all formulations are wrong

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Postby Sauwelios » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:39 pm

heavenly_demonic wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:Jakob's contention seems to be that it is possible to think outside of language.


I c , thank you... so when I think that language and logic can be flawed am I thinking 'outside of language'? I am , right?


No, because you are thinking that (i.e., communicating that to yourself) in a language.

Hey, by the way, Jakob, I just had an insight in the Tree of Life! You say:

"The central concept [of Kqabballahh], the tree of life, is a glyph consisting of ten spheres representing ten stages of manifestation, from spirt [sic] to matter."

As matter is simply energy condensed to a slow vibration, Kether, the highest sphere, must be light, and Malkuth, the lowest sphere, must be solid matter; nay, these two are asymptotes, as the highest (fastest vibration) would be light at the speed it would have in absolute vacuum, whereas the lowest (the slowest vibration) would be matter at zero degrees Kelvin, which might only be attained in absolute vacuum. Absolute vacuum is, of course, Ayn.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby heavenly_demonic » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:44 pm

what is Ayn? and ... are you saying that the highest sphere = the lowest?
or that they are complete opposites?
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:54 am

heavenly_demonic wrote:what is Ayn? and ... are you saying that the highest sphere = the lowest?
or that they are complete opposites?


Brilliant, heavenly demonic! I hadn't even thought of that yet. In Kakaballah, Malkuth is indeed Kether (but Kether "on a lower plain", whatever that means). Numerologically, also: for Malkuth is 10, and Kether is 1, and 10 is really 1+0, is 1!

Ayn and Ein are both transliterations of the same Hebrew word. The Hebrew alphabet is different from ours: this is why you can write "Kaballah", or "Qabala", or "Kakaquaballah", and nobody will give a damn.

Yes, I am saying that the two poles between which our universe is stretched are really the same. For absolute speed would be the speed of light in absolute vacuum, whereas absolute temperature would be the temperature of matter in absolute vacuum. These poles are asymptote, which means they can never be reached, only approached. Look at the universe as a bracelet: you know those bracelets (some rings have it too) which aren't completely closed? There is a little gap between its two ends? Well, one end of the universe is light at the highest speed that can be attained, which means the light is propagating through a very, but not completely, empty space. The other end is matter (atoms) moving at the lowest speed that can be attained, which means it is very, very cold, almost 0 degrees Kelvin, but not quite.

Light can never propagate through absolute vacuum (absolutely empty space), because if there is light it isn't completely empty, right? Likewise, an atom can never dwell in absolute vacuum. In fact, absolute vacuum can never exist, because then there would be nothing, whereas, as you can see, there is something - indeed, there is everything.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Jakob » Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:07 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
Again, Jakob: what woods? How does your Neanderthal separate it from its surroundings? I say that he needs an image of a woods in order to think about it at all.


Interesting; It appears that we've struck a point of difference between our ways of thinking - I do not encounter images in this kind of thought process. (Only when I would want to communicate this idea to someone else I'd need gestures, but that wasn't the case in this scenario - because communicating ideas to another person is something different from thinking itself)

When there are visuals in my thinking, they often aren't images, not representations of things, no language. (they don't bear meaning)
What I see is more comparable to lightning, eletricity, raw formations of colors that seem to represent the thougth process itself if anything.

This started, I think, during the cyberdelic trip, in which I was very afraid of the impossibility to translate what I saw into any kind of meaning - I now see that my attempt to translate were also visible - but not in a representation, not in a symbolic form, not with <i>meaning</i>, just raw sensory experience.

When you fall with your head on a rock, the pain could also be called language, as the fact that you've hit something hard is communicated to you. This is the level at which they caveman example takes place. Does pain qualify as language for you?
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Postby Jakob » Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:19 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
heavenly_demonic wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:Jakob's contention seems to be that it is possible to think outside of language.


I c , thank you... so when I think that language and logic can be flawed am I thinking 'outside of language'? I am , right?


No, because you are thinking that (i.e., communicating that to yourself) in a language.

