I kept threatening to write about essences, but never seemed to get around to it.  I’ll now put my money where my mouth is and try to say something at least semi-intelligent...

 

(Btw, I was going to put this in the machine consciousness discussion because that's where the inspiration came from, but it seems too off-topic, so I've decided to make a new thread.)

 

An essence refers to what something “is”.  This works by having a set of essential properties or qualities, which act as necessary and sufficient conditions for it to “be” that thing.   For example, I can say of a poodle that it “is” a dog.  This implies that the essential features of “dogness” (an abstract entity, so to speak) are instantiated in that particular (concrete) poodle.  I hope I’m not over-simplifying things here.  There’s a lot more that I could say that doesn’t seem all that relevant, so I’m leaving it out.

 

As a result of all this, I can say that cats “are not” dogs because they do not meet the necessary and sufficient conditions of “dogness”.  Note the bivalent (0 or 1; true or false; black or white) logic at play here – either something “is” that thing or it “is not” that thing.  Robert Anton Wilson wrote strongly against this kind of “either/or” logic, rightly I think (though perhaps too aggressively at times).  In any case, even if one distrusts RAW, in my opinion Wittgenstein had already effectively demonstrated years ago that there are no essences in the sense just described, and I further suggest that, taken to its logical extreme, his point also implies that we can’t use bivalent logic to describe objects without doing metaphysics.

 

To illustrate his anti-essentialist ideas, Wittgenstein used the example of games.  He pointed out that there is no essential description that fits all games – no fully consistent set of necessary and sufficient conditions that applies to all games.  This results in a sort of Goldilocks paradox, where any attempt at creating an essential definition either results in a standard too permissive, that lets too many things count as games, or a standard too restrictive, not letting in things that uncontroversially count as games.  For example, if we treat the quality of using balls as a necessary condition, then games that do not use balls are excluded.  If, however, we treat using balls as a sufficient condition, then anything that involves balls counts as a game.

 

Instead, Wittgenstein suggested that definitions function instead more like a sort of family resemblance model.  Imagine a family that has lots of tall members.  That is, most, if not all, have this quality.  Also, most, but not all, have black hair; and most, but not all, have large noses, etc.  So some might be tall and have black hair, but a normal nose; and some might be tall and have large noses, but not black hair, and so on, for all combinations.  The family resemblance, then, consists of a set of overlapping features, with no, one necessary and sufficient definition that works for everyone.

 

This generalises to all “objects”.  For example, a while ago, I saw a media programme about technology featuring a journalist trying to decide where computers begin and where they end.  He phrased the question as “what is a computer?”  But if there is no “computerness” essence—no essential definition of computers—then the question makes no sense.  “Is” an iPod a computer?  What about a Smartphone?  In effect, we can only say things like, “for legal purposes, that counts as a computer” or, perhaps, “I don’t consider that a computer”.

 

Unfortunately, these family resemblance models—nominal essences, if I can call them that—change with time and experience, according to needs or perspective, or across cultures (or subcultures... or even from individual to individual).  Wittgenstein used the rules of tennis as an example.  There is no rule stating that one can’t throw the ball 200’ in the air in order to serve.  But if someone started doing that, a new rule banning it might come into effect very quickly.  In this way, nominal essences can change; they do not have a fixed nature.  (I’ll give a real-life example shortly.)

 

The situation gets worse, however.  Not only do nominal essences have a fluid and imprecise nature, but we can’t even be absolutely sure we are all using words to mean the same things.  (I believe I am saying something similar to Derrida, where we can’t be totally sure that the same signs have the same referents.)  I don’t think this problem of communication need concern us too much, but it’ll take me too long to explain that point here.  Another post, perhaps.  Anyway, that example...

