Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Live in a Haunted House!

It seems that the Great Nothing at the heart of things is related to their being created and not self-existent and self-explanatory. Everything is "open," but not in the usual sense of being a process-structure or dissipative system -- like a whirlpool or organism. Rather, this openness and dependency goes deeper; it is an "ontological openness," as it were. It is not empirical but metaphysical. It can surely be "seen," but not with the eyes of the flesh.

It can be seen because it's Pretty Damn Obvious. Clearly, the biosphere below us is completely entangled, such that nothing is merely what it is. For example, flowers cannot be exhaustively explained without recourse to bees, and vice versa. Who are we to say a bee isn't just an "external organ" of the flower? Nature is filled with such symbiotic arrangements. When you pet your dog, your blood pressure goes down. Chickens and cows would likely be extinct if they weren't so tasty.

Surprisingly -- especially to materialists -- it's the same with physics, which has proven beyond doubt that everything is likewise entangled at the quantum level. There are no unambiguous objects over there or right now. Rather, everything blends into everything else because mass is energy, and energy is whatnow?

A word. As they say, physics can tell us everything about energy except what it is. Likewise biology and life, psychology and mind, theology and spirit. Just because we have a word for something doesn't mean we know what it is. Analogously, Europeans had a name for Africa before any of them set foot inside.

"Each creature wakes up and is stunned at the news of its own existence. It's the kind of news you never really get over" (O'Herron, in Schmitz). That's a bit of an exaggeration, for this is true only of conscious creatures, AKA, man. And even then, it seems that many people quickly get over the shock and pretend everything is normal. BUT IT'S NOT! I don't mean to shout, but THIS IS REALLY WEIRD, OKAY?

I guess there are two types of humans: those who appreciate the weirdness, and those who sleep right through it, AKA the Normals (and now the plague of Subnormals).

Here is a rock-bottom truth: "consciousness becomes self-consciousness when one looks into the eyes of another who looks back" (ibid.). Absent this intersubjectivity, man would not be man, regardless of how "intelligent."

Indeed, human intelligence -- as discussed in yesterday's post -- is always intersubjective and object-related. Objects "give" their intelligibility, just as we "receive" it with our intelligence. Intelligence is to intelligibility as... bee is to flower. It completes the cosmic circuit, at least in potential.

Any difference implies difference as such. To recognize difference is to be alive, for the very first itsy bitsy that teenies its little weenie has a boundary -- a semi-permeable membrane -- between inside and out, self and other. Life, you might say, is the recognition of otherness. Absent life, it's All The Same, just an undifferentiated blob. True, life can at times be a bit too exciting. But without it the cosmos is a complete snooze.

To paraphrase Professor Ibid, does a painting or song give us any more enjoyment if we give it a name? Does Will explain Why if we shake his beard? No! The supposedly solid morphyl man is inunderated and disselves unto the swimminpull of divine otherness.

Whatever.

Recall that life starts with boundary and difference. Transposed to the key of persons, it is the Face that serves this purpose: "only human beings have faces. This is because the face is a structure that shows forth meaning" (Schmitz).

Note also that every non-liberal person is different, so one of the intrinsic meanings conveyed by facehood is uniqueness and individuality, from which it isn't a great leap to dignity and intimacy (for our deepest selfhood can only be given, never stolen or taken forcibly).

"A person's face is meant to be the signature of the character within; one cannot disengage the face from a certain interiority. A face has depth; it is not all surface" (ibid.). And yet, "depth is not a thing at all," just a vector, so to speak. It is a "direction" which travels both in and out. Thus, the face doesn't just convey individuality as such, but interiority as well. "In philosophical terms, the face displays a spiritual reality" (ibid.).

For the baby, the mother's face is the first map of the world, except this is not a geographical map but a pneumagraphical one. We call a person who cannot read the interior map autistic.

This also goes to why for most of western history, actors -- because of the ability to deceive with the face -- were considered suspect, whereas now we are more tolerant and just think of them as crazy.

So, Person means a great deal. When you say it, you've said a mythfull, for example, Narcissus, who fell in love with his own face, meaning that he was confined in a closed system of self-regard. Likewise the dunce abane acrime president who was sunk in an offal orifice of hypertrophed self-regard, where no one else could enter but his talking jarrot.

But personhood really means "the manifestation of meaningful depth, the distinctiveness of the individual, the intimacy of direct personal encounter, and the dignity associated with the divine and with the specifically human." We are "haunted by uniqueness, intimacy, and dignity" (ibid.).

9 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Chickens and cows would likely be extinct if they weren't so tasty.

Ha - funny, because it's true!

6/11/2015 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"only human beings have faces. This is because the face is a structure that shows forth meaning"

I caught just a glimpse of the most recent Planet of the Apes movie the other day, and it struck me at the time that the way they showed that one of the apes was actually intelligent was that they gave him a very human face. More so than chimps already have, I mean - even though he didn't speak, he was quite easy to read. Then of course the body language followed.

6/11/2015 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

A person's face is meant to be the signature of the character within; one cannot disengage the face from a certain interiority. A face has depth; it is not all surface

Now I have an excuse for not being photogenic. I'm all depth.

It is true that some people who have very pleasant looks live and in person do not photograph well.

6/11/2015 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Bacon is a brilliant adaptation.

6/11/2015 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The wife has been noticing that with her photography. Some people just burst out so much, every photo looks good. My son for example. Others are so inward, it's a challenge. His father, for example.

6/11/2015 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only humans have faces. Look at that face in the old Toltec/Mayan calendar.
You are not supposed to want that. That cannot be fixed.

You do not know what you were, or are, or even care. Self selection and monolithic thinking becomes false sacrifice.

Solomon missed the flowers after guilding what is lived with.

To not be proof of Life, and to attempt to recreate what matters will always put stuff where it goes.

What is human? War has determined that. The wind just blows where it will.

6/11/2015 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Here is a rock-bottom truth: "consciousness becomes self-consciousness when one looks into the eyes of another who looks back" (ibid.). Absent this intersubjectivity, man would not be man, regardless of how "intelligent.""

Something more comes through reflection than simply reflecting, something more results than what could come from simply putting two mirrors face to face, something enters and is magnified.

6/11/2015 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Any difference implies difference as such. To recognize difference is to be alive, for the very first itsy bitsy that teenies its little weenie has a boundary -- a semi-permeable membrane -- between inside and out, self and other. Life, you might say, is the recognition of otherness. Absent life, it's All The Same, just an undifferentiated blob. True, life can at times be a bit too exciting. But without it the cosmos is a complete snooze."

And we all know what The Blob does.

6/11/2015 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Thankfully, B'ob is no longer a leftist. If he was, he would be B'lob, and not interesting or funny at all.

6/11/2015 10:48:00 PM  

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