Hey, by the way, Jakob, I just had an insight in the Tree of Life! You say:

"The central concept [of Kqabballahh], the tree of life, is a glyph consisting of ten spheres representing ten stages of manifestation, from spirt [sic] to matter."

As matter is simply energy condensed to a slow vibration, Kether, the highest sphere, must be light, and Malkuth, the lowest sphere, must be solid matter; nay, these two are asymptotes, as the highest (fastest vibration) would be light at the speed it would have in absolute vacuum, whereas the lowest (the slowest vibration) would be matter at zero degrees Kelvin, which might only be attained in absolute vacuum. Absolute vacuum is, of course, Ayn.



Actually, I think Daath is equatable to light, and the abyss the light-barrier.
Light is discernible form, and Chesed is the first real form - the supernal triangle is beyond manifestation, beyond light, even.
Light, by the way, does not travel faster in vacuum, it's speed is absolute.

Absolute vacuum is also below the abyss, as it implies space, and space only comes into being in Binah.

Everything above the abyss is only discernible when looking inward - where it may appear as light.
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Postby Jakob » Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:28 pm

OK Computer wrote:I'm sorry if this has already been discussed, but wouldn't the only other plausible possibility of thought without language be thought with emotions?

To me this seems possible
.
Or are emotions languages (symbols, etc)?

No, emotions are motion, moving energy without form, without 'meaning' they are the opposite of language. That is how it is so difficult to express them when they're intense and pure.
And if thought with emotions was possible, could Love be a language?


God, no! What a horrible thought. Love is not a means to communicate anything, it is rather the thing that causes us to want to communicate.
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Postby Jakob » Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:34 pm

heavenly_demonic wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:Jakob's contention seems to be that it is possible to think outside of language.

hey Jakob, are you a Kaabhalist? I don't really get that Ein Soph and the crown deal... I mean... are they ruled by our logic?, they aren't right? :o


All language is ruled by logic, so all I say to you is logical. I try for it not to be, but it is, at least sort of. It's a good sign that you're bewildered by it, though. Yes, I'm a Kaakbhaalist - that means I worskip Baal and the Ka'Ba.

heavenly_demonic wrote:what is Ayn? and ... are you saying that the highest sphere = the lowest?
or that they are complete opposites?


Ein is hebrew for No, Soph for Limit and Aur for Light. Aun Soph is no limit and Ein Soph Aur is limitless light.
And no, I'm not saying the highest sphere is the lowest. What made you think that?

Actually, most Kaaba-Baalists contend that the third highest sphere, the first form-shpere, is equal to the lowest, except that it's different.
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Postby Phil27of79 » Sun Sep 17, 2006 3:53 pm

thought before language.

How do we define love but by bringing up the idea we all can sypathize with. Physical definition has yet to be found.

Idealists love to think that if the world was just like them, the world would be perfect.
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:08 pm

Jakob wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:
Again, Jakob: what woods? How does your Neanderthal separate it from its surroundings? I say that he needs an image of a woods in order to think about it at all.


Interesting; It appears that we've struck a point of difference between our ways of thinking - I do not encounter images in this kind of thought process. (Only when I would want to communicate this idea to someone else I'd need gestures, but that wasn't the case in this scenario - because communicating ideas to another person is something different from thinking itself)

When there are visuals in my thinking, they often aren't images, not representations of things, no language. (they don't bear meaning)

I didn't necessarily mean visual images, though in my case they usually are. But I've received the book "How to Rread Heidegger", and in it found a passage of an actually readable book by him with a purport that gave me some new insights in this context. The purport says:

"imagine that I ask you to look out of the window and tell me what you see. As you look at the scene in front of you, certain features leap out as the important ones to describe. As you start to describe it, the words come to you already made. You are responding in speech to the way the world presents itself as already speakable."
[Mark Wrathall, How to Read Heidegger, chapter 8.]

This reminded me of "the Unspeakable", a term used by Terrence McKenna and, according to him, coined by Wittgenstein. The Unspeakable is what I, at least, used to see during a "trip"; it is direct experience - the perceptions have not been conceptualised. I could only "suffer" them, so to say, I could not think or talk about them... But now that I mention it, after a while I could influence them. I orchestrated music in my head, and this was a kind of thinking. The music was my language. So I still think you can't think beyond language, but I do, of course, think you can think beyond speech; also beyond language that is understandable for anyone else but yourself (remember my remark about baby language above).


