kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:45 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167957 wrote:
Yes. And if he speaks of it, he must depend on others having had similar experiences associated with similar words in order to be understood.

But the central point is that the descriptions are not what they describe. This is where I strongly agree that the map is not the territory. This sensual-emotional territory is referred to on the map, but does not exist in the same way that the map does. Concept is one thing. The sensual/emotional is another. Yes, they are related. But I think they are different. We easily ignore this because we are social beings, often immersed in our abstractions.


Yes, so he must. And so what? Of course descriptions are not identical with what they describe. If they were they would not be descriptions. They would be the thing itself. What is epiphanal about that? You announce a verbal tautology as if it were some kind of revelation. Whoever suggested that the map is the territory, or that the concept and the emotion were one and the same thing? You bring news from nowhere. "Water is wet, whatever you say!" "But I never said that water was not wet".
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 11:34 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167960 wrote:
Yes, so he must. And so what? Of course descriptions are not identical with what they describe. If they were they would not be descriptions. They would be the thing itself. What is epiphanal about that? You announce a verbal tautology as if it were some kind of revelation. Whoever suggested that the map is the territory, or that the concept and the emotion were one and the same thing? You bring news from nowhere. "Water is wet, whatever you say!" "But I never said that water was not wet".


I don't think you understand my intentions. This is a pointing away from an abstractions, not some argument about them. The point is that life is irreducible to abstractions, that abstractions are just one aspect of experience. You can say that we know all that already, and in theory we do. But humans are still quite ready to be cruel to one another over certain abstractions, and also think that they have the great answer, although this "great answer" is nothing but abstraction which are always smaller than human experience in its totality. To emphasize sensation and emotion is to emphasize all that we humans presumably have in common beneath the level of the abstractions we tend to identity ourselves with.
Soul Brother
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 12:25 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167873 wrote:
Yes, this is the sort of thing I was pointing out. All life is a "miracle." Except miracle has associates with that which is out of the ordinary. Life is only ordinary when we are hypnotized by abstractions that suggest otherwise. It's a strange and beautiful thing...and also wretched agony too. When a leg is shot off. When cancer crowds the brain. Birth defects. Prodigies. Terror and wonder. Birth and death. All around us. The world is so fecund, so merciless. We are aware, alive, and so often we are somehow....bored. :Glasses:


Exactly. Life isNO ordinary thing, in fact I think it is quite the opposite, and as you mentioned, it seems ordinary when we are (and I think the key word here is hypnotized) to believe so by our lust or even need to have fun and to always have a sense of enjoyment, and I think much of this lust and need for fun is presented by materialism and the worldly pleasures of the physicality that is our environment, these are distractions, they give us a false sense of happiness when we have the latest iphone or cool trend. And sure enough the word is hypnotized, the brain is very good at adjusting and can get used to many things, believe me, it can even fool you in to thinking that it is a normal thing for matter to be aware!!

This is an unbelievable phenomenon that is beyond explicable and comprehensible that people much too often take for granted. I often hear people complain about their lives being bad and not worthwhile or appreciable, and I think to myself how can you think like that? would you rather you had been some lifeless metal? or the atoms that make up the pavement on a road? I mean sure some people have it very tough which makes it difficult to be thankful, but I think If I where to die tomorrow of cancer, or an unfair accident or a shooting or of starvation, I would die UTTERLY thankful for the opportunity I've had, I mean after all as far as we know (or can prove) we life on Earth are the ONLY amounts of matter in the ENTIRE universe that is capable of experience.

I cannot conceive of how people can think of experience as ordinary and normal, in fact I find it very difficult to conceive of experience AT ALL!! it is MATTER! how can matter experience? how can matter be aware? when you actually contemplate this it is rather spooky, one night when I was younger I was walking alone at night along a stretch of road with no street lights and just forest on either side, the only thing I could visually perceive was the the faint white lines on the edges of the road (only just) these white lines seemed like black only just noticeable from even darker black, if I shut my eyes and walked along I could not tell the difference. As I walked along I saw this faint outline floating in the air beside the road, it was an owl sitting on a tree, if it was not for his large glossy eyes I would not have seen it, as I walked by it its eyes were fixed on me and its head slowly rotated in accordance with my movement, so there I was walking along as this, thing, this concentration of molecules and atoms being totally aware of me, watching me, thinking about me, ATOMS!!, all I could think was,[SIZE="3"]WOW[/SIZE]! this is totally unbelievable, unexplainable, and SPOOKY! I could not really make sense of what had happened, how could this concentration of mass be aware of me? with all my knowledge of molecules, particles and physics I could not account for this, lets see the scientists explain this one!

Lets make hypothetical scenario. For some reason you are all alone in the middle of space floating in the midst of nothing and surrounded by nothing but all the lifeless matter in the entire cosmos where you are the only matter that is conscious and aware and you have been for an eternity so even the concept of other matter in the universe as been aware has never crossed your mind. So there you are in complete isolation where you have been for as long as you know anything has been, surrounded by lifeless systems of high entropy, low order and low design, when all of a sudden this this small amount of mass, approaches you, an ant, with miniature limbs and organs and perceptional tools and a computational system, all the things that it requires to be, it perfectly and magically has, it is observing, watching its environment, it is thinking, it is aware! it is conscious of its environment and conscious of you! this tiny condensation of atoms is having an EXPERIENCE!! you would no doubtingly think of this as a pure miracle, something incomprehensibly and inexplicably amazing, you would no doubtably value this tiny precious thing as the most meaningful thing in the entire cosmos. Its amazing how your brain can adapt to make you think of such a thing as pests no?

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 04:27 PM ----------

kennethamy;167667 wrote:
i guess all I can say is, "Wow!" and I am not sure I can even say that! (Although I did!).


Ken, you seem surprised to hear such things, I thought this was a philosophy forum.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 12:34 am
@Soul Brother,
Soul Brother;167983 wrote:
Exactly. Life isNO ordinary thing, in fact I think it is quite the opposite, and as you mentioned, it seems ordinary when we are (and I think the key word here is hypnotized) to believe so by our lust or even need to have fun and to always have a sense of enjoyment, and I think much of this lust and need for fun is presented by materialism and the worldly pleasures of the physicality that is our environment, these are distractions, they give us a false sense of happiness when we have the latest iphone or cool trend. And sure enough the word is hypnotized, the brain is very good at adjusting and can get used to many things, believe me, it can even fool you in to thinking that it is a normal thing for matter to be aware!!

First, just let me say thanks for getting what I mean. I remember one easter at about 10 years of age I went down to this creek, which was turbulent but clear, as it had just stormed, and although I had no words for it, I was swamped by the beauty of it. It wasn't a "creek." It just was, and it was deeply fascinating. But the world has all these jobs and products for us, to distract us from ...?("being"? "existence"?...nah, ineffable! oh, but "ineffable" is a word. let's cross it out...)
At about 16 I wrote my first little piece of foolosophy, which was just about the "miracle" (best word I could think of then) of color and 3 dimensional space, and the raw existence of consciousness.) Of course I've come along way in "sophistication" but what is sophistication in the face of such? From time to time, especially when young, I would get stricken by the beauty of life when walking alone at night. But the experience was rare. How easily we forget!

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 01:40 AM ----------

Soul Brother;167983 wrote:

This is an unbelievable phenomenon that is beyond explicable and comprehensible that people much too often take for granted. I often hear people complain about their lives being bad and not worthwhile or appreciable, and I think to myself how can you think like that? would you rather you had been some lifeless metal? or the atoms that make up the pavement on a road? I mean sure some people have it very tough which makes it difficult to be thankful, but I think If I where to die tomorrow of cancer, or an unfair accident or a shooting or of starvation, I would die UTTERLY thankful for the opportunity I've had, I mean after all as far as we know (or can prove) we life on Earth are the ONLY amounts of matter in the ENTIRE universe that is capable of experience.

I cannot conceive of how people can think of experience as ordinary and normal, in fact I find it very difficult to conceive of experience AT ALL!! it is MATTER! how can matter experience? how can matter be aware? when you actually contemplate this it is rather spooky, one night when I was younger I was walking alone at night along a stretch of road with no street lights and just forest on either side, the only thing I could visually perceive was the the faint white lines on the edges of the road (only just) these white lines seemed like black only just noticeable from even darker black, if I shut my eyes and walked along I could not tell the difference. As I walked along I saw this faint outline floating in the air beside the road, it was an owl sitting on a tree, if it was not for his large glossy eyes I would not have seen it, as I walked by it its eyes were fixed on me and its head slowly rotated in accordance with my movement, so there I was walking along as this, thing, this concentration of molecules and atoms being totally aware of me, watching me, thinking about me, ATOMS!!, all I could think was,WOW! this is totally unbelievable, unexplainable, and SPOOKY! I could not really make sense of what had happened, how could this concentration of mass be aware of me? with all my knowledge of molecules, particles and physics I could not account for this, lets see the scientists explain this one!

Lets make hypothetical scenario. For some reason you are all alone in the middle of space floating in the midst of nothing and surrounded by nothing but all the lifeless matter in the entire cosmos where you are the only matter that is conscious and aware and you have been for an eternity so even the concept of other matter in the universe as been aware has never crossed your mind. So there you are in complete isolation where you have been for as long as you know anything has been, surrounded by lifeless systems of high entropy, low order and low design, when all of a sudden this this small amount of mass, approaches you, an ant, with miniature limbs and organs and perceptional tools and a computational system, all the things that it requires to be, it perfectly and magically has, it is observing, watching its environment, it is thinking, it is aware! it is conscious of its environment and conscious of you! this tiny condensation of atoms is having an EXPERIENCE!! you would no doubtingly think of this as a pure miracle, something incomprehensibly and inexplicably amazing, you would no doubtably value this tiny precious thing as the most meaningful thing in the entire cosmos. Its amazing how your brain can adapt to make you think of such a thing as pests no?

I think all of this is great. The owl, the ant, and what about the beauty of a girl in a summer dress? Or the sun up there in the morning, blazing? Or the power of music? I'm sure you will agree. I saw two squirrels wrestling the other day just like dogs or cats wrestle. It was quite absorbing. Quite charming.

One thing I should mention is that in my mind "matter" is an abstraction. The root human experience seems, to me, to divide into the ineffable and concept. In my book, "matter" is a concept we use to organize our experience as as whole. This doesn't take away in the least from what we are agreeing on here. Atoms and matter are conceptual abstractions AFTER the fact of sensation. Looking at animals suggests that sensation is prior to concept generally, excepting perhaps the concept of unity, which allows us animals (is that the right word? "animal" is of course just a human concept, a way of classifying experience) to break our visual field into pieces. We cut the tree from the ground, the leaf from the branch, the nose from the face. We see reality in pieces, automatically. Do you agree? I suspect that the "higher" animals all do this. I think its the source of number, as far as humans are concerned. I also think that we think in pieces, but experience continuity. Or that our ineffable experience is continuous. We can imagine an infinity of points on any line segment for instance. But that's another thread.

In any case, I'm grateful that you have shared this with me. Smile
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:53 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167873 wrote:
The stress here is on the potential mystery and beauty of our every moment, which is missed by us because of our absorption in abstractions.


You really need to read some Krishnamurti, you know.

I would start with First and Last Freedom.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:07 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168026 wrote:
You really need to read some Krishnamurti, you know.

I would start with First and Last Freedom.


Actually, years ago one of his books inspired me to reconnect with my father. I think highly of Krishnamurti. I almost got one of his books from the library earlier today! It's been awhile though. I should. I ended up getting something interesting though. "Life Is A Miracle" by Wendell Berry. I've read one of his other books, on agriculture. I expect that this book is about exactly what interests me just now. The beauty and mystery of everyday life. :flowers:
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:09 am
@Reconstructo,
well if you've read him, you've read him. I rarely read anything of his any more, but from the late 70's until the late 80's he had a big influence on me. I have read about that Wendell Berry book too, he looks like an inspirational writer.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:19 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168453 wrote:
well if you've read him, you've read him. I rarely read anything of his any more, but from the late 70's until the late 80's he had a big influence on me. I have read about that Wendell Berry book too, he looks like an inspirational writer.


ah, well I'm going to read more K. And I will tell you if this book blows my mind. The Frege is pretty damn good, but of course entirely different. Still, the "one" is hard to define, even if effable. Smile
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:36 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167970 wrote:
I don't think you understand my intentions. This is a pointing away from an abstractions, not some argument about them. The point is that life is irreducible to abstractions, that abstractions are just one aspect of experience. You can say that we know all that already, and in theory we do. But humans are still quite ready to be cruel to one another over certain abstractions, and also think that they have the great answer, although this "great answer" is nothing but abstraction which are always smaller than human experience in its totality. To emphasize sensation and emotion is to emphasize all that we humans presumably have in common beneath the level of the abstractions we tend to identity ourselves with.


What has any of this to do with the question of ineffability? I thought that is what we were talking about. What is the connection between that and abstractions (whatever those might be). Any? Doesn't it bother you that your post is like a string of beads, only missing the string?

"Only connect" E. M. Foster (or, rather, at least connect).
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:09 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167503 wrote:
I've lately been interested in what words do not seem able to manage. Qualia, for instance. We have a word for green, but this word cannot carry greeness to the blind, for instance. We have a word for "toothache," but this word cannot carry pain. We also have words like "love" which do not directly carry the experienced emotion to the other.


Words can't, don't and aren't meant to directly convey meaning. They're representations (icons, or avatars) of speech. To have any meaning, these utterings must be linked to a concept, sensation, object, phenomena. As it is, and depending on the amount of differences in what we hold as 'definition', there's a lot of miscommunication.

Reconstructo;167503 wrote:
What I'm looking at is the opposite of abstraction, that which slips through the mesh of language.


You won't find it, it doesn't exist; unless and until (as you mentioned) we can somehow telepathically communicate.

... it'd be awfully nice though. Imagine how much better we'd communicate if we could communicate without the filter of what something means to someone else and go brain to brain.

Thanks
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:42 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;168540 wrote:
Words can't, don't and aren't meant to directly convey meaning. They're representations (icons, or avatars) of speech. To have any meaning, these utterings must be linked to a concept, sensation, object, phenomena. As it is, and depending on the amount of differences in what we hold as 'definition', there's a lot of miscommunication.



You won't find it, it doesn't exist; unless and until (as you mentioned) we can somehow telepathically communicate.

... it'd be awfully nice though. Imagine how much better we'd communicate if we could communicate without the filter of what something means to someone else and go brain to brain.

Thanks


Does that mean that my taste of wine is ineffable just because I am unable to reproduce it in your mouth. But if I were able to do so, it would be effable? I am just trying to get straight what it is that Reconstructo and you mean.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:00 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168551 wrote:
Does that mean that my taste of wine is ineffable just because I am unable to reproduce it in your mouth.


No, I don't think so. Ineffable simply means something can't be sufficiently described with words.

What - I believe - Reconstructo is describing is the direct-transfer (absent of representations) of pure meaning. I think I could describe the taste of wine, but it would only be through verbal representations; all subject to misrepresentation, miscommunication and disparate meanings.

I think part of the confusion here is that 'ineffable' is a non-specific adjective. Its vague to say "I can't describe this sufficiently with words": Exactly what might we mean by "sufficiently"? How 'accurate' could or should it be to be deemed a sufficient explanation.

I'm sure he'll correct or clarify here if I'm wrong. Again, we tend to think in extremes. "Sufficient explanation" to me is not the same as exactly reproducing sensations through words.

... muddling through the verbal wastelands here
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:12 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;168558 wrote:
No, I don't think so. Ineffable simply means something can't be sufficiently described with words.

What - I believe - Reconstructo is describing is the direct-transfer (absent of representations) of pure meaning. I think I could describe the taste of wine, but it would only be through verbal representations; all subject to misrepresentation, miscommunication and disparate meanings.

I think part of the confusion here is that 'ineffable' is a non-specific adjective. Its vague to say "I can't describe this sufficiently with words": Exactly what might we mean by "sufficiently"? How 'accurate' could or should it be to be deemed a sufficient explanation.

I'm sure he'll correct or clarify here if I'm wrong. Again, we tend to think in extremes. "Sufficient explanation" to me is not the same as exactly reproducing sensations through words.

... muddling through the verbal wastelands here


So "can't describe it sufficiently" does not mean, "sufficiently so that the taste is reproduced in your mouth" Fine. So what does it mean? What is it that I cannot do with my description which, if I did it, would be describing the taste sufficiently? What would be the criterion of a sufficient description? What is it a description cannot do which, if it cpuld, it would do?
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:17 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168563 wrote:
So "can't describe it sufficiently" does not mean, "sufficiently so that the taste is reproduced in your mouth" Fine. So what does it mean? What is it that I cannot do with my description which, if I did it, would be describing the taste sufficiently? What would be the criterion of a sufficient description? What is it a description cannot do which, if it cpuld, it would do?


ah, great question. Now we're cooking. This is the very problem I was talking about when I said:
Khethil;168558 wrote:
I think part of the confusion here is that 'ineffable' is a non-specific adjective. Its vague to say "I can't describe this sufficiently with words": Exactly what might we mean by "sufficiently"? How 'accurate' could or should it be to be deemed a sufficient explanation.


I don't think there's an answer I could state with any confidence.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:40 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;168558 wrote:


I think part of the confusion here is that 'ineffable' is a non-specific adjective. Its vague to say "I can't describe this sufficiently with words": Exactly what might we mean by "sufficiently"? How 'accurate' could or should it be to be deemed a sufficient explanation.

