Review: Prometheus and Atlas
by Dr Jason Reza Jorjani
The importance of Dr Jorjani’s work here is such that one must hope and pray that it will not be ignored like that of Roger Bacon only to be discovered and recognised centuries later when others have repeated his work and achieved the same understanding.
The paradigm shifting ideas and arguments which he presents escape the limitations of strict materialist objectivism while at the same time avoiding the regress of postmodern subjectivism.
By the application of concepts such as techne and the spectral, Dr Jorjani weaves a new way of looking at the world around what works (techne) and a recognition of the fact that that world in which we live has unplumbed, and probably unplumbable depths, but depths nonetheless which we can explore and thereby increase and improve our interactions with nature, to the advantage of both. As Professor Dawkins has postulated ‘The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine, but is probably stranger than we can imagine’.
These are where the archetypes of Prometheus and Atlas come into play. Prometheus plumbs the depths, reaches for the heights and claims the knowledge of fire which some claim is forbidden. Atlas on the other hand, holds up the sky and thereby maps the Universe of those things his brother among the Titans has explored.
In our present world mythology these two are still in danger of being bound into servitude, but we have come to a juncture in history in which we ourselves, insignificant mortals, may be able to unleash the power of these archetypes which live within us.
Techne is skill. What works through the application of practice, and Dr Jorjani makes the astute observation that techne precedes theory. In other words, science as we know it today has only arisen from the trial and error of the past, from the skill of artisans and alchemists who acquired the skills to manipulate materials to produce the results which have built our modern world.
Theory comes later, when the mapping of the interaction between the skill of the Promethean investigator and his materials allow the projection of the hypotheses out of which theories can be built.
The Spectral realm which Dr Jorjani postulates is no more than an extended world of the unknown, the unplumbed and more subtle aspects of nature which we have yet to properly grasp.
His rigorous examination of the giants of modern Western philosophy, Descartes, Kant, Heidegger et al, demonstrates that the materialist model of reality only satisfies up to a certain point. Add to this the cutting edge work of the likes of Lyle Watson and Rupert Sheldrake and there is what I consider to be an incontrovertible case that there are aspects and dimensions to reality which, while not fitting into a strict materialist model, nonetheless cannot be denied. Thing in Itself is more than our sense perceptions of it.
The adoption of the term Spectral is the conceptual master stroke which pulls all this together under one umbrella.
Knowledge often proceeds through the application to the material world of analogy and metaphor. The Spectral Realm evokes a sense of being that can accommodate consciousness, the afterlife and parallel universes. Doubtless these have each in their own right immense depths and divergent possibilities, but to have opened the door in our minds to the conceptual possibilities is the first step, and this term anchors it, putting a wedge in under the door to prevent it from closing.
I don’t think Dr Jorjani used Egon Brunswik’s term probabilistic functionalism, but he could have done. Our skills, our techne, our practical interactions with the world are based on doing what will probably function, just in the same way as when the term was originally applied to perception, whilst always allowing for improvement in that, dependent on feedback from results in the external world.
The immense importance of this work to the History and Philosophy of Science is such because Dr Jorjani (successfully in my view) shoots the rapids between the hard objectivism of physical science, and the solipsistic radical subjectivism of postmodern critique, forging a solution from the problematic anomalies of both, coming out the other side to form the basis for a new paradigm in philosophy which whilst rooted in the incomprehensible existential and subjective thrownness of Heidegger nonetheless faces the practical realities of the material world with which we all must deal.
Purchase a paper or e-book version of my account of my rite of passage at The Hundredth Monkey Camp ‘Waking The Monkey! ~ Becoming the Hundredth Monkey’ (A Book for Spiritual Warriors)