The Intangibles


In the modern world, we love to draw distinctions.  I don't know the history of this predilection, but it must be ancient and honorable.  Now how do we move beyond it? 

Well, OK, I do know a few things of distinction.  Descartes was its modern master; his mind-matter distinction being the mother of all distinctions.  Ever since Rene, there have been conscientious objectors to this never-ending process of analysis.  Holism is a cottage industry nowadays, but it continues to be an uphill battle.  Panpsychism is the most frequently raised alternative to this Cartesian pananalytic compulsion.  The modern basis of panpsychism is to be found in John Wheeler's remark that no phenomenon is real unless it is observed.  His remark gives voice to the quantum measurement problem. 

It should be noted that to distinguish is to abstract, and abstractions are first among intangibles.  If abstractions are unreal then so is everything else that you can put your finger on, because the very idea of putting one's finger on something is just another, well, idea.  Tangibility is a concept.  There would be no tangibles if there were no concepts, so there is a vicious circularity or logical regress at the bottom of this and every other distinction that has ever been made.  And what do we make of that?  Merely another indication of the flimsy flim-flam that passes as modernism. 

Consider thirst.  Is thirst tangible?  Is it causal?  If not, then what causes one to crawl a mile across the burning sands to an oasis?  Hydro-depletion?  Folk psychology meets neuroscience in the middle of the desert.  The neuroscientist supposes thirst to be a mere concept, something to be eliminated from any scientific inventory of the world.  But what, pray tell, is science if not a humongous pile of concepts?  

Thirst is not locatable in space.  It is not extended.  But neither is an electron, nor is a synaptic event locatable, other than by gross generalization, or, should we say, by abstraction.  And what is space if it is not the mother of abstraction?  Space had not the slightest pretense to physicality until Einstein attempted a (re?)habilitation of it in his theory of General Relativity.  Imagine that!  The only recourse that space has to tangibility is totally dependent upon the notions of Riemannian topology.  

Clearly the game of analysis is logically and physically bankrupt.  And does anyone dispute this?  No one that I can find on the Internet is disputing this.  The analysts keep on analyzing merely because they don't know what else to do.  There is a viable analytic establishment.  There is no holistic establishment.  

I take that back.  There are holistic establishments.  They are called religions.  It was their ligaments that used to hold the world together, until Rene hit the scene.  With postmodernism, we are collectively marking time before the establishment of some new set of ligaments.  Only then could a spiritual body take shape.  Are the analysts sore afraid?  Anyone who does not fear God is whistling in the dark. The mother of all gods is sitting in the wings. 


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