Criticism

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

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JeffreyW
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Re: Criticism

Post by JeffreyW »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:01 am
JeffreyW wrote: Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:06 am It’s a great book. I thought Lila was even better.
Well there's at least some sentiment that we can agree on. Perhaps an avenue that we could follow into further convergence. But unless any others here have read Pirsig, it may only be efficacious for us.
AshvinP wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:37 pm I am up for it. But I can already anticipate some things which would make me regret my participation...
Yet, as perchance a basis for dialogos, here's where I'm somewhat baffled. Ashvin's take is that there is a way that we can reason our way into the numinous that doesn't involve mere abstract metaphysical speculation, or just sitting in silent meditation waiting for some ineffable revelation. My take is more like, to quote Pascal, the heart has its reasons whereof reason knows nothing, and that when open to it, the numinous finds us. Jeffrey's take is that the numinous is an archaic metaphysical error. Where could we go from there, if like those Greek philosophers of old, we actually got together in person to parse it out orally, instead of behind these textbound thoughts transfixed like a butterfly collection on this electron screen?
I’ve been thinking about writing something about Pirsig for a while. A video conversation could be a good first step toward that. I think that decades from now when people look back on the last part of the 20th Century the analytic philosophers, philosophers of theology, and other metaphysics will be largely forgotten and Pirsig will be seen as a seminal step in a more authentic path.
Mark Tetzner
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Re: Criticism

Post by Mark Tetzner »

JeffreyW wrote: Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:26 pm
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:01 am
JeffreyW wrote: Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:06 am It’s a great book. I thought Lila was even better.
Well there's at least some sentiment that we can agree on. Perhaps an avenue that we could follow into further convergence. But unless any others here have read Pirsig, it may only be efficacious for us.
AshvinP wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:37 pm I am up for it. But I can already anticipate some things which would make me regret my participation...
Yet, as perchance a basis for dialogos, here's where I'm somewhat baffled. Ashvin's take is that there is a way that we can reason our way into the numinous that doesn't involve mere abstract metaphysical speculation, or just sitting in silent meditation waiting for some ineffable revelation. My take is more like, to quote Pascal, the heart has its reasons whereof reason knows nothing, and that when open to it, the numinous finds us. Jeffrey's take is that the numinous is an archaic metaphysical error. Where could we go from there, if like those Greek philosophers of old, we actually got together in person to parse it out orally, instead of behind these textbound thoughts transfixed like a butterfly collection on this electron screen?
I’ve been thinking about writing something about Pirsig for a while. A video conversation could be a good first step toward that. I think that decades from now when people look back on the last part of the 20th Century the analytic philosophers, philosophers of theology, and other metaphysics will be largely forgotten and Pirsig will be seen as a seminal step in a more authentic path.
I think they will remember the philosophers of this century like Kastrup and mostly Stephen King and netflix-series. But thats just me.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Criticism

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

JeffreyW wrote: Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:26 pm I’ve been thinking about writing something about Pirsig for a while. A video conversation could be a good first step toward that. I think that decades from now when people look back on the last part of the 20th Century the analytic philosophers, philosophers of theology, and other metaphysics will be largely forgotten and Pirsig will be seen as a seminal step in a more authentic path.
I read both books, 'Zen' 3 times, pre turn of the century, so I'd best re-visit them before trying to talk about them in any substantive way. As it often goes with great books, they were gifted and then re-gifted, and so are no longer in my collection. I'm somewhat preoccupied with other reading at this time, but will check out if they're available at the local library. In any case, I hope you do get around to writing something, as I expect you could do it justice, more so than anything I could offer.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Martin_
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Re: Criticism

Post by Martin_ »

As you might have guessed, I've read them as well, but i think it was at some point in the nineties, so I'd need to revisit them as well in order to be able to participate in any pointful discussion.
"I don't understand." /Unknown
JeffreyW
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Re: Criticism

Post by JeffreyW »

ScottRoberts wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:18 pm
JeffreyW wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:12 am
ScottRoberts wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 1:57 am Appearances can be deceiving which, with some thought, can be corrected, for example, the sun appearing to revolve around the earth. For us (most of us), some energy appears to us as having no conscious aspect. But this was not necessarily always the case. As consciousness evolves, so do appearances. We are now naive dualists. A case has been made that once people were naive idealists. For more on this see my essay Idealism vs. Common Sense.
And those earlier mistakes were only resolved from further observations, not metaphysical speculation. If we ever have observable evidence to support consciousness in non-living things, I will then reconsider my view. Until then, I have no reason to seriously consider such speculation.
Just checking if you read my essay. The second half (addressing the 'why' question) does engage in metaphysical speculation, so feel free to ignore it, but the first half does not.
I found your essay extremely interesting. I also am drawn to thinking about how the experience of the world has changed over the millennia, which we do primarily through the words used, poetry, and art. By looking at the confusion accumulated over time in the meaning of “common sense”, I propose a different framework from yours which reveals a different picture.

The meanings of “sense” and “common” have completely changed over time in the Western World beginning with the Pre-Socratics, and I believe in a way that helps to illuminate the changes in how we experience the world.

Aesthetikos is the Ancient Greek work for the senses, which carried a different meaning for the Pre-Socratics, such as Homer, Heraclitus, and Pythagoras, than later for the Socratics. More than we can now imagine, these Greeks lived esthetically, and truth was experienced as such. Heraclitus felt the tactile passage of time in a world of perpetual becoming; Pythagoras felt ultimate truth in music, and Homer produced a world of the senses, where song, Eros, and whispers of physically manifested gods directed the course of events. Logos was the poetic apprehension of the physical powers of the world, and it is fitting that we know this world primarily from the poetry of Homer.

There are some important points to note about this time. “Physis” had not yet broken down into Physics and Metpahysics, but was the all-encompassing non-reductive world of experience. Logos had not yet been reduced to logic, but was non-reductive poetic speech. There is no separation of mental from physical, and no notion of Idea. There simply was the experience of the senses thought poetically and musically. Esthetics was not yet reduced to The Beautiful, but was the entire truth in all its beauty and brutality.

The gods were also of this world. It was Dionysus who played the prime role for Pythagoras, whose ecstatic dance was the physical presence of Dionysus playing himself out through man. For Pythagoras, music was pure sensation through which we had unmediated access to ultimate truth. For Homer, we see in your given example Athena effecting her presence through her sensible inspiration of Achilles. As music was for Pythagoras, Logos was for Homer, and in this example we see Logos as the unmediated experience of the fundamental physical power of Athena, which he in turn relays to us through his poetic logos.

From the above, I would take exception to your claim that these Pre-Socratic Greeks were naive Idealists. This would not be possible until Socrates. Homer’s gods were physical, not transcendent, beings of elemental power, living atop Mt. Olympus. Dionysus was a physical power inherent in music and wine. There simply was no idea of mentality apart from physicality. There was no notion yet of “common sense”, but simply a shared esthetic “being in the world”.

With Socrates we first begin the physical/mental duality with the splitting of physis into physics and metaphysics, thereby exerting a power over our experience of the world unequaled even by our splitting of the atom. Ultimate truth was removed from our presence, rendered beyond the senses, and now imagined as pure Idea - non-physical mentality. With this began the confusion over “sense” which continues through today.

The first mention of “koine aesthesis” “common sense” I know of comes from Aristotle, who used it in a very different way from today. He introduced it still in the original meaning of sense as pertaining to the five senses, and proposed an additional sense common to all five which combined them into one perception, as opposed to the later meaning of common as the everyday understanding within a culture. But, already in Aristotle we see the disconnection of knowledge from pure sensation, with a mediation between thought and sensation a first step in the transition from sensation to sensible as a rational trait. “Koine aisthesis” would be transmitted in its Latin form “sensus communis” through the Medieval Scholastics to the Enlightenment, when it completes its transformation into the opposite of its origin: the ability commonly shared of acting reasonably.

It is in the fog of this confusion that we attempt to reconnect to our origins of Western thought, but I see a far distant beacon calling to a third option to the two you present. If we take the Pre-Socratics as inherently non-reductive physicalists rather than naive Idealists, we can perhaps find our way home to the esthetic experience of reality - the original grounding that we lost through metaphysics.

Just as we cannot unsplit the atom, we cannot unsplit “physis” - our technological world is built on the pragmatics of that split. But we can adjust our attitude toward it and seek a more authentic grounding of truth beyond objectification, not the “beyond” of metaphysical invention, but through esthetic exploration in this physical world as it reveals itself.


[I also posted this response to my blog in case anybody is interested in continuing the conversation there.]
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Criticism

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

JeffreyW wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:50 pm[I also posted this response to my blog in case anybody is interested in continuing the conversation there.]
There's probably already a link to Jeffrey's blog buried somewhere in this longish thread, but just to give it a bump up, it's not too late for ... Too Late for the Gods
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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AshvinP
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Re: Criticism

Post by AshvinP »

JeffreyW wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:50 pm
ScottRoberts wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:18 pm
JeffreyW wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:12 am

And those earlier mistakes were only resolved from further observations, not metaphysical speculation. If we ever have observable evidence to support consciousness in non-living things, I will then reconsider my view. Until then, I have no reason to seriously consider such speculation.
Just checking if you read my essay. The second half (addressing the 'why' question) does engage in metaphysical speculation, so feel free to ignore it, but the first half does not.
I found your essay extremely interesting. I also am drawn to thinking about how the experience of the world has changed over the millennia, which we do primarily through the words used, poetry, and art. By looking at the confusion accumulated over time in the meaning of “common sense”, I propose a different framework from yours which reveals a different picture.

The meanings of “sense” and “common” have completely changed over time in the Western World beginning with the Pre-Socratics, and I believe in a way that helps to illuminate the changes in how we experience the world.

Aesthetikos is the Ancient Greek work for the senses, which carried a different meaning for the Pre-Socratics, such as Homer, Heraclitus, and Pythagoras, than later for the Socratics. More than we can now imagine, these Greeks lived esthetically, and truth was experienced as such. Heraclitus felt the tactile passage of time in a world of perpetual becoming; Pythagoras felt ultimate truth in music, and Homer produced a world of the senses, where song, Eros, and whispers of physically manifested gods directed the course of events. Logos was the poetic apprehension of the physical powers of the world, and it is fitting that we know this world primarily from the poetry of Homer.

There are some important points to note about this time. “Physis” had not yet broken down into Physics and Metpahysics, but was the all-encompassing non-reductive world of experience. Logos had not yet been reduced to logic, but was non-reductive poetic speech. There is no separation of mental from physical, and no notion of Idea. There simply was the experience of the senses thought poetically and musically. Esthetics was not yet reduced to The Beautiful, but was the entire truth in all its beauty and brutality.

The gods were also of this world. It was Dionysus who played the prime role for Pythagoras, whose ecstatic dance was the physical presence of Dionysus playing himself out through man. For Pythagoras, music was pure sensation through which we had unmediated access to ultimate truth. For Homer, we see in your given example Athena effecting her presence through her sensible inspiration of Achilles. As music was for Pythagoras, Logos was for Homer, and in this example we see Logos as the unmediated experience of the fundamental physical power of Athena, which he in turn relays to us through his poetic logos.

From the above, I would take exception to your claim that these Pre-Socratic Greeks were naive Idealists. This would not be possible until Socrates. Homer’s gods were physical, not transcendent, beings of elemental power, living atop Mt. Olympus. Dionysus was a physical power inherent in music and wine. There simply was no idea of mentality apart from physicality. There was no notion yet of “common sense”, but simply a shared esthetic “being in the world”.

With Socrates we first begin the physical/mental duality with the splitting of physis into physics and metaphysics, thereby exerting a power over our experience of the world unequaled even by our splitting of the atom. Ultimate truth was removed from our presence, rendered beyond the senses, and now imagined as pure Idea - non-physical mentality. With this began the confusion over “sense” which continues through today.

The first mention of “koine aesthesis” “common sense” I know of comes from Aristotle, who used it in a very different way from today. He introduced it still in the original meaning of sense as pertaining to the five senses, and proposed an additional sense common to all five which combined them into one perception, as opposed to the later meaning of common as the everyday understanding within a culture. But, already in Aristotle we see the disconnection of knowledge from pure sensation, with a mediation between thought and sensation a first step in the transition from sensation to sensible as a rational trait. “Koine aisthesis” would be transmitted in its Latin form “sensus communis” through the Medieval Scholastics to the Enlightenment, when it completes its transformation into the opposite of its origin: the ability commonly shared of acting reasonably.

