2009.12.15 13:00 – Epochic Observation

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Mickorod Renard.

    Mickorod Renard: hello Liza
    Liza Deischer: hi Mick
    Mickorod Renard: you seem to be very regular here since your first visit?
    Mickorod Renard: I guess you like it?
    Liza Deischer: well, thats an interesting 'HI'
    Liza Deischer: well, i want to give myself some time
    Liza Deischer: another week
    Liza Deischer: there are things i like
    Liza Deischer: and some tings I dont
    Mickorod Renard: good..I guess that was something I found usefull here,,taking the time out
    Liza Deischer: btw the last thing doesn't refer to the group
    Liza Deischer: but i have problems with a chronic fatigue
    Liza Deischer: being here an hour is hard on me
    Mickorod Renard: ouch,,thats not good
    Liza Deischer: but at the same time im not able to visit my own group in rl
    Mickorod Renard: hopefully you will get over the fatigue
    Liza Deischer: which i actually would like better
    Liza Deischer: because they have an tradition, a path I want to follow
    Mickorod Renard: that sounds interesting
    Liza Deischer: But i have heard interesting things here
    Liza Deischer: so..... so far so good
    Liza Deischer: :)
    Mickorod Renard: grin,,thats great

    somehow a piece of dialogue has dropped out here I noticed, so I'm adding it back in.  I noticed it since my remark about hell would otherwise have made no sense :) -- Pema

    Calvino Rabeni: Hello Mick and everyone
    Mickorod Renard: grin,,thats great
    Pema Pera: Hi Calvino
    Liza Deischer: Hi cal, agatha
    Pema Pera: Hi Agatha!
    Agatha Macbeth: Hell everybody
    Mickorod Renard: Hi Agatha
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello even
    Geoff Baily: Hi Agatha
    Agatha Macbeth: Another Freudian slip?
    Pema Pera: Hi Arabella!
    Mickorod Renard: Hi Ara
    Liza Deischer: hi ara
    Pema Pera: :)
    arabella Ella: Hiya Pema, all!
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello arabella

