A Discussion With Tom Huston, Part II
The following is part 2 of an excerpt from a discussion initiated by Tom Huston on his Facebook page, edited and embellished for clarity. Find part one, here. In this part we dig into the nature of the “anatom” and the “ergodic spine” of an electro-fractal cosmos, and into the trans-dynamic integration between Being and Becoming, and the x-interface−the crossroads of the ontic-epistemic (Brahma and Maya) and the subject-object polarities.
Tom Huston is a founding member of Integral Institute and a former editor of EnlightenNext magazine. His webpage is tomhuston.com.
David Marshall is a writer and editor living in Chicago.
Tom: As an aside from what you just added [[link here]]…does your view posit an ultimate Origin (I take it that you don’t, given your disbelief in the Big Bang)…or an ultimate Omega? If involution and evolution is just “ebb and flow,” what is the ultimate point? Is there an overall telos to the evolutionary process? Because my own experience convinces me that there *is*, but I’ve yet to find or develop a philosophically satisfying ontology or worldview to explain and situate that experience…
Joel: OK, a bit of the scenic route, so bear with me.
Key to this Rational or Spinoza/Deleuze lineage is the notion of Univocity. This is how nonduality shows up in the Western world (SZ). Univocity comes from Aristotle, through the medieval theology in Duns Scotus, and to Deleuze, who says that it is the “organizing principle” in Spinoza’s work. “A single voice raises the clamour of being…,” says Deleuze. I take Univocity to its proto-ontological (Mathematical) ends (closure) in SpinbitZ, and in my Univocity Framework I show how univocity expands upon the terrain of the Two Truths Doctrine. It is at heart an integration of the absolute and relative “scopes.” The relative scope is the aspect of relation, and the absolute scope is its inverse identical, its polar opposite (nondual). The absolute scope can be seen as a function of relation applied to the relative scope itself, the relation of the ONE of ALL relation, and even the polarity of polarity, in an attempt by the relative scope to reach closure in an ultimate context-defining other. The goal of univocity is integration between the relative and absolute scopes (two truths) into a natural polar dynamic.
This process dynamic of closure, or volution, is also a core ontological (epistemic) primitive, and you can see it all through Mathematics with its closures always “at” infinity, which open always onto new operational fields of identity creation (number evolution), as we also see with Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, ever opening at every closure.
In SZ I show how the ontological and quantitative (multiple) aspect of the “absolute scope” is infinity, in its various forms. The secret of Grand Rationalism. So infinity is basically the playground for the explorations in SpinbitZ, as it was for the key Western Rationalists; Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza, and the whole of Mathematics. What I am doing here, through Spinoza’s core intuitions in his triune infinity (key also to Leibniz’s breakthroughs in his mathematical work), is examining the nature of infinity and how all three of these “Rationalists” approached it as the Rational lineage built to a flash point here in Spinoza, and then got buried under layers of reaction, as would a white hot coal as it melted into a cold block of butter.
The heated interaction between Spinoza and Leibniz on this point of “actual infinity” is particularly instructive. Leibniz was basically at heart largely a Spinozist, in constant tension with his inner Leibniz. He sought out every piece of Spinoza’s work he could find, and took extensive notes on it, even Spinoza’s private letters, such as the famous letter on infinity, which had begun circulating in the underground networks. But in public, Leibniz denounced Spinoza at every turn and obfuscated the sources of these ideas even as he denounced them, because Spinoza was considered a vile heretic (dangerous in any association) by the orthodoxy with whom Leibniz worked closely. Leibniz admitted in his private works that he recognizes that this radical rationality (shadowed in “atheism” to the orthodoxy, as Spinoza is at once called “god intoxicated” and “atheist”) although true, simply will not work for the masses as a popular religion. So he felt that he needed to compromise in key places, bringing it down a few notches (mythic, magic,…), specifically to retain the notion of an absolutely Transcendent deity with the Divine will as the agent of the act of benevolent Creation to which we are all indebted, justifying the need for prayer and devotion, etc, etc, etc.. [[[This could be called the core Statist Battery, the split of co-dependence and it’s resultant power gradient.]]]
In Spinoza, coming to integration with and as infinity, we come to the recognition that “all possibles are actual,” (the principle of the actual-possible) because in an infinite and eternal space and time (at the absolute scope of the ONE-ALL), how could it not be? With infinite space and time, all possibles will have been for an eternity and are simultaneously and currently actual. We don’t experience this because they are distributed ever anew throughout infinity. This is the essence of Nietzsche’s Eternal Return, as he also enthusiastically recognized Spinoza as his metaphysical or intellectual “predecessor”. For exoteric (public) Leibniz, however, this principle of the actual-possible is heresy. In the formation of his monadology, he publicly denounces it as the “proton pseudos,” or the first lie of Atheism. If all possibles are actual then there is no capacity for God’s Benevolent Alpha of Creation, and consequently nor can there be any Grand Omega of Final Judgement. We can see this Orthodox temporal narrative as a socio-cybernetic polarity and gradient, resulting in a motivational or algedonic pressure, like a carrot and stick for the masses (again the statist battery).
