Systems and OpenScapes (Meta-systems)

Oct 13 2016

Let me clarify the difference between a System and its inverse dual the Meta-system or Openscape.

Originally I had this idea when I read an article in the International Systems Science Journal of George Klir where he published my article on Design Methods. In that same issue one of George Klir’s students had undertaken a Category Theory analysis of Architecture of Systems Problem Solving. At that time all I knew of Category Theory was that if you revered the arrows then you get the dual of a given category. So I tried going through the thought process of reversing the arrows in the Categorical Description and I discovered that it was not self-dual. And that meant that there had to be some dual of the Formal Structural System as Klir defined it. I started searching for that dual.

Eventually I came upon the work of Bataille Accursed Share that distinguished a General Economy from Restricted Economies and the work of Plotnitsky in Complementarities where he talks about the relation of the General Economy to the work of Bohr and Derrida. This distinction between General and Restricted Economy is foundational to much of Continental Thought such as that of Baudrillard who wrote Critique of the Economy of the Sign for instance. But also the work of Derrida, Deleuze, Zizek etc.

But what I wanted to do was formalize the duality. Eventually I discovered that the formalization was the difference between the Universal Turing Machine and the Normal Turing Machine.

The difference is between what is inside the boundary of the system and what is outside the boundary of the system, how ever that boundary is drawn. This is assuming that a system boundary is a gestalt and thus what is outside that boundary is a proto-gestalt.

The key point is that systems and meta-systems have completely different organizations from each other. Their essences are completely different. Yet they are inverse duals of each other.

Thus in a meta-system you get the making available of resources in niches that hold systems. You get protocols enforced by which systems signal each other and also signal the meta-system.

Unlike other Schemas ( metasystems do not have a single name in our culture. We have a blindspot toward metasystems in our culture. Thus we call it context, situation, environment, ecosystem, medium, etc. And generally it is the non-system. In my usage of the many meanings of “meta” the meaning meant here is “beyond” the meta-system is beyond the system. That means outside its boundary to the horizon. Eventually I found that the concept of Scape corresponds to the Meta-system as I conceived it as the inverse dual of the system. Inverse means reverse the arrows. Dual means that it is not self-dual but is different from the system, in the way a co-algebra is different from an algebra. But in our language Scape is always accompanied by another term like landscape, or seascape or mindscape, so in order to make it general I called the Meta-system an OpenScape. It is everything from the boundary of the system to the horizon of the landscape in which the system exists in a panormama around the system in all directions.

Meta-systems are completely different from Systems of Systems. A SoS is merely a reiteration of the system schema at a higher level of organization. Thus we have Supersystems, Systems, SubSystems. And interleaved between these is the meta-systems for each system, i.e. the environment within the Supersystem in which the system lives. Some definitions of SoS include features like meta-systems, but there is not a clear conceptualization of the difference between Meta-system in my sense and Supersystems in the sense that SoS is normally taken.

Normally, the mistake we make is to think that what ever is outside the boundary of the system is a homogeneous plenum and has no structure. Rather what ever the system needs within its niche to function which are fed to it as standing reserves of resources, and also what maintains multiple systems together and allows them to interact is the Meta-system of a given system at a given level of abstraction or construction.

A key point if you are looking for the System and Non-system in other cultures is the fact that Being only exists in Indo-european languages. Other languages have various existential but no Being. So we assume that Being is universal but it is not, rather it is an anomaly. The word system goes back to the greek. Kant was the one who said that we needed it as a hypothesis to do science. So it is Kant who raised System as a concept to the level we assign it today. However, in the Western tradition it is Form that is the central schema historically. Recently the pattern or structure schema has also become important as a way to view nature as we seen in Mendeleev’s table and the table of quarks. So there are at least three schemas that are very significant for us today, which are combined by Klir as Formal Structural Systems.

To get to the schemas all one needs to do is ask what is the next higher level of abstraction higher than the system. This would be the level that would contain all the non-systems. The point is that there are many non-systems not just one. Non-systems are all the other schemas that have been developed in our tradition. My Sprime hypothesis maintains that there are ten of them: Facet, Monad, Pattern, Form, System, Meta-system, Domain, World, Kosmos, Pluriverse. And there is a rule that says that there is two schemas per dimension and two dimensions per schema. This rule connects the schemas to a central concept in mathematics. Lately I have found the mathematical foundation of schemas in Pascal’s Triangle what Leibniz called Analysis Situs.

Thus I propose that beyond Systems Science and Systems Engineering there is a wider realm called Schemas Science and Schemas Engineering. And the fact that we do not recognize that puts blinders on us because in practice we are using all these schemas which have been developed in our tradition. A good place to see lots of these schemas called out is Philosophical Grammar by Wittgenstein. The definition of schema as I use it is given in Kant and the Platypus by Umberto Eco where they are called Mathematical and Geometrical Schemas.

Schemas as I use the term are a priori ontological structures projected on Spacetime. They are not ontic structures such as quarks, fundamental particles, atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, social groups, ecologies, gaia. Rather they are templates of understanding that give intelligiblity to organizations of entities that we just naturally project on our experience and see in nature.

