Friday, November 20, 2015

From I Have a Dream to A Dream Has Me!

We left off with an interesting observation by Hartshorne and a cryptic one by me. Hartshorne pointed out how billions and probably trillions of influences contribute to the experience of you and of the moment.

This is an example of an extremely weird phenomenon that is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. For without this experience of unity -- or unitary experience -- we wouldn't be having any experiences or any discussions to begin with. Rather, our "experience" would reflect an infinitely heterogeneous world with no center. Experience would be dispersed instead of integrated.

Now, the latter does sometimes happen to human beings. We call it psychosis. A useful way to think about the psychotic person is that he has no center, no spontaneous organization of his many parts. Thus, you could say that the psychotic mind is a kind of rolling catastrophe that never resolves itself into unity -- except perhaps the faux unity of terror, or persecution, or hatred, or dread.

By the way, this does, or at least will -- I think -- touch on my cryptic comment claiming that "the so-called quantum world below is actually outside us, while the starry expanse is inside." Give me a moment. It will come to me. It's right on the tip of my temporal lobe.

In a colorful passage about the world of the psychotic, Bion speaks of a dread-full "sense of imprisonment" that "is intensified by the menacing presence of the expelled fragments within whose planetary movements he is contained." In other words, the psychotic mind is contained by what it should properly contain; it orbits around what ought to orbit it.

As an aside, I want you to assume that psychosis is not only on a continuum, but that we are all possessed of a psychotic mind (or a psychotic part of the mind, to be precise). For some of us it is integrated -- it is often implicated in creativity, for example, -- while for others it is un-integrated, untamed, unmastered.

You could even say that healthy "mental metabolism," so to speak, involves a dialectic or complementarity of psychotic <-> nonpsychotic, or what Bion calls PS <-> D for short.

And in a way, you could say that PS <-> D is very much similar to Hartshorne's description of the trillions of influences that contribute to the simple and unitary experience -- the simplest experience conceivable! -- of I AM in every moment.

BTW, I think this is what They mean when They talk about God being "simple." Not simple as in an undifferentiated blob, but simple like us despite our infinite complexity. Only in God's case, it is amplified by orders of magnitude. In other words, think of what must go into God being able to declare that I indeed AM!

Here is another important observation about the psychotic side: "Each particle is felt to consist of a real external object which is incapsulated in a piece of personality that has engulfed it" (Bion).

Here it seems we are venturing very far from the everyday map, but this is precisely in order to examine the everyday. For Bion is describing something very basic, very concrete, very experiential, i.e., that it is possible for us to inhabit a world -- a psychic space or sensorium -- that consists of persecutory objects that are vivified by the bits of our personality engulfed by them. If not for this process, then the world would just appear "dead" to the psychotic, but it is very much alive, in a monstrous and menacing way.

I would suggest and perhaps insist that something similar must be the motive force of our psychopathic Islamist monsters. For what do they see when they see us, or Paris, or Jews? Do they see them at all?

And it's not just Islamists. For we could ask the same question of the fascist snowflakes of the Campus Crybully movement, or the auto-persecutory slaves of the Black Lives Matter sickness. When the latter looks at a white person, what does he see? He sees a projected bit of his own psychic enslavement.

So, why does this Black Life project his enslavement into the external world, where it contains and persecutes him? The question answers itself, because it is a dreadful thing to be enslaved by one's own thoughts, perceptions, and passions. Yes, our first property is the self, but only if we make it so, i.e., by ruling and mastering ourselves.

You could say that the persecuted Black Life would actually prefer to be mastered by white people than to undergo the painful process of mastering himself, the only true liberation. Which is the real reason why there are so many blacks in prison -- as if you can vote for a huge government to do only pleasant things for you, and not expect it to do unpleasant things to your unmastered ass!

What Happens Next? I mean, once you inhabit a world consisting of unmetabolized and projected bits of your own personality?

