I am myself quite aware that there is a great contrast between perceptual and conceptual confrontation; and I think that the “death of Christianity” or the “death of God” occurs the moment they [Christianity/God] become concept. As long as they remain percept, directly involving the perceiver, they are alive. (Electric Consciousness and The Church, 1970)
Percepts of existence always lie behind concepts of nature. (The Argument: Causality in the Electric World, 1973)1
Effects Are Perceived Whereas Causes Are Conceived (The Argument: Causality in the Electric World, 1973)2
“Percepts of existence” is a subjective genitive3 (where percepts belong first of all to existence), not an objective genitive (where existence would belong to percepts as their achieved/assembled/certified/manipulated/conceptualized object).
Hence, since existence is our ground, and since existence is originally fractured as4 primordial percepts, we belong to percepts, not them to us.
The qualification “first of all” is required because the mystery (“the main question“) lies in the fact that the subjective genitive in “percepts of existence” comes to be an objective genitive. The subjectivity of existence (gen. subj.) comes to be taken over by an objectivity. And this objectivity seems to belong to us, not to it — since it, existence, becomes the object of our conceptualization.
But what if even this hand-over belonged first of all to it?
- This passage continues: “Their hidden hang-up was the visual bias of all “objectivity,” whether “materialist” or “idealist.” They also ignored the acoustic “message of the birds” — the output of any process, biological or psychic, always differs qualitatively from the input. There are no “through-puts” or connections between processes but only gaps or interfaces for “keeping in touch” with “where the action is.” When the “play” between the wheel and the axle ends, so does the wheel. While the “subjectivist” puts on the world as his own clothes, the “objectivist” supposes that he can stand naked “out of this world.” The ideal of the rationalist philosophers still persists: to achieve an inclusive “science of the sciences.” But such a “science” would be a monster of preconceived figures minus un-perceived grounds. No “objective” dialectics of Nature or of science as visually ex-plainable can stand up to a resonant interface with the existential. For “testing the truth” is not merely matching by congruence or classification; it is making sense out of the totality of experience — a process of pattern re-cognition that requires not only concepts but active perception by all the senses. Today, as “hardware” is transmuted into pure information by the process of “etherealization,” the “inner” and the “outer” merge — thinking becomes doing.” ↩
- This passage continues: “Unable to explore actual processes perceptually from every side, the conceptual man apprehends only visual goals. For example, the conventional ideas of “evolution” and “technology” are illusions engendered by the visual bias of literate cultures. Such cultures translated the “chain of being” metaphor from the astral to the biological plane. For the use of the missing link” idea we are indebted to a missing inventor. So far nobody has appeared as originator of this phrase. The gap created by the “missing link” has sparked more exploration and discovery than the established links in “connected” science. Conceptual choices, like “natural selection,” can come only after the fact. The “origins” of all species vanish in rear-view perspectives, while the music goes round and round.” ↩
- A subjective genitive like ‘the ball of the boy’. An objective genitive, in contrast, may be seen in ‘the boy’s ball’. ↩
- ‘As’ not ‘into’, since ‘into’ might be taken to imply a chronological sequence of, first, existence, and then, sometime later, its fracture into percepts. Instead, existence is primordially fractured and these fractions may be called percepts. ↩