The temporal element is important, but in Deleuze we have an opening to an integration with an orthogonal and implicit (hidden) axis or infinity. This is radical immanence and infinite difference, what I operationally abstract as the “immanent-transcendent axis” (SZ). Deleuze says that the “forces of Representation” (exoteric, transcendent biased, epistemic-bound) are oppositional (dualistic), and the forces of immanence are “intensive,” emptiness/fullness, nondual, or emergent, etc. This opens a new polarity or axis into the scene for understanding these Alpha and Omega points of creation and telos. So we can, in whatever aspects, move away from the temporal (oppositional) and into the morphological intensive forces of immanence. Spinoza’s “sub specie aeternitatis,” (under the light or aspect of eternity) the recognition that eternity is implicit and orthogonal to time such that we can recognize eternity in an instant. Similarly this shifts the scene to an orthogonality away from this early transitive (mythic) emphasis on the bounded and linear-temporal, to a non-linear (immanent-transcendent, intensive) integration with the eternal. This is temporal univocity, and Spinoza’s answer to the question of the after-life. We come out of eternal life (and death) into time, and we can recognize this orthogonal and polar relationship in time with ever-present eternity and unity at any time before we fall back into the eternal through the transition of “death”.
So if we think of the Alpha and Omega as a simultaneity or “temporal singularity,” and if we envision a “phase space” or morphological landscape (think Borges’ Library of Babel) for evolution as “hill climbing” (or annealing) toward various attractors of perfection, bifurcations, limit cycles and such, then we can understand this quite differently. But not entirely differently, as we integrate the two orthogonal axes dynamically. For example, even though there is no final end of “the universe” or cosmos to volution, every volution or self-climbing hill will, through time, reach plateaus and peaks and eventually enter dissolution in the course of its indefinite interface with eternity. So, the absolute Omega point of perfection becomes the highest hill in an infinite simultaneous landscape of morphological attractors. Lem’s comic HPLD species, as the Highest Possible Level of Development (an alien god species, of sorts). At any given time there will be regions in the cosmos in these highest states, of which there may actually be infinite forms or types. And intrinsic to the volution process is the real component of the “transcendent bias”, telos, a real pressure or force toward “excellence” (Spinoza). And there is a gradual transition of volution into and through *volition* (autoevolution) into morphological explosion, such as Chardin’s coming Omega Point, or the “Technological Singularity”. I assume we are currently at a very low rung on the “toposophical” ladder (Lem), and that there likely is no single Omega state or Final Point, and also that there is an infinity of them. But in the end, that’s anyone’s guess.
Tom: “If involution and evolution is just “ebb and flow,” what is the ultimate point?”
Joel: This of course must also be addressed univocally, and thus with the doctrine of the two truths in integration. At the absolute scope, as Alan Watts so eloquently elucidates, there really is no point. It’s just a babbling brook, or a madman, or an infinite absurdly beautiful symphony, or grand tragi comedy, an experience just to be experienced. The sense of pure nonsense. But at the relative scope this pure nonsense has infinite meaning, as there are an infinite number of points and regions of meaning voluting into grander and grander semiotic perfection. The Process, as I see it, is fluid, fractal and ergodic, with volutionary cycles at all levels simultaneously. Self-climbing hills within hills within hills, rising vertically (immanent-transcendent) into perfection (transcendence), and in a landscape stretching horizontally (transitive), composed of, or expressing infinite varieties of these fractal teleological (volutionary) self-climbing hills (e.g. evolutionary trajectories). So at any given level, there will be a volutionary or transcendent pressure (telos) where evolution pushes outward into new lines which are simultaneously pulled upwards to a new involutionary coherence and closure. And these voluting forms, these saltations or punctuated equilibriums, are layered infinitely, ergodically, and fractally, as well as horizontally involuting into lines such as species. The image here, as in Deleuze, is the rhizome, although the rhizome can be too flat for this purpose, depending on the specifics of the local landscape in question.
Tom: “Is there an overall telos to the evolutionary process?”