 

Kant suggested that two words with same meaning can be used synonymously.  He called this an analytic truth.  The classic example being: “All batchelors are unmarried men”.  But if the meanings of both “bachelor” and “unmarried man” refer to fluid, imprecise nominal essences, rather than rigid and fixed essences—like Platonic ideals, equally transparent to all—then we can’t really say that bachelors “are” unmarried men.  This point was made by the philosopher W.V.O. Quine.  Rigid essences don’t exist – or, perhaps more fairly, we have no right to insist that they exist.  To say that one knows the essence of something seems like bad metaphysics – an article of faith.

 

A concrete instance of this might help to flesh it out.  Under UK law, homosexuals cannot marry.  Therefore, using Kantian logic, if we know that George “is” gay, one could say that, by definition, George “is” a bachelor.  However, relatively recently, the law was amended to allow homosexual couples to register under “civil partnerships” (a legally recognised partnership, but not technically a marriage).  So if George “joins” with his partner under a civil partnership, “is” he still a bachelor?  One person might want to answer “yes” – a conservative, say, who wants so stick literally to the old definition, because the idea of gay relationships offends his sensibilities.  But a more liberal person might not consider George a bachelor anymore because he is in a legal partnership, which, although it might not be called a marriage by law, to that person, it still counts as a marriage in spirit.

 

So we can say neither that George “is” a bachelor nor that he “is not” a bachelor, because either description implies that there is a “bachelor” essence we have access to.  Really, we can only say something like “some people consider George a bachelor”.  That might sound silly to some people, but there are other ways in which using the “is of identity” results in dogmatic metaphysical proclamations.  Consider Wilber’s language (paraphrasing from memory, with italics added for emphasis: “... that is beautiful. It really is.”  But if we assume that no one knows the essence of beauty, we should instead say something like, “some people consider that beautiful”.  That adds context and forces us to admit perspective – it changes beauty from an object to a suobject.  (Or considering that socio-linguistic concepts are socially constructed, an inter-suobject.)

 

Another example, one that RAW used a lot: light “is” a wave and “is” a particle.  Saying instead something like “In some experimental conditions, light behaves as a wave; in other conditions, it behaves as a particle” avoids invoking the idea that we know the essence of light.  I asked a physicist friend today and he agreed with me that this sort of essence-agnostic language seems more appropriate for fundamental science.  Obviously, I know relatively little of physics myself, but it seems to me that if we treat scientific theories as just models rather than literal, metaphysical truths, then we acknowledge our own role in the perception of reality.  The world ceases to consist of “things” that we view objectively, and shifts to a more confusing (but more metaphysically honest) mass of (inter-)suobjects.

 

That shouldn’t be taken as license to annoy people.  I recommend a charitable reading of everyday language, e.g. we can assume that “the movie was great!” means the person liked the movie.  For metaphysically sensitive topics, however (or other things, if we feel up to the task), I suggest we drop the “is of identity” altogether.

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Now that the dz word has been mentioned here by someone other than me, and seemingly having been given license to use metaphysical language "...there is no escape from metaphysics .... also means there is no escape from language" I now feel free to meander-muse on, among other things, how essence can show up with regard to dzogchen.

The dzogchen teaching talks of the "real condition" of all beings, i.e. the "state of dzogchen", as being characterised in terms of what are called the "three primordial wisdoms": essence, nature and energy.

Its 'essence' is described as 'ka.dag' : "pure from the beginning" = empty (the 'sunya' of nagarjuna, which ironically(?) means empty of [that other meaning of] essence), and uses the analogy of the capacity of the mirror to reflect without being tainted or conditioned by the reflection to point to that primordial purity/emptiness.

Its 'nature' is described as "clarity", a word that has layers of meaning in the dzogchen teaching, one of which is synonymous with the word 'lhun.drub', which itself defies a full/complete translation but "spontaneously self-perfected manifestation of potentiality" approaches that in long-winded fashion.

Its 'energy' is described as unceasing, the unceasing continuity (tantra) of the inseparability of ka.dag and lhun.drub.

Essence is also rendered as one meaning of thig.le (pronounced: aspirated tig + lay) which the translator Jim Valby gives (here) gives multiple meanings to: "bindu, sphere, bead, drop, solid circle, essence, sphere of light, spherical drop, spot, dot, droplet, seed-essence, vitalizing energies, creative potentiality, potential being, life-force, responsiveness, semen, sperm, virile, ornamental mark on forehead, creative fluids, a controlling-structuring process group-patterned by bag chags, pure potency with no structure of its own, empty nature of the energy, eye on peacock's feather, female monthly discharge, luminous sphere of 5 colors of the rainbow representing the principle of the potentiality of all visions whether pure or impure, seeds of light, bodhicitta, sphere of rainbow light, luminous sphere".

A synonym for the primordial state of dzogchen is "total thig.le" ... but this total thig.le does not have "the closure of totalization; its boundary remains open" (to gratefully borrow from Greg Desilet). And this total thig.le is at once as sizelessly small as the zero point, and open-bounded wholeness.

Btw, Ed, I found that the first piece of Greg Desilet's you linked to, from the Savitri Era Open Forum, made interesting reading. The paragraph below in particular caught my eye, because it seems to me to capture, or at least reveal through contrast, how I think (the state of) dzogchen is commonly misunderstood, mischaracterised and misrepresented. But it's way gone midnight over here and I've got to get myself to bed. I'll do my best to express what I mean when I can.

"This “writing,” according to Derrida, is also the structure of consciousness—any state of consciousness. As a dying/renewing movement, consciousness (whether “witness self” or “normal self”) is never fully “present” to itself as something that remains fully the same from moment to moment. Thus, for Derrida, any form of consciousness is split as presence/absence and in this sense there is “no state beyond words,” no state beyond the trace."

theurj said:

Balder: "In declaring essence absolute...by setting 'essence' apart in this way...I wondered about whether that amounts to erecting an idol in the field of language."

Desilet: It "turn out to be a kind of center" but "even then it does not present itself as a totality." [I.e. metaphysics of a differant sort: postmetaphysics]

Which is a version of the very two truths debate often referenced, with Rosch being our latest representative within an admitted shentong position. I know you've argued Balder that Dzogchen, for example, does not slip into eternalism or essentialism with their language. But even Rosch admits that there is certainly an ongoing debate about it within the Tibetan tradition along the lines she draws. And that this appears to be the same, or at least similar, issue we're discussing with Tom?

I should be grading papers.  I guess I love y'all too much.

 

Tom:  My view of idol-making is, from this understanding, opposite yours: the tacit pole in language prevents us from making an idol of any positive statement or statement of process or nature whatever.

Would you mind saying more about this?  I'm not clear what you're getting at. 

I can think of a number of examples where positive statements about absolutes have indeed become idols, and have led to significant social evils: various historical uses of or appeals to Truth, for example, or to God, or to essences.  I am for a move which makes room for the use of such terms again, after the postmodern leveling and clearing (and see that as part of what we're up to here at IPS), but I think it's important to acknowledge the ethical and moral concern behind some of the postmodern leveling: too often, these terms have indeed been used in an idolatrous manner, instantiating a kind of inflexibility in perception, discourse, etc, and, as I mentioned, often seeming to lay the 'grounds' for, or justify, all sorts of cruelties and abuses.  (If not fixing a god-like idol in the firmaments of a particular worldspace, then locking some people fixedly in its lower tiers:  the essential nature of women, or blacks, or whatever, by force of necessity, prevents them from being able to participate in circles of power or to enjoy certain civil freedoms...)

Bohm, as you know -- and as a Jew as well as a scientist -- was greatly concerned with absolutism, thoughts which carry the 'force of necessity' (often in an irrational, fragmenting, and suffering-inducing manner), etc, seeing in these tendencies of thought a great potential for harm and psychological and social dysfunction.  I agree with you that we likely can't get rid of some of these important terms, and will do better to perhaps dive in and through them in to a new understanding, but I don't think we should skip lightly over how the 'absolute' pole in thought and discourse often has played itself out culturally and historically.

Tom:  I therefore don't see idol-making in what I'm presenting.  I rather see it in questions like:

     "In Wilber's hands, this in part requires those who would make assertions about classically metaphysical topics -- God, essence, substance -- to 'kosmically address' such statements, to make explicit the performative 'context' in which such a claim is being made."

I'm not an expert on kosmically addressing, and perhaps Wilber has addressed my concern (I don't think he has), but addressing or contextualizing wholeness sounds to me idolatrous.


Okay, so we're back to this idea of contextualizing or addressing wholeness.  Are you suggesting that certain words, like 'whole' or 'God' or 'essence,' are 'wholeness itself' and therefore should not be addressed (even though each one of these words has a discrete origin, none being equiprimordial with a particular language)?  Because I'm talking about kosmically addressing statements, claims, ways of thinking.  It seems you yourself do this in informal fashion all the time, when you assign statements about or ways of looking at reality to Newtonian, Einsteinian, or Bohrian levels.  That's 'addressing' statements already.  I really want to understand what you're saying -- it's obviously a sticking point, since we keep returning to it -- so can you tell me what I'm missing?   Do you, perhaps, find it acceptable to address r-words, but not a-words?

Tom:  I therefore ask certain routine questions of such concepts to ferret out the implicit idolization hiding in them:    Is kosmically addressing a feature of a given kosmic address?

What the above move does is turn the linear aspect of the concept in question---here, the historicizing of absolute expressions---on itself. 

Several points:  1)  Yes, kosmically addressing is a feature of a given kosmic address.  We haven't always known how to make the developmental distinctions we regularly make now.  As Ed can eloquently attest, there are also more or less evolved and sophisticated ways to approach such a task.   2) Wilber has suggested a particular system for kosmic addressing, and I am not specifically endorsing that.  I think it has problems, some perhaps intractable, but that's a different subject.  3) Kosmic addressing is, in some sense, done in thin air: ain't no floor down there, but that doesn't mean we can't do it.

Tom:  That turn basically forces a reconsideration of a concept by what that concept implies.  This turning a line on itself renders the line also a circle, and circle is tacit.  Line (concept) and circle (tacit) are identical.  Welcome to the tacit.

Yes, welcome to the tacit:  This is a particular 'move,' this circling-back -- a performative 'revelation' so-to-speak -- and that performance can be 'addressed.'  You have addressed it by describing it as Einsteinian-Bohrian, Yellow, as the 'new way forward' for science to usher in a new paradigm.  Wholeness is an archetypal insight, I agree; the wholeness archetype is not new, but wholeness is understood, 'related to' and 'integrated' into modes of speaking, thinking, behavior, practice, in ever-new ways, in new iterations. 

So, wholeness is both unchanging and absolute, and ever-new and 'interpretive.'  But can you name which 'part' is absolute and which is interpretive?  You commit a fallacy of division if you try to name it.

Tom:  The net result of these machinations (cough) is that every expression, no matter its kosmic address, plays out the same archetypal (metaphysical) themes, such that development becomes, I think of necessity, a repetition of archetypal patterning in ever differentiating or ensubtling forms.  Same and different (another contradiction, but internalized).

Yes, I agree, as I mentioned above: there are certain 'essentials' that seem to consistently show up as human concerns, and in basic human categories, across great stretches of our history.  Old debates play themselves out in new ways, again and again (as Ed has been observing).  Integral's 'perspectives' are such metaphysical 'entities.'

Speaking of which, I had a passing thought today, which I have not yet explored or developed.  It occurred to me that there is likely a relation between the metaphysical terms that title this thread -- essence and identity -- and the person-perspectives.  Essence is 'to ti esti,' the-what-it-is, what-ness: the 3rd-person domain; identity (in one of its meanings) can be taken as 'the-who-it-is,' who-ness: the 1st-person domain.  Person-perspectives seem to function in tacit fashion.  I'm toying with seeing Integral perspectival-yoga as an internalization of the outward projection of 'essences' and 'identities.'

Are you serious?  I can see the reply there now.  I had originally mistakenly posted it on the "Machines" thread, then moved it over here where it belongs.  I can try reposting it to see if that helps.

I should be grading papers.  I guess I love y'all too much.

 

Tom:  My view of idol-making is, from this understanding, opposite yours: the tacit pole in language prevents us from making an idol of any positive statement or statement of process or nature whatever.

 

Would you mind saying more about this?  I'm not clear what you're getting at.

 

I can think of a number of examples where positive statements about absolutes have indeed become idols, and have led to significant social evils: various historical uses of or appeals to Truth, for example, or to God, or to essences.  I am for a move which makes room for the use of such terms again, after the postmodern leveling and clearing (and see that as part of what we're up to here at IPS), but I think it's important to acknowledge the ethical and moral concern behind some of the postmodern leveling: too often, these terms have indeed been used in an idolatrous manner, instantiating a kind of inflexibility in perception, discourse, etc, and, as I mentioned, often seeming to lay the 'grounds' for, or justify, all sorts of cruelties and abuses.  (If not fixing a god-like idol in the firmaments of a particular worldspace, then locking some people fixedly in its lower tiers:  the essential nature of women, or blacks, or whatever, by force of necessity, prevents them from being able to participate in circles of power or to enjoy certain civil freedoms...)

 

Bohm, as you know -- and as a Jew as well as a scientist -- was greatly concerned with absolutism, thoughts which carry the 'force of necessity' (often in an irrational, fragmenting, and suffering-inducing manner), etc, seeing in these tendencies of thought a great potential for harm and psychological and social dysfunction.  I agree with you that we likely can't get rid of some of these important terms, and will do better to perhaps dive in and through them in to a new understanding, but I don't think we should skip lightly over how the 'absolute' pole in thought and discourse often has played itself out culturally and historically.

 

Tom:  I therefore don't see idol-making in what I'm presenting.  I rather see it in questions like:

     "In Wilber's hands, this in part requires those who would make assertions about classically metaphysical topics -- God, essence, substance -- to 'kosmically address' such statements, to make explicit the performative 'context' in which such a claim is being made."

I'm not an expert on kosmically addressing, and perhaps Wilber has addressed my concern (I don't think he has), but addressing or contextualizing wholeness sounds to me idolatrous.

 

Okay, so we're back to this idea of contextualizing or addressing wholeness.  Are you suggesting that certain words, like 'whole' or 'God' or 'essence,' are 'wholeness itself' and therefore should not be addressed (even though each one of these words has a discrete origin, none being equiprimordial with a particular language)?  Because I'm talking about kosmically addressing statements, claims, ways of thinking.  It seems you yourself do this in informal fashion all the time, when you assign statements about or ways of looking at reality to Newtonian, Einsteinian, or Bohrian levels.  That's 'addressing' statements already.  I really want to understand what you're saying -- it's obviously a sticking point, since we keep returning to it -- so can you tell me what I'm missing?   Do you, perhaps, find it acceptable to address r-words, but not a-words?

 

Tom:  I therefore ask certain routine questions of such concepts to ferret out the implicit idolization hiding in them:    Is kosmically addressing a feature of a given kosmic address?

What the above move does is turn the linear aspect of the concept in question---here, the historicizing of absolute expressions---on itself.

 

Several points:  1)  Yes, kosmically addressing is a feature of a given kosmic address.  We haven't always known how to make the developmental distinctions we regularly make now.  As Ed can eloquently attest, there are also more or less evolved and sophisticated ways to approach such a task.   2) Wilber has suggested a particular system for kosmic addressing, and I am not specifically endorsing that.  I think it has problems, some perhaps intractable, but that's a different subject.  3) Kosmic addressing is, in some sense, done in thin air: ain't no floor down there, but that doesn't mean we can't do it.

 

Tom:  That turn basically forces a reconsideration of a concept by what that concept implies.  This turning a line on itself renders the line also a circle, and circle is tacit.  Line (concept) and circle (tacit) are identical.  Welcome to the tacit.

 

Yes, indeed; welcome to the tacit:  This is a particular 'move,' this circling-back -- a performative 'revelation' so-to-speak -- and that performance can be 'addressed.'  You have addressed it by describing it as Einsteinian-Bohrian, Yellow, as the 'new way forward' for science to usher in a new paradigm.  Wholeness is an archetypal insight, I agree; the wholeness archetype is not new, but wholeness is understood, 'related to' and 'integrated' into modes of speaking, thinking, behavior, practice, in ever-new ways, in new iterations.

 

So, we can say wholeness is both unchanging and absolute, and ever-new and 'interpretive.'  But can you name which 'part' is absolute and which is interpretive?  You commit a fallacy of division if you try to name it.

 

Tom:  The net result of these machinations (cough) is that every expression, no matter its kosmic address, plays out the same archetypal (metaphysical) themes, such that development becomes, I think of necessity, a repetition of archetypal patterning in ever differentiating or ensubtling forms.  Same and different (another contradiction, but internalized).

 

Yes, I agree, as I mentioned above: there are certain 'essentials' that seem to consistently show up as human concerns, and in basic human categories, across great stretches of our history.  Old debates play themselves out in new ways, again and again (as Ed has been observing).  Integral's 'perspectives' are such metaphysical 'entities.'

 

Speaking of which, I had a passing thought today, which I have not yet explored or developed.  It occurred to me that there is likely a relation between the metaphysical terms that title this thread -- essence and identity -- and the person-perspectives.  Essence is 'to ti esti,' the-what-it-is, what-ness: the 3rd-person domain; identity (in one of its meanings) can be taken as 'the-who-it-is,' who-ness: the 1st-person domain.  Person-perspectives seem to function in tacit fashion.  I'm toying with seeing Integral perspectival-yoga as an internalization of the outward projection of 'essences' and 'identities.'

Balder: “I agree with you that we likely can't get rid of some of these important terms, and will do better to perhaps dive in and through them in to a new understanding.”

Desilet: “In…displacement a new way of thinking replaces the old while serving a similar, but not the same, function…. The quasi-transcendental displaces the transcendental…. This way of thinking places it in a conceptual category for which adequate metaphors are difficult to find—thereby necessitating terms such as ‘continuum’ or ‘differance,’ ‘superposition’ etc.” 

Given my wont I say we need new words to reiterate new meaning to our concepts of essence, absolute etc. Hence Derrida created the new word differance. Since I like the prefix quasi I suggest quasiessence. It has an effervescence and mellifluity harmonious with the quantumium, the latter a new word for the continuum. Yes, I am the quasiessence of the quantumium via intersobjectivity. Yee-fucking-haw! (As we say here in Texas.)

Hahaha, I like that, Ed.  Here's a monstrosity:  AQuasiessence, a bastard product of AQAL, quasi, and essence.
I like it, but it specifically refers to the kennilingus korpus.

It does.  Funny how quickly things get assimiliated into AQAL-talk.

 

Given my visceral response to Kennilingam's writings on essence perhaps for me the more appropriate word might be AQueasiessence?

For me, the problem that we face here results more from the (mis)use of the verb to be rather than just the word "essence" as such.

 

Here's a paragraph from Wikipedia (important part underlined):

 

In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity. The concept originates with Aristotle, who used the Greek expression to ti ên einai, literally 'the what it was to be', or sometimes the shorter phrase to ti esti, literally 'the what it is,' for the same idea. This phrase presented such difficulties for his Latin translators that they coined the word essentia (English "essence") to represent the whole expression.

