Archive for February 2010

Getting to the Deeper Nondual of Manifestation

Nondual Science: Philosophy, Science, Spirituality wave:

Responding to the idea that Logic only needs and, or and not for its minimal instantiation I said .  . .

Of course, logicians are fond of saying you only need three operations. I like the symmetry of four. It allows me to have a tetrahedra rather than a triangle. It means there is some space in there between the operations which is easier to visualize, but a triangle is just as meaningful. Point is that there is discontinuity between the operations not explained by logic itself. By meta-logic I merely mean it exceeds logic, not necessarily a meta-language.

As a contrarian I don’t believe that Emptiness is merely the brain shutting down or going into diagnostic mode. But I like your analogy. Emptiness is a thought, but a very speical reflexive thought which is immanent. I would call it something like a realization.

Lets go at this from another direction. Lets say we are talking about a pair of opposites of significance. Let us pick separation and gatheredness. If you are in separation then the tendency is to go toward its opposite which is gatheredness. But actually what you want to do is go to a point beyond “both separation and gatheredness”, and “neither separation nor gatheredness”. That is an unthinkable point beyond the distinction, or prior to the arising of the distinction. This is why Buddhists talk of non-arising and not-perishing. Aristotle wants to apply the excluded middle and separate separation and gatheredness completely from each other. He wants to say that nothing can be both separated and gathered at the same time. When we mix the two opposites that is what we call contradiction, and when it is intensified we call it absurdity. But this leaves out a state which we normally do not see exemplified in Western literature which I call the supra-rational. That is when two opposite things are true at the same time without conflicting, without contradiction. Supra-rationality is when one can be gathered and separated at the same time without interference.

Two examples of that are the pearl and the coral stone. In the pearl there is gatheredness around a central irritant which has been covered over to produce layers around that central imperfection. The coral stone is the opposite it is myriads of the shells of creatures that are glued together to produce shapes. In the first case gatheredness predominates and in the latter separation dominates. But both of these natural forms are combinations of separation and gatheredness in different ways that lead to higher order synthesis, and non-interference to produce very beautiful shapes in nature. But also there can be chaotic mixtures or solutions which are both separation and gatheredness at the same time in a fusion. This is the other end of the spectrum where paradox and absurdity reside.

But lets go up a level. What we really want is something which is beyond/before

Suprarational/Paradoxical

Both and Neither

When we look at Plato’s divided line we see that it is cut into two parts doxa and ratio. Paradox and Suprarational are the limits of the Divided line. Our culture is blind to the supra-rational and obsessed with paradox and absurdity. All reason is against paradox without realizing its own limit in the supra-rational.

The divided line is itself divided again in each of its sections.

Doxa is divided into grounded and ungrounded parts, i.e. true belief and mere opinion or appearance.

Ratio is divided into representational and non-representational forms of reason.

I make the point in my writings that the divisions of the divided line are not normally identified. I identify the line of division of ratio with emptiness and the line of the division of doxa with void.

I like to say that Buddhism and Taoism are duals of each other and emptiness and void are dual interpretations of empty or void existence.

If we recognize that emptiness not only has recursive modalities but also a dual in the void, then we can begin to see that there is something deeper than these dual forms of nonduality, which I call “manifestation”, using a term from M. Henry who takes it from Meister Eckhart. And this manifestation is smack dab in the center of the dividied line as the line that divides ratio from doxa.

It is manifestation that BEYOND/BEFORE neither Supra-rational nor Paradoxical.

It is manifestation that is BEYOND/BEFORE both Supra-rational and Paradoxical.

I call this the deeper nondual. Deeper than both Emptiness and Void and their nondual duality.

The deeper nondual drives us into the middle way between the extremes.

Buddhists deny that the external world exists and think that everything is consciousness. Taoists believe that consciousness, social reality, and nature is all one thing. Each of them discovers the supra-rational, the fragmentation of division with reason itself, where it points beyond its own representations. Folding the symbols back on themselves a Godel did with diagonalization is not enough, even though it is a neat trick. We need to come to terms with non-representational reason. That is what thinks beyond the representations. For Plato this is the largest part of the divided line. Where the so-called Source Forms live. We have very little in our culture that talks about the non-representational part of reason. But even if we did that is merely another extreme.

If we want to avoid all extremes then we must drive to the middle where the deeper nondual of manifestation lies prior to the fabrication of all the nihilistic extremes.

Posted February 19, 2010 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

The problem with a rhetoric of enlightenment?

