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Abstraction in Identity
|by R. D. Ashby|
The human subject perception of a material object is of its existence in continuity, one that is specified in the idea form reference to it. This quality of being present in continuity is indeed the basis of identity of any existing thing, which thing if it changed noticeably from moment to moment would disrupt its continuity of identity. For example, everything in this room is referred to as something of fixed identity in its continuity of form. The identity is referential: that chair, that pencil, that picture on the wall, those curtains etc.
A duck on a pond is identified, the moment by moment ageing of the duck, its changing form, though occurring, is too imperceptible to make any difference to the referential idea retained of it. However, if there is another duck with obvious signs of being old, then the idea form realised is of an old duck. A dead duck is noticeably so, and the idea form of it fixed referentially. Likewise, the identified process in which the duck is active is conceptualized as a fixed form of activity in relation to the duck’s identity: the duck is swimming on the lake, or foraging for food; and is, generally, the type of all other existence forms that is identified and retained as a referential idea form in subject now realisation.
A house will crumble to dust over time, but while it stands the house is identifiable in idea form, as the place someone, likewise identified, lives in over a long period, and is identified as the same house despite changes, such as the installation of new windows, or an extension; or in the limiting case, the moment to moment changes in the surface of the structure.
Our fellow man is identified in continuity that forms the idea reference to him. The process of ageing does eventually alter the idea of him, but in periodic fashion, in which period he is identified in a fixed manner. He is, for example, a vibrant young broadcaster with wavy hair, who, years later, develops a Churchill-type receding forehead, in each case, fixed in identity, in a professional process likewise fixed, the moment by moment changes in the man in each phase of his life imperceptible to the point of exclusion. The idea of ‘who he is’ retains continuity of idea form beyond the grave, albeit in the consciousness of someone who knew him, in the image, say, of a retained photo. Thus we have a concept both of identity, in which things appear as fixed, and of (identified) change, in which fixed things gradually alter form while retaining identity.
The anomaly of change in things yet identified is the norm in our perception of what we call reality. Identity is by its nature fixed, and in this fixity it is retained as representative or referring to the reality. Yet, we have seen in the above examples, there is, in reality, no fixed state in nature – identity being a thing of perception, yet, endowing the changing (from moment to moment) form with its fixity: thus we identify a duck or a house or a man. When we do fix identity in a known to be changing form it is an abstraction that seems to work in reality in its own context of identities: everything is identified and perceived to interact contextually. Our grasp of reality is thus in the abstraction of identity.
That reality is entirely an abstraction – the world of things raised to the realm of ideas in the very identity of them – is, to say the least, quite the opposite to the distinction we impose between reality and abstraction, between matter and spirit, say, the one being tangible and the other intangible. It turns out the tangible is realisable only in terms of the intangible, in identity that is an abstraction. The intangible spirit thus gains credibility in at least being in the same realm of abstraction as identity: it too is identified when spoken off. We can begin to understand how spirit can affect matter if both are in the common context of abstraction in identity.
This is particularly manifest in the context of created things. Already, ‘things’ implies permanence to the degree that admits of identity as things, but which is yet an abstraction in identity, since things are really changing from moment to moment, and at a certain level are unidentifiable in flux. It is at a level of perception where things appear not to change that we identify them. However, that is the level of ‘contextual perception’ where existing things, inanimate or animate, affect each other as identities, the former by physical form, the latter by realisation of identity in perception. Since realisation yields identity, animate forms, themselves contextually formed, are the type of the creative realising form, which is nowhere to be seen, but explains the identity basis of all existing things.
Related Article: Identity as the Basis of Existing Things
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05/10/2012 08:48 AM
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