Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 4 January 2007

Appearance vs. Reality

Fragmentation vs. Wholeness

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I’m going to be covering a lot of ground over the next few months; a lot of subject areas.  What is needed at the outset is to dispense of the notion that I am too interested in a lot of subjects-scattered or fragmented.  This is not the case. 

I am interested in one thing – a type of experience; a very subjective type of experience that has descriptive analogs across three, maybe four distinctive fields.  Let’s just say that the fields are Art, Religion, Science and Philosophy but this is more indicative of approaches to these experiences and less that of clearly drawn lines in the content.  Or this is what I think; hence the attempt at a comparative study.  There are two components to this interest. 

  1. The experiences themselves [the fuzziness of them though they are basic and pervasive] and
  2. how these experiences relate to or affect ’emergence’ of ‘identification’ toward classification.* 

I use the term identification for now, maybe it would be better to use discovery.  No identification is the word.  Discovery implies newness… as in Eureka!  I am interested in mundane identification which is immediately followed by the assigning of a ‘category’ or classification/meaning…for later use in whatever form.  Emergence refers to the moment of identification.

The casting of a net across fields is because I am trying to make clear [mostly to myself] unclear bits of being human.  I believe that it is helpful I can approach these experiences from a personal point of view in all cases-the religious experience, the creative experience and the flow experience.  They seem to be so closely related as to be indistinguishable, though I know they are.  Really… the experience of ‘God’ is different from what causes an autotelic approch to artmaking and different from the feeling of an optimal dance performance-but they may be different levels of the same ‘kind’ of experience.  Yes some assert that there is a difference kind-that is part of what I hope to uncover.  Additionally what maybe rare, is my propensity to actually pay attention to the experiences themselves. The obsession or compulsion, which I refuse to consider a disorder, that causes me to disassemble, reassemble and examine the minutiae of my lived experience.

But that is not something that will actually get written about in the paper, at least I don’t think so.  It is simply that I will be using my own experience as primary reference point in evaluating the things that I read and reference.  This is an important distinction.  The point of view of the researcher is a thing that affects his thinking and therefore analysis.  It is especially destructive to forward growth if said researcher doesn’t take into account that his analysis is coloured by his own subjectivity. 

I believe it’s Husserl that says something to the effect that at some point a ‘philosopher’ has to spend some time zeroing in on his thoughts to arrive at the center point of his thinking; evaluating with the intention of clarifying.  [Of course, I’m chopping up what he said.]  For the practice of philosophy is at bottom about thinking not reference.  In the pursuit of wisdom using a methodology of critical analysis.  Knowledge of the history of philosophy [like the history of art, but at least historians of philosophy are usually philosophers themselves] is not about taking someone else’s ‘opinion’ over your own, but simply to avoid reinventing the wheel or inventing a bad one.  [On the other hand, I am not really opposed to reinventing the wheel, sometimes it’s faster than learning about all the different types of wheel and the whys or wherefores of which wheel model is or is not efficient. And why shouldn’t I make a wheel of my very own.]  If you develop genuine questions about what an established writer has written or just plain think they are crazy wrong – you are entitled to this ‘opinion’ and the defense of it.  On top of that, it just may be that you want to express something in your own way; Add your mode of expression to the seminal questions of being human and define your own humanity.

Where would we be if every scientist said, “Well someone else has already covered that area.”

Anyway, I have to remind myself that this blog is actually a tool and I’m using it to organize.  So…I have to be more conscious of assigning my categories and hyperlinking to related posts.  This will work as my memory jog of how I get from topic to topic [like in this post], how each thing is related and hopefully allow me to close with a coherent whole.

This brings us to the fragmentation/wholeness concept; as usual I approach it from the objective/subjective dichotomy.  This is part of the whole enigma of how there is a ‘unity of consciousness’ and how it is possible to maintain.  A person has to be, at bottom, carrying a complete [and functional] system of thought in order to BE and/or THINK. It may be a completely screwed up or substandard system of thought but it all cogs have to somehow fit together. Someone can allow themselves to become muddled by external observations on a surface view of their thinking and spiral into an unmaintainable level where indeed there is more confusion than understanding-the external becomes catalyst to psychic entropy.  Unless…they ground themselves in the idea that there IS a unity of consciousness.   

In the seemingly arbitrary there is wholeness.  The moment this is understood is the moment one can begin to make sure the whole of a personal system is functioning optimally and clean up any anomalies.  If you take the viewpoint that your own consciousness is without rhyme or reason, you are in a word…fucked.  Our perception mechanisms are highly refined tools; one pays attention to [and therefore thinks] some ‘thing’ because there is a receptor that is tuned to that frequency; if your range is broad you have more work than others.  Now sure, we can have corroded connections, but if one step is taken in the direction of “I think that for no reason whatsoever”…well there are either dire or no consequences.  Hee.  Either you mess up your mind more than it is already or you miss some important piece of the mind’s puzzle.  Neither of which is positive.  No consequences is actually a misnomer -as in no action is really a decision to do nothing.  To brush something off as inconsequential [especially if it is related to your own beliefs] is to miss an opportunity to know something about how you think.  As I say often, “This is the life where I fix things.”  I try not to miss opportunities for learning.

It so happens that I am more comfortable with the ‘appearance’ of fragmentation than those that I have placed in charge of evaluating me-like some of the professors.  Ah whatever, Joe Public.  I get the same crap in a different tune all over the place.  What seems externally to be an erratic turtle pace, may get you to the finish line faster.  In as much as the finish line is not a fixed physical distance for everyone.  I allow myself to dwell on things that may seem to someone else unrelated to the previous or next thing.  However, there is usually something in there that will help me with tuning my frequencies.  I know that there is a wholeness to my inquiries; it’s only when I pay too much attention to what others think about my arbitrariness or fragmentation that I sometimes get muddled.

*And some latent or not so latent hunch that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter whether your internal identification matches external and ‘objective’ identification.

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