Occipution errors

I need a word to designate a reality that seems to lack language.

In situations like this, we cannot avoid the protests of conservatives. We will be accused either of using familiar terms in outlandish ways, or we will be accused of using outlandish terms nobody can possibly understand. In this case, I have no choice, so I am coining a term: “occipution” after the word occiput, meaning “the back part of the head or skull.”

Occipution is the impossibility of understanding subjective realities in objective terms. An occipution error is the confusion of subject with one of its objects, a very common but rarely detected species of category mistake.

Why is it impossible to see sight? Occipution. We only know sight by seeing the objects of sight — the sights we see. Sight is subject.

Why is it impossible to think thinking? Occipution. We only know thinking by thinking the objects of thought — the thoughts we think. Thought is subject.

Trying to treat subjectivity as an emergent property of matter in an essentially physical world is maybe not a occipution error, but it is certainly a symptom of discomfort with occipution — as is the reflex to start with brain science when accounting for mental phenomena.

When we present our faith as a doctrine, or as a set of beliefs, we do so because of occipution. In fact, the doctrine or belief is merely an object of faith, but faith itself is subject.

When we see the unconscious as submerged or suppressed beliefs, or feelings or other mental objects this is a pop-psych occipution error. These have no objective reality, but they are subjectively active in ways we cannot understand in objective terms.

When we “seek ourselves” this is an occipution error. We look for the wrong kind of resolution. The worst possible pseudo-resolution is finding an identity with which one can confuse one’s self.

To state it phenomenologically, we confuse intentional objects for the faculty by which we experience both the intentional object and the faculty, because the way we think about thought encourages occipution errors.

The notion that thought is language is an occipution error.

The confusion of philosophy with philosophical content is an occipution error.

And so on and so on.

Living on terms with occipution requires radically new approaches.

If none of this made sense to you, it is not because this is nonsense. You cannot see the sense in which the emperor is clothed.

Leave a Reply