Thursday, September 25, 2014

GETTING DOWN TO REALITY


Plato's Electronic Cave...or, Reality is an Abstraction.

I wrote this really in an attempt to clarify my own comprehension although it was originally written as a private joke to two good friends of mine on the subject of apprehending Reality when we first formed Socialrebirth.org and I added a note on Korzybski's 'General Semantics' to make it complete....

"What Is Reality?" ~

"LOL to both of you…

Inspect a little closer guys…that solid ground may not be as secure as first impressions would suggest. Examine your precious reassuring boardwalk of reality a little closer, and you will find that you are nonetheless still standing philosophically and scientifically in the shifting quicksand of Time and Space…

How considerate of me to remind you both.

I am touched by my own magnanimous empathy for you!

Our conception of Reality consists of our subjective experiences (not a good start) and our collective, repeatedly measurable empirical knowledge.

Personal experience is inherently subjective and therefore questionable as a means of understanding reality unless it draws on objective knowledge, external reference and observation.


Ok? Fine so far?

Follow the dots scientifically i.e through empirical data using mathematics however and we wind up with two irreconcilable world views...

i.e the Einsteinian view of the space-time Continuum and the Quantum view with it’s weird effects like ‘entanglement’ and bits of matter, ‘real’ matter being in say on average ; 2,000 places at the same moment in time.


A quantum particle travels through a wormhole back in time and returns to the same location in space and time.

And oh, did I forget to mention the wonderfully weird effects of Relativity?

This doesn’t bode well if we are to comprehend our experience of reality objectively…Obviously something needs to shift and unfortunately for all of us, it involves the fundamental foundations of our weltanschaung, our World-view..is that solid reassuring boardwalk of reality feeling slippery yet?

Ultimately we follow the dots down the rabbit hole and we arrive at the Max Planck scale where light is both a wave and a particle simultaneously and the wonderful world of Strings and string theory...but as String Theory is impossible to test and has not made a single verifiable prediction since it's conception, it remains for me little more than creative thinking i.e a Mathematical construct.

As our Mathematics & Science collides and crashes in on itself we need to recognise at this juncture that our ‘understanding’ is mutable and constantly shifting subject to the passage of Time…in other words we stand on shifting sand.


The unverifiable realm of String Theory from Deviant Art

We pause to gather our bearings and gain some perspective …


We begin peering into the darkness with our instruments and discover that 70% of the entire Universe consists of Dark Energy, 25% of the remaining Universe is Dark Matter.

So in effect 95% of our observable and/or our measureable Universe is a complete and utter mystery..in other words not part of our collective reality at all.

We have no idea what Dark Matter is nor what it consists of.

Which leaves us and our precious reality clinging miserably to a fragment of porous material, a hybrid life-raft cobbled together by a set of mutually incompatible theories.

Our raft is the remaining 5% of that deeper mystery and is often termed ; ‘the known Universe’ which makes up our tiny sliver or fine shard of so-called measurable reality…




If we acknowledge the old precept that propaganda, the opponent of truth is as much an omission as a distortion of knowledge it seems axiomatic that there is therefore then a further challenge to our contrived, gestalt view of reality and it’s integrity, which comes naturally from the world of inner space.

In other words we are not neutral observors here.

The mechanism of Memory for example, the memory of a perceived Past is now understood to be a pure construct...

We can and do create false memories effortlessly, simply by being asked leading questions for example...our minds tend to fill in the gaps, the blanks.


This process of generating fantasy in the form of false memories is a
creative aspect of our human consciousness and as a phenomena it was first detailed by Sigmund Freud and C.G.Jung and later became a part of the interesting daily work of Hypno-therapists at least it's where I first came across it in the text books of the excellent British Psychologist H.J Eysenck.

We actually construct Memories i.e we don't just experience them as being 'washed over' by a wave of recollections, and it is a part of the human condition to manufacture these false memories when required.

Therefore it becomes evident upon even the most basic reflection, that our brains are innately deceptive mechanisms.


