Totality

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Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 01:25 am
The universe, being, God, ego, consciousness, reality, truth.....

These words are all singular. Why is that? Why are our "biggest" words singular? Are we dealing with a unity archetype?

Are we compelled to squeeze our experiences into a unifying web? Are certain key words numinous in the Jungian sense? Can the religious instinct, assuming one is open to such a concept, invest itself in abstract words?

Is "science" (another singular word) itself capable of such numinosity? Can we make a god of the "?" itself?

Does the most caustic criticism meet up with the most cautionless mysticism here? Could we make sense of beings without a nexus of being to place them within?

Are we ever not under the shadow of some Totality?

The number "1" is shaped like the pronoun "I." And also like a phallus. Notable coincidence in a male-dominated culture with both an individualistic and monotheistic heritage.

Thoughts?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 03:35 pm
@Reconstructo,
Is there not a Totality archetype? Does the mind not impose the structure of singularity?
 
pagan
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:45 pm
@Reconstructo,
hi reconstructo

yes there is always the tendency to wonder and think in terms of totality. If we stand behind or in the world, then we can think the totality is the world, or us, something else and what we call the world. It is natural for us to think of a union that incudes all.

But there are ways of concieving the world as interplay between fundamentals, say a pair or triplet. As many a pagan my spiritual practice is very much a reminder of that way of seeing the world and ourselves. The masculine and the feminine for example. Or the light and the dark .... and stop there!

Thats the thing about totality. Philosophically, psychologically and for me spiritually ........ it is insatiable Smile Even addictive in another sense. Looked at in such a spiritual way then we can see potential pitfalls. But then again at other times it feels divine and awesome.

But there is something frustrating about stopping at the brink of totality. It also feels less secure i think because it heralds cosmic interplay. The world appears much more slippery with more than one fundamental at its roots. Totality offers the promise of certainty ..... and therein lays security. Also for us to recognise that as humans we may have to stop looking for the one total essence or being or perfect description of interplay because its too complex to put together, then we can always place our hope in faith. It feels like a failure to give up searching.

Quote:
Are we ever not under the shadow of some Totality?
maybe. but maybe we are under the shadow of the limitations of our own expressive ability to fully understand. Thus the world may be intrinsically multi narrative because it is multipliticous in nature but we can't see it because we are compelled to concieve otherwise.

The ancients believed in the gods fighting and love making and intervening in the world. Such a view is seen as naive and primitive through our more recent modernist conceptual history. We might say that they believed that they lived in the 'shadow of the gods'. At least with totality we have only one potential 'god' to deal with.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 05:26 pm
@Reconstructo,
Thanks for your response. Much appreciated. I do agree that there may indeed be pitfalls.. But I still think we have strong tendency to reduce the word to one principle. For instance, the word as an interplay of 2 forces is still being defined as a singular interplay. Of course this may be the fault of our language. But language is shaped by our desire I think. I suppose I think that totality is the mirror image of Self in the Jungian sense.

I feel that the Self archetype is a crucial concept.

In Jungian theory, the Self is one of the archetypes. It signifies the coherent whole, unified consciousness and unconscious of a person. The Self, according to Jung, is realised as the product of individuation, which in Jungian view is the process of integrating one's personality. For Jung, the self is symbolised by the circle (especially when divided in four quadrants), the square, or the mandala.
What distinguishes Jungian psychology is the idea that there are two centers of the personality. The ego is the center of consciousness, whereas the Self is the center of the total personality, which includes consciousness, the unconscious, and the ego. The Self is both the whole and the center. While the ego is a self-contained little circle off the center contained within the whole, the Self can be understood as the greater circle.[1]
Self (Jung) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

thanks for joining the conversation!
 
pagan
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 06:19 pm
@Reconstructo,
i see what you are interested in now reconstructo.

Quote:
from wikepedia
Gilbert Simondon on individuation

In L'individuation psychique et collective, Gilbert Simondon developed a theory of individual and collective individuation, in which the individual subject is considered as an effect of individuation, rather than a cause. Thus the individual atom is replaced by the neverending ontological process of individuation. Simondon also conceived of "pre-individual fields" as the funds making individuation itself possible. Individuation is an always incomplete process, always leaving a "pre-individual" left-over, itself making possible future individuations. Furthermore, individuation always creates both an individual and a collective subject, which individuate themselves together.
is this interesting? Smile i would like to hear your thoughts.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 06:32 pm
@Reconstructo,
monism has always been the philosophy of the east.
Dualism has always been the philosophy of the west. (sacred/profane, good/evil, heaven/hell, mind/matter)
I think the east is destined to win out. A lot of Western progressive thinkers merely borrowed concepts from the east and introduced them to the west.
Just my first few thoughts on "totality". Free association.
 
pagan
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 07:18 pm
@prothero,
hi prothero Smile

i love the idea that its a competition. So its going to be a win or a dead heat?! East v west. come on you blues lol
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 04:50 pm
@Reconstructo,
the east/west is one more dichotomy. it does seem that we think in ones and twos. we unify toward ones, and differentiate by twos.

i note that simondon relates to delueze. interesting. it was hard to figure out what simondon meant exactly by that brief article. i'll have to look into it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 04:26 am
@Reconstructo,
The concrete real (the totality) is revealed by human discourse. Hegel calls this Spirit. When natural science abstracts mere pieces from this reality, it is justified by its results. But abstractions are just that. Ab-stracted. Yanked out.

Philosophy is perhaps not justified in this abstraction from totality. Of course, philosophy has largely abandoned its systematic ambitions. Maybe Hegel was the last big metaphysical party.

The "true" philosopher doesn't only have to explain the world but also his own presence within this world and his ability to explain it. I'm not saying this is possible, but this ideal still seems like a valuable reminder not to forget the observer's part in that which is observed.
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 05:22 am
@Reconstructo,
The phallic symbolism to 'unity' is very interesting. In fact a good imagination. In India, many shaivites (the ones who worship lord Shiva) pray, celebrate and worship the Linga/yoni unity. (Phallus and Womb) . This also represents creation, fertility, vitality, power etc.

Totality needs careful inspection. It is a great concept. How on earth would humans know about 'Totality'? How do we comprehend 'Totality', with our limited knowledge, perceptions, and limited powers of understandings?.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 12:51 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;128439 wrote:
The phallic symbolism to 'unity' is very interesting. In fact a good imagination. In India, many shaivites (the ones who worship lord Shiva) pray, celebrate and worship the Linga/yoni unity. (Phallus and Womb) . This also represents creation, fertility, vitality, power etc.

Totality needs careful inspection. It is a great concept. How on earth would humans know about 'Totality'? How do we comprehend 'Totality', with our limited knowledge, perceptions, and limited powers of understandings?.


Is being a Brahman a proffession? I was allways interested in India, since high-school/ I agree on limited power of understanding as being a problem.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 02:15 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;128439 wrote:

Totality needs careful inspection. It is a great concept. How on earth would humans know about 'Totality'? How do we comprehend 'Totality', with our limited knowledge, perceptions, and limited powers of understandings?.


I don't think we can actually succeed at knowing the totality. But this concept of totality seems almost inborn. Totality is the all consider as one, yes? Hegel examined this sort of thing. The subject when thoroughly considering the object finds himself considering the subject finally, which largely determines the "object."

We speak of universals automatically, it seems. God, Nature, Reason, Truth. Notice how all of these words are singular? I'm not an expert on the matter, but I believe that polytheistic religions often also have a monotheistic background or component. I suspect an archetype. It's as if we are evolved to think holistically (but not exclusively so.) Jung speculated on a Kosmos archetype. Kosmos means order, if I am not mistaken.
 
jack phil
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 02:36 pm
@Reconstructo,
Is not the totality of a flower contained in the seed?

Or is it even permissible to speak of the flower's totality? I know little of flowers, but I have heard that we cannot be sure how large a Great White Shark can grow. Anacondas cannot grow more spinal cord- their maximum length is limited by the number of vertabrae from birth.

But in dealing with all possibility, we cannot speak of it as comparable. There are no other Great White Sharks to compare against it. There is no other reality.

So, we are left speaking of the seed... the simple measurement... the essential unit... the Ruler.

Some may describe the Ruler as a measuring stick. Others as the only Ruler, from which all other measurements are grasped.

There are, however, stages between the seed and the full blossom.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 02:49 pm
@jack phil,
jack;128621 wrote:
Is not the totality of a flower contained in the seed?

This is a good question. I think we have to add the time element. For Hegel, man is time. Man is the dialectical movement (the discourse) that reveals the totality. And this totality includes, of course, man's discourse, which evolves only in time. So he says, in so many words, that reality is spirit. The substance is subject. And this is why the real is rational and the rational is real. Because to think of reality apart from man is itself a deceptive human abstraction. There is no reality apart from man, or not one that man can know of.

Let's say the seed is nature before man evolves his understanding of nature and his understanding of his understanding. The flower would be the man-nature totality come to self-consciousness. The revealed totality, the flower!
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 11:28 pm
@Reconstructo,
Pepijn Sweep;128572 wrote:
Is being a Brahman a proffession? I was allways interested in India, since high-school/ I agree on limited power of understanding as being a problem.


Glad to hear that. You are welcome to India, anytime. On Brahman, there is a misconception. Although similar is phonetics, the following terms or concepts are quite different.

Brahma- (Bra-'ah-Ma) is one of the three triads/trinities representing three forces. He is a personified God - known to be the creator of Universe. The creating force. (The other forces being the 'sustaining' inaptly translated as the 'preserving force, represented by Lord Vishnu; and the third force of power and destruction, represented by Lord Shiva.

Brahman - (Bra-ahm-an) is a metaphysical concept describing the very Essence of the Universe, of Matter, of Substance. It is parallel to Holy Spirit. But in the spiritual realm it is treated higher than the personal God Brahma.

Brahmin - (Bra-min) is a class of people who 'seek knowledge', and are traditionally the priestly class in India. The priesthood, classified as the so called 'upper caste' in the social strata, carry out the profession of performing the rituals, poojas or offerring ceremonies.


Reconstructo;128603 wrote:
I don't think we can actually succeed at knowing the totality. But this concept of totality seems almost inborn. Totality is the all consider as one, yes? Hegel examined this sort of thing. The subject when thoroughly considering the object finds himself considering the subject finally, which largely determines the "object."

We speak of universals automatically, it seems. God, Nature, Reason, Truth. Notice how all of these words are singular? I'm not an expert on the matter, but I believe that polytheistic religions often also have a monotheistic background or component. I suspect an archetype. It's as if we are evolved to think holistically (but not exclusively so.) Jung speculated on a Kosmos archetype. Kosmos means order, if I am not mistaken.


I have not studied Jung, so can't opine on his thoughts.

Yes, from the singular perspective totality can be said to be that which represents everything. The sum total of all things, entities and beings. I call them TEBs.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 12:23 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;128439 wrote:

Totality needs careful inspection. It is a great concept. How on earth would humans know about 'Totality'? How do we comprehend 'Totality', with our limited knowledge, perceptions, and limited powers of understandings?.


My answer would be that the only possible human totality would be the totality of human experience, including our anxieties concerning any totality beyond that.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 01:25 AM ----------

Jackofalltrades;130893 wrote:

Brahman - (Bra-ahm-an) is a metaphysical concept describing the very Essence of the Universe, of Matter, of Substance. It is parallel to Holy Spirit. But in the spiritual realm it is treated higher than the personal God Brahma.

This one is my favorite.

Do you like this poem?

Quote:

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.



Emerson
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 12:53 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;128428 wrote:
The concrete real (the totality) is revealed by human discourse. Hegel calls this Spirit. When natural science abstracts mere pieces from this reality, it is justified by its results. But abstractions are just that. Ab-stracted. Yanked out.

Philosophy is perhaps not justified in this abstraction from totality. Of course, philosophy has largely abandoned its systematic ambitions. Maybe Hegel was the last big metaphysical party.

The "true" philosopher doesn't only have to explain the world but also his own presence within this world and his ability to explain it. I'm not saying this is possible, but this ideal still seems like a valuable reminder not to forget the observer's part in that which is observed.


I just admire how people can tell who is a "true" philosopher, as opposed to (what?) a "false" philosopher. When you seen the term "true X" or "real X" you can be pretty sure that someone is trying to sell you something, The "true Xs" are those Xs the speaker thinks you should say are the only X's. In logic books, the phrase "true X" or, "real X" is discussed under the heading of, "persuasive definitions".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 01:06 am
@Reconstructo,
I was thinking on a walk earlier just how holistic Hegel was. But his holism, like Rorty's, is a vat of acid for dissolving/transcending dichotomies.

Some other think already said it. But we have two types of thinker, the theory runs. Putters-together and takers-apart. Perhaps this is better expressed as two type of thinking rather than thinkers, though thinkers sometimes specialize.
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 09:20 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130896 wrote:
My answer would be that the only possible human totality would be the totality of human experience, including our anxieties concerning any totality beyond that.


I cant disagree with that.


Reconstructo;130896 wrote:
Do you like this poem?
Emerson



I like the poem, thanks for reminding the same.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 09:29 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo wrote:

The concrete real (the totality) is revealed by human discourse. Hegel calls this Spirit.


What do you call it?
 
 

 
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