Archive for April, 2013

Quora answer: What’s a good example that illustrates Kant’s idea of “mental representations”?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

The mental representations we are talking about are you words you say to yourself in your head when you are thinking. They are not something mysterious. However, it is Locke that really brings the idea of mental representations to the fore, an although Kant accepts a Lockean account to a certain extent he really is not taking that as a main theme in my understanding. Rather, he is taking as his them what must exist as a necessary precondition for the possibility of having representations of language in your head and sensory presentations. Not representations are always lossy, i.e. abstractions of actual sensory presentations. It is the necessary conditions of the possibility of experience that are the transcendentals of Kant, not some dogmatic invisibles that cannot be verified. Also his ideas do not have a lot to do with Plato, but rather are a direct result of  his reaction to Hume, but also Leibniz and of course Spinoza and Descartes. He is basically trying to build a foundation underneath the physics of Newton, and so the structure of his philosophy is influenced a lot by the structure of the Calculus that makes the description of nature though laws possible. The key idea is the difference between Analytic and Synthetic judgments  and the difference between A Priori and A Posteriori judgments  The whole thing is about the nature of judgement. And judgments are something that can appear as statements in language once they are formed. Basically he is attempting to prove that there is something called the A Priori Synthetic and that is the Singular Space and is the basis of geometry. Today we would say it is spacetime, and would not separate out the schemas from spatial representations such as you get in geometrical proofs. Sensation is appears in a manifold which is an  A Priori synthesis. On the basis of that perception then there is the apperception of concepts that are then represented in the proofs as statements and diagrams of the geometrical situation, or equations for instance related to the calculus.

But the key point is that we project the a priori synthetic singular that then is the basis of the unity and totality of the manifold which then appears as a perception of something that gives rise to an apperception. When we consider that thing as a physical object we project on it the Categories which all objects share such as quality, quantity, relation and modality. The key to this projection is the positing of causality. Because causality comes from us, then we do not have to find it somehow in the world as an objective thing, and that is why Kant believes that the only road to Transcendental Reality is via Transcendental Idealism. A good source for further understanding is the lectures which goes though all the arguments in detail. Our tradition has been basically critical and idealist after Kant because his arguments for his position are so strong. He would have considered neural activity part of the noumena. Until we can relate the neural activities in fMRIs to what is actually experienced in consciousness I think it would remain part of the noumena even though we can now see it by peaking inside the functioning brain. It still does not relate to our experience, and in fact the more we find out about it the more mysterious it becomes because of its decentralized processing.

Suggest you read the Patton Commentary on Critique of Pure Reason if you are interested in finding out more information about Kant’s philosophy. There are a lot of strange interpretations of it out there and strangely it is hard to find a good commentary even though it is one of the most commented on books in our tradition. It is so complex that it is possible to make almost anything you want out of it. I went though a lot of bad commentaries before I found Patton. Basically he turns each sentence into a paragraph and keeps the context within the overall argument in mind as he unpacks each new sentence.

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Quora answer: What would it take to jump between two universes?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

This is a good question. And I don’t know the answer. Physicists are just getting started writing papers about the multiverse. I have been reading them some of them. First of all there is no spacetime in the multiverse. So how you would get from one spacetime continuum to the other is a very big question. Since we cannot get anything anywhere by any known means due to the speed of light in our universe, it is had to imagine how we would get from one spacetime continuum to another. We can imagine if it is impossible to go faster than the speed of light, then it would be even more impossible to move from one spacetime continuum to another. But since we are just starting to take the multiverse seriously I think it will be quite a while before we have any idea what it might actually be like in itself given the hints that we can get from the existence of our own universe.

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Quora answer: Why is the Buddha often smiling?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

First of all the smiles of the Buddha are very constrained in most cases. It is not a wide smile but an introspective sort of subtle smile that I see on most representations. The point is that the Buddha knows he has escaped the wheel of Samsara, and that is why he is smiling. But he is actually smiling to himself, not to others, for he knows that others have not escaped yet. But he knows that others can escape because he has escaped and thus he is smiling to himself. It is the satisfaction of arrival. Every moment is that arrival which has been struggled for and attained. And so the smile is perpetual. But in the representations it means you can achieve this satisfaction yourself. And from the point of view of that arrival there is nothing to worry about any more. So it is assurance for the rest of us, and it is meant to spur us on to achieve the same state.

But of course it was realized that this was ultimately selfish, and so the Bodhisattva ideal was formulated to counterbalance the selfishness of the Buddha, however minute that might be, in as much as he entered parinirvana without taking us with him. So Bodhisattvas say they will wait to be the last to cross over into nirvana and enter parinirvana so that they can shower their compassion on living beings caught up in Samsara. Bodhisattvas tend to look determined. Determined to save all sentient creatures from delusion before they themselves give up reincarnation.

So the smile of the Buddha in light of the Bodhi Sattva ideal is his satisfaction that others will take care of the mortals he has left behind. It is the smile of a tremendous burden being lifted from his shoulders.

What people don’t get is that in Hinduism there was an infinite pressure on each person to be responsible for what ever they do. Reincarnation was devised to release the Gods from responsibility for the fates of humans. Buddha was not searching for release from the suffering of life alone, but the endless suffering of reincarnation,. When he achieved nirvana he actually realized that this wheel of samsara which put infinite pressure on each person, and caused them infinite suffering of continual rebirth in different forms forever was in fact an illusion. So the Buddha is smiling because he realized that Samsara was not real but illusory, and so there is no infinite pressure of reincarnation, but in fact reincarnation is merely the meaning of the habitas from moment to moment as quasi-causality continues to appear to flow in spite of emptiness being more fundamental.

Finally the Buddha is smiling because he realizes that even nirvana the opposite of samsara is also an illusion. there is no such thing as nirvana as any thing different from Samsara, these are nihilistic opposites and Buddha finds the nondual position between them, the middle ground where there is no extremes any longer. Emptiness of Emptiness means that the search for nirvana is a trick one plays on oneself, but this trick actually works, because the self gets caught up in this search to such extent that the whole self is invested in it, but when one realizes nihilistically that nirvana does not exist actually, but effectively it has in fact caused the self to disintegrate upon the realization, then one gets the subtle joke that is at the heart of existence. So the Buddha smiles at that joke he played on  himself which was effective even though it was itself also an illusion.

And the Buddha smiles because he realizes that the way of Nirvana is not really the ultimate way, but it is the way of the Bodhisattva, which is ultimate, even though without him there could have been no Bodhisattvas. In other words if he had not postulated nirvana as opposite samsara, then it could not be realized that the ultimate position in Mahayana would be that of not entering fully into parinirvana but waiting for all the others. Of course it is going to be a very long time before all the others are saved, and in fact it is probably never going to happen, which means there will be a lot of Bodhisattvas hanging around going though Samsara with us. So the ultimate position is the escape of no-escape, just like the Koan collection is the gateless gate. Ultimately the realization is that Nirvana is not a door out of samsara, because neither nirvana nor samsara exist and the concretion of this realization is ultimately DzogChen which denies both as extremes and fabrications which in Tibet is seen as the highest teaching in Buddhism and was also not just in Buddhism but also in Bon (the Taoism of Tibet).

In effect the smile of the Buddha has infinite depth as we read into it the various interpretations of Buddhism though the ages. And ultimately the Buddha is smiling because of the subtlety of the Dharma that he has unleashed that has given rise to so many different viewpoints on Samsara and Nirvana over the centuries. The Buddha is satisfied with the opening up of so many deep ways of looking at existence beyond the illusions of Being. You can get lost in the infinite depth of that self-reflective smile that comes from satisfaction of the overcoming of the intrinsic and endemic dissatisfaction (dukha) of human existence which is transformed by the dawning of prajna.

Catch sight of that smile in yourself and claim your freedom from delusion.

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Quora answer: What is the purpose of education?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Keep young people off the labor market as long as possible. The higher the level of employment the longer young people are kept in school. This delay reduces competition and also creates a filter that distinguishes classes of workers based on education. Significantly, what it takes to be successful at school is different than what it takes to be successful in work. Therefore, to be successful in life one must be good at both systems. The educational system represents Logos, and the Industrial realm represents Physus. Thus the difference between education and business is a way to enforce this fundamental distinction in our world view which is the duality between Logos and Physus. Interestingly the nondual between these Nomos appears in Education as the major discriminator in the filtering system that is weeding out students because depending on the subject math plays a greater or lesser role, and math is one of the hardest subjects for most people and so minimal math requirements are one of the bases for differentiating between students. However, in business the amount of math that is actually performed is normally not as great as we would be led to believe by the math classes that are demanded in school. Only specialists actually deal with the mathematics in industry. Rather the kind of Math that is mostly used in business is ordering math, financial and statistical mathematics and for software discrete math. The amount calculus or algebra used by most workers is paltry. Therefore, in the academic system math is used to discriminate between those who can and cannot pass the required math, and in business it is the domain of specialists. So what we see is that the distinction between education and industry or business is there to enforce the distinction fundamental to the worldview between Physus and Logos. And interestingly Education is a large filter for getting into jobs in the work force whose entry is governed by Education and Experience, and so since higher levels of education are needed for better jobs in many cases, this means there is a greater delay of entry into the higher tiers of the workforce. Between filtering and delay the higher the position in industry the more competition for those jobs is curtailed. In this way economic resources are distributed in a Pareto fashion with the more educated getting the higher paying jobs after the longest wait, and after the most filtering. Logos becomes the filter for the Physus, and Nomos is used as the highest gain filter within the educational system, but there is a great disparity between the emphasis on math and its actual use, with other kinds of math that are not emphasized in school having greater weight in industry and the knowledge of math being the discriminator for specialties in many cases. From a philosophical point of view it is interesting how the Logos/Nomos/Physus duality is enforced and the role that the nondual of nomos plays in the filtering in education and specialization within industry. This way of introducing economic reward and inequalities is seen as more fair than earlier distributions based on inheritance or other factors in the sovereign regimes prior to the dominance of democracy. It is considered fair because it is based on the inherent properties of individuals subject to educational filtering rather than extrinsic factors like birth into a given family that would allow inheritance of positions whether or not one had the skills or innate dispositions to perform well in those positions.

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Quora answer: What is the difference between the Poet and the Thinker?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Poetic Thinker = Heidegger
Thinking Poet = Holderlin

Another similar dual:
Poetic Thinker = T.S. Elliot
Thinking Poet = Wallace Stevens

Heidegger answers that Poetry and Thinking are the Same because they “belong together” in a profound sense.

Heidegger says that Thinking is really Thanking in What is Called Thinking to my mind his most important book.

When I was taking a course on Heidegger I of course went to read Holderlin’s Fragments. And I must say that they were fascinating, and what I got out of them was the idea of the Pleroma. What I was most impressed with was the poems addressed to the Titans, i.e. forgotten gods. But what is key in my opinion is the god lost in Oblivion, which even the Greeks had lost Alalu. That god in Oblivion is the first god, and therefore is the last god which we await the passing of at the end of the Metaphysical age.

Oblivion . . . . Forgetfulness
Unstriated . . . Striated

One of the complementariteis in the Pleroma.

The PoetThinker stands in the midst of the revolving opposites of the Pleroma.
For instance between Beyng and Being (Seyn and Sein).

At the center between Beyng with Oblivion, AND Being with Forgetfulness in “torrential time”, i.e. four dimensional time where the moments of  past, present, future and mythos intersect there are the complementarities of Void and Emptiness.

Being withdraws into Forgetfulness while Beyng envelops us in Oblivion.

The ThinkingPoet draws near the center of this cyclone revolving through Beyng/Being and Oblivion/Forgetting where torrential time manifests, but the PoeticThinker dwells in that torrent. The one at the center of the cyclone and the one who draws near belong together more than anyone else who is immersed in words, naming, speech, conversation at home in language’s home.

But as we know, “This is a house not a home . . .”

A primal example in our time is “All along the watchtower” by Bob Dylan.

Like “Kubla Khan” of Coleridge it jumps out at us from beyond the pale.

A glimpse of the archetypal within time, as Plato said WorldSoul is the moving image of eternity in time.

Or perhaps Ozymandius of Shelly is a better example here:

Forgotten is the name of the king, misquoted are the words on the statue which was not seen by the poet before writing the poem which was written to cover the work of another poet who writes of an annihilated London. We have forgotten the poem of Smith, just as he has sunk into Oblivion as a poet who did not enter the Canon. Only because he wrote a poem to which Shelly responded do we know anything of him at all.

There is a statue of a great king, in the desert, whose statue calls attention to his great works that have vanished, only the name and the claim remain, and only just barely do they bear witness to the ravages of time before sinking into oblivion themselves.

The desert is a void, but the claim of great works has been rendered an empty boast by the action of time.

Great civilizations such as that in Mesopotamia and Egypt that lasted thousands of years, much longer than our own, have been forgotten and almost lost in Oblivion.

However, Archaeology has recovered them, and eventually scholars via the Rosetta stone broke the code of the languages, and retrieved from Oblivion what has already been lost before the Greeks became civilized.

We have not yet come to terms with this more ancient past that lies beyond Greek origins, not to mention Hittite origins before that in the Indo-European lineage. And now we know of even earlier Indo-European archaeological sites in Turkey that pushes back the dawn of history even further than the first river civilizations.

The first beginning is the one we knew that the Greeks begat and we took as our own origins, but the “other beginning” is now coming toward us from an even more remote past.

And so that brings us to the difference between Beyng and Being (Seyn and Sein) which is crucial, and which Kelly and Dreyfus seem not to understand in their Analytic interpretation of Heidegger’s philosophy in light of Dreyfus’ parallelism between Foucault and Heidegger, that causes them to focus on background practices as the field of the manifestation of Being in the various epochs of the Western Worldview. They of course start with the Greeks, and have not embraced yet the Black Athena.

However, I think we should take Contributions to Philosophy: On Ereignis seriously. And when we do we see that the Turning in Heidegger’s thought is from Being to Beyng, and from Forgetfulness to Oblivion. Being recedes in forgetfulness and Beyng engulfs us in Oblivion. Being is Striated by the Meta-levels: Pure, Process, Hyper, Wild, Ultra, while Beyng is Unstriated as Onefold, Strange and Unique. It appears that Dreyfus and Kelly do not understand Beyng and the role that it plays in Heidegger’s philosophy, or at least that seems to be suppressed by their Analytical reading, which is appropriate. While Being is made apparent by Ontological Difference, Beyng is what comes when we jump over Ontological Difference and ask what is the dual of the Forgetfulness of Being which is receeding from us. What that dual is, which is the Seyn of Hegel, is something that is engulfing us in Oblivion, like with respect to the Enframing. Late Heidegger is always hiding Beyng behind what ever he is saying in his essays after Contributions was written yet not published. Being and Time is the published work that establishes Ontological Difference as the basis for Fundamental Ontology. Contributions is the unpublished work that establishes the real background practice of Heidegger himself in his obscurantisms that speak from the point of view of Beyng without naming it, because to name it would be to lose track of it. So he talks around it in the later writings trying to indicate it, but we only come to know about it explicitly in his Contributions and the book on Mindfulness.

Like the statue of Ramses we have rescued the Sumerians and the Egyptians from Oblivion, and we find them even more alien than the Greeks who we take as our origin. We now know of the Me of Innana and the Book of the Dead and their central roles in their respective civilizations. We recognize that the Greeks received their idea of the Gods from the Sumerians, while the Wisdom of Plato came from the Egyptians. Over time we will realize that more and more of what we saw as Greek originations, were repetitions and remembrances from a more ancient past. That other beginning which has now been recovered, the earlier beginning symbolized by Alalu discovered in Hittite inscriptions, take us deeper by uncovering a generation prior to the distinction between Uranus and Gaia, i.e. Heaven and Earth, Mortals and Immortals, i.e. before the unfolding of the World. That other beginning lost in oblivion before the beginning we remember is what ultimately must catch up with us, and in fact it already overwhelms us but we will only know how much with the passing of that last God that brings to close the Metaphysical age.

The next age is Heterochronic, i.e. it has all four moments before the symmetry breaking that lost mythic time, when we lost the mythopoietic era from site, and started to realize that this was a break with the gods. In the Heterochronic era we have again four orthogonal timelines and what Heidegger once called torrential time. It was always here, but we lost sight of it in the Metaphysical Era due to the symmetry breaking of time, that appeared to make it appear linear or circular. Heterochronic era must be a further intensification of nihilism. But in a different way it is a revisting of the Mythopoietic without the gods, who have then all departed. In the Heterochronic Beyng predominates over Being for the first time.

So notice that the mythopoietic named for the time of the epics such as those of Homer mentions both myth and poesy together.

The poet is the one who harkens to the lost mythic moment of time that was lost, and continues the craft of poesy in the metaphysical era.

The thinker becomes predominant in the metaphysical era, and mostly as with the pre-socratics as physicists.

Much of Heidegger’s early thought revolved around solving the Krisis by bringing Quantum Mechanics and Relativity theory into the lifeworld to solve the Krisis pointed out by Husserl. Both of these contradictory, paradoxical and even absurd   theories when considered together at the Planck level split reality in a way similar to the ready-to-hand and present-at-hand. Heidegger finds the source of these duals in the structure of Being itself, by partitioning it into modes or meta-levels. But this opened Pandoras box when Heidegger discovered -B-e-i-n-g- (crossed out) which later Derrida called difference and which was validated when it was discovered that Plato called it the third kind of Being in the Timaeus. Heidegger feared the onslaught of an infinity of modes of Being, and thus tried to find another way, without Ontological Difference, which he eventually found when he discovered the word ereignis and resuscitation Hegels “Seyn” from Old High German to signify the dual of Sein. The discovery of the term ereignis was the lightning strike of realization for Heidegger as he described. It means happening or appropriation and has many other meanings that come together to forge a way for Dasein to relate to Beyng rather than Being.

Ereignis is translated often as “an event,” but is better understood in terms of something “coming into view.” It comes from the German prefix, er-, comparable to ‘re-‘ in English and Auge, eye.[13][14] It is a noun coming from a reflexive verb. Note that the German prefix er- also can connote an end or a fatality. A recent translation of the word by Kenneth Maly and Parvis Emad renders the word as “enowning”; that in connection with things that arise and appear, that they are arising ‘into their own’. Hubert Dreyfus defined the term as “things coming into themselves by belonging together.”
Ereignis appears in Heidegger’s later works and is not easily summarized. The most sustained treatment of the theme occurs in the cryptic and difficult Contributions to Philosophy. In the following quotation he associates it with the fundamental idea of concern from Being and Time, the English etymology of con-cern is similar to that of the German:
…we must return to what we call a concern. The word Ereignis (concern) has been lifted from organically developing language. Er-eignen (to concern) means, originally, to distinguish or discern which one’s eyes see, and in seeing calling to oneself, ap-propriate. The word con-cern we shall now harness as a theme word in the service of thought.[15]

See also

So while the Thinker becomes predominant as physicist in the metaphysical era displacing the poet’s prior preeminence, the two remain the same and must realize their belonging together in the Heterochronic era.

In the Metaphysical Era Being receded, and Beyng rushes toward us.

But in the Heterochronic era we are utterly overwhelmed by Beyng and Ereignis becomes the fundamental relation of Dasein to Beyng replacing its care for Being in the Metaphysical Era.
Thus, in a sense what is wrong with the Background Practices as Being interpretation is that it is looking back, and sees the re-appropriation of marginal background practices from the tradition, as being the way of realizing the saving possibility, while it is fairly clear that Heidegger had something far more radical than that in mind, i.e. the overwhelming of us all by Beyng.

So in the tradition, there has been epochs of Being, along with episteme changes (Foucault) and paradigm changes (Kuhn) and theory changes and changed in facticity, etc. But there is an Apocalyptic vision of this coming to the end with the event of appropriation by which Beyng overwhelms us which blindsides us because we have been fascinated by the receding of Being, instead of seeing what was coming toward us, the bigger changes after the post-post-post-modern was exhausted. Heidegger sees himself as inaugurating this new era with his Contributions, which he kept hidden until after his death.

In a sense then he is saying that the Thinker has to end the metaphysical era because he was predominant in it as prose was predominant over poetry in this era, and techne over poesis.

What the poetic thinker in our time must come to terms with is the nature of the new era that has been inaugurated by the last metaphysical thinker (Heidegger not Nietzsche) who thought Beyng out of the poetry of Holderlin and the philosophy of Hegel as expressed in its most radical implications by Nietzsche. In the Heterochronic era there is no possible separation any longer between the poet and the thinker, speaker and listener become onefold, strange and unique via er-eignis.

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Quora answer: What is the role of information systems in firm decentralization?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

This is a big question. I am not sure why I was asked to answer it. As you might expect my answer is going to be more philosophical. And it is going to be in terms of the reification of our ideas that underlies this question. In another question I have talked about Corporatism and the relation between the people in the firm and the firm itself, which wants to be taken as a person, an imaginary person, but a person none the less. it is information systems that allow global decentralization of firms. It is via information systems that the firm is able to protect itself against its own employees. Sarbanes Oxley calls for CEOs to be accountable for what happens in their organizations. This has caused a lot of hardening of the Information systems against the employees. I will give one example. Team Foundation Server (TFS) from Microsoft is built on an auditing platform. The primary aim of that system is to keep track of what really happened during the development so the blame can be shifted from the CEO to employees if necessary for overruns etc. In other words if you have to go to court to defend yourself, you want some record of what really happened and TFS gives that in spades. But it has many other limitations that get in the way of development, but the primary purpose is to make auditing possible at a much more detailed level than ever before on software projects. So here is an example of an information system being placed at the service of development one of whose aims is to make development auditable so blame can be established in court. However, of course when you have such an information system at the center of development then it makes decentralization easier as it makes it possible to coordinate with overseas developers and when you combine that with conference calls and web conferencing you get the capability to design and develop anywhere. So systems like TFS are crucial for global deployment of human resources making that possible. But of course that does not mean it will work, it just means that the vehicle is in place that facilitates detailed coordination of development tasks, the rest must be left up to the humans in the loop to make sure that it actually works properly. But without that facilitation by a system like TFS then the workflows are much more difficult to manage in a distributed fashion. TFS has forms called Work Items that will carry the information necessary that needs to be shared and anyone given permissions to get in can see and update that information a historical record of which is kept of every change. So it is possible to know what has happened during development on an action by action level as never before made possible by the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) concept that has been introduced recently and has been championed by TFS from Microsoft and Jazz from IBM. Other companies make add-ons and add-ins to these overall frameworks so that a whole ecology is created around the basic distributed data sharing tool. So the role of Information Systems is to put these ALM facilitating systems in place and to manage them. But the implicit goal is to establish a system that can monitor closely what developers are doing on a daily basis as they perform each significant action with regard to their work. In many ways this is also the result of the adoption of Agile and Lean approaches as well as these systems facilitate management methods like SCRUM which are team centered and attempt to make the development team as productive as possible by giving them quasi-autonomy to self-organize around the product releases that they have signed up to do. This is a double edged sword, as the team is expected to be more productive, and their actions are more closely watched, but they are able to decide many of the actions they will perform themselves and thus become more effective (agile) and efficient (lean) together known as efficaciousness. We will see how this new direction in development goes as it is now supported directly by Information Systems of the type that offer ALM capabilities which makes possible more distributed development.

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Quora answer: What are some life lessons learned through reading Hegel that are useful in other parts of life?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

First of all I must say that Hegel is definitely one of the hardest philosophers I have ever tried to understand, and I would not even have been able to start if it were not for the course on Hegel by Bernstein. I had tried and failed to read Phenomenology of Mind for years getting no where, but Bernstein gave me enough of a starting point to get me into the reading and made it possible for me to understand some  of it. Then I went on to listen to Bernstein’s other two lecture courses on Kant, and that helped me to understand Kant better, and that of course has a trickle down effect on understanding Hegel better because one is getting the interpretations from the same source. So I highly recommend listening to lectures as a way into Hegel. I have read a lot of secondary texts on Hegel, especially about dialectics. I have probably read every book about dialectics that exists, or near to it, well the english ones anyway. But what shocked me was that none of them mention that Hegel not only invented modern dialectics (however you can see it at work in Aeschylus in the Orestia if you look, so it is actually an old idea) but also he invented Trialectics. He does this at the point where he introduces work, and just as he is about to transition to Spirit. So this was a revelation to me, which seems to not have been picked up in the secondary literature which is quite amazing. There are some scholars that have their own version of Trialectics, but that is something else, and so the term is overloaded which needs to be considered when using the term. Well the discovery of Trialectics in Hegel allowed me to go on and continue to articulate Quadralectics and Pentalectics which I did in my recent dissertation called Emergent Design. So the area that I want to say that Hegel applies to in life outside of philosophy is design, which I try to show in my dissertation. I think that the identification of Hegelian Trialectics is very important. Of course he does  not call it Trialectics which is why it is a close reading is necessary to discern it. But I think it is quite clear and the fact that he puts it in his discussion of work, and that work is the penultimate thing before the transition to spirit I think is quite significant. It implies that work is the foundation of spirit in some sense. That means the work we do together binds us into a kind of collective mood or conscious affiliation that allows Spirit to unfold. Geist means Mind and Ghost and Spirit. The old english equivalent is which is life and spirit.

Middle English gost, gast, from Old English gāst; akin to Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit heḍa anger

“Ghost” came.from the Old English ~gast~, related to the German ~geist~. ~Gast~ sneaks into modern English in “aghast” (be shocked, terrified, rendered breathless) and “flabbergast.” The German ~Zeitgeist~directly entered English; it means “the spirit of the times.” See also The upshot of this is that feorh has more to do with the blood of the living that confers spirit of life while gast/gost is more the idea of what lingers after death of a person who is no longer living. On the other hand in German it is Geist that has these meanings of Ghost and Spirit but also means mind which is conferred by the word Mood in Old English. Of course Heidegger gives mood a philosophical meaning in Being and Time being the non-specific mood of Anxiety that points toward the world and ones finitude within the world. Heidegger says at one point in Being and Time that Dasein is Geist. In some sense, although Heidegger hides the fact, Being and Time is an attempt to go back to the Phenomenology of Hegel to recontextualize the phenomenology of Husserl. It is Heidegger’s attempt to distance himself from Husserl via the more archaic phenomenology and giving it new meaning. Significantly Hegel appears at the beginning and end of Being at Time. And Dasein is a key term in Hegel’s Logic, as Determinate Being, the first positing of a new thesis after the synthesis of Being and Emptiness as Heraclitian Flux. Dasein is already embedded in the Mitsein and has to purify itself by understanding his relation to death so that Dasein can become authentic. Purified Dasein in some sense then can become pure spirit, i.e. the spiritual side of the community that embodies the holy spirit/ghost which is the neglected part of the trinity on which Hegel pinned all his hopes as a way to revive Christianity in a Pietist framework] based on the revelations of Jacob Bohme .

So the Phenomenology of Geist is about our embeddedness in a community of the spirit which is also a community of the mind and therefore lives in history and goes though an evolution of the life of the mind, i.e. a history of not just ideas but ways of thinking about the world. Basically what Hegel tries to do is to show how each stage of that evolution exhaust all the covalent possibilities at each stage and then gives rise to the next higher stage that resolves the conflicts between these different covalent approaches to looking at the world. Spirit evolves as we discover new possibilities at each stage of that evolution. By reading the works at each stage we can reconstuct those states of mind that were shared and forged into various dogmatic positions that vied with each other in determining the nature of the world and of ourselves. So the way this applies to life is that at any stage in your development there are several structural possibilities of different ways to conceive of the world and ones place in it. If we exhaust all these ways of approaching the lifeworld (to use a term from Husserl) then we can ourselves see though their diversity to the underlying assumption that they have in common, as say Kant did in the move from dogmatic to critical philosophy, and then we can pursue understanding things from the next higher perspective, which should open up new possibilities of a different quality from those subsumed in our new view. And this is precisely what happens as you go from Descartes to Kant to Husserl to Hegel to Heidegger (note out of order series on purpose) for instance. In a way one should not be dogmatic and think what ever thoughts one has about things are the last word, but rather we should consider all the possible structural differences that are available as ways of looking at the world and identify with all of them. Then one may comprehend their underlying nihilistic assumption (example Communism and Capitalism assume humans are only valuable for production and nothing else, nb.  The Mirror of Production by Baudrillard). So we can understand that after a century of ideological struggles between Fascism, Capitalism and Communism that eventually they would all become alike via their struggles with each other until now we have Corporatism which is a combination of the three that supersedes them all. We still think of ourselves as Capitalists who live in a Liberal Democracy, but in fact the struggle against Fascism and Communism over the last century changed us and now we are entering the area of globalization and corporate oligarchy in which corporations are seen as persons as a recent Supreme Court decision shows. As Ron Paul points out Obama is not a socialist but a corporatist. He is working to increase the power of corporations, because that is where the re-election money comes from. The Occupy movement does not know what they are against because we have not really identified Corporatism as a threat to democracy yet. But it is clear that the Republicans have sold their souls to the Corporatist agenda and also it is clear that this is a danger to our Liberal democracy. Liberal Democracy is a form of government that provides liberty for the individuals, not corporations. But now corporations are posing even more as persons and claiming the rights of citizens, super-citizens. With regard to corporations we are at once employees, shareholders, and customers of corporations. But these corporations are mandated to screw over employees and customers and citizens to maximize shareholder value. Thus corporations do not protect the Commons but feed off of them. Zizek in his speech to Occupy Wallstreet said that the only part of Communism that was still relevant was the idea of protecting the commons. Occupy Wallstreet attempted to occupy the commons, and they were tolerated for some time, but eventually thrown out, for reasons of sanitation. So just as Fascism, Communism and Capitalism become one via their mutual struggle in the Twentieth Century, we are now entering a new Corporatist century where the struggle will be between corporations and ideas like Anonymous. In other words Corporations are made up of people who are relegated to various roles,  but these people’s rights are being threatened by the corporations in which they work who are starting to vie with them for the privileges of citizenship. Anonymous says that if the corporation is doing wrong then those within the corporation should leak the evidence, and this something that the corporations are going to have trouble securing themselves from, insiders whistle blowing and sending data about misdeeds to wikileaks.  Corporations have no moral compass, and thus they will do what ever is in the best interests of their internal bureaucracy and sociopathic CEOs and other leaders. Anonymous calls on people within the corporation to divulge the secrets of the conspirators within the corporation who are breaking the law. And so we have a new kind of struggle that is the dual of Terrorism in the coming century. Terrorism is the war with the other, and what is coming is the War with the self, i.e. the war between the people within the corporation regardless of their roles and the corporation itself. Now the corporation is a very low form of Spirit. It is reified Spirit.  But there is a new kind of corporation in some states that is allowed to do good things as well as make money, and they are not forced to increase shareholder value at all costs. And so this is a slightly higher form of less reified corporations. Corporations are bubbles of sovereignty in our democratic society. So some corporations are deciding to run themselves as limited democracies internally, and so this is another step of less reification. And of course some corporations are coops who are owned by their employees and consumers instead of by capitalists. All these are progressive ways in which Corporations can become less reified and thus shine with actual spirit rather than merely to continue to be evil by being the out of control vehicle that is destroying the planet, not to mention lives, and careers, etc along the way. In software development Agile methods are catching on where like in Sports team spirit is given a value which is promoted by the organization. So every time you participate in a self-organizing quasi-democratic team you are getting some concrete experience of Spirit which is something which if facilitated can improve our lives immensely. For the most part Corporate Values are just spin, but if corporations could have real values and follow those values then that could transform our lives because we spend a lot of our lives acting in and four corporations. It is interesting that Hegel’s Spirit did not become a major influence in sociology. It probably had some influence on Comte. But Comte began Positivism as opposed to speculative philosophy. Positivism wants positive empirical data to support its assertions rather than speculative reasoning. And because Hegelianism was an underpinning of Marxism it was always suspect even though Marx turned Hegel upside down and replaced idealism with materialism. Thus after Comte sociologists speak of Durkheim and Weber and sometimes Marx but almost never Hegel. But it is with the idea of Spirit that Hegel really inaugurated the concept of Sociology, even if he did not give it that name, because he was talking about the shared culture of societies that develop over time and the logic of that development as mirrored in philosophy which demonstrated the evolution of consciousness into social conscience. This is why the story of Antigone. She contradicts Creon’s edict over burying her brother and upholds traditional communal and family values against the values of the state. An interesting modern-day version of this way of thinking is Community without Unity by William Corlett

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Quora answer: Who are the Furies?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Sean Kelly in his lectures based on All Things Shining calls the Furies the “Old Gods” and sees Aeschylus as trying to reconcile these forces in Greek society. The furies were already suppressed by Homer he points out who mentions them by his count only five times. However, he misses the point that Poseidon is motivated by revenge and thus the furies are present though this only indo-european god who acts as the foe of Odysseus.

But then who are the furies? I had an insight into this recently as I was listening to a lecture by Betty Smith who wrote the Greek Dialogues, in which she produces discussions between the gods concerning the meaning of the events in the mythic history fictively as they occur. My insight was that there are many triplets of Greek goddesses and other creatures, the furies being an example. But we also have the Norns/Fates, the graces, the muses, etc. My insight is that all these female triplets are the same with quantum superposition of different characteristics and all of them go back to their source in the negative fourfold, which according to Aristophanes is Chaos, Covering, Abyss, and Night. The Furies are closer to this origin than the others as their characteristics are closer to that of the negative fourfold which is the feminine metaphysical principle lurking unrecognized behind the fourfold of Socrates that Heidegger takes up which is Heaven, Earth, Mortals and Immortals. I talk about the genesis of this feminine metaphysical principle hidden in our tradition in my book The Fragmentation of Being and the Path Beyond the Void [See

The Furies are explicitly associated by Aeschylus with Night and Chaos, but also they cover over the light of reason and they make us fall into the abyss of the infinite regress of vengeance killing in feuds. So the furies hearken back to the very first female goddesses out of which eros arose. These in turn go back to Egyptian prototypes as we get in the Gods of Emphasis called the Octad from out of which Atum arises. According to Aristophanes in The Birds first came the negative fourfold, then came Eros, then came the Birds, then came the Gods which would include all the generations from Hittite Ahlu, to Uranus, to Chronos, to the trinity Zeus/Hades/Poseidon. Of course, the exaltation of the Birds is a joke, but it is really a serious joke, but we cannot delve into that meaning here. The point is that the Negative Fourfold is even before Uranus splits from Gaia, i.e. before Heaven and Earth are cut asunder. And that means before there was a difference between mortal and immortal as well. So they are very old Gods indeed. and they are not going away, and so that is why the Furies must be reconciled and cannot be merely abandoned instead.

But I think it gives us deeper insight when we realize that the Furies which are many, but how many we do not know become eventually the Norns/Fates that even the Gods must obey, and then appear as the Graces, the Muses, and as other threefold characterizations of these primal forces that affect our  lives in many different ways. The furies are a multiple. there is no specific number of them. But a symmetry breaking occurs when they become the Eumenides which are bearers of good rather that evil. In their transformation they become numbered. The multiple Erinyes give rise to Eros, and in the process are transformed from a multiple or fourfold into a trinity, and in that form appear in various guises as the graces, or muses of fates, etc. Their gift to us is the benefits we cannot earn, but must be given from the beginning, i.e. access to knowledge, grace or poise, and a our fate. These different qualities that are superimposed that appear in different situations where the various archetypal aspects are attuned. So instead of their being multiple threefold sources, there is instead the Fourfold that undergoes a symmetry breaking when it gives rise to the emergent event of the production of Eros (the subject of the symposium of Plato). According to Aristophanes it is Eros who is the source first of the Birds and then of the Gods in all their generations. The birds are a flock or swarm that all moves as one. The are what I call ipsities in an aggregate, which is the nondual non-nihilistic position between Set and Mass. The Gods are Setlike, and they fight Masslike monsters of feminine origin, i.e. Apollo/Zeus against Python/Typhoon. These masslike monsters stand in for Existence which Being must overcome in order to exert its presence as primary. Eros is the glue that holds the world together generating desire that moves the stories of the mythic realm forward. There are four such basic practices which are desire, avoiding, dissemination, and absorption. We see avoiding play out in the relations between male and females among gods and mortals. It is the inverse of Desire which propels the generations of the gods and defines the relations between the gods and goddesses and their relations to mortals. Dissemination and Absorption also takes place in the conjunction between the sexes. We should point out here that knowledge is first and foremost knowledge of each other though sex. This is the primal forbidden knowledge. It is out of this intimacy whether forced or actively accepted which gives the fundamental knowledge we have of each other, which is the primary knowledge we have, all other knowledge being subservient to that primal sexual knowledge. There is a field between mortals and immortals driven by sexual desire of immortals for mortals. The Trojan war comes out of the thwarting of that desire to fate and for that reason Themis had to be married to a mortal, Peleus rather than one of the trinity of Gods that ruled over heaven and seas, and what is under the earth. Note the earth itself is parceled out to the various gods with Poseidon and Athena both claiming Athens.

Aristophanes says that something mortal (the birds as swarms) arises prior to the gods, be it something that lives in the air between gods and men, like Damions. These are the atoms, that are the swarming of the Atum as it emerges from the waters on the mound of earth. It is symbolized by a bird with a fish in its mouth. Thus we get the relation of the birds to the fishes which are duals that swarm on either side of the double mirroring partition between air and water. [Cf. F. Cook: Hua Yen: The Jeweled Net of Indra; nb images within the sea]. The first thing that appears that symbolizes the Atum is the bird, feasting on the plenty of the river that has just flooded. So when we go back to the Egyptian roots we see that the Joke of Aristophanes is actually very serious, and is more in keeping with the Egyptian teachings than what Hesiod writes in Theogony.

So the Furies are the Negative Fourfold, which in fact gives us more insight into the structure than the positive fourfold, because though their reversal we learn that the core of our worldview is Light, Order, Ground, and Uncovering = Aletheia = Truth as dynamic uncovering. The Olympians as seen by Aeschylus views the Gods as the bearers of this Light, this Order, this Truth, this Grounding that is what is opposite the negative fourfold. The positive fourfold only tells us about the limits, not about the dynamic that inhabits those limits.

We also see this in the idea that Plato has of the soul, which has three parts: Hydra, Lion, and Man. For man as reason/logos to appear out of the hydra of multiple desires and the darkness of the irrational unconscious, it is necessary for courage (justified controlled anger) to arise, and from that temperance, justice and wisdom can appear. The hydra is an illformed masslike creature with many heads. It is the image of Sophistry for Plato, i.e. opinion made eloquent but without knowledge, where knowledge is defined as qualified ignorance. Only when courage like that of Hercules confronts the monster of mass like existence, can reason prevail and establish setlike dominance of Being. That is why Badiou for instance thinks that Ontology is almost reducible to Set theory. But he has to include two other elements: Multiple like the Furies and the Event like the appearance of Eros out of the Multiple. For Badiou this event is the appearance of the Ultra-One, i.e. the first number One, from which all the other numbers arise. That one establishes the possibility of the system, but this is based on a fundamental Caste-like fragmentation of the numbers. But what is missing is the realization that there is also Surreal Numbers, i.e. numbers derived from game moves that can represent the meta-systemic view that is the inverse dual of the set of numbers. Thus the multiple is never far away from the appearance of the System, or the One as Ultra-one, i.e. as the emergent event, because the meta-system is what the System arises out of, and it is represented in Greek Myth by Mass like monsters and by the feminine trinities that is the dual of the Masculine Olympian trinity, just like the negative fourfold is the dual of the positive fourfold that defines the world.

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Quora answer: Where is revenge in the Odyssey?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Sean D. Kelly contrasts Homer and Aeschylus in his reading of the Oresteia [] which is in his seminar at The contrast comes up between Homer who mentions the Furies only five times (by his count) and Aeschylus who centers his whole play on attempting to reconcile them with the “new” Olympian gods. However, what Prof. Kelly misses is that revenge is a key part of the Odyssey, in the revenge that Poseidon is taking against Odysseus for the harm he did to the Cyclops Polyphemus [], who was a blood relative. It is Poseidon who is putting all the barriers in the way of Odysseus returning home. Athena and Poseidon were the two major Gods of Athens []. And after all the Odyssey was basically an Athenian epic See Poseidon was the “old god” of Athens who through him over for Athena. Poseidon cursed Athens with a shortage of water for that. So in many ways the rivalry over Odysseus can be seen as a rivalry over Athens. But the motivation in the case of the Odyssey is revenge for Odysseus putting out the single eye of Polyphemus who calls on Poseidon to wreak revenge on Odysseus. However, Poseidon does not completely concentrate on this effort, and so Odysseus manages to escape with the help of a nymph no less, i.e. a being from the realm of Poseidon who lends Odysseus a magic scarf to buoy him.

Poseidon is the only one of the Greek gods with a clear Indo-European origin. The rest of the greek gods trace their heritage back to semitic roots and eventually to the Sumerians. Poseidon is the god of horses, and he is transferred into a god of the sea by the Greeks who mostly ride ships instead of horses.

So my conclusion is that revenge is just as big a deal for Homer as Aeschylus. It is just that Homer is not trying to resolve the conflict but merely avoid it in order to get Odysseus back home. But revenge is the context that produces the interference to that goal.

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Quora answer: If I’m having trouble deciding whether my question is better asked on Quora or Stack Overflow, which would Quora’s creators prefer?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

When in doubt, and if you want a real answer to a real question then I would definitely suggest Stackoverflow as your best bet.

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