Again, univocally, at the absolute scope of the infinite and eternal ONE-ALL, there is no boundary in space or time, and no Absolute Transcendent self-climbing hill. This is a corollary to the above question on meaning. There is no motion toward any final point, at the absolute scope, because the cosmos at this scope is infinite and eternal, always already in pointless play. Infinity itself, the absolute scope, the unbound, cannot be treated as a region (bounded) in its own phase-space map, because then the absolute scope becomes just another relation and the distinction has dissolved. The territory of infinity (the formless and boundless) cannot be represented on the map of forms and bounds. So at the absolute scope, one cannot say that the cosmos is moving to a final place, because there really is no final place. The cosmos as infinite has no boundaries to isolate on any phase space map. With temporal univocity, the cosmos is eternal, it has always been at perfection in infinite locations and always will be. Sub specie aeternitatis and the eternal (simultaneous) return, as all states including the most “imperfect” will always simultaneously be in infinite incarnation. This, BTW, is how I see the issue of reincarnation. From the context of the absolute, my form and all similar and dissimilar forms in the Library of Babel are actually in simultaneous eternal recurrence, always already infinitely somewheres and somewhens in this infinite cosmos. And there is no real line between any of the infinite recursing forms therein. In this context, to draw a line through single incarnations as tracing a trans-identity, seems a transitive and infinite constriction of the reality of infinite incarnation…although it is a step up from the finite incarnation of the previous level (mythic).
But at the relative scope, in integration where it all happens as experience, at any given location in the phase space map, every evolutionary opening will have an involutionary pull to a higher closure (meaning and telos), an attractor (essence) towards which it is moving. And at a human scale, these teleological or volutionary self-climbing hills, stretching to infinity in higher scales of action, and in integral form in univocity, are how the absolute is experienced. This is not to say that there are not plateaus and downturns, devolutions, dissolutions, in the phase space, but that the volutionary or teleological pressure is a natural component of a healthy organism (self-climbing hill in this metaphor) and landscape.
Tom: Joel, I still didn’t get time to reply to this today but I just wanted to say thank you for explaining your approach so fully and clearly–it’s awesome…and then some. I’ll definitely respond soon.
Joel: Thanks for your inspiration, Tom. I am really enjoying this thread. Been wanting to dig into those details for a while.
David Marshall: Joel, nice to hear your thoughts on this. I read healthy bits of SpinBitz and enjoyed it. I particularly like the idea about moving beyond ontologically shy postmodernism. Actually, it’s SpinbitZ, isn’t it.
My question is this: You say, “Granted there are deeper and deeper and more primitive forms of “knowledge” or abstraction into mechanism, but I wouldn’t say that the atomic level brings a new epistemic world into view.“
But doesn’t any kind of knowledge, however primitive, imply bringing some kind of epistemic world into view or proto-view?
Joel: David, yes exactly. My question is, just how far down the complexity gradient can the meaning of ‘knowledge,’ or ‘semiotics’, or specifically representation (Maya) be stretched without breaking? I can comfortably stretch it to the genetic level, as the proto-epistemic, where genetic codes ‘represent’ phenotypic structures or modes, and the whole of evolution learns from its mistakes and successes as that knowledge and history is encoded into and as the recapitulation of the embryogenesis of the organism. But an atom, in my model, while certainly reacting to its environment from its own attractor, essence, and ‘interiority’ (prehension) isn’t making representations of it to do so. But the key to the power and ‘essence’ of representation (and simultaneously its limitation) is the capacity of abstraction and choice. Evolution does this at a rudimentary level (and anthropomorphizing a bit) with its sending into the world its ‘random’ variations, organismic ideas, in a sense. Its ‘mind’ is literally on the outside as our living world and biosphere. A ‘choice’ is made in the biospheric interiority, and knowledge for the evolutionary/embryogenetic trajectory is gained by the “differential reproductive success” of these individuals lives through time, as the increasing intelligence, representation, and capacity for choice is directly injected into the flow through sexual selection.
But where is the encoded/abstracted (enfolded) representation of options and a choice among them made at the atomic level? I am working with the most cutting-edge and coherent models for the atom (including my own) that I can find among the heterodoxy, and I see no evidence of representation and choice at this level, or rather no real way to further stretch the meaning of the terms to this level. Sure there is uncertainty from infinite difference and immanent causation (see Bohm on infinite causation), but without representation there really is no choice (although crudely we could call a ‘bifurcation’ a ‘choice’ by the system as a whole). So I am simply saying that representation at the atomic level is entirely enfolded and these are really just ontic level phenomena. The atomic level, in my view, is pre- not yet proto-epistemic, which I place at the genetic level where we find the first codes and primitive representation. This just means that there is a real distinction between ontic and epistemic (and a gradient between them) and we can’t collapse the two into just the ontic-epistemic. And yet, with the distinction intact, and the gradient to explore, they remain nondual, univocal, ONE or ontic.
What I would say exists at all levels (my own self-aware myth about the given) is what I call the “symbiogenesis of subject and object”. This is the Spinozan essence of dynamic stability and growth, and Leibnizian prehension. Also called the “nucleation of observability” in SpinbitZ. It is from this nucleus of the observer (Fuller) in a “point-free geometry” (Whitehead) of pointless “points of view” as conditions of boundary that Wilber’s “all is perspective” finds its ontic grounding. And this symbiogenesis is also a rudimentary, or deep-level native or primitive intelligence, evolution at the involution of the subject-object interface. It is an exploration of creative learning and direct immanent awareness, unmediated (enfolded) by representational forms (unfolded). It just is, in waves (cosmic vertebrae) before it abstracts, represents and incarnates the flesh of what could be.
