Shorelines

Whenever I visit the sea, I am drawn by a mysterious desire to stand just where the sea foam is unpredictably transgressing the land–sometimes reaching my bare feet after the last crashing wave, sometimes not.  I peer outward in the dimming light, knowing that in a short time the tide will more than amply claim this very spot making it home to other life, perhaps even an occasional, daring shark.   It will be their place then.

The sea from will not take me back on my terms

That saltwater world beyond enraptures me for some reason.  It teases me with a certain fear.  Why?  Is it the danger of a rogue wave reclaiming me?  Is it an exhilarating thrill intertwined with fear of contemplating a place that is so close, but where I so definitively do not belong?  My being, my nature, my biology is not meant for life just beyond this shore.  The sea is no longer my element, in it I can swim neither like fish nor sea mammal.  My locomotion has long been fixed for walking on a dry land.  I have been transformed since my chain of ancestral being left that saltwater womb of the Earth’s seas, or perhaps more romantically and melodically called, in Latin, maria.   Often in this mortal life, when capacities are gained, others are lost.

The sea place is expansive.  Is that expansiveness the source of this ominous sense?  I can gaze in wonderment at the oceans on a map or, now, in an image from space.  This place where I stand is where the enormity of thousands of miles of deep water ends as a feeble sheet wetting the sand and disappearing between the grains.  The ocean is a fierce giant just right there before me, not very far, but extending very far after that and plunging into unimaginable depths.   The biting aspects of the sea–the sharks–would rip me into pieces with an unconcerned, mechanical intentionality.  I would be so hopelessly alone a mere thousand yards from where I stand, out in those foreboding night waters, struggling for buoyancy and air, possibly carried by a rip tide, and surely eventually devoured—all as diners eat fancy meals and cakes in a comfortable, well-lighted restaurant a similar distance to my rear.

Biology and kinship matter in common understanding

At times I get a different, poignant feeling staring up at the night sky–another inhospitable enormity.  My father and I would take a telescope into the yard and look at the moon, the stars, nebulae and galaxies.  He and his father fashioned the large, Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector telescope by hand, including the parabolic mirror.  The mirror took weeks of visits by my father to a local planetarium where, with an abrasive paste, he ground the surface using a particular pattern of precisely numbered stokes alternating with rotations of the glass disk.  The amount of assiduous, even obsessive, effort was impressive, it inspired me listening to his account of it and it filled me with a deep respect and love for my father, for work, and for curious, probing intellects.  He did all that simply so that he could see farther.  He taught me to long to see beyond. And I could see something else.  I could see a father, my father.  I could see that I was his son, that I was from and like him in form.   I also knew that I was a seer like him, as form gives rise to function.  Biology matters.  Biology resonates among kin.  Kinship provides a general capacity for ready communication and understanding.  Kin understand each other in broadly similar categories and they do so not only because of common experiences, but because of biological form.  In degrees and qualities, this phenomenon extends beyond family.

It requires work to make a mirror that bends the light into a useful focus.  And that is just the beginning.  There is understanding the movements and geometry of celestial objects.  Then, it took books and charts to become a skilled amateur astronomer.  Being a receiver of things, of patterns, of ideas requires preparation and much doing, much suffering really. It is not something that many onlookers understand.  Seeing farther can be dissociative even as common understanding and interests are made easier by genetic association.  Ask a prophet in his home town, if one is handy, or ask a serious intellectual, an inventor, or any intensely creative person.  Biology can come into opposition within other parts of itself and with what engendered it.  Not all rates of evolution of what comprises the parts of a single organism are equal.  This is reminiscent of the lapsarian vocabulary of the “old” and the “new man.”

