|obverse Chapter 5·||Turning Signs (Contents)||References||SourceNet|
This webpage is the current version of rePatch ·5 (the reverse side of Chapter 5·) of Turning Signs, as of 6 August 2017. Each point is independent but some terms are hyperlinked to their definitions or to related contexts elsewhere. Scroll on! Tip: You can also search this page or the whole netbook or the gnoxic blog for any term.
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out.— David Byrne and Brian Eno, ‘Crosseyed and Painless’
for philosophy … experience can only mean the total cognitive result of living …— Peirce, CP 7.538
A living organism and its life processes involve a world or nature temporally and spatially “external” to itself but “internal” to its functions.— John Dewey (1929, 227)
To begin with, the world of awareness includes only a small part of the physical environment. Furthermore, the world of awareness is organized differently than the physical environment is organized in its own being apart from the organism. The selectivity and species-specific network of relations according to which an organism becomes aware of its environment is called an Umwelt. “Umwelt” therefore is a technical expression meaning precisely objective world. In the objective world of a moth, bats are something to be avoided. In the objective world of a bat, moths are something to be sought. For bats like to eat moths, while moths, like most animals, are aversive to being eaten.Each type of cognitive organism, we may say, has, so to speak, its own “psychology”, its own way of “seeing the world”, while the world itself, the physical environment, is something more than what is seen, and has a rather different organization than the organization it acquires in the “seeing”. The world as known or “seen” is an objective world, species-specific in every case. That is what “objective” throughout this work principally means: to exist as known. Things in the environment may or may not exist as known. When they are cognized or known, they are objects as well as things. But, as things, they exist regardless of being known. Furthermore, not every object is a thing. A hungry organism will go in search of an object which it can eat, to wit, an object which is also a thing. But if it fails to encounter such an object for a long enough time, the organism will die of starvation. An organism may also be mistaken in what it perceives as an object, which is why camouflage is so often used in the biological world. So, not only is it the case that objects and things are distinct in principle, the former by necessarily having, the latter by being independent of, a relation to some knower; it is also the case that not all objects are things and not all things are objects.The “psychology” or interior states, both cognitive and affective, on the basis of which the individual organism relates to its physical surroundings or environment in constituting its particular objective world or Umwelt is called an Innenwelt. The lnnenwelt is a kind of cognitive map on the basis of which the organism orients itself to its surroundings. The Innenwelt, therefore, is “subjective” in just the way that all physical features of things are subjective: it belongs to and exists within some distinct entity within the world of physical things. The Innenwelt is part of what identifies this or that organism as distinct within its environment and species. But that is not the whole or even the main story of the Innenwelt. The subjective psychological states … constitute the Innenwelt … insofar as they give rise to relationships which link that individual subject with what is other than itself, in particular its objectified physical surroundings.These relationships, founded on, arising or provenating from psychological states as subjective states, are not themselves subjective. If they were, they would not be relationships. If they were, they would not be links between individual and environment …. They exist between the individual and whatever the individual is aware of. The relationships, in short, are over and above the psychological states. The relationships depend upon the subjective states; they do not exist apart from the individual. But they do not exist in thc individual either. They exist between the individual and whatever the individual is aware of …A concrete illustration should help make the point. The first time you visit a new city, you are easily lost. You have little or no idea of “where you are”. Gradually, by observing various points of reference, the surroundings take on a certain familiarity. What started out as objects gradually turn into signs thanks to which you “know where you are”. Soon enough, you are able to find your way around the new place “without even thinking about it”. What you have done is to construct an lnnenwelt which organizes the relevant physical surroundings into a familiar Umwelt.— Deely 2001, 6-7
Both within and without sentient beings is in itself the whole-being of the Buddha-nature.— Dogen, ‘Bussho’ (Abe 1992, 146)
In buddha dharma it is always taught that body and mind are not separate, and that essence and characteristics are not two.It is not that there is no difference between essence and characteristic; it's just that there is no discontinuity between them. Peel the onion and you find another peel; is it more essential than the previous peel?— Dogen, ‘Bendowa’ (Tanahashi 2010, 15)
We act into the world, and the resulting feedback forms our perception and experience, which then re-forms action as needed.
