Archive for April, 2018
This ‘afterthought’ arises from reviewing my Post-Stroke-Impression (PSI-2) comment. I will keep such ‘Afterthoughts’ short, and use them to add perspective to core concepts that I have tried to capture within the ‘body’ of the ‘Post-Stroke-Impression’ commentary.
Author’s Preface to PSI-2; Post-Stroke Impressions: No. 2.
In his preface to ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ (the new framework)… French Author and physician Henri Laborit, who was also an early explorer of the effects of the anti-psychotic, chlorpromazine [his patents funded his further researches and writing], points out the problems associated with attempts to ‘break out’ of the existing cultural-psychological social framework. The following intro is from an earlier essay ‘Exploring a Double Bind’; http://goodshare.org/wp/exploring-a-double-bind/
Henri Laborit (La Nouvelle Grille), whose research was also ‘outside of the scientific orthodoxy’ captured what it feels like to be in this double bind by saying that ‘we’ who explore such topics, cannot easily share them because; (a) they do not fit into the typical dinner conversation format of our present culture, since to express them takes a lot of relational connections that can’t fit into a rapid-fire repartee, and; (b) because the humanism implicit in trying to share them is not seen as “a humanism of real worth” since it undermines, besmirches or topples the esteemed icons, pillars of society, founding fathers, and celebrities of the culture-in-place.
What I am suggesting in this preface to ‘Post-Stroke Impressions: No. 2’, … is that comments such as Laborit’s ‘feel’ very relevant to the problems in communicating one’s post-stroke experience, and for the same reasons as Laborit stated. For example, in my post-stroke understanding, ‘the relational’ is in a natural precedence over ‘the discrete/rational’.
When David Suzuki was gathering material to make films on (North American) aboriginal culture which included interviews with aboriginal elders, he could not use them ‘as is’ since the comments of the elders were too long and seemingly indirect (rambling) for standard Western viewer tastes (as is the nature of raw relational experience prior to its reduction, Western style, to analytical-rhetorical terms of ‘what things-in-themselves’ are doing’). Suzuki was saddened by the fact that a lot of great footage he had obtained in his interviews of indigenous aboriginal chiefs and elders had to be discarded or left out of the final film presentation.
For me, it is clear that ‘the new framework’ or ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ is the same thing that Jill Bolte Taylor intends in ‘My Stroke of Insight’; i.e. it is the restoring to its natural precedence of relational understanding [as occurs in a stroke where notional ‘named things-in-themselves’ ‘drop out’ while relational forms of recall persist’ and rise to the surface to resume their natural precedence]. That is, while names like ‘Jack’ imply the existence of a thing-in-itself which noun-and-verb grammar credits with being a local thing-in-itself source of ‘their own’ ‘actions and deeds’, giving them a ‘thing-in-itself’ identity fleshed out by ‘what they say and do’, … by contrast, ‘Dances with Wolves’ is a relations-based identifying approach. Relations-based identities do not depend on isolating individuals and understanding them ‘in their own right’ as ‘things-in-themselves’ with inside-outward asserting behaviour; i.e. there is an implicit acknowledgement in relational representation that things do not exist ‘in their own right’. That is an abstraction manufactured by noun-and-verb language-and-grammar that, in Western culture, has come to equated with ‘reality’.
Among the many forms of linguistic communication, noun-and-verb languages such as English stand out in that their mode of communicating ‘breaks down’ relational understanding into abstract terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’. Meanwhile, this type of communication is what modern Western society has come to officially (socially) endorse as a legitimate conveyor of ‘reality’. It is the ‘scientific’ reality of Thomas Gradgrind in Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’ (and Western rational thinking in general). This contrasts with the ‘poetic’ or ‘romantic’ reality of Sissy Jupe that is decidedly ‘relational’, and like indigenous aboriginal reality, considered by the mainstream of modern Western society, to “convey a humanism that is not of real worth” (Laborit).
