Bernardo's latest essay

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SanteriSatama
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

Post by SanteriSatama »

Eugene I wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:17 pm "Being" and "Experiencing" are not thoughts/ideas that Thinking is thinking. They are the Reality that Thinking reflects. And it reflects it through experiencing them, because how would Thinking otherwise know that they exist if there would not be any experience of them?
More like:
A thought is never a thought
a thought is always someting more
something else
than a thought.
In prose, thinking about thoughts can't establish identity relation between thoughts, the idea of and behind Law of Identity does not hold between the thoughts that ideate also objects of thoughts that objectifying thinking objectifies. As when thinking ideates and objectifies a "Reality". In the Ground of thinking there is no such reality where identity idea holds between Reality = Reality.
Last edited by SanteriSatama on Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AshvinP
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

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Eugene I wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:17 pm
AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:51 pm That bolded part doesn't mean anything - it's incoherent under idealism. You only include such incoherent statements because you do not want to let-lie Thinking in the domain it properly belongs to (I wrote the below quoted section of latest essay just for you). You want to imagine a realm of pure experience and then another realm where ideational activity takes place and reflects on that pure experience. That is dualism no matter what ad hoc rationalizations you try to stick to it. And please do not respond saying my quote below forgets about "Being" and "Experiencing" because I have not had mystical experience... I am not forgetting anything - we can add those on to the list of fundamental activities which do not belong to the unifying domain of Thinking, or group it under Willing - it does not matter in the slightest... the point I am making still remains the same.
"Being" and "Experiencing" are not thoughts/ideas that Thinking is thinking. They are the Reality that Thinking reflects. And it reflects it through experiencing them, because how would Thinking otherwise know that they exist if there would not be any experience of them?
Like I said, you are supposing two realms here - 1) the realm of "Reality" and 2) the realm of Thinking that reflects on Reality. I know why this dualism is done and it is done by nearly everyone in the modern era - Simon did it earlier in this discussion too. We imagine there must be an object in addition to a subject who beholds the object. Since "Being" is fundamental, we say it is obvious that it exists without any Thinking subject, and only later the subject comes along to Think about it. But that is exactly the same reasoning of the substance dualist - it's "obvious" that the dimensions of space and time exist without any subject beholding them and only later a subject comes to behold them.

We must realize that Thinking is prior to any subject-object distinction. Those distinctions (and divisions in the modern era) i.e. ideal content of relations are only made through Thinking activity. And, likewise, the reuniting of divisions made by reflective thinking is also accomplished by only such Thinking. That is where Thinking belongs to - the role of reintegration. If we try to group other fundamental aspects of experience in that role because it seems more "fair" and less "exclusionary", we are sacrificing all the value of recognizing its essential role in the first place. It is simply inaccurate to claim any other fundamental activity of human soul-spirit belongs to that essential role.
“All lamentations about an existence that does not satisfy us, about this hard world, must disappear before the thought that no power in the world could satisfy us if we ourselves did not first lend it that magical power by which it uplifts and gladdens us... Only that is worthy of free beings. ”
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

Post by Simon Adams »

AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:39 pm
I find it very interesting how your inability to understand our position is proof of the core tenet of that position - that Thinking remains in your "blind spot". It's like the person who abstracts from consciousness, abstracts from the abstractions of consciousness, abstracts the abstractions from the abstractions, so on and so forth. Eventually you are so lost in abstractions you cannot see the simple fact that what allowed you to make the first abstraction from consciousness, without which you would be in a "blooming, buzzing confusion", was ideational activity. You forget that everything you write to others about consciousness is only possible because of ideal content. You forget what allows you to claim anything about willing, feeling, being, experiencing, etc. without the claim being a bunch of random noise is ideal content.
Ashvin, rather tread the same ground in debate, I thought I would share something I was reading which gives a slightly different perspective that may (or may not!) help reconcile at least some areas. It’s from the French philosopher Jean Borella, and unfortunately is in French. My French can just about order dinner, so metaphysics is hopeless. However my phone seems to do a reasonable job of translation.

The way he formulates things is to only consider them real when consciously observed, and apart from that as just potential. So I thought this may appeal to you :) Nonetheless he is not saying that what is not observed does not exist, just defining “real” as that which has been ‘realised’.

I’ll post a link to the article, but a lot of it is the history of gnosis, and distinguishing Gnostic (bad) from gnosis (good). It’s obviously a complicated history because of the different ways it’s been used over time. But I will post a part of my translation (which is far from perfect), as it seems to me to have at least some common ground between our views.

You will note he uses some words differently to how we usually do, monism for example, and when he uses “idealism” it’s arguably closer to Berkley’s subjective idealism than what I at least mean by the term. You may of course disagree with all of it, which is fine :)
First, it could be considered that it is only terminology. Guénon proposes, in fact, to clarify the meaning of the word "real" as meaning what we have become effectively aware of, what we have "achieved", in the sense of English to realize. May we immediately understand that this proposal goes much further. Not only does it make it possible to envisage realization by knowledge in a new light, by inseparably considering it as the realization of the "object" as well as the "subject", but it is also based on what we will call a metaphysics of knowledge that, in a certain sense, replaces a metaphysics of being.

Regarding the first point, that is, the correlative "realization", through knowledge, of the knowing subject and the known object, we will say that it actualizes their primordial and underlying unity. The real is correlative of the consciousness we take of it, and, therefore, the degree of reality is correlative of the degree of consciousness. If, for us, reality is first and foremost the corporeal world, it is because our consciousness is first and foremost purely sensory, that is to say absorbed by the sensitive world. She thus "realizes" the bodily possibility, not in the sense that she would make it exist, where she would confer the being on it, but in the sense that we cannot intelligently speak of the sensitive world independently of its knowledge by the senses. Sensation, says Aristotle, is the common act of the sentient and the sensitive, and the sensitive is in action only in sensation. There is no idealism here, quite the contrary, since idealism always of the (psychological) idea, in other words of the thinking subject posed alone in its independent reality, and here subject and object are considered from the outset in the unity of their current relationship 107. Nor is objectivism that, as we said, contradictorily poses an object that would not be object for anyone. Finally, it is also not a monism, because the distinction between subject and object is not denied: it is even made possible in the unity of their common act. It follows from all this that, if we want to give the real a current meaning, we must consider it as the result of knowledge, that is to say, of the common act of the knower and the known, the intellect and the intelligible. Knowledge is realization and realization is knowledge. What is not currently known is therefore not currently "real", and therefore must be considered as possible. Again, this does not mean at all that what we do not have a current consciousness of is purely non-existent, nor that it would need us to access it, but only, in the strict term, there is necessarily some illusion to talk about the reality of something of which we do not have an effective consciousness. Illusion undoubtedly inevitable and whose meaning we will see in a moment, but which nevertheless remains an illusion, that of any ontological discourse, unaware of its own existential situation, and which, by dint of speaking of the Real alone, forgets that it must also be "realistic".

Therefore, anything that exceeds the degree of our current consciousness can be considered, having regard to the knowledge that we will have to take of it, as a possibility. And this is particularly true for everything that goes beyond the manifested world, since, in his ordinary state, fallen man cannot take effective knowledge of it. It is therefore in relation to man that everything that belongs to the divine metacosm "appears" as a set of possibilities that man will have to realize through knowledge. By speaking of the Non-Manifesto as the set of possibilities of non-manifestation, we avoid, as much as we can, the error of "chosistic" ontologism, which, insofar as it poses the absolute and infinite Reality as an object before it, precisely denies that It is absolute and infinite, since It is then necessarily relative to a subject that, being distinct from It, limits it by itself. And who will deny that he never fell into this illusion and that he never thought so of the Absolute, when all thought is inevitably objective? Moreover, it is not a question of questioning the validity of such a thought. It is also saving, in its own way, and on its own plane, since it communicates to us the knowledge of the transcendent Object, that is to say, of the Being who created us and who alone can save us. But we must now try to communicate the knowledge of what goes beyond Being. Can the thought of Being still be the thought of Over Being? Is it really the Non-Being that we think if we think of it in the same way as Being? This is why Guénon proposes to think of the Infinite as a universal Possibility, making it clear that this is the only way we can still conceive of it. It is not only what, in itself, can be any reality, it is also, and inseparably, what, for us, is universally possible. Whoever considers in spirit, with the greatest attention, the very notion of universal possibility, will see that we cannot dissociate, in it, what is the unlimited conceptual openness of the thinking subject and what belongs to the infinite Objectiveness under the effect of which intelligence opens. There are thus two intersecting senses of possibility. In the descending sense, from God to man, the possibilities of manifestation designate creatures in their prototypical and causal state, "before" their cosmic existence or realization. In the ascending sense, from man to God in his superessential Thearchy, it is the divine Metacosm, which from the point of view of our current consciousness, "appears" as a universal Possibility (with God everything is possible), insofar as we have to realize Him, by virtue of the very nature of our intellect. From this point of view, moreover, there are only possibilities of non-manifestation, since even the possibilities of demonstration are considered in their unmanifested state.

