[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [Neoism]


Let us assume, as a point of beginning, that even the remotest of us relates to experience through some aspect of the habitual philosophical beliefs that characterize the civilisation in which this presentation takes place. That these beliefs are eclectic and inconsistent is not important, what is important is that we can identify them as part of this civilisation, and that we make constant use of some of them. It is not important to determine whether or not these beliefs are "true" in an objective sense, since clearly their function is to be used to create a sense of "reality", and not to be verified. The most didactic ideological projection to the simplest use of propositional thinking (for instance "I am swimming") contains the arbitrary and deterministic map of our civilisation. These beliefs, this "swimming", form an impenetrable field that traces around and separates us from experience outside the realm of beliefs in general. That certain obviously false beliefs, such as beliefs in so-called "absolute" truth, can be deconstructed is deceptive since the process of deconstruction is taking place within the structure of cognitive consciousness as it is dictated by the languages, cultural patterns, and identity formations of contemporary civilisation. Thus, refusing to believe in specific commonly-held opinions, such as the value of capitalist social relations, or belief in metaphysical abstractions, including those presented in this text, is ultimately a reformist measure which serves only to disarm the real and total opposition to beliefs in general. This opposition, since it aims to undermine the language, cultural history and identity formation of present reality is naturally difficult, if not almost impossible, to articulate within existing contexts. It is an orientation against and outside beliefs and consequently not compatible with the language or concepts that are used to describe things in terms of them, such as propositional language. That is by no means to suggest that this orientation does not exist, or is valueless, since its value clearly relates to the throwing off of the repressive aspects of consciousness, such as the ability or lack of ability to perceive paradox.

In order to explain fully what I mean, I will use as an example a science fiction story about an alien civilisation consisting of two humanoid entities. In order to talk about the entities, I will give a brief description of the cultural, linguistic and identity characteristics common to them. The two entities occupy the same general area of space but are physically unable to perceive one another, to interact or to communicate in any way. Despite this, both are speculatively aware of the other's existence through "memories" of a cultural history learned through direct experience with certain cultural artifacts. Both entities consequently have a developed and identical language and culture despite their non-communication. This commonality constitutes their social relation entirely, being absolute. The aliens have a language that is significantly different from ours in that it does not contain reference to objects or situations, and has, of course, no communicative value. The language is best visualised as a moving spiral of operational symbols floating free in space, with the symbols constituting a level of purely structural, "non-referential"*, mental activity. The holes between the symbols, which are gaps in the structural activity, provide space for penetration by material from "above" or "below" as they rotate. The material "above" the spiral is incoming information from the alien's senses, for instance, sight or touch. The material from "below" is non-sensory data, best understood as "imaginary" visions and fantastic images. This, in short, is the language of the alien culture, which constitutes part of each alien's conscious relations with the world. The language is not spoken, but is notated at arbitrary intervals to preserve itself as a structural/cultural model for the next generation. The method for this notation involves particular use of sound and light in a physical approximation of the structure. The memory of this method of notation is the only referential aspect of the language, and it is essentially perceived by the aliens as a kind of intuition. The aliens perceive the sensory and imaginary information sensations during the pauses in their "non-referential" mental activity, but are not concerned with differentiating between them as real or imagined. They have no memory of past time as we understand it, except for an intuitive sense of the other's existence and the methods of cultural notation. As I have stated, this memory roughly constitutes the identity formation of the civilisation. Incidentally, the identities of the aliens have no bearing on the "imaginary vision" aspect of the language. The "imaginary visions" are as arbitrary and unconnected to the alien as are his/her "real" sensory experiences. Both the aliens occupy a space that is similar to our cultural vision of the Garden Of Eden. The plot of this very dry and technical example thickens when, for reasons entirely conflicting with our logic system, and with the logic of the civilisation I have just described, one of the aliens decides to stop using the spiral that constitutes the "non-referential" and structural aspect of his/her language. This proves very difficult, as it is entirely without precedent in the civilisation, and physically impossible. Eventually the spiral ceases to exist and the alien's sensory experiences and imaginary visions intermingle without interruption of any kind. Suddenly the alien becomes experientially conscious of the only other member of the civilisation, who remains oblivious to him/her. The alien attempts to communicate with the other, but s/he is unable to perceive him/her. The alien "intuitively" decides to use the artifacts and methods of notations from the civilisation to communicate his/her existence to the other, but is ultimately unsure of the success of the project, since without memory s/he is unclear as to his/her placement in time. What I suggest is that this scenario is not fictional, but instead a literal analysis of our civilisation, including its inconsistencies.

*That is, not referring to any concept of other formation outside its own system.
John Berndt