I wish I really knew
I have long puzzled about the nature of knowledge--what does it mean to "know something"? When I say, for instance, "I know that the world is round", or, "...that 2 and 2 are 4," or, "...that I love you," or, "...that God is real (or is not)," what do I mean? Are there different kinds of knowledge? When I try to "know myself," what am I trying to do? How is knowledge related to gender? Do men and women know in different ways? How is knowledge related to the brain? What does it mean to know "in my bones (or heart)" ? How is faith related to knowledge? What do genes and memes have to do with what we know? How are knowledge and wisdom related? And so on.
These poems and essays are from pages in my journal written as I reflected on various of these and other questions related to knowing. I have collected them here so that I can look more clearly at my scattered wonderings on this relevant (to me) subject while I still ponder what it means to know. They are, obviously, all personal and perhaps irrelevant to others; still, I choose to share them in case you too may puzzle over some of the same subjects.
Yesterday I drove from London to Hastings and sat by the sea in the setting sun beneath the ruins of the 1066 castle of William the Conqueror, trying to feel for my roots in England. I wandered through the Old Town along the coast, up to the castle ruins, down to the 1380 St. Clement's Church. Staying in an old villa, I joined a circle of "blokes"for an evening bitter and much debate about the virtues of bowles (bowling on the green) over golf or tennis.
Now, in the morning, after a very proper English breakfast and being reminded to place my juice glass back on its proper saucer, I am thinking about how much of my energy and attention is devoted and consumed by trying to be "good" as defined by each place and set of circumstances. In my hour and a half conversation with these Englishmen and women, I never even thought of what I might want from them, namely, information on Evans genealogy or old book shops.
At breakfast this morning I remembered myself and talked to an English woman who recommended that I go to Wales, since "Evans is definitely a Welsh name." She noted how many Americans seem interested in genealogy, and how few English care about it.
I am thinking today about the difference between data about ancestry and the rootedness which I suspect is the primary basis for our American, certainly my, quest. I think that I have chosen the information route in the deeper quest for personal rootedness. I was trying to feel myself on the banks of the English Channel last evening. I will go to Wales to try to sense where I may have come from. I want to know who I am via the ground from which I came.
Yet I also know, still in my mind only, that I will only know who I am, finally, in the events of my own knowing. I cannot find myself in the reflections ofAtheir@ eyes or in the ground from which I came. All the genealogical data, even if I could find the beginnings of William Evans here, and his roots back to Adam, would never substitute for the nerve required to acknowledge my own knowing in each present instant, wherever I am.
I have erred in missing the distinctions between gained knowledge and present tense knowing, between conceptions, notions, frozen frames of thought, and the ever lively, always changing, dimensions of knowing, including thinking. In my error I have overvalued data--summaries of concepts and information, and undervalued immediate knowing which takes data into account, but remains lively and changing, never subject to possession for more than an instant.
The balance I now seek involves getting over the sacred status I have previously afforded to both held information (such as the historical data of which this region reeks), and the power which I have projected into the seeing of others (how they see me, my efforts to beAgood@ in their eyes), and, on the other hand, the power inherent in all immediate, present tense knowing--that is, sensing, wanting, feeling--all the experiences which emanate from being consciously present. Both count, I know; data and information are essential in avoiding repeated errors and in charting courses in the world. What others think of me is relevant in my acceptance in any given social circle; connections count too. But I now see that both these two sources of data--history and other people, is less essential in good living than my continual attention to my honest presence, knowing what I feel and want and sense and seek in each instant.
Without in any measure abandoning the skills I have acquired in gathering data, remembering it, and keeping in the good graces of others, I now want to reclaim my natural rootedness--which, I see, no genealogical data can ever give me, since it simply falls into the first category of information only, namely, that which is always possible, indeed, inherent in simply (profoundly) showing up wherever I am.
I shall seek the faith which this requires, and practice today, beginning with my visit to the book shop I was first tempted to come to Hastings to see; then, in going wherever I am next led to go.**********
I am recognizing that all knowledge is relative to the context of the knower. The notion of independent or objective knowledge is an illusion I have long lived with. I have erred in identifying knowledge and wisdom, that is, that much information--such as the greater amount of data possessed by older people, is the same as being wise. This involves a judgment which I now see to be inaccurate. I recognize, for instance, what I never saw when younger, namely, knowledge is not nearly so important and powerful as I once thought. I am inclined, with this information, to judge myself "wiser" now, and to conclude that I was "dumber" to think of knowledge as so important when I was growing up.
I see though, that this later fact is relative to where I am as an older person and was not true when I was younger. Earlier, knowledge truly was power for me. I achieved power, for instance, by making good grades--which were based on acquiring knowledge. Later I exercised power in my professions by knowing more about theology and psychology than others. Now, older, I am no longer able to wield power with what I know. My knowledge is relatively irrelevant to others. Easily I conclude, now that my knowledge is less powerful for me, that I was "wrong" when I was younger; that "knowledge is not power."
But this is simply a fact about now, what is true in my present place; it was not true for me earlier--that is, the power of knowledge, like all else, is relative to where one is. I do not do well to judge myself "smart" or "wiser" to know this, or to look back and judge myself as "dumb not to know this." It was, in fact, not true for me earlier. I am neither "wiser" now that I see this, nor was I "dumber" then; it is true for me now, but was not true for me then.
I further see the danger in such judgments--putting myself up for seeing this now, and coming down on myself for not seeing it then. In either case (actually, both are the same), I remove myself from the current scene via my judgments. More wisely, I honor my present seeing without the judgments of either now or then, recognizing that all seeing is relative to the place of the see-er.
What is true for physical vision, namely, that we cannot see around corners, that all vision is relative to place, time, lighting, and how open my eyes are at the time, is also true of mental "seeing"--understanding or knowledge. It too is just as relative to the place and circumstances of the see-er, perhaps more so.
A see-er only loses that last e, becoming a seer, with this latter recognition and the concomitant humility which it inevitably brings. Pride in later knowledge, or shame projected on former ignorance, both remove one from the wonders of wisdom. Just as earlier pride in what I knew, the self-righteousnesses of certainty at that time, prevented me from wisdom then, so now also.
Honoring the relativity of all knowledge, limited or vast, must be but the first step in moving from being a see-er only to the abbreviated version of seer.
Previously I saw the natural move from 1) Perception, without or within, leading to 2) Conception, or, 1) Ception 2) Per-ception, 3) Con-ception, with the latter seen as Athinking.@
Now I am seeing a mid-step in the move from per-ceiving to con-ceiving, namely imaging: 1) Per-ception, 2) Imaging, 3) Con-ceiving. Before we have discrete thoughts, conceptions to hold in mind space, we form pictures or images, which may then be decoded into thoughts. After seeing with eyes, we next see pictures or shapes which organize Aout sights@ into forms (Ainsights@) associated with previous experience.
Such pictures, when we are existentially honest, parallel or represent the full scope of our perceptions, e.g., the size of our fear, accurately, that is, the image and the perception are in sync; one is no larger than the other. Huge fear = huge image; small fear = small image.
Images are representational but not yet symbols; they are the pre-cursors of symbols. Symbols literally stand for, that is, exist as discrete, separate entities from that which they symbolize; e.g., Acat@ stands for animal, but is not it. With images this distinction does not yet exist; the image is still connected with the experience it represents, but does not yet symbolize.
Inwardly or experientially, to the one who is imaging they seem to be the same; the image is perceived as the experience. The ghost which Ascares me@is synonymous with my fear. Remove the ghost, remove my fear. This may be analyzed by others as Aprojection,@ but to one involved this is reality-as-perceived. There is no projection involved. AThe devil,@ e.g., Areally did make me do it.@
This seems illogical to me just yet, but it is as though metaphor precedes thinking, rather than being one form of thought. It seems that all images are more like metaphors than like pictures. Does metaphorical thinking precede symbolic thinking? I now think so.
Images seem to be twofold, first, literal mental pictures, exactly like photographs where a paper image exactly mirrors an outside perception. In one=s mind the picture or image, i.e., of the tree is the same as the tree Ais.@ I think I am seeing it as it is, with no awareness that I am experiencing my own perceptions only; not it, but the wave lengths of light I have evolved to perceive. Bees, e.g., see it differently; dogs smell it differently.
But other images, especially of deeper emotional or inward perceptions, are more commonly perceived as direct metaphors, specifically similes, beginning with Alike..@ AI feel,@ i.e., Alike the sky is falling,@ or Alike there=s no point in living,@ etc.
I never conceive such comparisons as similes, symbolic representations, but as literally the way-it-is at the time. It is I; the simile--Alike running away,@ is who-I-am at the time. It is not a symbolic expression, but an honest representation, an image, of my experience at the time.
AShe turns me on,@ for example, literally a metaphor or personification, is seldom so conceived at the time. I believe, just then, that she is doing it to me. It is not I who exist excitedly, but she who is exciting me. It is representational of I. (Or so I Athink@ just then.)
Projection is more clearly seen as primal perception, that is, the early phase of thinking. Projection implies that the power is first owned and then Asent out,@ which I now think is not true. Powers seen as projected, as on to magical others, are, more literally, never recognized as personal. First perception is simply seen in an image.
The image, the magical other, may in fact reflect a dimly perceived personal power, as a mirror; but in the beginning the mirror is imagined to be owner the power. It is not, in personal experience, that I first have and then give the power (for example, to Aturn me on@); it is rather that I first perceive my Aturn on@ power in the mirror of the other.
The first phase of moving from Imaging to Conceiving (thought) is commonly the fall of the idol, the breaking of images. Flaws, clay feet of gods (magically powered others), are recognizedC indeed, often sought out, as in my case, as a preface to personal recognition. It is easier to see cracks in the mirror than to catch on to what may later be recognized as projection, but is, instead, primal perception.
I see now that my life long: a) search for gods, and b) iconoclasm = my quest for seeing through gods (understanding them), has been aimed toward cognition of personal powers, the move from image to thought. My problem has been that I stopped with image-breaking, the mental process of seeing flaws in gods, without daring to face the underlying shift of power.
The real challenge is not in seeing clay feetC though that is nervy, but is rather standing the power shift which underlies the insight.
Seeing flaws is only mental, an exercise of mind only; but daring empowerment is existentialC a bodily matter of wholing (healing), daring to overcome split-ness and chance becoming One.
Actually em-powered is inaccurate because it implies a flow of power from without, from Magical Others to oneselfC as though they are the source, and we get it from them. Not so. In this move from image to thought we simply acknowledge, become aware of, what has previously remained unrecognized, namely power inherent in being oneself.
The move, then, from image to thought is but the mental side of the existential shift from power-less to power-more, from power-unrecognized to power-acknowledged, from being-as-thought-impotent to being-powered.
To summarize: In the natural process of moving from 1) Perception (without or within) to 2) Imaging, to 3) Thinking, the deeper issue is power. Awareness is but the activation of consciousness, the mental part, cognizing of experience which is literally an expansion of power. Perception, in effect, generates power. More literally, I suspect, the power-inherent-in-being experiences itself in perception. Being and power, that is, are synonymous. To be born, to be oneself, is to exist as a bundle or collection of energies/powers.
To be oneself is to personify limited powers, to exist as a collection of cells, each of which is alive, moving, activating, as an inherent aspect of itself. Aliveness and power-filled are synonymous; each is but the same from a slightly different perspective.
Perceiving consciously, knowing-what-we-are-knowing (perceiving) is but to be aware of powering in action. When such powering is dimly recognized, in the genesis of consciousness, it is done so through images, mental shapes or comparisons (metaphors which arise from recollection or memory), which match the intensity of the power being acknowledged with the perception (actually inherent in the act of perceiving).
In this primal stage of awareness, generally populated by powerful figuresC gods, demons, ogres, giants, ghosts, etc.-- humans function well because these images are perceived as personal, intimately associated with present living. Through sacrifice, prayer, and many other forms of experience, continual contact is maintained.
The problem comes, though, in the next natural moveC from images to thinking. This begins with Aseeing-through@ the gods (images), on the way to Aseeing-without@ them, to embracing one=s own powers for seeing-more-clearly, rather than dimly-through-images. The problem is not so much in mental iconoclasmC the flaws in gods are generally unhiddenC but rather in daring to personify powers which burst even further forth in thinking.
Perceiving is powering; thinking is a thousand times more so. The challenge is not to escape into mental impotence, craziness, or hopelessness, rather than daring to embrace/contain the freeing powers which thought personifies.
Thy words were found, and I did eat them...
When I reach Stage Four in any arena, when knowledge is absorbed, when I know-what-I-know, these are the signs:
1) My doing is synonymous with my knowing--that is, I live-out my knowing. There is no gap between what-I-preach and what-I-practice; what I know is what I do.
2) I have no psychological need for support/approval from others. I am not "in doubt" and looking for external affirmation. The faith required to move from Stage Three to Four results in con-fidence (with-faith) at Four. Such con-fidence, being past need for support from others, is not omniscience, not self-righteous. I am moving with what I know, yet open to new information and non-judgmental of others who know or choose differently. My truth = myself, but is not presumed to apply to others.
3) There is no "evangelism" as popularly understood. Nor do I, when I have eaten my words, have any need to "make others see" my light or to Ahelp them@ with what I presume to apply to them also. I am past, when at Stage Four, the self-righteousness of "knowing better" than others. I may share for fun, money, or when asked, but am not presumptuous that my experience will apply to others.
4) 1 have no need for "being understood" by others. Confident in my absorbed knowledge, I need not look to the eyes of others for confirmation of my vision.
5) Nor am I defensive when questioned--that is, automatically inclined to protect myself, as though I am guilty, or as though I have been attacked when someone disagrees or is opposed to my viewpoint.
6) I am conscious of my knowing, able to word it, to see it clearly, even though "it" and I are the same. To an outsider, Stage Four may look like Stage One, that is, conscious knowing may look exactly like nonscious knowing (genetic knowledge), e.g., how to digest food or "know" what tastes good.
I so "naturally" activate my conscious knowledge that it appears natural-- like breathing, without consciousness; yet it is. Tillich's term, sophisticated innocence, applies, in contrast to the naive innocence of genetic knowledge. In non-sciousness one knows, but does not know-that-he-knows. At Stage Four, one both knows and knows-that-he-knows.
7) Self and knowledge are the same. When at Stage Four, "it"-- what-I-know, and "I" are the same. My identity, my sense-of-myself, and my knowing are the same. What was "it" at Stage Three, seen and possessed knowledge, is phased into "I" at Stage Four.
Here I no longer have this knowledge; I am knowing. Even though I can see/say "it" as though it were an entity I hold, it is not now an it; it-is-I.
This, of course, is a paradox in logic. How can I both have (have acquired) this knowing, be able to voice it as though it were a possession, and yet it be I? The resolution of the non-sense lies in recognizing the metaphor in the description. Here it is as though-- the metaphor--I have it, while in fact I am it.
It would be equally accurate at Stage Four to reverse the metaphor; it is also as though Ait@ has Ame@--that is, as though I am in possession of my knowing, that my vision has me. Whether I say, "I have it," or, "My vision has me"-- both are metaphorical, as though statements. Neither is literal, when I am at Stage Four.
8) No self-consciousness. To be oneself consciously--another description of Stage Four, is, paradoxically, to be without or beyond self-consciousness. When I am being my knowing I am conscious of my being (I can say, because I see, what I am knowing) yet I am not self-conscious.
Why do children want to know where they come from, and adults want to know about our genealogical roots? Because, I think, knowing and becoming are intimately related, indeed, of the same substance. We can only become through knowing; that is, we can only move toward the fullness of human potential through our capacity for knowing-what-we-know. The process of acknowledging our experienceBtransforming perceptions into conceptions, is the only path to becoming-who-we-are, at least potentially so.
To embrace being-and-becoming is to embrace knowing, Aletting on@ to ourselves the true nature of our experienceBwhat we know, which is often in contrast to what Athey@ know.
So when children ask, and don=t they universally do so?, AWhere do babies come from,@ the question is not so much about sex, which adults are also reticent to acknowledge, but rather they are giving voice to the universal quest of knowing-itself which is synonymous with being-ourselves.
In the real world, prior to memes, words are tools, just like axes and spades. The only difference is that words are mental while axes and spades are physical. Both exist to serve purposes of the user, to aid in accomplishing goals. Words are no more sacred than axes, except for their utility to the user. Primal human goals, which give tools, either mental or physical, their value are in the ballparks of selfing and sexBsurvival and reproduction.
Truth, unlike tools, is, in the real world, a matter of being, not of doing or telling. We may, literally be truthful, but we cannot tell the truth. We can tell facts or perceptions, but we cannot tell truth because it is an existential, not a utilitarian, matter. We may tell about truth, as well as any other aspect of being, but we move into the different realm of doing (acting or telling) when we come to speaking.
The point: I have made a life long error in my identification of truth and Atelling the truth,@ especially in making telling-the-truth virtuous, and lying (not telling-the-truth) an evil. I grew up believing that Ait=s good to tell the truth and bad to lie,@ or, as the Ink Spots sang, "It's a sin to tell a lie." Consequently when I chose to be good (as I came to define virtue) I tried to Atell the truth,@ and if I ever lied I felt guilty because I knew I had Abeen bad.@ It seems that I began life with the erroneous premise that verbal accuracy is synonymous with truth. I completely missed the fact noted in the first paragraph, namely, that all words are but tools, even as are axes.
What I now see is that in the genetic world, sans memes, lying is often closer to reality than is so-called Atruth-telling@; that is, since personal goals are almost always in conflict with the goals of any other person as well as society, words used like other tools in service of an individual are more likely to be deceptive than Ahonest@ (put in quotes to imply the identification of telling accurate words with being truthful). Whenever we speak honestly (using words in service of personal goals) we are more likely to speak deceptively, than so-called Atruthfully (giving straight information).@
Parallel: in the animal world where eat or be eaten are yet prime agendas, presentations (sounds and showings of self) are all utilitarian (just as they are in fact in the human world). They are not designed or intended to Atell the truth@ about the creature as much as to deceive other creatures in the best self interests of the one Aspeaking@ himself. Just as a chameleon=s colors change to protect him from being eaten and enhance his odds of finding food, so a good natural human=s words change for similar purposes. In other words, we, when gene guided, naturally lie and deceive in quest of survival and reproductionBplus all the refined goals rooted in these two primal ones.
ATelling the truth@ is unnatural (only a meme virtue); deception (lying) is natural (in genetic values).
If I accept that natural and good are closer than unnatural and good, as is a premise in Natural Theology, then I am forced to completely re-examine my learned virtue of Atruth-telling@ as good and lying as bad. I must see instead that it is good for a chameleon to deceive in service of survival, and, in effect, bad for him to Atell the truth@ about his presence and goals. And so with me.
The true virtue of Atelling the truth@ is when it is useful to parents and society (sources of memes) in their own best interests. Certainly difficult-at-best parenting is made a bit easier if children Atell the truth@ rather than lying. Parents are generally so harried in their overall responsibilities that sorting through a child=s natural deceptions is just one more added burden. If they can establish Atruth telling@ as good and lying as bad, then their job is slightly eased. Never mind that they lie regularly (albeit unconsciously), for example, about God, sex, and Santa Claus.
Likewise with authorities in society: teachers, preachers, tax collectors, and judges find their work to be easier if students, parishioners, wage earners, and criminals Atell the truth@ rather than trying to deceive in their own self interests. Structures of society are no doubt more efficient when citizens Atell the truth@ when confronted by the powers that beBout there; but the well-being of individuals is more likely to be endangered or diminished when the powers that beBin here, namely, genes in service of self, are perverted into accurate revelations of self, as in Atelling the truth.@
Only one=s status with external powers (social authorities, like parents, priests, and judges) is enhanced by Atruth-telling@; internal powers (to be oneself) are consistently violated when we ignore/repress our natural urges to deceive in service of personal goals and accede to the social virtue of Atelling the truth@ rather than artfully lying.
The only real virtue which I can recognize in Atelling the truth,@ past the true values of gaining social acceptance by whatever means, is in the training it gives in being responsibleBthat is, in learning to stick with, stand for, be-identified-with, what one has done or said, rather than splitting one=s sense-of-self off from his actual deeds and words. But when this training comes at the loss of activation and experience in the natural and essential arts of deception (which is Alying@ when brought into the verbal realm), then the cost becomes excessive. Being socially accepted at cost of one=s own natural soul is, in Natural Theology, too high a price to pay.
While recognizing memes (social virtues) and learning to be socially accepted by family first and society later is crucially important in group living (which is also essential in self survival), recognizing and activating genes, including those for deception, is even more critical in personal salvation. Ideally we learn to be truthful with ourselves, which includes embracing genetic directives for social deceptions, and to act Ahonest@ by appropriate Atruth telling@ when confronted by external powers which make it virtuousBwithout reversing the order.
My life-long error has been the opposite. In service of trying to be truthful with others by Atelling the truth@ and avoiding conscious deception, I learned instead to lie to myself, hiding my natural deceptions under a cloak of self-righteous Atruth telling.@ I split myself in order to fit in, only to find out later what a high price such self-deceptions require. They almost, I now see, cost me my soul.
In summary: in reality, words are only toolsBmental or verbal rather than physical, like axes; they evolved (Awere discovered@ or created) to Amake life easier.@ We naturally use them like any other tool, namely, to achieve personal goals. When these verbal tools are brought to service in relationships with others their primary function is seldom the simply conveyance of accurate information (Atelling the truth@); more often it pragmatically lies in artful deceptionBconcealing real motives in favor of presenting socially acceptable values (like Atelling the truth@). Such Alying@ is normal; whereas revealing facts or intentions which defeat personal goals is abnormal, except in service of gaining needed social approval.
In this latter quest for some degree of essential acceptance-by-others, either by a valued individual or society at large, other-deception, including pretending to Atell the truth,@ is often pragmatic, even necessary; but self-deception (fooling me rather than them) is a costly-in-time escape from my larger responsibility for being myself in society, rather than negating myself for others. Again, Aselling my birthright (my self or soul) for a mess of pottage@ or any other product is hardly worth the price. Or so I now determine.
On the morning news a man whose wife has been missing for 3 weeks said: AIt=s hell not to know.@ Aside from this understandable expression of fear and grief, I=m thinking of his theology. I think that he intuitively voiced one of the deepest dictums in traditional theology. Below the more conscious notion that hell is Adown there@ or Aa bad place to go after you die,@ I believe that he expressed the literal meaning of hell in conventional theology-- that is, that we first face the worst in human experience when we are confronted with Anot knowing,@ the edge of human knowledge. Then we make the quantum leap, as in his painful experience, of identifying hell with consciously confronting the limits of what we know.
But in Natural Theology-- in life in the real world, in the kingdom of heaven which is here, in Eden on earth, Anot knowing@ is closer to reality, to Athe way things are@ than perhaps any other aspect of human experience. We might say that to be human is to not knowB that is, to Anot know for sure,@ to be without certain knowledge, which in traditional theology is the primary basis. In popular religion certain-knowledge is assumed; the Aright answers@ are known. Then when one reaches the end of his certain-knowledge (what is Aright@ or what he Ashould do@) there is God who by definition Ais omniscient@Bthat is, possesses the knowledge of everything beyond what we ourselves know for sure.
AGod@ in conventional theology is the ultimate mental creation of humans (primarily male) for covering the vast dimensions of all that lies beyond present personal knowledge. AI may not have all the answers; I may not always know what is right, or why things happen, or what is going to happen, but God does.@ That is, the invented AGod@ covers all the blanks in human knowledge. We know much, and what we don=t He does. Or so goes primal theology in popular religions around the world.
In sharp contrast, the nature of humanity, as seen in Natural Theology, is Alimited-knowing,@Bthat is, to be human, to become a person in this perspective, is to accept and embrace the natural human condition of Anot knowing anything for sure,@ such as, what is ultimately right, what one should do, why things occur, and what is going to happen in the future. In other words: limited knowing only.
All knowledge, as understood in Natural Theology, is but perceptions formalized into conceptions. We may Ahold@ perceptions in mind space when we move from the image stage of experience to the conceiving stage, but still they remain as structured perceptions, not objectively Aright answers@ which are universal, permanent, or even accurate for any person but ourselves. We can, in the real world, only know what we perceive; and perceptions are themselves inherently limited to human capacities. And beyond honest perceptions the ever-changing, constantly evolving natural world, is not subject to any human=s Apinning down@ in certain-knowledge.
What is true now, or here, may not be true later, or there. And what is in fact true for me, that is, an honest representation of my own experience (perceptions summarized as conceptions), may not be true for any other person, or even for me when circumstances, including time, change. In other words, as humansBas Natural Theology honors, we can indeed Aknow a bunch@ when we honestly register our perceptions; but we can never, so long as we remain in Eden, Aknow it all@ about anything. Nor can we self-righteously and omnipotently Ahave a God@ who does.
We are limited, in the heaven which is here, to faith-full living with limited knowledgeBalways (as best I can tell). We can indeed Aknow much,@ but never possess any certain or final or ultimate knowledge.
What all this means in practice is that the man with the missing wife is, outside of traditional theology where Ait=s hell (literally) to not know,@ just confronting the natural state of existence consciously, namely, the fact that neither he nor anyone else Aknows the Truth.@ His painful and dramatic circumstances are not unusual in reality, only brought to his consciousness through the difficult events which are slowly unfolding.
If one lives in the real world, rather than in the fantasies of organized religions (secular or sacred), then he is continually in conscious touch with what the fearful man is only now confronting in awareness when forced by tragic circumstances. Otherwise, he is simply where we all are, if and when we find the nerve to exit the Enchanted Forest and return to the real worldBwhich Natural Theology tries to articulate.
To be present, honestly (in Eden here), is to be regularly in conscious touch with these limits of all human knowing. Such presence includes awareness of a vast variety of perceptions about almost everything we experience. There is nothing we can perceive which does not in some way connect or remind us of some degree of prior experienceBat least after the first few days of life; but neither is there any quantity of perceptions, any Avast education,@ which can ever erase these limited perceptions. We can know, and know much; but we cannot, as Now Theology posits the human condition, Aknow it all@Beven about any minute subject. Because the real world is continually evolving, Athings are always changing@; the fullest of information may be totally superceded in any next instant. Even the world itself Amay come to an end@ at any time, not to mention my not knowing what I Ashould do next.@
But living without any certain knowledge, any Aright beliefs (indeed, no sacred beliefs at all, including the notions of Natural Theology),@ any Afor sure@ information about past, present, or future, including the ultimate accuracy of even our simplest perceptions (like Aits too cold in here,@ or, Atoo hot out there@), does indeed require much faith (Anerve@).
And when or if such living with limited knowledge is embraced and experienced well, sharp attention to all one=s perceptions is essential. There is no room for dishonesty-with-oneself, for denying what we know (have personally experienced), for escaping into nonsciousness (Aunconscious living@ by habit, rote, or beliefs). The extremely exciting and dangerous nature of reality calls for the best in all that is human, especially continual honesty about what we have perceived so far (what we Aknow for ourselves@), as well as constant contact with the edges of this limited body of dataB Athe unknown,@ as it is popularly named, indeed the Ahell@ of Anot-knowing@ what has happened (or may) to our wives or anything or one else.
1. Our language determines the nature of our thinkingBthat is, the way we approach reality. But because we learn language structures while we are yet thinking in images and are primarily pre-conscious, we never realize this is so. We Athink@ that we are simply putting thoughts into words, unaware that our native language has shaped our entire approach to the real worldBgiving us its benefits, but also its limitations.
2. Children, up to age 3 or 4 when conscious memory normally begins through acquiring language which facilitates consciousness and hence conscious memory, still think in images. They exist, that is, mostly in the primal human state of coping via pictures vs. words.
3. Meaning (purpose, Aunderstanding,@) are human inventions of mind, made possible through consciousness. Meaning, either in words or life, is therefore unnatural in a primal sense. Small children are yet unencumbered with the benefits/drawbacks of meaning (mental understanding). This does not mean they are Adumb@Bonly that they move and cope via images vs. concepts. They rely on genetics for direction, e.g., hunger, comfort, desire, excitement. Thus they, e.g., love repeated VCR movies because they enjoy images for themselves alone, rather than being caught up in Ameanings@ or Athe story line@Ball of which are adult (post-language) functions.
4. There is presently a grand revolution in imagery going on, largely unrecognized, in the male world. Technology of computers and digital imagery are allowing males to climb out of our long history of image denial and escape. Males, especially Asmart ones,@ are image-deprivedBthat is, we have historically run from, jumped over, the stage of images (#2 of the Creative Process) to escape their power (primarily of females) and ease the challenges of hunting (focused thinking).
Result: We are good at concepts and hence technology (#3), but left vulnerable to the power of images. Religion has been one of our escapes from images by elevating image-less male-type gods in the presence of imaged femininity, making images Aidolatry@ and hence condemned. But now, through photography, supported by its function in advertising (commerce), we are for the first time in recorded history, invited to play with imagesBlike innocent children and women who never fled to concepts to begin with.
