Sunday, August 04, 2013

Excerpts from a Recent Dialogue on Dialectics.

Dear Readers,

The purpose of this blog entry is to share with you an interesting recent 'dialogue on dialectics' in which I participated.

In the edited '''dialogue-transcript''' below, the queries addressed by my interlocutor are notated with a 'Q.:', and my responses with an 'R.:'.




Recent Dialogue on Dialectics 1.

Q.1.1:  '''You wrote:

"7. A self-mirroring / ‘‘‘self-reflection’’’ / self-beholding that irrupts new ontology -- that surges-up a new, expanded ‘cumulum of ontology possibility’ as expanded cosmological ‘self’[cf. Hegel, ‘‘‘Being-for-Itself’’’]."

Being-for-itself is a existentialist (Sartrean) term and perhaps not quite the 'positive'/hegelian surge that you suggest here, but something that may be the opposite...i.e. contractive, reductive and inwards...

The title of this thread suggests a sort of attempted Einstein (who failed) for the Sociologist...if you had to sum up/explain to a lay person all that you have written into say 500-1000 words what would you write??"

...i'm intrigued/fascinated.'''


"Being-for-[It]self". The term "Being-for-itself" may crop up in Sartre's Being and Nothingness, etc., with an "existentialist" meaning, but the term "Being-for-self" figures as the title of the third chapter of Hegel's <<Logik>>, Book One, "The Doctrine of Being", Section one [entitled "Quality"], as part of the triad --

"Being" [chapter one] +---> "Determinate Being" [chapter two] +---> "Being-for-self" [chapter three]

-- with, shall we say, a "Hegelian" meaning [please see: A. V. Miller, translator, Hegel's Science of Logic, Humanity Books [Amherst, NY: 1969], second -- unnumbered -- page of the Table of Contents], a meaning which is not above criticism -- not by far, especially not from a Marxian perspective.

Requested Summary. The cosmos is an expanding but largely also cumulative self-progression of [to use the Mediterranean ancients' terminology] <<arithmoi>> -- that is, of populations, or of [concrete, and of "dynamical" -- of changing -- and, often, of growing] "numbers" -- of units, or [again, to use the terminology of the Mediterranean portion of we moderns' cultural ancestors] of numbers of <<monads>>, of differing kinds.

Old kinds of units create new kinds of units -- and thus new populations, or new <<arithmoi>> [i.e., new concrete "numbers"], by a process of 'meta-unit-ization', by which some of the sub-populations of the units of an "old" kind form 'meta-units', each one of the new kind of unit being made up out of many of the old kind of units.

For example, some of the population of pre-nuclear "particles" [e.g., "quarks"] form proto-nuclear "particles" [e.g., "protons"], then some of the resulting population of proto-nuclear "particles" form atomic nuclei [e.g., Helium++], then some of the resulting population of atoms form molecules [e.g., proto-stellar "molecular cloud" H2O], and so on.

The cosmos is a cumulative self-progression of kinds, in that the old kinds generally continue to persist in existence even after they have given birth to later, new kinds, e.g., "matter" not organized beyond pre-nuclear "particles", and "matter" not organized beyond proto-nuclear "particles", and "matter" not organized beyond atoms, and "matter" not organized beyond molecules ... has continued to exist beyond the time when each gave birth to its 'meta-units', hence its next consecutive 'meta-kind', all the way through to the present moment.

Within the 'psychohistorical material' of 'The Human Phenome' -- i.e., among 'human psycho-artifacts' -- written words, for example, are formed from letters, phrases from words, sentences from phrases, paragraphs from sentences, and so on.

This process is a dialectical process, because it meets the definition of a '[self-]<<aufheben>>' process: some of the units of each earlier level of units are negated, and conserved, and elevated to form each next higher level of units; each next higher population, each next higher [concrete] "number".

This dialectical process of "meta-unit-ization", or of 'meta-individual-ization', forming new kinds of "numbers", new kinds of <<arithmoi>>, of new kinds of units, or of new kinds of individuals, is a universal process, observable at all known stages of the highest taxonomy level of the cosmos, and also at scales within the sub-taxonomies of each taxonomic unit of that highest taxonomy level.

It is the -- dialectical -- architectonic of the universe.

The Seldonian "first dialectical arithmetic/algebra" captures this self-<<aufheben>> process, ideographically and algorithmically, through the standard interpretation of its "self-multiplication" operation, as this 'self-<<aufheben>>' operation.

Q.1.2.:   '''Thanks.

i'm out of my depth with all this, i skimmed your useful summary.

It is all very materialistic (which is good for . . . the marxist tradition) with its connections to the (meta/micro)physical, developments of texts and so on...

What of the immaterial world (not just the idea of 'spirit' but of the virtual world (i.e networks, internet etc) which may have a separate trajectory to that of the real world (but, perhaps, have no less 'materiality' and/or 'spirit' compared with the real world)?

