Ingo Swann (26Mar98)
It would be obvious that what people do or do not recognize as real has something to do with:
Even so, REALTY has an official definition: "the totality of all real things and events; something that is neither derivative nor dependent, but exists necessarily."
"Exists necessarily" turns out to be a kind of philosophical confabulation the meaning of which is that something exists because it does exist -- the "necessarily" meaning that no one can do anything about what exists because it continues to do so regardless.
What exists simply because it does exist has always been problematical -- in that no one has ever been able to explain why anything exists. Most people are prepared to accept this, and to get on with whatever.
But certain types of thinkers are not, and some of them can even be antagonistic toward accepting what exists because it does exist. Certain of these kinds of thinkers can flagellate their synapses by attempting to organize reality so that explanations can be offered up as to why what exists because it does exist has the meaning it does by virtue of existing in the first place.
This kind of procedure conveniently obfuscates the basic problem of not knowing why anything exists.
This is a sort of generic philosophical process that usually, but not always, requires that certain existing things NOT be considered - - because doing so clutters up the few aspects of existence that are being considered. This is somewhat understandable -- because no one has ever been able to simultaneously cope with the whole of what exists, largely because no one so far has managed to discover the whole of it.
Besides, during their whole lives most people only manage to espy a few really existing things, never the whole shebang of existence. And from these few things they select only those that have promises of benefiting their own existence, and which itself exists because it does exist. This leaves the conundrum of people not being able to explain the why and wherefore of their own existing.
So this whole affair gets quite complicated -- even more so because, generally speaking, humans don't like complicated things, especially if they are too big.
So to resolve this, a rather dependable way emerged at some point back in history. If limits are placed on reality, then one might never really learn a lot. But the complications of the overly large and apparently endless realities are cut back to manageable size.
Thereafter these reduced complexities are quite likely to be referred to as reality. And if general agreement is obtained about these cut-back realities, then they can utilized, as in a tall building, as steel-like infrastructure I-beam supports for the enormous social edifices that can be erected on them.
The educational processes within the social edifices then set about teaching what is real, so that upcoming citizens can fit properly into the social edifice.
This procedure has proven entirely workable -- and indeed it does work best if no citizen ever self-discovers any reality, but merely goes with the flow of the social infrastructure.
Thus, most people never need to self-discover a reality, and many can get through life quite well without doing so. But such are the social enclosures in this regard that if one accidentally trips across a reality, one might not be able to recognize it.
After all, there are hardly any schools that teach what a reality should look like AS a reality. There are schools only to teach WHICH reality should be seen or not seen.
In any event, even if all of the above didn't exist because it does exist, reality recognition is an arduous affair. So it's not unusual for one to accept a reality simply because someone else says it is one. This saves one the bother and the struggle of having to spot realities. If the reality gets into print, then it is broadly accepted as real because the print exists because it does.
One of the not entirely unanticipatable outcomes of all this is that realities slip and slide around a lot, often resulting in a moody sense of insecurity as if one can't really figure out what's really going on or what's really happening.
The whole of the foregoing has been rather sardonically elaborated in an attempt to suggest (1) that trying to determine what reality consists of is the realm of spin doctors and usually a messy polemical affair; and (2) that such is not a profitable way to proceed if one wants to get anywhere -- at least in some profound sense.
In any event, if one can't RECOGNIZE realities even if one chances to trip across them, then the whole polemical edifice of trying to determine what they are, what they consist of, is more or less a safari leading to that thickly fog infested land called Nowhere.
IF seen in this light, then the problems attendant upon the nature of recognition ITSELF somewhat take priority over the problems of reality. And this would especially be the case regarding any proposed activation of the superpowers of the human biomind.
Indeed, if one can't recognize what is to be activated, or recognize what perhaps has already been unknowingly activated, then arrival at the misty fogs of Nowhereland draw closer and closer.
In the sense of the foregoing, then, it is somewhat amusing that the modern sciences, philosophies, or psychologies have paid no attention to the phenomena of RECOGNITION.
Since there is somewhat of a vacuum in this regard, there is nothing from them that might resemble a trickle-down effect into the observing-sensing processes of "the masses."
But like all cultural vacuums, this particular one is unnoticed because it is the nature of vacuums not to be noticed -- even though they, too, exist because they do.
In the sense of all of this, then, although the nature of recognition might at first seem far removed with regard to any desire to activate any of the superpowers, even a brief discussion of the nature of recognition should take its authentic place within all the other factors pertinent to the superpowers.
Indeed, it is possible to hypothetically suggest that recognition might well be among the most CENTRAL CORE factors involved.
RECOGNITION is officially defined as "knowledge or feeling that an object has been met before."
However, why recognition is linked only to objects is somewhat of a mystery -- because any simple, raw experiencing of recognition extends into other factors.
So, for the inclusive purposes of this database, this definition can be extended to include not only "objects," but also subjective and qualitative experiencing.
Indeed, recognizing the qualities of objects and subjects goes hand-in-hand with the recognition of objects, and which often cannot be recognized in the absence of their qualities.
As but one example, if the qualitative distinctions between glass and diamonds are not recognized, then the meaning value of both would be somewhat the same.
However, in an ideal or altruistic sense, the official definition is logical. But difficulties arise when it is understood that what has been met before has also been responded to in some way, specifically in that some kind of meaning has been attached to what has been met.
In this sense, if what is recognized is taken to be meaningless, then it is usually consigned to the landfill of the meaningless. In this regard, the human species has a rich tradition of assigning meaninglessness to objects and realities that often turn out to be quite meaningful.
In any event, it is so far possible to recognize that recognition if already composed of not one but two factors, the second consisting of meaning. Indeed, if meaning of something is not recognized, then the something itself may not be recognized.
RECOGNIZE is said to be taken into English from the Latin RE + COGNOSCERE -- the Latin combination meaning "AGAIN to know." The direct implication is that one cannot know again unless one has known in the first place.
But the use of KNOW in this sense is superlative, when what is actually meant is EXPOSED to, often without KNOWING and which requires making sense out of what one has been exposed to.
Here we have but a hint that recognition is most likely a tricky business -- so tricky that philosophers have elected not to become involved in it.
However, and moving bravely on, it can be said that meaning has to be attributed to things to be recognized -- because in large part the things do not have signs on them itemizing their many possible meanings -- and, in fact, have no signs at all.
In the sense of our species, then, it can be said that meaning-making is a reality phenomenology of our species that exists because it does exist -- while, at the same time, no one has yet understood the whys and wherefores of its existing. The only thing known somewhat for sure is that each specimen born of our species is equipped to be some kind of a meaning-maker.
With regard to the nature of MEANING, here we ARE on traditional philosophical territory.
Even well before the modern period, philosophers had somewhat sorted out the fact that two basic kinds of meaning can be established: (1) meanings that increase certainty; and (2) meanings that decrease it.
Both of these meaning criteria can be extended to things, subject's qualities, and experiencing -- and lead to their recognition either which way.
In this sense, it can be postulated that reality, things, etc., are not first recognized for what they ARE, but whether they contribute to certainty or uncertainty.
This is all well and good, of course. But it can be observed that approaches to whatever increases certainty are well laid out and demarcated and achieve social support. However, whereas approaches to whatever increases uncertainty (such as the not yet known) don't achieve much in the way of social support.
The two-fold MEANING dynamic can be very clear here, at least hypothetically speaking.
Exposure to something that is suggestive of an increase in certainty will be responded to via that meaning.
Exposure to something suggestive of an increase in uncertainty will be responded to via that meaning.
As a third category of meaning response, if something is encountered which can not be recognized as fitting into either of the two above categories, it is usually considered to be of questionable, even potentially dangerous, merit -- and is usually shot on the spot.
It would be quite clear in this regard that these two generic kinds of responses are entirely relative to situations and circumstances. But in the larger species-wide picture sense, these two responses have a great deal to do with how realities are recognized and responded to.
In a certain sense at least, it must be assumed that information or data one is exposed to does not equate to recognizable knowledge UNLESS meaning can become attached.
Even modern philosophers have often said that the meaning-less is not knowledge. If this is carried to the social extremes it usually is, the implication is that the meaning-less cannot be recognized as knowledge.
This is rather straightforward so far as it goes. But an attendant implication is that one cannot recognize the meaning-less -- because there is nothing there to recognize. Thus, one can not encounter it AGAIN, or meet with it AGAIN.
This is not completely a matter of obscurant double-talk. It simply means that if one encounters something dubbed as meaning-less, the one will have trouble in recognizing it when one DOES encounter it AGAIN.
Indeed, this concept was one of the earliest officially stated reasons for the philosophical and scientific mainstream rejection of psychic stuff. Even if there was the mere chance that psychic stuff -- such as clairvoyance and telepathy -- really existed, it was meaningless since it had no real uses.
The illogic of this dismissive attitude is obvious, of course, and seems to have been based on a very low order of imaginatory capacities. Behind this, however, can be detected something that appears to have been more than a hint of a certainty that developed Psi would increase the uncertainty of established social orders. The superpowers have always been accompanied by this troubling aspect.
At this point, briefly touching on REAL can't really be completely avoided -- but only with the continuing proviso that nothing in this database is to be taken as an attempt to established any reality.
But in the sense of this essay, certain things might be recognized as constituting hypothetical approaches to the real.
The modern definition of REAL holds that it is "of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things apparent in fact, and [as we have seen earlier] necessarily existent." This definition really should be extended to include phenomena -- largely because phenomena as well as things exist because they exist.
One of the more interesting aspects of REAL was that it was not introduced into English until the late 1400s (a rather late date, all things considered.)
In the late 1400s, however, the Oxford Dictionary of the English Languages offers says that the early meanings were "indistinct."
It was only in the later 1500s that REAL began to be used more or less as we try to do today.
The term was derived from the Late Christianized Latin RES (meaning thing), but was said to be akin to the very much earlier Sanskrit RAI (not meaning thing, but particular qualitative essence).
Regarding this, then, something like 5,000 years of human history seems to have gotten on without the term REAL as we define it today -- and one wonders how things were managed without this concept.
In any event, we today are irrevocably plugged into this term, because at the bottom line of everything it is felt necessary to establish the reality of all things -- and very much depends on the success or failure of this idea.
Rather exhausting examination of REAL can ultimately reveal that, like recognition, there appears to be two major categories of THE REAL. For efficiency here, these can best be illustrated by a diagram rather than by verbal exposition.
|The REAL contingent||The REAL contingent|
|upon known facts||upon experiencing|
. Whereas both converge .
. on .
. RECOGNIZE .
. . . . . . . . . . . REALIZE . . . . . . . . . . .
In sense of the above, then, we could say that REAL and REALITY are contingent or relative only to some kind of unfoldment process having to do with recognition, the nature of which is imploded into some kind of culturally-avoided vacuum.
But even so, that our species is multi-tiered regarding recognition of anything and everything can, by now, seem apparent.
Based on this discussion, certainly only hypothetical, two trend-like phenomena can sometimes (but not always) be observed.
Both of these major categories, however, have significant complications:
One is then justified in wondering what role "known facts" play regarding anything.
Well, for one thing, they represent the perceived margins between certainty and uncertainty -- and which is the most obvious reason why large segments of social strata place conviction not only IN them but with regard to their necessity.
And it is this that gives recognizable substance to the hearty resistance toward new real facts if they are of such a nature as to radically destabilize old real factual bases.
Thus, it can be seen, if only in vague contours, that the matter of RECOGNITION plays an important role within any approach to activating the superpowers.
However, each aspirant along these lines will have to mull this over within their own reality tents than house their own realities -- some new emphasis being on the dynamics of recognition, a matter regarding which few, if any, have hitherto paid much attention.