Objective / Subjective




Subjective                           -                      Objective
Personal                              -                      Universal
Individual                           -                      Collective




There is something for Peirce that transcends the individual interpretation of the interpreter, and it is the transcendental idea of a community, a community as a transcendental principle. 

This principle is not transcendental in the Kantian sense, because it does not come before but after the semiosic process; it is not the structure of the human mind that produces the interpretation but the reality that the semiosis builds up. 

Anyway, from the moment in which the community is pulled to agree with a given interpretation, there is, if not an objective, at least an intersubjective meaning which acquires a privilege over any other possible interpretation spelled out without the agreement of the community. 

The thought or opinion that defines reality must therefore belong to a community of knowers, and this community must be structured and disciplined in accordance with supra-individual principles. 

The real is “the idea in which the community ultimately settles down”. “The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real”.

“The real, then, is what, sooner or later, information and reasoning would finally result in, and which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you ... The very origin of the conception of reality shows that this conception essentially involves the notion of a community”.

There is community because there is no intuition in the Cartesian sense. The transcendental meaning is not there and cannot be grasped by an eidetic intuition: Derrida was correct in saying that the phenomenology of Peirce does not - like Husserl's - reveal a presence. But if the sign does not reveal the thing itself, the process of semiosis produces in the long run a socially shared notion of the thing that the community is engaged to take as if it were in itself true. The transcendental meaning is not at the origins of the process but must be postulated as a possible and transitory end of every process.

In the Peircean line of thought it can be asserted that any community of interpreters, in the course of their common inquiry about what kind of object the text they are reading is, can frequently reach (even though nondefinitively and in a fallible way) an agreement about it. 

[…] to reach an agreement about the nature of a given text does not mean either (a) that the interpreters must trace back to the original intention of its author or (b) that such a text must have a unique and final meaning. There are “open” texts that support multiple interpretations, and any common agreement about them ought to concern just their open nature and the textual strategies that make them work that way.

But, even though the interpreters cannot decide which interpretation is the privileged one, they can agree on the fact that certain interpretations are not contextually legitimated. Thus, even though using a text as a playground for implementing unlimited semiosis, they can agree that at certain moments the “play of amusement” can transitorily stop by producing a consensual judgement. 

[Umberto Eco]
The Limits of Interpretation, p. 40-42



Related posts:

Attractive Assemblages




What we see in human decision makers is a whole body of anecdotes. I tell a story, you tell a story, I like your story so I tell similar stories. On the internet that happens much faster. 

Then those stories form a trope, and it reaches a critical mass and goes through a phase shift and then the trope/assemblage/strange attractor exists independently of the story-teller. People effectively get sucked into it, they can’t escape from it. 

Then they start to filter things, because the assemblage is a cognitive activation pattern. 

[Dave Snowden]
'Naturalising Sense-making w/ Dave Snowden. September 3rd, 2020'




Clarity




Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity. 

For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is so timid and dislikes going into the water. 

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
The Gay Science, 173



Fact / Fiction



Fact                     -                    Fiction
Theory                 -                    Story
Literal                 -                    Figurative




One ought not to make ‘cause' and 'effect' into material things, as natural scientists do (and those who, like them, naturalize in their thinking - ), in accordance with the prevailing mechanistic stupidity which has the cause press and push until it ‘produces an effect'; one ought to employ 'cause' and 'effect' only as pure concepts, that is to say as conventional fictions for the purpose of designation, mutual understanding, not explanation. 

In the ‘in itself' there is nothing of 'causal connection', of 'necessity', of 'psychological unfreedom'; there ‘the effect’ does not ‘follow the cause', there no 'law' rules. It is we alone who have fabricated causes, succession, reciprocity, relativity, compulsion, number, law, freedom, motive, purpose; and when we falsely introduce this world of symbols into things and mingle it with them as though this symbol-world were an 'in itself', we once more behave as we have always behaved, namely mythologically

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
Beyond Good and Evil, 21




The normal person, says Adler, takes guiding principles and goals, metaphorically, with the sense of 'as if.'"To him they are a figure of speech," heuristic, practical constructs.