Is 'event' and 'crisis' a dialectic??

Is it useful to describe them as such, and how would such terms (regardless if they are dialectical or not) fit into this theory of everything?

Finally, do you believe in some Spinozan god-like figure...i've read this term on numerous occasions without actually understanding it -- would your description of 'the dialectical architectonic of the universe' conform to such a definition, or is the operation of the dialectic itself pulling all the strings??'''

R.1.2:  You asked:

Q.:  "What of the immaterial world (not just the idea of 'spirit' but of the virtual world (i.e networks, internet etc) which may have a separate trajectory to that of the real world (but, perhaps, have no less 'materiality' and/or 'spirit' compared with the real world)."

R.:  The internet -- the virtual world, the "cyber" world -- is no less a part of 'The Human Phenome', or 'Meme-nome', and no less a part of the 'psychohistorical material' of human history, than are the 'psychoartefact' materials of spoken and written language, of mathematics, of literature, of art, etc., etc.

The dialectical, <<aufheben>> processes of 'meta-unit-ization', or 'meta-individual-ization', that I described in the my summary for you , are as evident in the psychohistorical dialectics of 'The Human Phenome', of human[ized] Nature, as they are in the 'physio-historical' dialectics of '''pre-human Nature''', and of contemporary, 'extra-human Nature' [excluding what F.E.D. calls 'the meta-human'].

For more regarding this, consider the following --

[see especially equations 1, 5, and 7].

Q:  ". . . Is 'event' and 'crisis' a dialectic??  Is it useful to describe them as such, and how would such terms (regardless if they are dialectical or not) fit into this theory of everything?"

R.:  "event" dialectic -- In the consensus view of the F.E.D. collective -- a view which I share -- an "event" [or '''eventity'''] is '''dialectical''', if it instantiates an <<aufheben>> process -- either a process of <<aufheben>> 'meta-unit-ization', such as I described in the summary, or, at least, a process of the 'self-other-ization' of an initial '''[it]self''' or '''subject''' [i.e., a causal agent, not at all necessarily a human, self-aware, "subject"], followed by a 'complex unification' of that [it]self and its self-generated other:

[it]self ---> [it]self + self-other ---> [it]self + self-other + hybrid of [it]self and its self-generated other.

"crisis" dialectic -- a 'meta-evolutionary' '''crisis''', or 'ontological revolution', forming the boundary between one epoch of '''evolution''' and the next, and involving the irruption of "new ontology" -- of new kinds of being -- is central to the F.E.D. account of [physio- and psycho]historical dialectic.

Per F.E.D., such "ontological revolutions", or 'metafinite singularities' [not fictitious, quantitatively infinite singularities, a la 'unqualified', "purely-quantitative" nonlinear differential equations, when finite-time divisions by zero arise therein, but realistic, finite singularities, involving the irruption of qualitative change in the form of new ontology] come in two basic types, that we call 'resonance singularities', and 'conversion singularities'.

  • 'Resonance singularities' [i.e., 'self-conversion singularities', or 'auto-conversion singularities'] are exemplified, in the 'physio-dialectics' of pre-human and extra-human Nature, by "cosmological nucleosynthesis", induced when early pre-nuclear "particles" cross a certain energy-density threshold in the early cosmos -- when physical-spatially concentrated pre-nuclear "particles", e.g., "gluons and "quarks", irrupt into the formation of the new, cosmologically unprecedented ontology of the first-ever atomic nuclei, e.g., Helium ions, He++;
  • 'Resonance singularities' are exemplified, in the 'psycheo-dialectics' of human Nature, by the irruption of previously unprecedented new 'socio-ontology' in the form of the 'meme-etic', psychophysical existence of Capital-value as a new social relation of production [Marx], from a sufficient social 'densification' and concentration of the Money-value-mediated circulation of Commodity-value, which arises when a certain threshold in the growth of the social forces of production is crossed, and which begins the '''formal subsumption''', by the Capital 'socio-ontology', of its predecessor, Money and Commodity 'socio-ontology'.
  • 'Resonance singularities' characterize the 'self-<<aufheben>>' processes of the generation, by a natural '''eventity''', of its own supplementary "other", e.g., via a process of 'self-<<aufheben>> meta-unit-ization', such as I described in the summary that you requested.

