“The function of education has never been to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them…acquiescence, not originality. …Schools are the central conserving force of the culture. … In order not to fail, most people are willing to believe anything and to care not whether what they are told is true or false. Only by remaining absurd can one feel free from fear of failure.” – Jules Henry, cultural anthropologist, in ‘Culture Against Man’
“It is Henry’s contention that in practice education has never been an instrument to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them. … Children do not give up their innate imagination, curiousity, dreaminess easily. You have to love them to get them to do that. Love is the path through permissiveness to discipline; and through discipline, only too often, to betrayal of self.” – R. D. Laing, psychiatrist and philosopher
I live in a double bind. It can be depressing. It is the culture vs authenticity double bind explored by R. D. Laing which arises when you see the world differently from your culture-supporting family and friends but to be too overt about what you are thinking/feeling would be a downer because it ‘undermines’ many of the popular upbeat beliefs and social structures of our times.
But to say nothing would be to betray oneself, and to betray one’s culture/society as well, as it continues to believe in and employ over-simplistic rational/scientific assumptions so that well-intended actions end up having us ‘shoot ourselves in the foot’. On the other hand, to overtly critique ‘common thinking and common practice’ that may not only be ‘accepted thinking and practice’, but ‘thinking and practice’ deemed meritorious, which is rewarded and respected in our society and is encouraged in our children through our educational processes, can invite ‘backlash’ wherein others close to us, equally (but inversely) convinced, of the positive value of the ‘accepted thinking and practice’ which we are critiquing, may identify us as a misinformed ‘trouble-maker’. (more…)
Why I am switching from ‘distribution lists’ to ‘invitation-pending-interest-lists and concealing email addresses.
In composing ‘distribution lists’ [I have never had any fixed distribution lists], I start with a particular piece of content and go through my contacts list asking myself the question; ‘might so-and-so be interested in this piece?’ and being perhaps overly generous with the ‘yes’ nods, compose my ‘distribution list’. I leave the email addresses there in the spirit of openness/trust.
The distribution list was never intended as a “discussion forum” list, although it has on occasion been employed as such, not by myself but by one or more recipients on the list. This led to a situation where I was expected to be ‘the manager’ of discussions that used the distribution list as a discussion forum list and to impose my judgement on what ‘went too far’ or was ‘in error’ and to otherwise ‘set the record straight’. Since my research [into peacemaking circles etc.] has made me into an advocate of ‘restorative justice’ whereby one does not impose moral judgement but simply promotes and assists in the restoring of balance and harmony where conflict arises, I was not inclined to put myself into the position of ‘moderator’ of a debating forum. Having served as a circle keeper, I prefer to use to the ‘power of the circle’ as the mediating influence; i.e. to let each person holding the talking stick speak their piece ‘from their heart’ and not exploit their ‘access to the microphone’ to impose judgements. Circles are more easily accomplished on a face-to-face basis.
This is why; as well as the background given below, that I decided to switch from distribution lists to invitation-pending-interest lists, where the emails sent out include only a link to writing on a particular subject that may be of interest, with a brief description of the subject matter [since the subject matter is only a ‘click’ away]. The invitation lists use Bcc’s that suppress email addresses.
My apologies if the distribution list traffic was in any way bothersome to you, and please advise if you would rather not be on any invitation lists.
Here is my ‘main story’ that you are invited, pending interest, to read;
The picture is meant to illustrate the physical reality that we are included in something greater than ourselves; … a relational suprasystem or ‘epigenetic influence’ that inductively actualizes, orchestrates and shapes ‘genetic expression’. Western scientific thinking culture tends to create semantic realities out of ‘systems’ stoked by humans, making it appear as if humans are ‘improving on nature’. This continually ‘talked up’ semantic reality has become a de facto ‘operative reality’ and confused with the physical reality of our actual experience.
The Blacksmith is ‘being obsoleted’ by epigenetic influences which are inductively actualizing genetic expression in the form of newly emerging ‘systems’. The epigenetic ‘change field’ that the Blacksmith is included in is like water to fish. His focus is to stoke the system he is working in so as to sustain its healthy functioning.
* * *
I am trying to articulate and share the whys and how’s of my being at odds with the culture I have grown up in. (more…)
My feeling is that the popular habit in Western society, the society I grew up in, is to confuse ‘appearances’ for reality and in using this ‘pseudo-reality’ to guide our individual and collective actions, to make a real mess of things. David Bohm calls this ‘incoherence’. (more…)
Interrogating the phenomenon of ‘Solstice’ is a means of sharing a personal understanding of how Western society has become ‘disconnected’ from the natural harmonies of the world and how this is sourcing ‘incoherence’ [Bohm] and dysfunction in the global social dynamic. (more…)
Western science promotes ‘belief’ in the ‘existence’ of material objects and material organisms as ‘things-in-themselves’ that reside, operate and interact in a notional absolute space and absolute time ‘container’ which serves as a measuring/reference frame or ‘coordinate system’.
