I am researching a working paper tentatively called "The search for context-transcedent meaning." In this post-metaphysical age, is there any context - independent knowledge or context-transcendent meaning? If maybe so... what kinds of categories, notions, meaning-drivers, values do you suppose they would be?

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I believe that as soon as we start to talk about meaning, that is in relation to something else, and as so it is not trancencent of context. As a minimum it is in the context of an experiencer as soon as we are starting to label it. Context-trancendence exist, but some kind of translation happens when we start to discuss the meaning it has. It is part of a communication process, so that communication necesitates a context, and also before sharing this whatever, also the reflection is some kind of context, whitnessing this whatever. So if there exist something outside of a context and observer, as soon as it is reflected and shared internally or externally it is within the frame of human limitation and context - I think. As humans we are also a spieces, and have some ways of perceptions, and this will always be something that will be a context that we can't trancend as soon as communication starts. And most often long before communication starts too.

Well written and I agree. But there is still this search for context-transcendent meaning, I believe -- or else we could not see how language fall short. What is "in us" that is doing the measuring?

 

thanks for the ideas.

Øyvind Solum said:

I believe that as soon as we start to talk about meaning, that is in relation to something else, and as so it is not trancencent of context. As a minimum it is in the context of an experiencer as soon as we are starting to label it. Context-trancendence exist, but some kind of translation happens when we start to discuss the meaning it has. It is part of a communication process, so that communication necesitates a context, and also before sharing this whatever, also the reflection is some kind of context, whitnessing this whatever. So if there exist something outside of a context and observer, as soon as it is reflected and shared internally or externally it is within the frame of human limitation and context - I think. As humans we are also a spieces, and have some ways of perceptions, and this will always be something that will be a context that we can't trancend as soon as communication starts. And most often long before communication starts too.

Bonnitta, two thoughts:  1) Perhaps we see language falls short, not because there is any specific "meaning" which transcends contextuality, but because contexts are boundless and so any given linguistic statement will be bounded by intuited other contexts which the statement fails to capture; and 2) This suggestion is not to rule out experiences such as (causal) emptiness, in which all points of reference are dropped and are not apprehended, but I wouldn't call this state "context-transcendent meaning" because (as Oyvind says) meaning itself appears to be a function of context. 

 

In some spiritual systems, of course, this referenceless state is considered the ultimate context, the contextless context, which meaningfully (and usually metaphysically, Idealistically) situates the relative world of distinctions in the heart of formless Spirit.  How could this be handled post-metaphysically? (We've explored this in various ways on this forum, but I'm interested in your opinion.)

My working hypothesis is that we can eplore it post-metaphysically through a process approach. Can we identify meaning-generative processes that are context independent? Perhaps symbolic representation is one; and perhaps there is a non-symbolic process, also. This is tricky, I agree, if by "meaning" we connote symbolic representation of the real.

 

Sometimes I think that "meaning" is "merely" the actual occassion (in whitehead's philsophophy) embued with the "feeling" of "realness" -- and that that process takes on different forms (developmentally in terms of language and ego-development) but also, with respect to organisms?

 

just musings

 

bonnie

 

 

Balder said:

Bonnitta, two thoughts:  1) Perhaps we see language falls short, not because there is any specific "meaning" which transcends contextuality, but because contexts are boundless and so any given linguistic statement will be bounded by intuited other contexts which the statement fails to capture; and 2) This suggestion is not to rule out experiences such as (causal) emptiness, in which all points of reference are dropped and are not apprehended, but I wouldn't call this state "context-transcendent meaning" because (as Oyvind says) meaning itself appears to be a function of context. 

 

In some spiritual systems, of course, this referenceless state is considered the ultimate context, the contextless context, which meaningfully (and usually metaphysically, Idealistically) situates the relative world of distinctions in the heart of formless Spirit.  How could this be handled post-metaphysically? (We've explored this in various ways on this forum, but I'm interested in your opinion.)

Are you very familiar with the Time-Space-Knowledge vision (TSK)?  I ask because the first book in the series has a practice called "Transcendence of Pointings" which I think might be relevant to your inquiry.  The practice is presented in the context of a discussion of what TSK calls "read-outs" -- specific self-world gestalts or constellations.  The suggestion is that in any given read-out, the various components all "point" to one another: mental and physical, self and world, mind and emotion, etc, and these various read-outs are self-undermining by the very fact of their appearing and pointing.  TSK suggests that these 'pointings' (contextual meanings) can be transcended, not by going to some special realm where no pointing takes place (causal emptiness?) but by focusing on the pointing, not the pointed-to.  (Process as context-transcendent?)  Doing so in practice can lead, TSK suggests, to more creatively upwelling, spontaneous activity -- akin, I expect, to actorless action of Zen archery, etc.

Yes. Yes! I read his books a decade ago now (?) ... will definitely return to them with this in mind.

thanks. didn't occur to me

Balder said:

Are you very familiar with the Time-Space-Knowledge vision (TSK)?  I ask because the first book in the series has a practice called "Transcendence of Pointings" which I think might be relevant to your inquiry.  The practice is presented in the context of a discussion of what TSK calls "read-outs" -- specific self-world gestalts or constellations.  The suggestion is that in any given read-out, the various components all "point" to one another: mental and physical, self and world, mind and emotion, etc, and these various read-outs are self-undermining by the very fact of their appearing and pointing.  TSK suggests that these 'pointings' (contextual meanings) can be transcended, not by going to some special realm where no pointing takes place (causal emptiness?) but by focusing on the pointing, not the pointed-to.  (Process as context-transcendent?)  Doing so in practice can lead, TSK suggests, to more creatively upwelling, spontaneous activity -- akin, I expect, to actorless action of Zen archery, etc.

TSK suggests that these 'pointings' (contextual meanings) can be transcended, not by going to some special realm where no pointing takes place (causal emptiness?) but by focusing on the pointing, not the pointed-to.  (Process as context-transcendent?)  Doing so in practice can lead, TSK suggests, to more creatively upwelling, spontaneous activity -- akin, I expect, to actorless action of Zen archery, etc.

And which seems to me is the pointless point of Derrida's khora above; that we cannot get outside metaphysics but we can (quasi)transcend it nonetheless by attending to its process. And that deconstruction is a methodless method par excellence for so doing. Perhaps even one better suited for those embedded in western cultural contexts?

Standing on a post-metaphysical view, meaning does look like all context. At first I thought I agreed with you entirely. Then today I thought about AESOP's fables, parables runi poems and koans. In a sense, the more soteriological the context, the more transcendent the meaning --that is being pointed out. I am going to tell you a tale about process metaphysics. It's a story that points to some meaning that isn't actually in the story in the same way that the meaning of a parable isn't in the story-line. Of course, we can now get into how the story/teaching is received, and that is all context-dependent, but I want to look at baby steps first.

 

thanks for the contribution

what dya think?

valli said:

Context transcendental meaning ?

Interesting question. Meaning is context, transcendentalism is context. Something other than context cannot be transcendental or meaningful. And then it cannot be something either, which is also context. Emptiness doesn’t ring true, as there is a container or having had content, implied.
Nothing is a heavy word, that a word exists to indicate that at all. I think there is something besides context that I can speak of. Which is creativity obviously. Whats captivating is that there can only be creativity when there is nothing to start with (We can see that of course if we don’t stumble over this subject object business)

So Its not that something occurs in space. Its that something occurs and then theres space. Actually something occurs which is space. And time . I think that is sort of neat, this time thing, how it is seamless with space.
If which is so about space, that it keeps happening, past any intelligible reference to anything resembling measure, and yet it is blatantly measurable in many ways, at least one need not be accused of indulging in a referential paradigm. But some folks say matter cannot be created nor destroyed. They have it all worked out. Just as things arise, maybe we have somehow made it possible in our constructed world, that things cant turn back, go back to zilch. That is strange.
Iam not saying Houdini wasn’t a weirdo, its just that I don’t know anything about him, and iam trying to stay with the dharma, that the magical isn’t always shortchanged.

cheers

can love be context-transcendent?

Here's something from John Caputo's "For the love of things themselves", reminiscent of what Epstein is talking about in Buddhism and desire.*

"The thing itself is what we love and desire. Who would desire anything less? Indeed, we so love and desire the thing itself that we cannot bring ourselves to believe that our desire is denied. But, alas, according to the argument of deconstruction, the thing itself always eludes our grasp, always gives the slip to the net of signifiers in which our desire had hoped to catch it up.

"All that is true, but that is not all the truth.... For it leaves out the point of the story about how the true world became a fable...because in Derrida’s hands Nietzsche’s tale is transformed into a love story.   Deconstruction is always writing loves stories, in however roundabout a way. Thus to tell this much of the story and no more, to say that the thing itself slips away and then to grow silent, is to leave everyone with the mistaken impression that deconstruction cuts us adrift in a never-never land (a Derri-dada land, it has been said) of fictions and caprice. It creates the mistaken impression that deconstruction cuts us off from the world, that the place where things are really happening, where 'events' transpire, always slips away. But that is badly distorted idea of deconstruction, inasmuch as everything in deconstruction takes place as a preparation for the event, for something that really happens, that breaks out and breaks over us, that really moves us and fires the passion of our love.

