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Insane Conclusions Forced by Common Sense:  Paradigm 1

(1977/2007)

 

 

            The common-sense contradictions come from “Common Sense Analyzed as a Paradoxical Theory.”

 

 

            Let us recapitulate some of the lessons of “Analyzed.”  There is perceptible change.  But in order for there to be perceptible change, in order for the world to incorporate mutually exclusive states in its identity, time must pass, so the two states can be assigned to different times and thereby not annul each other.  Time passes, and the world is a series of states with each state being identified by its time of occurrence.  Phenomena cannot appear out of nothing or vanish into nothing,  The persistence of the world through time must therefore be a continuous persistence of the same phenomenon, a continuous persistence of earlier states.  But we learned that there we have no choice but to analyze a continuum into unextended points.  The world is formed by point(-state)s in temporal series.  If a point state is defined by its assignment to (identification with) its instant of occurrence, then there can be no way of divorcing it from that instant.  There is no way that a point state can preserve its identity when in transition to a succeeding instant.

            Every occurrence is determined by prior causes.  One occurrence cannot be the cause of another unless the occurrences are are in immediate succession.  Is the cause of each state the preceding state contiguous to it?  If point states are contiguous, they must coincide completely, since they are indivisibly transitory.  Then each point state would be its own cause—which is out of the question. 

            That only allows the world to be a series of separate point states.  But then as a temporal continuum they have to be non-contiguous successive without positive gaps.  And yet common sense says:  Infinitely many positive magnitudes cannot be cumulated in a finite period of time with a finite result.  Moreover, no matter how much dividing we do, the point states remain separate.  But if a point state is separate, it has temporally appeared out of nothing and vanished into nothing.  It is spontaneous.  There is no causation.

            A chancier way of conceiving the same juncture, not included in “Analyzed.”  Since the point states must be separate, null-times must exist to separate them.  Once we grant null-times separating point states, a point state will have null-times before and after it.  But it is impossible to distinguish two nothings from one another; it is impossible for their names to have meanings distinguished from each other.  (23)  Thus every point state is between the same null-time.  Thus the point states, and the world, cannot exist.

            My awareness is part of the world.  My awareness persists.  Yet it is constituted of instants.  Then, for example, a given awareness-instant cannot transfer its identity to a succeeding awareness-instant.  Thus, there is no unity among the instant-portions of my awareness, no single “me” which possesses different instant-portions of awareness.

            We saw that time’s linear extension is unknowable—and so meaningless.  I only know time as “Nows.”  Rectilinear time as a reality is unknowable to me (it is purely conjectural).  That makes it not only doubtable but nonsensical.

            My wish, which commences a responsible act, must be spontaneous.

            Putting these conclusions together, my awareness is a spontaneous (uncaused) present and nothing else.  Having repudiated time’s linear extension, there can be no change.  My awareness is awareness of a changeless present instant.  But since change is necessary to bring awareness into being, I can have no awareness at all.

 

 

            We know that common sense is multiply paradoxical already at the level of its definitions and postulates.  Yet it remains usable and in fact indispensable and inescapable.  How is that?  Because there is a convention not to infer:  wherever inference produces disruptive novelties.  Unwanted conclusions are tacitly excluded by fiat.

            What happens if we do not heed the conventions?  What happens if we draw conclusions freely in this subject-matter?  Then we end with absurdity compounded.  What is the significance of it?  The significance is that without exclusions by fiat, you are pre-pledged to believe this content; in fact, it is inseparable from the conceptualization by which you negotiate everyday life and social interaction.  Absurdity compounded traps you like a fly in amber.

            Thus, Paradigm 1 illustrates:  inference from inescapable subject-matter without deletions by fiat.