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Sepideh Majidi

0Ocean Collective

In this particular moment, the observer is traversing the region of pure understanding, the land of truth (an attractive word), an island surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, with unchangeable limits, where everything is proper--proper measure is in proper relation to its proper components to make this recipe of the Localized Observer. Either Kant is thinking about leaving the island or not. He is taking a look at what’s surrounding him, and from there he brings us back to take a look at this particular island, which is locating us within a center in the stormy ocean. Can we assume an ever shifting position throughout the universe? In regard to any type of movement, he is holding back. Should we travel? Should we ever move? Is every possible world on the same island?


[ ocean [ [ island-observer [ sensation-sensibility [ intuition] imagination] thoughts and understanding] reason, concept]]

Reference to: Immanuel Kant -Critique of Pure Reason

The Transcendental Doctrine of the Power of Judgment (A nalytic of Principles)

Chapter III: Of the Ground of the Division of all Objects into Phenomena and Noumena-p 338

In the question of locality vs globality, we cannot assume that we have the map or access to the universal or global. In fact, all we can do is to start from the local position, which is also as unknown to us as what we call the global. As in the allegory of the island, we have to start from this remote locality. This is the very idea of the transcendental subject, who thinks she is floating on the ocean of transcendental thought. But transcendental thought is an island itself, and at this point we are not even aware that it is, in fact, an island. There are many fictional theoretical allegories about this, such as wolf-children, who are not raised in human society. How can we know who we are? How can we know there are other agents and other islands? The point of these stories is that even if the agent is born on a desert island, disconnected from human society, he still has a chance to connect back to human society. Even if the locality of the thought is parochial, using different methods, we can turn this island into an infinite ocean of possibilities. Or we can make a boat and traverse the ocean to arrive at other islands or archipelagos. As humans, all we can ever do is to start from an island.  How can we ever know about the rest of the universe?


Part 1: Island

Those people who set sail from the island to the ocean always abide by certain rules, which signify both the laws of the ocean and the rules of the island’s subject.

This is the transcendental subject, who thinks she is essentially floating in the infinite ocean of transcendental thought; that everything is available to her, freely. But the transcendental thought is of course an island itself, so she’s not aware that she is, in fact, herself an island, anchored by virtue of the contingent constitution of her transcendental structure. Just as a ship moored in the water thinks that--simply because it is a ship--it is floating freely in the ocean, whereas it’s actually anchored, though not conscious of it.

Each stage of my story indicates a seemingly gradual shift from the heart of the island to the outside, steadily gaining more freedom of movement, and then facilitating access to the inner workings of the island and its integration into the structure of the ocean, with relations parallel to the observer and to the whole.

Even as an inhabitant of the island, I remain a stranger, troubled by the unsettling relations between part and totality, internal and external, particular and universal, fringe and center.

To me, it appears thatthe island is the edge of an unknown world.

Until she builds a boat and sets sail in the infinite ocean, she doesn’t know where the edge actually is. To be at the edge of the world she must live in the true ocean. But, how can we ever postulate the edge of the ocean?

This is about the locality and the globality of the transcendental subject. We can think about this locality exactly like an island in an infinite ocean. In this sense, the island thought or the island thinking is at once at the center and the fringe; the threshold and the hinge. The island is just the fringe of the ocean, nothing else. But from the perspective of the island itself, it appears to be at the center.

For a thought to become a thought it should communicate with other thoughts—there is no private thought.

While Reason is pushing forward the limits of my imagination, my imagination is falling apart by the magnitude of the ocean; the high tides are breaking my borders of control.

It might be a mistake to take the observer's intelligence, as similar to other forms of animals, as a type of model which, despite its similarity, has an awareness that leads to accessing its mechanisms and functions, and categories which construct its cognition and therefore its reality. Although this agent or observer cannot step outside of this system, she has gained access and an understanding to its internal mechanism, which creates the possibility for the agent to be able to further revise, reconstruct and manipulate it, and hence challenge her cognition, and also her perceived reality.

This is caused by first realizing the difference, and then the similarity—by seeing herself as part of the world—between the observer's intelligence, as compared to other living beings inhabiting the environment.

The limited shores of this island can deceive us,

For the islander,

this is the only possibility for being.

This is the specific condition of the intelligence of our island-inhabiting observer…The Island is a metaphor for the transcendental constitution of the specific agent, in our case the human …creating a possibility that leads to a transformation of her environment in relation to the ocean.

For this, the observer needs several things: the conception of self, a conception of the environment, and conditions of possibilities of experience.

Are there other islands in the ocean, where other agents live, and other worlds can exist? Outside the limits of all the possible experiences within this territory, which understanding allows me to engage with? What conceptual creation leads to certain experiences unlike mine, and their representations?

I am evolutionarily wired, based on predation and predatory activity, reward and punishment, to see myself as this very sensible integrity--my body, my senses. The natural self is an illusion. There is no self; just the simulation that enables me to perform vital functions. Sex, reproduction, predation. And on top of this, I have a self, of which I am conscious. Not the sensible self, but the object of thinking, such that it can influence the ordinary sensible self, which is an illusion.

Gods and demons, subtle bodies--apparitions--with no sensible qualities. The new possibilities of thought, related not to Iconus, but to Nous, the intellect, the thought itself.

According to the relation between thought and world, which addresses the islander  distinct from her context, the observer is built into the conditions of an external universe which, in turn, ceases to exist to us. Insofar as the islander is very limited, she is constituted and contingent.

So, we can say she cannot separate from the island; they both have to transform interdependently. The local constitution of the transcendental subject (she) and the conditions of possibilities of this particular transcendental subject: the island itself. They do not exist with or without each other--their bodies, their sensible qualities, their configurations, and quantitative qualities.

Dimension, distance, form, extension--all relating to numbers--the mysticism of mathematics, the autonomous transformation of forms to other forms. Mathematics is disembodied. It is pure form, and only in pure form can it transform into other forms--forms that she desires, since form doesn't have a body, nor an extension in space.

“On this island I cannot dream about the ocean.” 

The islander can’t recognize the Being of the ocean. We are in the business of the primal question of philosophy: what is Being? We cannot talk about Being if we are a slave to our immediate senses and local transcendental constitution. If we take Being as infinite, we must also make ourselves as infinite. In so far as our senses are finite, we can only do that through forms of thinking. Which leads to the being that ceases to exist to us. It can only be talked about coherently because we have adequate cognitive resources to talk about such beings. In other words, Being is the designation of thinking.


She needs to understand the correlation between non-Being and Being. Thinking and Being.

The first, sketchy prototype of the agent—the “O0”—is an observer with an organic vessel constrained by self-organization, limited by her cognitive conditions and local ground on the terrestrial sphere. These conceptual grounds provide a space for the observer to reflect upon, and generate subjective and objective forms of realities, which might be—as a matter of fact—simulations of the island, or of the environment in which the agent inhabits.

The central relation between the O0 and the world brings about the possible existence of other centers into the narrative; many other centers, infinite vessels, capsules, containers, islands and agents, pure, composed, and self-contained, forever separate and invisible to one another, piling up and streaming in the fog. The fog is carrying them in the universal flux. The fog—what Kant demonstrated as a source of sensory perceptual illusion--fills the space between locals, blocking one from the other.

So from here I go to relations between all these infinite locale/s, as they exist in many dimensions, and how each locale is harnessing and transforming this relational force and system to construct its local ground anew. (This is a very hellish space).

In the next stage, the agent, with the help of her particular transcendental structure--which is her available resources for navigation--discovers the movement of the vessel in the perilous space of the outside without the protection shield or her current horizon of perception. The observer uses the transcendental structure to see herself back in the safe space of locale/s simultaneously, as it's already in the stream of locals.

In the following stage, the Observer_ O0 understands the defect and the limitation of her local space or particular transcendental constitution.


She also discovers the possibility of expansion within the infinite.

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