The origin of the following (far below here) bit of dialogue from some years ago has a history which is two degrees of separation from me: A friend of mine, Gene, from college decades ago, turned up last year at the funeral of his close friend, Thom, whose journalism I’d read occasionally. Detailing why this matters would get very involved, but—in a phrase—Thom’s link to Gene is causing Gene to be sought by foreign agents. I know that’s tritely implausible. But again, there’s a history that gets very involved. There’s no good place to start. So, I start here, though not yet to explain.
Gene and I first met Thom when he was a teaching assistant in a philosophy class we took as undergrads, where I met Gene.
Gene stayed in touch with Thom over the years, which one day included Gene’s time in a café with Thom and Thom’s uncle Arthur, who (according to Gene) was an old man who “acted like, well, someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, extraterrestrial, though he looked like Ed Wynn without a sense of humor”—older than the photo, Gene said, and with frumpy clothes, like some mad scientist. (Arthur is a scientist, Gene says.)
Gene’s “problem” with that was: He met uncle Art briefly many years earlier, and “Art looked the same age decades later. The weirdo hadn’t aged!”
Since Gene habitually records conversations in his psychotherapy practice—which allows him to listen without distractive note-taking—he sometimes does this in personal life with special events, he says.
The following is part of their conversation following previous “stuff” about Heidegger. This conversation is where I got the idea for “for your consideration.” I made Art’s identity principle into a more-discursive moment.
Gene edited out “superfluous” asides, “Uh”s, etc.; so, it seems more focal than it actually was, Gene wrote. Why Gene did this for me is another story, but we’re both interested in Art, as was Thom, of course.
Gene writes that, after awhile in the café conversation, he says to Art: “You’re a mystery.”
Art continues: No matter. What matters is what we’re considering together here.
T: Right: relation ‘r’ between elements ‘a’ and ‘b’.
A: Given r(a,b), do ‘a’ and ‘b’ derive—as differentiated—from self-differentiating ‘r’? Or does ‘r’ derive—as composed—from self-bonding ‘a’ and ‘’b? That is, is ‘r’ generative differencing; or are ‘a’ and ‘b’ generative bonding?
T: And you trace the issue back to symbiotic prenatal attentionality.
A: Right: individuation of capability to differentiate being there from being here.
That capability emerges in the womb, but from pre-differentiated presencing.T: Mentability is a mystery to me.
So, when Russell and Whitehead stipulated the identity relation in Principia Mathematica as axiomatic, they were echoing a primal condition, making it logically primordial.
Then Gödel comes along and says, in effect: ‘You’re assuming the capability to do that’. Logic doesn’t emerge ex nihilo.
Even the principle of excluded middle unwittingly presumes an incomprehensibility of fuzzy logic or paradigm relativity of strict exclusion.
A: So, here we are: How’s there intelligibility at all?
T: Evolutionary time.
A: Progressive time, relative to self-enriching intelligence in nature from which articulability emerges to be able to theorize itself.
Then, conceptions of intelligent potential lead retrospectively to—articulate retrojectively—narrative notions of intelligent progress beyond natural selection relative to conceptions of intelligent selection that are recently prospecting so-called ‘post-humanity’.T: Mysterious.
Evolution—non-trivially speaking—is a conception of natural progress relative to conceptions of intelligibility.
A: Yet, inevitable, given the self-enhancive nature of intelligent life unconstrained by morphology which allows intelligence to eventually select for that, which amplifies Its given opportunity.
T: If it’s inevitable, then intelligent life emerges on Earth-like planets to become articulate.
A: And, in fact, did so millions of years before that happened here.
T: “In fact.”
A: Well, that’s another mystery.” He paused. “His story in my story.”
T: He being your friendly god long arrived.
“Thom and I laughed,” writes Gene. “Art played Cheshire cat, really looking like Ed Wynn.”