all formulations are wrong

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all formulations are wrong

Postby Jakob » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:54 pm

“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” - Heidegger

Can we see thought beyond language?

In mysticf thought language is not used altogether. It is said that a group of masters in magick form a hierarchy which controls all of us. Various sources speak of this, from Jim Morrison in his poetry about film and shadowplay refers to reptilian observers, to Winston Churchill, who repeadedly mentions forces behind politics and media 'very different from what the common man might imagine'

more on this later.
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Postby Faust » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:07 pm

I can't wait.
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Postby soph » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:25 am

always been a big believer in thought-before-language. you'll find me on the edge of mah seat.
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Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:08 am

The statement that in mystic thought language is not used altogether is a bit of an exaggeration, but when language is taken as verbal signification, very little of it is used - and none of it is used to signify, it's only used as sound, for the effect of it's vibration on consciousness, from Sanskrit mantra's to the Hebrew alphabeth, whcih is used as one of the corner stones of the universal mystic model, the kaballah.

Not much is known of this system to the uninitiated except that Madonna and Britney Spears seem to be 'into it'. I've read some of the stuff they get to read and it basically boils down to the new age suggestion that giving for givings sake is the most rewarding thing. Now that tghis is a useful thing for a rabbi to say to a rich person is understandable, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the mystical kaballah, or the Tree of Life, it's central theme.
Aleister Crowley, unquestionaby the most influential mystic of our time, has written this on the subject:

The Qabalah, that is, the Jewish Tradition concerning the initiated interpretation of their Scriptures, is mostly either unintelligible or nonsense. But it contains as it ground-plan the most precious jewel of human thought, that geometrical arrangement of names and numbers which is called the Tree of Life. I call it the most precious, because I have found it the most convenient method hitherto discovered of classifying the phenomena of the Universe, and recording their relations. Whereof the proof is the amazing fertility of thought which has followed my adoption of this scheme.


The central concept, the tree of life, is a glyph consisting of ten spheres representing ten stages of manifestation, from spirt to matter. These ten <i>sephirot</i> are seen as objective. The twenty two paths between them signify modes of consciousness, which are seen as subjective.

Horizontally, the glyph is divided into three pillars, which correspond with the univesal opposites, force and form, and their dynamic equilibrium. Vertically, they are divided in three triangles, the first signifying that which entirely transcends rational thought, the second the higher ethics of the soul and the third the psyche, including rational thought, creative imagination and and the subconsious.

As the ystem <i>encompasses</i> rational thought, talking about this subject rapidly becomes enigmatic and even meaningless when interpreted without a solid context. But it is necessary for me to introduced the Tree of Life in order to proceed with this thread, as it is an excellent tool to surpass language.

The practice of kaballah consists of getting to know the various sephirot by meditaing on their properties and learing to attribute faces of consciousness to them, and then proceeding to 'walk between' the sephirot to experience their relations in the context of ones personal consciousness. This all happens without words and within the imagination. One may compare walking the paths with lucid dreaming with a fixed point of departure and arrival. Once one gets to know the system,
the rate at which the power of imagination increases is freakish, and things that formerly had great power of mystery and awe fall obediently into place, and the horizons of the mind start dancing, spiralling and disappearing altogether.

Since all phenomena soever may be referred to the Tree of Life (which may be multiplied or subdivided at will for convenience' sake) it is evidently useless to attempt any complete account of it. The correspondences of each unit -- the Ten Sephiroth and the Two-and-Twenty Paths -- are infinite. The art of using it consists principally in referring all our ideas to it, discovering thus the common nature of certain things and the essential differences between others, so that ultimately one obtains a simple view of the incalculably vast complexity of the Universe.


http://www.polarissite.net/TOL/Default.htm

more later
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby Dan~ » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:01 am

Jakob wrote:“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” - Heidegger

Can we see thought beyond language?

In mysticf thought language is not used altogether. It is said that a group of masters in magick form a hierarchy which controls all of us. Various sources speak of this, from Jim Morrison in his poetry about film and shadowplay refers to reptilian observers, to Winston Churchill, who repeadedly mentions forces behind politics and media 'very different from what the common man might imagine'

more on this later.

As I'd been quelling my karma, lately, I've noticed allot of large external forces, continually calling for my attenstion/energies. The planetary consciousness has too many unaddressed issues within itself to list right now, but truth be told, it could really use some more enlightnemented.

I doubt the magus controlls humanity as much as the media-owners do, but I'm not well versed in such a large, hidden topic.

-

As people survive mainly by dealing with eachother, and language is the main means of dealing with eachother, language does consume/condition a notably large portion of the human mind.

-

Some people think in words mainly, whilst others think in images mainly. This varies widely between people, due to genetics/brain-types.

-

Just going on a loose guess here, but:
I would perfer Sankrit or Chinese if I could have just one... but, I was born into English. I only use these in my sigils, at present. I haven't learned the whole language, lo, that's difficult...

-

Don't trust Aleister Crowley too much, as he did allot of heroin, and couldn't even psionically cure his own blood-poisoning from the cat's blood which he drank & died from. He also openly admitted his will to serve Satan.

The Thelemite sigil is basically a distortion of the "Star-of-David", and a total inversion of the Pentagram. These distored-inversions of the meaning of the symbol ... says allot about the ineffable mobilization, the gnostic meaning, permiated with demons.
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Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:31 am

Reason, as logical construction falls under the 'form' aspect of the Tree; The feminie side, the Pillar of Severity, encompassing also the sphere of physical domination.

Thought, in it's totaliy, is not enclosed in either side. It is initiated by spirt, the supreme sphere of the Tree, the 'first motion' symbolized by the swastika and the fibonacci spiral, the golden mean of reproduction.
This symbol is in it's turn a form - the fibonacci spiral in being a function product of the geometrical proportions of the number 5; the pentagram.
We see that the form aspect of existence can learn us about the force aspect, but also confuse us as to it's nature, as the form of something is easily mistaken for it's essence. Essence only becomes aparent in time-space, never in space alone.
Symbols, can only be understood when they are interacting with other forms, generating what is in Kaballah called the 'formative world'. They told us that
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was made Flesh.

The significance of the Arcane Word of Tongue, (I a made that up myself, don't worry, I'm not quoting something officially authorized by the hermetic authorities) as opposed to the word we find in magazines and cereall boxes, lies primarily in the attention given to it's utterance. The Word consists of two aspects; concept and and sound. Again, form and energy. We can understand energy as 'waves', but this is a representation of it in form. We cannot therefore rationally understand the essence of a word without pronoucing it. More on the word, the Word, it's evil counterpart the Wørd and the formative world later. "Have you ever seen God?" -a mandala. A symmetrical angel. Felt? Yes. Fucking. The Sun. Heard? Music. Voices Touched? an animal. your hand. Tasted? Rare meat, corn, water & wine." - Jim Morrison
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:18 am


As I'd been quelling my karma, lately, I've noticed allot of large external forces, continually calling for my attenstion/energies. The planetary consciousness has too many unaddressed issues within itself to list right now, but truth be told, it could really use some more enlightnemented.


Who couldn't? It's dark as hell in here. Problem is that once you're on the path of light misery becomes systematically understandable, and you feel the urge growing to do something about it, and soon it becomes a matter of life and death. It would be exhasuting if so much energy wasn't released in the process.

I doubt the magus controlls humanity as much as the media-owners do,

I think the difference between the magus and the media-owners is getting quite vague lately.

As people survive mainly by dealing with eachother, and language is the main means of dealing with eachother, language does consume/condition a notably large portion of the human mind.


“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” - Heidegger

Some people think in words mainly, whilst others think in images mainly. This varies widely between people, due to genetics/brain-types.


Genetically I don't know; I remember quite literally everything I see, my brother remembers literally everything he hears. Yet light is thicker than sound.

Just going on a loose guess here, but:
I would perfer Sankrit or Chinese if I could have just one... but, I was born into English. I only use these in my sigils, at present. I haven't learned the whole language, lo, that's difficult...


I like Russian, French and Dutch with a Moroccan accent spoken by young girls. But in the Tree of Life is, alledgedly, a product of whatever spawned the house of David, and it's signifiers are the 22 hebrew letters.

http://www.yellow.co.nz/site/buildersof ... 20Life.jpg

As you can see the 10 paths are connected with 22 lines, these lines are all attached to a letter. According to sources which are of course unverifyable, the alfabeth was designed in accordance with the Tree of Life. Not to say that they to learn the tree it is necessary to learn Hebrew; thank God it is not. But the prime Words are quite interestingh; there is, for example, the threefold layer of negative existence; Ein, Ein Soph and Ein Soph Aur. Respectively:
nothing, no limit and light with no limit. Form this 'boundless light', the masculine side of the non-existing, becomes a focussed point of light when with the occurrende of time, energy is forged.

Now HOW this works I haven't a fucking clue, but it's interesting enough.

Don't trust Aleister Crowley too much, as he did allot of heroin, and couldn't even psionically cure his own blood-poisoning from the cat's blood which he drank & died from. He also openly admitted his will to serve Satan.


I can't read even a single page of what the man has written al of his life, except for his very last work 'Little Essays Towards Truth'. That is, to me, the ultimate guide to Kaballah. It's as ridiculous as the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, but at least equally meaningful. As for serving Satan - something a man openly admits is not always a representation of his actions. I interpret this is daring oth the Devil and society to do something about it. A cry for attention, in psychiatrist terms. Attention he certainly got, it must be said.
[quotes]
The Thelemite sigil is basically a distortion of the "Star-of-David", and a total inversion of the Pentagram. These distored-inversions of the meaning of the symbol ... says allot about the ineffable mobilization, the gnostic meaning, permiated with demons.[/quote]
[/quote]
Are you calling me a Thelemite? You Thelemite! There, who'se the Thelemite now!
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Postby Zatchari » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:36 pm

This topic has changed a good bit since first introduced and it's all good, but i wish to comment on the earliest entry.

I believe words are merly the symbols put to thought. We can write an entire paragraph trying to explain one single spark in the brain that we immediatly understand. So life and communication is in essence is like a deaf man scrambling to hold up the right flashcards, hoping his counterparts understand him in the way he intends.

Mystics rely on this uninhabited speech, i believe, as a way of letting go of the learned world, of all the complications and symbols that more or less cloud our instincts and prolong a single "spark" in the brain. I think we can all agree we sometimes get in a flow when we're not trying to think, it just kind of does it for us, and we feel much more in touch and accurate in our intentions. This uninhabbited speech is much like meditation, clearing the mind and giving it the chance to do what is natural for it.

Hope I protrayed my "spark" the way I intended.
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Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:00 pm

This topic has changed a good bit since first introduced and it's all good, but i wish to comment on the earliest entry.

I believe words are merly the symbols put to thought. We can write an entire paragraph trying to explain one single spark in the brain that we immediatly understand. So life and communication is in essence is like a deaf man scrambling to hold up the right flashcards, hoping his counterparts understand him in the way he intends.


Well the good thing is that spoken words have an emotional charge as well as a conceptual meaning. Words as mere form are really difficult tools to communicate, you have to be an artist to be able to do that properly. On this forum there are a couple of people who have real style, and they manage to make me laugh and draw me into a debate even if it's interesting to me per se. Most of the time, these people don't speak all too literally - they might even say the opposite of what they mean in a comical formulation to make a point. There's a playful dynamic in the form aspect of their language which breathes life into it. Communication must live.

Mystics rely on this uninhabited speech, i believe, as a way of letting go of the learned world, of all the complications and symbols that more or less cloud our instincts and prolong a single "spark" in the brain. I think we can all agree we sometimes get in a flow when we're not trying to think, it just kind of does it for us, and we feel much more in touch and accurate in our intentions. This uninhabbited speech is much like meditation, clearing the mind and giving it the chance to do what is natural for it.


