Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ideology - a 'Bated Hook

As I was going to say before I got hooked into the latest jerk-off to space, I just read this beautiful article from the March 2021 Rolling Stone explaining QAnon. I know I just put off any readers I might have had, but look at my live blog of the launch hereinbelow and you might see that I use my vulgar terms advisedly. We don't know what the deep state is up to, but it has been made clear that for the hyper wealthy it's mostly sex most of the time. Probably not pedophelia, except for a diminishing few. Did it really have to look so precisely like a dildo? I ask you, Steven Colbert. My daughter won't agree that the Amazon logo is an erecting penis.

Anyhow, the most useful metaphor from Tim Dickenson's article, linked above, was that our political spectrum looks like a horseshoe more than it does a continuum from Left to Right. The ends come together and the tines of the horseshoe can spark. 

I tend to think and I'm tempted to think that we need the right ideology to fight for truth justice and what was meant to be the American Way. Like, if only these people on the lunatic fringes, Left and Right, could come together on what's really going on. Just like theory in the sciences, ideology can make sense of otherwise pesky facts.

They're not wrong not to trust the people in charge and the media and the healthcare system. It doesn't always seem that the institutions established for our sake are working in our best interest. But they answer the questions about 'why,' with nutty notions of intentional evil.

Getting traction for any kind of anti-capitalist anything, ideology-wise, feels like prying QAnon co-conspirators from their truths by way of reason. 

The people who aren't all wrong jump into conspiracy theories because they want and need something to trust and hang on to. We all do. But there's this immediate loss of proportion once you're down the Rabbit holes. You're no longer doing anything productive, the way that educated activists are. 

Most activists there's something wrong with capitalism, but being on the street probably moderates their own extreme political tendencies. Activists just want to make things better for all of us. 

And anyhow, any ideology I come across feels so totalizing. Just like happened with Mao under China, I mean China under Mao. Ideology takes people off the rails somewhere. Almost like a conspiracy theory implemented. Stalin, for instance. Agamben regarding the pandemic. 

So the crazies left and right are actually onto something, and much of it would be cleared up by critical thinking, but there's like a deep state law against pretty much any ideology except the one that says we have to keep on keeping on in our profligate ways. Free speech and free markets can resolve anything. The less oversight the better. 

We still do entertain a little bit of subversive ideology, so long as nobody's really paying any attention. So long as nobody can figure any of it out. So long as the language is impenetrable. Calling things out straight and out loud, you might also find yourself enthused into something you really don't fully understand. "You can't crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them." says Ursula LeGuin in The Dispossessed.

But things sure are getting away from us, and it really feels like shit is all going to happen really fast now, and the hope for us to get it together feels nil. I mean it's nice to imagine solar powered air conditioning, LED lights, ubiquitous sustainable electricity from a combination of better conservation and better generation, but it may just plain be too late. There's too much going on that people won't leave go of.

Many smart people are having a hard time imagining what we can or will do.

Now in many ways I feel like a conspiracy theorist myself, although I don't think I match the profile set out in that Rolling Stone article. It matches, eHarmony style, evangelicals and Q-types based on a certain heavy side toward intuition and the importance of symbols, all blocking the way of science. 

My disposition is pure scientist, and I don't wish to have anything to gain by spreading my truths. I'd be happy to gain visibility if that would help to spread these truths around, but first I have to somehow find or make some core of people who agree that I'm not nuts.

The trouble is that while my disposition may be pure science, and my motivation is to ameliorate and certainly not to self-aggrandize, I am also most certainly not a scientist. Unless I'm right. Then I guess I'm a scientist. Just not an experimental scientist.

It's been just about 40 years since I accomplished a shift to my thinking. (Looking back, the shift was already there, as though inborn, but thinking about that makes me kind-of crazy) I haven't been able to convey it to a single other soul, or as an alternative, to shake the stuff. I do get pretty far along, and get agreement and nods. But I need someone to realize what an important breakthrough for science this is. 

