Tuesday, November 25, 2014

War of the words

May I just draw your attention to a strange quality of words. Analysts like to point to denotative and connotative content. What I am trying to focus on is not these things. What I refer to is that words validate themselves, regardless of their meanings.. Their being spoken grabs a certainty. an authenticity, accuracy, and believability, regardless of the content. If  a reader  replies, I wouldn't believe a thing my brother-in-law says, his words are not self-authenticating,  To this I say that we are referring to a brief period after the words are in the air, and you can see this in the current eastern European situation. 
One side says, we did not invade Pretania, and though, there are written accounts, recorded interviews,  and plenty of pictures, of armed troops marching across the border,  there is a split second where you take that seriously, something to turned around in your mind: "They did not invade." And then you think, oh wait, they are Grossnians, of course they would lie. But for a moment the words of the Grossnians, had a sheen of authenticity. 
A strange and amazing quality of words, qua words, is my point. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seaside scenes

I playfully thought that the positivists, the natural scientists, were like crabs with their binary pinchers. Then the mystic might be a snail,.plodding, and leaving a trail of words. This picture considers the mass of humanity as seaweed swaying back and forth. Cerebral seaside scenes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Treat or Treat

Why do modern historians consistently label "witchcraft:' as a medieval phenomenon? A brief glance at the dates indicates that what we call witchcraft is a distinctly modern phenomenon parallel with the beginnings of modern science. Prior to the 13th century any claims made about witches having power were regarded as blasphemous or ignorant since god alone had power to control events: any suggestion a mere mortal could cause bad things to happen to another was not a Christian view. The proper attitude toward one claiming the power to harm another through spells or curses, was to pity them.

A fresh interpretation, might point to a deeper similarity between actions leading to the witchcraft trials and the early practitioners of modern science. The simultaneous occurrence of these beliefs is a matter of historical record. Both those accusing others of witchcraft and those making the discoveries that define the early modern era share this: an assignment of human agency. Man was capable of discovering and understanding the world around him. The control over events this suggested is somewhat similar to that those poor people accused of witchcraft were thought to have.

I refer of course to the men and women who suffered dreadfully in the modern era because their neighbors accused them of casting spells, etc. The appearance in the 20th century of those who claimed to be actual witches are confused in a different way. They cling to the idea they are participating in some pagan traditions which are quite old, when actually the contemporary systems involving so-called witches were just made up in the past century and a half.

And certainly the refusal to face the fact a belief in the power of witches is a modern phenomenon, suggests an unwillingness to investigate any questions of psychology seriously. A sober view of the human intellect suggests that the aspects of the world which the human mind has not grasped may be much greater than the portion he assumes he understands. And it could be asked why this is so hard to remember.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Day Five, the Peace Prize.

I was going to spend this space talking about the religious structure of modern scientific ambitions, or maybe about the rant scant science of the fringe, or, the true nature of conspiracy theorists. But, not today, not after the Peace Prize Awardees.

Is it any wonder goodness has a bad name, when such bland, uncontroversial, folk get the prize. Who is FOR not educating women, who is FOR taking advantge of children. NOBODY who is vagauely articulate could be for these things. This is not peace, it is mechanical, and, binary. (Yes you heard that word before, in this week's celebration of the Nobel Awards -- binary, if I forgot to mention this earlier, means everything can be labeled, accurately, as THIS or THAT. Two choices.Reality is always divisible into TWO.)

A big problem with binary is apparent, if you have followed me so far. How could the really good, be so boring. 

Preface---- this blog exists not to just discuss the ideas of Jan Cox. I am actually writing a book right now, that aspires to do that. No, the blog is to embody his guidelines on fresh, original, thought.  Having said that, now I am going to go back to his ideas, and yes, that means, I have no creative, adequate, alternative maps for this. His intellectual constructions are today the point of this blog. 

That is-- Jan's map of  the three flows.  I hope to sketch enough to show what I mean by saying the good, could not be, boring. The three forces/flows, are each necessary for every moment and they determine, all three together, what happens at any moment. A temporary transient labeling, would be , the Creative, the Conservative, and the unexpected or, the Good, the Bad, the irrelevant, or -- the New, the Old, the Surprising. And, yeah, they change into each other constantly. The peace is in knowledge

Peace, is accessible, at each moment, by trying to maintain an awareness, of this complexity. 

Even a bit. And continuing. A simple awareness. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

And an example in the news

And an example in the news this week helps us clarify the limits of the kind of thought that the natural scientists insist on -- that is their binary logic. 
An announcement was made that cave art in Indonesia is about the same age as the art in Chauvet and other French and Spanish caves. The latter have been considered the oldest, and originating instance of this type of human behavior. 

Now, what you are not allowed to think, according to the most pedestrian of the social scientists,  is that humanity as a whole is making some kind of leap in existence, with the painting.. The idea that all the people on the planet might be connected is "spooky action at a distance."  That is because the only kind of objective knowledge is of the external world -- of slicing and dicing and rearranging. They will therefore in the coming years spend a lot of time considering HOW this knowledge of painting could be "diffused," that is passed on by one person to another. 

At the end of some period they may just give up talking about the diffusion of knowledge of cave painting, and kind of forget the issue. That is what happened with philosophy. 

Philosophy is another example of the failure of the diffusion model to explain how philosophy and religion bloomed during the "axis time" of history."Axis time" is a phrase referring to roughly the same chronological range in which Socrates, Confucius. and other figures lived. 

Of course their first assumption is always that the examples that might illustrate simultaneity are actually dated differently than they turn out to be. And how did the assumption that the cave art in Indonesia was the same rough age as Chauvet get proved? Laboratory testing -- the kind of scientific analysis for which people win Nobels. A great example of objective scientific advance. My only point is that this kind of scientific knowing is not the ONLY kind of objective knowledge. 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Are science and religion compatible

It is only the extremes on either end-- scientific popularizers and religious fundamentalists, who make the relation of science and religion a fratricidal squabble, The popularizers are more likely than the scientists involved in basic research, to take a superficial view of religion. 

It does not help that, to speak of the most common scenario, Christians do not denounce the fundamentalist wing of Western religion. Thinking about this, though---- it does seem like a pretty unchristian thing to do, toss out the loud-mouth haters. And, who is not guilty of that themselves sometimes-- being a loud-mouthed hater. So if there is anything left of Christian charity in the world, such a perspective would argue against kicking out the extremes. Maybe. 

Being a loud-mouth hater is a hazard with words.  In fact, to stick to a verbal formula may be a definition of loud-mouthed hater. But to pick out as exemplary, such fringe figures ( I am not naming names here, but one of those religious leaders in the recent past labeled me a witch) denotes a certain intellectual superficiality on the side of those who call themselves scientific spokespeople.And that is what the scientistic popularizers like to do -- pick some podium grabber, and treat such a person as the beginning and end of religion.

It doesn't help that scientists are right, not if you assume I have some dog in this fight, though I aim not to. But religion is an outmoded vocabulary. That does not mean there is not a reality to which these words refer. That is the complexity that both science and religion fail to weigh -- that the words must fail, in the end, to encompass the important stuff. Always and forever. About that -- the limitations of words-  historically religion has traditionally been more perceptive. Yet now, religion seems like an outmoded wardrobe.

And science has this argument. Their results are real. Where they fail, is to appreciate that their focus,their domain, is not the world, it is just the external world. Only in the last century would that position be able to keep up a facade of rationality. For how does the knower of such an external world, on the other side of the sensory apparatus, how does such a knower, know, anything, at all? 

Maybe tomorrow we can take up the question of whether western science itself, does not reveal a christian structure. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why Didn't Jan Cox get a Nobel Prize?

Why Didn't Jan Cox get a Nobel Prize during his lifetime? Was it because his specialty was not the hard sciences? What he looked to demonstrate though, was the hardest of knowledge, -- how to focus your own attention on the inbetween. I don't know if his goal was really harder than corralling neutrinos, but I suspect it was. 

And some  reader might well say, what kind of comparison is THIS? Something written by someone who obviously idolizes this Jan Cox. How could this writer be objective.

What if the division of objectivity and subjectivity is just the received cant, the herd summary, with no individual investigation of the factors involved in labeling, separating, objective and subjective. What if  -- this problem is insoluble because the question starts AFTER the mind has divided the world into two. Then you have to get inner and outer back together somehow. If my assessment of this situation is correct, it suggests something all the Nobel nominees in history, have not come to grips with.  

Like most of the physical scientists, Jan Cox did not envisage immortality, or theism. The problems he tackled were harder than cracking the atom --- that is, Jan Cox sought to show one person, or more, the nature of personal change. 

Jan Cox did not get a Nobel NOT because what he was doing was not important, was not earth changing, -- he did not get one because the world is necessarily and happily, --- deaf.