Archives for posts with tag: concepts

Trying to make sense of this this proverb, one might find handy a deeper understanding of ‘it’.

I’ll be arguing in a future post about the synthetic nature of equality. A concept we came up with, based on things found in the natural world. But the concept itself has no natural precursor. It was invented by us and exists exclusively in our minds.

On the other hand, liberty – the ‘it’ I’m writing about right now – is ‘artificial’. Another concept we’ve came up with, based on things found in the natural world.
But one which has evolved from a natural precursor. It still exists exclusively in our minds – like all other concepts, but we didn’t actually invent it. We only noticed its natural precursor and built on in.

Orangutans are freer than us. They live individualistic lives, depending on no one but themselves. They are strong enough to do this and they live in such a manner and place that they don’t have to face any natural enemies. We, humans – their cousins, are the only agents powerful enough to represent a real danger for them.
Gorillas are less free than us. They live in strict autarchies, where they need nothing but what already exists in their domains – the plants they feed on, and where they respect the strict discipline imposed by their strictly authoritarian male leaders. Which are the only free(ish) members of the groups.
Chimpanzees and bonobos, each in their own way, are the closest to us. Some freer than others but none as free as the orangutans.

None of our cousins have the concept of liberty. As far as we know, they long for it – for freedom, that is – when they lose it. Hence they feel (for) it. But they haven’t, as far as we know it, came up with the notion of it. This being the reason for which the concept of liberty might be synthetic – like all other concepts, but liberty itself is artificial.

Our experience of liberty has a lot in common with what our cousins feel when they lose theirs. When they lose theirs to us!
We being the only agents who, after synthesizing the concept of liberty, have taken the process a step further.
Have started to take prisoners. And to justify our actions!


‘Things are not at all what they ‘really’ are but only what they seem to be.’


What we have here is the intersection between ‘reality’ – a.k.a. ‘absolute’ truth, and knowledge – a.k.a. logos or relative truth.

‘Things’, ‘existence’ and ‘reality’ are concepts.
Developed by us, conscious people, through the use of ‘logos’ and starting from two implicit premises.
That there must be something outside our consciousness – both the individual and collective ones.
And that our perceptions do have at least some correspondence in that ‘outside’.

By adding layers and layers of logos, collectively known as ‘culture’, upon our initial perceptions we’ve actually built an alternative reality. The one we call ‘civilization’.

The ‘thing’ being that this second reality is just as ‘outside’ our grasp as the original one was. And continues to be.
Because of our own consciousness, which both separates and connects us to ‘reality’.

What we are left with are our ‘perceptions’.
And with our understanding, for those who had reached it, that ‘perceptions’ are ‘real’ only in the sense that they do correspond to some segments of ‘reality’ but they are not necessarily similar to them.

Our concepts, not matter how gingerly refined and thoroughly revised, are only representations of ‘reality’.
‘Real’, in their own right: developing them produced, and continues to, its own set of consequences – a.k.a. ‘civilization’.
The downside being that some of those concepts have begotten rather unpleasant consequences.

‘Moral depravation’, ‘pollution’, ‘corruption’…

It doesn’t really matter how many of these consequences are the result of ‘direct’ action or unintended spin offs.

What matters is that we have to understand there will always be a distance between what we believe at some point and the object of our belief. That that distance may have enormous consequences. And that our only chance to avoid those consequences is transparency.

Heidegger was speaking about ‘unhiddenness’.
The limited nature of both our consciousness and rationality produces the distance between our concepts and their ‘real’ correspondents.
Only by openly, and respectfully, sharing what we know about ‘things’ we’ll be able to shorten that distance.
Otherwise, the limited nature of the reality we live in – the planet itself, will no longer be able to accommodate the hiatus between our concepts and the only reality we have at our disposal.

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