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Metaphysical Complementarity

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posted on Feb, 20 2019 @ 12:31 PM
When people think about this world around us, there seems to be two competing metaphysical positions: reductionism vs. emergentism. The former says all things can be explained by reducing the thing to something more basic. So, all of human reality can be reduced to the atom, which can be reduced to the nucleon/electron, which can be reduced (not the electron; it is an 'atomos') to a neutron and proton, which can be redued further to three quarks each with a charge in a ratio of 3. The reductionist will go further still to explain why quarks have the properties they do; for instance, why does beta decay - or nuclear radiation happen? The weak force was discovered to explain this decay, which in turn led to the discovery of the heavy bosons - the two W's and the neutral Z. Still, how did these bosons come about? The theorists discovered the Higgs field and then the Higgs boson (in 2012), which helped explain why the Universe and its fundamental objects have mass. The real enigma is the mysterious neutrino: the force which emerges in weak force reactions to 'carry away' some charge, and therefore breakdown the perfect symmetry of the universe.

This is the view of the universe from the reductionist perspective. The Higgs boson, as of now, is the most abstract representation of fundamental particles, with many attributes of all the other particles of the standard model deriving from the influence of this particle. Theories beyond the Higgs - which attempt to explain qualities like: why does the Higgs field have a 246 GeV charge? Why do the gauge bosons come into being (the 3 heavy one and the massless photon) posit supersymmetry and string theory and other exotic theories to explain. The belief is that supersymmetry will be discovered at higher levels of energy than the Higgs (clicking at 125 GeV). Again, everything is being reduced to the abstract numbers of mathematical physics.

On the other side of the picture is emergnetism. Many philosophers of the past - Hegel, CS Peirce, Whitehead, took an emergentist position (with Peirce having the most coherent formulation) and in the modern era process philosophies inform the work of certain outstanding neuroscientists - Karl Pribram, Jason W. Brown, Don Tucker - and in physics, Robert B. Laughlin has argued the significance of emergence in organizing even lower-level situations - i.e. the electrons mass will change in a superconductor to an exact 1/3rd charge (oooh...mysterious). Emergence explains organization in terms of the top-down It says what happens at the 'top' of a system (the macroscale) has organizational consequences for the most reduced element in a system (i.e. the electron).

This vs. that doesn't sit well with me. I look at the world around me and can't help but see that "this and that" MAKE the world see, implying that the core issue is the way language misleads us into thinking concepts are sufficient, or complete systems of representation, when in fact they are "snapshots" of reality, a unity of a moment, or situation, which in its fullness in depth is always existing in a simultaneous and field-like way. But speak, and the field-effect seems to vanish; is this because speech is inherently deceptive? Or, rather - as I believe - that speech can be ecological in its interests, but that the ecological orientation of a speaking mind depends on that very mind being attuned to ecological conceptions i.e. to a field-like sensitivity to the field of meanings around you. Because of the feedback and feedforward nature of bodily regulation, communication, and social situations, humans in a traumatized context are both reflexively cuing in ways that trigger dissociation and idealization in others, while at the same time they themselves are being reflexively inhibited and focused by amplifying (idealization) and filtering (dissociation) processes in their brain (the pulvinar). In short, you can have a fully-formed mind with a very deeply felt sense of realness and truth, that is completely a function of an ecological scaffolding dynamic that starts from the outside-in and the bottom-up, with the outside objects coinciding with bottom-up dynamics, leaving the mind - the top and "in" - to decide on what to do in this environmental situation. The "how" the feeling process was generated and how it constitutes a prediction based on past programming simplifies the relation of the mind to the environment. Yet, coherence means knowing the past; it means that the mind must weave itself perceptually in its own semiotic construction; the facts of physical unity must be paralleled by a mind that knows how its present state is a construction of a past state in interaction with an environmental variable, for if one takes the state as a 'de-novo' feeling representation, one risks falling into the delusion of an 'essential self' that has been mysteriously infused with feelings which a 'higher self' is unfortunately/fortunately living with. True knowledge means treating feelings and cognitions as both emergent; the former being regulated at the beginning of the life-process, forming the background which the latter grows and evolves from.

Because life is full of complementarities, even in the formation of our mind from feelings and thoughts - both of which constitute 'points' between physical objects (feelings) and the feelings we experience (feelings being 'objects' that lead to the selection of thoughts) - it stands to reason that reductionism and emergentism are also complementarity, but primarily in the sense of the universe starting from a simple beginning where physical laws of symmetry led to the emergence of particles like electrons, nucleons, etc, but over time, as these smaller structures built larger structures, the larger symmetry had the capacity to modify the functionality of the lower symmetry i.e. what Laughlin notes in his superconductivity. The linking theme is symmetry, with the symmetry at the macroscale of the superfluid determining the symmetry of the lower scale.

Similar principles can clearly be recognized in human beings. To Laughlin, this may suggest that the universe has no fundamental laws, but this can't be right: symmetry is the law. There are laws of symmetry and balance which can be invoked to explain the behavior/structure of elements at whatever unit they appear. All that matters is that the right-level of analysis be found to help explain the emergence of a behavior/structure that needs explaining.

posted on Feb, 20 2019 @ 01:09 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Great post.

The fact that particle physicists have to smash things together, essentially breaking them, in order to examine what's left raises a question for me. Why not try to discover these pieces out in the wild instead of chipping them off of already existing things? The moment we smash things to examine their constituent parts, we are no longer dealing with things as they are, but how we make them.

I can't believe things are "made up" or "composed" of elementary particles until someone composes something out of elementary particles, instead of breaking off particles of already existing things. That's why I do not agree with reductionism in the atomistic sense, that things are are merely the sum-total of their atoms and nothing more.

I suppose it's the same with emergentism, though I haven't given it much thought.

I gravitate towards a metaphysics of pluralism, that there are uncountable or even an infinite number of objects and substances. Sure, we can give two similar objects and substances the same name (ie. horse), yet each object occupies their own space and time, have their own boundaries, begin and end, and are contained within themselves. Each object in the universe is unique on those grounds. Metaphysicians have done little to explain how that is the case.

posted on Feb, 20 2019 @ 01:23 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

schrodinger comes to mind...


posted on Feb, 24 2019 @ 07:59 AM
Language is "duality" ie(contact) very much like the double blind slit experiment when talking to someone/something as waveform reciprocity goes... there are more factors though; like a good soup and a bad soup as waves go... these are the "senses" each has a separate sense consciousness in unawareness including the "mind" some refer that to the "higher self" or knowing which one is the host and which is the guest as in not self, impermanent state of being and depending on the frame of reference used such as "time"; can be a cause or effect of suffering of course extremophiles don't know they are extreme they have simply adapted and are of course life also, unless one is walking around talking to oneself out loud or in their head.

Discriminating life from other life? Some also see as "extreme" as it gives rise to various dualities on contact... such as greed for yuuuuuuummmmm next thing one knows extinction event or hate such as ouuuuuuuch same thing extinction event delusion eats the whole bag on the couch as a "senseless" eater meaning the eye is full and yet reflecting that the stomach is not... and as soon as they realize that the belly was full quite awhile ago? I cannot say as that is feeling thoughts and a whole complex entity or being... they would know upon that realization, however.

Equanimity is a state of being without enmity... it is life and elements in balance or one.

Mind or matter? Smallest yin and yang... at such a point one does not know self from that other, and yet there is still the perception of neither either due to clinging, attachment, and craving of various sorts... or who is dragging that corpse of; body, speech, or mind?

posted on Feb, 24 2019 @ 08:25 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

What if reductionism is infinite, then they are forever looking for something they will never find.
edit on 24-2-2019 by ManyMasks because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2019 @ 09:28 AM
a reply to: ManyMasks

There are the "four immeasurables" feel free to look them up, and meditate one one at a time until fruition or path knowledge is gained in it before moving on to the next.

Hopping here and there is haphazard/no path/short-sighted and constantly falling off at some unknown rate... with no real resolve.

posted on Mar, 1 2019 @ 11:55 AM
a reply to: MadLad

The fact that particle physicists have to smash things together, essentially breaking them, in order to examine what's left raises a question for me. Why not try to discover these pieces out in the wild instead of chipping them off of already existing things? The moment we smash things to examine their constituent parts, we are no longer dealing with things as they are, but how we make them.

But the universe has an origin, so when we 'break things apart', we are also, at the same time, reasoning as to how the matter in question emerged: its assumed to be reversible i.e. that the universe can be played 'backwards'.

Thus, at the very origin of the universe just before inflation, the Higgs field is said to have emerged, and the inflation of the universe from a tiny infinitesimal space into a massive space was created by the Higgs boson.

This is the "reduction" part of the logic of particle physics. At cooler temperatures - corresponding to later periods in the Universe's evolution - ordinary matter emerges i.e. the elements of the periodic table. This in turn requires nucleogenesis, start explosions, etc, so its very non-linear. But more or less, the logic of particle physics and big bang cosmology appear to be correct: reductionism is a legitimate perspective towards nature.

But its obviously not sufficient. Reductionism must be complemented with emergentism, and together, both perspective need to be seen as complementary; the former describing the beginnings and core of the evolution of the universe from a simple state of symmetry, and the latter describes how that simple symmetry - contained in particles like the Higgs - became 'hidden' with the emergence of the Universe of objects. Yet, of course, as love and human interaction make quite clear, symmetry exists here as well; but not as an abstract particle - but as a common experience of vulnerability, beauty, joy and compassion - what may be usefully termed, 'the ether'. We evolved from complex animalian beginnings and maintain and contain all the logic that leads to the recognition of this ether. But with this recognition, alpha and omega unite: the logic of eternity (reductionism) and temporality (emergentism) come together in the moral Universe that humans live within.

edit on 1-3-2019 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

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