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Perhaps it's the empiricist in me, but I try to distinguish between reality and hyperreality. There are innumerable ways that we can perceive the world, some more and some less informative, and while in practice these are the only conceptual contact we can have with reality (at least insofar as the rational mind goes), ultimately reality is unitary - we all inhabit the same world, we just perceive it differently.

Eisenstein is a fascinating and profound thinker, and a great deal of what he writes resonates with me. The main point of departure for me is in a sense aesthetic. His vision ultimately seems to resemble a world of peaceful, bucolic villages where everyone lives in harmony with their gardens and sings songs while holding hands around the fire at night. This is very appealing at one level, but it doesn't seem to leave much room for adventure and excitement. The energy is very feminine, very Mother Earth - there's little of the Sky Father in it. Where do energetic and ambitious young men fit into this vision?

Now, Eisenstein himself is a remarkably nuanced and careful thinker, so he'd probably have a very good answer to that. The audience he attracts, however (judging by the tenor of his comments section) is very much dominated by irredentist 70s hippy feminist women, to whom the central vision he articulates is particularly appealing. I suspect this audience colors his presentation via the usual parasocial feedback loop between readers and authors, which in turn leads to certain neglected topics in his vision.

What does that vision look like, in other words, when we include violence, crime, and war as eternal and quite possibly essential elements of the human experience?

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-> Violence to demons, crime to bad ideas, and war against deception. Or, alternatively, you go back to the next shitty reality to once more save the day? Or you storm out of the shire to confront Mordor?

RE empiricism, perhaps it helps to talk about experience as opposed to perception: the hyper reality is the source, the ground, of our experience; yet our individual experience can be very different--and it partly (in large parts?) depends on our presuppositions.

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All those are possibilities, as is a return of the code duelo, ritual combat for dispute resolution, etc.

By hyperreality, I meant more in the Baudrillardian sense of the world of simulacra and signifiers that our minds layer on top of primary reality, and very easily mistake for it since in practice, it's all they have access to. The experience/perception distinction seems like a fruitful direction, though ... with the proviso that this has already been twisted by the Marxists using the 'lived experience' formula with which they attempt to batter objective reality into silence.

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Ah. Well, hence we must not fall in love too much with one way of looking at primary reality, lest we lose sight of that it's actually the primary reality we are after. Which also rules out some sort of "anything goes" about personal experience, because it acknoledges that there actually IS a primary reality which limits and informs our experience.

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It's that acknowledgement of primary reality that's the most important part. Whether or not it can be touched directly, without common agreement that there's a there there, no communication is really possible.

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We might even witness a sort of reality split, where one part of humanity will go one way, while the other will attract a different future.

I think this is the most likely scenario. Covid split Western society in two. The division between those who accepted the narrative and those who rejected it will only be amplified in the coming years. I don’t think we’ll see a violent civil war (that requires too much effort), but unless some kind of massive disaster occurs, I think we will eventually end up with two distinct cultures.

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Yes, we are already living in two different universes. Perhaps literally? I do think, however, that Covid is only one aspect (although a crucial one): people really need to realize what's going on, not only on the political, but also psychological, spiritual, personal levels etc. Otherwise, we will be deceived once more. We shouldn't underestimate how clever these "principalities" are that we are dealing with.

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I agree. Covid is the symptom of a much deeper societal / spiritual problem.

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Yes, it just made the preexisting divide more visible.

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Jan 15, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch

💬 (that requires too much effort)

A light down-to-earth take by the ultimate lived-experience expert (summarily cancelled and banished from woke polite society) ↓↓

🗨 In perpetrating a revolution, there are two requirements: someone or something to revolt against and someone to actually show up and do the revolting. Dress is usually casual and both parties may be flexible about time and place, but if either faction fails to attend, the whole enterprise is likely to come off badly.

Keep on smiling 😉

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There is a handful of truths that are so fundamental to our existence that to deny them would amount to denying everything we know or think. I am referring to the laws of sense/meaning: non-contradiction, excluded middle, identity. Apart from these, in particular regarding issues that require complex interpretation and in all empirical sciences, there evidently are deeply entrenched organising/simplifying beliefs that fit what Collingwood called ‘absolute presuppositions’. This does not imply relativism, since the absolute presuppositions were never known to be true, but merely believed to be true (falsely, since such believing to be true violates the law of non-contradiction). When absolute presuppositions collapse, there is a fallback position, consisting in the capacity to think and the rules it must follow to create meaning, build a ‘new’ world, on new presuppositions.

Applying the fundamental laws we can indeed know that existence is intrinsically relational, because relations are what it means to co-exist and interact, but this is trivially true. The interesting take on relationality is that our individual existence is conditional on some special relations, which we must actively maintain, or perish.

Relations are not equal in this ‘ontological’ sense. Most relations that are contingent, nothing of existential significance will happen if we reject them. These are the kind of relating ‘to something’: kicking a ball, seeing a tree, appreciating art etc. The special kind of relations are ‘to and from’, symmetrically, reflexively. These are arguably necessary for consciousness: seeking your kind of consciousness in another and thus recognising them as a being of the same kind. So the shift in humanity, in human consciousness, can be caused only by our changing choices and attitudes about reflexive relations, and what kind of beings do we think/choose to belong to. Certain aspects of our former kind will then atrophy, no longer supported by the former kind of relations, while others might (or might not) emerge.

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Very helpful and insightful comment, thank you. Yes, this seems to me a good way of describing, in a more formal way, some of the priors that are logically necessary and therefore a feature of all conceivable realities. As I put it in another comment, perhaps it is a bit akin to the uncertainty principle in QM: the more we approach formal precision in these matters, the more information we lose (i.e. our grasp of reality based on contingent absolute presuppositions). We need both. I'll leave it open if we might one day find a way to overcome this state of affairs.

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I hold out hope that Collingwood was wrong on this point. Maybe he deals with these objections, but 1) if we can't help but think them, no new APs should be possible. Obviously they are possible, because they happen, so we CAN help but think them - at least SOME can. 2) To say they have no truth value seems to have different implications than to say we cannot KNOW their truth value. The former implies that ultimate reality is less rational than our physical reality. I'm with Whitehead here: ultimate reality should be MORE rational, i.e. the pinnacle of the qualities we see on our level. It also seems to imply that there is no "deep" reality with features that could in principle be known. (If there were such a deep reality, it would by definition be "true".) As for the latter, that we simply cannot know, perhaps that is the case, but I find it overly pessimistic. It implies there is a level past which we can never transcend.

But still, great essay! And I agree that regardless of the truth value ;) of Collingwood's take, his project of metaphysics as the study of the the history of APs is helpful, regardless.

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Yeah, that's pretty much what his critics say. Also: Collingwood accepts that progress in science can lead to a strain being put on APs, reveal their inadequacy dealing with new discoveries, that we can actually make some of them conscious etc., which seems contradictory. I find it interesting though to try to stick with him for a while and see where it goes. What comes to mind:

- perhaps we can get to the truth only by taking the birds eye view of all APs and how they developed, interrelate etc. I.e. the truth can't be nailed down in propositions, but from a meta perspective, taking into account the different experiences and relations with the cosmos over millenia

- as I said, in a sense set of APs are lenses through which we experience the underlying reality (which is still there, only not graspable as a whole at this point

- perhaps it needs a fundamental shift of reality or something to put us in a position to get a more direct handle of the situation (sort of a spiritual ascension to the mystical worlds

- another thing to consider: we accept relativism in science (at least in theory) in the sense that we may make our theories better, but they are always falsifiable and can be entirely wiped out at any moment. So...

- another idea I had: maybe our APs could be seen as a sort of tree of knowledge of a civilization, which might grow very high and beautifully, but a completely different tree might have been possible. Collingwood said that should our APs be wiped out, it would take thousands of years to "grow them back" so to speak. So maybe there are other possible trees that go about reaching the sky very differently?

Just some thoughts. I find this idea of his as puzzling as the next guy, but it may be interesting to contemplate.

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Yeah, I'll have to finish reading Idea of Metaphysics sometime. Some thoughts:

-different worldviews and different experiences may deal with different aspects of subsets of reality. A limited range of experience will elicit a limited range of ideas, that may work, but only within that nested environment. Without a wider range of experience, a subject in such an environment can't know (using ordinary means) that there are bigger truths. But I leave open the possibility of mystical insights that push beyond the bounds of our particular nested reality.

-So, we may not be able to grasp certain things at our level, but I think the fact that we CAN grasp certain things is telling. That makes me think that perhaps certain "higher" truths are also graspable, but only at a certain low resolution. The picture will be filled in, like 2D B&W becoming 3D and color, at higher levels of consciousness.

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Yes, that seems like a good take. Like I speculated in another comment, from where we currently are, it may be akin to the uncertainty principle: we can grasp certain higher truths, but the more specific and precise we try to get, the more it becomes "black and white" and loses the "meat". But one day, perhaps, subject to some profound change, we might be able to overcome it and simultaneously grasp form and substance?

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch

Some paragraphs on the topic of metaphyics.

