• fdrake
    2.4k
    None of us mortals are in a position to piss on grand immortal symbols. We're dust to them.frank

    Which is a shame, as they're all made of piss.
  • frank
    2.8k
    Which is a shame, as they're all made of piss.fdrake

    and poptarts
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    Hmm, I was hoping for some help to reach clarity...

    So my best understanding is that to the extent that information is ordered, it is compressible, and to the extent that it is un-compressible it is maximally disordered. The difference between one string of random information and another is random, and thus 'meaningless' - it is a difference that makes no difference.

    Which means that the difference between maximally compressed meaningful information and meaningless 'noise' is discerned through some form of 'interpretation'. Call this interpretation 'ritual'.

    Ritual is what one has to do to find out if there is even something there to be understood. It is the medium of fuck-giving.

    Don't expect proof or evidence. The demand for such is simply the denial of this particular ritual in favour of some ritual of scepticism which is of course an unjustifiable nativity itself. Play or don't play therefore, bring forth, not the weirdness of the Greeks or the lunacy of the religious, but the mundanity of everyday life - the buttering of always and only one side of the toast.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.1k
    But I'm pointing towards a loss of meaning that results from the philosophical project of rationality. The objectivity addict produces a world of meaningless facts - because facts are only meaningful if someone gives a damn; that's what it means to be meaningful.unenlightened

    No. Rationality produces a list of facts, like an encyclopdia, that can be accessed when someone gets to the point of giving a damn (has a goal) in which those facts would be relevant. The meaning is already there. Relevancy, not meaning, is the more accurate term to use there.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    The facts are relevant to some goal or purpose in mind.Harry Hindu

    Marmite.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.1k
    Marmite.unenlightened
    We obviously have different goals in mind.
  • Baden
    8k
    Identity is invariably ritualised and symbolicunenlightened

    Yes, I'd put it that identities are products of the prevailing mythos, or ideology. And facts are wrapped around ideologies, presenting as clear and unassailable to the extent those ideologies are rendered invisible. The fact-ideology-interpretation-production complex then is us. And this does pose the appropriately linguistic functional question: who or what is doing what to whom or what, where, when, and how? Which is a perennial.

    There are some points of contrast though. It seems in "traditional" societies, your place in the symbolic order was more clearly defined and was what gave sure weight to you as an individual. That is, your individuality was more firmly rooted and clearly framed. What's new is the widespread idea of the individual constituted in opposition to the existing symbolic order, the ideological rebel, as anything other than tragic or destructive. And even if the current romanticism of rebellion is in some sense just another cloak of ideology, it's an odd self-refuting one. We can't all be rebels, or to the extent we are, we're not.

    Inference, or patterned structural linkage of interpretation and sensation seems rooted in our perception/sensation as much as in our deliberation; when one reasons about what play to make, they find they already understand how the pieces may move.fdrake

    :up:

    So I hypothesise that language - the spoken and written human peculiarity - is a particular form of something more visceral, more important in the sense of having more import or meaning because more directly connected with emotion and embodiment, that is the ritual and symbolic interaction that constitutes still, the large weight of human interaction. Discussions of grammar and syntax delve into the froth of the reality of existence.unenlightened

    I would have tended to think of language and ritual as being co-evolutionary. Maybe just because ritual is usually so soaked in language. But then there is this:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/srep22219.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I would have tended to think of language and ritual as being co-evolutionary.Baden

    What I should better have said is that they are the same thing - as in there is a ritual of desensitising and disembodiment prevalent and resisted that is academic rigour (mortis). Recognisably Nietzsche's void looking back.

    Whenever you have a goal, you can consult Harry's encyclopaedia, and the goal is nothing less than to replace the world with the encyclopaedia, and live entirely in rational thought. This 'fact' explains why the world itself is going to hell in a handcart.

    Poetry re-embodies language, and puts us back into the world. Plato hated it and his footnotes still do. But the good is without form and rather constitutes the substance of being; physicality as in accumulations of stones or whatever, is the mere abstraction of the encyclopaedia.

