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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12

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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Agreed ... somewhat:

The idea that knowledge and information both presuppose consciousness--so they cannot be equal [ to consciousness ] is something I am in 100% agreement with. I'm not so sure about the rest. I see no reason why consciousness ( assuming such could exist as an entirely independent phenomenon ) would need to rely on ( be dependent upon ) any changes other than the passage of time.

That is because I see consciousness in and of itself as entirely neutral. It is the stage upon which the play takes place, not the play itself. The absence of a set and characters and all the rest doesn't make the stage itself cease to exist. In the real world consciousness may not be able to exist as an entirely separate phenomenon from brains and bodies, but that doesn't change its essential nature.

It is still neutral. Returning to the start, it carries no information, or knowledge, or experiences of its own. Consciousness is the part of a person that makes that person aware of the fact that they have any knowledge or information ( or the lack thereof ) in the first place. Consciousness therefore also has nothing to do with afterlives. Entities in the afterlife ( for the sake of illustration ) could just as easily be philosophical zombies as those in the land of the living.
Randall, this is not a response to your linked post but a link to research that I received today that I think will be of great interest to those still following research regarding 'ufos' and their physical, neurological, and psychological effects on humans who encounter them at close quarters. Of course all this must also be extrapolated to the evidence of such traumatic encounters on animals. I don't follow the ufo subject much anymore so I don't know which thread to post this on and ask that you post it where you think it would be of most interest. Thanks.

Clinical Medical Acute & Subacute Field Effects on Human Dermal & Neurological Tissues | Microwave | Hearing
 

diny

Paranormally Abled
Agreed...somewhat:

The problem here is that knowledge and information both presuppose consciousness--so they cannot be "equal." Also consciousness cannot exist without a "lack" -- or a background which encapsulates and highlights "things"--or "thinks" A super-conscious being that is conscious of everything would negate itself--because consciousness relies on changes that can only arise from a flow of novel information...a continuous thread of new things are the fuel....with everything "known" or "understood" Dasien ceases to exist.
Could you please tell me where you have found this information? I would like to study it to see what conclusions I can draw from it.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Randall, this is not a response to your linked post but a link to research that I received today that I think will be of great interest to those still following research regarding 'ufos' and their physical, neurological, and psychological effects on humans who encounter them at close quarters. Of course all this must also be extrapolated to the evidence of such traumatic encounters on animals. I don't follow the ufo subject much anymore so I don't know which thread to post this on and ask that you post it where you think it would be of most interest. Thanks.

Clinical Medical Acute & Subacute Field Effects on Human Dermal & Neurological Tissues | Microwave | Hearing
I decided to read the material at the link I sent you and discovered that it opens to a collection of Trump administration propaganda. Since the link was attached to a YT video entitled UFO DISCLOSURE 2020 I went to the linked video and found beneath it the following contents list and links to the ufo-related material:
These links are what you'll want to post to the appropriate site here. I have no idea why the first link on the list goes to the Trump propaganda. Here's the link to the UFO DISCLOSURE 2020 video:

youtube.com/watch?v=vJQIL2XBEqE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR003-wumjffykv37dLl9s5FzTEKTfb1FG9muKKkNjPI9VQ4kfgIb7CjWC0
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Albert Camus on the Three Antidotes to the Absurdity of Life

Albert Camus on the Three Antidotes to the Absurdity of Life
“In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity.”

Brain Pickings by Maria Popova



Albert Camus.

"What an astrophysicist might have the perspective to eulogize as “the incredibly improbable trip that we’re on” the rest of us might, and often do, experience as simply and maddeningly absurd — so uncontrollable and incomprehensible as to barely make sense. What are we to make of, and do with, the absurdity of life that swarms us daily? Oliver Sacks believed that “the most we can do is to write — intelligently, creatively, evocatively — about what it is like living in the world at this time.” And yet parsing the what-it-is-like can itself drive us to despair. Still, parse we must.


More than a decade before Albert Camus (November 7, 1913–January 4, 1960) became the second-youngest laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded him for work that “with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times,” he contemplated the relationship between absurdity and redemption in a 1945 interview by the French journalist Jeanine Delpech, included at the end of his Lyrical and Critical Essays (public library) — the superb posthumous collection that gave us Camus on how to strengthen our character in difficult times and happiness, despair, and the love of life. . . ."


ETA: It was Camus who wrote "The only mistake is to cause suffering" in his powerful novel The Plague, which I would recommend to anyone coping with the despair and the challenges posed to us at present by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amazon.com: The Plague (9780679720218): Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert: Books
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
More about The Plague at the amazon page -- review comments and the first few pages of the text:

Amazon.com Review
The Nobel prize-winning Albert Camus, who died in 1960, could not have known how grimly current his existentialist novel of epidemic and death would remain. Set in Algeria, in northern Africa, The Plague is a powerful study of human life and its meaning in the face of a deadly virus that sweeps dispassionately through the city, taking a vast percentage of the population with it.

Reviews
“[Camus] believed that the actual historical incidents we call plagues are merely concentrations of a universal precondition, dramatic instances of a perpetual rule: that all human beings are vulnerable to being randomly exterminated at any time, by a virus, an accident or the actions of our fellow man . . . He speaks to us in our own times not because he was a magical seer who could intimate what the best epidemiologists could not, but because he correctly sized up human nature.”
—Alain de Botton, The New York Times (“Camus on the Coronavirus”)

“Its relevance lashes you across the face . . . At first, the epidemic, like all catastrophes, secretly confirms what everyone knew already; that is, it extends the narcissism of the times into the new era, often via the forbidden hope — that it will smite one’s enemies while sparing oneself . . . Eventually, the town lapses into a kind of collective despondency with one predictable exception: the enduring complacency of ‘a privileged few, those with money to burn.’”
—Stephen Metcalf, The Los Angeles Times (“Albert Camus’ The Plague and our own Great Reset”)

“The microbe has no meaning; we seek to create one in the chaos it brings . . . The plague, as Camus insisted, exposes existing fractures in societies, in class structure and individual character; under stress, we see who we really are.”
—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker (“The Coronavirus Crisis Reveals New York at Its Best and Worst”)

“Through his characters, Camus examines how people respond as individuals – and as part of a collective – to suffering and death. Whether it is a solitary experience or a show of social solidarity, nobody is indifferent.”
—Kim Willsher, The Guardian (“Albert Camus novel The Plague leads surge of pestilence fiction”)

“[In The Plague], Camus’s canonical treatment of a fictional bubonic plague outbreak in the Algerian city of Oran, the Nobel laureate trained a piercing eye on life under quarantine, with all its strangeness and misery. But the novel also takes seriously the lessons these trying moments can teach – treats them, even, as a kind of redemption.”
—Eric Andrew-Gee, The Globe and Mail (“The hope at the heart of Albert Camus’s plague novel, La peste”)

“Camus was preoccupied with the absurd . . . In The Plague he found a lens for projecting life at once suspended and more vivid . . . It is a redemptive book, one that wills the reader to believe, even in a time of despair.”
—Roger Lowenstein, The Washington Post (“In Camus’ The Plague, lessons about fear, quarantine and the human spirit”)

“[A] gorgeous and profound meditation on life in the shadow of death . . . I can’t think of a better book to recommend to anyone just now . . . A cautionary tale on how to mismanage a crisis, an encyclopedia of human psychology, and of course a terrifying worst-case scenario for our current predicament . . . More important than the answers it provides are the questions it forces us to ask. What matters? Why do we live? How durable are our values? What do we owe one another? What is heroism? What is decency?”
—Daniel Akst, Strategy + Business (“Business Lessons from Albert Camus”)

“A humanist allegory for the trapped desolation of Nazi-occupied Europe, and the alternate cowardice and bravery in the face of a rampant death machine.”
—Keziah Weir, Vanity Fair (“An Epidemic Novel for Every Kind of Reader”)

“[Camus] helps us understand our own responses, as a community and as individuals, in the face of extraordinary challenges.”
—David Hage, The Star Tribune (“Albert Camus helps us understand our responses during this crisis”)

“The most telling passages in The Plague today are Camus’ beautifully crafted meditative observations of the social and psychological effects of the epidemic on the townspeople . . . Epidemics make exiles of people in their own countries, our narrator stresses. Separation, isolation, loneliness, boredom and repetition become the shared fate of all.”
—Matthew Sharpe, The Conversation (“Guide to the Classics: Albert Camus’ The Plague”)

“Surprisingly uplifting.”
—Courtney Vinopal, PBS News Hour (“8 books to read in the time of the coronavirus”)


From the Inside Flap
A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.

