Dynamics of Awareness

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Edvin
 
Reply Tue 4 Mar, 2008 12:32 pm
How do you see your understandig of the world broaden? How does one become aware? An interesting take on the matter is the "mythos over logos" argument which states that all of reality has been constructed upon the metaphores of old, the mythos. If so, it follows logicaly that all we know is analogue to these metaphores. This argument may not be as valid as it once was, but it is worth our attention when reflecting upon how one becomes aware and describes reality. One could say that in describing reality you choose only the explanations that corresponds with the contemporary "mythos" and as much as possible avoid descriptions that would be in conflict with these.The implications of this argument is vast, but worth debating! As the proverb goes: "We see want we want to see." Comments?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 4 Mar, 2008 01:24 pm
@Edvin,
Quote:
all of reality has been constructed upon the metaphores of old, the mythos.


What would be the "metaphors of old"? How far back to do we go?

Also, I do not understand your logic:

Quote:
all of reality has been constructed upon the metaphores of old, the mythos.


Therefore:

Quote:
all we know is analogue to these metaphores.


I think the problem might be the phrase 'constructed upon'. Obviously, the metaphors popularly accept change over time. The causes of this change vary. If by 'constructed upon' you mean the 'metaphors of old' constitute the first metaphors in this history of often chaotic change, there seems little reason to think that all metaphors of more recent origin than the 'metaphors of old' are analogous to those 'metaphors of old'.

Sure, there exists a great deal of relation between metaphors - they do develop over time. However, I have trouble accepting that any such metaphor is necessarily related to some other particular metaphor; that the metaphors popular to fundamentalist, evangelical Christians are analogous to the metaphors popular to Taoists, for example.
 
Doobah47
 
Reply Tue 4 Mar, 2008 01:44 pm
@Edvin,
I'd interpret what you say as the same metaphors relate to modern existence as to more ancient existence, and in some contexts I'd agree with you. However, as far as I know (and I know very little academic philosophy, due to minimal reading) there is no metaphor relevant to the instantaneous approach to life that comes with the harnessing of electricity. Perhaps we need one, yet it is my opinion that metaphors and polemic philosophies only confuse our understanding of reality; sometimes this confusion or conflation can aid understanding, yet I believe that intuitive understanding is innate - perhaps only those people involved with abstracted 'civilized' life really make use of such supposedly 'wise' words, and even then they only really serve to enable meditative thought, although such thought could be useful in many civilized contexts.

The underlying message I am trying to convey is that language conflates our existence, whether that is useful or not is debatable.

I once heard a proverb, something about an iron bird flying and the dawning of a new age; it caused meditative thought, made me dream, and seemed in some way to obstruct personal revolution in favour of social revolution - perhaps language glues individuals into society, I'm not so sure this is a good thing...
 
Quatl
 
Reply Tue 4 Mar, 2008 04:42 pm
@Edvin,
I'm cheating, since I read your reference to this from that other thread Smile

I think the phrase "modern mythos" may be missleading: "my mythos," "your mythos," or "their mythos" may be more appropriate. If by these you mean the recruitment of known mental tools to the understanding of new mysteries.

I certainly do this when it works, when it doesn't I'm happy to expend the extra energy needed to form new metaphors. I don't instinctively bother unless something seems wrong however.

The intellectual sins of Plausibility are legion, and should haunt all who are truly interested in understanding.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2008 07:38 am
@Edvin,
Quote:

I think the phrase "modern mythos" may be missleading: "my mythos," "your mythos," or "their mythos" may be more appropriate.


Yes, my bad. What I meant was each individuals personal mythos, although we all to some extent share experience, and interpret these acording to the our "mythos", our frameworks of understanding.

Quote:

I certainly do this when it works, when it doesn't I'm happy to expend the extra energy needed to form new metaphors. I don't instinctively bother unless something seems wrong however.



I am talking of a more fundamental level of understanding. Your frameworks. Once you reach the very brink of these it is dificult to accept facts as they are being presented because it often involves abandoning and/or renewing the way you percieve reality. The debate between Niels Bohr, Einstein and Eisenberg during the famous conferance in Brussels, October 1927 is a very good example of this. Here scientists from all over the world, Einstein being one of them, resorted to pure denial in fear of having to abandon their "mythos" when confronted with the problems that quantum physics proposed.
 
Quatl
 
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2008 09:34 am
@Edvin,
Let me make sure that I'm actually speaking the right language, since both of these terms (as well as the phrase mythos over logos) carry a lot of luggage around with them:

The realm of Logos: logic, definition from qualities, "complete" equation, specific

The realm of Mythos: metaphorical thinking, definition from similarities, loose equation(verb not noun,) general

Logos would ask us to regard a new phenomenon unto itself. To define it's particulars and explain it's behavior from these particulars.

Mythos informs us through the shared qualities of various phenomena. It would have us apply our experience with other phenomena to the newly examined one.

If this is not what you mean then the rest of this post is likely irrelevant:
------------------------
Some more or less coherent thoughts:

I believe that mythos is the primary way we operate, in terms of precedence, and quantity both.

I think that logos is more expensive, in terms of "mental costs," and that we avoid it instinctively unless mythos doesn't bear fruit in a particular realm.

Interesting perhaps are those cases where logos is used to construct a mythos, which is then utilized dogmatically.

One problem with mythos is that it is not always apparent to us that it is not logos! The two are often so intertwined within the same argument that distinctions are difficult. Sometimes we need someone else to point this out to us.

In my own intellectual experience the two perform a sort of dance across the history of my internal dialogs.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2008 11:26 am
@Quatl,
Quote:

I think that logos is more expensive, in terms of "mental costs," and that we avoid it instinctively unless mythos doesn't bear fruit in a particular realm.

Interesting perhaps are those cases where logos is used to construct a mythos, which is then utilized dogmatically.



One could argue that it is impossible to seperate the two. The way knowledge is constructed to correspond with previous experience relies on the same dynamics as with rationality or logics, even. Science, hypotheses and conclusions, one could argue, is selected by its ability to confirm, and maybe further develop exsisting frameworks. Henri Poincare', one of France's greatest mathmaticians and physicist, held that "...every scientific theory has its own language, which is chosen by convention." Convention, which is defined as "...Based on or in accordance with general agreement, use, or practice." That is, that which corresponds with our existing frameworks/mythos. Smile
 
Quatl
 
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2008 12:32 pm
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
One could argue that it is impossible to seperate the two. The way knowledge is constructed to correspond with previous experience relies on the same dynamics as with rationality or logics, even.

I would generally one of those who do argue Smile

I'm curious though if there is any other way of learning (other than *deciding* which I can't stomach personally.)

Also is this methodology inherently flawed in some sense? I don't mean "can it go wrong" as any method likely can, but rather are there inherent limits to this pair, realms where they can not serve their intended function "in principle?"

This view certainly calls into question the "sanctity" of our ideas, which is a rather positive side effect in my opinion. Clearly one of the dangers of this type of thinking is that it would be easy to accept defective external mythoi which one has not evaluated properly.

History presents numerous examples of sacred mythoi preventing understanding.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2008 02:55 pm
@Edvin,
Quote:
This view certainly calls into question the "sanctity" of our ideas, which is a rather positive side effect in my opinion. Clearly one of the dangers of this type of thinking is that it would be easy to accept defective external mythoi which one has not evaluated properly.



Creating analogues to experience does not necessarily inhibit objective description. There could just be different aproaches. As far as geometry goes there was just different ways of aproaching the same reality, Poincarre said. As stated in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Poincarres conventionalism:

"

So if one accepts the fact that descriptions of reality is just a matter of convention one could easely decide which one to use by comparing its abilty and effectivness in describing the phenomena. You are still describing the same reality.
 
Quatl
 
Reply Thu 6 Mar, 2008 05:14 am
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
So if one accepts the fact that descriptions of reality is just a matter of convention one could easely decide which one to use by comparing its abilty and effectivness in describing the phenomena. You are still describing the same reality.


This seems to me to be a very healthy approach. I often feel that maintaining more than one explanatory structure is very useful. One can switch between them as as needed, when one has more utility for the problem at hand. Even when there are ultimately contradictions between two models this tactic can often serve well.

I've often felt that the search for perfect truths is a bit misguided, but this view seems hard to justify to many folks. There is a a large subset of humanity that prefers to !Know! things rather than merely "know" them.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 6 Mar, 2008 11:19 am
@Edvin,
Quote:

I often feel that maintaining more than one explanatory structure is very useful. One can switch between them as as needed, when one has more utility for the problem at hand. Even when there are ultimately contradictions between two models this tactic can often serve well.



This is what many would label as an "bootstrap aproach" which I to think could be a good tactic when encountering something that is beyond our "understanding." Very often this lack of understanding could just be your current inability to incoroporate the experience in your existing model. But what does this say about our concept of reality, when two condtradicting models could by themselves explain a given phenomena as precise and effective as the other one? :eek: Are we simply uncovering different aspects of the object observed?
 
Quatl
 
Reply Thu 6 Mar, 2008 12:01 pm
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
But what does this say about our concept of reality, when two condtradicting models could by themselves explain a given phenomena as precise and effective as the other one? :eek: Are we simply uncovering different aspects of the object observed?


What it says about our understanding depends.

In some cases we may be mistaken, meaning one or both models may be imprecise. If the imprecision occurs outside of the domain we are measuring, then two structures could both give reasonable predictions within the domain, and differ outside, with one or both giving poor results.

Another case could be that two conceptions are functionally equivalent. I've heard it said that Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, and Schroedinger's wave mechanics are equivalent mathematic descriptions. In cases like this the choice is purely convenience. Both models are actually identical in a deeper sense.

And of course as you say two methods may be describing different aspects of a phenomenon, and their apparent disagreement may just be illusory. There seem to me to be multiple scenarios in this category. The electro-weak theory could perhaps be an example, where two theories (electro-magnetism, and the weak force) that were based on measurements of different ends of the same beast were unified into one critter. I don't understand any of these three well enough to agree Smile but it is presented this way.

I'm sure there are scenarios.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Fri 7 Mar, 2008 12:34 pm
@Edvin,
We have consensus people!
 
vajrasattva
 
Reply Fri 11 Apr, 2008 04:58 pm
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
How do you see your understandig of the world broaden? How does one become aware? An interesting take on the matter is the "mythos over logos" argument which states that all of reality has been constructed upon the metaphores of old, the mythos. If so, it follows logicaly that all we know is analogue to these metaphores. This argument may not be as valid as it once was, but it is worth our attention when reflecting upon how one becomes aware and describes reality. One could say that in describing reality you choose only the explanations that corresponds with the contemporary "mythos" and as much as possible avoid descriptions that would be in conflict with these.The implications of this argument is vast, but worth debating! As the proverb goes: "We see want we want to see." Comments?


This to me sounds like the theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. The way that that works as I understand it is that we project the archetypes form the subconscious and unconscious onto conscious reality. this creates instinctual reactions to certain situations. However if one is aware of the archetype then treatment is not needed for that situation, because the archetype is working on both a conscious and subconscious level properly. Forgive me for any misinterpretations its been a while since i studied that.



As far as awareness is concerned i think we become more aware when we realize
1. the true nature of the self which is impermanent and
2. when we come to grips with the constant change of life.
I think this because when one becomes aware of change he watches for change becoming aware of his world. And also when one becomes aware of death one looks for something more permanent to cling to and in doing so he finds more of himself in the world at present.
 
vajrasattva
 
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 11:31 am
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
How do you see your understandig of the world broaden? How does one become aware? An interesting take on the matter is the "mythos over logos" argument which states that all of reality has been constructed upon the metaphores of old, the mythos. If so, it follows logicaly that all we know is analogue to these metaphores. This argument may not be as valid as it once was, but it is worth our attention when reflecting upon how one becomes aware and describes reality. One could say that in describing reality you choose only the explanations that corresponds with the contemporary "mythos" and as much as possible avoid descriptions that would be in conflict with these.The implications of this argument is vast, but worth debating! As the proverb goes: "We see want we want to see." Comments?


I believe that your understanding of the world deepens as your experience of the world broadens. So as such, if you apply your self in the area of understanding the world, then your experience of understanding the world will broaden. And you will become more acutely aware of reality.
 
 

 
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