Jakob wrote:What I see is more comparable to lightning, eletricity, raw formations of colors that seem to represent the thougth process itself if anything.


If they represent it, it is, according to my broad definition, a language. Kind of sounds like a trip of mine, though it is probably different.


Jakob wrote:This started, I think, during the cyberdelic trip, in which I was very afraid of the impossibility to translate what I saw into any kind of meaning - I now see that my attempt to translate were also visible - but not in a representation, not in a symbolic form, not with <i>meaning</i>, just raw sensory experience.

When you fall with your head on a rock, the pain could also be called language, as the fact that you've hit something hard is communicated to you. This is the level at which they caveman example takes place. Does pain qualify as language for you?


"[P]ain is defined as a signal of present or impending tissue damage effected by a harmful stimulus"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:21 pm

Jakob wrote:Actually, I think Daath is equatable to light, and the abyss the light-barrier.
Light is discernible form, and Chesed is the first real form - the supernal triangle is beyond manifestation, beyond light, even.
Light, by the way, does not travel faster in vacuum, it's speed is absolute.


That is, with due respect, nonsense. The speed of light is lower in water than it is in air, lower in air than it is in "space".

"Through any transparent or translucent material medium, like glass or air, light travels more slowly than c, its speed in a vacuum; the ratio of c to this slower speed is called the refractive index of the medium. In an analogous way, the light speed is also affected by gravity."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light

What Wikipedia here means by "vacuum" is, of course, the relative vacuum of space and in laboratories. Absolute vacuum is impossible.

If the speed of light would be absolute, it would propagate just as easily through stone as it does through glass.


Jakob wrote:Absolute vacuum is also below the abyss, as it implies space, and space only comes into being in Binah.


Space is not empty (vacant) at all:

"Plasmas are the most common phase of matter. Some estimates suggest that up to 99% of the entire visible universe is plasma[6]. Since the space between the stars is filled with a plasma, albeit a very sparse one (see interstellar medium and intergalactic space), essentially the entire volume of the universe is plasma"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_%28physics%29

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:23 pm

Jakob wrote:
heavenly_demonic wrote:what is Ayn? and ... are you saying that the highest sphere = the lowest?
or that they are complete opposites?


Ein is hebrew for No, Soph for Limit and Aur for Light. Aun Soph is no limit and Ein Soph Aur is limitless light.
And no, I'm not saying the highest sphere is the lowest. What made you think that?


This part of her post was actually a reply to me. Perhaps I confused you by also replying to the part that was directed at you.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:18 pm

Sauwelios
Okay, that was very stupid of me - but besides the point.
Back to Daath - in my conception this is the state of being where spirit, which has no substance, becomes the subtlest substance, being light. Daath is also the point where language is forged. From understanding, which is thought beyond language and is eternal, through knowledge, which is actual, to the first manifestation, the first conception of space, which is also actual.

Your direct experience in your trip relates to thought beyond language. When you started influencing it into music, that was when you stepped from Binah into Daath.
I'm not asking you to agree to this at all, mind you, just explaining my views. Trying to, anyway.

One more thing; you keep separating thought and direct experience. Why is that?
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Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:24 pm

Phil27of79 wrote:thought before language.

How do we define love but by bringing up the idea we all can sypathize with. Physical definition has yet to be found.

Try kissing someone you love. It'll get the message across. Oh God, now kissing is damned to be classified a language. Well, true, French kissing is more eloquent that Anglosaxan kissing. But they are both physical.

Phil27of79 wrote:Idealists love to think that if the world was just like them, the world would be perfect.


Do they? Maybe they're right.
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Postby Sauwelios » Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:50 pm

Jakob wrote:Sauwelios
Okay, that was very stupid of me - but besides the point.
Back to Daath - in my conception this is the state of being where spirit, which has no substance, becomes the subtlest substance, being light. Daath is also the point where language is forged. Form understanding, which is thought beyond language and is eternal, through knowledge, which is actual, to the first manifestation, the first conception of space, which is actual.

Your direct experience in your trip relates to thought beyond language. When you started influencing it into music, that was when you stepped from Binah into Daath.
I'm not asking you to agree to this at all, mind you, just explaining my views. Trying to, anyway.

One more thing; you keep separating thought and direct experience. Why is that?

Because otherwise, why should you call it "thought"? That there is experience beyond language I would agree. Indeed, unless language is regarded as a phenomenon in itself, experience is always beyond language.

I do not agree there's such a thing as "substance", though. For all we know, there isn't. Maybe Daath, then, is where you start to believe that phenomena are more than empty reveries:

"Unlike Nietzsche, the unscientific cling to their faith that their arbitrary hypotheses or ideologies can somehow be validated in practice. Both half-hearted nazis and communists are characterized by desperate determination to make their empty reveries seem more than merely private experiences." [Harry Neumann, Politics or Nothing!]

Maybe Understanding is in the following realisation:

"[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." [ibid.]

It is this pure experience which is "Force", then.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Sauwelios » Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:06 pm

"The concept of substance [is] a consequence of the concept of the subject: not vice versa! If we give up the soul, the "subject", then the presupposition of a "substance" is completely lacking."
[Nietzsche, Nachlass.]

It is in giving up the idea of the "subject" (and thereby of "objects") that we go beyond duality, beyond the Abyss - and beyond resentment:

"Philosophy, as distinct from science, is the political effort to think through, to seriously question, the common goods responsible for rootedness in one’s herd. It is this rootedness’s compulsion which makes herd members believe that they have selves and inhabit a world which exists as more than empty reveries. In that political world, the main concern of all bestial or human herd members is obtaining and defending their common or political good.

"Unlike unphilosophic herd members, philosophers, that is philosophic herd members do not unquestioningly accept what their herd believes to be right and good. They transform their herd’s main concern, to live the good or pious life, into a question. They doubt their herd’s claim to answer this question, to know what is good for its members. However, in the decisive respect, philosophic herd members side with their unphilosophic brethren by embracing the illusion that their political good exists as something more than nihilistic reveries. Like all herd members, philosophers are shaped by what Nietzsche called the spirit of revenge.

"Unlike scientists knowledgeable about reality’s nihilism, philosophers never doubt the existence of a true moral-political good for their herd, however difficult or even impossible it may be to adequately ascertain this good. Since they obtain this fundamental certainty not by self-evident insight but by a political faith shared by all herd members, they remain philosophers, seekers after wisdom or knowledge [and not wise men, men who have attained to Chokmah, Wisdom]." [Harry Neumann, Politics or Nothing!]
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Jakob » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:13 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
Jakob wrote:One more thing; you keep separating thought and direct experience. Why is that?

Because otherwise, why should you call it "thought"? That there is experience beyond language I would agree. Indeed, unless language is regarded as a phenomenon in itself, experience is always beyond language.

In one of the earlier posts of this thread I've touched on the idea that language is something in itself, consisting of both force and form. Thanks for bringing that back - it's important. Language does not necessarily represent, as there are many languages I do not understand, which still can communicate to me in song.

The other side; Thought can also be direct experience. The connection the primate makes between the burning wood and the spark is experience. In me, thoughts ar often as direct as experience gets. No represention, no being, but becoming. After that, the thought settles in symbolism, language, being.

I do not agree there's such a thing as "substance", though. For all we know, there isn't. Maybe Daath, then, is where you start to believe that phenomena are more than empty reveries:

Maybe Daath is where the All started to believe that, yes. Quite likely. Daath, with that, is also the introduction of knowledge - the belief that S=P in an actual statement. When you ascend above Daath, all knowledge becomes absurd and it is possible to connect all S's to all P's. It is at this point, I think, that the magicians passion to create comes into play - when it is no longer interesting what is 'true' or not, all that matters is that watever is, is. This is the meaning if "I am that I am.'
At this point the becoming ceases to be a struggle for survival or power, it becomes a process for the sole purpose of unfolding as a process.

Maybe the fear that overtook you when you felt the struggle was about the stop being a struggle was your survival instinct telling you that you needed to survive - instead of just be. It's conceivable to me that if you had let this instinct go, it would be inconsequential whether you lived or died. (?)

Maybe Understanding is in the following realisation:

"[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." [ibid.]

It is this pure experience which is "Force", then.



There was a zen monk who said that 'all things are rooted in themselves'
This is a similar observation. There is no way to define anything by other means than itself. And of course, one's conception of what 'is' is rooted in the experiencing of it.

A agree that pure experience is force. I hold to the idea that thought can be direct experience.
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Postby Jakob » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:18 am

A breakthrough - the experience of creating a symbol.
Thought creates and destroys language.
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Postby Jakob » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:39 am

thought beyond language is the essence of what is meant in the language inspired by that thought. When Steven Spielberg creates the symbolism of ET, he does so from an inspiration, which he has to manifest in symbolism. Film is language much closer to thought beyond language than written language. I think that it is questionable even to call film language - it makes use of different languages in order to bring across something that is not expressible in any of these languages - an experience.
Film is direct experience. So is music - neither are representation of things. Can they be called language?
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Postby Sauwelios » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:59 am

Jakob wrote:thought beyond language is the essence of what is meant in the language inspired by that thought. When Steven Spielberg creates the symbolism of ET, he does so from an inspiration, which he has to manifest in symbolism. Film is language much closer to thought beyond language than written language. I think that it is questionable even to call film language - it makes use of different languages in order to bring across something that is not expressible in any of these languages - an experience.
Film is direct experience. So is music - neither are representation of things. Can they be called language?

Read The Birth of Tragedy. Really. At least the first eight chapters:

http://www.geocities.com/thenietzschechannel/bt3.htm

Already the first alinea of the first chapter contains the text:

"It is by those two art sponsoring deities, Apollo and Dionysus, that we are made to recognize the tremendous split, as regards both origins and objectives, between the plastic, Apollinian arts and the nonvisual art of music inspired by Dionysus."

Is not film a combination of visual and aural art (supposing the film in question is a work of art, of course)? Is not tragedy possible in film (and not in music alone; for it needs words to paint pictures. Example: an audio-only homeversion of Carmen)?
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Jakob » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:25 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
Jakob wrote:thought beyond language is the essence of what is meant in the language inspired by that thought. When Steven Spielberg creates the symbolism of ET, he does so from an inspiration, which he has to manifest in symbolism. Film is language much closer to thought beyond language than written language. I think that it is questionable even to call film language - it makes use of different languages in order to bring across something that is not expressible in any of these languages - an experience.
Film is direct experience. So is music - neither are representation of things. Can they be called language?

Read The Birth of Tragedy. Really. At least the first eight chapters:

http://www.geocities.com/thenietzschechannel/bt3.htm

Already the first alinea of the first chapter contains the text:

"It is by those two art sponsoring deities, Apollo and Dionysus, that we are made to recognize the tremendous split, as regards both origins and objectives, between the plastic, Apollinian arts and the nonvisual art of music inspired by Dionysus."

Is not film a combination of visual and aural art (supposing the film in question is a work of art, of course)? Is not tragedy possible in film (and not in music alone; for it needs words to paint pictures. Example: an audio-only homeversion of Carmen)?


Ah! That's certainly an inpiring suggestion.
I was just watching the making of La Haine, which was made around the point where I stopped filming. I was trying to define what the past ten years have taught me that I can apply to film. You've just formulated the answer.
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Postby Jakob » Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:15 pm

I've just read the first three chapters. I have to reflect on them, or let them sink in, it would be a waste to continue reading now.
I won't spend many words here, I think - but perhaps an attempt to summarize what I've read would be a good idea.

