Dorsal thinking and Human Agency

The frontal thinking is libidinal. We enjoy it. Maybe we are surrendering to Lacan’s maxim that teaches us that all desire is scopic or desire to see. Maybe if we open ourselves to the productive character of desire as shown by Deleuze and Guattari, we might be enabled to open the workings of desire and maybe lead to embrace what we have called dorsal thinking. For now, we seem to project ourselves into frontal oculo-centric thinking as an extension of ourselves and come to enjoy it. There is a narcissist trace to our enjoyment of frontal thinking. Using Freud’s terminology we may say that it is Id that is doing the thinking that we named as frontal thinking, while we have the challenge to let the ego do the thinking by moving towards what we have called dorsal thinking. We do have the challenge to invest into as well come to enjoy the integral dorsal thinking. Maybe our Oedipalization or submission to the frontal thinking is drawn by the mendacity or cover-up that it provides the unhoming we feel about our subjection to the disorderly or chaotic real world of our experience that resists all forms of formulation of it in language. Maybe we have to pray with William Blake, ‘God, save us from Newton’s Sleep’. We can no longer sleep-over dorsal thinking as we have entered and come to live in a world of surveillance that chiefly works behind our back.

Our attention to dorsal thinking opens us to the disruptive as well as the creative underside of our frontal thinking. Considering the dorsal side of our thinking, we open ourselves to the event horizon of our thinking. Perhaps, we can draw an alliance with Being as Event of Alain Badiou. This will enable us to come to terms with the fact that our frontal thinking is only a subset of the event which is indeed an infinite set. This means the event is so naked and unspeakable that there is no name or concept for it. It is an enabling condition that we have called Chaosmos for the emergence of concepts and names. What we have referred to as names and concepts are only subsets of the infinite set of event. This means all thinking is evental. It is irrupting from an event. The dorsal thinking that we have opened up in this context is evental springing forth from the event horizon. The event horizon is the quantum field from where thought and otherness irrupt into our world. This means the world of experience is indeed a complex tower of Babel. Dorsal thinking admits this chaotic condition while frontal thinking runs away from it and finds security into illusive order that can prevent novelty and otherness from arriving into our life.

The condition of Babel is non-linear which is a chaotic condition that orders our thought and action. Hence we have to embrace the condition of Babel as positive chaos and not try and escape it through reductive frontal thinking. Frontal thinking is only a subset that generates further subsets but remains imprisoned within the oculocentric and linear realms. Opening ourselves to the condition of Babel, we open ourselves to the logic of circumstance that brings order and system to our thinking. This is why we have the challenge to give up the unilinear logic that closes possibilities of creative thinking and open ourselves to the logic of Babel that opens us to the irruption of novelty and otherness in thought as well as action. In fact, we have to humbly accept that our escape in thought and language cannot fully free us from the primordial condition of Babel. This means mystery persists and mastery always eludes us. We are never fully aware even while we engage in frontal thinking. There is always what Jean-Paul Satre calls non-thetic consciousness.

We are provoked into thinking from the outside. Hence, the tensive chaomosis state that comes before the emergence of thought bifurcates into thetic and nonthetic consciousness. This means the stance that we take through our thought comes from the swirl of circumstances. This also indicates that there are non-stance that we may take mindlessly by the power of the force of habit. The thetic, non-thetic, as well as stance and non-stance all, emerge from the fluid condition that we have called chaosmos or Babel. The presence of non-thetic aspects as well as non-stance elements points towards randomness as also operative in our thinking. This means our senses: eyes, ears, skin, nose, tongue bring signals that trigger our thought. This is why we have to attune ourselves to the sensations of hearing, touch, smell and taste that also trigger thought. They often reinforce each other. Our focus on the stimulus provided by the eye alone does not tell us the full story of our thinking. We, therefore, have the ethical imperative of justice to awaken us to the inputs provided by other senses that also trigger and generate our thought. There are several attractors that stir us to think. Perhaps, the science of chaos and complexity adequately explains the phenomena and experience of thought and the biochemistry illumined by neuroscience may come close to what we have called the state of Chaosmosis. This does not mean that our thought and we are simply passive without agency responding to stimuli that come from outside. We are agents of our thought and are fully responsible for our thoughts. The libidinal as we the cognitive dimensions of our thought manifest that we are agents of our thought and are responsible for them.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao