Monday, January 01, 2007

Looking Heirarchy and Lowarchy - (REVISED) (And then whittled down some more) What Are Words For Part 3

Sense of something more
Have you ever sat in your living room at night this time of year, all lights off but those of the Christmas Tree? The colored lights put auras about each of them, the ornaments reflecting many, curved and gathered together, and if you lean close you can see your own reflection in them. The smell of the pine tree still in the air, windows reflecting the scene back on you as well, through the windows neighbors lights sparkle up the night air.

The presents are long gone from under the tree and there is a certain emptiness present, but even more so a sense of mission, of deliverance completed, accomplished – marked only by lights and uprightness and a clean scent permeating the air. Breathe the scent in, listen to the fire crackle, snuggle up to your wife, the rain outside is outside, and here there is warmth.

There is something more there in that scene, than what the words describe…. But sometimes it is best to let it percolate, resonate through you, rather than to try and identify it, at least for a while, in this way you gain more than you would by seeking more details. Why this is so, is the point of this post.

Wider Themes don’t always have a single meaning
How is that? As I said in Part 1,
“There is also something missed, however, by those who read meaning into the poetry of the words – the golden thread being truth, Ariadne love and promise, the Father past & destiny lost... there is also a meaning, a spell a magic that lives in the story itself, not in its words alone, but in the poetic imagery as a whole that is contained in the entirety of the tale. “

It is true to say that this meaning is there but it is not true to say that that was the meaning. There is more touched on & released by a myth than you will ever pin down. The reason is that myths and story telling use poetic wonder to access the mental foundations upon which all of our conceptions and integrations rest within our minds.

I'm using Poetic Wonder here in the sense of throwing open of the doors to all your mental foundations within your mind, in effect your mind says either “Look at this! I haven’t seen anything like this before", or "this reaches below all of my available words, where am I in it? Where does it fit in?” When Mother tells a child a story, the Childs life is enfolded within that tale. The poetic truth is One, as our understanding is One, as the Cosmos is One through it.

“We in the West, I, often become so enraptured in Words, that we lose sight of not only what they are for, what they accomplish – but also of what they are not, and what can be accomplished without them, or even with them when used in opposition to their meanings.”

Connecting The Quantity And Quality Of Thoughts
Here’s a test, imagine three dots. Everyone should be able to do that rather well. How about 5? Perhaps. Seven? Ten? Were you able to do that? Bet you weren’t. You disagree? Take a look at the dots in your thoughts, I’ll bet that if you could successfully imagine ten dots… that you had them arranged into groups of three’s and two’s - a few of you high power types might use groups of five, such as to die with the Five sides showing... but then, that's just two rows of three overlaid upon eachother... but either way I bet you didn't see Ten dots arranged in an evenly spaced line.


It’s what our minds do, we use concepts in hierarchies from the most basic on up to those more detailed and defined, to enable us to grasp larger ‘quantities’ of information. It is only by continually combining and integrating such concepts as ‘Quantity’, that name for the concept formed from realizing that there is such a thing as repeated instances of something similar, that we get the idea of One, Two, Three and so on. With the basic concept of Quantity, we then can use it to grasp and combine Three and Two, into Five and Ten and then we can build up to grasping twenty, fifty, a thousand.

Without that sensible integration, your mind collapses under the strain of grasping the ‘separate’ness of many ‘relative truths’.

This same type of progression is how our minds move from “It is” to simultaneously grasping “I see it” to ‘things are what they are’, to “A thing can not be both A and Not A at the same time” to Truth, Value, Ethical Right and Wrong and on up to the "Pursuit of Happiness". Without that sensible hierarchical integration rooted in reality, your mind is in danger of collapsing under the strain of grasping the ‘separate-ness’ of so many disassociated things.

Words are in our minds as parts of a mental hierarchy of meanings. One basic Concept, one basic truth, makes it possible to further delineate further truths within that, or built upon that, and in connection to another truth. Another example can be seen in Aristotle noting that the Sun revolves around the Earth, Ptolemy noting ‘epicycles’ to describe the backward rotations mars seems to make in the night sky, Brahe, Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, made deeper observations building a foundation for Newton to make integrations never conceived of before.

There is common theme here in the progression from visual appearances to observations, to deeper conceptualizations, common to how our mind operates in all areas. There is a hierarchy there, which must be followed, to be properly learned, an hierarchy which by the way, our schools regularly violate. The wackademics behind and in our schools routinely obliterate this progressive hierarchy by stating that “people used to believe stupid things, here’s the truth we wise moderns know today” as if old and new theories are merely flat isolated facts (as if there can be such things as isolated facts and conclusions) this is anti-hierarchical by its nature. Attempting to, for example, to leap into Physics with Newton’s 3 laws, without covering the history and progression of thought up to that point, IS insane, it is anti-conceptual. Attempting to jump into such pronouncements as “War is BAD”, without covering history and the long train of its uses and mis-uses, is another example of this. Or that we should all “express ourselves”, and “appreciate Art”, “we’re all beautiful”, and the value of “hippie ‘poetry’”, without any knowledge of the history and meaning of Art, Beauty, Poetry or any conception of Virtue or Divinity.

There is a regular tactic of the post-modernist mind, to deny any and all wholes, in favor of promoting isolated facts as ‘Truth’… or, as they will next say, one of many truths. It is an attempt to deny hierarchy and to establish isolated facts as a legitimate possibility in the world.

