Author Topic: Thought about Thought - Reason, the Intellect, Conclusions, and Magic  (Read 133 times)

Olive



Thought about Thought
Reason, the Intellect, Conclusions, and Magic



Category: Casual philosophy/theology



The average man seeks happiness.
The clever man seeks truth.
And each has as much as he can,
Though both of these are but phantoms




Strength of Thought can be considered in terms of calculations performed, or in terms of time spent.

Both of these measures are interlinked in the measure of calculations per second.

But we should note that “calculation” here does not refer only to mathematical and analytical processes but also all of the other small subconscious exchanges of energy that take place when a being solves a problem or contemplates an object of experience.

Thinking is a rational approach to mental activity.

Therefore a man who is dull-witted and yet adopts this approach will be lead to grasp his own truth in the personal conclusions he forms.


The Purity and Defilement of Logic

Schopenhauer once said that Reason or the Intellect is the only pure thing in existence (Pure in this context meaning free from the domination of the Will to Live). In truth this is blasphemy, as there are several others of note that constitute the heavenly realms. We shall speak about them again in another installment.

Moreover, as the sharp reader may have already noted, Reason itself is not always free from the influences of intention. In fact, it is more accurate to say that the process of the Intellect is pointed at the object of the Will, and the results thereby gained are always colored by the context of the initial investigation. Two examples to demonstrate the point:


1. When a fascist investigates global affairs with an eye to the influence of certain groups, he will always come to the conclusion that yes - The Jews really are in control of everything. He is able to argue this point resolutely with supporting facts that all derive from the initial motivation of his investigation to find such evidence.

2. Schopenhauer, one of the greatest philosophical geniuses of the western tradition, full-throatedly argues misogynistic points in his Essay on Women with the same authority and solemnity with which he approaches most of his subjects— and yet when we look back on this with modern eyes we can see that some of his assertions are patently false and absurd. Schopenhauer gives us a clear account of the behavior of women in his time, but fails to penetrate the level of understanding which would reveal that these behaviors indicate what the then-current power structures made of women, and not what they are in themselves. A similar principle is at work in the noted Racism of Kant. (Note that we are not dismissing racial and gender-specific differences in people at once, but the overt positive claims made by supporters of these ideas still reveal themselves to be palpable sophistries.)


Rigorous thinking and Magic


But when one contemplates an object, doing all that is possible to do away with all prejudices and bias to the best of his ability - and even then always questioning his conclusions as he subjects them to the crucible of repeated experimentation, then he begins to pursue a more rigorous approach to thinking. This process is known as the Purification of the Intellect. When the intellect has been totally purified, it becomes like the Vajra - the diamond hard faceted jewel, reflecting the light of clarity.

Even at this stage, the intellect is ultimately unable to reach its goal of truth in fullness. As the Artemisian saying goes, Truth is in Silence, and not in words. However, the cultivated reason should still be considered one of the great bodies of purity in the manifestation, as it can produce clear-sighted conclusions at a deep level, which then inform the thinker’s mentality moving forward - eventually forming something of an unspoken understanding which culminates in Wisdom.

Rigorous thinking results in a clear-seeing of the processes in the world, considered apart from the needs, wants, and opinions of the individual organism. We could romanticize this in so many ways; “seeing with the eyes of god”; “the cosmic perspective.” But in reality it is not so fantastical - although it’s results on important subjects can be equally dramatic. The power of certain conclusions is such that it can immediately impact the Will of the individual, so that his behavior is forever changed.

Because of this, intellectual conclusions are a primary method of magical practice. One who has sufficient flexibility of mind can allow himself to reason from a point of view which he does not hold, or to reach certain conclusions that would have otherwise been undermined by the honest operation of the intellect — and this is one method of forming a constructed perspective and mentality through black magical methods. Practicing the purification of the intellect described earlier amounts to a kind of Internal Alchemy, which can be understood as a specific school of magic. (Greater white magic - or the sage way.)

It is the characteristic of the Chaos Magician that he makes use of multiple conflicting perspectives/mentalities at the same time, and is able to put all away and put on a new one without qualm.


The Trajectory of Contemplation

Regardless of the aim with which the intellect is used as a tool for the transmutation of self, the process of doing so follows something of a pattern. As more and more objects are contemplated, they string together to form wider conclusions and eventually whole schools of thought. Each object of contemplation passes through the following stages:

1. Defining
2. Analyzing
3. Synthesizing
4. Concluding
5. Integrating
6. Deconstructing
7. Full Understanding

Oh look at that - an even seven. Praise the Moon! Let us describe each step simply.

1. Definition Drawing lines. One of the simplest actions of the Reason is to draw the boundaries of a concept. When a concept is created, it must be described in terms of what it is and what is not. When this criteria is met, the concept attains to a quality, and can be given a word such that the thinker can distinguish what does fit the conditions and what does not. This allows for interpretation of the interplay of various qualities and objects of experience. Contemplating is a more advanced action of the Reason, which involves the usage and comparison of many different definitions. And so the beginning of contemplation lies in defining the object of the investigation. What is it that is to be understood, and in light of what factors? Clear and honest definition of terms and queries will greatly advance the rigor of one's contemplation.

2. Analysis Now that terms and goals have been established, one can begin the process of analysis. This involves comparison of definitions, and dedicated attention to the question at hand. More and more data is collected as the contemplation continues, drawing from direct observation, memory, and empirical evidence - depending on the exact method of investigation. Solid analysis reveals what a thing seems to be, what its behavior is, what is thought about it, what its apparent motivation is, and so on.

3. Synthesis Once a sufficient amount of information has been gathered about an object, one can begin to form positive ideas about the how and why of the object. These ideas must conform to the data collected and should not be contradicted by the raw analysis of the object. The ideas must be tested and retested against competitors by experimentation and fresh analysis.

4. Conclusion Conclusion represents a first end of the investigation after thorough analysis and synthesis, partitioned by the definition, and to the rigor of the method pursued. A conclusion is a solid claim of function and predictability about the object of its investigation, which has not been contradicted by rigorous study and experiment, and which is aware of other possible solutions and the criteria which make it a better model than those.

5. Integration Integration is the next natural step of the thinker who seeks to be intellectually honest not just with his thought structures but also with his daily activity. A man is not truly a great thinker until he has lived his ideals. If the conclusion is honest and rigorous in its revelation, then it should be a worthy guideline by which to live and think going forward. Note that some objects of contemplation are too rarefied to have much impact on daily life. In these cases a more abstract kind of integration happens in which a conclusion affects the mentality of the thinker as he pursues further philosophy and meditative practice. Meditation itself can be considered a kind of integration as one enters into and becomes the idea at hand.

6. Deconstruction Deconstruction is the natural consequence of honest integration of honest conclusions. As one remains with the conclusion/ideal and lives with it, it begins to show itself with new life and color. Deconstruction is a kind of second analysis which takes place from inside of the conclusion, rather than from outside the object. It goes back and critiques the definitions and methods which lead to the conclusion, and takes an overview of shortcomings, accomplishments, unexpected ramifications, and the possibility of practice without belief - truth without concept.

7. Full Understanding Full understanding is a high stage of contemplation which only the serious thinker has any share of. In the same way that deconstruction is a kind of second analysis, Full Understanding is a kind of second conclusion. This is the stage at which the investigation is fully satisfied and quieted by the acquired wisdom of the adept. This stage comes with knowledge of why the object exists, how exactly it works, why it is necessary, the paths one can take in response to it, and the ramifications of doing so. Here the knowledge of the investigator transcends thoughts and becomes a systems-level understanding and culmination of the object itself.





... thoughts? ;)
    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

idgo

Re: Thought about Thought - Reason, the Intellect, Conclusions, and Magic
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2018, 05:35:59 pm »
Quote
Strength of Thought can be considered in terms of calculations performed, or in terms of time spent.

If there is no distinction between type or Quality of calculations, this principle would imply human thought to be unilaterally "less than" that of computers. I don't see what part of your definition accounts for the phenomenon where society and language tend to place higher value on the slower, fewer-measurable-calculations thought of philosophers compared to the fast and calculation-dense "thought" performed by machines.

Olive

Re: Thought about Thought - Reason, the Intellect, Conclusions, and Magic
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 09:34:14 pm »
Quote

But we should note that “calculation” here does not refer only to mathematical and analytical processes but also all of the other small subconscious exchanges of energy that take place when a being solves a problem or contemplates an object of experience.


That was not meant to be an airtight definition, I was just describing one way that the intellection process is measured. The fact that AI researchers and super computer technicians optimize for calculations/second of course means that they have considered this angle. However, there is obviously a structural component involved as well, as is evidenced by the extreme efficiency of the human brain, as well as more recent developments in back-propagated deep neural nets.

The first part of this post just contains some quick thoughts and aphorisms, not a thesis for the rest of it. Note that I didn’t refer back to it anywhere and throughout I speak more about philosophical type thought than anything else.

I think there is more value in human mental activity than just reasoning and it’s results. However, if you consider the value of a mind to be primarily its ability to calculate and draw conclusions, then perhaps there is reason to worry that human thought is or soon will be “less than” the thought of our machines. :)

Thanks for stopping by, idgo.

    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Onyx

Re: Thought about Thought - Reason, the Intellect, Conclusions, and Magic
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2019, 03:40:11 pm »
An excellent post Olive! I'm less academic in my way of thinking so usually fail miserably there (since I'm more of a "right-brained" creative/technical type), but your mastery of the written word and depth of thought is impressive.