But we must not lose sight of the metaphysical identity of the possible and the real. It is here that we approach, in conclusion, what we have called a metaphysics of knowledge replacing a metaphysics of being. This metaphysical identity is another way of designating the supreme Identity, since, if only what has been achieved through knowledge is real, then we can speak of the identity of the Possible as such in the Real only on the condition that knowledge has become absolutely total, or, more precisely, that it has always been, that is to say, that it is realized in its permanent actuality. Only in this way is it legitimate to speak now of That that surpasses our individual consciousness, because It is the totalization of all possible knowledge. The point of view of "realization" is thus "carrier" of a metaphysics as broad, if not more so, than that of "doctrine". However, it is not enough to consider universal metaphysical principles as the "realization", accomplished from eternity, of total knowledge, which indeed allows us to speak of what we have not yet taken an effective and immediate knowledge of. It is also necessary to account for the possibility of this "event" that is the very realization of an act of knowledge. If everything is accomplished, why are there achievements? 108

We have previously seen the difficulty presented by the discourse on Being, on the side of the human subject. But the difficulty is no less on the side of the Known Object, that is to say, of Being himself. What does it mean for this being known, the fact that an act of knowledge can happen for the One who cannot undergo any change? The question may surprise us because we spontaneously imagine knowledge as the event of Being "from the outside", of an inconceivable "nowhere". But if knowledge is "outside" Being, then it does not exist. And if it is part of Being, it cannot happen, Being being immutable. In either case, it cannot take place, it is impossible. This is why we are forced, here too, to account for the act of knowledge, to go beyond Being, where the Identity of Self to Self is no longer that of immutability of nature, but transcends the opposition of the changing and the immutable and contains them supereminately, because It is pure of any determined nature or essence. Knowledge, thus envisaged in its main possibility, is then, as Guénon says, an "aspect of the Infinite" 109. It corresponds very exactly to what the Catholic Tradition calls "Immaculate Conception", since it is, ultimately, the Immaculate Conception (pure of all determination, even essential) that the Absolute takes of Himself. Analogy all the more obvious since there is a deep kinship, and even a metaphysical identity, between the Universal Possibility as Shakti of the Supreme Brahma and Mary, Bride and Mother of God declaring to Saint Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception" 110. The event of knowledge is therefore eternal. It takes place in the permanent and universal actuality of the supreme (superontological) "Intellect" or Active Perfection, which embraces in it the countless relativity of particular awareness, insofar as they are included in Passive Perfection. This is God's self-revelation to Himself, the "hidden treasure" that God was and for whose knowledge He created the world. For God desires to be known and the myriad intellects that open up to His mystery are, in reality, countless ways in which He becomes aware of Himself. In this countless participation of created intellects in the Knowledge of Self (Atmâbhoda), the infinite identity of active Perfection and passive Perfection is realized, not for Him, the Supreme, who is this Identity even eternally accomplished, but for the myriads of intellectual mirrors in which It finally becomes reality. And it is because She is eternally accomplished that She can be realized at any moment in every intelligence that opens up to her permanent irradiation. The same goes for the human intellect as opaque spheres that suddenly open to the Ocean of Light in which they have always been immersed. In a flash they "become" what they were, crystalline spheres, sparkling stars, lights in the Light. Whenever thus a starry intelligence is born within divine Knowledge, whenever a "gnostic event" thus occurs, which is nothing more than a possibility of the Infinite Himself, each time the Supreme Thearchy realizes the mystery of her new and eternal birth to Herself, each time the Father begets his only and beloved Word and Son in the unity of her Spirit.
https://jeanborella.blogspot.com/2008/1 ... n.html?m=1
Ideas are certain original forms of things, their archetypes, permanent and incommunicable, which are contained in the Divine intelligence. And though they neither begin to be nor cease, yet upon them are patterned the manifold things of the world that come into being and pass away.
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AshvinP
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

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Simon Adams wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:59 pm
AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:39 pm
I find it very interesting how your inability to understand our position is proof of the core tenet of that position - that Thinking remains in your "blind spot". It's like the person who abstracts from consciousness, abstracts from the abstractions of consciousness, abstracts the abstractions from the abstractions, so on and so forth. Eventually you are so lost in abstractions you cannot see the simple fact that what allowed you to make the first abstraction from consciousness, without which you would be in a "blooming, buzzing confusion", was ideational activity. You forget that everything you write to others about consciousness is only possible because of ideal content. You forget what allows you to claim anything about willing, feeling, being, experiencing, etc. without the claim being a bunch of random noise is ideal content.
Ashvin, rather tread the same ground in debate, I thought I would share something I was reading which gives a slightly different perspective that may (or may not!) help reconcile at least some areas. It’s from the French philosopher Jean Borella, and unfortunately is in French. My French can just about order dinner, so metaphysics is hopeless. However my phone seems to do a reasonable job of translation.

The way he formulates things is to only consider them real when consciously observed, and apart from that as just potential. So I thought this may appeal to you :) Nonetheless he is not saying that what is not observed does not exist, just defining “real” as that which has been ‘realised’.

I’ll post a link to the article, but a lot of it is the history of gnosis, and distinguishing Gnostic (bad) from gnosis (good). It’s obviously a complicated history because of the different ways it’s been used over time. But I will post a part of my translation (which is far from perfect), as it seems to me to have at least some common ground between our views.

You will note he uses some words differently to how we usually do, monism for example, and when he uses “idealism” it’s arguably closer to Berkley’s subjective idealism than what I at least mean by the term. You may of course disagree with all of it, which is fine :)
Simon, thank you for sharing that from Borella. I am not going to pretend I followed all of it, but I think I followed most of it, and from what I did follow, it sounded spot on. There are some minor issues I have, such as the actual-potential distinction which may be unnecessary if we think in terms of polarity of known-unknown or something similar. Maybe Scott can provide further insight on that, because my knowing mind is definitely not up to the task right now :)

If there is any major issue I have with what Borella wrote, it is with this - "Not only does it make it possible to envisage realization by knowledge in a new light, by inseparably considering it as the realization of the "object" as well as the "subject", but it is also based on what we will call a metaphysics of knowledge that, in a certain sense, replaces a metaphysics of being." Specifically, with him calling it a "new light" on the "metaphysics of knowledge". What Borella says there in somewhat confusing analytic philosophical terms, Steiner already said in very clear and accessible terms for everyone back in the 1890s. That is what The Philosophy of Freedom (or Spiritual Activity) is all about (and much more)! Unless I am completely misreading what Borella is saying, which is possible. So there is definitely much common ground there.