"The patient now moves, not in a world of dreams, but in a world of objects which are ordinarily the furniture of dreams." These objects of psychic furniture are "primitive yet complex," and partake of various qualities which are integrated into the healthy personality, say, anger.

This really explains how and why the liberal sees us as he does. When a liberal describes a conservative, we naturally say, "Dude, that's crazy. You sound like you've never actually spoken with a conservative."

In this regard, the village liberal is like the medieval peasant who never met a Jew, but knows only that they have horns and cloven feet.

You could say that for the liberal, his intestine is where his brain should be. Thus, it is strictly inaccurate to say they have shit for brains. Rather, shit for thoughts.

It also explains why they cannot "swallow" -- which is to say, assimilate -- a thing we say. That's just not what an intestine does. Not only that, but the effort to put an object in there will naturally be experienced as an aggression, a "violent intrusion." It's why liberals are always buttsore about some microaggression.

What is the solution for this madness? A little thing called thinking: "An attempt to think involves bringing back to control, and therefore to his personality, the expelled particles and their accretions" (Bion). In so doing, the projections must be translated into words, so it can be a long and painful process.

From a very different angle, Schuon describes these same phenomena in To Have a Center. He writes of how "To be normal is to be homogeneous and to be homogeneous is to have a center."

Thus, a normal homo has his diverse sapiens (thinking) in a row: "if not altogether univocal," he is "at least concordant." He isn't fundamentally fractured and dispersed like an Islamist or campus snowflake. "Such a soul is a priori a 'house divided against itself,' and thus destined to fall, eschatologically speaking" -- which is a nice way of saying destined for hell.

Schuon even speaks of the psychopath, who, "not knowing how to master himself, has to be mastered by others." Such a man "finds his center only outside himself."

Almost all activists are of this nature, from the global warmists to Islamists to Black Lives Matter. Their only psychic continuity is an artificial narrative that they impose on the world, and they are personally threatened by any threat to the narrative -- which is what makes these snowflakes so flaky to begin with.

Let's get back to our koan about the stars being inside us and the quantum world outside. Does it have a solution?

Consider how, when light from a distant star is registered on our retina, we not only see the past, but use this information-containing light to construct the cosmos, such that the cosmos is a kind of re-projection of what we have assimilated. This is literal photo[light]synthesis.

As for the quantum world, here again, this is just a projection of the mathematics we already have inside of us.

There's more, but we're out of time for today.


Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Yes, our first property is the self, but only if we make it so, i.e., by ruling and mastering ourselves."

Yep... and so can relate to all else that is. What do you want to bet, that each internal aspect that is mastered, establishes a relation to something more out-in there... and (going into full database geek mode) each unmastered aspect, is a (aptly named) Cartesian join to... the noise.

11/20/2015 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Centration covaries with depth, and the depth is seen both within and without.

11/20/2015 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Not simple as in an undifferentiated blob, but simple like us despite our infinite complexity. Only in God's case, it is amplified by orders of magnitude. In other words, think of what must go into God being able to declare that I indeed AM!


Yes, that makes a lot of sense, and maybe even makes the concept of the Trinity slightly less incomprehensible.

11/20/2015 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You could say that the persecuted Black Life would actually prefer to be mastered by white people than to undergo the painful process of mastering himself, the only true liberation.

In South Africa, the "Born frees," the first generation of blacks that have never lived under apartheid, are now adults. And by the sounds of it, they are if anything even more angry about apartheid now that apartheid is over and they must live with the ongoing indignity of freedom:

"More and more, the anger of the young has pointed towards their parents and their black elders. Over the course of the year, the young South Africans moved from throwing stones at statues of dead white men to throwing them at live black ones – President Zuma and South Africa’s education minister Blade Nzimande, who rose to fame as an anti-apartheid activist. At the protest in front of Zuma’s office, young people raised hand-lettered signs that mocked Zuma as well as placards connecting their demonstration with the struggles of South Africa’s past."

For such as these, it would be better if they were still persecuted in truth, because then they'd have something true to struggle against. In that, they are just like our crybully trustafarians, wailing about microaggressions and a fake rape culture in the absence of real aggression and genuine rape. Then when real rape and real aggression happen, they discount its validity because (usually) it is perpetrated by a designated victim who cannot be held accountable, no matter how heinous his crimes.

11/20/2015 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Schuon even speaks of the psychopath, who, "not knowing how to master himself, has to be mastered by others." Such a man "finds his center only outside himself."

Almost all activists are of this nature, from the global warmists to Islamists to Black Lives Matter. Their only psychic continuity is an artificial narrative that they impose on the world, and they are personally threatened by any threat to the narrative -- which is what makes these snowflakes so flaky to begin with."

Interesting to juxtapose a Schuon quote with the notion of imposing a false narrative on the world.
If I posited that I believe the world was more or less infinitely better five thousand years ago, that all the major religions are equally true, except that Catholicism is now false (and Mornonism never was true), that technology is crystallized demon (paraphrasing Guenon), and that humans have always and everywhere been the same, except modern men, who tend to be fractured irreparably...
Would you respond that I have an accurate picture of things, or that I am imposing a false narrative?
Before folks respond that I'm a leftist, I agree with the part about activists, et al.

11/21/2015 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger neal said...

Entanglement and geometry, tidal forces, wormholes. Pictures full of ologies.

Five thousand years ago probably not much different. Perhaps easier to tell the good guys from the bad guys, when the source was geometrically and genetically advertised directly. Gods and monsters pretty much all look alike, these days.

Walls and high towers used to protect the good from the bad. That is probably inside out these days.

11/21/2015 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

... and for proofs of the Geometry of Liberty, We hold these truths to be self evident - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress.

11/21/2015 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


I would say that your narrative is not inaccurate. It's not even inaccurate.

11/21/2015 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

To suggest that life and people were infinitely better 5,000 years ago is to not know what life and people were like 5,000 years ago. Therefore you are filling in the blanks with a fantasy.

11/21/2015 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Brosef said...

John, Dude, do you even history, Bro?

11/21/2015 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous René said...

Computers are tools of the devil. I wouldn't be caught near one.

11/21/2015 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Bob, Petey, et al,
I assume you get that I am paraphrasing the Schuonian narrative, no?

11/21/2015 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes. Never bought into it.

11/21/2015 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

John: It may be all narratives are partially true, but some are certainly better than others. And please don't say that is a matter of opinion.

11/21/2015 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Even the left aren't smart enough to be 100% wrong.

11/21/2015 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Seems like a narrative about narratives.

11/21/2015 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Well, there you go. Once you're aware of the multiple narratives, that becomes a narrative in itself.

11/21/2015 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

At the moment, I am reading a History of England. Confirms my view that the past is a nightmare, not an ideal.

11/21/2015 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Just the dental work alone would make me avoid it.

11/21/2015 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean famine, constant war, torture, rape, illiteracy, human sacrifice, tyranny, high infant mortality, death from childbirth, etc. Maybe the only saving grace is that most people died before age 30.

11/21/2015 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, and bad teeth.

Just read that when the Vikings killed you, they ripped out your lungs and wore them on their backs, like a pair of wings. Charming.

11/21/2015 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Have you read Gregory Clark's "A Farewell to Alms"? I'd call him the Bill James of Economics, but that book will disabuse anyone of the notion that the past was better.

11/21/2015 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If that's what he thinks, he is not an economist. A mythologist, rather.

11/21/2015 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's strange to think how many people are alive today whose lives would have been impossible just a hundred years ago. Or even fifty.

11/21/2015 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Always an interesting thought experiment is the time machine one, and what era would you choose to visit. I am not sure I'd want to go back to anytime before the 1950's.

11/21/2015 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

My understanding of life expectancy in the past is that if you made it to 10 or so, you would live a fairly long life-not as long as now, of course, but way past 30. It's just that so many didn't make it to 10.