But on their own, without the guidance of images, actions would not take us far. Good actions need the company of good images. Images allow us to choose among repertoires of previously available patterns of action and optimize the delivery of the chosen action …— Damasio (1999, 23-4)
Francisco Varela, in making a similar point, emphasizes the flexibility of what Damasio calls ‘patterns’ by contrasting them with what Varela calls ‘plans’:
Ordinary life is necessarily one of situated agents, continually coming up with what to do faced with ongoing parallel activities in their various perceptuo-motor systems. This continual redefinition of what to do is not at all like a plan selected from a repertoire of potential alternatives; it is enormously dependent on contingency and improvisation, and is more flexible than any plan can be.A situated cognitive entity has – by definition – a perspective. This means that it isn’t related to its environment “objectively,” independently of the system’s location, heading, attitudes, and history. Instead, it relates to it in relation to the perspective established by the constantly emerging properties of the agent itself and in terms of the role such running redefinition plays in the coherence of the entire system.Whether ‘planned’ or not, ‘choosing,’ ‘selection’ and ‘improvisation’ all amount to the actualizing or making explicit of a pattern or ‘potential alternative’ as an ‘image’ which was implicit in the shape of a meaning space. Peirce looks at explication (pattern recognition, discovery of form, .....) as the logical evolution of what was implied in the diagram which models the situation. Logically speaking, ‘Everything is involved which can be evolved’ (CP 4.86, 1893): whatever can be explicated is implicit in the relation of the subject to its situation, which is iconically represented in an ‘image’ or model. In mathematical reasoning, this explication amounts to the ‘evolution of necessary consequences.’— Varela (1992, 55)
But how does this evolution of necessary consequences take place? We can answer for ourselves after having worked a while in the logic of relatives. It is not by a simple mental stare, or strain of mental vision. It is by manipulating on paper, or in the fancy, formulæ or other diagrams – experimenting on them, experiencing the thing. Such experience alone evolves the reason hidden within us and as utterly hidden as gold ten feet below ground – and this experience only differs from what usually carries that name in that it brings out the reason hidden within and not the reason of Nature, as do the chemist's or physicist's experiments.There is an immense distinction between the Inward and the Outward truth. I know them alike by experimentation only. But the distinction lies in this, that I can glut myself with experiments in the one case, while I find it most troublesome to obtain any that are satisfactory in the other. Over the Inward, I have considerable control, over the Outward very little. It is a question of degree only. Phenomena that inward force puts together appear similar; phenomena that outward force puts together appear contiguous. We can try experiments establishing similarity so easily, that it seems as if we could see through and through that; while contiguity strikes us as a marvel. The young chemist precipitates Prussian blue from two nearly colorless fluids a hundred times over without ceasing to marvel at it. Yet he finds no marvel in the fact that any one precipitate when compared in color with the other seems similar every time. It is quite as much a mystery, in truth, and you can no more get at the heart of it, than you can get at the heart of an onion.But nothing could be more extravagant than to jump to the conclusion that because the distinction between the Inward and the Outward is merely one of how much, therefore it is unimportant; for the distinction between the unimportant and the important is itself purely one of little and much. Now, the difference between the Inward and the Outward worlds is certainly very, very great, with a remarkable absence of intermediate phenomena.— Peirce, CP 4.86-7 (‘The Logic of Quantity’, 1893)
Jesus said, “One who knows everything but lacks in oneself lacks everything.”DeConick's translation:
Jesus said, ‘Whoever knows everything, but needs (to know) himself, is in need of everything.In the Book of Thomas which is also included in Nag Hammadi codex II, Jesus says to his ‘twin’ Thomas that
those who have not known themselves have known nothing, but those who have known themselves already have acquired knowledge about the depth of the universe.Strangely enough, this fits with the logical sense of depth (intension), which is intrinsic or internal to a term or symbol while its breadth (extension) is extrinsic or external. Given that we ourselves are symbols, as Peirce says, ‘everything which is present to us is a phenomenal manifestation of ourselves’ (EP1:38). Its presence to us necessarily involves its otherness, its Secondness to us, its externality, while the form this manifestation takes for us arises from the depth of internality: its Firstness is the form of what matters to the bodymind. The Thirdness of the phenomenon is the sign's act of meaning, the semiosis.— Meyer (2005, 210)
their status as external events for the system (as opposed to their status for an observer of the system) is a function of the system's own activity. Their meaning or significance corresponds to an attractor of the system's dynamics (a recurrent pattern of activity toward which the system tends), which itself is an emergent product of that very dynamics. The external world is constituted as such for the system by virtue of the system's self-organizing activity.This is another way of saying that an external event (of which a system is conscious) is the dynamic object which determines a sign to determine an interpretant which is an event internal to the system's dynamics. This is how the Thirdness of a sign ‘brings about a Secondness between two things,’ as Peirce put it; it makes one manifest as external to the other.— Thompson (2007, 27)
(1) Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become children of humanity, (2) and when you say, ‘Mountain, move from here,’ it will move.”This is similar to Thomas 48, except that it is less specifically social and more generic in its reference. To ‘become children of humanity’ (or ‘sons of man’ as other translations have it) is equivalent to ‘realizing the buddha-nature’; ‘making the two one’ is the final step in a journey that begins with turning the world inside out. Along the way, you can reverse inside and out, undermining the delusions of “subjectivity” and “objectivity.” ‘Subject and Object are the same thing except for trifling distinctions’ (Peirce, EP2:494). But when the two merely change places or reverse roles, you still have an inside/outside duality. When you ‘make the two one,’ this duality disappears: subject and object, inside and out, are no longer divided.— Thomas 106 (NHS)
Now, i don't know this in the same way that i ‘know’ my own world of experience. It's a theoretical model, part of a virtual reality scaffolded by language. But it's the only model that makes sense of the evidence – especially the case studies collected by neurologists, which demonstrate poignantly the dependence of normal mental functioning on an intact brain. When the brain is malfunctioning or damaged in some way, its owner's experience will be altered in a correlated way. How can we doubt that experiencing is a performance of the brain?