The psychological realm, when attempting to apprehend reality personally becomes a major problem for us.

In addition to our Memory constructs, we need to factor in the inherent bias of our perceived viewpoints, our particular pathologies, quirks, syndromes, sub-conscious influences and forces, all of which protect us from associating psychic pain – and thereby through omission or psychosis alter our consciousness further still.


Originally a Freudian theorem, it is recognised nowadays as orthodox thinking and now, (and this is by no means the end of our list of influences shaping our reality) throw into the mix the often paralising effect which the neuro-peptides flooding our brains have on our apprehension of reality, chemicals which further contribute to influence and critically shape our views and you see that our comfortable bedrock is beginning to look rather porous and sketchy;

“For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” ~ from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by the immortal William Blake.


William Blake and the Modern Man, hounded by the Western Media

So when you go skating guys on the surface of your particular ‘reality’…skate lightly, or you might wind up falling through a hole in your mathematics or your philosophy…a tiny, miraculous Black hole…

Thanks to a friend of mine ; Rama Godugunar, I have recently, at long last properly acquainted myself with Alfred Korzybski, the author of "Science and Sanity" ~ 1933, who had been described by many as being inordinately difficult....

As it turns out, putting aside his admittedly grim scientific prose, conceptually his message is powerfully convincing and his views have become really quite straightforward and reasonable and not at all difficult to 'Grok'...

Korzybski's perspective which surely owes a debt to Kant, unfortunately only further unravels our assumed understanding of our Reality.

His obsession of sifting through language, and of holding each word up against objective analysis in order to eliminate false assumptions, is an overwhelming type of fever which I have a strange affinity with, having suffered at times from similar obsessional or hallucinatory states involving language.

'Grok' is an invented term from the book "Stranger in a strange Land' by SF author Robert Heinlein meaning to comprehend something completely, to really 'know' it in a new, yet alien sort of way as the word is used by an alien in the book...



Heinlein turns out to be just one of innumerable writers, artists, philosophers and scientists who have picked up and supped from Korzybski's cup...OMG!!! .... ~ "My God, it's full of Stars!"

Our problems stem ultimately from their classical origins in Aristolean logic, in a world of categories beginning with what is "A" and "Not-A" and Korzybski has shown us that Reality is far more elusive and far too complex for the imperfect tools of our word constructs, and that Reality can not be confined by our neat little categories of construction which are really just abstractions or descriptive models.



A superb example of the symbiosis between Science Fiction and Science i.e
more of the Null-A Continuum courtesy of Korzybski.

My own personal problems with Logic began a long time earlier, when I first discovered that a particle could be in two places at once...

This began the erosion of my faith in Aristolean logic and our language constructs.

Fortunately clear thinking people like Alfred Korzybski have managed to begin clearing away the remnants of our flawed thought processes.

"The Map is not the Territory" is a famous Korzybski line :



"A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness". This means that our perception of reality is not reality itself but our own version of it, or our "mental map".

Meaning that our semantic language constructs for something is not the same as the thing it describes.

The word 'IS' can cause us great confusion; I am not Jules Elbeshausen, as the term Jules is used to represent the abstraction only and I am far more than that.

 
This would seem like such a common sense statement and yet we are constantly being mystified by our language with the use of the word 'is' with potentially dangerous ramifications collectively.

Today when we hear for example about a 'War' against an inanimate object i.e Drugs, or a War against a state of mind i.e Terror, I am reminded that General Semantics is not something which the American Administration is familiar with, and it shows us the inherent dangers with our old, familiar word constructs.

Ironically the great Lewis Carroll, in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893), had made a similar point to Korzybskis with his humorous description of a fictional map that had "the scale of a mile to the mile".


A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that "we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."

I feel that the concept of Ignosticism which is a theological position that holds that the subject of debate (the existence of one or more gods) has not been coherently defined, as opposed to Agnosticism, which is something else entirely, is just one of many schools of thought which owes a great deal to Korzybski and his fearless, relentless analysis of our apprehended reality via our nerve impulses and the constructs of our languages.


Does God exist will then become a meaningless question as each person's description and definition will differ depending on their point of view i.e which means it is pure subjectivity and the bane of rational, objective analysis.


All the semantic supports and foundational struts are breaking now, as I go tumbling through one interconnected rabbit-hole after another... I am almost free-falling now....

The winds of friction which are screaming in my ears are merely the cries of defeated logical conceptions and assumptions under the withering light of Korzybski's searing search beam as I go plummeting with scalpel in hand through one broken, smashed assumption after another...


Altho I'm not completely convinced that I will be happy with what I find at the bottom i.e at the other end of this exhausting rabbit-hole and I am left wondering, considering the tortuously complicated philosophical imbroglio in which we find ourselves, if we will ever completely be able to 'know' our reality. 

It seems as if it doesn't  matter what type of cerebral contortions one wishes to impose on oneself, consciousness or even thinking itself do not appear capable of escaping the enigmatic 'i' of perception or if you prefer, the 'eye' of the observer as it will invariably add it's own contribution towards shaping our apprehension of reality.

This axiom is also in line with Quantum Physics in the now famous double-slit wave/particle experiment, in which it was discovered that matter behaves differently depending on whether it is being observed or not...


I need to finish this, as I need some sustenance, some Food.

And as Korzybski is constantly reminding us, alas, I cannot eat the word :  PIZZA...



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Monday, September 22, 2014

THE HYPOCRITE'S PICNIC



"I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating... because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition."


"Most terrorists are people deeply concerned by what they see as social, political, or religious injustice and hypocrisy, and the immediate grounds for their terrorism is often retaliation for an action of the United States."



Where are the marches of indignation against Islamic terrorism I hear you ask?

Well indeed...Welcome to your nightmare...

To be specific, where are the marches against these monsters who decapitate, who behead living, wide-awake human beings?

Where are they?

Here in the Land of Oz, you could always ask your fearless leader, the Prime-Minister of Australia as he runs alongside Obama like a pug-nosed little mascot barking : ~

"Who are we going to beat up next Spike? Huh? Huh?"

Obama and the West in general have provided massive amounts of arms, colossal weaponry with which the terrorist regime of Saudi Arabia have repeatedly brutalized it's own citizens for many documented decades...

We in the West, including Tony Abbot the institutionalized, former school-boy, OZ prime minister of ours and his cabinet of buffoons eagerly support this regime...

In fact Tony is so peachy-keen, darned taken with Middle-Eastern regimes that we named the Melbourne Cup after one last year, having much earlier already named our main Melbourne football stadium after the United Arab Emirates, a neighbor of Saudi Arabia which lies adjacent and to the north.

In their 2013 Annual Report, 
Amnesty International drew attention to the United Arab Emirates' poor record on a number of human rights issues. They highlighted the government's restrictive approach to freedom of speech and assembly, their use of arbitrary arrest and torture, and their use of the death penalty.

So what if the money is blood-stained with slave-labor? that can always be white-washed.

We just love Middle-East regimes who have absolutely no regard for human rights here in OZ.

No doubt the EDIHAD Formula One Grand Prix is next.

And then perhaps the EDIHAD Bridge.

How about the EDIHAD Parliament building in Canberra? No?...perhaps you're right.
A central, metropolitan railway station then?


Our former schoolboy Tony Abbot would not possess a heart the size and the fortitude of a mouse, with which to speak up against Saudi Arabia... even in a whisper...and he has the brain capacity of a boiled chicken which is why we cannot expect him to ever really be able to 'connect the dots' of his circumstances and situation, or be able to appreciate the stunning, blistering Hypocrisy of his position and that of the West in general regarding the recent War in Iraq and Syria.

