Categories
Philosophy

Unexplaining Things

We seek a meaning where there is none and in all our seeking,
assert meaning to its own absence and this, in turn, gives us purpose.

Attempting to comprehensively explain the many and diverse ways in which information autonomously self-propagates as and through cognition, communication and culture is a subtle process. More often than not, such aspirations towards linguistic, mathematical (or other) conceptual closure devolve into meaningless noise that is only saved from complete irrelevance by that pattern-obsessed brains and sociotechnical systems we inhabit. Theories, frameworks, models and schools of thought come – and then they inevitably go again. Notice, too that there is something of a foundational cognitive reflex here that leads us to gravitate around theories and frameworks of thought just as though they really were complete and final even when we indirectly, peripherally or unconsciously know that such closure is impossible. This perennial and often ill-fated attraction to incomplete systems which masquerade as comprehensive explanatory frameworks says quite a lot about our own foundationally open and unbounded psychological or cognitive essence as much as it does of politics, ideology and other such tribal self-inflections of collective confusion and wilful misdirection.

We should perhaps not be so surprised that narrative communication (and the cognition that lives through it) foundationally depends upon a special kind of constructive entropy. Even as we aggregate pattern, intention, meaning and semantic momentum in our theories and (often quite justifiable) hypotheses, we also accumulate a kind of inverse value and logical abstraction that hollows out our certainty with relentless persistence. As we spiral outwards, accelerating with material and technologically-mediated information mass and complexity, we simultaneously spiral inwards on an arc of abstraction and logical negation. This is actually the most subtle point of all: a balance is maintained here between material addition and logical subtraction, it is quite irrelevant the specific ratio or values involved.

This is also a larger part of the mystery of language (and thought). As we accumulate and cultivate structure, pattern and theories or their corollary inevitability in systems of belief, we simultaneously generate by way of indefinitely-extensible logical abstraction and vast and hyper-inflating vacuum. Notice, too, that here I quite self-consciously avoid positing or articulating specific positions or orientations in or of theory; how else can we approach the effervescent second-order abstractions of reality and thought in any other way than through similarly unbounded, uncertain and ambiguous patterns of word, symbol or thought?

Has nothing been achieved here? Perhaps, but that (if you have at all understood) is the nature of these things – and here, only self-consciously so.

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