Immaterial “Things” (Realism of the non-material)

REALISM OF IMMATERIAL REALITIES

A game is more than its representation (pixels on a screen). The material and bodily holistic realities, even football games (just like the human personality) are partially unrelated realities, just like the “One” of the Platonic dialogue “Parmenides”: the One of this dialogue is an image of the material-bodily universe, of which it would be impossible to give a measure, if the meter-sample were the same universe.

Even an ego (its material component or, according to physicalists monistic reality, the entire number of brain processes) of which the only measure were the same self, would be a globally unrelated reality.

Now, the unrelated realities are shapeless (formless) and their duration and extension should be considered indeterminable (given that they, ontologically, oscillate between nothing and an unquantifiable whole).

At the contrary, every personality has, just like the material universe, a certain measure, a number and a “weight” (that is, it has a certain order, even if not apparently complete).

Then, it is logical to think, as S. Agostino did and the neo-platonists, that the shapeless matter or the nothing (to which these holistic realities would be close), instead, receive order, measure, number and weight from a necessary relationship with something incorporeal.

So according to the Christian and Neoplatonic philosopher Agostino the immaterial light of creation (see the book of Genesis) enlightens, with its order and its form, the reality, filled with darkness and abyss, of nothingness and of the shapeless material heaven and earth.

 

CULTURAL OBJECTS

Reading a well-known essay of Popper on the mental contents of World n. 3 (the world of cultural creations), title “Three Worlds” (Ober C. Tanner Lecture, 7.4.1978, University of Michigan), – I found that such objects are partially invisible and non-corporeal, as a thousand sided figure, having an infinity of  not representable logical consequences. Popper even says that a single theory, just like the set of infinite numbers, is equal to the entire system of its deductive consequences (they are of course not completely enumerable), it is as to say that such mental contents are abstract and not plainly visible or corporeal.

This way, non-corporal entities are “conceivable” in a clear sense, in the way that the idea includes the “partial” denial of complete conception of all logical features, potentialities or dispositional properties of bodies (their logical consequences).

But I also disagree with Popper: the mental contents of World n. 3 appears to me not completely “abstract” as he said (namely, completely “incorporeal”).

He offered the example of the fifth symphony of Beethoven, claiming that it is far different from its records, musical scores, performance and mnestic traces in the brain of listeners, given that it would be the abstract information of the symphony, independent from the physical (or even psycological) substrate of World n. 1 and World n. 2.

I offer to this Popperian theory the counterexample of the analogical records of music, compared to digital ones. If you listen to these different kind of records, you cannot avoid to think that the musical information is somehow changed by the substrate, in its nature.

This counterexample shows that the information is always “almost” co-identical to its support, offering a new conception of cultural information as “quasi-abstract” or “quasi-corporeal”:

-A single book of Shakespeare in my Italian library will be a quasi-individual corporeal presence of the quasi-abstract incorporeal collections of his dramas,

– Incidentally, my incarnated ego will be a quasi-incorporeal spirit.

These observations enable us to pose as a new question:

“What is, at the conjectural level, a real incorporeal being?”

 

PROBLEM OF TRANSCENDENCE

The transcendence of creativity inside cultural objects, and the same independence of “cultural objects” from their substrates is problematic. Surely, infinity as such, as a “whole”, is impossible to grasp, but we cannot forget that it can be guessed and/or conjectured, via a partial, even vague, linguistic description (the so called “intensive” definition of infinite sets in mathematics, given that it is impossible that extensive, for enumeration).

Popper gave the example of an infinite set of numbers as an entity, whose “partial” independence derives from the inability of language to formulate all the features of the set, while he admitted that an object of World 3 can and must be formulated, linguistically, in order to interact with minds or (for monists) with brains. This explains well how avoiding the paradoxes of materialism, monism, physicalism, empirism, etc. about semi-immateriality of those entities.

…but the influence of substrates on such entities, remains still and really problematic to me…

Surely, Beethoven’s ninth can be destroyed, through the destruction of this planet, with all its musicians and listeners.

What I think is that Beethoven cannot be destroyed, because his spirit was, and is, an unrelated entity (or if you want absolute), not due to his ephemeral human appearance, but due to his ontological relation with a completely immaterial entity, God.

The argument in favour of such conclusion is ontological:

-Even an ego (its material component or, according to physicalists monistic reality, the entire number of brain processes) of which the only measure were the same self, would be a globally unrelated reality (or “absolute”, if you want). If he/she were not a measure of him/herself, he/she could not be conscious, aware and independent (as Cartesian dualists claim).

– Now, the unrelated realities are shapeless (formless) and their duration and extension should be considered indeterminable (given that they, ontologically, oscillate between nothing and an unquantifiable whole). Please, try to consider that the meter-sample of the measure is “absolute”, then you will understand that the measure is undetermined.

– At the contrary, every personality has, just like the material universe, a certain measure, a number and a “weight” (that is, it has a certain order, even if not apparently complete).

Then, it is logical to think, as S. Agostino did and the neo-platonists, that the shapeless matter or the nothing (to which these holistic realities would be close), instead, receive order, measure, number and weight from a necessary relationship with something “completely” incorporeal and “not measurable”.