Perhaps in his benighted retirement his ghost writer will regale us all with detailed portraits of the corrupt cabal he rubs shoulders with, and the inner levels of depravity which their revolving door cronies were capable of, but somehow I very much doubt it.

So-o... Saudi Arabia, at least by executions and beheadings is by far the most extreme and murderously repressive regime on Earth!

We had another 18 public, open-air beheadings in the first half of August in Saudi Arabia this month alone.

I am presuming that decapitation, the gruesome beheading of a living, wide-awake human being is now the water-mark for extremist behavior.

This begs me to ask :
But is anyone, anyone at all in the West even raising a voice or a question against Saudi Arabia's continuous, blatant transgressions of the Geneva Convention and the UN and European conventions on Human Rights?

 

Is anyone declaring a state of war or about to invade this monster for its continuous crimes both at home and abroad in numerous countries?

Anyone?...Anyone at all? ...there is the sound of shuffling feet and a polite cough, crickets can be heard beyond the window in a mad chorus, chirping through the moist night air...a cat squeals somewhere off in the distance...a car backfires and rumbles away...the crickets resume their frantic chirping.

I didn't think so.

The photo above at the head of this post came from an article in the Washington Post and attached was this comment :

'The U.S. wants to fight terrorists who behead people. To fight them, in a never-ending War of atrocities because they behead people, with the help of a Government that still beheads people every other day.' ~ Slightly altered.


Tony Abbot, Obama's little mascot bottom right.


It is noteworthy that both Saudi Arabia and the United States, who claim to be fighting terrorism in Iraq and threaten to violate Syrian sovereignty by launching air strikes into Syria, have been implicated and exposed in innumerable financing scams and funding rip-offs for years in Iraq, as Wars are always incredibly lucrative with literally Billions of American dollars missing, as well as officially being in command of these 'Terrorists' and the U.S. openly admits that it plans to train and arm terrorists under the guise of the oxymoronic 'moderate Syrian opposition' in Saudi Arabia at a rate of 5,000 per year....

There is a word...a damning, condemnatory, highly critical word beginning with 'h' and ending something like '...crisy' but it's sticking in my throat...~
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

TAOIST DREAMS







Wu wei is an interesting Chinese phrase...


It has a tenuous connection back to Libertarianism and 'Laissez faire, Laissez passer' which is a type of economic environment in which all transactions between private parties are unencumbered, unhindered by government regulation or restrictions, an attitude of 'Let it be'.


In Taoism it literally means non-action, non-doing or action of non-action.


In the Tao te Ching, the venerable Lao Tzu explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao behave in a completely natural, uncontrived way.

The goal for the human being is, according to Lao Tzu the attainment of this purely natural way of behaving, as when the planets revolve around the sun.



Lao Tzu smiling Public domain Art



The planets effortlessly do this revolving without any sort of control, force, or attempt to resolve themselves, instead engaging in effortless (as in Wu wei) and spontaneous movement.


This is the kind of wisdom so admired by traditional Chinese scholars, and it is a concept which echoes throughout Chinese society and culture in general, for example with the fine art of Feng Shui, which is also about the economy of action and harmony of substance and their interplay.


There is a third great Chinese teacher contemporaneous with the other two ancient philosophers, Confucius and Lao Tzu,


i.e Sun Tzu the author of "The Art of War":

"Subjugating the enemy's army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence."


The concept of non-action as being a form of action is found in all three authors, although this is perhaps not so surprising as they all lived approximately in or around the 6th Century B.C.


First it can be heard in the poetic wisdom of the I-Ching commonly attributed to Confucius. For example the advice is often to temper haste with patience, or non-action.

Suggesting it is far better to not act, to wait and maintain the principle of Wu wei, rather than risk acting immodestly or inappropriately.



Taoist Art, The Returning Public domain.




Secondly it is evident throughout Lao Tzu's work ;


"One should be flexible as a blade of grass and not stiff and rigid like a stick...when the winds come will the stick not break?


Whereas the supple blade of grass bends and then returns to it's original position" > paraphrase.


