“When you live under the mountain” by Lola Haskins


When you live under the mountain
by Lola Haskins

When you live under the mountain
you do not see the mountain.
 What mountain, you ask,
stirring your tea,
as your visitor falls silent
before the clouds.

A beautiful poem. The image is a capture of a single rhythm of life . Our vision is circumscribed by our situation and it is only an outsider who can observe without  his vision being clouded .

Commentary

When you are alive , you are conscious .It is consciousness that defines your aliveness. The other way,it is aliveness that causes consciousness. When I experience something my consciousness is temporarily suspended in order to register sensations and record experiences .I have been thinking of why ,when I am typing this ,I am not simultaneously conscious of my typing. I have often found that I may have been subconsciously aware of the experiences I am going through but not all the time. For example I do a hundred things during the day but find it difficult to remember all the experiences when I try to recall them later. I have found over the years it is expedient to let another part of mind to offer a running commentary on what is taking place. There is a continuous drone in the back of my mind which is a kind of a background commentary offered by another part of my mind which makes me conscious. The sound inside is a persistent commentary which tries to synthesize my experiences and make some sense out of them before they are filed away.

Rationale Thoughts

The blogger says mathematics does not necessarily sharpen your logical faculties in a way to improve logical thought in any subject.That is what is thought to be true by many who propound the theory that reasoning is somewhat like a muscle and the more you stretch it and use it the greater the logical skills achievement.

My own perception is that mathematics perhaps calls for different skills than most other subjects which use logic as a vehicle for abstact thought. For example , students who do exceptionally well in Mathematics are not all the time very bright in other subjects and likewise students who are exceptionally brilliant in subjects requiring language skills ,abstract thought,reasoning  are not very bright when it comes to Maths. This is not to say that maths does not use logic or reasoning .Only a different system of logic calling for an entirely different skillset. Maths does not have a tolerance for ambivalence with its emphasis on precision while in most of the humanities abstract thinking necessarily calls for a capacity for ambivalence. In fact ,in most abstract thought long patches of unexplained “leapfrogging” occur calling for a specialised training  in order to make sense out of them.There is a certain amount of haze around objects which changes in its tone and shape depending upon the training and experience of the student.

Mathematics as a tool to model the world

The question is asked of how mathematics ,which is supposed to be a “precise” affair accommodates ’rounding off or down”.The question , by itself ,does not generate much discussion but some points do emerge. First of all ,what is mathematics is itself a very comprehensive thing ranging from numbers and figures (which is what leads to the “precise” definition of mathematics) ,statistics which are not a matter of the precise,geometry which does not deal with numbers etc.etc. Secondly ,mathematics can be used as a tool for modellling the world and understanding the inter-relationship between different things of the world. In geometry we understand the relationship between different forms and shapes by representing them as mathematical quantities.This concerns the engineer who builds edifices ,the manufacturer who builds machines and virtually everybody who makes something ,however unimportant it may be,as long as it involves design. Our world view has to be necessarily supported by an understanding of the mathematical relationship of different components that make up the world. Statistics deals with the behavior of the aggregates in a manner which gives us a handle to deal with gross numbers representing large number of people and things.

Links:
amherst.edu

How much of what a philosopher says we can believe if we don’t understand a part of his argument .

The way a question is framed depends ,not all the time,upon what one seeks to know . For example ,in this question ,it is difficult to believe that the questioner actually wants to know how much one can believe of what the philosopher says.Probably he wants to know how one should evaluate the effectiveness of a philosophical argument if a part of the argument is incomprehensible.

The point this gentleman makes is there could be defects or patches of logical inconsistency or the philosopher’s own obscurity in an argument .Should one take the overall drift of the argument if conforms to a pre-conceived thought even if there are occasional holes ,real or perceived, in the argument .An interesting thought. A reading of the Hindu philosophy (Vedanta) will give you such a feeling . The basic argument remains the same while the words go on .There is hardly a difference in thoughts and words as though words cease to be vehicles for thoughts and have a purpose of their own apart from conveying meaning.Words themselves are meaning.The gaps that happen are mere semantics where instead of the mind proceeding with thoughts they struggle with words.

Truth in art

The question is asked if there is any wisom in the world which can be better grasped in literature or art ,better than in one’s daily life  .To put it in a different way ,is there any higher truth which is above our comprehension in our daily lives which a poet ot an artist intuitively grasps and expresses ?

My own perception is that there are words and words have a logic of their own . When you start off with an expression ,however banal it may be, the poet’s own mind carries on with the logic of the words which relentlessly pursue truth and lead it towards little known recesses of the mind which hide this truth. Now truth is a controversial word ,just like wisdom and you may swap one for the other. But the essential thing is there is a logic of all logics which starts with words and as they move they take you to fascinating worlds whose existence you have not suspected. But the question you will ask is :You are saying this higher logic or whatever logic you call it is truth but what is the basis for this ? Apparently everything depends on what you think is truth and if you believe  Truth is something verifiable with facts and can be demonstrated again and again ,that is the definition within the conventional sense.How do we know that there is no other logic or truth beyond the logic which governs our lives and the physical phenomena ?

Knowledge

What does one mean by knowing a person ? Knowing a person or knowing a fact are two different things .Knowing a fact means a comprehensive knowledge of the fact ,which is the philosophical sense of knowledge. In the case of knowing a person the word is somewhat loosely used to mean awareness of the person as an identity .

My own perception is that knowledge means recognition of the identity of a person or a fact in one’s consciousness .Thus I know that Seattle exists in America because my consciousness recognises its identity but there may be some place or some person in an African country whose existence I am not aware of.