|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 12:38 am|
Jim French wrote...
I strongly disagree, but first...
I'm inclined to agree with this characterization. We could call it the "zero" level/order/stage of the abstracting process. I follow others by just using the phrase "what is going on". The term "order" seems better because of its dual meaning as both a sequence in time as well as its use in "order of magnitude" as in exponential relation. Each "order of magnitude" is a multiplied factor of the previous. In neurological abstracting, each later stage of abstracting has reduced the number of bits of information by orders of magnitude. But if we wish to model the process from an atemporal view, then each "level" corresponds to both the sequence in time and the order of magnitude reduction. Take an elevator up in a building that is shaped like a pyramid.
Since unspeakable and silent are commonly used to refer to the object level, it risks confusion in the above formulation by using terminology strongly associated with the object level. "Unspeakable" strongly draws one's attention to the first person perspective, as in what I "see" (part of the object level) I cannot speak (verbal level responses). The event level, depicted by the parabola, is the substratum to which our first level of abstraction is a response - caused, if you will, by "it". Every experience anyone can have is a mapping by their nervous system in response to what is going on. But we cannot have any way to access or get to this what is going except through somebody's sensing, abstracting, and verbalizing or other kind of abstracting, such as drawing pictures. Every such output is a map, so we can ONLY compare our map to somebody else's map; we can NEVER compare our map to the territory itself, because that act itself involves redrawing our own map through our abstracting process. We CANNOT get "outside" our maps. So the event level should never be called "unspeakable"; it can be called "unknowable", even though we create models to explain how it affects us, we still cannot "know" the territory itself.
I strongly disagree with this formulation. Anything we say about the parabola is such a high order abstraction, but the parabola does not represent what we say about it; it represents what causes, through abstracting, anything we say about it. The dashed arrow going back to the parabola has as part of its function the reminder that how we respond at the unspeakable (object) level can be influenced by the formulations we construct to explain what we do experience. Recall that the brain is an organ that locates its experiences elsewhere. We experience electrochemical interactions taking place in the brain as a pin-prick located in our finger. The brain "projects" its experiences (happenings) onto what is inferred to have caused the experiences, thus imposing structure on what is going on. The phantom limb phenomenon, where the amputee complains of an itch in his missing foot, serves as a vivid example.
The parabola does not have such a dual role; it is the imprecise way of talking about it and the failure to carefully differentiate inferences about what causes our experences (the abstractions) and what is going on (the territory) that introduces the confusion.
We cannot claim such a likelyhood, because we have no way to ascertain "correctness". The best we can do is report that our current map has not been disconfirmed in a long time. That does not mean that it will not be disconfirmed tomorrow. Every time "Science" has produced a model to explain the physical world, a model that seems to last for a while, something came along and proved that model false. Even now we know that the standard model of physics is simply wrong, because it does not account for combining gravity with the other three forces. We KNOW the model is wrong, simply because it does not model all four forces in one comprehensive model. So not only is the "picture" of the sub-microscopic world currently presented by "Science" NOT "likely" it is already considered disconfirmed. The separate parts function well in their area (so far).
We know that it's not so, so this is an IF-THEN statement with a known-to-be "false" hypothesis.
On higher orders of abstracting we can thing of anything we say about the parabola as representing an inferred domain of existence.
The parabola represents whatever is going on. Anything we can say about it is a projection of structure onto it.
The "unspeakable" level is a first level/stage/order abstraction by our nervous systems. We directly experience these sensations, some of which we are "aware of", others of which we are "conscious of". ("Aware of" means can respond to; "conscious of" means can answer questions about). Whatever we can say about the event level is represented by the dashed line arrow pointing back to the parabola. This illustrates the "circularity of knowledge" in that how we formulate affects what we will see, with the Whorfian hypothesis representing a somewhat more extreme doctrine in this regard.
The "levels" (orders, stages) depicted by the model - the structural differential - should NOT be taken as "multi-ordinal" in themselves. Each singularly represents a flat stage in what we might call the processing of "information".
0 what is going on (before any abstracting) - the event level
1 What my senses detect (first response) - the object level.
2 Recalled associations (second response) - semantic reactions - including learned words.
3 Subsequent reactions - in words, and more associations - higher levels
The first umpire says, "I calls them the way they is."