    One does not build meaning inside one's head and then transmit it. Building meaning is part of the complex interaction one has with the world.Banno

    This not radical enough. Meaning is the world one is embedded in; everything is marmite.
  • Evil
    120


    I don't understand what you are talking about - but I wish I did. It sounds interesting
  • fdrake
    2.4k
    This not radical enough. Meaning is the world one is embedded in; everything is marmite.unenlightened

    I'm not sure I agree with this. There are 'extra-meaningful' things operative all the time, the things we settle on as 'having meaning' in a conversation like this ultimately come from some meaning-individuating exercise of reflection, which has its own biases; it seeks and represents meanings, it generalises and stereotypes, it substitutes easy solutions for hard problems. We are bodies that build up heuristics, we swim through a sea of norms in our expectations (futurity/anticipatory response), reflection used well marks out parts of the map that emerges from the practices reflected upon. But it cannot record every detail.

    Perhaps that little cough that won't go away will suddenly kill you. Maybe you discover one morning that you don't feel love for your partner. Life has a way of interrupting meaning and changing it in its wake.

    We typically make little islands of marmite in the sea of marmite that we can go to for reference, sufficiently stable transmissible habits, like our uses of words, or the characters in our myths. They are still malleable, but try to shrink back to the shape tradition affords them.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.1k
    What I should better have said is that they are the same thing - as in there is a ritual of desensitising and disembodiment prevalent and resisted that is academic rigour (mortis). Recognisably Nietzsche's void looking back.

    Whenever you have a goal, you can consult Harry's encyclopaedia, and the goal is nothing less than to replace the world with the encyclopaedia, and live entirely in rational thought. This 'fact' explains why the world itself is going to hell in a handcart.

    Poetry re-embodies language, and puts us back into the world. Plato hated it and his footnotes still do. But the good is without form and rather constitutes the substance of being; physicality as in accumulations of stones or whatever, is the mere abstraction of the encyclopaedia.
    unenlightened

    Sure, many people need an escape from the cold hard truths of reality. Art, sports, religion and leisure allow us to go on living despite the awareness of death and no objective purpose or objective morality. But that is all okay. It is a rational fact that I am a intelligent, social organism that finds these escapes useful in achieving my goals as such. It makes me happy to participate in these activities. These are all rational facts as well, so I dont see how theres a conflict.

    I think you are exhibiting some misdirected outrage. The world itself isn't going to hell in a handcart because of rationality. The world is going to hell in a handcart because this growing notion of self-entitlement, as if we should accept feelings as proof.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I don't understand what you are talking about - but I wish I did. It sounds interestingEvil

    You have it exactly! Wishes and interest have priority over understanding. How hurt I would be if you were to say, "I understand what you are talking about, but I don't wish to. It is uninteresting."

    So I want to start with what is interesting and what hurts and make that the object of enquiry, not knowledge, information, understanding...

    we swim through a sea of norms in our expectations (futurity/anticipatory response), reflection used well marks out parts of the map that emerges from the practices reflected upon. But it cannot record every detail.fdrake

    "Reflection used well"? Is this not the sea of norms swimming through itself?

    We typically make little islands of marmite in the sea of marmite that we can go to for reference, sufficiently stable transmissible habits, like our uses of words, or the characters in our myths. They are still malleable, but try to shrink back to the shape tradition affords them.fdrake

    I think it is we who shrink back; we are the islands - or think we are, and the ritual confers stabliity of identity 'I love marmite', or 'I hate marmite'. I am married, or I am single. A convict is created by the rituals of a justice system, but if I become convicted or if I become married, it is as though a marmite lover became a marmite hater.

    I am flailing incoherently in an attempt to switch views from one that has dominated the civilised world, and there is a chaos of old meaning clashing with new meaning, of ritual being undone or repurposed.
    _______________________________________________-

    Try and bite this bullet; folks: suppose we need new rituals; it is surely conceivable at least? How, for fucks sake, can a ritual be new?
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    many people need an escape from the cold hard truths of reality.Harry Hindu

    Thus spake the hard-man of philosophy, prepared to face any truth except his own inadequacy. No, exactly not so. Many people need to escape to the cold hard fabrications of their rigid, ritualised identity. "And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing."
  • Baden
    8k


