This sounds like a harsh title, and perhaps it is - but I must say what the "arts" seem like from the perspective of someone educated in the modern
psychologies and neurosciences.
Now, metaphysics and psychology are two different sorts of analyses that happen through the same structure: the brain. In this sense, psychology is
more primary and essential than metaphysics, since the latter can dissociate us from the here and now, from the motivations which project me forward
in relation to the cuing of the social surround.
The Mystery of Intentionality
“When the interpersonal context is congruent with the hedonic context model, then feedforward control by dorsal networks is adequate for
synchronizing internal and external information in a kind of intersubjective whole. But when there is a discrepant prediction, as when the child’s
intentions diverge from the parent’s, then anxiety and ventral limbic engagement leads not only to a cognitive representation of the external
control, but a paradoxical separation of the self from the represented external context.”
– Donald Tucker, Phan Luu, Cognition and Neural
Development, pg. 123, Oxford, 2012
There is a sort of explicitness about scientific analysis that makes it venerable, and profoundly useful for moral and spiritual guidance.
Conversely, take any Oscar Wilde quote,
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
The first quote is an overstatement. Wilde seems to be aiming for the idea that he is more creative than other people; and yes, it sure does feel good
to be so advantaged (in education) and free (because of what you've been afforded), but it was downright wrong for him to think that he wasn't as
defined and determined by his environment and his relations as anyone else. The truth is, as a self-organizing unit built from trillions upon
trillions of parts, the self is constructed by the tensional integrities its phenomenological experience qualtiatively represents. Homeostasis and
interpersonal expectation govern consciousness. Wilde wasn't beyond this; in fact, he was exceptionally like the people he associated with; he and
they are very much alike. It's what mirroring systems like us can't help but do.
The second statement just goes to show what sort of mania motivated so many of Wilde's opinions. This doesn't even need to be analyzed; the sort of
reading Wilde has in mind - literature - has a different aim from the sort of reading that brings about genuine progress in society: non-fiction i.e.
scientific, inductive, deductive.
And the last, I believe, speaks to the sorts of feelings which Wilde apparently lived with: an excessive need to 'be different' - to differentiate
himself, in thought, feeling, orientation.
The "love" he apparently showed wasn't very real, or deep, or consistent; his representation of himself was an idealization, a blasé romanticization
that "tickled his fancy". It's as if he were permanently tuned to 'irony', to pretending; to being 'outside' the human experience; an alien.
Yet the 'alien' has desires to feel and to feel in all and every way it can. It's a strange paradox. It withdraws from the world with the
underlying motive to regulate the self,
but then in acting, the self takes privilege and licence to do whatever they want.
I find this deplorable, but it is surprisingly easy to do.
“For the dorsal division of the frontopolar region, the projections to the rostral TRN proceed to the anterior nuclei of the thalamus, which
regulate the cingulate cortex. In this way, dorsal frontal polar region can be seen as effecting the representation of the regulatory function, a form
of cognitive process that directly engages subcortical controls in a way that directs corticolimbic processing hierarchically. This may be a way to
understand the neural mechanisms of effortful control emerging from impulsivity. With a base in the elementary motive impetus from dorsal limbic
networks, the dorsal frontal pole allows a hierarchic organization of intentionality to achieve a more cognitively mediated and flexible form of
– Donald Tucker, Phan Luu, Cognition and Neural Development, pg. 131-132, Oxford, 2012
Oscar Wilde considered himself 'unique', but the neuroscience - and facts of the matter - is that he was a self-regulating organism who benefited from
privilege after privilege, only to speak acidly about the world he existed within. This Janus faced attitude - a gluttonous indulgence in sensuous
things, while withdrawing from concern or care for emotional and interpersonal affects, is almost too amazing, from my perspective, since the self is
absolutely a function of interpersonal recognition
- those moments where a 'continuum' forms between your intentionality and anothers
intentionality - where the "agreement" between states forms an in phase state that results in a dyadic expansion of consciousness in both parties.
Your ontological ability to regulate your feelings, in other words, derives from outside you. The strength of your intentionality is a measure of
your history of interpersonal recognition dynamics.
Is that not profound? And isn't it utterly amazing how deceitfully useless powerful clichés
from clichés like Oscar Wilde are?
The cliché is a powerful constructor of social reality, governing the formation of intentional states around those interactions where a particularly
powerful social value was expressed. The observation of the expression of a 'tough guy' speaking to another guy is not a neutral experience, but
always educative: it teaches the brain 'what to desire'. Like all social animals, we are unfortunately subject to fear dynamics, which leads to the
creation of the sort of human reality we presently live.
While I consider myself a liberal, I do not find much in common with mainstream liberalism, and hence I prefer the term "progressive" to discriminate
myself from the postmodern confusion that makes so much of modern day liberal doctrine - sexual identity politics, above all - so incredibly
hypocritical (for being out of touch with the needs of most people) and therefore profoundly irritating, for having the gall to pretend to be able to
effectively lead society.
The only true liberal is the person who thinks reasonably. If logic doesn't seem to you, as it seems to me, as that 'connecting' tissue which brings
one person closer to another person, than I don't know what else I can say - but that to not notice that, to not recognize that reason is the 'code'
we are built with to reconcile our conflicts, and improve our personal regulation (and therefore our sense of wellbeing) is to cut a hole through us,
and between us, and indeed, this is what todays culture has become: a perforated, leaky, dying being; a being which requires reason to maintain its
structure, but which is falling apart, bit by bit, as 'feeling', and the neediness of the projectional system, overwhelms the coherency of vigilant
edit on 12-6-2018 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)