About the Author
Born in Algeria in 1913, Albert Camus published The Stranger—now one of the most widely read novels of this century—in 1942. Celebrated in intellectual circles, Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. On January 4, 1960, he was killed in a car accident.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PART ONE


"The unusual events described in this chronicle occurred in 194– at Oran. Everyone agreed that considering their somewhat extraordinary character, they were out of place there. For its ordinariness is what strikes one first about the town of Oran, which is merely a large French port on the Algerian coast, headquarters of the Prefect of a French department.

The town itself, let us admit, is ugly. It has a smug, placid air and you need time to discover what it is that makes it different from so many business centers in other parts of the world. How to conjure up a picture, for instance, of a town without pigeons, without any trees or gardens, where you never hear the beat of wings or the rustle of leaves—a thoroughly negative place, in short? The seasons are discriminated only in the sky. All that tells you of spring's coming is the feel of the air, or the baskets of flowers brought in from the suburbs by peddlers; it's a spring cried in the marketplaces. During the summer the sun bakes the houses bone-dry, sprinkles our walls with grayish dust, and you have no option but to survive those days of fire indoors, behind closed shutters. In autumn, on the other hand, we have deluges of mud. Only winter brings really pleasant weather.

Perhaps the easiest way of making a town's acquaintance is to ascertain how the people in it work, how they love, and how they die. In our little town (is this, one wonders, an effect of the climate?) all three are done on much the same lines, with the same feverish yet casual air. The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits. Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is in commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, “doing business.” Naturally they don't eschew such simpler pleasures as love-making, seabathing, going to the pictures. But, very sensibly, they reserve these pastimes for Saturday afternoons and Sundays and employ the rest of the week in making money, as much as possible. In the evening, on leaving the office, they forgather, at an hour that never varies, in the cafés, stroll the same boulevard, or take the air on their balconies. The passions of the young are violent and short-lived; the vices of older men seldom range beyond an addiction to bowling, to banquets and “socials,” or clubs where large sums change hands on the fall of a card.

It will be said, no doubt, that these habits are not peculiar to our town; really all our contemporaries are much the same. Certainly nothing is commoner nowadays than to see people working from morn till night and then proceeding to fritter away at card-tables, in cafés and in small-talk what time is left for living. Nevertheless there still exist towns and countries where people have now and then an inkling of something different. In general it doesn't change their lives. Still, they have had an intimation, and that's so much to the good. Oran, however, seems to be a town without intimations; in other words, completely modern. Hence I see no need to dwell on the manner of loving in our town. The men and women consume one another rapidly in what is called “the act of love,” or else settle down to a mild habit of conjugality. We seldom find a mean between these extremes. That, too, is not exceptional. At Oran, as elsewhere, for lack of time and thinking, people have to love one another without knowing much about it.

What is more exceptional in our town is the difficulty one may experience there in dying. “Difficulty,” perhaps, is not the right word, “discomfort” would come nearer. Being ill is never agreeable, but there are towns that stand by you, so to speak, when you are sick; in which you can, after a fashion, let yourself go. An invalid needs small attentions, he likes to have something to rely on, and that's natural enough. But at Oran the violent extremes of temperature, the exigencies of business, the uninspiring surroundings, the sudden nightfalls, and the very nature of its pleasures call for good health. An invalid feels out of it there. Think what it must be for a dying man, trapped behind hundreds of walls all sizzling with heat, while the whole population, sitting in cafés or hanging on the telephone, is discussing shipments, bills of lading, discounts! It will then be obvious what discomfort attends death, even modern death, when it waylays you under such conditions in a dry place.

These somewhat haphazard observations may give a fair idea of what our town is like. However, we must not exaggerate. Really, all that was to be conveyed was the banality of the town's appearance and of life in it. But you can get through the days there without trouble, once you have formed habits. And since habits are precisely what our town encourages, all is for the best. Viewed from this angle, its life is not particularly exciting; that must be admitted. But, at least, social unrest is quite unknown among us. And our frank-spoken, amiable, and industrious citizens have always inspired a reasonable esteem in visitors. Treeless, glamourless, soulless, the town of Oran ends by seeming restful and, after a while, you go complacently to sleep there.

