Ktismatics

22 September 2007

A Hermeneutic of Tongues

Filed under: Christianity, Language — ktismatics @ 7:46 am

 

I was going to write a post about glossolalia, but in my latest foray at Open Source Theology I remembered I had addressed the subject there. Here it is, from just over a year ago:

Has anyone has ever put forward a phenomenology or hermeneutics of tongues? My personal experience is pretty old, but here are my uninterpreted impressions:

Tongues-speakers claimed not to know the meaning of the words they were speaking (I certainly didn’t). “Interpretation” of tongues didn’t mean “translation”: it conveyed more the spirit of the tongue-encoded message rather than anything approaching the literal meaning. The interpretations always seemed rather generic, along the lines of “My children, I love you, be at peace with one another,” – that sort of thing. Most tongues-speakers seemed to share a common “dialect”: a cadence and pronunciation palette that sounded vaguely Latinate rather than, say, English or Semitic or Japanese.

“Groanings too deep for words” was part of the explicit rationale for the gift of tongues, placing it in the eschatological context of Romans 8. As a prayer language, tongues enabled the praying person to “pray the will of God” directly, unfiltered by human conscious awareness. In this regard there’s a certain similarity to the “automatic writing” techniques of 19th-century spiritualists, as well as the 20th-century dadaists and surrealists who were trying to open a direct channel to the subconscious. The praxis of tongues-speaking as I learned it called for attaining a kind of emotional neutrality, so that both the message and the accompanying affect could be attributed to the Holy Spirit. The actual speaking I’m sure I could do right now, though, without any sort of spiritual preparation or channeling of the Spirit – kind of like learning to ride a bicycle, I suppose.

I intend no criticism of tongues — just a description of the phenomenon. Is this still pretty much the story, or has the theory and practice changed significantly?

Originally I wrote this comment in a thread on preterism, which is an eschatological variant within Christianity. But now we’re talking about Lacan and the voice of the Other speaking the subject. Tongues-speaking is as good an example as I can think of, and it’s a practice I know not just in theory but through personal experience. Too bad I don’t have mastery of online recording technologies — I could cut a tongues track and paste it in here.

Advertisements

41 Comments »

  1. I don’t thint we really need a soundtrack. The phenomenon is common enough that most would have seen it or even participated.

    The problem of course is that you aren’t really discussing language anymore. Probably 1 in 20 of S.I.T. sessions that I have seen have actually sported a simultaneous interpreter! So, no one hear’s or understands anything other than ‘groanings’ with no clue as to the meaning or significance.

    The more basic question is whether what Paul is talking about is actually the same sort of thing as what see today under the guise of glossolalia. Certainly my reading of Romans 8 implies thatr any ‘utterance’ is impossible.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 22 September 2007 @ 9:43 am

  2. “The more basic question is whether what Paul is talking about is actually the same sort of thing as what see today under the guise of glossolalia.”

    That might be the more basic question for Christian theology, but not for psychology. Glossolalia is a mystical phenomenon common to many religious traditions who never heard of Paul. So it seems worthwhile to try understanding it.

    “The problem of course is that you aren’t really discussing language anymore.”

    What about slips of the tongue — are they language? Freud and Lacan say they are — utterances of the unconscious that cannot express themselves in words and that cannot be understood with the conscious mind. One cannot translate these groanings; one can only interpret them. This is the psychoanalytic understanding. Lacan explicitly contends that these garbled verbalizations come not from your innermost self but from the wholly Other that speaks through you. As I say, this is how I learned to speak in tongues: allow God to speak through me without my attempting to understand with my conscious mind. What about the serendipity — is it chance coincidence, or is the Other speaking through the nonverbal structures of the world? Or psychosomatic symptoms — aren’t they also a nonverbal expression of meaning spoken through the structure of the body?

    Anyhow, if we must enter the theological fray, here’s Romans 8:26-27: In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Regardless of whether you perceive contemporary tongues-speaking as a manifestation of what Paul is talking about here, isn’t the idea he expresses compatible with the Lacanian notion of the Other, or the Spirit, expressing itself, or Himself, through the unconscious in a language that can’t be expressed in words? If tongues isn’t a gift from God, might it be some other “other” speaking through people?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 September 2007 @ 10:29 am

  3. A more postmodern version of the tongues-speaker might be the alien abductee. Usually what happens is that the aliens take the human back to their ship, study him or her, insert some sort of undetectable transponder, and send him or her back to earth. Of course all this is done under hypnosis, so the abductee remembers it only later and incompletely as the repressed memories gradually bubble up from the unconscious. Usually the abductee either remembers or channels messages from the aliens to humanity. The alien civilization is usually benign, peaceful, and far advanced beyond human capabilities — rather godlike one might say. Their message to us: stop fighting and love one another, stop polluting and protect the earth.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 September 2007 @ 10:56 am

  4. I have a number of friends who believe that tongues is a private gift, one that is exclusively for communicating directly with God and never for public display.

    By your own admission, slips of the tongue are things that can be interpreted – whether sensibly or not depends on the skill of the interpreter. That’s still language, communication, intentional or not.

    There might be an ‘other’ involved but there’s nothing so far to necessitate positing this ‘other’ variable. The unconscious – conscious of one individual and whatever other parts of the brain are participating, should be enough on their own! Just the fact that glossolalia is a strange thing doesn’t make it any stranger than a spontaneous groan, or a sigh, or an Arrhgghh, not to mention a heartily glossolalic belly laugh!

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 22 September 2007 @ 11:14 am

  5. “There might be an ‘other’ involved but there’s nothing so far to necessitate positing this ‘other’ variable.”

    This idea that tongues is God speaking through a person: it seems beyond empirical falsification. Even saying that tongues is an expression of the unconscious rather than just gibberish likewise falls outside of empiricism. Likewise for the “variable” called God. Eventually Lacan observes that “the Other does not exist” — meaning that there is no identifiable higher-order authority that can tell you what you really mean by what you say, or what the other wants from you, etc. In that context tongues becomes a different sort of expression of the other, something that will always resist understanding. Whether that incomprehensible other comes to you from outside yourself or from inside your own unconscious doesn’t really matter, since each of us is also a hodgepodge of influences intruding on us.

    In Lacanian analysis the analyst doesn’t purport to offer the “true” interpretation of the analysand’s unconscious expressions. To do so would be for the analyst to assume the place of the Other for the analysand. Rather, the analyst too is trying to make contact with the unconscious — together they’re exploring the non-translatable discourse of the Other. It’s more like a joint improvisation.

    It might be worth noting at this point that tongues in the contemporary Christian experience emerged out of the mostly black American churches. This is also where jazz came from, and I think they have a lot in common. Jazz means going beyond the notes as written into a realm of unconstrained inspiration. Jazz can be a private act of improvisation, like private prayer in tongues, or it can be a collective experience, where the musicians “interpret” one another’s spontaneous musical discourse. Jazz also gave birth to “scat singing” — improvised nonlinguistic verbalization that is almost an exact musical analog to tongues-speaking.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 September 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  6. I’ve had the experience myself of this tongue… during late pregnancy. As a result I knew every time if it was going to be a girl or a boy. One of my children even said an actual word, and I saw his face. It was a kind, mature middle aged man. I don’t know who used my voice, the spirit of my child felt as if it sinked in through my voice.

    Like

    Comment by Odile — 23 September 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  7. Wow, you saw your son as a man before he was born! Late pregnancy is a time for mystical experiences perhaps? And it must be very strange to have another person living inside you.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 23 September 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  8. I know how it sounds and I’ve hesitated to write it down.
    Luckily there is nine month to get used to another person living inside.
    Thank you for the design.
    The experience made me rethink about the mind body issue. Maybe there’s a world of idea and a world of matter and a way to cross is somewhere pre-birth.
    Another theory that crossed my mind was that somehow thought is transfered through DNA and contains some traces of memory from ancestry.
    But this doesn’t account for the breath going through my vocal cords and forming a deep sound typically at the moment I fall asleep, waking me and my husband.

    Like

    Comment by Odile — 24 September 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  9. I think it sounds great, and very meaningful, though the meaning is perhaps available only to you — a personal and private revelation. These sounds that we can make without intending to make them — it is difficult to understand who is speaking and what message they mean to give.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 24 September 2007 @ 8:23 pm

  10. It is great.

    Who I saw, felt, heard was very precise and I can recognise the voice and probably make a drawing of the face with an artist specialised in doing so, that precise.

    The message related to:
    “I understood a language that I had not known.”

    Like

    Comment by Odile — 25 September 2007 @ 9:47 am

  11. Ktismatics:
    What about slips of the tongue — are they language? Freud and Lacan say they are — utterances of the unconscious that cannot express themselves in words and that cannot be understood with the conscious mind. One cannot translate these groanings; one can only interpret them. This is the psychoanalytic understanding. Lacan explicitly contends that these garbled verbalizations come not from your innermost self but from the wholly Other that speaks through you. As I say, this is how I learned to speak in tongues: allow God to speak through me without my attempting to understand with my conscious mind. What about the serendipity — is it chance coincidence, or is the Other speaking through the nonverbal structures of the world? Or psychosomatic symptoms — aren’t they also a nonverbal expression of meaning spoken through the structure of the body?

    Anyhow, if we must enter the theological fray, here’s Romans 8:26-27: In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Regardless of whether you perceive contemporary tongues-speaking as a manifestation of what Paul is talking about here, isn’t the idea he expresses compatible with the Lacanian notion of the Other, or the Spirit, expressing itself, or Himself, through the unconscious in a language that can’t be expressed in words? If tongues isn’t a gift from God, might it be some other “other” speaking through people?

    This really is a fascinating topic. Unfortunately, I have never run in circles that did much speaking in tongues, so I cannot speak from personal experience. I do see, however, how this ties in to my recent posts on fasting and “emptying” one’s self to be receptive to God. The Lacanian tie in is quite fascinating, as well. Wow.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 25 September 2007 @ 7:53 pm

  12. “I do see, however, how this ties in to my recent posts on fasting and “emptying” one’s self to be receptive to God.”

    My experience with people who haven’t hung out with charismatics is that they regard tongues-speaking as a kind of uncontrolled emotional outburst. Like I said, that’s not how I learned the practice. It’s much more of a passive receptivity, like a lot of other contemplative mystical practices.

    I’m sure there’s also a social learning process at work in the gift of tongues. As I recall, I didn’t speak in tongues when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, It was only a couple days later, by myself, that I found I could do it. I wonder whether I’d have even given it a try if I’d never heard anyone else speak in tongues. There were other charismatics I knew who never did receive that particular gift — I think they felt kind of bad about it. It is kind of cool, though, to talk without making any sense to yourself.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 25 September 2007 @ 8:36 pm

  13. Right.

    Just because one might “work at” receiving the gift of tongues does not, in my opinion, automatically, exclude it as non-Spirit filled. From my perspective, one should work at cultivating a state of receptivity.

    On the other hand, it is certainly possible to generate spiritual feelings without actually having God or Spirit present. But, I’m sure from your perspective that’s what all so-called “spiritual” experiences are: mere psychological phenomena.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 26 September 2007 @ 5:54 pm

  14. “I’m sure from your perspective that’s what all so-called “spiritual” experiences are: mere psychological phenomena.”

    That’s my current best guess, but I’m not sure about it. What criteria would I accept to say that spiritual experiences are supernatural? For that matter, what criteria would I accept to say that psychological phenomena are supernatural in some way? I’m not sure, but nothing is currently persuasive.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 26 September 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  15. Odile gets today’s wow award :)

    And Doyle get the “that’s interesting” award for today: My experience with people who haven’t hung out with charismatics is that they regard tongues-speaking as a kind of uncontrolled emotional outburst. Like I said, that’s not how I learned the practice. It’s much more of a passive receptivity, like a lot of other contemplative mystical practices.
    :)

    Just because one might “work at” receiving the gift of tongues does not, in my opinion, automatically, exclude it as non-Spirit filled. From my perspective, one should work at cultivating a state of receptivity.

    I don’t think Vico necessarily means the exclusion of essences :)

    Doyle – is your experience of speaking tongues part of why you are agnostic rather than atheistic? Or rather…how much of a role does it play?

    Regardless of whether you perceive contemporary tongues-speaking as a manifestation of what Paul is talking about here, isn’t the idea he expresses compatible with the Lacanian notion of the Other, or the Spirit, expressing itself, or Himself, through the unconscious in a language that can’t be expressed in words?

    This might come as no surprise, but I don’t think of Lacan’s Other as the same as the Spirit. Just to put that out there. And not just b/c I’m not necessarily a Lacanian. But because I think that the Holy Spirit is a personal being…the hypostasis…
    :)

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 26 September 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  16. “Doyle – is your experience of speaking tongues part of why you are agnostic rather than atheistic?”

    I think so. There have been times when I believed in a supernatural realm, and nothing can really disprove its reality. It’s possible that God really does speak directly into people’s minds, or speaks through them into the world.

    “I don’t think of Lacan’s Other as the same as the Spirit.” When Lacan says that there is no Other, he’s mostly acknowledging that your parents and your society have no definitive answer about who you should be and what you should want — that the hole in yourself is matched by corresponding holes in other people. If there is a being who really does know, then that being surely isn’t human. There are those who read the Bible and conclude that even if God exists He doesn’t really know what He wants either. I think it’s also conceivable that God would be the one who encourages people to stop listening to all these other voices in their heads and to find some way of being that isn’t dictated by others’ expectations, rules, desires, and so on — some way of being free.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 September 2007 @ 3:37 am

  17. [Jason] “Doyle – is your experience of speaking tongues part of why you are agnostic rather than atheistic?” [Doyle’s response]I think so. There have been times when I believed in a supernatural realm, and nothing can really disprove its reality. It’s possible that God really does speak directly into people’s minds, or speaks through them into the world.

    Interesting.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 27 September 2007 @ 9:05 am

  18. Ktismatics:
    What criteria would I accept to say that spiritual experiences are supernatural? For that matter, what criteria would I accept to say that psychological phenomena are supernatural in some way? I’m not sure, but nothing is currently persuasive.

    Let me ask you this, first. What criteria do you use to establish your own existence? Or the existence of your family?

    Or what criteria do you use to use to determine whether or not you are in love?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 27 September 2007 @ 4:15 pm

  19. Ktismatics:
    I think it’s also conceivable that God would be the one who encourages people to stop listening to all these other voices in their heads and to find some way of being that isn’t dictated by others’ expectations, rules, desires, and so on — some way of being free.

    I would say that’s a fairly good summary of one of the pillars of Erdman Theology.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 27 September 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  20. “What criteria do you use to establish your own existence? Or the existence of your family? Or what criteria do you use to use to determine whether or not you are in love?”

    The second question is easier to answer than the first, because I can use my own perceptions, physical interactions, conversations, etc. to feel pretty confident that they exist. But can I use these same criteria to say that I exist, or is that cheating? It’s more like Descartes view: I am the one who sees, who acts, who speaks, who thinks. My actions seem to have consequences in the world, suggesting it’s not solipsism. Also, other people react to me as if I was a person (most of the time). So some combination of these criteria I would regard as pretty much definitive, acknowledging the possibility that an Evil Genius is tricking me and everyone else.

    The third question is in some ways easier than the second, because it allows me to define “love” subjectively, in a way that doesn’t have to conform with others’ definitions. My emotional responses, my commitment to the other’s best interests, my concern for how they’re living their lives, my sense of commitment to a path together through life, my willingness to sacrifice on their behalf. Love is also more of a variable response, not necessarily a yes/no. What makes love harder to know is the importance of criteria one is more reluctant to acknowledge, or that one might not be consciously aware of but that affects one’s relationships — these take more digging. But then I think it’s also possible to create love for someone else — either to allow it to take its course or even to force the issue.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 September 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  21. Ok, let’s drop the “love” question.

    Are you using the existence of a good God as a presupposition for your own existence??? Decartes had to do that very early on in his Meditations:

    “Since I have no reason to believe that there is a God who is a deceiver (and indeed have not yet even considered the grounds for supposing that a God of any kind exists), the ground of my doubts, entirely dependent as it is on this supposition, is but slight, and so to speak metaphysical. But to be able to eliminate it, I must at the earliest possible opportunity inquire whether there is indeed a God; and should I find there is a God, I must also inquire whether He can be a deceiver. For without the knowledge of these two truths I do not see how I can be certain of anything.
    (emphasis added, from Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditation III – Concerning God: That He Exists)

    Unless you take into this thing the presupposition that a good God (a non-deceiver) exists, then one still encounters the possibility that one is being deceived by an evil demon or a mad scientist.

    Basically, I think that you are reduced to saying:
    I believe that other people exist because I can see them.
    and
    I believe I exist because other people see me.

    But this kind of position is surely a form of question begging, at least in terms of establishing “criteria.” (I think it is “cheating” as you call it!) The reason you are question begging is because the “criteria” you are using (your physical interaction via your senses) is the very thing I asked you to establish.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 27 September 2007 @ 6:13 pm

  22. Okay, you’re right, I don’t exist. No, I need time to reflect before I disappear — I’m off to see a Hong Kong gangster movie at the University.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 September 2007 @ 6:34 pm

  23. Ktismatics:
    Okay, you’re right, I don’t exist.

    Not to worry. You once told me that you preferred fiction over reality, anyway!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 27 September 2007 @ 7:53 pm

  24. Is Doyle merely a reflection of and on Erdman’s existential angst?
    :)

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 28 September 2007 @ 1:12 am

  25. “Unless you take into this thing the presupposition that a good God (a non-deceiver) exists, then one still encounters the possibility that one is being deceived by an evil demon or a mad scientist.”

    I did say I regarded my criteria “as pretty much definitive, acknowledging the possibility that an Evil Genius is tricking me and everyone else.” Even with a good God it’s conceivable that the trickster god might have the upper hand on earth. I assume that neither one is overriding my ordinary experiences in the world. Occam’s Razor — no need to assert that there’s an invisible battle between good and evil spirits and that the good spirit allows natural perceptions to function without interference. Just assume that natural perceptions are natural and leave it at that.

    “Basically, I think that you are reduced to saying: I believe that other people exist because I can see them. and I believe I exist because other people see me.The reason you are question begging is because the “criteria” you are using (your physical interaction via your senses) is the very thing I asked you to establish.”

    First, you’re the one who reduced me to saying this. If you look at my criteria again you’ll not that sensory information was only one criterion. But for the sake of discussion, why is this cheating? You asked me by what criteria I could say that I know I exist. Sensory information is one criterion that I regard as useful in knowing whether anything exists. I can see the stuff around me; I can see myself from the neck down. I can touch things; I can touch myself. And so on. But I also have the awareness that I am the one who is seeing myself, who is touching myself. So I am on both the transmitting and receiving ends of the signals. Besides which, I have access to inner information that I can only infer about others: thoughts, intentions, feelings. In that regard I’m doubly confident of my own existence than I am of other people’s.

    That said, any time you self-reflect you’re in the strange position of being both observer and observed, both subject and object, both I and me. Hegel addresses this uncanny doubling: is the acting, perceiving, thinking self me, or is it the one who observes the self’s acting, perceiving and thinking? You can’t really maintain both perspectives at the same time: when you act, your self-reflective self disappears; when you self-reflect, your acting self becomes the other, or an automaton. So you could identify yourself with the vanishing side of these exchanges and lose confidence in your own existence. Lacan does this too, mostly by contending that the self is really a composite of others’ projections onto you, combined with your own imaginary reflection back to yourself. You become other to yourself, and your self disappears.

    I think there is something uncanny about self-awareness. I wrote a post about Blindsight, in which a manned space probe encounters a super-intelligent alien life form that appears to have no self-awareness and no understanding of the inner lives of other selves. The premise is that such a creature is adaptively superior to humans because it can be pure active agent without ever having to reflect on whether it’s putting itself at risk. The contention is that there’s no real reason why humans have to be self-aware in order to be really smart and adaptive — it’s just an unfortunate artifact of evolution.

    I’m not so sure that’s true. Tomasello and others contend that humans learn to use tools not just by observing others’ behaviors but by inferring that the other is motivated by intentions similar to one’s own. So a young child can watch an adult fail at performing a behavior and, by inferring the intent, can perform the behavior correctly without once seeing it done right. So in this regard even little kids perceive others as being similar to themselves, rather than just seeing the self as like the other.

    So would you say that you’re Hegelian and Lacanian in your self-reflections, and that the only way to escape your own disappearance is to invoke God as the one who vouchsafes your existence? Or can you see this more probabilistic and pragmatic position?

    Another thing, though. Clearly human children begin acting as if they’re real long before they give it any thought — like the aliens in Blindsight, or like any other animal. You could say that a creature like this is assured of its own existence without any criteria at all. But I don’t think that’s the case. “Assurance” and “existence” are abstract categories that are meaningless concepts to beings that have never thought about them before. At the very instant you realize that you’ve assumed your own existence without assurance and criteria, you’ve lost the ability to do so. You’ve moved beyond raw existence into reality. Now, until you come up with some sort of assurance or criteria, you’re either living with blinders on or you’re living without self-assurance. And you probably always live a little blind and a little unsure of yourself ever after.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 September 2007 @ 6:48 am

  26. It’s strange — this discussion of criteria started on the Dream post and migrated over here. Over there the context was evaluating criteria by which one might assert that humans are naturally dualistic; here it was about criteria for deciding that a phenomenon is supernatural. Anyhow, over there you brought up Plantinga. What is his position: that for certain areas of knowledge we don’t require criteria, or that the criteria themselves self-destruct?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 September 2007 @ 9:01 am

  27. Sensory information is one criterion that I regard as useful in knowing whether anything exists.

    So, someone says to you, “I know that God exists.”
    You say, “How do you know, what are your criteria.”
    They say, “I feel him.”

    In the above scenario would you say that the criterion presented is every bit as valid as you saying, “I know that I physically exist because I have physical sensations and interactions.”

    In other words, I think the criteria you presented for your physical existence is quite weak. I wouldn’t call it “criteria” at all – but if you allow that as valid criteria, then I am assuming that you would let the same thing go for supernatural phenomena. Is that accurate?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 28 September 2007 @ 10:17 am

  28. Gosh Erdman, somehow I was expecting my discourse would resonate at least a little with you. I found it a fairly valuable exercise for myself, though.

    “They say, “I feel him”… would you say that the criterion presented is every bit as valid as you saying, “I know that I physically exist because I have physical sensations and interactions.””

    I’d say if the criterion works for them, then it’s valid for them. There are those for whom this criterion by itself isn’t enough, which almost surely includes theologians and philosophers. Why don’t others feel him? Why is God the only other with whom I cannot interact physically? Why is God the only person — other than myself — whose thoughts I seem to be able to grasp directly without their being spoken or written? So you end up with the depraved imago Dei and the sensus divinititatus of the regenerated mind and election and so on.

    “I think the criteria you presented for your physical existence is quite weak. I wouldn’t call it “criteria” at all.”

    Okay, I hear that; you’ve increased my doubt. I await further input. Why do you regard my criteria as weak? Why wouldn’t you call them criteria? Do you have other criteria that enhance your confidence in your own existence? I’m prepared to hear from you.

    “if you allow that as valid criteria, then I am assuming that you would let the same thing go for supernatural phenomena. Is that accurate?”

    I’d put my confidence in my own existence and of other people’s existence at >99%, and my confidence in the existence of supernatural phenomena at, oh, let’s say less than 20%. I’d say it’s because my criteria for my own existence I regard as more persuasive than my criteria for the supernatural’s existence. My criteria might not be persuasive for you, but then my assignment wasn’t to demonstrate to you that I exist, nor was it to help you persuade yourself that you exist.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 September 2007 @ 11:55 am

  29. Ok, I think we are missing each other.

    I left a post on one of Plantinga’s early works God and Other Minds. This might help flesh out where I am coming from. I think you will find Plantinga’s conclusion quite interesting.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 29 September 2007 @ 12:18 pm

  30. I don’t really think we are missing each other; I suspect rather that I’m not making the moves I’m supposed to make in this game you’ve set up for me. I asked why you thought my criteria were weak, and why you doubted that they’re even criteria at all. Like I said: I await enlightenment from you. But I’ll head over to your post and see what I can do with it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 September 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  31. Meeeeeeeeeee??!!!?? Play GAAAAAAAAMES!!!?????!?!?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 30 September 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  32. The other games presently underway are (1) shifting the topic from the theory of language to apologetics and (2) shifting traffic from my blog to yours.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 September 2007 @ 6:14 pm

  33. Dude, I’m a postmodern child and cannot take responsibility. I hope you recognize that all this shifting is simply a result of the underlying destabilization in the random world. Our speech determines our thought, remember? Signs without signifiers. And blog traffic may be the most random occurrence of them all. People have no control over which sites they visit.

    “‘All is Randomness!’ cries the Preacher”

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 30 September 2007 @ 6:23 pm

  34. I suspect authorial intent supplemented by intentional dissimulation and obfuscation… though there are no certainties in this world.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 September 2007 @ 7:36 pm

  35. I suspect that your interpretation is something in the line of Reader Response theory. Hence, you are projecting upon the events what you desire, rather than what the author has intended. Of course, I do not object to such a move, at least on principle.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 1 October 2007 @ 8:29 am

  36. Your observation is relevant to our discussion about knowing minds. You have privileged access to your own intentions for writing what you write; I can only infer your intentions from what you have written; i.e., the traces of your behavior. Nonetheless, the fact that I do infer intentionality demonstrates that I believe your behavior to be intentional; i.e, that there is a thinking mind motivating the behavior I witness. And I infer this in part because I believe you to be similar to me, in the sense of having thoughts and intentions. Even if there is a mismatch between what I infer your intentions to be and what you say were your intentions, we’re still talking about the same idea: intentionality.

    Now, what about the mismatch? I might merely have made an incorrect inference, which you can then set straight by reporting (presumably truthfully) about what your intentions really were. Or, as you suggest, I might be projecting, attributing intentions to you that I desire (or fear). Or, you might be deceived about your own intentions, failing to acknowledge unconscious desires/fears of your own that may be motivating your behavior. In this third possibility I might be better able to identify your motivations than you are, even though you have privileged access to your own state of mind. Both my projections and your unacknowledged unconscious motivations stem from a phenomenon we’ve both acknowledged; namely, that we think spontaneously and non-reflectively, without always being consciously aware of why we think the way we do or what criteria we use to formulate our thoughts.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 October 2007 @ 9:05 am

  37. Ktismatics:
    that we think spontaneously and non-reflectively, without always being consciously aware of why we think the way we do or what criteria we use to formulate our thoughts.

    lkjflkj seuroiuqaowie fajsdn ks jewoi alskj,,dfreieoiaj aosijdfjalj kjewie3 883kalskj au9ssdw3u8aioj 8ua s8u fa8uj w4 ajf

    What was the question?

    Did I just speak in tongues?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 1 October 2007 @ 11:18 am

  38. Please interpret above “typing in tongues,” the product of my subconscious mind.

    Thank you.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 1 October 2007 @ 11:18 am

  39. The only actual English word I detect in your wordstream is “jew,” and it appears twice. I also observe that the number 8 appears far more frequently than any other number. Now, what comes to your mind when you think about the word “jew”? the number 8?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 October 2007 @ 11:47 am

  40. Ironically, I have eight unread messages in my email inbox right now, and jew have to admit that this is something of a coincidence.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 1 October 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  41. “jew have to admit” — well played!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 October 2007 @ 4:48 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: