below: Sonnets #161, 5
table of contents commented bibliography and index say what? noframes


If nature, sovereign mistress over wrack,
thou goest onwards still will pluck thee back,
She keeps thee to this purpose; that her skill
y time disgrace, and wretched minutes kill.
Temporal thinking is pluralistc. Proximity. Understandings of Mind and Life can guide each other by their common ground of individualization and integration. The dimensions of temporal openness isolated in the three parts of section VI, above, meet in lived experience as sense, concept, and meaning. The challenge for thinking of a 'wisdom of love'.
Gustav Klimt's 'Hope #1' 1903

As we work to leave behind the three layer model exhibited as a metaphor for Mind's potential, we find it has suggested that the time when thinking can aspire to comprehensive finality is past: the implications of Mind's elemental temporality reinsert thinkers in their thoughts; Truth must belong to thinking, not to thoughts. Likewise, our requirement of plurality insists we regard all unifications of experience as relative, or practical, or provisional, if not illusory. At the least, where the life of the mind would be guided by correspondences of Mind to Life, Mind's productions should be shaped not to glorify their own organization but to be given into Life's immanent cross-currents with a hope to help, apart from prescriptive anticipations.

The more contemporary of the thinkers whose work we have considered, having brought to thinking issues of temporality and plurality, find themselves bringing into the language of thinking a landscape of experience whose earlier travelers have been artists and mystics.
There is some irony that amongst these thinkers, Susanne Langer, for whom art has been a central theme, has retained the most traditionally philosophic language. Perhaps this is due Jan Breugal's 'Sense of Hearing' (1618)' to her background in the more conservative Anglo-English tradition, but perhaps it is that even though the symbolic function of art can show meanings which reach beyond form's limits, art's reliance on form invites thought to accept the boundaries of traditional thinking. Besides the evident existence of an art work as representation (however its polyvalent symbolisms may temporize), a central role of form in art has been to give the work an aspect of self-identity as an 'object of contemplation', or a 'world unto itself': a unity which is also a separation from its surroundings, as if in the image of an experience of self-identity.
Nevertheless, works of art have carried into our 'middle world' word of connectedness and continuity, of difference and relation, which exceed what would be possible in a world of exclusively self-contained identities. But such testaments from works of art draw their strongest authority from how they have induced the principles of formal unity through which they are constituted to speak against themselves.
Both Impressionism and Cubism in painting are elementary illustrations of artistic impulses which are subversive of form's containments. In literature the many ways to employ multiple meanings often serve subversion of containment.
Pablo Picasso's 'The Poet Ceret 1911'Claude Monet's 'The Garden in Flower' (1900)'
Odilon Redon's 'Oedipus and the Sphinx' (1894)

As thinking moves toward grounding itself in temporality and plurality, it finds essential evidence in how artists have learned to subvert form's self-containments, But thinking's path must be to express more directly differentialities of mind from form. Numerous thinkers in our time, Deleuze and Levinas amongst them, have explored ways to give voice to currents of experience which 'overflow' or 'lack', 'supplement' or 'transgress', 'disperse' or 'undermine' form. Often these investigations are framed to exhibit conditions of helplessly receptive subjectivity, of a subject whose control over what actually comes to him (or what he 'gives away') - particularly in conjunction with other people - can only be a pretense. (For Levinas, such 'bottomless receptivity' bespeaks primordial relation to the other.)

You do usurp yourself,
or what is yours to bestow
not yours to reserve.
The notion that 'excess' or 'lack', or 'overflow' underwrites experience is also developed by thinkers such as Maurice Blanchot, Alphonso Lingis, Luce Irigay, and Georges Bataille.  
We can call experience's excess receptivity proximity. It is only when we think we are keeping things at arms-length, instrumentally or objectively, that we can maintain an exclusively formal world: as we 'draw near' we find that ineradicable temporality and plurality bring an immersion in 'murmur' that erodes all of form's autonomies.

Even life, as we see it closely, resolves its constituent processes and elements to forms which are largely approximate. Thus processes in biology which an embryo forming its neural tube yield form are tuned to relatively elastic temporal syntaxes of function, and the transition between the developmental formative functions and the behavioral functions of the resulting forms usually show a fuzziness. Most evolutionary theory, one way or another, relies on those blurred regions between development and behavior to explain how the adaptations which underly speciation are possible. A picture of evolutionary process where blurred transitions can congregate in relative stability characterizes not only a general form of evolutionary potential, but also gives positions to the specific kinds of 'blurriness' which maintain openness for learning and which sustain the polyvalence integral to the functions of symbols. Because we are, from the ground up, beneficiaries of such ontogenetic and phylogenetic openness, we should expect to accord to informality a positive givenness. We should accept that Mind and Life finds in the 'overflow' of background process the temporal and plural content which embodies form and leaves form both incomplete and overflowing.

Wassily Kandinsky: 'Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.'

Wassily Kandinsky's 'Composition vi' (1913)

In the course of this exposition we have transitioned from Romantic to Twentieth century thought. The former glorified the creative productions of the human mind, and of these, none more than music. The latter more often finds most miraculous not mind, but life - the body. Across that entire historical interval, thought has spent its wonder concerning these in questioning how time and form cohere. Both an artistic creation and a living body express measures of individualized integrity, and it is this which has been found most remarkable in considering the meetings of time and form.
When we ask here more specifically about life, we find that neither the tradition's principle of identity, nor Levinas' phenomenological uniqueness offer adequate accounts of how life's individualizations take shape and duration. Identity bears only tautological witness to the distinguishability of instances of form; and uniqueness gives no direct correlation with reality's objective aspect.

Yet uniqueness does have a place in the tale of life's evolutionary individuations, for exposure and expression are increasing ingredients of the sociality through which more individualized life appears and survives... a view of the core brain and its cortical superstructure

...have you read Frans De Waal's
Bonobo; The Forgotten Ape

two Bonobos socializing
...whose very brains convolute with the overflow of their afferent cortical canvas of sense.

neurobiology notes
Similarly, we can indirectly give place in our understanding of life's integral individuations to the other movements of transcendence named in parts (b) and (c ) of Section VI: brainwise too, with respect to VI(b), efferent 'final common pathways' channel purposeful performance, integrating contexts of potentials - stretching and pushing patterns of potential difference into the shapes of thresholds that sequence moments: moments whose sequence can reach only so far in time as the distinctness of those moments in support of their context's potentials. Concepts, from this perspective, are species of such momentary distinction, heirs of the conformation of purpose to the kaleidoscopic contingencies of physical potentials. Generality, the power of concepts, is secured through the promise of concepts to function as schemata holding open time as a horizon of activity, effectively as blinders that narrow and extend the aim of sight for the purpose of directing motion. The most concretely universal concept, by this, would have to be Nietzsche's fictional Zarathustra's fictional 'Eternal Return', which reaches so far in time that Becoming and Being appear indistinguishable, but at the cost of excluding everything potentially new.
two elephants socializing Finally, in the case of VI(c), meaning presupposes memory, while memory bears clearly on factors such as brain size and life-span which strongly correlate with individuation among living creatures. Moreover, the intrications of meaning with metaphor perhaps finds substrate in the evolving nervous system's increasingly ubiquitous reliance upon interneuronal inhibition; as if life in this way cultivates backgrounds of quieting where echoes from different times can be heard together, on a par, and so emergently open experience into such spaces of equivocal and polyvalent referentiality as draw out singular meanings - threads from the tapestry of time - while sustaining time's differences as internal to meaning's ceaseless spinning of itself from metaphor's contextualizations.
That the above three factors can be named, for example as sense and concept and meaning, and that they can be emphasized, in how we have turned them, as of preeminent Maitreya Buddha importance for taking upon ourselves the mystery of things, still leaves great puzzlement as to the terms by which they cleave together. Nietzsche warns us. 'At the point where our ignorance begins, and beyond which we no longer see anything, the composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) we put a word.' That cheap solution here would be to accord all worldly existence for experience a composite character. Buddhist doctrine allows us to dignify such an option quite considerably. And when we point to the word 'composition' as also naming artistic labors, we purport to further persuasively analogize life with music and even more generally with art in its craft of forming symbols.
The tract of everything
would by a good discourser
lose some life which action's
self was tongue to.
We also might hope that as each of the three factors attain better description, transforming the language that they share, their inextricability will become self-evident: for example, Steiner mused that thinking, feeling, and willing were more mixed within each other than he earlier had realized. But do we then remain in the dark on whether we should say we are citing words or things? An option cagier than resting with words would be instead to go with, 'We have already grown beyond whatever we have words for.' Which Nietzsche also supplies. In any case, asserting the composite nature of things makes possible no more than names on the marquee for what we should expect to be exceptionally action-packed adventure.

Edward Curtis' photo of Si-Wa

When now previewing what we can only present as moving pictures, the attraction will be scene supplying the place of individuation's worldly appearance: a scene cast for character. An idea also important to Kant, 'Character' in Bergson finds articulation as how a whole appears in expressions that are evidently partial. Taking character as our scene, we aspire to encounter individuation in how it is implicated in issues of integrity.

As musical changes hold their season in meshing paraphrase of note structures, so life's circumstance poses life questions of integrity. Patterns interfere with each other and condense or rarify distributions of potential differences. The name for the shape of such interactions is phase; and even while phase locally seasons thresholds in their fragility or volatility, as shape the distribution of phase projects the very patterns whose interference it enhanced pacific weather image from GOES satellite transacts. So from how life wears, life finds a familiar spirit ranging in differential sensitivities beyond the relevance of immediacy.

A life exists in its sea of troubles; fluctuating topographies of potential differences which rareify and condense, their thresholds canalised as retardations and advancements of sensitivity. The condensations, in bearing inward, in posing discontinuities, often take origin even from the structural consequences of the rarefactions attentioning the gradations of a life's sensitivities beyond itself.
The late John S. Bell
Time doth transfix the flourish
et on youth, and delves parallels in beauty's brow.

Form for life expresses measures of ignorance and attunement (oft bound together as habit). In wearing thin, life finds semaphores in the waves which break around it, in the fall of a sparrow, in peculiar emulations of Bell's theorem; but at apparent cost. Life exists as tearings and mendings, and life's patchwork negotiates against taking its form as expressing a principle of identity, though not as marks of character. Character especially when tearing and mending can converge and superpose as exposure and expression, for then part and whole wear together, an option of providential economy.
two monks crossing a stream
In taking bearings toward wholeness, lives adopt their characters; a life's identity takes place and local habitation not in giving itself a name, but as a direction of development, a strange journey in an ever more familiar landscape, an unfolding through metaphor of meaning. Then again, development as direction, before it finds itself as character, sends itself as play, but the reader should not expect to find more now than - 'characters from a play'. For now we spin our wheels (cf., however, Section VIII, above).

Faced with the prospect of traversing a labyrinth the like of which we have in trying to example life's composition, Nietzsche finally opted for yet another 'easy out'; 'The organism is governed in such a way that the mechanical world as well as the spiritual world can provide only a symbolical explanation.' We too were at least prepared to leave it at that - perhaps we should still be thought to have done so - except that the worrisome turn to another century approaches, and we might find deserved reproach from physics, biology, and thinking, for not trying to give full weight to what they have brought into the one now passing.
Love is too young to know what conscience is,
yet who knows not
conscience is born of love?

Earth photo taken by Apollo 17 mission Nietzsche characterized consciousness as the actuality of the possibility of a more comprehensive kind of body. And as we see the Earth's ecology and economy knit itself together as determined by human thought and action, one form of such a 'more comprehensive' body takes shape before us. There is an urgency that we find a matrix for the activities of mind which will help shape the world's body in the image of that 'wisdom of love' which has somehow, from long ago already given us a Nature before whose wonders we remain as children.
Horenstein's recording of
Mahler's Seventh Symphony
Jascha Horenstein conducting Mahler

Love, one of Philosophy's namesakes, is always both difficult and easy. Love has always, too, been motive for the kinds of thinking which here have been discussed, though thinking has yet rarely discussed love. Thinking's difficulty - a labor of love - gives openings for thinking's renewal which, from time to time, arrive as grace - sans effort - the sort of thing we find sometimes in musical performance; a transmutation of painstaking practice and attention into free breath and fresh artistic vision.
The greatest loves are the longest loves and the loves for what most is different from ourselves. Each of these offer the full measure of love's difficulty and love's grace. And though our world brings us these two challenges as near at odds, and threatens us with a devil's choice between them, Mind holds open the chance to unfold their conjuncture.
before after
table of contents commented bibliography and index say what? noframes


neurobiology notes      Afferent canvas of sense / efferent 'final common pathway': topologically the afferent system, derived from the - dorsal - alar plates of the embryological neural tube is characterized by one-to-many mappings from lower to higher neural levels - hence mostly informationally phase dispersing, while the efferent system derives from the - ventral - basal plate and exhibits many-to-one mappings from higher to lower levels which converge phase information.

Neural inhibition: within the afferent system, higher levels increasingly originate inhibitory potentials relative to afferent and efferent lower levels, and these typically have durations of influence typically many times longer longer than excitatory potentials.

mechanical / spiritual     Quoted in Eric Blondel's Nietzsche: The Body and Culture - Philosophy as a Philological Genealogy , page 204.

'When we ask here more specifically about life'      This entire rondo-finale owes itself to a panoply of influences not cited explicitly within it. Among these are Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) Ilya Prigogine (1917- ) A.N. Whitehead, Susanne Langer, Gregory Bateson, David Bohm, Roger Penrose, and Paul Ricoeur. But also Chaos Theory, its Anthroposophical prophet - Theodor Schwenk, the visionary embryologists C.H. Waddington for his 'chreods' and Erich Blechschmidt for his incredibly concrete dynamic descriptions, Ilya Prigogine for his thermodynamic 'dissipative structures', Lancelot Law Whyte for his 'coordinative conditions', R. Buckminster Fuller for the principle of tensegrity - complementation of local compression with global tension, and Hartwig Kuhlenbeck; perhaps the last exponent of the Jena-Heidelberg school of Comparative Morphology - founded by Goethe - for his many volume The Central Nervous System of Vertebrates.

...lineup and alibi

You do usurp yourself,
For what is yours to bestow
Is not yours to reserve.

- Twelfth Night I, v, 180
The tract of everything would by a good discourser
Lose some life which action's self was tongue to.

- Henry VIII I, i, 40
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves parallels in beauty's brow.

- Sonnets #60, 9
Love is too young to know what conscience is,
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
- Sonnets #151, 1

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