"Let us speak, then, of love.... What do we love more, what provokes more love in us, than something elusive and beyond us, something impossible that we just cannot have? What better way to raise love up to a feverish pitch than to be told that what we love is impossible and always slips away? For loving what is merely possible, moderating our love to the median mark of the probable, making a wise and prudent investment of the energies of our love so that we may expect a reasonable return on our efforts, does that not have all the makings of a lover without a passion, which is what Johannes Climacus calls a “mediocre fellow”? Is not the realist just such a mediocre fellow, a fellow who, despite all his brave talk and chest-thumping bravado about reality, has no heart or passion for an elusive lover like the things themselves? Deconstruction’s desire is not satisfied with what presents itself to us as real, for what it loves goes beyond what presents itself as real to an ultra-real for which we pray and weep, towards a hyper-real, something that is not less than real but more, not below the real but beyond."

* From Epstein's book Open to Desire(Gotham, 2006):

“Desire is our vitality...that which gives us our individuality and at the same time keeps prodding us outside of ourselves.... It is 'the natural'.... The infinite can be known through an acceptance of, and opening to, the unending quality of yearning. My interest in writing this book, in fact, is to correct the misperception that Buddhism strives to eliminate desire” (9-10).

First, to search for something context-trancendent and post-metaphysical seems for me like something very worthwhile and meaningful. It shows an interesting direction for something, at the very least our own reflection, and it does something with our perspective on our human meanings and context.

It may help us taking smaller og larger leaps, and it may often be very clarifying and very freeing for many of our perspectives. 

But, in Rumi-stories are other things of its kind, there is not a full transcendence or anything of that kind - even if I am too a fan of Rumi. Yes, it's a pointing. It is reminding us that other perspectives exists, whether we believe we grab them or not.

But there is at least one context, and actually also others. And that is the context that says that there is a relative world were we are living in some kind of illution, and that there exist another world or perspectives were things are very differen – more true, evolved and enlightened. 

It is not that I am saying that this is not true in some kind of version, but it is some kind of history about truth or the human existence. This is a gnotic tale, also spelt out in advaita or elsewere.

It is actually splitting the world in two halves, saying one is more real than the other. It is probably THE most basic context or meaning. And then, even if it may be called advaita or whatever, it is not nondual, but just a very basic ways of humans to make meanings in our very human reality or perception. Often it is also used to justify avoidence for many human struggles - in the name of the nondual - even if that is actually making the split even larger.

First, to search for something context-trancendent and post-metaphysical seems for me like something very worthwhile and meaningful. It shows an interesting direction for something, at the very least our own reflection, and it does something with our perspective on our human meanings and context.

Nicely said/ pointed. You help me remember that it is this "search(ing)" for context-transcendent meaning that I am pointing to (inquiring of) not "something" context-transcendent... Reminds me of something Szanne Cook-Greuter likes to mention -- the Native American notion of "still hunting" -- being still and vigilant, aware of environs on a very peek level... aroused without an object or sensation of arousal... but for me the "still" also means "always" or an enduring continual way of being...

 

bonnie

Øyvind Solum said:

First, to search for something context-trancendent and post-metaphysical seems for me like something very worthwhile and meaningful. It shows an interesting direction for something, at the very least our own reflection, and it does something with our perspective on our human meanings and context.

It may help us taking smaller og larger leaps, and it may often be very clarifying and very freeing for many of our perspectives. 

But, in Rumi-stories are other things of its kind, there is not a full transcendence or anything of that kind - even if I am too a fan of Rumi. Yes, it's a pointing. It is reminding us that other perspectives exists, whether we believe we grab them or not.

But there is at least one context, and actually also others. And that is the context that says that there is a relative world were we are living in some kind of illution, and that there exist another world or perspectives were things are very differen – more true, evolved and enlightened. 

It is not that I am saying that this is not true in some kind of version, but it is some kind of history about truth or the human existence. This is a gnotic tale, also spelt out in advaita or elsewere.

It is actually splitting the world in two halves, saying one is more real than the other. It is probably THE most basic context or meaning. And then, even if it may be called advaita or whatever, it is not nondual, but just a very basic ways of humans to make meanings in our very human reality or perception. Often it is also used to justify avoidence for many human struggles - in the name of the nondual - even if that is actually making the split even larger.

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