Thursday, August 25, 2011

Triads and triads and triads

Invisible to ordinary mechanical thought, is the basic aspect of reality which could be called the triadic stability. Triadic stability is a phrase indicating that for anything to happen, to exist,  there are three apparent forces. Jan Cox spent a measurable amount of time pointing towards this reality in his talks. One reason he emphasized this is that just to see this triad structure is to push the limits of mechanical thought. Mechanical thought is that which  flows through the thinker, and does not originate with this entity though part of the arrangement is that the thinker must assume he IS the source of these ideas in his head. 

An example of this triadic arrangement is the established artist. The triad includes the artist, the buyer of the artist's art, and... Back track a moment. First we have the pro and the con, the negative and positive, the good and the bad, that is ---  the creator and the consumer. Both essential, both obvious once you investigate, but are these two forces, flows, (to use Jan's words) sufficient for existence, for anything to happen? At first you think, perhaps, of course. What more do you need basically, except an artist and someone to buy the art? No buyer, the artist dies of starvation, so both are critical, and yet, are these two flows, the creative and the destructive, C and D flows, creator and consumer, a sufficient telling of the story?

A third force is necessary for the art world to exist. The binary mind can only count to two. But pushing the boundaries you can glimpse a third in every situation. Why three, and not more. Well dear ones, 'three' itself is a fiction, there are many more, but----getting the mind to count above two is a necessary step and itself sufficient to challenge the absurd presumptions of the ordinary mind, and three is about all that can be verbally encompassed.

In the case of the artist what is the third flow, what critical element, necessary for the other two forces to interact, what third force, necessary for a stable, even if stable means just for a moment, is relevant when discussing art? 

The erelevant force in this example, is labeled, in the modern world, a curator. 

This commissioning element, is like the mechanical mind's assumption that it, the personal mind, is the source of its own thoughts, in another triad, essential to the stability of the event we call art. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Outline for a chapter

Perhaps I should give those natural scientists more slack. For a while it has been apparent that some kinds of forgetting are crucial for progress, perhaps progress on a larger scale than the individual, where the struggle against forgetting is the mark of someone concerned with empirical cosmological and psychological knowledge (the last phrase is the words of Jan Cox). Obviously forgetting is crucially important to the operations of our world or else, it would not be the signal characteristic it is.

To sketch a wee corner of my interests here, Voltaire is supposed to be a philosopher, but his method of argument is to poke fun at the ideas of religious figures. Yesterday I pointed out that scientists need a devil, the fundamentalists, to keep their world steady. Today I found a quote which suggests I have over simplified things.

The quote is : 'What I write here is the account that I believe to be true. For the stories told by the Greeks are many, and in my opinion ridiculous.'

Sounds like Voltaire. But these are the words of Hecataeus, who wrote in the 5th century (born around 530 BC), and he is part of that movement described as the birth of human rationality, and centered on Miletus. In his words we see a forgetting which looks to be a unnoticed but fundamental mechanism of human progress. For those Greeks stories were a way to understand the world, with the tools at their disposal. (Jan made this point once about mythology.) But to Hecataeus, the myths are "ridiculous." This name calling is a kind of forgetting.

So perhaps what I took to be a means of intellectual domination, is actually, a part of that essential forgetting, which can be seen at various scales. If so, those scientists are just doing their job, and really one should have emphasized that more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why isn't the movie "Contact" named "Touch."

A movie review, for your speculative pleasure, of the movie Contact (1997). It came out 14 years ago, and late is what you get when your reviewer doesn't read much fiction and has no interest in getting cable tv. I did find Contact the movie interesting, but I am not sure how much it was changed from Sagan's book (Contact, 1985). My assumption will be little and then if I read the book I might revise.  Especially would I like to know if that last scene with religion and science snogging in the back seat of a cab was in the book. Regardless, one thing you see in Contact is how important religion is to science. The gap between the worlds of science and religion, in reality, as someone said of C. P. Snow's picture, a small ditch, is important to science's self understanding, and the movie is evidence of this aspect of modern science. Since any substance to talk of a conflict between science and religion, died a century ago, the question becomes why science insists on beating a dead hamster. My words do not characterize the great ones, of course, like Roger Penrose, but rather the culture of the natural sciences.

So we learn that people are in agony because of the emptiness of the universe. Empty because something that never existed, has gone. For some the truth, no matter what it turns out to be, is invigorating,  but in Contact, the story is sketched that humanity aches for the loss of -- an illusion. We are assuming for the sake of this review, such is plausible.

Do scientists ever get out of the lab? They could at least try a little introspection. As Jan Cox said, you have a laboratory right here (and he would gesture to his skull). That might mitigate the intellectual vapidity of the conclusion of Contact. But our purpose now is just to sketch the issues as we see them in the movie Contact. Facing reality is tough, and only helped by the fact we have other people. That's the message of the movie. But the message is incoherent if examined. Why do these other people have to be on other planets. If other people is the answer, you do have masses of them in most malls. What does it matter if there are other people on other planets, if the existence of other people is the only anodyne for the loss of something which never existed. No one really doubts there are other people on this planet, so how does finding people on other planets ease one's pain?

We have, regardless of whether the book is more sensible than the movie, the unexamined suppostions of the world view of the average scientist, in this Hollywood production. I say unexamined because what is apparent in the movie is that science needs a devil. Now religion has been confused about the status of evil for millenia. That science needs a devil is a more interesting aspect of the modern world. And that devil, for science, is religious fundamentalism. And it has apparently never occurred to scientists that if they just ignored the representatives of that view, that maybe fundamentalism would fade away. But to ignore the fundamentalists would mean maybe, scientists seeing what they have in common with the fundamentalists. For these common factors, when compared to the direction of a Real Teacher, make science and religion alike in certain basic features. Science and religion you see, both, have to have this: religion and science both have to have a --story. Only a Real Teacher can imagine being just on the brink of a story, and being able to balance there. To be continued....