And since i have recognized you as a subject like me, i have to believe that my experience – my world (including ‘you’!) – is also a product of brain dynamics. I have no experience of my brain, of course, because my brain is too busy doing the experiencing to also take a role in my world. (The one thing the spotlight can never illuminate is the spotlight.) In my world, my knowledge of my brain's activity is a theoretical model just like my knowledge of your brain's activity. Our shared, consensual world, insofar as it is mediated by language, is the mutually reinforcing network of these models. We can maintain this virtual world because we can talk about these models among ourselves, and apply them pragmatically, with predictable results in the real world, the one in which we live and move.
Your actions in my head,
my head here in my hands
with something circling inside.
I have no name
for what circles
This moment this love comes to rest in me,
many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle's eye a turning night of stars.— Rúmí (Barks 1995, 278)
We are discovering that the I and the World, the modes of being of the personal subject and the regions of being which it explores, are not two things which get juxtaposed, but presences within each other, an interpresence, an indissoluble correlation, and a structure. It is within the general ensemble which can be termed the phenomenological orientation of the humanities. And there is also something analogous happening in the physical sciences.But this discovery can also be recovered from ancient scriptures.— Corbin 1948 (1998, 23)
As great as the infinite space beyond is the space within the lotus of the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained in that inner space, both fire and air, sun and moon, lightning and stars. Whether we know it in this world or know it not, everything is contained in that inner space.‘This world’? Which world? Can you put the works of the brain back in the lotus of the heart?— Chandogya Upanishad (Easwaran, in Harvey 1996, 38)
To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation.— Isha Upanishad (Prabhavananda)
Let us also agree that the Creator is not remote from us, but is a Presence in our lives.
15th-century Indian poet Kabir addressed these remarks to a sadhu (religious ascetic who has renounced the worldly life):
Kabir says: “O Sadhu! hear my deathless words. If you want your own good, examine and consider them well.
You have estranged yourself from the Creator, of whom you have sprung: you have lost your reason, you have bought death.
All doctrines and all teachings are sprung from Him, from Him they grow: know this for certain, and have no fear.
Hear from me the tidings of this great truth!
Whose name do you sing, and on whom do you meditate? O, come forth from this entanglement!
He dwells at the heart of all things, so why take refuge in empty desolation?
If you place the Guru at a distance from you, then it is but the distance that you honour:
If indeed the Master be far away, then who is it else that is creating this world?— Kabir III.63 (Tagore 1915)
Everything that is hath come to be through His irresistible decree.— Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas ¶7
All things proceed from God and unto Him they return. He is the source of all things and in Him all things are ended.— Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas ¶144
If you consider evolutionary time as an expanding sphere, the center of which represents the first instant and the surface the present, you will find contemporary kinds, including fish and humans, at various points on or near the sphere itself, with different lines leading back into it.— Depew and Weber (1995, 138)
Yet the evolution of complex organisms like ourselves was partly a process of turning outside in. The sea in which life began now runs through our veins; we carry our environment around with us. The shells of more primitive creatures, which provided a stable framework for their lives within, became our endoskeletons.
The vertebrate embryo begins by wearing its brain on its sleeve. The nervous system whose activity will make it mindful of the external world actually develops from the outside of the embryo. In the process of neurulation (search that for details), the first stage in formation of the nervous system, the developing embryo turns itself outside in.
When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas. However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas.In a world of interbeing, ‘actualized’ and ‘contextualized’ are equivalent expressions; and ‘noticing’ implies ‘being able to report.’ The Buddhist practice of ‘mindfulness’ is equivalent to what Gallagher and Marcel call ‘embedded reflection,’ which ‘can assist in keeping our intentions accessible, not as certain contents for epistemological investigation, but as pragmatic guides to our actions’; it is through action that the ‘ethical self’ is generated (Gallagher and Shear 1999, 295-6).— Dogen (Tanahashi 1985, 69)
When you learn a craft, practice it.
That learning comes through the hands.
If you want dervishhood, spiritual poverty,
and emptiness, you must be friends with a sheikh.
Talking about it, reading books, and doing practices
don’t help. Soul receives from soul that knowing.
The mystery of spiritual emptiness
may be living in a pilgrim’s heart, and yet
the knowing of it may not yet be his.
Wait for the illuminating openness,
as though your chest were filling with light,
as when God said,Did We not expand you? (Qur’an 94: 1)
Don’t look for it outside yourself.
You are the source of milk. Don’t milk others!
There is a milk fountain inside you.
Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.
You have a channel into the ocean,
and yet you ask for water from a little pool.
Beg for that love expansion. Meditate only
on THAT. The Qur’an says,And He is with you (57: 4).Barks, Coleman; Jalal al-Din Rumi. The Essential Rumi - reissue: New Expanded Edition (p. 255). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Zen wisdom holds that ‘face-to-face transmission’ of the dharma can only happen between one Buddha and another. Yet there is something strange about calling it ‘transmission.’ One buddha-mind is not a bucket into which another pours the dharma; rather your teacher, by means of a turning word or some other sign, triggers your realization of buddha-nature.
