Tautological Ambiguity

2001 05 26

Today I begin to gather points long made at Knatz.com, hoping for a synergy that will make a new point: no matter how good your illumination, there are huge parts of the cosmos you won’t see by it. Furthermore, different cultures emphasize different mental “optics”: there is no philosophy, no religion, no science … that can “see” everything of potential importance: at least not at the same time, not using its one tool kit. One can concentrate on foreground or background but not both together. While looking under a black light, you won’t see what you would see under a white light. Visa Versa and et cetera.

Only parts of the observations or recommendations by generalists can be refereed by specialists. In general, it’s the generalists who should be refereeing the specialists.

The illustration I have long used to approach this area comes from R. Buckminster Fuller. To initiate this draft I import two uses I’ve already made of the point at Knatz.com.

  • As Bucky observed, you can never do just one of anything. If you draw a square, you’ve drawn two squares: the one within the lines and another without. Both squares have four equal sides and four equal angles.
  • from FLEX Philosophers [Link to be restored]

    Somehow nothing becomes something. Then Something becomes dual. Duality complexifies to trinity. Take another step and the path shows infinity. Lao Tsu wrote a variant of this a long time ago. More recently Bucky Fuller pointed out that if you draw a square (say 1 x 1), and a square is a polygon with four equal edges related to each other by four equal angles, then you’ve drawn two squares. The first has four one foot edges, an area of one square foot, and each angle shares one-fourth of 360 degrees: 90 degrees. Simultaneously, you have a complementary square of four one foot edges, four equal angles of 270 degrees each, and an area equal to all of planar space minus one square foot.

    I don’t doubt that another step or two would render the squares infinite and discover mystical relations among the angles and more. All I want to do at the moment is show that the conventional Christianity of my childhood transformed for me into the complementary Chrixity of my present age. There’s more than one way to compare Bucky’s two squares, more than one way to compare any related complements: being/nothingness/ … zero/one … one/two … one/three … three/five … male/female …

    from Chrixity

    (Fuller’s own words on the subject are now online at Grunch.net.)

    When we say that we are considering something, how many things are we therefore not

    Before the Church elevates some deceased to sainthood, a trial is held. A panel of priests argue for the saintliness of the candidate. One priest is appointed “devil’s advocate”: arguing against the candidate: the Church’s version of falsification. But notice: that priest doesn’t work for Satan. At least not officially. If there is a Devil, shouldn’t he send his own representative? Should he not be allowed to speak himself? if he’s given credit for speaking? (And where do we get ratification that the ordinary priests speak for God?) (Tell you what: I’ll represent the Chinese; Bobby, you represent Plato; and Mary, you represent the Martians.) Is there any vision that isn’t somehow blind?

    How would the Scopes trial have gone had it been held by headhunters? Who would have played Clarence Darrow’s part? (Of course that’s not fair to headhunters: some group of headhunters might for all I know be more rational than you, me, or Darrow.)

    The idea of Judgment Day imagines human decisions being reviewed by something both objective and omnipotent. My Judgment Day imaginings have Judgment Day1 reviewed by Judgment Day2 and Judgment Day2 reviewed by Judgment Dayn. (See Judgment Day, for example. [Link to be restored])

    Am I making my point? At all? Understand: I am not saying that the above samples are “the same thing”; I’m saying that they relate in ways not commonly understood. When I can find my way back here, I’ll review my initial performance the best I can.


    About pk

    Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
    This entry was posted in pk Teaching, thinking tools. Bookmark the permalink.

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