteworthy, I must not have gotten the full significance of it at the time.

12/26/2014 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I still think this is true: that human beings are still adapting to this new and strange state of being self-conscious, and that when people have affluence and leisure -- AKA slack -- they don't generally know what to do with it.

You and Pascal: All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

I always fall asleep.

12/26/2014 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I was just about to belowviate on that bit, too. I'm reminded of how often it seems that some relationships - or more accurately, some people - are only strong so long as there is drama and strife. As soon as things are good and they can relax a little, they fall apart; they don't know how or who to be, absent some crisis to provide a sense of identity. So if a crisis doesn't present itself, it becomes necessary to invent one.

12/26/2014 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You have described most of the people in my wife's family -- and several in mine.

I'm always bad to procrastinate, but it's because I'm lazy, not because I want to create a crisis.

They can make an opera out of buying underwear.

12/26/2014 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I know how that is. My brother often tells me he's jealous that I live on the other side of the country, and am thus spared all of the chaos.

By the sound of things, it has ramped up, just in time for the holidays. If any of you have prayers to spare, I think my sister could use some. God knows the specifics, but I don't think anyone else does.

12/26/2014 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

you are projecting your internal persecutors into the world as a way to manage and cope with them.

The perfect Twitter retort!

12/26/2014 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"This is especially relevant for human beings, who are able to consciously initiate causes. In other words, we are not merely caused, but cause -- a truth which Marxism again denies, since it says that we are essentially the consequence of our class. We are materially determined, and have no soul-essence that may freely determine our future. Or else!"

To cause or not to cause? That's the question.
Create or leech? Slack or hack? Steel or steal?
Real or schmiel?

12/26/2014 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of the confusion of inside and outside, PowerLine reminds us of what Peggy Noonan wrote about Obama in 2008. It is a shining example of a self-styled intellectual type who lives only in her own fantasies, not in reality. Note how she waxes lyrically about her own utter bullshit:

"He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make. We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice."

12/27/2014 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

(link)

12/27/2014 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I remember Noonan being inexplicably smitten at the time, but, reading that now, I feel like spraying my screen with Lysol.

12/27/2014 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

She sounds as shallow and demented as any NY Times columnist.

12/27/2014 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry said...

I reject the false choice between shallow and demented.

12/27/2014 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Christina M said...

As I have had to go through all our stuff eleven times in eleven military moves, I say, "Been there; done that."

Peggy Noonan has been an idiot at least since sometime after 9/11 when she wrote an article on duct tape and her apartment in New York. Her Palin-diss was the capper. Why anyone reads or takes anything she says seriously anymore is a mystery to me.


Merry Christmas, Raccoons!
From the Possum/godsdog ( your stupider cousin. :)

12/27/2014 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Christina M said...

If you want to read it:
"We're All Soldiers Now." God, how I hated her after this article.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122410366852837721

12/27/2014 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Saw Interstellar last night, followed by a number of eureka moments this morning. Had a hunch there was more to it than just the obvious clues (the 1st mission is called LAZARUS) that this is a film resting on a Christian foundation.
Well done. Its treatment of The Theme (in its subtlety and symbolism) I think is on par with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Though in this case, the main character(s) play roles which surround Christ.
One piece of evidence: the design of the spacecraft in the above linked poster.

12/28/2014 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

RE the design of the spacecraft in the movie poster -- (count the outer shapes) reflects the first 12 "astronauts" that were "sent out" in the 1st LAZARUS mission. If these don't represent the 12 disciples, I'll eat my hat. But there is much more to it than this...but I don't want to spoil it more than I already have.

12/28/2014 08:34:00 AM  

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