 

This suggests that "essence" just means something like "what it is to be", so we can't ignore the to be part and just focus on the label, which--in all fairness--doesn't get used nearly as often as to be and its derivatives.

 

Nevertheless...

 

For Plato, essence resulted from form, e.g. a concrete (particular) circle "was" a circle because it imperfectly instantiated the form/ideal of the universal, perfect circle (which he thought existed in a sort of non-physical realm).  This type of essence is sometimes called a "real essence".

 

Plato's student, Aristotle, rejected the idea that there are otherworldly forms, but he held on to the idea of essences as absolute definitions.  He just thought that they were in some sense in the objects, e.g. the universal essence "circleness" is simultaneously present in every concrete circle.  In that respect, this type of essence can still be called real.

 

Nominalism (or at least one type of nominalism) agrees with Aristotle that there are no extra-physical essences, but goes further and suggests that "essences" refer to words and concepts rather than actual things.  However, this type of nominalism still allows nominal essences to act as absolute placeholders of meaning.  So when someone says, e.g., "poodles are dogs", they identify the nominal essence of poodles with the nominal essence of dogs.  This results in all kinds of logical problems, the obvious one being that if essences don't really exist except as socio-linguistic concepts, then what are we identifying exactly?

 

Resemblance nominalism argues that to say that poodles "are" dogs just means that poodles resemble dogs.  Unfortunately: that further begs the question: resemble in what way?  I think the answer comes from Wittgenstein (and later, Quine), who argued that definitons work more like fluid, family resemblances, that vary according to our purposes, rather than fixed, quasi-real nominal essences.

 

We can put "family resemblance" and "resemblance nominalism" together to create "family resemblance nominalism".  So a banana counts as a nominal essence of the family resemblance variety.  Or we could just say "suobject" -- I think that word does the same thing more eloquently.  So bananas, umbrellas, trees... they all count as suobjects.  (We only need use the word "essence" to explain why we don't need it.)

Joel said the following in the QE thread and it fits here too:

 

“To be precise, my view is effectively an infinite self-similar 'punctuated equilibrium,' a "quasi-continuum.'”

 

theurj said:

Balder: “I agree with you that we likely can't get rid of some of these important terms, and will do better to perhaps dive in and through them in to a new understanding.”

Desilet: “In…displacement a new way of thinking replaces the old while serving a similar, but not the same, function…. The quasi-transcendental displaces the transcendental…. This way of thinking places it in a conceptual category for which adequate metaphors are difficult to find—thereby necessitating terms such as ‘continuum’ or ‘differance,’ ‘superposition’ etc.” 

Given my wont I say we need new words to reiterate new meaning to our concepts of essence, absolute etc. Hence Derrida created the new word differance. Since I like the prefix quasi I suggest quasiessence. It has an effervescence and mellifluity harmonious with the quantumium, the latter a new word for the continuum. Yes, I am the quasiessence of the quantumium via intersobjectivity. Yee-fucking-haw! (As we say here in Texas.)

An article with some related themes:

Fischer and Mascalo, “The dynamic development of thinking, feeling, and acting over the lifespan,” in The Handbook of Lifespan Development, Wiley and Sons, 2010.

 

Excerpts:

 

"Human development occurs in media res...instead of operating as separate modules, thought and emotion...person and environment...are highly dependent on each other.... Person and context operate as distinct parts of an interlocking system.... It is necessary to analyze how biology, action and context interact within a relational developmental system.... The relation between action and object is an intimate one; actions and their objects mutually constitute each other.

 

"To speak of the development of psychological structures is not the same as speaking about the development of a person. There are no general or 'all purpose' psychological structures. Although they undergo massive development over the lifespan, psychological structures consist of localized skills that are tied to particular situational demands, psychological demands and social contexts.... It is not appropriate to say that an individual functions at a single developmental level, even for a particular skill. Instead it is more appropriate to say that an individual's skills function at a range of levels depending on context, domain, time of day, emotional state and other variables."

 

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