“If you alter the Book, you alter the world; if you alter the world, you alter the body. This is what we didn’t understand.” – Umberto Eco,
Foucaults Pendulum, pg. 566, Harcourt, 1988
Humans cannot help but be humans. We can't help but reveal "what" we are by what we do. The body itself, a wondrous fractal creation of
self-organizing dynamics in space-time - a symmetry dynamic - the body's physical form an "attractor" which the cell's which make it up consistently
dissipate energy towards. Thermodynamics in matter taking the form of a particular dynamical object invested with telos - purpose - built around the
triadic logic of disorder, order, and harmony. Each organism is a teleodynamism. More specifically, each organism is the semiotic gestalt of its
history of interactions, from the beginning of life (as cells, which each organism is made from) to the evolution of complex animals. All of this is a
history of semiotic coupling between a thermodynamically dissipative energetic structure and the perturbations it encounters in its territorial
Its not hard to imagine how evolution unfolds from these facts. Life is based in symmetry, or continuity, between the self-organizing and
self-enclosed structure, and the meanings that its intrinsic "neediness" i.e. tendency to dissolve, generate affects (such as hunger) which drive the
system (it's mind and body) towards a world that represents the salient objects that correlate with relaxing the stresses of the state in question
(hunger, and so, a burger is found).
The Christian Cross
I'm about to argue something that may offend the dogmatic, but seeing that reality and its processes are non-arbitrary, i.e. they follow rules we can
track and make reference to, this claim is merely a corollary to how we function i.e. by symmetry dynamics. In other words, our minds are sensitive to
coherent reasoning because
our brain-body-mind is built to attune to and sense the coherency of reality in terms of what we know. Our minds are
always at the 'edge' of computational dynamics which the "unconscious" (i.e. brain) carries out, leaving us the "summation" of its calculations,
always stretching back to the threat-safety ethological distinctions which underlie the functioning of every animal system that exists. That is, good
is that which supports the motivational dynamics which serve to reconstruct the body of the organism i.e. the objects of the world. Bad is that which
threatens the systems coherency.
Evolution is always about continuity of the system, and so, avoiding dissipation is the "negative pole" of the systems functioning (inducing
inhibition or excitation depending on the meaning and medium of the signal) while attuning to specific objects which bring about enlivenment and
wellbeing (i.e. pleasure) entrain the "positive pole" of the system. Bad and Good determine the wiring of brain functioning in all creatures. The
secret to be known, and which brain science is uniquely suited to helping us understand, is what constitutes bad and good in human functioning.
This question more or less belongs to the realm of developmental psychology, and so, analysis of the interactional sequences between the newborn
system (baby), and the other humans in its environment. An angry face and a happy face constitute a negative and positive stimulus. A stressed voice
or a removed way of being speaks a disenlivening influence, and "patterns" the systems interactional dynamics according to the affective-meaning (and
its relational implications) implicit within the expressions of others.
In short, life gets "into our genes", because there is a deep structure which keeps the human being in a continuous contact with its environment;
indeed, there is a dynamical continuum of which we are only dimly aware i.e. having brains which dissociate certain forms of meaning.
The Christian cross expresses a dissociated and traumatized psyche. In order to appreciate this fact, it must be compared against what is sometimes
called the "gnostic cross":
The difference may not seem like much, but it is more or less the opposite of the other one.
Another representation of a gnostic cross recapitulates the first cross
As you can, I am drawing a distinction between the lengths of the crosses and the general asymmetry between the vertical and horizontal axes.
In very basic terms, reality can be said to have two basic dimensions: the horizontal plane, in which our physical bodies dynamically interact with
other bodies, and in the process, our observing mind is affected by the dynamical meaning consequences of the objects that we interact with in the
world. The horizontal is dynamical; conversely, the vertical is 'existential', and more or less converts to what is meant by mystics when describing
different 'gradations of being'. Dynamical effects may accrue, but the sensibility of the relationship to the horizontal vector can being badly
damaged by interpersonal trauma, and so, the mind will metaphorically "cut off its arms", while still egotistically holding to "knowing reality truly"
i.e. to a gnosis.
The Christian cross is this; a traumatized and traumatizing culture which holds to idealistic fantasies and scenarios and dogmas that serve to keep
the unwanted facts of reality at bay; the mind 'shrinks', or rather, forms, around the energetic and dynamical effects of meaning interactions with
the environment - and this is what the brain is: the shaping of neural hardware (and its complex molecular states) according to what objects "mean" to
the system of the "brain", which is also the system of the "mind".
The minds need to represent reality in a shrunken way is not the fault of Christians, but of being ignorant of how the mind-works. Christianity
emerged from Rome and Judaism - a pagan world obsessed with liberty, and the Jewish world obsessed with purity and responsibility. No doubt both
groups mutually provoked one another into polarized ways of relating to themselves and one another; the religiosity and lack of a common lingua franca
i.e. science, in which to address matters, created this general state of affairs.
I like the Yin-Yang symbol because it speaks to the dynamical point-counterpoint "dance" going on between a singular continuum that is paradoxically
"two" in its dynamism.
But I also like the gnostic symbol - even though I often associate the term gnostic with people who are antinomian, antirealist, and because of these
general ways of being, "madmen".
The horizontal and the vertical represent the two planes of being - the dynamical which intersects with the lives and beings of other creatures
(horizontal) and the existential which speaks to our own personal existence and experience of being a self with needs for coherency.
Naturally, and truthfully, only a circle can bound and encompass these two planes, as the gnostic circle does. The dynamical-horizontal and the
existential-vertical are two ways of thinking about our unity with existence; one, partly outside of us, and which demands from us a recognition of
responsibility to those we are affected by and affect; and the other, a place where we first learn to express our agency - to feel and be a self.
Liberty arises from here, but it must acknowledge the same circle - the same limit - which circumscribes its being.
edit on 31-10-2017 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)