“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein
Are there philosophic ramifications found in the study of the anomalous?
To put the spectrum of sensory anomalies that suggest physicality in a categorization of “ghost” materiality or physicality requires that the appearances of sharp distinctions are both true and not true. In other words, while a potato and a stone are certainly in distinct states, the concept of a singularity as a binding principle has always intrigued theorists. In our time, integral theory also alternatively called the Integral Operating System (IOS) or by various other synonyms has become accepted by the various classical sciences. The term stands for "all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, and all types". It is conceived by some integral theorists to be one of the most comprehensive approaches to reality, a metatheory that attempts to explain how academic disciplines and every form of knowledge and experience fit together coherently, which owes its lineage to ancient Hylozoism which proposes that all matter (including the universe as a whole) is in some sense alive. This may include the view that "inanimate" matter has latent powers of abiogenesis. Thales, as one of the seven sages of ancient Greece essentially thought that all matter was energy, therefore the boundary between living matter and matter thought to be dead was in error as it was simply based on appearances. The anomalous seemingly operates as an isthmus between states...as a bridge often termed the liminal, the interstitial.
It’s transient fluidity appears to be consistently contingent and seemingly does not represent a fixed state, rather, it waxes and wanes depending upon relationships between states that do not remain fixed, hence the difficulty of having it sit still for a portrait. As compared to our usage as language as an fixative arbiter of realities, there is no “is-ness” beyond a bridging function between states or so it seems. One could suggest this fixative usage of language as a modulating control system is the antithesis of the anomalous as a behaviorism and yet they are bound at the hip. Human exceptionalism may be a form of undiagnosed mental illness prone to creating caricatures as an architecture.
“You need the "is of identity" to describe conspiracy theories. Korzybski would say that proves that illusions, delusions, and "mental" illnesses require the "is" to perpetuate them. (He often said, "Isness is an illness.") Korzybski also popularized the idea that most sentences, especially the sentences that people quarrel over or even go to war over, do not rank as propositions in the logical sense, but belong to the category that Bertrand Russell called propositional functions. They do not have one meaning, as a proposition in logic should have; they have several meanings, like an algebraic function.”
-Robert Anton Wilson Language as Conspiracy, p. 277
Consider all the foregoing above as a framework for the ruminations of an extraterrestrial within the contemplation of creating a dialog between itself and a human being and the consequences of such an encounter. The extraterrestrial may well be considered to be insane by our standards.
“Philosophers have recognized and separated two sorts of problem. There are first the problems of how things are, what is a person, and what sort of a world this is. These are the problems of ontology. Second, there are the problems of how we know anything, or more specifically, how we know what sort of a world it is and what sort of creatures we are that can know something (or perhaps nothing) of this matter. These are the problems of epistemology. To these questions, both ontological and epistemological, philosophers try to find true answers.
But the naturalist, observing human behavior, will ask rather different questions. If he be a cultural relativist, he may agree with those philosophers who hold that a “true” ontology is conceivable, but he will not ask whether the ontology of the people he observes is “true.” He will expect their epistemology to be culturally determined or even idiosyncratic, and he will expect the culture as a whole to make sense in terms of their particular epistemology and ontology.
If, on the other hand, it is clear that the local epistemology is wrong, then the naturalist should be alert to the possibility that the culture as a whole will never really make “sense,” or will make sense only under restricted circumstances, which contact with other cultures and new technologies might disrupt.
In the natural history of the living human being, ontology and epistemology cannot be separated. His (commonly unconscious) beliefs about what sort of world it is will determine how he sees it and acts within it, and his ways of perceiving and acting will determine his beliefs about its nature. The living man is thus bound within a net of epistemological and ontological premises which—regardless of ultimate truth or falsity—become partially self-validating for him.”
- Gregory Bateson
In the short essay posted below this one I likened consensus as a conundrum of paradox in the metaphor of the goldfish, and this underlines the positioning of the anomalous as a infiltrating influence whose importance has been turned into yet another caricature. At times I have used the term “domestication” to describe this process.
“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
I began this journey with an exploration of the relationship of the observer to the observed and as a matter of pragmatism I have focused largely on the observer which brings to mind G I Gurdjieff’s own observation;
“In order to awaken, first of all one must realize that one is in a state of sleep. And in order to realize that one is indeed in a state of sleep, one must recognize and fully understand the nature of the forces which operate to keep one in the state of sleep, or hypnosis. It is absurd to think that this can be done by seeking information from the very source which induces the hypnosis.
...One thing alone is certain, that man's slavery grows and increases. Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man.”
The study of the so called ‘paranormal” realm requires what is known as systems theory which is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research as a proverbial throwback to Hylozoism.
The anomalous provides a bi-directional mirror to the condition of the human animal by contrast and comparison and in this orientation, Ibn-Al-Arabi suggested that the limit of human knowledge is marked by understanding what is between the mirror and the reflection.
One could say this has no pragmatism attached to it as a tool or device but I suggest we look around us and say the opposite is true wherein this undiagnosed illness is epidemic in addition to becoming more toxic daily as it it’s velocity increases as a reactive principle to increased uncertainty. We can understand the relationship as the anomalous is, in reality, a consensus and the consensus of realities is reaching a terminal cascading peak of parallelisms through a menu of ill effects. The human animal has not adapted to it’s orientation. Over and over we see this in the cycles and epicycles of civilisations, These do not end on Thursday at 3PM, rather they are represented in intervals in which one generation of consensus is dying while the next generation, while seeded, has yet to take root.
To put it simply, we experience the world upside down and if we want to chose an empirical approach to the philosophies of this form of pragmatics, one can verify the demonstrable evidence of it’s existence by observation.
“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the mind, there are no limits... In the province of connected minds, what the network believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the network's mind there are no limits.”
- John C Lilly The Human Biocomputer (1974)