Looking at Betsy DeVos’s Book (2022) “Hostages No More” (Part 8 of 8)

0055 Now comes the moment of truth.

The curtain is closed.

Before it opens, I want to thank Betsy DeVos for taking this reader beyond the notion of school choice and into the dynamics of educational freedom1c.  There is more to be discovered in this new jurisdiction, standing outside the prison of big government3c (il)liberalism1c.

0056 Of course, the curtain may never open.  People may decide that it is better to live as slaves under the appearance of freedom.  But, that collective decision only assures the experts that appearances are no longer necessary.  Experts are trained to know these things.  Certain experts are prepared to make us slaves to the identities that they have manufactured for us.

0057 Be that as it may, the following diagram presents (what I imagine) is behind the curtain.  Betsy DeVos’s educational interscope is a vision to behold.

Figure 14

Looking at Brian Kemple’s Book (2019) “The Intersection” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 According to Neoplatonic legend, the descent of the soul starts with a small immaterial gem resting on an undefinable pillow in the presence of transcendental beauty.  Then, a trap door opens and the little source of illuminationbegins to fall.  As it descends, it accrues matter.  Matter enters form.

One may say that the matter is evil and the soul, good, and conclude that the immortal soul becomes encased in corruptible matter.  But, the story is more complicated, because the term, “matter” slyly includes the capacity to become entangled with purely relational being.  Matter holds the capacity for meaning.  Matter substantiates form.  So Christians, following the complication, witness the baby as bearing a message.  The message?  Baptize me.

0002 The book before me is Brian Kemple’s The Intersection of Semiotics and Phenomenology: Peirce and Heidegger in Dialogue, published in 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Press (Boston/Berlin).  The masterwork is dedicated to the memory of John Deely (1942-2017 AD), who served as Kemple’s professor.

0003 The book presents a complex argument.  I, a simpleton, fixate on the titular word, “intersection”.

For me, the term has a technical definition, as formulated in the chapter on message in the e-book How To Define The Word “Religion” (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues).  An intersection is a single actuality composed of two actualities, each with its own category-based nested form.

Say what?

See A Primer on the Category-based Nested Form.

0004 A photon is an example of an intersection of two actualities: a wave and a particle.  The normal context of a diffraction apparatus3 brings wave properties of light2 into relation with the potential of ‘observations of wavelengths’1.  The normal context of a metal plate3 brings particle properties of light2 into relation with potential ‘observations of the photo-electric effect’1.

0005 Here is a picture.

Figure 01

0006 Here is another way to look at the photon as intersection.

Figure 02

0007 In the following blogs, I will endeavor to visualize whether Kemple’s use of the term, “intersection”, coheres with this technical definition.

In order to do so, I will locate two category-based nested forms, one for both Peirce and one for Heidegger, and see whether the two actualities meld into one. 


Looking at Brian Kemple’s Book (2019) “The Intersection” (Part 4 of 4)

0020 The term, Bildendwelt, sounds like the concatenation of the words, “Bilden” and “dwelt”, as in the English statement, “I dwelt in that Bilden, before it came crashing down.”

In order to appreciate my humor, consider the October 1, 2022, blog at www.raziemah.com, titled, “Fantasia in G Minor: A speech written for Gunnar Beck MEP”.

Da Bilden is coming down!

Oh, I meant to say… the Bildendwelt makes no sense at all.

0021 So much for wordplay.

The compound-word, Bildendwelt stands, waiting to be refined in the furnace of postmodern use.

0022 The third division of Kemple’s book weaves together divisions one and two, titled World and Sign, into an intersection.  In the process, Kemple focuses on two elements in the following figure: Sein1V and sign1H.

Figure 08

0023 To me, Kemple’s focus is remarkable, because Being1V and triadic relations1H are crucial for bringing our lineage from Umwelt, to Lebenswelt, and further into Bildendwelt.  Indeed, I wonder whether these compound terms should be used to label the single actuality of Peirce’s experience2H and Dasein2V.

0024 But, let me not ignore one further possibility, the single actuality is us.

Here is a list of labels for the single actuality.

Figure 09

0025 Now, I can portray our descent.

Imagine us, as purely spiritual illuminations, perched on undefinable pillows, in the presence of transcendent beauty in an era when all time is now.  A trap door opens and we descend into Being and Time.  As we fall, we accrete two actualities, coinciding with Peirce’s experience following his realization that signs are real1H and with Heidegger’s vision of Dasein1V.  These actualities are full of contradictions.

As we descend through Being and Time, we accrue World and Sign.  We pass through our primordial Umwelt, the Lebenswelt that we evolve in, the first singularity, our current Lebenswelt and now, our Bildendwelt.  Descent with modification.  Then we are born, in the present, and each one of us bears a message.  Baptize me.

0026 What does baptism do?

Baptism cleanses us of Gestell, the grammars of our world, carrying temptation, misdirections and lures that entrap us, confound us, and, in the end, convince us that the truth can never be found.

How so?

Truth is just a spoken word.  We create our own “truth”.  Spoken words are merely projections of our Innerwelt upon that which is outside ourselves.  After temptation fixes our occasions of sin, after our own projections redirect the projections of others and weave a veil of reality, and after we begin to believe in our own self-divinizing speculative grammar, we construct artifacts that validate our spoken worlds.  We build our own prison.  Heidegger calls it, Gestell.

0027 When the waters of baptism pour over an infant, the baby often cries. The baby represents all of us.

The waters of baptism disturb.  Dasein2V!  We enter a world perfused with signs.  We are welcomed into a world where the material finds meaning in the immaterial.  The human niche is the potential of triadic relations.  How all encompassing will Peirce’s experience2H be?  We stand on the threshold of a new age of understanding.

Kemple offers the reader a portrait of John Deely’s vision, in a book that lives up to its title, in more ways than one.  Bravo!


Looking at Sam Smith and Kim Petras’s Music Video (2022) “Unholy” (Part 1 of 1)

0001 The Grammy Awards Ceremony is broadcast February 5, 2023.  Sam Smith and Kim Petras win the grammy in the category of Best Pop Duo or Group Performance for their song, “Unholy”.  Their grammy performance quickly goes viral, with many Christian podcasters dubbing the performance… say nothing of the ceremony… “Satanic”.

To wit, I now examine the official video for this song (not the Grammy performance) for the unholy message that the song sends.  My conclusion is that the moniker, “Satanic”, may apply.  But, so does the word, “political”.  This music video spins an artistic message, at once cryptic and revealing.  I strive to delineate this message, using the methodology of the category-based nested form.

0002 This music video is an actuality.

According to A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form (available at smashwords and other e-work venues), in order to understand (or appreciate) an actuality2, one must figure out its normal context3 and potential1.  So, this is what I intend to do.  My determination of normal contexts3 and potentials1 is purely speculative.  Do not take them as judgment or doctrine.

I start with a guess.   The normal context3 is politics.  The potential1 is for ‘something Satanic to be exposed’.  Thus, the normal context of politics3 brings the pop-music video, “unholy”2, into relation with the possibilities inherent in ‘an exposure of something Satanic’1.  Maybe, Satan shows his plans for the future.  Who knows?

Here is a picture.

Figure 01

0003 Politics?

The song is released on September 22, 2022, six weeks before the November midterm elections in the USA.  The November 8, 2022, elections occur at the time of a lunar eclipse.

0004 So, I suspect that politics3 includes astrology3.

Several astrological squares and oppositions are in play on September 22, 2022.  Here is a picture of some of them.

Figure 02

0005 The Saturn-Uranus square is at the top of the list, since it dominates the last half of 2021 and almost all of 2022, including the span from September through November.  In the following figure, a zodiac sign is the normal context3, a planet is the actuality2, and the potential pertains to the astrological characteristics of such an arragement1. When two planets are at right angles to one another, it is almost as if they work at cross purposes.

Here is a picture.

Figure 03

0006 So, the release date offers clues to the potential of ‘stellar arrangements’1.  Whatever Satan is preparing, it is simultaneously a cold calculation and a steaming pile of manure.

0007 Speaking of cold calculations, the video begins.

A woman in white gets out of a car.  Is she the daemon of the American Democratic Party?  What is a white woman?  A woman who has abandoned Jesus and found… shall I say?… someone willing to put a warm coat of manufactured virtueupon her?  She is obviously highly educated.  She is well manicured.  As he goes to park the car, she enters the foyer.  She reaches into her pocket and lifts out a playbill (an official narrative) and a condom from the Body Shop (protection, of sorts).

0008 Here is a diagram of the first of five movements in the video itself.

Figure 04

0009 Well, isn’t that the way the music video starts?

Biden is a good looking man.  He drives the car and parks it at the Body Shop.  He has been there before.  He knows the price of things.  The lyrics mention daddy.  Daddy Biden.  Shall I call him Biden Joe?  Biden goes up the stairs and passes the whores of various nations.  Can I make out China, Iran and Ukraine?  Miss Ukraine devours the blossoming youth of her nation.

Biden Joe is tempted.  And, he knows how to play the game.

Figure 05

0010 Someone pulls on Biden Joe’s tie.  Then, a vision captures his gaze.  Biden is in a booth, overlooking a theater.  He engages two active parties (Ukraine and China?), in pay for play.  Biden sees Biden.  Joe observes Hunter.  Both are the same person.

Say what?

0011 Suddenly, Sam Smith, perched in a balcony seat in the theater of the Body Shop, captures the viewer’s gaze then hurtles it towards the blue center-stage, where Kim Petras descends upon a swing in the shape of a heart.  Her madonna-like visage lands on the top of an automobile.  American, no doubt.  Biden Hunter is in the back seat, in full erotic rutting.  He has what it takes to satisfy the material girl.  He is in deep doo-doo (English, for “fumier”).

Figure 06

0012 In the fourth movement, Biden is spent and on display, mimicking the Hangman of the Tarot Cards.  The Hangman card is often interpreted as the potential of an unusual revelation.  Here, the revelation is compromising.  Biden is exposed (on top of the car, for all to see) as who he is (a load of manure, for all to smell).

Figure 07

0013 The drama is not over.

The spent handsome man, simultaneously the daddy and the man-child, lays on stage as completely revealed to an American public as a liar and a cheat.  It is written on the car.  The entire dance troupe awaits the next moment.  The audience in the theater (perhaps, the mavens of corporate media) applaud.  What a performance!

Then, the white woman walks up the aisle towards the stage.  Who knows how she got there?  But, she is there to render a judgment.  She steps on stage and observes the prone corpse of her man, in a pure Saturn-square-Uranus pose of cold calculation looking upon someone who could not keep his business clean.

She turns and faces the audience.

She has a choice.

0014 Here, we see the crux.  Here, we see the materialization of ‘something’ that Satan wishes to be revealed.  It is all about choice.

Does the white woman, a key demographic that remains wedded to the Democratic Party, repudiate the man that she was led to believe in, and embrace the perverse machinations of the Body Shop, the apparatus for the temptation of the father and for the corruption of the son?

Or, does she repent?

0015 Here is the message.

Figure 08

0016 The curtain falls.  But, there is one small issue.  A foot of the corpse remains on display, indicating that what has been exposed is not for certain.  Not even Satan knows the future for certain.  Sam Smith and Kim Petras are big fans of the projected outcome.  But, the story has only begun.

0017 Now, I recapitulate.

First, I place the work of art under examination into the slot for actuality in a category-based nested form.

Figure 09

0018 I make an initial guess.  My guess is informed by Christian podcasters commenting on the Grammy ceremony.

Then , I proceed to imagine the normal context3 and potential1 of various aspects2 (here, movements2 within the drama).  Do these cohere with my initial guess?  Some will say, “Yes.”  Others will say, “No”.

0019 Here is the breakout for the realm of actuality2.

Figure 10

0020 Do these cohere with the realness of the music video?

Yes, these are the actualities2 that I endeavor to put into normal contexts3 and potentials1.

0021 What does this imply?

The astrology of the time of release frames the movements in term of a square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus.  The artist pours out a beautiful and captivating music video with two figures represented as one.  Yes, that one handsome man, like a bull, is simultaneously Daedalus, who fashions the wings of escape, and Icarus, who uses the wings, fashioned by his father, to fly too close to the Sun.  To me, this associates to the contemporary story of Joe and Hunter Biden.  Oh, did I mention that Jupiter in Aries is in opposition with the Sun in Libra?

And what of the woman in white?

Does the white woman represent one of the most faithful demographics wed to the Democratic party?

She opens and closes the music video.

0022 Here is the breakout for the realm of normal context3.

Figure 11

0023 What does that imply?

The normal context3 of astrology addresses a post-Christian world.  In this pagan world, certain bonds, certain promises, and certain rituals are presumed to be substantial.  But they are not.  The woman in white lives in a world of pretensions.  The playbill recounts an official narrative.  And, the condom?  That is official, too.

The Body Shop manifests the will to power in the furnishings of materialism.  The philosophy of the will to power asks one to pay for entrance into the Body Shop.  Daddy is hot.  Daddy cannot hide his business.  But, he retains restraint.  Not so, his son, who is the same as the father.  The symbolism of the double is striking.  Temptation for the father translates into lust with the son.  The father and the son are both out of control.  Both are to be exposed and ruined.


On the stage of the Body Shop.

0024 Where does that leave the white woman?

She faces a choice.

And, that choice reveals ‘something’ Satanic.

Satan dreams that her choice comes to pass.

0025 Here is the breakout for the realm of potential1.

Figure 12

0026 The story of the stars offers a narrative of fate.

In our world of pretensions, playbills offer narratives and condoms offer protection.

From fate?

0027 The Body Shop seals the fate of the one man, who is really two.  Daddy wants something to keep himself warm.  The son wants someone to cool himself off.   But, the selves are no different.  They both subscribers to the Body Shop.  For them, the choice is already made.  Their destiny is certain.

0028 But, is the same fate necessary for the woman?

I don’t think so.

If anything, this advertisement for the Body Shop aims to foreclose any option that prevents the destiny that Satan plans for her.

She has a choice.

Unholy or holy?

Will she signal her manufactured virtue by repudiating her own ruined man, while simultaneously bonding with the unholy Body Shop?

Or, will she mourn the loss of her pretensions, and appeal to the love of God?

0029 I reiterate.  These associations and implications are purely speculative.  They are to be taken as an act of appreciation, rather than a judgment or a doctrine.  My thanks to Sam Smith, Kim Petras, along with their collaborators, for producing this engaging music video.  Here is a work of art worth examining.

With that said, I recount my initial guess.

Figure 13

0030 For those interested in trying their own hand at this diagrammatic method of art appreciation, please consult A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues).

Here are some other music videos worth trying the method on.

“I Wanna Get Better” by the Bleachers

“Doom days” by Bastille

“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance

“This is Gospel” by Panic at the Disco, plus its sequel

“Hi Ren” by Ren

0031 If the reader wants to suggest other music videos worthy of examination using this method, please e-mail Razie Mah at the address that appears in the Primers.


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 What is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology belongs to (what John Deely calls) the Age of Ideas, starting with the Western civilization’s turn from scholasticism towards mechanical philosophy.

0002 Mechanical philosophers, such as Rene Descartes (1596-1650 AD) say, “Forget final and formal causation.  Think in terms of material and instrumental causalities.  Attend to phenomena, the observable and measurable features of our world.  Then, build mathematical and mechanical models using well defined terms.”

0003 Later, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) codifies a reaction against this fixation, arguing that we must not forget the thing itself (the noumenon).  Sure, phenomena are crucial to scientific observations and measurements.  But, the noumenon cannot be objectified as its phenomena.

0004 Then, Edmund Husserl (1856-1939) declares, “I have developed another way to situate phenomena.  By consciously focusing on phenomena, while bracketing out all this measurement business, along with other distractions, I can identify the noumenon, what the thing itself must be.”

0005 Now, there are two ways to situate phenomena.

First, scientists directly situate phenomena through observations and measurements.  They build models.  They are not interested in the thing itself.

Second, phenomenologists virtually situate phenomena through a method of bracketing assumptions, such as the empirio-schematic judgment, to end up with a noumenon, what the thing itself must be.


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 2 of 4

0006 The scenario depicted in the prior blog appears in Comments on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions”, available for purchase at smashwords.

Search for Razie Mah, Mark Spencer, and phenomenological reductions.  The electronic article in smashwords, or some other electronic literature venue, should appear.

0007 The engagement between phenomenology and science is delicate.  Phenomenologists attend to the same phenomena as scientists.  But, they do not compete with scientists.

Scientists directly situate phenomena using the empirio-schematic judgment (which is first diagrammed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy), in the normal context of a positivist intellect.  The positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

Phenomenologists sidestep science, by contemplating phenomena, while reducing their field of consciousness to exclude the machinations of science, among other distractions.  The goal is to identify what the thing itself must be, without any metaphysical baggage… er… I mean… terminology.  Anything that sounds like metaphysics will raise the ire of scientists.

0008 It is like tiptoeing around a sleeping dog.  The metaphorical dog protects science against metaphysics.  It has been known to gnaw on the bones of its victims, especially the ones who uttered the word, “hylomorphism”.  That word sounds totally metaphysical.  “Hyle” is Greek for “matter”.  “Morphe” is Greek for “form”.

To the sleeping dog of science, physics is the master of the house.

The master of the house says, “No metaphysics.”


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 3 of 4)

0009 Sound is a very interesting thing.

Dogs can hear sounds that humans cannot.

Does that mean that humans cannot be effected by inaudible sounds?

Can humans be impacted by inaudible sounds?

0010 These questions have proper grammatical form, but they do not speak to the heart of the matter.

Phenomenologists speak in a specialized language that scientists do not hear.  The scientist’s ears are tuned to hear about measurements, models and precisely defined terms.  Phenomenology does not speak of phenomena in scientific terminology.

The guard dog of science is on the prowl for another language that scientists do not want to hear, the language of metaphysics.  So, phenomenologists also do not speak of phenomena using metaphysical terms.

0011 In short, phenomenologists strive to be impactful while being inaudible.

0012 Mark Spencer does not reflect on the tentative engagement between phenomenology and science.

He innocently explores an accommodation between Christian realism and phenomenology.

After all, both indirectly situate science.

0013 Well, forget the “after all”. 

Spencer does not mention science at all.

As such, he threatens to wake the sleeping dog of the positivist intellect.

His proposals make phenomenologists jittery.

Talk of metaphysics will upset a delicate arrangement.


Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 4 of 4)

0014 Despite the hazards involved, there are opportunities.  

The Christian realist cannot speak in terms of metaphysics, because those words are not allowed in polite scientific society.

Perhaps, the Christian realist can convey the same meaning, presence and message with phenomenological terms, which are designed to sidestep the dictates of the positivist intellect.  The language of phenomenology is adapted to not wake the sleeping dog of science.

0015 Spencer ends the article in an impasse.

The impasse is theatrical.

Spencer declares, “Phenomenology longs to speak the language of metaphysics.  Metaphysics longs to speak from the platform of phenomenology.  Why can’t we find an accommodation?”

The phenomenologist cannot answer by saying, “An accommodation will destroy us both.”

0016 For Christians and phenomenologists alike, there is something to be learned from Mark Spencer’s 2021 essay, “The Many Phenomenological Reductions and Catholic Metaphysical Anti-Reductionism”, appearing in the summer issue of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, and Razie Mah’s commentary, available at the smashwords website.

Science cannot be ignored.