11/21/2015 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

No, he demonstrates that it wasn't. At all.

11/21/2015 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not true. Relatively few made it to 60, and if they did, their health was terrible. Just read in the England book about how they know this, by studying the corpses of people who made it that long.

11/21/2015 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I personally would have died of boredom living in the past. If I wasn't a slave and worked to death.

11/21/2015 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Considering how many horrible, horrible ways there are to live and die in the "natural" state, it seems incredible to me that people today really think that life expectancy was really that good if you made it past childhood. To say nothing of quality.

11/21/2015 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Not a good time for stereophiles and voracious book readers.

11/21/2015 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris was brilliant in this regard, and how we romanticize the past.

11/21/2015 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just read a book called The Bourgeois Virtues that goes into great detail about the dreadful economics of the past. The book is not recommended due to the author's irritating literary style, but the evidence she marshals is indisputable except by someone with an axe to grind. We have access to the nonmaterial riches of life that only the very wealthiest people of the past had.

11/21/2015 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, even the poorest of us. Not to mention the knowledge, for instance something as simple as essential vitamins. That in itself is wealth beyond measure.

11/21/2015 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Yes, I believe one of your recent Economic book recommendations made the point of how everyone focuses of wealth inequality these days, when lifestyle inequality is actually closing in.

11/21/2015 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

I don't think anyone is arguing that it was good, just that it was longer than 30, if you reached adulthood. Life expectancy data includes infant mortality.

11/21/2015 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ted-- that is correct. I have a number of super-wealthy relatives, but it truly never occurs to me that their life is richer than mine.

11/21/2015 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In 1800 if the average lifespan of a 16 year old was to age 40.

Just the malnutrition of the past was horrible. When food was available.

11/21/2015 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

It's actually the poor that have been the major beneficiaries of industrial wealth since 1800. Their (my) lives have improved 1000 fold, materially speaking. Including black lives in the U.S.

11/21/2015 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. the wealthy, agreed. Also, some of the most miserable, wretched people I know have the most money. It can't buy their lives back, nor even (quite often) their health.

11/21/2015 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

You should have a look at Clark's book on British life expectancy. He has a very detailed analysis.

11/21/2015 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Only 69 percent of newborns made it to their 15th birthday. But those lucky enough to celebrate a fifteenth birthday would live to see 37 more.

11/21/2015 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

... which is about two years short of mine, so... yeah, I'm past mooning about the past.

(mooning it is another matter altogether though)

11/21/2015 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Another great interview over a Socrates in the City.
Biblical scholar/astronomer may have solved the mystery of the Star of Bethlehem.
Long video but lots to enjoy along all of it.

11/22/2015 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Utterly off topic, but possibly of interest, I was just scanning through the comments at Fr. Stephen's latest post and a side-discussion came up about compiling blog posts in a Kindle format. Which would, of course, be searchable, highlightable, etc.

Might be a worthwhile method of archiving posts, if nothing else.

11/22/2015 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Raccoons do not understand the term "off-topic".

11/22/2015 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

I'm not attempting to be contrary--I actually am just trying to understand.
Evidently, experts in this field have different words for life expectancy--like, life expectancy at birth; life expectancy at 20, etc. When we read that life expectancy at 20 is 36 or 37 years, it means that they live to be 56 or 57--not 36 or 37.
Above all, I am certainly not suggesting life was better. Indeed, I just read that the majority of people that have ever lived didn't make it to 10. 40% of those to have ever lived did not make it to their first birthday.

From Wikipedia ( on the subject:

"Life expectancy increases with age as the individual survives the higher mortality rates associated with childhood. For instance, the table above listed the life expectancy at birth among 13th-century English nobles at 30. Having survived until the age of 21, a male member of the English aristocracy in this period could expect to live:[24]

1200-1300: to age 64
1300-1400: to age 45 (because of the bubonic plague)
1400-1500: to age 69
1500-1550: to age 71"

11/27/2015 09:47:00 AM  

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