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The Network Propositions / 11400-11599
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We see what we are able to see and what we want to see. It is only with questionable validity that we may assume that our powers of perception and selection are adequate to the full understanding of existence.
For S.E.Fish, as for all critical realists, nothing is 'given'. There are no pure acts of perception, that is, acts which are separate from tissues of assumptions, expectations and goals. We never know what is 'really out there', we know only the reports of our senses.
Ernest Gellner said that the growth of science has meant that we can no longer regard ourselves as the centre of the world or enjoy any stable cognitive certainty. The paradox of science is that, in making the world intelligible, it renders it meaningless.
Sergej Karcevskij, the philologist, remarked upon the 'slippage' of signs, and here he came close to Derrida's later notion of the trace. Man, at all levels of society, continually attempts to adapt the language bequeathed him to his own individual reality.
Nelson Goodman, the philosopher, argued that the internal structure of a symbol is of no importance in its functioning. He sees philosophical systems as maps. He has much to say on constructional systems and he emphasises the importance of simplicity of predicate base. Goodman's doctoral dissertation was entitled 'A Study of Qualities' (ref. His book 'The Structure of Appearance'). To predict on the basis of past observations is, in Goodman's terms, to project an hypothesis. See also his second book 'Fact, Fiction and Forecast'.
Antonio Gramsci said that the intellectual's error lies in thinking that one can know without understanding, or without feeling and passion. He advocated greater human freedom in a world which was becoming dominated by various kinds of determinism. Gramsci's epistemology is Hegelian: Knowing is never merely a passive reflection of the given, but instead is an act which can change the given. He was a believer in the tenacious power of the will of man. To him, Marxism was a philosophy of praxis, not an unerring insight into immutable laws. He believed that a form of communism would enable men and women to become 'human beings' in the richest and most complete sense of this term.
Paul Goodman, described as a conservative anarchist, applied Kropotkin-type anarchism to American society in a fervent but commonsense critique of dehumanising centralism and giganticism in organisation. He argued for the abolition of censorship; the banning of automobiles from cities; the sexually freeing of the young; the debureaucratisation of science; and the protesting of war, and other political passivity. He advocated more direct democracy, including new rural communities, education in the streets, participatory media, and other dehierarchicalised initiatives for doing and living. He urged the abolition of high schools and their replacement with youth corps, apprenticeships, public service engagements, and other 'natural learning' over bureaucratised indoctrination. He was a major voice in the 'de-schooling society' movement. He was a firm believer that voluntary association has yielded most value-progress in the history of civilisation. He advocated a broad negation of bureaucracy and power and domination in our technocracy. He was a great sociologist-futurist.
Che Guevara aimed to improve the happiness of the people ... and for the individual to feel more complete, with much more internal richness and much more individual responsibility. He said that 'the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love'. As a revolutionary icon, Che represents the selfless, devoted revolutionary internationalist. He is often recognised as a model of the new socialist man.
Robert Maynard Hutchins was acutely aware that modern man is highly vulnerable to the imagery of the mass-media. He saw the majority of people as being absurdly complacent of what philosophy and science could teach. He envisioned that the tyrannies of corporate technologies and media marketing power would control cultural and political life, and result in the moral disintegration of western societies. Hutchins' ideal society was one where every citizen was a life-long learner. His vision of America was as a 'learning society'. Hutchins knew that, if individual citizens did not learn to realise their potential, they would become complacent consumer-zombies ... and freedom and democracy would become words without real meaning.
Carl Gustav Jung emphasised the unconscious insight of individuals into the social and ethical reality of their times. People are more in touch, he said, with the social and ethical problems of their community than they are conscious of.
Sidney Hook believed that the great challenge for human beings is to use their creative intelligence courageously in order to resolve problems. He was a democrat who believed in a pragmatic approach to the enlargement of human freedoms by the arts of intelligent social control. If we have the courage and determination, we have the creative and intellectual abilities to achieve a better life.
Ivan Illich argued that 'high quanta of energy degrade social relations just as inevitably as they destroy the physical milieu'. Social overuse of energy is elitist, exploitative, disproportionate, destructive of natural and social relations - dehumanising. He argued for simpler, more balanced and more decent society. He said that less subservience to technocratic affluence would enable more richly humane life.