    Maybe the Lacanian real is a useful concept here. The ultimate "reality" is a monstrous, suffocating, inhuman, and even forcefully antihuman... well, let's call it a black hole that we build ourselves out of with ideology. Or to put it in Rilkean terms "The heaviness of life is heavier than the heaviness of all things". So the real is the invisible gel in which the symbolic order lies suspended and which nourishes it so making it possible yet at the same time threatening through its potential crushing pressure its utter destruction. And rituals are those exercises of the symbolic order on whose patterns identity can manifest and reinforce said order. Thus we escape the black hole by cleaving to social cuts in the fabric of an ultimate trauma we're not even aware we spend our lives trying to avoid. This world of escape is the world of Marmite, which distasteful as it can be offers the basic sustenance of meaning on which we base our existence. But then Marmite isn't everything, only everything we can handle.

    Of course I could be mangling Lacan but who cares.
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    How, for fucks sake, can a ritual be new?unenlightened

    It seems to me that a ritual, while often reliant upon tradition, need not be motivated by tradition -- how else did our rituals come about in the first place, after all?

    But rituals are re-occurring. So when Christmas comes about perhaps we do not give gifts this time around. Instead we get together and sing songs -- because the whole gift-giving thing become a monster on its own, and took away from the meaning of Christmas, where being merry together seemed to bring is back to what we were after in celebrating in the first place.

    Obviously there's nothing new in that, but it gets at how rituals are re-occuring -- Holiday on such and such a day has such and such a meaning, we get together and do something every year to enact, remember, or get closer to that meaning; to feel the meaning.

    Holidays in general are sort of like this, I think. There is some significant thing in our life that we are easily drawn away from in the day-to-day, and so we commemorate it with a holiday where we go out of our way to remember or enact that important thing, and we make a ritual of it.


    So perhaps a ritual can be new insofar that it has some established re-occurring activity we do together -- and it's just a matter of starting it and making it a re-occurring thing rather than going back to a tradition. Maybe it doesn't need to be a holiday, or a day on the calendar set aside for the year. Perhaps it could just be a morning ritual. And I don't think that pouring a bowl of raisin bran every morning would quite count all by itself -- it would have to have some kind of meaning attached to it as well. Like a morning cup of coffee to take in the simple pleasures of life, or a prayer at night to feel grateful.
  • frank
    2.8k
    Try and bite this bullet; folks: suppose we need new rituals; it is surely conceivable at least? How, for fucks sake, can a ritual be new?unenlightened

    Why do we need new rituals?
  • Wallows
    8.5k
    Wishes and interest have priority over understanding. How hurt I would be if you were to say, "I understand what you are talking about, but I don't wish to. It is uninteresting."

    So I want to start with what is interesting and what hurts and make that the object of enquiry, not knowledge, information, understanding...
    unenlightened

    This is some form of overgeneralizing in my mind. I've long been trying to elucidate the notion of rationality in the form of emotional reasoning. We aren't fatalistically driven by passions, hurrah-boo responses according to Hume. Higher order volitions do exist, and are formed through reasoned deliberation.

    So, one might want to bullshit here and there about the meanings of rituals or traditions; but, from an evolutionary standpoint, or at least even under a Marxist understanding, we are driven not by instinct, emotions, passions, and desire if they do not coincide with the common denominator that is 'reality'.

    The role of the organism is to maintain a state of homeostasis (not homeostasis driven by imposing my/your/her will over reality), even in a possessed state that passions and emotions can drive a person.
  • Wallows
    8.5k
    To go all Zen here and answer a question with another question, are law's by which we govern ourselves also a form of consensus-driven ritualism or icon?

    I think not.
  • fdrake
    2.4k
    "Reflection used well"? Is this not the sea of norms swimming through itself?unenlightened

    There must be ways of thinking and acting which attend to the nature of what they are concerned with.

    We have sensorimotor constraints that embed us in the world in ways we cannot change with ritual or custom, only mitigate their effects through it. You cannot always restore someone who cannot walk to walking, but you can make disabled access ramps. Perhaps in the same way, you cannot contradict the reality of things, you can only place contradictions in the map; perhaps those contradictions can attend to tensions in the territory, however, like between the needs of the wheelchair user and the accessibility of shops.

