Discussion Board

Topic: conceptual | physical | conceptual

From: patrick
Date: 08/28/2009

People tend to be fixated on the 'concrete'. The physical, meaning, the range of things they want to be able to do in the world. 'They want'.

What they don't grasp is that their conceptual frameworks underlie them even having an opportunity to do anything physically. Any taboo or sacriledge immediately puts a block to anything they might be able to do.

And there's a range across people of what is taboo....but ultimately in everyone there is a limit to what's okay. It's completely arbitrary relative to their comfort level - which we know is largely determined by a mix of genetic predisposition, cultural mandate, and environmental conditioning.

It doesn't seem that people are inherently interested in conceptual 'freedom' - not freedom to do whatever you (may) want, but the largest space to move around in - and this is a neutral condition, as it allows one the opportunity to consider, to imagine, anything.

I am interested in this, and allow my sense of what enables connection at a deep, yet casual, level to guide me in what is worth imagining and then doing.

*and that is why I read/have read what I read, your fiction included.

Re: conceptual | physical | conceptual

From: patrick
Date: 09/18/2009

In line with the above, I've started a forum of my own. Visit if you like.


Re: conceptual | physical | conceptual

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 09/19/2009

And not just a matter of taboos...there are things that would seem to be actually, physically impossible until the conceptual framework that allows them is--discovered? Evolved? Invented?

From Teilhard de Chardin's Foreword to The Phenomenon of Man:

"They [physicists] are now beginning to realise that even the most objective of their observations are steeped in the conventions they adopted at the outset and by forms or habits of thought developed in the course of the growth of research; so that, when they reach the end of their analyses they cannot tell with any certainty whether the structure they have reached is the essence of the matter they are studying, or the reflection of their own thought."

In "The Silver Key" Lovecraft waxes more poetic, describing materialists casting off myths and dreams while "never stopping to think that that lore and those ways were the sole makers of their present thoughts and judgments..."

And a big ten-four on Greg's fiction!

Cut-and-pasting in LA,

Re: conceptual | physical | conceptual

From: Greg Bear
Date: 09/23/2009

Thanks, Bill. Any philosophical treatise must be based on prior word-usages, and that quickly bogs us down in trying to figure out what the hell we meant in the first place!

Re: conceptual | physical | conceptual

From: patrick
Date: 09/24/2009

Bill: certainly. The best that can be done is to not worry about it, and continue forward. The bulk of philosophy, based in an axiety over this essence, has been overly concerned with revealing it, compounding the anxiety.

Greg: I get in A LOT of trouble online because I create new grammars. It's really funny: when I first started studying music, I was in my early 20s, and though I implicity understood tertian tonality, there were depths I had to learn. When I studied music beyond that harmonic region, the depth I learned was more extreme.

I was 'open' to all of it. And I've found most people aren't after a certain age at least. Spoken language is far closer to their 'heart' because of its familarity and use, and so of course they don't want to learn a more 'chromatic' language - cos, goddamit, what they know works!

I was talking with my mom about this the other night, and before I finished, she said, "they're stultified" (I think that was it)...and I just stopped and said, "yeah!".

Re: conceptual | physical | conceptual

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 09/25/2009

Yeah...which is why philosophy is an art, no matter how much it wishes it were a science. The job of poets and philosophers is the same: to suggest what can't be said.

Trapped like rats between that tumbling thighbone and the Starchild, frantically arranging old atoms and old thoughts into new patterns. Bacteria in a ripening fruit...how seldom we wonder what we're really up to!

Respond to this discussion

GregBear.com is currently being updated and new comments to the discussion board have been paused until the new site is ready on September 6, 2015. Please check back then!

See Also...

Archives: [Oct-Dec 2004] [Jan-June 2005] [July-Dec 2005] [Jan-June 2006] [July 2006] [Aug-Dec 2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011] [2012] [2013] [2014] [2015] [Current] [Search Blog Archives]