The ontological and epistemological questions

The question of what ontologically exists is of upmost importance and fundamental in answering any question about what is to be epistemological known. The problem is its circularity, that we can only “guess” at what exists from what is known.

The nature of knowledge, then, must tell us something of the nature of what exists, that is, we can never “know” something else directly. If we were to know something else directly then we would be that thing. Then, we would not be something else. Things are necessarily separate and never known directly.

This also tells us about the nature of knowledge – that a medium is always necessary in order to have knowledge of it. This is true of both self-knowledge (or will) and other-knowledge (or representation) where they both are indirect. The internal (self) medium is no different to the external (other) medium. They only differentiations in degrees of knowledge and levels of activity or process.

#ThereIsNothingSpecialAboutThought

#ThereIsNothingSpecialAboutThought only thought – being the egotistical thing that it is – thinks itself special.

Wittgenstein’s First Proposition

1. The world is all that is the case.

The definition of case used is

a situation that exists, especially as it affects a particular person or group

The definition of situation used is

a combination of all the things that are happening and all the conditions that exist at a particular time in a particular place

There is an assumption of space and time here as a necessary truth, that is, it is propositionally true. Logic assumes reasoning and pure reasoning. I do not believe there is such a thing as pure reasoning. Reasoning must necessarily be impure since it is limited to the time, place, and to the person (a particular point-of-view).

The reality just is, with or without being observed or reasoned. In pure being there is no thing, space, and time in the sense that none of these have sentience of the other in any kind of complete and coherent system.

The world is a place of suspended judgment. It is only the sentient who do not suspend their judgment. That, in some way, is a curse.

On Music

1.
We are surrounded by culture, that is, we are surrounded by people. In various ways we express ourselves, and we recognise these expressions. We express ourselves because we recognise others will recognise our expression. Communication is a vicious or un-vicious circle, depending on who you ask. And music is but one of the many ways of expressing ourselves as human beings.

2.
I wasn’t born in the eighth-century. I wasn’t even born in the 19th century. My time is the late-twentieth-century. I heard disco. I heard new wave. I heard pop. I listened to post-punk. I clubbed. I read Smash Hits and Face. I even read iD and watched a bit of Top of the Pops. I didn’t have complete control of my musical environment. I took in what was there. This was what was there.

Musical “taste” is different for everyone. No two people have the exact same music experience. Like everything else, we must necessarily see things differently. My favourite song can only come from what I have heard. We can try to have as wide a music experience as possible but we can never have the entire music experience. It isn’t even worth trying, unless you do so as a professional. I cannot imagine the knowledge of someone like Ryuichi Sakamoto or Mozart. My knowledge of music is limited to pleasure.

3.
As I said, my Top 10 songs can only come from what I have heard, what I know. And sometimes it is not worth expanding your knowledge.

Think of your musical knowledge as objects filling a room. At some point not much more can fit into it. We loathe to throw these things out. They “do the job”. They bring joy and sometimes sadness. Anger even. They belong to the history of me, the owner of this room.

Sometimes someone asks you to listen to this or that. But I already have the love songs to remind me of long past romances and present loves (plural because love is not for one but many: wife, child, parents). The newly introduced song, without sounding cold, means nothing to me. It reminds me of no one (except for the introducer) and no time except (for the present). But that song must mean everything to that introducer. And that song is all that matters. That is his or her song.

My room is filled. That person’s room may not be. He or she may be only starting to fill theirs. And yet others like you may also have filled rooms like yours. Finding people with similar rooms is a near impossible and almost futile task.

4.
Sometimes I would like to take out a particular song and play it. But why I chose that song to play is never clear. But once it starts it would bring back memories of the past, of people, places, and time. The associations are specific to me. It is immediately clear in the sense that I enjoy those memories, but would require much explanation to all others who do not have privileged access. That is the meaning of being me, and the meaning of others.

5.
Temptation by New Order.

Forty years have passed. But the days I would listen to this song are vivid to me, at least the general atmosphere, light, feelings. Joy. Discovery. Freedom. It is by no means a great song, but it reminds of all those things mentioned and more. It reminds of my friend to whom I had played it and it please me that he liked it too. That feeling is all that matters and mattered. And as I listen to it now as I write this, those same feelings return.

I will stress again this point – it doesn’t matter who has heard or likes the song, only what it means to you. The link to the past is so important that everything else matters not. Perhaps if you take that link away the song will no longer have that power over me.

In some ways it would be a mental assault. Reality would be changed in a way which would hurt greater than perhaps physical pain. This point I cannot confirm but only imagine to be so. Even imagining this now is painful and it has not even happened. Such is the intensity of music, and of experience in general.

Philosophy is not above and beyond analysis and criticism

I do like postmodernism. It was the staple of late twentieth-century intellectualism and thought. I don’t particularly think it was saying anything new. Others have noticed what postmodernism was saying. But it said it differently, and in a more appealing less confrontational way.

When postmodernism says nothing is truly sacred, it means everything operates from the standpoint of its difference to all other things. Sometimes Man stands in contrast to animal.  Man with a big ‘M’ may even stand uppercase man. And man often stands against woman. But really there is only these series of differences. Nothing has meaning in itself.

Science, religion, and philosophy are ordinary activities, and not beyond analysis. One can think of the idea of paradigm put forward by Thomas S Kuhn as an example of science. Atheism and agnosticism as examples of religious analysis. And Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as a meta-philosophical analysis.

For philosophy to be reflexive is important. Any ideas to truth-claims are dangerous and need to be carefully analysed and understood in order not to fall into complacency. One’s own self-righteousness leads to not only metaphorical blindness but generally ends in conflict. The only shared world there is the physical one. Mental ones rely on it, not the other way around.

The Japanese nengajō (New Year’s cards)

Every year in December in Japan people are preparing for the New-Year’s-card rush – the nengajō. Most people select a design from one of the various apps on their laptops, or more recently their smart devices, and print them up on their printers. It is a survival skill that rivals, if not top, that of word processor skills. A nengajō is a postcard designed especially for the year’s end. It has the year it with a lottery included. The omote (front side) has the names and addresses of the addressee and addresser. The ura has the design.

There are various styles, but the most basic ura design is one without photos. The Japanese follow the Chinese zodiac calendar which is in a cycle of twelve years with each year having an animal (apart from the Year of the Dragon) to represent it. 2019 happens to be The Year of the Boar. So most people incorporate a boar in the design. Those which include photos ones which show the entire family.

The apps generally have an address list function to help you keep track and print up both sides of your card.

Here are some tips (in no particular order) for being a “nengajō warrior”:

  1. give yourself a couple of days to the nengajō
  2. keep the cards received from the previous year as reference (and burn the old ones at a new years event at a shrine as a sign of respect to the sender)
  3. keep your address list up-to-date
  4. backup your address list
  5. take at least one photo with the entire family in it sometime in the year (if you choose to include a photo)
  6. print the omote side first (it uses less ink in case of a mistake)
  7. check everything before printing bulk
  8. stock up on printer ink
  9. if you worried about privacy don’t use a photo (all cards show name and address)

This should get you started if you are new to this Japanese custom. Enjoy.

If you want more detailed information check out these pages by Fukuoka Now and Savvy Tokyo.

 

building metaphors

we are forever
building metaphors
bridging gaps
between meaning
and form

transmitting
our intentions
our perfect,
static, timeless
ideals

from the mind
extended, like
antennae
now this –
my simile

constructed
and unplanned
the metaphor is
the foundation of
our abstractions