"The neurotic, however, catches at the straw of fiction, hypostasizes it, ascribes to it a real value." Finally, "in the psychoses, it is elevated to a dogma."  

What makes madness is literalism.

To be sane we must recognize our beliefs as fictions, and see through our hypotheses as fantasies.

[James Hillman]
Healing Fiction, p.111



Related posts:

Unintended consequences




The one thing I can guarantee about any complex adaptive system is that whatever you do there will be unintended consequences, and you are ethically responsible for them. 

The larger your intervention, the larger the unintended consequences. 

[Dave Snowden]
'AgileByExample 2017: prof. Dave Snowden - Cynefin in practice'




I’m out working with Tommy Quinn […] He’s lived here in Knockmoyle for all of his life, so his opinions [...] hold weight with me. He asks me what technology I think had the most dramatic impact on life here when he was growing up. I state what I feel are obvious: the television, the motor car and computers. Or electricity in general. Tommy smiles. The flask, he says.

I ask him to explain. When he was growing up in the 1960s, he and his family would go to the bog, along with most of the other families of the parish, to cut turf for fuel for the following winter. They would all help each other out in any way they could, even if they didn’t always fully get on. Cutting turf in the old ways, using a slean, is hard but convivial work, so each day one family would make a campfire to boil the kettle on.

But the campfire had a more significant role than just hydrating the workers. As well as keeping the midges away, it was focal point that brought folk together during important seasonal events. During the day people would have the craic around it as the tea brewed, and in the evenings food would be cooked on it. By nightfall, with the day’s work behind them, the campfire became the place where music, song and dance would spontaneously happen. Before the night was out, one of the old boys would hide one of the young lads’ wheelbarrows, providing no end of banter than following morning.

The one day, out of nowhere, the now commonplace Thermos flask arrived in Knockmoyle. Very handy, Tommy says, and everyone wanted one. Within a short space of time families began boiling up their hot water on the range in their homes, before taking it with them to the bog. After millennia of honest service, the campfire was now obsolete.

[Mark Boyle]
The Way Home, p. 84


Related posts:

Instrumentalism




[Ariel] Rubenstein refuses to claim that his knowledge of theoretical matters can be translated - by him - into anything directly practical. 

To him, economics is like a fable - a fable writer is there to stimulate ideas, indirectly inspire practice perhaps, but certainly not to direct or determine practice.

[Nassim Nicholas Taleb]
Antifragile, p. 211



Related posts:

Tradition



In primitive societies life is a succession of stages. The needs and purposes of one stage having been fulfilled, there is no particular reluctance about passing on to the next stage.

A young man goes through the power process by becoming a hunter, hunting not for sport or for fulfillment but to get meat that is necessary for food […] This phase having been successfully passed through, the young man has no reluctance about settling down to the responsibilities of raising a family.

(In contrast, some modern people indefinitely postpone having children because they are too busy seeking some kind of “fulfillment.” We suggest that the fulfillment they need is adequate experience of the power process — with real goals instead of the artificial goals of surrogate activities.)

Again, having successfully raised his children, going through the power process by providing them with the physical necessities, the primitive man feels that his work is done and he is prepared to accept old age (if he survives that long) and death.

Many modern people, on the other hand, are disturbed by the prospect of physical deterioration and death, as is shown by the amount of effort they expend trying to maintain their physical condition, appearance and health. We argue that this is due to unfulfillment resulting from the fact that they have never put their physical powers to any practical use, have never gone through the power process using their bodies in a serious way.

It is not the primitive man, who has used his body daily for practical purposes, who fears the deterioration of age, but the modern man, who has never had a practical use for his body beyond walking from his car to his house. It is the man whose need for the power process has been satisfied during his life who is best prepared to accept the end of that life.

