• fdrake
    994


    It's not really that difficult if you've done any research on the terms. Wheesht.

    I know, you'll argue that Deleuze's rhizomatic machinic assemblages begin from difference, but if Protevi is any judge, we've seen how a gestalt can act for him via something like 'distributed cognition' as a structural whole whose meaning can be determined beyond particular cogntitions of its participants.

    Rhizomatic is an adjective to describe, simultaneously, a way of thinking about composite objects and a way composite objects can be. It's essentially 'complex system without reduction to emergent whole'. It's contrasted to 'arboreal' composite objects and ways of thinking about them - which are essentially 'reduction to emergent whole conditioning complex system'.

    As for Proveti, I don't know. But if you look at the context in the thread, they're talking about how soldiers act together in battle. To talk of 'distributed cognition' is probably something like 'how does the battle plan unfold in real time over all the participants', and the 'battle plan' is adapted to how the 'battle plan' has already unfolded and to whatever events are screwing it up. 'distributed cognition' makes sense as what is making the battle plan real is the composite of actions of soldiers, their goals, and over-arching strategic/tactical operational guidelines.

    If difference really precedes identity, then a gestalt can never encompass its particulars via distributed cognition, but rather each particular is already its own gestalt.

    This is just referencing that Deluze's ontology has 'difference' as a central concept, and differences generate identities (which are rhizomatically composed of differences) - think about how different rates of change of surface tension over a soap film can realise an individual soap bubble. We end up with 'the soap bubble' as an individual thing, but it's also a balance of composite water/soap molecules and their related rates of expansion/constraint by surface tension.

    So a 'gestalt' is some sub-composite object of a big one, like a local tactical situation on the battlefield, but it isn't identical to all the nitty gritty of things the soldiers are doing in relation to their environment which generates the 'gestalt'.

    Then SLX thread moved into a dissection of that claim, essentially criticising the poster apo quoted for treating 'gestalts' and 'distributed condition' in an arboreal manner - since the poster apo quoted was currently criticising a consequence of what 'rhizomatic' meant and how it was treated in the battlefield example.

    As for the Heidegger/Derridean reference, I can't speak much to Derrida, but it is indeed similar to how language/social functions are interpreted. Social stuff - meaningful activity (that is all activity) works because of the whole - or a large chunk of - the context it's in. Say when you've got a broken string on a guitar and go to fix it, that requires socially conditioned preconceptions of how a guitar should work, strings, string material, tuning etc etc etc. So it isn't too much of a stretch to offer a very condensed description of 'social stuff' and 'social context' as a gestalt entity - coimplicated components - in Heidegger's phenomenology of language.
  • Janus
    5k


    Thanks fdrake, I understand that it's an arcane game that one can learn to play. I spent some time over a few years deciphering Derrida, and concluded that the reward does not warrant the effort. Deleuze I find far more interesting but whatever is good in him is better and far more rigorously expressed in biosemiotics, in Peirce and Whitehead, as far as I can tell. I have limited time to waste.
  • fdrake
    994


    People wasting their time in different ways is why forums like this remain interesting.
  • Janus
    5k


    That's true, although it is likely that you will be most interested in conversing with those who waste their time in similar ways to yourself, meaning areas of common interest, no? Also, if certain approaches seem pointless or vacuous to you, then it's not surprising if you think they are pointless or vacuous, full stop?
  • fdrake
    994


    I try not to find anything pointless.
  • Janus
    5k


    Then you aspire to be a truly catholic thinker! Does your catholicism include, for example, theology?
  • fdrake
    994


    Yes. I literally lived with a nun for a year.
  • Janus
    5k


    OK, cool, I incorrectly had you pegged as an antitheist.

    Edit: Actually I'm dying to ask how you came to be living with a nun for a year, at what stage of your life and so on...
  • fdrake
    994


    What made you peg me as an anti-theist?

    Actually I'm dying to ask how you came to be living with a nun for a year, at what stage of your life and so on...

    I had to leave university for a year since I couldn't walk even short distances, especially with all the hills in the town where I studied. When I had to take leave from my studies, I had to find a place to live for the year after so I could resume them. The only place I found that I could afford was the house of a radical Franciscan nun whose duties to her church were, essentially, as a PR agent to the student population of the town for the faith.

    We talked a lot about God and theology, and we did a trade, she taught me about the faith and we debated it, and I taught her things from mathematics and science and we debated them too. If it's good enough for Feynman it's good enough for a pleb like me.

    Her faith was quite beautiful - mystic, sophisticated, reflexive and self critical, but fundamentally concerned with amplifying the goodness in humanity rather than the power of her religion. We did things like trying to analyse why and how the prayers of some agents of God had a habit of coming true; attempting to discover mechanical truth in the old addage that 'God helps those that help themselves'.

    Her excellence as a person was not mirrored by her excellence as a landlady. The heating was broken, my room's window was cracked and it got into negative temperatures on winter nights, and the bed and carpets were ridden with parasites. I was fed on so much in my sleep I developed an allergy to bug bites in general, and have a smattering of recurrent, painful but small cysts in my legs. I couldn't complain to any housing authority as she wasn't a registered landlady, nor was the property registered, so it was either live there, be homeless and study, or terminate my studies entirely.

    While her faith was sophisticated and largely consistent with the way she lived her life, the sanctity of life can be inconvenient for a tenant of a property; largely when the corpse of her dead cat is left near a radiator wrapped in a blanket for several days so it (poor Foursocks) can receive a dignified funeral. At least she only kept the dead bird the cat killed on the kitchen table for a day and a half, eh?

    Another amusing way this interposed was that I volunteered to help her rearrange her attic, I might've had trouble with my legs but she was elderly and becoming infirm - there was a large wasps' nest in the attic which you could hear buzzing in the summer I moved there. Because she didn't want to disturb their peace, they were left in the attic with no food and with the skylight constantly closed; they all starved to death. Some of the attic rearrangement was removing dead wasps from old, rotting keepsakes and irrelevant tat she had accumulated through her life.

    Her faith was a barrier between her ex-husband and her, and lead to a messy breakup; with her son angry at the God who denied him the love of both parents. The most tragic thing I found in the attic was a young boy's cuddly toy, one eyed and loved until the stuffing half fell out, covered in spider webs and dead insects, alongside train-sets and homework books.

    The attic rearrangement was making this vault of rotting memories accessible to her again.
  • Janus
    5k


    Many thanks, that's a fascinating story, very sensitively and evocatively recounted, fdrake!

    I'm not sure what led me to think you were opposed to theism. Probably an irrational tendency to jump to ill-conceived conclusions based merely on some set of associations or other.
  • fdrake
    994


    I'm opposed to transcendent Gods on logical grounds and the supernatural on methodological ones. I'm not that sympathetic to theism or theology in general - especially Gods emptied of content through theology. If someone's faith is less about having the correct divine or philosophical meta-narrative and more about the valorisation of humanity I find it respectable. If someone is just a theist, lives an entirely secular lifestyle but hedges their bets with a hollow belief in God without worship or appreciation of God's works, I find it difficult to respect.
  • Janus
    5k


    I'm opposed to substantivistic notions of transcendence on logical and ethical grounds and to the supernatural insofar as it consitutes a substantivistic conception of transcendence. (Visions of the supernatural such as Blake's may have great poetical and allegorical power, though, and I am saying only that the supernatural carries, and should carry, no intersubjective weight). In the context of science then it would seem right to ignore the supernatural for methodological reasons, or ignore nothing and consider everything that can be investigated to be part of the natural order.

    I agree with you about "valorization of humanity" but I would like to extend it to valorization of life. I respect and admire attempts to create ever more comprehensive metanarratives, while acknowledging that no metanarrative could ever be adequate to the Real. I also agree with you about 'lip service' theists.
  • Noble Dust
    2.8k
    "Come, my soul, depart from outward things and gather thyself together into a true interior silence, that thou mayst set out with all thy courage and bury and lose thyself in the desert of a deep contrition." - Henry Suso, The Little Book Of Eternal Wisdom
  • StreetlightX
    2.3k
    "It is not up to philosophy, in the usual manner of science, to exhaust the phenomena, to reduce them to a bare minimum of propositions. On the contrary, philosophy wants literally to lose itself in everything that is heterogeneous to it, without bringing it back to ready-made categories. It would like to nestle in close to what it isn’t, the way that phenomenology’s program and Simmel’s wanted, in vain, to do. Its aim is undiminished kenosis, self-emptying. ... Philosophy would, unstrictly speaking, become infinite ... [once] it would find its content in the multiplicity of objects: ... It would really and truly surrender itself to them, would not use them as a mirror in which to discern only its own features, mistaking its reflection for concretion. It would be nothing other than full and unreduced experience in the medium of conceptual reflection."

    - Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics

    And the classic!:

    "Idealism — and Fichte most emphatically — is governed unknowingly by an ideology which says that the not-I, l’autrui, anything, finally, that reminds one of nature, is worth almost nothing, so that the unity of the self-sustaining thought can devour it in good conscience. This vindicates the principle of thought and, equally, whets its appetite. Philosophical system is the belly turned mind, just as rage is the defining mark of idealism in all its forms ... The view of the man in the center of the world is akin to contempt for humanity: to leave nothing uncontested or unchallenged."
  • frank
    566
    "My own experience has led me to the knowledge that the fullest life is impossible without an immovable belief in a Living Law in obedience to which the whole universe moves. A man without that faith is like a drop thrown out of the ocean bound to perish."

    -Ghandi
  • frank
    566
    just as rage is the defining mark of idealism in all its forms ...StreetlightX
    I think he was wrong about that. Idealism at its extreme is the view from the grave, the world gone gray. The materialist is seeking to live fully in this world, which is honorable. The casual observer is waiting for the materialist to notice that at materialism's extreme, all meaning is lost.
  • StreetlightX
    2.3k
    "Perception is essentially differentiation, gradation, specification of distances, formation of tensions, reliefs, contrasts. To not perceive something is not for a positive content to cease to be there before the subject; it is for there to be disarticulation, undifferentiation, for there to no longer be contrast, divergency, relief. What we perceive is not a positive term existing in itself and supporting its own "properties"; what we perceive is a contrast, a tension - not an adequation with our substance, but a difference from us, marked out in the continuous fabric of being ... of which we too are a part. It is that divergency, that contrast, that is the perceptual meaning, the sense grasped in perception; meaning has not a positive but a differential being."

    - Alphonso Lingis, Phenomenological Explanations
  • Noble Dust
    2.8k
    Rediscovered this recently. File under "what is wisdom?"...

    “If anyone is unwilling to descend into himself, because this is too painful, he will remain superficial in his writing...If I perform to myself, then it’s this that the style expresses. And then the style cannot be my own. If you are unwilling to know what you are, your writing is a form of deceit.”
    ― Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Posty McPostface
    2.8k


    That's a good one. Too bad Wittgenstein's motivation/volition to do philosophy was in large part driven by his tormented soul.
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