Archive for October, 2014

Quora Answer: Placing Google+ on the Anti-Social spectrum of alienation of “Social Networks”

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized So everyone has Google+ now. What are you thoughts? See

I never really liked facebook, so for me it is a pleasant surprise that I like Google+ at all. I think with circles they have refined the facebook model in an essential way, allowing us to talk to different groups of friends differently, rather than one wall fits all style of Facebook, where you have to think about the implications of “friending” someone. On my scale of the anti-social I would place it somewhere between Twitter and Quora on the scale of alienation. I don’t know when we are going to realize that what we are calling “social” media is really “anti-social” and we are involved in a kind of newspeak when we call it “social”, when most of the people we interact with we will never meet. There is a certain amount of alienation evident in this distancing.

I made up a scale that goes from Facebook, to Namesake, to Quora, to Twitter, and finally to 4Chan. Complete anonymity plus only very short term memory is the ultimate in this alienation scale. At least on facebook there is a good chance you actually know some of the people who are your “friends”. Namesake because of its chatty realtime nature is a bit more alienated, and it seems that Google+ tries to split the difference between Namesake and Quora. Notice that many posts are questions trying to elicit comment trails. If you watch it it can be like realtime, except you have to update it yourself. It does not have the limitations of Twitter that makes it more alienated than Quora. Something to consider . . .

See original Quora answer which proposes the anti-social spectrum of alienation as a measure of “social networks”

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Quora Answer: What are the most fascinating Greek words?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

For Heidegger it is Aletheia. His whole philosophy is built around it. It means un-covering, which then makes clear that covering is primary and uncovering is secondary. Aletheia is translated as Truth. Truth is uncovering, not correspondence, as normally thought in the Western tradition.

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Quora Answer: Who do you consider the greatest philosopher of the 20th century?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Heidegger is the clear winner here. If you look at the number of commentaries, the number of other philosophers who refer back to Heidegger, and the profundity of his work, one has to conclude that thinking in the twentieth century after Being and Time was profoundly changed, but not as much as it will be changed in the twenty-first century by his recently releasedContributions to Philosophy.

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Quora Answer: What do you think was Theodor W. Adorno’s greatest accomplishment?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

When you get immersed in and become too fascinated with Heidegger which leads to infatuation then best antidote is Adorno Negative Dialectics. Just what the doctor ordered. His greatest accomplishment is the destruction of ones infatuation with Heidegger. His philosophy itself is purely negative as Negative Dialectics suggests. At the height of  Adorno’s thought he appeals to Walter Benjamin and the concept of constellation for help in his attempt to say something really important different from what Heidegger says.

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Quora Answer: Metaphilosophy: What is the aim of philosophy?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

There is knowledge and and ignorance.

There is ignorance of knowledge and knowledge of ignorance.

There is knowledge of knowledge and ignorance of ignorance.

Prior to knowledge and ignorance there is appearance and opinion.

There is opinions about appearances and appearances of opinion.

There is appearance of appearance and opinion of opinion.

Then there is knowledge of appearance and appearance of knowledge.

There is knowledge of opinion and opinion of knowledge.

There is ignorance of appearance and appearance of ignorance.

There is ignorance of opinion and opinion concerning ignorance.

But then there is after ignorance and opinion and appearances there is reason or causes or grounds for knowledge and groundlessness or causelessness or ignorance in relation to unreason.

But also there is before ignorance and opinion and appearance there is unreasonableness in relation to knowledge and groundlessness or causelesseness or ignorance in relation to reason

So there is reason and unreason or intuition.

There is reason about unreasonableness and unreason about reasonableness.

There is reason about intuition and intuition about reasonableness.

There is reason about reasons and unreason about nonreasons.

There is intuition about intuitions and unintuitiveness about the nonintuitable.

There is reasonableness about opinions and unreasonableness about opinions.

There are opinions about reasons and opinions about intuitions.

There is reasonableness about appearances and unreasonableness about appearances.

