Some Rough Thoughts on Dialectics

February 1, 2009


A bit about determinacy:

It is only certain because we cannot determine it conceptually. What is it to type on a computer? What scale are we talking about here? Quantum? Relativity? The categorical containment of whatever aspect of typing on the computer you wish to determine – the confines of your determinacy – makes it uncertain because of the historically contingent, intersubjective way in which you constructed those confines. Determining something creates uncertainty, while indetermination without categorical containment creates certainty. Some might call the latter “absurd”, and the former “rational”. However, the latter (indeterminate certainty) is a feeling of the body of experience. It is not proof, becuase it is not a conceptual, categorically contained determinacy. It is a belief, not from concepts, but of feeling. In this “absurd” body of experience, evidential “proof” (or persuasion) flattens into the grid of our epistemic (contained) maps – our table of categories, distinctions, determinations etc. There is no proof of typing on the computer. But because we all feel the keys under our fingertips and see the dynamics of the process of writing etc., it is a belief that I have because of the way such a bodily interaction with the world feels. Call it absurd if you wish, but I think its a very practical and generative belief to have.

On Dialectical dynamics:

I’d say discourse (dialectic) disintegrates authority (or traditional hierarchies) through a process of resonance and dissonance, where the resonanating (agreeing) ideas find themselves in a context of dissonance (disagreement). The resonances dissolve into a sameness – a singularity like a harmonic soundwave in the air, almost to the point of disapearance. They become like a mute note, amongst the power of the dissonant notes (the disagreements). The disagreements become more powerful during discourse, and they are extended to encompass a larger foundation on both sides of the argument, I’d say. As discourse tends to sway to the side of strengthening the oppositions, the new, now stronger opposing structures, now undermine the similarities. Certain discourses might cause the supporting dissonant structure to creep into the agreements and transform them. While other discourses might completely annhilate these resonances through the same dynamic. If the resonances (agreements) are considered traditional hierarchies, which, I think they are, the discourse would then be corrosive, transformative, or utterly destructive to the authoritative traditions because of this dynamic of expanding opposition. The process then repeats, where the dissonances become the new resonances and so forth.

deconstruction —> reconstruction —> deconstruction —> reconstruction etc.

It seems like the disagreements in discourse are so subtle, how even a mere re-definition of a term, like “mind”, can throw the whole process of apparant agreement into a vast disagreement. However, in some cases, the “vastness” of the disagreement is not as vast as black and white. For example, if you take the color black – the material pigment of it – and begin to seperate it into points, expanding to an infinite end, the black block becomes a series of points that eventually begin to grey against the white, each time a point multiplies and becomes more disparate. Soon enough, you’ll need a high powered microscope to even see black at all. Likewise, with white on black. If extrapolated with this logic, they will reverse roles – where black becomes white, and white becomes black. If you keep them seperate, they will remain reversed, while if you transpose them upon one another, there will be a middle-grey. In the grey, the initial black and white, as well as the logically reversed black and white, become lost in grey. They integrate into sameness. The power of it becomes completely lost in it’s sameness.

Consider this as an analogy to argumentation, how one takes a position, and what occurs during agreements.

Initially there is grey – agreement. In the agreement, which is a culturally confined emergence, there is no power in the agreement. It’s neutral. However, because of the fallabile pre-suppositional “grounds” of belief, as the white is pulled away from the black, the neutral gray shows signals around its edges of opposition. The power of the neutral grey is realized as black and white grow along the edges of expansion. The pre-suppositions have allowed for rational disagreements. The cultural agreement becomes a powerful disagreement. They are now in a converging dialectic with one another – a dialogue. They tug away at each others arguments, finding more to disagree with, until they have disagreed with everything. The nuetral grey is now in complete opposition as black and white. The positions have gained thier full potential power as non-converging oppositions – a disparate dialectic. One says “It’s all mind”. Another says “It’s all matter”. It is a strong opposition, yet very subtle in its opposition, I think. The former, has noticed a categorical distinction in the neutral grey of the cultural paradigm, namely that of mind and matter. The latter sees the same distinction, but under the same categories, expands upon the matter. He defends it. The evaluative, interpretive categories of the normative (rule-following) mind have somehow evaluated the categorical containment differently, than the former. The thing is, I think, because of the variance in evaluation, new categories are formed within the black and white sides. Black has different aesthetic properties than white, like mind has different properties than matter. They begin analysing two different beasts. The language used might be a product of frustration of non-communicability. How is one to explain the aesthetic properties of white unless it is in relation to its opposite, black? White is only bright next to black, and visa versa. Likewise, “mind” as a concept is only mind in relation to matter. They grow from one another. An understanding of matter is necessary for an understanding of mind.

So, what’s going on here?

They are entirely distinct and powerful (mind / matter, black / white) because of thier violent opposition. The categories developed within mind are developed in a dialogue with matter. Mind is meta-physical. Matter is physical. It is all developed through relations. The fiber of the canvas, or the language of the discourse, is what holds the dialectics together.

Are dialectics only possible because they converge through similar media? (Canvas fibers, or language structure) Is it only a dialogue because of the necessary underlying structure?

Can the dialectic of mind / matter remain disparate, on top of a canvas of similarity?


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