Sadly, our bio-computer database doesn’t have built in constraints preventing us from mis-integrating words and concepts, or excluding central vital contexts and substance, the only clue we get is a certain unease, an uncertainty, even an anxiety as our subconscious structure senses that we are blithely stepping out onto thin air, where we imagine ourselves standing on solid ground. (more and expanding on this and the process in the next post).

Use and misuse of encompassing imagery
When we use a word, a concept, knowingly or not, we are also putting ourselves into contact with all of the other related meanings in that hierarchy of thought – some words and phrases, by their nature, are super suited to this soaring through the thought structure like a glass walled high-speed elevator, they have a particularly poetic nature that resonates with the rest. In situations of Danger or Excitement, it instantly brings many concepts up for your immediate incarnation in action (“Of easy wind and downy flake”, “lovely, dark and deep”,”Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, “To Be, or Not To Be”, “Freedom!”, “Ask not what your Country can do for you…” “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country”, “A day that will live in Infamy!”, “I have a Dream!”, “The Eagle has landed”, “Four score and seven years ago….”), they have a particularly poetic nature that resonates with and through the rest.

In story or Oration, this can be wonderful – literally, but in prose, instructive prose, legal prose, this can be disastrous. Again, think of Justice Breyers comments which I started off Part 1 with, particularly about “Free and Fair Elections”. That phrase ties us into the poetic, the hierarchy of structure brings to mind soaring imagery of free peoples heroically battling for their freedoms, opposing tyranny and fighting the eternal battle of might vs. right. This quality is Wonderful for a story, or even with great care, for a history but disastrous for specifics such as law (This is a hint as to What Words Are For), because it can so easily mean anything to any number of people – all assume the speaker is using their interpretation, until it is too late – again here we touch on what words, as specific tools, are for – to be fleshed out in the next post.

This is one reason why Religion's strength has been in ordering the wider truths, but just as disastrous when used to dictate regulation of the populace. Think of the Scarlet S on one hand, Sharia on the other extreme. Religion is the granddaddy of all stories, and underlies, I think, not only stories, but the very structure of our minds. But it’s purpose is to inspire, to lead towards wisdom, to order the soul with reverence for Truth, but the form by its very nature makes it horribly wrong for regulating the sale of liquor in various parts of the county, depending on whether the tourist trade will be affected during peak season.

It is also why with a simple phrase such as "Once upon a time", "In the beginning was the Word" that our concepts manage to so deeply touch our entire life and sense of Values. When we tell a story, if well integrated, it evokes entire mental structures through its theme, such as "Duty, Honor, Country".

Grabbed By The Poetic Fire
To give you an idea about what I mean about the resonate-ability of poetic words, and even more about the conceptual platforms we build our related mental structures upon, consider an example from your own life. Think back to what went through your head when something you expected to happen, counted on to happen – didn’t. Such as your high-school senior going out on New Years Eve, with strict instructions to call you after they decide (against your own better judgment to allow them to) where they’re going to, and then again when they get there – and neither happens. And they don’t answer their cell phone, which they have primarily for you to be able to contact them. The thoughts that go through your head….

As the hour gets later and later and still no word, and other parents have no word either, other thoughts come to mind. That one concept of a call not made runs the resonating high-speed thoughtevator through the hierarchy of possible dangers – and it happens in an instant, you are filled with the full feeling of dread and horror… it is only with dwelled on thought that you begin to isolate the particular concepts and words that could possibly apply: accident, police, hospital….… rural roads, bridges, drainage ditches, morgues. Your mind touches the lowest level, the first and most ‘simple’ concept from which all other thoughts ascend from, the root concept which is integrated into all other thoughts arising above it.

The teenager, not yet mature, not yet (to their absolute disbelief, refusal to believe, inability to realize they are not, because they don’t know what they don’t know yet) adults, doesn’t yet have such a structure, and is under the impression that he only forgot to call. He doesn’t realize, then, that he did more than not call, he opened the gates to parental hell and much gnashing of teeth. The sudden storm of parental wrath on his reappearance serves to begin establishing that structure within him as our horror is made real for him. This isn’t bad, it’s the normal process of widening of concepts, and in some cases is what it takes to establish a new sublevel concept in their minds, vaguely associated with Responsibility and Maturity, upon which other related thoughts will eventually be incorporated into and be stacked upon.

What Does The Brain Do With The World?
Somehow our brains find a way to grow, not only in physical size, but in content, and manipulation of the content, understanding of the world and of our position within it. Animals are born pretty much knowing what they need to know, they’ve got some semblance of the world hardwired into their brains, they don’t need to create their knowledge of it, or how they’ll interact with it – for them it’s all there.

We on the other hand don’t come out fully cooked, and that may be key to what makes us who we are, and why it took so long for us to become us (our bodies have been here in their present form for a couple hundred thousand years, but we’ve only been in them for 40,000 or so years). To get the world into our heads we need to experience it, but to get us into our heads, we need it to be communicated to us, we need others to care for us for years before we can even begin to think that we can handle it on our own. Something in the process of putting the world into our heads is key to our getting out of our heads and into the world and the larger Cosmos as well.

With our every touch, scent, image and sound, something basic and fundamental is passed into our heads – prior to our having words to label new thoughts with, I think they are ‘stamped’ on entry to our minds with perhaps a timestamp, emotional impact and associations with other items in our awareness, and of course the characteristics of the thing in itself which we observe as parts within the thing, and parts of things such as a Door, door panels, door hinges, door knob, etc.

