Whitaker's Autopoiesis and Enactment
The Biology of Cognition Autopoietic Theory Enactive Cognitive Science
THE OBSERVER WEB: Autopoiesis and Enaction
rought to You By:
Imagine for a moment that the notion of impartial, unbiased, objective, "scientific" inquiry is not entirely empty. Now imagine: if we have this attitude on one hand, what do we have on the other?
My point is simply this: our adversarial, materialistic, reductionist legalism appears to moot all consideration of intention and motive. While we trot out something like untrammeled individualism as a near-holy touchstone, what gives such considerations any validity at all is the first victim of rabid ambition and greed; the subjectivity that provides the plurality of views and opinion upon which democracy rests is discarded in favour of a bottom-line fixation that is perhaps fitting for a computer but is nothing but indignity for a human being. Thinking that proceeds along computer-like lines, driven by lust and attachment, must necessarily do violence at every instant of its manifestation.
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" was tossed at me this morning. My initial response was to point out how most "good intention" of the sort referred to was sterile, lacking the will and effort required by actual engagement, and so it would in no way direct one along any path ... and that leading to hell seemed a natural default. My second was to draw a distinction between those "good intentions" that are the hallmark of "good will" and those that are nothing but self-serving rhetoric trotted out by those whose aim is to impose their own will in order to justify and plausibly rationalize behaviour that is actually destructive and usually cruel. (Wars in the name of some benevolent and just god come to mind here.) Truly good intentions, on the other hand, are accompanied by the energetic responsiveness that makes for creative engagement in what is so often paradoxical social situations.
|"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."|
|- Benjamin Franklin|
"Wolves in sheeps' clothing" ... that's how I'd characterize the vast majority of citizens today. Consummers of mind-bendingly simplistic culture and body-wrackingly amplified food, the individuals who are the real recepients of most of this world's wealth are more hideously deformed by our social processes than any primitve hunter/gatherer, and no sophitry can obviate the facts: even a glance at statistics concerning parent-child relations will bear this out.
Like the citizens of a decadent civilization that we are, we have set out to fill the world with proclamations of our superiority and to obliterate all societies that defy us even by merely continuing to exist in face of our "manifest destiny". As though lacking even the social instincts of "beasts", as though entirely mindless, as though no more informed or aware than cells in a malignantly cancerous tumour, we know naught but to consume ever more and to replicate ever more rapidly.
Perhaps, if we can enjoy the benefit of even a moment's calm from the fevered imposition of our cliched thinking, we might catch a glimpse of the brilliant and blissful awareness that is the compliment of the agonized compulsiveness that is modern life. Inspired by that glimpse, we will then dignify the basis of the liberal revolutions, acknowledge our thinking as deformed representations of high concepts best expressed in the age of enlightenment, and by that be moved by self-respect to improve our own situation by attending to those with whom we exist in community. That self-interest, I suggest, can comprise the cornerstone of true "good intention". Apart from that is only irresponsible and self-destructive deniability in the service of imperial greed, the striving for a fantastic, totally impossible and totally a-social personal sovereignty.
It comes down to this: not only what we do, but how we do it. Ultimately, "why" becomes the point. (Which is another way of saying that in the end our actual motive manifests ... it comes to be ... it creates karma.)
The number of "errancy modes" is beyond estimation. Either our motive is some variation of "for the good of all sentient beings" or it's in error. Necessarily. Inexorably. Like physics. You can fly, for a while, in any number of ways, but you will come down at some point.
Gain, or resentment ... passion or aggression ... both entail solidifying concepts, and that puts a spin on things that works out badly because it's out of synch with ?what? ... heh ... the ultimate nature of reality.
If I humble myself and act as a modestly self-interested drone then, well, I end up empowering and enabling the worst oligarch. My web of denial and willful ignorance fosters the worst lies and shelters the worst psychopaths. If, otherwise, I act more assertively and drive for my own fortune and wealth with all the creativity that ambition gives rise to ... well, what then?
Prajna is our very natural intuition concerning what's not "right" ... it can be honed and tuned and nurtured, or it can be muted and dumbed down. When I act deceptively, or act as though unaware of some deception, I detune myself. And more: I encourage others to become as though objects. And in the end my activity obstructs those with the best of intentions. Step by step, day in and day out, I make myself into an agent of entropy. How can I expect any sense of well-being from that? That mode of being is simply unwholesome; it creates conditions quite opposite to "profound relaxation".
It's bodhicitta or it's dis-ease ... there is no way of escaping reality.
Do not choose a coward's explanation That hides behind the cause and the effect. -- Leonard Cohen*thanks to LJUser barrygraham for the quote*
I finally had my say:
Okay fine, I'll say it: the 1 thing I've been witholding from everyone, everywhere, everybody, all this time, is just that I've been training to be a shaman since I had my vision at age 5.
That's why the unconventional life-style and personal history ... from having a scholarship to Banff School of Fine Arts to dropping out of high-school and joining electronic espionage in the army.
All of it: the deep-background radicalism, the raising 5 kids in the highlands, the hi-tech hot-shot at 19, the monasticism, the pool-hustling beer-guzzling street musician, the project-spouting academic, the djembe-playing trance-dancing... just field research.
Those who care to know could have figured it out. I know some have had their intuitions; they've helped me some. The rest are either as though brain-damaged or they intentionally talk themselves out of their authentic intuition ... as they always do ... likely coming up with a whole set of ways to demean and dismiss me; most antagonism is a smoke-screen for evasion and denial. That's how it works: no point my trying to convince folk since if they need to be convinced it's likely for the worst of reasons.)
