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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, March 16, 2015


This essay's title is derived from that of a SF novelette from 1947, "With Folded Hands," by Jack Williamson.  "Enfolding," it seems to me, is a better word to describe the interaction of the three phenomenalities than "underlie," as used here:

...I'll be dealing in more detail with the ways in which the naturalistic inevitably underlies the other two phenomenalites, albeit without defining them.

Where "underlie" implies stratification and hence an arbitrary separation, "enfolding" has a more organic connotation. Aristotle famously illustrated his notions of teleology with the image of an acorn, within which the pattern of an oak tree is "enfolded," even though said pattern cannot be seen from the seed itself.

Continuing the seed metaphor, here's a cutaway I found online, this time of a wheat kernel:

I like this image just because it has three distinct parts to it-- germ, bran, and endosperm-- all of which are interdependent in the sense that you take one of them away, and you have no seed.

Now, as I've noted in my essays on Todorov, like this one, that his theory of metaphenomenal literature implies that "the Real" not so much "underlies" as "undermines" other phenomenalities, which are seen as examples of Freudian disavowal.

It's true that what I call the naturalistic cannot be avoided. Even the most marvelous constructs in literature depend on some form of causality. We as readers don't know how or why the Cheshire Cat disappears, but even though his smile lingers for a very long time, eventually it does go away, thus duplicating in essence what would happen if a real cat simply got up and left. All literary phenomenalities inevitably reference the principle of causal coherence.

However, even in real life there's some doubt as to whether causal coherence is the *actual" ground of all real-world experience. The late physicist David Bohm proposed the idea that physical existence, which he called "the Explicate Order," might be "enfolded" within a greater "Implicate Order:"

Bohm's theory of the Implicate Order stresses that the cosmos is in a state of process. Bohm's cosmos is a "feedback" universe that continuously recycles forward into a greater mode of being and consciousness.
Bohm believes in a special cosmic interiority. It *is* the Implicate Order, and it implies enfoldment into everything. Everything that is and will be in this cosmos is enfolded within the Implicate Order. There is a special cosmic movement that carries forth the process of enfoldment and unfoldment (into the explicate order). This process of cosmic movement, in endless feedback cycles, creates an infinite variety of manifest forms and mentality. -- THE COSMIC PLENUM, on the site Stoa del Sol.

In literature, of course, the Implicate Order would be the totality of what a given author's will seeks to express. Some authors might be entirely satisfied with depicting only the naturalistic aspects of phenomena. Others might hew closely to the naturalistic but would allow for just enough ambivalence about the intelligibility of that phenomenality to give birth to "the uncanny." And finally, a third type of author would be invested in things that are marvelous enough to defy both the causal principles of coherence and intelligibility-- though, as I say, it's not only impossible to create a fantasy pure enough to defy all the "rules," it would also be impossible for anyone to read or view it.

More on this theme as examples of enfoldment occur to me.

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