The necessity of the Apollonian fantasy of the the Olympian Gods flowed from the same savageness of nature that would later break through that fantasy as the Dionysian. The Greeks, an artist people, intensely emotional and impressionable, were forced, in order to make existence bearable at all, to draw their own attention away from the cruelty and indifference of reality they perceived so much better than was confortable, and to do this they created ahead of themselves, beyond themselves - a realm of abundant and triumphant luxury and delight in life, suggesting to them that there was an inherent, an essential worth to existence. This not only shielded them from believing that random horror a was the final unavoidable reality, but did much more; it empowered them to build a culture around the celebration of life that itself still passes, 2500 years later, as unavoidable to a comprehension of reality. The Greeks reversed the effects of a too keen awareness. It could be said that their sensitivity was too keen to exist passively - it had to take control of reality, simply because not to do so became unbearable.

If this fantasy is the reality that keen awareness creates, is this not more real than simple acceptance of the 'real' reality, which is bearable only to lesser awareness - ?
Back to reading....
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Postby Navigator » Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:45 pm

In the course of this discussion -- I can't recall offhand -- has anyone defined "language"? It seems to me that Jakob began by referring to language in the common understanding, as words and sentences, but Sauwelios is using the term to mean any use of representative symbols whatsoever. Thus, an artist's painting would become language, likewise an engineer's drawing, a photograph, or any tool used to communicate. Or even, as in his response to Jakob's example of the H. erectus discovering fire (incidentally, do we know if erectus had language or not -- in the ordinary sense?), whatever the brain uses for its internal communciation. (I was going to use an example of animals solving problems, clearly without "language" in the ordinary sense, and ask if problem-solving constituted "thought," but Jakob beat me to it.)

For purposes of this post, I'm going to define "language" in the ordinary sense. When a bird figures out how to break off a stick and use it to dig ants out of a nest to eat them, there may or may not be some sort of symbolic or representative or visual communication between parts of its brain, but there certainly are no words involved, as the bird does not have any words to use, and so I say that the bird is thinking without language. When I say "language," below, please understand I am using the word in this more restrictive sense.

Jakob, before going on, I want to take issue with something you said in your second post:

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


This is untrue. Language is used in mystic thought, including the Kabbalah, to signify. The names of the Sephiroth, which you've presented to us along with a nice drawing of the Tree of Life, are not meditative sounds, although they may be used as such; they are words carrying meaning. The same is true in non-Jewish mysticism as well. There is a whole branch of Yoga, called Jnana Yoga, which deals with thought, reason, philosophy, and science as a path to enlightenment. Even in less rational mysticism, such as Sufi poetry or that of Christian mystics such as St. John of the Cross, words are used to convey meaning, but they do so poetically and metaphorically, not directly and literally.

What IS true, though, is that enlightenment itself cannot be conveyed in words. Enlightenment conveys an understanding about the world and about one's own identity that cannot be directly expressed in language. It is something that must be directly experienced oneself. And that, I believe, goes to the heart of this discussion, considering that its OP is a student of the Kabbalah and that if language is required for thought, then the very premise of all mysticism is rendered nonsense, and becomes non-thought masquerading as thought. (Which, in a way, it is.)

Now I'm going to give some consideration to what we mean by "thought." And Jakob, it's not necessary to reject Wikipedia's definition. I believe what you're doing is applying the word to experiences of the mind that don't require inclusion in the concept. It's OK to restrict thought to processes and functions only tangential to mysticism; "thought is everything" is not a useful statement in my opinion.

Quite some time back, I also dealt with the ideas that someone (forget who, sorry) presented as being the heart of science (which they are not, but never mind) -- that reality is experience, plain and simple. Ideas about an "objective" world are abstractions from experience which cannot be verified. And I developed a philosophical model of the world with four experiential elements, as follows:

Sensation -- experience arising from the bodily senses.

Imagination -- experience resembling the bodily senses but not arising from them.

Thought -- cognitive modeling discerning order and regularity in the content of other forms of experience, or creating such order and regularity.

Emotion -- noncognitive modeling discerning value in the content of other forms of experience, or creating such value.