Looking towards an inhospitable expanse

As I stare unaided into the black abyss of the night sky, speckled with stars, I realize that the surface of my eye, that thin layer of wet, living cells, is where the emptiness of space begins.  I am on a dangerous edge.  My eye is that aspect of the Earth that sees—and it is that Earth’s surface that ends here at my eye’s salty shore.  The last terra firma before space begins.  The rest of the universe lies beyond. As my imagination carries itself to those great voids between suns and worlds distant beyond human imagining.  That threat of loneliness returns.  The gravitational tug that all matter has for matter reassures me against floating away from my planet into that unbounded solitude of distance.  Why the disquiet?

As earthly frontiers dwindle, we turned towards the heavens, though the zeal for space exploration seems to be waning.  The appeal is diminishing when consideration is given to years of claustrophobic travel in order to settle some world of deadly temperatures and noxious gases, only to have it develop into another Detroit or another L.A. clogged with rush-hour rover craft.

The voids within

Those incomprehensible distances between objects in the celestial sky are rivalled by the distances between the particles that make up any atom, including those making up my being.  For over a hundred years we have been told that it would be best to abandon notions of solid, material particles in favor of fields of pulsing and vibrating  energy.  Substituting the word ‘energy’ for objects like the components of the atoms hardly consoles a mind schooled to see building blocks, tennis balls, or kitchen utensils as what count as “things.”  This dissolving notion of a solid stuff that answers by name, is responsible for traffic tickets and who reaches for an aspirin tablet to relieve a headache can create an existential angst–the avoidance of which is the quite real stuff in the bank accounts of advertisers, casino operators and tattoo artists.

Like a neurotic traveler ever dissatisfied with the locality of any destination, neither points of solidity nor the spaces between offer consolation.  Whether trapped in aluminum-foil space craft, or in the atomic galaxies of our brains, man longs for adventures or familiarities that neither the great nor miniscule scales of matter and space can provide.

Conversation is everything

This isolation of man in the cosmic void, of whatever scale, is solvable not by a particular this or that, or traversing (or transgressing) the imagined void from here to there, but rather in the uniting of parts across distant locations and of making common the small and the large.  Only the communicating of one being with another lonely being will do, driven like prisoners in adjoining dungeon cells, eventually coaxing alphabets, vocabularies and complex messages out of tappings on the rock walls.  Speaking and writing, music–or, yes, even the simple act of lovers holding hands–are means by which we tap on the rocky wall of our skulls and say, “Is anyone out there? Please answer.”  (See post, “Trumpets!  Smooth…”)  Communicating in superficial ways is hardly enough.  What makes for superficiality or depth of communication?

A street signal communicates simple messages of stop, go and caution, but it lacks the capacity for  readily conveying impassioned messages of joy or anguish, nor could it easily recount a story with an intricate plot or a symbol-ridden mathematical model.  Of course, a computer does just this with only two-thirds of the available states of a traffic light; however, the computer requires significant coding-decoding stages and the presumption of intelligent transmitters and receivers that can not only engage in transmission, channeling and reception of information, but can anticipate and creatively reconstruct the intentions of another intelligent being–much like the dungeon dwellers above.  Our intelligent dungeon dwellers could use either a linked system of traffic lights or the tapping on stone to recreate a work of Shakespeare. We were born to build and recognize similar systems of language.  Chomsky helped us describe this [1].  The only issue that the dungeon dwellers face is the tediousness caused by the extremely limited channel capacity of their medium for communication. These prisoners in an impoverished medium could eventually type out their own version of a Morse Code that would rival the tools that you and I  have used in the writing and reading of this article.  High levels of semantics can be squeezed even through the narrowest of two-state channels, e.g., telegraph wires or a dungeon wall.

The technical aspects of telegraphy or telephony, then, only address the convenience of communication.  Another aspect of semantic transmission and exchange remains to be defined and described.  We also want communication that is capable of much more: we want conversation.  The word conversation itself arouses interest.  Latin roots suggest either “occupation” or “a turning.”  We crave corroboration of shared existence and experiences.  The internal attachment of words to experience, our internal conversation, demands a repeated confirmation and double checking.  Then we demand that the stories we tell are predictive  or at least, beautiful.  We think first with ourselves, then with others.  But what is it that this turning back and forth of idea-bearing information does as it works its magic in the brains of the communicators alternating in their roles as transmitters and receivers?

