Archive for December, 2007

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Modern Epistemology and Me

December 15, 2007

Radical doubt demands a rejection of epiphany

I have experienced epiphany… hence I reject Radical doubt.

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And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death

December 13, 2007

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,


Time, the child of the schism of Being, is the measurement of change, or the measurable degree by which things change. It implies a change in state, an inherent marker of something’s being no longer as it was; that it can be said that it now has a ‘past’. If nothing ever changed, there would be no time, and change, as we’ve outlined in the previous entry is an accident of a fractured existence dating back to the beginning of the universe whether Big Bang or Garden of Eden. Change can only occur if being can be altered to a point where something can be said to no longer have being in the same way. To change, by definition, means to longer be the same, it implies separation from a unity (that origin from which all things can be said to be the same). A step away from complete unity is the revolution which bestows time upon the universe.This becomes increasingly important because we must see time as an accident, a shadow, a non-being defined by actual beings. The paradox of time is that the present is the only part of time which exists and it is so infinitesimally small that it cannot be known – much like an electron. It is infinitely divisible and can never be observed in the moment but only as a reflection on the past, so much so that our vision doesn’t actually see the present but several milliseconds in the past. Yet no other thing weighs so heavily on our being than that of time.

Einstein, Schrodinger’s Cat, and Light

Time only exists when it is unobserved. Under the scrutiny of logic it collapses into a series of three things: past, present, future. Two of these things (past and future) do not strictly exist in ANY way, in fact they define themselves as ‘that which no longer is occurring’ and ‘that which has yet to occur’. The past only exist as a comparison to what is now, and what USED to be, and hence no longer is. The future on the other hand is a theoretical assumption we make because we are infinitely traveling into it. We know there is a future because there was a past and is a present, but never will we ever experience the future. This leaves only the present.A great majority of time as a solid noun, henceforth, is non-existent. By looking upon its totality we consolidate it into a line – a fixed set of points which exists as such because they are only observable after they’ve already happened. If there are beings separated from Being, then Time is observed as a line because the constant metamorphosis of beings from or to Being can be measured in a was\is relationship and the length of that metamorphosis, so long as it is observed, can be related in terms of any constant source of change. For man, this constant is light. Light changes, at a constant rate, since the beginning, it is by this that we organize our existence of time. It just so happens that this constant is also the prerequisite for our sense of observation – an interesting coincidence.

E=MC2 and the Telos of Time

It is important to note that speed is a measurement of change in location over time. The constant involving light is speed. This is not to say light doesn’t change or have properties which make it inconsistent, because it certainly has those. Its speed is constant however, and it is this particular change in location, rather that in type or quantity that we measure Time. Hence, Like Einstein, we arrive at the theory of relativity – which now comes to light in a teleological imperative rather than a mathematical equation.

Time requires a constant by which it measures all other changes. From it we get seconds and milliseconds. We measure the ‘time’ it takes for a particle of light to travel X miles in space, call it a second, then measure the changes that occur in all other substances in existence during that span of ‘time’ and say that such can be said about objects x, y, and z in relation to their former state of being when the particle of light started moving as compared to their state of being as the particle has moved X miles.

If there were no such constant, if all light moved differently, and all speeds varied, then time would be completely immeasurable. This is different from being relative. There would be no circle of life, no time lines, no concept of age, no measurement of speeds, no concept of life or death as a unity, or an inevitability – it would be a far different world then the one we appear to be living in.

The Being of Non-Being (to be continued…)

If such a constant exists – lets assume it to be the change in location of light ( or its speed), then many more things can be said about our universe. First, it must have space. A change in location demands a notion of space. Space demands a notion of separating. This notion, as has been stated in all three previous entries, demands a notion of nothingness. This notion of nothingness implies the existence of non-object, non-thing, beings such as shadows and holes in donuts which must be granted an ontological existences because they affect existence. They exist because they contrast the things around them, they are nothings which exist because of things around them. This movement requires a malleable understanding of Being and beings which includes states of being, coming into being, leaving being, and perhaps non-being. 

 

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O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!

December 12, 2007

 Arriving Where We Are

Finally we take an frightening step out from underneath the shadow of ‘being’. The two previous posts have set up a distinction which has lead to an utter paradox, a complete flip-flop, a disappointing maybe, and a host of questions unanswerable by their very natures. So we step away to investigate the possibility of freedom permeating ‘being’ like a disease causing the parts to act independent of the whole. Such a distinction has two problems. The first: How does anything exist separate from being – doesn’t existence imply being? Second: How does freedom’s appearance in being help us understand the possible salutation to the paradox in front of us.

First a restatement of the paradox: If things exist, they exist because they have beingness, then separation exists between it and other existents. Hence nothingness, the space between beings, must also exist – but if nothing exists, then we have some problems. Furth more, our experience leads us to believe that nothing exists – shadows and donut holes for instance.

The seeming solution to this paradox is that all things are under one existence, and hence nothing has ‘beingness’, but rather everything is in being, and the space between them is just an illusion of depth. This, though it answers our paradox, leaves us as unexplained phenomena – human beings seem very much separate, very much sentient, and would like to claim the same is true for other things in this world. From the investigation of these two paradoxes we see truth in both, and hence, without sufficient reason to disregard either, must plod along trying to make these seemingly true observations match with an abstract theoretical model – in hopes to be as internally cohesive as we can with our belief structure.

The Assumption

Freedom, the virus which infects beings causing them to stand separate from Being, must somehow also share in this special ontology we ascribe to human beings, if it can be said to do such separation. Note here multiple assumptions arise to echo previous conversations. If such a separation of beings from Being exist, or must exist, (this is a big IF) then ONE possible salutation is found in the phenomena of freedom (for it is freedom which allows man to work against the whole constantly, to work against laws, to work against seeming good). It is freedom which gives something the ability to stand out as individual – for freedom means autonomy. Hence, one salutation, gleaned from our own nature (since it was our nature as autonomous which leads us to this question, the answer might lay there) is to say freedom coexists with being as the fundamental principle of things in the world.If such is the case, and freedom is as primordial, as basic, as foundational as being itself… what sort of substance must it be? In regards to the assumptions leading us here, I cannot tell you if they are true, but I can tell you that if they are true, one thing is certain, and that is freedom is nothingness. Freedom is an absence, a lack of, a void – similar to the perceived void between objects. It is a nothing, which maintains the aspects of a thing, like a shadow or a donut hole.

Definitions and other Clerical Boredom

Freedom is the lack of another will on a being. This is to say that no will commands the being in its ways. In terms of beings within Being, this freedom comes from chance (see also. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle). The phenomena of chance, the idea of unknown future, statistics and probabilities, are all signs of a lack of a unified will. Being simultaneously falls into entropy and arises into life as if neither bore more significance. Despite the need for unity under the umbrella of Being (a need which is spiritual, metaphysical, and logical) reality instead plunges us into chaos, fracturedness, and folly.

The fracturedness of beings from Being arises as necessity because of Chance, and hence Freedom. Chance implies different ends occurring to the same objects for unknown or unknowable reasons. In that case, both objects must stand separated in the eyes of this chance whether cognoscente of their new found changes or not. Chance means distinctions. What is worn with pride on one, is a sign of disgust in the other.Freedom lies at the wellspring of existence. Whatever force called things into existence separated them also. Chance brings entropy but also brought life – the combatant of entropy. It is between life and non-life that ‘beingness’ is most different. The way in which a non-living object exists in the world, is far different than that of the living. To reduce one to the other is a folly I have no time to go into.

Freedom and Neediness


Likewise, the freedom of a non-living thing is precisely to have no will… it simply exists. The freedom of the living thing holds many difficulties, contradictions, and paradoxes. It would seem that freedom accompanies neediness, for instance, which makes all living things slaves to their needs.