Not a great track record for me. But I haven't stood still. I modify, improve, and often jettison things I thought I was sure of, but which were really just uncritical assumptions that I'd made because they sounded good. 

For instance, I remember thinking that certainly animals don't think or feel. Humans are special. Boy I sure have grown out of that one. I've learned lots more about what human intelligence is and isn't. 

Now I have time to read and read and read, but there's never enough time and there never will be, to read everything, and I get into some pretty esoteric stuff. I somehow have to learn to whittle what I learned down a little polished chestnut nubbin, in a way that someone else might say Aha!

To start with, let me say that I do rather believe that the important thing about science as a process is that it can help define what we must believe in common. I don't think it touches cosmic matters, and certainly not truth. But it describes what's cross-culturally real here on earth about the physical world. And scientific knowledge works. Obviously.

Just keeping up with news also feels important, in addition to my deeper reading, since clues that I need might happen out in the public sphere as much as I may find them in some seldom-read text. I guess I mean clues about readiness to change some basic thinking.

My trouble is that almost everything I read reinforces my "beliefs," as does everything I learn from keeping up with news. I reach out when I find something that's moving in what I consider the "right" direction, and have made some good connections, but it's really hard to get the attention of someone deep into any particular discipline. Deep enough so that they might have found their own inkling of what I'm talking about. The disciplines prevent consilience now.

I'm grateful for the time I now have as I grow old, while I also feel that the kind and amount of reading I'm doing is a dodge keeping me from doing the more important work of just plain laying it out and explaining. But there is so damned much to calibrate against.

I do have a massive stack of my own writing, and I spend a lot of time just learning to write, but I never quite get closer to knowing how to communicate my little truth. I think I could do it in person, if I were to find the right interlocutor. I've been trying for a long long time. It can be dicey, since you don't really want to be written off as a crank, and so of course I spend most of my time trotting out my near expertise on a rather amazing range of deepish understanding about how things work and how they're going. 

I'm not a wonk, but I am articulate, suffering mostly from a bad memory for details. Like statistics, attribution, dates. . . All the important stuff. But I'm not quite about to let go of what I know to be true. I'd be happy to be talked out of it. I've tried to talk myself out of it, but I can't. And you can't talk me out of it unless you can follow it to the point of the flaw and point it out. I keep looking for flaws, and when I find them I toss them, but the core remains.

It goes like this: some forty years ago I accomplished something by way of thought experiment which is very similar in many ways to what Einstein did. He shifted the Big Frame based on work others had already done before him, to complete an improved description of certain aspects of universal truth about physical reality. He took the notion that the speed of light is constant and not subject to ordinary relativity (like a train seeming to go more slowly if you're driving along with it), and he turned it into a whole new way of seeing things which had demonstrable consequences and was testably real.

In consequence of the constancy of light speed, time became relative - it could shrink and grow depending on one's inertial state in reference to other bodies. The train approaching light speed had to shrink to preserve the ratios. Shrink to nothing but energy ultimately, and time on the train stands still, and so mass became equivalent to energy, also depending on inertial state. Depending, as it were, on point of view. And later on, gravity was defined as indistinguishable from acceleration, which would be force applied to an object. A new concept arose, called space-time, which was "curved" by gravity.

I'm not really competent to go into how things were elaborated to the point that we have an entire array of discovered "particles," along with things we know how to do as a result of this Einsteinian shift.  Bombs, nuclear power, gps, radar, kinds of things.

Now I'm no Einstein, and I'm no RFK Jr. either, Mr. Bentson. My shift was to see conceptual reality as ontologically equivalent to physical reality. This was thrust upon me, as it were, by taking note of the way that subjective observation was upset by relativity, and later on by quantum theory. Observation messes with the real, as it were. Almost like the way Chinese describe a gaze. Going out from your eyes, rather than light coming in. But not really. Bell's theorem.

