03 January, 2018

2018! Where Next?




What must be next?

Where are the Revolutionaries?


So, within the British Labour Party there has been a major swing to the Left, energised by the Youth, and led by committed Socialists. Good - it was essential!

But, this has happened before. I know because I was part of it in the 1960s, we also appealed to the Youth. We played a major role in getting a Labour victory in 1964. But, within months we, who led that surge, were all expelled!

Why?

It was because we were revolutionaries, and we wanted the End of Capitalism! The old Left did not demur: they didn't want to be expelled too. And other left groups did the very same. But what will the present influx do after a Labour Victory? It mustn't be allowed to happen again...

Watered down slogans on marches are wrong! The Revolutionary Left has to say what has to be done.

Look at what these tories are doing. Do you really think that a Labour Government, without touching the Wealth and Power of the Capitalist Class will suffice? IT WON'T! It never has.

The heroic Labour Government of 1945 Nationalised the Heights of the Economy, but left the Wealth and Power STILL in the enemy's hands: and even paid many millions in compensation to the ex-owners. BUT that was not only insufficient, it actually equipped the enemy to respond. It took only a handful of years for the Tories to win again.

Not a Penny in Compensation!

No State Capitalism! 

The real Revolutionaries must make their Essential Programme clear. Hand-in-Hand we will strive as comrades with all Left tendencies. BUT NOT at the cost of watering down what we know to be necessary!

Those who insist that we must dilute what we demand, are not for the necessary Revolution, but for a version of the status quo - inequality and exploitation! It is true that the People, getting only the lies of the Media and the Tories will not immediately agree with what we say is necessary. But, they will!

Time, a continuing fight, and the best Transitional Demands will do it!

Forward to the End of Capitalism in a Socialist Revolution!

Left Out: David Harvey



21 December, 2017

Issue 56: Substrate






For some time now this theorist has postulated that some hidden medium must permeate all space - but this is no aether theory reboot. In this collection of papers Schofield develops these ideas further, demonstrating that many of the mysteries and anomalies in the quantum world can be explained simpy using physics, dialectics and the sub atomic particles we have been aware of since the 1930s.

This issue places a particular focus on fields in space: magnetic, electrical and even gravitational - and how a Universal Substrate might finally offer a material explanation for action-at-a-distance.








20 December, 2017

Krishnamurti and Science II






The Self

In the second of the series of debates between Krishnamurti and three eminent scientists, he goes on by again dealing with what was becoming clear in the first part of this debate, which was Krishnamurti's own philosophy, which seemed to be a seeking of what is "common" and "essential" both in, and certainly for, all Mankind as its true nature - warts and all, which somehow must be "realised" for what it is.

Indeed, without this approach, he explains that all the problems of Mankind are irresolvable, and lead to the increasing isolation of every individual, and the seeking of false "stabilities and security", thus leading to all the ever-present ills of our species, including even War!

Clearly, such a stance greatly upset our scientists, who, each in his own way, and chosen means of understanding Reality - his particular Science, sought to play a role in the salvation of Humanity. Yet Krishnamurti discounts such beliefs as misleading myths, and insists upon the individual's internal problem (in our mind's self-image) being paramount - above all else! So, the scientists, on one level, argue for their own approach, but on a more personal level, wonder if Krishnamurti has a valid point.

Now, the reader will already expect my first criticism of Krishnamurti's stance - namely the total absence of any mention of Society, and the ways in which it is organised, particularly with respect to Power and Control, and to the consequent divisions of the human beings within a particular form of Society into Social Classes. And, indeed, I will be energetically pursuing such a line!

But, perhaps my second, and even more telling criticism resides in his evident idea of The Self, and its development via self-awareness. Two aspects of this become immediately evident:-

First: it is self-contradictory

and

Second: it is treated as totally independent of History

Now, the first point is something I was already aware of in the teachings of Buddhism, particularly with respect to the idea of the necessary suppression of the ego, for by his often implicit and sometimes even overt stance, Krishnamurti displays a very self-centred position - namely his own philosophical stance was the only valid one.




And, the second of these objections puts Krishnamurti's stance outside of the developments in Mankind's Prehistory and History. His position is independent of all that: he puts it upon an always-present level in Human's self-awareness!

Clearly, so far at least, the dedication of these three eminent scientists to their Sciences had not even yet been given any objective role in Krishnamurti's conception of what is to be done. Indeed, the salvation of Humanity was entirely dependant upon the purposes and methods that Krishnamurti was espousing.

Human Society could only be changed one person at a time.

For, only then would the quantitative summation of individuals deliver the solution for all.


19 December, 2017

The God of the Gaps




The Electric Universe's God of the Gaps


With a significant presence online, and many anomalies to present, The Electric Universe tendency (and other similar individuals) easily get a receptive hearing!

BUT clearly, a mere identification-of-anomalies can only be the first step. So, serious critics of the current consensus in Physics and Cosmology tend to come across these people as potential allies, or at least fellow critics of mainstream thought, and therefore seek out their criticisms in the search for more evidence towards a possible alternative stance.


"The story of the cosmos that you see in the media now is virtual reality" - Wallace Thornhill


As a qualified physicist, myself, with a long opposition to the currently dominant Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory, and a lifetime of theoretical work in establishing an essential, alternative stance, and finding very few people with the same objectives, have viewed a whole series of YouTube contributions from that tendency, where they too seem to have alighted upon the same anomalies that I also have considered to be crucial flaws in the current stance. And, in many, there has been a valuable revelation of anomalies that really do need addressing theoretically.

But, there is also a profound similarity between The Electric Universe, their scientific approach and method, and the scientists of both the pre-Copenhagen, so-called Classical period, AND, perhaps surprisingly, the Copenhageners too! For, philosophically, they all have an identical acceptance of the Scientific Method, the role of mathematical equations in encapsulating what had been revealed, and most importantly of all - incorporating an entirely Pluralist stance.

And, such a tradition can never go on to tackle the most important questions in Science, namely, "WHY does a particular phenomenon behave in the way that it does: what are the real causes involved?"

Let us see why this was inadequate in the past, is now inadequate with the Copenhagenists, and was even continued, thereafter, with the Bohm/De Broglie critics, and finally is also true of these latest opponents of current conformity. They believe that Reality behaves as it does in total conformity to separate and eternal Natural Laws, which can be completely encapsulated in purely mathematical Equations. They, therefore, conform absolutely to the Principle of Plurality, which demands precisely that. But, it isn't true!

If anything, the exact opposite Principle of Holism is far closer to the truth - by stating that "Everything affects everything else!" and hence makes all laws determined by both their history and their current-context, so that they inevitably vary and even evolve over time.

Indeed Plurality only rules in totally stable situations, either natural or organised-for, so it never informs situations involving Qualitative Change! The History and Development of Reality is totally beyond it, as are all current Interludes of Change at all levels. Indeed, the incorrect assumption of Plurality always did profoundly affect not only Science, but also Mathematics, and even Formal Logic. And this, when subscribed to, along with the oldest-and-most-persisting stance of Pragmatism - "If it works, it is right!", has enabled amalgams of wholly contradictory stances, such as Idealism and Materialism, to both be used "in their relevant compartments", in what has been claimed to be the agreed stance of Science for many centuries.

Indeed, the recognition of "Change" was almost simultaneous with the basic gains of the ancient Greeks, but ignored, and though also significantly addressed by Hegel 200 years ago, it has never conquered Science.

So, I could follow that tradition to the present day developments Philosophy (and I have done so elsewhere), but here something far-more-basic is involved, which torpedoes the discussion immediately!

It is the look to Religion for the Causes of Reality's Nature.




Let us see how our new critics of consensus Science manage to achieve this.

But, to make any sort of sense of these people, you really have to be aware of what role they have usually played within Science-as-it-currently-is!

Within Science, there has arisen, historically, a series of divisions-of-labour, precipitated by the unavoidable contradictions in the consensus stance.

Two areas, dominated by Pragmatism separated-out very quickly: they were the Experimentalists and the Implementers of productive outcomes - the technicians or Engineers! For, their justification was delivering what they had set out to achieve - either a do-able experiment with results, or a working consequent product.

In both cases, an explanation of why things behaved as they did, was not considered as important as what was in fact delivered! And, the key things achieved by one, and used by the other, were the formal Equations or fixed Laws that could be passed directly from the former group to the latter. And, in addition, their employed skills were very similar - to deliver the required conditions for those laws. Pragmatism was king in both areas!

There always was, of course, another group within Science, who did attempt to explain why things behaved as they did - they were the Theorists, but they always had several major problems. If they delivered materialist explanations, they would, invariably, come up against the Religious world view and explanations - [Galileo is a particular example]. And, to deal with their colleagues, the pragmatic experimenters and engineers, they too had to deal in Equations - a wholly Idealist stance, so they were in difficulties there too!

Indeed, towards the end of the 19th century the contradictions were already proliferating, and it was long before Bohr and Heisenberg campaigned for the total jettisoning of materialism in Physics, and at the 1927 Solvay Conference they challenged Einstein and Schr√∂dinger and won! The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory was their stance, and it soon swept across the whole of Sub Atomic Physics.


Idealism dominates...

Now, as will be obvious from this paper, I have a very different objective from either the consensus group in physics, or their opponents in the God-of-the-Gaps camp!

So, that latter group have shot themselves in the foot in the oldest way possible.

It is, therefore, not surprising where they position their "researches": they don't do Sub Atomic Physics or any other area of Physics - they stick to Electrical Engineering, and interpreting other scientists results, particularly in Cosmology - an area that is impossible to deal with in the established earthbound ways. It is mostly speculation then, re-casting descriptions rather than explaining published cosmological observations, and laboratory experiments supposed to reveal direct knowledge of what goes on in the Sun.

It is a secure realm!

Though Modern Physics is already drastically limited in its current state, this group have found the ideal area for them to indulge their even more limited set of questions, not only for them to speculate about profusely, but also where they are unlikely to be countered by the rest of Modern Physics, who themselves are in their deepest crisis ever!


11 December, 2017

Rise of the Oligarchs




How Nationalised Services Became Private Empires


A trajectory which is never explained is "how could a Socialist State, with Nationalised property relations and State-owned Industries and Public Services. turn back into a Capitalist State once more, with most industries back in the hands of private owners?

Theoretically, there should have been nobody left within such a State, with enough prodigious wealth to ever buy these back! So, how was it achieved?

It wasn't an armed Counter-Revolution, so it must have been organised by a new, democratically-elected Government, with such as its "winning policy", promised in an election! But, why did they win, and what forces within Society were strongly in favour of such a radical change?

It wouldn't be the workers, unless, of course, they had been lied-to - for example, by promising, "More Freedom", "More Democracy" and "Less Corruption"!

But then, what section of Society would make such promises, while also wanting industry to remain in their hands, but, now primarily, for their own profit? It could only be one already privileged group - The Bureaucracy! They had been running the Nationalised Industries, ostensibly "for the people", and had got a taste for the even better life they could lead, if they got much-increased rewards for what they already were doing, but no longer as "privileged servants", but instead as owners! 






But, how could this possibly be organised?

Simply giving everything back to the pre-revolutionary Capitalists was not likely to be popular, so, could they be sold at a "knock down" price to "the best" of those who had been running things for the people for so long? Who else could it be? The prior state media would have been extolling the virtues of particular Public Servants, and the People would, most certainly, "have their favourites": no-one else would even be nationally known, at least politically.

NOTE: It is interesting how certain entertainers can also "fit the bill", in such situations, and head up "new parties" too! But who, among these well-known figures, were the known perpetrators of Corruption, and who could be trusted to continue to serve the people?

That was easy!

All those who were known to have actually extorted the backhanders, were the "baddies". While those "never-evidently-involved", and were now condemning such things, and from the higher echelons of the Bureaucracy; were they the "goodies"? So, in the rising political tumult, the easily-identified baddies would be out, while those they had actually been working for, and who had amassed the money needed to buy - they would be in!

The new government of ex-bureaucrats sold the Nationalised Industries at knock down prices to those with the money, and used that money to finance various projects that "proved which side they were on!" How else could the State owned industries have been sold-off?

And, how else could the billionaire Oligarchs have arisen so very quickly? It just had to be "Privatisation-on-steroids" - no wonder the new powers-that-be considered drugs-for-athletes a legitimate way forward! 




So, this analysis doesn't only fit the Failed Socialist States such as Russia and its Empire, but even Modern China - ostensibly still Socialist!

So what is all this anti-Russian, anti-China and even anti-Iran propaganda promoted by western politicians all about?! For their "dreaded enemies" are no longer threatening the End of Capitalism, but are energetically subscribing to it!

It is clearly the new inter-Capitalist rivalries. Remember, such rivalries caused both World War I and World War II!

05 December, 2017

Politics, Unions and Worker Coops


International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) address a crowded hall at Madison Square Garden, 1958.


Transforming Society Root and Branch


Listening today to a Democracy at Work talk on the Internet by Professor Richard Wolff, concerning Trades Unions and Worker Coops, it was crystal clear to me that his direct comparison of the struggles of today with those in the 1930s in the USA, involving the Alliance of the Trades Unions with the Socialist and Communist political parties, was NOT an appropriate comparison, and the new suggested alliance, alone, would never be a sufficient policy now!

We must not forget what the Labour Threat presented to Franklyn D. Rooseveldt was in the 1930s...

For it was,

"Give us Justice now, or we will carry out a Revolution!"

And, that was no idle threat! And, even then, the Unions alone would never have come up with it. Indeed, it had to come from the political parties, who had also been vital in building those Unions.

This may not be currently popular with today's left, but, the Unions, without such a political leadership, could never dispense with Capitalism. And, like it or not, neither could a movement for Worker Cooperatives! They are too limited in both their purposes and their power, to naturally address what is required to finish and replace Capitalism permanently.




Purely Union v. Capitalist, or even Worker Coop v. Capitalist, struggles alone would always end in victory for the Capitalists! There would have to be society-wide unrest AND active Revolutionary Parties - addressing the necessary questions, to inform, motivate and educate the masses, against the massive tide of misinformation and lies of the media-dominating Capitalist Class, so that, instead, the vast preponderance of the whole People-in-Revolt could smash the status quo, for a Future they could both see and deserve. And, that crucially necessary component is clearly, currently, totally absent!

Indeed, it is also absent within the Unions and the Worker Co-ops, in the form of politically-equipped leaders, who understand the political necessities - not only for Society at Large, but also in formulating the appropriate policies necessary - even those concerned with the restricted objectives of their own organisations.

For example:-

1. How do Coops relate to each other?

2. How do they relate to the Local Political Democracy - within which they exist?

3. How are leaders and external representatives elected, mandated and removed?

4. How, exactly, are the absolutely-necessary society-wide objectives to be arrived at, and then implemented?

5. What about Social Services, Schools, Hospitals? Universities, infrastructures and nation-wide Transport that all need to be organised and controlled?

I could go on, but clearly, even within these essential organisations, there also has to be an awareness of a much wider political context, not only for removing Capitalism, but also for establishing, running and maintaining a Socialism-for-and-by-the-People!

Political Parties of-and-for the People, with clear objectives, and indeed worked-out policies, beyond Capitalism, are absolutely essential. Clearly, neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties in the USA could ever deliver what is required in this regard: for they are both in-hock up to their greedy necks, via large financial contributions from the Billionaire class. 


Communist Party, USA

And, even the tattered remnants of the old socialist and communist parties are too compromised, in successfully ensuring their past survival, for them to ever be capable of mounting a credible and revolutionary assault to win the forces necessary from the mass of the People.

Currently, the absolutely essential revolutionary political force is still wholly absent, and the experiences of Greece, and even the Arab Spring, demonstrate clearly the inevitable outcomes, when such appropriately-equipped organisations are not in place.

Is not Revolution the only solution?

27 November, 2017

New Special Issue: The Last Rites of Copenhagen





The writing is on the the wall for the Copenhagen Interpretation

The Chicken or the Egg?


Paul Outerbridge



What came first...


The Chicken or the Egg? 

Or in this more profound case:

The Phenomenon or the Equation?




It is difficult to pose this question, both simply and correctly at the same time, so I must apologize for the way I have posed it in the title of this paper. Clearly, the phenomenon is real, and happens in concrete Reality, but the Equation is a formal abstraction, supposedly, somehow, taken from that happening.

So, in the way I have posed it, the answer is obvious - the phenomenon must have come first!

But, I'm afraid there are a veritable thicket of assumptions unavoidably built into the past intellectual development of Science, which were essential to both its precursors and its subsequent historical development, and, thereafter, its attempted use and understanding by a species (Mankind) equipped initially only with Pragmatism - "If it works, it is right!", and absolutely nothing else! "Why?", didn't really come up: the world was simply the way that it was, and for the whole prior history of his species, Man just found bits of it that he could effectively use.

For about 180 thousand years, that aspect of his culture was almost exclusively about ever better ways of knapping (chipping) flint scraps to facilitate their use as tools. And, though the species was exactly the same as it is now, how it has increasingly dealt with its world has changed radically, due mainly to what we call Abstractions, and the means by which they were extracted from Reality, and then used to Man's advantage. But, even so, it was still never easy - even the knapping and shaping of natural pieces of rock proceeded at a deadly-slow pace, with most of the developments being in the ever better selection of the material to be knapped or hammered into better shapes for use.

Our hunter/gatherer ancestors took 90% of their whole history as a distinct species to progress to processes beyond those based solely upon Pragmatism. That crucial turning point is now termed the Neolithic Revolution - still, surprisingly, based upon stone tools, but involving a major change in the Means of Life. Seeds from food plants were kept and planted in prepared ground, and food animals were captured and tended, not only for meat, but also for milk, and even wool and hides. People stopped being wanderers and lived together in hamlets and even villages. Language developed apace and new skills such as pottery and weaving enriched the quality of life.

But, how-and-why did such a radical transformation actually occur? Why did people begin to think in different ways? What was added to Pragmatism to enable the wholly-new to emerge on all sides? And, most important of all, what made all these things happen, and make the changes even possible?

It had to be, initially at least, outwith the thinking of people: it had to be due to circumstances outside of their thinking that made the living-together of people into much larger concentrations even possible - physical conditions that allowed them to stay in one place, and in much larger numbers. That enabling situation was initially to do with truly great rivers, which regularly flooded to replenish the fertility of the land, and even natural captures of such flooding in lakes, the outlets of which could be, pragmatically, built-up with rocks and soil to prevent its usually inevitable escape.




Around such rivers the resident populations grew and vastly increased, and much increased social contact precipitated the vital development of Language, and a pooling of learned techniques. Indeed, Inherited abilities were greatly added to by a developed Language, and the vast increase in teaching from one generation and able individuals to the next. 

No longer was it just the genetic inheritance that was involved in solving problems. For, in addition, increased verbal interactions led to a pooling of experiences, and the great increase in naming and categorising sets of similar things: the first two stages in Abstraction developed apace, and any special experiences could be shared and discussed with a much increased community of people.

There certainly isn't the time here to comprehensively establish what is involved in Abstraction, but this has been exhaustively studied and the following diagram does indicate the major processes and productions that have been achieved over time.


The Processes and Productions of Abstraction by Jim Schofield


This diagram was developed in establishing the various phases achieved in Abstraction, particularly with respect to Science and Mathematics, so its clear indication of how mathematical Abstraction leads to Ideality is also very useful here too. 

For Ideality is both a reflected-and-limited version of Reality, capable of containing only Pure Forms alone, and hence, while being much more limited than concrete Reality, also contains, via abstract speculation, a great deal more than can actually exist within Reality.

So, returning to "the Phenomenon and the Equation", we see exactly what is involved in the question asked!

And, the implication of choosing the Equation as primary, that is the purely formal aspect only of what is being addressed as primary, is a totally idealist standpoint, and not only leaves out the concrete precursors and causes involved, but as well as only including the formal reflections, also opens up the discussion to including all the purely speculative inclusions that Ideality illegitimate treats as equally viable factors within its aegis.

Yet without Abstraction Mankind would still be a hunter/gatherer: so what did this new cerebral process allow Mankind to do with its day-to-day experiences? It began to allow generalities to be recognised within those experiences!

They were never clearly evident due to the complex holist nature of Reality, but Mankind's Pragmatism had allowed an increased measure of control to be employed, and when this was used to "hold some aspect of Reality still" - to effectively simplify situations, man began to notice similarities in different situations, which he tried to extract.

It was, of course, a difficult thing to do, until he related whole sets of the similarities to invented, perfect versions - that we term Idealisation.

The first area, where this was most easily done, was in Shapes and Patterns, for the idealised shapes involved - Squares, Triangles and Circles, could be investigated in many quantifiable ways, and then effectively used in place of the less regular forms to which they were closest! In this fairly limited area, things moved on at an increasing pace to its initial culmination in what was termed Euclidian Geometry. 





But, it later gathered pace again into two apparently different areas. First it was extended sideways into reasoning and begat what came to be called Formal Logic.

And, second it was applied to patterns of quantitative measurements, by representing variables by letters as placeholders for the many values that they could take in the various versions of the same pattern, and thus the actual range of values became a relation between these letters - Algebra had been arrived at, and such algebraic patterns relating sets of numbers were called Equations!

Let us be absolutely clear what all this was doing to patterns in Reality! Initially, they were simply sets of numbers (measurements), but they could be changed without losing the underlying pattern common to a whole collection of cases. And a general algebraic equation would encapsulate the whole set.

Equations had letters called Variables for the measurements in the given pattern! And, they also had letters called Constants, which stayed the same in a given case, but varied between cases. Thus the general Equation represented all the related cases.

But, we never get the general form of the equation from measured data - yes, NEVER!

We get it from an idealised pattern, similar to our aimed-for pattern but significantly changed via simplification to make it easy to turn into an equation.

There you have it!

All equations are simplified and idealised constructions, which are similar to what we want, but have two significant disadvantages!

A: they are not accurate!

B: They certainly never determine actual behaviour!

Those who assume the opposite of these statements are Idealists not scientists! And they have taken over Science, I'm sad to say.

But, in addition there is still more to be revealed! Though physical explanations were rejected in Sub Atomic Physics, because what had been produced in that area was obviously wrong, the cause was a mistaken philosophic premise which was also made by the Equation worshippers too.

Both Physical Explanation and Formal Representation assumed the Principle of Plurality (as also did Formal Logic), and this totally undermined any chance of a complete, concise and comprehensive encapsulation of any phenomena or reasoned argument. For that Principle has the composing elements, in any complex result, as totally separate and always independant of one another. It means all phenomena are composed of separate and eternal Natural Laws, which simply add together, independantly of both one another and of their Context!

And, that is most certainly untrue: which is proved conclusively by the inability of such assumptiuons and means to ever explain real Qualitative Change and Transforming Developments!

And, the effect upon Sub Atomic Physics, with the now universally adopted Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory. has been to replace explanatory Theory with only mathematical, and hence, purely formal formulae as their only reliable(?) sources to "explain" what happens there.

And, clearly those claims are unfounded, What they use are illegitimately applied probabilistic means to predict what will happen next, that is a description and not an explanation.

And in spite of the loud claims of superlative accuracy, the only attempted explanations have required a whole raft of unfounded speculations, which they claim are also legitimate, because of the accuracy of the formal predictions.

I'm afraid those speculations and their claims are false!

Now, the reader may indeed sympathize with today's physicists as Physical Explanation certainly let them down, and current researches are damning their only alternative - but, that isn't true! Physical Explanations must be primary and never mere formal abstractions.

So, the correct approach must be to dump both the old pluralist, Idealist, Materialist and Pragmatist amalgam of Classical Physics, AND the also pluralist, Idealist, speculative and Pragmatic retreat of the Copenhagenists, to finally approach Theory via a

Holist, Dialectical and Materialist approach

...which has been shown to be the only way forward!




New issue of the journal - The Last Rites of Copenhagen


Issue 55: The Solar Wind





This edition comprises of a loose collection of related papers marking the start of a nascent research area - how magentic fields extend across vast distances of supposedly ‘empty’ space and affect each other - the Sun affecting the Earth for example. 

I’m trying to find research papers which explain what I think might be happening with the charged particles originating in the upper atmosphere of the sun. I assume that although taken as a whole the solar wind would be electrically neutral. However, there are both positive and negatively charged plasmas. I believe that the positive particles may be of varying mass (that is nuclei with different numbers of protons and neutrons). If this is so then I would guess that the proportion of heavier elements decreases with increasing mass.

Obviously higher energy (plasma-based) charged particles would penetrate deeper through the earth’s magnetic field. Moving charged particles will create an associated magnetic field. Such magnetic fields would interfere with the earth’s magnetic field. Therefore, are we looking at a topology problem? That is, it’s the shape of the resulting magnetic field that would describe what is happening at the poles.

25 November, 2017

Krishnamurti and Science I




I: Social Contexts

The Indian spiritual philosopher Krishnamurti has had a series of four talks with a small group of eminent scientists available on YouTube for many years, and as I am both a scientist, a philosopher, and a Marxist, while also having been married for over 40 years to a committed Buddhist, who also admires Krishnamurti, it certainly behoves me, long before I consider any sort of critique of the content of these talks, to establish the evident social contexts: for they certainly seem to be crucial, for all the participants.

Krishnamurti's three scientists included a Sub Atomic Physicist, a Biologist and a Psychiatrist - all of international reputation, but for the whole of the first talk, all of them were at something of a loss to see what Krishnamurti was getting at, especially as the Master was seeing them, their professional contexts and intellectual grounds, as well as Mankind in general, as crucially flawed in their attitudes to Existence! But, without committing to any sort of critique, I was able to set some socially clear parameters in place, initially and substantially from my own origins, experience and professional and political career over almost 60 years, contrasted with the very different histories evident in all those present in this debate.

As the offspring of a working class uneducated and untrained couple in industrial Manchester, England, and the only one in my year at Elementary School to pass-my-scholarship, aged 11, and get to Grammar School, I, by the time I reached 18 years old had undergone two very different life experiences. 12 years in the Slums of Manchester - running the mean streets, then a move to a Council House, followed by 7 years away from the friends of my childhood, to spend all my time with clever kids from all over that big city. I coped and indeed succeeded academically (unknown during my sojourn in the prior West Gorton slum). But, it was a different world, and included many from a wide variety of privileged backgrounds, yet brought together in a levelling and testing environment of academic study. But, nevertheless, I warmed to learning so many new things, and became the best at Mathematics and Science in my year throughout my school career.

Unlike the social situations in Krishnamurti's discussion group, I was unavoidably contrasting the preoccupations of my childhood in West Gorton, with what I was learning, and succeeding in, at my Grammar School. And, funnily enough, even that turned out to be very different indeed, to the next phase of my experience at University. For, what I had learned in my Grammar School clashed dramatically with what I came to be taught in Physics at my University. For, if the Class Shock in my first transfer was significant, at University it was devastating! Not, as you might imagine, because of prejudice, but because of the Content which I was being taught!

From the first term I disagreed with my lecturers, some of which were considered world-class - for I had never come across Idealism as the cornerstone of Knowledge-and-Understanding before. But here, it was named "The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory", and was replacing the whole position I had been taught at School.


University of Leeds in the 1950s


Why was this?

You are never an idealist when you're a working class labourer, or even a working class pupil. It all had to be applicable and it had to make sense - your understanding just had to be enhanced, otherwise it was a silly thing to even entertain. My successes in Grammar School were because I was daily first understanding, and then using what I learnt, more and more! I succeeded not by remembering things, but by truly understanding and applying them. Yet, in the very first lectures at University, what was being taught WAS NOT applicable: Why?

Teachers of Science in my school had to do everything - both explaining and demonstrating, and, crucially, even showing you how to do the same. That certainly wasn't the case in the new context. Theorists described but didn't explain, and "doing" was done by a very different group termed Technicians. Never ask your lecturer to show you "How" - find a technician! The two necessary functions were generally carried out by people from different Classes. All the physics lecturers were from a very different Class to myself. While the Technicians were more like me, and could tell you what you needed to know to get the required results. Sadly though, even they couldn't tell you "Why?"

In Higher Education, and then in the consequent professions, there had been a significant layering of the Sciences - Theory was for the superior class types, while technical implementation was for the workers!

Neither Krishnamurti, nor any of his group of debaters were from my Class: all were, most certainly, all from much more privileged layers of Society, and neither side of the arguments were Doers.

But, nevertheless, there was a Class Collision of a very different kind very clearly evident.

The position that Krishnamurti was struggling to communicate was totally untenable for the scientists he had assembled for this debate. Absolutely no work-imperative was evident in Krishnamurti's objectives, while the scientists were clearly so motivated, but in explaining things in their own scientific contexts.

Occupying himself with questions of existence, as Krishnamurti was doing, was, and always had been, as unavailable to his co-debaters, as they undoubtedly were to labourers in the Working Class. They could never be exclusively concerned with the nature of Existence: for that required a very much more privileged life than they could possibly experience. A life where everything was done for you, either by an extensive team of servants, or perhaps in a later "seeking stage" by a congregation of avid worshipers?

Having established the existential ground of the debaters in this series, an addressing of the content of their debates can now be addressed...


Part II coming soon.

In the meantime you can watch the seminar in question.



12 November, 2017

Art: The Articulation of Form


Bodies against time by √Čtienne-Jules Marey


With the wide acceptance of Form as the sole determinator of Content, on the one hand, contrasting with the alternative view, which makes all Causes as only due to Content-and-context, and, in addition, as the determinator of Form, on the other - we clearly have contradictory premises as to what is primary in determining the Nature of Reality.

The two positions boil down, in philosophical terms, to opposite stances, namely -

Form-first delivers to us Idealism, while
Content-first constitutes Materialism.

But, what Forms do we deal in, and under what system of rules do we use them? Rigorously, we have only the set of Perfect Forms - that is those initially observationally and pragmatically-established, and, thereafter, those rationally-developed via a Purely Formal System of Manipulations that we term Mathematics. But, is that, really, a viable means of revealing all of Reality?

It was, of course, the very-first coherent and consistent attempt, by the Ancient Greeks (circa 500 BC), but it was also a truly revolutionary move, for though literally NO Perfect Forms exist as such in Reality-as-is, the development was extremely significant for another key aspect of what was necessarily involved.

Let us, first, be crystal clear as to what these crucial Forms were.

The more obvious Forms were Squares, Circles and Triangles - but even more non-real entities were, what they, in turn, were composed of - namely "Lines of zero thickness" and "Dots of zero extension". What on earth was going on?


Josef Albers, 'Formulation Articulation I & II', 1972,


It came from, in fact, the already common practice of Simplification - employed in order to make things easier to consider, manipulate and construct into ever more comprehendable, complex systems. BUT, and this is very important, these "modifications" were of a very special type: they attempted to extract only the "truly key features" from real situations, and into pure embodiments of a kind of assumed to be driving-or-causing essence.

They were in fact Abstractions.

Now, Abstractions were not, even then, wholly new: they had been used for millennia to describe animals of the same species - characterised by common, easily-identified visual appearances, and attached-to each uniquely-named variety. But, what the Greeks did was significantly different! Their extractions were Perfect-Forms, not merely a commonly-applicable description. For, such were each individually considered as the unchanging essence of all things possessing that form, for though it NEVER occurred in Reality, as such, it could be used, effectively, for all occurring versions of that shape: it was indeed an Idealisation, as well as a simplification of what was being dealt with.

NOTE: Before going any further, we really must note both the advantages and disadvantages of all such Idealisations. For, as they were never enough to completely define any particular, real-world-thing, they, therefore, would definitely, at some point, fail in being "appropriate descriptions", once crucial aspects - omitted from any idealisation, came into determining prominance for some uninconsidered reason. But, on the other hand, such idealisations would be extremely useful, and could deliver reasonably accurate predictions, and even guide successful productions, whilever the idealised description remained "apt"!

So, in a particular sense, it was a very real advance, for though it was always an approximation of concretely-existing versions of this form, the general relations, extracted from manipulations with this Perfect Form, were indeed "just-as-true" of all such other concrete versions of it too! But, though all this was pragmatically validated, as was then usual, by, "If it works, it is right!", we have to ask what did actually determine that Form? Was it built-in from the outset by an all powerful creator? Or, were they the only possible shapes that things could take?

Clearly, Idealism is a construct and NOT a revelation of natural essence! So, if this is the case, the Materialist alternative must always be employed to attempt to answer the question "Why?". concerning the reasons for the particular Forms of entities. Yet, in addition, it also must be fully explained why the idealist route, nevertheless, still enabled effective predictions and productions to be achieved.

Now, all this has been fully addressed elsewhere in writings by this philosopher. So, those, requiring that, are directed to SHAPE Journal on the Internet, and its many issues concerned with The Philosophy of Mathematics.

But here, the priority, as the title of this post asserts, is the consideration of "Art is the Articulation of Form" as claimed by the Italian painter and sculptor, Amedeo Modigliani!


Head by Modigliani

If Art was fully-delivered just by Form as such, it would mean something very different to what Modigliani suggested, and as a sculptor, myself, I was immediately sure that he had got-it-right in his "definition". For, basic Perfect Forms, as found in Mathematics, simply cannot say much more than is conveyed within the particular shape's formal definition.

But, just how one form transforms into another can display a rich variety of varying alternative causes: while in music a particular rhythmic pattern and tonal sequence transforming into something different can contain the subtlest of emotional or even causal content.

Perhaps surprisingly, while Form as such was never capable of explaining anything, the articulations between different forms could remarkably reflect the transformation of causes delivering that transition.

That may not seem much, but, to arrive at such a conclusion, would be incorrect! For, Art is not an indulgence or a mere entertainment (as in "Strictly Come Dancing" for example)! For, many millennia it has been an alternative means of communication of things not adequately dealt with by other means.

In a sense it is the oldest-holist-attempt to deliver aspects of a changing Reality - indeed, the very opposite of pluralist forms and even explanations!

It can, at its best, capture Reality-in-transit, and perhaps this is because it subordinates Form to "Time"?

Forms are fixed patterns, often extractable only by stopping the flow of Time and taking a "snapshot" of the revealed (if momentary) pattern!


From Ghost Moments by Michael C Coldwell

NOTE: My son, Michael Conflux Coldwell, is a photographer and musician, and he addresses the seeming limitations of "the photograph" by choosing as subjects situations wherein significant, over-time changes are there in the frozen-yet-haunting content. And, in a recent exhibition delivered many such photographs, as well as a movie, accompanied by his own music and sounds, which dramatically converted photographs into suggestions or even repositories of change.




AM by Conflux Coldwell


Now, Art attempts to remedy any simplifications by building "time-perceptions" into the art-work: it is why Music is so transcendental, because it directly uses Time, itself, to express what it is attempting to communicate. But, even static, unchanging Works-of-Art, nevertheless attempt to enforce a trajectory of perception, as the observer is led-through the work over time.

As a sculptor myself, I, like Modigliani, attempt to deliver two time-based perceptions for my audiences: I deliver changes via the varying positions of observers as they move around the piece! But, I also communicate change, precisely as Amedeo describes it - as the articulation (or changing) of one form into another - via various sorts of micro trajectory across the surfaces of the piece.

As a young convert to Sculpture as an artform, it isn't surprising that my first serious piece was a re-creation of a Head by Modigliani, and my favourite sculptor very quickly became Henry Moore!


Oval with Points by Henry Moore