Being free means being able to do. Being able to do means having fulfilled all prerequisites to the doing. Here enters neediness. We want to do things but need things in order to do things – so much so that even our most free decisions require the production of enslaved decisions. From this understanding arises the idea of freedom as a lack.Freedom is the lack of another’s influence acting upon your will. Freedom, whether it exists or not, is not something you have so much as something everyone else lets you have. Materiality demands influence on a will – the amount or type is a debate throughout academia. Likewise, Being is an influence upon your will. To be totally free would mean to not exist. For existence puts needs on your will, limits, definitions, separations, and desires. We see this even in physics. The ancients believed that rocks had a desire to fall to the ground – to return to their likeness – when they are dropped. We call this gravity, to them it was a desire. Such phenomena as magnetism, weak force, small force, and electro-magnetic forces accompany gravity in this category which places desires on physical objects. Desires that science has yet to discovered the nature of, or exact being of.

Electrons and Freedom

Finally we begin to shed light on this proper noun Being. What science calls ‘laws’ seem to be Being forcing unification onto beings (the parts that make up Being). Such a discovery moves one toward the idea of Being as a whole – moving toward unity. However, such a claim would be to ignore Heisenberg. Being seems composed of equally as many paradoxes as it does laws. The electron often breaks laws, bends rules, and defies understanding. They are the smallest particles of chaos, the defenders of freedom, and the seeds of Chance – from whose breast all life springs – or so it seems.

Salvation, or the fall of Man


At the heart of this enslaving existence lies chaos; the mumbles of a revolution. At the beginning of existence- whether big bang or genesis- the earth was without form. All was darkness, all was one, and nothing was free. The big bang, what an ironic thing, a wonderful symbol, a delicious metaphor, but an utter confusion when described by those who demanded its existence. Scientists, of all humans, misunderstand the big bang the most. The origin of the world, the origin of being, in the big bang is outside time, outside space (infinitely small), and utterly utterly slavish and small. Everything was one thing before the big bang. Freedom’s emergence from the big bang comes with a force that is unknown to this universe – the force of creation, of separation, of becoming. Such a force replicated today – would destroy all. Its emergence was not an action, however, to be reproduced, it was an error by all accounts. Freedom was the fundamental break down of laws and of harmony. It was the void caused by agitated electrons and by bubbling energy. Even before time could pass, or begin, or end, or be – there was a historic war of freedom against Being which then tears existence into two. Suddenly there are ‘things’ and ‘nothings’, in fact a lot more ‘nothing’ than ‘things’. The oneness was over.Freedom as a lack means that Chance cracked the egg of the big bang and from that crack oozed existence. Freedom is a hole in the laws of physics, an anomaly predating time, at war with utter unity. Its fearsome combat with unity forged an existence fraught with paradox and misunderstanding the greatest of which is the product of that Big Bang, the child of a torn existence, which we call Time.

 

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A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

December 11, 2007

In the last post the inherent effects of separated beings was elucidated, though not clarified. Before such a clarification can proceed it is important to expound further down a different, but parallel path. A question has arisen which has interrupted the answering of the previous question which aims squarely at the foundation assumed in that question. What if beingness is not a quality that ‘things’ have, but rather a measure of totality or of unity? What if being is a noun, and cannot be made into an adjective, as it is in the statement above? What if to talk about something’s beingness is pointless?What if, for instance, being is something you are in, rather than something you have. Being as a belonging, rather than a place, leads to the confusion stated in the previous post. In this view being is not something you do, but rather is the context under which any ‘thing’ can do. To say something does anything is to say it exists, hence to say that something is becomes redundant because to say something is running, implies that there is a something to do the running. Hence, although we use being as a verb (is), it is really a redundancy which presumes existence upon the object of the sentence. To say that the table is, is to say that the table exists, is to say that the table exists is redundant because if such a thing can be referred to, then such a thing must exist more so than the words that describe it.

But from seeming solutions arise massive problems. Being without separation, a being which disregards individual ontology, while explaining the difference among shadows and light and walls in cannot begin to explain people. Sentient beings screw the theoretical pooch on this because we are the beings which can see being for what it is, and extract ourselves. We are the self-knowing knowers who know our existence, recognize it, summarize it, NAME it, and hence separate it from all others. Naming means to separate, to proclaim autonomy, to give personality, and hence to allow comparison, analogy, and dispute. To introduce such tools of measurement presumes separation. It presumes that when I say this chair is more comfortable than that chair, that indeed there are two chairs, which are not the same chair, and exists in two different ways in the world I perceive.

