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    This is an edited version of the Ways of Knowing discussion from 2010.09.23 at

    Q: whats the target text today?
    Q: This is the link -
    Q: I'm a bit puzzled by the text I just read -- for a target text it seems to be only a set of interrogation
    Q: I appreciate this part of your report Cal... it may answer the previous question a little as well... re the questions not as interrogations?

    "I've had some success with creative projects by letting them simmer below awareness, and take the insights as they pop up, or near when they are "due" (for a scheduled project). Intuition is the thinking we do without being aware of the process."

    Comment - the "target text" is You.

    Yes, that's key point, that the meaning of the questions is whether and what they might evoke when entertained as contemplative questions. They aren't information unless one goes through that process.

    Q: Some of us wrote our thoughts relating to that page - they are on the wiki home page as reports, including Calvino's own.  This one :)

    Q: we all need a little encouragement sometimes... to take that leap (over the fence).  I'm not sure what you mean re 'not information'... you mean they aren't 'yours' in some way.. or?

    Q: well and apart of these extremely subjective considerations?
    That's what it is, the subjective considerations are one end of the subhect/object stick to start with

    I was touched by the variety of insights in the reports, and how immediate and concrete they are
    Q: thanks Cal, yes enjoyed the reports a lot this week too

    Q: So I found your discussion of "self" rather hard to follow, Calvino. Can you elaborate? What do you mean by this?
    Q: But I guess I'm not clear on why you use the word "self" in this context

    For example if an AI intelligence got the notion that there was a program running somewhere, that affected
    what it "experienced" -- it would be a conjecture, sure -- but a useful one - as it might then consider the effects of its actions on that structure.  Its a metaphor to try to come to grips with the fact that a self is not necessarily transparent and obvious to itself and make new possibiities based on that conjecture

    Q: this definition look more to be close to freudian very fuzzy notion of unconscious
    It's more like a neurophilosophy position

    Q: the word "self" tends to imply ownership, as if there is a set of structures which are associated with one individual. but in fact the structures that affect presence are spread out all over the place, in a way that doesn't in my experience really imply anything contained in that way.
    Q: self is not about self knowledge is about uniqueness in opposition to others
    Q: why opposition?  Couldn't there be distinctions sans opposition...
    Q: I guess he means separate?

    Q: the notion of becoming aware of factors outside conscious awareness seems very cogent to me, but not the word "self" as a way of referring to it.
    Perhaps you're right - but whatever it is, it has intimate connections with experienced life

    Q: self is a fiction
    If its a fiction, then who's the storyteller?
    Q: there isn't one
    Q: neurophilosophy very often is a concept used since churchland book to oppose the very notion of self
    Q: why does there have to be a who, who is telling the story?
    Q: stories are being told

    So he's is telling a story in which there is no him to tell stories, no "doer", just actions happening somewhere

    Q: I heard 'self' in this context as, and I know it is because I'm oh so affected by whatever I'm reading at the moment.... self as mandala... made up of many textures and interacting in that way yes distinctions while in play
    Q: I definitely relate to becoming more and more aware of larger and larger structures that were hidden that become more... let's say that unfold themselves or emerge into awareness

    One of the neurophilosophy positions is a "no-self" idea, that says there is structure, and a process, but it shouldn't be called a self
    Q: it's also the Buddhist position

    Personally I think those are all adequate stories.  So maybe the storyteller is a story too, or maybe an uncognized process, and having will and intention also a story

    Q: but the more aware of them I become, the more it seems clear they're very distributed, far flung, even outside of time
    Q: the self is only that easy what you are as such in opposition of what you are in conjunction, the problem of the ontological existence of the self is another problem

    Q: so they emerge and subside condtionally... is this what we're saying...or maybe responsively is a better term than it plays is not something 'answered'

    Q: An interesting question which I thought of when I read your questions, Calvino, is the relationship between conscious awareness of patterns and larger presence.

    Q: and calvino agreed about neurophilo but i strongly disagree with that posture for epistemological reason
    Q: what do you disagree with?

    OK, there's a pragamtic reason you have in mind?

    Q: to say that autobiographical thinking and memory is part of the self is not big news.  i wrote a full thesis about that a bit difficult to synthesise in a few line right now
    Q: everything seems dependent on everything else

    But regarding story - the possibly fictional story teller creates stories within stories that can change the other stories that are going on.

    The question is whether the autobiographical thinking and memory is correlated or not with something outside that definition and whether noticing the connections is useful or not

    Q: basically i consider the notion of self as the basis of epistemological subject which is the basis of empiricity and so of science neurophilosophy take science as absolute and granted which then entail a contradiction

    Q: Well, what I mean, is do you disagree with the notion that the self is a fiction, or with some more general aspects of neurophilosophy? I am not that familiar with neurophilosophy so I'm just trying to get a sense for what you disagree with. Is it the idea that mind can be reduced to neurological function?
    Q: ah okay, so you believe the self is required for knowledge
    Q: I guess what you meant by knowledge in action is insight in action, different from stroyteller in action Calvino?
    Q: if the self is a fiction then it is the least fictional thing in front of all the others fictions because the fiction of self is needed to have any grasp of any concepts -- and if the self is the idea that i am that i think is a illusion then this illusion is the most basic element of what we can call ontology
    Q: doesn't that presume that knowledge is inherently based on predicates?
    Q: i have not spoke of the problem of predication still
    Q: if you don't presume knowledge is based on predicates, I'm not sure why one would need a self for the purposes of epistemology

    Q: there are many possible interpretations of the word "illusion" -- the criticism of the concept of self is not that there is no process involving knowing -- it's simply the idea that the self is an atomic entity or entity with a clear definition or boundary.  one can have an approximate self -- or a self with a vague boundary, since knowledge doesn't have to be absolute.
    Q: when you notice subjectivey 'out there' is when subjectivity of what is looking out there becomes apparent... and 'that' being outed...then there seems a sense of change that is active or hm... instant/distanceless...
    Q: That happens instantaneously on identification I think ... mostly unnoticed.
    Q: nods re instantaneous... so this would be my impression of skillfull means
    Q: i don't claim that in an absolute way but in a epistemological way you need to have a subject of knowledge call it self call it cogito
    Q: I thought the cogito was dismissed years ago

    Q: well, let's say I were to build a knowledge machine (it could be a computer for instance) and the machine interacts with its environment but the boundary between machine and environment is really not precise, it is fluid. so then where is the "self" of the machine? can the machine have knowledge?
    Q: don't forget empiricity mitsu : qualia
    Q: there are just thoughts being thought

    Part of what I'm suggesting is to inhabit the story, rather than attempting to achieve an external perspective in which it can either be manipulated or doesn't "exist". That is, to be flexible with "identification" and not strive to somehow escape from it

    Q: A good point Calvino, that reminds me of what Krishinamurti said on meditation :)

    Q: husserl nuance is hardly a problem zen
    Q: has the machine qualic impression : empirical knowledge ?
    Q: I believe it can, yes, but I am not a dualist
    Q: if yes then the machine is like me and probably you
    Q: i think it could in principles and i am certainly not a dualist either
    Q: however I don't think the machine, or I, exist as a "self". to me, the self is a concept, which I use for the purposes of organizing my thoughts

    The spiritual paths are full of the implicit notion that one should somehow resist identification - but that's a misunderstanding or a preliminary perspective

    Q: why do you think it is a misunderstanding, Calvino?
    Q: identification with what Cal - I'm baffled here

    Some neurophilosopiers call that the "self model"

    Q: yes but to call self a model is to bite your own tail

    it is the story of self as a model in the process that's generateing the experience

    Q: letting go of identification is, for me, tremendously powerful. if one were to talk about any single thing in terms of skillful means that was effective, that would be number 1 on my list.
    Q: me too

    Q: you can say that only if you accept that knowledge is independent of any espitemic agent
    Q: no --- I don't believe knowledge is independent, as in objective.  I just don't think it can be decomposed into "self knows X".  that is to say I accept the phenomenological perspective to a large extent
    Q: Well ... story and the story teller are both same essentially ... thoughts.
    Q: can't see why people cling to this notion of self so much

    A meditation practice may be essential for that.  but it just opens the door to more flexibility in letting identifications arise and subside -- it doesn't imply an ontological position or goal, like "having no identification would be good thing"

    Q: then you cannot dismiss the qualic affected subject that i call self as it is basic to empiricity

    Q: language helps to create the idea of a self by dividing the world into subject and object
    Subject and object may be much deeper than language

    Q: as all know here the husserlain phenomenological program for me is a absolute failure
    Q: Yes, I agree, Calvino, it is fine to have flexible idenfitication. However, my moment to moment experience is more or less devoid of identification in any strong sense.  it's not really necessary
    Q: well seems to me similiar.. less identification=more flexibility....

    IMO husserlian pheno fails because of its transcendental idealism, mainly
    Q: calvino more basically it fail because it has not given ANY kind of objective intersubjective technological or conceptual result
    Q: yes, I agree, there is a problem with intersubjectivity in Husserl

    Q: dividing is necessary to understanding if you dont want to revert to vegetable comprehension of the world
    Q: so even dropping usual ways of talking about no self can be worked with freshly... new terms -- all metaphor, all fictional

    I liked your point about metaphor in your report, Eliza

    Q: well I don't really see the need to "identify" particularly with anything at all, really.  it doesn't seem all that useful, except when typing, writing, or speaking, to use the pronoun "I" for the purposes of grammar

    But might it be that there are identifications deeper than the ones that it is possible to notice and/or "drop"?

    Getting at that "uncognized self" is a question

    Q: I am wondering if the way you are discussing this concept is similar to something that came up just before coming here re 'blumenberg' and shipwreck...something quite new to me but perhaps not to others

    What's the issue with intersubjectivity in Husserl? Is it a too-fundamentalist view of "intentionality"?

    Q: but what's the point of identification at all?  I'm still not really seeing the usefulness of it. Not that I necessarily disagree. I mean, it's useful for language and for thought to some degree, but aside from that it seems unnecessary.
    Q: remember husserl wanted to refound and enhance scientific method.....

    Q: have you ever read Brian Cantwell Smith? He presented at one of the Kira Summer Schools back in the day
    Q: no i didnt first time i heard of him
    Q: he wrote a fascinating book called "On the Origin of Objects" which presents a very phenomenological perspective while not abandoning intersubjective grounding. It's a clever approach I think

    trying to deconstruct the subject/object structure

    Q: well certainly but has i have not read it i cannot say anything about can be interesting -- well that make me a priori think about quine word and object but.....

    Q: getting back to something practical, I was just going to say that for me, the subject of how we live in life, how we actually apply wisdom and so on
    Q: well i think we were in a most practical discussion but well
    Q: for me a lot of it has to do with this strange relationship between the conscious noticing of things and these vast unconscious structures and processes and even timeless reality

    I think there was an intention (somewhere :) to look at practical aspects of knowledge in action

    Q: the way I would describe it is like this massive storm or set of flows, some of which are close to "me" and some which cut across and some which are far away but go right through me and so forth.  so the point here is that I cannot control most of it directly conscioiusly.  However, I can influence how well it functions mostly via awareness and paying attention and letting the larger reality come forward. at the same time there is a role for noticing things consciously and even applying strategies consciously. much of the time things seem to happen which are insights or changes or knowledge beyond any obvious identification with my ordinary self

    Q: for me i cannnot conceive a timeless reality as i cannot conceive a reality that is not a thought projection or model

    Q: Insight in action points to that timeless quality perhaps.

    In a way we have to make up more stories about those unseen processes but not take an ontological commitment

    Q: and so reality for me need a epistemic agent if you dont want to evoke angels spirits or gods

    I agree, and also about the usefulness of the epistemic agent

    Q: you can evoke spirts and gods and angels without depending on them or believing in them... as people do with their intellectual heroes.... all the time
    Q: angels and gods could be metaphors for these larger connectivity. collective unconscious and so forth. larger forces. one could even use them as metaphors just for the ordinary unconscious
    Q: veil to hide our ignorance not forces
    Q: Very easy to do I'm sure

    That would be part of the neurophilosophy position that the epistemic agent is a "self model" evolved by the organism to represent itself as an agent in the world, and thus have some purchase on actions

    Q: yes calvino but that very position is a product of the self of the empiric of the epistemic agent
    Q: certainly my ordinary self is in there. but it's not really that clearly defined.  I see it as having a tiny role. it's a role, certainly, but much smaller than we usually think of it.  to the extent it has any reality at all. that's my subjective experience.

    I'm not really sure what "ordinary self" might designate in "me".  I agree too that the "ordinary self" might need less attention

    Q: many roles in constant flux is the way I'd characterize I think...

    Q: I still don't see why you need a "self" for epistemology. it seems like you're assuming the conclusion

    Q: you need an agent that feel for basing empiricity if not you cannot have empirical science

    The ordinary self must be the self model trying to model itself - which you can see is getting more and more partial and disconnected from the world process - an image of an image

    Q: perhaps but anyway at a certain time that illusion or whathever you call it feel see hear and thus can base on his qualic feeling science and intersubjectivity

    But, a fair question is still - how to make philosophy active in the process of living

    Q: Shall we continue this another week or have a particular emphasis to work with?

    It's a huge topic when taken from an embodied perspective

    Q: perhaps but anyway at a certain time that illusion or whathever you call it feel see hear and thus can base on his qualic feeling science and intersubjectivity
    Q: perhaps think of snapshots we've taken which seemed 'skillfull means' in action personally? Would that be too abstract?

    I'd like to hear more things that sound like "openings" -- minor epiphanies perhaps, in everyday life

    Q: seems the same line of thinking... yes
    Q: The biggest openings for me have always seemed to be about "not me" -- they usually seem to occur at retreats, so there is some vague cause and effect there, but I don't go on retreat to have big breakthroughs
    Q: exactly the reverse of me.  you need to assume yourself in order to be in front of others

    I will agree with both -- they are valid perspectives -- perhaps we can take them as complementary

    Q: I have tons of insights related to "me" but they are very small by comparison

    Q: the nature of yourself is anyway a concept a model a projection

    Yes, but who had the insights? -- not as an analytical answer, but as a practical concern

    Q: If I were to measure their apparent size, the "me" insights being 1, the "not-me" insights are like 10000, or a million, or 10^20

    Q: irrelevant
    Q: why is that irrelevant?
    Q: because if there was not a me you could not make any comparison nor figure nor metaphors
    Q: that's not true, for reasons we can discuss at another time :)

    Q: We can come back to self again later or interlace in meetings I'm sure.
    Q: I'm sure self will keep popping up
    Q: I have not the habit to invoke truth
    Maybe we can "renounce" philosophy temporarily?
    Q: yes back to the tree then

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