Saturday, July 13, 2013

And Buddist aggregates

Continuing from the last post, recall this post on p. 3 addressing how Buddhism via meditation uncovers the ephemeral nature of elements (or aggregates) that must be continually reconstituted. On p. 74 of the OOO thread I discussed the possible relationship with Bryant per above. We can still see differences though. For example, in Buddhism generally there is no substance if by that we mean primordial or universal essence, i.e., lack of inherent self existence. And yet the notion that all things are causally produced and interrelated is akin to Bryan't substance, as it too does not have a universal existence but rather a unique, temporal, materially produced individual existence. One difference with Buddhism is that there is nonetheless something in an object's substance that is non-relational, at least exo-relational. However the endo-relations are indeed still relational and a suobject is still coordinating other substantive subject-parts within it, but it is in the organizational structure wherein lies its ephemeral, transient elements.

From an overview of aggregates they are indeed temporary and fleeting, but they would seem to preclude, or at least don’t differentiate, the kind of substance Bryant describes using Luhmann and Varela. In fact, the Buddhist definition of aggregate pertains not only to mind-thoughts but the physical world as well. Granted physical forms indeed come and go, but while they are manifest they don’t seem to have the kind of autonomous substance above. So I’m wondering how we might find a homeomorphic equivalence with aggregates pertaining to structural endo-relations, and that something that remains in excess of them what Bryant calls substance.

Continuing from the linked article, in Abhidhamma Form “arises from experientially irreducible physical/physiological phenomena.” It seems at least here we have an autonomous suobject (substance)? And when a human contacts a suobject (form) then there is the process of the human perceiving, feeling and forming its own information about that independent suobject, i.e., for Bryant translating it. Like Bryant this translation isn’t a direct correspondence with the suobject, since it must translate via the process of the aggregates or endo-relations. And in this sense the endo-relations like aggregates are indeed ephemeral, the stuff from which the organizational structure builds and maintains.

Consciousness is one of the aggregates. The aggs seem more like the usual developmental ladder: body-perception-emotion-mind-consciousness. They are 'real' in a sense, the Buddhist 'problem' being getting attached to or identifying with them, not in their conditional and impermanent reality per se. All of the aggs can be recontextualized as nested 'levels' to the actual, smaller and substantial part-suobjects in a larger suobject. But not their structural relations per se, which do not enter into local manifestation as body, emotion or thought. Very sticky wicket.

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