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Update: June 17, 2015
Post-Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences May 29-Junwe 5, 2015, where part of the work below was presented.
Well, on the tongue in cheek side, my session as well as a number of others were held in classrooms in the basement. As these were sessions of CCA/ACC (Canadian Communication Association), it crossed my mind how symbolic that was, re the status of communication(s) in academia.

1) Is/are communication(s) so indispensably foundational,

or

2) Is/are it/they so irrevocably

2a) under the radar

and/or

2b) underground?


The accepted refereed abstract itself — which was prepared for posting sometime in February 2015

When physics probes deeper and deeper into what used to be thought of as the “smallest building blocks of the universe” and discovers surprising gradience and impermanence, sooner or later, the philosophical question of how that knowledge might affect the human-scale universe needs to be tackled. Conventional epistemology has as a rule tended to deny the feasibility of expectations that science might straightforwardly resolve moral-ethical issues, only admitting technological implications (see e.g. Richard Rorty, 1979, who is in principle critical of mainstream analytic philosophy but on this point sides with it). To put to the ethical (non)neutrality test the current state of science as symbolized by the “elegance” of string theory (unificational power per Greene, 1999, and more) the current paper explores “communication(s)” along a broad semantic continuum, from technological mediation to (expression of) human relationality. It thus evaluates conceptualizations of quantum theory and relativity theory, and the transcending string theory, concerning the primacy of probability over certainty, unification-interconnectedness over separation, as well as the deconstruction of the presumed dichotomy between the reflexivity of philosophy and the rigour of experimental science. The above evaluation is related to the human realm in a literal-physical and metaphorical-hypothetical sense.

The argument is advanced that, in principle, setting aside how a medium might influence what gets transmitted, and interpreted and in what way, and how (un)predictably the effects of a technology might veer off their original designation and in what direction, there is an irreducible “ethical interval” within which the human/communication (technology) dyad is within conscious human control, or at least awareness. Treating this as defining a prerogative and a responsibility of our species, the analysis pursued here interprets the message for humanity, including any imaginable future developments in communication(s) (cf. quantum computing), that comes from twentieth-century knowledge of “physical reality”. For starters, the whole universe is amenable to unification, on the one hand through Einstein’s conception of space-time as a four-dimensional, single category, and on the other hand by viewing all four known forces – gravity, electro-magnetic, weak and strong nuclear – as ultimately operating by the same medium as per versoins of string theory (see Capra 2014 & elsewhere; Greene, 1999), Further, subatomic (quasi)particles are irreducibly interdependent, i.e., incapable of sustaining their individual identity when separated from their environment, i.e., other particles/forces (Capra, 1976 & elsewhere; Peat, 2002). Finally, disconcertingly, yet instructively, just like particles may become indistinguishable from applicable forces, so can conventional exact science morph into more of a philosophy.

All of the above send out a message of thoroughgoing interrelatedness among himans and between us and everyone and everything else in the cosmos, and an equitable reading of such unavoidable interdependence can be the value [of] mutual respect. There is also the realization that what is out of deadline-regulated black-and-white quantification’s reach may be within enduring intuitive wisdom’s purview. In other words, today’s progress may be the recognition of certain aspects of belief systems of millennial traditions on this continent and elsewhere. Physics as the epitome of truthfulness can awaken us to the rhythms of Shiva;s dance (Fritjof Capra’s The Tao pf Physics) and to the voices of Turtle Island[1] (David Peat’s Blackfoot Physics; Gregory Cajete’s Native Science)  in a joint triangulation of the possibility of concordant glocality[2] of citizenship as envisioned by James Tully (2004).

 

Keywords: communication(s), ethics, epistemology; string theory, quantum mechanics, relativity theory; glocal citizenship, relationality, interdependence; Fritjof Capra, Brian Greene, David Peat, Gregory Cajete, James Tully

References

Cajete, Gregory (2000) Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence. Foreword by Leroy Little Bear, Jr. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light Publishers.

Capra, Fritjof (1976) The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Boulder, CO: Shambala Publications, Inc.

———- (1996) The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Capra, Fritjof and Pierre Luigi Luisi (2014) The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Greene, Brian (1999) The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Peat, F. David (2002) Blackfoot Physics: A Journey into the Native American Universe. Boston, MA: Weiser Books.

Rorty, Richard (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Tully, James (2014) On Global Citizenship: Jams Tully in Dialogue. Critical Powers Series. London, UK and New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

[1] Indigenous people’s name for this continent.

[2] He speaks about “global citizenship” but brings up the term “glocal” (global + local) in passing.

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