The Thing and Itself Part II2005-2010

The mind imposes order onto the world, making it legible by translating what is into what appears to be, from noumenon to phenomena. Phenomena are filtered through the senses, and it would seem that a necessary precondition of all experienced phenomena is the faculty to discern differences between distinct entities in the world, between qualities and quantities within space and time. These qualities and quantities are bundled together, experienced, signified and given meaning. But the consequence of this is that our eyes, indeed all of our senses, hide the noumenal world from view.

Consider your experience of space for example. Can we assume that space is a property of the world independent of the mind? It would seem that spatial distinctions depend on the cognition of absence, absence disclosed to the mind as a difference between things. One might say that this is the way in which the mind creates a place for the world to exist. Absence may be both a condition of awareness, in that it initiates space between distinct entities, and absence may be an object of awareness when we assign it value as a lack of value. So, to what degree, if at all, does space exist independent of the mind?

The same question might be asked of your experience of time. We find ourselves always already within a continuum of time. It seems that a temporal awareness depends on the aggregation of memories, the relationship between moments bound together by the mind, within a continuity of past, present, and future. The same question is applicable. To what degree are these relational differences and similarities imposed onto the world by the mind? To what degree are they independent of the mind, if at all?

Consider an object - a pair of scissors for example. But before you do, consider the mind that considers those scissors. Consider the mind which experiences itself as distinct from everything and everyone else… a distinct subject, oriented towards discrete objects, objects such as those scissors…those scissors which cut, separate, and divide. Can it possibly be that the mind is both the consequence of the conspicuous difference between itself and everything and everyone else, and that the mind is also a precondition of all apparent differences? Do the contours of the mind give shape to the world, or do the contours of the world give shape to the mind? Are both options possible?

And as I become aware of those scissors, when they are signified as scissors, they detach and differ from everything and everyone else, taking on their own local identity and specific meaning. As I experience them, they disentangle themselves from other objects, making them distinct, placing them in time, setting them in space, and allowing an understanding of their qualities and quantities to emerge. They are useful too. They multiply the content of the world by dividing things into discrete and distinct forms, thus initiating a mellifluous plurality.

Consider a map… but before you do, consider the earth to which it refers. A map demarcates territories and signifies distinct entities, but these borders and boundaries are not a necessary feature of the world as it is independent of the representations which the cartographer applies to it. The world does not require these distinctions as a condition for its existence, and a world without distinctions and differences must necessarily be considered singular.

When the scissors are not framed by awareness, where do they go? Perhaps to the same forest where soundless trees fall? When those scissors shake loose of all differences from, and relation to, other things; when they are unframed and ignored, does it make any sense to speak of the inherent distinctions between one thing and another? If differences and distinctions are relational and mind-dependent, but also a precondition of all phenomena, then it does not seem unreasonable to speculate that the world undisclosed is singular; an ineffable Thing-in-Itself.

Nothing is greater than infinity.Therefore, infinity is singular, with presence privileged over absence.