It is only fair to add that Oran is grafted on to a unique landscape, in the center of a bare plateau, ringed with luminous hills and above a perfectly shaped bay. All we may regret is the town's being so disposed that it turns its back on the bay, with the result that it's impossible to see the sea, you always have to go to look for it.

Such being the normal life of Oran, it will be easily understood that our fellow citizens had not the faintest reason to apprehend the incidents that took place in the spring of the year in question and were (as we subsequently realized) premonitory signs of the grave events we are to chronicle. To some, these events will seem quite natural; to others, all but incredible. But, obviously, a narrator cannot take account of these differences of outlook. His business is only to say: "This is what happened," when he knows that it actually did happen, that it closely affected the life of a whole populace, and that there are thousands of eyewitnesses who can appraise in their hearts the truth of what he writes.

In any case the narrator (whose identity will be made known in due course) would have little claim to competence for a task like this, had not chance put him in the way of gathering much information, and had he not been, by the force of things, closely involved in all that he proposes to narrate. This is his justification for playing the part of a historian. Naturally, a historian, even an amateur, always has data, personal or at second hand, to guide him. The present narrator has three kinds of data: first, what he saw himself; secondly, the accounts of other eyewitnesses (thanks to the part he played, he was enabled to learn their personal impressions from all those figuring in this chronicle); and, lastly, documents that subsequently came into his hands. He proposes to draw on these records whenever this seems desirable, and to employ them as he thinks best. He also proposes . . . "
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I decided to read the material at the link I sent you and discovered that it opens to a collection of Trump administration propaganda. Since the link was attached to a YT video entitled UFO DISCLOSURE 2020 I went to the linked video and found beneath it the following contents list and links to the ufo-related material:
These links are what you'll want to post to the appropriate site here. I have no idea why the first link on the list goes to the Trump propaganda. Here's the link to the UFO DISCLOSURE 2020 video:

youtube.com/watch?v=vJQIL2XBEqE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR003-wumjffykv37dLl9s5FzTEKTfb1FG9muKKkNjPI9VQ4kfgIb7CjWC0
Sorry for the reformatting, but I couldn't control my OCD.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
XXVIII

"If it should be true that reality exists
In the mind: the tin plate, the loaf of bread on it,
The long-bladed knife, the little to drink and her

Misericordia, it follows that
Real and unreal are two in one: New Haven
Before and after one arrives or, say,

Bergamo on a postcard, Rome after dark,
Sweden described, Salzburg with shaded eyes
Or Paris in conversation at a cafe.

This endlessly elaborating poem
Displays the theory of poetry,
As the life of poetry. A more severe,

More harassing master would extemporize
Subtler, more urgent proof that the theory
Of poetry is the theory of life,

As it is, in the intricate evasions of as,
In things seen and unseen, created from nothingness,
The heavens, the hells, the worlds, the longed-for lands."

Canto 28 from Wallace Stevens's long, late, poem "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven." I've found the whole of that poem reproduced online at the link below. Unfortunately, the person who posted it has highlighted various stanzas or parts of stanzas in various colors for whatever his or her purposes were. There's no accompanying text expressing a consequent interpretation of the poem. If I find the energy and peace of mind needed to do so, I might write a stanza by stanza exposition of the poem developing the phenomenological nature of Stevens's understanding of what we carelessly refer to as 'reality', imagining that reality is entirely objective, rather than yielding to the demonstration by the poets and artists that our lived reality always depends on the state and location of our conscious and subconscious minds dwelling in the midst of a world existing in continual change, as we ourselves are.

Here is the link to the whole of "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" online, in distracting technicolor:


www.billcollinsenglish.com
I , II III . IV V VI These characters are around us in the scene. For one it is enough; for one it is not; For neither is it profound absentia, Since both alike appoint themselves the choice But that’s the difference: in the end and the…
http://www.billcollinsenglish.com/O...et3n7MtCw0FJ_lk2fo6C09SrDFh5MF_K-gewLweUm6XoU
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Checking in to see how all who post in this thread are doing these difficult days. All well I hope.

Here's a very good paper I've come across that can help us keep our minds on our target subject, the nature of human and animal consciousness.