Identifies with the event level.
The second umpire says, "I calls them the way I sees them."
Identifies with the object level.
The third umpire say, "There ain't nothing 'till I calls them."
Creates a judgement "identification" at verbal levels.
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 10:51 pm|
David, You write:
The "holes" in the parabola, as well as in the other parts of the structural differential represent "characteristics" appropriate to the level involved. The "string" represents a potential or actual abstraction. A "characteristic" at a higher level can be said to be "an abstraction" only if it is the response at the higher level to the corresponding characteristic at the lower level (connected by a string). [We should not "identify" the characteristics of one level with characteristic of the level from which it is abstracted.] For example (of structure projected), a photon of a certain frequency (projected characteristic in the event level) gets absorbed by the rod cell abstracting from it, but the corresponding (projected characteristic in the object level) result in the rod cell is a changed electrical potential between inner and outer sides of the cell membrane. This level is too low for us to "experience" it, as that occurs in the brain many levels of neurological processing downstream. At some unspecified level we might "experience" a very brief flash of light in our visual field, that being an "unspeakable" object level response.
The structural differential is the map. The parabola is a structure of the map that is intended to indicate "what is going on". The "realistic" view of the correspondence theory holds that there exist "things" in what is going on, that maps may be constructed in such a way that structures drawn in the map are taken to "correspond to" the "things" that are presumed to exist. Under this view, structures in the map are explained as "representing" the "things" that are presumed to exist. General semantics, in some interpretations adopts the correspondence theory, but only as a starting point. The one problem with the correspondence theory is that one must assume that it is true in order to explain it. We take a "God's eye view" outside of the process and hold up a structure in what is going (the territory), we hold up a structure in the map, and then we draw the attention of the omniscient observer to specific structures in the territory, which I shall use the word 'thing' for, and other specific structures in the constructed map, which I shall use the word 'object' for, and assert or claim that one goes with the other. Then we suggest that the omniscient observer has the capacity in some way to evaluate "similarity" of structure between the "thing" and the "object".
Using this point of view, the parabola represents the universe of things (and happenings). This "feature" of the map represents "all" that is happening. The dots or small circles drawn in the parabola merely represents the existence of things and happenings, but not any particular ones.
Milton's view, as expressed, although somewhat less precise in his formulation, is consistent with this "realistic" or "scientific realism" or "naive realism" view.
A more careful understanding of general semantics, however leads one to find this view suspect. We explained the view by assuming it to be true, and by assuming that the structures that we depict in our maps "exist", and by assuming the perspective of an "omniscient observer".
Let's look for just a moment at any such putative "omniscient" observer. The observer will be looking at the territory; the observer will also be looking at the map. But the observer has the observer's own abstraction process and the observer's own object level responses. When this "omniscient" observer is "comparing the 'map' with the 'territory'", the observer is doing something other than what was described or assumed. The observe looks at the territory and has an abstraction object1 response to the territory. The observer looks at the map and has an abstraction object2 response to the map, so when the "omniscient" observer is evaluating the supposed similarity of the map to the territory, the "omniscient" observer is "in reality" evaluating the similarity of object1 response to object2 response. Even an "omniscient" observer "abstracts" and creates "object level responses".
Can we describe this situation without presuming that the structures of our objects "correspond" to structures in the event level? Yes, but only if we are very careful with our formulations. We must always indicate that when we are talking about the event level we are hypothesizing structure. We "create structure" in our abstracting process, and then we "project" that structure onto what is going on. This is why I nearly always use the word 'putative' in conjuction with the word 'thing'.
The parabola, a structure in the map, represents no putative things; no structures are hypothesized to "exist" in what is going on; the parabola merely represents the entire universe of possibilities, but it does so without hypothesizing any putative structures or things with one limited exception. The parabola has small circles in it that hypothesize the capability of what is going on to "cause" reactions or responses in our sensory nervous systems. These are putative [Note the use of the word 'putative' here.] "characteristics".
Realism would say we create a map of reality.
I say we create a map.
Realism would say we use the map to navigate in the territory.
I say we use the map to predict what we will experience in response to our actions.
Realism would say that we discover errors where the map does not correspond to the territories.