I was also operating from the remove of the Chinese written tradition, having given up on equity with my peers regarding our own traditions. I had no culture! I was trained only in what was supposed to lead to an engineering career, by the time I went to college. Culture oppressed and baffled me. My first real book was the Godfather, I think. Plato's Republic might have come before that.

All of this is a long story, and of course it's fully documented in this blog. But I hardly expect anyone to read it through, or even to read it hardly. But the remove of Chinese gave me a different kind of objectivity about what might be strange about the West. The West is certainly responsible for where we find ourselves, good and bad.

I was early-on disimpressed with Platonic ideals or archetypes which are supposed to be some sort of eternal verities. The conceptual reality that I meant was broader and deeper than that. While we might suppose that all intelligent creatures will apprehend the same perfect circle, I would maintain that this already says too much about what we think intelligence is. We share a limited understanding of what intelligence is, is part of my point. 

We actually think that we will know other life in the universe when we recognize the artificiality of forms that are more perfect than the ones that arise naturally. That pretty much eliminates, say, strokes from a Chinese brush pen - whether painting or writing calligraphically - as evidence for intelligence, for instance. I may be calling the supposed universality of cognitive "ideas" or "ideals" a Western parochial presumption. I'm not entirely alone in that.

More lately I've satisfied myself that consciousness, while intimately relatable to the structure of our brains, does not sit in or on our brains. Consciousness extends, quite literally in the case of collapsing quantum probability equations, into the world about us. Boundaries become diffuse, and anyhow, subatomically nothing ever quite touches now, does it?

The twin paradox, Zeno's paradox, definitions for force, poesis . . . these are the things which were my preoccupation way back when. 

It hit me with the force of intuition that there is also conceptual motion. That if conceptual reality also exists beyond the mind, in the space of eternity perhaps, then it must also move. Conceptual reality is no more static than physical reality, but it is just as primordial and ever-present. Mind in and of matter, so-to-speak, but also apart from matter and its forces. Concepts in relative motion have, Eureka! an emotive relation. 

Now you may think, as I do, that this brings Platonic archetypes back in through the back door. But here's the thing; those Platonic 'ideas' are the only artificial stuff in the cosmos. Their primordial existence doesn't mean that they were already there before we invented them, the way we found them.

The limit of cognitive forms is like the limit of the speed of light. Go there and you disappear. You become pure emotion. You? In any case a perfect circle becomes as unindividuated as a subatomic particle winking in and out of existence. There is nothing there to love, we except perhaps in the crafting of it, and the gazing on it in case it's been made approximately real. There is nothing there to hate. 

I guarantee you that you will never run into or run from a perfect circle in reality. And what if a perfect circle or square or star is just one among many obsessions of Westerners that we just can't get beyond? What if the reason our contemporary paradigm won't shift is simply because we don't want it to? We won't let it. We are comfortable with our parochial presumptions. And we don't want to be responsible. We want natural law to tell us what to do, as it mostly does, until we get too good at manipulating it, and then we have to grow up.

What we think of as cognitive truths are always supposed to be static. Mine move. My own itty bitty consciousness theory is much simpler than others I've come across. It includes emotion as an organizing and driving principle, rather than as some sort of epiphenomenon of having reached the evolutionary stage of wonderful human. We are not the end game. Blue Origin started way before our earth. Sentient creatures that react to their environments are already conscious. So are we, even if our cognitive centers are excised.

So anyhow, back to ideology. I think it's not for me. I hope my thought experiment is actually in the public realm of science, and demonstrable for that. Not esoteric or for the experts only. That it is perfectly replicable in other minds. Well, I'd settle for something better than perfect, enemy of the good that it is. Actually, I have had better luck in Chinese, though it seems to lead to a great deal of apparently painful cognitive dissonance. Or I may be projecting. 

I'm pretty sure there's nothing dangerous about communicating this conspiracy theory of mine. I sure do wish that there were demonstrable and measurable things that could be newly proven or disproved, but as far as I can tell, this shift changes just about nothing at all. Physically. Unless it changes our behaviors, which would change everything and quickly. Given how impactful mankind has so recently become.

I think it would change our behaviors if and because it would change the basis for trust. We can tell more easily who is out for himself than we can which so-called scientist is telling the truth, and which is fudging it for money or for laziness. There are many things we could have learned from data, after the pandemic hit. And in its absence, other kinds of knowledge filled the gap. Nobody really believes that this normal can't be the eternal normal, especially if they're white and living well.

Point being that cognition starts with emotion, which essentially allows our brains to mandate decisive action much more quickly than we could ever make decisions and take ownership for them. Brains do that mostly autonomously, based on apparent generalizations about perceptual objects and happenings, and where similar things have previously led. Exciting and scary happenings stick. 

The real deciding all happens pre-cognitively. Re-cognition is actually re-perception. Re-cognition is what you do when you fall into the trap of imagining ideal types. Right Mr. Kinsey? You know when you're scared, but you don't always know when you should be, in our very complex world. Conspiracy theorists are right to be scared. But they don't trust the experts, and with good reason.

Cognition is the epiphenomenon, and not emotion. Cognition falls out from being conscious and social and having hands with opposable thumbs and depth perception and a flexible body that runs relativity fast. And then there were words. Logos. Sociability across time and space and what we call conscious  thought.

Ideas don't exist without words. Ideas are the most artificial things on the planet, but they're still real. We mistake the physicals renderings of ideas for the actual artifice. But ideas also decay when we no longer care for them. Who really thinks of particles as perfect billiard-ball spheres anymore?

To me, this evolutionary definition for "previous" is a necessary and sufficient explanation for time and causality. Time being then a true conspiracy of living things, and causality a requirement for any survival narrative. It works in concert with entropy, perhaps. Lived time evolves. Dead time decays. And round and round we go. Onward and upward. Forward, not back.

Well that's about it, and likely about all any reader will take, and then some. 

I wish I could tell you more. I wish there were something I could do with this. But there is no lever long enough, nor fulcrum steady enough, as Archimedes once said. Was it Archimedes? I don't know. Not important. Just one other soul and the world will start to move, and it will move in conspiracy with universal life and not against it, as we now move. 

So I suppose that I'm suggesting that looking for a perfectly fitting ideology is like looking for a perfect circle. Most of us can tell that any approximation of any perfect geometric shape deviates from perfect. Some can see it better. And with those same instruments that allow us to know that parallel lines must meet, we can tell that even the closest, likely digital, approximation to perfection is still off by way of gravity waves and curvature of surface. There is no perfect anywhere in the cosmos. We are all destined to decay. But there are moments, and this is one.

Maybe it's more about how and why you look at some perfect conceptual object. And sure, near perfect balls make machines run more smoothly and longer, and digital synth can lure us into imaging wonders for our selves, even rocketry to Mars. But if we fail to get real right here and right now, those will be as forever far from us as is any next planet anywhere which might host life.

Anyhow, for me there's already been contact, and it didn't involve voices or UFO's or any of that improbable nonsense. But then there I go, right off the rails. Dang! By "contact," I guess I mean those peak moments of clarity and ecstasy, which we work so hard to avoid. Which our hard working in service to what we call the economy causes to diminish. Neither Bezos nor Branson, no any other space tourists will find it, though the first true astronauts may have.

Am I Muslim or something? I actually do believe that when you Name God you kill it. Like the Buddha said though, if you find yourself walking next to the Buddha, kill him! Anyhow, you can't name what can't be recognized. And you can't recognize what you can't get beyond. You have to get beyond anything to see it or to conceive it, and then you still might not know what it will become. Name your kids and give them some being. Don't name god. That's what the Christ is for. That's what incarnation means. I like that story. But don't try to make ideology out of it. That would be a terrible idea!

Wonder of wonders.

And wait! I am precisely not talking about "religion." We only need religion if we have been separated from the real. And the real is not just physical. Duh.

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