“The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.


Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciple of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.


The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome.”


Lao Tzu

Finally it can be heard echoing through the "Art of War", when for example Sun Tzu suggests that you use your own opponent's army and it's strengths against itself in a defensive tactic to defeat the enemy by drawing him out, using their own strengths against themselves in clever, chess-like strategies where the object for your army is to do as little as possible i.e non-action or Wu wei and instead to let your enemy defeat itself in a long, slow battle of attrition.


This concept of Wu wei is to my mind an example of the inherent wisdom and intellectual integrity of the Eastern attitude versus the philosophically bankrupt West which of course is guided solely by the requirement for growth and profit.


In terms of the ramifications for our future, and in terms of the core beliefs that are shared by both The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project, it is clear that the Taoist or Eastern emphasis on balance and harmony with nature is entirely compatible with our own rejection of Western priorities and Western values as being pathological and ultimately genocidal.



Tidal, Wave, Wind & Solar for example are types of energy generation which appear to make far more sense and they are Eastern in their orientation, as they obviously go with,
rather than against the flow of nature.




The West, with it's foolish bravura, it's immature arrogance and impetuosity, at least when compared with the far more deliberate, ancient and unhurried movements of the Chinese dragon, the West's laughable hubris and it's sense of entitlement to invade or trash wherever it likes on this planet looks quite adolescent and juvenile against the seemingly more mature, measured and orderly slow pace of the East, and I believe that the concept of Wu wei may have a hand to play in this.


This is an opinion which others may easily dispute and which for me requires deeper scrutiny  in order to clarify and bring to the surface any glaring contradictions.


In the Western World, it is entirely dependent on the type of Economic system that we live under as to how we view our world, and it is that same Economic system which shapes and dictates our collective behavior.


Money has a lot to answer for.


Nature has no part to play.


It has no voice in the process, nor are its needs considered.


It is merely a calculation, an entry on a negative balance sheet of costs.


In other words the design comes first, then we work out how to solve our particular engineering or environmental problems by overcoming nature, by subduing it and too little consideration is given to working in harmony with rather than against the forces of nature.


Illustrates the Taoist principle of harmony



Our priorities appear to be mistaken...


For example in the West, we just cut a swathe through a forest because in our view,, our priority is to minimize cost and overheads, that is the name of the game.

Whereas the Eastern view begins with the belief that our priority should be to come to terms with nature first, to strike a harmonious balance with the requirements of Gaia first....


A short track road is a good thing, and the shorter the road, the less it costs, and we build it by just cutting a corridor through nature.


The Eastern, Taoist view would be to find the natural breaks, the pathways or even to go around if necessary to maintain the harmonic forces.


The examples of Western thoughtlessness in design, arrogance or just plain ignorance on a colossal scale are everywhere to be seen in architecture which for most of my life has been a source of simultaneous pleasure, and displeasure when I view the illogical irrationality of our building principles.


Fortunately architecture is finally coming of Age!


The examples of contrary, blind Industrial planning and design are literally endless as our Western system is not based on logic, or the natural order of life on Gaia and must have driven Buckminster-Fuller crazy…
dragon-34167_1280.png

The Eastern view is a huge contrast, it is a view which I hasten to add is unfortunately fading fast thanks to the heady rush of Capitalism which has now infected China as well.


In the traditional, old Eastern view which, as I suggest, can be found in common to all three sages i.e Lao Tzu, Confucius and in Sun Tzu, the main emphasis is to find a way to literally ;


'Go with the flow'...


To align yourself with the organic harmonies, the deep, intrinsic patterns of nature, and by doing this,  'non-action' which is itself a type of action, will in many cases be the only type of action required.

Here in the materialistic, cheap and vulgar, glittery West, unfortunately going with the flow would have an entirely different connotation… As the only flow which Western participants were ever interested in, the only flow which their conditioned minds could even see, was the rising flow of profits to the shareholders, those champions...those bastions of the 1%.
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