Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quote of the Day: John Lilly

No way to view our own 'operating system' from the exterior.
How would you answer the charge that your self-experimentation is subjective and, therefore, unverifiable?
Subjectivity is nonsense. Neither subjectivity nor objectivity exists in nature. That's the mind-contained-in-the-brain belief of some psychiatrists and other scientists. The subject is an object is a subject. In a cybernetic system, you go around in a circle, and subject and object have no reality. The only way to isolate subject and object is to cut off the feedback and destroy the system. It's a false dichotomy.


  1. Sounds a bit like Heidegger. But also like the phenomenologist profiled in this recent NYT article:

  2. Unfortunate, though, that he had to wipe out the "multiple layers" of rationality and just talk about things in terms of systems and what-not. See this guy's piece on Wendell Berry on the problem with talking about everything as a system:

  3. Repost (I think one digit was off somehow):

  4. "The world thus becomes “the environment,” a word…which means “surroundings,” a place that one is in but not of. The question raised by this objectifying procedure and its vocabulary is whether the problems of conversation can be accurately defined by an objective observer who observes at an intellectual remove, forgetting that he eats, drinks, and breathes so so-called environment." (From the blog on Berry's points).

    It's hard for me to put a lot of stock in this sort of take on language. How something is framed and articulated *is* hugely important - but this seems, first, too dependent on the language it's articulated in (i.e., the English 'environment' = bad framing, but English 'world' and our connotations of that = good framing) - and second, that the purpose of language is to make someone feel a certain way towards a something.

    Language's aim is communication, and if certain framings make it more difficult to articulate an explanation of something spiritual or Christian, then those shouldn't be used. But aiming ones rhetorical guns the language of " the boardroom and the war room" as opponents to a belief, seems to be (if nothing else) a waste of ones passion.

    Again, how something is put or verbalized is key - I agree with that. But the way to fight for a certain articulation isn't by trying to stick blame on to certain ways of articulating, but by putting a more compelling articulation out there.

  5. Yeah, I can't completely agree with the stridency of that particular argument from Berry.

    But, I think part of the point is that as long as we keep speaking the langauge of "the boardroom and the war room" we will lack the ability to question the legitimacy of those settings and of their effects on the world.