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Global Brane Comprehension Enabling a Higher Dimensional Big Tent?

Strategic implication in encompassing nothing and coming to naught (Part #1)

Implicit possibilities of synthesis: Omar Khayyam
Towards higher dimensional "tent-making"?
Nothing, naught, nought and zero

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The focus here calls into question personal experiential relationship to a vast "external" framework of knowledge -- elaborated and promoted as a "universal" framework. This framework, to the extent possible, is anchored in a fabricated complex language of formal logic within which certain concepts and insights are held to be demonstrably true. This language effectively marginalizes the experience of those who understand it only partially or not at all. It is imposed upon them as a requirement for effective engagement with reality, with the implication that people should "get with it" or be socially irrelevant. This denies the integrative value for the individual of radical experiential coherence in the moment -- frequently highlighted by personal hardship, tragedy and nostalgia over time.

The argument recognizes the extent to which ignorance and lack of understanding undermine the comprehension of the variety of integrative frameworks -- and the challenges posed by their evident lack of integration, as notably indicated by Nicholas Rescher (The Strife of Systems: an essay on the grounds and implications of philosophical diversity, 1985). Specifically it is framed in terms of the extent to which people:

  • are bewildered by claims and counterclaims of the imminent (Musings on Information of Higher Quality, 1996)
  • do not have the time or inclination to understand, or to invest in lengthy conventional learning processes to that end
  • are unclear as to what is to be assumed to be (ir)relevant and why

Under these conditions people find themselves obliged to work with very limited knowledge, irrespective of the wealth of knowledge variously claimed to be available. Distant knowledge is then experienced as irrelevant, if not threatening in some way -- as with acclaimed centres of excellence. The question is then how to factor in such experience experientially when confronted by the sense of passing time and evident mortality. The equivalent collective strategic implications of the "unknowns" have been caricatured in a notorious "poem" by Donald Rumsfeld, as separately discussed (Unknown Undoing: challenge of incomprehensibility of systemic neglect, 2008).

Within this context, it is no longer a question of whether some proposition can be upheld as unquestionably "true" within some frame of reference. Rather, as argued here, it is now a question for many of whether it is useful in the moment, carrying a fruitful degree of meaning. This is evident in the manner in which products and services are increasingly marketed to potential "consumers" in whatever domain -- including the political. Success in the short-term in this respect may depend primarily on a "good story", and appealing metaphors, "carrying" the significance for an adequate degree of individual comprehension.

The challenge of thriving in this cognitive environment is then less a question of locating relevant literature, learning the knowledge it contains, or citing it to justify positions to others. Nor is it a question of who has been there before, or any criticism from some other perspective of "rediscovering the wheel". The question might even be the validity of the external frame from which that question could be asked. By whom is one to be persuaded, about what and why -- and why should one seek to persuade? To what extent is any essential incommunicability a matter of Ludwig Wittgenstein's concluding phrase: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1921).

As discussed previously (Evolutionary influence of the absent, 2011), with respect to the argument of Terrence W. Deacon (Incomplete Nature: how mind emerged from matter, 2011), a key factor with respect to the emergence of knowledge may be intimately associated with what is missing -- a point succinctly made in the contrast between the print and online summaries of his argument (The importance of what is missing, New Scientist, 26 November 2011; Consciousness is a matter of constraint, New Scientist, 30 November 2011). For Deacon:

... have we been looking in the wrong places for clues? ... brain researchers and philosophers of mind have focused on brain processes, neural computations and their correspondences with the material world. But what if we should be focusing on what is not there instead? ... I believe that in order to overcome this stalemate we need to pay more attention to what is intrinsically not present in everything -- from life's functions and meanings to mind's experiences and values. [emphasis added]

The argument here also draws on that made by Mark Johnson (The Meaning of the Body: aesthetics of human understanding, 2007) and separately discussed (Aesthetics of human understanding through embodiment, 2011). This emphasizes understanding "through" the body and its dynamics -- recognizing the manner in which such understanding is indeed "embodied" in the capacity for a complex range of muscle-enabled movements. It is through their geometry that an individual embodies fundamental cognitive dynamics.

Theargument follows from the epistemological considerations evoked in the previous discussion of "remaindering", most notably with respect to the significance of one and zero in a context in which many are faced with expectations of nothing in a variety of forms (Reintegration of a Remaindered World: cognitive recycling of objects of systemic neglect, 2011).

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