So connecting these schemas to the idea of non-system the hypothesis is that there are many different types of non-system. But only one of these types is the Categorical Dual of the system, and that is the OpenScape called Meta-system in this case.

Just like Being is not universal, there is no evidence that Schemas are universal beyond the Western Worldview. Other cultures probably have other schematizations. This is an open area for anthropological research. Chinese for instance does not have a traditional word for System according to an informant who I talked to recently. This means that seeing everything in terms of systems is a form of European ethnocentrism.

But in order to understand schemas and their application to System Architectural Design we need other important terms as well such as the Philosophical Principles of C.S. Peirce and B. Fuller. The Foundaitonal Mathematical Categories, and the View/Order Epistemological Hierarchies. In other words, Schemas are not enough to understand in a fundamental way the nature of Design Synthesis. They are merely the content, i.e. the material of the Design. All Designs make use of the Schemas for the artificial content of the Design Synthesis. And this is why they are important. When we design we do not just design Systems, we design Forms, and Patterns our of Monads with facets in the context of Domains, Worlds and the Kosmos in which we live.

The other important thing about Schemas is that they are higher dimensional. This means that our designs are higher dimensional conceptualizations. Schemas are a natural way for us to organize higher dimensional elements and think about them. What ever is beyond the ninth dimension is unschematized, for instance string theory that exists in the tenth dimension. We cannot understand string theory directly and in a natural way, it is not immediately intelligible to us because we have no schemas to apply to it. We only have the mathematics that describes it.

It is said that short term memory is 7+/-2 elements. But we say independent elements. And that means we can hold in our short term memory up to nine dimensional conceptual structures that we understand directly through schematization. The fact that Design deals with higher dimensional object configurations shows why it is so difficult. But also why Flat Binary relations between entities such as we get in UML/SysML is inadequate for capturing designs. We at least need multi-way relations in order to even come close to capturing designs in ways that are coherent with our schematization of higher dimensional configurations of design entities.

This is some of the key points in Schemas Theory. For more information see the tutorial or some of the papers I have written over the years about it.

Let me end by saying that Schemas Theory was invented in order to understand the nature of the Special Systems that exist only between the System and the Meta-system. If you do not have a clear idea of the duality of system and meta-system then the special systems are invisible. The special systems are a holonomic theory of what exists in the niche in the meta-system between it and the system. There are special structures that are mathematically defined that have ultra-efficacy that exist between the system and the meta-system.

See Special Systems Theory

Part of Schemas Theory is the suggestion that Systems Science should become Mathematically based and that it should adopt Category Theory as its fundamental language as Kenneth Lloyd has also suggested. The whole key to Schemas Theory and Special Systems Theory is its connection to mathematics, and following where the mathematics leads, which is many times counterintuitive. Category Theory tells us that every category has a dual if we reverse the arrows, and sometimes those inversions of arrows lead to structures we do not expect, as when Algebra gave rise to Co-Algebra. Similarly, System give rise to its non-self-dual Co-system, which is the Meta-system or OpenScape.

We have a Western Philosophical and Scientific Tradition that over time have developed many different schemas by which things in the world can be understood. Why would we not make use of all of these Schemas, why would we limit ourselves to the System Schema and ignore all the others given to us in our rich tradition. Systems Science deserves to exist because this schema has been underrepresented in Academia. There are very few departments of Systems Science in universities. But this does not mean we should ignore all the other schemas, especially when from a pragmatic point of view we are constantly dealing with them in our practice. When we build complex artifacts we deal with all the schemas. And the reason is that they help us to comprehend higher dimensional organizations of things in configuration. Without them we could not design very complex artifacts.

Also the problem we have with defining what a system is stems from the fact that we do not know what the other schemas are, and once we know what the other schemas are that delimits the essence of the system. The constant reiteration of the problem of the definition of the system is a symptom of our ignorance of the greater context of the other schemas, of the many non-systems that exist but we are ignoring to our own peril.

For instance, As I said in an article long ago. When the terrorists attack our infrastructure they are attacking our meta-systems. Since we have no theory of meta-systems we are blind to those attacks. If nothing else we need to develop a theory of meta-systems to counter the existential threat of terrorism. And once we admit that there are other schemas besides systems, and that they all have interesting complementary relations to each other at the next higher theoretical level that Schemas Theory represents then suddenly a new horizon opens up which allows us to see that what we thought was Systems Engineering is really Schemas Engineering, which uses all the Schemas to design artifacts of high complexity that offer us new affordances in our lifeworld, thus transforming our world in ways that we would not have imagined possible not long ago. As long as we do not recognize schemas we are blind to the transformations that are overtaking us and that we are participating in creating. We basically have no foundation for our practice without schemas theory.

I talk about this relation of schemas theory to practice in detail in my dissertation on Emergent Design (General Schemas Theory Research).

No responses yet

Why Is Zizek worth Reading?

Apr 27 2016

We have a reading group here in Southern California on Zizek and other Continental Philosophers and Film. See We have been reading Sublime Object of Ideology. It is extremely useful to read philosophy with others rather than alone because of the ability to share insights and to help each other avoid falling into strange interpretations of the text.

Here I will say something about why Zizek is worth reading.

This question has been answered by others at Is Slavoj Zizek worth paying attention to?

My own take on whether Zizek is worth reading has to do with my over all theory of the crux of Continental Philosophy which is that it is an exploration of the Meta-levels of Being. There are five meta-levels of Being called Pure, Process, Hyper, Wild and Ultra by me. Pure and Process Being are the present-at-hand and ready-to-hand in Heidegger’s Being and Time.

Heidegger then discovered Hyper Being later which he called Being crossed out. Lacan started using this crossing out of the Subject and Other soon after the book was published of Heidegger’s that brought up the idea. Lacan was at ENS where Derrida was teaching, and Derrida came up with Differance (differing and deferring) as a way to talk about Hyper Being perhaps under Lacan’s influence but certainly under Heidegger’s influence. Merleau-Ponty rewrote Being and Time as the Phenomenology of Perception and seems to have independently discovered Hyper Being as the expansion of being-in-the-world toward the end of that book with the examples of the Musician and the Blindman who incorporate something from the environment into themselves which becomes part of them, part of their being-in-the-world (Dasein). Then in The Visible and the Invisible he defines Hyper Being as the Hyper dialectic between Sartre’s Nothingness and Heidegger’s concept of Being in Being and Time. Thus the name Hyper Being which he differentiates from Wild Being which is the contraction of being-in-the-world and the dual of Hyper Being. Thus we have four different kinds of Being, or meta-levels of Being prior to the fifth meta-level where there is a phase transition to Existence.

However, Existence appears as one of two nonduals, either Emptiness of Buddhism or Void of Taoism. Thus there are two nondual interpretations of Existence, i.e. Dual Nonduals. And what keeps them apart, what is the mark of the difference between these nondual interpretations of existence. It is a kind of Being called Ultra Being, Being as Singularity as seen as an externality in existence not seen from within the singularity of Being. Being only exists in Indo-European languages so it is an anomalous singularity within the languages of the world. And what I realized is that Zizek and Badiou are in different ways exploring Ultra Being seen as the Lacanian Structural and Semiotic Unconscious. Badiou is trying to approach it in terms of the arising of the ultra-one as an event from the Multiple that gives content to Set Theory seen as the realm of Ontology, which is wrong but interesting none the less. Zizek is much more interesting because he sees the Lacanian Unconscious as driving Ideology within the Big Other, i.e. the Das Mann (They) of Heidegger. Lacan sees both the Subject and the Other as crossed out, i.e. in terms of Hyper Being. But neither he nor Derrida seem to recognize Wild Being. It is Deleuze that recognizes Wild Being and tries to build a philosophy at that level. For Deleuze Ultra Being shows up as schizophrenia, i.e. madness. Which brings up the debate between Derrida and Foucault on the relation between madness and reason in Descartes which is an interesting problematic.

When ever Zizek talks about the Impossible in his books like SOI for instance then that is when he is talking about Ultra Being. This is in fact the cutting edge of the Continental Tradition as it is unfolding at the moment. Existentialists were interested in the unconscious and its connection to philosophy. Now Zizek and Badiou are Lacanian Analysts and they are applying Lacanian theory to all kinds of things attempting to understand them in terms of the action of Ultra Being on the other kinds of Being which are not impossible by necessity. Ultra Being warps the other kinds of Being and thus the Worldview, and Zizek calls these paradoxical or absurd warpages he jokes about Ideology.

Zizek is worth reading because he is bringing this understanding of Ultra Being to the rest of the world through his interesting interpretations of Films, Literature, Media, Politics and Philosophy and through the fusion of Lacan with Hegel and vice versa. Basically he is popularizing what Continental Philosophy has found out about the nature of the worldview. This is encapsulated in his talking about the Paradoxes of Zeno being descriptions of the field of Desire. Lacan brought the question of Desire back into Philosophy which has been exiled since Eros was a major issue in Plato’s philosophy. Basically all the things that have been excluded by Philosophy are included back in like children, women, evil, crime, nature beyond being seen as natural resources or the basis of physics once Lacan opens the door by his analysis of Descartes Cogito, as the Subject of The Other who desires desire. Philosophy is made so much more vibrant when it treats all human phenomena, not just casuistry for Science, and so-called Objectivity which Analytical Philosophers fantasize about.

So what Zizek is talking about is the cutting edge of Philosophy in as much as it is trying to understand the effects of the singularity of Ultra Being on the structure of the Western worldview, the warpages, discontinuities, and incoherences or opacities that it creates within the worldview, i.e. its Ideological Blindspots.

To my mind the next thing beyond that is the attempt to understand the Nondual itself which is embedded in the Western worldview, and the limit of the Supra-rational which is the opposite limit to the limit of mixture that includes contradiction, paradox, absurdity and the Impossibilities that indicate the presence of Ultra Being. It was actually Kierkegaard that introduced this idea of the interaction between the Eternal and the temporal into philosophy. Zizek is merely using the ideas of Deleuze and Derrida combined with some ideas of Lacan to get at the nature of these warpages that occur prior to experience and are seen as Traumas within experience.

These analyses are extremely pertinent given the current political climate in the US Presidential campaigns in which we see ideology in fully playing itself out in all its nihilistic glory. But in general it is a question of knowing how we are manipulated through the unconscious social mechanisms within our world through media and other cultural forms that are put to use by others for better or worse. The better we know how ideology works the better perhaps we can avoid some of its worse pitfalls.

Another reason to read Zizek is that he himself as read extremely widely, and if you read the things he refers to there is an education in Continental Philosophy just in those things he recommends as worth reading because he uses them in his arguments.

This is not to say that Zizek is a great philosopher. We have lost some of the great philosophers in the Continental Tradition recently such as Deleuze, and Derrida. He and Badiou criticize them in order to hide their debt to them, and because if you compare them to these philosophers like Deleuze and Derrida you can see that Continental Philosophy in general is going down hill. It is exploring new territory it is true beyond Wild Being of Deleuze and Hyper Being of Lacan and Derrida. But these new breed of philosophers who based themselves on Lacanian psychoanalysis are just not as great as those they criticize. They themselves are ideologues and they have political agendas that are in many respects regressive. So we have not reached a new height of genius with Zizek and Badiou, merely a new meta-level of Being which had not been explored before. But Continental Philosophy has been working itself up through these meta-levels of Being over the last hundred years and has done a good job of exploring those ever more difficult kinds of Being. And now we are at the last of these levels of Being, because we have reached the phase transition from Being to Existence. So it will be interesting to see of Continental Philosophy wanes or whether it pushes on into the new nondual realms beyond Ultra Being which are existence and manifestation and other higher nonduals related to the core of the Western worldview which we see in the Divided Line of Plato.

Bottom line is that Zizek is on the cutting edge of the Continental Philosophical Tradition and is the best representative so far as to how to apply the insights of Continental Philosophy to cultural products like films, literature, and politics, and economics, etc. But many of his insights come from the very people he denies like Deleuze and Derrida as well as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. He says he gets everything from Lacan and Hegel, but this is not true, if there had been no Deleuze or Derrida he could not have the point of view he espouses. He is a good representative of the entire Continental Tradition and its interest in interpreting political and cultural phenomena.

In France everyone was a communist. The communists were our allies during World War I and were not purged in France after the war but became the leading intellectuals. And there was a renaissance in philosophy in France that gave us what we now call Continental Philosophy. The fact that Zizek and Badiou are Marxists is just par for the course in French philosophy. And why that was good was that they were the only Marxists outside the Soviet Union and part of the reason for the fall of the Soviet Union, probably a small part, is that basically thinking in soviet countries about the nature of Marxism came to a halt as it was turned into a state religion. Sartre wrote Critique of Dialectical Reason which was the first book to try to rethink Marxism on the basis of advances in philosophy made in France, then many other books followed critiquing the mechanistic nature of Marxists dogma. Lacan supported Maoists at the time of the cultural revolution, but was smart enough not to go to China. Badiou was part of a Marxist Cell lead by Althrussar at ENS in Paris who were plotting against other French intellectuals like Derrida and Deleuze. Much of this history is starting to come out about French philosophy through intellectual biographies and studies of different subjects like Structuralism. Zizek was from a communist country, but when he went to France to study he was in good company with comrades he met there like Badiou. In France Communism is just another political party, like the socialists and many others. There is nothing special about Zizek being a communist except he is a non-dogmatic one, unlike Badiou. What is special about Zizek is that he has figured out how to take Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory and generalize it to talk about Ideological warpages in our worldview and that gives us some insight into the action of Ultra Being, the last meta-level of being within the worldview, and this is extremely useful from a philosophical point of view and just the fact that it gives us an alternative way of thinking about cultural phenomena that would otherwise be taken for granted and not thought about at all.

Question posted on Continental Philosophy group on LinkedIn

Sign Up | LinkedIn


See also

No responses yet

Quora answer: In what order would Kent Palmer recommend I read ALL of his work to truly understand it?

Dec 09 2015

Interesting Question.

I guess I should just admit outright that my works are a mess. Therefore, I don’t think there is a privileged order for reading them. They cover a vast range of subjects many of which are not going to be of interest to any given reader. The other problem is that the vast majority of what I have written is unpublished so what has been given out on the internet is really the tip of the iceberg. So you are not going to be able to read ALL of my works by definition unless I get busy and try to get the rest of them edited, which probably is not going to happen soon.

I just don’t think it is feasible to read all of my works to truly understand them. And even if you read all of them there is no guarantee that you would “truly understand” what I am saying, not the least because I am a speculative philosopher and thus I try things out to see what happens, and many of my experiments fail. So truly understanding would be to confront the meaning of my many failures to understand things myself. Essentially I am saying that what you seek is impossible to obtain even for me. Do I really understand myself what I have written? Point is that over the years I have changed my opinion many times. What I understand now is more in someways than what I understood before after a lot of experience reading and writing and living in the world. But in some ways when I wrote my studies in England for my dissertation I understood more than I do now, because I was totally immersed in it, which I have not been for years. I have published some of these studies and hope to publish the rest of them, but they are almost unreadable for me. So if I have a hard time grasping what I once wrote when I was utterly absorbed in coming to terms with philosophy, then how would you understand it completely, or truly.

This brings me back to a theme you can see in my posts here and at Thinknet and in many of my writings that identifies the different aspects of Being as Truth, Reality, Identity and Presence. Because these are the aspects of Being, and because Being is not a universal, but a peculiarity of the Western worldview that are glosses over Existence in some sense which change at the different meta-levels of Being, then when you say you want to understand TRULY you are entering into these aspects. And the thing I have learned about that is that these aspects are fundamentally different at the different meta-levels of Being. And so understanding Truly at the level of Process Being is different from the what it is at the level of Pure Being, and the same goes for Hyper, Wild and Process Being. As Nietzsche said Truth is a convenient lie that we use to kid ourselves into thinking that we understand things in the world. So in some sense truly understanding is a doubtful enterprise.

But what goes for me, also goes for you. In other words can you really truly understand yourself, less well anyone else, like me for instance. I don’t claim to be able to understand myself, so how are you going to truly understand me. Anyway these are the lingering doubts I have about the project of “Truly Understanding” me and what I have written.

So what is a better path? The better path is to try to set out as I have done to understand our worldview, and go exploring yourself that vast realm which conditions everything we are and do. Understanding that is way more worth while than understanding me and my writings. This is because there are various real advantages to that project. First of all we have a philosophical tradition that stretches back a long ways to Thales and it is well commented, So you can read the originals in that tradition and then you can read many commentaries that are excellent that help you to understand those works. In other words, that is what I do. I read the works of the philosophers that interest me then I read the commentaries. And thus there is plenty of help to understand these major figures in our philosophy tradition. The point is that if you put your effort into that then you will truly be doing something worthwhile in my opinion because the more you understand our tradition the more you will understand yourself, and that is really the goal, but of course it is a goal at an infinite limit because the tradition is vast.

For myself I have taken the Continental philosophical tradition as something I wanted to understand because it gives me a better view of our worldview as far as I can see. What I write is like other commentators just my various insights I have gathered along the way concerning that tradition. One should always put the primary texts before the commentaries. So it is much better to read Husserl for instance than to read what I have to say about him. Our tradition is made up of a series of geniuses who have found new ways of looking at the worldview, and they build on each others work. So if you read say Husserl, then Heidegger, then Derrida, and others like Foucault, Deleuze, Zizek, and then go back to Kant, Hegel, Plato etc you will come to understand our tradition much better than you would if you did not spend the time reading them. I participate in a reading group that is local to me in which we have done just that, we have gone back and followed the itinerary mapped out by Lee Braver in A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism (Topics in Historical Philosophy) (9780810123809): Lee Braver: Books and attempted to read the originals that he talks about. In my own reading of the tradition, I never really went back before and tried to re-read the things I read in England, because there was always another book to read in the tradition that fascinated me. But through this reading group I am going back and learning a lot that I missed the first time through with two other philosophers who are teaching me about analytical philosophy along the way. And one of our great interests is the split between Analytical and Continental Philosophy. And I have been reading some of the books about that split and some of the books that I never got around to reading on the Analytical side and this is giving me a new appreciation for many things I had not understood before about the tradition. Not that I like Analytical Philosophy and more, but now I at least know better what is good about it, and why I don’t find it as uplifting as I find Continental Philosophy. The difference is that Continental Philosophy gives us more insight into the nature of the Western worldview because it is much more wide ranging in its concerns. It is not a specialized discipline, but an attempt to understand everything from all angles, instead of just being a handmaiden to Western Science.

In our study we have read together Being and Time, then Basic Writings, and after that the Order of Things, and then read Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations and Krisis as a prelude to reading Derrida and we are now caught up in reading Introduction to the Origin of Geometry, Writing and Difference, Speech and Phenomena, and of Grammatology. And I am going on to read more of Derrida, for instance Archive Fever which I had not read before. In this process I have become fascinated with Genetic Phenomenology developed by Husserl and its impact on the later tradition. That is definitely something worth trying to understand. Much more significant than anything I have written. Try to understand that. Then lets talk. That is something that is really profound and has had an amazing impact on Western philosophy that I just did not appreciate before. And now there is a lot of material about it such as Derrida’s own book reviewing Genetic Phenomenology in Husserl’s Philosophy.

See The Problem of Genesis in Husserl’s Philosophy – Kindle edition by Jacques Derrida, Marian Hobson. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ See also Genesis and Trace: Derrida Reading Husserl and Heidegger (Cultural Memory in the Present) (9780804739160): Paola Marrati, Simon Sparks: Books

The Other Husserl: The Horizons of Transcendental Phenomenology (Studies in Continental Thought): Donn Welton: 9780253215581: Books

Key Book Analyses Concerning Passive and Active Synthesis: Lectures on Transcendental Logic (Husserliana: Edmund Husserl – Collected Works): Edmund Husserl, A.J. Steinbock: 9780792370666: Books

Thus with this reading in our reading group my understanding of the tradition has changed fundamentally. By ideas about the meta-levels of Being were really just the tip of the iceberg, and that below that at a deeper level is the theme of Genetic Phenomenology. There is a thread of Genetic Phenomenology that stretches from Husserl to Heidegger to Merleau Ponty to Derrda to Deleuze and probably beyond that ties these philosophers together at a deeper level despite their exploring the different meta-levels of Being which is fascinating. And some commentators have picked up this thread and explored it.

For instance:

Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation (Continuum Studies in Continental Philosophy) – Kindle edition by Joe Hughes. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @

So on the one had the Continental Tradition was exploring the various meta-levels of Being (Pure, Process, Hyper, Wild and Ultra) but on the other hand there is a deeper thread tying them together which is genetic phenomenology. And if you understand that then you have a much deeper insight into the tradition than just concentrating on the differences between the meta-levels. Essentially the meta-levels of Being are what falls out when you go deeper and deeper into Genetic Phenomenology. I did not understand this before. Thus my understanding is itself transforming radically as a result of revisiting these texts I read long ago but did not completely understand before, there was much more in them than I appreciated at the time. And the only reason I am getting this benefit is that I found others who want to read these texts along with me and to discuss them. Which is a rare and wonderful thing. This secret about the tradition that is starting to come out in the commentaries on the Contentment Tradition, for instance Home and Beyond: Generative Phenomenology after Husserl (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy): Anthony J. Steinbock: 9780810113206: Books, is something quite amazing. That is something worth truly understanding because it tells us something deep about our worldview that we really did not understand before.

So I guess what I am trying to say, is that I am struggling to try to understand our worldview. The best thing you can do is to try to understand it yourself, not my meager contribution, except in passing and as a side note to a much broader attempt by others within our tradition to understand it better. The point is that much of my work because it is truly speculative, in other words I just try things out for the heck of it to see what might happen, is probably wrong. Not to mention that I am not a “real scholar” in the sense that I do not know the original languages in which much of this material is written. I take classes from someone who is local that does understand those languages and try to take guidance from him in my interpretations. There is just so much available in English that I have not been able to exhaust it and without a facility for language, it is just easier to keep reading in my native language. But everything I have written has this flaw or taint of ignorance of German, and French, and the other major languages that the originals of the tradition are written in. Truly understanding would demand that we went back to the originals in their own languages. And if that is true then I definitely don’t have True Understanding in that sense like Derrida does, for instance.

I am appreciating him more as I am reading him again these many years later. He has the capacity to completely understand who ever he happens to be studying and to say interesting things about them, for instance Husserl, or Freud, or Hegel. And as far as I can see he had not hint that Wild Being defined by Merleau-Ponty and explored by Deleuze, existed. Everything he writes is from the point of view of Hyper Being as far as I can see so far. But that is a good thing because by reading Derrida you can focus on Hyper Being, but then if you want to see things from the point of view of Wild Being you go to Deleuze, and if you want to explore Ultra Being you go to the work of Badiou and Zizek. In other words, it is a very good thing that each of these philosophers stick to the meta-level of Being that they are exploring as fully as they can. But to get an overview of what is happening in the tradition we need to understand these different meta-levels of Being and how they are related in the Western Worldview. Taken together they tell us something about our worldview, something deep about it which was always known in antiquity but which was later lost so that today we have a very flat view of the worldview, except in as much as Continental Philosophy has re-illuminated it for us.

For more on the meta-levels of Being see my recent summary Meta-levels of Being

So the upshot of all this is that the best thing you can do is not to try to understand my writings but to dive into the tradition and try to understand that for yourself with the help of reading the original works and the myriad good commentaries. My own work merely tries to give an overview of what I have learned by doing that myself. And it may help in some ways with the caveat that it is my own peculiar and idiosyncratic opinion. But the only thing really good about it is that I try to understand it as a whole, rather than just getting lost in the weeds as so many do. But of course trying to understand our philosophical tradition is a life times work and takes a very big commitment. So I don’t expect many will follow this advice. But what I can say is that it is extremely rewarding if you do make the effort, it affords you with an intellectual adventure that is difficult to match.

My works are way points on that journey. Probably the only thing worthwhile about them is that they signify the possibility of the journey toward an understanding of our tradition. But where anyone who takes that journey as so many have before us will end up is very different from anyone else who take that journey, and that is what drives the difference between the major philosophers in our tradition. They took the journey and they came to see it in fundamentally differently ways and thus shed more light on it from their different stances. Staking our your own stance toward the tradition as I have tried to do is a worth while project. But very demanding because the territory is so vast no one individual is going to encompass it all. Or at least after Hegel that has become fairly obvious. Hegel was perhaps the last philosopher who understood the whole tradition in his own way. Derrida’s works are a recognition of our limitations in that respect that have generally become recognized of late. If we cannot understand our tradition as a whole, then that means we cannot understand who we are completely, and thus we will never know ourselves truly, in reality, with any absolute identity, and we cannot bring ourselves to full presence ultimately. If that is the case then understanding each other truly is not going to be easy, and perhaps we need to recognize those limitations up front. Since my works have no intrinsic order, they just happened to be what I was interested at the time and my attempt to set down what I had gleaned from my reading, then that means that there is no order in which they should be read to gain a true understanding, if that were even possible.

However, there is an intrinsic order that you should read things in general which is to read what ever fascinates you the most first, and then after that what fascinates most now that you have a new perspective having read that. In other words, my works should be read only to the extent that I am the most fascinating thing you can read at a given time, and if I do not come up to that standard then my works should be passed over for what IS the most fascinating thing for you at the moment. To tell you the truth I don’t read my own works. That is why so many of them lie unedited. I always find something more fascinating written by someone else which I prioritize over my own editing and writing for the most part. So if I don’t read them how can I expect others to read them. But the only thing I will say is that I try to write things that do not appear in the literature, and I try to write things that I myself would like to see and read from others within the tradition. And if my works have any value it probably stems from that. I say to myself. I wish someone who actually knows something would write a book on Subject X. But then I do not find anything. So I say well perhaps I will try my hand at it and see what happens. Then I either publish the result to the internet or leave it to the side and forget about it and move on to what is most fascinating to me at a given moment. Perhaps there are others that wish there was a book on Subject X. Well they might find my attempt worth while, or at least they can see what I did wrong and try to do better, in which case I would like to read their attempt to treat the same subject which might be better than mine.

This only other thing I will say about this subject is that Order as Nomos is the nondual between Logos and Phusis, and is the first nondual. There is below that a whole series of nonduals which are Right, Good, Fate, Source and Root. Now in my writing I try to explore this hierarchy that is at the heart of the Western worldview. Thus your question deals with the Order that would allow you to truly understand my works and thought. But you might ask what is the Right thing to read within my ouvre, (which would obviously be what I have written concerning Special Systems Theory) or you might as what is the Good thing to read (The Fragmentation of Being and the Path Beyond the Void) thus the deepest thing to read. What I ask you to ask yourself is why start at the most superficial of these levels of nonduality within the tradition. Rather than my works lets talk about someone for whom this question can actually be answered, i.e. Plato. In the tradition the right thing to read is Plato’s Republic, because it has the topic of Justice and thus is about Right (Rta, Arte). If you want to read about Order then it is Plato’s Laws that should be read (this is the longest dialogue but also the least read work of Plato), which is the inland city as far away from the sea as possible. But if we want to read about Right we must go to the shore and deal with all the things that come from the outside world and thus take our decent into Hades as Socrates did ( Being and Logos: Reading the Platonic Dialogues (9780253210715): John Sallis: Books) where he went to witness the emergent event of the introduction of a new foreign goddess into the city. The Republic is the right thing to read if you want to know about the structure of the Western worldview which is encapsulated in the Divided Line. But what is the Good thing to Read? In Plato the good thing to read is the Symposium. That is because each speech is related to the various Special Systems which appear throughout the works of Plato. And in it he is giving us a variety of viewpoints of different speakers and thus pointing to the necessary variety that is produced by human beings. Then we might ask what is the Fated thing to read and that would be Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito concerning the death of Socrates. But then we might ask what is the thing that will allow us the deepest insight into the Sources of thing. In that case we would want to study the dialogues in which Plato talks about the source forms such as Phaedo, Republic and Phaedrus.

Then again we might want to inquire into the Root or the deepest level of nonduality in which case we would have to read the seventh letter [Seventh Letter | Wikiwand] where he says that what he has written in the Dialogues is not what interests him most but what interests him most is something that travels like a spark between companions from soul to soul, i.e. spiritual transmission.

When you ask about the Order in which someones works should be read, one is merely at the highest most superficial level of their work. But Plato is the only one I know who actually writes works at all the different levels of nonduality within the Western tradition, and that is why Whitehead says that everyone elses works are a footnote to Plato. My own work is merely a footnote to those footnotes. Better to read the original and forget about the footnotes except for clarification on fine points that aid understanding that flows from thinking deeply about the original texts of the tradition. There are puddles beside the road but it is better to swim in truly deep oceans like the works of Plato, than to spend ones time on the works that everyone will have forgotten sooner rather than later as the tradition lumbers on and our understanding of it is transformed again and again by emergent events that well up from it unexpectedly producing the Epochs of Being (Heidegger), the Episteme Changes (Foucault), the Paradigm Changes (Kuhn) and the production of myriad theories that always happens and continually changes the tradition in fundamental ways.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Where do I start with discovering Husserl?

Apr 21 2015

The normal suggestion for a place to start studying Husserl is Cartesian Meditations.

But I would suggest reading Ideas 1 instead which seems easier to read even though it is longer.

Another place to start is with his last work which is Crisis in the European Sciences.

Husserl is difficult to read. There is no getting around that. However, if you are interested in Phenomenology then it is rewarding to read about it from the source who invented the idea of this unique and interesting way of doing philosophy.

A much easier place to start with phenomenology in general is with Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception. Then once you get the idea about what Phenomenology is about then one can go back and read Husserl and Heidegger to get the wider context.

The most interesting thing in Husserl is Genetic Phenomenology verses Static Phenomenology. But there is not much about that in Husserl’s main published works. For an introduction to it see The Other Husserl by Welton.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Philosophy of Mathematics: Is anyone familiar with the work of Fernando Zalamea?

Apr 20 2015

Versus Laboratory Seminar 24: Sheaf Logic & Philosophical Synthesis, with Fernando Zalamea (September 29, 2011)

Versus Laboratory Seminar 24: Sheaf Logic & Philosophical Synthesis, with Fernando Zalamea : Fernando Zalamea : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

No responses yet

Quora Answer: What are some philosophers I should read about besides Plato and Aristotle?

Apr 20 2015

I recommend reading and re-reading the entire Philosophical Cannon.

[I realize this is an ideal and a practical impossibility. The way to solve this practical problem is to read from the philosophical canon what is most fascinating at any given moment]

Western canon

Harold Bloom Creates a Massive List of Works in The “Western Canon”: Read Many of the Books Free Online The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (9780674816473): Randall Collins: Books

History of Philosophy

A History of Eastern Philosophy

History of Philosophy without any gaps

No responses yet

Quora Answer: The view from inside of a mirrored tetrahedron?

Apr 20 2015

The inwardly mirrored tetrahedron is a model for the social level of emergence which is connected by hyper complex algebras to the level of the octonions. The quaternions are are a model of autopoiesis of the existential living organism and the complexnions are a model of the dissipative ordering of consciousness.

Would like to draw your attention to Special Systems Theory. See

Ben Goertzel also did some papers on Ons at Ben Goertzel’s Research Papers

We had a study group called the Octonion Appreciation Group in the 90s where we collaborated on studying special systems theory which is based on Hyper Complex Algebra. This group included Onar Aam, Ben Goertzel, Tony Smith and Kent Palmer. Onar Aam realized that hyper complex algebras can be modeled as facing mirrors. He created an image of what an inwardly facing Tetrahedron would look like inside via ray tracing. And we attempted to understand the dynamics inside the inwardly mirrored tetrahedron and its vertex figure which has twelve lines intersecting at each point forming a regular polygon which can be seen in these images by Ryan Budney which is a much better rendition than that which we were using back then. I am so happy to have found these images that are key to understanding the theory visually. Onar also produced Mandelbrot type images of the quaternions and octonions at that time.

The basic idea is that the Hyper Complex Algebras are captured in the analogy of facing mirrors so the Reals are a single mirror, the Complex Numbers are two facing mirrors, the Quaternions are three facing mirrors, and the Octonions are four facing mirrors. At the sedenion level which is after the Octonions there can be no regular mirroring configuration and so Onar called this the Funhouse because the mirrors have to be either spaced apart of warped. In the theory I related the real numbers to systems, the complex numbers to Prigogine Dissipative Structures, the quaternions to autopoietic systems of Maturana and Varella, the octonions to reflexive social systems related to reflexive sociology of B. Sandywell and J. O’Malley, A. Blum and others. I see the reflexive tetrahedron as a model of the social. Beyond that the Sedenion is a model of the meta-system.

To answer the question as to what you see: This is a model of interpenetration and intrainclusion as we get in Fa Tsang’s Hua Yen Buddhism. In other words you see a model of the interpenetration of all things. This is happening dynamically in the reflections in the mirrors.

But more important than what you see is the fact that are the Octonion level the associative property as well as the commutative properties are lost in algebra and that means that who sets next to who at the dinner table matters, and also actions cannot be easily reversed. However the division property is still in tact and it will not be lost until we go to the sedenion level which is the next unfolding of the algebras. So more than what you see it is the possible dynamics that is different at these various algebraic levels, and when you lose the associative level then social relations matter, so this is a model of the emergence of the social. What ever you put into this inwardly mirrored tetrahedron is reflected on all sides. So there is closure of appearances which is still regular around each object on all sides. So this is a model of the relation between reality and appearance which is controlled and which has a reference grid which in the reflections is some kind of polytope that has an incidence of twelve edges at each vertex. With the reference grid it is possible to map back and forth between the appearances in the reflections and the actual three dimensional space of the inwardly mirrored tetrahedron. When the mirrors are spaced or warped this becomes much more difficult to transform between the apparent images in the reflections and the actual objects being mirrored within the space of the inwardly mirrored tetrahedron. Each node where 6 lines intersect is a distorted image of what B. Fuller called a vector equilibrium. There is a space-filling lattice of octrahedra and vector equlibria see Page on

No responses yet

Quora: How much power does idealism have?

Apr 20 2015

The power idealism has is that it is the basic position of Western Philosophy since Kant. As Kant said Idealism is the royal road to Realism. Thus ironically Realism outside idealism is in fact unreal. Same is true of Materialism a form of realism. Russell reintroduced Naive Realism back into mainstream philosophy as the basis of Analytical Philosophy thus returning to what Hegel called Sense Certainty which is the most Naive possible philosophical position and the starting point for the evolution in the Phenomenology of Spirit. A good introduction all of this is Braver’s A Think in this World. The power Idealism has is to organize our world. Everyone since Kant has been bound by his Copernican Revolution even if they were reacting against it. In other words Kantian Idealism is the basic position of the Western Tradition. All other positions are organize themselves around this central position. Even rejectors must explain how their viewpoint works in terms of Kant’s original formulation of idealism as the best possible access to realism.

No responses yet

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

Oct 18 2014 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”

No responses yet

Quora Answer: What are the most fascinating Greek words?

Oct 18 2014

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.

No responses yet

« Newer - Older »

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog