Re: MD food for thought

From: Scott R (
Date: Fri Sep 13 2002 - 21:37:21 BST

Squonk, wrote:

> In a message dated 9/13/02 3:36:28 AM GMT Daylight Time,

> Hi Scott,
> Do you feel intelligence IS the subject/object split?

I think the intellectual level emerges in humans with the advent of what
Barfield calls alpha-thinking: He chose that term precisely because it
doesn't presuppose any philosophical baggage, like "subject/object",
which in Barfield's analysis did not become fully split until about 500
years ago. Alpha-thinking started with the Greeks, after Homer. It is
the building up of ideas/theories *about* what we now call objects.
(Barfield calls the "objects" "collective representations". They are
what we, subconsciously, create out of the "unrepresented" -- think
quantum wave/particles. Barfield's thesis is that we make a mistake to
assume that the collective representations are the same throughout
humanity's existence. In particular, before the arrival of
alpha-thinking, the creation of the collective representations was not,
or not entirely, subconscious, as it is today. However, this conscious
participation in the representations was considered to come *from* the
representations, that is, one perceived the gods communicating from the
mountains and trees, and so forth. He calls this "original
participation". This gradually dwindled, which made alpha-thinking
possible, and has been eradicated by our own time. Thus we now have SOM,
the belief that we are independent of what we observe.)

You use the word "intelligence" in your question, and that word I would
use more broadly, to include what we call animal intelligence, social or
mythological intelligence, bearing in mind that this application of the
word is done from the intellectual level. Conscious intellect, i.e.,
alpha-thinking, only applies (according to this theory) to humanity of
the last 2500 years or so.

> Do you feel the Quality as an idea emerged from this split?

I'm not sure what you are asking here. The ability to form a metaphysics
requires alpha-thinking. Prior to that one talked mythologically.

> My suggestion that subjects and objects existed at the time of Homer
> appears to be non starter, which is fine by me - i like that. However, i
> still feel intelligence emerged well before rationality.

Making the distinction above, I would say intelligence has been around
forever (I am somewhat of a neo-Platonist). Now cleverness, say, is
older (consider Odysseus), but the ability to reflect on the world and
make theories about it seems to me to require a different order of mind,
one where the world consists of de-godded things.

- Scott

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