Matter masters us.

October 1, 2014

Scintillating Grid Illusion by E. Lingelbach, 1994

I often think about what it is that i cant comprehend physics, politics, the economy. Things larger then myself that are all encompassing and affect my movements and my awareness.Things to powerful to deny yet that are almost invisible.

Things we can only know  by the forces that are exerted upon us. Like an asteroid flying into the earth due to curves of space-time or the slight swaying of a sky scraper against high winds. Noumenal forces that exist. Outside my experience for sure but directly affecting my ability to both descend and ascend in an elevator.Those once nouemenal forced now understood, now made visible, but never mastered, just merely compensated for.

Elizabeth Grosz’s The Thing speculated on ontology the connection in the state of beings and epistemology our relation to the knowledge of how we experience being. She collapses each into a sort of unity.

We decipher everything, we change it into an ordinary language, we even change our idea of ourselves into something understandable.  If we bend to our will and understanding  we doe so only in regards to the mode of our being and self conception.. We do not rewrite the rules, sure we can alter conditions/behaviors but in exactitude, in flux, it is merely a sort of an alteration based on strict given rules. We don’t master knowledge rather it masters us, our mind bends to the will of the real like tree branches searching for sunlight.

We cannot yet alter fundamental primordial substance of causation (whatever that may mean) and even if one day we could: it would simply be because we understand it as it is and not as we wish it to be. It has mastered our understanding, not we have mastered it. It is what it is; not ever what we think the ‘thing’ to be, our ideas change to accommodate it.

. As she suggests We cannot but perceive the world in terms of objects ( phantoms of singularity) We do not do so as a matter of will.”

‘The thing is the compromise between the world as it is in its teeming and interminable multiplicity -and the world as we need it to be or would like it to be: open, amenable to intention and purpose-. is our way of dealing with the plethora of sensations, vibrations, movements, and intensities that constitute both our world and ourselves.’

At the end i think the author pinpoints what the thing can be, a construction of anatomy and since anatomy was constructed by the earth then an extension of the earth in some strange way.

We are after all earth-stuff that acts upon itself ad infinitum.

In a sense i like to doubt if it is ‘our’ way of dealing with ourselves, as if there is something wrong with the use of the word ‘our’.

For in what sense can we own our consciousness? In what sense can i claim it to be mine and not something more akin to the venom in the fang of snake, or the toughness of the hide of forest deer. It is internal but is it theirs? Can they own their venom? Do we know what consciousness is? What if consciousness and intelligence are more accurately described best as a sort of material? As blind as a branch on a tree? Yet just as active and just as beautiful. Also just as malleable.

We claim consciousness as universal of ‘us’ and ‘our’ and as a product of us as things, yet us as things constructed by matter -that act upon matter, seemingly underlying the notion that matter has mastered itself?

The author brings up the question of ‘mind’. She writes that we delimit the world as a ‘thing’ and perhaps our idea of self-consciousness is also a delimiting structure like that of the ‘thing’ and technology helps us impose our delimit upon the world we have delimited. (side-note: apparently my new favourite word is ‘delimit’.)

So that once we understand the delimiting aspects of thinking of ourselves as individuals and not products of our environment like say (a weathered rock or a California wild fire) Then perhaps we can understand how paradoxically it is not delimited for ‘we’ understand the limit and therefore surpass it. Unlike the wildfire which exhausts itself.

And in this thought the author pushes us past the delimits of our concepts by asking ‘Is technology [more accurately digitisation] inherently simplification and reduction of the real?Can the real even be reduced in the concept of the ‘thing’? Since the real and the thing both exists. Can the ‘thing’ the concept  itself even be reduced, it is deciphered but if it is an a priori? Maybe technology is less like a delimitation and more like fertiliser.

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