Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Higher Dimensional Thinking

Originally posted on September 11, 2016

Yes, about “straight answers”— what if at higher dimensional levels of mind there are no straight answers?   so I’m putting on my blog and also will weave into my lectures:

S.J. Perelman, in his book, Most of the Most of S.J. Perelman (Modern Library, NY, 2000), on page 64, wrote: “Yet figures, which I am making up as I go along, state that one out of every eight people owns and operates an aquarium, It hardly seems possible, does it? Yet that’s what the figures state.” My comment: Gee, if “the figures” “state” it, it must be so. A skillful play of words offers an illusion of un-assailability, even though the author, tongue-in-cheek, baldly admits he’s making the figures up! 

A friend sent me these bits of commentary: Here’s another: Patrick Fermor, in an essay titled “Between the Woods and the Water,” on pg 97 in the New York Review of Books in 2005, wrote:

   “Theories can be evolved in a void, as it were, and the occasional fragments of hard fact— linguistic, geographical, ethnological, or religious—need not fit into any jigsaw, indeed, they are unable to do so, because all the other pieces are missing; and within certain loose bounds they can be arranged in whatever pattern suits the speaker best. The interpretations are as different as the work of two palaeontologists, one of whom would reconstruct a dinosaur and the other a mastodon from the same handful of bone-fragments. ‘Let us assume’ turns in a few pages into ‘We may assume,’ which, in a few more, is ‘As we have shown’; and, after a few more pages yet, the shy initial hypothesis has hardened into a brazen established landmark, all the time with not an atom of new evidence being adduced. Advan-tageous points are coaxed into opulent bloom, awkward ones discreetly pruned into non-being. Obscurity reigns.”

In other words, authors may drift because they’re muddy-minded or careless or, more ominously, using rhetoric to sell a political point. It’s not meant to be obscure, but rather to offer a sense of “we have shown that….” 

Meta-Meta-Cognition

I’m offering a lecture series next February—if it is accepted—on “Thinking about thinking about thinking”—aspects of what happens when we reflect on our more complex thoughts. There’s also semi-thinking, though perhaps that’s too kind. Daydreaming? Reverie? But on occasion a brilliant idea arises from this kind of un-directed musing.

It’s based on the concept of dimensionality—a fully artificial mathematical construct aimed to help define stuff in the world—the 3-D world of height as well as width and length. (Length is 1-D, Width is 2-D.) Einstein suggested that time should be viewed as a 4th dimension, and I am suggesting not only that mind—which perceives all the rest—should be a 5th dimension, but I go further: Just as patterns on paper draw out the potentials of line and add color as well, so should we recognize a dimension that thinks about thinking as yet another dimension—a sixth dimension!

And just as we recognize that drawings on paper are but a shallow representation of a fuller 3-D reality, so should we recognize that there is yet another, higher dimension to mind: thinking about thinking about thinking. (I think this is what Plato was getting at in his Parable of the Cave. There are lots of ways to think this way, this meta-cognitive way. Not all are very smart: One can get caught up in illusion, or fall into reverie. There may be yet other states of consciousness. Certainly, different languages and cultures offer a different tone to what life is about! These ideas operate at levels other than mere rhetorical analysis.

Moving up to mid- 7th and lower 8th Dimension of Mind, one loses the power of language to define things clearly and unambiguously. (It is a conceit that language can indeed capture all sensibilities, types of intelligence, intuitions, and the like!) The great philosopher Alfred North Whitehead wrote in the 1920s in his book, Adventures of Ideas (republished by the  Free Press, NY, 1967, p72): “Insistence on clarity at all costs is based on sheer superstition as to the mode in which human intelligence functions. Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamers for deductions.”


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