Excellent post. Yes, it's hard to find the right word for the unwordable..."qualia" is not well known, or liked. Sensation is too narrow. Emotion is too narrow. I guess sensation-emotion is OK but it's dry, and it already steers one into the abstractions I am trying to point away from.
Smile

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 03:42 PM ----------

kennethamy;168563 wrote:
So "can't describe it sufficiently" does not mean, "sufficiently so that the taste is reproduced in your mouth" Fine. So what does it mean? What is it that I cannot do with my description which, if I did it, would be describing the taste sufficiently? What would be the criterion of a sufficient description? What is it a description cannot do which, if it cpuld, it would do?

There is simply no way, unless perhaps technology is someday invented, for one human to directly and simultaneously experience the sensations/emotions of another human. Indeed, the sense of being individual selves is tied up with this. I'm sorry, K, but this isn't really an argument. This is only an emphasis, a pointing at what we are all already immersed in.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 03:47 PM ----------

Khethil;168540 wrote:
Words can't, don't and aren't meant to directly convey meaning. They're representations (icons, or avatars) of speech. To have any meaning, these utterings must be linked to a concept, sensation, object, phenomena. As it is, and depending on the amount of differences in what we hold as 'definition', there's a lot of miscommunication.


Indeed, I agree with all of that. And I'm not really doing anything but stressing that the opposite of abstraction is sensation/emotion/qualia. We abstact from and on to our sensual-emotional experience.

Even thought it's an excellent issue, the question of how language is linked to sensation, that is not my particular concern. I'm simply trying to emphasize the gulf between our abstractions and our sensual-emotional being. This is not to deny that we simultaneously experience both as connected, but there is a difference, I think. Some want to argue about "qualia," but I just want to point at "qualia" just now, as the strange field from which all of our abstractions grow, scientific, philosophic, and theological.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:52 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;168566 wrote:
ah, great question. Now we're cooking. This is the very problem I was talking about when I said:


I don't think there's an answer I could state with any confidence.


Hmm. Must be (you guessed it!) ineffable. The answer to the question, how can the ineffed be effed is ineffable. Neat! Square one!
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:53 pm
@Reconstructo,
Quote:

...what finds its reflection in language, language cannot represent. What expresses itself in language, we cannot express by means of language....
Wittgenstein, of course.

Rorty argued against this, and I found him convincing then. But I know see what I consider Rorty's misunderstanding in this regard. It's not that there are thoughts outside of language, which I will not agree to. It's just sensation-emotion, and "sensation-emotion" is such a dry sterile abstraction when what we are talking about is LIFE, all of LIFE that does not fit into our handy abstractions. And if you don't like the word "mystery," that's fine. But "life" is. Color, sound, fear, lust, hunger, fatigue, pain is. But what is this word "is"? This may be what Wittgenstein and Heidegger had in common. But I should stress that whether or not so and so has this or that to say is secondary.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 04:00 PM ----------

Quote:

4.212
What can be shown, cannot be said.
Quote:

6.44
It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.
Quote:

6.522
There are indeed things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.
Quote:

6.5
When the answer cannot be put into words, neither can the question be put into words. The riddle does not exist.
I don't like the word "mystical" much, but that's what the translators used. I don't think we are dealing with anything "mystical" because the "riddle does not exist." We aren't dealing with abstractions at all, and that I think is the point.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 12:28 am
@Reconstructo,
Were Wittgenstein and Heidegger trying in any way to do the same thing? To point at the same thing?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:06 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168932 wrote:
Were Wittgenstein and Heidegger trying in any way to do the same thing? To point at the same thing?


I don't think that Heidegger was trying to point to anything, so the answer is, no.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 11:01 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168960 wrote:
I don't think that Heidegger was trying to point to anything, so the answer is, no.


Ah, now...you can dislike him all you want, but he was definitely saying something. If you want, you can place yourself all the other human beings who have found value in him. You can describe them to yourself as gullible or hysteric or whatever. But isn't this is a bit self-serving?

I just can't imagine you having opened yourself to the work. It seems more likely to me that you at best browsed it, already "knowing" it was crap. I could be wrong, obviously. But when you speak of Nietzsche and Heidegger, I feel like you are out of your territory. Because you don't say much except what I consider to be the negative stereotypes. I value your presence here, and I wish you would really check these thinkers out in depth or semi-depth. (I don't claim deep study on Heidegger, hence my question, but I have deeply studied N, who is brilliant is sometimes faulty, as any thinker can be...) Anyway, I'm sure you could point out some of their weaknesses.

I don't take it personal, of course. Why should I? I'm just saying...Smile
 

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