If you’ve ever watched a graphics program break a picture down, it begins isolating lines, cubes, curves etc into isolated objects, and with time entire pictures begin to be seen as combinations of smaller pictures, shapes, shapes within shapes, we do the same, adding to the associations things such as movement, sight, sounds, scents and other sensations that go with the present movements, from our first exposure to the world and on, the process is the same: Whole ->Parts->Integrated Whole, and around back to the start again by having One seamless Whole.

Our minds have this one method of working, a pattern which is applied to all information processing, be it visual, auditory or kinesthetic It grasps a whole, analyzes it then synthesizes it back into a whole of parts, and then finally One Whole again.

Input, Stayput and Output
Watch a babies eyes, they are open bowls scooping up the world chunk by chunk, differentiating as they go – watch them quiver and coo as they notice a new object within an object, as they notice new connections between attributes; “the spoon disappears when you let go of it… it falls… I can find it each time it does by looking down… those parental guidance units pick it up and give it back to me… again… again… again… oh-oh, they aren’t doing that pleasant face twist thing anymore….”

Somehow these observations, sensations, reactions are finding a place within the babies brain, and eventually they learn from them, they inspect what is IN there, to determine what they should do OUT there.

The visual wholes are being taken in with the Thought wholes and the auditory, kinesthetic, emotional response – and somewhere in the midst of each of these sub-wholes there are central integrating points which may be words, sounds, or even unlabled,, and together they all make up one whole, and central to the entire whole there is also an integration point which can access the entire scene by being referenced. We’ve all had moments when whole scenes such as this can rush back into consciousness with sudden vividness at catching a whiff of a dish that was cooking in the background, or a tune someone was whistling in the background. This process undoubtedly occurred with our animal-cestors at the dawn of man. It was useful for hunting, eating, procreating. It made for a clever animal. But not for Human Beings.

The Mother that hugs and feeds her child, that tells her child stories using the ‘small’ words of poetic quicksilver, Hugs and feeding, and diapers changing, and being helped to stand, helped to walk, it is participating in something which is very different from the physical capabilities of our animal nature. Something in her actions help to build foundations and content in the brain that do more than develop mere synaptic cleverness and a proficiency with tools. There is something in the Mothering, and particularly in the traditional Western style of mothering, which allows other stacks of thoughts to be built than just those for hefting an ax and throwing a spear.

“Very Good!”, “No! Don’t touch - That’s HOT”,”Here you go, Thank You!” “Now you see me, now you Don’t!”, “Where is Thumbo”,

How is such a collection of thoughts, images, impressions and sensations ever given order within the mind? I think that one key method is through another type of sensory input, one which used to be accompanied (appropriately for the myth of Prometheus), by the light of the family Fire. “Hansel and Gretel were lost in the Dark Woods”, “The Wicked Witch gave Snow White the poisoned Apple”,“In the Beginning was the Word…”, “The Big Bad WOLF huffed! And he Puffed! And he BLEW the house down!”, “Good Arthur drew the Sword Excalibur from the stone!” Stories.

This is not to comment on the nature or reality of the stories, but on the integrating content and order that stories, poems and songs bring into and create within a child’s mind, the differentiations and the integrations that are built up within their mind, body and soul. This is the method with which reality enters into your mind, and how your mind relates back to reality. A good story begins with an all encompassing theme, then a whole is grasped through character, setting, problem, then is analyzed and resolved, and the encompassing theme is seen to tie into a central point of the resolved climax – all into one and back into all.

A familiar pattern; all -> parts ->parts in a whole ->wholeness once again. But with stories, you, your internal sense of self, your imagination – that interior spark of virtual divinity, is woven into and through the stories, and become part of the world withinwithout.

When Humanity transitioned from bipedal animals to Human Beings some 40,000 years ago, the explosion began with Art, and I bet that those cave art paintings were accompanied with stories.

Reality is conveyed into our minds through our senses doing the biologically equivalent action of digitally encoding it into our brains, together with associated links to time, simultaneous impressions, conceptual and emotional relations in thought. But during the process it is reality that we are in contact with, our thoughts are built of the combining of sensations, perceptions, concepts and complex conceptions and that we experience as our Reasoning consciousness.

Our minds file information under wider more encapsulating concepts, ever wider. For every subset of information, there are supersets which contain them, and beneath them all, there is one all encompassing Set – Existence exists out there. And as we realize that the undifferentiated whole of existence is passed into our minds and analyzed, and synthesized back into a reasoned and demarcated whole, there is that nagging sensation there that The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

That is the mechanics of the operation as best as I can see it. It is our grasping of reality that our mind mechanically accomplishes, but it is our grasping of ourselves through imaginative poetry upon which our lives and mind and soul depend. (There is much here, again, next post).

But there is also something else happening here, something that might be best indicated through a common phrase we often hear used towards someone who has eloquently stated an idea: “You put into words what I’ve been thinking for years!” I don’t know about you, but I find myself saying it fairly often, Gagdad at One Cosmos brings this phrase out of me routinely, and you hear at speeches and on talk shows all of the time. It causes me to ask one question; How? How do we have thoughts without the precise words to express them? Thoughts are apparently somehow being formed, even fervently held, without being put into words. In some cases perhaps, even pre-conceptual impressions are being formed and held prior to concepts and words, and may even be foundational to their being formed.

Conceptual Stacks Platforms And Pyramids.
There are basic thoughts that underlie all our concepts, just as there are basic shapes which underlie all visual perceptions – lines, curves, squares, triangles, circles – and variations of these that we can build and describe all of reality with. Think of this foundational Thought as that mental apprehension which is formed in our minds just prior to grasping that similar things, when repeated, form a ‘Quantity’, and then at some point we learn of the name for this Thought, ‘Quantity’, and we find it underlies all our mental activities which use words such as ‘One’, ‘Forty-Two’, ‘Many’ and ‘Aladdin was given three wishes’ – beneath them all is that mental abstraction integrated and referenced with the label ‘Quantity’, and it is implicitly related and integrated with any and all uses of quantities.

With the mind we have no choice whether or not we will relate information, but above the level of the basic conceptions, we have a layer of connections made by volitional choice over what we will connect to what, what integrations we agree to establish, or forbid – and what meaning we shall wring from them. However, the basic ideas, concepts ‘archetypes’ perhaps, often escape our ability to define them, they are defined by the process of the mind functioning, learning, growing, developing into the adolescent and (with some luck) an adult brain.

During the developing time before we had words to label concepts with, they were undoubtedly still labeled within our minds. Labeled with associations of time, of emotional states, of temperature and awe, of parental comfort – or lack, but the foundational concepts were there, are there, and we build our understanding of reality upon them. And behind our direct consciousness, we still have these associations.

Parents, Tasks, Quests, Comfort, Quantity, Danger, Alone, Yearning, Satisfaction, Accomplishment, Hunger, Satiety, Pleasure and Pain. We have associations to these as infants, as Toddlers, as Children, as Adolescents, as Adults. At each level we build our relevant narratives, always with links through these supersets. The healthy mental narratives will build logically upwards, always integrating with other areas. Ideally the default connections the mind mechanically forms will be complementary to the volitional connections that we choose to form, but the more non-reality based connections you make, the more your wires are going to bet crossed. The unhealthy mind will fix its own associations based on either mistaken relations, or on obstinate selections in spite of observable sensibilities. As this happens, their structures will not rise steadily, but out of shape, unbalanced, unsteady – scattered.

As a visual image of this conceptual process, picture the common child’s toys of numerous discs ranging from tiny to large, each with a hole through the center, half being circular, half square, and numerous round & squared posts. The natural progression in the developing mind of any child is for it to attempt to arrange these shapes in a flow, an hierarchy which conforms to size, style and form. This is an external reflection, of the conceptual process occurring within the child’s mind.

Think of the wooden base as being a platform, the central rod as being a Thought, and the discs as being related concepts. Each base is able to interlock with another base, and has a notch in the bottom to be able to stack upon another stacks central rod. The only impetus to put these pieces together, to build meaning, is the grasp that they can and should form a whole, that they can be done so correctly, and incorrectly, and that something in that correctness aligns itself with Truth, Value and is worthwhile. Watch a baby go through the process of putting such toys together – there is frustration with error, elation with success.

When we tell a tale, a story, that story may be well integrated, or it may be scattered, but even the most bizarre of postmodernists can only tell one tale at a time – they may subdivide it into many vignettes, but it is still one story. That One is still there, supporting your thoughts. That sense of One provides an ordering, a urge to seek for the proper way of acting, of doing right and well. The mind that has imbibed imagination into its reality, will seek always to be the one who draws the sword from the stone, even when the only objects in reality before it are Office conduct and Ethics.

A person bereft of this One imagination might seek short cuts, to leap across from midway up the conceptual stack on one archetypal platform over to another stack as if they were unrelated and had no pathways between them – the desire for success, and the spying or stealing of a secret that will bring success being seen as isolated structures, perfectly efficient and successful, but somewhere along the way they’ve lost that fire it took us nearly two hundred thousand years to grasp.

Far better off is the person who has those same goals, but mentally dismisses such an ‘easy shortcut’ leap as a fools errand, and instead follows the spiritual path through the base hierarchy of true thought, in seeking after right conduct and behavior, and accomplishment uses their imagination to arrive at that same destination with infinitely more solid ground beneath their cognitive feet, and a success which lives within them, not just their bank account.

It is in taking that mental pathway, seeking the ordered and central truths through your thoughts, the hierarchical ordering, which takes you all the way down to the foundations, grounding you in the common One support, by directing all of your attention to the supporting root platform or Table of Reality, of One Cosmos, and then up to the concept to be connected and integrated to, which forms a Human Life inside and out.

What the short-cutter, the stack leaper misses, lacking central truths in their mental systems, anything you say evokes a correspondence to reality, real or imagined. Even as assertion of a falsehood as truth, reinforces the One, it is an appeal to inclusion in the all encompassing Truth, even though it does not belong to it with the meaning you assert, it still has a place as the misrepresentation of reality that exists. It becomes part of the truth even in its opposition to it.

If that sense of One is attained to with integrity within yourself, then the foundation for a contemplation of the wider One would seem to be a natural next step, the hitch for the incidental leaper, is that the step must be found by looking not only upwards but at the same time by seeking towards foundations, and inwardly seeking outwards, of integrating before grasping.

It is in fighting this flow of the integrations, of the commonality of thought from its roots in reality, all the way up to ethical behavior and even on to something like the music you prefer, that fractures the minds of those who reject central truths.

By refusing to acknowledge the existence of a One Reality, a One Cosmos, from which all of the finer distinctions and conceptions flow from, you create separated structures of thought in your mind – where one lends little or no support and strength to another. And there is a limit to how many items you can successfully retain within your mind at one time. Remember, without that boon of rational integration, your mind collapses under the strain of grasping the ‘separate’ness of many ‘relative truths’.

These conceptual platforms which support our many thoughts and truths, contain integrating relations and provide access to the many thoughts and truths, which are so central to wonder and wider truths, it is through this process of grasping, analyzing and synthesizing truths central to our thoughts, that we are able to self reflect, it is through these structures that something like a remembered song or scent gives us an instantaneous access to floods of information that rush our brains in times of need or stress - but this same advantage of hierarchical poetics, are dreadfully ineffective, even dangerous when used for particular meanings. When we use wider poetics in speech about specifics, those specifics are misread and lost, and much harm is caused ( See the quote from Justice Breyer at the start of from part1 of this series of posts) – again here we touch on what words, as specific tools, are for – to be fleshed out in the next post.

When we tell a tale of Myth or of God, it is a grasping of that foundational and guiding Oneness that all is a part of, and yet cannot not be of. It is an ordering, a tale well told, is a shuffling, ordering, and smoothening of related integrations. A tale properly told sets our mental house in order, affirms relations, rights and wrongs, tunes our soul to the order contained within the one truth. Visually you might imagine putting a deck of cards back into suit order, but also straightening and smoothening the sides so that it is back into a nice even stack. Platform touches platform, thought stacks are righted and re-organized all ideas are touched upon – disorder is put right and truth resonates through the entire hierarchical structure.

As our minds can grasp only a few details at once without the benefit of concepts (3,5,7,10...), so too our mind can only deal effectively with a certain number of base concepts and sub-structures.

By refusing to acknowledge the existence of a One Reality, this limitation is magnified. With a properly conceived Hierarchy, we can conceptually grasp near infinite amounts of ideas and particulars you can approach even the universe, but without a One Cosmos, from which all of the finer distinctions and conceptions find support upon and flow from, you create only separated structures of thought within your mind – one lends little or no support and strength to another, and only a few at a time are able to be compassed with thought. And there is a limit to how many items you can successfully retain within your mind at one time. Without hierarchical truth – you are left with some schizophrenic conception of Truth as are the leftist mockery of ‘Absolute and Relative truth’s’, and your conceptual grasp will be splintered.

It is in denying a unifying structure, in fighting wide ranging integrations that a 'postmodernist' disintegrates the commonality of thought from its roots in reality, each stack is seen as separate from each other. In fact, there is little or no reason to stack your concepts at all, isolated facts become the focus, rather than integrated structures. Each stands on its own, and denies any concept of unity. Those adhering to these philosophies underlie what politically expresses itself as those we call leftists. They fundamentally seek to leap from Present-desire to Desire Fulfilled, without traversing the intervening conceptions, actions and realities which exist between them.

It has been often commented on the ugliness of post-modernist philosophy – think of the hideous ‘art’ of Jackson Pollack and ‘Piss Christ’ ‘sculptures’. No truths, no order, no integrations or even mis-integrations, wonder or meaning (meaning being integrations of reality, thoughts, steps to understanding) it is a flat and arid wasteland of impressions, and within it there are no landmarks or stars to chart by, only arbitrary rules backed with muscle and fist.

No specifics, all airy faery foolishness and brittle rules.

Poetic Quicksilver and Imagery
Of the Arts, I think it is Poetry (verbal and to some extent musical) that is the heart and soul of transmitting and experiencing those wider truths central to our (communal and individual) grasping of Value and Truth.

Poetry, through the use of tone and imagery, has a way of sounding a conceptual note that rings and resonates through huge swaths of what we consider beautiful, worthy, inspiring (themselves central keystones of your values), and it accomplishes this by way of the whole poem. A Poem enters your mind complete, then we begin to hone in on its imagery which evokes many of our labeled or unlabeled foundational thoughts – it often resonates with our inner self in a most striking and undefinable way ‘it affected me in a way that I just couldn’t put it into words’ is a phrase often used.

Once internalized, our more focused attention allows us to take the whole-imagery and break it into prose in order to dwell on the particulars. But you have to let the poem work through you to reach that wider goal, and then bring yourself to bear on bringing home the wider conceptual meanings to your personal understanding.

Take for example, a favorite of mine by Robert Frost,

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening :
Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I’ve seen a lot of different interpretations of this poem, some think it is flirting with, even longing for death. Some see irrationality and temptation and the horse being his conscience prodding him to be sensible.

My personal take on the poem is that it's about someone who's been questioning upon the darkest evening of the soul and/or the year, being the Solstice or Christmas, who and what God is, does he live only in a white clapboard Church in town, or is this wood more true to him? The god of the clapboard wouldn't see him in the woods...and yet... hmm. These things the Vertical thinker thinks, but the dweller of the horizontal (the horse) thinks it strange to seemingly stop for no visible reason, thinking about something as useless as the unknown and what we know only surface deep. For me, it brings in mystery, life to be lived but with ending death ever present and whispering in the wind, purity, horizontal vs vertical tensions, God, rebirth/Christmas and whether the religious spirit can be conveyed only through a church, or as well through God's handiwork.

These things and many more you can find within yourself through the vehicle of the Poem, but if you only let such a poem bring to you the image of some guy sitting in the snow in the woods that some city guy owns and no more, you've turned yourself into a conceptual anorexic.

The real point is that such poetic imagery puts us into contact with our foundational thoughts, Mystery, God, Values, Death, Reverence… those and more which underlie vast amounts of conceptual hierarchies within each of us, the continent below the mountain range. Which peak you are drawn to choose to climb is a choice of near limitless possibilities– but choosing to pretend that there are not mountains, not looking up to see the forbidding peaks, is cowardice and foolishness – and dangerous as well, since that enforced ignorance will blind you to many a rock, cliff and chasm in your path.

The Necessary Identification of An Unidentifiable All Encompassing Set
Our minds, our consciousness is contained within the Cosmos, it is not capable even with the most finely tuned hierarchies, of actually grasping the entirety of all. For our minds, to define something, is to differentiate it from something else. For the One Cosmos, there is nothing to differentiate it from, it being all – and to say that something is everything, for us, is to actually say nothing at all. Without resort to a wider encompassing concept, or more precisely, the thought behind and below and throughout such a concept – which contains everything, and yet can’t itself be identified as everything, we fashion Myth to stand in as a graspable thing, in place of all.

Without it there will be no approach to a uniting vision – and without that, the people will feel their souls perish in random disintegrated collisions of unmatched thoughts and opposing goals, even amidst all of their Splendor. And if the myth that they have is one that does not fit within their time, then it may be even worse than having none at all. It is imperfect, and implausible and indispensable. It does remain for us, however, to recall that it is a conceptual tool for grasping that which can not be grasped – to point towards the Thought, the “I AM” of which all is but a part of.

Without such a Vision, and stories to crystallize aspects of it in application here on earth, the people do perish... and without truth, they won't fight against it or even recognize that they are perishing. We in the West have been undone by a slow substitution of data for Truth, realism for Virtuousness, calculation for Wisdom. It's been done to us by a rejection of the One Truth in favor of a disintegrated many, of being told that the profound meaning of "The pursuit of Happiness" means only "He who has the most toys wins" - and as first Philosophy and then Education were corrupted, it has been easily accomplished. We have been told that our hierarchical structures are elitist and primitive – a ‘thought’ which comes unbidden into our midst from those bipedal animals who wore our forms prior to 40,000 + years ago before the light of Art dawned in the caves, and led us towards the Fire.

When there is no encompassing hierarchy, then necessarily you fall into a hedonistic “if id don’t hurt, do id”, that is so typical of, so definitive, of the typical leftist outlook. Where the Classical Liberal will want to stack his concepts hierarchically, large on the bottom ranging up to the top, with a central Thought serving as an axle through their center, the leftist will tend to want to arrange their conceptual discs flat, perhaps by color & central hole style – spread out on display, each independent of the other.

The post-modernist sees that stacking as rigid and dogmatic, the conservative sees the leftists flat arrangments as random and chaotic. Both styles are subject to problems, perhaps the conservative over stacks his discs, but he retains a central meaning, a closeness between discs, and pyramidal shapes formed from their stacks that the leftist will never see. The leftist is able to perhaps see more of the discs surfaces, more color, more shape, but he loses nearly all relational meaning between the discs - all is separate, unintegrated, quantities without Quantity over qualities, perceptual sensations over conceptual depth.

The literature & myths of conservatives, of Classical Liberals, tends towards integrations, towards arranging the discs by natural flow of shape, size and form. The leftist postmodernist towards differences, randomness, dis- or mis-integrations. If you’ve built your structures of thought upon some schizophrenic conception of Truth as is the post-modernist mockery of ‘Absolute and Relative truth’s’, such Leftie thought, by nature of first denying an overall truth, splinters your ability to grasp your mental content as a whole. Each conceptual platform is full of low or single stacks, Truths being denied, hierarchy is too, so we get a lowerarchy of thought. The leftie thinks that this is an advantage. I do not. The One of inspired imagination cannot live in such a scattering of perceptual sizzle, it is a creature of the depths, requiring room to soar, to resonate and catch fire – the kind of depths it took 160,000 or so years for our animal-cestors to dig into their stone-axe lives before their smoldering mental tinder’s would burst into light.

Juggling Reality
Here’s a visual from a different perspective to help imagine the disintegrated glitz of leftist utopias: picture a supper dexterous and talented juggler, with multiple plates spinning balanced upon rods on their nose, their forehead, shoulders, elbows & palms, even knees and toes. They holler to you “Look at me!”, enrapt in their dazzling display of dexterity, their eyes darting back intently, keeping them all spinning – barely able to walk, wholly unable to see the steps – up or down – before them… inching towards them nonetheless. “You can do this too! All you need to do put the plates on one rod, and spin them! Try it!” and as we shake our heads walking by with our plates neatly stacked, and comfortably in hand, “You’re chicken! You just… whoaaaa…!” as one foot finds an unexpected step in his path, the imbalance spreading upwards. We try to cover our ears with our freehand to protect our ears from the coming clatter of shattering plates.

Such philosophies based on divided ‘truths’, will have difficulty seeing the benefit of a single Truth, their Many deposes and becomes God in place of the cast out and ‘improved’ on one. Such belief systems will tend to scoff at, or have fewer, less intense, less long lasting scenes such as the one that opened this post. They will tend to be more drenched in perceptual sensations – artificially enhanced wherever possible with gadgets or chemicals. The Vertical Depths conveyed in such scenes are the province of a single structure, not of a divided set of values.

Such scenes, whether romantic or heroic, soak our senses with poetic Thought-evators which connect to and massively integrate entire structures of our brains, of our knowledge, our beliefs and values by way of reaching and touching our base concepts. The deeper and more vertical the hierarchy, the more resonance and coherence between platforms for all beliefs rising above them – it’s a non-verbal electric resonance, that starts from the base of our body, mind and soul, and slowly rises up into our verbal senses and emotional responses – it is deeply integrating, a making whole of us, through recognizing the whole of our world and values & truths we hold dear – assuming of course your thoughts and values are integrated, and more are available if they are integrated through an overall instantiation of a single guiding vision of Truth – simply put there’s more depth available in a single ‘V’ than divided in a ‘w’.

Through a central guiding vision you are better able to reach into those deeper integrations which your understanding can make or evoke, and through the process of making these integrations, of making our whole larger, an even larger whole is sensed.

It is through participating in the larger integrations imparted by a mythos that we experience a sense of Wonder, and a sense of an encompassing life, because only then is that indefinable All invoked through underlying principle, and upwards through the whole of your understanding – and through it we experience a sense of wholeness calling to a more complete intuition of All - encompassing, but never closed, never fully defined or reached – it exists at your source, spreads throughout all you are or can be aware of.

We are able to experience that whole only by passing through it and making our wider value integrations. The integrations are always open, never complete, but still extending your sense of God - and that is where it MUST exist – it must exist in your estimation, your putting the pieces together, your grasping for completion – never met, and always there – wondrous alive a circuit unclosed, unsealed, undefined – always and forever alive within us, a living yearning which passes the unclosed loop of integrations back to us, to be ever open and applied in our lives, as our lives, for our lives.

As above, so below
Perfect this is, New Years Day, New Years Eve – the closing and opening that’s marked in motion, never still, to a recognition where we celebrate the going and the coming – but we don’t ever, never will, really grasp it, look at it and say ‘ oh that’s it”, for that would be a completion, a finality, and All will never be experienced in that way in the herebelow. It is this time of the year that we celebrate the motion in passing as life, as wonder, ever unclosed ever drawing us on, and ever encompassing all the One Cosmos.


Van Harvey said...

Oh, I think I still tried to squeeze in too much... a little too feverish perhaps... looks more like it'll be 6 posts than 4 - will revise later - sorry 'bout that.

9:28 PM

Anonymous said...

Relax. Breathe!

Hey, just so you know, I read this about 2 a.m. my time. I went back to bed around 3, thinking of all you are trying to convey.

No time to go into it just now, but for me, it led to icons and idols, graven images and commercial logos. More later.

Anonymous said...


Icons are the formulaic shortcuts of communication, much like the glyphs of the ancients. To convey so much, not in a string of letters, but in a single image, is really how we learn and grow.

E=mc2 is nothing more than a simple iconography for a very advanced set of logical insight.

However, they can quickly become outdated. The "wait a moment" icon of Windows Explorer is the image of an hourglass. What person below the age of 40 has ever used one? In fact, our waking existence is one big set of minimal icons, denoting larger truths beneath them, if you will.

The successful image of a company is reduced to a commercial logo. The CEO wants to convey in a glance everything he and his 2,000 admin employees, 50 engineers, 100 researchers and 500 manufacturers have strived to create. No small task, and yet, the Bell companies have mastered it, for good or ill. The globe thingy, with the lines? How hard was it to move folks from the "Bell" logo to the "global point" logo? Yeah, I'm dating myself here.

But it always has intrigued me, this art of conveying a world of meaning in a simple Nike swish or a floating Window.

Our computers are full of icons, pathways, and information that is conveyed in the simplest and yet most condensed moment possible. We take it for granted because we have been trained to access both sides of our brain more completely and quickly by these simple images.

My favorite series for learning a new language is the "See It and Say It" books. They don't teach you to translate for understanding (though there is minimal translation for purposes of self-teaching), but rather, they teach one to think in that language from the outset. It is a most successful way to access both sides of the brain for a more "sticky" result that stays in the brain.

Women naturally excel in this, not being hampered in the dual-access mode of thinking. We can access both sides of the brain, merging the thing that is heard with the logos.

Men, having been awash in hormones in the womb, have this axis of thought erased. They are physically divided in their cerebral hemispheres, which means that in order for something to stick, it needs to "hit" both sides of the brain. Visual creatures that they are, they need word pictures in order to fully assimilate the entirety of what is being communicated.

That's why a woman should always seek to use some sort of mental word picture with her emotional outreach in conveying a problem. Make it logical, and yet "see-able" by the man, and you will have achieved what many women cannot: an emotional connect that will stay with him.

That's not denigrating or sexist, that's just smart communication.

Icons are some of the smartest forms of communication, perhaps the quickest, too. Our Western linear tradition is so beautiful and yet so utterly frustrating at times. We pick it apart, we search for etymology and history, double meanings, lapses in tense and imperfect tense. But someone can carve an image, take a photo, paint a moment and wordlessly we take it in like a moonlit marsh at midnight. Not with words, we just inhale it, if that is possible.

So, why the admonition against graven images (which photogravure surely is) in the Old Testament? What did our Creator know about our hearts, when it comes to communicating so much? Why the confusion of Babel? God seems to have a history of jumping into our communication with dire warnings of small rudders and great fires.


Van Harvey said...

Yesterday I woke with some virus that knocked me flat with fever and a stomach emptying from both ends... all day long. So home in bed shivering, shaking and dashing... naturally I think of tackling a tough post that’s been plaguing me. I didn't want this to be an extended series, so I tried to condense 3 full posts into one, and I think there was too little of each left in the post to get across what I wanted to.

This part which I left out I think bears on what you commented:

"These babies, prior to learning words, do they still form concepts? Yes, simple ones, but simple thoughts are the root of the more complex built upon them. So what do they use to ‘label’ their concepts with? What do they have? Visual, auditory, smells, kinesthetic impressions more likely – Christmas Trees, rain, hugs, humming, cold, warmth… though later the main access method for this root thought will be with words, I think those identifications and relations will live on past the coming of words."

Perhaps a part of what makes it possible for seemingly casual touch points, a word, a scent, to spark intense thoughts, moods, inspirations... and the type of process that the folks in Corp. Marketing try to work in reverse with Icons...?

But part of what you mention as “yet so utterly frustrating at times” is convincing ourselves that only words will give us access to our thoughts.

“But someone can carve an image, take a photo, paint a moment and wordlessly we take it in like a moonlit marsh at midnight.” How does symmetry, in form, sound and thought, become so key to our thoughts? Something Ximeze mentioned elsewhere about paring down to the simple essentials must be involved somewhere….

Anyway, I think that trying to toss it all in, meant shorting each piece, so I'll have to combine some patience & editing skills and go again... look for the revised!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Van, despite some of the incomplete thoughts that you will edit in.
I thought you were saving the rest for the next post.
As for graven images, I was under the impression that God meant worshipping images/idols that isn't God is wrong.
Or, as Van put it (paraphrased), divided truth's, single disassociated items/pictures/thoughts, bound not by order but rather unbound by chaos.
I see this lesson in money, for example.
Having money, liking money, and using money isn't evil, it's the love of money, elevated to the point of worship that is evil.
If I'm off-base please let me know.

I hope you feel better soon, Van.

Anonymous said...

I'm aware that the admonition against "graven" images is about worshiping them. But it rolls together with Babel, communication, and identification.

The inseparable idea of a thing so fully reflected in a representative stroke of a pen, chip off a block, or snap of a shutter has an allure that could make the less vigilant subject to false worship. We speak of painting with words, we thrill at the 23rd Psalm's, "yea, though I walk..." It is so vivid that it is literally birthed in us.

We are warned about what we put before our eyes, and I guess that would include words.

How wise of Jesus to have never written his words down with his own hand, lest we would have worshiped them instead of their Truth. To have merely heard them, they had to vividly grab the attention with the concept, not with the well-turned art of grammar and tense, but with a moment, a vision, a connection that has lasted the millenia.

Powerful stuff that those in the dark arts have likely studied more than the children of light. It is good that the Logos should live apart from static letters and words.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Joan.
I believe I understand what you mean now.
I missed it the first time, and should've picked up on it.

Van Harvey said...

Thanks Ben & Joan. Yes I did say I'd fill in the blanks in the next post, but I was referring to the details of how we make, store and relate specific identifications, which I thought would leave me with a manageable post - fact was it ended up being 15 full pages in Word... so I whittled it down, and... lopped off a finger or two in the process.

Neither Socrates nor Jesus wrote their ideas down, they spoke and lived them. Interestingly, the works of Confucius too are only the collected saying attributed to him, but not written by him (though it seems as if he did actually write some of his ideas down, they did not survive him).

Even Plato valued the verbal exchange of living ideas over the studying of written words (he just couldn't bear the thought of his and Socrates' ideas being lost). Aristotle’s teaching style was called the Peripatetic school, because his classes were often spent walking and talking, not reading and writing. Debating was an idea that also was central to the teaching method which instructed the Founders of this country in how to think for themselves.

This may not be historically accurate, but I've wondered if graven images could also extend to once living words, made lifeless by the written word being kept flat on the page as static images memorized and regurgitated, rather than brought alive on the tongue in debate. Interesting that that was one of the first methods jettisoned by the pro-regressives.

Interesting also, that money, especially paper money, has a similar tendency to be made into static objects as well; values unto themselves - forgetting the concept that they are only convenient tokens for real values produced. The dollar bills are worthless without such earnings backing them, and that understanding is so easily lost on a public fooled with the slight of hand of the printing press. Graven images, indeed.

I'm getting to it. Although my project is at crunch time & I'll have to work tomorrow too, I hope to clear this post up this weekend, and be well on the way with the next as well.

Argh... the time - to bed. Thanks guys.

Anonymous said...

All work and no play makes Van a dull, dull, blogger!

I think we should all follow Bob's lead and just become slackers, fit only for contemplating the Cosmos.

Yo,ho,ho, It's a Raccoon's Life For Me!

Van Harvey said...

I finally found some time to revise this - I maxed out the hours work was willing to pay for & they sent me home friday & for the weekend. Ahh, that felt good. Finally a snowstorm that I can go out and play in with the kids!

Van Harvey said...

Yo ho!

Anonymous said...

My eyes! Make it stop! Kill the italics tag!! Argghh!!!

Dang it, now that you've updated, it's been so long I hafta start at the beginning again. And I have three days of meetings ahead of me.

Thanks, though. something to look forward to ... for later.

Van Harvey said...

Joan of Argghh! said... "My eyes! Make it stop! Kill the italics tag!! Argghh!!!"

Pshawww! italics tags? Luxury! Why when I was a child, we lived in a small shoe box in the middle of the road, and every morning our father cut us in half with a bread knife!

Joan, I think there are only 3 italics, and they are wee little bairns. You do have my sympathy on the meetings though. Ugh.

Still though, you shouldn't let work come before blogging you kn... eEE-Ouch! Don't throw bottles at me!!!

Sheesh, touchee, touchee, touchee.

Van Harvey said...

What is the difference between paper & PC? I don't know, but when I printed it out I gasped and whacked a 1 & 1/2 pages out of it & reposted again.