Experiencing contradiction

Nick_A

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"When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door." ...Simone Weil

I need a good contradiction to test this. Aha, here's one:


"Learning consists of adding to ones knowledge day by day;
the way of the Tao consists of subtracting day by day until one experiences reality as it is, not as it is named."
Lao-Tzu

As everyone knows the whole idea of education is to learn as much as possible so as to become closer to reality. Yet Lao-Tzu suggests that to experience reality one must subtract what they know. Maybe he was just another of those delusional ancients that would say these things from being denied contemporary education. Let's face it, Lao Tsu didn't go to Harvard so how seriously can this assertion be taken?

Maybe Simone is right and this contradiction is a door if contemplated properly.
 
"When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door." ...Simone Weil
You think she mean't paradox?
Maybe she was just being playful in her choice of words.

According to some, most truth can only be related in terms
of paradox... For instance:

"The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth
may very well be another profound truth."

- Niels Bohr.​
 
You think she mean't paradox?
Maybe she was just being playful in her choice of words.

According to some, most truth can only be related in terms
of paradox... For instance:

"The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth
may very well be another profound truth."

- Niels Bohr.​

If what Niels Bohr is saying is accurate, and I believe it is, it is a contradiction and a door.

For many years the Law of contradiction and the "excluded middle" associated with Aristotle held supreme.

Law of excluded middle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More recently the Law of the "Included Mddle" has been used in explaing quantom physics. Simone I believe is referring to this back in the 1930,s not by name but by experience. Eventually I believe, the relativity of "middle, will be used to explain much of what now appears as contradictions. The relativity of "middle" will be seen as the door.

Basarab Nicolescu : Transdisciplinarity and Complexity - Levels of Reality as Source of Indeterminacy