Befuddling the Mind: Radical Enactivism (Hutto-Myin Style) and the Metaphysics of Experience

Itay Shani

2020, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (forthcoming)

Enactivism,
Monism,
Qualia,
Philosophy of Mind (the hard problem of consciousness),
radical Embodied Cognitive Science

Abstract: This paper is a critique of the radical enactivism of Daniel Hutto, Erik Myin, and their collaborators, insofar as their approach pertains to the hard problem of consciousness. I argue that their valiant attempt to discard the hard problem is ultimately unsuccessful. More specifically, I argue that the hard problem of consciousness is best construed as a transcendental challenge and that no phenomeno-physical identity theory (however embodied and situated), and no "logic of identity", successfully eliminate this challenge. Finally, I argue that the theoretical stance adopted by Hutto, Myin, and their colleagues is inherently unstable in that it inadvertently blends strong deflationary currents with an implicit commitment to substantive metaphysical revisionism. Since deflationism and revisionism are discordant partners; their forced union results in a position whose overall coherence is compromised. Such disequilibrium, I believe, is a general characteristic of radical enactivist approaches to consciousness, of which the position discussed on the present occasion is one prominent representative.
Key words: Deflationism; hard problem; metaphysical revisionism; non-reductive identity; radical enactivism; transcendental argument.

Introduction

Radical embodied cognition (REC), also known as radical enactivism, is an energetic and iconoclastic research program aimed at transforming the conceptual foundations of the study of cognitive phenomena.
The defining characteristic of REC -- its badge of radicalism, which sets it aipart not only from traditional (viz., "Cartesian") cognitive science but also from more moderate variants of embodied cognition -- is its rejection of the notion that cognition, in particular basic cognition, is necessarily content involving. Given this radical agenda, and the polemical rheltoric which goes along with it, it is not surprising that certain bold pronouncements made by advocates of REC -- regarding the nature of mind, cognition, meaning, mental process, and the like -- bewilder outsiders and provoke fierce opposition.

Doubtlessly, part of the difficulty in coming to terms with REC's bold proclamations must be credited to the unorthodox nature of the conceptual framework being advocated. Yet, it is my impression that there are other factors at play. One of them, I submit, is a certain tendency towards the ornate. Arguments in support of major tenets of REC are often eclectic and baroque, weaving together a deluge of theoretical influences, rhetorical exploits, and diverse lines of argumentation pursued simultaneously. This, at any rate, appears to me to be the case when it comes to the focal concern of the present paper, namely, the hard problem of consciousness and the metaphysics of experience.

Readers of the literature produced by advocates of REC are confronted with a series of provocative assertions such as that qualia do not exist; that phenomenal experience is constituted by action-guiding engagements; that the hard problem is insolvable; that there is no problem to be solved; and that the platform of radical embodiment succeeds in avoiding this "no problem to be solved" problem. Indeed, the relevant literature projects the impression of a philosophical cauldron in which Dennettian eliminativism rubs shoulders with type-B materialism, Gibsonian realism, Deweyian interactivism, and Jamesian neutral monism; in which metaphysics,
phenomenology, and scientific methodology crisscross each other; and in which one is often left wondering what, exactly, is the position being held and whether it all has to be so complicated. Although it is its attitude towards representation and content, rather than towards consciousness, that demarcates REC as a unique and uniquely provocative position, it is, I believe, a worthy endeavor to try to investigate systematically the manner (or manners), in which advocates of REC approach the issue of phenomenal consciousness. For while there is no singularity of opinion among RECers regarding the precise manner in which they seek to engage with the problem of consciousness they nevertheless share a broadly-defined attitude to the subject. Such attitude, I submit, is best described as an uneasy combination of strong
deflationary currents mixed with occasional gestures towards sincere metaphysical revisionism. As I seek to show below, the tensions between these two stratagems — the deflationary currents mixed with occasional gestures towards sincere metaphysical revisionism. As I seek to show below, the tensions between these two stratagems — the deflationary and the metaphysically substantive — culminate in an inherently unstable position; one which is not only hard to defend, but also hard to make full sense of.

