April 18, 2018 R: Relational Philosophy (Everything is subjective. It just depends on “who” is relating with “whom”!)
Wikipedia: “In physics and philosophy, a relational theory is a framework to understand reality or a physical system in such a way that the positions and other properties of objects are only meaningful relative to other objects.”
I think if I hadn’t had a course in thermodynamics (thermo) as a grad student at the University of Delaware, I would never have come to the conclusion that the perspectives of systems across relationship boundaries are more important than I ever knew. With all of the animosity in the world today, based on differing POVs (points of view), I wish there were a course in elementary school, incorporating thermo, on how to get along.
In THE EXPERIMENT, what is on the inside (that’s being injected) is forcing its way into the outside fluid. If the outside fluid is more viscous (usually means more dense), then it will be harder for the inviscid fluid (water-based) to push the viscous (syrupy-one/oil-based) outward. The relationship boundary between the two fluids will change its shape or buckle (at least, as we learned, after the first OFFSET perturbing-sine-wave impinges on the boundary).
When I taught materials science to college students in Utah, I noticed at the bottom of the page that introduced the topic: Atomic Chemistry and The Periodic Table of Elements, that in small letters, it said, “The information about elemental atoms and their valences only work when one atom is in relationship to another.” That means an atom has no meaning or discrete existence unless it relates to something else (like another atom). That tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the page (in addition to my thermo class) probably got me to thinking about how all the things/objects/systems we describe only come about through their own subjectivity, and only certain realms of questions can be answered scientifically and objectively. So how do we answer all the rest. If the scientific view is all wrong for certain questions about the physical universe, then how might we change our perspective to solve all the others?
Here at The Union of Opposites website, I attempt to apply what I preach. I wanted to look through different eyes (a different perspective) than a scientist does. I joined a group of scientifically minded theosophists and tried to get my head around what they espoused. Since Wikipedia’s definition above may not help those not familiar with the philosophy of theosophy, I’ll attempt to compare it with the philosophy of science.
FUNCTION BEFORE FORM
So to compare the scientific way of thinking with the theosophical way of thinking, all we need to do is look at our thoughts. Medical scientists run CAT Scans to observe how the brain thinks, They believe that the neural tissue creates a human’s thought. However, theosophists believe that the function, the thought, comes before the object or thing, generates it. Who’s right scientific perspectives or theosophical perspectives?
I asked myself, How is this possible? I had always thought the other way, that objects had to be a form, before they could function. But if we think of the human mind (or mind in general) we realize that both perspectives are true. The movie, THE MATRIX, was profound in its idea that our minds produce for us a kind of virtual reality. That movie and the thinking today is that we need to create virtual reality games using programming we impose on that game, a technique willfully entered into by a player. But if all of our reality is really virtual, then what we think of as reality is only a projection from our minds, our thoughts. So, how can we ever repeat an experiment and get similar results or agreements?
Now, don’t be afraid to read what I’m going to say about the virtual reality of the mind. It took me some time to understand theosophy, what it means to say the thought creates the object’s existence, in fact, that thought creates the existence of the entire universe.
This has everything to do with understanding perspective. The thought about something is really the relationship we have with it, that turns out to be our perspective on it. In science the perspective is easy to trace (though some have missed it). It’s the experimental setup (the equipment, but also the observer). In theosophical thought, the mind might be all virtual. For example: We look up at clouds and say they look like some animal, but the clouds don’t care what we think, they’ll rain on us if they must. Another example: We could watch a meteor heading for the Earth, but no matter how hard we wish it to not hit the Earth, it doesn’t care. It might create a tsunami that wipes out life along the shore.
One might ask, where is god in all of this? I do have a posting of my beliefs, but that’s just what they are–beliefs. My mind does not have the wisdom to know what is in the mind of a god. I can, as any of us can, just speculate about our situation here on Earth. So, now, I’ll explain how function can create form, how thought can create our universe.
From the theosophical perspective, everything is virtual and a projection of our minds (remember this is a POV that might be thought of as complementary to a scientific way of thinking (form creates function)). This perspective may too have its drawbacks, questions that can only be answered from a scientific viewpoint (just as science has its drawbacks when it comes to the observer and the choice to make the existence of anything discrete for them).
This is how I see an object becoming virtually into existence through the mind:
Babies look into their mother’s faces. At first, all is static. There may be shapes and colors, but the shapes and colors have no meaning. It is only, as the child grows and learns, that things they “see,” and think about, have properties and meanings. All the ways the child “sees” things is somehow hardwired into their brains. Now I’m an adult and what I “see” is a virtual world (programmed with meaning and colors and shapes) into my brain by interacting with my mother, my family and the rest of my society. The color blue to you, might not be a the color blue for me, but as we grow up and are programmed by other humans, we learn to agree that we all see things almost in the same way. But do we? I don’t know, but agreement has something to do with how we “see” things in our world.
It has always bothered me that when we look at our surroundings, most of the things we see don’t surprise us. They don’t change. And many people who tripped on acid say that that’s when everything seems to morph. Or is it, with very few visual or auditory clues, our brains recreate what’s out there with very little help from the present (potential present data)?
If what we “see” is a virtual construct of reality, then how do our minds keep everything predictable and stable when the universe we’re embedded in might be in flux? With an intermediary relationship boundary (our brains) protecting us from the full truth of what’s out there (What Is Behind What Is: we’ll get to this soon), it might be easier to understand how lots more is happening out there, when we understand how our brains, our relationship boundaries, are processing the information about our universe(s).
Do our minds create entropy because in the process of information transfer it makes sense? And how about continuity? Entropy would not make sense unless the brain takes in random information (information that it thinks is out of order) and puts it into a continuous sequence of events. In this way, on a complex part of the universal boundary, like the brain, the universe expands inward and there is a gap, a duration in time, before any response is available. In this way, as opposed to scientific thinking, thought creates the universe, rather than the universe, as an expanding and forming boundary, creates a brain full of thoughts. Both ways of looking have potential.