Nondual Science: Philosophy, Science, Spirituality Wave

In general the rhetoric of enlightenment is a problem. There is a game we play which says I am more enlightened that you. And there are only losers in this game. It is in fact nihilistic. I grant at the outsight that everyone is more enlightened than me. That is how I get out of that language game. I claim ignorance, following the example of Socrates. I don’t know if the people who engage in that language game are enlightened or not. I prefer not to judge. I don’t know if they think they are enlightened. I really just am too ignorant to play that game.

Rather, I suggest we need to turn the tables and concentrate on non-enlightenment and nihilism which is endemic to our tradition. My guess is that if we understood non-enlightenment we would know much more about enlightenment than we think we do, even when we think we are enlightened already.

Personally, I really don’t like much talking about this subject, because many times I feel that there is very little I can say that will change people’s attitude toward enlightenment as a commodity, something that I can personally have as an attribute of myself. Something that can make me admired. So my strategy is to talk about non-enlightenment from the point of view of a meta-enlightenment critique, similar to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Hegel already wrote an amazing critique of the Beautiful Soul in The Phenomenology of Spirit. So we probably do not have to repeat that here.

But just to give you an idea of what I mean. There is a magazine called “What is Enlightenment” which epitomizes the marketplace of spirituality. It is full of enlightened types and gurus of all kinds. So we are attracted to some of those and repulsed by others. But the fact that Enlightenment itself has become a marketplace in the West should give us pause. There are myriad of forms of enlightenment being offered for a price. Now that leads us into the arena of meta-critique where we actually ask the question seriously “What is Enlightenment?” And the further question is what is its place within Western culture and society and tradition? I propose that to answer that we must look carefully at the Western tradition and ask why it is so antithetical to enlightenment and nondual approaches in general. This is a historical reality which has to do with the dominance of Christianity in Europe, but it actually started back with Aristotle and his metaphysics if not before. Aristotle made non-contradiction and excluded middle the core of his metaphysics. Part of looking at our tradition is to begin to look at its aggressive non-enlightenment. I propose that the way to understand what enlightenment is within the context of western culture is to look at non-enlightenment very carefully. And I want to go further and see it through a nondual lens. I don’t want to develop a rhetoric of enlightenment or accept any particular dogma of enlightenment. But I want to see if we can pull the understanding of enlightenment out of our own non-enlightenment as a creative and reflexive act which is mutually shared. I would like to see if that possibility exists.

Posted February 16, 2010 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

Deleuze and Guattari’s Basic Theory in Anti-Oedipus

Wave: how do you make yourself a body without organs?

The first thing is to realize that Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus are trying to break out of the mold of individualism that dominates our culture. That is not the only thing but that is a big part of what they are doing.

So the develop levels below and above the individual organism to focus upon. One level above is the socius. And another level below is the “desiring machines” This is a very unfortunate choice of terms. They mean what Melanie Kline calls partial objects. They mean something like what Foucault calls “practices”. The word “machine” is suppose to be prior to the difference between subject and object arising. It is meant to indicate something that is involuntary within us. Desiring Machines are meant to be organized in Rhizomes. A Rhizome is a heterarchical network. These desiring machines are meant to be organized across bodies. That means the individual body is not a boundary that they necessarily respect. But they exist in a wider field called the socius. So the real level of analysis that they are suggesting is the desiring machines within a heterarchical network embedded in the socius, which may run counter to the way we might cut up things in terms of bodily individuals.

As a sociologist I like this theory a lot. And I especially like the way that its layers correspond to what I call the Special Systems in my theory called Reflexive Autopoietic Dissipative Special Systems Theory. See http://works.bepress.com/kent_palmer

There is of course a lot of things missing in this theory. One thing is the fact that human beings in their practices do more than merely desire. So I have added the opposite of desire which is avoidance. And I have added a separate opposition which is dissemination and absorption. I call these dissipative ordering practices after Prigogine. I think if you make this modification in their theory then it has more explanatory value and is less nihilistic.

There is an interesting metaphor they use for the desiring machines which is a general with his medals hanging off of his chest. Each desiring machine is in some sense a surplus, but perhaps also a lack. The body is decorated with them. They point to the savage stage where there is tattooing as a concrete trace of the desiring machines with respect to the body.

The body without organs is a virtual body made up of these desiring machines which haunts the real body. The real body of the individual has organs, like the body without organs has desiring machines or dissipative ordering practices. In primitive society tattooing was meant to mark the individual so that they could not be kidnapped by another tribe, so that they were always part of the body of the tribe. Thus the tattoo was an inscription of the socius on the individual’s body producing the virtual body which is made up of desiring machines.

Anyway that is my understanding of the background theory. What is your understanding?

Posted February 16, 2010 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized