Fragmentation and Integration: What is the Idealist View?
Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:02 am
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.
(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.
(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.
(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