A coherent theory of value and its impact on moral conduct con only develop on the intrinsic relationality of all objects in the observers mind.
A person in my visual field is an image correlated with brain activity, and an inference based on belief. That is not to say the person does not deserve to be treated as an independent, parallel instance of consciousness. Subjectivism does not imply the non-existence of an external world, only the lack of direct or immediate knowledge of that world. How could the richness of the world be conjured up in my experience were the world itself not its inspiration? This argument, by the way, is as close to a ‘proof’ of an external world as one can get.
We are brains encased in helmets that generate a virtual reality which, by the sole fact of our survival, must conform to what is out there. (!!)
Bonnie’s comments in blue (per permission from GD):
This is where I think JB trips himself up. He makes what I call the Kantian “correspondence theory” fallacy — which has its current form in the correspondence theory of cognition, which basically states that whatever happens in cognition, is somehow completely independent of the objective world, but also somehow there is a one-to-one correspondence to the world. Kant imagined that there were transcendentalia (like the rules of math and logics) that could trans-literate through this type of correspondence, a scientific version of “the world out there” without ever really being able to know the a prior “out there.”
Here is a little sidebar history to compare and contrast the view(s) that are operating in western philosophy:
On the left we have Humean Idealism, where the world exists out there, forever unknowable. This is carried forward in the philosophy of perspectivalism, where the world exists as a construction of a human collectivity (we-space) – this is the epistemic fallacy that Critical Realism levies against Integral Theory- as Bhaskar notes, wrongly equating “the real world” with “the known world” and gives rise to the many-worlds version when the human collectives exist at different altitudes (different we-spaces, world-spaces, developmental-levels, etc…)
Along comes Kant and ushers in the modern era of scientific rationality based on transcendentalia in the human rational mind:
There is still a gap between the epistemic, known world, and the a prior, real world “out there” – but Kant allows for transcendentalia (and the proper uses of them) to transliterate or modulate scientific versions or maps that correspond to the real world out there (which itself remains unknowable). We learn to manipulate signifiers like mathematical equations, and through experiment and feedback, these signifiers have causal connection to outcomes — but we really do not know why/how the other side of the black box is working, and have no ability to touch the real.
In the above passage of JB, he seems to substitute the transcendentalia with the mocrogenetic wave that somehow “goes out to touch the real” — so this is an improvement, but there is still a gap. There is still a subtle suggestion of the “substance pluralism” problem – how do two substances interface?
Bohm comes along and says, there is only one substance — and its not a substance, its a process — the holomovement — and looks like this:
So the “transcendentally real” is now a different order — more densely enfolded order — of the explicit, object world. This gives rise to the notion that information precedes existence — the higher enfolded orders are higher orders in the informational field. This is better, but Bohm requires an infinite regression of ever-more higher orders of enfoldment– so there has to be structure, before process … which can be problematic, and is somewhat in-elegant, as it speaks to substance monism a la Leibnitz (instead of a process monism).
Given that JB is interested in neuro-cognition, and not metaphysics, he has to settle for his version of the story. But if you extend his process thinking based on process monism (single process, many substances(structures) – then you can come up with a kind of view that sees both cognitive and actual occasions as processes that infold reality — so the real is not an enfolded order, but open, vast, empty of structure or information, and that as it processes (enfolds on itself– like my piece of paper) it creates structures (processural centers) that then go on to generate sub-processes that interfere with other processes, and transforming the whole — into both cognitive and actual occasions.
So this is a process monism version.
There is only the substrate “consciousness” which has neither subjective nor objective quality (because those are structurations in the process field). The horizontal levels show different types of structuration, black microgenies are cognitive types, red mocrogenies are actual occasions of various types (structured as R1, R2, R3) — the R series representing the stratification of reality (as Bhaskar says) on an intrinsic (i.e. onto-genetic) scale. When cognitive ocassions interfere with actual ocassions, the processes that inteface become “world” with a subjective and objective pole at different interface points, creating different types of phenomena available for creating structures at higher levels of order (more and more densely enfolded-
And since each of the interfaces presupposes both an onto-genetic (prior) content, enfolded within each process proceeding from each living center (and attenuating back to source), then the enfoldments get increasingly more dense — and create something that is experienced as a prior (a- priori) layering of information in an implicit field — yet process monism has the advantage of not positing any metaphysical structures …
These illustrations of course, are not meant to be representations of anything “real” in and of themselves, but just useful to give meaning to the languaging of alternative ways of thinking about “reality.”
The real is imputed from the relation to appearance, and appearance is related to some term in addition to the subject.
If feeling is not real, reality is beyond our grasp, since feeling is the experience of process, process is reality and feeling as process is common ground with the process-life of all existence.
All the exists for the observer, and all that can be described with assurance, is given in the present.
We are images or ideas in a whole that is greater than all of us. The superficial (perpetual) bonds we share at the surface of the mental life are ripples in the same pond.
But the way back to the other, for solipsism and egoism, lies in a surrender of autonomy to adaptation, community and wholeness.
The self-realisation of the will can be directed toward any object, an idea, a meal, an illness, but when the will is directed toward another person, given that the other is part of the self, the self is most fully realised.
… genuine compassion is a true feeling of community that arises with a reclamation of other in the relinquishing and renewal of self.
The instinctual basis of genuine compassion suggests an origin antecedent to conscious empathy. This runs deep in the psychic life, even to the subtle pattern in organic nature, a quiet orchestration in which elements in a field are subordinate to the whole, bee hives, termitaries. We see this tacit choreography at work in a flight of birds, a school of fish, even in a grove of palms.
Asked who am I, the person should reply with sincerity, a human being like you. That is the primary identification to which all others – family, origins, religion, state, etc. – are or should be subordinate.
Only when such awareness is palpably entrenched in the psyche, or when we revive the positive in an ‘enlightened’ animism, will a dedication to the greater good of humanity arise out of the sense of being one with living nature.
In susceptible individuals, the perception of suffering elicits personal unhappiness as an empathic residue. In sum the exportation of subjective feeling into an objective state of suffering accentuates a subjective residue of value that leaves behind a trail of affect in the form of pity or compassion. The identification with the other can be attributed to an early phase in the individuation of the affect stream that accompanies a primitive (animistic) mentality.
The inference of pain or suffering, or the compassion for it in others, exports feeling for an into the other in a transit trough the mind of the observer. In compassion, the other’s pain is in fact ones own.
With the assumption of another perspective, or with empathic fusion, especially as an intuition of the commonality of separate individuals, values flow into objects as fluid extensions of the self. One could say that self and other do not achieve full separation and autonomy. An object of compassion is not a piece of flotsam in a sea of indifferent humanity, it is an object of value and signification.
Only in the act of loving does the self love, only in the act of caring is the self compassionate.
Object value or worth does not obligate compassion, but it does underlie whatever compassion is felt. In cases where one recognises a person as worthy but has no interest in his fate, or when a person considers life to be sacred and gives value to the life of others but still does not show compassion when life is endangered, autonomy has proceeded so far that action and feeling are no longer informed by innate empathy. But if one does feel compassion, this feeling can only arise for a person or object felt to have value. All objects have intrinsic value, though some are assigned more worth than others. From the subjective standpoint, compassion arises when the outgoing stream of object-feeling evokes emotions in the self that are congruent with those of the other even before it objectifies.
To feel pity and do nothing is only slightly better than to feel nothing at all. The former is a moral indulgence that is only mildly offensive, while indifference is a severe pathology of character.
Above all, the sense of shared vulnerability evokes an image of a continuum from one mind to another, thus, the primordial unity of subject-object, self and other.
From the standpoint of an individual cognition, empathy and the sense of community are fragmentary glimpses into an unconscious core that makes its way into conscious life. So also, one could say, is the madness of crowds, mob violence and submission to authority.
The identification or fusion of compassion relinquishes the autonomy that has been achieved through a long evolutionary and maturational struggle. The explosion of parts out of wholes in the analytic trend of though gives way to a lapsing of parts back into primordial wholes. The person dissolves in the other and reclaims a wholeness of engagement prior to partition.
To be compassionate, and authentically so, is for self-realisation to actively engage the realisation of the other, to merge self and other as best one can in this world. The mark of the superior soul is the resolution of self and other in conduct sensitive to the potential out of which we all, each moment, arise, undivided by arbitrary boundaries created in the inevitable loss of potential and the continuous vanishing of concrete actualities.
In any symbiosis, the distinction between constituents, and the rivalry of autonomies, is as much delineated as blurred by mutual need, is the slave … less close to selfhood than the master … ?
One is defined by service, the other by need. To the extent the master grows dependent on the slave, he abandons positive selfhood. To the extent the slave resists – or accepts – the conditions of service, to that extent does he find positive selfhood. In humans, selfhood is denied only to those oblivious to circumstance.
Dependency is the need that underlies compassion from the standpoint of the other. Deference to power of wisdom is essential. Those in need must accept the aid (and implicit dominance) of others. The subject who feels compassion may not be aware of this dominance, but that is not true for the person who accepts assistance from another. … Fear and necessity are the handmaids of empathy.
The urge to fight or dominate is not conducive to compassion, which requires a shared sense of vulnerability.
… just as compassion requires that we assume the perspective of the other, so aesthetic perception requires that we assume the perspective of the artist or the artwork.
… it is the self’s own constructs that infuse subjectivity in the work.
Empathy is the revisiting of parts in antecedent wholes, the regression of objects to concepts, individuals to social organisms, a withdrawal to what is deep and abiding from what is transient and accidental.
A critical difference between desire and worth is that desire feels processual and subjective, worth feels objective and substantial.
When the oneness with others is regained, there is no guarantee that individuation will return the parties to their original equilibrium.