According to James J. Gibson, the experimental psychologist, perception can be entirely independent of sensory quality: It is based on information structures that may be equally available to several perceptual systems. How a thing looks, how it sounds, and how it feels can all have something in common; the same structure can reappear in every case. Shape, rigidity of substance, texture of surface, and pattern of movement are among the objective characteristics of objects that may be specified through more than one modality.
Karl Jaspers rejected followers: He demanded that each person should think independently. To him, philosophical thought belonged to the everyday concerns of life, as well as to academic studies. Jaspers' watchword is freedom ... the freedom of man, in his singular potential, to decide his own destiny. He originated the 'existential' turn in the philosophy of man, but he is not usually regarded as an existentialist per se. Jaspers' abode is in the infinite reaches of Being, illumined by the beacon of man's busy and communicative realisation. Truths, by which a person lives, require the validation of his commitment and the testimony of his action. The human being participates essentially in deciding what he is to be. Ultimate truths, as envisaged by man, are 'ciphers of transcendence' whose reading by man is personal and neither objective nor scientific.
Geertz, the anthropologist, believed that culture is 'at once a product and a determinant of social interaction'. The function of culture is interpretive, as in the science that studies it. Anthropologists construct accounts of their experiences of other people's experiences ... and these accounts are fictions, in the sense that they are something made or fashioned - the original meaning of 'fiction' - not that they are false or unfactual. Anthropological research is interpretive rather than observational.
According to the jurist, J.N.Frank, findings of fact are the opinion of the judge or jury about the opinions of witnesses. The application of any legal rule depends on the facts, and the 'facts are guesses'.
Hans Kelson, the jurist, conceived of the law as a norm or, more precisely, as a system of norms, a normative order. Kelson's normative legal positivism generally explicated the normative character of the law, apart from natural law theory ... and redrew the boundaries of legal philosophy.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said ... 'the life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience'. Holmes had great faith in the power of ideas, and in the democratic tradition that was always tempered by healthy scepticism. He wrote ... 'the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market'.
Wassily Kandinsky entered a peasant hut and felt at once that he had walked into a painting, so brightly decorated was the interior. He later recalled ... 'it was here that I learned not to look at the picture from the side, but to revolve in the picture myself, to live in it'. Kandinsky believed that art was to be liberated from mere external, mechanical denotation and that the 'inner emotional necessity' was to be revealed through the appropriate choice of form. Infusing art with sacred powers, Kandinsky saw it as a vehicle of communication and prophecy. Upon the artist has been bestowed the secret gift of 'seeing' ... and he drags behind him the heavy burden of mankind ... ever forwards and upwards. Kandinsky was one of the great artist-mystics.
William Ralph Inge wrote ... 'the neoplatonic mystic must be prepared to outgrow many early enthusiasms, and to break every mould in which his thought threatens to crystallise. The danger of arrested development is always present. Life is a schola animarum; and we must be learners to the end.
The East Asian economic crisis of 1997 was caused primarily by overlending by banks and finance companies, accompanied by a kind of feeding frenzy as speculative hysteria gripped the finance and real-estate markets, and business generally. It is characteristic of this 'bubble' syndrome that even the more conservative bankers feel they have to loosen their lending criteria ... for, if they don't, highly valued customers will leave them and go to other opposition bankers. All bankers get caught up in a competitive lending spree which sky-rockets real-estate and share prices. When foreign investors perceive that the bubble is at bursting point, they sell the currency forward and withdraw investment funds ... thus triggering the inevitable financial collapse.
John Hicks' 'Value and Capital' was full of ideas which were new at the time (1939), particularly in respect of equilibrium analysis. He clarified the possibility of temporary equilibrium and introduced the influence of expectations upon current decisions concerning production and consumption. Hicks had a beautifully precise and insightful mind. He anticipated Keynes' theory of liquidity preference, as the essential concept of monetary theory and he drew attention to the importance of impulse in traversing from one growth path to another.