Western scientists (some of them, like Mach, Poincaré, Bohm, Schroedinger) claim that the notional existence of material objects and material organisms [local, independently-existing material systems] is just ‘pragmatic idealization’ [Poincaré] that we tend to ‘confuse’ for ‘reality’. Material objects have no place in the physical reality of our actual experience. This is also the view of linguists such as Whorf and Sapir and philosophers such as Nietzsche. (more…)
“The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group . . . We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.” – Edward Sapir
Since what Sapir is calling ‘the real world’ differs depending on the language we are using to construct it, it might better be termed ‘semantic reality’ to distinguish it from the physical reality of our actual experience which is independent of which language we are using to construct our ‘semantic reality’ that we use to share our observations and experiences.
Right now I am using words to share views [my own and citations of others] and I want to go into why my words, and words in general, are inherently inadequate for sharing physical experience. In other words, I want to take the reader on a guided tour of why our ‘semantic realities’ must necessarily fall short of the physical reality of our actual experience. (more…)
There is a major ‘obfuscation’ issue with the use of noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific languages in that they are commonly used to construct ‘semantic realities’ in the dualist terms of ‘independent things’ [nouns, subjects] and ‘what independent things do’ [subject-verb-predicate grammatical constructs]. In other words, noun and verb languages have a built-in-prejudice that has us assume the local independent existence of material forms and the local authorial sourcing of the development and behaviour of those independent material forms [objects, organisms, systems]. (more…)
There are two themes in this series of essays in the Aboriginal Physics Newsletter; one addresses the flaw in the foundational philosophical/ethical premises of Western colonial society, and the other is that there are longstanding, inherent difficulties in sharing a view of the flaw that have not yet been popularly overcome.
The flaw is that while the physical reality of our actual, natural experience is non-dualist, … the semantic reality of Western culture is dualist. The essence of the communications challenge is that while observers in a non-dualist reality can look in on the inherently less complex dualist reality and see its shortfalls relative to the non-dualist reality, observers in a dualist reality cannot ‘share in a viewing of this view’ without ‘lifting themselves up’ from the dualist reality to the non-dualist reality. The challenge is therefore, that the message delivered from non-dualist to dualist realms must include within the message, the wherewithal to lift the dualist recipient up into the non-dualist reality so that he will be ‘enabled’ for ‘hearing’ the message. (more…)
As Emerson says, we humans are ‘vents’ that transmit influences from the vast and universal to the point on which our genius can act.
Indigenous aboriginals describe terrorists in the same way. As tensions build in the relational social dynamics between Euro-American colonizers and the colonized peoples of the Middle East, there is a violent ‘venting’ of pent-up energies. The people we call ‘terrorists’ are the vents through which relational tensions are dispersed, but they are not the jumpstart source of the violence; i.e. “it takes a whole community to raise a terrorist”.
The politician is like a sailboater who may initially, and at various times, be ‘becalmed’ for his power derives from having his sails filled with the influence of others. He, too, is a vent that transmits influences from the relational continuum to the points on which these influences may act.
In general, people are vents that can focus and direct influence that derives from elsewhere; i.e. from a transforming relational continuum. (more…)
Pender Island, January 2, 2016
“I want us to be very clear. You will not defeat us.”
The following is a commentary by a national political leader manifesting the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. That person is David Cameron, Prime Minister of the U.K. who says, in his January 1, 2016 New Year’s address to the nation;
“And we will take on another social problem too. When our national security is threatened by a seething hatred of the West, …one that turns people against their country and can even turn them into murderous extremists. I want us to be very clear. You will not defeat us. And we will not just confront the violence and the terror, we will take on the underlying poisonous narrative of grievance and resentment. We will come down hard on those who create the conditions for that narrative to flourish. And we will have greater confidence in, … indeed we will revel in, our way of life because if you walk our streets, learn in our schools, benefit from our society, you sign up to our values; freedom, tolerance, responsibility, loyalty. These are the big challenges of our age; some of the biggest our nation ever faced. And this year is a test of our metal.” – David Cameron
David Cameron is speaking to others with a grievance against the actions of the colonial powers, as if they were an independent body of people, an independent body of ‘evil people’ who had divided themselves from the relational social collective, and were on the attack against another independent body of people, the independent body of ‘good people’ that he represents. He is confused as to the physical reality of the world dynamic wherein ‘relations are all there is’, where conflict is a coincidence of opposites rather than two separate, independent factions. Where the world is only given once, as a transforming relational continuum. (more…)