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Topic: Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form
Posted by: Stephen Bray
Date/Time: 16/09/2003 08:28:43


What a brilliant idea for a thread :-)))

You write: "Map and territory, like context and content and perhaps even the distinction between substance/form and process/content, might be usefully viewed as mutually specifying one another."

I ask: 'viewed', from where, specifically?

Holon: A term first used by Arthur Koestler denoting a self-organised ‘whole’, or subsystem operating within the context of a wider system. Koestler writes: “A ‘part’, as we generally use the word, means something fragmentary and incomplete, which by itself would have no legitimate existence. On the other hand, a ‘whole’ is considered something complete in itself which needs no further explanation. But ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’ in this absolute sense just do not exist anywhere, either in the domain of living organisms or of social organizations. .. What we find are intermediary structures on a series of levels in an ascending order of complexity: sub-wholes which display, according to the way you look at them, some of the characteristics of wholes and some of the characteristics commonly attributed to parts. . ..  cells, tissues, organs, families, clans, tribes (are) members of a hierarchy, like the Roman god Janus, all have two faces looking in opposite directions: the face turned toward the subordinate levels is that of a self contained whole; the face turned upward toward the apex, that of a dependent part. One is the face of the master, the other the face of the servant. This ‘Janus effect’ is a fundamental characteristic of sub-wholes in all types of hierarchies.” Koestler 1967 p. 48).

If, as some physicists postulate, the universe has a ‘no boundary’ condition, then, following Goswami et al. 1995: ‘the universe exists as formless potentia in infinite possible branches in a transcendent awareness becoming manifest only when observed by conscious beings. It is these self-referential observations that plot the universe’s causal history, rejecting the parallel alternatives, which never materialise’.

Whilst this might seem an incredible proposition there is much to commend it as a model. Firstly, it accords with everyday experience ~ events occur now and history arises as a result of speculations we make about our present centred primary experiences. These speculations are sometimes referred to as resulting from cultural-linguistic filters, or lenses, and are described in psychoanalytic theory as secondary process. Secondly, physical experiments have determined an interconnectedness of physical phenomena, in which matter appears to be affected by observation. Thirdly, mathematical calculations concerning ‘the Big Bang’, from which the universe is said to have commenced historically, reveal that for the universe to be as it is now it must have evolved from a state modelled in mathematics by imaginary numbers, (the square root of a –number), which exist in the privileged domain of mathematical concepts, but may never be seen as objects, or even artefacts in the physical universe. Finally, it accords perfectly with the metaphors of creation from virtually every documented culture including: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, in terms of a prime singular act; Brahma, Buddha, Shiva, Pan Ku, Nun, Christ and Wotan in terms of self-reflection. See: Mindell, 2000 pp 404 - 405



Goswami, A., Reid, R., Goswami, M., (1995) The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World. New York: Penguin/Putnam.

Koestler, A., (1967) The Ghost in the Machine. (1989 Arkana Edition). Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Mindell, A., (2000) Quantum Mind: The Edge Between Physics and Psychology. Portland Or: Lao Tse Press

Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 15/09/2003 22:34:41Pete West
     Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 16/09/2003 08:28:43Stephen Bray
          Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 16/09/2003 16:21:35John Schertzer
               Re:Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 16/09/2003 21:06:57John Schertzer
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 16/09/2003 21:14:05Pete West
                         Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 16/09/2003 22:12:30John Schertzer
                              Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 17/09/2003 06:03:58Stephen Bray
                                   Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 17/09/2003 09:48:35Pete West
                                        Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Epistemology: mutual specificity and substance/form 17/09/2003 21:00:59John Schertzer

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