Tag Archives: Human Culture

The logical ballerinas: “Concept”.

 

 

 

“Concept”.

Genesis 2.16-17: 

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die”.

Why? Which relationship can be established between knowledge and death?

“Concept”. Knowledge is supposed to be the incorporation of -correct- concepts into the mind of the knower. How can that possibly kill?

In order to convey what happens in my mind when the logical ballerina, the word, “concept” dances inside it I will use its equivalent in the German language: “Begriff“. This noun is related to the verb “begreiffen“, which is synonymous of “umfassen“. Some of the meanings of this last word are, translated into English: “catch”, or “grip”. I think that concepts are captures. Actually it is the concept (tree, or sea, or God, or state, or whatever) what captures the mind; and not the mind, through the concept, what captures reality. And not only does the concept capture the mind, but it shapes it, creates it… Actually “mind” is a concept … and a word (“concept” is also a simple word … as it is, on the other hand, the word “word”). [See “Concept”].

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of wisdom, they lost paradise. They lost it because their eyes were taken/captured by concepts (knowledge … in-formation).

Within the current materialistic-brain-paradigm we could say that the brains of Adam and Eve, after ingesting the fruit of the tree of science, lost plasticity: that their neural paths were set according to standardized, robotic ways; and that, since then, they might only be able to see what their psychic-conceptual machinery allowed them to see.

I allow myself to suggest the reading of the critic I made of an interesting work by Jesús Mosterín entitled Human culture [See here in Spanish]. I reproduce here, however, some paragraphs that can be useful to show what I intend to convey (the quotation marks indicate that I am reproducing the phrases of Jesús Mosterín):

“The anatomical and functional structure of the brain is determined by genes in all their general features and details, but a large part of the neural connections of the brain are formed throughout our lives, as a result of our perceptions and other interactions with our environment, including those that occur with other congeners, especially with our mother and other relatives during our early childhood. This ability to establish new neural connections is called cerebral plasticity. The cerebral plasticity is maximum during our childhood and decreases from puberty. The brain of the adult is more consolidated and is less plastic than the one of the child.”

And memory, in that of fixing a culture in our brain, will apparently play a decisive roll. Let’s continue listening to Jesús Mosterin:

“The consolidation of information in the operating memory leads to the establishment of permanent neuronal circuits by strengthening the synapses between the neurons that compose them. This is carried out through the activation of certain genes and the synthesis of new proteins such as actin, which induce permanent structural changes in the morphology of the neuron and its cytoskeleton, especially the enlargement of dendritic spines present on the creation of new spines. When stimulated by learning, small spines enlarge, which in turn makes them lose plasticity and makes them the lasting structural support of long-term memory […] Culture is part of the information retained in long term memory.”

We have just been told that the more culture in the brain (that is: more in-formation retained in the long term), the less brain plasticity: the lesser capacity to establish new neuronal connections.

Vivekananda made lucid contributions to the second Yoga-sutra of Patanjali; the one that says: “Yoga is the control of the mind (chitta) so that it does not adopt forms (writtis).” Writtis are universes, convulsions of the lake of our mind that avert seeing its mighty, sacred bottom.

Let’s go back to the biblical paradise. How can we return to paradise? How to get rid of our knowledge? Of which knowledge specifically? How to access non-knowledge?

There would be, at least, one form to achieve that meta-logical (paradisiac) state: meditation (which, by the way, sometimes breaks out involuntarily). [See “Meditation”].

But what can we see then without our virtual-reality glasses of our concepts?

A likely answer (limited by the language that unites us) might be: we see ourselves. And we see us as a magic nothing. And that image overcomes any possible configuration of any mind (any universe) … because it encompasses them all. It includes all the beauties, all the magical ballerinas, which are indeed concepts, possibilities of form, that yearn to live, that yearn to dance, in the immensity of our mind.

One – just one – of those dancers is the one that jumped from the Tree of Science to the brains of Adam and Eve. I imagine white the matter [See “Matter”] of that tree of Eden, white, identical to the colour  of the stars, white as it appears in the photo that shines in the sky of this text (of this tissue of words/concepts).

Concept. Comprehension. Many salvation-products focus one the comprehension. They use to say: ”When you comprehend…” I suspect that “comprehension” literally means “compression”.

Following somehow Novalis’ and Gilles Deleuze’s [See here in Spanish] visions, the core philosophical challenge might be to create concepts, virtual-reality glasses, fascinating enough so as to trigger in human beings an unlimited and unstoppable love towards the existence, the existence beyond that sacred nothingness which is their real being. But also to urge them not to forget that real being. Two simultaneous tasks.

Now I would like to suggest the possibility of looking at “that” what we look and reduce with the concept “sea” or “tree” in another way, in a free way: in cosmical silence. Believe me: if you do it, it shows its  transparent, unsayable flesh, it shines more than any possible concept. 

But we need concepts and we will always do. They are magic! And life is nothing but magic.  So: Is there anybody there who dares to create a new concept  for that “thing” we now see and think and feel as “sea”? He might also create, or deeply modify, the cosmological structure (the structure of concepts and relationships among them, the cosmical Lego) that make posible the very existence of the see or the tree. We should, anyway, never forget that “concept” is also a concept, a logical ballerina that somehow forces us to dance with her.

Lastly: Is it worth changing the magic of the tree or the sea, even though we know they are artificial forms? Well, I wouldn’t change those two concepts. I truly love what I see though them.

David López