I think Borella is pointing out that Thinking (Knowing) is prior to all distinctions of subject-object, etc. Those distinctions presuppose the ideal content which only Thinking (not mere "Being") provides. That is why he wants to replace a metaphysics of being with a metaphysics of knowledge. And if we make such a replacement, we see that it is meaningless to speak of "objective Reality" without a Thinking "observer" beholding it. Or rather it is self-defeating, because such statements can only be meaningful if Thinking is not what they claim it is. However, Borella is not aware that Steiner already did all of that replacing (most people are not aware), or maybe he is aware and wants to leave Steiner out of the discussion for the typical spiritual reasons people want to leave him out. So if you have no problem reading such things on your phone, then I think you will have even less problem reading the PoF :)
Last edited by AshvinP on Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
“All lamentations about an existence that does not satisfy us, about this hard world, must disappear before the thought that no power in the world could satisfy us if we ourselves did not first lend it that magical power by which it uplifts and gladdens us... Only that is worthy of free beings. ”
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

Post by AshvinP »

AshvinP wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:02 am
Simon Adams wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:59 pm
AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:39 pm
I find it very interesting how your inability to understand our position is proof of the core tenet of that position - that Thinking remains in your "blind spot". It's like the person who abstracts from consciousness, abstracts from the abstractions of consciousness, abstracts the abstractions from the abstractions, so on and so forth. Eventually you are so lost in abstractions you cannot see the simple fact that what allowed you to make the first abstraction from consciousness, without which you would be in a "blooming, buzzing confusion", was ideational activity. You forget that everything you write to others about consciousness is only possible because of ideal content. You forget what allows you to claim anything about willing, feeling, being, experiencing, etc. without the claim being a bunch of random noise is ideal content.
Ashvin, rather tread the same ground in debate, I thought I would share something I was reading which gives a slightly different perspective that may (or may not!) help reconcile at least some areas. It’s from the French philosopher Jean Borella, and unfortunately is in French. My French can just about order dinner, so metaphysics is hopeless. However my phone seems to do a reasonable job of translation.

The way he formulates things is to only consider them real when consciously observed, and apart from that as just potential. So I thought this may appeal to you :) Nonetheless he is not saying that what is not observed does not exist, just defining “real” as that which has been ‘realised’.

I’ll post a link to the article, but a lot of it is the history of gnosis, and distinguishing Gnostic (bad) from gnosis (good). It’s obviously a complicated history because of the different ways it’s been used over time. But I will post a part of my translation (which is far from perfect), as it seems to me to have at least some common ground between our views.

You will note he uses some words differently to how we usually do, monism for example, and when he uses “idealism” it’s arguably closer to Berkley’s subjective idealism than what I at least mean by the term. You may of course disagree with all of it, which is fine :)
Simon, thank you for sharing that from Borella. I am not going to pretend I followed all of it, but I think I followed most of it, and from what I did follow, it sounded spot on. There are some minor issues I have, such as the actual-potential distinction which may be unnecessary if we think in terms of polarity of known-unknown or something similar. Maybe Scott can provide further insight on that, because my knowing mind is definitely not up to the task right now :)

If there is any major issue I have with what Borella wrote, it is with this - "Not only does it make it possible to envisage realization by knowledge in a new light, by inseparably considering it as the realization of the "object" as well as the "subject", but it is also based on what we will call a metaphysics of knowledge that, in a certain sense, replaces a metaphysics of being." Specifically, with him calling it a "new light" on the "metaphysics of knowledge". What Borella says there in somewhat confusing analytic philosophical terms, Steiner already said in very clear and accessible terms for everyone back in the 1890s. That is what The Philosophy of Freedom (or Spiritual Activity) is all about (and much more)! Unless I am completely misreading what Borella is saying, which is possible. So there is definitely much common ground there.

I think Borella is pointing out that Thinking (Knowing) is prior to all distinctions of subject-object, etc. Those distinctions presuppose the ideal content which only Thinking (not mere "Being") provides. That is why he wants to replace a metaphysics of being with a metaphysics of knowledge. And if we make such a replacement, we see that it is meaningless to speak of "objective Reality" without a Thinking "observer" beholding it. Or rather it is self-defeating, because such statements can only be meaningful if Thinking is not what they claim it is. However, Borella is not aware that Steiner already did all of that replacing (most people are), or maybe he is aware and wants to leave Steiner out of the discussion for the typical spiritual reasons people want to leave him out. So if you have no problem reading such things on your phone, then I think you will have even less problem reading the PoF :)
Another issue is the claim that a metaphysics of knowledge is not a "monism" because the subject-object distinction is maintained. That is just a confusing and unhelpful way to go about it. Instead, Borella could do what Coleridge did and make clear that a "distinction" is not a "division". Just as the north pole and south pole of a magnet, which both arise from the One magnetic field, can be distinguished without saying one can exist without the other, the same can be said for subject-object and many other distinctions involving polar relationships.
“All lamentations about an existence that does not satisfy us, about this hard world, must disappear before the thought that no power in the world could satisfy us if we ourselves did not first lend it that magical power by which it uplifts and gladdens us... Only that is worthy of free beings. ”
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

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AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:49 pm Like I said, you are supposing two realms here - 1) the realm of "Reality" and 2) the realm of Thinking that reflects on Reality. I know why this dualism is done and it is done by nearly everyone in the modern era - Simon did it earlier in this discussion too. We imagine there must be an object in addition to a subject who beholds the object. Since "Being" is fundamental, we say it is obvious that it exists without any Thinking subject, and only later the subject comes along to Think about it. But that is exactly the same reasoning of the substance dualist - it's "obvious" that the dimensions of space and time exist without any subject beholding them and only later a subject comes to behold them.

We must realize that Thinking is prior to any subject-object distinction. Those distinctions (and divisions in the modern era) i.e. ideal content of relations are only made through Thinking activity. And, likewise, the reuniting of divisions made by reflective thinking is also accomplished by only such Thinking. That is where Thinking belongs to - the role of reintegration. If we try to group other fundamental aspects of experience in that role because it seems more "fair" and less "exclusionary", we are sacrificing all the value of recognizing its essential role in the first place. It is simply inaccurate to claim any other fundamental activity of human soul-spirit belongs to that essential role.
Asvin. here is what you wrote in your pose above:
Instead, Borella could do what Coleridge did and make clear that a "distinction" is not a "division". Just as the north pole and south pole of a magnet, which both arise from the One magnetic field, can be distinguished without saying one can exist without the other, the same can be said for subject-object and many other distinctions involving polar relationships.
And that is exactly how it is: Thinking and Experiencing are different aspects, two poles of Reality, that have different properties and thus can be "distinguished", yet cannot be separated and can not exist without each other. Thinking is how Reality "functions" (what it "does"), Experiencing/Knowing is how Reality consciously experiences all that it does by Thinking.

But the important point is that neither Experiencing/Knowing, nor Thinking are ideas by themselves. They are fundamental aspects of Reality. But they can be Experienced (we all know/experience that we experience thoughts and we all know/experience that we can think), and they can be thought about. Experience can experience itself and experience Thinking, Thinking can think about itself and think about Experiencing. When Thinking thinks about Thinking and Experiencing, it does it with ideas about Thinking and Experiencing. But those ideas and not the same as Thinking and Experiencing by themselves, because Thinking and Experiencing by themselves are not ideas. Yet they can be directly known by Experiencing and Thinking, so they are not unknowable "thing in itself".
"Now with homeless eyes
I see it...
blossoming spring"
Issa
SanteriSatama
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

Post by SanteriSatama »

Simon Adams wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:59 pm The way he formulates things is to only consider them real when consciously observed, and apart from that as just potential. So I thought this may appeal to you :) Nonetheless he is not saying that what is not observed does not exist, just defining “real” as that which has been ‘realised’.
Thanks for sharing. This is how my language speaks. True (tosi) is as actualizes, as realizes (toteutuu). Cf. intransitive middle voice of proto-Indoeuropean, which is not same but similar and still exists at least in Classical Greek. Modern European has mostly lost the middle voice has only active and passive left, and more difficulty to express intransitive relations.

Also related with a thought I've been tasting, that dualism-division of actual and potential is like subject-object division, like virtual particle pairs of vacuum physics appearing and disappearing.
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

Post by AshvinP »

Eugene I wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:43 am
AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:49 pm Like I said, you are supposing two realms here - 1) the realm of "Reality" and 2) the realm of Thinking that reflects on Reality. I know why this dualism is done and it is done by nearly everyone in the modern era - Simon did it earlier in this discussion too. We imagine there must be an object in addition to a subject who beholds the object. Since "Being" is fundamental, we say it is obvious that it exists without any Thinking subject, and only later the subject comes along to Think about it. But that is exactly the same reasoning of the substance dualist - it's "obvious" that the dimensions of space and time exist without any subject beholding them and only later a subject comes to behold them.

We must realize that Thinking is prior to any subject-object distinction. Those distinctions (and divisions in the modern era) i.e. ideal content of relations are only made through Thinking activity. And, likewise, the reuniting of divisions made by reflective thinking is also accomplished by only such Thinking. That is where Thinking belongs to - the role of reintegration. If we try to group other fundamental aspects of experience in that role because it seems more "fair" and less "exclusionary", we are sacrificing all the value of recognizing its essential role in the first place. It is simply inaccurate to claim any other fundamental activity of human soul-spirit belongs to that essential role.
Asvin. here is what you wrote in your pose above:
Instead, Borella could do what Coleridge did and make clear that a "distinction" is not a "division". Just as the north pole and south pole of a magnet, which both arise from the One magnetic field, can be distinguished without saying one can exist without the other, the same can be said for subject-object and many other distinctions involving polar relationships.
And that is exactly how it is: Thinking and Experiencing are different aspects, two poles of Reality, that have different properties and thus can be "distinguished", yet cannot be separated and can not exist without each other. Thinking is how Reality "functions" (what it "does"), Experiencing/Knowing is how Reality consciously experiences all that it does by Thinking.

But the important point is that neither Experiencing/Knowing, nor Thinking are ideas by themselves. They are fundamental aspects of Reality. But they can be Experienced (we all know/experience that we experience thoughts and we all know/experience that we can think), and they can be thought about. Experience can experience itself and experience Thinking, Thinking can think about itself and think about Experiencing. When Thinking thinks about Thinking and Experiencing, it does it with ideas about Thinking and Experiencing. But those ideas and not the same as Thinking and Experiencing by themselves, because Thinking and Experiencing by themselves are not ideas. Yet they can be directly known by Experiencing and Thinking, so they are not unknowable "thing in itself".
This game of "how to make Eugene understand you are not speaking of what he thinks you are speaking of?" is simultaneously weird, annoying and challenging. It is a very strange experience and only you can make me experience it quite like that, I will give you that much :)

What Borella is pointing to, as Cleric and I have been pointing to for a good while now, is that you can only know the "fundamental aspects of Reality" through Thinking activity. Knowing = Thinking, simple as that. That knowing activity restores the Unity which for your mere experience is always divided. Until ideal content enters the picture, we can only speak of fragmented perceptions. (actually we can't even speak of them, because speaking of anything presupposes Thinking and ideal content). Why is this self-evident truth so important? For one, it is not nearly as self-evident as it should be, as evidenced by many comments from many people on this forum. To paraphrase Barfield, in the modern world, one forgets it almost as soon one realizes it. Secondly, it makes clear that there is an activity within you which is always calling upon you to seek higher resolution of the world's Unities. Mere being, experiencing, willing, and feeling never does that. In fact, they do the exact opposite - they give you a feeling that you are at the highest resolution when you feel Oneness. That is no surprise when we realize their essential role is to maintain your individuality as you establish higher and higher ideal unities. How do I know that is their essential role? The same way I know anything - by Thinking.
“All lamentations about an existence that does not satisfy us, about this hard world, must disappear before the thought that no power in the world could satisfy us if we ourselves did not first lend it that magical power by which it uplifts and gladdens us... Only that is worthy of free beings. ”
Simon Adams
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Re: Bernardo's latest essay

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AshvinP wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:02 am
Simon, thank you for sharing that from Borella. I am not going to pretend I followed all of it, but I think I followed most of it, and from what I did follow, it sounded spot on. There are some minor issues I have, such as the actual-potential distinction which may be unnecessary if we think in terms of polarity of known-unknown or something similar. Maybe Scott can provide further insight on that, because my knowing mind is definitely not up to the task right now :)

If there is any major issue I have with what Borella wrote, it is with this - "Not only does it make it possible to envisage realization by knowledge in a new light, by inseparably considering it as the realization of the "object" as well as the "subject", but it is also based on what we will call a metaphysics of knowledge that, in a certain sense, replaces a metaphysics of being." Specifically, with him calling it a "new light" on the "metaphysics of knowledge". What Borella says there in somewhat confusing analytic philosophical terms, Steiner already said in very clear and accessible terms for everyone back in the 1890s. That is what The Philosophy of Freedom (or Spiritual Activity) is all about (and much more)! Unless I am completely misreading what Borella is saying, which is possible. So there is definitely much common ground there.

I think Borella is pointing out that Thinking (Knowing) is prior to all distinctions of subject-object, etc. Those distinctions presuppose the ideal content which only Thinking (not mere "Being") provides. That is why he wants to replace a metaphysics of being with a metaphysics of knowledge. And if we make such a replacement, we see that it is meaningless to speak of "objective Reality" without a Thinking "observer" beholding it. Or rather it is self-defeating, because such statements can only be meaningful if Thinking is not what they claim it is. However, Borella is not aware that Steiner already did all of that replacing (most people are not aware), or maybe he is aware and wants to leave Steiner out of the discussion for the typical spiritual reasons people want to leave him out. So if you have no problem reading such things on your phone, then I think you will have even less problem reading the PoF :)
It was interesting to me because what he described (via Guenon) as ‘real’ seemed close to your framing, but he has this as a perspective, within a vertical, coming down from “the
Supreme Principle, the Universal Possibility”, and returning up as experience (I guess in a way, similar to your co-creation). This “Universal Possibility” he describes as an active aspect of god, as opposed to “the Infinite” aspect which is passive. The distinction is only meaningful from our perspective, but he describes the reason for it a couple of paragraphs before the part I quoted;
we must ask ourselves why Guénon introduces the concept of Universal Possibility. What is the point? What is it for? Isn't Infinite's enough? Guénon gives a first answer by declaring that the point of view of the Universal Possibility constitutes "the minimum of determination that is required for us (...) to make the Infinite currently conceivable". In short, we cannot currently conceive of the Infinite in itself. When we think of the Infinite, we actually think of "universal possibility", in other words "what can be absolutely anything", "what reality cannot be limited absolutely by anything"
This is interesting to me in another way, as much of the current thinking in physics I’ve been superficially sampling recently describes the ‘laws of nature’ (the Standard Model etc) as limits on what is possible. So you have god as full possibility creating the universe of constrained possibility. I’ve ordered a book of his where he specifically looks at science with a physicist to see his take on this (Rediscovering the Integral Cosmos: Physics, Metaphysics, and Vertical Causality), and just hope that I can follow it!
Ideas are certain original forms of things, their archetypes, permanent and incommunicable, which are contained in the Divine intelligence. And though they neither begin to be nor cease, yet upon them are patterned the manifold things of the world that come into being and pass away.
St Augustine
Simon Adams
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Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:54 pm

Re: Bernardo's latest essay

Post by Simon Adams »

SanteriSatama wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:59 am
Thanks for sharing. This is how my language speaks. True (tosi) is as actualizes, as realizes (toteutuu). Cf. intransitive middle voice of proto-Indoeuropean, which is not same but similar and still exists at least in Classical Greek. Modern European has mostly lost the middle voice has only active and passive left, and more difficulty to express intransitive relations.
I think we’re always constrained by language. Sometimes I get surprised by thinking about a word in a new way and realising it contains a hidden wisdom, but most of the time I think language is as subjective as it is relational, sharing pointers that never quite point to the same thing for the receiver. Different languages seem better at pointing more clearly on some aspect as you describe, but I just don’t have any fluency beyond english (arguably not even there!).
Also related with a thought I've been tasting, that dualism-division of actual and potential is like subject-object division, like virtual particle pairs of vacuum physics appearing and disappearing.
Yes I think this is a rich ground, where the old philosophers are saying very similar things to modern science, just in different language :)
Ideas are certain original forms of things, their archetypes, permanent and incommunicable, which are contained in the Divine intelligence. And though they neither begin to be nor cease, yet upon them are patterned the manifold things of the world that come into being and pass away.
St Augustine
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