Studies in the Person-World and Pre-Science (1985)
D. Novel possibilities of integration
© Henry A. Flynt, Jr.
Sometimes a text becomes a legend to its author. So it was for me with Section D of Studies in the Person-World and Pre-Science (1985).
Studies as a whole undertook to show that the considerations which Husserl called phenomenology did not especially confirm the conventional reality-picture; rather the contrary. Husserl thought that he could refute skepticism by appealing to the full details of lived experience, of solitary comprehension. (Husserl’s method cannot appeal to specific contents of the psyches of others besides myself.) As the details available to the solitary psyche added up, they converged to conventional reality-judgments.
But wait. The details are being pre-regularized according to socially established units and detection machines (hours and clocks etc.). (Here I will label all that “authority.”) Without authority, the details do not validate conformism; they undermine it.
Consider incipiently semantic consciousness-events. (Cf. D.2 below. Examples are recognition; perception of a deficit; regretful memories; fearful expectations.) Husserl’s details need for incipiently semantic consciousness-events to cohere consistently for all people at all times and places. (It is as with pre-regularization. Everything has to be well-behaved before we begin to prove that it is well-behaved.) And yet Husserl has not even acknowledged incipiently semantic consciousness-events. To give a conformist account of them would require a phenomenology of the existence of <reality, including time, in conjunction with authentic appellations>. (E.g. it is inauthentic to recognize a whale as a fish, authentic to recognize it as a mammal. It is authentic to recognize the real past as past and the real future as future when I imagine my experience outside the present.) Such a phenomenology was utterly beyond Husserl.
It is customary to say “we.” But Husserl’s proof produces no “we.” He posits “we” dogmatically as an afterthought (the notorious transcendental ego). Husserl does not prove anything that conformism believes. His project is more an attempt to tell you how much you have to believe to be a conformist. (In other words, dogmatic theology.) For all that, Husserl delivers only a mechanistic fraction of the human subject. (Well, he called phenomonology the physics of consciousness.)
My first impression of Husserl (cf. Blueprint, pages 33-35) has been substantiated. That it was a horrid sophistry. Both Husserl and his readers credited it because it advocated in favor of conformism. As the progress of science took science farther and farther from common sense, Husserl lamented that a crisis was at hand.
Husserl to the contrary, the overall lesson of Studies in the Person-World and Pre-Science was:
if you look at “the world” (including your mind) from the vantage-point of your solitary comprehension (authority having been bracketed), you will find gaps everywhere.
In other words, larger and larger fissures are discovered in the supposed relationship of validation.
By the time I arrived at Section D, I was ready to look for meta-technological opportunities—for novel schemes of integration. Perhaps the first thing to be said is that Section D did not especially deliver the novel schemes of integration. It does not especially provide the constructions which are my choice exhibits today. (I had Necker cubes, but only dimly saw the application that would be codified in “The Apprehension of Plurality.”)
There were inchoate or rudimentary meta-technological constructions even before I coined the phrase meta-technology. But I produced most of my choice exhibits after I wrote Section D.
If Section D only opened the door, I proceeded to walk through the door and make the most of it. That places my project in a very optimistic light. Here are some of the choice exhibits.
Introduction to the Logic of Contradictions (1992 revision)
Regulating Inference from Authentically Descriptive Inconsistency
Refutation of Arithmetic (1995)
That 1 = 2 (1997)
The Apprehension of Plurality
Paradoxes of Common Sense (1988)
Common Sense Analyzed as a Paradoxical Theory (2007)
Paradoxes of Naive Mathematics (1984)
The Repressed Content-Requirements of Mathematics
Studies in Constitutive Dissociation (1991)
Sentences which are rigorously unknowable but true
Hypnotic-Subjective Formation of “Mechanical” Logical Norms: the Chalk Game (1986)
SURPRISE!—The Seven-Stick Game (1990, unfinished)
The Counting Stands
The Epistemic Calculus
The Choice Chronology Project (1995)
I may note that Section D was to be followed by a Section E which inquired into individuated comprehension relative to the considerations of physical science. (But we don’t want to be naive. If “knowledge” were only built up from experience, then physics would not exist. Physics “came down from the sky” in ancient Greece: in Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes. Physics can only devolve from dogmatic mathematical and metaphysical abstractions.) The planned Section E became
Superseding Scientific Apprehension of the Inanimate World (1990)
Once I mention “Superseding,” it is an open question how many of my studies of physico-mathematical science should be considered as supportive of meta-technology. Anti-Mathematics and Paradoxes of Naive Mathematics are already on the above list. I may mention
Is Mathematics a Scientific Discipline?
Grades of Inconsistency in Physics (1986)
Exposé of Foundations of Mathematics (1989)
Failure Theorems at the Research Frontier (unfinished)
Whether “That 1 = 2” Is Compelling (2000)
Mathematics: the Faculty of Abstraction
Problem-Solving and the Incoherence of Classical Arithmetic (2002)
Elementarity claims and unregularized metaphors in foundations of mathematics (2001)
In 1987, I went back to the beginning of meta-technology, and offered some new results as concept art. Already there is the hand-written “concept art” journal of 1987. In addition to the concept art listed above, there was the 1990 installation in Venice,
Logically Impossible Space
There is also
Clock-takes (designed 1990-1992, not realized)
It is worth mentioning that Section D was not my first, or my only, collection of meta-technological leads. There had already been the study problems of 1980 and 1983, and the examples for a contemplated radio appearance in Berlin in December 1983. Cf.
Lessons in Meta-Technology (1980/1997)
I would write another list of meta-technological hints for my submission to the 1991 Harvard Class Report.
So the program which Section D heralded had a rich future—but Section D did not provide that future. Why did Section D become a legend in my own mind? There were the impressionistic reasons. I discussed the material with Hennix in Rhinebeck. An audio recording of discussion(s) with Hennix of some of these junctures was lost—leaving me feeling that I had come across key junctures which I might not be able to retrieve.
On the other hand, I wrote down many afterthoughts at the time, afterthoughts which mention Hennix. I have incorporated them in the body text and the supplements. To what extent they duplicate the audio recording there is no way of telling.
I set the text aside and never disseminated it. So it was “buried.” I began thinking of it as a buried treasure of meta-technology.
Reviewing the text today, what does it add up to? It probes the life-world for fissures, or degrees of freedom, that would enable novel schemes of integration. In passing, it illustrates that personhood theory can enhance meta-technology.
Toward the end of Section D, the counterposed claims and rebuttals start looking like philosophy of mathematics. (Caution: it is a world away from academic philosophy: “proving what everyone already knows” is not the goal.)
The exploration does not include all of the avenues: it is heavily inclined to evaluational processing of experience. For all that, there is a great deal of deeply considered writing here—so much so that the text is mentally exhausting to read, even to one who welcomes the results and is already familiar with the approach. In that respect, I suppose it lives up to the memory I had of it.
When I originally announced meta-technology, there were three avenues.
logic of contradictions
evaluational processing of experience
a priori neurocybernetics
Section D is inclined more to the second, less to the third; the first is largely absent. In general, the novel schemes of integration I have authored pierce the totality from one angle or another angle. They lend themselves to one of the avenues more than the others. I have not especially systematized the opportunities to allow all the avenues to be put in play at once.
The 2008 revision
In the present revision, I have minimized the references to the first three sections of Studies. The point is to herald opportunities for meta-technology. We cannot spend all our time finding fault with the conventional wisdom.
While typesetting Section D, I decided to integrate the afterthoughts into the body text. I find no point in maintaining the strict divisions of the 1985 material into body text, addenda, supplements. Rather than transmitting the 1985 manuscript with editorial cues, I chose to rework it in a logical progression.
I have, however, used some editorial symbols as reminders to myself of what happened to the 1985 material.
Arabic numeral with degree sign: 1985 passage omitted
underline [italics]: 1985 phrase to be replaced when I find the replacement phrase in my notes
< > 1985 addendum inserted
∆ ∆ 1985 supplement inserted
« » or “2008”: added in 2008