Some things can only be transmitted face-to-face, such as the ‘treasury of the true dharma eye’ (Dogen) – perhaps because the two buddhas playing the roles of teacher and student must read each other's ‘body language,’ including verbal language, in ‘real time.’ But full-time occupation with transmission of the way did not stop Dogen from reading and writing, or from guiding his students in their own reading practice, as he did quite directly and forcefully in many of his recorded talks. He learned early on from his teacher Rujing that ‘It is a mistake to regard the scriptural teachings as outside of the ancestral path’ (Tanahashi 2000, 13). So even though Zen represents ‘an independent transmission apart from doctrine or scripture’ (Abe 1985, 105), scriptural teachings are not outside of the Way as Dogen sees it.
The individual human intellect does not have a monopoly in the work of thinking. Semiotic systems, both separately and together as the integrated unity of the semiosphere, both synchronically and in all the depths of historical memory, carry out intellectual operations, preserve, rework and increase the store of information. Thought is within us, but we are within thought, just as language is something engendered by our minds and directly dependent on the mechanisms of the brain, and we are with[in] language. And unless we were immersed in language, our brain could not engender it (and vice versa: if our brain were not capable of generating language, we would not be immersed in it). The same with thought: it is both something engendered by the human brain and something surrounding us without which intellectual generation would be impossible. And finally the spatial image of the world is both within us and without us.— Lotman (1990, 273)
paradox … of all being in the world: when I move towards a world I bury my perceptual and practical intentions in objects which ultimately appear prior to and external to those intentions, and which nevertheless exist for me only in so far as they arouse in me thoughts and volitions.
This ongoing resurrection of buried intentions, their transformation into a world of objects, rolls up the meaning cycle, encapsulating the inside-outness of the world.
So Man looks out in tree & herb & fish & bird & beastIn Blake ‘what we see in nature is our own body turned inside out’ (Frye 1947, 349); ‘the fallen world is the eternal one turned inside out’ (291).
Collecting up the scatterd portions of his immortal body
Into the Elemental forms of every thing that grows— Blake, Four Zoas, PPB 370
Whatever you are seeing now, it may be real or not, but you are really seeing it.
The same goes for whatever appears in any way at any time to anyone.
This whatever appears was called by Peirce the phaneron. There is nothing hiding behind it; it does not signify something else; there is nothing else. It appears to none other than the primal person; there is no one else.
It may be called the buddha nature.
Thus, all are buddha nature. One form of all beings is sentient beings. At this very moment, the inside and outside of sentient beings are the all are of buddha nature.…
Buddha nature is immediate, and there is no second person, just as it is said, “Cut through the original person beyond knowing; action consciousness continues without ceasing.” Buddha nature is not the being of imaginary causation, because “Nothing is hidden in the entire world.”
“Nothing is hidden in the entire world” does not necessarily mean “The entire world is full of beings.” To say, “The entire world is self-existence” is a crooked view held by those outside the way. What is not hidden is not original beings, as it encompasses past and present. It is not an embryonic being, as it is not affected by even one speck of dust from outside. It is not a suddenly emerged being, as it is shared by all beings. It is not a beginningless being, as it is “What has thus come?” It is not an embryonic being, as “Everyday mind is the way.”
Know that in the midst of all are, sentient beings are hard to find. If you thoroughly understand all are, all are will be penetrated and dropped off.— Dogen, SBGZ ‘Bussho’ (Tanahashi 2010, 234-5)
Listening not to me but to the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one.
(There extand by now one thousand and one stories, all told, of the same).Once the story is told, it may be forgotten or misremembered, but it cannot be untold; however fictional the story, its telling is a fact, its characters and events really occuring in the universe thus created.— Finnegans Wake, 5
All propositions relate to the same ever-reacting singular; namely, to the totality of all real objects. It is true that when the Arabian romancer tells us that there was a lady named Scheherazade, he does not mean to be understood as speaking of the world of outward realities, and there is a great deal of fiction in what he is talking about. For the fictive is that whose characters depend upon what characters somebody attributes to it; and the story is, of course, the mere creation of the poet's thought. Nevertheless, once he has imagined Scheherazade and made her young, beautiful, and endowed with a gift of spinning stories, it becomes a real fact that so he has imagined her, which fact he cannot destroy by pretending or thinking that he imagined her to be otherwise.— Peirce, EP2:209 (sixth Harvard Lecture, 1903)
Fact and fiction differ not in their presence to the mind, nor do ‘inward’ and ‘outward’ realities. Peirce found a way to describe the nature of that presence, in terms of its formal elements, and prior to any distinction between appearance and reality. He called this study phaneroscopy, because of its focus on the phaneron, which in its undifferentiated unity includes whatever may become the object of our attention or function as a sign. Nothing we can mention is external to it; indeed the very externality of the external world is internal to the phaneron.
The formal ‘elements’ of the phaneron are sometimes called ‘categories’ by Peirce – specifically, ‘universal categories,’ as Peirce explained in one of his Harvard Lectures (EP2:148):
the word Category bears substantially the same meaning with all philosophers. For Aristotle, for Kant, and for Hegel, a category is an element of phenomena of the first rank of generality. It naturally follows that the categories are few in number, just as the chemical elements are. The business of phenomenology is to draw up a catalogue of categories and prove its sufficiency and freedom from redundancies, to make out the characteristics of each category, and to show the relations of each to the others. I find that there are at least two distinct orders of categories, which I call the particular and the universal. The particular categories form a series, or set of series, only one of each series being present, or at least predominant, in any one phenomenon. The universal categories, on the other hand, belong to every phenomenon, one being perhaps more prominent in one aspect of that phenomenon than another but all of them belonging to every phenomenon. I am not very well satisfied with this description of the two orders of categories, but I am pretty well satisfied that there are two orders.Later (CP 1.288) he wrote that
I invite you to consider, not everything in the phaneron, but only its indecomposable elements, that is, those that are logically indecomposable, or indecomposable to direct inspection. I wish to make out a classification, or division, of these indecomposable elements; that is, I want to sort them into their different kinds according to their real characters. I have some acquaintance with two different such classifications, both quite true; and there may be others. Of these two I know of, one is a division according to the form or structure of the elements, the other according to their matter. The two most passionately laborious years of my life were exclusively devoted to trying to ascertain something for certain about the latter; but I abandoned the attempt as beyond my powers, or, at any rate, unsuited to my genius. I had not neglected to examine what others had done but could not persuade myself that they had been more successful than I. Fortunately, however, all taxonomists of every department have found classifications according to structure to be the most important.Actual use of Peirce's ‘categories’ reflects the turning of the meaning cycle:
Like all interpretive tools, the categories of phenomenology arise out of experience but in turn are legislative for the analysis of experience. They are neither handed down from on high, nor are they pure inductions from experience, but rather are a creative, interpretive framework through which to focus on the entire gamut of ‘whatever is in any way present to mind.’— Sandra Rosenthal (1994, 97)
λεγει Ιη[σου]ς· [γνωθι το ὃν εμπροσ]θεν της ὀψεως σου και [το κεκαλυμμενον] ἀπο σου ἀποκαλυφ[θ]ησετ[αι σοι οὐ γαρ εσ]τιν κρυπτον ὃ οὐ φαν[ερον γενησεται,] και θεθαμμενον ὃ ο[ὐκ εγερθησεται.]
Jesus said, ‘[Understand what is in] front of you, and [what is hidden] from you will be revealed [to you. For there is nothing] hidden that will not be manifested, nor buried that [will not be raised.]’P.Oxy. 654 27-31 (DeConick 2007a, 60)
Even if subsequently, thought and the perception of space are freed from motility and spatial being, for us to be able to conceive space, it is in the first place necessary that we should have been thrust into it by our body, and that it should have provided us with the first model of those transpositions, equivalents and identifications which make space into an objective system and allow our experience to be one of objects, opening out on an ‘in itself.’Merleau-Ponty (1945, 169) says that ‘The body is our general medium for having a world.’ This use of the term ‘medium’ implies that a bodymind ‘has a world’ by inhabiting it, by occupying it. In another context, Rosen (1991, 41) uses ‘ambience’ for the world as distinguished from self, while using ‘environment’ for what is distinguished from a system as its background or surround. This latter distinction is made from a third-person point of view, which emerges from the modelling relation and ‘makes space into an objective system.’— Merleau-Ponty (1945, 164)
In Peircean terms, we might say that mere appearing is the Firstness of the phaneron; that its presence to one is its Secondness; that the continuity of its presence, the continuing unfolding or evolution of relations within a multidimensional space, is its Thirdness.
A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.— Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity (1933, p. 58)
We say that the map is not the territory, but if the territory includes the map, there must be a point on the map that represents itself. ‘On a map of an island laid down upon the soil of that island there must, under all ordinary circumstances, be some position, some point, marked or not, that represents qua place on the map, the very same point qua place on the island’ (Peirce, CP 2.230; see also EP2:161-2, BD ‘Imaging’). The same must be true of any “map of the world,” any iconic sign which takes its context as its object. Hence any viable guidance system inhabiting a being inhabiting its world must involve self-reference.
Here we have a map of the Island, lying flat on the Island itself. It doesn't cover much of the surface of the Island, yet it represents all of it, iconically, to you. The Map is a sign whose object is the actually existing Island and whose interpretant is the form of the Island in your imagination. This representation exemplifies what Peirce calls Thirdness.
Now suppose your point of view rises high enough above the Island (above the Earth) that you can see all of it, as if on Google Maps or Google Earth: the map on the Island is visible only as a single point on the googlemap. But now suppose that the googlemap is capable of unlimited resolution, so that you can zoom in on the map far enough to view it in what we call ‘actual size.’ Now you realize that there is a point on the map (the original map, the omap) which represents the map itself lying on the surface of the Island. And now suppose that you can keep on zooming in on that very point until it grows to the actual size of the omap. Now it is no longer a point but a large set of points (an infinitely large set, actually) representing the place on the Island where the omap lies, and representing the omap itself to you. Still, on this map within the omap which represents the omap, you can mark a point representing where the omap lies on the Island. But if the omap itself is capable of infinite resolution, you can keep on zooming in on map after map – and on each map, you can mark the same point representing the omap within the map, and zoom in on it to find another actual-size map with that same point on it.
