Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Six grammatical categories that underpin philosophical approaches: pronouns, nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and prepositions – are understood individually and then woven into a quasi-holographic, integrally philosphemetic formulation of metaphysical pluralism, enacting the principle of non-exclusion.
Some questions and comments that come up for me both for personal clarification from you Bruce and potentially useful for the discussion forum:
While the role of Integral calculus in dispelling the ‘myth of the given’ is commendable, does IT manage to avoid the epistemic fallacy which occurs wherever 'being' is reduced to our 'access to being.'? Students of Bhaskar may throw some light please. This was a stated objective of ITC 2013, was n't it? I wonder if any other paper covers this.
Is OOO, by virtue of its centrality of the object, positing that even heaps and artefacts have all four quadrant dimensions of being (proto-consciousness etc)?
Adjectival philosophy treating quality as primary – here does a distinction need to be made between inanimate objects such as the 'warm, yellow sun', and a sentient person (3p) with essence (A.H. Almaas) that is both unqualifiable and a verb-noun? I think that distinction is made later with reference to Cittamatra and bundle theories?
Also the attributed nature of quality is necessarily linked to state (or the temporary mediating endo-structure) of the ‘attributor’ at the time of attribution?
The differences in the emphasis on the person vis-à-vis the situation between the English and the Japanese could be a good indicator of the individualist/ collectivist tenor of the culture? (Hofstede’s IDV dimension, and perhaps even MAS and PDI)
If we subscribe to the ‘illusion of free will’ theory, then in some sense, all processes are ultimately non-owned processes in an individual level, but perhaps co-owned at an supra-individual level (dominant monad of a socio-cultural holon, which essentially self-organizes without an agentic central controller)? This also seems consistent with Being singular pluralism and centrality of the ‘with’ in co-essentiality.
Big question: can the embodied and enactive role of grammar in being ontologically resonant and potentially revelatory, move the needle a bit on what is mystically referred to as the ‘ineffability problem’? Matters that need deeper study – perhaps while dwelling on other papers, include Whiteheadian concrescence, Bonnitta Roy’s processual model, Latour, and the effectiveness of Rescher’s process semantics and Bohm’s Rheomode in helping us create a new language to shift our narrative?
I have to say that personally for me, just dwelling on the adjective-noun-verb inter-linkage in silence offered a fabulous meditation experience in which all three parts of speech blended into a phenomenological experience enormously rich, multi-dimensional and ineffable beyond the grammatical categories themselves. Perhaps with some more state-and-stage training, the simultaneous contemplation of all six will take 'the bottom out from under the bucket'!
Thank you Bruce for this gift.
A coupla verbs, too, sorta in disguise. Gotta keep an eye out for those guys.... :)))
Yep! And thus begins the onto-choreographing of O.M.'s metaphysics...
My own Notes from email correspondence:
First let me say, I loved it, the method by which you build models and add references
is very readable and self illuminating. Well done.
OK, random thoughts. When you talked about language as separate from thought - I
immediately thought Logos, the Word Describing the Thought which leads to Action. I've created my own sort of Quadratic model for Divinity - Father, Son, Mother, and Spirit, (Pronoun, Noun, Verb, Preposition? (as relationship)?) Whether we are made in God's Image, or we make god in our image, the models are congruent...
Loved the Aristotelian references, substance, ontology vs epistemology. Immediate thought - false dualities, nonduality. Ontology / Epistemology / false duality. Reality just is.
Speaking of self existent reality that just is, I get really excited reading about "nonexistence" from
the Buddhist perspective as I've been meditating on the fallacy of self existence. My
interpretation is, of course, that all existence is causal in nature, in theory beginning with a big
Interesting word - actualization. No true actualization, just snapshots along a continuum... What
does that do to Maslow's heirarchy of needs?
In reality, individual entities grow and integrate, and eventually decline and dis-integrate. But
the dis-integration gives rise to more complex integrated entities. Is this integral theory? :) It seems that actualization is possible to the extent of an entity's highest organization, but again not self-existent. But the entity in decline is not lost, its more complex constituent elements (matter, thoughts, experience, "Spirit") are the building blocks for subsequent higher development.
Love the terms Heno- theology, Heno-Ontology, and Onto-Choreography.
Note on your interpretation of "on" as supportive - also could be oppressive? Room for some
good old fashioned good / evil (false?) dichotomy discussions in the prepositional Philosopheme? Maybe linguistically prepositions represent the "apple" that opens the eyes to good and evil? (Or have we evolved past that in our "post" world view? Surely there is still room for Karma?)
Experiment Renouncing Nouns. Wow. Inspired by renouncing desires? Only to return with a new appreciation and dare I say love of said nouns? Sounds Boddhisatvistic in linguistic sense...
6 Views - Holy Metaphilosophy, Batman! Why stick with quadrants, why not a hexagon? Relational Pronouns and Prepositions in the middle, ontological nouns and adjectives on top, and verbs and adverbs on the bottom (giving the concept "legs to run on! :) )"
Last note - I'm thinking of how paleo-linguistics mapped out human species development and movement decades before the human genome project yielded nearly the exact same conclusions. Basically your offering provides a linguistic map into human meta-sentience. (I just made that word up - I'm sure I'm not the first, but it fits perfectly!)
Thank you, Dave, for your feedback! I'm glad you found the paper readable overall; I had been feeling it becoming a little dense, in an early draft, and made an effort to change the language a bit to be less formal than some of the prose in my previous paper on translineage spirituality.
Your relation of the persons of the trinity to the different grammatical elements is very interesting. I've seen the trinity discussed in terms of different person-perspectives, but these other grammatical elements suggest (to me) a fuller, more dynamic theo-cosmological picture.
Are you reading any books on the Buddhist conception of emptiness? One book on the topic that I've intended to read for awhile now was introduced here by theurj: The Two Truths Debate. Looking online, I found an interesting-looking paper by the same author that may also be relevant to some of the themes explored in my paper: Prasangika's Semantic Nominalism: Reality is Linguistic Concept.
About interpretations of "on" -- as oppressive rather than supportive -- yes, that's a good point. Serres mentions a number of prepositions which have informed traditional (and, at times, hegemonic and oppressive) metaphysics, and then begins to turn his attention to others that have been less explored...
The experiment with renouncing nouns definitely had an ethical motivation behind it; it was not just a linguistic experiment, but a contemplative/spiritual exploration for me.
I like the idea of working with a hexagonal model (reminding me of old Taoist models)... I will play with that. Thanks!
Yes, I go into Thakchoe extensively in the Batchelor thread, as well as the Gaia predecessor thread called "letting daylight into magic."* I'd be most interested in reading his article on prasangika semantic nominalilsm, so if you get a copy please let me know.
* It is stored at Google documents. Sometimes it takes a long time to load, if it loads at all. One can instead use the 'file' menu and download it into a Word document, which only takes a few seconds.
OMG, they allowed me to download it for free! I'm attaching a copy for further discussion.
I gave it a quick skim and it seems to address the issue only in terms of the various traditional Buddhist formulations. No mention of contemporary cognitive linguistics, which for me provides more relevant answers to the issue. And which would add to and inform Thakchoe's linguistics.
For example, my translation using some outside sources is that we cannot help but use our categories in designating anything, hence we can only know or translate reality via such categories. Which is not to say that reality is our categories, only that any reality we can know it filtered through those categories. To know meaning to have meaning, hence semantic nominalism. This is not linguistic nominalism, since our basic categories/image schema are pre-linguistic but have semantic content via our embodied relationships. Hence there is this non-dualistic relationship between our pre-linguistic basic categories and objects which still allows for real objects to exist without that relationship. But when going linguistic we might make two mistakes: 1) forget this embodied grounding and separate the linguistic words from the pre-linguistic meanings; and thus 2) separate embodied meanings in words from reality as such into two distinct and separate ontological realms, one samsara and the other nirvana. Or a formal, metaphysical view by another name.
Per Balder's paper, it might be more akin in modern practice to comparing Chomsky's linguistics v. semantics with Lakoff's embodied and mutual entailing variety.