    from here on things seem to be okay -- Pema

    Pema Pera: "when hell freezes over" . . .
    Mickorod Renard: it looks like the Malta trip is filling up nicely
    Pema Pera: Malta won't freeze over though :)
    arabella Ella: its cold here now
    Mickorod Renard: hopefully not
    Pema Pera: can you remind usof the average temperature in January in Malta, Arabella?
    arabella Ella: probably around 15 - 18 but often feeels colder due to humidity especially indoors or near water
    arabella Ella: so I suggest you bring along some warm clothes too :)
    Pema Pera: hahaha, everybody has a different idea of "cold" :)
    Mickorod Renard: I will wear all mine cos I am not bringing luggage
    Agatha Macbeth: Fael told me yesterday it's minus 14 C where she is
    arabella Ella: ouch
    arabella Ella: I experienced minus 20 once and it was hell
    Agatha Macbeth: Indeed
    Mickorod Renard: is it a special tonite Pema,,with Wol?
    Pema Pera: Mick, I don't know whether you had planned any particular topic for today, to talk about -- if not, Calvino and I just started to talk about phenomenology (especially the epoche), 12 hours ago, and we could continue now
    Pema Pera: the theme session with Wol has been postponed one week
    Agatha Macbeth: OK by me
    Pema Pera: so we could make it an "informal theme session" on epoche
    Mickorod Renard: that sounds fun, as I have not been able to make the regular Phenem sessions
    Pema Pera: (after we explain what "epoche" means)
    Geoff Baily: interesting
    Pema Pera: if that's okay
    Mickorod Renard: so what is this epoche?
    Pema Pera: very briefly, and don't hesitate to ask further of course, the epoche was introduced by the philosopher Husserl, about a hundred years ago
    Mickorod Renard: ty
    Pema Pera: the word is Greek and means something like "suspending judgment"
    Pema Pera: and it is a bit like the Cartesian doubt, but also quite different
    Mickorod Renard: I thought it meant a period of time?
    Pema Pera: that is, Descartes tried to doubt the existence of the world
    Agatha Macbeth: Epoch?
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: Husserl did not address the question of whether or not the world exists (whatever that might mean!)
    Pema Pera: but rather Husserl tried to be a keen and critical observer
    Pema Pera: and he noticed that when we look at an object, say a cup in front of us, two things happen, simultaneously:
    Pema Pera: 1) we recognize the presence of an object, namely a cup
    Pema Pera: 2) we take the cup to be real, as a material object, existing there right in front of us
    Pema Pera: and Husserl told himself: the two are separate
    Pema Pera: for example, in a dream or movie, the two don't have to go together
    Pema Pera: in a movie you know that the objects you see are not real
    Pema Pera: in a dream yuo may or may not know, depending on the dream
    Pema Pera: So, after this quick intro:
    Pema Pera: the epoche is a kind of experiment in which you teach yourself to be aware of the distinction between 1) and 2)
    Pema Pera: perhaps I should stop here, and let Calvino comment and/or ask questions, and then all of us?
    Pema Pera: (Husserl's school of philosophy is called phenomenology, by the way; the study of phenomena qua phenomena, the study of phenomena as such)
    Pema Pera: ((oops))
    Calvino Rabeni: It makes sense to me as a kind of exercise
    Calvino Rabeni: Pherpahs what you present is only the beggining stage of a larger framework
    Calvino Rabeni: it doesn't really make sense to me as a methodology for getting closer to understanding reality
    Calvino Rabeni: So I keep thinking, is there more after that exercise?
    Calvino Rabeni: That seems like a preparation or a beginning
    Pema Pera: sure, there is a lot more, but the epoche is a firm base to start from
    Pema Pera: an attitude, or gesture you could stay, to start in a minimally judgmental way
    Calvino Rabeni: DOes it consider, inits methodology, the nature of the base
    Calvino Rabeni: After you cross the river, do you discard the boat?
    Pema Pera: not in a theoretical analysis kind of way, no (first question)
    Pema Pera: and no (second question)
    Calvino Rabeni: it seems to me to have an observational stance that carries a lot of metaphysical or ontological commitments with it
    Pema Pera: how so?
    Calvino Rabeni: THe idea of what is is to be an observer as opposed to a participant
    Calvino Rabeni: the selection of paradigm objects to observe, like the cup or the chair
    Calvino Rabeni: The idea that observation might have something to do with perception, mainly
    Pema Pera: the way I see it is that the epoche is a kind of laboratory tool -- it invites us to use it right where we find each other, without *any* metaphysical assumptions
    Calvino Rabeni: Which may be imported into pheno from its surround
    Pema Pera: we find ourselves here, in this world, with our presumed identities, and now we are going to investigate it further
    Calvino Rabeni: it seems to suggest a discipline of looking with the senses
    Pema Pera: no, any phenomenon is game
    Calvino Rabeni: empiricism seems laden with assumptions
    Pema Pera: memories, fantasies, feelings, thoughts, also sense perceptions
    Calvino Rabeni: I agree it could be inclusive of that
    Pema Pera: it *is*
    Pema Pera: for Husserl
    Pema Pera: it is minimal in assumptions
    Pema Pera: and yet it is a kind of "experimental philosophy"
    Pema Pera: very unusual!
    Calvino Rabeni: but perhaps when it is taught there should be an effort to deconstruct that notion of empirical observation that people will bring to it by default
    Pema Pera: absolutely
    Agatha Macbeth: Hi Yaku
    Pema Pera: and to teach it is not easy
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hey there
    Liza Deischer: hi Yaku
    Pema Pera: it typically takes a few months of concerted effort
    Pema Pera: and I'm not sure how possibly it is to teach/share it in SL . . . .
    Geoff Baily: Hi Yakuzza
    Pema Pera: just talking about it for an hour won't do . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . but it can give you a hint
    Pema Pera: make you curious enough to explore it
    Calvino Rabeni: "experimental" typically implies, you can observe without participating - at least, in the pre-quantum metaphysics of Husserl
    Pema Pera: nonono, no baggage here
    Pema Pera: just start with what is given
    Pema Pera: and *then* look more closely at all assumptions
    Pema Pera: including what it means to observe
    Pema Pera: observe that too
    Pema Pera: observe the subject-object structure too
    Pema Pera: and perhaps find that that, too, is relative, can be dropped
    Pema Pera: no limits!
    Calvino Rabeni: at acertain point you would have to "leap in" to break the observational stance
    Pema Pera: or "see in" :-)
    Calvino Rabeni: difficult if the practice has cultivated a habit of detachment
    Calvino Rabeni: the origins of the system in "doubt" are a point of departure
    Pema Pera: ah, but detachment can be watched in turn
    Calvino Rabeni: but could only be a starting point for another opening
    Pema Pera: it shouldn't be a rigid detachment, not dogmatic
    Pema Pera: no "doubt" in the epoche!
    Calvino Rabeni: but if you watch detachment in a detached way, doesn't that perpetuate detachment?
    Pema Pera: it depends
    Calvino Rabeni: At some point another energy would have to enter
    Pema Pera: it will, if you really watch/see
    Calvino Rabeni: I can believe that
    Pema Pera: perhaps we should take one step back, if I may:
    Pema Pera: I consider Husserl in philosophy to have taken a kind of step like Galileo in physics
    Pema Pera: if you ask: what did Galileo do?
    Pema Pera: you can say: he started modern physics, in some sense (roughly speaking)
    Pema Pera: so then there are two ways to speak about Galileo's physics: a) the physics that Galileo himself managed to do; b) the physics that naturally grew out of that, in the next centuries after him. Similarly for Husserl's epoche. Perhaps you are focusing on a), while I am more interested in b).
    Calvino Rabeni: I see Husserl as a product of his times - he seemed to want to introduce the 19th-century version of scientific sensibility into philosophy
    Calvino Rabeni: along with many other integrators pursuing a similar impulse of integration
    Calvino Rabeni: like the surrealists
    Calvino Rabeni: and system unifiers of science and spirituality
    Pema Pera: that was part of his background, like Newton's background was partly still Medieval, but I'm more interested in what Husserl stumbled upon which was quite different -- everybody had their original motivations, everything is born out of something
    Calvino Rabeni: I question whether Pheno is as approproate for the future as it was to Husserl's time
    Pema Pera: more so, I would say :-)
    Calvino Rabeni: I am very willing to be convince of your point, Pema :)
    Pema Pera: it will allow us better to go beyond subject-object split, for example
    Pema Pera: by making the subject talk-about-able :)
    Calvino Rabeni: that is good
    Calvino Rabeni: especially if it can be done without turning the subject into another kind of object
    arabella Ella: Hi Wol
    Calvino Rabeni: that is one of my concerns with pheno
    Geoff Baily: Hi Wol
    Liza Deischer: hi Wol
    Wol Euler sneaks in silently and waves.
    Pema Pera: but I fully agree with you that many philosophers are too rigid in their understanding of the epoche, including many phenomenologist, in my opinion!
    Pema Pera: hi Wol!
    Wol Euler: so much for silence :) hello everyone
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello Wol :)
    Pema Pera: exactly, that is the point: to watch the subject qua subject, not as a pseudo object
    Calvino Rabeni: when you turn a subject into an object in order to observe it, you have lost it
    Pema Pera: as psychologists all do !
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Agatha Macbeth: :)
    Pema Pera: you first have to be aware of the mistake you make before you can drop it
    Pema Pera: that's the bottom line of the role of the subject in the epoche as I see it
    Pema Pera: but I'll shut up now :-)
    Pema Pera: Calvino, do you want to say more?
    Pema Pera: and then we can let everybody join in!
    Calvino Rabeni: surrealism was another deconstructive movement
    Agatha Macbeth: Mmm!
    Calvino Rabeni: it tried to shake things up by injecting an element of the uncanny
    Calvino Rabeni: with the idea that - i think - their current life was complacent
    Calvino Rabeni: deconstructive methods share the idea of breaking patterns
    Agatha Macbeth: If they're complacent- shake 'em up!
    Calvino Rabeni: but differe in the setup and in how new patterns are to be apprehended
    Pema Pera: yes, and in a curious way, quantum mechanics did something similar for physics!
    Calvino Rabeni: in the postmodern era, the game may be different in a pragmatic way
    Calvino Rabeni: people are paranoid enough already, they don't need a little more of that
    Calvino Rabeni: if there is a cycle of deconstruction and reconstruction of patterns (which I believe)
    Calvino Rabeni: a focus on different parts of that cycle may be appropriate at different times
    Calvino Rabeni: I know that's pretty abstract though
    Calvino Rabeni: But "doubt" may not have the power it once did, as a starting point for a method of philosophical practice
    Calvino Rabeni: It will still work of course :)
    Pema Pera: (epoche is NOT doubt ! ! ! !)
    Pema Pera: perhaps we should persue this is bit, this is really really central: NOT doubt