  • 'Conversion singularities' [i.e., 'hetero-conversion singularities', or 'allo-conversion singularities']are exemplified, in the 'physio-dialectics' of pre-human and extra-human Nature, by the crises of "stellar nucleosynthesis".  A "star" is a "hybrid" formation -- an ontological conversion-formation -- that converts the ontology of stellar-core pre-nuclear "particles", e.g., protons ["Hydrogen ions", H+], into the new, next 'meta-ontology' of atomic nuclei, i.e., of Helium ions ["alpha particles", He++]. Helium is the "ash" -- the "entropy" -- of stellar Hydrogen fusion. When the Hydrogen in the core of a "main sequence" star is exhausted -- essentially completely converted into Helium -- then stellar nucleosynthesis in the stellar core ceases, and the star resumes catastrophic self-gravitational self-implosion, until the density-temperature of the core Helium becomes sufficient for the "Helium flash" to ignite Helium fusion in the stellar core -- a next ontological 'stellar revolution' in "stellar evolution", in which the star drives itself off of the stellar "main sequence", in a 'stellar meta-evolution', and drastically changes its dynamics: the ash, the entropy, turns into fuel, into a new free-energy resource, and the fusion-"burning" of Helium yields the new ontology of yet-higher species of atomic nuclei.
  • 'Conversion singularities' are exemplified, in the 'psycheo-dialectics' of human Nature -- of human-natural history -- by the transition from the '''formal subsumption''', by the Capital-value social-relation-of-production 'socio-ontology', of the previously-emerged 'socio-ontology' of the Money-value relation-of-production, and of the Commodity-value relation-of-production, to the '''real subsumption''', by the 'socio-ontological' conversion of more and more Money-values and Commodity-values into "Money-Capital" and "Commodity-Capital" [Marx, Capital, volume II.].
  • 'Conversion singularities' characterize the 'other-<<aufheben>>', <<aufheben>>-conversion of some of the remaining ontology / 'onto-mass' of the predecessor '''eventity''' into the ontology of the 'supplementary other' that this '''eventity''' has generated from out of itself, inside a formation which instantiates the third, 'hybrid of [it]self and its self-generated other' stage of the three stages that I described earlier, above.

Q:  "Finally, do you believe in some Spinozan god-like figure...i've read this term on numerous occasions without actually understanding it -- would your description of 'the dialectical architectonic of the universe' conform to such a definition, or is the operation of the dialectic itself pulling all the strings??"

R:  From a scientific standpoint, we see no possible experiment that would empirically either "prove", or "rule-out" the existence of a Spinozan, '''Pantheistic''', '''God = The Totality of Nature''' as Deity. 

We discipline our "beliefs" to concur with the content / results of our scientific, empirical experiments, and of our experiences of other kinds as well.

In our view, "something" called "The Dialectic" should be neither "Deified", nor reified.

"The Dialectic" is not a "Subject" / "Causal Agency" that "pulls strings", or that does anything else. 

The Marxian dialectic is a human, mental, but empirically-based scientific construct.

"The Dialectic" does not exist as an Agent, any more than "Capital" exists as the real agent, the real subject, of later human prehistory.

Such reified constructs are only mental <<geistes>>, or ghosts -- 'pseudo-subjects' -- that haunt the <<mentalites>> of later-prehistoric, ideology-ridden proto-human beings, whose self-alienation [self-selling] of their creative, "labor" power to various capitals, in return for wages or salaries, renders them, apparently, into '[pseudo-]objects'.

Just as those [proto-]human beings are the real subjects / agents of human [pre-]history [Marx], even when they sell-away their creative power / productive force, and, therefore, act even only as "variable capital", so, likewise, the pre-human and extra-human subjects / causal agents, of pre-human and extra-human natural history -- e.g., quarks, protons, carbon nuclei, nucleic acid molecules, pre-eukaryotic cells, eukaryotic [meta-]cells, multi-[eukaryotic-]cellular, asocial organisms, multicellular-animal societies / multicellular-plant '''societies''', and human[oid]s-led plant/animal meta-societies, are the real subjects / causal agents of cosmological natural history, so far known to us to-date.

"The dialectic" is just a generic abstraction, describing, in generic terms, the empirically-observed, abstract[ed] pattern -- of, first, a real subject generating its supplementary 'meta-subject', or its 'counter-subject', and, then, the two together generating a synthesis of the two -- an abstract pattern that, via abstraction, extracts what is in common among the vast diversity of natural-historically more specific cases of natural-historical process, in pre-human natural history, in extra-human natural history, and in 'human-nature-al', [collective-psycheo]history.

"The dialectic" is a '''law''' -- a human, linguistic and conceptual construct, an abstracted generalization, '''inducted''' from myriads of concrete instances -- as to how concrete subjects-in-general, i.e., as to how concrete, causal [and self-causal, self-reproducing] agents, in general, behave.

The axioms, the algorithmic rules, of the Seldonian "first dialectical arithmetic/algebra" are intended to '''capture''' this '''law''' -- the core pattern of all dialectical process -- in its most generic, most universal form.

[And, perhaps, also in the 'meta-human' history that F.E.D. predicts, and that, to contemporary human knowledge, is, at most, yet to come, though it is, already, 'fraction-ally' emergent on Earth, for those who have "ears that hear" and "eyes that see".  But 'the meta-human' is not yet -- to our knowledge -- 'Whole-ly' manifest, or empirically-observable -- on Earth to-date].

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