2. The logic of the included middle


Knowledge of the coexistence of the quantum world and the macrophysical world and the development of quantum physics has led, on the level of theory and scientific experiment, to the upheaval of what were formerly considered to be pairs of mutually exclusive contradictories (A and non-A) : wave and corpuscle, continuity and discontinuity, separability and nonseparability, local causality and global causality, symmetry and breaking of symmetry, reversibility and irreversibility of time, etc.
The intellectual scandal provoked by quantum mechanics consists in the fact that the pairs of contradictories that it generates are actually mutually contradictory when they are analyzed through the interpretative filter of classical logic. This logic is founded on three axioms : 1. The axiom of identity : A is A. 2. The axiom of non-contradiction : A is not non-A. 3. The axiom of the excluded middle : There exists no third term T which is at the same time A and non-A.
Under the assumption of the existence of a single level of Reality, the second and third axioms are obviously equivalent.
If one accepts the classical logic one immediately arrives at the conclusion that the pairs of contradictories advanced by quantum physics are mutually exclusive, because one cannot affirm the validity of a thing and its opposite at the same time : A and non-A.
Since the definitive formulation of quantum mechanics around 1930 the founders of the new science have been acutely aware of the problem of formulating a new, "quantum logic." Subsequent to the work of Birkhoff and van Neumann a veritable flourishing of quantum logics was not long in coming [5]. The aim of these new logics was to resolve the paradoxes which quantum mechanics had created and to attempt, to the extent possible, to arrive at a predictive power stronger than that afforded by classical logic.
Most quantum logics have modified the second axiom of classical logic — the axiom of non-contradiction — by introducing non-contradiction with several truth values in place of the binary pair (A, non-A). These multivalent logics, whose status with respect to their predictive power remains controversial, have not taken into account one other possibility : the modification of the third axiom — the axiom of the excluded middle.
History will credit Stéphane Lupasco with having shown that the logic of the included middle is a true logic, formalizable and formalized, multivalent (with three values : A, non-A, and T) and non-contradictory [6]. His philosophy, which takes quantum physics as its point of departure, has been marginalized by physicists and philosophers. Curiously, on the other hand, it has had a powerful albeit underground influence among psychologists, sociologists, artists, and historians of religions. Perhaps the absence of the notion of "levels of Reality" in his philosophy obscured its substance : many persons wrongly believed that Lupasco's logic violated the principle of non-contradiction.
Our understanding of the axiom of the included middle — there exists a third term T which is at the same time A and non-A — is completely clarified once the notion of "levels of Reality" is introduced.
In order to obtain a clear image of the meaning of the included middle, we can represent the three terms of the new logic — A, non-A, and T — and the dynamics associated with them by a triangle in which one of the vertices is situated at one level of Reality and the two other vertices at another level of Reality. If one remains at a single level of Reality, all manifestation appears as a struggle between two contradictory elements (example : wave A and corpuscle non-A). The third dynamic, that of the T-state, is exercised at another level of Reality, where that which appears to be disunited (wave or corpuscle) is in fact united (quanton), and that which appears contradictory is perceived as non-contradictory.
It is the projection of T on one and the same level of Reality which produces the appearance of mutually exclusive, antagonistic pairs (A and non-A). A single level of Reality can only create antagonistic oppositions. It is inherently self-destructive if it is completely separated from all the other levels of Reality. A third term, let us call it T0, which is situated on the same level of Reality as that of the opposites A and non-A, can not accomplish their reconciliation.
The T-term is the key in understanding indeterminacy : being situated on a different level of Reality than A and non-A, it necessarily induces an influence of its own level of Reality upon its neighbouring and different level of Reality : the laws of a given level are not self-sufficient to describe the phenomena occuring at the respective level.
The entire difference between a triad of the included middle and an Hegelian triad is clarified by consideration of the role of time. In a triad of the included middle the three terms coexist at the same moment in time. On the contrary, each of the three terms of the Hegelian triad succeeds the former in time. This is why the Hegelian triad is incapable of accomplishing the reconciliation of opposites, whereas the triad of the included middle is capable of it. In the logic of the included middle the opposites are rather contradictories : the tension between contradictories builds a unity which includes and goes beyond the sum of the two terms. The Hegelian triad would never explain the nature of indeterminacy.
One also sees the great dangers of misunderstanding engendered by the common enough confusion made between the axiom of the excluded middle and the axiom of non-contradiction . The logic of the included middle is non-contradictory in the sense that the axiom of non-contradiction is thoroughly respected, a condition which enlarges the notions of "true" and "false" in such a way that the rules of logical implication no longer concerning two terms (A and non-A) but three terms (A, non-A and T), co-existing at the same moment in time. This is a formal logic, just as any other formal logic : its rules are derived by means of a relatively simple mathematical formalism.
One can see why the logic of the included middle is not simply a metaphor, like some kind of arbitrary ornament for classical logic, which would permit adventurous incursions into the domain of complexity. The logic of the included middle is the privileged logic of complexity, privileged in the sense that it allows us to cross the different areas of knowledge in a coherent way, by enabling a new kind of simplicity. The logic of the included middle does not abolish the logic of the excluded middle : it only constrains its sphere of validity. The logic of the excluded middle is certainly valid for relatively simple situations. On the contrary, the logic of the excluded middle is harmful in complex, transdisciplinary cases. For me, the problem of indeterminacy is precisely belonging to this class of cases.
 
As everyone knows the whole idea of education is to learn as much as possible so as to become closer to reality. Yet Lao-Tzu suggests that to experience reality one must subtract what they know. Maybe he was just another of those delusional ancients that would say these things from being denied contemporary education. Let's face it, Lao Tsu didn't go to Harvard so how seriously can this assertion be taken?

Maybe Simone is right and this contradiction is a door if contemplated properly.

I presume this is openly trying to inflame? :)

When we observe the world, we do not observe it raw - we perceive it through a whole range of filters. These filters are constructs we pick up as we learn the world from as children, until such point as we no longer see the world and all its glories and mysteries, but instead just a series of reductionist objects catalogued according to present prejudices, schema, and paradigms.

