A kid grows up and has a life, L, that bears a strong historico-cultural stamp. Was it nature or nurture the foolish ask.

Not that the question is poorly motivated, and the problem is not that the social-cultural forces that had such demonstrative effects are, or are not, real. The problem is that there is no nature-only version of L to be found. There is no way to construct nature that is not from a contingent, fully enculturated, position.

A person does not remain a seed.


Assume: experience does not divide into subject and object, though we may talk about it that way, as we seem to have few other options.

Assume: the notion of the individual mind, reified by cognitive psychology, is built upon just such a split. This provides a background assumption most of us have, and it licences discussion of perception, attention, and memory, each conceived of as something “I” do.

We can drop the problematic pre-theoretical split. Then we are no longer in our heads, but we are the world we meet. Perception, attention and memory can all be inverted. (more…)

Our job is not to construct a description that captures some natural model/Vorbild. Our job is to relax until our objective picture and the processes of law and control settle into an equilibrium. Until they become the surface of a mirror.

There is a paradox at the heart of being. It is a negation. That which is asserted defines itself as the complement of that which asserts.

You stand outside a moshpit, and you can characterise it; you describe it, from a safe distance. Now you are in the moshpit. Now you participate, and you cannot describe. And these two positions, these occupations, dance each other into being.

There is nothing to explicate there. Everything summoned from the void by naming must disappear back where it never came from. The call is a summons, bringing this and that into being and the discourse rages, grows, transforms, abates, and is extinguished. Until nothing is left.

It appears as if we continually confuse representation with reality. But that is our fate. We fall through to meaning, always. We see through the image, the text, and sense is made, and enacted. Tat tvam asi, or self-reference.

The structures and distinctions of language drive a fat wedge between subject and object, between actor and patient.

  • Language
  • Nervous systems
  • Immune systems

Each of these three makes distinctions. Those distinctions bring into being self-other dualities.

A distinction is drawn. In H. The distinction can be indicated. A dualism arises, for with the distinction, there must be one who distinguishes. But that one is not an enduring essence. It is enacted.

To describe is paradoxical.

In the previous post I referred to a discussion about Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite. The first speaker, Charles Stang, gives a precis of his recent book on the topic, in which he makes a case that the author of that work used the pseudonym in order to deny his self, so that by speaking from a displaced locus, he might better approach the divinity (or the fusion of atman and brahman).

There is a remarkable resonance between this account of a split self, neither one nor the other, but both and neither (paging Nagarjuna!), and my previous ruminations about the dislocated self that seems to underlie first person accounts of activity in Grand Theft Auto. I also wrote about that here.

Seeing that all our talking is “in game” (what I have referred to as “specific conversations”) might be a means to recognize our inverted being, continuous with all.

Watching this fascinating discussion on pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite, there is a remarkable section around the 37 minute mark.  The first respondant, David Brakke, has articulated a notion of self that seems familiar to him, illustrated with Bruce Springsteen, St Augustine, and Hedwig of Brabant, that has an interiority. He finds the kind of no-self suggested by the apophatic approach of Dionysius to be hard to understand.  When he tries to describe that non-interiorized self (from 39 minutes) he describes it as a single point in 3-D space.  He is dead on the money.  He furthermore suggests that this way of conceiving of the self might be aligned with post-structuralists account of social construction of a relational self.  The single point is, of course, Victors “single point that cannot be grasped”, and it is my minimal P-point in a representational framework. Importantly, for that to work, we require isometry of space and time, which came about at the time Descartes suggested the Pineal as a privileged center of of the body/mind.

Pursuing this thought, what does the further isometry of value through the medium of money allow? If the represented domain (P) is that warped view we find money supporting, what is a single, content-less, point therein?

When I play Grand Theft Auto, I project myself onto the avatar who seems to be running around in a vast fictional world. If I were to describe my understanding of my activity as I appear to simply sit on the couch twiddling my thumbs, I would say things like “I’m stealing a car, climbing a hill, jumping, cycling, falling, oh damn, I died.” The terms used do not make it clear that this is a fictional universe, and in some sense, I am telling nothing but the truth.

When I use similar terms to describe my activity at any other time, similar concerns arise. The words used do not distinguish between a projection and anything real. The indubitable reality of my lived experience is not approached, described, or contacted by my words, which simply draw pictures, tell stories.

Add to this realization, the non-singularity of my experience, such that your experience and my experience are continuous, reciprocal, mutually entwined, and we have a right pickle. Words can only tell stories (in P). We are here (H).