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Science, Objective/Subjective

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.philosophy.meta,talk.religion.buddhism,
From: (mordred)
Subject: Re: Science, Objective/Subjective (Was Re: Yoga, Tantra, Magick ...)
Date: 20 Mar 1995 11:57:33 -0800

Kali Yuga 49950320 [minimizing text through snippage] (Larry McMahan) and I continue our wrangle:

|>|In the most objective meaning there is only sense data.

|>By 'objective' here you veer from my usage.  Sense data is subjective by
|>my definition.  We cannot measure it (as a society).  It is internal. 
|>You are only arguing radical subjectivism to say that 'there is only
|>sense data'.  Hume, others have preceded you.  Even Rene went there.

|...If my usage of objective is different that yours, pray explain the 

I interpret you to mean that 'objective' implies accuracy and that it is
arrived at through modern scientific means (most notably consensus after
empirical observation and all the other commonly accepted elements).  I
mean by 'objective' 'of or relating to the object' (especially regarding
the 'objects' of consciousness -- those separate from the self).

|My remarks are not the results of some deep philosophical musings.  I am 
|simply clarifying what we can (and cannot) know by going back to the most 
|fundamental way we get and process information.

Cf. Hume, Berkeley, Descartes, etc. for more.

|>|Attribution of sensation as arising from external or internal emanations
|>|is, at most, appearances based on the way we interpret the sense data
|>|we receive.  

|>You are defining with respect to origin.  I'm defining with respect to
|>assignment of location.  We don't 'receive sense data'.  It is part of
|>us.  Our fluctuations of sense-apparatus are not always considered to
|>be 'something other than us'.  Vibration of membranes doesn't cause us
|>to cease identifying with those membranes.

|What!, and so what!  

'Sense data' are imaginary fictions.  

|>|It is a purely intellectual game we play with ourselves and others.

|>That is one perspective, yes.  Another is that what you are calling an
|>'intellectual game' is the foundation of true knowing, that as we begin
|>to define very clearly defined boundaries of self/other we may come not
|>only to see the differences between that to which we ascribe these labels 
|>but also to see how fuzzy is the boundary all in all.  I'm speaking not only
|>of convention here but also wrt mystical subjects (i.e. 'atman', 'soul',
|>etc., whatever is considered '(part of) what I am').

|Nothing you state in your contratemp contradicts my statement.  Did you
|mean to?

I do not intend to contradict you.  My only intent is to compare and
contrasts different ways of seeing the same thing.  You appear to posit
that there is only one reasonable way to understand these materials.  I
am only suggesting alternatives.  Most of the rest deleted unless you ask 
a specific question.

|>| it called "objective."  Because "we" agree that it is external(ly 
|>|observable), and "we" agree on the interpretation of the sense data that 
|>|we have received.  

|>...'objective' is an extreme which relates to, when speaking as 
|>individuals, that which is not our experience.  The subject defines 
|>the boundaries of the objective and vice versa.

|This statement is intruiging.  I am trying to describe objectivity the way
|it is used in the the scientific method for hypothesis formation.  That is,
|the definition of objective in the term 'obejctive science.'

Yes, and I am contrasting this with what I consider to be a more valuable
definition of objectivity.  I do not say that your usage is wrong (or even
unorthodox!), only that I think they are too extreme for me.

|But you statement seems to point to another definition.  Are you saying 
|that to you objective is what we relate that wasn't our experience (perhaps
|it was related to us), and that what we have experienced directly is

I use my terms rather specifically.  When we look at a 'thing', if we
think it is part of us and that we feel it or think it (i.e. a thought or
how my leg feels from the inside), then it is a 'subject'.  When we look 
at a 'thing' and see that it is somehow outside our personal experience 
(i.e. when I look at my leg from the outside, or when I look at a chair),
then it is an 'object' to us.  I tend to think that 'direct experience'
involves a resolution of object and subject and enters into mystical or
ineffable events.

|If they are, then I would make two observations.  1.  This certainly is not
|the scientific meaning of objective.  It is much close to what I described.

