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Uexkull, Magick & Science

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posted on Sep, 11 2017 @ 02:41 AM

If we now proceed farther, we enter environments in which very effective phenomena appear, visible, however, only to the subject. These phenomena are not bound to experience, or, at most, to a singular experience. We call such environments magical...Such experiences are frequently encountered by traveling researchers in the case of primitive peoples. It is said of primitives that they live in a magical world in which fantastic phenomena blend with the sensually given things of their world. Whoever looks closer, however, will find the same magical formations in the environment of cultivated Europeans. - Jakob von Uexkull, A Foray into the Worlds of Man and Animal

In the University of Minnesota edition of this book, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young investigates the possible meaning of von Uexkull's surname, Uexkull, and considers the Estonian uex "one", and "kulla", "village". But after determining that Kula means "village", and "kulla" means 'into the village', he lands upon the most plausible meaning of all: uex means "one", while Kull, without an extra "a", means "enough". Uexkull thus translates as "one is enough".

Winthrop-Young analyzes this quality of Uexkull's name with regard to the many qualities of Uexkulls philosophical focus. While being, as Winthrop-Young notes and lauds, a capacity to move into another creatures lifeworld, and even correctly noting the "musical" quality of the way and manner organisms "fit" into one anothers lifeworld like a point-counterpoint in musical notation, there still nevertheless existed the taint of Uexkulls political writings promoting a "purer" Germany in the immediate post world war one period (1921), and the obvious role that played in the formation of national socialism a decade later. Uexkull, despite being fascinated with Nazism, and an early supporter, grew disenchanted when he realized (or fail to realize) that his own personal care for science and "being a gentlemen" didn't jibe with plan, purpose or philosophy of the Nazis, who had no interest in any of the rigor that von Uexkull may have recommended.

In any case, von Uexkull, despite regaining the esteem of many modern thinkers, was still a person with beliefs about reality that were racist - although he seemed, or didn't leave any evidence, to claim that he was a Nazi, or had any particular interest in their manner of ruling, he was still, nevertheless, a person who wouldn't morally comment on what they did, insomuch as the world he subscribed to, like all gnostics, is what Ken Wilber calls "aperspecitval madness".

The problem with this view is that it dements the very mechanism you need - your consciousness - by undermining the coherency of what your body feels, because what we feel is largely a function of the symmetry configurations that occur between human bodies, which appear and are partly controlled by the emergent conscious experience that we subjectively live.

Emotions are law based, and emerge as probabilities induced by the environmental situation: both the environment you are currently in, and the history that precedes your present moment (your 'neurological environment'), with the immediate past being a primary force; and deeper history a secondary force.

Experimental psychology has ruthlessly exposed how much human beings confabulate - how we take from one domain, say, something we saw and didn't quite pay attention to consciously, but was nevertheless influenced by. The issue is 'not paying attention to', so that by definition, no matter how developed your mind, if you are in an 'affective flow', you are liable to not paying attention to an influence, and therefore, increasingly the likelihood that you may confabulate later on.

Such confabulation, in other words, is inevitable: it is a funny quirk of being human. I hear something here, and I mention it in a conversation without knowing I had been affected. This habit can become downright hilarious when you realize how your motivations work; sometimes, it a mere aesthetic piece, something sensual, and distracting, that entrains us into certain interactions, even though we 'cover it over' in our mental narrative with a different story, there is nevertheless an awareness of what we were actually focusing on, and therefore, what was the primary motive: something tangential to what the official 'content' of the conversation was about.


I like how Uexkull, a 'von', which means a nobleman, or aristocrat, and therefore someone he would regard as a 'cultivated european', couldn't help but slide in a reference to his own chosen group, if only because it was logically consistent with his present subject matter, of magic, to acknowledge that it is still as much a part of contemporary psychosocial facts as it is in primitive communities. Except, however, it may be regarded more as a "tool", which, it seems, reflects the cognitive hubris of a mind that believes its more apart than it is.

But the context, however, in which he explores his subject matter, didn't necessarily require him to make such mention; but he makes it, nevertheless, because he wanted to be true to his subject matter - and to be completely true was to state the truth: to those "who look deeper" i.e. beneath the falsity of appearances, "will see the same magical formations in the environment of cultivated Europeans" - will see the occultism, and the accompanying mysticism, that seems to be a part of what it means to be "cultivated".

This is a surprising admission, but its made easier, I imagine, when you carry the 'status' of being a "von". As someone with a specific interest in how the human being evolved on Earth, I want to know the 'rhythms', the biosymmetries, that extend into the environment, and into other humans who are wired and structured the same as we are. I want people to logically reflect on what this means at an ethical level: that if people are genetically biased by the developmental timelines of evolutionary history, 'adumbrated' in those genes which undergo successive transformations from the zygote onward, multiplying cells, knowing which way to go to become what each of us are a presently manifesting: a very complex, extraordinarily ordered transformation of energy, which we are able to interact with at a higher psychological level, but with profound complexities that need to be untangled - to be known - if we are ever to 'differentiate' and 'integrate' ourselves in a more coherent form.

At the biosemiotic level we call 'psychology', the human mind emerges as a 'summation' of neurological events that process upward the relevant teleological dynamics of your unconscious structuring - both dynamical, as to the physics of being an organism, and the social-dynamics, which pertain to bringing about experiences of pride (a sense of effective agency), or any state which your body determines as 'good', but always as a function of the contexts-we-enter (and know something about) as well as the expected responses our system has learned, and has determined a useful and effective response to maintaining self-esteem (i.e. a positively valenced experience of self).

posted on Sep, 11 2017 @ 02:41 AM
von Uexkull, in many ways a genius, was still nevertheless a human being, a human object which is self-created by the other human objects he interacted with. In the make-believe, fairy-tale world von Uexkull lived in, with ghosts and demons, ancestors and spirits, existing side-by-side with complex philosophy, science, and worldly issues, all of this still occurred in a context with human others who embodied characteristics and values that the human system cannot help but become "symmetrical" too - given that is a basic and fundamental proclivity of all matter.

If you believe in chance, and not 'predestination' - ascribed Godly power over the human moral imagination - you are able to release yourself from an overly emotional way of thinking and being that denies basic facts about reality such as: everything we think, feel, and do is under the control of probabilities that act upon our system from without an within.

I have spoken about such probabilities with my chart in another thread, which is probably the most scientific production there is in making sense of how experience emerges vis-à-vis the ontological stages of affective experience.

As said before, the observer is implicit in evolution, and is precisely that 'whole' which, when it finds a suitable ecology, builds up symmetry, not arbitrarily, but always with reference to the extended world it moves and is connected to, which holds the 'other half' of what it needs to recreate itself, again and again.

Around this very basic quality, called 'ipseity', are affective feelings, which refer to the emergence and evolution of affective drives which underlie and express a vital function for surviving at the humans complex ontology. There are 7, although 'aversive/withdrawal' should be seeping into all the other ones, as any interruption or disruption to the pursuit of a feeling/motivation, such as "when I'm hungry, I want to eat", and therefore I do not want to be interrupted between the beginning of this feeling towards its completion in a complementary act which satisfies the need. Each one of these functions are like "threads" which make us up. Our mind lives through these drives; and we exist, and become enlivened, by expressing their vitality through our system. They are good, and we are happiest when we live in a world where people honor our vulnerabilities, because we know all too well the inevitable signs which inform us of our own weaknesses, our own needs, and our own shame - and fear of shame.

Development streamlines these functions, and so constitutes how each of these motivational systems become expressed in relation to the specific objects of the environment. But of course, the environment is independent of you, and can afford or deprive you of complementary states, and so cause you grief. As a rule, our system is built towards the goal of pursuing environments i.e. others, who will complement our structure, and so we call such people "friends", and "family". These people provide the linchpin: the recognition of who you are allows you to know yourself and experience yourself. Without them - or an other - in which to find yourself, you, like all other human beings who operate by the same rules, would lose your mind. (Of course, yes, people can spend a lifetime alone: but they've been afforded such capacities by contextual supports that originally derive from external interactions; and so, they are merely "borrowing" what was originally derives from others, and have since developed it in imaginative forms with imaginary 'others')

Ethics, or morality, is basically about "symmetry". You want to realize levels 2 and 3: what is the motivational system, or feeling need, animating this person right now? If they're hungry, or tired, or not well slept, their ability to be affiliative, or civil, will probably be undermined; and so we can be tolerant of the self-states they express, which merely reflects a history that afforded the emergence of such a self-state i.e. as a defense mechanism. This level 2 and 3 part is mutually supportive: 2 describes and provides an ecological explanation for why something exists as it does (sex for procreation, sensuality as a complement to sex which derives from attachment which created a caregiving need, now translated and integrated into sexual arousal) whereas 3 speaks to the strongly determinative effects of how brain-processing works, and without certain knowledge, and a certain amount of time, to process and reconstruct your brain to accommodate a certain way-of-being, it is unrealistic, and therefore unreasonable, to be angry, or upset, with someone who is no more able to act differently than the any other animal. It is, in short, a call for compassion: to be patient, but also somewhat conflict-inducing, but softly, and intermittently, so as not to overwhelm their sense of what's coherent.

Finally, I would just like to remind people that, when relationality is taken as an ontological rule, and therefore the basis of ethics, the oomph of this proposal derives from neuroscientific facts like neuroplasticity, which implies that present state consciousness, and the qualia of subjective experience and the values they project, are not "determined", or "reified" properties, but subject to real material dynamical processes that only become biosemiotically "rejigged" when the most external process - the environment - changes; when a new-input comes in, the system can be moved in ways it never thought were possible, simply because it has come to feel, slowly, and gradually, via neuroplastic dynamics, a new relationship to the world around it.

posted on Sep, 11 2017 @ 07:59 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Interesting but convoluted.

This doctor Uexvull (it could be pronounced 'ways vool' but IDK) seemed to be onto something, he doesn't seem like a kook, but he seemed to suggest multiple levels of consciousness more than the two that we know of, one that could be influenced by interactions that shape our worldview.

Or on the other side of the coin he might'e just a kook who had too much time on his hands. Personally I like to use Occam's razor with a slice of tangibility, but the human mind is capable of things science cannot explain.

Tulpa and biscuits for breakfast anyone?

posted on Sep, 11 2017 @ 09:58 AM
If anyone is interested in more than word spaghetti, full of pretentious sound but signifying little, the spectrum of consciousness has now been codified and found to be symbolically represented in the sacred geometries of certain religions, as well as in certain objects well-known to mathematicians that can now be shown to be isomorphous to these geometries. For details, study the research at:

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