Matter is enfolded seed of the flower of its abstraction. Maya is this depth and recursion of Brahma into and through the boundary conditions of abstract relation. And Brahma is the span of the emergent rigor of the cosmic ergodic spine that opens the recursions into the field of infinite difference. In immanent-transcendent waves, literally and empirically a limit-cycle in ergodicity, it enfolds and unfolds from anatom to anatomy, from infinite intelligence or omnirelational awareness of Self, through the representational depths of self as Self-consciousness.
Reading Ken’s quote further, where it breaks down for me is this use of ‘semiotics’ in conjunction with the atomic level (anatom)—in particular this understanding of semiotics as interpretation. And one really *can* stretch the term that far in this sense. An *anatom* (atomism died with the ‘pharticle’ zoo) really *does* (sort of) ‘interpret’ its world (‘filter’ is also a good term). And indeed this is very important, because that *interpretation* (thresholding of “pure” continuity, says Planck) is what we call the quantum. We just assume that the blips on the absorption screens are from classical collisions with particles because we prefer simple (solid, classical) terms. But the screens are composed of anatoms (post-classical chaoplex) that can only com-prehend and ‘speak’ (absorb/emit as “interpret”) in the harmonic quanta of cymatics (“standing waves”). So materialism speaks with the anatomic voice of the ergodic spine, and so this voice sounds ‘quantized’. And it *is* quantized infinitely and ergodically. This quantization is not because it’s all atoms in void (classical solid bias), but because infinite and continuous fluid harmonics creatively and constructively self-interacts.
So where I draw the ontic-epistemic line clearly (for me, and where it doesn’t really exist) in this gradient from the actual-possible to the possible-actual, is with the capacity to abstract or project into the world of coherent representation (knowledge). This is where possibility and choice come in. Auto-evolution. Foresight. Prediction. Memory and anticipation. An anatom simply or directly prehends (i/o), and an organism increasingly com-prehends into the recursive com-plexity (folds into pleats) of projection. Also a note that prehension is practically the same meaning as volution.
David: Joel, when Wilber talks about “semiotic-sentient beings (that go all the way down)” and:
“Further, according to Peirce, it is the fact that each semiotic being—all the way down—has in its tripartite makeup an interpretant that means the holon’s being is determined in part by interpretation, all the way down—and this, he says, is “inescapable”).”
Could he simply be saying that our assertion of these holons can never be free of interpretation (free of our own interpretive spin and enactment), kind of like the paradoxical term “interpretively intrinsic” he uses in Integral Spirituality on p. 251?
His mention of Sellars and the myth of the given in the following paragraph (on page 2) might indicate this interpretation, that “semiotic-sentient beings” = “interpretively intrinsic.”
Joel: If this were the case, then he would be making merely an epistemic claim. But he is using ontic terms and frameworks, and in my view is really making the ontic claim that all holons have interiors which participate in the reactions to extrinsic factors. That’s really what Leibnizian prehension is all about (Whitehead borrowed from Leibniz here). Leibniz formulated a model of the forces (anatomic, really) superior to Newton’s atomism in this respect. An “atom” can only react to the force of a field if it has an interior capacity to do so. This is loosely interpreted here (no recursive punning intended) as “interpretation”. But I am pointing out that it’s not a representational form and thus not technically “epistemic,” as I am drawing this line as clearly as possible, where no lines really exist. [[ I made this point more clearly in the previous few comments in this thread.]]
David: Yes, he’s also making the pan-interior or pan-psychic claim, on the first page. So, you wouldn’t accept some kind of proto-epistemology or proto-representational form? Is your objection really to pan-interiorism?
Joel: No, I have been discussing a proto-epistemology, and that it’s really a gradient without any real lines, but I am trying to be clear about what the epistemic is and what the ontic is. I don’t want the distinction blurred. And at the same time, one can’t draw any absolute lines here because each one enfolds as the other unfolds. I simply am saying that at the ‘anatomic’ level (as I call it, because atomism has died), and below, the epistemic is fully enfolded. There simply is nothing that I can comfortably call representation or choice going on there. As I have said, however, there is a rudimentary form of interpretation there, as in the cymatic quantization of the anatomic shells (this is a highly heterodox interpretation I am working with, so it may not make much sense initially), which is why the material world appears “quantized”, because when addressed, anatoms simply can only speak quanta in return, so to speak. But anatoms are not abstracting this into a projected world and making a choice between represented options. They really are just reacting based on their interior enfolded filtering (rudimentary interpreting) activity.
So, roughly speaking, I put pre-epistemic (still epistemic, but fully enfolded) at the “atomic” level (actual-possible), and it unfolds into proto-epistemic at the “organic” and genetic level, and fully into the flower of the epistemic level (Maya, we are just getting here, evolutionarily) with sensation and memory, the sensory-mnemonic interface, and projection into the world of the possible (possible-actual).
