Becoming And Bespeaking

A human being is part of the Whole...He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest...a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness...
    -- Albert Einstein (1)

You too sure a thing is true, question how you came to think it true.
    -- William Faulkner

    It is not clarity that is desirable but force.
    Clarity is of no importance because nobody listens and nobody knows what you mean no matter what you mean, nor how clearly you mean what you mean. But if you have vitality enough of knowing enough of what you mean, somebody and sometime and sometimes a great many will have to realize that you know what you mean and so they will agree that you mean what you know, what you know you mean, which is as near as anybody can come to understanding any one.
    -- Gertrude Stein

Suppose the earlier statement had read, "If we accept that no statement X exists without some context, we can understand 'I understand X' to mean, 'I accept the (tacit or stated) context.'" While this has the same 'meaning' as the first, it may illustrate that a) the 'becoming' spoken of can be almost instantaneous, and b) 'languaging' lies at the very heart of the cognitive process.

Awkward as this approach may be to thus bring these two points into juxtaposition, I propose to take them to be merely two perspectives of the same phenomenon; namely, that consciousness, not 'like reality,' but as part of reality, is a continuous and dynamic construction, despite the facts that statements in (English) language make them appear to consist of static collections, aggregated bits and pieces of 'something' - and that much effort goes towards trying to 'scientifically' pin down one piece - or state after another. (2)

Escher's Hand Escher (3)

redraws the more-or-less accepted picture of 'the mind' making a 'map' of 'the real world,' Only a single supposition is needed: that being (or attention, as you like) is a turbulent or reflexive flow. At some time t&sub1;, a minor eddy or curlicue ('one' or 'the mind') interacts with ('experiences') the larger stream ('the real world' or 'the body'). By 'taking time' (away from further interaction at that level, devoting it to yet more minor eddies (e.g., 'the senses' and 'known facts') which interact with or within this one), a kind of jigsaw puzzle picture ('map' or 'model' or 'analysis') is assembled of what that reality 'is.'-- or rather, 'was,' since the flow is continuous. That is, at a given time, the model is of the flow at t¹ while the real is at t².



Just as the initially juxtaposed points are rarely seen as inverse or complementary images, language (in terms of sign-symbol relations) is often proposed as a form of becoming, as if all human relations in the world must be outward, never inward. (This unidirectional tendency is often -- if inaccurately -- termed linearity.)

Language is a human product, it is something which human beings have made, and which can be modified. We can -- with perseverance -- posit alternatives to those which are readily available within our society[, ...] formulate possibilities at the periphery of our cultural conditioning and [...] reconceptualise our reality: we can generate new meanings -- and we can validate them.
    -- Dale Spender, Man Made Language, p3

But there is neither theoretical or historical justification for this claim of 'production,' nor any AI expectation that a computer is likely to (re)conceptualise reality or be able to validate its meanings. Stanford's [John McCarthy] notwithstanding, there is only borrowing and reworking. In itself, this determination that everything conceivable is to be reduced to a passive or 'definitive' series of states or products becomes the best argument for promulgating a dynamic construction instead. (4)

Treating the 'hidden' processes explicitly may be perceived as 'awkwardness,' but this is just where cyberspace lies. To explore this space is to explore the subconscious. One shambles back and forth from consciousness, seeking reliable and familiar tools to bring to the task, but slowly discovers that the concepts of reliability and familiarity themselves must be conjured 'in-country' - and that shambling, tottering, bumbling, experimenting -- in short, playing, like children learning to make sense of the world, or poets and fools unmaking it -- is the local gait. Stalwartly striding towards the Promised Land of industrial efficiency may be the mode encouraged along the 'information superhighway,' but is anyone surprised that that image has yet to fly?

a better image is requested!



(1) This and several other nifty quotes can be found at []
(2) To illustrate, [The Complexity & Artificial Life Research Concept for Self-Organizing Systems]:
[By the scientific method, a] sub-set of properties (e.g. the movement of planets) is abstracted and mathematical formulae are developed and tested, to see how well the property of interest can be modelled and predicted. Where this cannot easily be done the average of a collection of separate results is used instead to generate statistically valid models (e.g. birth rates per year by country). This has been a spectacularly successful enterprise since Newton's day, yet it has limitations. Many of the subjects that we wish to study are not amenable to simplification, they arise as a result of the complex interactions between many different individual parts. Into this category come much of life and intelligent (human) behaviours.
(3) Copyright is held by someone else.
(4) Cf., for instance, [Bionomics 101] by Michael Rothschild, or Development Betrayed, by Richard Norgaard.

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