Monday Aphorism: Transcendence

This life, this experience, this day…not enough, somehow. Looking, searching, yearning, is there not more? Why…not? Where is there more; beyond? Other lives, others’ lives, magical beyond proportion, it seems these days that this is not sufficient. I wish, I wish…Some spirit of the Universe, come and lead me, take me to the beyond, beyond being; beyond my being. Do I not…deserve; have I not carried the burden of my life to the furthest edges? Is there not more? Lead me! Take me! Detail? Texture? Density? You say to me that I hear the muted conversations with the self of selves which stretches time and condenses experience? Pay attention, rearrange the bounds of being and the boundaries of the categories which I tell my self are the edges of my being that I wish to go beyond; I tell myself so that they will melt when I arrive. Transcendence?

Tomorrow…is now here. I sit looking down upon the river of life which flows from the end of the land into the oceans of life, of other being. I float upon waters where the gravity of pushing down is borne lightly by the buoyancy of liquid’s deep. Transcend yesterday; tomorrow is now here. The yearning of what was toward what will be, is where I sit looking back, looking out. Where am I that I have arrived?

  • “Transcend yesterday; tomorrow is now here.”

    …just brilliant, a portable antidote to so many Platonic/Aristotelian frames trapping us to think life is all the same, fixed, closed, unchanging… or what a bell says, waking us to all the choices of action in each present moment.

  • “Transcend yesterday; tomorrow is now here.”

    …just brilliant, a portable antidote to so many Platonic/Aristotelian frames trapping us to think life is all the same, fixed, closed, unchanging… or what a bell says, waking us to all the choices of action in each present moment.

  • Thanks. Very tricky, this “moving on” – dancing on the ancient Heraclitean claims that “all is change” – always grappling with the Platonic/Western hopes and methods for “permanence is the real.”
    Harvey

  • Thanks. Very tricky, this “moving on” – dancing on the ancient Heraclitean claims that “all is change” – always grappling with the Platonic/Western hopes and methods for “permanence is the real.”
    Harvey

  • Karl Rogers

    Of course, as you know, Heraclitus recognised from the outset that change was the permanent and all pervasive essence of reality….

    …. this leads us to the question of, within the terms of a Heracltean way of thinking: how are we, as beings of constant change, in a world of constant change, able to recognise that permanent and all pervasive truth?

    Even though today it is quite unfashionable, since Nietzsche’s madman announced the death of God, but perhaps some Platonic conception of transcendence lingers on even in our most Heraclitean moments…..

  • Karl Rogers

    Of course, as you know, Heraclitus recognised from the outset that change was the permanent and all pervasive essence of reality….

    …. this leads us to the question of, within the terms of a Heracltean way of thinking: how are we, as beings of constant change, in a world of constant change, able to recognise that permanent and all pervasive truth?

    Even though today it is quite unfashionable, since Nietzsche’s madman announced the death of God, but perhaps some Platonic conception of transcendence lingers on even in our most Heraclitean moments…..

  • Karl,
    Trying to take Heraclitus into “being,” is never simple. I’ve gone in a couple of “directions” or questionings with “change.”
    First – if all is change, then anything that seems/appears permanent “must have something” which accounts for that appearance. My study is then about how something might/must have been “constructed…”
    Two – how do we (humans…et al) learn/deal with/experience the “present” (G.H. Mead’s last book was “The Philosophy of the Present” – not an easy read)? I’ve gone in many directions with this: that experience “speeds up” with age (time “passes” ever more quickly) – hinting that the infants/young experience their world very “slowly” – leading to new/different ways of observing, e.g., how they “learn” language – not “built-in” – but…
    Then questions of past and future – memory and the construction of each present…without “losing” one’s sense of…everything. Attachment theory should pursue this as aspects of the self emerging from dialogue with m/other. (I could go on, but haven’t “got time” just now.
    Harvey

  • Karl,
    Trying to take Heraclitus into “being,” is never simple. I’ve gone in a couple of “directions” or questionings with “change.”
    First – if all is change, then anything that seems/appears permanent “must have something” which accounts for that appearance. My study is then about how something might/must have been “constructed…”
    Two – how do we (humans…et al) learn/deal with/experience the “present” (G.H. Mead’s last book was “The Philosophy of the Present” – not an easy read)? I’ve gone in many directions with this: that experience “speeds up” with age (time “passes” ever more quickly) – hinting that the infants/young experience their world very “slowly” – leading to new/different ways of observing, e.g., how they “learn” language – not “built-in” – but…
    Then questions of past and future – memory and the construction of each present…without “losing” one’s sense of…everything. Attachment theory should pursue this as aspects of the self emerging from dialogue with m/other. (I could go on, but haven’t “got time” just now.
    Harvey

  • More (I was afraid to begin this…) – having a year-old child in a class “On Human Nature” – he is already a fairly accomplished walker, able to deal with gravity, movement, can run fairly well. All this leading to questions about our bodily being: the human body intrinsically “out-of-balance…becoming increasingly accomplished (a better study coming when the snow/ice hit here fairly soon). Holding up a very weighty skull, when do we “stop growing?” how and why. All these questions are aspects/appropriate to understanding change/permanence.

  • More (I was afraid to begin this…) – having a year-old child in a class “On Human Nature” – he is already a fairly accomplished walker, able to deal with gravity, movement, can run fairly well. All this leading to questions about our bodily being: the human body intrinsically “out-of-balance…becoming increasingly accomplished (a better study coming when the snow/ice hit here fairly soon). Holding up a very weighty skull, when do we “stop growing?” how and why. All these questions are aspects/appropriate to understanding change/permanence.

  • Karl Rogers

    Harvey,

    The example of how young children learn to become accomplised walkers, learning how to deal with gravity, movement, obstacles, etc., is truly fascinating and, indeed, revealling of what it is to be human being, embodied and living in a pre-existing social world, and having to learn all sorts of complicated skills within the whole process of growth and living a life.

    Indeed, how the human body moves from being intrinsically “out-of-balance” and becomes increasingly accomplised raises very important questions and opportunities for research into human nature and also the nature of the world within which we are an inherent part.

    However, I do have some reservations about the use of the term “permanence” here, especially in relation to Heraclitean thought into change as a permanent and all pervasive essence of existence.

    It seems to me that when we learn how to walk, or how to navigate difficult terrain, such as ice or snow, we are dealing with the problem of how to achieve a state of equilibrium within a complex situation of opposing forces, resistances, and tendencies. This is a process of moving from inequilibrium to equilibrium, wherein additional factors while arise in a complicated, changing. and open ended world can destabilise the state of equilibrium, requiring the achievement of a new state of equilibrium. Human growth is a process of learning how to deal in instability and achieve states of equilibria. This can be seen in terms of a punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution, at both the macro and micro levels of dealing with social evolution and individual growth, in a complex, open ended, and changing world. This is analogous to what Buddhist thinking (and Giles Deleuze) terms as the journey of ten thousand plateaus.

    However, the concept of “equilibrium” is an immament concept to the phenomenon. It is experiential and can be studied and understood in phenomenological terms. It is more a question of change/persistance rather than change/permanence.

    This immanent concept is quite distinct from the transcendent concept of permanent and all pervasive change that is inherent to Heraclitean mysticism (which Heraclitus based on nous, an intuitive connection with the mind of the divine, and illuminated in analogy with fire.)

    Unless we are mystically endowed with divine knowledge, we mortals have no experience of anything permanent and all pervasive. We are localised and temporal. We live on islands of persistance and change.

    The Heraclitean transcendent concept of permanent and all pervasive change is what we would call in our modern terms as a metaphysical concept that is used to explain experience, something that we bring to experience and project over it. My concern is the way that this kind of metaphysical concept is implicit in many fashionable philosophies and ideologies today, ranging from post-Nietzschean poststructuralism to New Age poetics, while the proponents of such doctrines consider themselves to be free of transcendent concepts and metaphysical thinking, when they are not, and, unlike Heraclitus, they do not acknowledge the mysticism inherent to such concepts. Will the gods forgive such ingratitude?

    It seems to me that God has not only outlived Nietzsche, but She (truth is a woman, after all) has taken on a new identitity and is living in hiding in the thoughts of those who reject the possibility of eternal and universal knowledge while paradoxically allowing themselves to pronouce that all is change and there is no permanance.

  • Karl Rogers

    Harvey,

    The example of how young children learn to become accomplised walkers, learning how to deal with gravity, movement, obstacles, etc., is truly fascinating and, indeed, revealling of what it is to be human being, embodied and living in a pre-existing social world, and having to learn all sorts of complicated skills within the whole process of growth and living a life.

    Indeed, how the human body moves from being intrinsically “out-of-balance” and becomes increasingly accomplised raises very important questions and opportunities for research into human nature and also the nature of the world within which we are an inherent part.

    However, I do have some reservations about the use of the term “permanence” here, especially in relation to Heraclitean thought into change as a permanent and all pervasive essence of existence.

    It seems to me that when we learn how to walk, or how to navigate difficult terrain, such as ice or snow, we are dealing with the problem of how to achieve a state of equilibrium within a complex situation of opposing forces, resistances, and tendencies. This is a process of moving from inequilibrium to equilibrium, wherein additional factors while arise in a complicated, changing. and open ended world can destabilise the state of equilibrium, requiring the achievement of a new state of equilibrium. Human growth is a process of learning how to deal in instability and achieve states of equilibria. This can be seen in terms of a punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution, at both the macro and micro levels of dealing with social evolution and individual growth, in a complex, open ended, and changing world. This is analogous to what Buddhist thinking (and Giles Deleuze) terms as the journey of ten thousand plateaus.

    However, the concept of “equilibrium” is an immament concept to the phenomenon. It is experiential and can be studied and understood in phenomenological terms. It is more a question of change/persistance rather than change/permanence.

    This immanent concept is quite distinct from the transcendent concept of permanent and all pervasive change that is inherent to Heraclitean mysticism (which Heraclitus based on nous, an intuitive connection with the mind of the divine, and illuminated in analogy with fire.)

    Unless we are mystically endowed with divine knowledge, we mortals have no experience of anything permanent and all pervasive. We are localised and temporal. We live on islands of persistance and change.

    The Heraclitean transcendent concept of permanent and all pervasive change is what we would call in our modern terms as a metaphysical concept that is used to explain experience, something that we bring to experience and project over it. My concern is the way that this kind of metaphysical concept is implicit in many fashionable philosophies and ideologies today, ranging from post-Nietzschean poststructuralism to New Age poetics, while the proponents of such doctrines consider themselves to be free of transcendent concepts and metaphysical thinking, when they are not, and, unlike Heraclitus, they do not acknowledge the mysticism inherent to such concepts. Will the gods forgive such ingratitude?

    It seems to me that God has not only outlived Nietzsche, but She (truth is a woman, after all) has taken on a new identitity and is living in hiding in the thoughts of those who reject the possibility of eternal and universal knowledge while paradoxically allowing themselves to pronouce that all is change and there is no permanance.

  • Is the Heracltean dance what Elizabeth Drew described it as, “a perpetual sustaining tension between opposites and not a …. center of resolution”? in T.S. Eliot: The Design of His Poetry.