    Calvino Rabeni: It seems worthwile to pursue yets :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Pema Pera: perhaps you can tell me why you think it is connected with doubt?
    Geoff Baily: I am reminded that during neurosurgery the brain can be stimulated directly to poroduce sensations without any obect being present at all!!
    Pema Pera: as in dreams, Geoff?
    Geoff Baily: *produce
    Geoff Baily: yess perhaps
    Calvino Rabeni: you start with , doubting the veracity of your constructions, or at least, allowing things to be other than what they seem, or, more, in addition to what they seem
    Pema Pera: no, not doubting, but rather watching
    Calvino Rabeni: You can add to what they seem, through the method, apparently
    Pema Pera: watching how you normally glue two things together
    Geoff Baily: I think the reports are that the sensations are very real
    Calvino Rabeni: this seems the same discussion of passive vs participative awareness
    Pema Pera: if you consider somebody your enemy, you can decide to watch that person AND to watch your view of that person as an enemy, without automatically conflating the two
    Calvino Rabeni: basically, how can you "watch" without breaking participative involvement
    Pema Pera: you can watch your conviction that something is real, without having to give up that conviction; that is a separate question. Seeing your conviction will make it easier to give up, but you don't have to. Doubt is an option, a possible effect, not the basis or starting point.
    Pema Pera: for me that distinction is absolutely crucial
    Pema Pera: and yes, what Geoff said is one way to begin to doubt :)
    Pema Pera: as an effect
    Calvino Rabeni: very important distinction
    Pema Pera: sorry again to talk so much :-) -- all that you said was very interesting, Calvino, and important to consider, as context -- I just wanted to make really sure to get the basis correct, at least as I see it
    Pema Pera: the historical context is interesting, for sure!
    arabella Ella: could it not be the case that both you and Calvino are right Pema?
    Calvino Rabeni: I would like to mear more from you on that - basis and history - but I think I'm interested in general comments and questions at this point
    arabella Ella: two views, two perspectives?
    arabella Ella: two points of view?
    arabella Ella: or two interpretations?
    Pema Pera: many views, arabella :)
    Pema Pera: but important to know in what way they differ
    Calvino Rabeni: I don't feel I am "counter" pema or pheno on this
    Pema Pera: like the role of doubt
    Geoff Baily: Another example is that of the 'phantom limb' after an amputation
    Calvino Rabeni: I just want to explore the distinctions
    Pema Pera: yes, and thank you for doing that!
    Pema Pera: that in itself is phenomenology :)
    Calvino Rabeni: :)
    Pema Pera: and yes, Geoff!
    Calvino Rabeni: THe more perspectives, the better. Reality can handle it
    arabella Ella: Pema may I ask you to give us some examples of practical uses of phenomeno today?
    arabella Ella: or of epoche?
    Pema Pera: robotics
    Pema Pera: a place where we have to understand what it is like to be a subject
    arabella Ella listens attentively
    Pema Pera: in robotics many aspects of phenomenology have been reinvented
    Mickorod Renard: interesting
    Pema Pera: it would have been much more efficient if they had known about Husserl
    Calvino Rabeni: how so, Pema
    Geoff Baily: ;)
    Pema Pera: it took a few decades, until the early eighties to notice embodiment
    Calvino Rabeni: they would not have pursued some dead ends?
    Pema Pera: someone like Rodney Brooks at MIT tossed out the whole "inner representation" view
    Calvino Rabeni: Intelligence without representation
    Pema Pera: they would have recognized them as dead ends much earlier
    Pema Pera: Rodney was a revolutionary, but didn't realize he was a phenomenologist :)
    Calvino Rabeni: they made walkers that did not have aninternal representation of their environment
    Pema Pera: btw, I have another meeting at 2 pm sharp, sorry
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed, and that worked much better -- FEWER assumptions!
    Mickorod Renard: owww,,ok Pema,,thanks
    Calvino Rabeni: thanks, Pema for engaging on this :)
    arabella Ella: thanks Pema very interesting discussion!
    Pema Pera: ah, an hour is so short to broach such a big topic, sorry!
    Geoff Baily: thanks Pema
    Mickorod Renard: I feel a little ignorant still I am affraid
    Mickorod Renard: but thankyou
    Pema Pera: like showing how to play a violin in one hour :-)
    Pema Pera: probably still sounds pretty awful . . . (^_^)
    Liza Deischer: then you can ask if this is the right place to discuss it?
    Eliza Madrigal: Not at all... found the hr surprising. Thanks Pema, Calvino, everyone :) Bye for now
    Pema Pera: good question, Liza!
    Agatha Macbeth: Bye Liza :)
    Pema Pera: it was another experiment
    Yakuzza Lethecus: bye liza
    Pema Pera: we do what we can!
    Liza Deischer: im not going
    Pema Pera: bye everybody, thanks for your patience!
    Wol Euler: bye pema, thank you
    Geoff Baily: Bye Eliza
    Liza Deischer: by pema
    Agatha Macbeth: Bye Pem, and thanks :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye !
    Mickorod Renard: bye Eliza
    Mickorod Renard: bye pema
    Liza Deischer: bye eliza
    Yakuzza Lethecus: lol eliza
    Mickorod Renard: ayup yaku
    Liza Deischer: feeling a bit better Wol?
    Wol Euler: marginally, but not really.
    Wol Euler: thanks though :)
    Liza Deischer: :) sorry
    Wol Euler: eh, it happens.
    Liza Deischer: we, maybe we should let Husserl take care of that :)
    Wol Euler: :)
    Liza Deischer: well, i need to ponder about this evening

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