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Thu Feb 9, 2012, 06:26 PM

"Dialectical monism"? What an awkward name for a great philosophy.

I've recently been dipping into Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, surfing the non-dualist bow wave of Peter Kingsley's remarkable book "Reality". In the course of my wanderings I discovered that the quote "No man steps in the same river twice. It is never the same river and never the same man" - that I always thought was by some Eastern mystic - was actually coined by the presocratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

In the Wiki entry for Heraclitus I found a link to an entry for something called Dialectical monism. This philosophy really rings my bell, because I've been looking for ways to unite the non-dualist position I hold so dear with the obvious multiplicity of observed reality.

Dialectical monism is an ontological position that holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, and asserts that this whole necessarily expresses itself in dualistic terms. For the dialectical monist, the essential unity is that of complementary polarities, which, while opposed in the realm of experience and perception, are co-substantial in a transcendent sense.

I'm continually amazed by the treasures waiting to be discovered out there.

Edited to add: here's a more thorough article on it, for those whose interest is piqued:

http://naturyl.humanists.net/diamon.html

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Reply "Dialectical monism"? What an awkward name for a great philosophy. (Original post)
GliderGuider Feb 2012 OP
bananas Feb 2012 #1
GliderGuider Feb 2012 #2
tama Feb 2012 #3
Viva_Daddy Mar 2012 #4
Omniscientone May 2012 #5

Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 07:19 PM

1. Very similar to Taoism. nt

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Response to bananas (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 07:43 PM

2. Yes, and similar to aspects of Zen and Mahayana Buddhism as well.

It's definitely not a new concept. I think its formulation is what opened my eyes to the core meaning of concepts I've "understood" for a while now.

What excites me about the concept as presented by the author of the second article in my post, is its ability to accommodate both materialism and idealism comfortably in the same framework. It's more perspicuous - at least to this Westernized mind - than pure Taoism.

Posted on the assumption that I'm not the only person out here struggling with East/West integration issues.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 08:06 PM

3. I'm very pleased

 

with your new acquaintance with Heraclitus, my all-time favorite Greek philosopher. If you want to dive deeper in his fragments, I recommend 'Heraclitus Seminar" by Martin Heidegger and Eugen Fink.

That same idea comes across also in physics: chirality, matter-antimatter duality, spin and other symmetries of co-dependent existence... of dialectical oppositions.

It was a Heidegger, or a Finnish book on Heidegger's reading on Aristotle, that taught me the origin of the notion of 'substance'. It's a Latin translation, via Aristotelian philosophy (to make a long and winding story very short) of the Greek word 'ousia', which is a noun derived from the verb 'be' (einai) and which had the common meaning of 'immovable property'/'real estate'. Space that a subject can control and call his own.

Scientific thought, which is an off-spring of Indo-European languages and and The (Substantive) Fall of the Greeks, has still that package of of metaphysics to haul, and the notions of supersymmetry, zero-energy ontology etc. are an dialectical antidote to metaphysics of substance, as is Buddhist notion of codependent causality: "If this arises, that arises; if this ceases, that ceases".

But in fact the dialectics of codependent oppositions is just a tune in Heraclitus symphony, that Plato took up and developed - or creatively misunderstood, as did Marxist dialectics etc . The deeper and original Heraclitean dialectics starts from putting the a-privative ahead of a-dialectics.

Somehow related, in my language the word 'know' (tietää) comes from the word 'tie', which means 'way', 'road', 'path'. So in that sense 'knowing' is simply your unique path. Tao, as some say.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 02:08 PM

4. This apparent dualism also manifests in many other ways....

...such as inhalation/exhalation, the basic binary code, heart pumping and circulation, the ebb and flow of the tides, centrifugal and centripetal forces, etc. etc. etc. The non-dual (Advaita) path asks us to continually remind ourselves as we see all this phenomena that they are "Not-two".

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sun May 20, 2012, 01:07 AM

5. The links between Western and Eastern religions/philosophies are astounding.

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