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).

I have notes everywhere. I leave very many trails in my pmwiki pages, in this blog, in thousands of whiteboards, and in many other locations (including publications). If one were to trawl them forensically (Lord forbid!) I doubt a coherent picture would emerge. But in re-reading many bits myself, I find I have to understand them in the context of a specific progression of ideas.

About 2005, I became fixated on the concept of the P-world, which was that which was present to an individual at any given moment. My attempts to articulate this ran foul of obviousness and unoriginality, and it must have seemed that I was trying to describe the contents of consciousness, or the like. I suppose I was, but I was trying to tie it to the notion of the present. However I was trapped in an individualistic framework. (more…)

Perhaps we could democratise not the jobs of authority (let them be done by competent people), but the selection of the sacred texts and objects.  I want to vote for the the Ghent Altar.  Media and screens as channels of engagement with the objects of veneration could become the sacred objects.  People might develop variants of potter’s nod, which would look remarkably like the bobbing found in prayer.  Let everyone’s world be real, might be our slogan.

On the outer panels of the altar, there are four figures in one row: the flanks are the patrons, all fleshy, very very real and present.  The middle two are saints and they are paintings of statues.  Representations of representations.  Because they are above mere humans in the neo-Platonic hierarchy, you cannot see them, which would be to be in their presence.  You must content yourself thus with a representation.

In this quote from the second of his 2012 Gifford Lectures, Bruno Latour laments the notion that one might recognise only a single kind of truth, and a single kind of veridication.

The various creeds of the Christian faiths appear to be confused with respect to the subject.  In some traditions, the text is “We believe”, in some it is “I believe”.  This does not seem to be a bone of significant contention (for once!), as very closely aligned traditions may differ in this small detail. It seems to make sense, though, as the Credo is professed together, in public, and the distinction between “I” and “We” is largely eradicated.