Notes, Quotes, Ideas, Speculations

Philosophical ramblings and sources by Jake Berry.

Monday, December 12, 2005

(Part 3) At c:

When we consider perception do we indicate perception itself or that aspect of our natural perceptual apparatus we have chosen to use? Is the world we witness by means of that apparatus the world itself, or its representation according to consensus? The trauma of culture shock, more dramatic depending on the cultural differences, is testimony to the ephemeral nature of perception as we ordinarily use it.

Is there another way? Is it possible to perceive the world without the imposition of one’s cultural biases, or even biases based on personal experience? We place great trust in personal experience because it is based upon actual occurrence, whereas the experiences of the culture, no matter how small or large, are always secondhand. Yet, both mediums are limited by the extent to which they are exposed to the world. No individual or culture can experience the entire world in its manifold manifestations in all places and times. So perception is always conditional.

Still, the question persists, is there something in the world, in nature, in reality that is fundamental to the world generally? Physics offers an answer by way of the molecular, atomic, and sub-atomic, but these remain suspect because of the variety of phenomena for which it cannot account. Further, quantum physics and string theory suggests (some might say insists) that the behavior of the physical world depends on what we ask of it. We perceive what we assume, or at least within the parameters of our assumptions, even if our assumptions are based on the most precise measurements possible. Measurement itself is based upon a series of assumptions.

In all of this we have made a choice. We have chosen thought and conceptualization over direct sensual stimulus. For all the glorification and over-stimulation of the senses, when we want to know about the world we rely upon what the intellect does with sensory stimulation and the conclusions it draws based on that intellectual process. Yet, we know that the world is not fabricated from our intellect or even our senses, or do we? Proclaim as we might that reality is subjective; the only proof we have to offer is subjectivity itself. It is a closed box. Is this our limit? Is the subjectification of perception an impenetrable absolute? Is it, like the speed of light, the boundary beyond which we can never hope to pass? Perhaps most scientists and philosophers would say yes. Never mind what the religions say. Myth or metaphor may provide an answer, but not as long as it is locked inside the confines of the organized religions – which is nothing more than collective neurosis, at worst even psychosis, or at best cults of particular forms of subjectivity.

Was there ever a time before time became locked into these assumptions when the senses were allowed to do their work without the immediate imposition of intellect? Would that be a condition that is not human? Isn’t this precisely the category into which we place all animals other than ourselves? While granting them some degree of reason, we generally regard the other animals as creatures controlled primarily by their senses. This conclusion is of course based upon our measurements and observations: again we are locked inside the box of our assumptions. And we add assumptions on top of assumptions when we behave as if the mind, the intellect, is not itself a natural phenomenon.

Are all species similarly closed from one another and closed into their own domain? Is our species, due to the degree of its contemporary dominance, merely arrogant? We will not know until we have unlocked our assumptions and allowed our perceptual capabilities the freedom to experience without the imposition of those assumptions. That is to say, perception is direct, primary, and fundamental. It is im-mediate – not mediated until we learn to make a choice. We learn to choose conceptualization over an im-mediate response. Why? Is it because we fear what our “animal instincts” might do without the imposition of that careful minder or the senses? Would it lead to mass murder and the destruction of civilization? Has civilization put an end to murder or other brutal behaviors? Quite the contrary. It seems that in the heart of civilization we find voluminous evidence of brutality beyond anything outside its domain. It appears that the assumptions and concepts upon which civilization is based may generate a greater level of brutality and self-destruction than any other animals, human or otherwise, are capable of without it. Civilization, at its very root, may be completely contrary to the very behavior it proposes to neutralize. Could this have something to do with perception, or the machinery to which we subject perception? Haven’t we, in the organizational structures of civilization turned nature against itself – or more specifically, turned ourselves against ourselves – from the inside out? Each of us, day to day, struggling against ourselves for the purpose of controlling that which lies utterly beyond our control: nature, both inside and outside our domain. Is there any way to resolve this profound dilemma? Our sensual perception and our mind (and there is ultimately no distinction between them) and the nature from which they spontaneously arise may offer that resolution.

We are still at prologue, but we are in motion now, and moving toward that open space beyond the expression At c:.