    I think it is we who shrink back; we are the islands - or think we are, and the ritual confers stability of identity 'I love marmite', or 'I hate marmite'. I am married, or I am single. A convict is created by the rituals of a justice system, but if I become convicted or if I become married, it is as though a marmite lover became a marmite hater.unenlightened

    A change of subjectivity like that is something like a choice of clothing, but one cannot choose one's size in all respects. One cannot always choose what does not fit, there are limitations which act to constrain what identities or subjectivities a person can come to adopt, and these limitations express the irremovable reality of the person.

    Habituation requires a substrate. Our bodies are built for habituation.

    Edit: @Baden perhaps such a real need not just be a trauma, maybe it can also be a source of joy, empowerment and discovery.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    Why do we need new rituals?frank

    Because that is a ritualised obstructive response. Suppose you came back with something more interesting than 'why'. Suppose you cooperated with the project of supposing instead? Why? because it is more interesting than the triumph of rationality fully realised in the extinction of the species.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I don't think that pouring a bowl of raisin bran every morning would quite count all by itself -- it would have to have some kind of meaning attached to it as well. Like a morning cup of coffee to take in the simple pleasures of life, or a prayer at night to feel grateful.Moliere

    Yes, the question makes one look at what a ritual is. Consider OCD, not stepping on the cracks... One view, commonplace, is that it is a failed manipulation of reality. Doing things with words of which the marriage ceremony is the exemplar, is taken, on this view, to work by a sort of collective irrationality. The classic social construct.

    This is a view that 'accounts for' subjectivity by objectifying it as 'social fact'. This is a ritual of self immolation. " I am rational." Idiocy!
  • frank
    2.8k
    @unenlightened

    New rituals come from child's play and dreaming.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    We have sensorimotor constraints that embed us in the world in ways we cannot change with ritual or custom, only mitigate their effects through it.fdrake

    P K Dick, Castenada and Leary would disagree, but I won't for the moment, beyond noting that for them, it is ritual that breaks those constraints and ritual that maintains them.

    There must be ways of thinking and acting which attend to the nature of what they are concerned with.fdrake

    Doesn't ritual do that? Red wine for the blood of Christ, obviously.

    A change of subjectivity like that is something like a choice of clothing,fdrake

    That seems like an unnecessary controversy at this point. If I asked who chooses their subjectivity, a rabbit hole of infinite depth seems to open up, as if the clothing might equally be choosing a body, within the same constraints of 'fitting', of course.

    So there is a division, or we imagine for the purposes of discussion a division, between the weirdness of this thread and the normality of other threads, or between the subject and their clothes, or whatever and out of that or into that we find we have to pour a limit and a relatedness such that I am embedded in the world and the world is embedded in me and this is the necessary condition of the separation.

    At which point I could in all truth recite "All is one... ommmm." but choose not to. So instead I choose one side or the other and talk about the world in me OR me in the world, and keep the two separate for the sake of argument.

    So this is me in the world talking and noticing:
    Identity is invariably ritualised and symbolic, and I hope no-one is going to attempt to claim a position of externality - as if they had a certificate of rationality or something. Much of life is conducted through the forms of ritual and icon - hands up if you wear a badge.

    And noticing too, that there is an idea in some circles that we are making progress towards something that is called 'understanding reality' which is taken by me to equate to something like rationality and sanity. But I notice that this is not in fact happening. Rationality and sanity are in retreat. The enlightenment project has so far failed that the scientific endeavours have reached the point of foreseeing the collapse of the species and the end of civilisation.

    So the whole enlightenment project, the whole rational scientific endeavour is demonstrably, by its own criteria, in just that position of over-reaching the constraints that you point out as embedding us in the world. It cannot be made to work any more. All that has become dogma and ritual of the most pernicious sort that imprisons us in helplessness.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    The gods just showed me this, so I'm showing you:

    If changing your mind about who you really are means getting your internal narrator to tell a story that matches the facts better, presumably we need to find the evidence that will let us access that new story. The problem here is that the only tool we have for doing this investigation is the very thing that stands to be imperilled by the results of that investigation: the so-called “narrator” at the centre of our lives.
    Who does the displacing? Is our “true” self somehow able to narrate itself into existing? On top of this existential magic, we’d need a way to work out which of the available evidence really matters, and which way it plays. We need to distinguish between the actions and thoughts and habits that reveal something deeply true about ourselves, and those that we can dismiss as the old internal narrative. Sometimes the old story is just the exact opposite of the new story. But as a general principle there’s no guarantee that things will work like this. Evidence against something is not evidence for something else, and falsifying one story doesn’t always make another truthful.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/jul/06/are-you-really-the-real-you-and-how-can-we-best-become-our-true-selves?fbclid=IwAR12geasNm_oFujgducni3Y95hwZ1GwWgNZMW020RgllpYNlDo9-ZxMSyHw

    Note how 'true' and 'false' become as unreliable as 'narrator' and 'narrative' ... If I were you, I wouldn't start from here.
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    I'd say that new rituals arise just by doing them -- at least that's what I was trying to get at. It's as simple as finding meaning in the world and doing something to bring oneself closer to it.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I'd say that new rituals arise just by doing them -- at least that's what I was trying to get at. It's as simple as finding meaning in the world and doing something to bring oneself closer to it.Moliere

    Given that ritual is something that is done, it kind of follows that a new ritual arises by just doing something. Have you really said anything? Look at that last link. I'm trying to get folks to notice that reasons and causes are inadequate to our lives; that the impossible and unreasonable are commonplace. In this sense 'just doing' for no reason is perhaps as good as it gets ...
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    I probably haven't said much, no. :D Only attempted to answer your question. We can have new rituals by doing something new, and that doing is both re-occurring, and brings us (or perhaps just oneself) closer to what we/I/you find meaningful -- because it is easy to forget what is meaningful in the day-to-day. Rituals bring us out of our daily rhythm and back to what we find meaningful. At least in an ideal sense, since clearly rituals can also become just another thing on the checklist of life's duties -- but then it isn't exactly meaningful anymore.


    I believe I agree with you in saying that reasons and causes are inadequate to our lives -- and I'd at least agree that the unreasonable is commonplace.

    I read the article. It's a cool story -- I sort of wonder about that moment things clicked for him. Everything had a reason at one point, before, and then as he tried to "Fake it" he became it. Or, at least, he let go of his reasons and waited to see what would happen after he passed the test.

    Isn't it a bit like acting in a play? We are given a script in a play that's different from our lives, and so an opportunity to try a different role on. In that transition we might come to recognize that what we were living was more of a script than we had realized.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I'm just going to put this here as well.

    https://neurosciencenews.com/meaningless-psychiatric-diagnosis-14434/?fbclid=IwAR2rie8n4NjQxVZax21o6XMQ_e2pKGPK6mq8zuB-_Nlp7OUOrzI0vm7wrmY

    I had to laugh. This is neuro-babble declaring psycho-medico-babble to be - to use my words and relate it to the topic - prejudicial ritual.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    Only attempted to answer your question.Moliere

    Yeah, that's probably where you went wrong. :wink: One says things like 'I am a graduate', 'I am a philosopher', 'I am married', as if one is the ritual.

    Identity 'undergraduate' undergoes ritual 'graduation' and becomes identity 'graduate'.
    Identity 'misfit' undergoes ritual 'diagnosis' and becomes identity 'schizophrenic'.
    Identity 'learner' undergoes ritual 'driving test' and becomes identity 'driver' (or not if 'fails')
    Identity 'sinner' undergoes ritual 'communion' and becomes identity 'saved'.

    Not every ritual changes identity some are voluntary, some are imposed - some are transforming, some merely confirming... but I think the general shape is this. The same thing happens to objects too: a church is consecrated, a contract signed, an old master authenticated, and so on.

    So the question is exposed - people and things are transformed by ritual - how is ritual transformed? But we cannot even account for how ritual transforms...

    That is, we cannot give a rational, scientific account of our non-rational unscientific nature.

    I don't know what else to do, but to try and conduct folks to this same spot, this dead end of thought. One arrives, but somehow one does not stop, but diverts or jumps away to an unscientific narrative of our scientific nature, an irrational claim of rationality. Perhaps one time one person might just see that this contradiction cannot be maintained as one's identity - the contradiction kills it.
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