We want to be able to modify, adjust, correct, shape, enhance, and share the hypotheses that we form individually in our own minds with similar models that another person has in theirs.  My favorite mode of analogy is to think of ideas in terms of physical models of mental images, perhaps what Aquinas imagined when he imagined imagination.  He called them phantasms.  Phantasm is a good word, which I at times bastardize as ‘neurophantasms’ in my imaginings and discussions about the mind-brain opportunity [2].

This back-and-forth co-creation of ideas, this shared sculpting of thoughts–viz., of phantasms–requires an openness on the part of both, or all, parties involved; it requires a mental intercourse, a mind melding—we need what is at least one connotation of the word communication, with an emphasis on commonality and mutual interchange, or bilateralism (in other words, of both understanding and process of achieving such state).  What we want is for two or more minds to occupy the same place, whatever “place” means.

Good hypothesis testing of ideas with the regular patterns in the environment and perceived models of others is one of the most rewarding experiences that a human being can have.  It is critical to not mistakenly think that the reduction of discordant models, and means of modeling, is the most urgent good.  It is the most important Good, properly understood, but as my dissertation advisor impressed upon me regarding laboratory work, “If you work slow, you work fast.”  The rush to achieve agreement, and the anger that is often engendered when the other refuses to remake their model just like ours, is one of the most dangerous impulses that we face as human societies.  We work well when we create protected places and means where these explorations and testings can occur. On the grandest scale, this means nothing less than laboratories of cultural and sovereign national life where peoples may work on models, first in the commonality of seclusion, and then across borders of all sorts with other makers of models.

The reconciliation of terms between disparate vocabularies, and the more disparate the better, allows a type of understanding of yet a third position by means of a verbal-parallax mechanism, if you will. So, arriving at agreement can actually occur more quickly and more deeply the more divergent are the terms and beliefs of the two parties.  Too often we seek cheap and easy communication in order to reduce controversy.  This is, however, a way of cowards.  Controversy can be fun, if two communicators have crossed a certain threshold of maturity, benevolence and humility.  The wider the base of comparison the more accurate the triangulation, much like WWII-era range finders used to make ballistic calculations.  We need the contrast of agreement and difference as be develop and analyze our narratives, explanations and predictions.

What type of secure self-confidence would enable a mind to adroitly navigate necessary and healthy uncertainty of countenancing other opinions in productive ways?  How is that kind of confidence gotten?  The world of social media and internet communication holds great promise; however, it is going to require considerable development.  Most “postings” are verbal attempts at one-off, spikes over the tennis net.  These, tellingly, devolve into obscenity- laden vituperations.  Even when these railings are partially elevated to the level of debate, the whole enterprise of conversation and negotiation are lost.  I would be much more interested were candidates for high office to be expected to engage in public conversations and negotiations, rather than debates.  This would actually be much more informative and akin to the work in which they are actually engaged as office holders rather than stump speakers.  This would really allow these would be leaders to “show their stuff”–the stuff that real governance is about.

A popular video philosopher even has written a book providing instruction in argumentation [3].  I am finding that book to be quite useful.  I wish I had had it when I was teaching a logic-lite and critical thinking class for undergraduates.  But argument is only one type of conversation.  It is but one category of the latter.

The practice of argument, of forensic debate, is not something unfamiliar to me.  These are extremely important skills and are fun to engage in in the proper fora.  I cannot recommend enough starting with Aristotle’s writing on logic and rhetoric.  No real good in the creation, maintenance and elimination of the constructions of human affairs without the possibility of benevolently adversarial interactions.  The existence of the qualifier of “benevolence” instantaneously creates the reality of a malevolent adversity.

Indeed, there are simply times in human affairs when your adversary is intent on eliminating the possibility of argument by eliminating their adversary: you.  Homicide and wars of raw plunder are but sequelae to a prior crime: systematically rejecting conversation, communion.  This something-cidal act acquires the prefix, ‘homo-‘ because it is a killing of “Man,” Latin: homo.  And this connotation cannot be far from the Greek homos, or “same.”  This latter etymological root drives deeper beyond the, nonetheless correct, “killing of Man, or a Man,” to the killing of the same, a same that happens to be a Man, but is also pointedly somehow not only the same in being in the category Man, but the “same Man.”  The “mark of Cain” is not just that of a man who unjustly killed “a Man,” but is one who at the same time–in a certain sense–killed himself by killing another with whom he could have communicated.  No communion, not communication, can then be possible with this one–even with himself as it could otherwise have been.  In the poetic language of Genesis, Cain becomes isolated from the necessary society of men by his sin, that of deliberately isolating another from conversation.  It all began, with that denial of communication, that risky calling of one’s neighbor raca, or “fool,” “empty,” or “worthless.”  Co-occupation of the mental phantasm of a “fool,” “the empty,” or “the worthless becomes impossible. Conversation or communion, and this act of fusion without loss of personal identity which is an essential quality of being human is forever precluded.  Unjust killing is then murder, the killing of another and the simultaneous killing of the potential of the self-same being.

While individuals may lay down their lives according to their conscience in acts of self sacrifice–and these acts are not without value–those responsible for others cannot justly lay down their lives, their cheeks are not the leader’s cheek to turn.  National authorities have the responsibility of judging intended actions properly on the scale between diplomacy and war, peace and violence [4].  The employment of state-sanctioned force is a fearsome burden that no statesman should approach lightly.

An elucidation of the challenges of peace and war will be explored at this site soon in an upcoming article: “The Four Aggressions [5].”  I hope it will provide a provocative entrée in a topic that is saddled with the lead bricks of prejudiced confusions and ill-formed ideas. I hope to provide a fresh and potent framework for the engagement and resolution of cultural and civilizational conflict.

An additional note must be interjected before proceeding.  The conflictual nature of many human interactions cannot be glossed over, and no intention exists in the writing of this article on the topic of conversation to suggest otherwise.  This piece is, overall, optimistic in tone and benevolent in its assumptions: innocent as a dove, though reminding the reader that the shrewdness of serpents is still necessary. Good-faith conversation is only part of the education of one’s capacities.  A complete set of skills requires an armamentum of psychical faculties for dealing in proportionate fashion with challenges, hostilities and even–in the extreme–violent threats and war.  The situation of these capacities within the full compliment of human capacities governed by appropriate virtues will be explored further in upcoming articles, beginning with the aforementioned, “The Four Aggressions.”  The foundational error made by peace academies and conflict-resolution programs is that their premise is that peace is the goal to be achieved.  Instead, the practical means of ensuring the most peaceful situations is to assume that the causes of conflict and war will always arise afresh and that, when necessary, must be engaged–especially by due bearers of force–in order to achieve protection of citizens from external threats and internal criminality.

The Mother’s Milk of Communication

Mothers are key for uploading vocabularies with which an infant’s  brain can associate proto-experiences with words [6]. By these words conversation becomes possible, and it is  conversation that is everything for a human’s competency in the social world.  But mom is more than a dictionary, she is a dictionary and a thesaurus that certifies the associations she cajoles out of chaos.  She does this with love.  In such simple acts the infant is able to discern that whatever discomfort or chaos of stimuli presents itself, it will always be resolve in love.  The necessary coder-decoder pairs exist in both mother and child unless corrupted—and what a corruption that represents when it occurs.  The notarizing ink of this love is milk, her stamp–her soft touch, and her authority  is confirmed in her attentive care.  What more powerful metaphor is there for reliability than that of the milk from the quintessential tester of the infant king’s food?

There is more than nourishing a child materially as a sign of love.  For each child, and for society, the vital transmission of culture depends analogously on her and the father’s transmission of immaterial nutrition in the form of knowledge and wisdom. This also demands reliability from contaminating poisons of careless error or malevolence.  This immaterial nutrition is certified only by love and love for the truth.  Such love and truth makes conversation possible for the child becoming adult, both internally and externally.  Such love and truth act as shields and sword against many harms the child will face.  Societies are specially charged, in common, with ensuring that this natural mechanism of individual parents is not burdened with unnecessary, external impediments and is made free of toxins from the inside.

Conversation, qua conversation, can have nothing in common with malice and deception.  In this clarified sense, it could be stated that genuine conversation is love. Lack of honesty precludes genuine conversation leaving only a game of unilateral, verbal predation.  To successfully converse is to break the bondage and solitary confinement within one’s own mind.  This requires that equivocation, prevarication and deception be utterly rejected–within oneself and with another.  Undue secrecy, as well, is not merely a value-neutral silence, but is a form of deception considered within the complete-semantic context.  Every moment is a refreshed screen of reality. To hide important information from another–for whom that information is due and permits the avoidance of  significant harm or the pursuance of a just good–is an injustice, it distorts a screen shot by the omission of details.

The defense of truth makes relentless demands that are costly.  Suffering those costs are a privilege for the courageously honest man.  Many things and events are at least probabilistically more likely to be or happen than not, things are at least more likely to be here rather than there,  and measurements are, if not absolutely accurate, at least more or less precisely said to be bounded by reasonably measurable error.  For whatever reason, these networks of physical relationships produce a more or less stable and internally corroborating reality that makes possible limited prediction and sanity.  Contrary to post-modern and neo-pragmatist denials, these regularities provide sufficiently and functionally adequate synonyms for what was ever meant as reality or truth [6].  Exaggerations of statistical concepts of uncertainty to insinuate cause for disparaging the high degree of predictability in repeated measurements is nothing short of philosophic malfeasance.  For disputable interpretations, especially those requiring pattern detection of matters of natural law where exquisitely clean and costly “lenses” are required, these matters are resolved with honest, patient sampling—not wholesale revolution of stable practices for the purposes of whimsical experimentation.

 Imperfect means, like two coarse stones, can make flat, polished surfaces.  Primitive tools of sticks and rocks made less primitive tools that made even less primitive tools that eventually produced laser scalpels and jet liners. Words can be attached to things and happenings in ways in which they can be trusted to do so again under certain circumstances—ever refining the tools of hypotheses and pictures of what is reliable, if not real.  Imprecise words are primitive tools, but powerful and precise products–as in the technological example provided–can result from the power of averaging and corroboration.

Societies collapse as conversation fails

This truth telling in the world–far from mother and father’s protection–generally requires tremendous courage.  People acting in economies and relationships of power are notorious for preferring mendacity, along with the ease and profit it brings, over quests for truth.  Systems of deception and secrecy become established and institutionalized. Mechanisms develop for punishing the virtuous. But the system is self-limiting, though not without convulsions and the suffering of the innocent.  Lies tear at the fundamental operations of, not only human relations, but the physical universe.  Lies distort and burden the assemblies of selected sensory images and receptor hypotheses by which our perceptual and analytical faculties function.  Like a sea-going vessel in a storm, the strained hull of our ship of reality creeks, cracks and groans  in the tempestuous sea of untruthful practices, sophistical techniques and manipulative cultural narratives.  In the end, lies lead to blinding of the perceptions, incapacity for functional thought, self-alienation and declination away from the requirements for life itself.  Social cohesion becomes impossible.  Good cannot be achieved without individuals, institutions and nations nurturing truth where it must always reside and from where it must always emanate: the center of each soul. Periodically, civilizations–which is to say individuals and their aspirations made persistent in its art and institutions–must undergo a confession with, or without a preceding crisis.  Only this will permit escape from the social and political decay.  Such confession is, of course, also a conversation.

The payoff from truth telling is immediate for each individual.  It makes possible the emergence of the person in a sustained becoming towards its good identity.  It makes possible emergence onto a new “land” and into a new vista, regardless of the fate of the civilization in which the person is embedded.  As interwoven and necessary the interaction of individual and his environment, the unfolding of a transformed identity not only permits, but necessitates, an abscission from those placental relations of individual from a context that no longer sustains–but rather inhibits.  Should conditions be such that the civilization and its composite societies meet their demise, individuals can emerge to re-form new social structures. The best society is, then, the society homeostatically in a state of becoming because its people are in a vibrant state of becoming much as a healthy body is always engaged in ongoing repair even when frank wounds or lesions are absent.   These individuals committed in courage and honesty to act beyond their procuring their own pleasure and security are the living constituents of the second society behind–no, in front of–that which is approved, but senescent and disintegrating in the wake of the new.

Conversation: the remaining frontier 

In either direction, shorelines are crossed in peril.  From sea to land, from conquest of land to lifting into the air and beyond, life becoming mankind has undergone an amazing transition.  Its material artifacts and modes will surely continue their inanimate evolution.  Those who lust for a tight fusion of human intellectual and technological evolution, even within monstrous hybrids of man and machine, fail to grasp the evolutionary magic trick whereby biology has enabled man to liberate himself even from technological advance without precluding technological advance.  As technological development, or call it evolution if necessary, continues–humans can pursue what semantic and freely creative beings do best: make radical and emergent breaks from the monotony of mechanism and contingency.  In short, certain technologists and technocrats, in the name of glittering attractions, are already committed to the intellectually and culturally drab.  Again, this is no argument for a Luddite blockade of further advances in engineering.  It is recognition that even the most helpful innovations in transportation, medicine and electronic communication are, as helpful and intriguing as they may become, so much building of a better toaster.

The transition from fish to a walking creature was accompanied by a tremendous advance of the musculature of limbs for walking and for manipulation.  The evolution the requisite neural networks for controlling the posture and synergies for locomotion and dexterity provoke even more wonder.  But it would have been a sad thing had somehow biology made some decision to settle on modes of merely increasing mobility and the machine-capabilities of the muscle of the hands themselves.  The transcendent path leads to externalized means of mechanized transportation and manufacture.  The repertoire of trunk and limb movements reached a sufficient plateau so that biology did not have to invest in evermore special limbs to act like jets, or wheels of organs for capping 10,000 bottles per day.

The pattern that has been successful is the development of fundamental adaptive capabilities in the sensory receptors and motor effectors–and no more.  Other organisms have developed extremely specialized horns, mouthparts, egg laying structures, etc.  These organisms have been committed to their habits and niches as a result, frozen in their solutions.  The path of human evolution has been the persistence somatic structures that retain a wide variety of utilitarian potencies while externalizing the process of specialization in tools and flexible behaviors.

Likewise, the development of muscles and neural control mechanisms of the face, mouth and throat enabled another transcendence far beyond alerting and mating  signals.  With a relatively countable number of fractionated movements, phonation can achieve a multiplicity of expressed meanings that cannot be distinguished from limitless.  Add symbolic writing, reading and calculation as ancillary modes to the primary action of speech and counting, and biology has penetrated the realm of semantics in what may be the near completion of an abstracting transformation and effective liberation from the biological.  The neocortex of the brains of future generations may be capable of faster and more intelligent perceptual functioning, but the instantiation of such intelligence in these bodies will ensure the capacity for caring and recognizing personhood, the insurance against the trends of power and monopolization of technical power.  Thus, the liberation form its corporeal nature is paradoxically benefited by the instantiation in the corporeal.  This is possible because the liberation can be accomplished without libertine unmooring and instantiation can be effected without runaway exercise of the will.

Having achieved the condition of being semantic creatures, we now conquer the universe by understanding conversing, conversing as an art with limitless potential for the Good.  To be explicitly clear, communication alone is not enough. Communication as a category contains elements that represent conversation as well as simple signaling or control systems. Communication in the latter form, in its efficiency, quickly comes to eliminate the human  and the volitional in preference for the efficient.  Limitlessness is emulated in systems given to totalitarian enslavement a boring manner by mere  multiplication and repetition rather than invention.  Tyrannical systems are erected upon rules of communication as systems of signaling and control characterized by unilateralism: stop, go, do, never do, follow-this-algorithm, yield, submit, submit, submit…  Exchange, the engaged and progressing turning, the versio et versio at the root of  conversation, withers in face of a dominating unilateralism.  In such oppressive societal and political developmental monstrosities, human beings become sensory and motor organs whose character is judged in terms of efficiency of repetition and fidelity in transmission of inputted signal.  Man becomes develops neither as transmitter and receive, functions connatural to his evolved capacities, but rather is constrained to the slavish function of a mere channel in service to dictators.

As with all derived systems that count as human and intelligent, the simple and mechanical are not dispensed with, but rather integrated into an ordering faculty that is free, creative, external to the rules of the subsystem and, in case of the human, capable of experiencing the what-it’s-likedness, viz. the qualia, of lived experience.  Yet there is another transcendence that must be reintroduced into this discussion: love.  Love is a capacity of humans that might be said to be a qualia that transcends the qualia of the sensation such as “red,” “sweet” or “comfort.”  Not to be confused with sexual drives–though even these can be subsumed in the qualia of love and the commitments to actions that follow–the love that in the Greek is referred to as agape–creates a context for facilitates the transcending of communication to a fullness of conversation.  This is the type of conversation that prohibits the misuse of subservient categories of communication from usurping roles of governance.

We need conversation and we need conversation to invade every aspect of our institutions as well as our personal lives.  It must become what and who we are.  No longer must men let ourselves be enslaved by systems-engineered definitions of consumer, spectator, passive adopter, or the compliant and obsequious member of the public, staff–or simply–the masses.  No, we are called to be participant citizens.  We are to be conversant agents.

The peril of returning to the salty brine of the sea, or any of the earlier or side-tracked stages and contexts of transition, is a choice to return to those rules and ecological systems of mere eating and be eaten, of serving as a material instrument for another’s material imprisonment–an imprisonment lived large and in greater luxury–but an imprisonment nonetheless.

I can leave my brief and pensive visits to the seashore reminded that any retreat in the direction back towards the “sea” would be a cowardly and otiose choice.  I am referring to any acquiescence to the violation of the future potential of genuine human freedom to use his capacities for the Good.  Some may cringe at my employment of vocabularies reminiscent of ancient thought interwoven with that of modern science and technology.  My response is that I am proud that a start has been made in this direction. This is the combination vocabularies that maintains the openness of the discussion and provides it with functional docking sites for yet even other vocabularies.

So long, Maria, my sea, my mysterious attraction. Climbing the beach with the tumult of the sea to my back, my conviction is made all the more ardent: conversation is my personal destiny; it is our common destiny, it is the destiny of every second society striving to emerge and thrust itself up into a new, transcendent world and way of being human.

_________________________________

[1] Start here for an introduction to innate syntactical grammar:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky#Universal_grammar

[2]  I hope to make those ideas about the form-form bridge of mind and brain available to you here, at this site, based upon academic talks that I gave a few years ago.  The physical models of the phantasms.

[3]  Molyneux, Stefan,  The Art of the Argument: Western Civilization’s Last Stand.  2017.

[4] N.B. St. Augustine in The City of God, and St. Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologiæ, both treat the topic of Just War Theory, as do many other (see:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory).  Scope does not allow us to explore the topic of legitimate–viz., state-sanctioned–use of force here.

[5] Schmitt, David E.  “The Four Aggressions,”  Coming soon, here at The Second Society Project,   https://thesecondsocietyproject.com/

[6] Pinker, Steven.  The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. 2002. New York, New York: Penguin Books.

[7] Schmitt, David E.  “Richard Rorty’s America,”  Coming soon, here at The Second Society Project,   https://thesecondsocietyproject.com/


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