August 11, 2015

Mythology, ideology, and subjective fantasy

The Trauma of New Materialism, Speculative Realism, and Object-Oriented Ontology Posted by larvalsubjects . Larval Subjects . August 10, 2015
Here we have the very structure of both mythology and ideology (do the two differ from one another?). Both myth and ideology can be thought as structured around the idea of a lost origin or ground that has been contaminated and to which we must return and the idea of a synthetic function of the subject that can both totalize the field of past and future in the production of the future and thereby regain that lost origin.
I would like to say that the mark of those most vital vectors of 20th century thought have been to contest these yearnings (yearnings that I’ve argued elsewhere are at the root of our drive to mastery (destruction) and autoimmune xenophobia that characterize our social structure at all levels), but the truth is that there has always been a minor tradition of philosophy, of theory, of practice, that has always contested the synthetic function of the subject, the existence of lost origins, the drive to totality. If there’s something new today, it’s the question of how to do philosophy in politics in the face of the likelihood that we’re already dead (the truth of the anthropocene). That aside, the contestation of origin and the synthetic function of the subject capable of overcoming alienation and reconciling itself with itself has been the theme of thought in Nietzsche, Freud, those indebted to Saussure, and a host of others. 
We live in the age where myth and ideology have slipped, yet still everywhere exert their influence. If there’s a horror to be found among the new materialisms, speculative realisms, and object-oriented ontologies (they must always be written in the plural as they know no identity), it is in the fact that they continue this undermining of the self-present mastery of the subject and effacement of the origin, drawing attention to the manner in which we live in the orbit– in the astronomical sense of the word –of things that exceed us. Speaking to this is not a hatred of humanity– though I contest any univocity attributed to the term “humanity” –but, as Kant said in “What is Enlightenment?”, is a way in which humanity rises from it’s self-imposed infantile state. Such an enlightenment entails abandoning the fantasy of sovereignty, the discourse of the master, the structure of masculinity, so as to encounter the manner in which we’re beings among beings. Perhaps that is one meaning of overcoming correlationism.
Interviews With Me

Abstract: Gebser suggests that the world-constituting reality of time first irrupted into Western consciousness with the publication in 1905 of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. This was the first indication of an emerging mutation from the three-dimensional, Copernican world of the mental structure into the four-dimensional world of the integral structure. My presentation will critically examine Einstein’s role in this evolutionary initiation by situating his concept of a space-time continuum within its early 20th century context. While Einstein’s relativity theory played a central role in the 20th century revolution in physics, revisiting the debates he was engaged in with thinkers like Henri Bergson and Alfred North Whitehead reveal that his perception of time was still obscured by the residue of the mental structure’s spatializing tendency. As Gebser remarked, we are “compelled to become fully conscious of time—the new component—not just as a physical-geometric fourth dimension but in its full complexity” (EPO, 288, 352). 
During his controversial debate with Bergson in Paris in 1922, Einstein argued that the former’s understanding of time as “creative evolution” was merely the subjective fantasy of an artist, and that, as a hard-nosed scientist, he was concerned only with the real, objective time made manifest by the geometrical reasoning of relativity theory. Bergson, for his part, argued that Einstein had mistaken a particular way of measuring time (i.e., clock-time) for time itself. Whitehead’s meeting with Einstein shortly after this debate with Bergson, though not as public, was no less significant. Whitehead similarly argued that the philosophical implications of Einstein’s brilliant scientific theory must be saved from Einstein’s faulty interpretation. My presentation will review these early 20th century debates about the nature of time in light of Gebser’s prophetic announcement of the birth of a new structure of consciousness. More than a century after Einstein’s theory was published, mainstream scientific cosmology still has not fully integrated the immeasurably creative character of qualitative time. I will argue that Bergson and Whitehead’s largely neglected critiques and reconstructions of relativity theory help show the way towards the concrete realization of Gebser’s integral structure.

louisbrassard on August 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm said: The question of time is intimatly linked to the notion of evolution, not only the biological evolution but the evolution of all that exist. In the second half of the 19th century many natural philosopers proposed cosmological evolutionary theories. In 1859, Darwin had shaken the world with his theory of biological evolution. The modern notion of time in physics had been invented by Galileo. He is the first to think of including the time of a clock (he design the first mechanical clock) into an equation with position. He created space time which will become the platonic realm of dynamic equation when calculus will be invented. The invention space time had provided a way to immobilize movement and so to geometrize dynamical systems. In these equation, t is like the other spatial parameters. All the phenomena that can be expressed by differential equations end up frozen in space time. Around 1880, Bergson realized that the time of physics was only parametrizing predicting changes which in space time where fixed and so saw for the first time that physics was describing a frozen block universe in space time and thus that the time of physics was not describing real change, change that cannot be predicted, in other word: creative events, what drive evolution. The time of physics is conceptual, it exists into a conceptual space time. Real time, real change is not conceptual, it cannot be conceptualized. It is a lived time.
The NOW is absent in space time while it is all that exist in lived experience.

Roy Smith on August 10, 2015 at 12:09 pm said: Great subject for a paper, Matt. It elucidates the necessity for dialog between Science and Philosophy that has been lacking in our culture. I’ve found that the science professions are filled with men and women who don’t even recognize the validity of philosophy, not realizing that the very presuppositions by which they proceed with their work are philosophical in nature. You could fit their ability to question their own assumptions into a container the size of a pea. As long as only average thinkers can become scientists these days, many meaningful breakthroughs will remain in limbo. We haven’t yet weened off the classical prejudices, 90 years after the arrival quantum mechanics.

Demystifying space & time - Kalika Prasad Dasgupta
The Statesman - 12/8/2015
Throughout the autumn and winter of 1915, Einstein tirelessly worked on his General Theory, which explained the apparent anomaly in Mercury’s orbit that defied Newtonian mechanics — the planet’s perihelion, the point of its orbit nearest the sun, is advanced by 43 seconds of arc per century. In Einstein’s final theory, gravitation was not treated as a force of attraction between bodies and the same was untenable in a relativistic universe explained in terms of field theory. Einstein’s gravitational field equations (1912 -1915) governing space-time curvature are 10 non-linear partial differential equations with tensor quantities. This theory, inter alia, explains gravitational red shift, whereby light passing close to a heavy object such as a planet will redden. His theory of curved space near massive planetary bodies such as the sun also explained the deflection of light along a curved path.

Einstein’s equations also suggested that the universe was expanding. It contradicted the concept of a static universe as advanced by Fred Hoyle and JV Narlicar in the 1960s, though earlier, at the end of the 1920s, American astronomer Edwin Hubble had demonstrated that the universe was really expanding. Einstein’s field equations later provided the mathematical foundations of the Big Bang theory and the origin of the universe. In a sense, Einstein was one of the founders of quantum theory, though he did not cherish the concept of its uncertainty principle. His Nobel Prize was not for his relativity principle but for his 1905 paper on the quantum nature of light.

In mid-1924, taking up ideas from Satyen Bose in Dhaka and Louis de Broglie in Paris, he predicted that atoms might club together in a single entity. This is not an ordinary crystal or molecule, but an accumulation of similar atoms bonded together like a conglomeration in a slow moving laser beam. Such a condensate can exist at temperatures close to absolute zero and was called the Bose-Einstein Condensate. Special Relativity rules out the reversal of time by travelling faster than light; however, General Relativity allows for an extraordinary condition of space-time called a “wormhole”. An object might enter at one end, proceed by a route outside the known universe and come out at the far end of a wormhole in a quite different place and/or time. In particular, an excursion like that allows a return to an earlier time.

After 1916, Einstein did not consider his theory to be the pinnacle of human knowledge. He felt the basic fields of nature, such as gravitation, electromagnetism and the like must be explained in a single theory, which would account for any phenomena occurring in nature, including quantum mechanics. For the rest of his life he worked tireless on this theory of unifying fields in a profound manner. Since Einstein breathed his last, physics has propounded several similar cutting-edge theoretical endeavours, such as the String Theory and Super String Theory, which extended human knowledge to a trans-universal scale. As Richard Feynman suggests, there could be 11 universes in parity with 11 dimensions. It would be like Lord Krishna telling Arjuna that he knew 11 rudras that the latter was unaware of. But all such theories stem from Einstein’s master theory, which turned 100, this year.

On Schrödinger's birthday, how his talk "What is Life?" captivated DNA researcher James Watson -
Schrödinger’s What Is Life was delivered in 1944 and was later published in book form. Watson read it two years later as a third-year student and was captivated. “I realised it was very important and it was the book that turned me towards biology.”

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