I say that we discover errors where our experience does not match what our map predicted we will experience.
Realism says we correct our map to reflect the territory.
I say we modify our map and try again.
I say realism is not what general semantics is about, although it can be useful as an early stage of education in general semantics.
Philosophically there is no known way to evaluate whether realism or more advanced general semantics is "correct". The question can be asked within the perspective of realism, but it cannot be asked within the higher level perspective.
The closest approach would be something like, "Can I develop my map to such a degree that I will have no more prediction failures?".
The notion of "correct", it turns out, is a question of being - of metaphysics. General semantics, however, only deals with questions of knowledge - epistemology. These correspond roughly to the distinction between the third person perspective (describing "it") and the first person perspective (describing what I see). Incidentally, this is what "E-prime" is about, expressing oneself only in the first person.
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 01:16 am|
Milton wrote: "Levels imply separation, or division."
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, March 23, 2007 - 12:56 am|
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, March 23, 2007 - 11:14 pm|
Milton wrote, "I'm not religious at all--I don't think...and it is the mind and thinking that are the obstacles to awareness.
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 11:07 pm|
Jim French wrote,
Please provide the specific citations. What we say about the parabola certainly represents our abstractions, but the parabola, with its mere circles and string anchors contains no structures capable of representing any of what science says about what is going on, even at the most abstract levels. The structure present in the prabola is only capable of indicating that causative processes (the strings) are cabable of inducing responses in our nervous systems, that causative processes don't always induce responses in our nervous systems (the unterminated strings), and that non causative procesess "exist" (circles without strings) which we call "characteristics". No other information or abstraction can be inferred to be represented in the presented structures. No relations among ... . It's little better than the ancients view, which could be expressed as "there be 'being' which is a prior cause of our experienced effects. As I noted earlier, the dashed arrow pointing back to the parabola indicates that our high level abstractions may be projected onto the parabola. But that does not mean that they inhere in it or that it was intended to represent such abstractions. So I'd like to see your citations, so I can examine the context in which they occurred. I've seen this discussion too often not to notice how easily "realists" project and how insecure some of them feel when the existence of "things" allegedly corresponding to their perceived "objects" is questioned. Not all of Korzybski's "camp followers" were as well versed in the philosophical background or the science that Korzybski build his formulations on.
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, March 26, 2007 - 08:29 pm|
Milton, Your so-called "references" are not at all what you previously stated when you said Korzybski "says it in two places at least". Those are the citations I asked for, and saying that they are in "Science and Sanity" or any other book are not a "citation". Please provide enough information to indentify the specific text you are citing, including the page number, as the topic was wether Korzybski intended for the parabola to represent our highest level abstractions in addition to that which causes our perceptions - what the Sufi referred to, at the joint Science and Mysticsm conference I attended, as "the implicate order". It was at this conference that I met Karl Pribram, who I facilitated becoming a Korzybski lecture. At that conference the implicate and explicate order were contrasted from the viewpoint of the scientists and the mystics. It was a "holonomic", not "holographic", theory of brain function, as it depended on neural networks. Pribram's brain research found neurons which responded as the fourier transform of the input. Although the "hologram" was an analogy, the term holonomic was chosen rather than holographic. It was also a relatively short lived model of brain function, although portions of the visual system show limited function that can be contrasted with a "hologram". A common misconception is that a portion of a hologram can reproduce the whole. This is not true. A portion of a hologram reproduces a reduced fidelity and degraded representation of the whole - a limited map, and the smaller the fragment is, the more information is lost. We can compare the flat swirling patterns we see through incoherent light on the surface of a hologram as corresponding to the implicate order, or to the parabola. None of the "objects" reconstructed in our vision system by illuminating the hologram with coherent light are directly accessible without both the illumination of coherent light and our nervous system processing. We "see" objects "in" a hologram, but outside the proper illumination we cannot see them. This is the explication process. We "see" "objects" abstracted from what is going on (the parabola, the implicate order, etc.) through our abstracting process. But when we have abstracted structures, they are not "in" the parabola; they are not "in" the implicate order; they are only in the explicate order - the result of our abstraction, and it takes a mature nervous system to achieve "object permanence", which very young children don't do, as Piaget discovered.
|Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 10:52 pm|