There are appearances of reasonableness and appearances of intuitiveness.

There is reasoning about knowledge and reasoning about ignorance.

There is unreasonableness concerning knowledge and unreasonableness concerning ignorance.

There is intuitions about knowledge and intuitions concerning ignorance.

There is knowledge about reasoning and there is ignorance about unreasoning.

There is reasoning about knowledge and there is intuitions about ignorance.

There is ignorance concerning reason and there is knowledge concerning unreason.

There is reasoning about ignorance and there is intuition about knowledge.

There IS . . . . Is there?

Being of NonBeing and NonBeing of Being.

Being of Being and NonBeing of NonBeing.

Becoming of Being and Being of Becoming.

Being of Appearances and Appearances of Being.

Becoming of Appearances and the Appearances of Becoming.

Appearance of Appearances and Nonappearance of Appearances and Appearance of Nonappearances

Plato said that the man of earth is the one who only believes what he can hold in his hands.

Plato said that there are those who believe in the invisible but are only initiated into the lesser mysteries like the followers of Heraclitus who think the invisible is flux.

Plato said that there are those who believe in the invisible but only initiated into the greater mysteries like the followers of Parmenides who think the invisible is static.

The Sophist said that what we really want is change and changelessness at the same time.

Changing knowledge and changeless knowledge at the same time.

Changing ignorance and changeless ignorance at the same time.

Knowledge and ignorance at the same time.

Changing appearance and unchanging appearance at the same time.

Changing opinion and unchanging opinion at the same time.

Changing appearance and unchanging opinion at the same time.

Changing opinion and unchanging appearance at the same time.

Appearances and opinions at the same time.

Changing reason and changeless unreason at the same time.

Changing unreason and changeless reason at the same time.

Changing reason and unchanging reason at the same time.

Changing reason and unchanging unreason at the same time.

Changing unreason and unchanging reason at the same time.

Reason and unreason at the same time.

Changing reasoning and changeless intuition at the same time.

Changing intuition and changeless reasoning at the same time.

Changing reasoning and unchanging reasoning at the same time.

Changing intuition and unchanging intuition at the same time.

Changing reasoning and unchanging intuition at the same time.

Reasoning and Intuition at the same time.

Wise Knowledge and Knowing Wisdom.

Knowing Knowledge and Wise Wisdom

concerning . . .

Existence and Nonexistence.

Existence of Existence and the Nonexistence of Nonexistence.

Existence of Nonexistence and the Nonexistence of Existence.

Existence of Space and the Nonexistence of Space.

Existence of Time and the Nonexistence of Time.

Existence of Spacetime and the Nonexistence of Spacetime

Existence of Timespace and the Nonexistence of Timespace.

Reasoning about Existence and Intuitions of Existence.

Reasoning about NonExistence and Intuitions of Nonexistence.

Existence of Reasoning and the Existence of Intuitions

NonExistence of Reasoning and the NonExistence of Intuitions.

Reasoning about Spacetime and Intuitions about Spacetime,

Timespace of Existence and Timespace of NonExistence.

NonTimespace of Existence and NonTimespace of NonExistence.

Beyond Existence and NonExistence.

Beyond Spacetime and Timespace.

Beyond Reasoning and Intuition.

Transcendently Transcendent.

Beyond Immanence and Beyond Transcendence

Transcendently Immanent and Immanently Transcendent.

Immanently Immanent.

Beyond Beyond.



“Going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha.”

See Interlude Meditation Archive

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What is the difference between the reflexive social level and the autopoietic symbiotic level in the Special Systems Theory?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

I thought you would never ask . . .