Experiencing a stroke can put one ‘back in touch’ with relational values/understanding which Western noun-and-verb language influenced culture has obscured. That is, the ‘loss’ associated with a stroke, at the same time, removes superficial clutter, unveiling relational experience-based insight that has been unnaturally ‘buried’ beneath simplified thing-in-itself based (‘scientific’) rhetoric. Since ‘stroke therapy’ aims to restore one’s cognitive functioning to its Western cultural standard condition, the challenge for a post-stroke experient such as myself, is to retain access to the mindspace wherein relational understanding prevails, while redeveloping facility with the abstract worldview fostered by ‘literal’ interpretation of Western noun-and-verb languages, which, for convenience, puts into an unnatural primacy, a worldview based on ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’.
One’s post-stroke ‘stroke of insight’ can be understood in terms of restoring ‘level 1’ cognition to its natural primacy [see Erich Jantsch’s ‘Design for Evolution’, a discussion of which can be found at http://goodshare.org/wp/inclusionality-update-june-14-2013/ ]. That is, our manner of perceiving is capable of three levels, as follows; (level 3) ‘objectively’ (Gradgrind’s view) as things-in-themselves or ‘independently existing objects’ ‘out there in front of us that move about separately’; … (level 2) ‘relatively’ as in a dual self-other relational sense (two people swimming in a common flow); and; (level 1) ‘inclusionally’ where we understand ourselves as inclusions within a transforming relational continuum. Level 1 cognition implicitly includes level 2 cognition which implicitly includes level 3 cognition. The ‘stroke of insight’ ‘re-grounds’ one in level 1 cognition while at the same time de-emphasizing level 3 cognition which is abstract and dependent on language-based ‘thing-in-itself’ definitions and labels along with verbs and grammar to fabricate synthetic cognitive animations. Because level 1 ‘understanding of reality’ ‘includes’ levels 2 and 3, there is no fundamental loss of ‘understanding’ of self and world in ‘retreating to level 1’, but there is ‘loss’ in one’s ability to articulate, in common language-and-grammar based terms, what one is experiencing, since the common (Western) means of sharing experience is to use noun-and-verb language constructs based on the abstract notion of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’ (level 3).
Stroke recovery, viewed not as a ‘stroke of insight’ but as a net ‘loss’ of cognitive capability, involves re-learning how to use language to reduce one’s relational experience so as to express oneself in level 2 and 3 terms, level 3 being the Gradgrind-like scientific view/portrayal that has become the common [and legal standard] communications mode of Western society which, while it is efficient at constructing and articulating visual imagery in terms of notional ‘things-in-themselves-and-what-things-in-themselves do’, … garners its efficiency by dropping out the primary level 1 relational context of ‘real life experience’. The ‘stroke of insight’ connotes the recovery of access to level 1 cognition that has been, in Western culture, buried by the cultural elevating of level 3 to an unnatural primacy via noun-and-verb language constructs.
* * * End of Author’s Preface * * *
April 2, 2018
PSI-1 March 29, 2018
I began this note on March 29th but here I am finishing it on Easter Sunday which is at the same time, ‘April Fools Day’. Is that a coincidence or is there some hidden meaning in it?
Here is the elusive ‘understanding’ that I am trying to bring ‘down to earth’ at this time. That is to say, it is not yet an ‘understanding’ that I have brought down to earth as an explicit finding; i.e. it continues to flirt with me and yet elude me, in a manner that calls to mind a phrase that stuck with me from earlier philosophical readings;
“For Kepler, ‘geometria’ was the source of nature’s mystery and divinity (Kepler once asserted; “Why waste words, geometry existed before the creation, is co-eternal with the mind of God, ‘is God himself’) and the uncertainty associated with its multivalent harmonies and self-referentiality was an innate source of beauty in nature. Kepler quoted Virgil in regard to the elusive absence of finality in astronomical space-time relationships; “Galatea seeks me mischievously, the lusty wench; she flees to the willows, but hopes I’ll see her first.”” — The Sleepwalkers, Arthur Koestler
This observation was something I made note of in an essay written 20 years ago which I introduced with the following quote from Lao Tzu;
Geometry and Culture: ‘Burying The Hatchet’
May 15, 1998
“Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.”
— Lao Tsu, “Tao Te Ching”