Please understand that I do not associate any specific knowledge-system with
Science.  I am only repeating to you now what was written in _Liber Scire_,
which is why I asked you to read it rather than perpetuate difficulties in
our communications.  However, I shall continnue for the nonce.

I do not think that there is 'a scientific meaning' of anything.  Science is
a mechanism (esp. when we speak of 'the scientific method', which is 
interpreted rather precisely and presented in _Liber Scire_ to be the only
method by which we can learn).  It is THE way of coming to know things.  Very
specific meaning-term associations are part of the *knowledge-structures*
which Science generates.  Once we begin to cement any particular knowledge-
structure to Science itself (which modern science has done with its material-
and object-focus), then we have lost true Science and have entered into the
same kind of propaganda and dogma which scientists attempted to throw off
when opposing the Church in Europe.

|2.  I would be very surprised if it is even the common meaning.

It is not and I have said as much.  It is quite specific and I make no
bones about this.

|>The interpretation of the sense data is unimportant when describing the
|>referent to 'objective science', since Science will yield various
|>interpretations and knowledge-structures for each paradigm it generates.
|This statement cannot be accepted at face value without some explanation.

Cf. _Liber Scire_.

|As a 'trained scientist,' I can tell you that interpretation (sometimes
|called analysis) is crutial to making sense (other meaning of the word) of

Of course it is.  I see that you did not understand my statement.  My main
point is that there is not a single knowledge-structure which Science
generates.  Oh yes, modern science, with its dogma -- i.e. the Church of
Modern Science -- clings tightly to one knowledge-structure which it likes
to call 'an approximation of truth'.  Modern scientists who buy into this
are merely well-trained Priests of the New Church of Reason.  True Science 
doesn't limit itself to one paradigm.

| is a step in hypothesis formation.  (What do
|you want me to do, draw you a flow chart?)

I agree with this and there is a flow-chart drawn in _Liber Scire_ which
incorportates 'Hypothesis Generation'.

|>| an effort to create an objective reality that he can defend, [tyagi] 
|>|continually intermingles the three in a way that invites confusion.  

|>Mysticism invites con-fusion.  This leads to logical paradox.

|I don't think that is the case.  I agree that mysticism is involved in 
|resolving aparrent paradoxes, but I don't think creating confusion
|is the most effective way to accomplish this.

I place a hyphen amidst 'con-fusion' for good reason.  Check out the 
literal (i.e. etymological) significance of the term.  I think that 
Chaos mages should use this as some sort of equivalent of Gnosis.

|>|...he leaves the clear impression that for "objective events" he (and we) 
|>|can know what is, based on his interpretation of the event.

|>Absolutely not.  In fact, 'objective knowledge' is a different animal
|>entirely than 'subjective knowledge'.  At least with subjective it isn't
|>so ABSTRACTED from our experience....

|...How so?  Do you equate objective knowledge with shared knowledge?  

Objective knowledge is knowledge about the world of objects (usually the
material world) and is often consensus-based within modern Science.  I
know this is not a conventional usage.  I'm unconventional.

|Verifiable knowledge?  

'Verification' is only the means of testing whether a given knowledge-
structure conforms to our experience.  Now we can take 'our experience'
to include all of society (thus making consensus physical truths 
available) or we can merely compare this with our own internal memory
and its contents.  I can personally 'verify' something if I see that
that the knowledge-system somehow fits with my uninterpreted, perceived
data.  In this way I can see that Buddhist knowledge-structures conform
to my experience of the world when I suspend my preferences and see only
the logic and depth of meaning which these include.  It is 'true' in
that it conforms to my experience.  

The establishment of modern Science disputes this method of verification,
placing a greater emphasis upon 'consensus' and 'objectivity' (i.e. being
able to be verified by a great number of people).  What this results in
is materialism and an attachment to a very rudimentary knowledge-structure,
very handy for dealing with the material world but not very good at helping
us to improve our subjective and individual experience).

|What does 'abstracted from our experience' mean?  

