Ideas emerge above the level of description, in the realm of raw imaginal stuff, and the act of attaching symbols or words to them; a ballast of semantic and semiotic material, drags them down, inevitably mis-shapen and only partially described. This effort is however required to make conceptualisations available to others, for pleasure, and for the critical purposes of dialectical exchange.

Ideally in the course of time, such attempts at definition refine and hopefully become more congruent with the original, grasped notion.
These writings should be recognised as such tentative articulations, gleaned in part from intuition and observation, but also drawn from the ideas of all of the others who have attempted this same process, ideas that have happened, for whatever reason to pass through this local, noospheric sensorium.

Therefore, also included, are thoughts and intentions which have been unintentionaly corrupted or similarly misunderstood, en-route. As such, these scribblings are not to be considered as propositions of truth, simply the queriously curioidal and playfully humble, speculations of one that is many.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Europa, originally uploaded by Negentropic Object 23.

Dualistic Oppositions Generate Mental Antagonisms

..or somewhat of ramble by way of continuation of ‘MetaMeme’…

The way we use language profoundly influences the way that we think and therefore how we experience and internally represent Universe. In relation to this point it seems to me that the overwhelming prevalence of oppositional thought patterns in our mental lives has been a source of much individual and collective experiential error. The fact that we are so susceptible to them and that these systems of thought have become so heavily embedded in our culture’s parsing, has something to do with the obvious symmetries inherent in our bodies and the dyadic observations of our lives e.g. male/female - night/day - earth/sky - life/death etc. which have been coded into our mythologies overtly and occult since story was born. Dualistic metaphors and models have no doubt been a useful part of our intellectual and philosophical development, in that they allow simplification and hence intellectual comfort, and are ideal for the formulation of debate, but unfortunately they now continually confound our efforts to move forward intellectually.

To extend this notion, I don’t think it is unreasonable to suggest that such absolutist dualistic oppositions are now not just abstractions, but do in fact have tangible manifestations (just think of morality or politics), and as such have at least in part led to many of our most dangerous social and environmental problems. A specific and temporally significant example would be the delineation of humans from ‘nature’ in Christian dogma (a pattern that has been ironically maintained by its offspring Humanism and that no doubt pre-existed both), that to my mind has served to literally abstract the biosphere from our experience. Rather than being part of its continuum, a facet of the dynamic meta-organism that is Earth, we have to come to see nature as somehow external and separate and ourselves conversely as hallowed and special. The consequence of this dualism is that we are more inclined to use and misuse our environment; we compete more than cooperate, we think selfishly rather than symbiotically, all the while growing evermore atomised, contiguous and damaged. It is very important to deconstruct such reality tunnels and find ways to think a little bit more grey, more maybe, as this might alleviate at least some of our inner tension, if not our bigger problems, moving us into the spectral domain, potentially even back into the continuum.

I also consider that these habituated neuro-linguistic patterns can be utilised insidiously by the unsavoury as well as by the ignorant and as such, maintained, often in defiance of actuality, long after the notion should have been discarded. These embedded imprints can then be used as the basis for the maintenance of power, which as a consequence brings the debasement of good argument, a word that now seems to effect much negative and discomforting feeling. When, as in the case of an oppositional model, one can only be right or wrong, an argument often becomes a confrontation rather than an exercise in elucidation; a battle, where discourse leads to the re-enforcement of ego and dogma, rather than a breakthrough into deeper understanding, and as such communication is sabotaged. This is most problematic when there is an imbalance of authority in a debate, where established power structures or intellectual paradigms, with their vested interests and entourage of experts, face novelty or dissent. The notion of dissent here can be softly re-engineered and attached to this lurking negativity, reconfigured into nay-saying, antagonism and worse, by those who wish to claim the authority of 'right', so that dissent effectively comes to be perceived as 'wrong', in the minds of audience.

Perhaps it is na├»ve to expect any more, but intellectual and often social history has always seen the eventual capitulation of paradigm defence to the march of novelty. Paradigm shifts sometimes occur peacefully, but more often difficultly and brutally, and the one we are currently engaged in certainly seems to be dragging heels. The replacement of a recalcitrant mechanistic linear determinism (albeit with a respectful acknowledgement) with a non-linear holistic system approach is desired, and I consider the de-emphasis of dualist thinking to be part of this shift. Simply though and to reiterate, communication is essential and necessarily continuous, and a healthy dialectical exchange should require us to question our own opinions and ‘truths’, as much as those of others.

..Semantic drift...
Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.