When I read the term nonexistent, I tend to translate it into "non-self existent." I picked up that hint from Lama Yeshe's writings. Even in the referred article, nonexistence is described as "empty of intrinsic nature" - as opposed to empty of causal relational nature. True nonexistence would have neither intrinsic nor causal relational components. In this sense, even "embodied grounding" is non self-existent, the result of a process that has been ongoing since the beginning of time. Nothing exists in and of itself, everything, physical and otherwise, is part of an ongoing process and exists in relationship.
Balder's point about prepositions insulating us from a frightening non-existence works equally well with non-self existence, although ironically in a completely opposite sense. Instead of being unbounded, we we are causally bound, but "on" gives us a conceptual escape from being locked in a metaphorical womb, and the associated cycle of suffering.
For me, being reminded of non-self existence helps me in practicing compassion, as it reminds me that we who inflict and receive suffering are not self existent, but a product of a process (samsara). I suppose from a linguistic sense, propositional philosophemes help us to discern both our dualistic ignorance that originates in our pre-language senses and the nondual possibilities that transcend. Are we in or out? Yes.
Thesis: The non-self existent nature of language helps us to discern the non-self existent nature of perceived, even pre-language reality, which helps us to transcend that perceived reality; "on" helps us to recognize that unbound nirvana is an inherent nondual possibility coexisting with samsara.
Prelanguage dualistic perception dictated that hunger meant gather or kill. Language has helped us to transcend that "perceived reality" and enjoy fettuccine alfredo and chocolate mousse, even though gather and kill are still inherent nondual components in fettuccine alfredo and chocolate mousse, and fettuccine alfredo and chocolate mousse are themselves nondual constructs that bear transcending.
Just thinking out loud. Thanx!
Regarding Thakchoe's article above and my comments, also see this post in another thread.
I've culled some excerpts from the referenced Thakchoe article above, resonant with themes and discussions in this thread and previously in the Batchelor thread, particularly the difference between rangtong and shentong. Hence when Thakchoe references "Prasangika" he means the rangtong, since some variants of shentong are also Prasangika. See the Batchelor thread for more info. More commentary follows the excerpts below.
"Tsongkhapa claims that the Prāsaṅgika posits all realities through the force of linguistic convention: language and ontology are understood to be mutually embedded within each other. [...] Neither language nor ontology has priority over each other" (427-8).
"The Prāsaṅgika therefore disagrees fundamentally with Dignāga-Dharmakı̄rtian idea that [...] reality and language stand apart from each other independently and constitutively. […] Reality can never be a linguistic entity, it must be an ineffable—extra-linguistic and non-conceptual whereas language is always divorced from reality, operating purely at the conceptual level" (428).
"Candrakı̄rti argues that all determinate categories, sensory faculties, and phenomenological experiences are dependent on our conceptual constructs, and these in turn depend on the conventional terminologies of everyday language. Candrakı̄rti’s argument, then, is that cognitions apprehend the objects of experience, and those objects that we experienced are conceptually (therefore linguistically) represented in the cognitions as having the representations of some specific categories" (431-2).
*Note: I see these as image schema or basic categories a la L&J.
"The Prāsaṅgika’s semantic theory is fundamentally different from the semantic realism of Theravāda, Vaibhāṡika, Sautrāntika (even Svātantrika) all of which argue that language and reality are mutually exclusive, and that linguistic concepts apply only to the unreality—conventional truths" (432).
"What about nirvāṅa or ultimate truth? Could it be argued that they exist as merely names or concepts? The Buddhist semantic realists’ answer to this question is one of an unequivocal negative. They hold the view that ultimate truth (by extension nirvāṅa) is ineffable: non-conceptual and extra-linguistic. The linguistic concepts and ultimate truth can never coincide—the two are mutually exclusive" (436).
"Prāsaṅgika maintains it is a category mistake to assume that there exists ontological / metaphysical dichotomy between nirvāṅa and saṁs̄ara or between ultimate truth and conventional truth" (442).
Much of this is also explored in Thakchoe's The Two Truths Debate found in the Batchelor thread. Bottom line for this thread: image schematic basic categories are our link to experiencing and translating reality, but cannot do so with reality in toto. Nonetheless, reality for us cannot exist without these basic categories. Per L&J language arises from and extends these embodied image schema, so language too has as much claim to our experience of reality once it emerges. There is no going back to some pre-linguistic and pure apprehension of reality as such, since such a chimera never existed in the first place.