RE: ality

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 08:03:45 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> alityDate: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 21:19:07 -0800
    >> >> Henson:
    >> >> >>Joe, this is one of those cases where if you take another viewpoint,
    >> >> >>the problem might make more sense. Consider driving down a road.
    >> >> >>From your viewpoint, *anything* could happen, rabbits run across the
    >> >> >>road, an airplane land on the road ahead, etc. Now consider it from
    >> >> >>the viewpoint of a person far overhead making a film. Now consider
    >> >> >>it from the viewpoint of someone watching that film later. They will
    >> >> >>see the chain of events where too much head wind and not filling the
    >> >> >>tanks caused an aircraft to land on the road in front of your car.
    >> >> >>
    >> >> Dees:
    >> >> >>OF COURSE everthing appears fron hindsight to be necessary, just
    >> >> >as things appear in foresight to be contingent, but in the present cusp
    >> >> >where causally effective decisions are made, neither assumption can
    >> >> >be made, for the appearance/reality distinction collapses on this plane.
    >> >> >>>>
    >> >> Dace:
    >> >> >Ah, but Joe, there's no such thing as time-- remember? There's only a
    >> >> >static, four-dimensional space-time. "Before" and "after" are nothing
    >> >> >more than "left" and "right" from the limited point of view of people
    >> >> >trapped in the illusion of time.
    >> >> >
    >> >> >As long as you've conceded the reduction of real time to space-time,
    >> >> >there's nothing you can say against determinism.
    >> >> >
    >> >> Wrong; spatiotemporality is quite real
    >> >
    >> >Of course. Everything that exists in space also exists in time. >From the
    >> >point of view of physical objects, the two are totally intertwined. But
    >> >time itself doesn't exist in space. It exists intrinsically, irreducibly.
    >> >
    >> Nope; spatiotemporality is a single irreduceable manifold.
    >Spacetime is real insofar as everything spatial is also temporal. What's unreal is the notion that time has no existence apart from space, that time is static and given, like space, which renders past and future akin to left and right, except that, in our limited abilities (soon to be swept away by Science) we can only see what's to the left, while the right remains in a haze. But with sufficient technological know-how we will find ourselves behind the projector and then in front of the screen, with a button for fast-forward and another one for rewind. We'll see how it's all really concurrent and therefore determined. There's no possibility, once you reduce time to spacetime, that any event could be uncaused. Look around, from big bang to big crunch, it's all done, all simultaneous. How could it be otherwise if duration is illusory and time a fourth spatial dimension?
         I have done this before, but you seem to have forgotten it, so I will do it again.
         Phenomenology and genetic epistemology agree that spatiotemporality is constructed by the subject, but phenomenology has come to the conclusion that we construct them from a manifold that exists independent of our perception of it, as we construct a worldly object that is nevertheless actually there to be constructed, that we have artificially bifurcated a single perceptual spatiotemporality into 'space' and 'time', and, as the ideal limit of a completely grasped object must noncontradictorally contain all perspectives upon it in all perspectival modalities as aspects, so the ideal limit of a spacetime grasped omnipositionally must noncontradictorally contain each perspectival apprehension of it.
         How can one prove that spacetime is singular? By means of thought experiments, in which, thomas kuhn asserts, "nature and conceptual apparatus are jointly implicated" (1977: 265). Our two thought experiments will be (a) to try to imagine a spaceless time, and (b) to attempt to imagine a timeless space.
         (a) A spaceless time must be infinitesimal, that is, it must lack the three perceiveable spatial dimensions. But worldly and somatic consciousness, as well as imagination, are perspectival; the observe their objects from positions which are not identical with the positions of the objects. To perform such an observation is to establish two points, that of observer and that of observed, which define a line, a spatial dimension. The apodictically self-evident and necessary conclusion contradicts the assumed premise, therefore the premise is disproved by reductio ad absurdum. Q. E. D.
         (b) A timeless space must be instantaneous, that is, it must lack duration. But the establishment of a spatial perspective requires presence to succeed absence, and the co-presence of the observer and the observed entails their simultaneity. Succession and simultaneity are temporal distinctions. Once again, the apodictically self-evident and necessary conclusion contradicts the assumed premise, therefore this premise, too, is disproved by reductio ad absurdum. Q. E. D. (again).
         How did we come to bifurcate spacetime? The answer is to be found in the character of our perceptual modalities. All of them involve 'both space and time', but in vision thbe spatial aspect is dominant, while in audition the tempral aspect predominates; they utilize the spatiotemporal manifold in differing ways. We simply (and incorrectly) absolutized their respective dominances. Notice that in taction and proprioception, the most basic perceptual modes, both aspects of the manifold are equally represented. Since, according to Aron Gurwitsch, taction and propripoception are omnipresent to consciousness, the evidence for this contention has been perpetually 'with' us all along. edmund Husserl's theory of the "living present", found in his unpublished manuscripts by, among others, Tran Duc Thao, (1951: 227-231) is a theory of the "primordial Now which is posited as permanent" and which has as a fixed structure the flow of the future through it into the past. This t!
    heory is generalizeable into a primordial and permanant perceptual here-Now through which spactiotemporality flows, carrying particular perceptions into and out of consciousness while the perceptual structure Remains-Here-Now.
         Gurwitsch, in THE FIELD OF CONSCIOUSNESS, presents the tesis that there is a structure common to all perception and conception, the theme-thematic field-margin structure (1957: 56). Within a perceptual or conceptual field, there is always a theme, or focus of intention, surrounded by a thematic field, or context, which is in turn bounded by a margin, or fringe. In vision, this structure is primarily spation; in audition, it is mainly temporal. If our focus is a concept, its thematic field is composed of other concepts relevant to it. In MARGINAL CONSCIOUSNESS, Gurwitsch asserts the omnipresence of three orders of existence in at least marginal form. These are "(1) a certain segment of the stream of consciousness, (2) our embodies existence, and (3) a certain sector of our perceptual environment" (1985: xlv). The omnipresence of these three existential orders is said to "constitute an a priori condition of consciousness" and to be the foundation of Husserl's 'natur!
    al attitude', which, prior to the phenomenological reduction, or epoche (the bracketing of the existence or nonexistence of a world grounding our perceptions), assumes an intentionality-independent existing world, for they incessantly provide evidence of the existence of this world to consciousness (1985: 56-59). Thus, phenomenology, in the last half century, was led inescapably from the placing in abeyance of the existence of a world grounding out perceptions to the proof of its existence by the very investigation of those perceptions, just as it is led inexorably from the assumption of independent space and time to the conclusion that the intention-independent spatiotemporal manifold is indeed as singular as is the perceptual one of ordinary experience, whe that experience is carefully attended to in a disciplined manner. This is why transcendental phenomenology died, and in its place we have existential-hermeneutic phenomenology.
    >By physicalist standards, time is an appearance, while reality, which is static and eternal, is unfolded before us. Incidentally, this is the actual meaning of the term evolution, "unfoldment," which is why Darwin, a materialist who hated any sort of transcendental nonsense, be it theological of physicalist, initially opposed the use of the term evolution to describe his theory of descent by natural selection.
    The term 'enfoldment' contains the connotative deterministic baggage-assumption of everything already being there, just folded; the term would have to be cleansed of this connotation to avoid leading uncritical thinkers into conceptual error.
    >Did you think Einstein was kidding with that God-playing-with-dice comment? If you accept Einstein on his own terms, you accept determinism (and determinism is forever-- super or unleaded). The key is to accept Einstein but not on his own terms. Yes, all objective phenomena are spatio-temporal. But that doesn't make time in any way spatial and fixed. Time is real. It's all really happening, and what's to come is undetermined.
    Einstein was not brilliant across the board; his deterministic bias led Heisenberg and Feynmann, among others, to have to leave some of his contentions behind in order to advance.
    >> >Only when viewed from the outside-- that is, from the point of view of
    >> >space-- does it appear to be purely relative to space.
    >> >
    >> Neither is dependent upon the other; they are interrelationally correlative with neither being prior or posterior.
    >Time is both prior and posterior to space. What exists, objectively, right now, is space, which we now know as spacetime. Time is past and potential, memory and novelty. To the extent that time is present, it's identical to space (hence spacetime). To the extent that time is motion it's identical to itself. This is why space (spacetime) is relative while time is absolute. Time is reality while spacetime is derivative, ephemeral, fleeting. If reality were spacetime, then there would be no freedom, no self, no mind. If life has the same relation to time that branches have to their treetrunk, then we too are self-existent and free, and it's this self-existence that constitutes the mind. This is why memory and will are mental. This is why we know time from within. Time is the one thing we observe in everything around us that's also inside of us, at our core. We seem to be made of it, and we are. Time is universal self-existence, and life is local self-existence. W!
    e can talk about all this because we inhabit a mental environment, because humanity is mental self-existence. We are mental creatures, making use of primitive primate bodies to propagate ourselves. And we, in turn, our used by our own mental offspring, culture and cult, both of which are made up of myriad cells, i.e. memes.
    Your cryptoreligios pseudoassertion that unless people accept your flawed schema they must forsake self, mind and freedom is ludicrous, especially when compounded by such unsupported (because unsupportable, because wrong) statements such as "Time is both prior and posterior to space". Could you have been there *before* the Big Bang to experience same? The very idea is absurd and nonsensical, and impossible even in principle or imagination, as was abundantly and amply shown by the disproof of the notion of a "spaceless time" above.
    >> >Yet, no matter how fast you travel, you still perceive time-- from within--
    >> >the same way you always have. At no point does the person on the rocket
    >> >ship perceive a change in tempo. As far as the direct experience of time is
    >> >concerned, nothing has changed. The rate of time's passage varies only in
    >> >its external relation to space and the objects moving through it more
    >> >slowly.
    >> >
    >> That is because you are not distinguishing between the subjective experience and the objective passage. The objective passage of time is indeed relative to a frame of reference, and one resides in a referential frame moving at one's own velocity in either case. But, subjective, existential duration experience may vary. An evening in the arms of Catherine Zeta-Jones might seem to just speed by (time flies when you're having fun), but that same afternoon strapped to a hot eye on an electric oven would seem to last much longer.
    >While our senses enable us to obtain precise measurements of time, only in our imprecise, inner sense of it can we know its existence intrinsically. Without this direct knowledge, we couldn't say whether Einstein was right or wrong. A planet of robots would never know. And that seems to be the planet we're living on now.
    Actually, it is exactly that sort of apodictic study into self, body, world and other from the inside that phenomenology has been pursuing in a disciplined and careful manner for some time now, with solid results, as enumerated above; genetic epistemology has been studying these same phenomena from the outside. Phenomenology can offer apodictic certainty regarding the mature invariant structures of these phenomena, but can offer no information concerning the evolutionary development of then in the individual, for one must possess them in their mature form and be capable of abstract speculation upon them in order to philosophize (and perception develops propr to conception). IOW, phenomenology is an irreduceably synchronic discipline. Genetic epistemology can offer us diachronic information on the evolutionary development of these structures from their genesis to their maturity, but its evidence, gleaned from experimenting with and questioning children and interpreting the!
     results, is statistical and probable rather than apodictically certain. Thus these two disciplines possess a kind of synchronic-diachronic complementarity in the realm of being, each being able to provide what the other does not, and with the combination of their respective insights providing the most complete view, just as the complementary disciplines of synchronic semiotics and diachronic memetics do in the realm of meaning.
    >Ted Dace
    ><< msg2.html >>

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