Re: Postmodernism -- switching epistemes... LO148

Kent D. Palmer, Ph.D. (
Fri, 17 Feb 1995 11:09:59 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO129:

Gene Bellinger has given me permission to post this answer to the list.

On Thu, 16 Feb 1995 wrote:

> Kent,
> Caught your post on Postmodernism on LO. You haven't lost me yet and I would
> like to continue along wherever this path leads.
> I find your poins well made, though you do see a bit wordy. It makes it
> difficult for slow people like me to follow.
> I have given some thought abuot the either/or mentality we see to have and
> can see how it limits us. We must get beyond either/or and begin to
> understand "and." The difficulty I find trying to explain this is there there
> are so many areas for which there are no words to describe the integration of
> the either/or dilemma. Yes, I can describe the integration of
> dependent/independent as interdependent, but how dow you describe the
> integration of "wild/tame?" Take a stab at it, I'm at a loss.
> Also, I tried to subscribe for '' and the system said it
> had no auto-subscribe. Can you register me? Also, subscribe me to
> also if you would. I have already subscribed to the
> autopoiesis list.
> thanks,
> Gene Bellinger,,,,


Thanks for your reply. I will take a stab at an answer.

In English it is difficult to talk about things non-dualistically. I tend
to use mindbody or wildtame to talk about the chiasm of wild to tame and
reverse it to talk about its reversible aspect. So there is also bodymind
and tamewild. In a chiasm one of the joined aspects always predominates
over the other. If they are equal the distinction vanishes. I would refer
you to the theory of spacetime which is x+y+z-t. It has an opposite
theory of timespace that Heidegger talks about in TIME AND BEING. In that
the opposite past-present-future+nowhere is posited. That is called
Minkowoski Spacetime in physics that emphasizes causality over position.
Notice that spacetime is a four dimensional block in which perspectives
create three dimensional slices that unfold for us as movement in time.
>From different inertial frames the relations of reversibility between
timelike aspects and spacelike aspects appears different for different
observers. A similar effect appears in any chiasmic nonduality. There are
different perspectives on the reversibiltiy between the aspects of the
duality. So logosphysus and physuslogos is a single nondual matter where
the reversibility is a matter of point of view. Now there is a way to
understand this relation using a geometrical analogy. Baudrillard in THE
MIRROR OF PRODUCTION in a footnote uses the mobius strip as an analogy
for the chiasmic relation between dualities. On a mobius strip there is
local division into two sides and two faces of the strip but globally
there is only one line and one face. So there is a global/local
reversibility that shows how the reversibility between any two aspects of a
chiasm relate. So consider mind as one side of the mobius strip and body
as the other side. Globally they are the same but locally they are
different. Furthermore where ever we were to cut the strip the distinction
would be slightly different to the extent that as we move round the strip
we move our cut a complete 360 degrees. Thus the point of reversibility
may be seen at any point in a circle. This is why there is so much
controversy over simple definitions of opposite terms. Different people
will make the cut differently across the mobius strip -- they are all
right and what we need to do is recognize the transformability between
different ways of making cuts or distinctions in the world by reference to
the global sameness of the things being cut. If we got used to talking
about wildtame and tamewild and noticed that the actual distinction
between the two varied on ones perspective then it would solve a lot of
terminological bickering as well as provide us with a way to think about
things non-dually as we have learned to do in spacetime physics. It is
nice when we have a word for the global sameness like interdependent.
Unfortunately we normally have to make up those words in English because
it goes against the historical grain of the language. I might suggest the
phrase globally wildtame for that Sameness. A good work on this very
question is Heidegger's IDENTITY AND DIFFERENCE. Heidegger talks of the
belonging together of opposites that are Globally the Same rather than
identical. For instance he says that Poetry and Philosophy belong
together. You can get at some things in each that you cannot get at with
the other and vice versa. Similarly we can say this for philosophy
(logos) and the practical or pragmatic (physus). That is why
constructivism exists which says we can learn things we cannot theorize
about proplerly by just putting things together. That is why Peirce
developed Pragmatism as a philosophy for America (the land of
thoughtlessness). We cannot escape philosophy by just not thinking. We
are stuck with our undepressed philosophy.

Philosophy is love of wisdom. Wisdom is the chiasm of knowledge and
experience. Love is the Global sameness of knowledge-experience. Plato
points out the crucial role of Love or Desire in philosophy in many of
his dialogues. A wonderful book about this is Anne Carson's _EROS: The
Bittersweet_. In fact this book is perhaps the deepest philosophy book
ever written.

But the question arises . . . What is Knowledge? What is this matter we
are aspiring for organizations and people to learn?


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