I meant by it a distance from oneself.  When I think something it is quite
personal, and is rudimentary to my experience.  I do not have 'experience
of' my thoughts.  However, when I see a skull, I have an 'experience of'
that skull.  The skull and I are different things.  Only if I were to
engage mystical processes (which forge a unification of self-other) would
I come to experience the skull directly, *being* the skull.

When I speak of objects I speak of things outside myself, and these are
'abstracted from my experience' in that they are not me, not my experience
itself, and not even attached to me or my experience.  They are 'objects
about which I may have an experience'.

Knowledge is similarly analyzed.  Objective knowledge is about things
other than myself, about the world of objects, nouns.  Subjective knowledge
is about myself and its contents, subjects, verbs, perhaps adjectives, etc.

|How does a piece of knowledge attain the label 'objective?'
|What attribute of knowledge makes is subjective?  

Wonderful questions.

I don't think you really want me to go into the politics and sociology of
how certain things are given certain labels and why.  It is terribly complex
when we begin speaking about motivations of societies.

*I* apply the label 'objective' to a piece of knowledge when it concerns
some object outside myself, even when it concerns an object which is about
me but is seen from outside.  A good example here is my foot.  Now I have
an interior experience of what 'my foot' is.  This includes all the various
sensations *from the inside*.

From the outside, and treated as an object, my foot is a biomechanism, a
kind of pedalious movement-enabler.  It is an 'it'.  It has ceased to be'
'me'.  It is 'a foot', and I can describe it from the OUTSIDE by giving
you diagrams of how it is composed, of what parts, etc.

SUBJECTIVE science (which is largely ignored or fledgeling) would engage
metaphoric and perhaps, if possible, literal descriptions of how it FEELS
to be that foot, what sort of knowledge the foot has interior to it, what
knowledge we can have about that interior foot, etc.

The attribute of knowledge that makes it subjective or objective is its
description I appear to be outside it looking in, then it is objective.
If I appear to be inside looking out, then it is subjective.  I don't
know why this would be difficult to understand, no matter how unorthodox
it will sound.

|That it isn't shared?

Both kinds of knowledge can be shared.  A good example of shared subjective
knowledge results from shamanic psychoactive ceremonies, wherein the group
experiences a shared interior experience and a knowledge is revealed to all
of them at once during the ceremony.  This may be the basis of true consensus 
politics within some of those cultures.

|That it *can't* be shared?  

All knowledge can be shared given the correct approach.

|Certainly direct experience does *make* knowledge 'subjective,' does it?

Not the way I use the terms.  When I say 'direct knowledge' I mean 'that
knowledge which identifies knower, known and knowledge'.  I consider
direct experience to be the ideal of mystical disciplines, including

|...See my questions above.  Tell me what it means to you.  Be as
|clear as you own ideas will let you.

I hope I have done your questions justice.

|you strongly implied that knowledge of chakras was purely subjective and 
|unverifiable (sorry I didn't keep the posts).  

I hope you now see that I think that subjective knowledge can indeed be
verifiable, but this doesn't make it the 'One True Knowledge'.  Actually
I think that many contradictory knowledge-structures can be verified,
either objective or subjective.

| seem to indulge from time to time in placing a particular activity 
|or type of knowledge firmly on one side of the fence or other.  

Yes, this is how I categorize my experience when reflecting upon it.  I
don't claim that everyone should see it my way.  Quite to the contrary,
I recommend variation and diversity of knowledge-structures!

|>to place heavy truth-emphasis upon that which concerns the not-self (i.e.
|>that which is 'free from the bias of human interpretation is the bastion
|>of perfect truth').  I do not prefer modern Science because I feel that it
|>offers an extremity (in fact one particular paradigm) which is therefore
|>not as *useful* and becomes dogma rather than merely knowledge.

|the extremity occurs in the popularization of the phenomenon, not in the 
|field of knowledge itself.  You will not find dogmatists among the scientists 
|nearly as much as you will find them among the popularizers of science.

Interesting.  Among those who claim to be 'scientists' online (including
yourself) I have noticed a preponderance of dogmatists who claim that my
ideas are false because 'what I am saying about Science is not true'.  That
is, they proclaim the Law of Modern Science (essentially the popular notions
within their particular, materialistic, objectivist field) and seek to put
me down without understanding my meaning.  So it goes.

|>|...even phenomena which have been labeled subjective, if they provide 
|>|any sense data at all, are subject to some measurement which can be 
|>|verified and interpreted.

|>I wouldn't have replied to your post except that I am quite interested
|>in this.  Given *your* notions of 'the subjective', please describe
|>methods of measurement here.  

|Apply TSM.  Repeat as necessary.  :-)

This works for both our approaches, though I'm sure we have different ideas
about what constitutes 'TSM' and how this would be applied within the
subjective realm.

|Take a detailed account of some 'subjective phenomenon.'  List all accounts
|of 'effects.'  Determine if any of these effects are verifiable vis some
|kind of observation that can be repeated or witnessed.  Devise experiment
|to make observations (measurements).  Analyze measurements.  Propose
|hypothesis based on measurements.  Predict additional effects based on
|hypothesis.  Devise more experiments.  Measure.  Analyze.  Propose.  Predict.

Yes, this is a very wonderful explanation of how modern (materialist) Science
would deal with subjective phenomena.  

I repeat:

|>Given *mine*, if you can see clear to it, please attempt the same.

|>|>That is why I call modern materialist Science a religion which promotes
|>|>its dogma as well as any Christian church.

|>|...It would seem, if Tyagi's oversimplification were right, that it 
|>|should be possible to remove the subjective bias from our measurements, 
|>|and it is "only" a political problem.  

|>I fail to understand how you can get such conclusions from my words.  In
|>fact I tend to argue quite the opposite -- that 'subjective bias' is only
|>a problem for those who chase the Objective Truth Mirage.

|Or those that arbitrarily make a distinction between subjective and objective
|based on the way they think it ought to be (where's Rush?).

It is not a matter of 'what ought to be' but of 'what I want at the moment'.

|>|But measurement is not existence, and interpretation is not measurement.  
|>|Variation creeps into the process at every step along the way.  

|>the establishment which is modern materialist Science promotes a single
|>(perhaps even false) paradigm.  You tell me that this implies that I
|>think that there is some means of 'correcting' the process such that some
|>kind of 'objective truth' may be obtained, apparently political.

| your argument that chakras were not objectively verifiable,

I did not say that they are not verifiable, only that they are likely
subjective referents.  I doubt that they will ever be found through
measurement devices as they are described today.  It is possible that
objective science will indeed isolate specific bodily phenomena which
correlate with the chakras.  However, these may be synaptic rather than
nervous or limbic fluctuations.

| were offering a clear distinction between what you though was
|subjective and what you thought was objective.  Are you saying that you never
|said it, or that that isn't what you meant?

I think that people are describing interior events and wanting to 'verify'
them objectively.  I think this may be largely futile, especially when
comparing this with SUBJECTIVELY verifying them (how does it fit with your
experience?, how does it work with your life?, etc.).

|>...the alternative to the propaganda of modern
|>science is a withdrawal into greater uncertainty, especially wrt how  
|>Universe works and the perfect means of describing 'reality'.

|...your notion of what modern science is and means is seriously flawed.  

I'm willing to presume this for the duration of a thought-experiment if
you like.  I have never been and am not now a member of the modern Scientific
establishment.  I have read literature published by various aspects of the
modern (and post-modern!) scientific community.  I have spoken to dozens of
people who are trained by the modern establishment to 'do Science' and I
have contemplated the writings of some philosophers of Science.  I don't
think I'm just fabricating all this out of my head.  The Abyss is a trained
Biologist, for example.  I am quite fond of basic Physics ideas, myself,
especially when these border on philosophical pursuits and apply to my life 
in very direct ways.

|...the specific flaw is that you take science to be the object that
|the popularizers of science paint it to be.  

This is possible.  I have not focussed upon 'popularizers'.  If you would
mention who you think represents this type of hogwash, I'd like to hear it.
As I said, I've tried to ground my ideas in very stable philosophical stone,
so to speak, though I am quite willing to be challenged, especially when I
get a sense that the individual is *also* interested in what I have to say
and wishes an exchange rather than just a one-way affair.  You've inspired
me to continue this dialogue so I'm asking for elaboration.

|Then when you see what a crock of shit it is, you decide to throw out 

I don't know where you got the notion that I would through out Science.  I
have, after all, stipulated that I think that TSM is the ONLY WAY TO LEARN.
I'm much more fanatical about Science than most scientists I know, except
I don't associate Science with a particular knowledge-project-type.  I agree
that I promote my own description of Science, but only because I find that
it conforms to my experience (i.e. I have verified it) and to the data I
can see among reputable sources around me (i.e. consensus among those I feel
understand my words and have similar valuative/logical acumen).

|...I was only talking about the process we go thought in forming 
|knowledge, not whether any of that knowledge was/is true or false.  

Epistemology, yes.  There is a vast field of it available within Western
and Eastern disciplines.

|Do you think I make a mis-statement describing the process?

The only way you could possibly make a 'misstatement', as I see it, is
if you said something logically impossible or something which you did
not yourself have experience to verify.  You describe your knowledge of
the learning process.  My only complaint is that you generalize way too
much and that there are many alternatives to what you are suggesting
which are just as true, as I see it. 

That's right, JUST AS TRUE.  Note, I do not say that either you are right
or they are right but neither can be.  I think that this is the trap of
'One Wayism' which has infected most of Western pop-philosophy.  Treat it
like light-particles and light-waves if you like.

|>My point is not that we should reach some certainty and believe that
|>knowledge should only be obtained through one method, let alone that only
|>one knowledge-structure (worldview) should be seized upon as accurate.

|Regardless of what method we use to acquire knowledge, we tend to go
|through a fairly well ordered set of steps in doing so.  

Well, that is what I assert when I say that TSM is the ONLY WAY TO LEARN.
I provide a description, however, not a justification.  I refuse to attempt
to sway people toward my thought-processes.  If it doesn't conform to what
you have experienced, throw it out (but I recommend putting it in a place
where you can retrieve it if you discover some value for it later).

|we can abstract the set of steps we go through and talk about a generic

Yes, that is what _Liber Scire_ is about.  It sets out very plainly how
Science can be seen as a mechanism of application of TSM, and how this
relates to Magick.

|We might even be able to say that method one inserts a step here
|or that method two deletes or modifies a step there.  I think this could be
|useful in comparing specific methods of acquiring knowledge, but I also
|think this is much more concrete than anything we have been discussing so far.

I'm unconvinced that there is more than one way we go about building

|>Quite the contrary, I think that we ought proceed from the notion that
|>what you say is accurate and see how far that gets us in the creation
|>of data/information/knowledge.  And I think we ought proceed from the
|>various religious and philosophical notions the world over (Buddhism
|>is a good example) and see where *they* get us.


This speaks volumes for our differences.  If you cannot understand the
above, then reread my words or ask questions about it (or end the
discussion if it is too tedious for you).  I cannot know where to address
the confusion if you merely express it without detail.

|>When it comes to objective and subjective sciences, I think it *practical*
|>to divide them based upon the referent, not on some sort of criteria of
|>accuracy, since all the latter does is polarize the various types.

|What do you mean?  

I mean that equating 'accurate' with 'objective' is a greivous error.

|What is the thing the symbol stands for?  What is the
|symbol?  I am sorry, but I have no idea what you are proposing?

Thing/symbol?  I do not specify what it is we may have 'knowledge about',
at least not in an absolute sense.  There is experience.  There is
knowledge about that experience.  Does the knowledge serve to orient us
within the relationship described by that knowledge?  If so, then it is
useful.  If not, then the knowledge is not useful to us. 

I'm not after the 'One True Knowldge Set'.  Most modern Scientists are,
even when they fudge with 'probability'.

|>|It's not politics at fault, it's not science at fault.  It's simply a 
|>|limitation of the life process.

|The limitations I was referring to were those in determining where the fine
|line between objective and subjective (or between verifiable and not
|verifiable) lies.  I clearly state again that when you discuss specific
|phenomena you draw this line much more brightly than when you engage in
|'philosophical' discussions, such as this one.

I agree.  My tendency is to define this line for myself and let others
define it for themselves.  Sometimes I draw it out very brightly, sometimes
I blurr the distinction immeasurably.  

When it comes to a discussion of Science, I tend to stick to a certain
data-set of distinction, though my experience varies tremendously,
especially in nonordinary states of consciousness.

|I will be happy to 'understand [your] very particular language' if you will
|be so kind to keep it's meaning constant, or at the least, tell me when you
|change it! :-).  

In the discussion concerning Science, TSM, objective/subjective knowledge,
and the relationship between all of these with mysticism and magick I am
indeed constraining myself to one single knowldge-set (one which I have
founded upon _Liber Scire_ and continue to expand based on philosophical
discussions like this one).  

I've been accused of 'changing what I mean partway through discussion',
but I very rarely do this.  What usually happens is that someone assumes
(inaccurately) what I mean by a term and when they see this distinction
they presume I previously meant what they'd projected.  Then they accuse
me of changing my meanings instead of looking at how they were projecting
upon my words (which are sometimes ambiguous enough to incorporate many
meanings, I know, though I sometimes make efforts to constrain this).

|I was also struck by a couple of things that you said in this piece.
|I wonder now, after reading your remarks, what you think science is.

Science is the means by which we may come to know anything.  The technik
we use to do this is called, conventionally, learning.  It is called
within modern Scientific fields 'the scientific method'.  As it says in
_Liber Scire_, I think that modern Science is a special case of Science,
very similar to how Newtonian Physics were a specific case in comparision
to Einsteinian Physics.  I presume this also of what *I* call TSM, which
incorporates but extends beyond what most in the modern Scientific
establishment call 'the Scientific Method', and these ideas are based
the 'revolutionary Science' of Kuhn, Batesian Learning Theory, and my
own speculations and discussions with scientists.

|Given whatever you think it is, your words seem to betray a distrust of
|it.  (The thing you think science is)  

I distrust modern Science in that I do not think that it provides the
'One True Knowledge' and I see that it is popularly promoted (not only
within the media but *also within the academic environment) as a dogma
without comparative truth value.  I think that this is not only sad, but

|I also felt that the words you wrote in this piece cautioning against
|relying too much on the pursuit of objective truth were quite at odds
|with past posts where you were more than willing to specifically place
|events in either the objective or subjective category with ease.

That is quite possible.  I hope to keep my statements to the personal,
relating it to my experience.  When speaking of chakras recently I may
have made very extreme assertions in response to extremities in contrast.
Such is the way I engage debate.  When the chips fall I do not believe

anything and think that knowledge is a very wonderful tool but largely
unnecessary and often an obstacle to direct experience.

|On a couple of occasions where you asked me what I meant by a phrase, I had
|to go back to my original message to get the context.  Don't trim quite so
|severly when you ask questions.


|When I signed onto alt.magick (where I am answering this) there were 1128 
|unread messages.  I don't read newsgroups with 1000 new posts a day.  50
|is about my limit.  I found this reply by accident.  Respond in this (and
|all the newsgroups you want.  But if you want a reply, either send me a
|copy or notify me by email.  You can post my response if I don't get around
|to it.

Agreed.  You might also try alt.magick.tyagi.  

|Mockingbird, the *only* mockingbird (until a new one arrives :-)

Hey, I live with Mockingbird, all around me.  I didn't think you were he
or that she was you.  Perhaps you mean the only Mockingbird within
cyberspace? :>
tyagi nagasiva

"...zen practice has no goals, steps, hurdles, barriers
or milestones.  There is just mindfullness and that is the practice." (Bill Smart)

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Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races