Jake Berry 11.20.05

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Two quotes from Gaston de Pawlowski (1874-1933)

(image by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Jake Berry)

"…the fourth dimension….would not be able to be defined in any manner in our present language."


"When one reaches the country of the fourth dimension, when one is freed forever from the notions of space and time, it is with this intelligence that one thinks and one reflects. Thanks to it one finds himself blended with the entire universe, with so-called future events, as with so-called past events."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Part 2 – At c:

If at c is a vanishing what can be said about that beyond? According to the Minkowski diagram, spacetime can be presented as two cones touching at their apexes, positioned one on top of the other. The cones are visual presentations of the distances light travels in space over time. Since there is more time for light to travel in the distant past and the distant future the area covered by light is greater the further one observes in each direction. Since light has traveled the shortest distance in the present then it is represented by the point at which the cones touch.

However, at c all of the light in either direction is available immediately because the barriers of time and distance have been eliminated. Yet, the representation of the twin cones leave something unaccounted for –– that which lies outside the cones. Beneath c everything lies within the cones, but once we have arrived at c we are no longer within those cones.

This “area” outside has been called "??elsewhere??." The double question marks are appropriate because elsewhere suggests another place or time. The double question marks remind us that place and time depend on the reality inside the cones. I have chosen to disclose the condition that is not within the cones with an empty space, with the space that follows the colon. The colon indicates that at c the condition changes, and changes so radically that to represent it would be a fallacy. We cannot represent what lies at or beyond the absolute because representation is based upon the conditions the absolute imposes.

Everything then, up to this point has been introduction. The space beyond the colon does not represent space at all. It does not represent anything, but it does provide us with an opportunity. In order for us to take advantage of that opportunity we will have to investigate what we mean when we use the words 'perception’ and ‘imagination’.

Jake Berry 10.18.05

Friday, October 14, 2005

At c:

Since Einstein changed his revolutionary 1905 equation from E=mV2 to E=mc2 in 1907 c has generally been used to designate the speed of light. The c in modern science originally abbreviated for constant, but in the late 19th century c (from the Latin celeritas (speed)) was used by Max Plank and other physicists to indicate the speed of electrodynamic waves, so Einstein adopted the variable in place of V. And because in the Theory of Relativity light is both a speed and an absolute it makes sense to use c instead of the singularly applicable V.

Various experiments, most notably those that produce Cherenekov radiation, demonstrate that particles can travel faster than photons under certain conditions. The result is a kind of glowing effect that is analogous in the electromagnetic spectrum to a sonic boom. However, no experiment to date has demonstrated that information can be transferred faster than the speed of light, so c remains an absolute.

As every reader of science fiction or popular books that translate the difficulties of physics for the non-physicist knows, at c space contracts and time expands. That is, all of space is compressed infinitely thin while time no longer has any meaning beyond the present. To our ordinary perspective then space and time would become irrelevant and indistinct. Further, since we know light by way of space and time, it too would no longer retain its meaning. At c then we might say we vanish. I do not mean invisibility since invisibility retains space and time. Invisibility removes an object from the light waves that would make it visible. It is still there, but it is hidden. At c, vanishing is union with a practicable absolute and a theoretical beyond.

Jake Berry 10.14.05

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Neurogeist 2

from an e-mail to Lissa Wolsack

Nature is what we are. Everything else is either self-deception or submission to the deceptions of others. We cannot remove ourselves from nature as long as blood flows in our veins and electro-chemistry in our brains and nerves.

Jake Berry 10.11.05

Thursday, October 06, 2005


From e-mails to Hank Lazer and William Doty

There is a slavish allegiance to chronology - to time as an unfolding toward some end. Or in evolution toward increasing complexity. Or in entropy the disintegration along a scale of time. How much of this has anything to do with reality? We utilize various tools, or place our consensus paradigm upon reality then behave as if the tool was the thing itself. Time, and measurement of whatever kind, may be finally unreliable – at best only useful in a context.
Perhaps it is best in art (or any attempt to realize things as they actually are) not to place too much faith in time, space, particular sets of dimensions. We are organisms that do particular things, but we should not mistake these things, or our abstract conceptualizations by their means, for what is real.

I am an animal pretending to be a man.

Jake Berry 10.06.05