Sep 11 1996 1:53 AM EDT
I liked this thought of yours>
>Mathematical symbols exclude metaphor in order to demonstrate
>metaphoric propositions without adding an unwonted flavor of their own.
>Ideally, math is a non-metaphoric language, though in a vanilla world
>everything must of necessity retain some trace of vanilla.
In thinking about Whitehead's definition of Novelty I recently had occasion to go back and reread how he approached this most central and mathematical of all the concepts in his metaphysics. it was interesting.
He said: "These ultimate notions of 'production of novelty' and 'concrete togetherness' are inexplicable either in terms of higher universals or in terms of the components participating in the concrescence. The analysis of the components abstracts from the concrescence. The sole appeal is to intuition. (Process and Reality, p. 26)"
"The sole appeal is to intuition." I hold that thought. That this most mathematical of gentlemen, this paragon of the rational, knew, and stated, this obvious fact about process and reality is somehow fundamentally reassuring. Godel's Incommensurability Theorem, or whatever it is called these days, makes it important to acknowledge just how shaky and provisional the noetic enterprise is, at best. Science is the worst offender here, playing dirty pool and assuming a commanding and overbearing expertise in areas where it actually is no more deeply endowed with wisdom than are other modes of thought.
take me to your worst offender! Anything absolute enough will at least engender its opposite. It's those half baked offenders who merely defend the postulates of those who have, in their own terms, dared to be emphatically wrong, who cause the trouble. By trouble I mean: tedious lackluster benightedness. Sometimes I more than half believe that if an idea is wrong enough in a right enough way, reality stretches to accommodate it. Maybe there was no relativity before Einstein and the sun simply shined directly on us rather than taking 9 minutes to reach Terra at 186,000 mps. This is true in the blessed world of metaphor and music. Certainly in dreams. Necessarily in hyperspace, or we'll never touch the cool sweet surface of stars, as we must and therefore will. If God meant us to live in Los Angeles, He wouldn't have given us categorical imperatives.