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- Re-thinking By Global Relativity, 2008
Serghey Gherdjikov, Bulgaria
Re-thinking by Global Relativity
We pass each other. In the same degree we do not know ourselves as an ego, as community, as civilization. This is an unconsciousness relativity effect, which comes into being in the process of communication between cultures and between individuals.
Relating is virtual defining – projection of the real connection between moments of a life process. ‘This’ without ‘that’ is not this. ‘I’ without ‘you’ is not I. ‘West’ without ‘East’ is not west. ‘Man’ without other living beings is not man.
Global relativity awareness. The live awareness of relativity makes our mental forms conditional and we do not expect them to be the same as other people’s. We explore other people’s attitudes and categories like religion without a God and a fate, freedom without individual independence, nature without the division in ‘human’ and ‘animal’ and world beyond the division ‘nature–culture’. We realize the relativity and conditionality of the I, the Absolute, Necessity, Causality, Freedom. This brings us nearer to planetary wisdom: we all are human and living beings and have to uphold our unconditional life against the destructive forces.
This theoretical scheme is developed into a study, giving new solutions to a series of problems concerning information and meaning, the world and language, identity and difference.
Re-thinking by Global Relativity
Real relativity. A real form is ‘that’ as against another. Experiencing is non-relative, but I am me only with respect to someone else (we as against others). West is West only in relation to East. We humans are humans as against other beings. Life is life by virtue of overcoming death.
Definition. Real relation (connection): unity of qualia as moments in a life process. A colour-form without sound, smell, taste and touch melts into ‘sensory form’, blue without non-blue melts into bright, ‘brightness’ without darkness melts into absence of light. Consequence. There are no definite unrelated realities.
The real is the non-virtual living, worlding. Real is the living-of-the-world. We do not live in a world but live the world. Synthesis of meaning. Life processes are syntheses of meanings with reference to a (re)synthesis of the living form. Those processes confer meaning to the virtual processes.
Attitude. We describe the world, communicate with others and act, unconsciously tuned in to certain forms of speaking and acting. An attitude confronts evident and impossible things, in which it traces out its boundaries.
‘Evidentness’ is ‘invisibility’ of attitude. ‘Evidentness’ is what is taken as evidently true because of the invisibility of its conditionality and dependence on attitudes and grammars. Thus Descartes took as evident: “I think, therefore I am.” But a statement-evidentness is an oxymoron: there is evidence only to vision, only qualia are evident.
Inertia and inertness of attitude. Position is conserved in a state of rest or drift – it is not changed without exertion of force. Attitudes are inert analogously to the inertness of masses. Einstein identified this inert mass with gravitational mass. This holds of linguistic phenomena too. Each statement has ‘inertness’ by virtue of an attitude acting as an invisible gravitational mass that is curving linguistic space and thus shaping the paths of speaking and writing. Projection of attitude. We are projecting our visions of objects that are invisible in the world, and those visions are moments of an attitude. ‘Subject-object’ is projection of a life process. Subject-object as a cognitive form is projection of the life process in a state of perceiving by the body of the world external to it. But this is only a moment of the active living of the world and of world-life. The world is not external to life but is shaped by life.
Principle of real relativity: Meaning is a moment in a life process.
The real is indefinite with respect to the virtual. The world does not speak. No form in the world determines a word to denote it. Sensation, image, perception, thought are indefinite with respect to language. Taken virtually, entropy is noise, taken really, it is indefiniteness of meaning.
Language is not determined by the world; in particular, it is not a picture of the world. Words and qualia (elementary experiences) are incomparable. Grammar is not determined. A given local grammar cannot be drawn from the forms of life of the respective community. This follows from the indefiniteness of the world to language. Denoting is undenotable.
The sensible world is not congruent with description, but it is exactly that world that sets the boundaries of the describable. There is no grammar in it, but it is exactly its form that is the source of grammars. There is not one single description of a group of phenomena, but people from distant cultures reach understanding in their perception of natural phenomena.
Sign–reference–meaning. Reference belongs to the virtual dimension and level of language, meaning – to real relatedness. Grammar–semantics–pragmatics. Grammar, taken virtually, is independent but is, in reality, semantically definable in a form of a life process: somebody–does–something (SVO). The real relativity has projections on three levels of human life: individual, community, global relativity.
Communication – a ‘gravitational interaction’. In communication understanding is attained by means of live meaning, in real relativity. Communication, in the sense of real relativity, corresponds to gravitational and accelerated movement in (Einstein). Communication curvature. Communication ‘curves information’ by its very accomplishment: we understand others by means of our own experience. In fact, this is no curvature, but a right line of communication in a ‘non-Euclidian’ space. ‘Gravity’. Languages are really related to human life’s processes.
Local relativity. Real communication is not an informational, but a vital process. Taken as reality, communication is an energetic process: we share attitudes, emotions, thoughts and co-ordinate our activities.
Global relativity. With differences taken account of, languages are understandable, meanings is communicable and the world is one for all languages in one form of life – the human form. Globality is the circumstance of all life processes and, especially, of human cultures being situated on the planet Earth. Locality is the circumstance of a community being situated with respect to other communities on the Earth. Real relativity allows defining the world in all sorts of languages and cultures.
Real translation ‘transfers’ meaning, not reference. As a real process translation is transmitting of meaning, not of words or grammar. Indeterminacy of translation. The transfer of meaning is problematic. According to local relativity every community creates and lives with its own meanings, which may be lacking in other communities. In this case a projection is made and a live situation is described. Real communication is never a complete determination of referents or meanings, except for purely formal calculi. There is entropy – talking at cross-purposes, distortion, annihilation of meanings. This entropy is a result or local orders.
Rival meanings. In conditions of plurality of individuals and communities competition for the same resources is present, for synthesis and re-synthesis of life. Communities’ vital processes interfere and clash. The values of certain communities are incompatible with those of others. The life of certain communities is incompatible with the life of others.
Cross-cultural communication. Cross-cultural communication is interchange of meanings between individuals from different cultural communities (native-alien). Cross-cultural living, in which someone is alien, is strained between the local meanings of one’s own and the foreign culture. Today we are living more and more intensively in cross-culure situations.
Life exceeds all possible meanings. It is unrealistic to look for ‘the sense of life’ – only virtual projections as God beyond the world, a Good beyond good and evil things, Beauty beyond the beautiful, Truth beyond truths. The world exceeds all possible descriptions. Every description is temporary and local. There is nothing untouchable in great ontologies, theories and ‘facts’.
Freedom-unfreedom. Conceptions of freedom in different cultures on the planet diverge up to incompatibility. In the West freedom is above all freedom of the person and in the Far East it is above all freedom from a person. Free attitude: precondition for understanding and cognition. Free attitude is adopting a position with awareness of relativity, seeing one’s position in relation to other positions, it is definiteness and relatedness at once. The free attitude is awareness of the gravitation of life processes. For the free attitude there is no evidentness.
Identity. Unawareness is taking the virtual identities for real. The attitude is taken for an innermost, interior I. Habitual thoughts are taken for ‘evidence’. Grammatical form is taken for ontological essence. In the final account identity has a reverse power: it makes one dependent. In freeing ourselves from this virtual identity we find natural, spontaneous, mutable identities in the gradation: individual–local–global. Critiques between positions are senseless. Anything can be proven or refuted from appropriate positions.
Global awareness. The live awareness of relativity makes our mental forms conditional and we do not expect them to be the same as other people’s. We explore other people’s attitudes and categories like religion without a God and a fate, freedom without individual independence, nature without the division in ‘human’ and ‘animal’ and world beyond the division ‘nature–culture’. We realize the relativity and conditionality of the I, the Absolute, Necessity, Causality, Freedom. This brings us nearer to planetary wisdom: we all are human and living beings and have to uphold our unconditional life against the destructive forces of the Universe.
Cultural relativity. The network of concepts and propositions about virtual and real relativity explains the phenomena of linguistic and cultural relativity observed and described by investigators of distant languages and cultures – linguists and anthropologists.
Artificial–natural. In the present study virtual is distinguished from real as artefact from life. Life can never be artefact. As a consequence, one is not able to create life from a non-living. Another consequence is that one is unable to create artificial live intelligence. One cannot live in a virtual world. One is not born, does not live, neither die in the virtual.
West–East. Taking the East as an underdeveloped cultural area is a West-centred misunderstanding. Taking the East as a location of great Truths is an illusion. In the perspective of the West an ‘Eastern mysticism’ is discovered – a projection-concept derived from ‘Western rationalism’. A ‘contemplation’ is discovered as a polar concept of ‘action’. The relativism on the West–East axis dissolves on the globe: East is western to the West, West is eastern to the East.
Absolutism–relativism. There is no hope for the discovery of absolute truths. Truths cannot be stated in non-relative formulas. There is no special way to state the human. That is not to say that the horizon of truths is boundless: all live truths are referred to the human form of life.
Spirit–nature. In this attitude a human being is divided into a ‘spiritual essence’ and ‘natural basis’, the latter not belonging to human being. The meanings of this attitude reduce life to vegetating devoid of meaning, on the one part, and to speech, on the other part, which is attributed unconditional sense. Human–animal is an asymmetric position polarizing one species against all the others. ‘Human-animal’ isolates humans from the other forms of life. Such position is deadly on planetary scale.
Subject–object. There is no ‘object’ along with the ‘subject’, ‘in front of’ or ‘against’ it. There is no place where the subject ends and the object begins.
Knowledge–reality. The classical opposition ‘knowledge–reality’ is strongly misleading and describes the world inadequately dissociating it from the ‘subject’. The question about the conformity of knowledge to a transcendent thing (Husserl 1907) is a pseudo-problem. Reality is immediately experienced – authentic cognition, while ‘knowledge’ is description in a sign system.
Humanities–natural sciences. There is no ‘Spirit’ or ‘culture’ distinguished from ‘nature’ (as ‘unique’ from ‘universal’). There is no special sphere of texts, the meaning of which is outside the experienced world. One cannot be born, live and die in a virtual world, in a language, in a culture. Four areas of study covered: – linguistic relativity; – logical relativity; – conceptual relativity; – descriptive relativity.
Husserl, Edmund, Die Idee der Phenomenologie. Fünf Vorlesungen. Husserliana Bd. II (Martinus Nijhoff, Haag 1958).
Gherdjikov, Serghey, Philosophy of Relativity (Extreme, Sofia 2008).
(This paper is presented for World Congress of Philosophy, Seoul, 2008)