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Daniel Rourke (M, 38)
London, UK
Immortal since Dec 18, 2007
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All things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of an Ariadne’s thread leading thought into its own labyrinth.
- Georges Bataille
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    A couple of days ago I laid out a handful of perspectives in Part I of a Manifesto for the Forthcoming.

    Here is the follow-up to my philosophical manifesto for Space Collective:

    Part II

    Mythologies are More Powerful Than 'Truths':

    The human brain is a narrative machine. We compose our story of selfhood from the insistent, subjective tirade of experience; we order the activities and moralities of our tribe, our nation, our creed within grand narratives we call Religions. We do not just tell stories, we are stories, myths of perception strung out by narrative arcs which dip and peak as the events of our lives dip and peak.

    The ability to find meaning in that which is abstract tends from a similar inherent capacity. For millennia humans projected the universe as one domineered by unseen agents, whether the ancestors who played tricks on the townsfolk, or the God Thor who cast thunder from the heavens. These myths came into existence because they were explanatory, and they persisted for so long because we used them to realise the world around us. At the base of every myth is a natural or moral agency, dictated by physical laws and evolutionary processes we were inherently incapable of understanding. Because myths are explanatory in the form of a story, a narrative, then we remember them, we use language to pass them on and distort them over time, our brains run the codes of myth like an ancient computer algorithm which helps a coherent universe pop up on the surface of our conscious minds.

    Science is new. It explains things by reason, by experiment and by trial and error (often subjectively governed) judgement. The enlightenment may very well have brought into being a manner of thought which comes closer to 'truth' than any before it, but the scientific rationalism which emerged does not come naturally to our intellects. To see the world rationally is to overcome the innate narrative drive of the human brain. It is not difficult to find examples of our egocentric, innate understanding of the world:

    • Newtonian physics sees all things as in motion until otherwise acted upon: human caprice sees stationary objects that need acting upon in order to achieve motion.


    • Einsteinian physics sees time and dimension as being relative to the position and motion of an object: human caprice sees time and space as precisely identical from all perspectives.


    • Darwinian biology sees all organic entities as emergent from a process of blind chance, overseen by NO agent and dependant on nothing more than the most basic laws of physics and chemistry: human caprice sees humanity as a domineering force which can control its universe - from the same reasoning it also posits a higher agency than itself to explain its own existence.

    One of the main problems facing the scientific community of today is that the general populous finds no 'meaning' in its enterprise. There is, and never has been, a drive from the rational community to order their percepts in terms of narratives or myths. In fact, according to what I have just said, it may very well be impossible to do such a thing - science is about truth, not about meaning and most especially not about narrative meaning. It might very well be against rational enterprise to compose myth and/or narrative from reason.

    The current stand-off in America between the religiously inclined and the scientifically enabled is a result of this contradiction. If science, rationalism and 'Utopian Singularity Thinking' is ever to make a mark on the masses it MUST reorder itself into narrative forms which innate human capacities can find palatable. The Grand Narratives of Religion, in all their dangerous naivety (see here for more on this), have hold over the populace because they work with the human faculties of narrative and mythology. Ironically it is because of our evolution that the Theory of Evolution is unacceptable to so many minds.

    This MUST change if rational science is to persist.

    In short, any Forthcoming movement to which Space Collective ascribes, needs to develop a new kind of forward-looking narrative shaped mythology.

    Language Enfolds All:

    (Please read Wildcat's thoughtful post on Language as a prelude to this section)

    The reality we live in is one of meaning and perception. Metaphor is the ever shrinking event horizon within which lies the blackness of human comprehension.

    The language you speak can greatly affect the kind of world you perceive. For instance...

    Words in French, German and Spanish have a gender, that is they have either a male of female suffix. In English this seems peculiar, as all words appear to us neutral, but in words having a gender acute variations in the perceptions of native speakers of different languages emerge, thus:

    To test how this affects the way people think, she presented Spanish and German-speaking volunteers with nouns that happened to have opposite genders in their native tongues. "Key", for instance, is feminine in Spanish and masculine in German, and "bridge" is masculine in Spanish and feminine in German. Boroditsky asked the volunteers to come up with adjectives - in English - to describe these items. German speakers described keys as "awkward", "worn", "jagged" and "serrated", while Spanish speakers saw them as "little", "lovely", "magic" and "intricate". To Germans, bridges were "awesome", "beautiful", "fragile" and "elegant", whereas Spanish speakers considered them "big", "dangerous", "solid", "strong" and "sturdy"." - link

    Further still, the kind of language you speak can alter the very causality you perceive in the world around you, thus:

    ...the Algonquian family of languages.... have a wide variety of verb forms, while they lack the notion of dividing the world into categories of objects, such as "fish", "trees" or "birds".

    Take, for example, the phrase in the Montagnais language, Hipiskapigoka iagusit. In a 1729 dictionary, this was translated as "the magician/sorceror sings a sick man". According to Alan Ford, an expert in the Algonquian languages at the University of Montreal, Canada, this deeply distorts the nature of the thinking processes of the Montagnais people, for the translator had tried to transform a verb-based concept into a European language dominated by nouns and object categories. Rather than there being a medicine person who is doing something to a sick patient, there is an activity of singing, a process. In this world view, songs are alive, singing is going on, and within the process is a medicine person and a sick man.

    The world view of Algonquian speakers is of flux and change, of objects emerging and folding back into the flux of the world. There is not the same sense of fixed identity - even a person's name will change during their life. They believe that objects will vanish into this flux unless renewed by periodic rituals or the pipe smoked at sunrise in the sun dance ceremony of the Lakota and Blackfoot. - link

    It is as if different languages emerged from, or manifest, completely different realities. Could it be the case that in order to comprehend the universe better we must learn to accept all the realities these languages convey? Perhaps the ultimate language would be a conglomeration of all currently spoken (and even extinct) world languages - perspective is above perception...


    More on this Manifesto to come very soon....
    In the meantime, please click embedded links for more reading
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