7/25/12

That is logical which comes from the essential nature of a symbol.


"If we are to explain the universe, we must assume that there was
in the beginning a state of things in which there was nothing, no
reaction and no quality, no matter, no consciousness, no space and
no time, but just nothing at all.  Not determinately nothing.  For
that which is determinately not A supposes the being of A in some
mode.  Utter indetermination.  But a symbol alone is indeterminate.

Therefore, Nothing, the indeterminate of the absolute beginning, is
a symbol. That is the way in which the beginning of things can alone
be understood. What logically follows? We are not to content ourselves
with our instinctive sense of logicality. That is logical which comes
from the essential nature of a symbol. Now it is of the essential nature
of a symbol that it determines an interpretant, which is itself a symbol.

A symbol, therefore, produces an endless series of interpretants.  Does
anybody suspect all this of being sheer nonsense?  Distinguo.  There can,
it is true, be no positive information about what antedated the entire
Universe of being; because, to begin with, there was nothing to have
information about. But the universe is intelligible;  and therefore it
is possible to give a general account of it and its origin.  

This general account is a symbol; and from the nature of a symbol, it must begin with
the formal assertion that there was an indeterminate nothing of the nature
of a symbol.  This would be false if it conveyed any information.  But it
is the correct and logical manner of beginning an account of the universe.
As a symbol it produced its infinite series of interpretants, which in the
beginning were absolutely vague like itself.  But the direct interpretant
of any symbol must in the first stage of it be merely the tabula rasa for
an interpretant. Hence the immediate interpretant of this vague Nothing
was not even determinately vague, but only vaguely hovering between
determinacy and vagueness; and its immediate interpretant was vaguely
hovering between vaguely hovering between vagueness and determinacy and
determinate vagueness or determinacy, and so on, ad infinitum. 

But every endless series must logically have a limit.
 Leaving that line of thought unfinished for the present owing to the feeling
of insecurity it provokes, let us note, first, that it is of the nature of a
symbol to create a tabula rasa and therefore an endless series of tabulae rasae,
since such creation is merely representation, the tabulae rasae being entirely
indeterminate except to be representative. Herein is a real effect; but a symbol
could not be without that power of producing a real effect. The symbol represents
itself to be represented; and that representedness is real owing to its utter
vagueness. For all that is represented must be thoroughly borne out.

For reality is compulsive. But the compulsiveness is absolutely hic et nunc.
It is for an instant and it is gone. Let it be no more and it is absolutely
nothing. The reality only exists as an element of the regularity.  And the
regularity is the symbol.  Reality, therefore, can only be regarded as the
limit of the endless series of symbols.

A symbol is essentially a purpose, that is to say, is a representation
that seeks to make itself definite, or seeks to produce an interpretant
more definite than itself. For its whole signification consists in its
determining an interpretant; so that it is from its interpretant that
it derives the actuality of its signification.

A tabula rasa having been determined as representative of the symbol
that determines it, that tabula rasa tends to become determinate.  The
vague always tends to become determinate, simply because its vagueness
does not determine it to be vague (as the limit of an endless series).
In so far as the interpretant is the symbol, as it is in some measure,
the determination agrees with that of the symbol.  But in so far as it
fails to be its better self, it is liable to depart from the meaning
of the symbol.  Its purpose, however, is to represent the symbol in
its representation of its object; and therefore, the determination
is followed by a further development, in which it becomes corrected.
It is of the nature of a sign to be an individual replica and to be
in that replica a living general.  

By virtue of this, the interpretant is animated by the original replica, 
or by the sign it contains, with the power 
of representing the true character of the object.  
That the object has at all a character can only consist in a representation that
it has so, a representation having power to live down all opposition.
In these two steps, of determination and of correction, the interpretant
aims at the object more than at the original replica and may be truer
and fuller than the latter. The very entelechy of being lies in being
representable.  A sign cannot even be false without being a sign and so
far as it is a sign it must be true.  A symbol is an embryonic reality
endowed with power of growth into the very truth, the very entelechy of
reality.  This appears mystical and mysterious simply because we insist
on remaining blind to what is plain, that there can be no reality which
has not the life of a symbol.

How could such an idea as that of red arise?  It can only have been by
gradual determination from pure indeterminacy.  A vagueness not determined
to be vague, by its nature begins at once to determine itself.  Apparently
we can come no nearer than that to understanding the universe.

That is not necessarily logical which strikes me today as logical;
still less, as mathematics amply exemplifies, is nothing logical
except what appears to me so.  That is logical which it is necessary
to admit in order to render the universe intelligible.  And the first
of all logical principles is that the indeterminate should determine
itself as best it may.

A chaos of reactions utterly without any approach to law is absolutely nothing;
and therefore pure nothing was such a chaos.  Then pure indeterminacy having
developed determinate possibilities, creation consisted in mediating between
the lawless reactions and the general possibilities by the influx of a symbol.
This symbol was the purpose of creation.  Its object was the entelechy of being
which is the ultimate representation.

Charles Sanders Peirce from New Elements in The Essential Peirce

Cap tip Jon Awbry


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Two Simple Sayings



You cannot be yourself without another

Abba is the Other Who is always there within




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Wingnuts backed by wingnut dollars

Wingnuts backed by wingnut dollars
Velvet tongued and lethal they
Turning fearful wingnut hollers
Into ads to win the day

Will we watch this in amazement
Numbed by all their bald-faced lies
Or will we rise and make a statement
Nothing stands that truth defies



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As we forgive those who do wrong is my parsing of the traditional words of the Lord's Prayer


As we forgive those who do wrong 
is my parsing of the traditional words of the Lord's Prayer
As we forgive our debtors 
As we forgive those who trespass against us 
Both of these constructions are less telling these days 
As we forgive those who do wrong covers the waterfront 
of things we need to forgive on a daily basis 

We are forgiving a whole lot of people 
including people we have already forgiven 
when our forgiveness has been less than effective 
We forgive those we know have harmed us in word and deed 
And we forgive those whose actions are harming us 
even though they may not know it and are far away 
We forgive everyone daily 

But the most the most important word in this beyond forgive 
is common to all versions - as 
This points to the reciprocal contractual covanental nature 
of this massive transaction 
We are forgiven by Abba AS we forgive 
This is the only condition in the prayer but it is the key to everything 

Go to South Africa where they have made 
forgiveness a national priority I
t is not perfect but imagine this happening in America 
Impossible in our poison climate 

To be forgiven is to stand free 
To obtain this freedom we must daily forgive everyone 
It does not mean we do not battle 
It means we battle for the values 
not for the pleasure of destroying folk 
And if we are destroying folk 
we need to look to our values 

The key ones are tolerance democracy helpfulness and non-idolatry


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The Ten State Meme Making Obama Supporters Feel Better

Election Forecasts - FiveThirtyEight Blog - NYTimes.com: "But Mr. Obama led by a mean of 3.5 points in the RealClearPolitics averages for the 10 states (Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire and Wisconsin) that are most likely to determine the election outcome, according to our “tipping point index.” If the list is expanded to cover the five other marginally competitive states where RealClearPolitics calculates a polling average — Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and North Carolina — Mr. Obama’s lead averages 3.1 points, according to the numbers."

'via Blog this'

OK we all want Obama to win. And we get bent out of shape when Nate's Obama over Romney line wiggles downward. So when we come upon a paragraph like this we wipe our brow in relief.

Not so fast. Despite their mental deficiencies, GOP operative's can read and when all is said and done a vote in a key district in one of these states will be worth more than a VW bug used to cost.

What is the moral?

I say it is the Big Picture. While the race may indeed be won or lost by micro-focus on key districts, we need to frame things sufficiently aptly to ensure that the entire nation knows what the choice is and what it means. That is what my efforts will be about. I will agonize daily, but I will go for the big picture.




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Mitt Romney's Asinine Entry into The Foreign Policy Arena

The Candidates Talk Foreign Policy - NYTimes.com: "The presidential candidates took a break this week from talking about the economy, the most important issue in the election, and turned to foreign policy. This was a chance for Mitt Romney to show that he could be a better international leader than President Obama, who has already proved himself in that field. He fell far short."

'via Blog this'

When Andy Rosenthal skewers Mitt Romney, give it an A. Because Andy is nothing if not measured, in the NYT style. In the sentence above, you have the general truth about the contrast between the candidates. Obama has proved himself. Romney has bombed.

But there is more.

Adelson’s Latest Foray Courts Jews for the G.O.P. http://buff.ly/LNkGBI

Money is massing. The illegal fellow from Las Vegas, whose fortune is made in casinos in the Far East,
wants to buy the election for Mitt so that Mitt can enact his Armageddon fantasy. This would make Afghanistan and Iraq look like openers at some hellish arena Concert of Doom.

By election day the extremism and simplicitude of the GOP will have the smell and feel of a a rancid milkshake in the Nevada sun exploding.

Sane heads will run to the polls to elect a sane, proven Commander in Chief.



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