Now, as everyone knows, infinite resolution is a fantasy and a ‘point’ with zero dimensions is a mathematical abstraction. But in our thought-experiment, the Island is real, and the omap is actually lying on it. So if the dream of infinite resolution could be lived, there must be (at least) a point on every map, no matter how many times you zoom in on the map in it, which represents the next point you could zoom in on in real time to see the next map represented on it. And if you reverse the process, no matter how far you zoom out, that same point must be there on the map on which the location of the map is marked.
We have been using the word point in reference to a τόπος, a place. But a 0-dimensional point cannot contain anything. Topologically, if a “map” (a surface) is continuous, and no place is marked on it, there are no points on it at all. No matter how far we zoom in, we never arrive at a place that contains no other places. Just as everything that exists (‘stands out’) in any given universe is a discontinuity in it, every point marked on a line or a surface, or in a space, is a discontinuity of it.
Yet the making of a mark creates the possibility of representing the relations between marks on a continuous surface or in a continuous space. The representation is iconic, but the relations depicted in it may be real. Such a representation of existing things or events creates the possibility of observing real relations between them, relations which have a specific character independent of any particular observation of them. If those relations are real, then the universe in which the relata are marked must be really continuous. There can be no definite discontinuities except in a continuum; nothing can mean anything except in a meaning space.
This journey from inner divine Nothingness toward the beginning of existence is one that inevitably arouses duality, even within the inner realms. As Hokhmah emerges, it brings forth its own mate, called Binah, or “contemplation.” Hokhmah is described as a point of light that seeks out a grand mirrored palace of reflection. The light seen back and forth in these countless mirrored surfaces is all one light, but infinitely transformed and magnified in the reflective process. Hokhmah and Binah are two sefirot that are inseparably linked to one another; each is inconceivable to us without the other. Hokhmah is too fine and subtle to be detected without its reflections or reverberations in Binah. The mirrored halls of Binah would be dark and unknowable without the light of Hokhmah. For this reason they are often treated by Kabbalists as the primal pair, the ancestral Abba and Imma, Father and Mother, the deepest polarities of male and female within the divine (and human) self. The point and the palace are also primal Male and Female, each transformed and fulfilled in their union with one another. The energy that radiates from the point of Hokhmah is described chiefly in metaphors of flowing light and water, verbal pictures used by the mystics to speak of these most abstract levels of the inner Mind. But images of sexual union are never far behind these; the flow of light is also the flow of seed that fills the womb of Binah and gives birth to all the further rungs within the ten-in-one divine structure, the seven “lower” sefirot.‘The inner structure of psychic life is the hidden structure of the universe; it is because of this that humans can come to know God by the path of inward contemplation and true self-knowledge’ (Green 2004, 47).The terms Hokhmah and Binah reflect two qualities or stages of inner mental activity, and indeed they may be experienced within the self as two aspects of mind: the first flash of intellect, the creative spark, and the depth of thought that then absorbs the spark, shaping and refining it as it takes it into itself. This is a rendition in terms of mental process of that same image of the “point” and the “palace,” showing that the language of Kabbalah may be read simultaneously as a myth of cosmic origins and a description of events within the mystic's mind. Binah is thus described by the term quarry, the rocky place out of which the letters are hewn forth. Hokhmah, the flash of intellect, seeks articulation. Itself only the single point of a yod, it carves deeply into the mind in quest of “letters” or language through which its truth will be spoken. This primal forming of language, still silent within the mind, carries the self-revealing process of creation a step further in the emergence of cosmos, Torah, and the mystic's own mind. That this should be the case is taken for granted by the Kabbalist, since his mind is a microcosm of that which exists “above” and has been created in such a way as to permit it it to both reflect and affect happenings on the cosmic plane.— Arthur Green (2004, 40-41)
We see [the world] as being outside ourselves, although it is only a mental representation of what we experience inside ourselves.… Time and space thus lose that unrefined meaning which is the only one everyday experience takes into account.— René Magritte (quoted in Jackendoff 1992, 157)
This quotation leads off Ray Jackendoff's article ‘The Problem of Reality,’ which concisely delivers the evidence from psychology that the world is inside out. He does not quite put it that way, but he does say that ‘in some sense we have to turn the philosophical enterprise inside out’ (Jackendoff 1992, 170). Toward the end of the article, Jackendoff distinguishes between the ‘realist stance,’ from which we normally perceive the ‘external world,’ and the ‘constructivist stance’ which takes every feature of our experience (including the realist stance!) as ‘constructed’ according to the nature of our bodies and brains and their relationship with the world as seen by an observer. Since the realist stance is ‘common sense,’ those unaccustomed to the observing-psychologist point of view naturally object to ‘constructivism,’ as Jackendoff points out; but he also finds a more deep-seated resistance to it.
