Monthly Archives: July 2019

Basho on being one with the object

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one — when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural — if the object and yourself are separate — then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.

I wonder if Husserl had read Basho or know of this quote. I wonder would he have agreed with it, would he have thought that what Basho is describing is that of the phenomenological project.

This being one with the object of perception had fascinated me in my early days. But as I grow older I have accepted that we will be forever separate from the object in question.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. That we can imagine to be one with the object is an important aspect of being human. But to remain in the illusion of oneness would be a counterfeit of sorts as well.

In my opinion, it is important to return to reality after insight, if you choose to call it that.

One of the great monologues ever – Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

It is one of the greatest death scenes in motion picture history.

Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty saves Rick Deckard, in an act of human-like compassion, from falling to his death from the dark rooftops of a bleak rainy wet cityscape. In the rain, did Roy cry human tears? We shall never know.

There are great actors out there we shall simply never see or hear of because of this one barrier – language. Hauer was not known to the English-speaking world until Blade Runner. One of the great villain actors but limited to these roles, he brought intensity to the films he acted in.

RIP, Roy, Rutger. You have made your “mark on existence”.

Philosophical realism

An object exists independent of our perception or conception of it. Michael Dummett is against this stance and calls it “colourless reductionism”.

Interestingly it is, in my opinion, precisely that reality is “colourless” that our minds colour it. It is the necessary part of our being conscious of our reality. And again, it is precisely because we erroneously supplement to the reality with minds that perhaps we need to reduce (remove) what was added to it.

The soul

On the soul. – today, the soul has lost its presence. Even if we are to accept it in some form it is as a metaphor or as a construct to further give us a purpose or meaning. We are undoubtedly purpose-seeking, meaning-making entities. And that is our characteristic. Our imagination is our greatest gift and our ultimate curse.

The mind

On the mind. – There is no metaphysics, that is, there is no mind. It “exists” insofar as a concept and as a process. It has no physical existence that can be found other than physical procedural evidence.

Space is an object

Just as light behaves like a wave and a particle, space “behaves” like an object. A position cannot be occupied by both space and an object, two objects, or two spaces at the same time. We infer space from objects. We cannot directly observe space. We can only ever infer its behaviour from things (objects).

What is a thought?

In this Radiolab podcast about Einstein’s brain is an interview with a neurologist named Sebastian Song (spelling?). He says forget about relativity we cannot even explain what a thought is. We can point to where a thought occurs in the brain but we cannot say how a thought is made there.

If a thought is a thing then something should remain and dissipate at death. But nothing “dissipates”. Only the process called thinking and life ends. The body remains without the process of thought, that is, when thinking ends we are no longer alive.

Type/token

A type is a word who’s general meaning is derived from its sum token usages. Types are similar to universals and innate ideas which seemingly have a stable unchanging meaning when in fact they are derived categorisations of concepts. This error in understanding has been the root of the problem with Western philosophy from the very beginning. The ground of contention is in thought which is grounded in language. The nature of meaning, form, thought, and communication has to clear in order to understand the problem at hand.

What Phineas Gage can tell us about what the self is

Today, we know a lot about the brain from case studies of brain damage of specific areas and the cognitive functions associated with these areas.

It was not all that long ago that we had no idea what the brain was. Although we must had some clue we were never completely sure. Damage to the eye would impair vision, to the ear, hearing, and so on. Lose an arm and you still function as cognitively. We must have guessed that the “seat” of thinking was in the head. Sometimes the mind has been placed in the heart. We knew the functions of these – the brain and the heart – were vital to life. Often they are confused.

The case of Phineas Gage [warning: gruesome details in link] was one of luck for neuroscience (but not for him). [warning: more gruesome details ahead] In 1848, he was injured in a railroad accident. An iron rod was driven through his prefrontal cortex by an explosion, causing him to severe social impairments. Since then thousands of case studies have been documented to pinpoint the functions of which were affected by the neurological damage. The point being, if we were not physical neurological beings, then the damage to the brain should be no different to damage to the arm, leg, or stomach – our personalities would not be affected.

But how we act and how we think of people ultimately comes down to their brain function. The personality, self, and soul ultimately resides in the brain as a product of the brain. To think that damage to the physical self would not cause neurological change would contradict the evidence. Nothing of the self exists after death, only our thoughts of those who have died remain as our thoughts of them as a self.

Things, space, time, reality

There are things.

There is no other way to express the first encounter with the world. It may be that this is not the first encounter as such. Perhaps the first encounter is with nothing. But we can never know that. To suggest that nothing can be encountered is counterintuitive and illogical. I too must have been nothing. Nothing cannot be there, for that there would have to be no place. 

This world then must be there at the moment of its encounter. What the thing that is encountered matters not for now, only that there is a separation between there and not there. 

Space is inferred by the relationship of things.

I cannot make contact with space. It is there only from the sensing of things. Eventually, I will make contact with other things. And space will be inferred from this. 

Time is inferred from the change in the relationship of things.

Like space I cannot directly know it. I know time by things and space. The movement of things is the measure of time. I cannot be sure time exists other than from knowing it through things and space. 

Reality is the entirety of things, space, and time.

All that can be known is derived from reality.

Automacy

Sometimes, most times, as sentient beings we are not aware of the situation. This is a common phenomenon. We are so thoroughly immersed in the moment that we are scarcely aware of our existence. This automacy is part of the mechanism of this particular thing.

Self-aware

I am a thing of the reality. At some point I become aware of my self as a thing. I become aware of my observation of the reality.

Perception is irrelevant

Reality is the entirety of things, space, and time. The observation or non-observation of reality does not change its existence.

Repeated acts of forgetfulness

There is nothing above and beyond the the material reality. Everything that is there can be understood from physicality. There is no dualism or pluralism. To feel “disconnected” at this thought is to be under the same illusion as feeling “connected”. Both are as impossible. In this way, the existential absurdity makes sense. We have always made meaning for ourselves, under the guise of religion, philosophy, science, or some other construct. We are good at it. We shall forever struggle with this in repeated acts of forgetfulness.

First stimulus and the chain of conception

Epistemologically, the first stimulus (my first stimulus) is sensory. It is of the things in the world, including the reflexive sensing of myself as a thing. The evidence is, things are known by sensation, and also things remain regardless whether being sensed or perceived.

You cannot perceive what is not first sensed. And you cannot conceive what is not first perceived. No chain of conception can occur without the first stimulus.

The chain of conception is the illusion of a self. The self is a conception.