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Re: The Natural and the Supernatural

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  • Mary
    Jim, I agree with you, and suggest David Bohm s quantum field theory and super implicate order as possible explanation for reconciling quantum uncertainty and
    Message 1 of 38 , Jun 6, 2011
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      Jim,

      I agree with you, and suggest David Bohm's quantum field theory and super implicate order as possible explanation for reconciling quantum uncertainty and standard physics.

      As I am currently under the influence of Zizek and recall this thread began as the Phenomenology of Evil—according to Buddhism evil exists because of attachment to illusory things in themselves—we get to the heart of the basic difference between Eastern and Western symbolic matrices and their resulting philosophies. From note 57 of "The Fragile Absolute":

      "In the `Eastern' perspective at its most radical, the ultimate `reality' is that of Emptiness, of the `positive Void', and all finite/determinate reality is inherently `illusory'—the only authentic way to ethico-epistemological Truth is to renounce desire as the condition which chains us to finite objects, and is thus the ultimate cause of suffering—that is, to enter the impassive bliss of nirvana. In contrast to this stance, the innermost core of the `Western' matrix is that there is a third way: to put it in Kantian-Nietzschean terms, the alternative between `not desiring anything' and the pathological' desire that chains us to positive empirical objects is not exhaustive, since there is in humans a desire which is not `pathological' but a `pure' desire for nothingness itself. Or—to put it in Heidegger's terms (since in his notion of primordial lethe, Heidegger is ultimately getting at the same point)—a `pre-ontological derangement' is consubstantial with the human condition itself, more `original' than the alternative between blissful immersion in the Void and enslavement to `pathological' desires."

      "The Lacanian position on the Oriental notion of nirvana is therefore clear and unequivocal: the ultimate choice we, desiring humans, are facing is not the choice between desire (for something within false reality) and renunciation (extinction) of desire, not desiring, immersion in the Void; there is a third option: the desire for Nothingness itself, for an object which is a stand-in for this Nothingness. The Lacanian position is not that Buddhism is `too strong', that it is only for those who are able effectively to extinguish their desire; which for us Western subjects, caught in the dialectic of desire, psychoanalysis is as far as we can go—it is that the `desire for nothingness itself' is the `vanishing mediator' the third, more primordial option, which becomes invisible once we formulate the opposition as that between desire for something and not desiring. The existence of this third option is discernible in the difficulty a Buddhist position has in explaining the emergence of desire: how is it that the primordial Void was disturbed and that desire emerged; that living beings got caught up in the wheel of karma, of attachment to false reality? The only solution to this deadlock is to posit a kind of pre-ontological perturbation/inversion/disturbance within nirvana itself—that is to say, prior to the split between nirvana and false appearance—so that the Absolute itself (the cosmic Force or whatever it is called) gets radically perverted. The traces of this inversion are discernible even in pop-cultural New Age icons like Darth Vader for Star Wars; in the idea that truly evil people are those who have gained access to the Force that enables us to reach the true realm beyond false material reality, but then perverted/misused this Force, employing it for bad, evil ends. What, however, if this fall into perversion is original, the original monstrous cut/excess, and the opposition between nirvana and desire for false appearance is there to conceal this monstrosity?"

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Herman,
      >
      > Let me start my response by considering what you write at the end of your post:
      >
      > "The science and realism of which you speak is idealist. You, and them, preconceive of the world being a certain, definite way, independent of observation. In my book, that's called magical thinking."
      >
      > So what you call "magical thinking" is my belief that Tiger continues to exist, going in and out of the cat flap, chasing birds, climbing over fences, sleeping on my bed, etc. whilst I am away at work. Or my belief that you get up go to work, read Existlist posts, have meals etc., even though my only "observation" of you is marks on my computer screens.
      >
      > I call this "rational thinking", and I think anybody who doesn't think physical objects, including furry animals and human beings, continue to exist when not observed, is lacking an appropriate sense of his place within the overall scheme of things.
      >
      > Now if the world of medium-sized physical objects such as cats and human beings obeyed the laws of quantum mechanics, I may agree with you. But quantum mechanics deals with the very, very small – electrons and the like. We – me, you and Tiger – don't behave like electrons. Electrons, supposed, behave both as particles and as waves, and their behaviour is affected by an observer. We, on the other hand, behave just as particles. An observer doesn't make me disappear – unless of course I owe him money. You can measure both my position and velocity at the same time – unlike the sub-atomic particles which are the domain for quantum mechanics.
      >
      > Admittedly by extrapolating from the unobserved to the unobserved, I can occasionally make mistakes. It is possible you are not a real human being but a computer program written by some mad Buddhist scientists to fool non-Buddhists like me.
      >
      > However, the whole of biology – and remember Aristotle was a keen biologist – is based on the assumption that animals and plants are self-regulating organisms. For example, cut my leg, and the rest of my body takes action to heal the damaged area. Self-regulating organisms have a continued existence over time, and their identity is not affected by observers – unless the observers deliberately poke, prod or physically interfere with the thing observed.
      >
      > Small furry animals are the paradigm example of things-in-themselves – things which can continue to exist when unobserved. Perhaps Aristotle developed his theory of substance and accident by observing his own furry animal pet.
      >
      > Jim
      >
    • Mary
      Jim, As I wade through Zizek s How To Read Lacan, I also find this piece helpful. I realize it s a backward process to read Hegel, Lacan, and Marx through
      Message 38 of 38 , Jun 8, 2011
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        Jim,

        As I wade through Zizek's How To Read Lacan, I also find this piece helpful. I realize it's a backward process to read Hegel, Lacan, and Marx through Zizek, but it's where I am. Here's another link for you.

        http://www.lacan.com/zizekchro1.htm

        I'm discovering a rich philosophical history behind socialism and delighted to regard Zizek as 'continuing' the work of Sartre.

        Mary

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
        >
        > Mary,
        >
        > Thanks for that. Reading a couple of paragraphs of Zizek makes me want to read more. In particular I would need to read more about the "original monstrous cut / excess" before I felt ready to comment on Zizek's thought in this area.
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