Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A New Mode of Understanding

No longer is mentality/rationality a satisfactory method for understanding life.

For those keeping track, you may have noticed that rational thought has a knack for leading one into the bottom of the cracks of existence where frustration and emptiness merge to void. On a more academic level of reflection, it seems that rational thought operates on a false pretense of objective sensification. In other words, it presents itself as objective statement of truth when in fact each mental and rational line of reasoning is nothing more than a "chess move," with a finite metaphorical structure, and a specific assumption that drives its core framework. When people begin to question the framework of their thoughts, they might discover that the thought is not reality - it is a representation that proposes no more than intention of communication and hopes of constructing ideas between beings of consciousness.

The problem with Mentality (especially as known by the terminology of scientific rationalism):

Typically, science is perceived as an investigation into the "external" world that (when correlated as consistent amongst different trials and observers) suggests a "truth" about our "objective reality."  Consciousness is often spoke of as a mere epiphenomenon (secondary condition), a complex emergence of thoughts, feelings, and awareness that is second to the cold and lifeless matter of the universe.  There are several problems with this mode of thinking; a mode of thinking that I believe is held by the masses, and not necessarily most of the astrophysicists of our time.
  1. Consciousness can be said to be primary to us as experience - not the external world
  2. Measurement is a finite system that affects results AND has NO ability to measure things such as consciousness.
  3. Externalization into primary and tertiary "worlds" leads to a paradox or bifurcation of reality that scientists have NOT been able to resolve. (ie the connection between lifeless matter and complex consciousness)
  4. An immense level of reductionism is used to understand the world.  Most don't realize that reducing something to its components does not give you a picture of the whole.  We can not use reduced components to create the whole picture.  While understanding components can be practical and helpful, it's the worldview that is created by this modality that troubles me.
  5. Science tends on the side of objectification which diminishes the relational qualities between things in our Universe. ** I tend to hold relations and relationships as extremely important. *** Though science is improving upon this.  For instance, Newtonian physics saw time and space as separate.  Einstein's relativity shows a level of relational quality.  **** In other words, it might be best to say that science tends to limit relations to reductionistic formulas rather than interactive and integrated systems of connectedness.
The limits of mentality as a system of understanding:
  1.  Tends towards dualistic notions of right or wrong, rather than integral forms of understanding that embrace the whole.
  2. Operates with linguistic ambiguities and tends to use these ambiguities as an arguing point - often due to misunderstanding.
  3. To think one thing is often to deny the other.
  4. The mental system is, well, only a mechanism or a system and is often thought of as a truth of reality rather than a matrix that can be semi-illusory.  Rational thought has a substructure that it does not make us privy to.  There is an underlying meta-environment that any rational approach takes.  It may use spatial wording and operate on spatial frameworks that can be incorrect.  The different levels of reduction taken in rational thought structures often lead to illusory differences between different ways of thinking; modes that often lead to opposition, conflagration, or unintentional misunderstanding.

I am NOT claiming that reason is bad or unhelpful.

That would be seriously foolish because, after all, I am writing (I hope) logically and rationally.   My intention isn't to claim that rational thinking must be ended, but rather, to get people to explore the place of reason, what its pre-suppositions are, what kind of belief structure it creates, and how it affects our lives.  I would be willing to contend that the pre-structures or sub-structures that rationalism and mentality (being used interchangeably) operate on are typically unseen, unknown, and affecting humans without their knowledge.  In a sense then, many have a religious and dogmatic clinging to this method of understanding while being ignorant of what it is.  I imagine that distant ancestors of ours had many religious or mythical beliefs that operated on pre-conceived notions or underlying pre-suppositions that were, and may still be, opaque to everyday perceptual understanding.  Indeed, every system of understanding seems to rest on a foundation of ideas or notions.  I believe it is important for us to make these things diaphanous (or transparent) to us.  I hope the result would be that people would be less controlled by these assumptions and better informed of why and when they CHOOSE to use them (depending upon the task at hand at a specific moment).

The goal then is to make the method of understanding transparent to the being that is conscious and aware.

TBC - writing slowly sigh.


  1. Given the author's apparent dislike of logic as a method of understanding, the structure of this passage is surprisingly logical.
    The passage begins much like a scientific experiment does, with an observation: 1) Conscious beings use rational thought as a method for understanding life. I believe this is an axiomatic principle, and I agree with the observation. Human beings attempt to understand the universe through the use of reason.

    I have reduced the argument formulaically, at least to see if I understand it:


    1) Conscious beings use rational thought as a method for understanding life.

    2) This method is limited in its ability to impart life understanding.

    3) Because of its limitations, this method has a "knack" for leading one to feel "frustrated" and "empty".


    4) Rational thought is no longer satisfactory as a method for understanding life.

    I find the argument persuasive, but I think more explanation is needed. For example, in (2), the author argues the use of rational thought is limited in its ability to impart life understanding. He claims rational thought is based on abstractions, and inherently disconnected from reality. I would ask; how does rational thought’s reliance on abstractions limit its ability to impart an understanding?

    In premise (3) the author claims using logic to understand one’s life will tend to lead one to feel frustrated and empty, but is this really the case? Understanding is a pleasurable feeling, and logic CAN help us to reach understanding. A human being can derive joy from using logic, like a child solving a math problem for the first time, or a chess player finding a logical move. I would argue that the use of logic does not always lead to emptiness and frustration.

    The author however, says that the use of logic to understand life leads one to feel empty and frustrated. I think what he’s basically saying is that life cannot be reduced to mathematical formulations or reasons. It is not a causal chain reducible to action and reaction, and conceivable in one great equation. Inherent in the nature of the universe is an element of unpredictability, and it is this element which resists human beings’ attempt to understand life through reason. Life’s chaotic half will not yield to Reason’s inquiries.

    The author does not conclude that rational thought should be abandoned, but only that it is no longer a satisfactory method for understanding life. Rather than offer a solution, or propose a more definite conclusion, the author concludes that what is necessary is the recognition of rational thought as a kind of false prophet. Reason only appears to lead one to truth. He holds any investigation of life’s meaning using reason is a fool’s errand.

  2. Very perceptive dude. Nice layout of stated thoughts too. Let me expand the blog so you can see that we mostly agree. Thanks bro and keep reading!