Richard’s Selected Correspondence
RESPONDENT: Just thought I should express my appreciation for these discussions on modern science ... Richard’s answers and Respondent No. 60 & Respondent No. 27’s questions throw a lot of light on these matters. Very stimulating.
What I understood (from Richard’s mails mainly) so far is that: a direct experience is the final arbiter and while logic/ mathematics can sharpen the directly experienced, they are subservient to the direct experience. This is in contrast to the theoretical physicist/ mathematician’s viewpoint which is: logic/ mathematics is the final arbiter – direct experience is prone to error. Please correct this appraisal if necessary.
RICHARD: No correction necessary ... you have hit the nail right on the head.
Just as a matter of interest: the empiricism/ rationalism debate has a long history.
RESPONDENT: Alas, it appears we will have to leave Richard among the lot of those unfortunate travellers who have lost their way and who cannot find it again because they refuse to see theirs hands in front of their faces.
RICHARD: Oh? Lost my way to where ... spiritual enlightenment?
RESPONDENT: He has become not just confused and self-deluded; he has become irrational.
RICHARD: It is easy to make these kinds of allegations about somebody but as substantiating the allegations is quite another thing I will take it that your substantiation lies in your remaining words and move on without further comment at this point.
RESPONDENT: Regarding my Point 1: Somehow Richard feels there must be some ‘reading into’ that must go on to see his actual feeling in his so-called humour.
RICHARD: Here you are assuming that I ‘feel’ whether someone is reading extraneous things into my words when I do nothing of the kind: I sit here at the keyboard typing my responses and, as I am intimately aware of what is being experienced as I type, I know perfectly well that there is absolutely no trace of any affective feeling whatsoever occurring ... therefore I know for a fact that you are reading affective feelings into my words.
RESPONDENT: So, he must say that I am doing nothing more than claiming to know him better than he does.
RICHARD: As you allege that I am irrational it follows that you must be rational in order to be able to make that assessment (else your assessment is rendered null and void from the start) ... yet, in effect, this is what you are proposing:
There is no rationality whatsoever operating here ... only an erroneous premise followed by a false conclusion.
RESPONDENT: Well, perhaps we do, as his own words reveal him.
RICHARD: Maybe it would be to your advantage if you were to speak for yourself ... just because you find no way of reading my words in that e-mail exchange without them speaking of [quote] ‘some real underlying feeling, at least, and downright anger, at most’ [endquote] it does not necessarily mean that ‘we’ do.
As you have not demonstrated how my words ‘reveal’ me (other than just flatly saying that they do) your allegation that I have ‘become irrational’ is still yet to be substantiated.
RESPONDENT: Elsewhere he offers: ‘I invite anyone to make a critical examination of all the words I advance so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory ... and if they are all seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves’. However, when challenged, Richard routinely says things like 1) Well, you just don’t know me and I’m just telling you that I have no feelings; 2) Well, you’re just making things too complicated; 3) Well, you just want to prove your ‘agenda’, instead of explore; 4) Well, you aren’t making a ‘sincere appraisal’; or, a favourite, 5) Well, let’s see what the dictionary says. Good grief.
RICHARD: When I wrote that sentence I was not inviting anybody to grammatically analyse the way the words were structured with the aim of somehow thus detecting whether or not there were affective feelings extant in me ... as the sentence immediately following the one you quoted clearly shows:
Be that as it may (if you wish to fritter away an opportunity for genuine discussion pursuing a chimera then that is your business) ... I will address your Sub-Points 1-5 anyway as if they were relevant to my invitation:
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? Is it not a fact that you do not know what is occurring for me when I type the words that appear on your screen? Therefore I provide a report as to what is happening – or in this instance what is not happening – so that you are informed of how I experience life, which is a rational way to operate.
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? I report that the affective faculty is extinct, and that consequently there are no [quote] ‘higher level features’ [endquote] to either ignore or indulge in reductionism about, yet you insist on putting affective feelings in when you read my descriptions of apperception thus making something very simple complex. Therefore it is rational thing to do to point out to you what you are doing when you read my words.
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? As you made it quite clear that the affective feelings are important to you I tendered the suggestion that ‘it could very well be the case that your agenda is to preserve the highest aspects of feeling’. Vis.:
Is it not a rational approach, in discussions such as these, to facilitate a genuine discussion by having both parties openly placing their agenda on the table rather than just the one person?
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? You introduced a couple of items which I had never said, or even indicated with other words, and attributed them to me ... which gave me some difficulty in regards to taking your appraisal of my writings as being sincere. Therefore it is rational to point out to you that those introduced items had nothing to do with me at all.
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? Is it not vital in regards to a mutual communication to have a clear understanding of what either of the parties mean by a particular word? Therefore it is a very rational thing to do to refer to a dictionary as a basis towards understanding what a word can mean.
RESPONDENT: I think we’ll just have to let Point 1 stand for a court of readers, that is larger than a Richard-duped minion, to decide whether or not this example of Richard’s so-called humour is truly of the order of an affective-less, inert ‘reply’.
RICHARD: Do you see that you have set it up in advance that if anybody was to be so foolish as to enter into a discussion with you regarding this issue and not agree with your reading then they can be dismissed as being nothing other than a ‘duped minion’?
Is this really the best way to go about demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’?
RESPONDENT: Regarding my Points 2 and 3: Richard still doesn’t get it. In his answer to my point that he is confused about the meaning of eliminative reduction, as well as to my attempt to clarify that again, Richard reaches a new height of confusion and becomes irrational.
RICHARD: If I may point out? It is not a question about whether I am indeed confused about your meaning of ‘eliminative reduction’ or not as all I am saying is that there is no reductionism whatsoever going on (I am simply describing what apperception is like to experience).
In other words: there is no drilling down course of reasoning going on at all ... that is what you make of it.
RESPONDENT: Notice that, weirdly, the very first thing from Richard is not a rebuttal to a point I was making at all but rather is a knee-jerk reaction to a word, eliminating, as if he’s already armed to fire at anyone daring to suggest that Richard had not *already* done away with his feelings (not the point at all being made at this stage, but made later).
RICHARD: Why is it weird for me to point out that one of your premises (that I was eliminating the affective faculty) is an incorrect premise? Do you really want me to make a ‘rebuttal’ of a point, which is based on such an erroneous premise as that one is, rather than point out that error to you in the first place?
Also, why do you see such a correction of a mistaken impression as being a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction instead of an aid to effective communication (let alone all that ‘armed to fire’ business)?
RESPONDENT: Quite telling. You can almost hear him stamping his feet when he says: ‘Yet I am not ‘eliminating the affective faculty’ (present tense) as it is already eliminated (past tense) ... it has gone, ended, finished, kaput. It is extinct’. [endquote].
RICHARD: Is this (telling me what you almost hear) really an effective way of demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’?
RESPONDENT: Most everything that follows from Richard is of the order of: Well, you just don’t know me and I’ll telling you that I have no feelings.
RICHARD: Shall I put it this way? If you are indeed sincere about wanting to comprehend what I am writing about why is it such an issue with you that I make it quite clear in advance that, in order to understand what apperception is like, it is vital to know that there are no affective feelings present in the descriptions I provide?
RESPONDENT: For example: ‘The elimination of the affective faculty is an irrevocable event ... then there are no ‘higher level features’ (no rarefied affective feelings) to necessitate such reasoning as you propose (there is neither higher level features nor lower level features here in this actual world)’ [endquote]. And ‘In other words: I cannot ignore something that is simply not there’. [endquote]. Richard just tells us that we can’t even talk about the higher level features of the affective, not because he’s committed an eliminative reduction (which he does), but rather because he just doesn’t have any affect to begin with.
RICHARD: You have almost got it ... and as there is no ‘affect’ to begin with (hence no higher level features of the affective) how come you keep on insisting that I am doing an ‘eliminative reduction’ of the affective?
RESPONDENT: Could there be a more vivid display of how he is just ignoring the matter by saying he just doesn’t have an affect?
RICHARD: No ... it is quite clear that as there is no ‘affect’ to begin with (hence no higher level features of the affective) I am not ignoring anything.
RESPONDENT: This is like:
RICHARD: No, it is not like that at all ... keeping with your illustration I will put it like this:
RESPONDENT: Further, Richard says, ‘It just does not make sense to insist on putting an affective component into my descriptions of apperception when there is none and then tell me that I am ignoring it ... it is your affective component you are talking about and not mine’. Now, besides Johnny saying he has no hands, Johnny says: ‘And Mommy, it’s your hands you saw in the cookie jar!’
RICHARD: Now you are getting it correctly ... it is ‘Mommy’ who has been putting her hands in all along (whilst trying to bamboozle ‘Johnny’ into accepting as true that he is ignoring his non-existent hands just because ‘Mommy’ insists that he does have hands).
RESPONDENT: That is, Richard tries to turn the tables and say that he’s not ignoring anything (he just has no affect); it is I who am just positing ‘an affective component’. This must be some of that darned complexity I’m just muddying the waters with.
RICHARD: Indeed it is ... never a truer word spoken in jest (it is good to see that you have a sense of humour).
RESPONDENT: Look again. Readers will recall that the ‘component’ I’m discussing is the qualitativeness of conscious experience, for example, conscious sensate experience.
RICHARD: Yep ... I have got that message loud and clear (whereas what I am discussing is the qualitative nature of apperceptive consciousness).
RESPONDENT: Indeed, previously, Richard allowed this aspect: ‘... thus the affective faculty can indeed be eliminated while leaving the qualitative nature of consciousness intact’. But he just doesn’t want to go into that, as we shall see below; he tries to do away with it again.
RICHARD: I can go into it all you like – I am retired and on a pension and have all the time in the world keep this up for as long as it suits me to – but it would help if you could read again what I wrote in the previous e-mail. Vis.:
Your ‘qualitativeness’ has an affective component ... what I am talking about does not.
RESPONDENT: Regarding my Point 4: Here is where Richard’s so clearly adds irrationality, and perhaps inveiglement, to his confusion and self-delusion.
RICHARD: Ahh ... maybe this is the part where you will finally get around to demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’ .
RESPONDENT: I think he puts so much, albeit confused, energy here because he knows that if he cannot do away with the qualitativeness of conscious sensation, as I illustrate it, he must admit some kind of feeling into sensation.
RICHARD: No, it was a simple, straightforward explication of the effect of inadvertently introducing a ‘third person’ variable – the ambient temperature – into your argument (that it acts upon some of the samplings as a modifier). No great energy was required (let alone confused energy) as I had immediately noticed it when you first proposed your theory several e-mails ago ... and I had a lot of fun putting it all into some semblance of scientific-type terminology.
Having said that: do you see that you are insisting, albeit in an oblique way, that the qualitative nature of consciousness must have ‘some kind of feeling’ in its sensate experiencing as if it is set in concrete that it does? If so, this is the type of feedback I am getting from you (just as in your three sentences I quoted further above) which persuades me to suggest that ‘it could very well be the case that your agenda is to preserve the highest aspects of feeling’.
RESPONDENT: I think this because you can see how he must have his supposed refutation of the water example to be able to just set aside everything in the remainder of my Point 4.
RICHARD: Of course you can think that if you like ... it seems that nothing I can say is going to alter your view of me.
RESPONDENT: Richard thinks he has done away with my distinction between the first-person, qualitativeness of ‘coolness’ and the third-person temperature of water of 50 degrees.
RICHARD: No, I do not think that at all ... but do go on because this is fascinating.
RESPONDENT: He thinks he has done this by changing our example to water of 200 degrees, a level where most conscious human beings, regardless of clime, would report ‘Hot’. He says it’s really just a matter of the ambient temperature:
Look: The ambient temperature and the temperature of water are third-party settleable facts. We can also describe the difference between these two measures in a third-party settleable fashion, say, by mathematically subtracting the value of one measurement from the other. However, there is nothing qualitative in this difference *per se*. There is nothing in it that necessarily *means* ‘hot’. All we have are three qualitatively meaningless statements of fact: For example, Temp(water)=200F, Temp(environment)=90F, Temp(w) minus Temp(e)=110F. Period. Only when the third-party settleable difference is consciously experienced by a living human (or many animals) do we have the possibility of saying ‘This temperature difference is hot’, or rather ‘The water is hot’.
RICHARD: Several e-mails ago I said that qualities are what humans experience (as distinct from properties which exist irregardless of humans being present). Vis.:
How is what I said back then (‘the anthropocentric experiences of objects’) so radically different from what you have just written (‘consciously experienced by a living human’) that it could generate all this confusion you say is in my words?
RESPONDENT: It is only within consciousness that the objective difference in temperature has quality – that is, it is only in subjective, qualitative consciousness that the contrast between my body temperature (in ambience) and the water temperature becomes qualitatively ‘hot’. Readers will note, interestingly, that in Richard’s above quote he refers to subjects who ‘acclimatise themselves’ and ‘experience’. Linguistically, through the nuances of these words Richard can 1) surreptitiously supply the whiff of subjectivity and qualitativeness, while elsewhere 2) reduce everything to the physics of two contacting bodies, and then 3) deny he’s done so.
RICHARD: Nowhere am I denying what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ in normal human beings going about their normal day-to-day activities ... it is only when you see what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ in my descriptions of apperception, and try to get me to agree with your seeing, that I demur. If you could strip what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ of their inner world/outer world and affective connotations then there would not be this impasse in regards to apperception. Perhaps if I put it this way:
What I am (‘what’ not ‘who’) is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching and this nose smelling – and no separative identity (no ‘I’/‘me’) means no separation – whereas ‘I’/‘me’, a psychological/psychic entity, am inside the body busily creating an inner world and an outer world and looking out through ‘my’ eyes upon ‘my’ outer world as if looking out through a window, listening to ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ tongue, touching ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ skin and smelling ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ nose ... plus adding all kinds of emotional/passional baggage to what is otherwise the bare sensory experience of the flesh and blood body.
This identity (‘I’/‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the magical world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: Astute readers will not be fooled.
RICHARD: And would I be correct in guessing that an ‘astute reader’ is someone who is not a ‘duped minion’ by any chance?
RESPONDENT: It is in only in this vagueness over the qualitativeness of consciousness that Richard can maintain his radically mistaken view of apperception. That is, he can continue his absurdly knotted responses like:
Can consciousness be qualitative? Richard says Yes.
In what way qualitative? Richard says Apperceptively, as unmediated sensory experiencing.
Is it sensory? Richard says Yes, but unmediated.
In what way sensory? Richard says Apperceptively.
RICHARD: In what manner are these responses ‘absurdly knotted’ responses? I clearly see the word ‘unmediated’ (consciousness sans identity in toto) appearing three times ... did you take any notice at all of that word when you wrote it?
RESPONDENT: For his own reasons, which I have speculated upon already, Richard insists on maintaining a hazardously unnuanced view of feelings, and hence, vitiates the qualitativeness of consciousness.
RICHARD: I will put it this way this time around: it is both the affective feelings and the identity (they are inextricably entwined) which vitiates the quality of the qualitative nature of consciousness.
RESPONDENT: He tosses the baby out with the bath water.
RICHARD: Oh, I am always chuffed whenever someone says that ... it means that they are starting to get the drift of what I am saying. Which, in a nutshell, is this: spiritual enlightenment is when ‘I’ as ego (‘the bathwater’) dies; actual freedom is when ‘me’ as soul (‘the baby’) dies as well.
Or, as I prefer to put it, identity in toto becomes extinct.
RESPONDENT: In knee-jerk, he’d probably say that he has no feelings to toss out, and plunge us back into his vague, irrelevant and apodictic statements.
KONRAD: The West is mainly existence oriented. They also strived for happiness, but not by control over consciousness, but by finding ways to control existence. There is a Western equivalent of Buddha, and that is Aristotle. For he discovered logic and rational thinking. This tool turned out to be THE tool that can give us complete control over existence, and even has done it.
RICHARD: Not ‘complete control’ over existence, surely? (And there is that word ‘control’ again). And where has it already ‘done it’? Human beings can work with existence and have some degree of input into what the physical environment can produce; the environment then changes according to this input and humans adjust their next input accordingly ... and so and so on. Nowhere in all this is there any ‘complete control’ ... and there never can be ‘complete control’ of any organic process. It is all trial and error, based upon past experience, and to the degree that something works to produce the desired effect, then that is the degree that any input is successful. Nature is not abstract; nature does not fit into a mathematical equation; science can only go so far ... the rest is up to the human’s ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment.
KONRAD: From it science and technology emerged. Now the question is: has it led to happiness? You would expect me to say now: no it has not. But then you are mistaken. Logic IS the way to happiness. Ruthless application of logic, and transformation of our environment can bring us intense joy and happiness.
RICHARD: You say ‘can bring’ ... has it already? Do you live ‘intense joy and happiness’ twenty four hours a day, seven days a week? If not, then this is theoretical only ... this hypothesis needs to be demonstrated.
KONRAD: But there is a problem. For this one-sided approach of control over existence produces an analogous question as that one of the East. The question is: is the construction of unlimited positives something that also ends the negative? And then I say, No, it is NOT. So both the West AND the East have failed to bring an end to that what you call ‘the human condition’.
KONRAD: Logic and rational thinking is tool that turned out to be THE tool that can give us complete control over existence, and even has done it.
RICHARD: Not ‘complete control’ over existence, surely?
KONRAD: Yes, complete. In modern science it has become completely clear what is needed for it. So the insight in what requires complete control has become total. Only, to explain this takes too long. And you probably would not understand it anyway when I attempted it, because it requires a greater skill in abstract thinking than I have ever seen present in you.
RICHARD: Oh, what a cop-out this is ... if you are not prepared to explain yourself then do not make such statements in the first place. And blaming what you take to be my lack of understanding is merely you shifting the onus once again.
KONRAD: Ruthless application of logic, and transformation of our environment can bring us intense joy and happiness.
RICHARD: You say ‘can bring’ ... has it already? Do you live ‘intense joy and happiness’ twenty four hours a day, seven days a week? If not, then this is theoretical only ... this hypothesis needs to be demonstrated.
KONRAD: This is your ‘one big bang’ solution illusion again. I do not buy it.
RICHARD: What do you buy, then? You say above that you come from a ‘Zen perspective’ ... and if anyone has a ‘one big bang solution’ it is them. Their literature abounds in sudden awakenings ... do you remember?
KONRAD: Reality can NOT be observed directly. If you believe that, you make such, sorry to say, stupid mistakes as you are making here.
RICHARD: I agree ... reality cannot be observed directly for it is an illusion just like the ‘I’. Only actuality can be directly experienced ... and only when any identity whatsoever becomes extinct.
KONRAD: If THAT is what Actualism does with the mind, then it is very, very dangerous.
RICHARD: Oh? And in what way is it dangerous? 160,000,000 people have been killed in wars this century alone ... with these normal minds steering the ship. Scientists – with their highly developed abstract thinking and ‘heavy mathematics’ – invented the atomic and nuclear bombs ... are these not dangerous?
What on earth are you talking about?
KONRAD: I have seen this same inability to follow arguments in their contents, and to change it in such a way that it becomes ‘personal’ in Vineeto.
RICHARD: Come now, Konrad ... it was you who had the incredible inability to follow an argument with Vineeto. You unnecessarily complicated what was an otherwise lucid E-Mail correspondence about human relationship and the utter failure of abstract logic to produce total peace and harmony, with involved, complex and convoluted cerebalisation. Indeed, you had to dress-up your native intelligence – commonsense is epitomised by sensible rationality and sensitive reason – with ‘extensive and thorough logical analysis and heavy mathematics’ in order to justify the way you avoided answering Vineeto’s very intelligible original question. Here, let me copy and paste for your edification. Vis.:
And your answer had nothing whatsoever to do with the question ... which was clearly about human relationship and not technological progress. Vis.:
Make use of your memory course and see if you can remember doing this, Konrad. Because you have been trying this stunt with me for ages now ... and you just do not address the issue of the Human Condition and logic’s arrant failure in the area of human relationship. Nevertheless, Vineeto did try again. Vis.:
And just who was it that felt attacked and felt it to be personal? Find out by reading your enlightened reply. Vis.:
Undeterred by such animosity, Vineeto tried again ... I considered these sentences of hers to you very reasonable. Vis.:
Now, having re-read this ... do you still maintain that ‘I have seen this same inability to follow arguments in their contents, and to change it in such a way that it becomes ‘personal’ in Vineeto’ , eh?
KONRAD: For she also took my pointing out to her that certain things can only be understood if the intellectual equipment is developed enough as a personal attack .
RICHARD: I think not ... she was clearly talking about human relationship. You ignored this completely and aired your knowledge of higher mathematics to demonstrate that she could not know what she was talking about if she could not understand certain formulae. Let me copy and paste it for you. Vis.:
Now, I ask you ... what has all that to do with human relationship? What has all that to do with peace and harmony? You made yourself look so silly, Konrad, and by bringing this gaffe up again here ... you make yourself look silly all over again.
KONRAD: Most people are completely ignorant about ethics, and questions pertaining to the distinction between good and evil. Not everybody is aware of the fact, that Ayn Rand has given an objective basis to ethics, and therefore for an objective distinction between good and evil. I connect an explanation of her ethics which basically shows clearly that the difference between good and evil is grounded in the objectively existing difference between life and death. Life and death also connect ‘Is’ and ‘Ought’. Read it, and you will receive an introduction to questions pertaining to human conditioning.
RICHARD: I have eliminated the need for conditioning. I have no need for ethics whatsoever.
KONRAD: Ayn Rand was also a novelist. Her two best books are ‘The Fountainhead’, and ‘Atlas Shrugged’. Especially ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a very fascinating, although rather thick novel.
RICHARD: Back in 1985 I read every book that I could lay my hands on that Ms. Ayn Rand had written. I started with ‘Atlas Shrugged’. Her hero, Mr. John Galt, was personified as the archetype industrialist/ capitalist and Ms. Ayn Rand’s personal dislike of welfare recipients (possibly from her experience in the USSR) was patently obvious. She exemplified what is nowadays called an ‘economic rationalist’ of the ‘user pays’ ilk. With personal prejudices like that it would be difficult for her to think clearly ... as is evidenced by her complete ignorance of the fact that Mr. John Galt’s money to fund his community comes from a pool of millions of consumers desiring his invention. That is, not all of the 5.8 billion people in the world can invent something so desirable that other people’s buy it to the extent that vast amounts of money pours into their coffers. Capitalism is based upon some people being rich at other people’s expense. Her bigotry is particularly evident towards the end of the book in the fanciful scenes of the parasitical nature of welfare recipients. The book was an emotional appeal to what is currently evident in the world as ‘white male supremacy’ ... but only of the favoured few. It is an elitist position. Hence I have little regard for her further philosophising as you present it below.
MS. AYN RAND: ‘The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: does man need values at all – and why?’
KONRAD: I see from your mail that this is exactly what you do and defend. You do not ask this question. Neither did I in the past, by the way. It is exactly this point that was so revolutionary about the understanding of the term ‘ethics’ as brought forward by Ayn Rand. I think that she was the first who had a clear understanding of the concept of ‘ethics’ in general. At least, she was the first who distinguished ‘ethics’ from ‘an ethics’.
RICHARD: This is because she needs ethics. Like you, she would presumably still get infuriated and have to have emotion-backed principles in order to manage to operate and function in a socially acceptable manner even when driven by the instinctual animal urges of fear and aggression that blind nature endows all sentient beings with. In other words: her writing shows that she is still a victim of the human condition ... like you she is encumbered by an affective ‘being’ that needs to be controlled.
MS. AYN RAND: ‘Most philosophers have now decided to declare that reason has failed, that ethics is outside the power of reason, that no rational ethics can ever be defined, and that in the field of ethics – in the choice of his values, of his actions, of his pursuits, of his life’s goals – man must be guided by something other than reason. By what? Faith / instinct / intuition / revelation / feeling / taste / urge / wish / whim. Today, as in the past, most philosophers agree that the ultimate standard of ethics is whim (they call it ‘arbitrary postulate’ or ‘subjective choice’ or ‘emotional commitment’)-and the battle is only over the question of whose whim: one’s own or society’s or the dictator’s or God’s. Whatever else they may disagree about, today’s moralists agree that ethics is a subjective issue and that the three things barred from its field are: reason-mind-reality. If you now wonder why the world is now collapsing to a lower and ever lower rung of hell, this is the reason. If you want to save civilization, it is this premise of modern ethics-and of all ethical history-that you must challenge’.
KONRAD: So Ayn Rand sees the ‘human condition’ as the result of taking rationality not seriously enough, and confusing certain irrational decisions for rational ones.
RICHARD: Nevertheless, like you, she would presumably still get infuriated and have to have emotion-backed principles in order to manage to operate and function in a socially acceptable manner even when driven by the instinctual animal urges of fear and aggression that blind nature endows all sentient beings with. In other words: her writing shows that she is still a victim of the human condition ... like you she is encumbered by an affective ‘being’ that needs to be controlled.
RESPONDENT: When we look at the varieties of thought we can posit at least six basic forms:
Would you like to add any before we begin our discussion on whether there is a common structure to all?
RICHARD: Is it actually possible to make an exhaustive list of all the varieties of thought? And if it was ... is it going to explicate anything substantive? Can we therefore simplify your list? Because it is the distinction between the expressive and rational functions that is what contrasts primary and secondary process thinking, is it not? One’s impulses and wishes arise from affective sources and determine primary process thinking, while the pursuit of exterior objects and goals determines secondary process thinking (planning, rational control, and continuous organisation). As I understand it, these two aspects of thinking are conventionally called autistic (subjective emotionally-motivated activities) and realistic (objective environmentally-motivated activities). The terms are not mutually exclusive, of course, but rather correspond to relative degrees of the influence of different conditions that enter into thinking.
In a broad sense then, the activity called thinking is adaptive responses to intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli; not only does it express inner impulses but it also serves to generate environmentally effective, goal-seeking behaviour.
But, let us not become bogged down by a scholarly debate. Remember that your original question was: ‘There are many sorts of thinking and they are not the same. But we need also to look at the underlying features that makes them all thought. What are these? Is it just the name that is tying them together or is it something more? It is that something more that I was getting at’.
It would seem that the ‘something more’ that you were getting at lies in the autistic field, as extrinsic influences are rather straight-forward and obvious.
RICHARD: The pursuit of exterior objects and goals determines secondary process thinking (planning, rational control, and continuous organisation).
RESPONDENT: Are you saying then that rationality is only an exterior pursuit? What about No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6?
RICHARD: In a way, yes. To illustrate what I am getting at, I would make the analogy to the man/woman ‘battle of the sexes’. That is, intuitive thought versus logical thought. Neither man nor woman has got it right. Male logic is as useless as female intuition. Loosely speaking, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 fit more into the category of the third alternative: Reflection. Reflection needs to be neither logical nor intuitive in order to be reflective.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
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