It is in the fog of this confusion that we attempt to reconnect to our origins of Western thought, but I see a far distant beacon calling to a third option to the two you present. If we take the Pre-Socratics as inherently non-reductive physicalists rather than naive Idealists, we can perhaps find our way home to the esthetic experience of reality - the original grounding that we lost through metaphysics.

Just as we cannot unsplit the atom, we cannot unsplit “physis” - our technological world is built on the pragmatics of that split. But we can adjust our attitude toward it and seek a more authentic grounding of truth beyond objectification, not the “beyond” of metaphysical invention, but through esthetic exploration in this physical world as it reveals itself.


[I also posted this response to my blog in case anybody is interested in continuing the conversation there.]

JW,

I will let Scott respond more directly, but my first impression is that there is nothing about your understanding of ancient particpatory consciousness which is at odds with his essay. The problem comes when you assume we are talking about "idea" in the same way as modern analytic philosophers. It is the same problem with Eugene on the other thread. It is simply assumed that how we perceive ideas right now - abstractly, reductionistically, mechanistically, etc. - is the full extent of what "idea" can possibly be. Actually we do not even perceive ideas anymore in any living participatory sense, only mineralized and flattened 2-D thought-extracts, and we don't even perceive those existing anywhere in the mineral or plant kingdoms. Schopenhauer was correct to identify this tendency - "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." Except he failed to see how it was also operating in his own philosophy of Will which ignored the Thinking element that allows him to say anything about the Will in the first place.
"People think that they sell oil, but in fact they are becoming oil.
JeffreyW
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Re: Criticism

Post by JeffreyW »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:31 pm
JeffreyW wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:50 pm
ScottRoberts wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:18 pm
Just checking if you read my essay. The second half (addressing the 'why' question) does engage in metaphysical speculation, so feel free to ignore it, but the first half does not.
I found your essay extremely interesting. I also am drawn to thinking about how the experience of the world has changed over the millennia, which we do primarily through the words used, poetry, and art. By looking at the confusion accumulated over time in the meaning of “common sense”, I propose a different framework from yours which reveals a different picture.

The meanings of “sense” and “common” have completely changed over time in the Western World beginning with the Pre-Socratics, and I believe in a way that helps to illuminate the changes in how we experience the world.

Aesthetikos is the Ancient Greek work for the senses, which carried a different meaning for the Pre-Socratics, such as Homer, Heraclitus, and Pythagoras, than later for the Socratics. More than we can now imagine, these Greeks lived esthetically, and truth was experienced as such. Heraclitus felt the tactile passage of time in a world of perpetual becoming; Pythagoras felt ultimate truth in music, and Homer produced a world of the senses, where song, Eros, and whispers of physically manifested gods directed the course of events. Logos was the poetic apprehension of the physical powers of the world, and it is fitting that we know this world primarily from the poetry of Homer.

There are some important points to note about this time. “Physis” had not yet broken down into Physics and Metpahysics, but was the all-encompassing non-reductive world of experience. Logos had not yet been reduced to logic, but was non-reductive poetic speech. There is no separation of mental from physical, and no notion of Idea. There simply was the experience of the senses thought poetically and musically. Esthetics was not yet reduced to The Beautiful, but was the entire truth in all its beauty and brutality.

The gods were also of this world. It was Dionysus who played the prime role for Pythagoras, whose ecstatic dance was the physical presence of Dionysus playing himself out through man. For Pythagoras, music was pure sensation through which we had unmediated access to ultimate truth. For Homer, we see in your given example Athena effecting her presence through her sensible inspiration of Achilles. As music was for Pythagoras, Logos was for Homer, and in this example we see Logos as the unmediated experience of the fundamental physical power of Athena, which he in turn relays to us through his poetic logos.

From the above, I would take exception to your claim that these Pre-Socratic Greeks were naive Idealists. This would not be possible until Socrates. Homer’s gods were physical, not transcendent, beings of elemental power, living atop Mt. Olympus. Dionysus was a physical power inherent in music and wine. There simply was no idea of mentality apart from physicality. There was no notion yet of “common sense”, but simply a shared esthetic “being in the world”.

With Socrates we first begin the physical/mental duality with the splitting of physis into physics and metaphysics, thereby exerting a power over our experience of the world unequaled even by our splitting of the atom. Ultimate truth was removed from our presence, rendered beyond the senses, and now imagined as pure Idea - non-physical mentality. With this began the confusion over “sense” which continues through today.