While I believe this diagnosis to be applicable to REC in general, the present paper focuses only on
one important variant of REC, namely, the radical enactivism of Daniel Hutto, Erik Myin, and their collaborators (e.g., Hutto and Myin 2013, Kirchhoff and Hutto and Myin 2013, Kirchhoff and Hutto 2016; Myin and Zahnoun 2018). The choice to focus on the Hutto-Myin variant of radical enactivism is practical. My original intention was to discuss also the neurophenomenological approach of Francisco Varela and his collaborators (e.g., Varela 1996, Thompson 2004), as well as the ecologically inclined view developed by Anthony Chemero and Michael Silberstein (e.g., Chemero 2009, Silberstein and Chemero 2012 and 2015). In the end scope was sacrificed for the benefit of greater depth, and a treatment of these other avenues for pursuing the radical enactivist agenda would have to await another occasion. That said, I believe that the Hutto-Myin line is, in many respects, representative of REC's approach to the challenge posed by the hard problem of consciousness.

Many of the major themes characterizing this general approach can be found in the work of this particular group, including: the denial of qualia; declaring the hard problem insolvable; attempting to obviate the hard problem and to debunk claims concerning the existence, or even the intelligibility, of an explanatory gap;
identifying experience with forms of active situated engagements; and more. Most significantly, the efforts of Hutto, Myin, and their collaborators to deal with the hard problem are, I believe, illustrative of the unstable predicament mentioned above, namely, of the existence of an inner tension between two fundamental forces
pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand, one encounters, in their work, a strong tendency to deflate the hard problem and a decisive rejection of the need to call upon "extra ingredients" in nature in order to solve it. On the other hand, their advocacy of non-reductive identity, as the platform with which to address the mind-body problem, and of a monism consistent with such non-reductive identity, point in the direction of a metaphysically revisionist stance quite foreign in spirit to the deflationist mindset.

Ultimately, it is my impression that their deflationary sympathies prevent them from coming to full terms with the metaphysical repercussions enfolded in their position — with compromising consequences for overall coherence. This, too, is a motif which can be identified in other extant versions of REC. The paper, then, is primarily critical. It challenges the attempt made by Hutto, Myin and their co-authors to discard the hard problem of consciousness. In addition, it strives to articulate, and to bring to better focus, the inner tensions afflicting their approach to the subject. It also aims to show that the precariousness of the situation is often masked by confusing rhetoric as well as by lack of sufficient clarity regarding the exact nature of the positions being advocated and their relevant metaphysical import. Finally, it urges a resolution of this tangle: deflationism and metaphysical revisionism are strange, discordant, bedfellows; improved coherence requires a choice as to which of these undercurrents is a better representative of REC's innermost core. Significantly, while the hub of the present work is critical, some constructive ideas are put forth along the way, in particular the notion (developed in section three) that the hard problem is best conceived as a transcendental challenge. . . ."

https://www.academia.edu/41580759/B...sics_of_Experience?email_work_card=view-paper
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Checking in to see how all who post in this thread are doing these difficult days. All well I hope.
Thanks. I hope all is well with you and everyone else who stops by this thread too. A quick comment on the usage and interpretation of the word "reality", I see our subjective experience as a subjective reality. I accept that somewhere beyond it is an objective reality, but haven't got the faintest clue what exactly it consists of. Our scientific models are at best only analogues.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Trying to reply to Randall's post of a few minutes ago but the link to it is not being embedded for some reason. I want to quote your statement concerning the nature of 'reality', but the forum software won't let me do so or even copy and paste it atm. Anyway, when I find I can do that, I want to reply. :)
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Thanks. I hope all is well with you and everyone else who stops by this thread too. A quick comment on the usage and interpretation of the word "reality", I see our subjective experience as a subjective reality. I accept that somewhere beyond it is an objective reality, but haven't got the faintest clue what exactly it consists of. Our scientific models are at best only analogues.
Ah, this time it works. I just wanted to say that for phenomenologists the subjective and objective are both poles of the reality we experience phenomenologically. MP wrote that our lived experience in the world produces in us a "perceptual faith" in the existence, the actuality, of the physical world we experience, though we never experience things in themselves but rather perspectives on things. By multiplying our perspectives, both our own and those shared together with, combined with, the perspectives of others,.we come closer to understanding things and processes in the world we dwell in together.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Ah, this time it works. I just wanted to say that for phenomenologists the subjective and objective are both poles of the reality we experience phenomenologically. MP wrote that our lived experience in the world produces in us a "perceptual faith" in the existence, the actuality, of the physical world we experience, though we never experience things in themselves but rather perspectives on things. By multiplying our perspectives, both our own and those shared together with, combined with, the perspectives of others,.we come closer to understanding things and processes in the world we dwell in together.
MP sounds like he would have been totally cool. I wonder what he was like in-person.


