Mono / Poly

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Mono                        -                    Poly
One                           -                    Many


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We like it when a thing is only one thing. But society is always two things: it’s the thing that alienates you, and its the benevolent father; always.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'Joe Rogan Experience #958 - Jordan Peterson'


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It's not Christian love that's conquered the world; it's not its sophisticated interpretations, sophisticated theology.

It's successful because it mobilizes the will, and the will needs fundamentalism or it doesn't know what to do.

Fundamentalism serves the hero myth. It gives you fundamental principles - words, truths, directions. It builds a strong ego. It is American psychology. No Hermes, no Dionysus, no Aphrodite in it at all.

Utterly monotheistic because there is only one meaning, one reading of the text - like, for instance, the one meaning of Christ's suffering.

[...] anything that doesn't fit within that unity is split, or schizoid, a hysterical complex or autonomous or whatever else, and you have lost the fact that you are a bundle of many levels, people, noises, impulses, trends, personalities, possibilities and no two days are the same and no two voices are the same and one is a loose structure of many beings - Jung called them complexes.

But as long as one lives in the myth of unity one is forced into commanding the psyche to obey the principle of unity and the unifier, the ego, creating this monstrous Western ego, which then has to be subdued by all kinds of Christian virtues: tolerance, self-control, patience, humility, charity, obedience, poverty ... all this huge ascetic structure to deal with the Monster which is created by its own dogma!

So that the repression which Freud placed at the basis of our relation with the unconscious is nothing more than the Christian myth at work in us each, cutting us off from our innate polytheistic imagination and renaming it, the unconscious.

[James Hillman]
Inter Views, p.81-2


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It is conventionally held that ancient polytheistic humanism collapsed because it was unrealistic, a highly artificial system.

But there is a sense in which it was realistic, as we should expect in any religion springing from Greek origins.

The gods on Olympus at least represented actual human attributes, or varying and often conflicting archetypal human tendencies; while the Hebraic system - the uniting of desirable (moralistic) human attributes into one god - was a highly artificial procedure.

In many ways the Greek system is the more rational and intelligent; which perhaps explains why it has been the less appealing.

The Hebrew god is a creation of man; and the Greek gods are a reflection of him.

Nonetheless, periods of history come when it seems clear which serves the general need best. Monotheism saw man through the dark ages that followed the collapse of the Roman empire; but today the benevolent scepticism of humanism seems better suited to our situation.

[John Fowles]
The Aristos, p.114-15


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Whether something is monolithic, binary, dialectical, or meaninglessly plural is a function of your distance from it.

When you're very close to something, all you can see is oneness, pure dominance by the thing of all others. For a baby, Mother's breast is the entire universe. For a fundamentalist, it's God.

When you're a bit further away, a tidy binary replaces oneness. There are men and there are women. There's East and there's West. This is the distance journalists live at. The world of journalism is always seeing small fluctuations in the relative positions of big, established binaries like these.

[Momus]
'Binary hopping' 


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In psychological inflation, as Jung developed the idea, the personality is ‘taken over’ by a single archetypal pattern. 

A person’s perceptions, values, and behaviour are driven by an image which has its source outside the individual, in the collective or objective psyche. Personal identity is engulfed by the archetype. One’s perceptions of the world, one’s thoughts about it, one’s values, are shaped by a single image.

Ancient cultures explained it as coming under the power of a god. Where we see someone as having a “power complex” or a “mother complex” or just as “falling in love”, the classical Greeks would have seen an individual driven by Zeus, Demeter or Eros.

Analogously we can talk about cultural inflation, in which a nation or society, or at least a substantial part of the population, is taken over by an archetype, so that the group’s perceptions, self-image and behaviour are formed by a single archetypal pattern and driven by a single archetypal energy.

Domination by a single pattern to the detail of everything else can be considered a form of pathology (personal or societal), though some pathologies (e.g. falling in love) are obviously more benign than others.

[Bernie Neville]
‘The Charm of Hermes: Hillman, Lyotard, and the Postmodern Condition’, Journal of Analytical Psychology (1992), p. 347


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According to the research, three key bodily systems - the neurological system, the endocrine system, and the immune system - function independently yet work harmoniously together.

There is no central system which integrates these three systems. Each of these functions within its own integration, and, in addition, they function well as a whole though not integrated by a central control.

Taking a hint from the above, I think that the human psyche also should be seen as a "supersystem."

I have repeatedly discussed different levels of consciousness while also indicating that even logically conflicting things will coexist in the mind of a human being. Indeed, that coexistence has value.

I am inclined to think that our human mind maintains integration in each of the different levels of consciousness. In addition, as a whole it functions as a supersystem without a center. In short, I think that the psyche as a whole, when it is healthy and functioning well, does not need to have an integrative center.

Some might say that, if a system as a whole is functioning well, you call it "integration." For integration, we tend to think that a principle or rule exists which should be central and controlling. I think that things - including human beings - work well beyond the center or principle which man creates.

I described my great trouble being caught between Eastern and Western cultures. While in such suffering, I believed in the integration of the two and talked about it easily. But, after trying hard many times, I gradually came to know that it is, in fact, impossible to "integrate" them.

It even seems dangerous to attempt quick integration, as I have realized that people who attempt it tend to ignore things which are "inconvenient."

So it seems likely that a new science would not try to develop a system of knowledge featuring simple, logical integration [...]

If we are to develop this new science of the whole, we must open ourselves to imaginative ways of thinking and perceiving and summon up our most determined efforts.

[Hayao Kawai]
Buddhism and the Art of Psychotherapy, p.140-1


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With all such control phenomena, a critical issue is robustness: how well can a system withstand small jolts. Equally critical in biological systems is flexibility: how well can a system function over a range of frequencies.

A locking-in to a single mode can be enslavement, preventing a system from adapting to change.

Organisms must respond to circumstances that vary rapidly and unpredictably; no heartbeat or respiratory rhythm can be locked into the strict periodicities of the simplest physical models, and the same is true of the subtler rhythms of the rest of the body.

Some researchers [...] proposed that healthy dynamics were marked by fractal physical structures, like the branching networks of bronchial tubes in the lung and conducting fibers in the heart, that allow a wide range of rhythms.

Fractal processes associated with scaled, broad-band spectra are 'information rich.' Periodic states, in contrast, reflect narrow-band spectra and are defined by monotonous, repetitive sequences, depleted of information content.

Treating such disorders [...] may depend on broadening a system's spectral reserve, its ability to range over many different frequencies without falling back into a locked periodic channel.

[James Gleick]
Chaos, p. 293


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'Wittgenstein develops a style of writing which is radically errant, which unlids all the accidence concealed by "normal" uses of words in order to show how many different routes it would be possible to take from any given point in their discourse - routes which we had simply not thought of because we were bemused by normality.'

Once 'ordinary language' is shorn of its residual metaphysics - the idea that ultimate truths are somehow vested in our normal, everyday habits of usage - linguistic philosophy takes on a very different aspect.

Rather than reinforce existing conventions or naturalized 'forms of life', it works to reveal the unlooked-for possibilities latent in all communication.

Plato is the prototype of all those unfortunate philosophers who must resort to writing in order to communicate their thoughts, but who lay themselves open, in the process, to all manner of unauthorized reading and interpretation.

[...] language is subject to a generalized 'iterability' - or readiness to be grafted into new and unforeseeable contexts - such that no appeal to performative intent can serve to delimit the range of possible meaning.

[Christopher Norris]
Derrida, p.  178, 187, 191


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Small Mind/Large Mind
Living with Roughness
Cultivating Friendship
Active Imagination 
Infinite Doorways 
Living Things and Dead Things
Walk a Straight Line
This, Not That
Left Out
Control
Pressure Valve
Project a Shadow
Assuming a position
Still Waters
The Middle Path
Full Spectrum
Respect Your Selves
In-between
Shades of gray
Wishy-washy
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe
The Perils of Radical Subjectivity
Solid Ground

1 comment:

  1. If each individual within a collectivity is potentially at a different stage of "maturity" - and if some individuals may never progress beyond certain stages - then we cannot possibly prescribe a single method or view for all.

    We cannot say, "everyone should see this way"; perhaps some are not ready to see that way, and forcing them to may only end up causing more dysfunction within the larger system, the collectivity.

    ReplyDelete