Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I learned about an interesting-looking e-book this past weekend*. Here's the abstract, and I will post the link this evening.
Brown, Jason W. Mind and Nature: Essays on Time and Subjectivity. London and Philadelphia: Whurr Publishers, 2000.
This collection of essays extends the microgenetic theory of the mind/brain state to basic problems in process psychology and philosophy of mind. The author's microtemporal model of brain activity and psychological events, which was originally based on clinical studies of patients with focal brain damage, is extended here to such topics as the concept of the moment in Buddhist philosophy, conscious and unconscious thought, the nature of the self, subjective time, and aesthetic perception. The author develops a highly original psychology of mental process, actually a 'cognitive metaphysics', which is grounded in brain physiology and clinical psychopathology. A central theme of the paper is that the natural categories that arise in the extensibility of temporal data are continuous with conceptual structures in the human mind.
* I learned about it from Bruce Kunkel, who recently joined this forum and who also has been participating, like me, in Bonnie's newly formed Magellan Courses. Jason Brown is one of the featured authors in these courses.
Another "lead" I want to follow -- some day! -- is this relatively recent text by Evan Thompson, which seems likely a good complement to some of the other works we're discussing here lately.
This from the 3rd, also germane to my comments above:
“The central tension – or rift – between process and object philosophy lies, in my view, in the super-being implied in process philosophies (Whitehead, Simondon, etc.). This super-being is Deleuze’s virtual, a field of pure potential, 'more than unity, more than identity,' it is individuation or becoming itself. From this field of pure becoming, ontogenesis becomes possible. This virtual ‘ocean’ of becoming, is able to manifest itself in the actual in the form of objects. Objects then are derivatives of a more primordial reality. They are concrescenes of potentiality into seemingly ‘stable’ things that must either reproduce themselves from moment to moment in order to exist (in the case of living things) or else must be constantly reproduced by the primordial virtual immanent ocean of becoming itself.
Cool find on the Andre Ling blog.
A few quick thoughts and questions before dinner.
Massumi: The reality of the world exceeds that of objects, for the simple reason that where objects are, there has also been their becoming.
Ling: I find myself wondering why processes, events, activities and practices can’t all be equally understood as objects, albeit with weird or unconventional topographies.
They can be, can't they?, in an Integral/Edwardsian holonics.
Ling: To me an event is an object: it has agency, autonomy, parts, is withdrawn from other objects, etc. It is able to enter into and abandon its relationship with other objects, including other events (such as cooking dinner or calling my parents). It is able to produce other objects (blisters, earrings, etc.). It is also ephemeral and fragile. If ‘it’ can be discerned then it is a thing, which to me means object. So what’s the issue here?
I'm picking up here the reverse of my own strategy, 20+ years ago: to reductively explain the world entirely in terms of 'thing' (whereas I tried to explain the world mostly in terms of verbs). Could you say he is also overmining here: this time, overmining processes so that they are all converted to the preferred term, 'object'?
That is one of Michael's points in a recent post on the OOO thread, that if we stretch a word's meanings so far it becomes moot. Hence Bryant's following post about withdrawal and its practical application.
Here's a link to Bonnie's article "A process model" wherein she expands on Brown's microgenesis. Note the root Core to the model, which is unarticulated and aspectless (139), One Whole.
With which I confess some sympathy, since another of her sources is the work of my Bon Dzogchen teachers. Bon, as I've discussed before, posits an indefinite and ambiguous unbounded wholeness (which is not contradicted by, but testified to, by multiplicity).
Bonnie makes some useful distinctions in language that appears quantum, so might serve as a bridge to Tom's ideas (or not). She distinguishes the epistemological field from the ontological dimension, e.g. this from her linked article above:
"The first and foremost difference is that unlike the Epistemological Field, where the forces are complementary, the anterior and posterior vectors of the Ontological Dimension are entangled. I use the term entangled to convey the characteristics of temporal simultaneity and spatial non-locality; but also to contrast it with the dualistic, trade-off characteristics of complementarity. Entanglement entails omni-directionality, coherence (unity) of event histories and the like" (130).
She brings in Levin's reading of Heidegger shortly thereafter with themes we've discussed here before.
I also like this metaphor, which seems apt of the ontologically withdrawn aspect, not a mere absence but more like the active absence Balder described in this thread. And all of which cannot be grasped by or within the epistemological field, something Bryant emphasizes with the epistemic fallacy.
"Relative to the experience of 'moving mind,' the ontological dimension, by contrast, has the feeling/aspect of stillness. However, this 'stillness' is not to be construed dualistically (that would be an epistemological reduction); rather, it is a dynamic stillness—like the axel of a cart wheel rolling down a hill" (133).
Also relevant to that thread, speaking of mereology, is the following epistemological fallacy that arises from trying to apply its tenets to the ontological dimension:
"Are the concepts (or perspectives) delimited by an implicit or explicit one/many divide, or, in other words, are they related as wholes and parts?" (132).
It seems when Tom uses the term wholeness he uses language that refers to Bonnie's ontological dimension, yet epistemologically it can get confused with the whole/part relation?
On pp. 135-6 she again hints at the withdrawn using openness as absence via Heidegger:
"This openness, rather, is also something experienced as a dynamic opening-up-to what is absent, what is be-coming—a kind of clearing that allows the presencing of Being. Heidegger borrowed a Greek term aletheia to describe the kind of ontological truth that is disclosed by an opening-up-to."
In the article Bonnie does admit that certain meditative technologies provide access to the ontological dimension via non-dual awareness (prajna). See for example footnote 24 on p. 131 and footnote 27 on p. 133. She also admits that this is based on her Yogachara influences, which delineate two kinds of being and subsequently two kinds of knowing, aka the two truths. So while she uses language of the withdrawn as openness and unbounded wholeness via Heidegger, Levin and Dzogchen, it is if not knowable in the epistemological sense is certainly realizable in the contemplative sense when one quiets the epistemological field. That is, direct and privileged access to the entire field, so it appears to be only withdrawn to epistemology.
Which of course to me sets up exactly the kind of epistemological and fallacious duality between these two dimensions using a privileged ontological back door. These are fine points I brought up in this forum thread, with links and references to past discussions. But they are important distinctions regarding access or not to the withdrawn and the implication thereof, some of which I've mentioned above.