Re: virus: Religion, Zen, post-structuralism, and the failure

John ''!Boolean'' Williams (
Sun, 08 Jun 1997 22:35:17 -0400

At 11:07 PM 6/5/97 -0600, David McF wrote:

>I would agree to that. Just curious: is there any special reason you
>substituted "paradigm" for "belief"? I think "paradigm" has connotations
>of a fundamental set of beliefs which affects all others. Can't one have
>faith in anything smaller than a world-view?

Grrr...this sort of thing actually helps demonstrate my point. More on that

I chose to substitute "paradigm" for "belief", because I see a paradigm as
being an interconnected web of beliefs/assumptions/etc. A good substituting
phrase is "way of seeing," or, more accurately, "way of interpreting

>> With
>> Science, [the Deep Structure] is Science itself -- with Religion,
>>it is one's personal
>> encounter with Deity.
>I think with Science the deep structure is reality as opposed to Science
>itself. Objective reality is the ultimate measure stick for truth.

The "Deep Structure" is how people percieve Objective Reality; thus it
cannot be Objective Reality itself. Consider structures to be patterns of
thought. the Deep Structure is the struture at the core of all of these
other structures, which are faulty. The Deep Structure is directly
connected to the Objective Reality, and it is the obscuring of this
structure that causes other structures.

Now consider how this works with Logic. Logic is "the way the world works,"
and there's not much question about it. Logic can be seen, then, as the
"Deep Structure" that drives Objective Reality, and we are capable of
percieving that Objective Reality only through correct and accurate use of

You note that this assumes that we understand exactly how Logic relates to
the universe, and that we believe that we have a complete grasp of it
already, with nothing new to be added to our knowledge of Logic; and also,
that no "interpretation" occurs when one is using Logic.

The post-structuralist response would be one or more of the following:
1) How do we *know* that logic is the deep structure? It obviously can not
be used to prove itself, as demonstrated earlier.
2) Assuming that Logic is a deep structure, how does one know that one is
either applying Logic correctly, devoid of any sort of interpretation or

This is what makes the Structure of Logic suspect. One cannot prove that
Logic is actually the Structure. One cannot prove that they comprehend
Logic enough to not have to rely on interpretation/emotion/bias. And one
cannot prove that, in any instance, an individual is using Logic

Of course, one can argue that truth is discovered through use of the
Dialectic; and that one's logic can be checked against another's logic;
however, this is using a potentially faulty measure -- and, since language
is the only means of communicating concepts, issues of rhetoric cloud the
issue. Did the "winner" win because the logic was better, or because s/he
was a better speaker?

>I think truth as a property is best restricted
>to models...
[mega-snip; read the archives!]

[later on...]

>Hmm, how about this then: Reason is the best way to play the Game?

I like your bit about models. Consider, however, this concept: Logic, Math,
Scientific understanding, etc, are all themselves models that we have
created to assist us in comprehending Objective Reality. We, however,
cannot test them for accuracy, primarily because the tests require the use
of those models we are testing.

Again, consider Religion. For a great long time it was considered as the
Only Model, and it was believed to be a true and accurate model of reality.
Deviance from the model was not tolerated.

Along comes Logic. Logic, in many cases -- especially analysis of physical
phenomena -- appears to work better. But instead of learning from Religion,
Logic makes the same mistake. It insists that it is the Only Model, and
devience from Logic is not permitted. :-) It is, indeed, a Sin of the
Church of Virus.

>If that's the case then I think Science is Post-Structuralist. Or at least
>there is such thing as post-structuralist science. It is still possible to
>practice science, to generate ever more accurate theories, while knowing
>that no theory can perfectly describe reality.

Science has those tendencies, but it also has the tendency to give those
concepts lip-service only. Many scientists say "well, nothing can be
proven," and then happily insist that this or that or the other can't
happen/doesn't exist/shouldn't be applied because it's contrary to Logic.
And Logic, of course, is never questioned; only an individual's application
of it.

>> What this does, essentially, is reduce all major schools of thought and
>> discipline to "ways of seeing."
>Yes, but that doesn't mean they are all equally good or accurate or

Agreed. But how does one measure? One better be able to, if one is going to
insist that there is only One Way.

>No, I don't think Science ever claimed that. It merely claimed to be
>more correct. Big difference.

Whups! I see a difficulty here, and it's my fault. In many cases, I've used
the term "Logic" and "Science" as synonyms. This is incorrect. I've been
doing this sort of thing because I see Science as being an application of
Logic, and it is generally Science that attacks religion, not Logic itself.
I appologize for the wasted time here -- I'll have to re-draft the post to
make sure I make that correction.

In this case, I should have said that Religion and *Logic* both insist they
are absolutely true.

>> Where does this leave us? It leaves us in a rather sticky perdicament. One
>> might consider trying to determine which method of seeing is "better" than
>> the other, but how would we judge it?
>Logic and experience. (Depending on your criteria of course. Logic never
>got anybody into Heaven or saved a soul.)

How does one interpret experience? And how do you know Logic never got
anybody into Heaven? ;-)

>Maybe I didn't emphasize this point in my self-sustaining argument,
>but a good portion of the nodes in the self-referential net of scientific
>thought consists of observational data and empirical evidence. Science
>is not just theoretical mathematics holding itself up.

Observational data that has been analyzed and gathered under the assumption
that Logic is completely understood, that it *is* the Accurate and True way
of percieving Objective Reality, and that it has been applied correctly. I
am suggesting that at least one of these is suspect in every instance of
application of Logic. I am questioning the concept that Logic is either
accurately percieved or that Logic is, indeed, the way the world works.

There is much so-called "observational data" and "empirical evidence" for
the existence and involvement of God, but it is often discounted since it
is assumed that "Logically," no such Being exists.

>That implies that we believe our perceptions are connected to reality
>without any clear evidence (by your definition at the beginning of this
>message). I don't agree.

I challenge the concept of there being any clear evidence that it is
connected to reality.

>Though I agree there is no way to prove it,
>I think it is wildly implausible that our perceptions are not connected
>to reality.

I agree; however, I would say that all of our perceptions are filtered
through interpretive, linquistic, and sensual processes which remove our
understanding of Reality from being clear or completely accurate.

>> For example: science works just fine defining how things work. But when it
>> comes to some issues, like Free Will, the Meaning of Life, and the like,
>> science can't offer much of an explaination.
>Cannot or does not currently? What if meaning is intimately tied to
>causality and life can be described in terms of complexity?

Expound, please. I think I know where you are going, but I want something
to work with here. :-)

>What terrible things do you think would happen if everyone was

Are you equating Logic with reason here? I can make a case that it is not
reasonable to rely 100% on Logic. :-) Indeed, I feel like I've already made

>OK, I guess I would agree that any variety of Science that claimed to
>have The Truth was annihilated by Post-structuralism.

Actually, any*thing* that claims to have the total truth is annihilated by
Post-Structuralism -- and that means, unfortunately, Logic as well.

>> differently than we do, and teach others to see differently than they do,
>> and lets us put off these Science- or Religion-colored specticals when the
>put on?

put on and put off... "put off = remove"

>> need arises; like when we have to face the death of our mother from cancer,
>> or when we need to stop that runaway atomic reaction, and I mean pronto!
>Is it possible to face the death of loved ones without religion?

I certainly hope so. Is logic particularly comforting? I'm sure it is to some.

>> The goal, then, is a new vision of living. It is to learn how to see as
>> others see, and to try to get others to see as others see, and to spread
>> understanding, tolerance, and interest in other forms of vision. Like
>> Buddhism, which rests on an awareness of the *here*ness of people. Like
>> Christianity, which rests in the Faith of the One True Conviction. And like
>> Logic, which explores concepts in detail, and keeps a check on sillyness.
>What is the One True Conviction? Didn't we already dispense with
>ultimate truths a couple paragraphs ago?

The One True Conviction is that we can know something or achieve any sort
of enlightenment.

That conviction is the only thing that allows us to discuss this stuff at
all; even Post-Structuralism requires it -- as I'm sure you've noticed,
Post-Structuralism insist that *it* has the truth as well; and this entire
exercise has been a codifying of a process through which we can observe
Objective Reality; ie, the creation of a New Structure.

This is paradoxical and completely logical.

>What if emotions are logical? What if rationality depends on emotion?

What if the rational explaination for miracles is "God did it?"

>> What do ya'll think? Think this might be a viable "accent of the future?"
>I think we may be heading in the right direction...

Of course we're not; but it's a direction. :-)

(This Irony Powered By The Miracle of Post-Structuralism.)

-- John

John Williams ICQ Address: 1213689
"See my loafers? Former gophers!"
Various Artists: Raising the Tide of Mediocrity for Two Years