For Special Systems Theory see Page on

The key is that Dissipative Ordering Special Systems are intertwined to create Autopoietic Symbiotic Special Systems, which are then intertwined, or conjuncted, or juxtaposed to create Reflexive Social Special Systems. But also the Reflexive Social Special Systems are the same time are the juxtaposition of two Autopoietic Symbiotic Special Systems. The real difference is the difference between emergent levels that can be seen as the difference between the Quaternion and the Octonion, between the Breather Soliton and the Super-Breather, between the Klienian Bottle and the Hyper Kleinian Bottle, between the Perfect or Amicable Number and the Sociable Numbers. In other words the emergent difference is inscribed in anomalies in mathematics. So for instance the Dissipative Ordering Special System is equivalent to two mirrors facing each other, and the Autopoietic Symbiotic Special System is equivalent to Three mirrors facing each other, and the Reflexive Social Special System is equivalent to four mirrors facing each other making up an inwardly mirrored tetrahedron. The reflexive social special system is the basis for social experience, and the Autopoietic Symboitic Special System is the basis for Life while the Dissipative Ordering special system is responsible for the ordering of Consciousness.

See Terrence Deacon’s book Incomplete Nature which is an introduction to the relation between life and consciousness but consciousness is dependent on the social to fulfill its potential. In works on Autopoiesis and Consciousness there is normally a forgetting of the social context for these Emergent Properties of living things. Reflexive Social Special Systems Theory sees the Social as intrinsic to understanding our own life and consciousness. And it uses the theories of John O’Malley, Barry Sandywell, and Alan Blum and others from the Reflexive Sociology to augment the theories of Life and Consciousness, as well as using anomalous mathematical entities to organize our understanding of these phenomena and their emergent differences from each other. The theory of Autopoieisis from this mathematical point of view is incorrect and so we correct the theory of Maturana and Varella based on the mathematics and thus we call these systems Autopoietic Symbiotic rather than merely Autopoietic.

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Quora Answer: Why does a number raised to the zeroth power equal one?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Again here as in the question of the why the factorial of zero is one there is no real explanation of Why. What we are offered is a reason based on the mathematical systems definition. But does this really tell us why. Again I offer the book Negative Math: How Mathematical Rules Can Be Positively Bent: Alberto A. Martínez: 9780691123097: Books which talks about alternative mathematical systems that we could have chosen, and how they may be in better alignment with the world but not as systematic, and so we chose a mathematical system that was as systematic as possible given the nature of numbers rather than one that fits what we experience in the world and this means we are always having to bridge the gap between what math tells us and what we experience. The fact that we chose a mathematics that does not fit the world completely because we wanted it to be as systematic as possible is why we call our mathematics Platonic. It also explains probably why it took so long for our mathematics to reach maturity. There was resistance all the way to Zero, to Irrational Numbers, to Imaginary Numbers, etc. to all the things that were counter intuitive about the system of mathematics.

So I propose that the real reason why is that we choose a mathematics that was as systematic as possible given the nature of numbers, and that the fact that Factorial of Zero is One, and Zeroth Power of any Number is One are two outcomes of this systematicity of the system of Mathematics that we chose. Another outcome is that n/0 is undefined. Another is that -1 = e^pi*i and the number series equals -1/12th. In other words there are anomalies in the system of mathematics we chose which are inexplicable.

This is why we can say that Mathematics is scientific. It accommodates itself to the nature of number systems and their systematicity in themselves more than it accommodates itself to us. It discovers anomalous characteristics in numbers and other types of orderings that mathematics deals with that changes our view of what number  or order is fundamentally. But this means we continually have to translate back and forth between the realm of number to our everyday experience of the world. And the reason it took so long to develop modern mathematics is that we had to learn to put ourselves aside and give the phenomena of number the last say on its own nature as something other than we might presuppose. So we get paradigm shifts and episteme shifts in the history of mathematics just like any other science, and just like any other science it changes the way we see the world when we allow the phenomena to be itself beyond our projections on it.

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Quora Answer: What is the origin and meaning of the term tetralemma?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Tetralemma means A, ~A, both neither.

Aristotle’s Metaphysics was written to refute the very idea of it.

It is the way that Nagarjuna and perhaps the Buddha as well-defined emptiness.

It exhaust all logical possibilities and points to and impossible necessary possibility that we call emptiness that is non-cardinal, i.e. Not One! Not Two! Not Three! Not Many!.

Emptiness is seen as the ultimate nature of the mind and though that everything else that we know through the mind including the void of nature that is like empty space.

Emptiness is non conceptualizable and non-experiential because it falls outside the realm of logical possibilities.

Emptiness is not the Tetralemma, but is what is indicated by the Tetralemma as Other than it.

It turns out that this is a way of defining the Absolute. The absolute can be thought of as what falls outside the Tetralemma.

One way to interpret that is to say that Buddhism does not hold anything absolute, and is absolute about that stance against absolutes.

Another way to think about it is that everything is basically in a state of flux in which even change continually changes but not in a way that is itself continuous, rather in a way in which everything is discontinuous, i.e. is aggregates in flux such that the flux is also in flux. This type of change of change leaves no reference point we can rely on to even measure the change. And in that sense it is an absolute that is against all permanent, and unchanging absolutes. It is an absolute that destroys all other absolutes.

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Protected: Quora Answer: What are the teachings of nondual Sufism?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

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Quora Answer: What’s the difference between conceptualizing nonduality and directly experiencing nonduality?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

I would like to note that I am answering this question based on my reading of Dogen Kaigen’s Shobogenzo. It could be answered from may nondual perspectives with different answers.

Basically the presumption of the question is that we can conceive of Nonduality and that we can experience it. My answer to this question’s presuppositions is that emptiness cannot be experienced or conceived. Nondual means to me Not One. Not Two. Not Three. Not Many., i.e. non-cardinality. Zero is non-cardinal, and all basic approaches to nonduality start from ground zero. But Zero of Existence can be interpreted two ways, as Emptiness of Buddhism and Void (Wu Ji) of Taoism. The void of Taoism is empty space of nature, and that can be experienced indirectly as things that are physically missing leaving space itself there. But emptiness is within the mind, and cannot be experienced directly nor conceptualized properly. If we take that position that Emptiness cannot be either represented conceptually, i.e. it is non-representational and also it cannot be experienced because experience is always of something, then we need ways of approaching emptiness that are different from what we might have expected, which was an answer that we cannot conceptualize it except abstractly but we can experience it in mystical or spiritual states. If in effect we deny experience of emptiness then we suddenly step into a whole new realm of explanation. It is in this direction that we will be following Nagarjuna who defines Emptiness with the tetralemma (A, ~A, Both, Neither) as something different from any of those logical possibilities. Since all experience falls also within the logical possibilities then we must exclude emptiness from not just conceptualization but also experienceability. In order to do this we must develop a nondual way of thinking about things and this is what Dogen does in the Shobogenzo. it is the most accessible form of nondual thought for us moderns that I know of. Even though he lived in the 13th century his thought seems today still very contemporary, if not postmodern.

If we take the point that we cannot experience nor conceptualize emptiness then there is in fact no difference between conceptualization of Emptiness and experience of emptiness because they are both impossible. But why orient toward an impossibility as a criteria for understanding experience? Well that is a way to orient toward the absolute. Enlightenment is the embodiment of an absolute. It is a strange absolute because it is utterly relative it is the fact of change changing everything at all times. Buddhist orient toward that change changing itself in every moment. We experience change only if we take a reference point and then see the flow in relation to the reference point. But if there is no reference point, then there is nothing to hold on to to even see the changes. If there is only change changing itself then there is no concepts we can hold onto from moment to moment just as there is nothing in experience we can hold onto except knowledge. Knowledge is the only stable thing in experience, but knowledge of knowledge is very unstable because that depends on reflexivity and thus ultimately knowledge thought it seems to be stable has the same problem as Change, because knowledge that knows itself (Prajna) which is wisdom is inherently unknowable and unstable as well.

In Buddhism everything is pure flux within aggregates. It is actually more radical in its view of change than Heraclitus who notes that we cannot step into the same river twice. Buddhism believes that we cannot step into it even once. In other words between the changes in the river streams and the river flowing though us of life, we cannot hope to have a unified and stable experience of stepping into the river, and when we realize  that then we are suddenly free of many of the causes of suffering in this world which comes from clinging to things like concepts and experiences and relating them to an imagined self.

