Re: re [2]: What is "New Age"?

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*lib.org)
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 19:43:35 -0700


No time right now to craft the reply I want to craft-- just two quick observations...

>difference." So, I prefer trinities (the Hegelian type, not the

>Christian type ;-) to simple dualisms (see Ruckerís _Mind Tools_), as

>in there being three levels to reality: content, context and contest,

>each of which is distinct from, but relies on, the others. Put

>another way, we have agents, environments and interactions (contests

>between them); and, you canít have any one of these pieces without the

>other. So, everything is certainly linked as Mark says; but, that

>doesnít mean itís not necessary to distinguish between them.

Certain things are only possible if distinctions are drawn; certain things are only possible if distinctions are *not* drawn.

Sorry if that sounds mysterious or too rubbery.

>The command model has frequently been considered more "rational",

>since it involves the visible application of reason to the economic

>problem as a whole. Alternatives have frequently been considered

>irrational and an invitation to chaos. This viewpoint, however, smacks

>of the creationist fallacy - it assumes that a coherent result

>requires a guiding plan. In actuality, decentralized planning is

>potentially more rational, since it involves more minds taking into

>account more total information. [SNIP]

There are two other salient points I want to make: there is a presumption that a central plan must be "correct" or "perfectible", and an underlying epistemological ground that there is such a thing as the one correct set of categories, and all one has to do is find them and force the universe to fit. :) (this observation after Lakoff, of course.)

>

>This is why I think we need many individuals and selves, rather than

>some Great Borganism, in order to create an extropian multiverse

>rather than an entropian universe headed for collapse.

>

>I said: This [LILA model] sounds no different to me from the Christian

>Apocalypse & Resurrection.

>

>And Michael noted:

><<As G. Spencer Brown said, the symbol = may be taken to mean "is

>confused with".>

>

>I mistakenly posted an earlier version of what I wrote (working on

>multiple systems can be confusing ;-). My final version of that

>statement said: This sounds to me too much like the Christian Original

>Sin, Apocalypse and Resurrection.

>

>My point about these "New Age" notions of unity (particularly LILA) is

>that, instead of "Out of Many, One", they want to say, "Out of One,

>Many; SO, back to One". This is a Big Bang to Big Crunch scenario

>and, IMHO, it is Creationist; and, this yearning to "return to the

>One" is a desire to dissolve into the primal soup, an abdication of

>individual responsibility for carrying on the creation.

Cop out and "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream..."...

Yeah, I can only stand so much of that myself before I want to stir the pot. Go ahead and return the the ylem if you want; I promise I'll build something fun from you. :) :)

>

>I havenít read G. Spenser-Brown, but I did take these notes from F.

>David Peatís discussion of him in _Synchronicity_:

>

><< Next, Peat's explores "the work of the logician and mathematician

>G.Spenser-Brown ... a rather enigmatic figure who first came to the

>attention of the aging Bertrand Russell in 1965.... 'Laws of Form'

>takes as its origin a basic act of distinction ... once an active

>observer or a creative act of perception, is admitted into this void,

>then it becomes possible to draw the first distinction ... [which]

>allows a movement to begin ... A particularly interesting feature of

>this logic is that it is capable of generating expressions that begin

>to refer to themselves ... Spenser-Brown's re-entrant forms are in

>fact self-generating expressions that are capable of perpetuating

>themselves indefinitely." Peat goes on to explain the importance of

>context to this Hegelian dialectic; but, he imparts too much

>significance to the initial creative 'big bang' and not enough to the

>ongoing adaptive process that is thus generated.

>

>02/11/96. And so, as "Synchronicity" wraps up, Peat curls himself into

>a sort of fetal position, seeking to return to the womb in a sense, by

>emphasizing the origin, "the pure, unconditioned perception," what he

>and the mystics call "the stillness", rather than the 'noisy', ongoing

>"creative unfolding ... able to respond to an ever-changing context." >

>

>Mark Crosby

>

>P.S. re Rick Knight's latest response (read after writing the above):

>

><<Frankly, thinking too much and too often makes me rather tired and

>despondent. That's why I perceive it important to keep balance,

>breathe in and exhale out. Quest then rest.>

>

>Nothing wrong with that! That's just balance between Being and

>Becoming. (I don't mean to be a "rigid fundie" about any of this ;-)

>

>I can't resist one more excerpt from my notes that addresses this:

>

><<[Peat] confuses Being and Becoming: "The major barriers to a creative

>transformation of consciousness are the attachments of the self, which

>give rise to the mechanical order of becoming in which the more subtle

>and faster movements of nature are lost." This is backwards! Being is

>mechanical and static [or, at least, restful and neutral ;-] .

>Becoming is creative and dynamic. [snip] In lamenting the

>fragmentation of science, the alienation of the individual and the

>decay of civility, he sets up myths that are only true from a limited

>perspective that is preoccupied with the present. His "better notion

>of an intense and vibrant stillness" is little different from the

>fashionable notion of "holism" he decries which "suggests a self that

>becomes immersed in a warm bath of mindless gravy."

>

>In the end though, it is merely a matter of semantics and taste that

>distinguishes my view from Peat's because he concludes: "Eternity does

>not exist outside the self ... to die to the self does not mean to

>sacrifice all identity or freedom of action in the explicate world.

>Rather it suggests a dying of attachments to rigid, fixed forms and an

>unfolding of sequential time into its wider [fractal] order.... So the

>dissolution of fragmentation does not imply the abandonment of all

>distinctions and categories; rather, it suggests that distinctions are

>constantly being created, modified and ended in harmony with the

>general movement of reality." If that is not a description of eternal

>Becoming rather than the static Being of the mystic then I must have

>my meanings plugged in wrong!>

>

>_____________________________________________________________________

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>

>

>

Looks like I made a liar of myself re: only having time for 2 points. :) Yeah, advocacy of permanent return-to-the-womb is kind of dumb, but it seems clear you're doing the dissection I asked you to do; I was just worried that you were ignoring the positive aspects of samadhi as a choice. Being stuck there is like being stuck anywhere. :) :)

MMB

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