Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Nick_A
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by Nick_A »

JackDaydream wrote: October 12th, 2021, 5:38 pm @Nick_A
I am not entirely sure what you mean by the idea of 'animal man ' , but think that you probably mean the instinctual aspect of human nature. I am wondering about the developments beyond lower aspects human nature, and the evolution of this, and how people may consider duality on a philosophical level. Perhaps, a certain amount of human beings have reached the point of being able to think beyond the binaries.
Man according to Plato is a tripartite soul or three in one. These three part are reason, thymos (striving to be the best) and appetites (sensory habits) Normal man would have them in balance as Plato describes:
“having first attained to self-mastery and beautiful order within himself, and having harmonized these three principles, the notes or intervals of three terms quite literally the lowest, the highest, and the mean, and all others there may be between them, and having linked and bound all three together and made of himself a unit, one man instead of many, self-controlled and in unison, he should then and then only turn to practice if he find aught to do either in the getting of wealth or the tendance of the body or it may be in political action or private business, in all such doings believing and naming the just and honorable action to be that which preserves and helps to produce this condition of soul.”
The human problem is that the horse on the left in the chariot analogy is mortal and has become corrupt. Man doesn't reason as would be normal for being human but reasons as is normal for animals which is why I call this devolution animal man
The mortal horse is deformed and obstinate. Plato describes the horse as a “crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow…of a dark color, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.”
If Plato describes the effect of appetites on reason. the charioteer has his work cut out for him if he desires to heal this horse for the sake of the harmony of the whole tripartite soul
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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JackDaydream
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

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@Nick_A

One other aspect of the working with living in between the opposites, which features in the philosophy of Socrates and Plato is the idea of the diaimon, or the higher self. My own understanding of this idea is that it is an aspect of the 'soul' or self which is able to oversee the other aspects of the self. If there is a diaimon,it may be that this aspect is able to sift and juggle the dualities of experience, with an overriding intuition of what experience a person needs, and the best ways forward in achieving such experiences.
stevie
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by stevie »

JackDaydream wrote: October 13th, 2021, 12:33 pm @ stevie

... But, it seems to exist on so many levels ...

:wink:
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JackDaydream
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

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@stevie

In speaking of dualities existing on all levels, the point which I am trying to make is that it appears to occur within nature and in our construction of meaning. The division into 2, or opposition is not the only numerical division, as there are so many other number patterns, but it does appear to be so central. Therefore, it may be an aspect which does really question the nature of whether there really is any central objective metaphysics underlying nature, or how much is the construction within human thinking.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

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JackDaydream wrote: October 13th, 2021, 12:43 pm A number of psychologists, especially Ornstein, have looked at the different aspects of right and left brain thinking, but it is believed to be less of a clear distinction than conceived initially.
I think the problem originates in assigning properties of the mind to the brain. The connection between the two is not simple, and not (yet?) understood.
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JackDaydream
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

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@Pattern-chaser

The relationship between mind and brain is an essential area of importance in exploring the issue of dualism, and it is a central recurrent issue underlying both philosophy and psychology. Part of this complex issue is that the 'mind' is comprised of symbolic and personal constructs which may not be able to be conceived objectively. Neuroscientists study the wiring of the brain and behaviour may be measured but the essential human experience of how brain translates into mind goes beyond that entirely, and involves perception. The body involves organs, including sensory organs as the basis for that to happen, and the brain, but it must all come together in a synchronous way.
Belindi
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by Belindi »

Pattern-chaser wrote: October 14th, 2021, 11:13 am
JackDaydream wrote: October 13th, 2021, 12:43 pm A number of psychologists, especially Ornstein, have looked at the different aspects of right and left brain thinking, but it is believed to be less of a clear distinction than conceived initially.
I think the problem originates in assigning properties of the mind to the brain. The connection between the two is not simple, and not (yet?) understood.
Any understanding, scientific or not, (including neuroscience)is a narrative i.e. events or facts each one following from another. The big unknown is whether any narrative is a creation of the subjects that think it, or if it's a creation of the orderly system we call 'nature'.
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JackDaydream
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

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@Belindi

Your point is interesting because it does point to the question of what does it mean to be human? On what level can the conscious self, as a weaver of the narrative autobiographical identity be seen in the grand drama of life, especially in the awareness of duality? It is fairly difficult to answer clearly because as humans it is hard to see it from any other perspectives. It could be asked wht awareness of duality do animals have. Presumably, they have awareness of light and darkness, hot and cold, pain and comfort, but probably not good and evil, certainly not in the same way as human beings do.

Also, in thinking about the subject's thoughts about duality, others may view some aspects of it differently. For example, someone may feel that they are generally a 'good ' person, whereas others may think very differently. Of course, the person may have to experience feedback from others, but, in many ways the person is alone in a bubble of subjective experience ultimately, even if it is within a culture of shared meanings.
Nick_A
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by Nick_A »

JackDaydream wrote: October 13th, 2021, 3:09 pm @Nick_A

One other aspect of the working with living in between the opposites, which features in the philosophy of Socrates and Plato is the idea of the diaimon, or the higher self. My own understanding of this idea is that it is an aspect of the 'soul' or self which is able to oversee the other aspects of the self. If there is a diaimon,it may be that this aspect is able to sift and juggle the dualities of experience, with an overriding intuition of what experience a person needs, and the best ways forward in achieving such experiences.
Yes, I see the Daimon as an experssion of eros.

https://www.conversations.org/story.php?sid=1
Eros is depicted in Plato's text, The Symposium, as half man, half god, a kind of intermediate force between the gods and mortals. It is a very interesting idea. Eros is what gives birth to philosophy. Modern philosophy often translates the word "wonder" merely as "curiosity," the desire to figure things out, or to intellectually solve problems rather than confronting the depth of these questions, pondering, reflecting, being humbled by them. In this way, philosophy becomes an exercise in meaningless ingenuity.
I did learn to play that game, and then to avoid it.
My students at SF State were very hungry for what most of us, down deeply, really want from philosophy. When we honor those unanswerable questions and open them and deepen them, students are very happy about it, very interested in a deep quiet way.

RW: It is really very hard to find that, I believe.

JN: Some years ago I had a chance to teach a course in philosophy in high school. I got ten or twelve very gifted kids at this wonderful school, San Francisco University High School. In that first class I said, "Now just imagine, as if this was a fairy tale, imagine you are in front of the wisest person in the world, not me, but the wisest person there is and you can only ask one question. What would you ask?" At first they giggled and then they saw that I was very serious. So then they started writing. What came back was astonishing to me. I couldn't understand it at first. About half of the things that came back had little handwriting at the bottom or the sides of the paper in the margin. Questions like, Why do we live? Why do we die? What is the brain for? Questions of the heart. But they were written in the margins as though they were saying, do we really have permission to express these questions? We're not going to be laughed at? It was as though this was something that had been repressed.

RW: Fascinating.

JN: It's what I call metaphysical repression. It's in our culture and It's much worse than sexual repression. It represses eros and I think that maybe that's where art can be of help sometimes. Some art.
Culture is dying and one of the main causes is metaphysical repression
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Nick_A wrote: October 14th, 2021, 5:52 pm Yes, I see the Daimon as an experssion of eros.
Just as I thought: Love and lust makes the world go around.
Nick_A
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by Nick_A »

PoeticUniverse wrote: October 14th, 2021, 6:24 pm
Nick_A wrote: October 14th, 2021, 5:52 pm Yes, I see the Daimon as an experssion of eros.
Just as I thought: Love and lust makes the world go around.
eros isn't lust. It is wonder. From the excerpt above
Eros is depicted in Plato's text, The Symposium, as half man, half god, a kind of intermediate force between the gods and mortals. It is a very interesting idea. Eros is what gives birth to philosophy. Modern philosophy often translates the word "wonder" merely as "curiosity," the desire to figure things out, or to intellectually solve problems rather than confronting the depth of these questions, pondering, reflecting, being humbled by them. In this way, philosophy becomes an exercise in meaningless ingenuity.
Eros reconciles the opposites from above as the third force. People consciously contemplate wonder to experience noesis
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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JackDaydream
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by JackDaydream »

Nick_A

I had not thought of eros playing a role during this thread discussion about the reconciliation of opposites, although I believe that Jung refers to it in 'Answer to Job', in his psychological description of the balance between good and evil. He brings in the idea of Eros in connection with the need to integrate the feminine side, in terms of connection with nature, in order to avoid the capacity for destruction on a cultural level. He relates this to the patriarchal concen to dominate the earth and other nations, and introduces Eros in his argument for this.
stevie
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by stevie »

JackDaydream wrote: October 14th, 2021, 9:57 am @ stevie

In speaking of dualities existing on all levels, the point which I am trying to make is that it appears to occur within nature and in our construction of meaning. The division into 2, or opposition is not the only numerical division, as there are so many other number patterns, but it does appear to be so central. Therefore, it may be an aspect which does really question the nature of whether there really is any central objective metaphysics underlying nature, or how much is the construction within human thinking.
From my perspective "nature" is a metaphysical speculation because the concept implies the idea of inherently existing independent of the thinking consciousness. That is neither to say that there is no "nature" in the context of phenomena nor is it to say that there is a "nature" in the context of phenomena. It simply says that speaking in terms of "nature" in the context of phenomena is a metaphysical speculation.
What I have expressed hints at the origin of opposites: the thinking in terms of is and isn't, does and doesn't, has and hasn't, i.e. thinking in the affirmative and the negative because language only knows formally affirming and negating expressions. So opposites are the result of learned/ conditioned verbal behaviour.
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

Post by Belindi »

JackDaydream wrote: October 14th, 2021, 1:41 pm @Belindi

Your point is interesting because it does point to the question of what does it mean to be human? On what level can the conscious self, as a weaver of the narrative autobiographical identity be seen in the grand drama of life, especially in the awareness of duality? It is fairly difficult to answer clearly because as humans it is hard to see it from any other perspectives. It could be asked wht awareness of duality do animals have. Presumably, they have awareness of light and darkness, hot and cold, pain and comfort, but probably not good and evil, certainly not in the same way as human beings do.

Also, in thinking about the subject's thoughts about duality, others may view some aspects of it differently. For example, someone may feel that they are generally a 'good ' person, whereas others may think very differently. Of course, the person may have to experience feedback from others, but, in many ways the person is alone in a bubble of subjective experience ultimately, even if it is within a culture of shared meanings.
my underline

A man's narrative autobiographical identity is composed of two parts.The persona is the more public narrative which the man may believe is all of his psyche. The word 'soul' is loaded with religiosity but at the moment I can't think of a better word for the inner seeking or turning-towards that is often unrecognised and unexpressed, and is the other part of the man's psyche. Apart from simple phobias and behavioural approaches, I imagine if any talking therapy works it will work by acquainting the man with his soul.
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Sculptor1
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Re: Metaphysics and Understanding the Nature of Opposites

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JackDaydream wrote: October 10th, 2021, 11:22 pm Duality may be seen as inherent in life and in the universe, as suggested in the idea of the yin and yang. It is played out in so many ways in the idea of light and dark, masculine and feminine, as well in good and evil, and other divisions.
Claude Levi Strauss built an entire social philosophy on this subject. But he was quite clear that it is a social phenomenon.
Structuralism is one way of looking at the primitive human mind to help our understanding of culture.

So, no this has less to do with the nature of reality, and more to do with the social structuration of society and human interest.
There is no absolute light and dark. The dualisms we create over this area are more to do with a human comfortable level of light energy, that our eyes are accustomed to. The physical reality is that there is such a thing as light, but nothing in nature called "darkness". Darkness is the relative absence of light which is present by degrees. This is not a natural duality, but a humanly constructed dualism. Even if you imagine the inside of a heavy sided lead box, the darkness inside is interupted by neutrinos, but that aside it is not a thing in-itself but a negative of light which is value.
But our humanly constructed dualism light/dark spills over into adjectives by which we describe things we understand/or not, or things we love/hate. None of which are inhabit strict dualities. THey are just metaphors.

Nor are masculine and feminine true dualities. They are simply human interested points of interest. Though many like to castigate non-binary, transgender, and transsexuality, there is no doubt that they represent a continual challenge to this particular dualism. And though we like to point to "nurture" as a feminine trait, I know men that are more nurturing than some women. Strength too is though of as masculine, but there are many examples of women stronger than men.
Many species can change gender. Some are hermaphrodite, and some neuter.
So this is just another human dualism and not a natural phenomenon.
As for good and evil. Neither are forces of nature and they do not represent funemental features of the universe. The universe can be divided up by human conceit into things that are good and evil. But there are grey areas and many disagreements between different people's point of view.
To paraphrase Hobbes:
Good is that which pleaseth man; Evil is that which pleaseth him not.
There is nothing which is absolutely good, and nothing which is absolutely evil.
Everything that is attributed as good or evil by humans, can be oppositely attributed by some other human or in the interests of some other species, and I challenge you to give an example oif you think this is not correct.

All dualisms are human conceits. The universe has no interest in them.
Last edited by Sculptor1 on October 16th, 2021, 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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