To therefore see the world in its fullest, you need to remove these constructs from your perception.

Lao Zhu therefore offered neither a contradiction nor paradox, but instead, as stated, a way for learning the world. :)

2c. :)
 
I presume this is openly trying to inflame? :)

When we observe the world, we do not observe it raw - we perceive it through a whole range of filters. These filters are constructs we pick up as we learn the world from as children, until such point as we no longer see the world and all its glories and mysteries, but instead just a series of reductionist objects catalogued according to present prejudices, schema, and paradigms.

To therefore see the world in its fullest, you need to remove these constructs from your perception.

Lao Zhu therefore offered neither a contradiction nor paradox, but instead, as stated, a way for learning the world. :)

2c. :)

Hi Brian

You have to admit that a lot of Atheist arguments include the expression "prove it" in relation to the search for reality which requires facts. I'm not trying to inflame but just being a bit humorous since there is a segment of education tht has its "attitudes.":)

I agree that we have to become, through the power of attention, impartial and without preconception to receive the impressions of the external world rightly. The trouble is that it is very difficult to do and often more satisfying to defend pre-conceptions.

For what its worth, I believe that the Law of the Included middle will allow for the gradual acceptance of the universe as a triune reality rather then an expression of duality and become the new quality that will allow for the eventual unification of science and religion: an apparent contradiction. We are in the infancy of this recognition but also at the stage when new spiritual scientists having become aware of work done by those like Dr. Nicolescu will be able to add inspiring new contributions from their own research.

I guess it means that if we can somehow as a species survive the next fifty years, there could be hope. :)
 
Interesting, and no probs. :)

To be honest, I'm not sure if attention and attempts to be impartial will work because it is in danger of adding to, not removing, preconceptions.

I think it takes something that challenges the self directly - depression, dying, and similar extreme emotional states by their nature can remove existing programming (though not always and exclusively).

Perhaps there are methods of spiritual training that do similar, but I got to admit I don't have much experience here.
 
Interesting, and no probs. :)

To be honest, I'm not sure if attention and attempts to be impartial will work because it is in danger of adding to, not removing, preconceptions.

I think it takes something that challenges the self directly - depression, dying, and similar extreme emotional states by their nature can remove existing programming (though not always and exclusively).

Perhaps there are methods of spiritual training that do similar, but I got to admit I don't have much experience here.

Our Attention is the one thing we can call our own. It can be captured by the external world as is normal for modern day infatuation. It is what society wants.

The only attention that is our own is conscious attention which can both lead to problem solving in regular life and also serve as the middle that connects the higher influences with the worldly ones. This connection is often referred to as "presence."

Education doesn't emphasize the power of attention other than in secular goals yet if the attitude is right, the power of attention increased by secular goals can be transformed into presence. the purpose of secular education is to better secular goals. Conscious attention is for the benefit of the psychology of the Inner man while captured attention is for the sake of societal goals.

Joy Palmer had written this short article on "attention." Knowing "education" as I do, it is obvious how little the value attention as a whole is appreciated. That is another reason that those like Prof. Needleman who understand these things far better than I are and are an essential influence in the world today. Attention at its highest level is our connection to the higher. Conscious Attention opens us to the experience of the "Included Middle" that reconciles the contradictions of our normal reactions not as an experience of judgement but rather the impartial experience of them: "Know Thyself."


weil


Certainly Simone Weil’s ideas point quite directly to a particular emphasis in our rearing and education of the young. We would for example share Iris Murdoch’s concern for the way that television and other new technologies blunt our ability to see the detail of our surroundings; whatever is the World-Wide Web, and our urgent clicking on its links and impatience with downloading, doing for the quality of our attention? Perhaps we should teach children ‘not only how to paint but how to look at paintings’. Good teachers teach accuracy and truth, and meditation, the capacity for quiet contemplation undistracted by our habitual background ego-racket, should be taught in schools. The following passage from Iris Murdoch vividly expresses the spirit of Simone Weil’s philosophy of education and reminds us how far from it we are in our contemporary schools and universities: Learning is moral progress because it is an asceticism, it diminishes our egoism and enlarges our conception of truth, it provides deeper, subtler and wiser visions of the world. What should be taught in schools: to attend and get things right. Creative power requires these abilities. Intellectual and craft studies initiate new qualities of consciousness, minutiae of perception, ability to observe, they alter our desires, our instinctive movements of desire and aversion. To attend is to care, to learn to desire to learn.

This can be an enjoyable experience but much of modern education makes it drudgery since it is void of the essence of caring: of love.

How is a child supposed to be towards the obvious contradictions he experiences that the adults around him have fallen asleep to? Without help, most just fall into the same psychological sleep like their parents and the cycles of life including war and peace continue as is.
 
Lao Zhu therefore offered neither a contradiction nor paradox, but instead, as stated, a way for learning the world.


hmmm... interesting. I always thought Lao Tzu was a total paradox.
thinking-021.gif

Maybe im getting my definitions confused... maybe I should read Tao Te Ching again...
 
Actually, Nick, I'd quite disagree with points raised by Weil you mentioned - children already know how to draw - but they are "educated" to draw in certain ways.

This is what I mean by sets of paradigms building up from childhood and blinding us to the world - but it sounds like Weil is trying to supplant secular paradigms with a liberal paradigm - but a paradigm it remains.

When those are ripped out, looking at a simple thing such as a flower, blade of grass, or tree, can become a most profound experience - because, for the first time, you are learning what it is from observation.

2c.

(PS: Tao always looks like a paradox. :) ).
 
Actually, Nick, I'd quite disagree with points raised by Weil you mentioned - children already know how to draw - but they are "educated" to draw in certain ways.

This is what I mean by sets of paradigms building up from childhood and blinding us to the world - but it sounds like Weil is trying to supplant secular paradigms with a liberal paradigm - but a paradigm it remains.

When those are ripped out, looking at a simple thing such as a flower, blade of grass, or tree, can become a most profound experience - because, for the first time, you are learning what it is from observation.

2c.

(PS: Tao always looks like a paradox. :) ).

Education has to be a paradigm. The choice is whether its purpose is to sustain life in Plato's Cave or allow a student to experience the light and the direction out of Plato's cave. It requires a method or we just turn in circles lead by our own imagination. The assertion here is that "attention" is essential to become free of the debilitating effects of imagination.

PS: Did you know that the definition of a paradox is two doctors. :)
 
Namaste Nick,

it is my view that the whole idea of contradiction is wrapped up in a bivalent world view which is inconsistent with the reality we observe. indeed, reality is multivalent and, when this view is used, contradictions no longer arise.

simply put A OR Not A is quite a bit different than A AND Not A.

metta,

~v
 
Namaste Nick,

it is my view that the whole idea of contradiction is wrapped up in a bivalent world view which is inconsistent with the reality we observe. indeed, reality is multivalent and, when this view is used, contradictions no longer arise.

simply put A OR Not A is quite a bit different than A AND Not A.

metta,

~v

An insightful reply Vaj.

When I first read Simone's remark I got the impression that this form of contemplation she refers to was similar in a lot of ways to meditating on a Zen koan. Do you get this impression as well?
 
An insightful reply Vaj.

When I first read Simone's remark I got the impression that this form of contemplation she refers to was similar in a lot of ways to meditating on a Zen koan. Do you get this impression as well?

Namaste Nick,

thank you for the reply.

not a koan, per se, perhaps a mondo would be a more apt description but that may simply be a result of my own biases at play :)

metta,

~v
 
"When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door." ...Simone Weil


"Learning consists of adding to ones knowledge day by day;
the way of the Tao consists of subtracting day by day until one experiences reality as it is, not as it is named."
Lao-Tzu

Maybe Simone is right and this contradiction is a door if contemplated properly.

Here's the rub, though: morality itself is a construct which creates the apparent contradiction of bad things happening to good people. The realization of this does indeed create the door out, but that door leads away from the functional structuralism which created morality in the first place. The fact that this is unacceptable creates the need for a rationalization of the improbable which compounds the contradiction.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Chris
 
Here's the rub, though: morality itself is a construct which creates the apparent contradiction of bad things happening to good people. The realization of this does indeed create the door out, but that door leads away from the functional structuralism which created morality in the first place. The fact that this is unacceptable creates the need for a rationalization of the improbable which compounds the contradiction.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Chris

I agree. This realization that we live in contradiction that is rationalized through imagination is the same for me as realizing that I am in Plato's cave. The ability to leave it is our conscious potential but as of now I'm in it. It is an unacceptable idea but not necessarily improbable.

Say for example we imagine a horizontal line on a piece of paper that connects subjective good and evil. Our psych is manifesting somewhere within this line and always changing. Subjectively we are sometimes more good and at other times more evil by external standards. Our placement along this line is determined by our conditioning responding to external stimuli.

Now suppose at the limits of this line of subjective good and evil, two lines extend upward to meet at the center forming a triangle. The apex of this triangle is symbolic of the level of being within which subjective good and evil exist as ONE so no longer exist in contradiction.

This would be a conscious objective triune reconciliation of a subjective dualistic contradiction. This apex in turn can extend out in a horizontal direction creating a line and its limits in turn be reconciled by the apex of a higher triangle.

Does relative consciousness exist as a human potential or is it improbable. Lacking consciousness, we cannot know. The only way to know is through efforts to become conscious: to "know thyself."

Relative linear subjective good and evil is an earthly result. If you consider the vertical line connecting the ultimate conscious good and the absence of consciousness as evil, then the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the inner awareness of this vertical objective conscious potential we are normally oblivious of.

This is why conscious contemplation of contradictions is a door. It can open to invite in the conscious help that allows us to experience a higher conscious reconciliation of the results of the limitations of our normal subjective dualistic perspective.

But, as you say, it is unacceptable so can only be practiced by a minority willing to endure the scorn of being unacceptable to those that celebrate the pronouncements of normal dualistic expression.

Regardless if he was right, the kid not being politically correct for the time and pointing out that the emperor was naked and without new clothes was still scorned.

Unfortunately such sincere impartial contemplation of contradictions has to be either done in secret or shared in the company of those willing to be equally open, as opposed to judgmental, for the purpose of becoming able to experience higher conscious understanding. Otherwise there will be hell to pay from those who already believe themselves fully conscious human beings.
 
This is the way I look at it.
Life is a paradox. We have to give to receive. We have to die to live. The last is the first. We protect our kids so we can let them go.....etc....

It is wise to look at both sides of a coin. Having a one way approach to situations can make us quite un-happy because we do not see the other's point of you.

It took me a while to undertand this and I wasted a lot of time before I finally got it.

Personaly, I do not understand what Simone Weil is really saying here. May be because the quote is out of contest. I do not know.

May be she is saying , when we start lying in a situation, it is a sign that there is another way
 
This is the way I look at it.
Life is a paradox. We have to give to receive. We have to die to live. The last is the first. We protect our kids so we can let them go.....etc....

It is wise to look at both sides of a coin. Having a one way approach to situations can make us quite un-happy because we do not see the other's point of you.

It took me a while to undertand this and I wasted a lot of time before I finally got it.

Personaly, I do not understand what Simone Weil is really saying here. May be because the quote is out of contest. I do not know.

May be she is saying , when we start lying in a situation, it is a sign that there is another way

Hi sol

Here is a basic contradiction. Jesus said we should turn the other cheek:

Matthew 5:

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

We know that no one respects a weak person. Someone attacks your friend and then attacks you and you are supposed to give him the other cheek to slap and then perhaps bend over so he can kick your behind. Not too much to be respected in this.

Yet Jesus suggests there is value in this appearance of cowardice. We know Jesus is right and also know that weakness is not respected. How do we reconcile this? We can BS with some politically correct jargon or as Simone suggests this apparent contradiction in value can be a door to higher understanding. What does it take to go through the door?
 
What does it take to go through the door?

I`m gonna try talking in riddles.

Lets say there is the "A" approach and the "B" approach. Both are righteous in reasons.

What we do as ultimate practice is the "A+B" approach and the "B+A" approach.

And then we spend a lot time arguing and sometimes warring whether "A" is superior or "B" is superior.

And one side or both sides doesn`t want to compromise..

TK

p.s. I very much look forward to hearing what a wiseman might have said with regards to this. Assuming I`m not gonna hear some argument like "neither" or "both" or "compromise". Tough nut to crack huh!

... A+B == B+A ... maybe..
 
I`m gonna try talking in riddles.

Lets say there is the "A" approach and the "B" approach. Both are righteous in reasons.

What we do as ultimate practice is the "A+B" approach and the "B+A" approach.

And then we spend a lot time arguing and sometimes warring whether "A" is superior or "B" is superior.

And one side or both sides doesn`t want to compromise..

TK

p.s. I very much look forward to hearing what a wiseman might have said with regards to this. Assuming I`m not gonna hear some argument like "neither" or "both" or "compromise". Tough nut to crack huh!

... A+B == B+A ... maybe..

True TK but don't take it as an argument between two people. The arguing is within you. One side or the other. Is that the limit of our potential for understanding? Simone suggets that if you stop arguing with yourself long enough and just ponder the question, it may be a door to higher understanding since pondering is a higher form of reasoning then associative thought.
 
I agree with Lao-Tzu-

There are different types of intelligence, and unfortunately nobody possesses the full set...

what we think we know we often don't... most of what we believe to be true is based on supposition...

take two brothers, twins, both educated the same way, both get the same grades... the brothers are the same in everyway...

one brother becomes professor of literature, the other becomes a bum...

they have their reasons...

now, put the bum in the professors job, and he will be mocked- his dirty clothes, his use of slang and swearwords are not what his pupils expect...

put the professor in the bum's place, and he cannot cope- he cannot relate to the other bums, does not know about sleeping in a box to combat cold...

is this inability to cope a sign they are unintelligent, or that their experience of society has shaped them in a certain way so they may survive in their respective fields...

neither of these brothers are unintelligent, so why can they not adapt, and pick up the knowledges they need to succeed in their new enviroments..?

what we believe is intelligence is not- knowing the names of the dead kings of england will not help when you're in the shelter, scrambling for free food... knowing how to panhandle will not help on the college campus and might see you sectioned under the mental health act...

I disagree with u, nick, when you say that "the whole idea of education is to learn as much as possible so as to become closer to reality"

I believe that the opposite is true- you are instructed to learn what you learn to support the status quo, so that you can ignore reality... the more education and money you have, the less close to reality you are...

if you are rich, you do not ride the subway through the ghetto- your chauffeur drives you around the ghetto instead...

you visit the ghetto and get mugged, and then you hate the poor, but you do not admit that wearig a silk suit and carrying a £1000 laptop and a gold rolex was foolish...

you visit the white all american college campus and get thrown out by the security guards, and then you hate the rich, but you do not admit that wearing rags and pushing a shopping trolley filled with trash was foolish...

both of them will not accept it is their fault- both of them will find it difficult to step away from what they are told is reality and enter a fresh one...

both of them are men, both are equally as intelligent as the other... their enviroments shape them, their enviroments give them knowledge... they both pick up the skills they need in order to thrive in their enviroments...

there's nothing paradoxical about that...
 
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