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Modes of Awareness and Mental Causality



“The thinker makes a big mistake
when he inquires about the cause and the effect.
They both together make the indivisible phenomenon.”

Goethe *



Note: This essay is a sequel to the essay "Order Out Of Chaos" so you should read "Order Out Of Chaos" first.



“The Philosophy of the GOOD” 1 has blazed the trail to a new origin for the basis of the material world; not in the duplications of an atomicity; but in the all-encompassing uniqueness of the sensually material (what the philosopher F. S. C. Northrup 2 called “concepts of intuition” and scientists call matter). As a result the mind lives within a reality created through a type of perceptual induction, forming a reality which is defined within the limits of a perceptual resolution that fashions its objects as abstractions of the sensual existents it encounters. The results are groups instead of individuals; approximations that can never attain an absolute identity, but only a defined, approximation of identity within a tightly “resolved” world. Resolution defines identity; and duplication is a chimera, to be caught only as a fleeting phantom that is never exact.

The class is the mental enigma that defines identity through difference, and singularity through plurality 3 . What is unique, becomes a fuzzy identity that is only approximately resolved. But change, which makes the distinctions of the unique possible, is also ordered by this process into a connectivity brought about through this grouping. And causality is defined on the basis of this same resolution. So logic, which orders change, also becomes a creature of resolution. And these classes can also become mental objects with an existence of their own – the concept 4 ; and what is even stranger, they exist with their own form of connectivity and causation.

What Kant called the “modalities” of perception (modes of awareness), are generally taken as time, space and causality 5 . Causality has come into question as a modality because in Oriental philosophy, philosophers, like Lao-tse (or Lao-tzu) and Chuang-tzu 6 , seem to show a certain type of logic where the law of contradiction and the law of excluded middle 7 do not hold. Also Western philosophers like Hegel and Marx 8 (and even psychologists like Freud and Jung) used a seemingly similar logic in their dialectics.

This confusion concerning causality comes about not as a denial of basic logic, but as a different interpretation of the meaning of certain “contradictory” concepts. Concepts can be defined as “seemingly” contradictory, yet their simultaneous assertion is not an impossibility. The assertion of an object and the negation of that object is a physical contradiction in time and space (the sensual or material) – in other words, a physical impossibility 9 – but the assertion of objects of thought, or concepts, in the same way, may be not only possible, but even probable. Thought is perceived in time and space (at the moment it is thought, in the individual thinking it), but it exists within its own space, which does not exist in that same time and space. Within the space of thought, seemingly contradictory concepts can exist simultaneously; this is not a violation of logic, but a new logic, and merely a consequence of the nature of thought itself. For instance, a person can both love and hate the same thing at the same time 10 ; because feelings are not “things” that are physical objects in time and space, but objects of thought expressed in the perceptual clothing of the “feeling”, another type of mental concept. The space of thought does not violate causation, but has its own type of causation, which is different from the causation of the perceptual space of time and space (mechanistic causation). Social phenomena also reside in this same mental space, although they can affect the space of time and space through human behaviors. The effects of this “mental” space on the space of “time and space” are real, but not the same as the causality of physics. We might best characterize it as a different form of causality 11 .

It is not only that this (mental) logic and causality are different from their physical counterparts; but, that also there is the way that different cultures form objects as the result of emphasis or outlook which has effected these processes. In other words, to a certain extent even the modalities of our intelligibility are shaped by the culture within which they are formed, because that culture helps one create the objects of reality in conformity with the accepted classes and concepts of that society and culture. Economics and religion (as cultural processes) have, in many ways, shaped our concepts and ideas around them. That is why it is so hard for people to think outside of the framework that these two societal institutions have created.

We might rephrase the above into the terminology of science that F. S. C. Northrup uses, in his use of the terms “concepts of intuition” and “concepts of postulation” 12 . The logic and causation of time and space deal with the former, while the logic of dialectics is often applied to the latter.

The unique existents that the perceptual apparatus encounters are cultureless; but the corresponding objects that perception forms are created with the influence of the social environment of the perceiver, and the experiences of that perceiver’s own knowledge store. That is why it is imperative for cultural groups, such as Nations, to not allow closed off groups to form subcultures that are out of touch with the main cultural group. That is part of the problem that democracies today are experiencing, through the effects of the capitalistic economy 13 ; the growth of a plethora of subcultures growing up within an external culture they are completely out of touch with. Thus the growth of alienation and division within the populations of Nations that we are seeing today are a result of the effects of these social institutions interacting with and changing the cultural concepts of individuals.

All of this is built up upon the idea of a necessary connection between things. Science takes a mechanistic view of this, and shows this as a “causal” process. There is always a cause initiating a corresponding effect. But this is only an experiential phenomenon, pertaining to those things that exist in time and space as physical objects. In the mental world of concepts without a physical referent, cause and effect is seen to take a somewhat different role. The causes are now translated into motives that may or may not be known to even the perceiving identity itself 14 . And the effects can be either definite behaviors, or mental trends that give rise to viewpoints or outlooks that can change the whole thinking process itself. Human culture is a mode of behavioral and thinking processes, combined with an overall shared viewpoint that a spatially contained human group adopts. It extends over a historical period, during which its interactions with other cultures, the natural world and even the internal interactions within its own group change its own configuration and viewpoint; in other words it evolves.

This evolution is better mapped out in the logic of dialectics, than in the traditional mechanistic connections seen as causality. Processes working over a historical period show both compatible and incompatible components that tend to either destroy the status quo, or blend into a new synthesis which results in an evolution (a throwback to Hegelian Historicity). The intuitive rather than the rational hold here, because the effects are not bound to the physical objects of the world, but to the mental objects and forces that create a mental viewpoint that form the motives that allow human behaviors to change the overall viewpoint of the society and its culture.

Thus the viewpoint of science comes up short in attacking the social and normative sides of life, for the mechanistic logic that deals with physical objects falls short of explaining the growth and evolution of human mental viewpoints. The changes in the mental, even if conceived of as having purely experiential origins, are not “mechanistic” in their connections, but “intuitively connected”, as mental objects enmeshed in the “space” of a perceptual overall viewpoint. A viewpoint found in motives created through a combination of both personal interpretations of personal knowledge stores, and culturally biased interpretations of the same. Thus the “logic” and “causation” of the mind (psychology) and society is not the same as the logic of science (which is based on causality in the physical realm) 15 . Just as the “strong causality” 16 of Newton’s mechanics was turned into the “weak causality” of statistical dynamics in Quantum Mechanics, so the motivational causality of the mind works on the concepts of postulation to create the effects of human behavior, which can cause a change in the overall cultural, economic and social viewpoint of a society.

So the economic process of capital production is essentially a product of a motivational transformation, which in turn forms the overall viewpoint of society; and this viewpoint creates motives which are, in turn, transformed by it and its interaction with society. Thus motives are both the causes and effects of this process of evolution that the economy brings about; just as mechanistic causation brings about the evolutionary process in Nature through the competition of different species and their adaptation to the environment.

In Nature, evolution brings about extinction, if the hereditary mechanism of the organisms fails to provide the needed adaptations to the environment, which the pressure of competition necessitates. So the invisible hand 17 of the markets can lead to societal collapse, if market freedom is destroyed through monopolization, and the ensuing unemployment it causes to the society. A balancing of the motivations of the market’s consensus brings about an equilibrium; while a monopolization misbalances the motivations so that equilibrium is lost.

But we have not yet broached the real difference between the mental “causation” we call motivation, and the physical “causation” we call mechanistic causation. In the physical world, there are necessary connections that result in what we call causality. This is a part of the effect of having the physical world shaped by the modalities of time and space; these necessary connections are the third modality, causation. The three modalities are not separate; we tend to make them into separate objects, just as we do with the objects we create from the existents that are clothed in these modalities. It is a convenient way to distinguish the “clothing” of perception from its “essence” that lies in the sensual existents of the continuum. So we separate them out into time, space and causality. But they are really only different attributes of the combination of the three we will call “perceptual space”.

This perceptual space is a type of Gestalt, or entirety, that forms the backdrop or stage upon which we find the existents. By separating it into three distinct parts, we are able to talk about it by means of a meta-language 18 .

If we carefully analyze time, for instance, we will see that there is a necessary or causal pattern imbedded in it that is a type of causation. The sequential nature of time is this necessary connection. Every moment necessitates the next moment, or “causes” it. Thus the future is the “effect” of the present; and the present the cause of the future. Similarly space can only be known through movement in its three dimensions. Movement in a single dimension is sequential; a sequential move from one point to the one next to it. So every movement necessitates or causes a traversal of space in a particular way in one-dimensional space. Every point in space is tied to the point next to it through a necessary connection. Again, causation is present, and tied inseparably to the other two modalities; just as causation would be meaningless without the spatial and temporal aspects that every existent exhibits. Thus science deals with this causation to explain the physical world.

But in thought, these modalities do not come into play, the mental is outside of them, and lives in the space of the will; except when it deals directly with sensual perception and its existents. Here (in thought) concepts are the things, and causation is pure motivation.

What is motivation?

That is the question that psychologists, like Freud asked. They found that motivation essentially springs from the survival instincts in a human being. I have tied all these instincts together and called them the cumulative “survival instinct” 19 . They form needs or wants that the human must have to survive both physically and socially. They also form motivations that are the “cause” of the mental form of causation that results in the “effect” of behavior. And they guide the formation of the viewpoint the will or personality is.

The mental logic of thought is not ruled by facts, but by a viewpoint that forms the rules of its logic 20 , and is in turn formed by the interaction of this viewpoint with its society. The facts are motivations and the interactions of these motivations with the motivations of others. These facts cannot be dealt with logically in the scientific sense, because they involve emotionality. No statistics can define states, or predict outcomes, because these are open systems with infinite input and output determined by a logic that is essentially externally random, and determined by internal mood swings, in turn, determined by the viewpoint.

So where is all of this most important?

It is important where motivations most effect society – namely in the considerations of politics, religion and the economy. These areas of society are not, as formerly thought to be, dependent on the physical form of causation, or even the type of logic that deals with it in the physical sciences. They are concerned with the mental form of causation, motivation, and its logic, and the viewpoint that this motivation and logic creates, and is created from 21 .

If we realize that there is a different logic and even a different causal necessity involved here, and that not only the viewpoints of individuals, but also the viewpoint of society depend on these, then we will see that they must be handled differently from the physical sciences.

And what is most important is that the shared viewpoint that all individuals can know, that I spoke of in my essay “The Message of the Philosophy of the GOOD” is the only viewpoint that will finally allow a true science of these social institutions to be formed; for in these areas, viewpoint is everything, simply because it forms the actual motivations and logic upon which they act.

In a way viewpoint is that which is the “ultimate indefinable”. It is not really defined by us, because it forms a part of us; yet it allows us to form all the other definitions upon which our world depends. It is actually the most basic and intimate part of us, which is in part a priori, yet grows from the a posteriori 22 , forming itself out of our experience; yet through it we define that same experience. It is the ultimate process that forms our mental world and even the logic and motivations that affect the sensual world; but, at the same time, it is formed by that sensual world and its interaction with our will.

It (viewpoint) is not the will itself, but is the only way the will can express itself. It may be thought of as the logical space of the mind, and the overall way this space allows the will to interpret reality. Through behavior it acts on the sensual; yet, through History it acts on the will, to both form it and create the social environment which brings it about.

It lies between two extremes: the insatiability and division of greed; and the generality and union of love. It is the warp and woof of this mental logical space upon which the mental causality of motivations play. And it itself is formed from the effects which History have on it, and the ability these effects have on its ability to unlock the deeper area of the will.

It, in effect, defines the degrees of freedom through which the will may act, through its motivations, on the behavior. Through greed it narrows them, and through love it increases them. Through greed we narrow our understanding, and limit the effects knowledge brings us. Through love we widen our understanding and broaden the effects knowledge gives us. While the narrower brings us separation, the wider brings us unity. Thus it is not knowledge itself, which is the measure of humanity, but this mental context, which provides the usefulness of knowledge.