So according to the Christian and Neoplatonic philosopher Agostino the immaterial light of creation (see the book of Genesis) enlightens, with its order and its form, the reality, filled with darkness and abyss, of nothingness and of the shapeless material heaven and earth…including the ego of L. V. Beethoven.

From immortality of Beethoven, as participation to immateriality of his creator, you can induce creativity of Beethoven and the immortality of his symphonies.

 

WHOLISTIC ARGUMENT OF THE “ONE” AND OF “SELF-REFERENCE”

A meter-sample “absolute” is the means of measurement  of the mind/soul/spirit of L. V. Beethoven (his self-consciousness, his mind, thinking to his mind): the same mind is the meter-sample. Thus, his mind would be a globally unrelated reality (or “absolute”, if you want). If he/she were not a measure of him/herself, he/she could not be conscious, aware and independent (as Cartesian dualists claim).

Now, the unrelated realities are shapeless (formless) and their duration and extension should be considered indeterminable (given that they, ontologically, oscillate between nothing and an unquantifiable whole, between materiality and abstractness, spirituality and physicalism, cerebal brain and immortal spirit, immateriality and cultural objects of Popperian World 3, …). The claim that an “absolute” meter-sample makes reference to an “unrelated” entity and make it undetermined is, if you want,

– a self-reference,

– or a Godelian consequence,

– a Curry paradox,

– the paradox of the Cretan mentor

– the set of sets, that do not contain the itself, of Russell, …

– the “One” of the Platonic dialogue “Parmenides”

– or, finally, the abyss without the form of the Matter of Genesis, as in the “Confessions”, chapters 11-12 of St. Augustin).

Instead, the experience testifies that, notwithstanding above mentioned oscillation between matter and spirit, at the contrary, every personality has, just like the material universe, a certain measure, a number and a “weight” (that is, it has a certain order, even if not apparently complete)…a certain harmony and balance between inconsistency and completeness (or between incompleteness and consistency).

Then, it is logical to think, as S. Augustin did and the neo-platonists, that the shapeless matter or the nothing (to which these holistic realities would be close), instead, receive order, measure, number and weight from a necessary relationship with something “completely” incorporeal and “not measurable”. This “immateriality” must be a measure beyond the measure, namely a real “absolute”, whose stability is a self-reference (completely immaterial), while matter, space, time, the physical universe, the same created spirits are all involved in quantitative self-references, which show the inconveniences well explained by Plato, Augustin, the godelian theorems, etc.

So according to the Christian and Neoplatonic philosopher Agostino the immaterial light of creation (see the book of Genesis) enlightens, with its order and its form, the reality, filled with darkness and abyss, of nothingness and of the shapeless material heaven and earth…including the ego of L. V. Beethoven.

 

ESSENCE OF REALISM

The essence of realism (but, please, take the term essence not as an essentialist concept, but as “allusion to”, just like a “perfume, a trace, an essential fragrance of” the realism) is to criticize a version of reality reduced to the neighbourhood of our senses, our intellect and our own reason and argumentative capacity.

The richness of the real is often only alluded to by our more stable positive or scientific knowledge, not because it is unstable (or without technological implications), but because it often places only a premise for the discovery of new and unexpected folds of reality.

I would almost say that the same native feeling of being in front of reality, as a very solid reality, is an immediate cognition of the ramification towards the unknown of the minimum vestiges of our usual “known facts”.

 

A MENTAL EXPERIMENT AS PROOF

We will do a mental experiment.

Please, think to materiality of matter.

You will ask me: “what shall I think to? It is a ridiculous question (a linguistic games confusion)!”

I will reply: “I now formally assert that you will surely think: <<what do you expect me to say about this concept, the materiality concept of matter?>>”

You: “Yes, you are right, what do you expect me to say about this concept, the materiality concept of matter? In fact, I have no expectation about the matter, it is stable, while I am thinking about this or that and my mind is continuously oscillating”.

I: “The experiment has had success: your mind has continuous expectations about a dogmatic certainty of the matter, it is there, while you think that your mind wants to amend its errors about the linguistic games confusion and has no expectations about a materiality of matter. Personally I also have the expectation that you will deny the validity of the question”.

Conclusions of the experiment: if I ask you what is the materiality of matter, even it is so real that it can kill me, your mental life knows nothing about the essence of the matter. You have only expectation toward matter (including the expectation that it is so stable than can kill you), but apart from denying its essence, you and I can only admit that something exists out there.

As I and you must admit that there is a mind that has expectations, even sophisticated and philosophical, about the way of interaction of my body, my language and my mind towards it.

This system of expectations is undeniable and demonstrates the existence (devoid of essence perhaps) of a mind.

 

THE MISTAKE OF THE THEORY ABOUT “MEME”

There are various problems associated with memetic views of cultural objects as material entities.

For example, cultural units are not replicators: Ideas can surely be copied using linguistic communication and the substrate can attract and modify the information (making is somehow material), but a more pressing worry for memetics is that imitation is usually too error-prone to underpin replication.  Further copies are never equal to original (they are banally similar).

Overall, if token ideas can appear in an individual in virtue of that individual’s exposure to several sources, then this makes it unlikely that anything close to Mendel’s laws will be discovered within cultural evolution. Because also a recombination of previous ideas cannot take account of a certain increasing precision that the mind of a single “alive” person employs to understand abstract terms…

This is an observation of K. Godel (Collected Works, vol. II, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1990, p. 306), he argued that the argoment of A. Turing, for which the mind is only a “material” calculator (coming from the finited number of states of the brain) was not conclusive. Godel said that Turing did not accounted the fact that the mind, in its phenomenon, is not static, but in continuous development, namely it understands abstract terms with increasing precisions, during its use of such terms, and that an increasing number of abstract terms enter into its sphere of comprehensions. This is to say that, in a precise moment, number and precision of abstract terms can be finite (and finite the number of distinct states of the mind), nevertheless both can tend to infinite during the course of application of mind to itself. This is to say that mind is superior to brain (because attains more states than of previous moments) or, as said directly Godel, is a material machine which cannot understand his future number of states (that’s the same of saying the future of mind does not pertain to his past).

Another general objection, which I like against the theory of memes as material entities (and against the mind a function of a brain), is that Culture cannot be atomised; each meme would be not comprehensible without the networks of the other hypothetical components.

This way, in my opinion, it becomes very difficult also telling how one meme is fitter than another (and survived to certain critical selection), given that they are all interconnected.

Meme and a material mind, this way, appears a myth of a folk psychology. While rise the quotations of an immaterial mind that inhabits a brain, and evolves within an immaterial culture (creates its language, shapes the body from an immaterial nucleus, etc.).

Perhaps our concept of reality is not yet able (or maybe it is not anymore, as in the past) to grasp the allusion to eternity as the foundation of time, rather than the opposite…

 

WEAKNESS OF PHYSICALISM AND ANALYTICAL DESCRIPTIVISM

Physicalism and analytical descriptivism are not simply question-begging, they cannot be subject to refutation. Which is worse.

Being not subject to refutation means that they are not scientific theories or philosophical open-mind thought, but dogmatic metaphysics…

While religious dogmas are full of infinite meaning…S. Paul said that in Jesus you can find all the treasures of “science”…the beloved science of scientists.

The reason is that reasoning is a gift of love.

See S. Thomas about the reason as a light lit by the creator.

 

SEMI-IMMATERIAL STATUS OF LANGUAGE

Language statements are not material, but the media change a little bit their nature, so their status is not completely material, it is intermediate.

The same can be said about the apparently “immaterial”, abstract term of “concept”. It is undoubtedly  a term in a metalanguage about theoretical terms. But, again, the media change a little bit their nature, so their status is not completely material, it is intermediate. Our brain is also part of the systems of media.

We cannot completely disagree from physicalism.

The same natural light is partially material, even if photons are practically without mass. Think to experiments of Thomson about scattering of photons (Thomson scattering is the elastic scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a free charged particle).

The reference of Wittgenstein to a biological or social life form, which produces meaning is not completely devoid of validity (somehow similar to a class consciousness or false consciousness and reflex- consciousness of K. Marx). Those media change a little bit the nature of immaterial information, so that its status is not completely material, it is intermediate.

The possibility of an intermediate status of information explain why we can criticize it: we can value the immaterial component inside it, trying to make it free from the material component.

 

INTERMEDIATE STATUS OF INFORMATION

My model is the following: Reason, consciousness (including moral-immaterial part of our statements about “ought”) are like a vapor, that detaches itself with a confused border line of the water surface. Then the steam saturates the cavern of our minds and plastically controls with its pressure the level of the liquid underneath (brain, phonetics of the language, propositional syntax), and vice versa the liquid the degree of saturation of the vapor. This is a way of saying that consciousness controls and is controlled plastically by its underlying media. Then, individual consciousness is controlled by the semi-liquid vapors of other invidividuals, their language, their society, their mind and culture. The semi-liquid vapor of culture is (only for believers) then related to the further dimensions of mathematics, of ideas, of God, saints and angels …

If Human reason is a gift of love to that media which is human brain (as said by S. Thomas, the reason as a light lit by the creator), we should ascertain what, inside our reason, pertain to “is” and what to “ought”.

The material part is what “is”, the immaterial part is the always-changing correspondence-reference between reality and our language-thought.

Every reductionism, or scientific realism, exalts too much the material sphere of “is” (the media: brain, sound waves, voices, expressions, syntax, etc.) of mind, while Idealism seeks to undermine human thought from the humble but blessed dust of our culture, society and brain.

A clear escape from the immaterial dimension of the mind and heart is surely our “search for truth”. Augustin said that this moral dimension (search for truth) far surpasses the underworld of the most evil materialists, since even sinners “do not want to be deceived”, indeed they manifest a meticulous sense of morality, perhaps excessive, which leads them to be cruel to those who try to deceive them (during their immaterial search for truth).

This immaterial and moral dimension of the search for truth seems irreducible even in the materialists, or in the physicalists, who would never want to be distracted from the truth of their physicalism.