Deepity Den: Against the Pragmatists

Si fallor, sum

St. Augustine of Hippo

On the crapper at 3am, I thought “race is both trivial and insignificant.” As a thought, we can recognize its potential reaction with our own ideology if we were to seriously consider it; ideology being a structure of co-functioning thoughts.

We can place the thought “race is both trivial and insignificant” in our own worldview by considering it. If we reject the thought, we may then see if this thought works in another worldview. We consider ourselves when we first consider the thought; we reference our own real biological reaction. If we continue to entertain the thought outside our worldview, we have to give it another worldview for the thought to exist in “outside” our own biological reaction.

As you mature, you learn how to be in sync with other people. This is how you first develop a foundational worldview, or set of references, that allows you to understand the world around you. This is also where you learn and acquire skills to build the understanding around you. I would just point out the distinction between growing up as an “innocent” citizen-in-training and “becoming” a citizen. The process of becoming a citizen is perpetual and thus subject to change; which is the importance of learning to build understanding. When you’re at a stage of perpetually becoming a citizen, part of your duty is to build understanding in a way that will keep the harmony of the community you consider yourself a part of.

If you had friends as kids, you may have interacted with them based on the circumstances around you. If you played baseball together or were hospitalized together for a while. Your family life also helps form your worldview. Considering that each experience is unique, we communicate with each other by sharing different worldviews.

Notice that we communicate with each other by sharing different worldviews even if the source was all the same. We all reference the same world when we talk. What makes it “different” is our own psychology. Go back to the example of playing as kids, this is also the stage where you started to learn about how to talk to other parents. The curious thing is that you may be used as a pawn to snoop around or you may be used as a pawn to initiate certain events. This all can be very innocent. Your mom may ask you to call your friend to see if they can play to see if the neighbors are home.

Eventually you realize that not only is your understanding a valid response to the world but that the way you build understanding is also a unique and valid response to the world. The difference being that as a kid, you were told what to do and you just associated whatever you were told with the consequences. At some point the consequences didn’t affect you as much and you started to rebel.

Once you rebel, you exist in your own unique worldview where you test out everything that scared you as a child (or something like that, this isn’t science). Regardless, this where you found your unique worldview because during the rebellion is where we explore to see what the world is outside our structured origin. This rebellious experiment isn’t itself objective nor scientific. It’s an artful exploration of the world around you outside your community. This exploration can result in a couple things:

  1. You learn to re-appreciate where you come from and become a believer in your community as you found it
  2. You learn to re-appreciate where you come from but in your experience learned of better ways to lead the community
  3. You learn to re-appreciate the world and find it to be against your community. You reject your community and find a new one
  4. probably some more but you get the point

In the sense I’m thinking, we can re-interpret (for our purpose) the Tower of Babel as a metaphor about ego more than different groups of people. I mean, for the time being it would be more fruitful is we see it about the ego and our daily interaction with each other.

When we began to use language to communicate, we hunted together or killed ourselves. When we moved beyond just hunting and killing, and moved on towards a “deeper” psychological understanding of the world, we found that modified behavior in “deep understanding” resulted in “better” conditions.

For our purpose, we can interpret “better” conditions as the philosophical principle that nature searches for the good inherently; just because. A lighting bolt expresses itself through the path of least resistance. We ourselves are partial to the path of least resistance in our lives. Thus we incorporate energy consumption, ration and availability as a fundamental feature of nature. This understanding of energy can be interpreted in biology, chemistry, politics, social interactions, art, etc.

When we began to use language, an odd thing happened and we stumbled upon our ego. We can learned to re-work the ego, re-build the ego, correlate the ego with understanding and building understanding. This caused splinters in communities and, from this division, we got the world we have today.

The splinters at first happened erratically and without grounded reason. Eventually Mesopotamia provided a community stable enough to ground reason in but this just made the ego grow with “deep understanding” of itself.

Repeat the same pattern and here we are. Where are we? A repeating pattern correlated with “deep understanding.” Creating a framework found on natural inheritance measured against pragmatic thoughts and us being in the middle as synthesizers, emulsifiers, bonding inheritance and pragmatism together.

This in itself, ironically, is a shallow understanding. I must admit that just because it’s shallow doesn’t mean it’s also trivial or insignificant. The point from here to build a worldview where it does mean (at least this particular) shallow understanding can be as trivial and insignificant as “deep understanding.” By shallow I mean to say that life is a lot more than just repeating correlated patterns. It could be calming and meditative to think about but at the same time, sympathizing and impragmatic inheritance that, while not understood, make a community function. And while not understood, can be, and have been for all of our history, understood by “deep understanding.” Deep understanding also understood all the crazy bullshit you put with everyone around you; it’s not glamorous.

Now that I’ve set up that strawman, let me proceed to best Daniel Dennett. Continuing the story, a couple hours later. 4am. Still in the crapper. I stumble upon Daniel Dennett’s wikipedia page; as habit. In it, I found “deepity”:

Dennett has been critical of postmodernism, having said:

Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversations” in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster

Dennett used “deepity” for a statement that is apparently profound, but is actually trivial on one level and meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has two (or more) meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound and would be important if true, but is actually false or meaningless. Examples are “Que sera sera!”, “Beauty is only skin deep!”, “The power of intention can transform your life.”

This made me google what Dennett had written on race and I swear to god my reference is just that wiki page and the first page of google, but that’s all I need to prove my case. The first result, the title has Dennett quoted as saying:

Daniel Dennett: ‘I begrudge every hour I have to spend worrying about politics’

Bam! Digging his own grave.

When we “understand” “deep understanding,” what we’re pragmatically inheriting from nature is an unfounded structure to further build understanding. This is our own interpretation.

A community is built of citizens carrying on autonomous intellectual correlation, regardless how stupid they are. Each citizen’s integration of the other citizens around them is called politics.

Politics is fundamentally without ground. Which is the source for personal creativity. Police are the forces that keep creativity in check. The powers-that-be are the people that define permissible creativity. We ourselves modulate/fluctuate between being part of the powers-that-be and not. Regardless, even when we ourselves act as the powers-that-be, we have no ground. It’s a leap of faith to interpret, then, and to build understanding.

Each citizens “deep understanding” is pragmatic, even if trivial and insignificant.

How does this relate to “deepity”?

It’s very rare that you have a thought, eg “Que sera sera,” that you can extrapolate and identify as a deepity you can just disregard. You can integrate it to your worldview because, like the tower of Babel shows, we each have our own grammar and vocabulary we use to make thoughts function. There is no authority other than lamentation and a sad face to say what grammar and vocabulary “Que sera sera” should result in. Not to mention that your existence is not trivial and not insignificant (which my strawman disagrees with).

Where it gets complicated is that, since most ideas are not simply extrapolated out of our bio-dome, but rather must be laboriously communicated in parts, the building of ideas from thoughts is very messy; at times confusing; unsettling. We have to make sense of things regardless. From this improv, free-movement creation, we get something we can call truth.

Regarding a deepity, in practical every day terms, you may operate with deepties but not realize it because you’ve never seen the head and the feet in the same place. But it’s still playing a role in your life; especially political life. It’s first world problems to trivialize these events as lamentable necessities by “everyday people” (emphasis on the condescendingness), then to go on to not offer a language, grammar or vocabulary to even dignify these necessities or offer a solution and then lampoon the school of thoughts trying to. Politically irrelevant is a dangerous place to be. The disenfranchised know this at a different level of politics compared to the ivory tower riders; Massachusetts politics is more posh and dignified.

blooms — crazy rants masked as abstract experimental philosophy. s/o CS Peirce