So, to reinforce earlier parts of this discussion, “pan-interiorism” is key, for me (though I don’t use that term). When I say that at root, or “all levels,” there is the “symbiogenesis of subject and object,” I am saying that ‘interiority,’ as ‘subjectivity’, “goes all the way down.” (This “all the way down” in deep infinity is basically the meaning of “fundamental” in post-foundational/post-classical Univocal Dynamics, as explored in my book on Sorce Theory, and SpinbitZ II, forthcoming). Badiou, on Deleuze, calls the key aspect of interiority, or immanence, “the ruin of the category of the object.” There is no pure object because the object is always also subject…and vice versa as a Leibnizian “fold” (monad). As in AQAL, and in Spinoza, “mind” as pure interiority, goes “all the way down,” and provides an infinitely full foundation. “Thought” or mind expresses the essence of Substance (infinite difference or immanence), as Substance turns on its modes. The same is true for “matter” or rather, “extension,” in Spinoza. It’s just fundamental nonduality, or dependent origination, real relation, in Deleuze-Spinoza, and the intensive forces of immanence.
But, to Wilber’s point, as I mentioned, this is a dynamic subjectivity, Leibnizian ‘prehension,’ which actively “interprets” (roughly filters) and interacts with its environment directly, as opposed to mediated by layers of abstraction or projection. There is no representation here (it is fully enfolded), in my view. Just pure infinite omni-relational action and intelligence or order (infinite determinism equals indeterminism). This is the initial layer(s) in the cosmic cycle, the level(s) of “pure” or maximal “atomic” simplicity (electro-static and equilibrated form). It is the vertebral level in the ergodic spine and limit-cycle which gives rise to the quantum at all of them (…Planck, Atomic, Stellar, meta-Galactic…). The deepening into the epistemic comes in sporadically and gradually (silentium universi), between cosmic vertebrae, in the unfolding from pure simplicity (simplexity) into its resonant forms in a cascading, bifurcating, flowering explosion of the conditions of boundary (complexity). It recurses into deeper, thicker, and more enfolded forms of this basic interface, or “double-layer” and structural coupling, to the point of organic, and specifically neural evolution where we find the sensor-effector, sensory-mnemonic polarity and the deepening, recursing forms of abstraction. This is where we find representation, knowledge, and imagination, as opposed to this immanent omnirelation, critically at the atomic level and below, unmediated by abstraction.
So, yes, interiority, and yes, “interpretation” at its most direct level, all the way down. But no representation, no “sign” or code, or common semiotics, or projection into imagination yet here. And no sensation except the most basic form of directly prehensile touch, at the continuum levels of an all-touching cosmos.
David: Is “enfolded” for you something like the “involved” that Wilber and Aurobindo discuss?
Joel: Yes, I use involution, or closure as well. Involved would mean essentially the same thing as involuted, I assume. But ‘involved’ is too involved in a more common usage so I avoid the entanglement.
David: Also, you seem to accept a certain degree of interpretation or knowledge with atoms; what I am trying to imagine is knowledge or interpretation that is not representational. As I try to imagine it, it seems to me that any form of knowledge would be in part representational. But of course, that’s just my imagining life as an atom; I haven’t studied them much.
Joel: Knowledge is representational, and it stretches all the way down to the atomic level. But at the atomic level it is fully enfolded as a natural function of ergodic closure from the recursions of deep infinity below that. This is a key branching point. From anima-motrix opening into anima-matrix. And it begins a cascading, bifurcating, recursive gradient, evolution into involution, from ontic (enfolded-epistemic, culminating prominently at the “atomic” level) up into its identical opposite, the epistemic (enfolded ontic): Through the proto-epistemic self-assembling recursions and branching in the crystallogenesis of the mineral world, budding through loops of replication and code (mimesis) in the externalized biospheric mind fields of organic evolution, and blossoming into involutionary return to the interior focusing of the electric flow in the individual brain and mind, with its perceptual and conceptual abstraction, and now the planetary nervous system, the noospheric canopy and closure in opening to the virtual.
The key to understand the significance of the anatomic closure, is that the emergent properties of the ‘atom’, which we will get into below, are radically different from dynamic “objects” (such as organisms) at our common molar complexity level of operation, as they are different from the forms *immanent* to the “atomic” level (subatomic fleeting resonance ghosts of the “particle zoo”). At no other level of action than these anatomic monadic planes does a trans-dynamic form come into being with an apparently or effectively indefinite lifespan. This is key. The anatom level is effectively the ‘Being’ level, or what amounts to the same in a Process integral view, because this ‘Being'(s) is a result of the ‘purification’ or ‘perfection’ of Becoming (flux) from the level beneath it. Stasis is dynamic perfection or closure (a trans-dynamic omega and alpha). And this trans-dynamic (opening) closure of the “atom” occurs as one “vertebrae” or polar maximum on the limit-cycle backbone of the recursing attractors we know as constants, resulting in the harmonic periodicities of the phenomenon of “solidity” and all of classical “particle biased” and *effectively* timeless physics centered at these self-similar stasis levels (islands of stability). The “particles” above and below the atom (and between all anatom/monadic levels) are radically ephemeral in comparison, sometimes existing for mere nanoseconds. And according to the empirical self-similar scaling relation, there is a Being (monadic, classical physics) level at the stellar scale as well, which is why the stars are similarly stable with the self-same orbital spacing (anima-motrix), the planets moving in pure (radically equilibrated, electrostatic) “gravitational” orbits, instead of the vortical (“dark matter” shadowed electro-dynamic) flows at the galactic and hurricane levels. So ‘matter,’ in this classical solid sense, is simply this: flux maximally equilibrated and focused into relative stasis. This is a focus of force into inertia and mass. And the platform (matter, matrix, or ‘mother’) for the continued embryogenesis from anatom through anatomy.
I can, however, stretch my definition of representation or knowledge to *include* the “atomic” level, as I will explore. But, as I show in SpinbitZ with the Principle of Absolute Reversal,*** such naturally justified stretches of fundamental terms (shells)–on the polarities that allow their embryogenetic differentiation–can unwittingly transform them into their immanent, yin, or shadow poles, and often into inversion and opposition (enantiodromia: Jung, Heraclitus). In this inversion at the anatomic simplex (atom), ‘knowledge’ (mimesis-mediated relation) turns into its opposite, unmediated or ‘pure relation,’ as the ‘pure’ object emerges at once as the ‘pure’ subject (superject). Generally, for simplicity, I would retain the distinction of my terms by allowing them to just be where they naturally unfold into full meaning at the conceptual level, while allowing the gradient to flex when needed for reception. There is no “correct” way to map this, but I’ll draw the lines (de-finition) in the continuum of bends, folds, cascades, and bifurcations which best resonate with my own context.
[[*** “Absolute” in SZII is more clearly a function of ergodic closure.]]
In this discussion, I have been placing ‘interpretation’ at the “atomic” level, as essentially prehension: General level or direct subject-object fluid and deeply harmonic inter-actions (roughly: touches, graspings, bonds … before the edge of self-assembling heaps into new dynamic and self-replicating higher wholes, organization into organism and mimesis). Interpretation at the atomic level is more like direct, continuous, omnirelational, and creative or emergent inter-assimilation by the “pure subject” of its “pure object.”*** ‘Thought’ or interiority dynamically focused as and on ‘Extension’ or exteriority: Spinoza’s attributes come into a new and clear relation with immanence in his ‘simplest bodies,’ revealing the trans-dynamic monad spinning at the core. The ‘purity’ of the simplex (stability) flashes into emergence from the ergodic continuity of maximal complexity and fluidity (‘purity’) of the level below it. The anatom is then the ontic simplex, pure symbiogenesis of subject and object. This is why it is effectively perpetual. All its force is focused into a maximal dynamic integrity of interior and exterior. Because of the ‘purity’ of its integrity in dynamic terms, the anatom is neither capable of, nor in need of representing its world. It is not deficient in representational relation, but rather infinitely full with real relation (Brahma). And real relation is the seed for its identical opposite in abstract relation (Maya). Representation occurs in a cascading bifurcation into abstraction, away from pure relation. This is both its freedom and limitation. The ontic simplex simply and purely interacts. With the anatom, deep continuity self-flows and self-resonates self-consistently and with maximal self-focus and self/Self-integrity. This level is maximally ouroboric and continuously self-regenerating.
[[*** 'Pure,' here, simply means *maximal,* as in the maximal involution or enfolding of quantitative and energetic complexity in the ergodic closure to the anatom as each vertebra of the cosmic spine. ]]
My view of the “atom,” from my work in heterodox physics, is quite causally and dynamically detailed, inheriting, cultivating, and catalyzing many great bodies of cutting edge interpretation, e.g. from Rado, Lebau, Prigogine, Bohm, Borchardt, etc.. But it is quite distinct from the orthodox branch, critically because it is not Finitist but Infinitist (e.g. Speculative Realist), among other differences. It is fully inline with the re-emergence of the ancient core intuitions and the empirical data, however, and this is the root of the tree. I don’t believe in many of the categories we take for granted in the flimsy branches of modern orthodox physics, such as the ‘photon’ and even the electron (mostly). And the denizens of the particle zoo are not “particles” or fundamental (atoms or even anatoms), in my opinion, but just various fleeting fluid/cymatic manifestations (e.g. solitons and vortices) in specific repeatable types and situations.
From all experimental evidence I have seen, and taking cues from the detailed heterodox models that predicted these findings entirely independently (experimentum crucis), an “atom” is a fluid dynamic and deeply cymatic “simplex” or “trans-dissipative structure,” as I call it (taking Prigogine’s concept to its recursing involuting ends). And it is the maximal complexity of this deep level of continuity (“quantum coherence”) beneath the atom that allows the atom to form (complimentarity). I detail this as the immanent-causal factor, a sort of closure in ergodicity, which explains the empirical self-similar scaling relation found independently by people like Fournier, Oldershaw, and myself. At these levels (in the cosmic ergodic spine), form seems to involute maximally from continuity (fluidity) into quanta (atoms, Planck units, etc, the recursive core of solidity). This empirically derived self-similar relation (key to the wave-particle duality and quantum) is about the difference in size between an atom and star, or between a Planck scale anatom and an “atom” (~1020 in orders of magnitude). And the self-similar attractor (dynamic form) at these levels is what the ‘anatom’ really represents. It’s the same basic monadic form at all these levels. And this form does not appear at all (fully formed and monadic) between these levels. You don’t see these effectively perpetual suns, or atoms, or Planck units—with their tightly regular radiative force gradients, orbital dynamics, and spacing—at the scales between the Planck scale, the atom, and the sun, such as at the size of a house, or any of the ‘particles’ below the proton, or in the galactic levels. There is a very clear open window of anatomic form between these levels, and rather than the pure simplex of the anatom, what appears here are lesser varieties of *approaches* to the simplex form in higher level multiplex or molar fluid vortex flow patterns (dissipative, not trans-dissipative, dynamic, not trans-dynamic, and effectively perpetual).
The archetype or attractor here at this intermediate level of rudimentary cosmic forms between the monadic or anatomic levels (vertebrae), is the vortex, like a galaxy or hurricane. These forms are more evoluting fluid forms than fully involuted ‘solid’ (stabilized) ones (such as the atom, star and Planck unit). The proton (anatomic nucleus), for example, appears to have an indefinite lifespan. It has reached a purely (or maximally) involuted or ‘self-involved’ form. A process-perfection and simplex. This is key to its capacities for representation, or lack thereof. Generally speaking, its maximal internal coherence and simplexity (anima motrix: Kepler) means that the anatom does not “compromise” its internal form by modifications in *mimesis* of the external world. It is fully involuted or self-involved in its own continual regeneration in direct homeostatic relation to the variabilities of its environment. Pure subject-object.*** The modifications of the internal structure in response to the external world (prehension) of the anatom are purely direct and not mimetic. Prehension not pretension. At this level, there is no imitation of the external world through either code replication or sensory-mnemonic mediation. It is a pure level of omnirelational interaction and homeostatic adaptation, the pre-epistemic enfolded in deep infinity.
[[*** I might have to hijack Whitehead's 'superject' meaning herein a persistently completing (trans-dissipative) 'occasion' in maximal dynamic equilibrium. ]]
Mimesis, then, is another key into where I am drawing the line between the ontic and epistemic, Brahma and Maya (roughly). When, in this gradient of increasing complexity we begin to see mimesis in its crudest forms, we come to the proto-epistemic, which I place most clearly in the biosphere (no real division here either), where the enfolded genetic code can be said to “represent” a phenotypic unfolding. This, I consider the clear base-level zone in the gradient into mimesis and Maya. And we can see it starkly, for example, in the eyes of an owl showing up on the wings of a butterfly, or in the form of a bug resembling a thorn, leaf, or stick. The biosphere abounds with the play of mimesis, albeit in an externalized and diffuse form, and even self-replicating molecules would be a crude form of mimesis. This is very different from the anatomic levels, which don’t mimic anything and are just themselves in “perfect” internal harmonic and dynamic relation. And this is why they can all be considered identical, even though they also have intrinsic enfolded individual detail which, in part, accounts for the “randomness” of the quantum reaction. The maximal amount of complexity focused into the simplex is the key factor to its dynamic perfection and spatio-temporal integrity.
The anatomic form, the “pure” form of maximal involution, is harmonically quantized concentrically, from Schrodinger’s wave equation to Bode’s Law (and likely at the Planck level and below), in the same self-similar form. In its cyclical (cymatic) fluid-dynamic structure, it enters a tight frictionless feedback loop analogous to (and likely involving) a screw-pinch in plasma dynamics (such as we see in its self-similar counterpart, the electric sun, e.g. Don Scott), but at the maximal fidelity, continuity, coherence, and compressibility of this “aetheric” and “superfluid” level, which enables its approach to a trans-dissipative (near-permanent) trans-dynamic form. So the harmonic quantized shells (standing wave patterns) that form around the anatomic nucleus (subject) are really the “music of the spheres,” the electromagnetic fine-structuring of these self-saming recursive forms as the prehending (not pretending) sensor-effector interface at the simplex level. Simply put, this is the level of non-action, or flow in the Tao. Nothing is emulated at this level. No actions are taken. Flow and inter-action just is. So, non-action means simply being in integrity with all levels to this base (which is fundamentally already in flow below).
This harmonic quantization of electronic shells is a key aspect of the real quantum. In terms of “interpretation,” and “communication,” this fluid-cymatic quantized ‘membrane’ (loosely speaking) is the univocal “ear” and the “voice” of the anatom. The anatom listens and speaks in harmonic quanta. This is a filtering into an internal self-equilibrating and complex form, which is the dynamic and active prehensive subjectivity and homeostatic essence of the anatom. So when an anatom absorbs energy from an impinging electromagnetic wave, it can only do so in these harmonic quanta (“photon”), because the quantization is intrinsic to the nature or form of the integrity (superject) of the anatom, or its attractor and essence.
When anatoms interact they do so through these dynamic and harmonic self-stabilizing interiors (anima motrix). This quantized complexity is responsible for the periodicities of the elements, and the dynamic integrity and structuring of the chemical bonds and active capacities of self-assembly (rudimentary life, intelligence, and evolution). So, in this way, there is general level “interpretation” as each anatom reacts out of maximal, trans-dynamic integrity directly with its neighbors, as it *integrates* and reconfigures extrinsic energies into its own dynamic internal structuring in active and direct reaction (prehension). But there is no intermediate or mediating stage in these interactions where we can see mimetic encoding of the patterning of the outside world into the interior. There is a structural coupling between interior and exterior, as it is the properties of the medium at these levels that allows for the anatomic emergence. But there is no internal image, however crude, of the outside world. The internal structuring of the anatom does not *represent* the outside, in this sense. It has no internal pattern matching behavioural heuristic for the external world [[unless you count the prehension of bonding harmonics]]. It’s just pure internal integrity (subjectivity) that integrates with the outside world according to its internal and external dynamic demands. And indeed it’s this maximal enfolded integrity (pure subjectivity) which allows the anatom to emerge into its maximally objective and stable form. This is why I say that this level is purely enfolded epistemic, and purely unfolded ontic (and critically, not collapsing the possible infinite levels below).
This being said, as I mentioned at the beginning, there is a way to stretch the terms, specifically ‘mimesis’ or ‘representation’ to this level, however tenuous a stretch that may be. There is a ‘closure’ in the ergodic externalized ‘perfection’ of the aetheric continuity at these pre-anatomic levels which can be seen to be ‘represented’ by the internalized perfection of the emergent anatom that it engenders. The “pure subjectivity” (focus:Thought) of the anatom is a directly emergent reflection of the “pure objectivity” or externalization and diffusion (flatness: Extension) of the aether. The perfection of flatness flashes into the perfection of focus. This could be said to be the first form of ‘mimesis,’ which, due to its perfection (omnirelational directness), has become its opposite (Principle of Absolute Reversal, SZ, or enantiodromia). So the pure subject has no object but itself. It therefore has no representation that does not just collapse or ouroborically feed into an identity.
David: “But it seems to me also that the Wilberian/Whiteheadian view of atoms getting together to form molecules etc. would necessarily involve or imply some kind of proto-communication between atoms. Is that right, in your view?”
Joel: Proto-communication, yes, as in a transfer of energies in harmonic inter-adaptation. This means that there are new emergent complexities in the overlap and dynamic interaction between anatoms. That’s what chemical bonding is, the attractors and possibilities that appear in these harmonic interactions. Each anatom has an intrinsic active structuring which is directly “communicated” and “felt” (prehension) in the emergence of self-assembling possibilities in the interaction. But there simply is no mimesis involved in this direct interaction.
David: “If it is, I would also have trouble imagining that communication between atoms as completely non-representational.”
Joel: Explained in detail above, but to reiterate, I am defining representation as fundamentally centered on mimesis or abstraction. Does the entity in question form an abstraction of the outside world in its interior? Or is it just interacting from its intrinsic complexity (simplexity)?
David: But perhaps they’re not really suggesting that kind of communication. Is Spinoza’s view something like theirs on this issue as well?
Joel: Although I can’t say for sure, I really think they are mostly just working with Leibniz’s prehension as it occurs in Whitehead, and without a clear model for the atom (orthodox physics doesn’t have one) they are allowing their generalizations to be a bit too general for me. That’s fine. I can see how the terms stretch like that and how an atom can be considered interpreting and communication and sensing. It’s just the intrinsic capacity to actively interact. That’s what Leibnizian prehension is. Spinoza was a bit vague, really, on the subject of what he called “simplest bodies”. But it’s clear enough he did not use them reductively or atomically. Everything in Spinoza was an expression or modification (mode) of deeper dynamic Substance (infinite difference), and every mode has a dynamic essence, what we’d call an attractor in complexity science, roughly, as described above for the anatom. So Spinoza’s view fits quite well with Leibniz’s more evolved (if sometimes confused) view here.