One of the corollaries of this radical interpretation of Buddhist emptiness as non-conceptual and non-experiential is that enlightenment itself is a kind of an illusion too. Enlightenment is an ideal that we set before ourselves. We put everything into trying to achieve it. But at some point we realize that it does not exist, and at that point we become enlightened because the self itself which was wrapped up in that idea is deconstructed by this disillusionment. This interpretation sees enlightenment as an interesting kind of ruse which actually does transform consciousness pragmatically. In this way Buddhism uses the nihilism of the Indo-European tradition against itself. From this point of view we cannot conceptualize enlightenment nor experience it because it does not exist. But neither did the illusions of our self that we are caught up in. Thus when we entangle our illusions that don’t exist with an ideal of enlightenment that does not exist then that has the practical effect of dispensing with our illusions.

Really when things get interesting, is when as in China with Fa Tsang of Hua Yen Buddhism and with Mipham and Manjushrimitra in Tibet with respect to Dzogchen the tradition starts to realize that in fact there is a difference between emptiness of Buddhism and Void (Wu Ji) of Bon and Taoism, and that they are in fact dual nonduals, and based on that they begin to point toward deeper utterly nondual matters beyond these entry-level concepts of nonduality. DzogChen is a heresy of Buddhism that rejects the two truths and sees them as extremes. DzogChen basically applies the logic of Nagarjuna to Buddhism itself and ultimately says that there is a higher state where we can distinguish between emptiness and void but that they themselves point to a deeper nondual state. In China this was discovered by Fa Tsang who recognized that deeper nondual state as interpenetration. In Dogen Kaigen we get talk of states beyond enlightenment or non-enlightenment.

From this point of view if we see the difference between conceptualization and experience as a duality, and we see both as empty and then we compare that to our direct experience of spacetime in the external universe so that we see that the two experiences are basically the same, then we suddenly see that there must be a state beyond conceptualization and beyond experience that is utterly nondual. I call that manifestation. It is a state where everything interpenetrates and intrafuses including ourselves where we are empty and external reality is just spacetime that is void (Wu Ji). Our bodies are what is in the barzak (Interspace, note Arabic term) between these two realities in which we find ourselves dwelling. And Dogen emphasizes the role of the body, just sitting in Shikantiza (meditation). Dogen is very rigorous in his way of thinking in a nondual manner that is to say suprarationally. And there is enough of the Shobogenzo that we can get the idea from reading his lectures. There is also the Extensive Record. So there is a lot of material to immerse ourselves into to try to learn how to think nondually about things like the difference between conceptualization and experience, or as Dogen calls it body-and-mind that engages in practice-and-experience by just sitting but with dignity in the way that the Buddhas and Patriarchs sat.

If you sit in Shikantiza, i.e. methodless meditation, then your body-and-mind will eventually forget idea that emptiness is something that you can conceptualize or that you can experience. Dogen scholars dispute the fact that Dogen’s own enlightenment was sudden and that it came from an experience associated with the “dropping off of Body and Mind”. Evidently this only appears in a biography. But the reason for disputing this is that it suggests that emptiness is an experience, and it suggests that it is achieved by a conceptualization that goes with the phrase “dropping off of body and mind”. This creates a false impression that the student too can learn to conceptualize nondually and experience enlightenment. But if both of these are impossible then that impression actually blocks our actually achieving enlightenment. Dogen suggests that we need to be very rigorous in our commitment to researching and studying what the Buddhas and Patriarchs have said and done and to emulate them. Only by breathing new life and meaning into the tradition that we make for ourselves can we make it our own and achieve our own enlightenment. He suggests that the best way forward toward that goal is methodless meditation on a regular basis and adherence to the principles of Buddhism which is what puts you in the nondual stream within which the lotus may then flower.

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