Re: MD Time

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Fri May 27 2005 - 18:59:39 BST

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    Ian said:
    If I'm going to happy spending my life as a poor deluded modernist,
    you're really going have to explain "modernist" in simple terms ....
    but I think we're closer than might appear.

    By "modernism" I mean roughly SOM, but add to it nominalism, which I see as
    mutually dependent on SOM. A modernist, then, is one who extends the naive
    view that there is a reality that is simply "there", and thinking and
    language came into existence (either through Darwinist means, or as
    installed in a body by God) in order to think about and talk about what
    exists independently of thinking and language. Now with QM, this edifice has
    been shaken, as you know, but in various ways I see you and Pirsig and most
    everybody as trying to get over SOM but without addressing its mutual
    dependence on nominalism, and so failing.

    Ian said:
    I may think "intellect" has arisen (evolved in my case) from a world
    without it, but I didn't mention consciousness. As I've said many
    times, I do in fact believe, there is something physical behind
    conciousness, that is not yet understood.

    As I see it, the word "physical" should be restricted to that which our
    senses convey to us, namely the spatiotemporal inorganic world. Otherwise,
    one will simply call "physical" whatever our theories might come up with,
    and the word loses a useful distinction. So in this sense, QM is not a
    theory of the physical except that from it one can make predictions that one
    can measure in the phsyical terms of space, time, and mass. But is
    superposition a physical property?

    But in what you say there is also an example of what I said above ("in
    various ways I see you and Pirsig and most everybody as trying to get over
    SOM but without addressing its mutual dependence on nominalism"), and that
    is that you seek for something that is to be understood. The mystery,
    though, is understanding itself.

    Ian said:
    Your (1) - yes, with you on these triplets.
    Your (2) - I did just say in a parallel thread - the 4D-Spacetime of
    "pop-science" is clearly only a convenient metaphor, but not much like
    reality it turns out.
    Your (3) - the "modern" language is losing me ... but you end up with
    what is now mystical is the normal of the future. I agree. Mystical =

    If you agree with (1), then, unless you espouse dualism, I would think you
    have to agree with me that Quality, Consciousness, and Intellect are all at
    the ultimate metaphysical level ("the same (non)-thing"), and so the MOQ is
    wrong to place intellect as the fourth level of SQ.
    On (2), if time is not fundamental, and you agree with (1), then there is no
    reason to be a Darwinist, no?
    On (3), see above. Which implies that I do *not* agree that Mystical =
    Unexplained. Explanation is another modernist way of thinking, an avoidance
    of recognizing that the real problem is explanation itself.

    Ian said:
    The "undifferentiated aesthetic continuum" I prefer to think of the
    word aesthetic here as simply to draw attention away from objective /
    empirical aspects of experience - obviously aesthetics as we would
    know it, has arisen from human behaviour post-experience, but I don't
    believe that's what Northrop was talking about.

    Well, my main point is arguing against the privileging of the
    undifferentiated over the differentiated (again, a nominalist way of
    thinking, that there is this pure non-linguistic, undifferentiated world
    that language and thinking make distinctions *about*). Instead, the
    undifferentiated and the differentiated are in contradictory identity,
    resulting in/from quality/consciousness/intellect. That is, using the
    picture from the companion thread, the undifferentiated and the
    differentiated are the two more comprehensible -- but wrong if treated in
    isolation -- axes leading away from the contradictory identity center.

    Ian said:
    What I can or cannot say about form and formlessness - I've seen that
    tetralemma before, naturally. The problem is you get back to
    fundamental liguistic problems, and I can hardly say anything. I did
    in fact say "aspects of form and formlessness" not that it existed as
    both, but we're getting into lingusitic knots.

    In discussing the Trinity, the Catholic magisterium warns against two
    heresies: tritheism and modalism. Modalism is the temptation to say that the
    Father, Son and Spirit are three aspects of one God. So, regardless of the
    truth of the Trinity, I find it useful to borrow that logic, and the fact
    that we get into linguistic knots is the whole point. One only avoids the
    knots by moving into error, which is the substitution of something
    understandable for that which cannot be understood. The error one gets with
    modalism is thinking that 'form' and 'formlessness' are just words, so again
    it is nominalism rearing its ugly head. Instead, one should regard them as
    real forces that produce/are produced by consciousness/quality/intellect.
    The function of the LCI is to keep one in that undecidable thought-space.
    (By the way, the fourth horn of the tetralemma ("one cannot say neither X
    nor not-X") says that one cannot stop asking the question, which is why
    Rortyan pragmatism is also not the answer.)

    - Scott

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