I'm actually not able to define "sensation" easily without reference to a model of "objective" reality, in that I'm saying that sensation actually arises from the bodily senses, while imagination does not but only resembles sensation. However, it's possible to discern the bodily senses experientially without supposing these senses to objectively exist; we observe a regularity about them and a quality of the experience itself that is somewhat different from even the most vivid imagination.

(I'm also not saying that the body, its senses, and the material world they inhabit DON'T objectively exist, only that such ideas are cognitive models and not observable reality.)

One important perspective from the above is to recognize thought as a component of experience, and not something separate from it. It is a part of the world, not something external that is pasted onto the world. And the same is true of imagination and emotion.

Mysticism is a fifth element of experience. It is the direct experience of unity with all we normally define as outside the "self," an intuitive recognition of the arbitrariness of all boundaries, and an experienced return to oneness (merging into Naught -- since experience requires two, an experiencer and a thing experienced, and when the two become one, experience ceases, and there is Nothing). All of the four experience elements above deal with the divided world. Mysticism deals with the world undivided.

With this in mind, the question of whether thought requires language becomes, I believe, less crucial in terms of Jakob's purpose for dealing with it. The simple answer, using the ordinary and restrictive definition of "language," is no -- thought is possible using other modeling tools without language. But it is not possible using no cognitive modeling tools at all.
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Postby Jakob » Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:34 pm

Thanks, Navigator, for summing up the problems that have passed so far.
The central point I see to your post is that whatever you include in the definition of language, enlightenment cannot be expressed by it.
This allows me to ask the very annoying question which I mean seriously notheless - can you imagine thought in enlightenment?

I think this sort of thought, dealing with the world undivided, <i>creates</i> language - it splits up the world in a system which is complete enough to bring ti back together, if handled properly. Such though must have created the kabbalistic tree of Life
What else could have?
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Postby Navigator » Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:18 pm

Jakob wrote:The central point I see to your post is that whatever you include in the definition of language, enlightenment cannot be expressed by it.


Yes and no. We can say what it is, but we cannot convey it to someone who does not have the experience necessary for understanding. If I say, "my coffee cup is black pottery," you will know what that means (more or less) because you have experienced coffee cups, pottery, and the color black. You understand the difference between a coffee cup and a wineglass, between pottery and styrofoam, and between black and, say, green. But when I say "mystical experience is an experience of one's own unity with all that is," that conveys a precise meaning only to another mystic, who has shared that experience and knows what I am talking about. To someone who has not, it's gobbledegook. And so, in trying to teach an aspirant, oftentimes one is better off using metaphorical language, poetic expression, rather than trying to describe the goal literally.

This allows me to ask the very annoying question which I mean seriously notheless - can you imagine thought in enlightenment?


You know the Zen saying, "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water"? Thinking is a part of that. One does not cease to be a human being. Therefore, one continues to think and feel. Cessation of thought is a temporary measure, a way of silencing the noise and allowing the quiet voice of the All to be heard. Or a way of putting down the mask, so that the true Face can be seen. But the trick is to keep hearing the voice through the noise, to remember the Face while wearing the mask. Not easy.

I think this sort of thought, dealing with the world undivided, <i>creates</i> language - it splits up the world in a system which is complete enough to bring ti back together, if handled properly. Such though must have created the kabbalistic tree of Life
What else could have?


Well, there is one other thing: the use of magical power. The Kabbala has been used for that purpose as well. But as far as its spiritual value, I see the Tree of Life as a form of Jnana Yoga. In the end, one has to surpass such intellectual systems. They may serve as roads for a time, but like all roads they can only take you so far. One must eventually go cross-country. That's especially true for someone who is inclined to intellectualize things. I am such a person, and I get the feeling you are, too. It's very tepting to make a fine symbolic map of the universe, and suppose the understanding of such a map to be enlightenment -- but it isn't. At best, it's a partial approach to enlightenment. At worst, it's a crutch and a trap.
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Fan Club

Postby gmsouri » Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:09 am

I propose we start a sauwelios fan club! Your artful integration, through thought, of science and philosophy to create relative, applicable, and potent points in an inspiration to those of us that believe in the beauty of the real philosophical experience.

"We who are about to die salute you" --- Gladiator =D>
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