Fragmentation and Integration: What is the Idealist View?

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AshvinP
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Fragmentation and Integration: What is the Idealist View?

Post by AshvinP »

Since a few people have been openly suggesting here that various aspects of the phenomenal world can, will, and should remain fragmented, from fields of inquiry in philosophy, aesthetics, religion, and science, to the actual structure of BK's forum, I decided to open BK's The Idea of the World and see what he had to say. When I searched for "fragment", four mentions came up. I am posting them all below. Even though I disagree with BK on his formulation of Western idealism, including his stretching of the MAL-DID-alter metaphor way too far, what he says below is simply an undeniable conclusion of any consistent idealist approach (emphasis in original). That does not only hold true for the pure abstract speculation about the nature of the Cosmos, but for all practical activities and inquiries we engage in within the structure of MAL. If someone wants to argue differently, then I am all ears.

BK wrote:(1) The best that can be concluded beyond this cautious interpretation of Inference 3 is that TWE is, in fact, unitary at a universal level: the validity of the laws of nature across time and space seem to indicate a holistic underlying reality, as opposed to a fundamentally fragmented one. Moreover, as argued by Schaffer, “there is good evidence that the cosmos forms an entangled system, and good reason to treat entangled systems as irreducible wholes” (2010: 32). Horgan and Potrč had already arrived at similar conclusions earlier (2000). Horgan and Potrč had already arrived at similar conclusions earlier (2000). So if the cosmos is an irreducible whole, then TWE—which is associated with the entire cosmos, as per Inference 3—must be unitary.
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(2) Dissociative states are well recognized in psychiatry today, featuring prominently in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Their hallmark is “a disruption of and/or discontinuity in the normal integration of consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, perception” (Black & Grant 2014: 191). In other words, dissociation entails that some mental contents cannot evoke other mental contents, leading to apparent fragmentation.
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(3) It is important to notice that the formation of alters does not entail or imply fragmentation of TWE itself, but only the dissolution of cognitive bridges between some of TWE’s mental contents. Even when these mental contents are dissociated from each other—in the sense of not being able to directly evoke each other—TWE remains unitary. Let us unpack this.

As mentioned above, dissociation entails “a disruption of and/or discontinuity in the normal integration” of mental contents. This normal integration takes place through chains of cognitive associations: a perception may evoke an abstract idea, which may trigger a memory, which may inspire a thought, etc. These associations are logical, in the sense that e.g. the memory inspires the thought because of a certain implicit logic linking the two... An alter loses access to—that is, the power to evoke—mental contents surrounding it, but remains integral to TWE. The disconnection between an alter and the surrounding mental contents is logical, not ontic.
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(4) Dissociative states are well recognized in psychiatry today, featuring prominently in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Their hallmark is “a disruption of and/or discontinuity in the normal integration of consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, perception, body representation, motor control, and behavior” (Black & Grant 2014: 191). In other words, dissociation entails fragmentation of the contents of consciousness... [discussion of DID]... Thus, the possibility that presents itself to us is that we may all have one or more conscious ‘others’ within ourselves, dissociated from our ego. If this is so, then (a) our ego ordinarily has no introspective access to the experiences of these ‘others’; and, consequently, (b) the study of the NCCs is largely blind to the potentially idiosyncratic patterns of neural activity corresponding to such dissociated experiences.

- Kastrup, Bernardo. The Idea of the World
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Cleric K
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Re: Fragmentation and Integration: What is the Idealist View?

Post by Cleric K »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:02 am ... what he says below is simply an undeniable conclusion of any consistent idealist approach.
It's interesting that in these quotes one can see exactly the consistent conclusions, that 'dissociation' is a matter of self-knowledge. In other words one is 'dissociated' as long as his palette of spiritual activity loops back continuously to the mental pictures of the own Earthly self. It's not that we are forced to experience only self-referential mental pictures. We can explore our spiritual activity well beyond that. The thing is that people don't want to do that. They are actually quite comfortable being dissociated and would love if their philosophy 'proves' that there are impenetrable walls around their consciousness.

Unfortunately, BK seems to have given in to that pessimistic mood, that what lives in the self-referential mental pictures in principle can never experience knowingly anything about the wider conscious context (a kind of feeling at most). This seems to be his position in the latest interviews.

Probably the quoted book was written at a time when he was still more enthusiastic about it. We can still wonder if he turned agnostic because he hasn't found the path that can lead cognition beyond the self-referential intellect or he simply senses (as most people) that such a direction would lead to completely objective display of our own inner world and at that point the quest for knowledge becomes inseparably united with the quest for perfecting, musically attuning the human being. It's clear that this won't go very well in academic circles. Speaking about MAL it bad enough but implying that this philosophy would also place demands on our spiritual development is already more that most can bear.
Shajan624
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Re: Fragmentation and Integration: What is the Idealist View?

Post by Shajan624 »

Ashvin:

It is important not to mistake differentiation for fragmentation. Differentiation is natural for any integrated system. Human body is a highly integrated whole of differentiated parts, in contrast to a colony of bacteria.

Any integrated whole will include parts that are apparently at odds with each other. Fragmentation arises when one of the parts mistake its own ‘local goal’ as final.

The ‘I’ is differentiated from universal mind because it evolved for the specialized role of creating ‘representations’. Its relationship with the whole becomes fragmented only when it assumes everything in nature, including the whole itself, can be represented. It should correct this illusion by realizing the ‘unrepresentable’ as part of reality.

IMO, 'I' recognising its own differentiated state as entirely natural should be the first step to dispel the ‘maya’ of fragmentation.
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AshvinP
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Re: Fragmentation and Integration: What is the Idealist View?

Post by AshvinP »

Shajan624 wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:52 am Ashvin:

It is important not to mistake differentiation for fragmentation. Differentiation is natural for any integrated system. Human body is a highly integrated whole of differentiated parts, in contrast to a colony of bacteria.

Any integrated whole will include parts that are apparently at odds with each other. Fragmentation arises when one of the parts mistake its own ‘local goal’ as final.

The ‘I’ is differentiated from universal mind because it evolved for the specialized role of creating ‘representations’. Its relationship with the whole becomes fragmented only when it assumes everything in nature, including the whole itself, can be represented. It should correct this illusion by realizing the ‘unrepresentable’ as part of reality.

IMO, 'I' recognising its own differentiated state as entirely natural should be the first step to dispel the ‘maya’ of fragmentation.

I don't disagree with that - the mental habit I am criticizing, which manifests in various views on this forum, and sometimes in BK's own view as Cleric pointed out, is exactly the "mistaking its own local goal as final" view (in spiritual terms, this is called "idolatry"). That is exactly what occurs when people want to keep the realm of structured ideation "private", including all structured spiritual outlooks, without ever integrating those outlooks into the phenomena investigated by myth, art, religion, and science. It is a desire to reify differentiation into division/fragmentation and isolation. Most people here have no problem criticizing that when it comes to the materialist worldview, and "subject-object" dualism, but they fail to see how that same exact critique should be applied to their own idealist worldview.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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