Makes me wanna learn French all over again ( lol )
Apparently he was quite the cinema critic.​
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
MP sounds like he would have been totally cool. I wonder what he was like in-person.


Makes me wanna learn French all over again ( lol )
Apparently he was quite the cinema critic.​
What was MP like in person? My impression from what he has written, and from a few photographs with his daughter and his wife, is that he was more vitally alive, perceptive, and visionary than most people, fully present to the world he lived in and capable of penetrating beyond the mere surfaces of things and meanings, interpretations and significations, that humans usually accept uncritically. As my dissertation mentor (who specialized in existential and phenomenologoical philosophy) once exclaimed, while reciting some passages to me, "God, that man could write!!!!"

I'm reading a paper today that I think might clarify what MP discovered about the capacities of our sense of sight, vision, in a world we encounter with our eyes and all our other senses, touch being the sense that first opens us to the world into which we are born. In one memorable passage MP wrote that "our eyes palpate the world that environs us," an extension of our hands. If you want to feel your own embeddedness in the flesh of the world you exist in, read MP. :) Here are some extracts from and a link to the paper I mentioned:

ALIAAL-SAJI, “A PHENOMENOLOGY OF CRITICAL-ETHICAL VISION: MERLEAU-PONTY, BERGSON, AND THE QUESTION OF SEEING DIFFERENTLY”

https://philpapers.org/archive/ALSAPO.pdf

“. . . My contention in this paper is that, though vision can take the reductive and static form of objectification, another kind of vision is possible. This alternative seeing is, I argue, a critical and ethical vision that is attuned to the affective dimensions generative of visibility and not merely focused on its objectivated forms.8 Rather than appearing as an instantaneous and naturalized perception, this vision inscribes the thickness of the instituted past, the materiality of life and the complex dimensionality of the social. This would be a vision that overcomes its self-forgetfulness (an anamnesis in David Levin’s words).9 As such it remembers its debt to invisibility, to historicity, sociality, and otherness. It is this concrete, dynamic and affective seeing that, I believe, is forgotten when vision falls into habits of objectification. And it is this seeing that must be learned or recuperated for vision to become an opening to otherness. . . .”

“I -- The Blinders of Objectifying Vision

In “Eye and Mind,” Merleau-Ponty distinguishes between a “profane,” objectifying vision and the painter’s vision. Objectifying vision he identifies with operationalism—for which what is is only what can be observed and measured, what can come to count as an object. (EM 160/11) Phenomenology of Perception had already taught us that we learn to perceive. It is through the acquisition of motor and perceptual habits that the body schema develops and that the world comes to be seen under the different aspects and with the particular differentiations that it appears to have. The perceived world mirrors the practical possibilities (the “I can,” and I would add the “I cannot”) of my body and changes in conjunction with my changing habits. Seeing is therefore not an indifferent and neutral recording of the visible. Seeing configures the visible according to the ways my eyes have of wandering in it, according not only to my habitual eye movements but the habitual and nascent motor anticipations of my body. Merleau-Ponty notes that “[t]he gaze gets more or less from things according to the way in which it questions them, ranges over or dwells on them. To learn to see colors is to acquire a certain style of seeing, a new use of one’s own body: it is to enrich and recast the body image.” (PhP 153/179)

But it is not only the body that is recast by habit, the perceived world is differentiated and configured in new ways; it appears differently. Indeed, visibility takes on a particular organization that corresponds to our habits of seeing; certain differences, and hence meanings, become salient while other dimensions of difference are invisible. In this vein, a re-reading of “Eye and Mind” becomes possible; for the “inherence of the one who sees in that which he sees” carries another sense. (EM 163/19) Vision, we could say, makes visible; it makes something visible. But objectifying vision makes the world visible as objects. It crystallizes the world into independent and self-enclosed solids, “as though [they] meant nothing to us and yet [were] predestined for our own use.” (EM 159/9) This vision aims at objects and loses itself in them; since objects are posited as in
themselves, their relation to an embodied seer is severed. The work of vision remains invisible, hidden from the regard of vision itself. Objectifying vision hence takes itself to be a “soaring-over [survol]” and assumes the distance between seer and seen to be absolute. But habit also contributes to this invisibility, as Alcoff shows in her reading of Merleau-Ponty.17 We see through our habits, through our eye movements and bodily kinaesthesis; we do not see them. This self-erasure is what allows habits, once acquired, to appear effortless and “natural.” It means that a particular visible physiognomy of the world appears as a given of that world and objecthood a “natural” property of the visible.18 In this way, objectifying habits of vision are “naturalized” and habitual configurations or structures of visibility are inscribed as in-themselves features of the world—both of bodies and things.19

This naturalized vision does not question the objectivity of the differentiations it makes in the world, nor the “natural” kinds it sees there. But it is not only the inherence of vision in the spectacle—its historical trace, past of habit, and generative power—that are forgotten by objectifying vision. This vision also overlooks the dimensions of visibility that allow objects to come into focus, even while making use of these very dimensions to differentiate and define objects. To take the world as merely a collection of objects, vision must actively forget the diacritical systems of meaning that are at play in object-formation. To take others, or certain racialized and gendered others, to be “kinds” of bodies is to forget the ways in which these bodies are made visible in being positioned within a differential social dimension that itself remains invisible. These dimensions—whether color in MerleauPonty’s account or social positionality and systems of oppression in mine— are only acknowledged by objectifying vision insofar as they are made into objects or properties of objects. Thus social positionality is taken to be immanent to, and the responsibility of, certain bodies that misbehave or are oppressed by their “nature.” As the formative conditions by which objects and “others” are differentiated and discerned, these dimensions cannot be seen for themselves. Habits of objectification hence imply an “I cannot” that is the other side of their ability to see objects; objectifying vision wears blinders, “des œilléres,” to use Bergson’s expression.20 It is important to dwell on the “I cannot” of objectifying vision, for it is in this “I cannot” that the knot of objectification is tied. Rather than taking it to be inherent to all vision, this “I cannot” can be understood to belong to social, historical and cultural horizons, historically tied to modernity in the West and motivated by imaginary and epistemic investments in representation and the metaphysics of subject-object.

Objectification has its horizonality,21 a “social reference” that Merleau-Ponty recognizes in certain places in his work—in his description of the natural scientific attitude as one through which we unlearn synaesthetic perception in the Phenomenology (229/265) and in his critique of operationalism in “Eye and Mind” (159-160/9-12).22 But this social-historical horizon, which frames and motivates how we see, is itself forgotten through the logic of objectification.23 As Merleau-Ponty describes objectifying vision: “it works in us without us; it hides itself in making the object visible. To see the object, it is necessary not to see the play of shadows and light around it. The visible in the profane sense forgets its premises.” (EM 167/29-30) To look at an object is to overlook the dimensions that are generative of its visibility. Here, the “I cannot” is not in contradiction with the “I can”,24 but institutes, circumscribes, and indeed makes possible the objectifying teleology of the “I can”: I can see objects only because I cannot see otherwise than objects. Had it been possible to see more than objects (the habituality, horizonality and historicity that institute vision) or less then objects (the diacritical differences that make meaning), then it is not “objects” as such that we would see. That is, we would not be able to see an entity that was determinate and measurable, defined in-itself and separable from other objects. Such an inert and self-same being, subject neither to contextual variation, nor to dependency, becomes visible through the operation of certain exclusions.25 In seeing lived bodies, what are excluded are the temporality of their habits, their dependency on social position, and the contingency of their material form; the body schema is recognized in neither its historical sedimentation nor its plasticity, but as a “biological” or inborn type composed of essential traits. With respect to the world, the systems of diacritical difference, the histories of oppression and social structures that allow meaning to appear are seen only insofar as they are reduced to the attributes of objects. While these dimensions work in us and affect us, invisibly and unconsciously, allowing us to see, it is by means of their elision that the realm of visible objectivity is defined. This is to say that such dimensions—whether material, diacritical, historical or social, whether bodily or worldly—have affective but not “objective” existence. To rephrase Merleau-Ponty, they are “foreshadowed in our perceptual or practical field, . . . felt in our experience by no more than a certain lack” (PhP 153/179), as “fecund negative,” Merleau-Ponty later says (VI 263/316). The realm of visible objectivity is, then, narrower than that of affectivity. It is thus through affect that the receptivity of sight—delimited in objectifying vision to that which can be made object—is opened up to other dimensionalities (as we shall see in section four). . . .”
 
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