The first mention of “koine aesthesis” “common sense” I know of comes from Aristotle, who used it in a very different way from today. He introduced it still in the original meaning of sense as pertaining to the five senses, and proposed an additional sense common to all five which combined them into one perception, as opposed to the later meaning of common as the everyday understanding within a culture. But, already in Aristotle we see the disconnection of knowledge from pure sensation, with a mediation between thought and sensation a first step in the transition from sensation to sensible as a rational trait. “Koine aisthesis” would be transmitted in its Latin form “sensus communis” through the Medieval Scholastics to the Enlightenment, when it completes its transformation into the opposite of its origin: the ability commonly shared of acting reasonably.

It is in the fog of this confusion that we attempt to reconnect to our origins of Western thought, but I see a far distant beacon calling to a third option to the two you present. If we take the Pre-Socratics as inherently non-reductive physicalists rather than naive Idealists, we can perhaps find our way home to the esthetic experience of reality - the original grounding that we lost through metaphysics.

Just as we cannot unsplit the atom, we cannot unsplit “physis” - our technological world is built on the pragmatics of that split. But we can adjust our attitude toward it and seek a more authentic grounding of truth beyond objectification, not the “beyond” of metaphysical invention, but through esthetic exploration in this physical world as it reveals itself.


[I also posted this response to my blog in case anybody is interested in continuing the conversation there.]

JW,

I will let Scott respond more directly, but my first impression is that there is nothing about your understanding of ancient particpatory consciousness which is at odds with his essay. The problem comes when you assume we are talking about "idea" in the same way as modern analytic philosophers. It is the same problem with Eugene on the other thread. It is simply assumed that how we perceive ideas right now - abstractly, reductionistically, mechanistically, etc. - is the full extent of what "idea" can possibly be. Actually we do not even perceive ideas anymore in any living participatory sense, only mineralized and flattened 2-D thought-extracts, and we don't even perceive those existing anywhere in the mineral or plant kingdoms. Schopenhauer was correct to identify this tendency - "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." Except he failed to see how it was also operating in his own philosophy of Will which ignored the Thinking element that allows him to say anything about the Will in the first place.
What would non-metaphysical idealism be?
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AshvinP
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Re: Criticism

Post by AshvinP »

JeffreyW wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:54 pm What would non-metaphysical idealism be?
Nothing other than what you described in ancient participatory consciousness - that is what Scott is calling "naive idealism". Personally I would avoid "idealism" because it does sound like they were consciously holding to a philosophy, but that isn't the case. It was simply how they perceived the world - they concretely felt the ideal element 'standing behind' all the appearances of Nature (that's why it was "naive"). We can recover that participatory conscious from within through developing imaginative cognition (what it seems you call "esthetic knowledge"), which differs from ancient dream-like clairvoyance (aka particpatory consciousness) because it is exercised voluntarily in full clarity of modern scientific consciousness. "Scientific" should not be confused with "abstract" here, only that it is rigorous, precise, and mathematical in a sense. There is a clear inner logic working within it.
"People think that they sell oil, but in fact they are becoming oil.
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AshvinP
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Re: Criticism

Post by AshvinP »

JeffreyW wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:54 pm What would non-metaphysical idealism be?
JW,

I highly recommend you take a look at this post linked below and follow along the exercise (which I just tried myself). It is great example of how, at the very least, during the normal course of our intellectually occupied day, we unneccesarily restrict the degrees of freedom that our inner cognition can attain to. Once we accept that as a real concrete fact of experience, then we simply need to avoid erecting any barriers or imposing any "limits" to cognition, which really have no logical warrant, but has been the standard assumption of modern analytic philosophy across the board. I say "simply", because it is a very simple truth, but of course it takes much effort to make that simple truth a concrete Reality in our daily experience. I cannot claim to be anywhere close to the imaginative cognition of the sort I am speaking of in previous posts, but I have been able to write endlessly about the possibilities, with much enthusiasm and excitement, simply due to the dawning of the concrete fact that there are no limits.

If you already have experience with meditative exercises, which it sounds like you may, then I imagine these will be even more meaningful and productive for you.

viewtopic.php?p=13631#p13631
"People think that they sell oil, but in fact they are becoming oil.
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