An Open Letter to Daniel McGowan
<table><tr><td>OPEN LETTER TO : DANIEL McGOWAN #63794-053
FCI TERRE HAUTE - CMU
P.O. BOX 33
TERRE HAUTE, IN 47808
i just watched the documentary ‘If A Tree Falls’ on television. it made a strong impression on me.
i hope you are coping well [up to your expectations] with your incarceration and i am happy for you, in hearing that you will be out at the end of the year.
i totally share an understanding of the strong feeling of ‘something going wrong’ in our society, civilization even, and the desire to do something that can help stop us from falling deeper into dysfunction.</td><td><img title="Great Ones will be sung about forever..." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2010/nietzschefiremouth.jpg"></t...
i wanted to share with you my views on ‘what that something wrong’ is, for whatever value it may have for you in your continuing search to ‘make sense of things’.
in this view [a minority/heretical view that is not just 'my view'] the ‘glitsch’ is in ‘science’ and ‘science’ and ‘scientific thinking’ is the salient feature of ‘our’ globally dominant/dominating ‘Western’ civilization.
Ernst Mach [mentor of Einstein and Poincaré] put his finger on it and David Bohm captured it in his example-inquiry into ‘what cause the death of Abraham Lincoln’. Apparently, a ‘bullet’ caused Lincoln’s death, or was it the Derringer the bullet came from, or was it John Wilkes Booth’s finger that squeezed the trigger, or was it the invention of gunpower or the development of politics?
evidently, our inquiry into ‘cause’ can go backwarks and sideways [upstream] to encompass the entire evolutionary development of complex phenomena such as the death of lincoln.
In this case where inquiry unfolds without bound upstream and back into the complex evolution of phenomena, the ‘causal agent’ is no longer seen as a ‘thing-in-himself’ notionally equipped with his own jumpstarting ‘local agency’, but he is instead seen as being included in a larger dynamic, the dynamic of the habitat he is situationally included in. in other words, his action is an ‘expression of the dynamics of the habitat he is included in’. Mach’s principle can be expressed; “The dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”
so, what i am saying is that ‘it is more true’ to see the agent who we commonly see as ‘the causal agent’ not as a ‘thing-in-himself’ with his own locally originating, internal process jumpstarted behaviour, as is the simple model of science, but to go to next level of science [relativity and quantum physics] and see the behaviour of the ‘agent holding the smoking gun’, instead, as an expression of [as being shaped by] the dynamics of the habitat he is situationally included in.
Jean Valjean’s action in ‘stealing’ a loaf of bread did not simply jumpstart, as science would say, from his internal biochemical and neurophysical processes, his behaviour originated in the tensions and imbalances in the habitat dynamic; i.e. he could no longer bear to hear starving children crying as they were put to bed hungry. these continuing tensions deriving from the web of relations he was woven into reached a threshold where a restoring-of-balance action was triggered in him; i.e. the habitat-dynamic was conditioning his inhabitant-dynamic as in Mach’s principle.
nietzsche [reportedly influenced by Mach’s ‘Analysis of Sensations’ and ‘Development of Mechanics’] brings out the same problem of ‘over-simplification’ on the part of mainstream science that we ‘build into language’ so that the complex evolution of physical phenomena is reduced to a simple ‘causal’ model based on 'visual appearances’. thus the notion of the inhabitant’s behaviour being an expression of the habitat dynamic is ‘eclipsed’. if turbulence develops in the atmosphere-habitat and at the height of the turbulence we see a flash of light from an electrical ‘discharge’ that has been accumulating within the complex spatial dynamic, we use the subjectifying power of language to re-render the dynamic in terms of a ‘doer’ and a ‘deed’ or ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ as in ‘lightning flashes’. nietzsche explains how we use language and grammar to perform this over-simplification as follows;
<em>“Our judgement has us conclude that every change must have an author”;–but this conclusion is already mythology: it separates that which effects from the effecting. If I say “lightning flashes,” I have posited the flash once as an activity and a second time as a subject, and thus added to the event a being that is not one with the event but is rather fixed, “is” and does not “become.”–To regard an event as an “effecting,” and this as being, that is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.” – Nietzsche, ‘Will to Power’, 531</em>
nietzsche is a philosopher who is known for his anti-science views, but the greatest philosopher of science that was a contemporary of nietzsche’s, henri poincaré, was saying the same thing in scientific terms;
<em> “Origin of Mathematical Physics. Let us go further and study more closely the conditions which have assisted the development of mathematical physics. We recognise at the outset the efforts of men of science have always tended to resolve the complex phenomenon given directly by experiment into a very large number of elementary phenomena, and that in three different ways.</em>
<em>“First, with respect to time. Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down its differential equation; for the laws of Kepler we substitute the law of Newton.”</em>
when one ‘opens up’ the understanding of what is going on to ‘the whole succession of phenomena’, then the ‘spatial dynamics’ or ‘the habitat dynamic’ and/or ‘the community dynamic’ become ‘participants’ in physical phenomena that we tend to simplify by portraying them as the doer-deed actions of the inhabitants. this opened-up understanding that includes 'the whole succession of phenomena' can be seen as the ‘general case’.
in this case, we would say that the actions of the operators of 'superior lumber' were an expression of the dynamics of the society in which they were included [a society that hungrily consumed wood products]; i.e. the actions of tree-falling did not simply jumpstart from the biochemical and neurophysical processes of superior lumber employees. as with the ‘what caused the death of lincoln' exemplar of bohm’s, we can start with the result, the clear-cut in the forest and reverse the video footage and identity chainsaws as the cause, and still further back ‘upstream’, to the loggers holding the chainsaws and further back up and sideways to the invention of the gasoline engine and further back to the managers of superior lumber and further back to the community wood-product consuming dynamic.
scientific thinking; i.e. thinking in simplistic doer-deed terms is what allows us to think in terms that ‘the buck stops with superior lumber’ or ‘the buck stops with daniel mcgowan’, in accordance with this standard ‘simplification’ used in scientific thinking; <em>. “Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past.”</em>
does ‘the buck stop’ with daniel mcgowan and the E.L.F. group in the case of the arsons? does ‘the buck stop’ with jean valjean in the case of the bread theft? or is this just our scientific way of simplifying our description of physical phenomena <em> “Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon</em>”?
what ‘confuses the issue’ here is ‘language’, our abstract phonetic language, which reduces complex dynamic phenomena [e.g. lightning, crime] to over-simplistic doer-deed terms; ‘lightning flashes’, ‘criminals cause crimes’. if the identified causal source is seen as where the buck stops in determining the authoring source-point leading to the troublesome result, then there is no need to call for <em>“embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon”</em>. and as poincaré has pointed out, this simplification is built into mathematical physics and it lies is the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’.
with this assumption in hand, we can trace the arson back to, and no further than daniel mcgowan and his igniting of the incendiary devices, and we can trace the clearcut back to, and no further than superior lumber company. in the causal model of mainstream science, the evolving complexity in the habitat dynamic is not taken into account; i.e. space is a non-participant, even though modern science contradicts its mainstream version of science by saying that “space is a participant in physical phenomena”. did the dynamic of the habitat shape the behaviour of jean valjean? did the dynamic of the wood-product consuming society shape the behaviour of superior lumber? did the dynamic of the habitat shape the behaviour of daniel mcgowan. ‘yes’ and ‘no’ says the forked tongue of science.
in mach and poincaré’s view, the laws of science deal with ‘appearances’. by imposing an absolute space, euclidian geometry, and absolute time reference frame [x,y,z,t frame] in the course of our inquiry, we eliminate the dynamic webs of relations that things are woven into and we come up instead with a view in terms of ‘things’ and ‘what things do’; i.e. the familiar doer-deed model of dynamics which is bereft of relational influences. now we can say that ‘the lumber company produces lumber’ as if it were a ‘complete thought’ and that the relational cycles in the community dynamic, population growth and bursts of construction were not the larger dynamic complex that transcends ‘the lumber company’s production’ in the same sort of manner that turbulent ocean dynamics transcend the dynamics of the sailboat [i.e. the sailboat derives its power and steerage from the habitat-dynamic it is included in].
euclidian geometry is the popularly-imposed-by-science, absolute space reference framing that serves to to synthetically remove the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relations of our experience, and thus to furnish a more simple view of dynamics in terms of notional ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what these things-in-themselves do’. this reduced-to-doer-deed view of dynamics is a ‘language’, a ‘scientific language’ that serves to simplify the dynamics of our experience and to give them a ‘start-and-stop’ explicitness/finality that is entirely unrealistic and unreconciled with our experience of living within a continually unfolding world dynamic. as poincaré observes, science is ‘playing a language game’ that serves to present a simplified rendition of the dynamics of our real-life experience;
<em> “Finally, our Euclidean geometry is itself only a sort of convention of language; mechanical facts might be enunciated with reference to a non-Euclidean space which would be a guide less convenient than, but just as legitimate as, our ordinary space ; the enunciation would thus become much more complicated, but it would remain possible.”</em>
<em>“Thus absolute space, absolute time, geometry itself, are not conditions which impose themselves on mechanics ; all these things are no more antecedent to mechanics than the French language is logically antecedent to the verities one expresses in French. “ - Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis</em>
in conclusion, it is too simple to define the problems we are experiencing in society as jumpstarting from the internals of particular causal agents; e.g. superior lumber and/or daniel mcgowan, but if we back off our imposing of this over-simplistic doer-deed model and acknowledge the webs of relations that have over-riding influence on our dynamics, we can see the point made by people like Frédéric Neyrat [who contends that ‘humanity is killing us] who observes in ‘Biopolitics of Catastrophe’
<em>“In extending his living space in a manner that destroys the space of others, he destroys his own space. Not initially his inside space, his ‘self’, but his outside space, this real outside-of-self which nourishes his ‘inside-of-self’. The protection of this outside space now becomes the condition without which he is unable to pursue the growth of his own powers of being.”</em>
that is, the web of relations associated with the humanist (anthropocentric) social dynamic is real-world complexity that we [our scientific thinking] has been ‘twisting off’ from; i.e. we, in our scientific thinking mindset, have been disconnecting from the web of relations that connects the human inhabitant with the habitat he depends on.
why is anthropocentric humanity ‘shooting itself in the foot’ by denying its innate habitat-inhabitant interrelationship?
as mach and nietzsche would say; the answer is ‘science’; i.e. the ‘doer-deed model’ which attributes the ‘production’ of wood products to ‘the wood product producer’ as is underscored by the view of the science of economics. in economics the growth of production of wood products is NOT conjugate with the decline of forests, thanks to the synthetic truncation upstream inquiry by way of the this ‘producer-product’ [lightning flashes] language game ploy.
‘science’ is a production of people and people tend to be ‘political’, thus science and how it is presented to the public is a matter of ‘people-politics’. scientists have chosen to eliminate the spatial-relationships in dynamics by imputing ‘thing-in-itself’ status to dynamic forms [such as humans who are 'relative' in the sense they/we are continually emerging, growing, declining and dissipating within the persisting, transforming space of the biosphere] and thus to impute ‘local jumpstart origination’ of their behaviour [scientifically attributed, thanks to analytical inquiry, to their internal biochemical and neurophysical processes which deny the over-riding influence of the turbulent habitat in which they ‘incubate’].
this ignore-ance is akin to focusing on the sailboat captain and crew and what they are doing as if they are the authors of their own dynamics, which, in only in a trivial sense [in 'appearance'], they are. however, what they do “does and does not” jumpstart from them, from their internal biochemical and neurophysical processes.
farmers do and do not ‘produce foodcrops’ because farmers are themselves a ‘crop’ within the habitat-dynamic, thus a particular crop in nature can in turn produce its crop. Emerson, in 'The Method of Nature' gives the example of the pear tree which is authored by 'the genius of nature' and endowed with a 'talent' for producing pears. the 'talent' is secondary to the 'genius' though we tend to jumpstart the pear-growing process from the 'pear tree', the transient dynamic form/inhabitant that we concretize with the subjectifying power of the words and definitions of language. as john stuart mill observes; "every definition implies an axiom; that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined."
the habitat-dynamic is the deeper source of the farmer and his dynamics, as in mach’s principle. the doer-deed over-simplification interposes a ‘disconnect’ that re-renders dynamics starting from the ‘causal agent’ as a ‘thing-in-itself’. this is a psychological ‘glitsch’ in thinking that has been described by nietzsche in the terms that we jump WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION from ‘a thing considered/observed in itself’ [Ding an sich selbst betrachtet] to ‘a thing in itself’ [ein Ding an sich]. once we have made this unjustified jump [thanks to absolute space and absolute time framing] we no longer have to inquire further back upstream beyond the notional ‘causal agent’ into the inherently relational habitat dynamic.
in short, the laws of science describe ‘appearances’, the dynamics of notional ‘things-in-themselves’ that evidently ‘owe nothing’ to the web of relations we/these-things are woven into, that our experience informs us characterizes the habitat dynamic that we ‘inhabitants’ are dependent inclusions in.
this is the view of mach, poincaré, bohm and schrödinger which has made them ‘heretics’. mach, in his own words ‘quit the Church of Science’ (in 1910) when he was told that science [the people and politics that manage science aka the 'scientist community'] had decided that the laws of science describe ‘reality’ rather than ‘appearances’. poincaré died in 1912. bohm spent his life trying to show how scientific thought was screwing up society by having us confuse ‘ripples in the energy-charged spatial-plenum’ [behavioural excitations in the habitat-dynamic] as coming from ‘things-in-themselves’ with their own local, internally jumpstarting behaviours. schrödinger followed suit, saying that the inhabitant-dynamic and the habitat-dynamic are conjugate aspects of one dynamic;
<em> “Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist. …” “Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum physics held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody.”</em>
this foundational dispute, which emerged a century ago, has never gone away, it has simply faded from public view in the same sort of manner that the views of scientists who do not believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) tend to have faded from the public view because science is run by scientists, and scientists are political people [and politicians can use science opportunistically as with al gore] who do media interviews and who want to see their version of science inform the behaviour of the public. the man on the street has to make his decision on WHOSE view of science to take, and he typically bases his choice on what the majority of scientists think, but as we only too well know; “the majority has no monopoly on what constitutes reality”.
so, this view, that the causal model is the problem, is what i wanted to share with you. if we apply the more comprehensive model that acknowledges the over-simplicity of the doer-deed, cause-effect view of dynamics, then we see that your behaviour was an expression of the overall habitat dynamic; i.e. you were coming from the reality that ‘humanity is killing us’ by its anthropocentric ‘disconnect’ from the dynamics of habitat that it is itself a ‘crop’ within. this madness is fuelled by ‘ego’. the farmer takes credit for ‘producing the crops’ and society and the economy reward and respect him for ‘his production’. society and the economy do not need to look any further than the farmer for the causal authorship of the ‘productive result’. society does not need to look any further than john wilkes booth for the causal authorship of the death of lincoln. society does not need to look any further than daniel mcgowan for the causal authorship of the incendiary destruction of superior lumber.
in terms of organization in general, ‘the authorities’ do not need to look any further than themselves for the causal authorship of peaceful community’. or do they?
if we look back to the ‘evolution of laws’ we see that laws emerged to serve the cultivating of balance and harmony in the community dynamic. the opinions of the authorities as judges is a follow-on development. as nietzsche says in the Genealogy of Morality;
<em>“Now another word on the origin and purpose of punishment – two problems which are separate, or ought to be: unfortunately people usually throw them together. How have the moral genealogists reacted so far in this matter? Naively, as is their wont -: they highlight some ‘purpose’ in punishment, for example, revenge or deterrence, then innocently place that purpose at the start, as ‘causa fiendi’ of punishment, and – have finished. But the ‘purpose in law’ is the last thing we should apply to the history of the emergence of law: on the contrary, there is no more important proposition for every sort of history than that which we arrive at only with great effort but which we really ‘should’ reach, - namely that the origin of the emergence of a thing and its ultimate usefulness, its practical application and incorporation into a system of ends, are ‘toto coelo’ separate; that anything in existence, having somehow come about, is continually interpreted anew, requisitioned anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose by a superior power to it;”</em>
if laws emerged to serve the restoring, cultivating and sustaining of balance and harmony in the community dynamic, so as to avoid the habitat becoming a breeding ground for violent re-balancing acts [e.g. robin-hoodism], then why do we over-simplify by way of language game ploys such as ‘lightning flashes’ and/or ‘criminals are the cause of crimes’ as if the behaviour of criminals jumpstarts from their internal biochemical and neurophysical processes?
this use of the causal model to ‘truncate upstream inquiry into the sourcing of behaviour’, constraining authorship to the internals of the notional ‘causal agent’ leads to a degeneration of the original source of emergence of the law, replacing it with ‘what the law is useful for’ or ‘the purpose of the law’ which is seen by scientific thinking- [doer-deed thinking-] society as revenge, punishment, deterrence. since the real upstream spawning ground of criminal actions is the complex of habitat dynamics, it is quite possible to forget about the orchestrating influence that authored the emergence of law, and to shift to seeing law in terms of ‘what it does’ [its utility] as a tool to punish and deter criminals. this shift from the need that orchestrated the emergence, to the 'utility' of the emergent thing, in the case of crime and punishment, can easily lead, in actuality, to making the complex of habitat dynamics a more fertile spawning ground for criminal actions [e.g. by protecting the continuing growth of imbalances].
this machean/nietzschean viewpoint where the 'glitsch' resides in 'scientific thinking' [confusing idealized 'appearances' for 'reality'] is one which you or anyone can check out. it is not a viewpoint that is much in the public eye for the reasons mentioned; i.e. that science is managed by people and people tend to be political. it is nevertheless the viewpoint of some of the most accomplished philosophy-of-science thinkers that the world has known; mach, nietzsche, poincaré, bohm, shrödinger.
the machean/nietzschean model would explain your situation by acknowledging the correctness of your intuition, that society/civilization/humanity is ‘killing us’ [killing itself], by its anthropocentric psychological disconnecting of the inhabitant from the habitat and portraying humans as ‘things-in-themselves’ with their own internally jumpstarting [biochemistry and neurophysics driven and directed] behaviour.
no clearer example of this psychological disconnect that is killing us, can be found than in the ‘logging industry’ where;<em>“In extending his living space in a manner that destroys the space of others, he destroys his own space. Not initially his inside space, his ‘self’, but his outside space, this real outside-of-self which nourishes his ‘inside-of-self’.”</em>
it is emotionally difficult, when one recognizes that we, as a collective, are 'killing ourselves', to stand by and allow the destruction to continue. the ‘warrior-protector’ archetype arises within us to step in front of this runaway growth of the power of man’s power to one-sidedly and thus dysfunctionally, pursue his own anthropocentric interests to the point that he is killing of his source of nurturance. <em>”The protection of this outside space now becomes the condition without which he is unable to pursue the growth of his own powers of being.”</em>
but where, in this model should 'blame' be attached and where should interventions inspired by the need to protect this ‘outer space’ that is the source of nourishment of man’s ‘inner space’ be targeted? [note that 'blame' is another word for 'causal authorship']
in this model, it is clear that the ‘disconnect’ that derives from ‘scientific doer-deed thinking’ is the source of the dysfunction and that it is psychologically entrenched in the Western psyche [in the confusing of idealization for reality]. the Western culture’s rise to global dominance/domination can be attributed to ‘scientific doer-deed thinking’. people collectives that believe that they are powerboaters whose source of ‘producing results’ jumpstarts from within them are in denial of the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation, where the outside-inward nurturing from the habitat-dynamic and their inside-outward asserting behaviour are conjugate aspects of the one dynamic of transformation. this denial is starkly evident in the colonizers of America’s one-sided focus on causally authoring their own anthropocentric/culture-centric CONSTRUCTION of a new world, ignoring the conjugate DESTRUCTION of diverse inhabitants sharing inclusion in the same dynamic habitat-complex, a denial that has led to the genocide of the indigenous people as well as to the genocide of trees and buffalo, wolves, bears and other species.
frustration arises from the fact that the source of the social dysfunction originates in the cultural psyche; in the scientific worldview but not in the scientific worldview per se since it is fully possible to accept that the scientific world view is ‘idealization’ based on ‘appearances’ that must not be confused for ‘reality’. that is, the problem drives from ‘confusing the scientific world view for reality’, for allowing it to become, as Emerson suggests, ‘a tool that has run away with the workman’.
the ‘wakeup call’ is ongoing. the environmental movement is one example. the only problem [which is likely only temporary] is that insofar as environmental activism ALSO tends to view things through the doer-deed model, the targets for intervention are going to be ‘material people and organizations’, those deemed ‘most responsible’ in a causal sense. the error could be in LITERALLY PERSONALLY ‘blaming’ these people and organizations for causal responsibility [rather than as important facilitators of dysfunctional system brought on by confusing idealization for 'reality']. the actions of the jean valjean’s and robin hood’s and/or the actions of the ‘superior lumber’s’ may need to be ‘dealt with’ by the overall collective, but what should not be lost in the shuffle is that conceiving of actions in terms of 'doer-deed dynamics jumpstarted from notional things-in-themselves’ is the source of the dysfunction.
the judge, prosecutor and police are just as much participants in conditioning the habitat dynamic as are the defendants that stand before them, as per mach’s principle. the scientific view of dynamics that simplifies dynamics to the actions and interactions of material ‘things-in-themselves’ whose behaviours are locally originating and jumpstart from their internal processes is nothing other than idealization that should not, but typically is, confused for ‘reality’.
the bottom line is that actions to protect ourselves from those who are protecting a dysfunctional social dynamic that is in the act of ‘killing all of us’ make more sense than the actions of those protecting the dysfunction. however, in the end, it is the dysfunctional psychology of confusing doer-deed scientific thinking for ‘reality’ that has to be addressed.
i hope this machean/nietzschean/poincarean view into what is going on, is of some use to you in your ongoing inquiries.