How does it work? Simple. (No, not easy ... I wrote "simple" cuz I meant "simple"; thinking at the level of a 3 year old is one of the many ways you avoid understanding.) ... I go "there" and come back with an un-typical experience, is all. The classical "heroes' quest".
Ultimate View ... either you are intentionally for others or you are against others, however "un-intentionally" ... deniability is key to the BluePill. And the BluePill view is all about gaining by others' loss.There. That's how it works.
No big deal? Major big deal.
There are something like 600,000,000 psychopaths and sociopaths in the world; most are clumsy and ignorant (cuz most folk are, actually, clumsy and ignorant) but a few have the benefits of rich society: education, position, credibility. So let's say there are something like 60,000,000 of thos.
Now thing is, sociopaths are hell-bent on wrecking other folk and they very usually bring their palaces down upon themselves, through strife or war or criminality. But psychopaths aren't that way: they don't mind wrecking folk, causing suffering, but they aren't sadistic ... for them other people are just objects to manipulate. Empower them with the trappings of power, and you got Problems with a capital P and Trouble with a capital T. So let's say they're half and half, sociopaths and psychopahts. Let's say of the 6 billion creatures on the gods' good earth there are 30,000,000 psychopaths in positions to do pretty much what they will. (See my venerable old "Fallen Angels", created in 1996.) And prolly gender neutral, so 15,000,000 men. (Hey, get off the pot ... it's still a chauvinistic world.)
Do I really think I can work through the forest of psychopaths? No. There's little to be done with them.
But what about the 5 billion people who are neither psychopaths nor sociopaths?
Guess what: if you aren't intentionally for others then you will easily cut a deal with the psychos ... with the bullies and his helpers ... left wing or right wing, corporate suits or drug-lord peasant-leaders, commie or fascist ... deniably, of course, professing that evil was never your intention ... and that's how it works: I'm like against an army of vampires, carrying a light, and you all are the scorpions and bushes and crawling bugs and biting snakes that swarm me as I stumble through the out-back.
When you are truly for yourself you are truly and intentionally for others. That's Ultimate View ... how we are not seperated by self-interest.
This after yet again delving authentically into actual desperation. (75c left and 3 weeks before my cheque comes; will I magnetize another brain-killing job in hi-tech?)
May all beings realize the root of happiness free from suffering.
In the February 21 episode of CBC Radio's "The Current" there was an item about harassment of opinions that were anything other than hard-line, the persecution of whatever might be painted as "liberal".
One spokesperson who in effect defended thugism by minimizing it and rationalizing it had a lot to say about "respect" and the need for "speaking softly".
It's the classic bully-boy tactic.
"If they are truly trying to convince they shouldn't be creating a storm. And that's actually what's happening." Do you see the tactic?
Okay: in SEP03 I was stationed at CFS Gander, doing "communications research" *nudge-nudge wink-wink*. Allende got dumped. I am a Pearson-era hippie ... my brain broke. I reasoned this way: there is no way for an honest person to prevail in the face of corruption.
Fast forward decades. writing on the subject of bullying in the work-place and online I have written, "Whatever ideology is put into place is straw-man type argument, serving merely as pretext. Typically the aggressor will be reactive, causing controversy, acting with impunity."
The point is that those who are /individually and subjectively disposed to imposition, to judgement and fault-finding, to condemnation and punishment/ will be over-reactive: so long as they "up the ante" they a) create the specious argument of having been wounded while b) issuing warning by making it clear that dissidence or difference will not be indulged.
Solution? Authenticity, integrity, solidarity, and community. heh
I wish I could give this the time I'd like to; my only connectivity is from a scavenged WiFi link and it's down more time than it's up.Funny how our world opens if/when we allow it ... if we don't overwhelm it with our programmed wilfullness, with our over-arching need to express the sense of entitlement that papers over our low self-esteem. The fellow who wrote this paper shares a name with the fellow who could have been such a strong comrade to me years ago in Nova Scotia. "For lack of a nail a shoe was lost, for lack of that shoe a horse ... a rider ... a battle ... the victory." What about "For lack of a comrade"?
"The need to apparently share subjective experience is a driving force in human beings."
This morning I heard Cory Doctorow (of boing.boing fame) on radio. He said something about "negotiated truth" that I think shows that sort of person's orientation: my line for years (rooted in my study of bodhicitta) has been, "There are basically two modes of being; one of the is all about projecting a world view through convincing and compelling and coercing ... it's about conquest. The other version is not; the second mode is about open-ness ... sunyata and madhyamaka, when not actually prasangika.
FWIW my "Participatory Deliberation" is based on principles of dialect and discourse.
p.s. if you wouldn't mind my copying this to my wiki, for discussion, please let me know. trembenATnetscape.net
"Here is a place to look at ideas and to either support them or tear them apart. As you see the vision of the ideas of another, you are seeing inside an excusive and private world. The world of subjectivity - apparently."
We can produce explanations. We can, otherwise, produce rationalizations. But really, don't you think it's very sad (tragic?) that most folk are geared up to make good use of excuses? Sophistry ham-strings development; because we are fallible and our knowledge is limited we have a righteous need for explanations; excuses distract and mis-lead.
Cynicism concerning human nature and pessimism concerning our future ... pure poison.