Thus culture is the outcome of History on the many individual wills, and the wills are in turn, the effect of culture, which forms History.

History is the combined evolution of the many wills, to the state where but one will exists in all. And only through this unity can the true freedom of humanity be known; for only when all wills are but one, will the harmony of humanity truly be known.

In a way this is the ultimate definition of a God: the one selfless will that combines all other wills through a unity of viewpoint 23 – the One in the many; that unending hope for something better 24 . God is, in a way, another motivation that is tied to us through the human’s concept of perfection, or a sense of total unity. We cannot attain perfection because we live in a world of separation; separation from the world through the very perceptual apparatus that allows us to know it. Yet something within us drives us to what can be achieved, a unity of viewpoint. It is this unity of viewpoint that allows us to simulate the unity we can never achieve; the perfection we can never attain. It is a way of overcoming the absolute loneliness, which the human situation confers on us.

Perception is an approximation that is the constant process of gathering together a disparate and diverse reality into a whole, made up of many groups. It is a never ending task of closer and closer approximation and reinterpretation. And the one constant for each perceiver, the will, is not the constant for all perceivers. The will is the problem. An absolute reference for each that separates us from all the rest. The one unique item that can’t form a class within which it can be grouped with what it is like. But the will found a way around this conundrum – viewpoint.

Viewpoint allows the sharing of that which cannot be shared. In creating a viewpoint built on knowledge of the sensual world, the will found a way to share itself with other wills. By creating this shared backdrop, within which the will lives, it could share what it is. Not symbolically, but intuitively, through the feelings and the motivations. Through creating a backdrop that was created through interaction with other backdrops through the process of culture, it could share itself and in turn evolve closer to the others it interacted with. Thus the logical space of the motivations could be shared and evolved along with its counterparts, and bring about indirectly a sharing of the will itself.

The viewpoint is the space which contains and molds the logic the motivations work on to conform with the dictates of the will, which are set out in its motivations. By sharing this logic and the motivations working within it, the will itself can be known and shared with other wills. The social part of this sharing is culture and society. And History is the result and evolution of this joint process of the sharing of viewpoint and its evolution.

In essence, all wills search for, and instigate the evolution of more freedom for their actions. Society actually takes a part in this through the above outlined process. As Freud showed in his delineation of the superego, the cultural part of his personality model 25 , the whole personality evolves around the authority of the family, and the cultural authority it conveys to the young. Although the young learn that there is a certain logic for the material or sensual, they unconsciously adopt another logic for the motivations and the mental causation that centers on the viewpoint of their cultural surroundings. This logic may be thought of as the morality of that culture and its ideas of right and wrong. If religion is involved, it even further changes this to center around the rules and dogma it teaches. Thus the logic and motivations the will incorporates is transferred primarily through the culture of the family and its religion. And later society acts on this shared culture to evolve it, and therefore change or evolve the viewpoints of the new young, according to this new cultural attitude. Thus the History of society shows the evolution of this whole process of viewpoint formation toward a goal consistent with more freedom.

More is not necessarily always better. In the case of freedom the reverse is often true. Freedom as it pertains to society is not a “total” freedom, but a freedom that is self-adjusting to the bounds of other freedoms. This is the responsible freedom I mentioned in other essays 26 . Therefore the tendency of History is self-regulation of freedom to the point where all the individuals of the human race have an equal sharing in this freedom, and the maximum attainment of harmony becomes a realization.

The tendency 27 that drives this is the motivational system, within the individual human will, that strives for the attainment of an ever widening of the sharing of the same human viewpoint amongst all humanity. The rocky road this passes through is the history of evolution, not in the physical sense, but in the sense of a mental evolution; an evolution to bring all human minds under the influence of a single viewpoint which will maximize the scope of all individual freedom, and at the same time, maximize the scope of human harmony 28 . This is, indeed, what the ancients called the attainment of the good!






FOOTNOTES

To return to note's origin click the footnote number at left



* "The Practical Cogitator" by Charles P. Curtis Jr. and Ferris Greenslet;Houghton; Mifflin Co.; Boston; 1945.

As clear as this phenomenal indivisibility may seem in science, the motivational causality of the mind is never very clear, as we will see in this essay.


1 All plurality must arise from the mental idea of a “concept.” The notion of “atoms”, or the fundamental bricks from which the material world is created, can only be born once the “class”, a mental concept, already exists. It is the mental abstraction of identity that allows all this to be born, because only through abstraction can equivalence and identity be found. Under minute scrutiny, all “things” are fundamentally different. And it is only through abstracting out minutia, can an approximate identity be formed within the bounds of a definition, not a physical thing in itself (what I call an existent).

See my book “The Philosophy of the GOOD”, the essay on “The Ontology and Epistemology of the Good”

Note: Please see the The Glossary of Terminology Section for the definitions of any terms not explained in the essay.


2 See “The Logic Of The Sciences And The Humanities”, by F.S.C. Northrup, Macmillan Company, New York,, 1948. Chapter 5 on concepts, and chapter 7 on the epistemic correlation are the parts of this book we will particularly touch on in this essay (see below notes).

Briefly, Northrup uses the term concept of postulation, as the mental idea or concept; he uses the term concept of intuition, as the sensually know, approximately what I call the existent. The epistemic correlation ties these two concepts together, so that science can apply the hypothesis to the experimental reality.

I should also mention here, that unlike Northrup, I find that concepts of intuition are not completely known, or given, through the experience of perception, but are also "interpreted" by the will.


3 Thus many unique existents become one class, and the one class the many objects it creates.


4 Note: I distinguish concept from class, as being a purely mental collection of mental objects, as opposed to a class, which is a collection of objects that represent sensual existents.


5 These dimensions are the space, or degrees of freedom, through which change happens generally. Thus they constitute a space just as the three dimensions of physical or material space (height, width and depth) constitute a space as being an assemblage of the degrees of freedom within which change occurs in matter; the spaces of time and causality having but one degree of freedom each, within which change can occur.


6 Both of these sages wrote books on the Tao, or “Way”, the core of Taoism; a philosophical doctrine, which seems to incorporate many logical contradictions, such as “what can be known or said of the Tao is not the Tao”. Also, see footnote 7 below, on Fromm’s book.


7 A contradiction is asserting both (A and (not A)), or asserting a proposition which is always false. The Law of Excluded Middle is the basis of a two valued logic: (True or (not True)), [(not True = False)]. In other words a propostion can be either True or False.

Common sense may be thought of as a type of fuzzy logic where the resolution of the values are not clear cut, but often a weakly defined consensus which hinges on a “working definition” instead of a “finished” definition. Thus the distinctions of temperature can be thought of when described as: cold, warm or hot. Each of these may have different meanings according to the person using them, since their definitions are “loose” and blur at the extremes where they merge into one another. Thus they define ranges that can only be known through individual knowledge (or preference) not consensus, such as a measuring scale like the thermometer gives us.


8 Dialectic is a type of running argument that brings about consensus through a synthesis of ideas clarified in the process itself. Socrates was the most famous user of this method in the dialogs that Plato published about him. Later Hegel used a method he called a dialectic, which was based on the production of a synthesis, through the merging of opposite ideas.

Marx uses this type of dialectic extensively in “Capital”, as a type of process acting through time. Note that even psychology has developed this same type of “dialectical” logic, as Fromm showed in his book “Beyond The Chains Of Illusion” (see following note 10).


9 For example, an object exists and does not exist at the same time. Another example would be two material objects occupying the same space at the same time – both are physical impossibilities.


10 Erich Fromm uses this same example in his book “Beyond The Chains Of Illusion”, Pocket Books, New York, 1962, on page 130, in relation to Freud’s idea of ambivalence.


11 Immediately, human behavior is the “cause” which elicits an “effect” in the physical world; but there is postulated a “motive” driving this behavior, which is the true cause. Behavior is thus “epistemicly correlated” with motive through the awareness perception confers on us.


12 These concepts are joined together by what Northrup terms an “epistemic correlation”. Science uses this to join the concepts of postulation with their corresponding intuitional concepts. Therefore science can verify the hypothesis through an experimental scenario (see the above reference in footnote 2 above).


13 This happens through the encouragement capitalism gives to immigration, in order to find new consumers for its ever-expanding array of new products, and its continual need for growth.


14 This is what Freud hypothesized in his psychoanalytic scheme of the personality.


15 Many people could not understand this dialectical process that Marx and Engels used for this very reason; for it was a type of evolutionary process, not a process of mechanistic causation, but a result of motives interacting in a culturally defined viewpoint, creating behavior that precipitated mechanistically caused effects.


16 See the discussion of weak and strong causality in F.S.C. Northrup’s Introduction to the book, “Physics And Philosophy”, by Werner Heisenberg, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1958.


17 “The invisible hand” is Adam Smith’s phrase for the supposed automatic regulation the markets create for themselves in the classical theory of economics. Marx also presupposed this in “Capital” in order to show that this hand would not work.


18 Meta-language means literally: a language beyond language. A language used to describe another language. In this case, the primary language (not the meta-language) is the Gestalt of perception itself abstracted from the existents of the continuum.


19 This group of instincts includes: Hunger, thirst, reproduction (the sexual urge), etc.


20 The motivational logic of the viewpoint decides the judgments necessary to initiate human behavior. It is not the same as the logic of science, for it is ruled by what Freud called the “Pleasure Principle”. And motives are more a teleological connection than a necessary connection. The necessity in the connection is this logic of the viewpoint determined by its very private information store and benefit, which is paradoxically, culturally determined.


21 This might be considered a self-regulating system. Its interaction with the sensual is both its effect, and what creates its overall mode of action. This constantly interactive, yet effect controlled system is the stuff which human History creates, and is created by (see below).


22 A priori, literally means "from the first (things)"; or prior to (experience); a posteriori means "from following (things)"; or after, or from (experience). Therefore a priori is before perception or innate, while a posteriori springs from or is derived from experience itself. What all this says is that viewpoint is formed from experience because it is the combination of all the experience we have ever experienced up to the present. Therefore it is the sum total of our physical existence, and it is combined into a viewpoint by the perceptual apparatus and its logical space, which have existed before experience inside of the human will. The enigma is that it relies on experience to grow or evolve, but not strictly according to that material experience alone, but also to the mental motivational causality whose logic it also forms.


23 Compare this with the definition of God I give in the essay: “Introduction to the Formal Theory of the GOOD”


24 See the essay in “The Series Of Essays On Love” called “By What Name… God!” in which I define God as “man’s eternal hope for something better”.


25 See chapter III; the delineation of the ‘ego ideal’ or superego, in “The Ego And The Id”, by Sigmund Freud, W.W. Norton Inc, NY, 1962.


26 See the essays: “America: The Land without Freedom” and “Responsible: a Troublesome Word”.


27 I have mentioned this tendency in other essays (see the essay, “The Concept And Primacy Of Love”) as something existing in the universe; here I actually characterize it as a tendency arising from the tendency of all human wills to create a single viewpoint for all, using the process of society and its culture. This tendency is same that leads all to the harmony of the good.


28 We live in an interpreted world; a world that is more than all the facts. The reason is that interpretation determines just what the facts actually are for the perceiver doing the interpretation. And that interpretation depends on how the personal motivations, and the viewpoint of that perceiver allow that interpretation of the facts to proceed. If we build a world of groups, where different sets of motivations and viewpoints exist, then that world will interpret the facts differently for each group. Today, religions and the processes of the economy are creating a world where harmony will never be attained just because we are creating a world where people interpret the facts differently because they do not have the same viewpoint and motivations as the other groups have. A world of rich and poor will never see things the same way, and will never attain the harmony I mention; neither will people who see the purpose of life differently do to religious beliefs. Today the substitution of economic freedom for democratic freedom is further clouding the issue, and bringing the free world further from that harmony instead of towards it. Until all the Nations of the world realize that economic freedom is not the social freedom society must have to progress, but is instead the hindrance of that freedom, and the impediment to finding the harmony we all search for, humanity will only continue creating a world further divided from itself. See also the essay: "Perception: More than all the facts"




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Originally Published:

May 10, 2011

Revised:

June 24, 2014