Yes, but again, thought is something different from reason. Consider this quote by Niels Bohr, the quantumphysicist:
"No, no, you're not thinking, you're just being logical".
If we play baseball, it is good to eliminate our thoughts and just hit the ball really hard. Any thoughts will get in the way of this force. But if we try to understand something of which we asre part, such as the universe or our own cnsciousness (of which our thinking is part) then simply to stop thinking won't do the trick. We do need some kind of method for this. China brougth forth the I Ching to this purpose, Egypt the Tree of Life, and there are probably some other systems. My prime focus has been on the Tree of Life, as it is very electrical, explosive, dynamic, western. It's bases on formulatimng opposites accoriding to the force-form principle and then fusing them. This in itself is very liberating, as fusions of opposites always release a lot of energy and suspend rational thought for a while, making room for an extatic direct perception of and involvement in being.

“The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.” - Niels Bohr
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Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:17 pm

The above is the reason people who like to think are usually attracted to ideas and opinions in high contrast to their own, and to those of their background. This is the motivation for my declaration of war with all formulations; fertile thought is not reason; it is sex and battle between constrasting forms of it

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Postby Zatchari » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:52 pm

Any thoughts will get in the way of this force. But if we try to understand something of which we asre part, such as the universe or our own cnsciousness (of which our thinking is part) then simply to stop thinking won't do the trick


I agree. I didn't specify enough. To the common person, consumed in their daily lives and drama, or one who's goal is solving their own spiritual or internal problems, stopping or limiting thought as much as possible is a more benefical practice, for I believe we have many of our toughest questions answered for us if we merely take the time to listen to our intuition. But, of course there is a point which their is little more the simplifying of the mind can accomplish, and true deep thought is needed.( Like the issues on these forums)

This in itself is very liberating, as fusions of opposites always release a lot of energy and suspend rational thought for a while, making room for an extatic direct perception of and involvement in being.



I agree, I work with a religious fundamentalist who is very extreme and says some ridiculous stuff. yet I can't help but go start conversation with him again because an opposite keeps you on your toes, gives you something to work with. Much more interesting then someone idley nodding or clueless. Only problem I have with opposites is the arrogance encountered.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby soph » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:37 am

Jakob wrote:there is, for example, the threefold layer of negative existence; Ein, Ein Soph and Ein Soph Aur. Respectively:
nothing, no limit and light with no limit.


:o i am negative existence. meeshk.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:45 pm

our lady is not some magical being out there somewhere, like a fairy godmother. she's not the statue in the parlor. she's something inside of you. do you understand what i'm telling you?' - sue monk kidd, 'the secret life of bees


I believe I do, She is the object of the majortiy of meditation of occultism; She's that which brings out and feeds the inner child. Jesus said 'No one shall come through the Father except through the Mother.'
In Yoga, she is the Kundalini, in gnosticism the Holy Ghost. In poets she is the Muse and in philosophers she is Sophia. It is she who possesses the shaman.

Her threefold aspect; the maiden, the mother and the witch, Persephone, Demeter and Hekate; the phases of the moon. In the Tree of Life, she is represented as Binah, the primordial form or Marah the great black sea from which all rises and which absorbs all again. To love her is to be on a path with with no way back and only one end;

The Innocence of the Adept? We are at once reminded of the strong Innocence of Harpocrates, and of His Energy of Silence. A chaste man is thus not merely one who avoids the contagion of impure thoughts and their results, but whose virility is competent to restore Perfection to the world about him. Thus the Parsifal who flees from Kundry and her attendant flower-witches loses his way and must wander long years in the Desert; he is not truly chaste until he is able to redeem her, an act which he performs by the reunion of the Lance and the Sangraal.
- Little Essays Towards Truth, Chastity.

The path is the circle, the center the end.

" The Beloved is all; the lover just a veil. The Beloved is living; the lover a dead thing " - Rumi, Mathnawi I
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Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:54 pm

Zatchari wrote:
I agree, I work with a religious fundamentalist who is very extreme and says some ridiculous stuff.


Like what?
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Postby Sauwelios » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:37 pm

Jakob wrote:Can we see thought beyond language?


This is an important question. According to Nietzsche, "We cease to think when we refuse to do so under the constraint of language" [The Will to Power, section 522]. And what is language? According to Wikipedia;

"A language is a system of signals, such as voice sounds, gestures or written symbols, that encode or decode information."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language

And what is thought? According to Wikipedia;

"Thought or thinking is a mental process which allows beings to model the world, and so to deal with it effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought

And what is the world? We cannot rely on Wikipedia here. We must turn to Harry Neumann:

"[S]cience is the simple realization that whatever is experienced – a self, a world, the law of contradiction, a god, or anything else – is nothing apart from its being experienced. When students complain of “identity crises,” I tell them not to worry, since neither they nor anyone else has an identity about which to have a crisis! For science, genuine knowledge of reality, reveals a world of nothing but empty experiences, impressions as Hume called them."
[Harry Neumann, Politics or Nothing!]

We can model the world, which is the sum of all our impressions, by representing these impressions, by themselves or in bundles, by signals. If we model it by these impressions themselves, if we do not encode the information, if our impressions represent themselves, our model is the world. "Thought beyond language", therefore, is simply another way of saying "direct experience of the world". And as our direct experience is the world, it is simply another way of saying nothing.
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Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:17 pm

[edited]

Finally, a thought provoking post.

Sauwelios wrote:
Jakob wrote:Can we see thought beyond language?


"Thought beyond language", therefore, is simply another way of saying "direct experience of the world". And as our direct experience is the world, it is simply another way of saying nothing.


In your light indeed it does seem to be futile. I had to ponder this one; let me first say that t's self-evident that one cannot prove there is thought beyond language by means of language. To refute your argument I have to introduce the Gestalt. More on this later, I'd Like. Anyway,
You instinctively said it was an important question at the top of your post, but rationally ended with concluding it was literally meaningless. I think here's what happened. You reduced the question to elements, making it into pieces of a whole. But in this case the whole is, or rather suggests, more than the pieces combined - I mean to present 'thought beyond language' as a Gestalt, not as a logical induction. I'll give you an example of an argument parallel to this one in a simpler form; If the question would have been 'Are all regular triangles trianguar?' You have argued that there are, because a triangular riangle consists of three equally long lines, which can be arranged otherwise.

As this parallel doesn't hold since triangular is derived from triangle and thought not from language, at least not according to archaeological approach to history, I feel I should repeat that it's self-evident that one cannot prove there is thought beyond language by means of language. Unless someone invents a language beyond thought. And that, come to think of it, is Qabbalah.
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Postby Sauwelios » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:03 pm

Jakob wrote:In your light indeed it does seem to be futile. I had to ponder this one; let me first say that t's self-evident that one cannot prove there is thought beyond language by means of language. [...]
You instinctively said it was an important question at the top of your post, but rationally ended with concluding it was literally meaningless.


I still find the question important, and did not say so instinctively. I find it important because the answer, in my opinion, is "no", and I find it important that this be realised.

I think saying nothing is a pretty "Zen" thing. Is not Zen itself this thought beyond language? This direct experience of the world? Which is another way of saying "Being"?

I find the idea of the world as a model quite fascinating.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby soph » Sat Sep 09, 2006 6:48 am

Jakob wrote:
She is the object of the majortiy of meditation of occultism; She's that which brings out and feeds the inner child.. in philosophers she is Sophia.


not too bad, then.

many philosophers (the most major of which, certainly in recent times, has been wittgenstein - 'the limits of my language are the limits of my world') have claimed that language entirely shapes and determines our thoughts - and, as the posts here have shown, the types of argument they use can often be quite convincing; i'm thinking in particular of the not-proving-thought-before-language-using-language argument.

however, to my mind there are various responses to this. do babies not think, then, before they learn to use language? did primitive, language-less peoples or animals not think? do we not (frequently, in the cases of some) experience moments in which we know what we want to say but cannot find the right word or words with which to say it?

i concede that language may help us to think in the advanced and complex way we are used to; at a fundamental level, though, it seems to me that thought comes first.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby Sauwelios » Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:01 pm

soph wrote:do babies not think, then, before they learn to use language?


Nope. They do experience, but in order to think they need a language - be it baby-language.

did primitive, language-less peoples or animals not think?


I think I shall stress here that language need not be word language. Animals and primitive peoples have many wordless ways for communication, as do we, being still in many ways animals and primitive people.

do we not (frequently, in the cases of some) experience moments in which we know what we want to say but cannot find the right word or words with which to say it?


If you can't find the right words, you don't know what to say. Perhaps you know what you want to express; but not how you might express it. I.e., you know what you want to communicate - your experience -, but not how to model this experience, what signals to use to let others know what it is you experience. I think experiences cannot be shared; but others may imagine what you experience. In communication, it is always a faith that you understand, that you are understood. You cannot know for sure that someone else understands you exactly, you can only believe you know. In fact, you can be sure you are not understood exactly, that the other does not have the same experience you have, but a similar experience at best. Consider the following:

"We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. [...] Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.
Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to permit of inferential understanding or even mutual empathy or 'feeling into.' [...] But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even non-existent. The mind is its own place, and the places inhabited by the insane or the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience."
[Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception.]

This is especially true of psychedelic experiences. People who are not on psychedelics do not understand and cannot be made to understand. But there may be empathy between people who are both on psychedelics. But this is a question of faith, of believing that you understand one another, that you know what the other person means, sees, experiences. And this is true for all empathy. It is a kind of faith. And this faith may bring redemption, redemption from the feeling of isolation - but never from the isolation itself.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby soph » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:41 am

Sauwelios wrote:
1) Nope. They do experience, but in order to think they need a language - be it baby-language.

2) I think I shall stress here that language need not be word language. Animals and primitive peoples have many wordless ways for communication, as do we, being still in many ways animals and primitive people.

3) If you can't find the right words, you don't know what to say. Perhaps you know what you want to express; but not how you might express it. I.e., you know what you want to communicate - your experience -, but not how to model this experience, what signals to use to let others know what it is you experience.


1) i actually think this particular issue (about babies) confuses the matter, because, whether or not it is possible for thought to come before language, babies' brains might simply not be developed enough to process what we call 'thought' anyway. i'm no neuropsychologist, but that's my guess. my bad for introducing this point.

2) a fair point. i think it would be easiest at this point if you stated what kind of behaviour you would not classify as 'communication' so we can work from there.

3) this is exactly my point. you know what you want to express, that is, your thoughts, but not how you might express it, that is, you do not know how to utilize language to express it.
'our lady is not some magical being out there somewhere, like a fairy godmother. she's not the statue in the parlor. she's something inside of you. do you understand what i'm telling you?' - sue monk kidd, 'the secret life of bees'
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Postby krathnami » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:01 am

faust wrote:"Yes, some people's philosophy, or their attitude towards philosophy will make them try to find a hole in absolutely anything- I could have said "Jack is Jack" or "1+1=2", and the natural response of some would have been to cook up some way in which it could be disagreed with.


Maybe. But that's debatable. Consider a pregnant mother. Not only is she herself and carrying a baby, another seperate entity, but the baby and herself are still implicitly ONE. 1+1=2 and also 1+1=1.
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Postby Jakob » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:54 pm

krathnami wrote:Consider a pregnant mother. Not only is she herself and carrying a baby, another seperate entity, but the baby and herself are still implicitly ONE. 1+1=2 and also 1+1=1.

That doesn't make sense to me - if the baby and the mother are one, then there is no 1+1, only 1.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby Jakob » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:17 pm

Sauwelios wrote:I think saying nothing is a pretty "Zen" thing. Is not Zen itself this thought beyond language? This direct experience of the world? Which is another way of saying "Being"?

Both Zen and Kabbalah have their supreme state of awareness and origin in nothingness. But is describing nothingness the same as saying nothing?