5. Consciousness is the most neglected and abused of all human capacities. We only use it in emergencies for real reasoning; mostly we either avoid it or pervert it into rationalization.
6. To live well is to become conscious, Areasonable,@ without using concepts to evade/escape imaging. It is to use names and ideas in service of older genetic goals, but without fleeing into Ameanings@ which are functional but relatively irrelevant in the ultimately meaningless natural world.
7. In Natural Theology: AIt=s all in how you look at it@Bmeaning there are no ultimate Aright-ways@ of feeling/thinking/acting. Aside from our projected Apurposes,@ the natural world is without purpose; it is not directed or aimed, but evolves willy nilly, as thought god were flying by the seat of his pants.
All Aits@Bnamable entities exist literally in our mind=s eye only, in Ahow we look@ vs. actually Aout there.@ Given different sense receptors all Aits@ would be different. Reality is, I conclude, continually in flux, evolving, changing. All Athings@ (its) are, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder, in our case, human beholders.
8. To recognize that Athings are meaningless,@ that nothing (no-thing) holds inherent meaning, including human life itself, is not necessarily to fall into despair Awithout God.@ Such a move is but the opposite error of forcing sacred meaning into objects, ideas, beliefs, or other mental abstractions.
Meaningful things or Athings are meaningless,@ hope in Aits@ or despair of Aits,@ are but opposite sides of the same coin of projected or unprojected meanings. To be human, without sacred beliefs or hopeless despair, is to dare to create meaning, regularly, without falling into its idolatry or out of its practice. Knowing full well the ultimate willynillyness of the universe and all life forms, to live well is to create Apurpose,@ even as we name Aits@ we perceive, without assuming the false godhood required for declaring our Ameanings@ to be ultimate, even Aright,@ for anyone other than ourselves.
It is, in effect, to be religious about all our Aits@ without idolizing any of them.
9. Specific attributes of English language:
a. AIts@ versus patterns; nouns versus participles; Athings@
10. We assume Egyptian kings were focused on immortality. Maybe pyramids were about keeping forces alive to decide for ordinary folk after the ancient times when primal genes Adecided all,@ when consciousness was evolving, bringing with it the awesome responsibility of self-decision, of Aself@ and hence Adeciding for one=s self@Bnone of which existed in primal pre-conscious times.
I cope with reality primarily through the human capacity for Asense-making@Bthat is, by screening all incoming data through fitting it with prior perceptions translated into concepts. Whenever new perceptions arrive, I immediately, consistently, without awareness, automatically, try to correlate the new data with prior experiences how held in mind space in concepts. After fitting some new perception in with older data, I then try to use the newly made Asense@ to cope in terms of actions. I try to use it, if action is called for, as a basis for Adoing something (or not doing anything).@
This mode is in contrast with Anita=s primary Afirst reaction@ (as best I understand it), which is to cope through Afeelings.@ If I, in effect, ask: ADoes it make sense?,@ she must ask: ADoes it feel right?@ She, of course, tries to Amake sense@ too, just as I am moved by my emotions, but our primary modes are different. After brief attention to sense, she moves quickly to feelings as a determinative in behavior. I, at first, largely ignore feelings in favor of full focus on correlating concepts (or images). I rarely get around to Afeels right@ if I can Amake sense@ satisfactorily.
If I use the feeling words, I generally mean that the sense making has been successful. Then I may say, AThat feels right,@ but I mean Athe ideas are harmonious.@ Anita, I think, does the opposite. She says something is sensible if it Afeels harmonious@ to her. In summary: I think first, feel later, whereas she feels first, thinks later. If something makes sense to me I say it feels right; but if something feels right to her, she says it makes sense.
Perhaps this is a part of the Achemistry@ of our relationship: She roots me to feelings; I connect her to sense. She represents my dark side, just as I do hers. She, in effect, feels-for-me (provides projected connections with feelings), while I think-for-her in the sense of keeping reason around in a world primarily dominated by feeling contact.
I am using the word Afeeling@ for a capacity which is more than emotion alone. Emotions are involved, but Afeeling@ as a mode, as contrasted with Athinking@ as a mode, is more about the imaging stage of experience than about fear/anger, etc. AFeeling right@ is related to familiar images, whereas Amakes sense@ is related to ideasBconcepts which have been created from prior images. It is not that ideas are unrelated to images, or that images cannot be made sensible; but that they are, in primal form, distinguishable. Images correlate with Afeels right@ and concepts correlate with Amakes sense.@
This difference in our primary modes of coping with reality must also be reflected in our differing kinds of focus in immediate situations. I, I now realize, am constantly trying to Aget the big picture,@ while she is more attentive to present circumstances, Athe small picture.@ She is attentive to details of what is at hand, while I am attentive to how what is at hand fits in, or doesn=t, with the Agrand scheme of things.@ I, in contrast, am far less attuned to immediate details, after I once scan the scene, than to the process of trying to Aget the big picture.@ She may in time move to the big picture, but is at first far more diligent about getting all immediate information, which comes, I think, more through images than ideas.
Eventually I get around to present details; but mostly Amy head is in the clouds@ in the sense that I am thinking about Amaking sense@ in the larger context. I must correlate all my data (concepts) with my immediate impressions, while I think she must correlate all her images with the more detailed information she has about present circumstances.
The limitations of my system are that I fail to register many details in present events. With limited immediate data I rush to large picture correlations. I jump from the trees to the forest, from the present to the overview. In my mind=s eye I am fairly soon, as it were, Ain the sky@ looking down on the scene involved in my automatic attempt to fit it in with other data from prior such events. This is why I have a hard time recalling details, such as, what they were wearing, the date, who said what, etc., but am good at relating the scene to many other similar occurrences. I, as it were, look for themes rather than for expanded sense data. I jump from immediate sensing into sense-making, rather than lingering in the present place and continuing to collect more sense dataBas does Anita.
I may eventually get around to feeling about the scene, just as she may get around (I, of course, surmise) to making sense; but at first I am more moved to Anon-sense,@ while she is moved by Afeels-bad.@ ABad vibes@ are her guide line, while mine are Abad sense.@ If it Adoesn=t add up@ I am upset. If it Adoesn=t feel right@ she is disturbed.
This would also account for how differently we react to any unknown. I am far more uncomfortable with Anot knowing@ than is she. She is much more at home with the unknown than am I. She stands Ano answers@ or reasons much better than I do. The speed with which I rush to eliminate any unknown by speedy Areasons@ or Aanswers@ amazes me in hindsight. I do it so quickly that I seldom realize I have left the present place in my internal quest. I live as though the unknown is an enemy and that I must Aconquer@ it with notions lest I be done in by it. I weave theories, which I seldom realize to be so until later, so quickly that I block out awareness of Anot-knowing-for-sure@ before I ever encounter it consciously. It must look like I think I Aknow everything,@ because I can so quickly Aerase the unknown@ with some plausible (to me) theoryBwhich I am likely to take as Athe truth@ at the time.
My hobby of photography and professions of preaching and counseling fit in well. In each I am Ataking pictures@ and applying these images; that is, I rush to gather images which I try to shape either into Agood pictures@ or Aright ideas.@ Then, as an Aobjective@ one, I in effect Aplay with the shapes (pictures, physical and mental) I have made by applying them back to present circumstancesBas in, showing my photos or telling my ideas. Preaching allowed me to keep thinking easily about the big picture of people, while counseling allowed me to apply my preaching to actual situationsBall Aout there@ safely removed from my own Aproblems.@
Even my long held notion of heaven here, plus my newer translation of heaven as presence, must have reflected my deep need to be rooted, to return to the earth from my ethereal flights into sense-making back into the present realms where images are the real powers and notions are relatively incidental. Genealogy too must have been a part of the same quest to Aget down off my high horse,@ to stop using ideas to escape presence, to try to learn how to Ashow up@ where I am. I was, I see in hindsight, trying to Aget real@ by coming in the back door of ancestors rather than directly confronting present relatives.
Only, for instance, after studying mother=s ancestors, did I eventually get around to looking more clearly at her as she presently is. And so with Anita and myself. I thoroughly explored all our roots before I began what for me is the more dangerous challenge of looking clearly at our immediate living. My blindness to present Afacts@ still amazes me. Theories-taken-as-truth still come easier than facts-known-at-the-time.
My fear and rush from images into concepts makes sense (little pun here) to me now. Obviously there is far more power and hence danger attached to images than to ideas which are relatively impotent in the face of any image. Probably my present mode began when I was first threatened by the power of images, such as, that of Mother=s Smile. I must have learned early to use my Agood mind@ to cope with the powers which surrounded me. AMaking sense,@ being Areasonable@ have now become such a mind-set, an established habit, that I see my current agenda as learning more about returning to images and present perceptions, without rushing to ideas and sense for coping. I want to learn as much about being in the Asmall picture@Bthat is, present here, as I do about Abig pictures.@
The concept of cause and effect is vastly overrated and indiscriminately applied in our culture. Our language sub-structures, based on concepts of things in space and time, objects as separate entities which, if they move, must be moved by some other thing, leads to an underlying concept of cause and effect. For every effect (movement) there must be some cause.
Correctly applied to some aspects of reality, e.g., thrown rocks Acause@ windows to break, stepping on my toe Acauses@ pain, etc., the concept, when generalized as we have done today, leads, I think, to dangerous errors. For example, that history causes the present; that the past is the cause of the future. Specifically, the current notion that childhood events cause all present unhappiness, that present mental illness is caused by past events, parental mistakes, etc., and therefore that straightening out the present requires straightening out the Acause.@
The past precedes the present
Much, that is, just is
Yet one who thinks in English
Three global observations: 1) Consciousness is the latest and greatest gift of evolution to humankind so far; 2) Making conscious, reasonable, decisions is the grandest challenge facing individual human beings; 3) Becoming conscious, allowing one=s actual perceptions into awareness, is the most critical and abiding of any human=s personal pilgrimages.
1) Consciousness, as I have often written elsewhere, is the last great capacity to evolve in the human raceBat least the capacity for the capacity. The capacity is relatively new (as best I can tell)Bmaybe 10,000-30,000 years old, only coming into fuller possibility in the last 5,000 years. It is consequently fragile, relatively impotent in the face of older capacities, such as, urges for selfing, reproduction, and emotional movements, but full of awesome possibilities for the human race.
2) Because the possibility of being conscious is so new and fragile, like a hot house orchid, its use in making decisions on what to do in life based on individual data garnered from personal perceptions, is grandly difficult. It is, I conclude till now, the most challenging of all human possibilities. Nothing is more difficult than the apparently simple matter of Amaking up my own mind,@ or, Athinking for myself,@ based strictly on data acquired in my own life time. Reason, as I use the term, means adding up my data logically, Asensible,@ and deciding what to do on that basis, rather than Abeing told what to do@ by other persons, rules, laws, habits, superstitions, religions, or various gods and their associated angels and demons.
3) The social pragmatics of nonsciousnessBof leaving personal experience out of awareness (literally, of splitting oneself so as not to see parts of one=s actual experience), plus the demands of making truly personal decisions, combine to make the process of becoming conscious in the face of such contrary temptations truly awesome. It is far easier for even a highly evolved human animal to remain relatively nonscious, being guided by other humans, such as, kings, patents, spouses, friends, and What-They-Think, than to dare the challenges of Athinking for himself.@ There are sufficient outside Aauthorities@ in every person=s life, which, if faithfully heeded, will direct almost all possible decisions in lifeBor at least seem to. When the possibility of habits (ruts) is added to the ever-present reality of outside authorities, one can easily make it from cradle to grave without ever making truly conscious decisions.
These comforting factsBthat in social reality we can survive, even thrive, without ever making conscious decisions, lead to the pragmatic ease of remaining nonscious and never embracing the highest gift of evolution so farBthat is, of simply living as though consciousness had never arisen as a human potential. Based on my awareness of myself and the many glimpses of the intimate lives of others I have been graced to see, I conclude that there is no more critical and abiding agenda in human living than diligent engagement in the process of becoming conscious. Moving from the dark and seemingly safe confines of The Enchanted Forest where gods and demonsBimages of human perceptions projected and kept Aout there,@ is (or has been for me so far) a lifetime challenge.
It is always easier to simply remain Aother directed@ than to dare, through consciousness and its consort, reason, to become self-directedBthat is, to become and remain aware of what I have Alearned@ (perceived, imaged, and conceived) and make decisions about what to do from the wealth of my own information. Yet this, so far as I know, is the only way to good living in the here and now. Otherwise, the imagined possibility of an afterlife or reincarnation as some reward for lessor living now, become sustaining illusions.
The mode of viewing and hence coping with reality as structured in the English language is based on objects in time and spaceBnouns and verbs, rather than on processes which may be measured by time and space. Objects are essentially lifeless; processes are lively. Objects as entities, being Adead@ (even if Aalive@) must be moved by other forces; hence in English we are languaged to think in terms of cause and effectBfor every effect there must be some outside cause. If something moves or happens, then something else must make it so.
Even though we can think of being alive (being is a participle), still we must thinkBin our language based on premises of objects in time and space, of living entities (nouns) as objects, and hence as being moved by other forces. Internal liveliness, self-movingBeffects without external causes, are almost impossible to conceive in our language (and thus our way of thinking) without jumping to the next question past observation, namely, Awhat caused it to happen.@ If something happens (an object moves) then in English language-based thinking, something else must have made it do so.
Advantages of English-mode conceiving and hence acting are many. Modern technologyBall the way from tools to bridges to vacuum cleaners and computers are more predictable products of cause and effect type of thinking. A science based on cause and effect is more likely to focus on creating Acauses@ for desired effectsBthat is, for inventing machines which do things we want done. But the down side of this way of thinking includes the current climate of victimizationBwhere everything wrong, every Abad effect,@ must be caused by, and hence can be blamed on, some other Aobject.@ Current Acauses@ include bad mothering, childhood abuses, dangerous products, various gods and devils, fate, the stars, etc. Personal responsibility becomes immensely rare in thinking based on cause and effect, as rooted in nouns and verbs rather than participles.
ParticiplesBing words, such as living rather than life, more naturally focus on process rather than cause and effect. Thinking in terms of on-going eventing, rather than static objects or events, seems to me to be more in line with reality as it functions outside our English modes of viewing reality. In the Areal world,@ as discovered by perception rather than known by ideas conceived in English language (nouns and verbs), Athings@ are always changingBthat is, processes are continually operative and only Apinned down@ in our mind=s eyes, like photographs in a book of the mind. All this while living reality keeps right on evolving, unfolding, changing, creating Aitself.@
If I remain Ain touch with reality@ rather than getting lost in my ideas and hence judgments of reality, then I remain attentive to processes instead of objects which more easily fit into English-type thought systems.
Process-type awareness does not exclude attention to prior steps in predictable processesBsuch as, clouds before rain or sunrise before day, and hence coping with reality via information about predictable consequences; but it does help evade the traps and judgments easily associated with nouns and verbs. I am more creative, I note, when I am attentive to the on-going nature of all reality, with only casual attention to temporarily static forms which are themselves changing Ain time.@ Seeing all its (mentally formed objects) as but perceived mind-frozen frames of a continuing process, like pushing the pause button on a VCR, allows me to keep my energies devoted to participating in processes, including creating, rather than getting Ahung up@ on its which turn out to be temporary in the long run.
I am puzzling over the relationship between conceiving and thinking. I think that I have erroneously seen the two as synonyms, ignoring the fact that we can also Athink@ without using wordsBwhich I have also identified as the basis for concepts. What I am now seeing is that thinkingBin the traditional sense of making concepts out of words, is but one way of conceiving. Giving shape to experience in chosen images is another way. I suspect that each is but a mode of the same process; when Jim shapes his experience in art images I imagine that he is doing the same thing I do when I shape mine in words.
The nature of Stage 3, conceiving, is not simply that experience is brought into words (and hence Aconcepts@), but that it is brought into Aheld-mind-space@ where it can then be given shapeBeither in words or in other art forms, such as, painting. Conceiving is about consciousness, not about the form which consciousness takes. Con-ceiving is Awith-ceiving,@ that is, the ceiving which forms the basis of per-ception is, at Stage 3, changed into con or Awith.@ The ception becomes Aholdable@Bthat is, held in awareness or Amind space.@
Then, once held, rather than Abeing held by,@ as at Stage 2 imaging, the ception may or may not be given shape; but when so, the shape may be either in art forms such as painting or sculpture, or it may be in word forms, like concepts and ideas (which becomes the practice of philosophy or theology). In either case, con-ceiving or moving from Stage 2 images to Stage 3 conceptions, is not determined by words and Aconcepts@ of the mind; ceptions, once held rather than being held by, may be shaped into physical forms (called Aart@) as well as mental forms (called Aideas@). The central process, again, is the movement from non-sciousness (where one only exists as subject of his/her images (that is, as subjected to their power) to con-sciousness (where the power previously projected unconsciously onto one=s images is drawn back into oneself).
Stage 3, then, is about becoming conscious through decoding power-packed images; this may be done either physically or mentally, that is, with shaped physical materials, such as, paint/canvass or clay, or with mental materialsBwords and ideas. I can now see how art (shaping physical materials) is more primary and probably preceded in time Athinking@ or shaping via language. Just as children come to Amake things@ before they come to talk (Amake ideas@), so I surmise that evolution moved from art on cave walls or shaped icons to art in language, that is, from physical forming to mental forming.
The latter is not better or higher, just later and probably harderBsince the nuances of words are far cruder than those, say of colors or shapes of soft clay. I suspect that Jim has an easier time Asaying what he means@ in paintings than I do in essays (me-says!). We are both Asaying ourselves,@ but he speaks who-he-is in physical forms while I do the same in verbal forms.
Back to Stage 3 conceiving, as more clearly focused in Aconsciousness@ (to con-ceive is to hold ceptions in awareness): whether a Aheld@ ception is Aexpressed@ in art or essayBor simply held without any expression (as is commonly the case with remembered smells or faces), the defining characteristic is its Aheldness,@ not the Amaterial@ through which it may be given shape. The critical move at Stage 3 is becoming conscious rather than nonscious, that is, moving from Abeing held@ by one=s images to Aholding@ the powers previously projected into them. Decoding an image is essentially the process of withdrawing personal powers previously recognized only in the image itself.
In facing this distinction I can see how I have both limited myself (as well as my awareness) and also been judgmental (sinned by judging verbal Aartistry@ to be better/higher than physical art) about the two. I have Aput up@ on ideas and unwittingly Aput down@ on tangible art, as though such artists were not yet Athinking clearly.@ In fact, given the crudeness of language and words in comparison with the malleability of clay and near infinite combinations of colors and shapes available to painting (in silence), I now suspect that most non-verbal artists, such as, Jim, may in reality be Athinking@ more clearly than we who Athink@ in words only. My judgment has probably been twofold: 1) fearing the far vaster Alanguages@ of physical materials over those of mental materials, I have chosen the safer of the two mediums and cloaked my fear in self-righteousness about essays over paintings; then, 2) to support my chosen mode (I compliment myself in implying that I chose it; more literally, it--thinking, must have chosen me) I deluded myself into seeing it as Ahigher@ or Amore advanced@ than Amere art.@ Such audacity, such sin!
Back to clarification: con-sciousness, as contrasted with non-sciousness (Stage 3 past Stage 2), is characterized by Ahaving@ rather than Abeing had by,@ that is, by holding the contents of a de-coded image instead of being held under the power of that image. This principle becomes specific in such experiences as: remembering a face, sound, or smellBthat is, Aholding the image of a perception (visual, auditory, or odorous) in Amind space (or wherever memory resides)@ subject to later recall. This is the difference between Acognition@ and Are-cognition@Bseeing and recognizing what is seen (by the process of comparing this present sight, e.g., a face, with a past and remembered sight (the face at a previous time).
Previously I have failed to see that a held visual image, or sound or smell Aimage,@ is just as much Athinking@ as is a verbal image. The fact that sights, sounds and smells are more difficult to shape into words does not diminish the quality of the human experience either in perceiving them in the first place, or in holding such experiences in awareness (subject to recall). Ideas are just cruder (simpler) than, say, music, and hence easier to con-ceive and hold for recollection later. My error and blindness to this fact easily led me to my prior judgments noted above. I must have rushed to words because they are simpler than paints. I think it must take less nerve to Athink@ in words than to Athink@ in images. This is evident to me even in the arena of words only, in the fact that writing (thinking about) ideas (philosophy/theology) is easier for me than the possibility of writing novels (imaginary people/events). Paradoxically, thinking about Ahow it is@ is less risky than imagining Awhat might be.@ I will have to muster much more nerve before I can choose to write a novel rather than shape a theology or philosophyBcertainly before I dare Apaint a picture.@
Is this difference simply a quirk of my genetic make-up? Are words easier than colors for me because of some innate bent? Or have I simply rushed past delights inherent in conscious imagingBwhether in art or novels, to the seemingly safer arenas of literal words (where nuances are far more limited)? Have I feared the excitement of confronting image powersBwhich artists and novelists must do, and chosen the less moving realm of language instead? I suspect so.
Summarizing: I want to re-define (expand my understanding) of Athinking@ to include far more than words and language alone. I now see that Aheld@ visual or auditory images are just as much (maybe more) Athinking@ as are Aheld@ verbal images (words). To be con-scious of a face, e.g., is no different from being con-scious of a notion, except that the later, being formed through words, is thereafter easier to be expressed in words. Saying what I Athink@ in words is certainly easier than saying what I Athink@ in pictures; yet my Athinking@ is, I now see, the same in each case. When I Aremember a face@ the human experience is no different from when I Aremember a name,@ except that the later is verbal and the former is visual. But memory is still memory, whether easily word-able or not.
Unfortunately, probably fostered by others like myself who wanted to corner the word Athinking@ for verbal artistry only, name-recognition is more highly honored in society than is face-recognitionBas is philosophy over art, and theology over, say, pornography. But judgments laid aside, I now think (little pun here) that Athinking@ in the sense of Aheld@ visual, auditory, and odorous Aimages@ is equally honorable with Aheld@ names (words), and probably far more complex in terms of actual human capacities. Judgments aside, remembering a face or feeling, for example, must involve more ability than remembering a name or notion.
In either case, I now want to expand my acceptance and practice of Athinking@ to include physical as well as mental images, that is, to become as respectful and diligent in my consciousness of other sensual experiences as I already am with sense (making-sense) experiences. I want to have as much fun becoming/being con-scious of sights, sounds, and smells as I now have in Abeing reasonable@Bthat is, in holding and playing with sensual experience along with logical information.
I suspect that such a move will require an escalation in manifest faith.
I am seeing that I have been in the camp of John who believed that Ain the beginning was the word.@ Even though I saw through this erroneous fact long ago, I have continued to live as though words are required for Areal@ thinkingBthat is, that language is the basis for thought, and without words, we do not truly Athink.@
I am now facing the fact that experience and learning, hence Athinking@ in the sense of mental activity, certainly precede language. Words are obviously not present in the beginning of a child=s capacities; yet learning (remembering) is. Early we learn, for example, facial recognition. Remembering a face is a complex mental activity, yet one which babies learn long before any words are available to them.
I think now that the proper order is: AIn the beginning is experience (perception, imaging, and conceiving)@ and only later comes language and the possibility of translating Athinking@ into words. We think, that is, long before we have words to express what we think. We Aknow@ things first and then later we may try to get it into language formBor, and this is the kicker, we may Aexpress (translate)@ what we know into: 1) actions (as in, responding favorably to a recognized face, or negatively to a strange face); 2) art forms, like modeling clay, painting, or arranging blocks and other materials; 3) finally, into wordsBor, we may simply Aknow (have thought through some experience)@ something and simply hold it in Amind space,@ that is, not Ado@ anything with what we know.
As I was realizing yesterday, my judgments have led me to try to isolate and limit Athinking@ to the use of words, to Aput down on (literally, not even recognize)@ knowledge acquired otherwise. I can see now that my fear of the power of images must have been at the heart of my attempts to make words primary (as John believed) and to thus belittle and skip over the feared powers projected onto images. I in effect tried to rescue myself, to save me from getting lost as an individual in the uncontrollable powers given to images, by jumping over them and focusing on words and language as potential saviors.
Even till now my identification of myself with my words is amazing to me when I occasionally catch on to it. If I Asay something@Bthat is, Agive my word@ (as in telling what I think or what I will do), I am emotionally bound thereby, no longer free to entertain or honor any other data. I am stuck! For instance, if I say, AI will be there at 2:00,@ I experience a great deal of anxiety if anything else comes up, or if I am delayed or Acaused@ to be late. Heaven forbid, not to show! I can now see that this powerful habit is rooted in my attachment of myself to my words, as distinguished from the wealth of my non-verbal experience.
Even so, while I respect and am grateful for the values I have achieved through the use of words, especially in my countless rescues from the rampant powers of images, I now want to look more clearly at the relationship between thinking and language, undictated by my unique personal experience (especially, my use of words to escape/evade image powers). What is the average or common way they are related, when one doesn=t make mine and John=s leap into worshiping words?
In summary, I now see that words and language are one of the latest to evolve human capacities, certainly long after Aknowing@ was innate in human experience. We experience, learn, and hold knowledge in mind space (remember) long before we have words with which to express it. Primal learning (e.g., sense recognitions) is more naturally Aexpressed@ in actions or art forms (including arranging stuff, which is not generally seen as art) than in language. Words come later and are most naturally beneficial in communicating what we have already learned, rather than in evading images as in my case. That is, following the utility of action based on knowledge, including translating such Aheld images@ into physical forms (e.g., art or furniture arranging), come the possibly additional advantages of saying what we know to achieve further advantages. But, and this is the crucial point I have previously missed, words are more normally the lessor use of knowledge, not its primary basis and function as I have previously lived out.
Comparing the three major translations of knowledge (acquired through Athinking@ defined as personal mental activity), actions-based-on-learning must be the primary mode. Once we learn, for instance about heatBAthat fire burns,@ then getting our hands out of the fire (an action) must be the main Aexpression@ of such learning. Then, when danger is not eminent, expressing the same knowledge in some physical form, such as, drawing fire in the sand or on a cave wallBacknowledging the learned experience of fire in some material form, would seem to be the second most likely thing to do. Finally, after language evolved into the human scene, adding symbols to direct grunting and other immediate expressions, translating learning into words and concepts must have arisen as a possibility.
Although words and assigned meaningsBnames attached to things and experiences, are complex, language forever remains much simpler than even the most common of sensual learnings, such as, recognizing a face. Holding even the barest of emotional experiences in mind space, say a feeling of excitement or loss, is much more complex than holding factual data like names and dates.
In our society we have come, as did I, to so honor and elevate words and ideas that we tend to put down on non-verbal knowledge in favor of remembered facts and concepts. We get more social recognition, for example, for remembering someone=s name than for remembering their face, or even the stories of their lives. AI remember your face, but I can=t recall your name@ is more of an apology than a brag. Imagine valuing non-verbal knowledge over recalled Afacts@ formed from words! I can hardly do so.
Language, I surmise, must have first evolved as a means of communicationBan advanced way of conveying and receiving information to and from other creatures. Sounds, such as, grunts, moans, etc., must have been sharpened into specific shapes of what we now call Awords,@ as a means of making communication more effective. Specifically shaped sounds would work better for conveying specific information.
But Athinking@Bthat is, holding data in mind space so that it can be compared to other data (prior perceptions) must have arisen long before language. We surely Aknew@ (held remembered knowledge) for eons before we devised specific sound-symbols to represent certain Aknowings.@ We must have evolved capable of holding Apictures@Bthat is, complex collections of sense information (perceptions formed from vision, sound, smell, etc.), first. Images, I speculate, must be far more primal in creature experience (such as, dark shadows for baby chicks) than any concepts. And if we image before conceiving is possible, it is likely that our first conceiving would be with image shapes rather than later-to-evolve language shapes. We Alearn@ to re-member, for instance, faces (images of mother) long before words are even a possibility.
This awareness requires me to reevaluate my previous definitions of Athinking@ which I have tended to see in terms of words and language only, as though we can only Athink@ with words and not with images. I now believe I have been wrong, for reasons I want to confront next; but first, my new sense of Athinking@ includes any form of re-memberingBthat is, holding a Amembering (set of perceptions)@ in mind space so that it can be Are@ membered later (Arecalled@).
This means that re-membering a face, such as, mother=s, is as surely Athinking@ as later naming (her face as Amother@). In this sense all creatures which have evolved past the crudest forms of instinctive moves are capable of Athinking@Bre-membering some prior experiences and hence Aknowing@ some information which can be used in present or later encounters with the world (such as, who is mother and who is not). Babies, long before language is an option, therefore Athink,@ and presumably in images or pictures rather than words.
Now I turn to consider how I and so many other males must have come to ignore this rather obvious likelihood, namely, that Athinking@ is done with images long before it is done with words. As noted, I imagine (still Aimaging@) that primal language, e.g., when side-to-side head shaking turned into Ano,@ its first use was straight communications, Asaying what was meant.@ But since deception is almost as instinctive and operative in creaturely behavior as is honesty (as in, hiding food for survival after getting food to eat, or in chameleon-like deceptions to avoid being eaten soon after finding food to eat), it is likely that words-to-deceive must have followed close on the heels (in terms of evolutionary time) of words-ro-reveal. We most likely began to be verbally Adishonest@ soon after we became capable of Asaying what we meant,@ that is, communicating honestly, because the need to protect ourselves once we have eaten is almost as ingrained as the need to eat for survival.
Point: language-for-deception must have evolved soon after language-for-revelation; pretending not-to-mean what we did-mean must have become pragmatic once we became able to Asay@ what we did-mean. Once an advantage was acquired with words, given instincts for survival-through-deception, we would soon have learned to extend such advantages through clever (deceptive) use of words also. In other words, once words appeared on the human scene, lying must have come shortly after honesty; deceptive words could not have been far behind exposing words, since deceiving itself is as useful, even necessary in time, in survival as is revealing oneself. After one learns to say, e.g., AI want food,@ and gets a supply, one would likely follow up by hiding (hoarding) from those who would take it away by saying AI have no food,@ that is, by lying soon after honesty, by Anot telling the truth@ soon after Atelling the truth.@
And if follows that deception-of-others, through saying non-truths, would in time phase into deception-of-self. If we can learn to fool others, surely we could, as brain size expanded, learn to fool ourselves as well. If other-deception was useful, it is likely that as soon as we realized that self-deception could also be functional in social groups, such as, families, we would have learned it too. Certainly it is obvious to me now that I and all those I know well have learned self-deception as well if not better than I (we?) know other-deception. We fool ourselves, given its practicality in society, perhaps even more skillfully than we fool others.
I observe these possible facts as relevant to understanding how I (and males in general?) have come to mis-conceive Athinking@ as limited to language (word use) only, ignoring the obvious facts that earliest and more complex types of mind-use are done with images rather than words. Re-membering, for instance, a face must be a much more complicated mental event than remembering a name, since any unique face is far more complex than even the most complicated of possible names for a face. That I would have come to value name-recognition (and hence words) over face-recognition, still amazes me. How limited I have been in my awareness!
I conclude that such crass ig-norance of facts now obvious to me must have fitted into my need to deceive myself following acquiring some verbal skills in deceiving others with language. If I learned that lying sometimes works better than telling the truth (and what child wouldn=t soon catch on to this fact?), and also learned the equally obvious fact that parents favor truth-telling but are swift to punish lying, then it follows that I would learn to mix these two contradictory useful practices (telling the truth and lying) by fooling myself into only recognizing that I was doing the one favored by society and thus that I wasn=t lying. The only reasonable way I can now see to be practical about the values of lying in a social group that only values truth-telling is to lie to oneself about any usage of pragmatic lying to others.
So, I think that I must have come to identify all Aknowledge@ with conscious language as a functional way of acquiring self-confidence while at the same time avoiding the challenges of non-verbal, that is, image-type knowledge, or having to face self-deception in my use of language itself. Projecting onto male-kind, I suspect that once males acquired the use of language-for-coping, including use in deception as well as in honest communication, soon followed by self-deception as well as other-deception, that we came to use this particular type of male power in our ancient quest of survival-with-females.
Male religions, such as, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, must (may?) have arisen in this later quest, namely, the use of words, language, and ideas for wielding power over the awesome forces inherent in femininity and Athinking@ in images rather than words. How else can I account for such irrational ideas common to male religions, such as, conceiving woman as made from a man=s rib? This crazy idea is, I think, useful in acquiring and keeping a fragile male dominance in a world where femininity, including the embraced ability to Athink@ in images or pictures rather than in words only, might otherwise overwhelm us with only one power-packed X chromosome in each of our cells.
We truly need to try to limit the obviously limited powers of Athinking@ to that which is possible with wordsBthat is, to limit all Aknowledge@ to verbal knowledge only, so that we may gain some edge over femininity which yet wisely remains more connected to non-verbal image-type thinking, not falling for the prevalent male habit (at least mine) of believing that all knowledge is both verbal and conscious.
In the Christian version of Eden, Adam first named everything; then later Eve was created from one of his ribs to Abe a help-mete@ for him. Cloaked in the way males tend to understand the tale, namely, of woman=s creation by a male God from an unneeded part of the pre-existent male Adam, is the less recognized fact that even with all man=s language abilities, as needed for naming things in the Garden, plus his face-to-face meetings with God, he still needed woman. That is, it turned out that even the wonders of words and conversations with a male God were not enough. Man=s basic limitations, which I posit in the XY chromosomal imbalance, in spite of our best imaginations, still call for woman to Ahelp us make it.@
Male-type knowledge, limited to our named things plus the mental ideas which we create from our self-created words is still inadequate for living well in the world which, even with our best and most complete worded knowledge, is still lacking. We unwittingly turn to woman, which we like to imagine we, along with our projected male God, created, for Ahelp.@ And what is the nature of this need for a Ahelp-mate@? I speculate here that a major component of our need for woman emerges from our broken connection with primary image-knowledge, as contrasted with our embraced verbal-knowledge. Woman has never fallen (is this the real Afall of man@?) for limiting her Athinking@ to words only. She yet uses words mainly in service of her deeper/older Apicture knowledge,@ that is, her right brained perceptions which embody the accumulated wisdom of our long evolution into the present. Her devotion remains to Aheart@Bsymbol for Aemotional@ body knowledge, as distinguished from male devotion to Aword@ (our word is our bond, not our hearts; we pay allegiance to Asense@ or reason, logic and verbal consistency, not to Awhat we feel like@).
Largely cut off from this human capacity for Afeel-knowledge@ as distinguished from Ahead-knowledge,@ we remain vulnerable both to the power of specific images we deny in consciousness (most particularly, mother=s body images) as well as to the powers inherent in image (non-verbal) knowledge itself. We truly need woman, not only for real necessities such as reproduction, but more immediately for Ahappiness in the garden@ where we have become overly identified with words (naming stuff and making beliefs from our names) and out of conscious touch with picture knowledge which is inherently more power-packed than any verbal knowledge can ever be (Aone picture is worth a thousand words@ and maybe many more).
Summarizing: I now think that most Athinking,@ and the most power-filled forms of all thinking, is structured with images rather than words. Words and hence verbal-type thinking is certainly a Johnny-Come-Lately on the evolutional scene; it is surely useful, especially in male-type endeavors requiring focus on goals, single-mindedness, such as killing game, winning games, or building objects. But in comparison to older Athinking@ which necessarily occurred with pictures (visual images) before language evolved, picture-knowledge remains the greater and more powerful of the two in the larger requirements for living well in Eden-here. We male makers of stuff (which is best done with verbal knowledge which can more easily be preserved and transmitted from generation to generation through books, etc.), surely do need females for re-completion with our lost image knowledge.
Until such time as I and any other males are re-connected with our own capacity for image knowledge (holding the power of images in mind space as well as we currently hold ideas), we remain in need of women who are, for Acompletion@Bthat is, for wholeness of thinking which is certainly needed for living well in this present world. One critical factor in image knowledge, the older of the two types, is that it is self-authenticating. Knowing which is acquired from direct acknowledging of prior sense receptions weighed against present perceptions is self-affirmed, whereas, verbal type knowledge, being less evidenced by sensual experience than by outside verbal affirmation, needs Aother-confirmation.@ ADo you see what I see?@ becomes especially relevant when Aseeing@ is used metaphorically, that is, for Awhat I see in my mind@ as distinguished from what I see with the eyes of my head. Head-type Ainsights@ are far more fragile than bodily Asights@ which tend to be confirmed in the act of seeing itself.
Since women, I think, are far more committed to body (image) knowledge than to head (idea) knowledge, they are consequently more Aconfident@ (self-affirmed) in what they Aknow@ without being told by anyone else than are men whose knowledge primarily comes from what we have been told or otherwise acquired from reading or playing with Areasonable@ ideas.
In summary, male-type knowledge, being verbally rather than bodily based, needs outside confirmation, but female-type knowledge, being perceptually based, is inherently authenticated. For instance, a woman knows when a room (or anything else) is arranged Aright@ in accord with her inward picturing, but a man is less sure of when an idea is Aarranged right@ unless his Aseeing@ if externally supported by others who Asee the same thing.@
This accounts, I now suppose, for why men (certainly I) have so deeply needed woman=s understanding (as reflected in Amy wife doesn=t understand me@ jokes, etc.), of our ideas. Given the natural limitations of Areasoning@ in comparison with Agut knowledge,@ we have come to look to those who are yet stable in their own image certainties for confirmation of we who are still unstable in our mental beliefs. Women do want male support in external necessities, but are far less needy of outside confirmation of Awhat they think,@ since their Athinking@ is more image based than idea dependent. It doesn=t Ahave to make sense@ before they can honor what they know, given their acceptance of image knowledge to begin with.
It is not so much woman=s true understanding that we need, as it is her support in our fragile Astanding-under@ our reason-based knowledge. Adam=s names were inadequate, including the complex theologies we have evolved from them, because they leave out, are not based on, intuitive knowledge (such as, where babies come from, etc.). They more likely arise, after we learn to deceive ourselves with our own deceptive ideas (as in the rib story), from our attempts to use words to cope with feminine powers than from truly reasonable thinking only. Otherwise we would take into account the obvious facts about the reality and primitive powers of pre-language thinking, such as that done by animals and babiesBnot to mention by women universally.
My current quest is to Acut out the middle woman,@ that is, to get back in conscious touch with my own capacities for image knowledge, even if they are inherently less than those in persons with two X chromosomes in each cell. Certainly I wish to retain my acquired skills in verbal type thinking, in Aobjective@ looking at diverse, seemingly unrelated bits of data, in the course of ever more reasonable observations about reality. I am grateful for the degrees of sense-making out of words and ideas which I have acquired (was born with?), even if I developed them while trying to escape tyranny of female powers (or to con female services). But still, I now see how lacking I am in affirming my own creative Athink-abilities@ which arise from images rather than words. I see how I have consistently, since pre-memory times, looked to females for confirmation of my thinking. I have rarely been able to Astand under@ my understanding without wanting and often looking for some female confirmation. This habit, which must have been solidified before I was three, remains largely dictating till the present moment.
What I now want is to retain my verbal thinking capacities, however I acquired them, but to also embrace my picture thinking abilities, however limited or expansive they may be. I want to respect woman=s image thinking, rather than either decrying her Alack of reasonableness@ or unwittingly seeking her more stable image thinking in support of my own. At the same time I want to quit leaning on it, either secretly or overtly, and give these energies previously devoted to trying to con woman=s favor (to support my thinking as well as permission to be) to the more challenging business of activating my own potential.
I want to become a Awhole brain@ thinker, one who honors and activates right brain knowledge (which is primarily imaged based) as well as left brain verbal knowledge. Energies previously given to using head to deny/suppress heart, or to finding heart in others, especially females who still have it, will, I surmise, then become available for my own head/hearted living.
Or so I hope....
FEELING & THINKING
Asking a good woman what she is thinking is like
Even if either answers
Such women are as uncomfortable with intellectual conversation
Commonly the name feeling is used for right brained Athinking@ which is with images rather than language, while thinking is used, especially by males, for Athinking@ with words rather than pictures. Both are Athinking@ in the sense of Ausing our brains@ or referring to perceptions held in mind space (memory) and hence subject to recallBwhich is to describe Abeing conscious.@ Feelings, in common understanding are more literally about the type of mental activity arising in the right brain than they are to actual emotions rooted in the brain stem or limbic system. Thinking, as defined by most males, is mental activity accomplished with words as vehicles (rather than pictures), and hence dependent on speech centers (Broca=s Area) of the left brain.
To avoid the familiar prejudices about males as Athinking persons@ and females as Anot thinking@ or Aonly being emotional,@ we might more safely distinguish between the two modes by summarizing female-type mental activity as Aright brain thinking@ and male-type as Aleft brain thinking.@ Both are literally Athinking,@ yet our modes are distinctively different, often resulting in misunderstandings at best or disruptive conflicts when we try to converse coming from our opposite brain hemispheres.
My particular prejudice is common among males, namely, to put down of women for Anot being reasonable,@ and to identify all Asense@ with logic rooted in language and ignorant of Afeelings.@ I am now seeing how limited I have been in defining all Athinking@ as based in language, and misidentifying female-type Athinking@ which is mostly done with images or pictures and falsely labeled as Afeelings@ rather than Athoughts.@ To see men as Athinkers@ and women as Afeelers@ is to crudely look at the facts. Only in the above sense of the words does this common observation truly Amake sense.@ Men are more likely to Athink@ with words, just as women are more likely to Athink@ with images; but both are utilizing mental capacities which are simply different in type. The proverbial error is not only to assume that men are Areally thinking@ and that women Ajust don=t think,@ but also to assume that men are Anot feeling@ in what they Athink@ and that women are Airrational@ in what they Afeel.@ Often men are more emotional about their ideas than women are about their Afeelings,@ while women may be more reasonable with their Afeelings@ than are men with their ideas.
The point: I am trying to work my way past my older prejudices (limited vision) and more clearly recognize the true and larger scope of human Athinking.@ I now recognize that left brain type thinking, which is based on words and ideas and more typically operative in males is but a later-to-evolve type of mental activity, still fragile and severely limited in power when compared with older, usually wiser, right brain type thinking. We all learn to think with images long before we acquire language skills which are not only younger in evolutional time, but are culturally learned rather than instinctively inherited. Language is a product of memes rather than genes, and hence must be transmitted by social groups instead of being Aingrained (engened).@
I am also beginning to acknowledge that my prior prejudices, revealed in elevating word based Athinking@ over image based Afeeling,@ have blinded me to the fact that older picture-type thinking is not only more Anatural,@ but also more complex and usually wiser than my more familiar Areasonable thinking.@ I have not only erred in my pride in trying to Abe reasonable,@ but also in ignoring the extent and complexity of image based thinking when compared with the relatively simple and extremely limited nature of Afactual type@ sense making. All too often, I reluctantly admit, the wisdom of Afeelings@ is far greater than the Aintellectual knowledge@ of verbally based Athinking.@
So, acknowledging my life long errors, I am now trying to move past old prejudices and also embrace my denied (to myself) capacities for image-thinking, even as I have long tried to Abe reasonable.@ A secondary part of this quest for mental wholeness involves withdrawing long projections of my own Afeelings@ on to women and then looking to them for wholeness through what is literally mutual dependence. I have, I dislike seeing, also looked to women not only for balance in supplying Afeelings@ I suppressed, but also for affirmation of my male-type thinking. I have wanted females to confirm my mental existence, to Aunderstand me,@ much as I earlier wanted my mother to affirm my existence as a separate self, to Asmile on me@ and thereby grant me permission to be.
As is typical of my mode, I begin with trying to more clearly understand the older and consistently suppressed image type of thinking. I try to tease it into the verbal arena where I obviously feel more comfortable. Perhaps through verbal (left brain) understanding, I may find the actual quest of Aknowing what I know@ to be easier. Who knows? Maybe I will simply Aintellectualize@ image thinking as I have long done with sense also. Still, this is my way, so here goes:
First, my terms: by Athinking@ I mean mental activity which is characterized by conscious memory or holding past perceptions in metaphorical Amind space@ so that one bit of data can be compared and weighed against other remembered or Aheld@ information. The mode of such Athinking@ is less determined by its basis or vehicle (pictures or words) than by its Ahold ability.@ For Athinking@ as I now understand it to occur, data acquired through sense perceptions must be moved past the image stage of the creative process (where all power is projected onto images shaped from perceptions) and then Aheld in@ a concept rather than Abeing held by@ images. This movement may occur via pictures (the older, more primal way), or via words (the newer mode in which images are translated into words and ideas and then the notions become the vehicles). That is, we may Athink@ with images or with words, with pictures or with language. Women, as noted in my opening poem, more typically think with images (called Afeelings@) while men most often think with ideas (called Amaking sense@ or Athinking@ when we try to corner this word for our mode only).
The second word is withBAthinking with images.@ I choose this word to imply that images, in this mode, become the vehicle for thought, the medium through which thought is accomplished. Such images are like tools utilized in Adoing@ the Awork@ of thinking. With is also meant to imply along side ofBas in Astanding with@ another person. At Stage 2 of the Creative Process, where perceptions are literally shaped into images, that is, perceptions are images, there is no withness possible. At Stage 2 it is as though images are real in the sense of power-packed movers of us Ainnocent@ or power-less by-standers. Stage 2 images Amove us,@ or so we believe at the time. Only in retrospect, after we move to Stage 3, conceiving, may we realize that the power which we earlier imagined to be in the images themselves (as the ghost which Ascared me,@ or the devil who Amade me do it@), was actually projected from ourselves. What happens at this stage of the Creative Process is that power inherent in (or generated by) perception is projected onto the image before it becomes apparent within myself. Once such a projection is made, it truly does seem that the image Amoves me.@ The fact of my projection is completely lost to my awareness. But when an image is decoded through movement to Stage 3, then I may come to recognize some distance from the image, some separation of the image from direct power over me. It is this recognized distance which then allows me to be with or along side of, or to Ahold@ the image in contrast with Abeing held by@ or under the control of said image.
Only at Stage 3 where original per-ceptions have been transformed into con-ceptions, that is, where Agrasped ceptions (Stage 1)@ projected into ceptions-which-grasp us (images at Stage 2) have been de-coded (dis-empowered via projection) into con (Latin for with) ceptions (ceptions we can now Ahold@ or stand-with), can we truly be with our earlier perceptions.
Images is the third wordBAthinking with images.@ By images I mean mental pictures or shaped forms/colors/smells (sense perceptions) which represent or give mental Asubstance@ to what has been perceived (grasped by the senses). The easiest and perhaps earliest example of an image is mother=s face. An infant soon perceives its mother=s face visually, just as it does other objects in its range of vision. But in a relatively short time a baby comes to hold these perceptions Ain mind space@ so that he or she can compare Athis face@ with Athat face@ and gradually come to re-cognize (cognize again) Athis face@ as mother and Athat face@ as strange. In turn the infant is likely to feel comfortable and smile at its mother and frown or cry at the unrecognized face of a stranger. This complex process of cognition and re-cognition, leading to Aknowledge@ about mother=s face, is, so far as we can tell, accomplished with images (visual pictures), since no words are yet available for use in thinking. Babies, therefore, must think first with visual images (or other grasped sense perceptions, such as, sounds and smells, which may also be metaphored as auditory or olfactory images) long before thinking with words even becomes possible.
Previously I have been unwilling to call these re-cognitions Athinking,@ being yet in the dictate of my male prejudices; but now I acknowledge that since Alearning@ obviously occurs (my grandchildren at first cry when they see my bearded face, but only later Alearn@ to recognize me as APa Pa@ before I become blessed with their smiles), it must also be that Athinking@ is operative in babies as well as in Agrown people.@
I do distinguish actions which are apparently Ainstinctive (ingrained in genes),@ such as, gasping for air or sucking for milk, from others which must be Alearned@ in time (such as, recognizing mother=s face). Only the later meet my definition of Athinking.@ Actions which have been around long enough to become engened (such as, breathing and defecating) are not dependent on Athinking@; we Ajust do them without thinking.@ But the truly distinguishing marks of humans over other primates as well as Alower life forms@ is that we have evolved greater capacities for holding data in mind space, that is, for becoming conscious (for holding knowledge) rather than being limited to nonscious or instinctive behaviors only. Dogs and babies, as well as adult humans Athink@ in this sense; but humans can apparently Athink more@ because we have greater capacities for consciousness or holding more thoughts Ain mind@ for use in decision making.
Summarizing: Athinking with images@ is a process like Athinking with words,@ the major difference being in the shape of the vehicle or tool used in the process. In the older form of thinking, that done by animals and babies (and more often women than men), the vehicles for the process are pictures; in the newer form the vehicles are words (plus ideas formed from them). Each form requires capacity for consciousness, for being with-knowing as well as knowing only (perceiving); but the first form comes from engened senses of sight, sound, smell, while the second is acquired through language from society (parents first).
I use the single word image (or mental picture) both literally and metaphorically to represent perceptions by all five senses. Image, literally referring to visual sensing only, is chosen because much more brain circuitry is taken up by vision than by the other senses and hence it becomes the dominant sense in grasping the world (per-ceiving). But moving to metaphors, we may also conceive of a sound image or a smell image. Remembering a song, for example, like mother=s lullaby, is sensually different from remembering her face; only the later type of learning (acquired by Athinking@) is truly imaged (shaped by vision). But for sake of language we may also think of sounds held in mind space just as we do of held sights, and represent them both as images. This, at least, is the way I use the term. We may, consequently, hold sight images (literally) and/or sound, smell, feel, or taste images (metaphorically). In either case, thinking is being Adone@ with images, whether they arise from any one or all five major sense perceptions.
One other distinction is relevant for me to keep in mind as I try to become more open and conscious about thinking in images rather than words only: Although I have honored (worshiped?) Aintellectual@ thinking over Afeeling@ type thinking, I now see that the older, right brain, picture-based thinking is actually more complex, requiring all senses and more brain circuitry, than the younger and more limited language-based thinking which primarily utilizes small areas of the left brain. For example, even though I have placed more value on remembering names than faces, recalling the later must be far more complicated than simply remembering a parent-attached label to a person. Also, remembering emotions, events, and other complex visual data must be more personally engaging than simply recalling names, dates, and other relatively incidental Afacts.@
Finally, I want also to acknowledge my prevailing data which contradicts my long-preferred stance of elevating Areasonable thinking@ over Afeelings.@ In spite of my adoration of male logic over female Aemotionalism,@ I now see that much of our so-seen and called male logic is very short sighted and limited in consequence in comparison with often denigrated female Anon-sense.@ Woman=s Anon-sense@Bthat is, decision-making based on Afeelings@ (right brain thinking) turns out to be far wiser in time than many of man=s most calculated and assumed-to-be Areasonable@ decisions. My long held pride in my Asense,@ when I am truly reasonableBthat is, include all my data, often turns out to be more of an excuse than a reason. I now think that I have used Areasons@ more in the service of rationalization (justifying denied desires) than in the practice of truly being reasonableBwhich would have included thinking in images as well as words, and most often honoring the former over the latter.
Whatever is the best analysis of my past, I now want to embrace more of my whole-brain capacities, to reclaim denied imaged-based thinking and place both types in wiser perspective together.
Knowledge comes from two old word roots which mean: to recognize or confess. Knowledge then refers to that which we both cognize (grasp with our senses) and can re-cognize (cognize-again); cognizing-again requires that a prior cognition (sense-grasping) be Aheld@ so that it is subject to being brought forth again after the original event occurred. This possibility of mental Aregurgitation@ is what allows the notion of confession to become operative. In confession that which is Aheld within (remembered)@ is available for being Aput out@ or made operative in the outside worldBeither by acting-out or telling-about. Truth-telling is one form of confession; Atruth-living (translating re-cognitions into actions) is another.
It is this latter distinctionBthat knowledge may be either Atold-out@ or Alived-out,@ and in either case exist as knowledge, that is of current concern to me. I am recognizing (and thus coming to know) that I have previously erred by identifying knowledge with only those recognitions which can be Atold-about@Bthat is, translated into language and hence become subject to saying or repeating. Other cognitions equally held in mind space, but not easily subject to language translations, were not acknowledged as knowledge but were erroneously viewed as Aignorance.@ Only that which was held in mind space in language form, and hence subject to verbal confession, was taken to be Atrue@ knowledge. In this mistaken belief I lived-as-though Adark knowledge@Brecognitions not subject to language translation, did not exist. If you couldn=t say it, or at least hold it in mind in wordable form, then it didn=t existBor so I believed.
How wrong I was! Now that I have dared look at the nature and limitations of language itself, including its relatively late appearance on the evolutional calendar (only showing up in recognizable forms in human beings), its cultural roots and determinations, its relative crudeness (given the very limited construction options possible in 26 letter alphabets, and its constantly shifting dictionary (from place to place, time to time, and group to group), I can more readily allow the difficulty of translating obviously real and complex human recognitions into any form as limited as even the best of languages. Words, for all their utility and admirability, are still grossly inadequate for accurately containing the beautifully complex nature of human experience and hence knowledge. Even the still limited recognitions of infants which could only arise from brief contacts with the outside world, would be hard-up for translation into words, even if language were available to them. And, once I acknowledge the vastly more subtle and rich nature of adult knowledge, the challenges and limitations of verbal translation become even more apparent.
ABottom line@ (a current metaphor indicative of the difficulty of translating experience into language): we must all be evolved capable of knowingBholding knowledge emerging from direct sense-encounters with the world, far more than even the most advanced of languages could ever clearly or accurately express. We all know, that is, far more than we can ever hope to sayBat least in words which might, even in the ears of the best hearers, communicate our experience accurately. So what else is new? Doesn=t every child, not to mention lover, already know this?
Obviously I am a slow learnerBat least a reluctant acknowledger of what I might well have acknowledged long ago had I not been so caught up in adoration of language, worship of words, and denial of Adark (unspeakable) knowledge.@
But now that my eyes are opening, what do I see? First comes recognition of the fact of un-languaged knowledge. I can go no further without seeing my error of limiting knowledge to languageBor that which is subject to being formed into words. Obvious to me now is the fact that perceptual experience, and hence knowledge, given the big brain capability of even babies for Aholding@ perceptions subject to later recall, both exists before language is possible and continues to elude the crude limitations of all languages.
I can see now, given my recent acknowledging of the power of images, why I had good reason for rushing to reasons for some safety from overwhelming powers of primal images which must have moved me mightily. My early adoration (idolatry) of sense (word-able knowledge) Amade good sense@ for one who, for survival of self, needed a savior from the dangerous images I was born into (or created so early I forgot when and how). Lest I be done-in as a separate I, I must have needed (or believed I did) a God to rescue me from rampant image powers. Given a healthy brain, Athinking@ would have been a good candidate for a savior. Certainly it now appears to be the one I choseBwhatever my reasons may have been.
More secure now, I am somewhat freed to return to acknowledge both my idolatry of languagable knowledge and the reality of the Adark world@ of perceptual experience which exists for us all even in the absence of any language. I refer, for example, to visual recognition of objects and shapes, such as, faces; to olfactory recognitions of odors; to auditory recollections (remembered lullabies, e.g.); to tactile remembrances, such as, the texture of mother=s breasts. And all these single sense recognitions (and hence knowledge) are but the foundation for more complex multiple-sense experiences, such as those we later try to label with such inadequate words as trust, fear, confidence, and love. Surely even babies Alearn@ (acquire knowledge) not only about mother=s face and breasts (visual and tactile sense recognitions), but also about her trustworthyness and loveBor their limitations and/or absence. These more complex experiences involving holistic encounters with the world of mother which are even more complex than those concerned with warmth and milk only, will later be pointed toward with religious or psychological language; but who among us (as I have long attempted) can deny knowing far more than words like God and love, or abuse and mental illness can ever adequately express?
What I am struggling to say more clearly is that Asilent (unspeakable and therefore unspoken) knowledge@ is not only distinguishable from worded (and even word-able) knowledge, but that it must be infinitely greater than Abook learnin@ (head-knowledge formed from words) can ever hope to be. What we know, both before and without speech (words), is, I now conclude, both richer and vaster than I will ever be able to express in any language form.
We may attempt language Apointing@Bas with metaphors, at these darker knowings born of complex perceptions; indeed we may even point accurately with apt metaphors at such wealthy experiences as life and love (ALife is just a bowl of cherries,@ or, ALove is a rose...@). But finally, Apointing@ with language is the best we can hope when we come to attempted expression of many of the most common and certain bits of human knowledgeBsuch as, the shape of a face, smell of a flower, feel of a body, or nature of love. Definition-in-words, though immensely pragmatic even if crudely done, must be more like a drop of water in the ocean when we come to forming into language what even the dumbest of us must surely know.
What is the relationship between knowledge and languageBthat is, Aknowing something@ and being able to say it? I have recently been acknowledging my long habit of identifying knowledge with that which can be spoken. If I knew anything, I could say itBor so I thought. Contrarily, what couldn=t be spoken was viewed as Aignorance.@ I use speaking as a metaphor and synonym for thinking. In this sense, knowledge, as I understood it, had to be Athinkable@; and since my definition of Athinking@ was limited to Athat which can be worded (in the mind or in speech),@ then knowledge too was limited to language.
Of course I long recognized the reality of Adark knowledge@Bknowing which was not easily subject to being worded or held in consciousness. I categorized such knowledge in vague categories like, ESP, intuition, sixth sense, gut knowledge, Ain the bones,@ etc. But past recognizing the reality of such Adark knowledge@ I generally put down on it or did not value it as highly as I did Aintellectual@ or Alighted knowledge@Bthat is, knowing which could be put into words, held in mind space, and either spoken or held silently.
I have also recently recognized that this habit served to protect me from powers inherent in dark knowledge and easily tempted me to self-righteousness about my head knowledge. I now see that I have been long threatened by dark knowledge, both within myself and others. I think that I must have learned before I can remember to try to use conscious knowing (Alighted knowledge@) to combat forces existent in dark knowing.
Whatever may have been true in the past, I now want to see the entire spectrum of knowledge more clearly. I want to know all that I know (or may know), rather than limiting my sense of myself to Alighted knowledge@ which can be held in mind space subject to silent Athinking@ or to being spoken if I choose to do so. I also want to quit wasting energy trying to deny dark knowledge, to put down on it, or to expend the limited powers of lighted knowledge in fighting the forces of the former. I want too to repent of my former self-righteousness about wordable knowledge and judgment about that which is dark.
My way of trying to do these things begins with trying to see both types of knowing more clearly, attempting to understand the nature of each and their relationship to each other. This is my current perspective:
First, I acknowledge the vast realm of Adark knowledge@ which I have previously only seen dimly, tried to ignore or belittle, and in general used lighted knowledge to try to cope with. When the two kinds of knowing are compared, I now think that dark knowledge must be far older, greater, and wiser than the relatively small amount of information which can be held in consciousness, subject to reasonable thought and/or communication with others via speech. Perhaps it was the vastness of these sources of power which threatened me and led me to seek safety in Aintellecualism.@ Whatever my reasons for Atrying to be smart@ like my mother, rather than intuitive like my Daddy (and the key may be in the way I formed this sentence), I do now see that I have evaded the most powerful type of knowledge while worshiping at the throne of words.
So what is Adark knowledge@? Words I have used to both acknowledge and hold it at bay include: right-brain knowledge, genetic knowledge, plus ESP, etc. More specifically I now see it to include two major groups of information: Genetic and learned knowledge. By genetic knowledge I mean all that we know to do without any personal learning, all that we inherit from past generations, all that is embodied in genetic structuresBDNA. This knowing includes such knowledge as: how to breathe, digest food, fight disease, defecate, fuck, etc., plus such givens as how to have blue or green eyesBthat is, to form bodily parts from various cell combinations. Genetic knowledge is also recognized in so-called instincts or ingrained inclinations, such as, Adrives@ for staying alive and reproducing ourselves.
Learned knowledge is that additional knowing which is personally acquired through direct experience in the world, our unique set of perceptions experienced with parents and in the context of our birth and family. Genetic knowledge is inherited or Agiven@; learned knowledge is acquired through individual experience. Genetic knowledge, for instance, is Ahow to see,@ but learned knowledge is Ahow to tell my mother from your mother.@ Seeing is a given, but facial recognition is learned. And so with other sense perceptions which come to be held in mind space (which is what I call Alearning@), such as, smell recognitions, sound recalls, and touch knowledge.
These two types of dark knowledge, genetic and learned, all begin well before the time of language and are therefore independent of speech and words. I surely learned, for example, to recognize my mother=s face long before I came to call her Amother.@ I must have known the smell and sound of my father long before I could call him Adaddy.@ Point: dark knowledge exists without the benefit of words and language; therefore, my long habit of identifying knowledge with Athinking@ based on words had to leave out huge portions of my actual knowledge.
I can thus affirm that dark language predates language use and must therefore exist independently of language. But what I now wonder is if this knowledge-before-speech is also unspeakableBthat is, if pre-spoken knowledge is also not-speakable. Is not-spoken knowledge, such as, music recognition, literally not subject to language? Does the later fact of attaching a name to a face (e.g., calling Aher@ mother) obscure the deeper truth of literally unspeakable knowledge, or are the two but disconnected ends of the same continuum? Is it just a matter of finally getting a word to symbolize that which was first known directly without any symbol? Or is language, and the type of knowing which is rooted therein (Aintellectual@ or head knowledge, in distinction from Aheart@ or feeling knowledge) a distinctly different phenomenon?
Although I have previously held that anything knowable is also wordableBif we just find the right words, I am beginning to suspect that I have been/am wrong in this assumption. The fact that verbal communication requires words does not necessarily mean that knowledge requires wordsBas in, remembering a face but forgetting or not knowing a name to attach to it. Perhaps this is self-evident to most others, but I am just now struggling to become conscious of this observation. I have to let go of much self-righteousness and a long habit of mind in order to acknowledge the reality of any conscious knowledge which it not subject to speakable words.
I pause to clarify my understanding of Athinking@ which I have previously viewed as requiring or being based on words and language. Can we Athink@ without language? We can=t speak to others without language, but I now see that we must certainly be able to Athink@Bin the sense of holding and weighing discrete bits of perceptual data in mind space, even when no words are available. I suspect that any artist reading this, or seeing my present struggle, would be amused that I find something to be so difficult which he/she knows so well as to simply take for granted.
But I do.
Moving on though, I now want my definition of Athinking@ to go beyond word-based knowledge and to include any other type of sensed dataBsuch as, sights, sounds, smells, etc. AThinking,@ as I am redefining, is the capacity to re-collect, re-call, or re-member some perceptual experience which was previously Acollected,@ Acalled,@ or Amembered@ only. Perceptions become thoughts when they can be Aheld@ long enough to be Abrought back to mind@ at a later time. Otherwise, they only exist as perceptions which happened but are now as-though-they-never-happened. Before Athinking@ can occur, we must be able to re-collect in present mind space what we previously Acollected@ as a perception only. We cannot weigh one bit of data against another, and hence Athink,@ unless we can somehow Ahold@ them in mental proximity for comparison.
And the point here is that visual data, such as, the shape of a nose, or auditory data, like the sound of mother=s voice, must be Aholdable in mind space@ long before language appears on a baby=s scene, and therefore become the material or substance of Athinking@ without words. Just as I now Athink@ with words as vehicles, I must have previously Athought@ with sights, sounds, and smells as vehicles. It must be that my exaggerated attention to words has obscured my awareness (perhaps common to most other persons, especially females) of re-callable perceptions which are perhaps even more viable for effecting the process of thinking than are words alone.
So saying, I can see that this is so.
Gender enters the picture also. I can see that females, in general, remain far more in contact with dark knowledge than do males who, like me, tend to rush to thinking-in-words. We also try to corner words like Athinking@ for our language-based modes, concluding then (erroneously) that Awomen just don=t think@ as much as we do. These common prejudices blind us to the fact that un-languaged thinking (in sense-perceptions rather than words) certainly occurs and may in fact be more Areasonable@ in the larger picture than our focused efforts to make sense via language-based ideas only.
Women, I now suspect, who Abond with their hearts@ rather than make Awords their bond@ as we males tend to do, are actually remaining connected with dark knowledge, not merely Aemotions@ as we males often think. The true issue is not Athinking@ versus Afeeling,@Bin which conscious mental activity is limited to verbal-based reasoning only, and which Afeeling@ is mistaken for literal emotions which may be distinguished from Athinking,@ but rather in the material or data which is to be included in thinking. Do we limit Areason@ to wordable data only? Or shall our Areasoning process@ include the much wealthier supplies of information from sense-perceptions which may in fact be un-wordable? I think now that women are misconceived by men as Abeing unreasonable@ while in fact they are actually taking into account far greater sources of data in Amaking up their minds@ than can be easily contained in words only.
That is, they are doing Awhole brain@ thinking, in which both right and left hemispheres are actively involved, whereas we males tend to be using only the speech areas of the left brain in our more limited type of Areasoning.@ We weigh word-able bits of data, while women are weighing sense-acquired data which may or may not be subject to any language at allByet is deeply Aknown@ as dark knowledge.
Speakable knowledge is, by definition, language basedBthat is, it arises and exists within the framework of words formed into language. If unspeakable knowledge is categorized as subjective, arising from within the subject, then speakable knowledge is objective, existing outside individuals. Speakable knowledge comes from Awithout,@ from the world beyond one=s skin. Being language-based, it is transmitted to an individual via language from other persons, or is thought-out in private using the tools of an available language. In either case, whether transmitted or created by a person, this type of knowledge is structured by and therefore limited to the language one has acquired from the society around him.
I, for example, may Athink@ about uncommon ideas, even creating notions which did not exist before me; but finally, since such Athinking@ must be facilitated by my available language, Amy@ notions are ultimately rooted in the premises underlying English. AMy@ ideas are fashioned both by the words I have received from others and therefore by the principles which structure the language made from them (literally, which give rise to the words I use in both Athinking@ and speaking. (I place Athinking@ in quotes to note the distinctive way I am coming to use the word for naming a mental process which may be based either on subjective experience--unspeakable knowledge--or on objective data. Previously I identified Athinking@ only with language-based vehicles, that is, with words.)
Speakable knowledge may be about outside Aobjects (perceptions of the external world)@ or internal experiences, such as, pain, pleasure, etc., but the distinctive issue is that it is about something which has previously been objectified via a mental process. In contrast, unspeakable knowledge is existential, that is, it exists independently Aon its own.@ It is not about something else; it is something. It Ajust is.@ Speakable knowledge is Aobjective@ in the sense of being about Aobjects (tangible or intangible),@ even when it bears my particular twist on the Aobjects@ which form its subject. Dark knowledge, in contrast, is Asubjective@ even when it takes apparently Aoutside@ entities for its subject. For instance, dark knowledge may be about ghosts or angels or love, each of which appears to be a separate-from-self subject. In reality, however, these seeming Aobjects@ are expressions of subjective experiences rather than truly external entities.
There is, of course, a subjective element in all apparently objective (language-based) subjects. Projection is inherent in the nature of language itself (more about this later); but for now I want to keep thinking about the seemingly objective nature of speakable knowledge. We who use it nearly always Athink@ we are focusing on subjects which are apart from ourselves. We like to think we are Abeing objective@ rather than subjective (as is more obvious when dark knowledge is worded).
Speakable knowledge is primarily acquired from othersBeither directly through heard words, or indirectly through written words. We do Alearn@ or acquire-from-without most of the information which comprises Ahead@ knowledge. Names for this type of knowledge include: facts, data, scientific or intellectual informationBall bits of worded perceptions which are transmittable via language. Speakable knowledge is the subject of all our educational systems, what schools are all about. It is highly valued in society, quite in contrast with unspeakable knowledge which is generally ignored or denigrated. It is the subject of tests and awards, including Aintelligence tests@ which measure capacities deemed relevant in social success.
To label a major type of knowledge as Aunspeakable@ is deceptive. Unspeakable does not mean that it must be held in silence, that it is literally not subject to language. Dark knowledge can, obviously, Abe thought about@ and also communicated about in language. Such knowledge and words are not literally at odds with each other. Even Aunspeakable knowledge@ can in fact be spoken about. But the critical difference lies in its existential reality totally apart from any language, which is untrue for Alighted (language-based) knowledge.@ We Ajust know@ our dark knowledge (like, recollection of a face or smell of a room) even without language at all. If words had never been crafted by/for an ethnic group, such unspeakable knowledge would continue to exist without language. On the other hand, speakable knowledge has no prior existence apart from the language in which it is rooted.
When words are brought to dark knowledge this present sentence is literal--that is, words are "brought to" pre-existent knowing. One may, for communication purposes, "try to find words" to convey something about the direct knowing; but "trying to put something into words" is quite different from "knowing something" which finds its existence in words. In the first case the effort is a search for words which may resonate with some similar experience of the hearer. In the second, the words are the "fact" which one tries to tell or teach to another.
Words, when applied to dark knowledge, when selected in an attempt to express-in-language that which is known apart from language, are always indicative rather than definitive. They are used to Apoint toward@ the ultimately unspeakable knowledge, not to actually convey it. In contrast, the words of speakable knowledge may be literal; they are the knowledge, rather than only Apointing toward@ it. To know the words of this type of knowledge is to hold the knowledge; but words applied to dark knowledge do not contain the knowledge and certainly are not the knowledge itself. At best, they like a pointer in the hands of a speaker, directing attention to that which is finally unspeakable.
In terms of grammatical forms, most language for unspeakable knowledge is metaphorical. Words about other subjects with which the hearer may be familiar are used to imply characteristics of the unspeakable subject. For instance, Alove is like a rose,@ or, Adepression is like the end of the world.@ Love and depression are potential existential experiences, each a form of dark knowledge which exists without benefit of any language. As such, they are literally unspeakable. But if communication about such subjective knowledge becomes feasible, then metaphors are often the best which language has to offer. ALove is a rose, but you better not pick it; it only grows when its on the vine@Bas a recently popular song metaphored this shape of dark knowledge. Understood as metaphor, the comparison may be wonderful and effective; but certainly there is no literal connection between this type of unspeakable knowledge and thorny flowers in a garden.
Quite in contrast, however, language-based knowledge can be literally contained in words. ATwo plus two equals four,@ for example, is a literal bit of speakable knowledge. The facts are inherent in the objective statement. If one gets and understands these facts, then he has the knowledge; he then Aknows about addition.@ ATwo plus two equals four@ and all other language based Afacts@ are, by definition of the terms, objective Atruth.@ They exist Aout there@ in language forms totally apart from any individual=s experience. It doesn=t matter, for instance, how a student feels about the Afact,@ or if his personal perspective is different from that of the teacher; Atwo plus two@ literally and always Aequals four.@ To see it differently it to be wrong.
Or, AColumbus discovered America in 1492,@ no matter what one may or may not think about the Afact.@ If one wants to pass the test (of social approval for language-based knowledge), then he=d better not say it was Alike 1942.@ That is wrong, according to Alighted knowledge.@ And so on with all other Ascientific@ or Aobjective facts@ which are the vehicles of all speakable knowledge.
For further clarification, I note that the concepts of Asense,@ Alogic,@ Areason,@ and Ameaning@ as popularly understood are all rooted in speakable knowledge, even as are the definitions of words. For an experience to Amake sense,@ Abe logical (or reasonable),@ or even to Abe meaningful@ at all, it must, in this familiar mode of thinking, conform to established rules of language. This includes not only the definitions of words comprising the language, but also the premises or principles underlying the structure of that language. The first issues, dictionary definitions and principles of logic, are constricting enough; but adding the limitations of every language=s particular hidden structures, the problems of living where speakable knowledge is worshiped and dark knowledge disclaimed are intensely magnified.
For example: in our English language based on the premises of objects in space and time, three of the Aprinciples of logic@ are: this or that, here or there, and before or after (or now). For any knowledge (including dark knowledge) to Abe reasonable@ or Amake sense@ it must conform to these principles. AIf it is this, then it can=t be that; it must be one or the other.@ AIf it is here, then it can=t be there.@ AIt is either past, present, or future; it can=t be all three.@
This type of thought structure is functional for external objects: AIf it is a cat,@ then logically, Ait can=t be a rat@ (Principle: this or that). AIf the cat is in my lap, then it can=t be in the closet@ (here or there). But when we come to dark knowledge, experience may or may not conform to the principles underlying our language or to the existing words making it up. Every child knows, I suspect (via dark unlanguaged knowledge), about co-existence experiences which may later be languaged as love and hate. He must also know how intertwined and ultimately unseparable they are. But later, after he learns language, he will be forced by the structures of language to separate, even try to permanently divide the two. Since everything must be Athis or that,@ then he must, for instance either love or hate his mother. If he loves her, then he can=t hate her, or vice versa. This restriction is inherent and hence required by our language structure. Even when dark knowledge is entirely contrary.
Or, while I=m thinking about love, a related challenge which begins with language principles extended into social principles (memes) based on them, is voiced in a song: AOh, darling you can=t love but one... You can=t love two and your little heart be true; oh, darling, you can=t love two.@ Logically, in language-based knowledge filtered into social structures, you may love one or the other, but not both. And even if you do Alove two,@ then based on the same rules of logic rooted in language-based knowledge, Ayour little heart can=t be true.@ Which is a logical fact, even if contradicted by a considerable body of dark knowledge.
I return now to gender considerations which I left yesterday. Although the issues raised above are cross-gender, they reflect in male/female differences and, I believe, in grand historical developments. In general, I think that males have evolved, given millions of years at hunting game for survival, while females primarily gathered and reared children, with focusing abilities uncharacteristic of females. With good reason, given these matters of survival and reproduction, men would have come to develop and honor Alighted knowledge,@ while women would have continued to develop and respect dark knowledge which was/is more pragmatic in home-making and child-rearing. This would result in a social situation where men tend to seek and respect language-based knowledge, while women hold the same honor for body-based (unspeakable) knowledge.
But given the obvious-to-me-now fact that dark knowledge (that obtained by the five senses) is vastly older, greater, and more powerful than head knowledge acquired through language, it follows (logically!) that males, identified with the latter rather than the former, would be existentially threatened while in proximity with women who, by virtue of their recognized dark knowledge, always held the greater mental powers (past physical strength alone). Focused Athinking@ based on objective facts and languages evolved to convey them (left brain knowledge) is inherently weaker than comprehensive Athinking@ (right brain knowledge) based on subjective experience which is inherently greater than any learnable knowledge. Such lighted knowledge is fine for the purposes it evolved to serve, such as, finding and killing game in the jungle, plus citified versions of the same quests; but it is notably limited for coping well with that half of the species which is still in conscious possession of dark knowledge and also unrestricted by the logic limitations of speakable knowledge.
Result, I conclude: men have, since the beginning of languaged tribes, been successful in the use of lighted knowledge in pursuit of our socially evolved roles; but once the hunt is over and we return to the cave where dark knowledge is yet practiced, we must have been endangered by this obvious imbalance in powers inherent in the two differing types of knowledge.
I further speculate that historical male attempts to gain dominance over women, as through political and religious structures, have all been rooted in this gendered power imbalance favoring females when we come to cross-gendered relationships. After physical dominance via muscular powers became socially impractical, we must have tried to switch to mental dominance in order to improve our self survival chances in the presence of those still identified with the greater forces of dark knowledge.
We created lighted, language-based notions (defying the very logic we claimed to honor), which supported our otherwise physical efforts to depose powerful women. Just as Appollo defeated goddess representatives at Delphi and built his own temple over the very site of the Sanctuary of Ge (ancient Mother Goddess), so males ever since have been trying to defeat later Agoddesses@ and erect social structures (political and religious, in which male dominance is proclaimed in language) over sites where dark knowledge still reigns supreme. We have created tales (worded notions), such as, Athena being born from Zeus=s head, or Eve being made from Adam=s rib (all our vaunted logic to the contrary), and made mythologies and religions from them, in our ultimately futile efforts to dominate those who yet hold the mysteries we have long forgotten, along with the dark knowledge powers still exercised by female Aoracles@ today.
In summary, I surmise that the elevation of speakable knowledge over dark knowing, even until today, while wonderfully effective in structuring societies, controlling nature, and advancing technologies, was rooted and yet remains useful in our male attempts to cope with seemingly overwhelming forces still at female disposal. We like to think, as did John in the Bible, that Ain the beginning was the word...@ and that AGod is light and in Him is no darkness at all,@ in spite of our common knowledge that body is in the beginning and words only come much later, and that goddesses of darkness are yet operative.
Still, however, when push comes to shove between men and women, even our grandest Aintelligence@ based on and limited to language, falters swiftly when confronted with dark unspeakable knowledge operative in those we love.
Or so it is with me...
Motives are reasons behind an action. They are the answer to the question: Why? Why we do things is about our motivation. Motives are the source of understanding. If we think we know someone=s motives for doing what they do, then we can say, AI understand.@ Motives or reasons-for-actions are the human counterpart of cause and effect in the inhuman world. Events in nature are understood by determining the cause for a particular effect. Dark clouds, for example, are understood to cause the rain which follows. Sunset causes darkness to appear.
What is the relationship between motives or cause/effect and the two types of knowledge I have been exploring? How is dark knowledge (which I will now identify as Aright brain knowledge@) related to motivation? How is lighted or Aleft brain knowledge@ related to so-called laws of cause and effect?
General observations first: concern with motivation or cause and effect is primarily a left brain function. Right brain knowledge has little interest in motivation; it seldom asks: Why? It is more focused on actions, what happens, than on reasonsBwhat causes an action. Speakable knowledge is deeply concerned with understanding, motives, cause and effect. Unspeakable knowledge is more characterized by acceptance than about the quest for understanding. Those who major on right brain knowledge tend to Ajust accept things as they are,@ while we who are identified with left brain knowledge are equally driven to Aunderstand why things happen.@
In practice, asking Why? is almost exclusively an activity of language-based knowledge. If acceptance ever comes for such left brain thinkers, it follows a thorough exploration of motivationsBthat is, acceptance for us is based on understanding. If we think we understand a phenomenon, then we may be able to accept it. Otherwise, it remains an unacceptable mystery or puzzle which we may keep analyzing in quest for understanding before we ever come to accept the obvious.
With dark knowledge people, most often women, acceptance is far more likely to occur, even with little or no understanding. If Ait@ appears or happens, right brainers tend to relate to the given facts, to accept an apparent phenomenon, with little attention and no necessity for understanding.
How can I, being such a left brainer, understand these differences?
The bottom line, I think, is control or power. We who are identified with language-based knowledge exercise control and wield power through understanding. Our knowledge of motivation or cause is a tool for controlling or manipulating potential results. If we Aknow the cause@ then we gain some possibility of influence, if not control, over the results. We try to figure Awhat makes things happen,@ or, Awhy people do things,@ in hopes of being better able to manage the results. If I Aunderstand (have knowledge of cause)@ then I may be able to change the effectsBeven if I still have trouble accepting Athings as they are.@
In summary, attention to motives or causes is rooted in concern for power. We care about reasons because they are clues to control. The lessor concern with reasons by those who are identified with right brain knowledge is because their power is inherent in embraced dark knowledge; it does not require understanding in order to be effective. The Ajust is-ness@ of dark knowledge is paralleled by the Ajust is-ness@ of power created by such knowing. Right brainers more easily wield power without knowing, or even caring about, why? Left brainers, in sharp contrast, need to know why both for power and acceptance.
Why is this so?
One of the answers lies in a deeper understanding of the concept of motivation or cause and effectBthe concern of left brainers. Although we who accept the notion of motives lying behind all actions, or causes behind all effects, tend to believe this principle is Athe truth,@Bthat is, that motives and causes are literal facts, analysis throws more light on the subject. It turns out that motives/causes are more a product of language construction and the mode of language-based thinking than they are inherent in reality itselfBas we who believe in them tend to think.
Motives as causes in human actions, an extrapolation from observations about nature, are more significant in the minds of we who analyze them than they are in truly determining behaviorBor so I am now beginning to see. I have wanted to believe in motivesBgood and bad, primarily for reasons of power; Agood motives@ or Ameaning well@ can justify or excuse much bad behavior. AI didn=t know the gun was loaded,@ or, AI was just trying to help,@ for examples, may ease the threat of punishment or rejection following harmful actions. And this in addition to the possible escalation of controlled actions through manipulation of motives/causes.
I only came to recognize this through seeing that the principle of cause and effect, a premise of our language structure (Awhatever happens is caused by some force;@ Afor every effect there is a cause.@) is more about our language than it is about reality apart from language. In the natural world, apart from human thinking, process is more descriptive than cause/effect. Reality, I now see, is in processBthat is, reality literally is evolving, changing, moving on. Our language structure and left brain thinking which emerges from it, being based on the premise of still objects in time and space, requires the additional concept of cause and effect to explain actions. If Athings@ are distinct entities, motionless objects in space, and yet are seen to be moving, then logically (another premise of our language), something else must cause or be the force behind their movement. If there is an effect, there must be a causeBat least logically speaking.
So, if we think in EnglishBthat is, utilize left brain knowledge which is based on language and its underlying principles, we have no option but to think of cause and effect, motivation and action. Motionless objects, including individual persons, which/who are seen to be moving, can only be explained by some force which caused them to do so. If a ball rolls, something must cause it. Answer: gravity. If a man abuses, something must make him do so. Answer: bad mother, early abuse, or whatever. But whatever the chosen answer, still the underlying principle which structures our language and hence the way we understand reality: effects are all caused. And if we can understand the cause, we may be able to change the effects.
A more accurate view of reality, not dictated by our language structures, is to see processes-in-progress rather than objects-in-space/time. What we recognize as objects (discrete entities, such as, flowers and persons) are more carefully seen as phases (parts of larger processes which are discernable by our given but limited perceptions). A flower, for example, is easily Acaptured@ by human vision as a discrete entity; yet it exists as a phase in the process of the plant on which it grows, which itself exists in the larger processes of plant life, which exists itself in the even larger process of all life forms; and so on.
Our so-called causes for later effects are more accurately recognized as prior phases of continuing processesBthat is, they are not so much powerful, determining prime movers, as they are simply what-comes-before what-is-happening now. Dark clouds, for example, don=t so much cause the rain which sometimes follows, as they do commonly precede the rain. Germs are less clearly seen as causes of disease than as prior steps in a discernable process of illness. Abuse-in-childhood does not so much cause damaged or abusive adults, as it does often precede such behavior.
The point of noting these distinctions is not to discredit the functionality of the principle of cause and effect as it is to more properly discern the continuing moves of power in each phase of a continuing process. Indeed much of the Aprogress@ of mankind is properly credited to artful use of the concepts which underlie our language, including a belief in cause and effect. Observing clouds before rain and imagining that they caused the storm which sometimes followed must have led early humans to seek refuge in caves, thereby extending their survival odds. Much later recognitions of infectious germs preceding certain diseases (Acausing the illness@) has certainly led to improved health habits as well as effective inoculations. And so on.
The utility of principles of cause and effect, motivation and action, is not in question. Surely the search for causes and motivations has been immeasurably useful in advancing civilization and improving the lot of individual human beings. But the use of such crude observations to obscure recognition of larger issues is my concern here. I am not trying to belittle the values of viewing reality in terms of objects in space and time, or of languages evolved from such perspectives, but rather trying to see the values which may also lie in expanded perspectivesBsuch as, processes versus objects.
In summary: in spite of the functionality of our language-based reasoning which leads us to focus on so-called motives and causes, I now believe that attempting to recognize the larger picture which is more clearly seen in terms of processes rather than entities may be even more valuable. Certainly this is turning out to be true for me. Hence, I proceed with my looking.
What I am now attempting is like trying to keep the baby but to discard the bath water. Concepts of motives and cause/effect have been useful in Acleaning up the world@ for us humans, but it may now be time for me to move on to confronting the larger issues of raising the baby. The metaphor is somewhat crude and full of many holes, but perhaps useful. Maybe a better picture of what I want is more like moving past the worship of Agood motives@ and my life-long focus on (and belief in) causes as a way of producing effects, and getting on to confronting the processes of which my recognized causes were but a phase.
In either case, I am now less concerned with motivation or Awhat caused such and such@ as I am with participating in processes which are becoming increasingly clear to me. I want to continue using knowledge of prior steps in processes in which I am involved so as to move myself in more desired directions, but without losing sight and contact with the processes of which they are but parts (and even the Aparts@ as existent mainly in my left brain Aeye@). I want, in other words, to Aget my eye off the hole@ and more Aon to the do-nuts@ of life.
Now back to motives and knowledge. I conclude that those who honor dark knowledge, primarily women, properly place most attention on actions, eventsBthat is, processes-in-progress, rather than on so-called motives and causes which are actually but prior steps in what they are more attentive to. They more wisely care less about Why? and more about What? That we who have majored on language-based knowledge, and hence been diligent in seeking out causes as a way of manipulating effects, have survived in this mode and truly accomplished much thereby is to be respected. But not worshiped, as I, in effect, have done.
Motives and causes are like temporary expedients, properly useful in influencing, even changing, phases in various processes (like, improving one=s diet); but belief in them, to the exclusion of process-recognition, is also Alife-threatening@Bcertainly of spirited, if not physical, life. So seeing, I now want to keep my acquired skills and regular attention to phases-in-processes which I previously mis-identified as causes-of-effects, but I want to become far more alert to the processes which are only visible to the right brain.
I am moving, I think, away from exclusive focus on left brain, language-based, attention; I am giving up my judgments and competitions with right brain, dark knowledge, especially when I meet it embodied in women; I am opening myself to my own dark knowledge in the quest of whole rather than half-brain awareness. I am trying, I see, to become a person with a two-hemisphered brain, rather than Ajust a man (even a good one)@ who must inevitably remain ambivolent--in conflict with and secret admiration of those who mirror our missing-to-us parts.
Said another way: here I am 69 and still trying to grow up (down?).
I write in order to ease the process of continued thinking; otherwise I tend to perseverate with prior thoughts. One thought keeps recirculating in my mind, like a squirrel in a cage, unless I find some way, like writing, to move on to its next logical evolvement. Writing, therefore, frees me to go ahead following a line of thought rather than expending more mental energy (attention?) in simply replaying the same old thought on the screen of my awareness.
I suspect that most others, especially females, use talking for similar purposes. By putting ideas into words, perhaps they experience the same mental freedom which I do by writing. Were I more fluent in conversation, or less inhibited in talking with others, maybe I too would find speaking to work the same as writing. But till now, not so.
Once I write a thought I am more able to move on, even as does the curser on this computer page, to whatever comes to mind next. Also I can later go back to recheck the earlier notion and follow its progress or note irrationalities in what ideas have evolved while I was at the computer.
I have called dark knowledge, Aunspeakable,@ as though it is incapable of being worded (put into language form). This label is descriptive of a major element of dark (right brain) knowledge, yet is also deceptive since words are commonly used for dark as well as lighted knowledge. One may use words to try to communicate both types of language.
But the difference, which is often critical, lies in the fact that dark knowledge is literally unspeakable, while left brain knowledge is literally speakableBthat is, the first type of knowing can only be pointed at with words, while the second can be posited in words. Words are after-the-fact with dark knowledge, but are the facts of lighted knowledge. After one already knows some aspect of dark knowledge, say, recognizes a face, he may then try to find a name to apply to the face; if so, the name but follows and points toward the reality of the knowledge which pre-existed any attempt to find a wordable name for the already recognized face.
But with lighted knowledge, the opposite is the case. The name, which may be called to mind, is the left brain knowledge. One may know the name, call it to mind and voice it in speech without any facial recognition. Ideally the twoBdark knowledge facial recognition and lighted knowledge name recall, occur simultaneous; but, as we all know, not always so. More commonly we remember a face before a name, because primal dark knowledge, including the capacity for holding visual data in mind space, is older and greater than what we learn via language (such as, names and dates).
And so it is with all types of dark knowledgeBthat which comes from any sense, sound or smell, as well as visual, plus emotional knowledge growing out of various combinations of sensual experiences. Whereas it may be deeply and strongly Aheld@Bthat is, well known in the silence of one=s mind, it is never subject to direct expression as are all forms of lighted knowledge.
Language only becomes relevant to dark knowledge, which is more naturally acted on rather than spoken, when one wishes to either communicate with another person or to justify it to one who needs left brain Areasons@ before he or she (usually he) is able to hear and accept what is known. When communication is the goal, dark knowledge is best conveyed with non-verbal signs, such as, facial expressions, gestures, or actions (like turning away or touching) than by any verbal language. Even gutteral sounds, such as, sighs, moans, screams, ughs, laughs, etc., are better than words for communicating dark knowledge.
Still, for many of us who are oriented around the left brain with its languagable knowledge, more verbal information, particularly left-brain type logic or Areasons,@ is necessary before we can recognize or accept dark knowledge. Those with wealthy dark knowledge are often well acquainted with the necessity of finding (or making up) Areasons@ for what they know to do without any if they want to Abe understood@ by left brainers (like most males). In such instances, when those holding dark knowledge try to communicate, they wisely Acome up with@ reasons which Amake sense@ to those they wish to hear them. Actually such reasons are unnecessary for dark knowledge to exist, since it is based on direct experience (existential sense encounters), which is essentially disconnected with left brain type logic. The Areasons,@ we might say, for dark knowledge are inherent in the event of coming-to-know. Such knowledge, for example, recognizing the smell of a room or person, requires no external or Alogical@ reason to fully exist. The reason Ais in the event@ of the knowing.
Yet, for communication purposes, especially with men or other left brain oriented women, one may Areasonably@ look for logical reasons to support or explain some bit of dark knowledge which is fully capable of existing powerfully on its own with absolutely no such reason required.
The distinctive fact to be recognized is that dark knowledge and left brain type logic, in which languagable facts are weighted one against another, are completely different. Whereas the strength of languagable knowledge lies in the extended nature of its reasonablenessBthe more reasons the better, and the more logical or compatible the gathered reasons, the stronger the case, the strength of dark knowledge lies in the quality or extent of its encounter, its lived-out-ness. AReasons,@ in the left brain sense of the word, are completely irrelevant, and not at all inherent in the events of acquiring the dark knowledge at hand.
To say that dark knowledge is not based on reasons and does not require them to powerfully exist is not to imply that Ait is unreasonable@ in the larger sense of the word. It is only to note that the nature of right brain Areasoning@ is distinctly different from that of the left brain. In fact it is often more expansively reasonable than focused, and therefore limited, left brain logic because it tends to take far more data into account than languagable knowledge commonly does. But the point here is to note the major distinction between dark and lighted knowledge when it comes to language-type logic: dark knowledge is fully existent without any languagable reasons required; but lighted knowledge, to hold any power at all, requires the support of reasonBand the more the better.
Dark knowledge may or may not have reasons applied to it after-the-fact, but lighted knowledge, in order to exist at all, requires reasons to begin with. When reasons (of the logical type) are brought to dark knowledge they may help communicate or justify what was known before any reasons were applied. We may say that all reasoning applied to left brain knowledge is literally rationalization in the technical (left brain) sense of the wordBthat is, a purposeful use of the capacity for reasoning for other than actual reasoning itself.
Statistically speaking, women are more likely to be depressed than men. Why? I speculate that the cause lies in the differing nature of dark and light knowledge and the fact that women are more often oriented around the former while men tend to be self-identified with the latter. Dark knowledge, like evolution itself, moves slowly. Its greater powers and wealthier resources make it more like an elephant than a cat. Left brain knowledge, being language based, is more like cat-like or swift in its jumps and connections. When one is oriented around or identified with one or the other types of knowledge, then the use of that knowledge also comes with the advantages and drawbacks of its nature.
Consequently, when women are oriented around their dark knowledge, they, given its elephant-like nature, need more time to Amake up their minds.@ Two factors are involved: first, the quantity of right brain knowledge is far greater than the Afacts@ which comprise language-based knowledge. More time is naturally required to Asift through@ more information. When women are right-brain oriented, as they commonly are, they are more discriminating (in the sense of taking more data into account) in their decisions because they have more data to consider. Hence the male complaint: AShe can never make up her mind.@ This is not because Ashe can=t think,@ as men often erroneously judge, but because she must, if she is true to herself, consider more than Abare facts@ when she decides any thing. This is also why she must Ashop around@ so long before deciding what to buy. She is accustomed to taking into account all available data (not just Alogical thinking@) and hence must try to acquire all she can before she Amakes up her mind.@
Men, left brain oriented, in sharp contrast are able to decide quickly because we are "more focused in our thinking,@ meaning we include only a limited amount of data. It is naturally easier to summarize a smaller number of Afacts@ than to conclude based on a larger number of Aemotional@ discriminations. The left brain with its word symbols for thought vehicles can travel quicker than the right brain with its images and intuitions for carriers.
These generalizations are relevant to depression, just as to shopping or general everyday decision making. By depression I refer to colloquial rather than professional definitions. Depression in this sense is more akin to Afeeling blue@ or Awithdrawn,@ than being Aclinically depressed@ which may even be Acovered with elation@ and other deceptions. I mean the word in its literal rather than clinical sense: de-pressed or pressed-in, rather than Afeeling happy@ or Aout-going.@ Also I refer to common temporary states of withdrawal-into-oneself rather than to long term pathological states calling for medication or hospitalizationBin other words, your garden variety of depression.
This familiar occurrence often follows disruptive encounters in relationships or disturbing events in lifeBfierce arguments, for example, or great losses in the world. Men often Abounce back@ quicker, I speculate, because we traffic in factual-type data rather than emotional-type information. By nature of themselves, left brain facts are easier to manage and move with than are right brain Afeelings.@ Words (and ideas) can be Athought out,@ while feelings (intuitive knowledge) must be Aprocessed@ or Aworked through.@ The latter simply takes more time than the former.
Consequently, when a woman is oriented to dark knowledge and some shocking experience occurs, the wealth of her imaged-information often requires considerable time to be assimilated. In contrast, when a man identified with languagable information experiences the same shock, he will predictably find sorting out his facts to be quicker (just as when making up his mind while shopping for shoes). These periods of withdrawal while conflicting bits of dark knowledge are being weighed together are commonly seen by others as depression. When a woman, for example, is so engaged, she may literally withdraw from present contacts while she Aprocesses@ what she knows (her dark knowledge). She becomes Aunreachable@ at such times, and thus may appear to Abe depressed.@
Actually she is but living-out the nature of dark knowledge. Image-data simply does not Aadd up@ as quickly as word or concept data. Notions can be summarized much faster than Afeelings.@ (I put this word in quotes to imply its distinction from literal emotions; because the word Athoughts@ has been confiscated for left brain type processing of data, the word Afeelings@ is a second-best name for dark knowledge.) Depression is probably an ill-chosen name for a person=s Awithdrawals@ while processing intuitive data. The appearance of de-pression (being pressed-in) is more like an animal=s retreat after an injury, e.g., a dog=s hiding in the woods while recovering from a wound, than like a literal cessation of functioning (as may occur in clinical depression).
When Anita and I, for instance, have a disagreement and argue openly about it, I, being left brain oriented, tend to seek resolution quickly via words first, and private analysis later; she, being more oriented to her dark knowledge, moves rapidly to deal with images and Afeelings@ which are inherently more difficult to organize quickly. I, understandably, given my orientation, would like to Atalk things out,@ that is, find resolution via words and notions, while she, coming from her differing mode, needs to Aprocess out@ her diverse bits of Aemotional@ data.
We may equally share a wish to resolve a conflict, but our modes of moving toward such a resolution-with-integrity (as contrasted with one or the other simply Agiving in@) are contrastingly different. Historically, I Astay awake and think about it@ while she Agoes to sleep and (I presume) >feels= about it.@ I try, in typical left brain fashion, to analyze the situation, to weigh the languagable facts, to re-examine the conversational words, to Afigure out what went wrong@ and what to do next. She, I imagine, is more likely withdrawing from present contacts so that all her resources can be devoted to assimilating her dark un-wordable knowledgeBa process complicated both by the wealthier nature of such knowing and the slowness inherent in image-weighing in comparison to idea-correlation.
If such periods are extended, an outsider (as I often feel at these times) might see her as depressed. Since my mode of resolution is language-based and consequently much quicker (I often Amake sense@ of what happens faster than she comes to Afeel right@ about the same events), I am generally ready for intimacy sooner than she is. This is a tricky time for me because my long history of dependance on a woman=s Agood graces@ and my personal knowledge (reflected in the above notions) are in sharp conflict at such a time. I want to rush toward attempted resolution via words rather than face and contain my habitual inclinations to try to Aplease women@ while respecting my hard earned knowledge about the nature of these two types of knowing.
I am also tempted to such judgments as: my way is better; she should be faster; or to let the observation of depressed become a put downBall these rather than using such occasions to further work through my own history of female dependance, to expand alertness to my own dark knowledge, and to respect the utility of Aknowing-what-I-know@ rather than merely intellectualizing about it.
Probably 69 is another good time to grow up a bit more while I am growing down....
For 69 years I have personified historical male errors in confronting the powers of woman. What has occurred over the long eras of time has been resurrected in my own life time. What men have long done, I have done again in the relatively short years of my life. Did I intuitively learn from history long before I knew about history? Or is this classic error simply predictable in the nature of man as we have evolved with woman? Did I blindly follow suit because it is just the easiest thing to do? Or did I cleverly come up with a temporarily expedient means of coping which just happens to the one chosen by countless other men throughout history. The answer is irrelevant; but correcting my extended error is critically important for good living now.
The classic male error, at least as I have made it, is: to try to use words and ideas to cope with the power of images, rather than taking the nervier creative path of de-coding images, eating the insight, and resurrecting their power within myselfBthis in contrast with the way I have chosen which has involved continual projection onto the objects of my original images, plus those selected to replace them, and then wasting sacred energies in attempting image-manipulation via language. (This long convoluted sentence is indicative of the devious path I have long followed.)
Clarification: in the normal course of the Creative Process, perceptions are first imaged and then decoded into concepts, which are in turn absorbed into oneself, thereby personifying powers initiated in the beginning perceptions. At Stage 2, where powers generated via perception are projected onto images, one is effectively dis-empowered as a person, erroneously believing (for safety=s sake at the time) that the threatening powers exist externally rather than inside oneself. Such projections have the twofold purpose of calming the super-charged internal state of excitement due to increased energies inherent in the particular perceptions at hand, and at the same time offering illusions of possible control of the externalized powers through image-manipulation (like shutting the door on a ghost, or protecting oneself by hiding under the covers).
So far, so good, in that any resolution of apparently excessive stimulation created through immediate perceptions is better than risking overwhelmment-of-selfBeither by explosion from within or destruction from without. Images, though awesome in appearance, inevitably offer the possibility of some degree of control over the powers projected (blindly) into themBan option which never seems to be personal at the time. This, I suppose, is why/how imaging evolved as the second step in the Creative Process to begin with.
But once images are formed, whatever the reason, we all face the possibility of camping down here in the seemingly safer vistas of the Enchanted Forest, or facing the dark challenges of continuing in the natural process by proceeding to de-code images on the way to owning and absorbing personal powers previously projected onto them.
Now back to meBand men in general?: What I, at least, have done, which is either historically true for male-kind or else only recognized by me via my mirroring myself in the pages of history, is to take the first course repeatedly, while systematically refusing to move on in the normal process. I have properly (meaning Anaturally@) imaged powers experienced in my own perceptionsBfirst, I surmise, with my mother, as a way of coping with escalated degrees of excitement inherent in growth and expanding perceptions. In these early images I was, I conclude, simply following the first two steps of the human Creative Process. No credit for originality or blame for mistakes so far.
But it was at this level, I recognize in hindsight, that I camped down with the images I first recognized in the faces and presence of womenBbeginning, I calculate, with mother. Although I remained normal in many other arenas of experienced perceptionsBfirst imaging, then proceeding soon to begin the de-coding process, in this one dimension I got badly Ahung up.@ The powers generated by perceptions either of females or of other experiences in their presence, and in either case recognized in images projected onto them, have been carefully kept projected all these years.
Perhaps to justify a 69 year error, or else to try to make sense of it now, I theorize that the ease, or comfort, or illusions of possible control I acquired via such continued projections must have seemed more acceptable than facing the challenges of de-coding them and moving on with my life. Or was I simply a coward? Or just lazy? Or too stubborn to let go of a once-useful habit? The answer to why? eludes my now; but the certainty of the fact is without question.
Once confined (by my own refusal to open the gate) in the Enchanted Forest where images of woman reigned supreme, I did continue to play with using my mind. My capacity for conceiving, for intellectually de-coding images in the safety of mental space only, continued in operation. I, while existentially remaining in the LaLa Land of female images, kept on thinking (in left brain fashion) and eventually found two professions which both allowed me to exercise my mental capacities and yet remain safely protected from the challenges of moving on toward knowing-what-I-knew in intellectual form only (Stage 3).
In hindsight now, following a dream last night, I can also see how I, like I imagine men-in-general have historically done, have perverted my intellectual abilities in service of my early habits, rather than using them productively in moving on in the Creative Process. Like John (in the Bible) I have assumed in the face of all evidence to the contrary that Ain the beginning was the word,@ not the womb. And like male theologians in all major religions which succeeded in time, I have used ideas formed from words (such as, mythed in tales of Adam and Eve in many diverse forms) to try to cope with powerful female images I had acquired early and never moved beyond.
While leaving the power-filled images intact, save for ineffective intellectual speculations, I have mainly devoted my energies to appeasing and trying to curry the favor of those females who have borne the weight of my continued projections. This con job on my own illusions has primarily taken two forms: one physical and the other verbal. Both have aimed at image manipulation with the hidden agenda of either controlling projected powers externally or else attempting to manage them in my favor. Long after she was absent in reality I have continued my life long effort to ply the magic of Mother=s Smile as reflected in countless other of her symbolic replacements. I have blindly continued to empower the image of their Good Graces even with salvation potential. While carefully ignoring my wealth of data to the contrary, I have, like a squirrel long practiced at turning his cage, going nowhere, continued to exercise my efforts at pleasingBas though the magic of Mother=s Kiss, et al, might somehow, someway, sometime, be resurrected again.
Perhaps I should get an E for effort. Certainly nothing is due me for truly making sense of my experience or daring to do more than intellectually decode female images. Until now.
But asleep last night, I went further. In dream land I ventured past all my previous images. I explored an ancient grave cave, high on a mountain, looking for old bones; but instead of dead bones I discovered flesh instead, dated 1927, 3 years before I was born. Then, I dared resurrection as my selfing/sexual self, sans any images. What power! What fun! How fulfilling! What joy!
Now, here in the sun of a new day, I confront again, in the light this time, the exciting possibility of jumping back into the Creative Process after a long hiatus in the land of dark images and dead bones. Dare I now, like Jeremiah of long ago, eat the words I have labored so long to find? And will Athe joy and rejoicing of life@ also reappear in the eating???
Paradox of Knowing
Dark knowledge is squishy but certain
There is telling, hearing, and talking. Telling is saying what you think; hearing is listening to what another thinks; talking is sharing knowing. Everyone can tell and/or hear; but only persons can talk. A person is one who has embraced the human capacity for both dark and lighted knowledge, thereby wholing him/her self to some degree.
Talking is only possible to the degree of one=s personhood; otherwise, trapped into either left or right brain knowledge, one can only tell or hear.
Talking involves both telling and hearing, but is addition it requires contain-ability, the embraced capacity for holding dark knowledge in mind space and seeing lighted knowledge from another, plus holding it in mind space, while weighing one against the other and deciding what to say next or keep alive in the silent halls of one=s own mind.
Talking is an interchange of sharing and withholding in which telling and hearing are mixed with receiving and weighing, on the path toward appropriate speaking which is itself an artful combination of careful truthing, judicial lying, and wise silence.
Non-verbal Atalking@ parallels telling/hearing with the silent languages of expression and touch. AExpression@ includes the non-verbal languages of bodily movements and positions, plus facial expressions, such as, smiles and frowns. Touch includes all forms of bodily contactBhugging rubbing, patting, tickling, punching, etc.
Just as with verbal communication, there are active and passive forms of non-verbal communication which parallel telling, hearing, and talking. Naming is more difficult, since it requires bringing what is essentially dark knowledge into lighted space before it can be conceived.
The distinctly different experiences can, however, be pointed at with left brain language, such as: hugging, being hugged, and mutual hugging; or, feeling of, being felt, and touching. The distinguishing features are that 1 and 2, like telling and hearing, are active and passive. In 1, one initiates non-verbal communication; in 2, one waits and receives non-verbal communication, while in 3, one shares non-verbal language in exact parallels with the wording in verbal communication.
Sexual Atalking@ or Aexchanging@ is a particular form of non-verbal communication with exact parallels to the 3 forms of verbal and non-verbal communication. Language for the sexual parallels may include: serving, being serviced, and loving; or, prostitute, John, and lover; or, fucking, getting laid, and making love.
Telling can be pre-planned, canned, and come in the form of a line or speech or memorized story. Not so with talking, which is always and only existential, off the cuff, original, unplanned, subject to change without notice, even dropping in the middle of a sentence.
Men escape talking via lines and speeches; women, via emotions and stories, events recounted or feelings related.
Telling/hugging/fucking all take practice and initiative, as hearing/being hugged/getting laid take patience and waiting; but talking/touching/loving being existential and interactive all take faith.
The challenge of talking versus telling only
In wise talking,
FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE
The problem with sticking your foot in your mouth
The danger of foot-in-mouth disease
The foot, it turns out, blocks the brain
Then we die not from asphyxiation
You can tell or hear
But to talk, tough, or make love
Talking must remain flexible
Dark knowledge, I have noted, is Aunspeakable@ while lighted knowledge, being based in language is speakable. Dark knowledge is rooted in the senses, while lighted knowledge is formed from language. But to describe dark knowledge as Aunspeakable@ does not mean that language cannot be used either in referring to it or in its communication, only that the connections between the two forms of knowledge are distinctly different.
Lighted knowledge can be said literally (of-the-letters), while dark knowledge can at best be pointed at with language. Metaphors are best. With dark knowledge all names are pure symbols, that is, representational rather than literal. In contrast, names for lighted knowledge, plus concepts emerging from them, are literal. For instance: A2 plus 2 = 4,@ a bit of lighted knowledge, is literal; the truth of the statement is contained in the sentence. There is, of course, a sense in which all language is symbolic by definition of language. All words, by definition, represent or stand for something beyond themselves (2 stands for 1+1), but words and lighted knowledge are always more tightly bound, less metaphorical, and often inherently connected so that the knowing is actually contained in the concept. This is never true with dark knowledge and language. Even when spoken best, dark knowledge remains clearly distinguishable from language used to point at it.
For example: Aroses have thorns@ (lighted knowledge), and Alove is a rose@ (dark knowledge). Both are true, but whereas the first is literal, the second, though highly instructive, is clearly metaphorical.
Lighted knowledge may also be described as objective in contrast with dark knowledge which is inherently subjective (the senses, from which it rises, are obviously of-the-subject). Hence, lighted knowledge can be externally verified or disproved because it actually exists Aobjectively.@
This difference also results in the fact that dark knowledge is inherently confidence-building; it is firm even at worst, while lighted knowledge, not being sense-based, is always shaky even at best. The first is not subject to Ascientific verification@ because it is subjective to begin with; the second, in contrast, can only be taken as valid or firm when it is externally verifiable.
Both types of knowledge are rooted in perception, the first step in the Creative Process, yet each is distinctively different. One is gotten with the body, via senses, while the other is obtained with the mind, via language. For example, with dark knowledge, AI know what I=ve seen (gotten with visual sense),@ while with lighted knowledge, AI know what I=ve read or been told (received with mind).@ Examples of dark knowledge include all sense data (what is perceived with the bodily senses or experienced Afirst hand@); lighted knowledge includes all Abook learning@ or Asights@ of the mind (things read or heard).
Dark knowledge begins with 1 (perceptions), is most evident at 2 (images), is most hidden at 3, and most fulfilling at 4. Lighted knowledge begins with 1 also, but skips to 3 where it is most evident and most often remains tightly locked, but also finds its fulness when it is absorbed at 4 and merges with dark knowledge, forming the essence of human power, the apex of wisdom, and the heaven of human experience.
Four is only possible when projected powers of dark knowledge, most evident at Stage 2, are tempored with the fragile powers of acquired knowledge (the traffic of 3), contained at Stage 4, and mediated wisely in the world.
My experience and error was that I jumped over my dark knowledge capacity, either fearing or shunning the power of images, and majored since early youth, in Stage 3, languabable conceptions. I achieved and wielded power, not through the strength of images embraced, or even in wielding images (as preachers traditionally do) but through Amaking good grades@Bthat is, acquiring and manipulating lighted knowledge, learning stuff that can be written in books. I read vociferously, not to experience images as many seem to do (as in romance novels), but to gain as much information as possible about the external world, including the world of people-as-objects.
Unwittingly I used the lessor power of concepts to cope with the greater powers of imagesBboth my own and those of others. I sinned by putting down (judging) images while worshipping (also blindly) at the throne of intellectual knowledge. I used my conceive-ability to de-code images, more in an effort to diffuse and cope with their powers, rather than legitimately analyzing (digesting) them on the way to strengthening my self (like digesting food for bodily health).
I made professions of iconoclasm cloaked as helping. I prostituted healthy religion (like more professionals I have known) in blind service to my needs for coping with image powers.
I straddled both worlds, even while blindly putting down on images (Step 2). Without acknowledging the fact, I supported and kept alive for others as well as myself, the wealthy world of imagination by manipulating structures and places for religious experience. I both prayed and preached about miraculous experience, unseen gods, and potential heaven on earth. I trafficed in faith, hope, and love, all the while decoding gods and demons in public.
Finally I left my mother in quest of right brain affirmation, which I never experienced with her; unwittingly, nonsciously, I remained drawn to my earlier mode, acquired with her, and eventually remarried her, again and again. I Ahad affairs,@ mostly platonic, with some who dared hear me, but I always returned to my deeper attraction to those like her, who could only tell or hear, but not talk with me. I flirted with those who could talk, but somehow I must have known that I had run away from home to avoid cutting the cordBin my case fleeing dark knowledge personified in the womb of my mother, cloaked by conscious affirmation of lighted knowledge only. She had married my dark knowledge father (her own right brain) but, as I learned to do also, only lived with him without ever absorbing what he represented within ourselves.
I have kept returning home, including marrying my mother, less from denied incestual wishes, I think, than from my deeply known need for re-connection with what my father openly personified for us both, and she safely cloaked for me, while still embodyingBnamely, my own dark knowledge.
I have married those more clearly embodying dark mystery, with less hiding in intellectual coversBthose who, like my father, simply lived-it-out, unwittingly inviting me to do the same. Active invitations, I see in retrospect, which I have mostly attempted to deny, put down on, abuse, deny, cope with, or convert (all with relatively little success) (as I had well learned, watching my mother with my father) rather than seeing, loving, and trying to learn fromBas I am just now beginning to consciously do.
I think my nonscious wisdom, which included awareness of my denied/projected and imaged right brain, prevailed over my conscious desires in my rejection of platonic lovers with whom I could talk, in favor of mother substitutes with whom I couldn=t.
I kept on Agoing home@ even away from Saline, I now see, in quest of primal wholeness, the addition of my right to my left brain, which I had suspended and split my self from so long before. In proverbial fashion, I tried and tried to capture my missing half in others, even while half-heartedly exploring conceptual encounter in affairs and professions.
But my deeper agenda, only now coming into fuller light, has been re-connection within, not marriage or affairs without. I have longed for my wanting self, even more than being wanted or understood.
My most relevant current agenda is confronting, accepting, and embracing my own dark knowledgeBso long suppressed, projected, and kept Aout there@ in others with whom I have necessarily remained ambivalent rather than either hating or loving well.
Languagable knowledge is not only based on language, but on the unseen concepts underlying the structure of the given language. The principle concepts underlying English are these: 1) Objects in space and time, and 2) Movement by cause and effect. The premise is that objects (its) are real and all that is. For perception to occur there must be objects to be perceived. Perception does not exist apart from its. Next, everything (every itBand everything real is it-able) must be some place (located in space); anything that can=t be placed in space does not exist. AIt=s just your imagination,@ or, Aall in your head,@ if it can=t be placed as a thing. Phantom pain, for example, is Aall in your head@ like ghosts and the devil.
Also all objects (all that is real) must be time-ableBsubject to the clock and calendar; they must be placed not only in space, but also in time.
We forget or never recognize that both space and time are concepts of mind, themselves rooted in language, rather than actual experience. No one ever experiences space, for example, except via concepts. Maybe air or wind, but not space itself. Nor do we experience time, except via concepts and hence clocks. ATelling time@ is difficult for children because time is not real in the experiential world; it must be taught by society and hence via language. Timliness is real, but not time.
Whereas English language, and hence the knowledge which is predicated on its premises, is rooted in the notion of cause and effect (which is actually a concept rather than existential experience), dark knowledge is more aware of process than cause/effect. Dark knowledge is more attuned to phases-of-processes, such as, mother comes/brings milk, or, clouds precede rainBexperiences of the senses rather than concepts. But in lighted knowledge, based on language and thus rooted in concepts of reality which underlie the language (such as, still objects in space and time, which, if they move, must be moved by some other object or cause. If anything happens, in this concept, it must be caused by something else, some other object.
In dark knowledge, virgin birth, for example, is easily possible, since the event can be experienced without information or concepts, and even a prostitute can return to a virgin state after servicing Johns. This is, of course, impossible in lighted knowledge. Birth, like all else, must be caused by something; there can be no Avirgin birth@ in logical reality. Nor could one, logically, be a virgin after Ahaving sex.@ Magic and miracles are likewise possible in dark knowledge, although impossible in lighted knowledge.
Cause and effect is less about how the real world works than about a premise underlying the structure of English language. Phases-of-process, itself a concept, more comfortably in Hope than compatible with English (or more familiar to Native Americans than to us who usurped their space), comes closer, I think, to reality outside the Enchanted Forest of popular religions both sacred and secular.
The more familiar English perspective unwittingly posits a lifeless universe in need of forces, like gods, to move its parts, while less logical totemic beliefs more clearly reflect what every child and nuclear scientist already knows about this lively world we live in
Still English, not Hopi, is the language in which we later Americans are destined to think. So when I=m wiser, which unfortunately is yet relatively rare, I try to lift my vision above its habitual search for causes, to teach my conscious mind to ask much more than Why?, to waste fewer precious moments exploring motivations, to point my logical looks toward more than reasons, and my religious yearnings for more than meaning and hope.
And when faith finds nerve to soar beyond my language and its premises, then I wink sometimes at the fulness of now, and with right-eyed peripheral vision I look at phases which preceded the present moment in the process of I, thereby expanding the scope of now.
And some even rarer times when faith is fat from feeding on here, I risk a left-eyed look at later where the presence I but personify moves easily into eternity via the doorway of death.
Our language premise of cause and effect, which leads to concepts of lifeless objects in space and time, quite in contrast to the wisdom of every child and Hopi Indian, not to mention biology teacher and nuclear scientist, in spite of its technological utilities also invites wasting precious juices of life in search for the meaning of things, reasons for human actions, motivations for madness (and even for love), causes for hope, and leads us toward pointless blaming of others for making us bad, or searching for inspiration out there, not to mention the ultimate escapes into illusions of irresponsibility made logical by gods and demons created with equal ease by fertile human imagination.
I hope not to lose the limited pragmatic benefits inherent in believing in cause and effect, but I do hope to cease my English based idolatry so I can more easily and often show up present with both right and left brain.
A religious belief in the notion of cause and effect lies even more hidden among the premises of English language than objects in space and time which give subjects to nouns and verbs, which themselves give birth to sentences on the common paths of communication, not to mention, private thinking.
Some of the ramifications of a hidden belief in the Alaws@ of cause and effect underlying English language include attention to: asking Why?; concern with motivation; search for reasons, explanation, and understanding; quest for meaning, in life as well as language; attempts to be understood.
There are two distinctive ways of viewing reality: as processes or as objects. The second way is the underlying premise of English and most other major languages (exception: Hopi). For clarity here I will simply call them 1 (process) and 2 (objects). The process view looks at the larger picture, while the object perspective focuses on the smaller pictureBthe proverbial forest and trees. #1 may also be thought of as circular (the whole picture), while #2 is linear (things in a line). Another major distinction is that #1 presumes livingness or innate life (liveliness), while #2 assumes lifeless or dead objects (with no innate move-ability).
For further clarification, each view may be broken down into parts. Processes may be sub-divided (in the mind=s eye, thought not in reality) into phases or stages of an overall process. For instance life (a process) may be seen in the phases of birth, maturity, and death. Each of these stages may be visually distinguished from the others, but they cannot in reality be actually separated so they continue to exist independently as objects.
Perspective #2 can also be broken down into parts or seen in different ways. Objects or discrete entities can be visualized as existing in space and time. AEverything=s got to be somewhere (in space),@ and since Atime (inevitably) marches on,@ every object can also be placed in and measured by time. In summary, the second perspective views reality as objects in space and time. And since objects are inanimate (lifeless), if they move in space and time, then some other force (external power) must logically cause them to move or change. Thus the principle of cause and effect is a natural outgrowth (or sub-premise) of the overall view of objects in space and time. If lifeless (impotent) objects move (are effected), then logically (in linear thinking) there must be some outside cause. Some other force must have caused the inanimate object to be so effected.
In this overall perspective of still or lifeless objects the principle of cause and effect is essential for explaining (making sense) of any movement which occurs. AIt something happens, then something else must have caused it,@ or so goes logic based on a language which begins with the premise of objects in space and time.
In perspective #1, the forest versus the trees way of seeing, elements of an overall process, including stages which come before and after a present view, are also distinguishable. Here I call these Aparts@ phases. In the process of weather, for instance, one may recognize that clouds often come before rain, and that sunshine often follows rain. Thus: clouds/rain/sunshine may be recognized as phases in the overall process of Aweather.@ Or, since sunrise follows darkness and darkness comes again after sunset, the process of Aday and night@ may be broken down into the phases darkness/sunrise/sunset/darkness. This particular process may also be more clearly seen as circular rather than linear (but that=s another story).
The point here is simply to note a parallel between phases-in-a-process in perspective #1 and cause and effect in perspective 2. When movement is obvious, from the first viewpoint it is recognized as a phase in a larger process; from the second perspective it is seen as an effect which is necessarily caused by Asomething else.@ An object which moves or changes has to be caused to move by some other object (or force external to the originally still Athing@).
But in perspective #1, which begins with recognition of innate livingness, that processes are lively rather than dead, that moving (liveliness or change) is inherent in reality, then no cause is necessary Ato explain@ every movement. Events can literally Ajust happen@ without outside causes (from perspective #1)Ba possibility not present in perspective 2. If we start with dead objects but life (movement) is detected, then we must also come up with causes to produce the effects. But on the other hand, if we begin with a perspective of processes which are inherently Aalive@ or moving, no such causes are required for Amaking sense@ of what we see. In fact, stillness rather than movement more logically calls for explanation in perspective #1. If Anothing is changing@ then Asomething must be wrong,@ would be a more predictable thought from viewpoint #1, while from 2 permanence is taken for granted and any change calls for an explanation (usually finding a cause). In the first case one is surprised by apparent permanence; in the second, change is the surprise. AThings are not supposed to change on their own (without an outside cause).
Another distinction between these two modes of viewing reality: the first is naturalBthat is, an evolved way of perceiving the world via the 5 senses; no language is required for Aseeing@ and hence knowing what we experience in this way. Babies probably view the world as processesBthat is, happenings. The second mode, in sharp contrast, is predicated on language; objects, for instance, the most primal element of English language, are mental concepts rather than sensual experiences. The principle of cause and effect is also a product of our languageBthat is, something (a way of thinking) we acquire as we come to learn the speech of our society. A theoretical Anature boy@ growing up alone in the world apart from language learned from others, would, I surmise, see processes rather than objects. He would, I speculate, be attuned to Aeventing (what=s-going-on)@ rather than focused on lifeless objects which require some outside force in space to Amake them move.@
My problem in seeing this speculation is that I, and all others who speak English, must appropriate the principle of cause and effect along with the language based on it, without realizing we are doing so. After we learn speech we Atake it for granted,@ that is, we tend to forget that we were encountering reality and knowing the world long before the notion of causes entered our minds through the door of language.
This, of course, does not mean that we were Astupid@ and didn=t recognize Athings (objects)@ like trees, mothers, and daddies, or that we were unable to distinguish between perceptions of this and that, light and dark, etc., before we learned language. It means, however, and again I speculate, that before language we were perceiving phases-of-lively-processes, rather than dead objects-in-space-and-time or effects-produced-by-causes.
Nor does it mean that we were not busily engaged in attempting to manipulate our worlds via determining prior phases in processes which affected us. For instance, I think that all babies must learn early that Mother=s Presence comes before Baby=s EatingBthat is, that Mother Here is a phase in the process of Amy satisfaction,@ and that Absent Mother Aspells trouble.@ Then, equipped with this non-verbal knowledge learned first hand via ones senses, all babies try to manipulate Mother=s Presence for our own satisfactions. After awhile we must also learn that Crying, and later, Our Smile (a particular form of facial muscles) can be phases in the process of securing Her Presence as well as her favors.
The point: manipulation of the universe, trying to make desirable things happen, is inherent in the human (and all other animals=) condition. Whether our perspective be #1, which we inherit naturally, or #2, which we acquire (or so I surmise) from society via language, we all attempt to control the world for personal satisfactions. The relevant point of this distinction in perspectives is which way of seeing things is most effective. Do we live better with attention to processes (as the Hopi do)? Or do we gain more satisfactions from looking for causes and effects? Is the way all we English speaking people have apparently come to view reality (as dictated by our language structures) better, overall, than the way Aprimitives@ seem to see things?
Even if I am wrong in supposing that natural perspective is on processes and that only learned ways of looking focus on cause and effect, still the question about utility of perspectives remains relevant. No matter how we got to the place where it seems all we English speaking people are, still the values we place on these two ways of seeing reality are immensely important in good living.
I pause in this thought process for confession of my own experience. I, I see now in hindsight (which is Aalways 20/20"), that I have lived most all of my life with perspective #2Bthat is, with my attention devoted to causes and effects rather than phases-in-processes. I am, I think, an excellent example of a good language student in contrasted with a good Alife (apart from speech, school, books)@ student. I am just beginning to see some of the ramifications of focusing on objects as I have consistently done, rather than on processes, which I have rarely doneBand also to take note of experiences I have missed, errors I have made, and troubles I have had, while remaining diligently devoted to principles of cause and effect and ignorant of processes.
Many of the major issues in my life, which have received massive amounts of my attention and energies, have only arisen, I now see, from the premises of my language (and learned way of thinking) rather than being particularly relevant in the world where I lived. That is, they came to exist via words rather than from living contacts with the world as it is. Among these major arenas of my devotions are such Apressing concerns@ as: meaning in life; understanding (plus being understood); reasons and explanationsBAanswers@ for the Why questions (AWhy did such and such happen?,@ etc.); resolution of mystery; basis for right and wrong.
I note, perhaps for comfort, that my accepted perspective (#2) is far more typical of males in general than of females in particular. I have previously analyzed many Agood reasons@ for our Alinear@ mode of thinking (such as, for Ahunting@), in rather sharp contrast with the more Acircular@ way in which women seem to think (perhaps acquired for Agathering@). But even if there are good evolutionary reasons for these apparent gender differences, still the values and limitations of the two perspectives are increasingly relevant to me. Does aging make this so?
Perhaps it is only in the mirror of females that I am now able to see distinctions in these two perspectives. Had I lived exclusively with males maybe Acircular@ or holistic type thinking would never have become apparent to me. But whether learned from females or acquired by aging, or whatever, still the ramifications of these sharply differing perspectives are becoming more apparent to me.
Summary observations so far: First, I see and affirm the benefits, the high degree of utility, inherent in cause and effect perspectives. It truly works well in accomplishing many relevant tasks inherent in living well in the here and now. Technology on all levels, from tool making to computer making, from making objects for getting food to making drugs to fight diseases, is largely dependent on finding causes for producing desired effects.
This mode is also wonderfully effective in Aanalyzing the world,@ figuring out Ahow things work,@ for understanding the nature of Aobjective (ah, here=s a clue!)@ reality. Science at all levels and on all subjects is founded on the premises of this perspective and thrives on the operation of its premises. This Ascientific approach@ to so-called Aobjective (object based) reality@ has also been turned from the Aoutside world@ of the universe, nature, and all Athings out there,@ to focus on people as objects also. The older Asciences@ of philosophy, theology, and now psychology, have resulted from shifting this typically male focus on cause and effect from objects-out-there to selves (or souls)-as-objects, except Ain here@ rather than Aout there.@
Indeed the benefits and values of object based thinking would be hard to over estimate. Much of the Aprogress of civilization@ from caves to cities, from jungles to shopping malls, including availability of food, shelter, and clothing, as well as medicines and procedures for fighting diseases, plus relatively successful political/social/economic structures, has all taken place based on the effectiveness of perspective #2 in viewing the world.
But enough of this appropriate praise; I respect and am glad for what the left-brain, language-based, mode of thinking has done for the world as well as myself. Now I want to look more clearly at its limitations and the potential values of the other, older Away of seeing things.@
We orient ourselves to the world through differing kinds of knowledgeBsome via their dark knowing, others, like myself, through lighted knowledge. Dark knowledge orientations are most commonly summarized as Afeelings,@ while lighted knowledge is called Athinking.@ The first can be further distinguished according to the bodily sense around which they are focused. Some are more oriented via sight; others by sound. Those who orient with vision strive to shape the world visually, to Amake things look right.@ In order to Afeel comfortable@ in a room, for example, they must have it visually attractive or ordered according to their particular sense of harmony. Furniture, colors, shapes, textures, arrangements, etc., must all be coordinated or such a person does not feel comfortable in the room.
With others, sound harmonies are critically important. They Alike music,@ but must have it harmonized according to their particular tastes and preferences before it Asounds right.@ Most people, I think, must major on various types of body knowledge and orient themselves according to the particular sense on which they have come to discern best. In summary, they seek worldly comfort via knowing of the physical senses, conceived generally as Afeelings.@
I and many males, in contrast, orient ourselves via lighted knowledgeBperceptions which begin with the senses but are decoded into conceptions shaped from words and language structures. We too are oriented through Asense@ but in a metaphorical sense; that is, we need to Amake sense@ mentally rather than physically. I have, I see in hindsight, identified myself with my Athinking@ or conceptual Asense@ rather than with any form of bodily sensing, such as, sights, sounds, or Afeelings.@
I am as bothered by ideological disharmonies, things which don=t Amake sense@ to me, as Anita and many others are upset by physical disharmony (visual, auditory, or emotional). Data which does not Afit in@ with prior ideas is as disturbing to me as clothing which is not harmonized is to Anita. I rush to weigh new information in an attempt to harmonize it with older ideas as quickly as she does to incorporate new pieces of clothing or furniture to fit in with her wardrobe or rooms. When I Asee something (in a conceptual sense)@ I immediately try to harmonize it with all prior conceptions (Abeliefs@). If I cannot make it Aadd up@ I remain agitated until I have somehow revised my old knowing to include the new.
I am, in this common process, distracted from all present sensing by the body while I focus on trying to Amake sense@ of any new perception. I must appear to be Aout of it@ or Anot present@ while I am so consumed in my attempt to harmonize notions. I must be like a painter or decorator or woman with her make up who is oblivious to all else while they try to make a painting or room or face Aright@ to harmonize with their hidden images.
In summary, I am as self-identified and consistently focused on Amaking sense@ of all information available to me (and since I am language oriented in my knowledge, this mostly includes written data or information from others who have studied the subject at hand), as Anita and many (most?) others seem to be with harmonizing their dark knowledge which exists unlanguaged. I can ignore sights, sounds, and Afeelings@ while in quest of intellectual harmony as easily as they seem to be able to ignore discordant ideas or beliefs. Mental disharmony, as in Abelieving things which don=t make sense@ or holding contradictory ideas close to each other without concern, comes as easily to them as ignoring feelings and Amessed up@ rooms are to me.
I am just now beginning to see some of the ramifications of my Johnny-One-Note orientation; in particular, how the premises underlying English language (which forms the structure of my sense making activities) unwittingly determine the limits of my Asense.@ For instance, my sense of Aunderstanding@ is rooted in the concept of cause and effect underlying my language rather than the perspective of phases in process. I Athink I understand@ something once I have figured out what I think causes the particular effect I have observed. I live as though I have removed mystery once I recognize acceptable causes for any action. Only now am I beginning to see how limited such linear thinking which seeks and accepts single causes for complex effects actually is.
In most all human relationships as well as experiences of spirit, as contrasted with object relationships and inanimate Athings@ in the world, phases is a far more accurate perception than my limited sense of causes. Even multiple causes, which assume lifeless Aobjects@ (even persons) to be made to move by the force of determined causes, are not as descriptive as the larger recognitions about process are.
For instance, applying language based principles of cause and effect to such human phenomena as emotions and gender-related actions turns out to be extremely limited and must ignore mountains of contradictory data to be even minimally applied. Although we cause and effect oriented persons like to think so, the feelings and events we deal with are inaccurately analyzed when we see causes and ignore phases. Excitement, for example, or anger, are common human experiences. From the perspective of lighted knowledge with its inherent premise of objects in space and time, and hence the inherent principle of cause and effect, if I Aget excited@ then there must logically be some external cause. Consequently, I have lived a life time with the very limited notion that Ashe turns me on,@ that is, that the cause of my excitement is the woman at whom I am looking (or imagining).
And whenever I have Agotten mad,@ I have commonly Athought (in my language-based mode of seeing)@ that Ashe made me angry,@ implying that the cause of my emotion was Aout there@ in something which another person did or did not do. Now, with more attention to phases than to my life long focus on causes, I am beginning to recognize that my comfort in determined causes (such as, tits and ass, or, Anot understanding me@) ignores a wealth of other data and ultimately requires massive projection in order to be effective. My excitement and other emotional states are far better recognized as phases in various processes than as effects which are caused by external Athings.@ As I become more able to recognize my own emotional operations (perceive my bodily self) I also see the scope of my prior and continuing projections more clearly.
Unwittingly, in service of my accepted premises of cause and effect, I have ignored the lively powers inherent in my genetic makeup, existing even in the absence of external stimuli, while I blindly remained in the image stage of the Creative Process and projected massive amounts of personal power on to the outside worldBsuch as, on to women.
To acknowledge now the greater powers inherent in phases of self-processes does not mean that I must turn in the opposite direction and erase all knowledge of causeBas though I have been totally wrong and as though there is no reality of cause at all. It is rather to recognize the limitations of cause and effect and the increased value of seeing phases in process. Certainly the principle of cause and effect remains operative with the movement of inanimate objects (like a hammer breaking a cup, or a knife causing a cut), and is also crudely operative in human encounters as well. Actions of others can Ahurt my feelings@ even as stepping on my toe can hurt (be the cause of pain) in my foot.
But in the economy of human relationships these simple and direct causes are relatively limited in comparison to the complex processes which are continually operative and only recognized in various of their phases. Most of my emotional/spiritual experiencesBthe events which matter most in good living, are more clearly viewed with the latter perspective. While there is indeed some reality to the effects of others (their causing me to feel such and such), most of my spiritual states of being are better seen as phases in my selfing processes rather than isolated feeling events caused by others. Seeing this opens the door to more diligence in withdrawing powers long projected, and in turn, to being more loving than conning (or trying to).
When is the cause and effect perspective best applied? When do I more wisely see things via the process perspective? Both, I see are sometimes useful, but how do I draw the line between the two; when is it better to view events as phases in an overall process, and when is it more effective to look for causes as the means of producing effects?
I see in hindsight that I have generally viewed all of life from the perspective of cause and effect, even when I also took minor note of overall processes. I have given my major energies to looking for causesBreasons, explanations, meanings, etc., both for coping with the huge unknowns which surround me as well as solving immediate conflicts and achieving personal goals. Sometimes this mode has been effective, but I can now see that it has been largely limited in finding the things which matter most to me in life.
Overall, I now think, if one were only going to use one perspective, viewing all of reality in terms of process would be wiser. While it is true that cause and effect is a useful view in many immediate circumstances involving seemingly inanimate objects, seeing processes is more often wiser and more effective in the long run. I have, I now recognize, chosen the less applicable of the two perspectives in most of my activities and endeavors in life so far.
Now to application: in general, all of life apart from the manipulation of those parts of reality which can be easily segmented and viewed as objects (even when we know they are actually processes which are changing all the time) is more wisely seen from the non-language based perspective of processes. Cause and effect works best in temporary situations where immediate results are possible through manipulation of objects. Process perspective works best in dealing with life in general; with all living beings; with relationships, both with people and things; with all spiritual matters; with quality of life; with all matters related to self and personal satisfactions. So seeing now, I can look back and acknowledge many errors I have made through misapplication of the perspectivesBthat is, through excluding process perspectives while trying to deal with all of life in terms of cause and effect.
Gender observations: cause and effect is more applicable to males and masculine-type endeavors, while process perspectives are best used with females and most feminine activities. Taking hunting and gathering both as fact and metaphor, events related to hunting (male doings) can often be accomplished best with our language-based mode of thinking and thus seeing things. Killing game of all sorts, including the quest for success with inanimate objects (tool making, building things, explaining external realities) can make good use of finding causes as a way of achieving effectsBe.g., how to make kills (of game, enemies, and certain self-chosen goals like success in business, making money, constructing buildings, careers, etc.)
On the other hand, gathering, with all its assorted current applications for females now far from the savannahBthat is, most woman-type endeavors, are best viewed in terms of process rather than cause. Home making, all the way from supplying and decorating a house, gathering food, shopping, self and home beautification, preparing meals, having and rearing children, keeping a good husband, and finding personal satisfaction, are more wisely seen through perspective on processes. And men who relate to women, although we are seldom wise enough to know this, do so better when we view them through this same window. The processes of ovulation/menstruation, for example, though unseen by males, are immensely relevant in effective relating to females throughout life after puberty.
When we, with our typical male perspective on cause and effect, wonder or ask: Why are you doing that? What have I done wrong? What did I do to cause you to be like that? What can I do to change your feelings toward me? How can I fix what is wrong?Ball questions based on cause and effect type of thinking are apt to be ineffective in coping with that half of the species which is forever moved by invisible processes inaccurately called Aperiods.@ Woman=s Amoods,@ which are easily recognized by men are, for one example, much better coped with via process thinking than with our more often chosen way of Alooking for reasons@ and trying to change by saying or doing things intended to cause immediate changes.
How we view attempts to cope with reality, to Amake things happen@ the way we want them to, is also best viewed differently in the two overall perspectives. Although the ultimate goal may be the sameBnamely, having a desired effect on circumstances, the way we see going about our attempts is best seen differently. Cause based thinking, while useful with certain male-type goals involving animals or inanimate objects, is notably limited when applied to processes, especially those which involve females and our relationships with them. Possible influence is a much more useful way of viewing attempts to effect processes. In a literal language sense, all such efforts may be labeled as trying to cause something to happen (e.g., a woman to Asoften up@ or Achange her mind@); but such attempts are more accurately viewed as potential influences than causes.
The point is not to quibble over language or be picky picky about words (something we males are inevitably inclined to do), but simply to label an endeavor more accurately so that a more realistic approach can be taken. This is one use of language which is truly legitimate in relating to dark knowledgeBquite apart from many others which are best recognized as crude verbal attempts to con others, especially females. We may well try to cause things to happen when dealing with objects in the world; but we more wisely deal with potential influences when we recognize processes to be operative. Although most processes are indeed subject to human influence when wisely approached, the perspective of causing significant changes (Amaking things happen@ by saying or doing specific things) is notably limited and often damaging in immediate circumstances. For instance, a person=s mood may be influenced by artful moves, but attempts to cause changes are more likely to be counterproductive (as men sometimes learn Athe hard way@).
In building a piece of furniture or trying to catch a fish I may do well figuring out what causes work best in achieving my desired effects (e.g., which tool or bait Aworks best@), but when I bring that same perspective to human relationships (e.g., which deed or line Aworks best@) I am apt to be disappointed or even to do things which backfire even with well intended goals. I do better when I am attentive to processes (which often evade immediate vision), and set about to influence them as best I can, instead of trying to Amake things happen@ by manipulating causes.
Paradoxically the concept of cause and effect, or causality, which probably evolved from efforts to manage or control (wield power over) reality, turns out to be a Catch 22 in the long run. The very notion which posits power in a cause to produce a certain effect, unwittingly removes, in principle, power from the object of the cause. That which is effected is assumed, by the nature of the principle of causality, to be powerless (impotent or innocent), while all power to move the effected object is taken to reside in the cause (or causer).
This notion of powerful causes and impotent effects (or Acausees@), for all its initial utility, backfires in time, especially when applied to living forms (like people) or anything else which is not totally inertBand what, in reality, is? Animals and plants are obviously alive; but even stones formed from power-packed molecules and atoms, not to mention sub-atomic particles, are Alively@ in the sense of being composed of moving structures; they only appear to be static, impotent, or dead because human sense organs are not structured to perceive their innate Aliveliness.@ Everything is constantly changing; except that some things change too slowly for the human eye to observe.
I digress to note a limitation in my previous awareness about cause and effect being rooted in English language structure. I was correct in that observation, but I failed, till now, to recognize that even language structures arise from human experienceBeven if the humans existed long ago and we present humans inherit our language from others rather than creating it ourselves. But the point I am now beginning to see is that any one of us newer persons might, in the absence of an inherited language have come up with the same underlying premises and hence made a language much like the one we acquire from ancestors.
The fact is that common sense experience of all persons, even without language, most likely begins with the perception of what seem like objects in space, and eventually, given the common observation that Athings@ change, the notion of time would probably arise also. It Alooks like@ objects exist Aout there.@ It does appear that empty space surrounds all objects; and obvious change-ability of Athings@ implies time in which change occurs, much as space is logically necessary to contain perceivable objects. After all, Aeverything=s got to be some place!,@ so place or space must exist. And since things change, some dimension of measurement for this obvious fact is logically required. Where? needs When? and How long? to be sensible. Where does change take place? Why in time, of course.
The point: This apparently natural way of perceiving external realityBthat is, of noticing Athings@ surrounded by Ano-thing (which is apparent),@ later to be called space, and that they also change in time, must have given rise to languages which structure the concepts of objects in space and time. Then, with the additional observation that certain things we do, such as, biting mother=s breast, lead to certain effects (like, her withdrawal), it is reasonable that the principle of cause and effect would have soon followed the more primary experiences which precede it. It does Aseem as though@ we can cause certain effects, and certainly it seems that things others do to us, such as, hitting, cause effects on us (like, pain).
I conclude then, that language structures with premises of objects in space and time, with the principle of cause and effect written in, are the results of natural Acommonsense@ experience. The languages which we inherit are not Aat fault@ in this limited principle; they but reflect what we would probably devise even if every person created language anew. The relevant point here, however, is not so much genesis of notions, whether given in language structures or devised by persons (or both), but rather the accuracy of the premises themselves. It doesn=t so much matter where the principle of causality came from; but it does matter how accurate or limited it may be in practiceBin real life experience in the here and now.
The clue to decoding this powerful image may lie in the very sentences I use to bring it into the light: e.g., AIt seems like (appears to be true) objects exist in time and space.@ AIt appears that one thing causes another (that the principle of causality is correct).@ I have previously focused on the subjects of objects, space, and time, plus the principle of causality; but I have ignored the modifiers seems like and appears. They, perhaps, are the door to the larger truth that these conclusions are based on appearances, which are themselves based on the nature of human sensing (its modes and limitations). The metaphorical nature of the statements (the Aas if-ness@) has eluded me before. I have taken the premises as fact, ignoring that they are literally but Ahow things seem,@ based on the ways in which we perceive.
In other words, the principles emerge from appearances; they are about the Away we see things,@ but not necessarily about reality apart from our limited perceptions. My mistake has been in assuming the observations and principles to be inherently true within themselves (like Aobjective facts@) rather than simply the product of the Away we look at things.@ Whereas they may be completely valid expressions of our Away of looking,@ they may or may not represent how reality works apart from how Ait seems to be,@ based on commonsense perception.
And commonsense perceptions (how Athings look@ to the naked eye, in contrast to how they may look through a microscope or telescope or when considering data unavailable to bodily senses), can be both misleading and erroneous. For example, Ait appears that@ the sun rises each day and sets each evening. This is the best of commonsense.
So much for appearances.
While respecting the commonsense observation that certain effects are caused by forces innate in that-which-does-the-causing, along with the pragmatic implications of this Aappearance,@ sharper discrimination requires considering other data less available to the naked eye. The metaphorical correctness (e.g., it appears that Ashe makes me angry@) need not distract us from the limitations of all such commonsense knowledge, namely, that its validity lies primarily in metaphors of language rather than in the nature of reality. If I accept that a certain observation is truly Ahow it appears@ to me, without ignoring the limitations of such Aseems likes,@ than I may proceed to take other data less available to bodily senses into account.
Point: I want to continue honoring the values of my commonsense (based-on-bodily-senses) knowledge, including the metaphorical correctness of cause and effect type thinking; but I also want to become more attentive to other data available to me, except not from my immediate senses only. I want to expand my knowledge beyond causality without losing the practical value of this principle, especially when applied to apparently inanimate objects.
Specifically, this will include my harder-to-see information about processes which may sometimes be influenced by that I do, but which function far beyond the simple principles of cause and effect. My previously ignored or belittled data about power innate in all life forms, including people, even when they seem to be totally impotent and caused to move by external forces, must now be taken into account. Many commonsense conclusions, such as, Ashe makes me angry (happy, sad, etc.,)@ Afemales turn me on (or off),@ Ajobs (or circumstances) cause stress,@ or, AI can help others change,@ AI can please (make someone happy or unhappy),@ AI am the cause (blame) for the displeasure of others,@ ASuch and such excites me,@ AThat makes me sad (upset, happy, or troubled), and endlessly on, must all be re-evaluated if I move beyond the crude principles of cause and effect.
When power is recognized as inherent both in the one seen as effected as well as the assumed-to-be causer, then all prior assumptions of powerlessness, blame, responsibility, impotence, abuse, innocence, guilt, etc., must be reconsidered. If, for instance, I am inherently excitable or passionate, then I can no longer conclude that someone or something else Amakes me excited.@ If I, as a living process, exist with Aon@ capacities, then living by simple cause and effect principles, such as, Ashe turns me on,@ are no longer adequate for viewing and understanding my own passions. Or, on the reverse side: if living-I have inherent powers for feeling sad or mad, being Atroubled,@ stressed, distressed, or depressed, then I can no longer get away with assuming that such emotions or spiritual states are the Afault@ of other persons or life circumstances. Perhaps they influence me; but if I hold any power at all for creating these states of my own existence, then I am in error when I attribute the power to Amake me@ be any of them beyond myself.
Seeing these innate powers for passion or depression, and all states in between, does not require me to simply reverse my prior simplistic conclusions about cause and effectBthat is, to shift all power from Athem@ to me, assuming myself to be the cause, rather than Athem.@ Remaining within the crude framework of cause/effect type thinking, I could simply turn it around and say, AWell, if they are not the cause or my happiness or depression, then I am the cause.@ Instead of blaming them, I could turn the blame upon myself, switching cause from them to me, while yet maintaining the crude premise of causality. AIf they are not responsible (the cause) for my, say, unhappiness, then I must be to blame.@
Such a shift in perspectives from external causes to internal causes, from blaming them to blaming myself, might be a progressive step beyond illusions of personal irresponsibility; but only a step. Still it remains locked into the crude concept of cause and effect; only the names of the causer have been shifted.
But what I am trying to do here is see my way past the principle itselfBto more clearly recognize the realities of co-existing powers, of living-processes (persons) in proximity with each other, without escaping into total projection of powers (assuming illusions of impotence) or total injections of power (assuming personal omnipotence). In this attempt the perspective of processes-in-proximity seems more accurate than the perspective of causes-and-effects. Since degrees of power are always inherent in each living-form, even if their relative extent differs, then the view of influencing external powers is more accurate than the view of causing effects in powerless others.
Unfortunately the premise of cause and effect is so structured into our language that even words for this more realistic view of inherent powers are difficult to find. We have words like ex-citement, which we may apply to ourselves, but even the word with its prefix of ex implies that the citement comes from without. Even if I move from thinking Ashe turns me on@ to AI am turned on,@ still turned on implies that the power for my internal state lies outside myself. Even the ultimate human state of ecstasy implies by definition that one is beside-ones-self rather than more fully inside ones self.
Point: once I recognize the limitations of the concept of cause and effect, seeing its basis in commonsense experience and common language drawn from it, and begin to see the larger principle of phases in processes, still I am hindered in thinking clearly because of a shortage of familiar words for forming my awareness in conscious mind space. I may think of Acitement@ rather than ex-citement, or Astasy@ instead of ec-stasy, but this pushes the limits of learned language when I create words, and it certainly makes conversation with others difficult when I must define new words as I go along.
How do we come to know what we know? Particularly, how are the two types of knowledge brought into awareness? Are there differences in the ways we recognize dark knowledge and light knowledge?
By knowing I mean: being-aware-of, bringing-into-consciousness, holding in Amind space.@ Knowing is the process by which knowledge is made accessible to personal decision. We may literally Aknow things@ which are not available for use in immediate decisions. Such knowledge may be described as unconscious, forgotten, or somehow inaccessible for present use. For example, we may know someone=s name, but not be able to recall it at the time. Or, we may know how to ride a bike, yet not be able to activate that knowledge at the moment. Thus I distinguish between Ahaving knowledge@ and knowing present tense. In this later state we Aknow what we know,@ that is, what we actually know or have learned in the past is available at the moment. We may or may not use such knowing, but we do know it at the time. It is Ain mind,@ in awareness, or present-in-consciousness.
By knowledges I refer to the two major forms of knowingBnamely, dark knowledge which is based on genetics and personal experience, and lighted knowledge which is based on language and facts which have been acquired through the use of words. The first may be called body knowledge and the second, head knowledge. Body or dark knowledge is inherited or acquired experientially; mind or lighted knowledge is learned from personal study, books, teachers, or other people.
Now to the question: how do the ways we acquire each type of knowledge differ? How do we recognize each? Colloquial language may be best. When we are knowing dark knowledge, it Afeels right.@ When we know lighted knowledge, it Amakes sense.@ Older, dark knowledge is brought into awareness through Afeelings,@ as contrasted with the path of Asense@ for lighted knowledge. We seek to apply the first when we try to Amake things feel right.@ We make use of the latter when we try to Amake sense of things.@ I place both these phrases in italics to imply that they are meant as metaphors or colloquial expressions rather than literally. Feeling, for example, is literally about emotions; but here I do not refer to bodily emotions except in a metaphorical sense. Feels right may have some real emotional components, but mostly it is a metaphor meaning like feelings instead of a literal emotion, such as, mad, sad, glad, or scared.
Likewise with making sense; this too is ultimately a metaphor because sense is not literally intended. No bodily sense is required for this type of Asense.@ Sense as a metaphor implies coordinated pieces of data which may have been acquired from literal senses (eyes, ears, etc.,), but also may have come from written or language data. In making sense we Aweigh@ one piece of information against another; how do these two bits of data Aadd up@? How can we harmonize discordant pieces of information which are all related to the same subject?
Feels right as a phrase for affirming dark knowledge probably evolved because thought related words had already been attached to left brain or lighted knowledge which is acquired through language-based mental activity. Only emotionally related words, such as, feeling, were left for naming this primary way of knowing. In like manner sense as a metaphor for Athinking@ may have arisen because mind related words were recognized as inadequate for clearly articulating the second type of knowing. Somehow Aintellectual@ knowledge needed to be tied to the literal senses to give it the Aweight@ it properly deserves.
However the phrases may have come to be, they do now seem to me to be the best and clearest ways of referring to these two distinctive types of knowledge. Dark knowledge feels right and lighted knowledge makes sense. One other reason for noting the metaphorical aspects of each is to be aware that neither is literal or finally separable from the other. Body knowledge also involves mind, just as head knowledge involves body. Physical and mental may allow useful distinctions, but in the final analysis dark knowledge requires Amental activity@ just as lighted knowledge is also rooted in physical senses. Both begin with bodily perceptions made possible through physical senses, and each concludes with Athinking@ which requires mind. In both cases physical perceptions are culminated in mental conclusions. AThinking@ is literally required for both, even if thought-related words are more often commandeered for intellectual pursuits, leaving emotional words for describing the ways of dark knowledge.
Now for analysis and clarification: what does feels right imply? What is the meaning of making sense? How does the process of concluding dark knowledge compare with the process of concluding lighted knowledge?
Feels right represents a harmonious summary of all one=s dark knowledge, just as makes sense stands for a harmonious merging of all the Afacts@ available to one reaching such a reasonable conclusion. Feels right data can be summarized as body knowledge, and then broken down into two major categories: inherited and acquired. First and far greater is the knowledge brought by genes from one generation to the next. This includes all that we are born Aknowing,@ primarily about survival and reproduction, with no learning or Aeducation@ required. It ranges from how to pump blood, digest food, defecate, and resist disease to how to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
The second, and far lessor, part of dark knowledge is gained from personal experienceBthat is, from literal sense experiences of each individual in his or her particular life circumstances. These are the things learned in the proverbial School Of Hard Knocks, as distinguished from those acquired from public education or private reading. This body of knowledge may be called experiential as distinguished from academic. It is what we learned from living with our particular patents in the particular place we were born with the particular siblings, relatives, and friends we encountered in the process of growing up. Like our fingerprints, this second part of dark knowledge is always unique to each individual because no two persons ever have exactly the same experiences in life, even if they are in the same family and share the same circumstances.
Together this inherited and acquired dark knowledge is mediated to awareness through such crudely named concepts as: desires, wants, yens, cravings, impulses, and inclinations. Since, in order to be languaged (translated into left brain symbols), all such experiences must also be placed (Aeverything=s got to be somewhere@), they may be located Ain my bones,@ or Ain my guts,@ or Ain my heart.@ AIn my heart (bones or guts) I know what is right.@ All these are metaphorical ways of pointing with language to processes which are literally un-language-able, and yet, in order to be communicated about, must be formed with words. The process of bringing such dark knowledge into awareness involves weighing, merging, and/or coordinating various desires, wants, etc., into one harmonious whole form which then feels right. Other terms related to dark knowledge include: intuition, sixth sense, and ESP.
Because the various perceptions which make up dark knowledge exist out of consciousness (Ain the bones,@ e.g.) the process of assimilating these diverse bits of inherited and acquired data seems to be apart from one=s sense of him/herself. Thus with the conclusions of dark knowledge there is always a sense of Ait coming to me@Bthat the Aanswer just came to me.@ In order to fit in with language based on objects in space and time, feels right conclusions, like all else, must be placed and timed. Since it is obvious that AI (my conscious sense of myself),@ don=t make these decisions, then language requires them to Acome from@ some other place or person. To satisfy this language requirement various explanations have been concocted throughout recorded (language-able) history. If one knows something but doesn=t consciously know how he knows it, then it must have Acome to him.@ This raises the logical question: From whom? Or where? Various answers devised to fit in with the available language structure include: gods, demons, muses, Avoices,@ dreams, or such vague responses as, Asomething just told me to do such and such.@
However this literally un-language-able process is pointed to with words, the summary honest sense of the event is that Ait comes to one@ rather than being made up or created by oneself. The Aanswer@ may Acome to me in a dream,@ or through the Avoices of my muses,@ or, if I am religiously oriented, I may say that AGod told me ....@ Or I may simply note, without creating a source, that Ait popped into my mind.@ However it is explained or silently acknowledged, dark knowledge made knowable in awareness seems to magically appear. One may have to work to make a room, a painting, or an event feel right, but in the final analysis such conclusions are more clearly given rather than gotten or self-made.
Consequently, humility is more often associated with truly creative dark knowledge conclusions which feel right than is pride. It is hard to Afeel proud@ of what seems to Ajust come to you.@
Acknowledging dark knowledge, bringing it to feels right summaries, is more a matter of Anerve@ or faith than of conscious effort. In fact, conscious Aworking at@ trying to feel right about any matter is more likely to backfire or delay the process than to help. With dark knowledge one best Alets on to@ what is known; the key issue is like Awork@ than like Aallowing.@ Courage is the requirement for acknowledging into awareness that which already exists in dark spaces of genes and prior experience.
Since most repressions are pragmatic at the time they are made, and become habitual in time, the process of acknowledging dark knowledge often requires Aunrepressing@ or Aopening oneself up@ to that which has been practically Aforgotten.@ Such a process inevitably involves facing and confronting old fears which were reasonably to begin with, but may now be habits only. Still, as we all know, Aold habits are hard to break,@ no matter how they were formed. This adage is doubly so when it comes to resurrecting dark knowledge suppressed in service of early survival.
Paradoxically, knowing dark knowledge is as natural and easy as breathing; in fact, breathing (knowing how to), et al, is but one primary component of dark knowledge. Even small children know their dark knowledge with no education or guidance required. We all arrive on the human scene with full grasp of the wealth of the genetic part of our given dark knowledge. Knowing how to suck, for example, like how to breath, is but a second major element in dark knowingBwhat we are born with. And so on.
The problem, however, is not with the natural ease of knowing dark knowledge as we are born knowing, but to return to this early knowing after years of learning to forget (deny/repress) it. The adult challenge in knowing dark knowledge is becoming able to Abe as little children@ after years of difficult learning how to Aact grown up.@ Memes, by definition, are primarily at odds with genes plus acquired dark knowledge. To the degree that one learns to live comfortably with memes (social directives) one will predictably be out of touch with genetic awareness.
A second problem I must encounter in thinking/writing about this subject lies in the fact that since dark knowledge is naturally un-languaged and literally impossible to capture in words, the path toward it is equally difficult to word. Although dark knowledge is easy to know (before we learn not to), it is hard to tease both it and the way toward it into language which is rooted in lighted knowledge concepts. In other words, knowing dark knowledge is not difficult; but finding language about the path toward it is.
Even so, if one is to make sense of (view from a left brain perspective) this vitally important human quest we have no other option. Somehow I must use words if I am to think about Ahow to do it.@ This is my attempt here.
As already noted, metaphors and colloquialisms (a form of metaphor) seem to be my best, indeed only, way of trying to language this essentially unlanguable subject. Accepting this limitation, I begin: The best metaphorical phrase I have yet found for pointing out the path to dark knowledge is Awhat I feel like doing.@ The way toward feeling right lies through the forest of what I feel like at the time. Or, to use a noun, as subjects require, desire or Awant to=s,@ are the best name I know for the what=s I feel like. To form a sentence about this challenging verbal task: The path to knowing dark knowledge is called desire. Or, stated in degrees, as experience is always known: the more I am knowing what I want to do, the more I am in touch with my dark knowledge. Conversely, the less I know what I want at any given point in time (another concession to language based knowledge), the less I know my own dark knowledge. Not to know Awhat I want to do@ is to be completely out of touch with dark knowledge.
I hasten to add for clarity and self-protection, knowing what I feel like doing is certainly not synonymous with doing what I feel like doing. Holding dark knowledge in awareness is not the same as acting it out. One can, theoretically, know with complete clarity the full extent of his dark knowledge and yet do nothing. My subject here is only about knowing-in-awareness, in the silence and stillness of being, not about behavior or Awhat we do about@ what we are knowing.
Pragmatics about actions are another subject; here I am only dealing with knowing desires (the path to dark knowledge) consciously, in contrast with being out of touch with Awhat I feel like doing.@ My summary observation is: the best way to invite dark knowledge into the light of awareness is to be attentive to desiresBthat is, to remain alert to Awhat I want to do.@ If and when I wish to know my dark knowledge, I look and listen for, and remain open to Awhat I feel like doing. When I don=t know what I want to do, when what I feel like doing is lost from my awareness, then I am out of touch with my dark knowledge. If I want to remain in conscious contact with my dark knowledge I never stray far from desire.
I choose the name desire and the phrases Awhat I want to do@ or Afeel like doing,@ to represent and summarize many other assorted words which may be clearer for other personsBsuch terms as: inclinations, wishes, drives, pleasures, Afeel goods,@ yens, cravings, lusts, and many more. For ease of writing, I choose the single word desire to represent all such names for what I take to be the best clues to the path toward dark knowledge.
To posit desire as the royal road to the hidden city of primary human wealth, here called Dark Knowledge, also calls for further exploration. What is the content of desire? What are its hierarchies? If I am attuned to my desires, what exactly am I knowing? What are the natural subjects of Awanting@?
The most primal and essential subjects of desire are genetic needs for physical survival, namely, breath, food, elimination of waste products (shitting and peeing), and bodily comfort (fitting temperature and freedom from physical threats, such as, deprival of air, chocking, and bodily harm). Desires related to these human essentials for survival are variously named as: hunger, wanting to pee or Ado-do,@ to be warmer or cooler (have temperature adjusted to range of maximum comfort), to be safe, to move (for activation of muscles), to rest and sleep when tired.
The next level of desiring may be summarized as doingBthat is, engaging in activities which first of all aim at satisfaction of the above noted essentials for good survival, then at activating capacities primarily evolved to take care of these needs. This latter part of doing phases into expanded pleasures which become humanly possible after basic necessities are tended to. After, for instance, enough food to satisfy hunger desires, children are inclined to play with food. Senses which are most primally focused on satisfying essential needsBfor sight, sound, smell, touch, become available for further exercise after food and comfort are satisfied. That is, we naturally want to see, hear sounds, smell, feel, etc. This is called curiosity, but is basically the desire to activate inherited sensual capacities. If we can do, we want to.
Emotional capacities have also evolved to supplement physical abilities aimed at satisfying desires. Basically these are anger and fearBanger for mobilizing aggressive advance, and fear for augmenting hasty retreat when threats seem overwhelming. Then there is pleasure and grief (glad and sad), depending on success or failure in our endeavors moved by mad and scared. Certainly there are complex interweavings of this basic four which may be given other names, such as, joy, happiness, etc., but broadly speaking our feeling capacities can be summarized as: mad/scared and glad/sad.
Point: primal desire includes activation of inherited physical and emotional capacities in service of survival and enhanced well being. We naturally want to do things which keep us alive and Afeel good,@ including taste, sound, smell, and touch good. This first major category of desires can also be summarily seen as about selfingBmy coined word for all activities aimed at individual survival and well being, staying alive with maximum personal satisfactions.
In summary, desire is most basically analyzed into selfing activities emerging from activation of primary human capacities evolved for survival and its enhancements. Such desires are judgmentally called Abeing selfish.@ More than all else we want to be selfing (or Aselfish@). These desires are also noted in the familiar judgment of children: AThey want what they want when they want it.@ And so it is with honest humans of all ages. We naturally desire maximum satisfactions of all instincts and capacitiesBphysical and emotional, evolved for good survival.
The second major arena for desiring emerges from our second most powerful instinct, namely, for self-replication--Areproduction,@ as it is commonly called. We naturally want Ato do@ many things which boil down to satisfying our 600 million year old capacity for replication via sexual means. Gender differences, the basis for sexual reproduction, are immediately relevant in this second source of desire. Male and female desires, both aimed as replication, take different though complementary paths. Male desires, in consort with our evolved role in reproduction, are more focused on activities related to conception, while female desires, also related to evolved responsibilities, are more focused on gestation, birthing, and child rearing functions. In broadest summary, these primal desires may be distinguished as: males want sex and females want security. Men more simply want to Ado it,@ while women more complexly also want conception but much, much more, given their greater responsibilities in the overall process of reproduction.
In summary, desire, though immensely diverse in its particular arenas of activation, may be broadly seen through the windows of selfing and self-replication, Abeing selfish@ and Abeing sexy.@ What we most naturally want boils down to: staying alive, enhancing the circumstances for living, and Amaking babies (plus all that goes with it).@
Dark knowledge is best represented with metaphors. Thus words are chosen from names for objects or facts, but are intended as representative rather than literal. Colloquial language seems best. In this light we may say that dark knowledge is heart or body knowledge. It is Aemotional@; it Afeels right,@ is subjective or internal. In contrast, lighted knowledge is of the head or mind. It is Areasonable@; it Amakes sense,@ and is objective or external. The first is about what we Awant to@ or would do; the second is about what we Ashould do@ or will do, Awhether we want to or not.@ The first is gene knowledge; the second, meme knowledge. With dark knowledge we say AI see...@ Lighted knowledge focuses on what Athey see.@
Dark knowledge is Acommon sense@ or conventional wisdom. It Afeels right.@ It is what you know Ain your heart.@ Lighted knowledge is Abook learning@ or Aeducation.@ It Amakes sense.@ It is Ahead knowledge.@ Dark knowledge is Ain here@ or subjective knowing, as contrasted with its opposite which is Aout there@ or objective. The first fits Aemotional@ knowing; the second fits with Ascientific@ data.
Dark knowledge is from the lower brain stem, the limbic system, or Aright brain.@ With lighted knowledge Ait doesn=t matter how you feel.@ For example, smoking involves sucking and genetic as well as emotional pleasures associated with this early necessity for survival. It fits well with dark knowledge. But lighted information includes data about lung cancer and death. With dark knowledge one knows to sleep when tired; with lighted knowledge one knows about values of cleanliness and brushing your teeth. The first knowing wants sweets because they taste good. The second knowing knows about calories and fat.
The path toward dark knowledge is through desire. The way to lighted knowledge is via the most reasonable external data. Most implies all available information, or widespread data. Reasonable means that all such diverse data is weighted together, added up. The highest conclusion from such weighing is either/or. External means objective, uncolored by Afeeling,@ personal history, or other subjective data.
Information is critical to lighted knowledge, but incidental to dark. ADon=t confuse me with the facts@ is typical of dark knowledge thinking, while AWhat=s feeling got to do with anything?@ is typical of head knowledge cut off from heart knowing.
Lighted knowledge is counter-intuitiveBthat is, known in a way completely other than senses alone (perceptions by 5 senses or by a 6th sense called intuition, ESP, etc.). It is only known by another capacity called reason, logical deduction, or Ahead sense@ in contrast with all bodily sensing (basic 5 plus 1 sixth). All such perceptual knowledge, including genetic-based sensing and personally learned through experience (what I have seen/heard myself), falls into a completely different category of experience, which may or may not all correlate with lighted knowledge. Often the two forms of knowing are completely at odds with each other; e.g., senses say the sun revolves around the earth. Only via lighted knowledge can we discern the opposite, and this is certainly counter-intuitive. We may or may not know that the earth is revolving around the sun, but we can never know this by Afeelings,@ intuition, or any other body knowledge, save its fragile capacity for logical deduction.
Many great philosophers, unwilling to settle for the shallow confines of intellectual atheism so common among scientists and other intelligent folks who try to free themselves from the power of images with the fragile tools of reason, remain alive to mystery by conceiving an unknowable (by experiential knowledge) transcendent realm beyond this empirical world.
I credit them for their nerve in daring to doubt all certainties, and for their courage in remaining partially open to the profound mystery underlying and forever bounding all human knowledge; but I think they still evade the fuller challenges of creating themselves when they use logic and language, and new categories which still seem to me to be evasions of the faith necessary for fuller humanity.
Whatever the truth may be for them, plus limitations in understanding what they mean by what they write, what I see is this: In reality, the human experience of transcendence is inherent in immanence. Transcendence (the Aother dimension,@ heaven, or Aother realm@) is immanence embraced. But when immanence is denied or suppressed, then transcendence is conceived as Aout there,@ separate and apart from one=s selfBas in an otherworldly heaven (if one is religious), or Aanother realm@ (if one is secular). In either case, whether one is religious or not, transcendence is taken to be external to selfBnot inherent, but foreign; not Ain here@ but rather Aout there@ apart from I.
Dark knowledge emerges from coordinated perceptions; lighted knowledge is a product of synthesized concepts, which are themselves made from long held perceptions and de-coded images. Time, for example, is an ancient concept born of long held perceptions of processes. Just as clocks are mechanical inventions, so time which they measure is a mental invention (a concept) of man. Neither clocks nor time exist in the natural world apart from human inventions and concepts.
Unlike time, processes exist in reality apart from human perception. AThings are always changing@ literallyBthat is, processes are operative in nature. Many of these, such as, wind, rain, weather, and planets, are humanly perceivable. These perceptions, long held, may be formed into concepts, which in turn can be coordinated into the summary notion of time.
Point: time, unlike processes which it measures, is a human creation. So with space and objects. Objects, space, and time are our 3 basic concepts from which all others arise. Concepts are rooted in perceptions, but may be cut off in time, held in mind space alone, and acquire existence apart from any personal perceptions. Then they seem to be objective, with no subjective roots in perception; but this is only because existential connections have been severed (forgotten or repressed).
If the path to dark knowledge is desire, the way to lighted knowledge is reason. We connect with our genetic history through awareness of Awhat I want to do@; we embrace our potential future through sense-making of the past, adding up all we know into reasonable moves in each present moment. In such appropriate actions, we become the wholeness of who we are.
But reason is to be understood as more than academic logic; that too, but I intend the word in its more colloquial senseBas in, Amaking sense@ of all available data, emotional as well as intellectual, subjective and objective.
This larger definition of reason, implied in the expression, AOh, come on now, be reasonable,@ begins with common sense (the essence of dark knowledge), but extends to include factoring in all available Ascientific@ information also.
Natural thinking is Athinking for yourself,@ Amaking up your own mind.@ It is not Abelieving what you=re told,@ accepting the thoughts of others. Natural thinking involves doubting what you hear. Natural is like animals and children do.
Analysis: natural thinking involves weighing and adding up diverse data into harmonious conclusions; Abeautifying@ apparently contradictory information. It is Amaking sense@ of data. And data includes perceptions and images (shapes of projected perceptions). Perceptions are weighed directly, e.g., hot/cold and comfortable. Images are de-coded back into perceptions and then weighed; e.g., Santa Claus and the chimney problem.
Thinking is reasoning, being reasonable. In such thinking the rules of logic do apply. In logic it is this or that, rather than both/and. Differences are merged into one whole, synthesizing divergent urges into one summary desire: AI want...@
The substance/content of natural thinking is satisfying natural desires, that is, getting/having/doing what AI want@ which is itself summarized in categories of selfing/sexing. All benevolence or Ahelping others@ is rooted in selfing/sexing amplifiedBthat is, higher selfing (giving a little now for more later, or Aplanting seeds@ for love). It is taking care of one=s ownBthat is, genetic selfishness for extended survival. It may appear benevolent (unselfish) but only because the selfing goal is hidden like mother=s Alove,@ which is the essence of deceptive Aself sacrifice.@ What looks like love and self -sacrifice is actually the use of offspring to extend one=s own genetic self.
Group sacrifice, as in patriotism, involves memes in service of genes. ALaying down life for friends@ as the apex of agape is the ultimate in selfing, not, as it appears, becoming completely unselfish. There is no such thing as literal Aunselfishness@; all such is cloaked selfishness.
Decision is the culmination of reason. When the process of weighing all available data is completed, decision is the result.
If the process of reasoning is likened to pyramid building, in each successive layer data is synthesized into increasingly more concentrated summaries. Multiple bits of data are harmonized into more and more succinct groupings until finally only one apex is reached. If the base, the first level, is an uncoordinated collection of many units of information, after reasoning they are finally dissolved into one synthesis: AI will do so and so,@ or, AI want to...,@ or, This seems right to me.@
The process may also be called Amaking up my mind,@Bsummarizing multiple bits of data, including dark knowledge allowed into awareness (impressions, inclinations, desires) and gathered lighted knowledge (information received from others, past and present).
In healthy decisions each body of knowledge is entertained carefully. AWhat I want to do,@ for example, representing the apex of body knowledge, is weighed against, Awhat I should do (the culmination of head knowledge).@ Depending on circumstances, either one or the other will be weighed more heavily. In some situations, such as, where to go on vacation or when to rest, dark knowledge (desire) will be given major consideration. In others, like when to go to work or where to go on the job, objective data will prevail (in wise decisions).
Guidelines may be established for which body of knowledge will receive most consideration in which circumstances, but finally I know of no inevitable rules for one over the other. A good guideline might be, for example, in deciding whether or not to brush your teeth after eating, to most always weigh lighted knowledge the heaviest (Ayou should brush after every meal@). Still, there are circumstances in which dark knowledge will more reasonably prevail (ABut I=m too sleepy and don=t want to brush my teeth@).
The more relevant issue than: which matters most?, is remaining alert to entertaining and weighing each in every circumstance. In almost no circumstances can one or the other (want-to or ought-to) be wisely given all weight. Nearly always, both count in varying degrees.
When language is understood to be a tool of self communication, rather than a sacred mental icon, then superlatives become a legitimate, indeed necessary, language tool for expressing the power and true nature of experienced dark knowledge. For example, AThis is the worst I=ve ever felt,@ or, AThat is the biggest tree I=ve ever seen,@ are not to be taken literally, as we left brainers are inclined to do, but as accurate metaphorical representations of real perceptual experience.
I am considering the relationship between gene and meme-directed thinking, that is, between natural and contrived mental activity. How much of my Athinking@ arises from normal genetic givens, and how much is directed by unrecognized social forcesBmemes?
First, definitions: gene-directed thinking is normal, natural mental activity uninfluenced by socialization; it is the way small children think before thought modes are diverted into use by society rather than self. Meme-directed thinking is the brain in service of social forces. In the first type, thinking is creativeBthat is, a natural progression in the Creative Process from step 2, imaging, to step 3, conceiving. In such normal mental activity perceptions (step 1) are followed by images shaped from them; then imaged perceptions are de-coded or changed into conceptions which are consequently weighted one against the other in the process of Amaking sense@ or Aadding up@ and fitting diverse notions into a symmetrical or sensible whole.
In the second type, natural creativity is at a minimum. Brain use is given to sorting through prior learning and arriving at what one Ashould think, say, or do.@ Meme Athinking@ is not original or personal, except in regard to what one has learned as a person about how to best fit in with his or her given circumstances. When the larger picture is recognized meme Athinking@ may be seen as scripted, subject to being learned ahead of time and merely repeated in present circumstances.
With normal thinking one makes sense and speaks of his personal experience. He Asays what he is actually thinking.@ But with social thinking one does not Athink for himself@; instead he entertains the thoughts (beliefs) of others and Asays what he is supposed to say.@ His notions are acquired from his social context (home, school, church, etc.) rather than evolved from his own experience. He believes Athe party line@ of the groups in which he finds himself, and says what is in keeping with the accepted notions or beliefs of those around him. He Athinks the right thoughts@ and Asays the right words.@
Even though some mental activity is required for both types of thinking, only the first is fully engaging of the human capacity for making sense or expressing one=s personal experience. Certainly some creativity is necessary for artfully determining how others want you to act or what they want to hear, but such social skills are acquired by imitating and acting rather than by progression along the natural Creative Process. Brain circuits must be at a relative minimum in meme-directed thinking in comparison with the fuller demands of truly creative thought.
Although creative thinking Afor oneself@ seems to be perfectly natural for small children, it appears to be commonly diverted at early ages into social thinkingBthat is, acquiring and following memes present in one=s surroundings. If, for instance, one is born into a certain religion (e.g., into a Catholic family and community) then his mental energies are soon given over to acquiring and understanding Catholic beliefs and behaving in accord with Catholic rules. His own natural thinking about the same subjects is likely to be stopped or laid aside in favor of commonly accepted doctrines and behavior patterns.
Once acquired, however, accepted beliefs are assumed to be one=s own thinking. After I became a Baptist, being born into a Baptist family, I soon came to Abelieve the same way,@ consciously unaware that any outsider might have predicted Amy@ beliefs if he knew where I came from. The same is true with learned social scripts, e.g., for meeting others; once we acquire social lines, such as: AHow are you?@ and AFine, thank you,@ they seem to be our ownBas though we had personally thought of saying these words.
The point: memes learned and absorbed into one=s sense of self then seem to be one=s own thinking, even though an outsider may recognize that such a so-called Aconversation@ is actually following a fairly predictable script based on social learning rather than personal expression. We tend to say what we have learned (from others) to say, just as we tend to act Alike we are supposed to@ rather than Alike we want to,@ that is, to speak and do what memes direct rather than what genes incline us toward.
Examining myself and speculating about those I know and hear, I conclude that private Athinking@ tends to be about 70-80% meme-directed. Once we are in proximity of others I figure that gene-directed or normal thinking drops from 20-30% to near zero, as we slip smoothly and unconsciously into well learned social scripts which evolve from operative meme powers. Even in private, learned patterns of thought, that is, meme scripts tend to dominate mental activity.
Ordinary conversation is, I observe, about 99% scripted or meme-directed with only 1% or less of our words flowing from natural or creative thinking. The only creativity involved in such social exchanges is figuring out which memes are most applicable with the given person and circumstances, and how to shape the pre-learned patterns so as to sound originalBin other words, how to appear creative without ever stepping on a scripted line, or how to act sincere without risking any personal revelation which is not meme-approved.
Natural thinking, as evolved by genes sans memes, is simply normal progression in the Creative Process. Personal experience which begins with perception (Stage 1), flows into images (Stage 2), is further expanded into conception (Stage 3) which sets the stage for Amaking sense@ of what one has experienced. Such thinking is expressive of genetic goalsBthat is, directed toward the fulfillment of genetic directives, primarily for survival and its enhancement, plus reproduction. When we are thinking normally we think about that which will supply and enhance personal needs and desires, and will ensure the future of our genes. In common language, we think about Ataking care of ourselves, getting what we want, and making babies.@ Overall, natural thinking is about selfing and sex.
In terms of self, gene thinking is AI thinking@Bthat is, about Awhat I think@ in contrast with Awhat they think.@ Its conceptions are an honest decoding of one=s own experience; they are about Awhat it=s like to me,@ or, Ahow I see things@ based on what I have personally perceived. As such, gene thinking=s genesis is within rather than without. It is always original, personal, and honestly expressive of what one has truly known first hand.
This does not mean that natural thinking ignores the thinking of others, or that it does not take it into account in drawing its conclusions; but Awhat they think (a powerful meme)@ is simply one more bit of perceptual data, like how they look or smell, which is considered along with all other perceptual knowledge. It has no magical powers or supreme value beyond any other type of personal information. For instance, in deciding what to do via natural thinking one does not look immediately toward Awhat will they think@ or Awhat do they want me to do,@ while suppressing attention to personal experience, inclinations, and desires. This is the nature of meme thinking (amplified next), not gene thinking.
Nor is natural thinking caught up in rebelling against Awhat they think@Bwhich is simply one more way of being ultimately dictated by memes. It simply listens to and considers the thinking of others, as it listens to the sound of wind or traffic noisesBthat is, as just one more source of data for perceptions, imaging, and conceiving. In natural thinking there is no idolizing of any perceptual data, including the thoughts of others. In this mode the important issue is Awhat I think,@ which includes what I perceive from the minds of others, but it never revolves around of comes from Awhat they think.@
With these distinctions between the thinking of self and others, I can turn now to further amplification of genetic or self-thinking. As noted, it is, first of all, simply normal progression in the Creative Process which is itself but a name for being a natural creature. All of one=s perceptionsBwhat I have seen, heard, felt, smelled, etc., are allowed their natural evolution into Stage 2 images. That is, sense data is transformed into visual pictures or Afeelings@ which are shaped into images, such as, physical or mental objects like trees, flowers, or ghosts.
In normal genetic progression there is no attempt to suppress, deny, or otherwise negate any image which may arise; in fact, the opposite is trueBthat is, one who is still genetically in tune openly strives for honest images. Instead, for instance, of trying not to see whatever appears Aout there@ or Ain here,@ one tries to see whatever shows up, be it an apple or an angel. Images are entertained however they come. The natural progression from perceptions to images is affirmed and encouraged when one is thinking naturally. Even if such honest images, be they tangible objects or intangible feelings and appearances, are unseen by others or are irrational and threatening, still they are courageously accepted as one=s own.
Such normal images may be shaped as things-out-there (objects, like trees or demons), or things-in-here--impressions, desires, Afeelings,@ urges, things-I-feel-like-doing, fantasies, dreams, or other Aimaginations.@ The critical issue in these early stages of natural thinking is not the shape of the images, but that they are welcomed and freely entertained whatever their nature. Any degree of denial or repression of images which evolve naturally from sense perceptions is a limitation on genetic thought.
Obviously I use the word thought in its larger sense here, as an overall name for the mental activity of the first three phases of the Creative Process. In common usage perceiving and imaging are seen as Ajust happening@ rather than as primal stages in thinking. Since all images seem to Ajust come to us@ rather than being of our own making, we rarely recognize them as personal products of imaginary Athinking.@ Yet they are, I suggest, but the earlier phases of what will later be recognized as Athoughts@ if we move on to Stage 3, conceiving.
But natural thinking does not stop at the stage of images; just as we easily and normally move from perceiving to imaging, so we with equal ease move on toward decoding our images, changing them from mental objects into conceptsBAmaking sense@ of the diverse and apparently irrational perceptions and images, present and past, which show up in awareness.
Such decoding or translation of images into concepts may take many forms, some tangible and some intangible. The name conceiving for the third stage of the Creative Process reflects my own prejudices. Were I an artist of another type I might have chosen the name sculpting or painting for this next phase of normal process. By conceiving I literally mean transforming images which seem to Acome to me@ into some form which honestly expresses Athe way I see them@ or Ahow I see things.@ AMaking sense@ in language forms, also called Abeing reasonable@ or Afiguring out how things work,@ is simply one way of decoding imagesBand the one I have most commonly taken.
But such translations may also take many other forms. Perhaps most commonly images are translated into actions rather than paintings or ideas. In this case one simply Alives out@ his images, with no attempt to shape them into sculptures or notions. But although this may be the most common way of translating images, it is, I believe, also the most dangerous, both for society and for personal salvation. All too easily such translations in which one is literally giving shape to imaged experience in outward actions become mere dictation by untranslated images. One then remains possessed by his images, rather than translating and in effect owning them. A life of possession by images may be temporarily exciting and powerfully moving in society; but it remains a short-circuit of the fuller Creative Process and is more predictably devastating in the long run, both for others and self.
Painting, sculpting, decorating, and other forms of shaping materials or manipulating circumstances are, when done honestly, other ways of decoding imagesBtranslating formed-perceptions into representative shapes. What I attempt with words, as in this essay, is, I think, what my friend Jim attempts with paints and canvass. He gives shape to his images, translating them into paintings, while I also give shape to my images, translating them into ideas. As paints are his medium, words are mine. Others may translate their images by giving them tangible shape in rooms or houses. They Aget a picture (acquire an image)@ of how they want a space to appear, then set about, for instance, decorating a room, just as Jim may begin a painting or I may start an essay. Literally, when done honestly, all are Aconfessions,@ that is, translations of inward images into outward forms.
Artists of canvass, clay, face, or house, may not consider themselves to Abe thinking,@ while they are actively involved in translating their images, but as I understand the natural Creative Process our progression is the same, only via physical rather than mental forms. They decode images into material shapes; I into ideological forms.
By meme thinking I mean the way people think when they are directed by memes rather than genes. There is, of course, no such thing as either gene or meme thinking in the sense of either genes or memes themselves thinking. Both operate by other means. But people comprised of genes and living in the presence of memesBas we all are, do think. It is our human thinking when guided by memes rather than genes that I consider now.
Meme thinking is deceptive because it implies a different way of thinking, in contrast with gene thinking. More literally meme thinking could be called non-thinking from a human perspective; that is, when people are engaged in meme thinking rather than gene thinking, they are essentially not-thinking as persons. Only a minimal amount of Athink-ability@ is activated, while in effect accepted memes are Athinking for us.@ Instead of Athinking for ourselves,@ we are, while meme thinking, letting our memes Athink for us.@ We simply follow the dictates of meme directives whatever they may be.
The actual thinking of a person while engaged in meme thinking is limited to the discernment required for determining the current line of meme thought. If, in this mode, memes are personified in a personBsay a parent, then one engaged in meme thinking is simply engaged in trying to figure out what the parent thinks in order to acquire thoughts to go by. Some mental activity is required for picking up on the thoughts of others; but this Athinking to figure out what they are thinking@ is distinctively different from gene thinking in which one is only trying to discern (Abe reasonable about@) his own experience.
In fact, the less one Athinks for himself@ or Alistens to his genes speak,@ the more easily he may discern Awhat they are thinking@ since his own thoughts are not present to get in the way of perceiving others. Literally I surmise that meme thinking is a product of the human capacity for imitating, and that being a primary component of the frontal lobe of the brain. In this case a capacity which probably evolved for imitating successful actions and sounds of others is simply applied to imitating thoughtsBinward rather than outward aspects of others. Obviously, imitating thoughts is more complex than imitating actions, hence more mental activity is required. But the essential point here is to distinguish this copying ability type thinking from the actual reasoning which emerges from gene guidance.
The familiar observation Amonkey see, monkey do,@ is probably an exaggeration of the actual copying capacities of primates, as is our term Aaping@ when we mean copying as we assume apes do. Current research indicates that only humans have highly evolved Aaping@ capacities, and that primates and other animals learn by other means, such as, operant conditioning. People now Aape@ easily, whereas apes must learn in other ways. More likely we project our own capacities on to our older cousins. But literal language aside, and utilizing our accepted metaphors, meme thinking is Aaping@ the thoughts of others, taking notions from Aout there@ and copying them into our own minds as though they were our own. As such they do not represent logical conclusions based on personal experience, but are simply meme ideas copied and somehow absorbed into our own minds.
Because we imitate so easily and naturally, thoughts as well as actions, once an imitation, an Aaping,@ has been perfected we no longer recognize it as copied if indeed we ever did. Such meme thinking is easily assumed to be our own. For instance, religious beliefs easily traced to our parents and the church we attended with them, are commonly copied and then assumed to be what we personally believeBas though we had Athought them out for ourselves.@
In summary, meme thinking involves a minimal amount of brain activity, only those portions of the brain evolved for copying from others. More literally it might be called thought copying or mental aping. If we could apply the accepted word mime to the mind, meme thinking could be seen as mental miming. It is Athinking@Bbut only to a small degree and probably with different parts of the brain. Whatever the anatomical differences may be, the nature of gene and meme thinking are distinctly different. Gene thinking follows from activating the universal human capacity for the Creative Process, while meme thinking comes from imitating meme notions personified in other persons (or stories, books, tales, etc.Bcultural lore).
In colloquial terms, gene thinking is Athinking for yourself@ and meme thinking is acting like you are thinking while in fact you give body (mind?) to thoughts of others and only pretend (often to yourself as well as others) that they are your own thoughts. Gene thinking is the process of summarizing the reasonable results of one=s personal data; meme thinking is the process of discerning and aping the thoughts of othersBwhich may in fact only be meme notions which they too acquired from others.
Both reasoning and imitating are evolved human capacities. All normal persons can do both. Each ability is also critically important in living well in social groups; we need, in order to be successful, to activate both capacities. My attempt here, however, is distinguish the two in regard to mental activity, especially as related to the Creative Process and Awell being@Bor personal salvation as I understand it. I need to see this difference more clearly so that I can apply the two capacities more wisely in everyday lifeBthat is, to reasoning (gene thinking) in the Creative Process of being myself, and to imitating (meme thinking) while navigating the perilous waters of social relationships.
More often in the past I have confused what turned out to be meme thinking for my own thoughts (gene thinking). I have also feared and avoided Abeing reasonable@ (engaging in gene thinking) whenever it brought me into conflict with current memesBwhich was/is most of the time. Consequently I am still full of (possessed by) meme thinking which I am yet to filter out from my own genetic directives. I easily confuse aped thoughts acquired via my excellent imitative capacities with honest thinking fitted to my own experience. I also suspect that much of what I take at the time to be logical thinking for myself (gene thinking) is actually but reactive ideation, mental rebellion cloaked as personal thought. Certainly I have been rebellious in mind as well as body; but the former rebellions are even easier to cloak to myself than the latter.
But when I am able to distinguish gene from meme thinkingBfar easier in others than in myself, these are some of the differences I note: first and foremost, gene thinking is far more difficult than meme thinking. Creating is simply harder than copying; aping is easier than reasoning. The difference in difficulty is, however, probably more related to habit and familiarity than to the processes themselves. Long acquiescence to memes and suppression of genes likely contributes to the challenges I face in coming to truly think for myself as well as copy the thoughts of others.
True, in all likelihood, gene thinking takes more brain circuits in operation than does meme thinking. Imitating anything must be simpler (take less brain power) than creating anythingBthoughts included. In existential language, acting is simpler than being. Its easier to perform than to be, to ape than to create. But the true challenge with gene thinking must lie less in the greater degree of mental activity involved than in the necessity of confronting habitual meme thinking, along with the social consequences of contradicting it. Like Atalking back to your mother,@ gene thinking is often dangerous in society (in the presence of others).
In reality, apart from fear of memes, thinking for oneself is exciting and fun, far more so than merely aping the thoughts of others. Probably the fact that greater activation of personal brain capacity is required is the source of its greater satisfaction. We are less likely to Aget tired of thinking@ than we are of Agetting bored by not thinking.@ Aping and acting, including imitating the thinking of others, may be fun to some degree, especially when public accolades follow; but creating anything, especially a reasonable thought, must certainly be far more satisfying simply because more human capacity is activated in the latter than the former. We have to be more whole (more united within) in order to create; we can act well (often even better) while split within ourselves. Probably it is this difference which makes any degree of creative thinking more fulfilling in the long run than even the most perfected acting, including aped thinking.
Another difference is that gene thinking takes more faith than skill, while meme thinking takes skill, but hardly any faith. We need nerve to create, but only practice to imitate. Both are inherited capacitiesBgifts, if you please, but natural creativity requires more completely Abeing ourselves@ while equally natural Aimitavity (ape-ability)@ can be activated, even artfully, with relatively little individuality required. In fact, it seems that imitative (acting) skills are more easily perfected when attention-to-self is minimized. The less creative one is being as an individual person the more devoted he may be to Alearning lines@ and aping emotions, thereby becoming an effective actor.
Of course truly creative acting does require personal presence. The greatest stage actors probably combine personal creativity (Abeing themselves@) with performing in roles (reasoning and aping); but short of such greatnessBwhere most of us actors find ourselves, acting is a far easier endeavor without the risks and faith required of personal thinking while performing at the same time. More easily and commonly we simply ape the ideas and emotions of othersBthat is, engage in meme thinking, as a way of avoiding the grander challenges of living within the natural Creative Process.
Micah advised: Don=t trust anyone, not your best friendBnot even your wife! (Micah 7:5 L.B.). This biblical advice is sharply in the face of conventional wisdom and one of the most powerful memes. In communal life we are strongly directed by the meme of trust to Abe trusting,@ especially of parents first, teachers/preachers next, friends, then all authorities, politicians, and certainly one=s spouse. So what could Micah have known that is not commonly conveyed by the trust meme?
More specifically, what does knowing have to do with trusting? How are knowledge and trust related? When I am knowing in the real world, outside the Enchanted Forest, who/what, if anyone/thing, am I trusting? First I want to recognize how programmed I have been to ignore Micah=s advice. I have livedBoutside of my theoretical knowledge, as though he was completely wrong. I have certainly honored my parents with trust, tried hard to trust my friends, and surely placed massive trust in my wives. Along the way I have tried to trust teachers, preachers, authority figures, and politicians. I have, in this process, rarely recognized or consciously tried to Atrust myself.@
I have mainly lived, apart from my intellectualizations (I wrote about trust in Milestones some 20 years ago), as though others should be trusted while self is ignored. I have, even when I failed to live up to my ideals of Atrusting others,@ longed for someone to place my trust inBsomeone to hear, accept, and love me, that is, someone I could blindly trust in. In religion I was taught to trust in God. I tried this too, but placing trust in any external sourceBpeople here or gods out there, has proven unreliable in my personal experience. I can obviously be faulted for Anot trying hard enough,@ or for trying to trust people more than I trusted God, but in either case I want now to explore how I find knowing and trusting to be related.
I now believe that Micah was right, rather than just a bitter old man bemoaning a hard life. I think that living in the real world, in touch with reality rather than residing in LaLa Land, is to be constantly aware that danger, even death, is always at handBthat is, that continual vigilance is appropriate to the human condition. Being wisely wary, however, does not mean Abeing suspicious,@ paranoid, or Adistrusting@ as commonly understood. The real line is not between being trusting or being paranoid, but rather in the nature of trusting itself. That is, the critical question is not: who or what should one trust, e.g., God, wife, or things, but rather if one should place trust anywhere Aout there.@
The ideal I now see and seek is to be trusting but to never project or place my trust in any external person, place, or thing, tangible or intangible. I see now that all projected trustBon to Aout theres@ is an escape from the larger challenges of being trusting. I have wanted to trust parents, gods, wives, etc., in order to evade the faith essential for living trustingly. Any object of trust, whether an ethereal God or a present wife, even an objectified self, is an evasion of the natural human condition which calls for being trusting.
The latter distinction, that is, between trusting others or trusting oneself, is closer to truth. It is better (in the sense of remaining true to genes rather than memes) to Atrust yourself@ than to Atrust other people (including God)@; but even this clarity is still confusing in that it requires belief in an objectified self (ego, soul, personality, or I) to place trust in. Within the context of our language perhaps this is the best that we can do with our object based grammar. If I can think of trusting myself without falling into the logical trap of assuming that I have/am a Aself@ to be trusted in, then this is reasonable thought; but then the older advice about trusting God rather than people or circumstances could be equally valid.
The notion of Atrust God but keep your powder dry@ may be the best possible combination truth within our language structure with its inherent limitations. If one means by it something like: Atrust in ultimate reality while doing ever thing you can to take care of yourself,@ then the existential statements which I will now make may also be stated thusly. But I think that those who speak with such double talk are also evading what I will next try to state more clearly for myself.
The trust which I affirm is inherent in the human experience of knowingBthat is, in perceiving, imaging, conceiving, and minding (the Creative Process which I have amplified elsewhere). To be a normal genetically moved human creature (a natural child) is to be knowing via one=s senses and personal experience, and moving/living accordingly. In this natural state, which we rarely see apart from unabused children, one is Agoing by what he/she knows,@ that is, diligently engaged in moving trustingly into the world, constantly seeking what inherited knowledge (genetic structuring) guides one toward.
Even such a child=s motherBthe first major source of commonly projected trust-ability, is not trusted beyond her actual performances with the child. As soon, for example, as she fails to bring enough milk or comfort, a healthy baby cries and begins to seek satisfaction otherwise. When mother is adequate or Agood,@ then an infant may appear to Atrust his mother@; but look what happens as soon as she Alets him down.@ A natural child immediately turns in other directions for continuing the normal Creative Process, that is, for selfing-in-the-world.
I recognize that I equivocate with notions which yet evade stating my current self clearly. I am still Atrying to explain myself@ rather than simply saying what I see, which is this: ideally I trust knowing what I know, that is, my knowing self, rather than any external entity, real or imagined. Like Micah (if he practiced what he preached!), I do not trust people (parents, friends, or even spouse) but rather I continue trustingly in their presence even as I do while I am alone.
If I wish to communicate this way-of-being in colloquial language I may say that AI try to trust myself rather than other people or gods,@ but such a sentence is not literally accurate in that I am no more placing trust in an objectified self than I am in an object other. When I am truly present I am not literally placing trust anywhereBeither Aout there@ or Ain here.@ I am simply being trusting through or in activating knowing. I must also use the participle knowing rather than the noun knowledge, because I am not even placing trust in objectified knowledge which I now have. To trust knowledge is just one step past trusting an object god, friend, or wife.
Being present, as children areBthat is, with capacities for knowing operative, one simply moves/lives trustingly, not with trust projected in or on anything, but rather with the natural confidence (meaning: with-fidelity or faith) inherent in knowing-what-we-know, no matter how limited or extensive such knowledge may be. This is the only type of trust I now seek to activate. I want to get over, move past, my older habits of either projecting trust, looking for others to trust in, being disappointed or Alet down@ when my idolized others turn out to be human after all, or otherwise evading the challenges of faithing.
I now see and recognize the value of the trust meme, the social directive which is first personified in parents and later in politicians, lovers, and all others (ATrust me....@). Things certainly do work better for a group or relationship if we Atrust the other persons (or person)@ involved. But these Athings@ are all related to social structures, not to personal well-being; they are good, we might say, for the salvation of the system, but extremely dangerous for salvation of persons involved in such groups or relationships. The trust meme is in direct conflict with genes which must say, if they say anything at all, Adon=t ever trust anyone or thing out there beyond their immediate utility in satisfying genetic needs.@ Instead genes inform us, as best I now understand them, to trust our own embodied experience onlyBthat is, inherited knowledge (ingrained below the level of consciousness) and gained knowledge personally acquired in the School Of Hard Knocks (from our individual encounters with the world and other persons).
In summary, genes say, in effect, Atrust us@ while memes say with equally loud voice, Atrust us.@ Our inevitable decision is: who shall we trust, our genes or our memes? I have consciously opted for most of my remembered life to hear my memes more clearly than my genes. Not that I have truly followed social memes which beguilingly invited my trust; but that I have wanted to, tried to, and been often disappointed then Athey@ obviously let me down. Mostly I have Apicked myself up@ from such disappointments and Agotten back in the race@ of trying again to find others I could more successfully place my trust inBall this rather than daring to Abecome again as a little child@ in the sense of trusting my own knowing, including my actual experience with memes.
To be knowing in regard to trusting certainly involves knowledge of memes, including the power of the meme which invites, even demands, that we project trust on to meme carriers. But knowing such memes and recognizing their immense powers, including the tangible rewards which they often bestow when we blindly follow, is not the same as abandoning genetic trust and falling for their seductive voicesBas I have long done. Ideally, knowing includes data from the physical world (what hurts and what feels good) and also from the social world (what Athey@ say and do that hurts and feels good). With this dual knowing one ideally remains present both alone and with others moving trustingly but without projecting any trustBthat is, continually in touch with forces in both the physical and social worlds. For instance, such a natural person, as I am trying to again become, recognizes that fire burns (physical knowing) and also that people want, e.g., to be trusted, that is, to have you accede to their desires (social knowing). Both gene knowledge and meme knowledge are constantly available to one who Apays attention.@
But in the real world I keep my trusting within the scope of my knowing both; I never succumb to temptations associated with trusting memes while ignoring genes. Facing, for example, the near omnipotent meme of What They Think, which commonly includes the hidden message of ATrust me,@ I remain carefully in touch with genetic directive to always be attentively present, honoring my knowing capacities. I see, that is, the memes, but I recognize them just as I do other lights, sounds, etc., which impinge on my sensesBas data to be taken into account; but I do not Ago blind@ to personal knowing in their presence, and fall for the temptation to Atrust them@ to Atake care of me.@
Self-care, the strongest of all genetic directives, remains continually in my hearing, especially when I am lured by the trust meme to ignore my genes and Abe good.@
Meme thinking, summarized as the art of finding and accepting the thoughts of others as though they were one=s own, may be further clarified by examining the sources of such outside notions. Where do they come from, if not from one=s personal experience? Again summarizing, meme thoughts primarily come from authority figures operative in one=s circumstances, beginning with parents, teachers, priests, politicians, etc. Trusted friends are another source, along with books, newspapers, TV news and commentaries. In our culture, so-called scientific information is a high priority meme. Anything which purports to be scientific or based on science tends to be readily accepted in meme thinking. Although the meme power of written words is diminishing somewhat, ever since the alphabet was invented any notion in print has easily found its way into meme thinking. As Will Rogers reportedly said, AAll I know is what I read in the newspapers.@
From an outside perspective meme thinking may be viewed as gullible, since it tends to accept-without-question notions, ideas, and beliefs from the above sources. In the beginning Aif mother says it, it must be so.@ Later, if scientists say it, or if it is Ascientifically proven,@ then it tends to be accepted in meme thinking like notions from mother in earlier times.
In sharp contrast gene thinking, summarized as Athinking for yourself,@ only emerges from personal experience. In this third stage of the Creative Process diverse bits of data drawn from perceptions and images are compared with each other, weighed one against another, Aadded up,@ and finally a summary conclusion is drawn. AAfter examining all my data, I think such and such.@
From an outside perspective, gene thinking may be viewed as skeptical or untrusting. Since no notion is simply accepted from othersBfrom mothers to newspapers to scientists, without personal analysis, a gene thinker may also be viewed as obstinate, stubborn, critical, and judgmental. Insofar as relating to ideas from others--including what they believe, want you to do, or think you should think or do, are concerned these traits are often accurate.
In genetic thinking, which certainly begins in infancy, perhaps in the womb, the powerful meme of What They Think is yet impotent. No matter what an adult says, such a naturally thinking child questions, asks why?, and weighs even forceful directives against his/her own notions. The so-called Terrible Twos, for example, are characterized by seemingly incessant questioning of anything adults say. AWhy do I have to...?@ whatever.
And likewise with genetic thinking in adults. Always engaged in transforming personal perceptions and images into fitting concepts, such a Athinking person@ carefully examines each new bit of data, whether from new perceptions of the physical environment or mental environment of other personsBmothers, friends, preachers, and scientists included.
Such natural thinking certainly includes data from the minds of other persons, just as data from sensing the physical world (sights, sounds, etc.); but the critical issue is the comparable nature of these receptions. In genetic thinking data is data; data from the natural world and data from the social world are each entertained carefully and weighed on the scales of prior experience. AHow does this new sight or sound (including notions) fit in with my previous knowledge?@ ADoes it ring true?@ AIs it contradictory with what I have know before?@
But in contrast with meme thinking where information from outside sources is often accepted without question, this never occurs with gene thinking. An idea from a friend, for example, or a book, is no different from a noise in the night; each is carefully entertained (perceived) and weighed reasonably on the scales of prior experience. Neither sound goes unnoticed, but neither is accepted uncriticallyBwithout examination and self-drawn conclusions about its Asense.@
In society, where Atrusting authorities (whomever then may be)@ is a meme virtue, genetic thinking is predictably judged negatively. In theory we want children to Alearn to think for themselves,@ but in practice we generally want them to mind without questionBincluding accept our thoughts into their minds. And so with adults who are Agood@ citizens, friends, spouses, etc.
To note that there are no sacred external sources of ideas or beliefs for genetic thinking is not to imply that the experience of other persons is not respected. Genetic thinkers need not keep on reinventing the wheel or Alearning everything for themselves.@ Although no external notions, whether from mother or science are idolizedBthat is, taken to be inherently godly, the skills and research of others, especially in arenas foreign to one=s own immediate data, are weighed heavily in reaching personal conclusions. Still, even with respected sources of information, no data is blindly accepted without careful comparison with personal experience.
The distinguishing characteristic of such weighed information from a respected researcher as contrasted with uncritically accepted ideas from an authority figure is personal responsibility. When the naive notions of meme thinking turn out to be untrue, one commonly blames the source of the data. AThey led me astray.@ AThey are to blame for my mistake.@ ASomebody must pay.@ AI=ll sue...,@ etc.
But when one has weighed external data and chosen to act on it, for instance in following a stock broker=s advice on an investment, and it turns out to be wrong, a genetic thinker has no one to blame because he weighted the brokers advice and made his own decision. The meme thinker, in contrast, simply Adid as told@ without personal choice and can irresponsibly blame the broker for his losses.
In summary, all gene thinking conclusions and decisions are responsibly made by oneself, even if information from respected sources is weighed heavily. Both credit for success and blame for failure are properly owned by such a decision maker. AThere=s no one to credit or blame but myself, since I made up my own mind.@ But with meme thinking, both credit and blame are properly seen as external.
What is the best course toward wisdom, wholeness, or salvation? Wisdom, as best I understand it, involves actions (living) rooted in dark knowledge held in awareness, tempered by lighted knowledge. It is not living by dark knowledge alone, ignorant of lighted knowing; it is not Aall heart@ and Ano head.@ Nor is it lighted knowledge in judgment and condemnation of dark knowing (Aall head@ and Ano heart@). Wholeness is not found in a perpetual battle with each type of knowledge perverted into trying to prevail over the otherBwith periods of emotional indulgence followed by rigid, religious-like regret, or with self-righteous should-dos followed by falling into evil genetics.
For salvation, one=s sense of self is properly identified with both. AI am heart/head (both/and versus either/or; whole versus split).@ Wholeness is lost when one can say, AI am my heart and try to use my head,@ or, AI am my intellectual, good (meme identified) self (as in, AI think, therefore I am@).
Comparing the two types of knowledge: on a deeper level the real facts are that we are more heart than head because dark knowledge is older and greater than lighted knowledge. Literally, AI am headed-heart@ or Asensible-heart,@ rather than Aa brain with feeling.@ I am more heart than head because I have more Astuff@ for the first than for the second; still, I am both/and rather than either/or.
My goal is to be sanely instinctive; driven by genes moderated by memes. I want to be moved by heart but guided by head. Wisdom, I believe, involves being a headed-heart rather than a hearted-head; it is being powered by emotions and directed by reason. The proper proportions are, I suspect, about 80/40B80% heart and 20% head. Passionate living is my goal, rather than living by passions.