The Vibrating Ring

[Wow… I actually had no idea this was a sex toy when I wrote this — no pun intended.] We said before that, that if a concept is thinkable then it MUST EXIST, this seems to be the basis of theoretical development — I mean, not to be hindered by the setback of something not existing. We’re not talking about the notion that something exists in the imagination, nor giving some kind of inspirational message about creativity, but rather, the notion that we can fall back to the concept to find our way around this obstacle. If we have a model of how something may work, in the mind, then the fact our original examples don’t apply shouldn’t obstruct our progress. Thus, we talked about the engine of philosophy as based on both success and failure, as we oscillate between the analysis of our world and theoretical development.

But consider a transformation of this statement: if a concept is thinkable then some life lived in pursuit of it must exist, or, it must be possible to live one’s life around it. This seems weaker than the above, but also more interesting — it doesn’t speak of the existence of the concept but the existence of the path of pursuit. Well, not even that, but the existence of something that may hold our attention for extended periods of time.

I don’t think this is as trivial as saying that what is thinkable is thinkable — but nor does it say that what is thinkable leads us off in a particular direction. It says that that which is thinkable may hold our attention, will provide some hope.

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Let’s approach this from another direction. A “ring” is a collective noun I’ve come up with for “concepts” — “a ring of concepts”, like a “gaggle of geese”. I like this word, not only because it is related to the word “corollary”, which has a root that is related to “ring” but also because it suggests a non-progressve process. A ring is “vibrational” if the movement that characterizes it is not progressive (even if it may appear to be) but rather, well, characterized by a kind of random motion. That’s the idea, that’s our effort here — to characterize this movement as dependent on the random play of concepts.

There is a kind of duality to thinking. Well, thinking is always ascetic. We characterized the “engine of thinking” earlier, this is actually a descriptive characterization (as well as a moral one). Ie, certainly, the life of a thinker is characterized by the ability to overcome failure, because that’s all there is. A rather pessimistic assessment of thinking indeed. … this is the sort of stuff that I get into fights over — just to give an impression of how central this seems to one’s behavior, how insufferable those who don’t realize it can be. Not physical fights, but not because I’m a pacifist or anything, only because I’m not all that tough — I definitely wish I were, sometimes. I’m not sure if we can even form a theory around this suggestively pessimistic declration. The engine of philosophy absolute depends on failure, even if it never fails, even if it always recovers. The progress of thinking is a series of escape routes. Let me justify this claim by pointing out that thinking must necessarily sustain itself. It’s not about one big idea as we once thought, it’s not about a solution. And this sustaining, which must maintain its identity, is a series of thinly veiled failures.

The other half of this duality is negativity, this is the recognition of what we are NOT thinking about. This is sort of an analogue to description. And negativity may have its leads as well, I mean, when we spoke of “the uncanny”, which is “not exotic, and not familiar”, it definitely brings with it some picture to mind. This negativity is different from the “failure” we spoke of above, that failure is a kind of non-correspondence, or it is related to the process of recovery and abstraction. Negativity seems the more constructive, maybe, it tries to deal with metaphors to bring forth some image of the world.

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The suggestion here is that what really matters is the foward progress of thinking, the spark of new concepts, or the narrow “vibrational” field that keeps us going foward. An insight, in other words, is not so much some new vision of the world but rather someting that is EQUIVALENT (cf, ring) without being identical. Or, something that is different from what we are thinking about but which we can’t say no too. … TBC

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