[Ted Kaczynski]
Industrial Society and its Future, 75




Sins of the Fathers




The ideas of the fathers in the nineteenth century have been visited on the third and fourth generations living in the second half of the twentieth century. 

The men who conceived the idea that ‘morality is bunk’ did so with a mind well-stocked with moral ideas. But the minds of the third and fourth generations are no longer well-stocked with such ideas: they are well-stocked with ideas conceived in the nineteenth century, namely, that ‘morality is bunk’, that everything that appear to be ‘higher’ is really nothing but something quite mean and vulgar. 

To their originators, these ideas were simply the result of their intellectual processes. In the third and fourth generations, they have become the very tools and instruments through which the world is being experienced and interpreted. 

Those that bring forth new ideas are seldom ruled by them. But their ideas obtain power over men’s lives in the third and fourth generations when they have become a part of that great mass of ideas, including language, which seeps into a person’s mind during his ‘Dark Ages’. 

[E.F. Schumacher] 
Small is Beautiful, p. 73, 82




Related posts:

A Story of the People




In the market place, for practical reasons, innumerable qualitative distinctions which are of vital importance for man and society are suppressed; they are not allowed to surface. 

Thus the reign of quantity celebrates its greatest triumphs in 'The Market’. Everything is equated with everything else. To equate things means to give them a price and thus to make them exchangeable. 

To the extent that economic thinking is based on the market, it takes the sacredness out of life, because there can be nothing sacred in something that has a price. Not surprisingly, therefore, if economic thinking pervades the whole of society, even simple non-economic values like beauty, health, or cleanliness can survive only if they prove to be ‘economic'.

[E.F. Schumacher]
Small is Beautiful, p. 37




We know too much about ecology today to have any excuse for the many abuses that are currently going on in the management of the land, in the management of animals, in food storage, food processing, and in heedless urbanisation. 

If we permit them, this is not due to poverty, as if we could not afford to stop them; it is due to the fact that, as a society, we have no firm basis of belief in any meta-economic values, and when there is no such belief the economic calculus takes over. 

This is quite inevitable. How could it be otherwise? Nature, it has been said, abhors a vacuum, and when the available ‘spiritual space' is not filled by some higher motivation, then it will necessarily be filled by something lower - by the small, mean, calculating attitude to life which is rationalised in the economic calculus. 

I have no doubt that a callous attitude to the land and to the animals thereon is connected with, and symptomatic of, a great many other attitudes, such as those producing a fanaticism of rapid change and a fascination with novelties - technical, organisational, chemical, biological, and so forth - which insists on their application long before their long-term consequences are even remotely understood. 

In the simple question of how we treat the land, next to people our most precious resource, our entire way of life is involved, and before our policies with regard to the land will really be changed, there will have to be a great deal of philosophical, not to say religious, change. 

It is not a question of what we can afford but of what we choose to spend our money on. If we could return to a generous recognition of meta-economic values, our landscapes would become healthy and beautiful again and our people would regain the dignity of man, who knows himself as higher than the animal but never forgets that noblesse oblige

[E.F. Schumacher] 
Small is Beautiful, p. 96



Related posts:

Ideal / Real




Ideal                  -                    Real
Abstract             -                   Concrete
Principles          -                    Care
Separation         -                    Connection
Masculine          -                    Feminine  
   





The blind willingness to sacrifice people to truth, however, has always been the danger of an ethics abstracted from life. This willingness links Gandhi to the biblical Abraham, who prepared to sacrifice the life of his son in order to demonstrate the integrity and supremacy of his faith.

Both men, in the limitations of their fatherhood, stand in implicit contrast to the woman who comes before Solomon and verifies her motherhood by relinquishing truth in order to save the life of her child. 

It is the ethics of an adulthood that has become principled at the expense of care that Erikson comes to criticize in his assessment of Gandhi's life.

[Carol Gilligan]
‘In a Different Voice', Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 47, No. 4, p.515

Work without pleasure




Looking for work in order to be paid: in civilized countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays well.

But there are, if only rarely, men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work. 

They are choosy, hard to satisfy, and do not care for ample rewards, if the work itself is not the reward of rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed, but so do even those men of leisure who spend their lives hunting, traveling, or in love affairs and adventures.

All of these desire work and misery if only it is associated with pleasure, and the hardest, most difficult work if necessary. Otherwise, their idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonor, and danger to life and limb.

They do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if their work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable "windless calm" of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds. They have to bear it and must wait for its effect on them.

Precisely this is what lesser natures cannot achieve by any means. To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar, no less than work without pleasure.

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
The Gay Science, 42



Related posts:

Sensitivity




Insensitive                        -                      Sensitive
Stoicism                           -                      Epicureanism




The Epicurean selects the situation, the persons, and even the events that suit his extremely irritable, intellectual constitution; he gives up all others, which means almost everything, because they would be too strong and heavy for him to digest.

The Stoic, on the other hand, trains himself to swallow stones and worms, slivers of glass and scorpions without nausea; he wants his stomach to become ultimately indifferent to whatever the accidents of existence might pour into it: he reminds one of that Arabian sect of the Assaua whom one encounters in Algiers: like these insensitive people, he, too, enjoys having an audience when he shows off his insensitivity, while the Epicurean would rather dispense with that, having his "garden"!

For those with whom fate attempts improvisations - those who live in violent ages and depend on sudden and mercurial people - Stoicism may indeed be advisable. But anyone who foresees more or less that fate permits him to spin a long thread does well to make Epicurean arrangements.

That is what all those have always done whose work is of the spirit. For this type it would be the loss of losses to be deprived of their subtle irritability and be awarded in its place a hard Stoic hedgehog skin.

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
The Gay Science, 306



Related posts:

The Front Door



Knock knock! Is anybody there?

Ah, its you. I've been expecting you. Please come in. Put your feet up for a few minutes. The internet can be an exhausting place, and you must be tired.

I am actually, its just one thing after another out there. Now then, what exactly is this place?

Good question. Foreverbecoming is a storehouse for the various bits of information that I come across on my travels; those that I find interesting enough to want to save.

I do my best to link all of the separate posts up to one another, creating threads - or constellations - that make (to my mind) greater sense out of the various bits of information.

By linking things up - gathering separate elements together to make larger wholes - a higher, more abstract layer is created on top of that which already exists.

Essentially, I am using specifics to get at generalities. And sometimes generalities to get at even greater generalities.

I see it as akin to building a pyramid, where every subsequent layer of blocks gets larger and fewer in number. It culminates in a single block at the top - the capstone - which could be seen as a universal binding truth (such as the golden rule, "harm no one, help others as much as you can"). A true capstone is something that can in some way encapsulate everything beneath it, albeit in a very general way. It contains no details.

I'm not sure what the capstone of foreverbecoming is, although I suspect it may be something like "L O V E."

That sounds rather wishy-washy. Who the devil are you?

I am an enthusiastic amateur. I have the kind of mind that needs to make sense of things. My default mode is to be a step back from the world, looking, listening, and taking notes. Hence the site you see before you. It is, basically, a way in which I make sense of the world.

Sounds dubious. So where do we go from here?

Below are the central themes of the site. They are much like the main branches of a tree; each one leading to smaller branches, with those branches leading to still smaller branches, and then on to its many leaves.

Most posts can be found through these starting points. Alternately, there is a temperamental search bar up to the right there - if you have a subject of interest then just type it in and see what comes up.

Many posts will also have labels attached to them. These can be found at the bottom of the post. Clicking on one will bring up all other posts associated with that label.

To the right there's also an index of all authors featured on the site. If there's someone in particular you're interested in then click their name and all posts featuring them will be shown.

I hope you enjoy exploring this place. It has some interesting nooks and crannies. But don't get lost! That can happen all too easily around here ...