From: Scott Roberts (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Jun 20 2005 - 15:30:57 BST
[Barfield] does start with the SOM vocabulary, ('subject', 'objective
reality', 'representation', etc.) since that is the vocabulary of his
audience. But where does he end up?
- with evidence of the mutual dependence of the growth of alpha-thinking
("thinking about things") with our notion of 'objective reality', that is,
that the latter developed in recorded history starting (in the West) with
the Greeks, and so is contingent and not fundamental.
Paul: "The particles" or "the unrepresented" remain throughout all of this
-- from original to final participation -- so it certainly seems to be
fundamental to Barfield's thesis.
They remain because the discussion remains on the level of our current,
non-consciously participating, understanding. Unless and until one moves to
final participation, the vocabulary is necessary.
Scott (prev) continues:
- that our current belief in nature as objective reality did not become as
it is until about 1500, i.e., with the rise of SOM.
Paul: As said previously, all he has done is said that macroscopic nature
is not part of the objective realm (i.e. as independent of consciousness,
where, according to Barfield, it has been placed since c1500) and was
actually always in the subjective realm (dependent on human consciousness
i.e. the unconscious).
That's all? Given that Darwinism, nominalism -- in short, the weltanchauung
of modern intellectual society -- is based on the belief that macroscopic
nature *is* independent of consciousness, this is a rather important thing
to point out, no? And a correction: it was not always subjective -- it only
started becoming so with the rise of intellect (before that there was no
Scott (prev) continues:
- that before then and after this current stage, this SOM-like separation
does not hold
Paul: The unrepresented is, by definition, what remains of reality when
representations/represented are subtracted, is it not? So, unless....
Scott (prev) continues:
- that what we (as SOMites) think of as 'that which is to be represented',
i.e., truth by correspondence with external reality, has it backwards, that
instead, the supposed objective external reality is in fact a representation
-- that it is semiotic.
Paul: So "the unrepresented" is, in fact, also a representation? This is
nonsense isn't it?
The "unrepresented" is not represented in our sense perceptions. We see
trees, not electrons or Heisenberg uncertainty. The physical knowledge we
have (which of course may change) is known, to the extent it is, only
conceptually. What macroscopic nature represents is, so to speak, Nature,
Life, and so forth that original participators could "read" in the trees,
and we can't. Think of our scientific knowledge of macroscopic nature as
studying its syntax, but having no clue to its semantics, like studying
hieroglyphics before the discovery of the Rosetta stone.
Scott (prev) ridicules:
So it seems to me to accuse Barfield of SOM is ridiculous.
There is, though, a major difference between what he does about it with what
Pirsig does, and that difference lies in Pirsig's being a nominalist, and
Paul: See below.
That which the inorganic represents, according to Barfield, is what is
traditionally called by such names as 'spirit', 'mana', 'waken', or 'life
principle'), and which can also be called Quality. So it "represents" in the
same sense that your words in this post represent what you think.
Paul: So "spirit" speaks in particles? I'm afraid I'm losing the thread
here. I may need to reread the old cat.
No, "spirit" speaks in the spatio-temporal form of trees and wind. The
particles correlate with that speaking, but are not the message, like
phonemes correlate with the meaning of our words.
[Consciousness issues skipped -- needs, or not, a separate thread]
Furthermore, the only alternative to objective reality is NOT the subjective
self (in my philosophy, nor in Barfield's).
Paul: I know, but you said -- "As for "reality insofar as it is independent
of our awareness", the only way to not consider such a possibility is
solipsism. -- So *you* said the reality of the subjective self was the only
alternative which, of course, you have now retracted.
No. It was you who renamed "solipsism" as "subjective self" and "reality as
it is independent of our awareness" as "objective reality". It was that
renaming to which I say there are alternatives. One could be a MOQ
solipsist, after all
Paul: Do we have to learn to speak inorganic, like subatomic Braille? ;-)
Sorry, I just can't imagine what this means, which I know is my problem.
Scott: See above on what it means. It is everybody's problem, which is why
Barfield subtitles his book "A Study in Idolatry".
Paul [some skipped]:
I still think you have sucked the meaning out of nominalism, Scott. The
presupposition -- that there are things which are real and particular
*anyway* and it only remains to be agreed on whether they really manifest
universals or not -- is not one that the MOQ makes.
Yes, the MOQ does not make that assumption. That leaves unconsidered how
concepts come to be at all, how abstraction can actually be done, the origin
of language, and so on. The Barfield view is that both macroscopic nature
and human language manifest concepts, that all of reality is this
manifestation, while the MOQ view is that concepts didn't come about until
humans (somehow) learned language. Now the MOQ will likely dismiss this as
Platonism, and it is Platonism of a sort, but the MOQ dismissal leaves these
issues unanswered. And the beginning of that dismissal came under the banner
of nominalism (William of Ockham, mainly) -- the beginning of the removal of
value (meaning) from nature. By using the word nominalism, I am trying to
point out that the MOQ belief that language and intellect is a late-comer
stems from that belief in nominalism.
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