Wednesday, February 10, 2010

and WHY was Prometheus a -- "thief"?

Why in the story of Prometheus stealing fire for mankind, stealing it from the gods, why was he labeled, a thief, why was the story structured so that the gift to humanity was something stolen? Perhaps you could say this was a reflection of what Jan Cox meant when he said when man developed an intellect, (got kicked out of the garden) he fell upstairs. Both stories involve crimes. Stil, what got me started on this was another aspect: because, Prometheus botched the job, had to of course---but he only got half the treasure, when you could say something else the gods had, was necessary for fire to be a gift, rather than fire being "hot" on multiple levels. In this reading Prometheus was a thief because he botched the job, he stole, not from the gods, but from Humanity.   And this would be, because, Prometheus only stole a tool that could be used EXTERNALLY, when as the gods knew well,  there was an internal world that need controlled ignition to be functioning at its highest level.
Crime, clumbsiness, makes me think of the big bang idea, that without some unimaginable small tremor in the explosion, the universe would be uniform, an identical soup in all directions, rather than diverse with planets and space, and different colors of matter.  Just a thought...

In Greek the word for spirit and wind is the same

Catching a ride on adjacent natural events got man started on the road
to civilization. He used a forest fire to cook his dinner. A river to
bath in, a cave to duck into for shelter. Is it any wonder the Greeks
spoke of four elements: earth air fire water. (I think those were
their elements.) And gradually he learned to manipulate these powers
which all had the power to destroy him physically. Prometheus was
considered a man who stole from the gods. What we forgot was that he
stole just a bit of the godlike powers. Crucial to man, fire for the
gods was just a crumb of the cake of their powers. Now man considers
he knows the full formula for energy. He would not admit this, science
he says, has not YET fully revealed the secrets of the universe, but
really, that is his defacto belief. Without this faith in his own
powers, man would not act upon them, and thus his formulas would not
have led mankind on the path history reveals. He had to believe his
insight was in fact, the whole picture.

All this is looking outward. Actually man is part of a flow of earth,
air, fire, water, and every breath he takes is proof of this
commingling. Man forgets his own partialness and partness of
everything and this forgetting disables him--disables his need to
understand himself. The inward life of man has a potential for being
understood and, to some extent, harnessed; there are internal energies
which can be used for a kind of ignition. Of these the scientist
knows nothing, and in fact, actively, often, discourages these

Many of these internal investigations are absurd. But as Jan Cox
reminded his students, the counterfeit would not exist were it not for
real gold. (This is one of the few times he quoted another.) One
hesitates to even call these internal quests spiritual, considering
the abuses of the word religion which dominate the intellectual
landscape of modern man.

The task --to grasp and harness if not totally control, internal
energy flows--though is not just legitimate, it is crucial, for a few.
It is obviously not necessary for most people and this fact may
perhaps reflect larger energy flows and needs which man cannot
comprehend. That does not answer the question of why so few people
are drawn to, the Real Work. An answer to this question was written
down long ago, and it is a good of an answer as this person knows: The
wind bloweth where it listeth.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Piss Them Ologies

Google has a program they hoped would compete with wikipedia. They named it Knol, which they say is a unit of knowledge. Is knowledge something composed of units, like bricks, to put together and make a wall? Students of Jan Cox will recall him saying, and elucidating, that "everything is connected." But this essay is concerned with how to convey this to people unfamiliar with basic epistemological concerns.  I am beginning to think the important questions are epistemological, rather than say, ontological, but----that is not the focus now.  How we know, what we know, that is epistemology.  The idea of knowledge composed of units has a certain obviousness.  We're young, we gather bits, like alphabet blocks, and when we get bigger we have a bunch of bits, and can converse and know stuff.
But---can we discover anything, can we add to the sum of Humanity's knowledge, can we ask basic questions, can we, in effect, know in the sense of originality, of real change, while playing with these bits, these units, that others have defined?
There are advantages to knowledge as composed of bits.  It avoids the skepticism that comes from recognizing, glimpsing that one thing affects another, because then you have to say, is this another unit of knowledge, this connection? And don't you get, this way, such a huge pile of bits that they are uncountable, and unmanageable, daunting regardless of the realms of mathematics marshalled to ride herd on these bits.  Or could a glimpse of this chaos be, at a new level.
One advantage of knowledge as units, is this picture also fits our experience, we open a book, and find out that scientists used to rob graveyards to get bodies to study anatomy.  They, another nit, (is that short for unit, no, it's a typo, and I am not going to continue calling units, nits) called this practise, of getting corpse, 'burking." Another unit to stack on top of the first.
But--is this--- knowledge? I never stole a corpse, a whole planet of detail is hidden in these words, and obscured by putting a period at the end of the sentence, and the persuasiveness of everybody else agreeing this is a fact.
Would real knowledge involve questioning all assumptions, and resolutely trying to follow what you see; would knowledge involve an element necessarily of character, in bravely facing consequences?
Would knowledge involve internal change?
I merely raise these questions now. 
Let us close with an example. A king rules over several countries.  He says, Abalonia is my country. If there are at that moment, insurgents in neighboring Clambakia, planning an invasion to assist their brothers in musselhood, to what extent is that king ignorant? Did he ever know anything? If he keeps or loses that country after some external actions, how does that future outcome, affect what he knows, now. It is just a question.