Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

An object is the death of any self perceiving it. Wait, what?

'How exquisitely the individual mind to the external world
Is fitted-and how exquisitely, too
The external world is fitted to the mind
And the Creation (by no lower name
Can it be called) which they with blended might
Accomplish' - Willian Wordsworth

The subject-object relationship so characteristic of shallow rationality is only achieved when the very fabric of the lifeworld is teared appart. This is what we have been doing since time immemorial everytime nature and more specifically, humans, are subjected to alienation of their dignity for serving anothe's purposes. This is the nature of domination.

Material expressions crafted by humans only exist in terms of utility in the broadest sense. If anyone expent time, effort and resources towards the manifestation of an idea, it was carried out with a sense of purpose, however subcontious it may be. Hence the idea of a general utility. It does not matter if it has an actual use, i.e., artwork.

Une pipe, or a candle, or even this notebook where I'm editing this post, they are not objects. They have no existence outside the context of human society. The ideias which were conceived and designed and produced into these expressions are aspects of a lifeworld shared by subjects. To imagine that they might be a self standing institution is to reduce ourselves to mere epiphenomena of the neurophysiology and the underlying biochemestry - utimately, simple physics complicated by huge number of possible combinations and hugh extensions of time available for them to 'evolve'.

This materialism of sorts was brought about, methinks, by an idolatry of physics. This field of science was the single most succesful enterprise of subjective reason in its project of finding truth in the division of ever more 'fundamental' particles and their mathematicaly modelled relations. So, for some reason, all other areas of investigation have suffered one time or another of a jealousy leading scholars to try and 'physify' their areas of knowledge, coming to a redutionism ad nauseum.

The absolute dignity of life must not be bargained for a mundane kind of validation before the all mighty subjective reason.


Disclaimer: The rest of the post will be a series of digressions very loosely put together.

Anyhow, a intriguing (at least for me) question remains: the poem I cited at the beginning of this post, as well as that verse from the Tao stating that 'Tao created One. One created two. Two created three. And three created the Ten Thousand things' (Chapter 42, first phrase), they both postulate diremptive ontologies. Well, how to discern without diremption? The Tao indicates that beings come to be when the two modes of existence are discerned: Ying and Yang. This duality is in no way simmilar to the subject-object relationship of western phylosophy. It is analogue to electrical polarity or gender differenciation: they are the origin of parameters. The substance, in a Spninoza kind of definition, is characterized by these parameters, and this is how the three is expressed. The three, methinks, is the original being: a set of parameters of the substance, which evolves in a biological post-darwinist fashion. 

Shall we talk about parameters? 'Para-' means beside, alongside, and '-meter' means measure. It is the one dimentional variable that either increases or decreases, the essence of a characteristic. It seems that we cannot reduce the idea of a characteristic further, nor in no way more precisely, than in the ideia of parameter.

So, the original absolute being impulse is to parametrize and then to refract itself in the parameters, creating all there is.

The creatures are free to participate in this evolution or to part themselves from the process. And I belive that this partition creates the material universes, such as ours. The big bang would be the rupture moment, and the expansion-retration, the sublation of the quintessential duality, that called Ying-Yang in the Taoistic tradition, into the expression of the multiple creatures. So everything is an expression of the refracted whole, or a shared subsidiary being, such as our concepts of useful tools, or our ideas of institutions, society or even this post. We must learn to respect the absolute dignity of all there is in the lifeworld. We must forget any ideas of objective knowledge, and try to know ourselves better in our relationships with all that surround us.

This 'cosmic sublation' is most visible in the evolution of life on Earth. There seems to be a sense of direction towards the ampliation of mentality. IMHO, the Earth Ecossystem is crafted to allow for life to evolve from simple cells to complicated communities, which become aware and so on. Beings, it seems to me, 'want' to come together and share. Communion seems to be the underlying purpose of communities. And this seems to breed specialization where scarcity reigns. Cells specialize just as professions do: The specialization is kind of a balance striken between the search for new possibilities and the necessity to choose paths.

Nevermind this teleology assumptions... the weakeness of my comprehension forces me to use it in this explanation. You will have to either agree or disagree with me on that and move on.

I do reckon, tho, that this whole 'objectifying of nature' has been terribly useful for creating ever more sophisticated tools for a ever more refined life. Let's not be these neoconcervatives longing for a return to the wild as the remedy for modernity excesses. I prefer to challenge myself to further these accomplishments, regarding the ampliation of possibilities as our goal, instead of the selfish acumulation of rewards. This greedy is at the bottom of the domination impulse and we should try harder to overcome this limitation on human potential.

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