The question arises: which is wrong – my perception of the world OR the thesis that being is a unity? The two seemingly contradict. We see a world and are called by our natures to label, categorize, and name. As such, is our impulse contrary to the design of the universe, of ontology. Or, is the fact that our perception so radically deviates from this postulate a sign(or evidence) that such a statement of ‘being quo being’ must fall short, must be inaccurate? Doesn’t our consciousness afford us some insight to this question which demands separation? Or is it a product of our fallen nature, an illusion, a feeble desire for freedom and autonomy, which, though romantic, is futile?

Being a human, implies being. Descartes \ Augustine’s de facto assertion of existence rings out truer than ever. We think \ doubt therefore we are. Whatever being is, even if we are brains in a jar, or idiots in a matrix, or players on a stage, or ephemeral ghosts in a dream – we are. Existence must predate all discussion of existence, it must come before logic, because any word or logos or thought must come from it, from this fabric, whole or not. The residue of existence clings to every doubt we have, every word, every question, and as such is either defined by us, or defines us. We must assume that all things caused by existence must share in its nature. If we exist, we are part of existence, in other words. To compound this is that fact that we are the only parts which visualize the whole and can see the image of the whole form the work of its parts – it is from this ability to realize the world beyond our small part that arises philosophy which must assume an existence toward which we aim an understanding. Existence comes before all, and all share in its fabric.

Where does that leave us, in terms of totality and individuality. Is being a noun or a verb? The question is unanswerable, which isn’t to say that there are not answers, it just means their are more than one. Most likely, both options hold some truth. Clearly, if everything exist, then everything is part of a whole, connected, and hence subject to it. Yet, if being inherently includes a mechanism, the great ancestor of evolution, which imposes itself on each part, infecting the totality with fractions, then perhaps the parts can stand opposed to being as well? Call this ancestor chance, and the infection we call freedom.

Can we pretend to believe that the parts of a whole cannot contradict the whole – think of the human body, of disease, of error. Think of the mind, of the war between emotions and reasons. Think of the soul and the call to virtue and how it can be drowned out by the siren’s song of pleasure. We, as examples of being, are torn by the same tensions which tear at being itself. As if somewhere, somehow, freedom permeates even fundamental existence. So to exist, to be, means to be subject to chance, to contrary tensions, to dualities. To exist means to be ambiguous, to be one but also many, to be defined but to be always changing, to fit into a set of constantly rewritten rules. Such complexity is not only possible, but ubiquitous in the world as it appears to us, and our constant inability to understand fully the things that we think we know. So much so that even when we turn inward, to our own hearts, minds, bodies, and souls we cannot escape complexity and rather come face first with the most perplexing and paradox of all complexity: the self. To be a self means to have autonomous being, a being which can look within itself as an example of thing which exists in the world; and to our knowledge, man is the only one that can do this. This is the pinnacle of the paradox of being and non-being and it exists in the human form; our form. 

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To Be or Not to Be – Why is this a question?

December 10, 2007

It was originally my intention to write about the question: what does it mean to be human? – although upon further exploration in became more important to know what it means to be a thing…. hence what is it to be. Such a quality of being supposes a great many things – one of which that there is a difference between being and non-being, the other of which is that things ‘are’ and we know that they are by the phenomena of experience. Yet it is not at all certain why they are? how they are? or even the exact nature of what they are… Yet it is from these ‘things’ that we construct our world, or our understanding of the world, or our worldview, by which we base all ethical, ontological, and phenomenological decisions. Hence, it is of great importance to, at least attempt to answer or form some belief on this matter, no matter how flawed or imperfect it may be, for this is the foundation of the beliefs you are forced to have whether you find them true or not.  

