Archive for the ‘merleau ponty’ Tag

Quora answer: Are Harold Bloom’s books worth reading as a layman?

Harold Bloom is a key Literary Theorist for many reasons, but I think the most interesting of which are his books the Anxiety of Influence and the Map of Misreading, where he talks about how creativity is really stealing, and then covering up what is stolen. For instance, now it is fairly clear from recent Scholarship that Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger stole large portions of their “innovative” ideas from the later Husserl which is documented in The Other Husserl The Horizons of Transcendental Phenomenology ┬áDon Welton; Another case is that of Foucault who at the end of his life according to Dreyfus admitted that His theory of Power merely substituted that word for Being in Heidegger’s Being and Time. These are crucial transitions in Continental Philosophy and it seems the anxiety of influence dynamic that Bloom pointed out out holds true in these particular cases. The map of Misreading is similar to Drefyus’ idea of how changes occur in the tradition, where peripheral concerns become central and central concerns become peripheral. In the Map of Misreading each poetic genius misreads the earlier generation, and we can see that misreading is having other concerns that bring to the fore what is peripheral in the earlier generation’s works. So Bloom zeros in on a particular dynamic that explains change in the Poetic tradition and that is probably also true for Philosophy if not more so.

Of course, this theory of Dreyfus and Bloom explains only incremental change and not Emergent Events. Emergent Events are radical changes that are very difficult to explain in this way, like the discovery of Quantum Theory for instance. Einstein’s Relativity could be seen as an example of this sort of change of the way we are viewing things already known by looking at them differently, i.e. via an Anagogic Swerve. But explaining things that come out of nowhere to change everything, like Super-conductivity, or Solitons, or Quaternions, for instance, cannot be explained by this type of theory. Thus we need to augment Bloom’s theory with a theory about the nature of Emergent Events and when we do that it takes us deeply into the structure of the worldview.


Quora answer: Is a post-programming age possible?

I to am amazed at what it takes to produce the synthesis that on the surface allows us some affordance, like asking and answering questions on Quora, and that it is made up of a lot of ascii nonsense, that makes making sense possible.

But there is indeed a post-programming age but it is going to be worse. Software Engineering basically deals with the tame aspects of Software, which we try to use to do practical things in this new medium which is the first world wide interactive hyper medium, because it is made up of many other media.
The reason that software is so strange is that it is the only cultural artifact that embodies what Plato called the Third Kind of Being and Derrida called DifferAnce (differing and deferring). Thus it embodies Hyper Being. See my electronic book called Wild Software Meta-systems for more details. So the next thing will be something at the next higher meta-level which is Wild Being discovered by Merleau-Ponty. And I think that has to do with Artificial Life, Consciousness and Sociality. It is the artificial intelligence programming techniques like self-rewriting code, expert systems, genetic programming, neural nets, etc. that is wild instead of tame but still it is software. It is automatic writing, in the sense that it is automated writing. And when the automatic is automated to produce itself, reference itself, organize itself, design itself, etc then things get really strange and it goes beyond our understanding, it seems opaque to us. And what is happening now is that multiple opaque techniques are being combined. Kurzeweil says that the moment that the machines are more intelligent than we are is the singularity. (

But this is not half of the story. The real story is that we are climbing the stairway to nowhere, i.e. up through the meta-levels of Being. And we have unleashed an artifact called software which will transform everything in our culture as it already has in many ways. But we have not really entered the realm of Wild Being yet. Deleuze with Guattari tried to build a philosophy there in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. But it is even more difficult to think than DifferAnce. Each meta-level is exponentially more difficult to think. But as we combine multiple AI techniques, which depends on the reflexivity of software code itself, then things will start to get really strange. But the singularity is beyond that where we enter Ultra Being. The fact that multi-technique AI devices are smarter than us means little. We will adapt to them as assistants. They will be data slaves that know their place. They will be the automated equivalent of the Mechanical Turk. But when we get to Ultra Being then we will have real problems because that really is a singularity, and a singularity really is incomprehensible. The very fact that Vinge or Kurzweil can define what their singularity is means it is not really a singularity, but merely a threshold, that like other thresholds we will adapt to it and it will adapt to us.

It is not the speeding up of technology that is the problem, it is the qualitative shifts that occur when we have cultural artifacts that embody kinds of Being, that have always been implicit in the worldview and are now becoming explicit. So we will slowly get used to real AI devices that are opaque to our understanding helping us understand more and better. And we will adapt to our whole environment becoming not just smart but actually artificially intelligent, living and social. But what we will not be able to adapt to is what comes after that when the real singularity of Ultra Being is embodied. In myth it is called the Beast of Earth, the Anti-Christ, the Dajal, etc. We don’t know what it is, and when it arises we won’t know how to comprehend it. The true singularity is what is scary, not the pseudo-singularity of intelligent machines which is just the passage into Wild Being.

What we do know about it is that it is what Being looks like from the point of view of existence, and it is the difference that makes a difference like a domain wall between emptiness and Void, two dual nonduals. It is already with us, and has been with us from the beginning of the Indo-European worldivew. But it has always been implicit, part of the implicate order of the worldivew, but when it becomes explicitly embodied somehow that is going to be a true transformation of our culture and society. Speculating on what that might be is really worth while. But I have not got a clue. It is an emergent event that is off the scale. Kurzeweil is right to be worried but not about machines more intelligent than we are. What is coming from within ourselves is the truly Alien. The Alien does not come from Out There, but what is truly alien comes from deep within us, from the worldview itself.

Now my own speculation is that it is the end of the Metaphysical era, when the Heterochronic Era begins. And now that I have named it, and invoked it then it has probably begun. We have been trying to end the Metaphysical Era for almost a century. But everything we say is the end is just the post-post-post-modern, and just another intensification of the nihilism of the metaphysical that started with Thales. But I think it really started with Dunne in the 1920s who postulated multidimensional time, which was explored by Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, the most popular book ever written (And for once the Movie was good too.) But the real turning point came when we hit F-Theory, which is the next dimension up from M-theory, which resolves the differences between the various string theories. F-Theory says that there are two orthogonal timelines in the 12th dimension, and three in the 14th dimension, and I am postulating that there are four in the 16th dimension. Orthogonal Timelines is exactly what we need to make Multiple worlds theory comprehensible.

So my hypothesis is that the singularity of Ultra Being is when we have the emergent event of the appearance of something that embodies the splitting of timelines that are orthogonal. Something directly connected with the Multiverse. We may already be seeing that with Blackholes, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, and the acceleration of the expansion of our universe. What are we expanding into increasingly fast and where is the non-conserved energy coming from that makes the acceleration occur?

The multiverse as the meta-system of the universe, i.e. the operating system that gives it resources, such as room to expand into, and the energy fueling its expansion, and a place for the rule of physics to break down in black holes, and what is there before the Big Bang or Bounce as the case may be. I call that the Pluriverse in General Schemas Theory. It has to have orthogonal time in order to house the other universes side by side without interfering too much with each other, except via quantum phenomena as David Deutsch says.

I say we began to enter the Heterochronic Era with Dunne in the Twenties, and the Philosophy of that transition is in Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy: From Ereignis, where he identifies the difference between Sein (Being) and Seyn (Beyng) which was shortly there after. And this was brought to the consciousness of the public though Tolkein’s playing with Dunne’s idea in Lord of the Rings. And the last piece of the puzzle fell into place with F-theory appearing that had to have orthogonal timelines.

If that is true then the singularity of Ultra Being probably also already is manifest. But what it is we do not know yet. But I opine that it is something past AI, Alife, Asocial that embodies multiple orthogonal time streams, something that takes us into the Meta-system fully from our restricted economy of Being and brings us to understand the existence underlying Being. What ever it is we can be assured that it is an indicator of the Homeward path, i.e. the path to the nondual core of the Western worldview.

Quora answer: Is the state of software engineering improving or getting worse?

Here is a good place to talk about intensification of nihilism. This is because software is a very unique cultural artifact in as much as it is the only cultural artifact to directly embody what Plato calls the Third Kind of Being in the Timaeus, and what I following Merleau-Ponty in The Visible and Invisible call Hyper Being and what Heidegger calls -B-e-i-n-g- crossed out and Derrida calls DifferAnce (differing and deferring). This is to say that Software as far as I know is a Singular Entity that directly embodies a particular (third) meta-level of Being. We can analytically recognizes phenomena as having Hyper Being as a source, but only with software can we see a cultural artifact that wholly embodies the characteristics of this kind of Being.

As software is transforming world culture, it would be good to understand the ontological nature of software and its impact. The basic quality of Hyper Being is what Paul Simon calls slip-sliding away. Strangely, the lower meta-levels of Being exist in Hardware as the index (Pure Being – pointing) and accumulator (Process Being – grasping). This is explained further in Wild Software Meta-systems at There are five meta-levels of Being which are higher logical types (Russell) and software is the only cultural artifact that directly embodies Hyper Being. So in a sense with the advent of Software with Lady Lovelace as the first programmer of Babbages Difference Engine (which never was actually completed). In other words the first mechanical computer had programs that were waiting for the hardware to be built to be run, just like today with Quantum computing. (cf. David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality)

What happens with the intensification of nihilism (and idea we owe to Jose Argulles from Transformational Vision) is that something new arises and we think it is going to solve all our problems, but then it ultimately just makes things worse. So with the Web we thought all our problems would be solved, there was boom then bust now boom again, but now we have privacy concerns, pornography and children concerns, most of the traffic is spam, there are worms and trojans, and hackers, our data is stolen, our identities are stolen, we don’t know how to or if we should tax or control the internet. The list of ills goes on and on. Same thing with other equipment with software in it. Basically machines don’t work anymore unless their software is running because most are not purely mechanical anymore. Our Cars have myriad computers in them all running real time software doing who knows what, but that means they cannot be fixed by just anyone any more and the cost of fixing them has gone up substantially. Businesses cannot operate if their computers go down, so that means if electricity stops almost everything else stops. Anyway you get the idea. There are Ills associated directly with the computer and its software that just did not exist previously. We can do things we could never do before, but we have wicked problems we never had to deal with before, like “Social” relationships with people we don’t really know and who could be hiding their true identity, and mean us harm that we would not be open to if it were not for the allure of social networks. People can find marriage partners that they could not find before, but on the other hand we are opened up to many scams, and unscrupulous if not dangerous people who we would have never met before. In intensification of nihilism what at first seems like it will turn everything into a Utopia turns out to be a Kakatopia (Hell on Earth) which is worse than what previously existed before the new great white hope arose.

Now with Software all this becomes much worse, because we are suddenly operating with something that embodies a kind of Being we normally do not have to deal with, which is Hyper Being which makes everything slippery. It is hard to categorize software in our traditional categories, and it is hard to control and deal with it. For instance in the control of intellectual property rights. Copying is just so easy, and control is very difficult. The movement to Social Media sites is really an attempt to solve this problem by tying applications to hardware that we access across the net. This is because software as traditionally conceived as applications that run on ones own computer are just too hard to control and thus to make money from. What is the value of Software is always a problem. And many expect it to be free, in spite of the hours and hours needed to create it. But many are willing to give away their software for free, and that makes it so that people cannot sell into those markets unless they have something special to offer that the free programs do not have. These sorts of examples, like the craziness of software patents, can be multiplied almost endlessly. Take BITCOIN for example. It is a purely computational currency, but it was hacked and bitcoins were stolen causing their value to plummet. Or take the arising of Anonymous as the anti-corporate force, which brings up how much corporations are dependent on control of identity, yet Anonymous are the stockholders, employees, or customers, or just interested bystanders that attacks the corporation by making its secrets available to the public and thus giving some accountability that otherwise would not exist for instance with HP Gary.

I shan’t belabor the point. The key is that software is both getting better and getting worse at the same time. It makes things possible that would otherwise be impossible, like Smart Phones, but it also makes it possible for us to be tracked without out knowing it by the government, or others. On every issue there are nihilistic dual threats and capabilities that would not exist otherwise, and we have entered into this bewildering world unprepared in which Hyper Being plays a significant role and transforms everything for the better and worse at the same time but at a faster rate, and in a more intense fashion than has been the case in the past. It breaks down barriers that we want to do away with, but it also breaks down barriers that we do not want to have broken down. For instance, kids put pictures of themselves that are sexually explicit on the internet, or other kids do it to their friends/enemies and we do not know if this is pornography or not, but kids commit suicide because of it, and other schemes of cyberbullying. There are intense positives and negatives and they get worse with the spread of software. It allows us to put rovers on mars or fly by Jupiter and Saturn or Mercury, but it also allows money laundering, or makes all our countries less safe, by allowing secrets to be hacked from Government computers.

We need to realize the specific uniqueness of the ontology of software and how that is affecting our society, culture, and families as well as ourselves as individuals. Effectively we are living in a world of global presence to those who are absent, and effectively everyone in the world. Software makes that possible, which can have extremely good (sharing knowledge and advances in science spreading faster) and extremely bad (scams, cyberterrorism, cyberwar, etc) results. The quicker we understand the nature of DifferAnce, the better we will be able to understand this new and bewildering world made possible by software.

Along with all these cultural and social as well as individual changes there is the change in the Software Industry itself. Here too things are getting worse and better at the same time in extremes. For instance the proliferation of software languages means we are exploring more possibilities of how to write programs, but at the same time there is such a bewildering array of them it is difficult to keep up. We can say something similar for all parts of the software world. So many open source projects, so many software applications, so many social websites, so many services offered on the internet, so many resources offered in cloud computing. Yet on the other hand so difficult to absorb everything that is happening and make sense of it and apply it.

For instance we have Agile and now Lean software development which are bringing new paradigms to software development. These were aimed at freeing the programmer from process, but with new ALM software systems controlling production it is not clear that these initiatives that sought freedom from process are not just going to make things worse in terms of creating more red tape in the software creation process. What was designed to bring back creativity in software production as Agile was described seeking hyper-productivity, may actually hamstring the developer as they are immeshed in ALM systems that block progress due to enforced processes that are called Agile or Lean but actually make it harder to write good software. This is still an open question. But it is in keeping with the general tenor of changes brought about by software is that there is a radical intensification of nihilism. For instance we write programs but it is nearly impossible to reuse anything because the infrastructure is changing so rapidly, so lots of this work becomes wasted by just small infrastructural changes. So we are constantly having to start over, yet at the same time we cannot abandon legacy code due to the cost, so we have to both abandon and keep running old code. Cobol is still being written and maintained despite the fact that it is completely outmoded. We have to connect all kinds of legacy systems to each other and incorporate them into our new development, so we are constantly having maintenance issues along with development issues.

Software produces in society and culture intensification of nihilism and it is not immune to these same sorts of effects itself. Software evolution is becoming more and more intense yet our ability to absorb, incorporate, and use these evolutionary advances becomes more and more limited because of information overload, knowledge obsolescence, and generally a lack of wisdom in how to develop these capabilities so that they can stay in better synchronization with each other so that the infrastructure is not so disruptive to our own use of it to accomplish things that people want, but which shortly will be obsoleted, or worse will live on a kind of Zombified existence as the program that never dies because it is crucial and it costs too much to replace it.
Wild Software Meta-systems

Quora answer: Did Kant, in his work, give us a way to know reality, not know reality, or some mix of the two?

I have just listened to the tapes of the lectures of Bernstein ( on Kant that are available on the internet. Bernstein attempts a regressive or minimal reading of Kant and he supports in that reading the idea that Kant thought he had given us a direct connection to reality. The Cartesian view has as it did in early Husserl (Cartesian Meditations) has the problem of solipsism. Husserl confronted this problem and solved it by moving from Bracketing to the seeing of objects on a world horizon. Heidegger took advantage of this in Being and Time according to Walton who has been studying the later works of Husserl and sees the innovations of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty are in some sense just the exploitation of Husserls later generative phenomenology. But according to Bernstein in his lectures the innovation of Husserl is merely a return to the real meaning of Kant’s philosophy under the regressive reading. It is very difficult to see whether Bernsteins reading is an anachronism or whether that was the true meaning of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason from the beginning. The regressive reason makes this case that Kant was really a phenomenologist at heart.

The basic idea is that we only know about anything real through perception and consciousness. So what ever reality IS is filtered though that medium and nothing escapes the filter, and so there is nothing to compare our appearances to to see them as purely epiphenomenalism. This means that realism that posits a transcendental object is just as idealistic as the positing of the transcendental subject who is the source of our A priori syntheses. So in a sense, Kant is just saying that Transcendental Idealism is precisely the same as Transcendental Subjectivity (Idealism), i.e. merely a nihilistic dualism. And because of that identity ultimately they are antinomies that cancel out and so all that is left is the epiphenomenon of appearances, in which we discern reality by the involuntary simultaneity of the time streams of objects as opposed to the the serial voluntary ways of apprehension. If the transcendental structure cancels out, then we need another way of thinking about the world that is immanent and that is what Heidegger tries to develop in Being and Time based on the insights of the Later Husserl and his generative phenomenology, i.e. the phenomenology of time.

Quora answer: What is Differance

Differance is Differing and Deferring, i.e. the relation of the supplement in writing to the work itself, like in the Preface to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit/Ghost/Mind where the preface written at the end changes the meaning of the whole work. Differance I call Hyper Being. It is the Third Meta-level of Being after Pure Being (Parmenides, Stasis) and Process Being (Heraclitus, Dynamism, Becoming) and prior to the fourth kind of Being which Merleau-Ponty calls Wild Being in The Visible and the Invisible. In that unfinished work Merleau-Ponty calls Hyper Being the Hyper-Dialectic between Heidegger’s Monolithic combination of Pure and Process Being which are seen as equiprimoridal and Sartre’s Nothingness which is the antimony. We see differance in the Paul Simon song where he sings about slip-sliding away. Differance is always sliding away from us so we cannot hold it in mind as something determinate, either in space or time, dynamism or stasis, or in any other dualism. Hyper Being is the difference that makes a difference between Pure Being and Process Being, the differences between kinds of Being must also be a different kind of Being. If Pure Being is present-at-hand being-in-the-world and Process Being is ready-to-hand being-in-the-world, then Hyper Being is the “in-hand” the expansion of being-in-the-world that comes from bearing new affordances. Where Pure Being has the modality of pointing according to Merleau-Ponty, and Process Being has the modality of grasping, then we take it that Levinas’ bearing which is Beyond monolithic Being is the modality of Hyper Being. Best example of the meta-levels of Being are the meta-levels of learning in Bateson’s Steps to the Ecology of Mind.

It is an important concept because it is a distinction that Plato makes in the Timaeus where he calls it the third kind of being. We forgot that in our tradition until Heidegger rediscovered it by accident, and Derrida took it up to make something interesting of Heidegger’s discovery. Heidegger did not follow up on the idea of -B-e-i-n-g- (crossed out). See John Sallis Chorology for more details about the role the third kind of Being plays in the Timaeus.

Posted January 30, 2012 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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