Philosophical Gender

Like sexual gender, the psyche tends to favor hovering around one aesthetic preference at a time. So much of philosophy seems to be rooted in just that, the aesthetic preferences of the psyche. How else should we explain why we are so often personally attached to our philosophical views – why we are in fact attracted to them, and to writers and speakers who have espoused similar perspectives.

Many are traditional in their philosophical tastes, and find that even the thought of experimenting with other views makes them very uncomfortable. Others find it natural to consume philosophy of all sorts, the more the better, but at the same time they may favor one particular flavor, or they may get sick of the whole intellectual-masturbatory scene eventually.

Philosophy engenders a feeling of firm orientation within it, despite the many other options available which might directly contradict it. That’s sort of the hook. A particular way of looking at things makes you feel that you are on the right track, maybe for the first time. It can change the way that you feel about other ways of acting and thinking. Like hitting puberty, what was once merely charged with social naughtiness and furtive mystery becomes irrepressibly intense. Childish ways of behaving, especially those which cross gender or leave it undeveloped are often discarded in shame and become repulsive, at least publicly. Gender is suddenly unexpectedly prominent, and exaggerated to the point of caricature.

Philosophy is almost inevitably tied to politics. Views on what the universe is, though seemingly esoteric and remote, have a way of filtering into our attitudes about everything from nature and technology, to society, personal responsibility, money, possessions, art, drugs, literature, etc.  Early math is practically inseparable from philosophy.

There are many polarities and nested polarities within philosophy, especially philosophy of mind. I often focus on reducing those polarities (reductive vs non-reductive…there’s another polarity) to a single hetero-normative gender which I am lately calling Anthropmorphism and Mechanemorphism, but have also referred to it as ACME and OMMM, Oriental Animism and Western Mechanism, Public-entropic and Private-holotrophic, and for those with a symbol fetish, ((-ℵ↔Ω) ºt)  and (ωª (H←d)).

In the course of studying this swirl of gender, it became apparent that the swirl itself could be transcended philosophically. While the battle between mind-firsters and body-firsters rages on forever, the battle itself can be seen as their most powerful overlap. Somehow even in the antiquated writings of long dead thinkers (well, the thinkers who were deemed white enough and male enough to be published anyways), fresh controversy can be sparked. It’s remarkable, really.  The enduring conflict, a perpetually circulating difference of opinion on everything, the difference between differences, and different ways of defining difference, and defining definition.

Is philosophy is a strange attractor?

“The Lorenz attractor is an example of a strange attractor. Strange attractors are unique from other phase-space attractors in that one does not know exactly where on the attractor the system will be. Two points on the attractor that are near each other at one time will be arbitrarily far apart at later times. The only restriction is that the state of system remain on the attractor. Strange attractors are also unique in that they never close on themselves — the motion of the system never repeats (non-periodic). The motion we are describing on these strange attractors is what we mean by chaotic behavior.”

If there were an ‘end’ to all of this (which is what exactly?) I think that it can be found not in being and nothingness or in difference and repetition, but in recognizing the commonality of conflict – the sense which discerns between differences and which also is the motivation which negates indifference. Carrying this principle into physics, and then mathematics, what it looks like is that a revolution of the most primordial propositions should be considered:

  • The number ‘one’ should be reinvented and restored as the root of the number line.
  • Zero should be regarded as neither a real or imaginary number, but rather an imaginary absence of all number.
  • The Big Bang singularity should be reinterpreted to reflect this new understanding of 1 and 0, beginnings and endings.

Here is the main insight: Since the difference between a difference (1) and indifference (no difference = 0) is in fact a difference, the two concepts are not perfectly symmetrical negations of each other, but rather, indifference, like nonsense or disorder, is a qualifier of difference. Zero is just 1 minus itself. In a universe of just the concept of 1 and subtraction, 1 would have to reproduce itself once in order to have another one to subtract, and then reproduce itself once more in order to carry out the subtraction. One cannot disappear, and zero cannot generate any numbers or operations. They don’t cancel each other out, they nest within each other in strange loops.

In this way, as I have posted before, the Big Bang must never be considered an explosion in space at some particular moment in the past, but rather it is the frame of all events, and all spaces. We are within the Big Bang, which was not a 1 emerging from 0, not a Universe from Nothing, but the opposite. What I call the Big Diffraction is “The Universe Within Everything”. The whole of physics can be seen as pieces to the puzzle which is getting more piece-ier and peace-ier as it goes on. The whole of mathematics can be seen as taking place within the number one, transformed, non-Euclidean style into the Absolute set of all sets. One is not an object, it is a primordial language of experience, of sense and sense making – a singularity not only of quantity, but of ontological-psychophysical gender.

But wait. Sense is not just a matter of being and knowing, it is also a matter of sensing and thinking, of comparing. It does not resolve the Material and the Experiential as being ‘the same thing’, it resolves them as both being equal to the same thing (1) in the opposite way. The Big Bang is not just 1, it is more like “=1”. This is a more primordial opposite even than being and nothingness, since nothingness can only be imagined by something. The relation of = to 1 is as opposite of that of 1 and 0 but more subtle. Just look at the characters. Parallel horizontal lines compared with an arrow-like stroke of singular effort. I guess I’m getting too into this, but whatever, consider it a piece of Suprematist art. It’s a before and after, an open canal, and an erect figure. An invitation and an expression. There’s a whole philosophy lurking in there just in the shapes of arithmetic symbols. Hmm.

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  1. August 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Another brilliant essay. This articulates a lot of thoughts I have had about the concepts of 0 and 1 and how, embedded within, are deep ontological truths. Your suggestion that within the shapes of arithmetic symbols are hidden philosophical meaning is very profound. The sense to be made of concepts like zero and one are always there, right in front of us, if we could only see.

    I’ve long suspected that the circle-like quality of zero (0) is no mistake, but a fundamental reflection of what zero IS. The dimensionless point, the perfect shape, wholeness. Encoded in every circle though is an infinity of information. Pi is determinate, though random, real, though unknowable in its totality. One (1) is the introduction of dimension, extension, limit. The line. The addition symbol (+) is the joining of two lines; it takes 1+1 strokes to make an addition symbol; it IS addition. The symbol phi (Φ) is the zero and and one together, the singular dividing the whole.

    What ultimate significance do you give to numbers like pi and phi? I’ve always suspected that 1.618…. might act us some sort of fundamental strange attractor, the ratio that the world wants to evolve toward.

    • September 1, 2013 at 1:28 am

      Thanks! Just getting back from vacation, I should have some new posts as soon as I can translate my manual scrawlings into type. Yes, I like the addition symbol insight – very cool. I am thinking of another way to look at 1 and 0 also, where, because numbers are already limits and measures, there is an inversion of meaning to some extent. Numbers refer to the local perspective, rather than the Absolute perspective, in that they do not include a representation of the sensory capacity which generates them. Because numbers are presented with their own phenomenal and physical roots truncated, they are figures which have no presence of their own, and must borrow their ‘one’-ness. In this way, numbers are neither like 1, nor 0, but ‘almost zero pretending to be almost-one’. If I’m right, it is actually 1 which is the boundaryless, eternal condition of sensory presence of all possible universes, and 0 which is a bubble of simulated emptiness derived within it locally. Of course, at the fundamental level, each profound truth reflects another, opposite profound truth.

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