John Maynard Keynes posited that income is a product of the spending which gives rise to it. Changes in spending generate changes in income. One of Keynes' fundamental insights was that decision-making under uncertainty (in a world of radical indeterminacy) which is made in part through individual and collective choice, precludes tight mechanistic and automatic determinations of income levels. Keynes' concept of the multiplier has proven immensely useful as a tool of economic management. Keynes also recognised that disequilibrium between savings and investment was fundamental to instability. He came to see that employment, output and income were dependent variables of greater analytical importance than the relation between the quantity of money and the price level.
The work of Hicks and Keynes is as applicable today as it was sixty years ago. They were both very sound thinkers. Keynes has somehow acquired the tag of inflationist but this accusation is largely unjustified. His concepts of the multiplier, liquidity preference, and of the functional relationships between spending, income, savings, investment, production, consumption, and employment remain as effective intellectual tools of economic management.
J.K.Galbraith refused to bow to conventional wisdom. He showed a distinct preference for qualitative rather than quantitative analysis. Galbraith believed that circumstances are the final arbiters of economic and political policies.
Employment by business corporations is becoming less and less permanent and less and less paternal/maternal. Staff will be engaged and dismissed on a contract basis. Capable individuals will fare well under such a regime, but the less capable will be at a disadvantage.
When worker incomes decrease, consumption (and consumer demand) does not decrease at the same rate. Consumption is relatively inelastic as far as downward adjustments are concerned. Consumers resort to their savings, and they increase their credit indebtedness rather than reduce their standard of living. This characteristic, of consumer behaviour, operates as a stabilising factor during economic downswings. The fixed incomes of retired and affluent people, and government income support programmes, also have a stabilising effect.
Speculative investment episodes and ill-advised bank-lending episodes can be destabilising, particularly when they become contagious, self-feeding and hysterical. It is also noted that large government budget deficits often precede economic downturns. Large deficit spending is usually destabilising.
R.D.Laing, the British existential psychiatrist, said ... 'the schizophrenic does not take for granted his own person (and other persons) as being an adequately embodied, alive, real, substantial, and continuous being, who is at one place at one time and at a different place at a different time, remaining 'the same' throughout'. He said that schizophrenics are ontologically insecure.
Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst, maintained that 'the unconscious is structured like a language'. He commented that psychoanalysis doesn't just provide knowledge about ourselves; it changes our very conception of knowledge and ourselves, and of the relation between the two.
Saul Kripke's interpretation of modality (in modal logic) assigned meanings to the concepts of necessity and possibility. Kripke conceived validity in a system as meaning that a formula may be derived which is true of all possible models of the system. If we accept Kripke's analysis of modal notions, then we are committed to the doctrine that objects possess essential properties. It is noted that a number of philosophers reject the doctrine of essentialism and reject modal logic altogether.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin denied that the working class would automatically gravitate to socialism. Quoting Napoleon, Lenin said ... 'you commit yourself, and then you see'. To Lenin, socialism meant the radical extension of democracy. It is noted that Lenin was a realist of great tactical flexibility.
There is a tendency to assume that a good thinker always produces top-level thoughts: Not so! As poets produce so-so poems as well as gems, so it is also with thinkers. Even great thinkers like Hegel can produce some third-rate thinking.
It is only by struggle that a person is able to gain realisation of the Absolute. Only by struggle can a person gain release from struggle. Struggle and adversity are essential in the spiritual learning process.
Creative intelligence is in-dwelling to a small percentage of the population ... and the remainder are becoming a kind of slave population which atrophies over the long-term and dies-off at the low end of the intelligence distribution.
With the development of artificial intelligence, bio-computers and intelligent nanobios, physical human beings are becoming evermore adjuncts of the creative intelligence ... and creative intelligence is emerging as a stand-alone, independent phenomenon.
It is noteworthy that intelligence uses very little energy neurally ... and that computer technology is using less power as its development proceeds. Progressively, intelligence uses less power in accessing and using power. The efficiency ratio (energy-out/energy-in) of intelligence is increasing almost exponentially.
The metamorphosis of our species, along the creative intelligence vector, may ensure its survival of the Venus scenario and even the blackhole singularity scenario: For who can reasonably place limitations on the potential of the creative intelligence? Self-awareness is an innate quality of the Absolute.
Human brains transmit electromagnetic signals which may be received and understood by other human brains. Telepathic communication is a natural phenomenon. Telepathic communications are much clearer than those which rely on language.
All words, phrases and other language forms, are models ... that is, abstractions from reality ... and each model has an interpretation which is unique to the individual ... and, as there is no proof of any reality independent of language (or perception), we have a babel milieu of great confusion.
Nelson Goodman said that there are as many different versions or 'worlds' as there are human narratives. He said that it is because people objectify similarities that they think that properties and qualities exist, as well as individual things in space and time. Goodman's view is that only historical accident makes one system natural to us, since there are no language-independent similarities in things. To Goodman, all historical accounts are hypothetical ... and projections of perceived historical trends are hypothetical.
Truths may be seen as being accepted ... (a) by direct understanding or (b) by evidence of outcome. This second category is growing with the growth of scientific/technical knowledge, which most people find hard to understand directly. As direct understanding decreases, events tend to move out of the control of the majority.
The art of prediction is similar to the art of Kandinsky, who perceived art as being infused with the sacred gift of 'seeing' ... and art as a vehicle of communication and prophecy. Kandinsky was an artist-mystic, and the art of prediction also involves mysticism in varying degrees.
In respect of fact-finding and rational aspects, prediction is a science ... while, in respect of intuitive aspects, prediction is an art. However, a predictor may simply say ... 'prediction is what I do'.
Creative intelligence is absolute and transfinite ... and it cannot be separated or disintegrated. Our awareness operates transfinitely and, to become aware of what a thing is now, is to become aware of its entire evolutionary history and to create its provenance and antecedence as well as its present form. There is but one absolute and transfinite creative intelligence. We may think that we are separate from this absolute intelligence but separation is just not possible.
Consider that viral RNA directs bacterial ribosomes to build protein devices that enable it to escape old bacteria and then survive and to enter new bacteria ... and consider that this capability requires viral RNA molecules of about 4,500 subunit length to be constructed. What intelligence exists which enables this to take place? The only such intelligence is the transfinite creative intelligence, with which we are wholly integrated and wholly participative.
Memes (including viewpoints, paradigms, mind-sets, mental attitudes, interpretations and meanings), like genes, are selfish: Their sole purpose is to achieve their own replication and proliferation.
Perhaps the most important message of this network concerns our nature, as being absolute: That we are one with the absolute species: And that there are no limitations whatsoever as to what we may do and what we may achieve.
It is sure that we, the absolute species, know what we are and what we are doing: We are not parties to a blind resolution. More and more, we realise our absoluteness and, more and more, we consciously and apperceptively participate in the creation of our future.
Humanity is an absolute agency and it will survive ... but not 'as is'. There are major changes in train concerning the human vector, including a screening, a weeding out, and modifications of a genetic engineering nature.
It is up to us to decide the future ... and the decisions are by those who are aware of our species' absoluteness. This is not democracy in a body-numbers sense but it is democratic in a spiritual sense, for absolute action involves absolute participation by and in each and every part. No one or part is cut-out or excluded from full involvement. We are, so to say, one spiritual body, which acts wholly in and through each and every consciously creative soul-mind.
The concepts of 'absolute' and 'transfinity' are all-important. They recreate one's understanding of existence, and one's outlook and attitudes. It is not enough to nod and say 'yes, there is also that way of looking at things': One needs to live-out these concepts ... and they become one's breath and one's blood and one's being.
One is either transfinitely aware or one is not so aware ... and no amount of reasoning, argument, discussion and teaching will make a person so aware, unless that person is ready and able to understand.
The concept 'born again' refers to the apperceptive realisation that one is a spirit and not a body. When one becomes conscious of his/her spiritual nature, it is like being born again. Everything is different, as the 'eyes' open to a different world.
Our species peoples its existence with images, with its iconography. Our need of images is so great that we convince ourselves that they continue over time. Perceptually, we attribute more continuity to our icons than they in fact possess.
Demagogues have discovered that they can increase their popular political support by sabre-rattling and jingoistic nationalism. Victorious feats of arms against other (even much smaller) nations invariably increase the political mana of demagogues.
The first commandment requires us to devote all of our being to the seeking and finding of God. We are told not to covet things of Earth or Heaven ... but, with and in God, all things are available wholly to us.
Nanobio engineering developments will result in a switch of geopolitical power from the major nations to smaller nations, and to large corporations. The small number, of what we may call 'super scientists', will command huge remuneration packages and there will be a tendency for these gifted individuals to choose the greater scope and freedom offered by private enterprise corporations.
It is known that the mind can induce psychosomatic illnesses. As viruses are seemingly intelligent in their behaviour, the question arises as to whether they are agencies of the conscious or sub-conscious mind.
Assuming that creative intelligence has transfinite status and that it affects viruses transfinitely, we may contemplate that present viral phenomena are influenced by past, present and future operations of the creative intelligence.
It seems paradoxical that perfection judges itself as it makes the choices which are implicit in its dynamism. The Absolute adapts and changes its parts but never rejects them: It is wholly in each of its parts.
When one is in Heaven, one knows that everything is perfect ... and that all the pros and cons, and all the choices and outcomes are perfect: And what was confused becomes clear ... and one knows that what the Absolute creates never dies spiritually.
Psychosomatic phenomena may be regarded as an acting-out or copying of real pathological conditions ... but, the question arises whether the mind can initiate, cure or control pathological agencies.
Enzymes assemble large molecules (of DNA, RNA, proteins, fats, hormones etc) by taking small molecules from the water around them, then holding them together so that a bond forms. Biochemical engineers will construct new enzymes to assemble new patterns of atoms. Enzymes are proteins which are catalytic in their action. Biochemical engineers will develop programmable proteins which will be able to collect, split, and join molecules in the catalytic way that enzymes work. These biochemical products may be referred to as programmable protein machines.
Marshall McLuhan believed that the prevailing mode of communication in a society determined the nature and extent of human knowledge. He argued that the introduction of any new technology of communication vitally altered the configuration of sense data whereby humans come to know each other and the outside world. He said 'the medium is the message'. He forced a generation to reexamine the role of technology in shaping perception. He asserted that instantaneous electronic communications united humanity into a new 'global village'.
William McDougall conceived of purpose as the very basis of life (he could have said with Augustine that we are nothing but wills), and purpose was for him, therefore, absolutely primary in any theory of human nature.
Karl Mannheim argued that interpretation (or understanding), as opposed to causal explanation, is the proper way to grasp intellectual creations. He says that there is a pre-theoretical layer of experience that forms the underpinning of intellectual creations ... and that this underpinning is something larger than our intellectual creations.
According to Norman Malcolm, groundlessness of religious beliefs parallels the groundlessness of principles which underlie all our testing, verification, and justification in every sphere of human life. Religion, like science, is language embedded in action: Neither stands in need of justification, the one no more than the other.
Malinowski stressed that the language of an alien society cannot be understood apart from the cultural background in which it is embedded, and he argued that, for primitives - and possibly even for ourselves - language is best seen not as a medium for communicating thought but as a tool for achieving concrete results.
L6vy-Bruhl said that primitive thought was mythopoeic, metaphorical and poetical. He said there was a lack of abstract conceptualisation, an acceptance of contradiction, and a direct mystical identification of things we would regard as natural with things we would regard as supernatural forces and powers. He argued that thought, especially primitive thought, was inherently mixed with emotions.
Kurt Lewin said that the laws of the social sciences were to be expressed not by finding correlations between observations, but by identifying intervening connections which revealed the inner structure of personality and of social phenomena. The laws would describe constancies of relations, not constancy of elements. His 'field theory' made use of topology and vectors. He is known as a 'metatheorist'.
L6vi-Strauss perceived that the power of the intellect is used not so much to clarify a position as to establish the thinker's superiority to his audience, to fascinate and exasperate, to challenge us to contradiction and thereby draw us into the process of thought.
INDEX to the Network Propositions
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