Sauwelios wrote: you can be sure you are not understood exactly, that the other does not have the same experience you have, but a similar experience at best. Consider the following:

"We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. [...] Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.
Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to permit of inferential understanding or even mutual empathy or 'feeling into.' [...] But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even non-existent. The mind is its own place, and the places inhabited by the insane or the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience."
-Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception.


The point you've made as I see it is that language is imperfect as a means to communicate thought. Isn't the logical consequence of this that thought must be beyond language?
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:51 pm

Jakob wrote:
krathnami wrote:Consider a pregnant mother. Not only is she herself and carrying a baby, another seperate entity, but the baby and herself are still implicitly ONE. 1+1=2 and also 1+1=1.

That doesn't make sense to me - if the baby and the mother are one, then there is no 1+1, only 1.


When we regard the mother as a unit, it is we who have distinguished her from the womb that is society. We can do the same for the child. Now consider we regard the mother as 1: does she remain 1 when she eats, or when she excretes, or when she loses a limb? Does she have a distinct, imperishable essence that is 1?

We may call the universe 1, or the galaxy, or the stellar system, or the planet, or the ecosystem, or the organism, or the organ, or the cell, or the molecule, or the quantum. It's completely arbitrary.

I think we can only say, rationally, not empirically, that the All is 1, and that it is the only thing of its kind, so there is no 1+1. Within the All, we may define units, but we can never define identical units, so there is no 1+1 there, either.
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Re: all formulations are wrong

Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:19 pm

soph wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:
1) Nope. They do experience, but in order to think they need a language - be it baby-language.

2) I think I shall stress here that language need not be word language. Animals and primitive peoples have many wordless ways for communication, as do we, being still in many ways animals and primitive people.

3) If you can't find the right words, you don't know what to say. Perhaps you know what you want to express; but not how you might express it. I.e., you know what you want to communicate - your experience -, but not how to model this experience, what signals to use to let others know what it is you experience.


1) i actually think this particular issue (about babies) confuses the matter, because, whether or not it is possible for thought to come before language, babies' brains might simply not be developed enough to process what we call 'thought' anyway. i'm no neuropsychologist, but that's my guess. my bad for introducing this point.

2) a fair point. i think it would be easiest at this point if you stated what kind of behaviour you would not classify as 'communication' so we can work from there.

3) this is exactly my point. you know what you want to express, that is, your thoughts, but not how you might express it, that is, you do not know how to utilize language to express it.


1) I think it was a good thing to introduce, and my reply a good one, if I may say so myself.

2) Good one. I have to ponder on this.

3) It has now become necessary to define what we mean by "thought" and "thoughts". I have already referred to Wikipedia for this. If you think you have better definitions, please share them.

"Thought or thinking is a mental process which allows beings to model the world, and so to deal with it effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking

"Thought is a mental process which allows beings to be conscious, make decisions, imagine and, in general, operate on symbols in a rational or irrational manner. It is an element/instance of thinking and is used as its synonym."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_%28disambiguation%29

"In philosophy, thought is also a synonym for idea"
[ibid.]

"An idea (Greek: ἰδέα) is an image existing or formed in the mind."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idea

So, according to these definitions, thoughts are ideas. The Online Etymology Dictionary has the following entry for "think":

"O.E. þencan "conceive in the mind, think, consider, intend" (past tense þohte, p.p. geþoht), probably originally "cause to appear to oneself"
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=think

"Idea" also has this sense of "appearance":

"1430, "figure, image, symbol," from L. idea "idea," and in Platonic philosophy "archetype," from Gk. idea "ideal prototype," lit. "look, form," from idein "to see," from PIE *wid-es-ya-, suffixed form of base *weid- "to see" (see vision). Sense of "result of thinking" first recorded 1645."
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=idea

So you may experience things in the mind, and we may even consider whether not all experience is in the mind, but you cannot express these things before you have separated them into distinct "things" and symbolised these by symbols. But in order to think, that is, communicate to yourself, you need to do this; before you do, what you experience in the mind are not thoughts, not ideas, but just impressions.
Last edited by Sauwelios on Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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