Saturday, May 23, 2015

Part 34: (Narcissus, Talismans and Cognition): Dialogues on a Philosophy for the Individual

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2015)

With this post Flora Sapio and I (and friends from time to time) continue an experiment in collaborative dialogue. The object is to approach the issue of philosophical inquiry from another, and perhaps more fundamentally ancient, manner. We begin, with this post, to develop a philosophy for the individual that itself is grounded on the negation of the isolated self as a basis for thought, and for elaboration. This conversation, like many of its kind, will develop naturally, in fits and starts. Your participation is encouraged. For ease of reading Flora Sapio is identified as (FS), and Larry Catá Backer as (LCB).

The friends continue their discussion from Part 32 and 33, in which Betita Horm Pepulim (BHP) and Ulisses Schwarz Viana (USV) Larry Catá Backer, consider aspects of the issues raised.

Contents: HERE

(BHP) "Dear Larry Catá Backer, interesting this his remark about being a problem not of philosophy but an problem of the bureaucrat. The bureaucracy is an interesting topic for this our discussion. When I reflect on this subject, it is impossible for me not to think about the notion of community as an instrument of protection against the will, otherness that reveals the humanity of the other. And it is impossible for me, too, not think about to the notion of individuation, and the imposition of limits, regarding the actions of the collective about the individual . We can not forget that community and individuation always walked together to protect the men against intolerance and arbitrariness. And that, to me, without much effort leads to the link between philosophy and bureaucracy. I think there is no one area to take ownership of this discussion. I'm a diehard fan of systems thinking and of interdisciplinarity. Stressing that I think the philosophy of bureaucracy is very beautiful . PS. I will wait for the response of Ulisses Schwarz Viana to post about it."

(USV)  Dear friends, Larry, Flora, Betina and Paul. I have also to recognize that Flora was very inspired this time and Larry posted a comment in a great philosophic background.

I would like to add something to this dialogue about narcissus and cognition. But I do that from other perspectives. Flora, these perspectives are not poetic at all, I think.

First, from systems theory (Luhmann based on Maturana & Varela) we can get the concept of the "first order observer" (an observer who observes his “own” observing), here the Narcissus who relies in the intention of an observer towards an object or phenomenon as a reflection of himself. In the Husserlian philosophy the relation between "das Ich" (the I) and the "Erscheinung" (phenomenon) as a intentional/transcendental experience, in an almost Cartesian way.

This kind of cognition (using the meaning Betita extracted from a Brazilian online Dictionary) is in certain aspect a narcissistic cognition, based on what Hofstadter called a “strange loop”, or simply as our “own” consciousness. In this “I perceive the world” is implied the reflexivity, the reflections of myself in the mirror in the guise of my “own” conscience. This kind of monadism (Leibnitz) was the main accusation against the Husserlian phenomenology made by its detractors. The same problem of German “Idealismus” focused in the transcendental observer of first order.

The problem of Narcissus begins with inevitable perception of others, sometimes challenging his own beauty, when confronted with “different beauties” that make him realize not being (‘beautiful’) alone. The beauty of my own “beautiful” opinions is challenged by the inevitability of otherness. This brings about the issue of the second order observer. This second order observer is in the contingency of observing other´s observations and make the painful finding that his narcissistic perceptions has its flaws, its blind spots (German: Blinder Fleck), which undermines their certainties and the beauty of his own opinions. My own cognition is not flawless anymore, hence not as beautiful, now appearing as a distorted image in the mirror of my consciousness. Now I can see the flaws of my "cognition" observing how others observe me. This moment of painful and traumatic experience of otherness sometimes makes our perception of the world to be enlightened (evolutionary experience) by the presence of the other(s) as an opportunity of construction of a social world with competing views (Weltanschauungen) which are able to make us aware of the social construction of a shared social reality based on the possibility of communication between alter and ego. At this point one can discover the difficulties and the beauty related to the necessity of otherness. Or, instead, the moment of the traumatic birth of a neurosis, social phobia the addiction to oneself, the first step to Entfremdung (alienation) as seen in the Freudian psychoanalytic theory or the fear of the big other (Lacan). Finally, the fear of otherness may be a fear of our own distorted reflection in the distorted mirror of our intransigent and thus dangerous “certitudes”. This is very clear in the transculturalism, public decision-making and political arena. The challenge for Narcissus beauty is the possibility of beauty in others, not ONLY the loss of his own beauty. No escape from that, we construct our social world in otherness and in a paradoxically way otherness construct ourselves. I end my contribution quoting Betita, when ehe notes:

Who we are or that we will be, is always the result of all our life experiences: "man is no more than what he does" (SARTRE).

For Sartre "the important thing is not what others make us. The important thing is what we do ourselves with what others have made us" .

I hope to “read” from you soon, my dear friends,

(BHP) Dear friends, I liked the mention of the authors Maturana and Varela, I will use them.

In the book "The tree of knowledge," the Maturana and Varela authors argue that life is a continuous process of knowledge, and for this reason it is necessary to understand the mechanisms that humans use to see the world. For this, each person according to their experiences and livings, seeks to explain the world as you know. This is how the truths of each are generated. These are truths that Maturana and Varela call the certainty of temptation. They say that this certainty of temptation needs to be questioned and deconstructed.

These authors use biology to explain the processes that govern knowledge, advocating also that the phenomenon of knowledge and its effects are the result of cognitive experience of human beings, which is the result of the evolution of biological structure. For them the experience of certainty is an individual phenomenon. And this individual phenomenon is blind to the cognitive act of other human beings. This individuality, transcends only in the world created with these others.

Through the process of reflection, in which the human being back on itself, it is possible to understand the blindness of each, and recognize that the certainty and knowledge of others are equally tenuous and nebulous.

Knowing is effective action. Every thought, every act of knowing produces a world.

My friends, it is relatively common to hear that science was preceded by philosophy . Why philosophy was the first attempt of systematization of knowledge.

But to Maturana and Varela only when we seek to understand the systemic character of the cell it is that we can properly understand the organisms and their consequences. This movement is what constitutes what we call biology of cognition.

I'll use this sense common to introduce in my text, fragments of the writings of Heraclitus where is possible see that that he understood that the fundamental law that governs the universe is the struggle between opposites. And this fight is a profound unity.

On the other hand we have Weber who considered the individual and his action, as key sociological research. He denied the primacy of social institutions and the group.

For him, it is necessary to understand the intentions and the motivations of individuals, examining their influence on the social context.

This premise led Weber to reject the positivist proposed and the use of the methodology of the natural sciences.

Well, for today I will stop writing. I'm tired. This issue is long and I'm curious to read what you my friends has to say on this subject.

Caros amigos, gostei da menção aos autores Maturana e Varela, vou usá-los.

No livro “A árvore do conhecimento”, os autores Maturana e Varela defendem que a vida é um processo contínuo de conhecimento, e por esta razão é necessário entender os mecanismos que o ser humano utiliza para conhecer o mundo. Para isto, cada pessoa, de acordo com suas experiências e vivencias, busca explicar o mundo como conhece. É desta maneira que são geradas as verdades de cada um. São estas verdades que Maturana e Varela chamam de tentação da certeza. Eles dizem que esta tentação da certeza necessita ser questionada e desconstruída.

Estes autores usam a biologia para explicar os processos que regem o conhecimento, defendendo, também, que o fenômeno do conhecer e seus reflexos são resultantes da experiência cognitiva do ser humano, que é resultado da evolução da estrutura biológica. Para eles, toda experiência de certeza é um fenômeno individual. E este fenômeno individual é cego ao ato cognitivo dos outros seres humanos. Esta individualidade, transcende apenas no mundo criado com estes outros.

Por meio do processo de reflexão, no qual o ser humano se volta sobre si mesmo, é possível compreender a cegueira de cada um, e reconhecer que as certezas e os conhecimentos dos outros são igualmente tênues e nebulosos.

Conhecer é uma ação efetiva. Toda reflexão, todo ato de conhecer produz um mundo.

Meus amigos, é relativamente comum ouvir que a ciência foi precedida de filosofia. Por que a filosofia foi a primeira tentativa de sistematização do conhecimento.

Mas, para Maturana e Varela, só quando procuramos compreender o caráter sistêmico da célula é que conseguimos entender adequadamente os organismos e suas consequências. Esse movimento é que constitui o que chamam de biologia da cognição.

Vou usar esse senso comum para introduzir no meu texto, fragmentos dos escritos de Heráclito, onde é possível ver que que ele entendeu que a lei fundamental que rege o universo é a luta entre os opostos. E essa luta é uma unidade profunda.

Por outro lado temos Weber que considerava o individuo e sua ação como chave da investigação sociológica. Ele negava a primazia das instituições sociais e do grupo.

Para ele, é necessário compreender as intenções e motivações dos indivíduos, examinando sua influência sobre o contexto social.

Esta premissa levou Weber a rejeitar a proposta positivista de utilização da metodologia das ciências naturais.

Bem, por hoje vou parar de escrever. Estou cansada. Esta questão vai longe e estou curiosa para ler o que vocês meus amigos tem a dizer sobre este assunto.

(LCB) But of course both Betita and Ulisses are right to point to the individuation of the institutionalized or communal self, what I have been calling the undifferentiated self.  And indeed, our old philosophers and thinkers have constantly struggled with the cognition (I use the term here playfully)of the individual within the collective.  But that for me remains the problem--the singular error of conflating the individual within her societal context. . . .and to assume that the two are inexorably conflated, leaving only the question of relationship to ponder. And so the old philosophers worry about the relative significance of individuated contribution to aggregate (societal) mores, expectations and behaviors, or the reverse.  They battle over the character of the individual in a state of nature (an absurd presumption used to build fantastical systems on individuated fantasy. Or aspiration, my reading of Weber thoughtfully and well posited by Betita.  Thus, as well, the problem Ulisses noted, of Narcissus which he suggests "begins with inevitable perception of others, sometimes challenging his own beauty, when confronted with “different beauties” that make him realize not being (‘beautiful’) alone."

All of this speaks to the bureaucratization of the individual within aggregating societal and institutional systems.  Even if the individual sits at the pinnacle of authority "to be", she still sits individuated only by reference to and subject to the toleration of the others.  And again we move back from the "state of nature", which never existed (except perhaps we might posit as the definition of God, the expression of a singular manifestation of a totally differentiated self) to the bureaucratic state (Weber) the priestly state (Nietzsche), the panoptic state of discipline (Foucault), the state of Dionysian reason (Kant), the state of obedience and faith (Calvin) even reasoned faith (Aquinas), or the state of contributor toward an objective collectively expressed through a vanguard collective (Lenin and Marx). In all of these manifestations the individual looms large, yet is embedded.  The complexities of the undifferentiated self and her dialogue with and contribution to the evolution of the mass form which her individual expression of undifferentiated self emerges remains to be discussed fully.

Mas é claro que tanto Betita e Ulisses são direito para apontar para a individuação do ser institucionalizado ou comunal, o que venho chamando a auto indiferenciado. E, de fato, nossos antigos filósofos e pensadores têm constantemente lutou com a cognição (eu uso o termo aqui de brincadeira) do indivíduo dentro do coletivo. Mas isso para mim continua a ser o problema - o erro singular de confundir o indivíduo dentro de seu contexto social. . . .e supor que os dois estão inexoravelmente confundidos, deixando apenas a questão da relação para ponderar. E assim os antigos filósofos se preocupar com a importância relativa da contribuição individualizado para agregar (sociais) costumes, expectativas e comportamentos, ou o inverso. Eles lutam sobre o caráter do indivíduo em um estado de natureza (uma presunção absurda usada para construir sistemas fantásticas sobre individuated fantasia. Ou aspiração, a minha leitura de Weber, pensativo e bem posta por Betita. Assim, também, o problema Ulisses notou, de Narciso que ele sugere "começa com a percepção inevitável de outros, às vezes desafiando a sua própria beleza, quando confrontado com" diferentes belezas "que fazê-lo perceber não ser ('beautiful') sozinho."

Tudo isso fala com a burocratização do indivíduo dentro agregar sistemas sociais e institucionais. Mesmo se o indivíduo senta-se no pináculo da autoridade "ser", ela ainda fica individualizados apenas por referência e sujeito à tolerância dos outros. E mais uma vez nós nos movemos de volta do "estado de natureza", que nunca existiu (exceto, talvez, poderíamos postular como a definição de Deus, a expressão de uma manifestação singular de um auto totalmente diferenciada) para o estado burocrático (Weber) o estado sacerdotal (Nietzsche), o estado panóptico de disciplina (Foucault), o estado da razão dionisíaco (Kant), o estado de obediência e fé (Calvin), mesmo fé raciocinada (Aquino), ou o estado de contribuinte em direção a um objetivo expresso coletivamente através de um vanguarda coletiva (Lenin e Marx). Em todas estas manifestações do indivíduo paire, ainda está incorporado. As complexidades do auto indiferenciado e seu diálogo com e contribuição para a evolução da forma de massa que sua expressão individual de indiferenciada auto emerge continua a ser discutido plenamente.

(LCB) Ulisses suggested the contours of this problem, and the problem of equilibrium by analogy to the difficulties of balancing liberty and security, noting "O difícil equilíbrio... Luta constante... Mas a acomodação tem seu "pequeno" preço..."

I noted: Este é Ulisses Schwarz Viana correto, mas também simplificado. A melhor imagem pode ser de duas pessoas andando a mesma criatura e um no outro. Nesse ponto, e com o incentivo do espectador aq (os gestores institucionais do Estado) as criaturas devoram uns aos outros e seus proprietários. No final, a única coisa que resta é o aparelho que conseguiu tanto a liberdade ea igualdade, a que tanto criatura ea senhora agora curvar.

And he responded: "Essa sua perspectiva Larry Catá Backer amplia os horizontes da questão, pois coloca o problema do observador externo, ou melhor ainda, do "controlador" externo, os gestores institucionais do Estado (o Leviatã de Hobbes), nem sempre comprometidos com valores democráticos. Sem perceber, em sua "alienação", a mulher e a criatura (liberdade + segurança) se curvam diante da grande "máquina" estatal."

"Exemplo disso são as medidas excepcionais (inconstitucionais) declaradas constitucionais por algumas Cortes Supremas sob o pretexto da segurança do Estado e da sociedade. A falsa segurança que faz as pessoas se curvarem. Isso é ainda mais complicado em países em desenvolvimento, pois neles as pessoas, em sua maioria, dependem de favores e prestações estatais. Na verdade, a questão é que a democracia tem de ser um processo em constante reconstrução, em um movimento down-up.

For me, this provides a way of thinking about the undifferentiated self (securité) and the differentiated self (liberté) in a world that is always obsessed with securité (the preservation of the societal self, undifferentiated and expressing an individuated form of collective behaviors.  It is the self swallowed within the beast of securité that expresses the individual of the old philosophers, so deeply embedded within their own societal beatss. It is away from that relational construct that I mean to wander.

Para mim, isso fornece uma maneira de pensar sobre a auto indiferenciado ( securité ) ea auto diferenciado ( liberté ) em um mundo que está sempre obcecado com securité ( a preservação do auto societal , indiferenciado e expressando uma forma individualizada de comportamentos coletivos. é o auto ingerido dentro da besta de securité que expressa o indivíduo dos antigos filósofos , tão profundamente enraizada dentro de sua própria beatss societal . é longe desse construto relacional que eu quero dizer para passear .

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