I suspect that, at bottom, people find constructivism threatening because it removes the last remaining bastion of human privilege in the natural world. The Copernican revolution denied us a position at the physical center of the universe; the Darwinian revolution placed us as just another step in the biological continuum. This leaves us in a precarious position, with only our minds to distinguish us from the rest of nature.… many of us have a deep-seated (if unspoken) need for a sense of transcendent superiority over the rest of nature. This need fuels a basic emotional resistance to constructivist psychology, which says on the contrary that even our much-prized minds are just natural devices. But what purpose does this sense of superiority serve? At this point in the history of humanity, maybe a little bit more humility about our place in the natural order wouldn't be such a bad thing.— Jackendoff (1992, 175-6)
Avalokiteshvara sees existence but does not cling to existence and sees emptiness but is not attached to emptiness. Bodhisattvas can suck up the ocean in a strand of hair or put Mount Sumeru in a mustard seed. A mustard seed and a strand of hair represent the mind, while Mount Sumeru and the ocean represent the world. Whenever a bodhisattva thinks about Mount Sumeru or the ocean, they are in the bodhisattva's mind. Thus a mustard seed contains Mount Sumeru and a strand of hair the ocean. The reason this is so is because all dharmas come from the mind.That is, from the primal person's mind, not from any single sentient being. Red Pine's glossary adds that Mount Sumeru ‘forms the axis of every world and is often used as a metaphor for the self’ (2004, 182).
They were offered the choice of becoming Kings or the couriers of kings. They way children would, they all wanted to be couriers. Therefore there are only couriers who hurry about the world, shouting to each other – since there are no kings – messages that have become meaningless. They would like to put an end to their miserable lives but they dare not because of their oaths of service.— FranzKafka (1961, 175)
Darwin's theory of evolution was that variation among organisms arose from causes that were internal to the organisms and whose nature was independent of the demands of the external world. That is what is meant when we say that the mutations are ‘random.’ It is not that they are free from the ordinary processes of chemistry, but that their qualitative nature is at random with respect to how they will affect the organism in a particular environment. High temperature does not call forth mutations that specifically adapt the organism to live at high temperature. All sorts of mutations occur and it is only those that, by chance, enable the organism to survive better that will spread through the species. So the internal forces that give rise to variation are causally independent of the external forces that select them. The internal and external, what we now think of as the gene and the environment, meet in the organism. This alienation of internal from external forces, of inside from outside, with the organism as their nexus, is fundamental to the Darwinian view. Indeed it is the origin of modern analytic biology.— Lewontin (2001, 72-3)
Jesus says: ‘Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not understand that the one who created the inside is also the one who created the outside?’Luke 11:40 turns that question around: ‘Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?’ Luke places it in a context that connects it with other sayings such as Thomas 24:Thomas 89 (5G)
Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light, but when it is not sound, your whole body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”Giving alms from within is giving light, is sound practice. When seeing is light and practice is clean, all is clear inside and out. Which matters more, inside or out, when it comes to bodymind? Consider what Dogen says to the monks in his monastery about ‘washing the face’ (SBGZ ‘Semmen’):
While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.Luke 11:34-41 (RSV)
The Lotus Sutra says, “If you spread oil on your body after removing dirt, and wear fresh robes, you are clean inside and outside.”Which really matters, practice or enlightenment?
This dharma was expounded by the Tathagata at the lotus assembly when he taught those who were engaged in the four practices of enjoyment and ease. It is not equal to other teachings and not the same as accounts in other sutras.
Thus, cleansing body and mind, spreading scented oil on the body after removing dirt, is a primary buddha dharma. To wear fresh clothes is a dharma of purification. By washing away dirt and spreading scented oil on the body, you are clean inside and outside. When you are clean inside and outside, your body, mind, and environs are all clean.
But those who are ignorant and do not hear and practice buddha dharma say, “Although you can wash your skin, you have five main organs and six sub-organs in your body. If you don’t wash all your organs, you are not purified.” Those who make such a statement have not yet heard and known buddha dharma. They have not encountered an authentic teacher, a descendant of buddha ancestors.
Now, study the true dharma of buddha ancestors, discarding the words of those with outrageously crooked views. The boundary of all phenomena cannot be determined, and the inside and outside of various elements are ungraspable. Thus, the inside and outside of body and mind are ungraspable. However, a bodhisattva of the final body washes the kashaya and cleanses the body and mind before sitting in the place of enlightenment and attaining the way. This is the awesome ritual of buddhas of the past, present, and future in the ten directions. A bodhisattva of the final body has the most venerable and supreme merit, wisdom, body, mind, and splendor, different from others in all aspects. Our way of washing and cleansing should be like that.Tanahashi 2010, 58-9
On the great road of buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana, there is not a moment’s gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way. This being so, continuous practice is undivided, not forced by you or others. The power of this continuous practice confirms you as well as others. It means your practice affects the entire earth and the entire sky in the ten directions. Although not noticed by others or by yourself, it is so.Accordingly, by the continuous practice of all buddhas and ancestors, your practice is actualized and your great road opens up. By your continuous practice, the continuous practice of all buddhas is actualized and the great road of all buddhas opens up. Your continuous practice creates the circle of the way. By this practice, buddha ancestors abide as buddha, not-abide as buddha, have buddha mind, and attain buddha without cutting off.Because of this practice, there are the sun, the moon, and stars. Because of this practice, there are the great earth and the open sky. Because of this practice, there are body, mind, and their environs. Because of this practice, there are the four great elements and the five skandhas. Continuous practice is not necessarily something people in the world love, but it should be the true place of return for everyone. Because of the continuous practice of all buddhas of the past, present, and future, all buddhas of the past, present, and future are actualized.The effect of such sustained practice is sometimes not hidden. Therefore, you aspire to practice. The effect is sometimes not apparent. Therefore, you may not see, hear, or know it. Understand that although it is not revealed, it is not hidden.As it is not divided by what is hidden, apparent, existent, or not existent, you may not notice the causal conditions that led you to be engaged in the practice that actualizes you at this very moment of unknowing. The reason you don’t see it is that becoming conscious of it is not anything remarkable. Investigate in detail that it is so because the causal condition [the aspiration] is no other than continuous practice, though continuous practice is not limited by the causal condition.Continuous practice that actualizes itself is no other than your continuous practice right now. The now of this practice is not originally possessed by the self. The now of this practice does not come and go, enter and depart. The word “now” does not exist before continuous practice. The moment when it is actualized is called now. This being so, your continuous practice of this day is a seed of all buddhas and the practice of all buddhas. All buddhas are actualized and sustained by your continuous practice.By not sustaining your continuous practice, you would be excluding buddhas, not nurturing buddhas, excluding continuous practice, not being born and dying simultaneously with all buddhas, and not studying and practicing with all buddhas. Blossoms opening and leaves falling now are the actualization of continuous practice. Polishing a mirror or breaking a mirror is no other than this practice.Even if you might try to ignore it in order to hide a crooked intention and escape from it, this ignoring would also be continuous practice. To go off here and there looking for continuous practice appears similar to the aspiration for it. But it is like leaving behind the treasure at the home of your true parent and wandering poor in another land. Wandering through wind and water at the risk of your life, you should not discard the treasure of your own parent. While you were searching in this way, the dharma treasure would be missed. This being so, continuous practice should not slacken even for a moment.— Dogen, ‘Gyoji’ (Tanahashi 2010, 332-4)
1) Jesus said, ‘Two will rest on a couch: one will die, one will live.’There are several problems with the text in this saying, and the various translations render it variously. The bracketed word in 61.5 is especially interesting: the 5G translators note that ‘destroyed’ is what the manuscript actually says, but for them that reading does not make sense. However, it would make perfect sense in the Buddhist idiom, if we identify nirvana (literally ‘extinction’) with enlightenment. What if the difference between you and the universe were to be wiped out? Would ‘you’ then be nothing, or would you be everything?
2) Salome said, ‘Who are you, mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone.’
3) Jesus said to her, ‘I am he who exists from the undivided. I was given some of the things of my father.’
4) ‘I am your disciple.’
5) ‘For this reason I say, if one is <whole>, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.’— Thomas 61 (NHS)
On the other hand, Meyer makes a very plausible emendation of the Coptic word (which he renders as ‘desolate’) so that it translates to ‘whole,’ which also makes a perfect contrast with ‘divided.’ But the two readings are not incompatible: in order for the primal person to be made whole, the duality of ego and non-ego must be destroyed.
Words in themselves are general; but we speak and read not only in their generality, always also in the particular situation. This is a fourth function performed by the subjective side, not by commonality patterns. After all, the words are general. Even words like “you,” “now,” “here” only mean this situation by your direct reference to your felt sense now.
It is the crossing of inside and out, of breadth and depth, subject and predicate, object and concept, that makes meaning. The crossing is the recreation of each, an organic process, not a mechanical assembly of already-made components. What each component is, and how it works, is dynamically modified by the whole situation in which it works. Mechanistic thinking about cognition leads to what Gendlin (1995) calls ‘the grand error of most Western theories – the assumption that all cognition must consist of pre-existing patterns or units.’ Out of a syllogism or logic machine you can't get any more than you put into it.
Suppose that self-contemplation could take the form of a conversation in which contemplator and contemplated take turns. This turn-taking might reach a such a speed that the length of a turn is less than the time-span that can be resolved in consciousness (around half a second), giving rise to an experience of what Corbin (1971) calls ‘bi-unity.’ Corbin cites Hermetic texts presenting such a scenario:
one and the same role is played in turn, even simultaneously, by Hermes and his Perfect Nature. … the Sufi contemplates himself in contemplating the theophanic witness; the Contemplator becomes the Contemplated and vice versa, a mystical situation expressed by the wonderful Eckhartian formula: ‘The seeing through which I know him is the same seeing through which he knows me.’— Corbin (1971, 19)
Another way of imagining self-contemplation is to think of God the Creator as using his creature's eye for his own vision. Thus Corbin (1971, 22) quotes Ibn Arabi: ‘I created perception in Thee only that therein I might become the object of my perception.’
One night in 1990 i had the overwhelming sensation of being used as a sense organ by some kind of cosmic being. I didn't feel either kindliness or hostility radiating from this being; it regarded the world through me with detached curiosity. From this i would infer that my experience was not of the type referred to by Corbin or Ibn Arabi, for the Other who was using me was in no sense my counterpart; nor was it mainly interested in contemplating itself. In other words, the experience gave no feeling of closure.
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