In this dark time when the gross realist seculariztion of the global human collective is at its zenith of global, social, economic, and cultural power, and a dark collapse of the human world is becoming more and more acutely evident, it should be useful for humankind to understand that it has, for many centuries, collectively repressed the primitive but also natural ecstatic urges and potentials of humankind, including the magical urges of the human psycho-physical body-mind-complex.

Both "official" institutional religion and secular scientific materialism are magic-paranoid, and, altogether, anti-ecstatic traditions, rooted in fear of the natural magical-power potential of human beings, both individually and collectively. Both have, for many centuries (especially in the Western world), been actively instructing of propagandistically coercing humankind to disbelieve and without the exercise of true discriminatory intelligence, to dissociate from all modes of association with magical, and metaphysical, and even Spiritual, and, in general, ecstasy-producing ideas and activities.

The process of negative indoctrination to which humankind, and, especially the Western world, has long been subjected by both its secular and religious "authorities" has, actually, been a magic-paranoid, political, social, economic, and cultural effort to enforce a gross realist or thoroughly materialist, and, altogether, anti-ecstatic, anti-magical, anti-metaphysical, and anti-Spiritual model of life upon all individuals and collectives..

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Agreed. I would caution though against a potential misunderstanding of magic/ecstatic states: if those are obsessed over, and undertaken in the pursuit of egotistic self-aggrandizement, or to escape reality, this can easily lead one to the dark side. One of the points I'm trying to teach here is that spiritual growth is, for the most part, a subtle affair: it's about interacting with *this* world, but *in light of* the higher world and its own rules.

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We are called to "escape" the gravity of "the world" (mainstream, dominant, culture) {#EXODUS}, in order to be transformed by the "magic" of the spiritual Reality {#REGENERATION}, in order to be repurposed by that transformation for a new, empowered, enhanced service towards "the world", for the sake of the world {#THE WAY / DAO}. This is vocational transformation that looks less and less like "religion" (though it be "true religion").

Mis-step or omit any part of these three phases and we miss the whole.

I believe this shockingly brief reduction is nevertheless authentic to the reality of experiencing the vocational call to serve Christ, embody the need of the Holy Spirit (for inhabitable vessels), of the Eternal (for faithful servants), etc. Yet the pattern may, perhaps, arguably, be observed in any devotee who experiences kenosis (self-emptying), subject naturally to the nature of the spirit allowed to enter the "emptied house".

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Jan 19, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch

I feel the idea that the universe is generous isn't new, but maybe it's just me.

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Not new at all, like everything. But buried and not "lived out" for the most part, I would say.

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> One thing seems certain to me, however: whatever we think about Collingwood's idea, tracking and studying the development of deeply held presuppositions avoids many of the problems associated with the philosophical cage fights we are all familiar with and can produce great insights.

Except that even studying the history of metaphysics requires one to rely on metaphysical presuppositions.

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Yes, but it can lead to a process of expanding, adapting, and deepening of one's presuppositions. It also can make one aware of presuppositions one simply took for a feature of reality.

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch

But what social phenomenon now controls and is now changing the entire world?

Social media of course - twits and Screenagers now rule the world!

See Douglas Rushkoff's book Screenagers

A phenomenon in which a teeny-weeny minute fraction of the countless millions (even billions) who are involved in and are essentially controlled by it would never ever have even heard of the word metaphysics.

The fake illusory social "identity" of countless millions of such Screenagers centers on their I-phone. They go into existential panic via the phenomenon of Nomophobia (no mobile phone) and FOMO (fear-of-missing out). They spend many hours each and every day transfixed by their Precious

Nicholas Carr via his book The Shallows and his Roughtype website describes the situation

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Indeed, screens and social media are a huge problem. But I think you can learn to handle it. For me, I needed to take a break from them, which (I hope) allowed me to ease back into it in a more healthy way.

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Love this offering of the "new stories"! Yes, yes.

As it happens, when we see a (particular) species of bird in our garden, or on our way here and there — my wife and I — she scientist, me engineer / philosopher — regularly perceive is presence as a sign / reminder of God's grace towards us, regarding our prosperity; such delight is upheld in our worldview, by a myriad elements of a shared lifetime of enchanted experience (interspersed by trouble, suffering and responsibility, last anyone imagine we have a bed of roses — which are thorny, anyhow!).

Whom would: have your materialistic, mechanical world; it holds no enchantment for me.

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deletedJan 15, 2023Liked by L.P. Koch
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Very insightful comment. Yes, trying to "nail it down" with language seems to be akin to the uncertainty principle in Quantum Mechanics: the very thing you approach slips away through your fingers. I have discussed this in my essays about language and "What is a Woman".

And the *right kind* of metaphysical relativism allows one to go meta and expand one's thinking, which is good and helps to avoid getting lost in one perspective.

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