This particular essay will focus on the principle of non-contradiction (ex. If A does not equal B, B cannot equal A). This principle deals primarily with the idea of separation, that is to say the notion that something can be of its own, independent of others. Existence, in its base sense, is merely a way of differentiating between those things which ‘are’ and those things which ‘are not’ and separating them. Simply put, if something exists it cannot not exist. Hence the first idea we arrive at in the question of ontology is what it means to label something as ‘existing’.  The problem with the law of non-contradiction is that it’s very black and white. If something is, it cannot be otherwise, for if it were otherwise it wouldn’t be. Simple enough, right?

If we assume that I ‘am’ then it is impossible for me to also ‘not be’ unless I change my very being – or enter into non-being. Such a change of state would be incomprehensible if it weren’t for every day experiences like death (which, at least on its face value, seems to be an entering into non-being, although strictly speaking it is more likely being in a different way).  Here is the difficulty: There seems to be things which both ‘are’ and ‘are not’. For instance: A shadow. A shadow is something, we can see it, we can affect it, we can even measure it and speak about it. Yet it is also nothing, it is an allusion, it is an absence of light, or in other words: the whole in the donut. The shadow is only perceivable precisely because it doesn’t exist, it is a nothing surrounded by some things, which makes the nothing stand out, to appear to us, as a thing unto itself defining itself as an absence rather than a substance. What do we say to shadows and wholes in donuts? Do they exist or not? 

Likewise, we have difference in size, ability, and form. Is a human being of 12 a child or an adult? Is a fetus a human being? At what point can we definitively say such is as it is and not otherwise. In this case neither option is a non-being, however neither is a full being either. It seems that a 12 year old is neither fully a little child, nor fully an adult but rather shares in the being of both. We know this because some 12 years old share more with adults and some share more with children. Being is not simple; it is rather not just a question of complete separation, but also of kinds and forms. A being is almost never totally one thing or the other, a child is never simply a child, an adult never simply an adult. (I would be pressed to say that no being could be totally one or the other in this case, yet if that is so, and we know beings through experience, how can we even say adulthood exists at all?) 

So, does the law of non-contradiction apply to ‘things’? Since a shadow ‘is’ precisely because it ‘is not’ can we really ascribe an absolute ontology? What of the adolescent child who shares in the quality of adulthood and youth? In this case the person ‘is’ but ‘is not’ in a PARTICULAR way – the adolescent is both a child and an adult, while being neither totally. Hence what qualities can we give being, when being isn’t even an all or nothing affair? First, the shadow. The shadow’s being is not simply existence because of negation. The shadow exists because other things exists, and since things exist, so long as they are not one totality, there will be separation, i.e. a nothingness, which must define their reality, and hence must be as a result of an effect of other existences. For instance, it makes no sense to say that a shadow exists on its own, because it must be a shadow OF something. The beinghood of the shadow belongs to another – likewise with the donut hole.


Hence, by the virtue of the law of non-contradiction, a nothing must be a something because things must be separated if they are not to be contradicted. The ability to contradict another thing means separation from the other, and hence a void, which, if it separates, must exist in some way. Or, to phrase it differently, if a thing exists it must have boundaries outside of which lies nothing, and on the other side of that nothing, another something by which the thing is judged to be separated from. Hence if things have ‘being’ or ‘are’ then they must be separate from each other and if separate then we must consider nothing to be something. This, by its very nature, contradicts the law that makes such a distinction necessary.

The conclusion of which is the foundation of a very complex world – wherein even the most fundamental laws find truest meaning in contradiction, which if anything only proves their transcendence over the human mind, rather than their inaccuracy.  From the opening question then we proceed in shadows of what is stated above. Being implies nothingness, a counter position to the existent by which we judge existence to be a force which defines ‘things’ rather than totalities. This is not inherently so, however; there is a question be raised. What if ‘things’ have no ontology of their own, what if separation is an illusion, and hence nothingness also an illusion? Such a conclusion would unravel the difficult universe arising from the law of non-contradiction’s apparent contradiction, but what sort of a world would it throw us into? What consequences would arrive from such a belief in complete and abstract unity of the universe in which we find ourselves?