Monday, September 13, 2010

"circuit boards PART 2" an essay

So I continued that essay I sent yesterday (circuit boards) because the concepts I wrote opened up many new ideas, and with the help of a conversation with a friend, I had a lot of material to work with, though as you will see it has not been fully integrated and edited. I think there might be a part three to this essay soon as well!

Daniel Christopher June


Circuit Boards (part 2)



And so though the immediate I of a man is felt as standing a step back from the senses, his full self extends not only to his body and senses, but his possessions, and even the influences he has upon his friends; and indeed these serve as much as an unconscious mind to him as does his personal experience.

Friends can block you from certain directions. Lacking that friend, something must block you from growing in that direction, a vice or religion, or perhaps you will give in and become that. A man therefore, is fully himself by putting bits of himself in the minds of others, and he thinks through the minds of others just as much as he thinks within his own mind. It is like the sun, which communicates through the light it sheds, to all other suns, and yet is moved and shaken by the planets which orbit him, giving him the character of a caregiver. So too are we moved and shaken by those around us, and some friends block our light from shining in this direction or that. A man does not even know himself until a friend has told it to him.

            The attitudes that others have of him, from the internalization of “the general public,” to the internalization of “those who really know me” act not only as a standard a person may identify with (I really am this way), but also as a social context (though I am this way, I must mask it from others, because they don’t understand.) The innermost self believes in its immortality, believes it has always existed, and believes it is the most important thing in the universe. This is the wisdom of the innermost, which is utterly stubborn before the world.

            The Me, as we looked at earlier, is the most basic and intimate face of the I, and yet it is not full without a me-for-others, a persona-for those around us. But the full Me, the full personality, is made up of the world, for we don’t really have others, we have our images of them, which negotiate constantly with what new information they give us to process. This is indeed intimacy, there can be nothing more intimate than that, so much so that we are the world we see. But as for the conscious I, though it comes in many layers and registers, it is forever cut off from the I of others. Nobody can think for us. This is perfect place of the internal garden.

            But even the personal space of the I, the antechamber between the senses, must find its shape from a literal space in the world, or an imaged space from art. Life is when we are doing what we love best to do – to “really be alive.” What we live for, something chosen and yet also from our nature, and thus the child of will and need, is the commanding reason why we live, and allows us to compromise on all the other duties and necessities of life. This peak experience must find a shape in a representative place, and that place becomes the shape of the mind happy.

            Care is the mind’s focus on importance. Freedom always means freedom from fears, from caring about painful things. Ultimately, we need a space to be free, a place to misbehave. The staunch philosopher must have a naughty playground somewhere. For wherever we exaggerate ourselves in one direction, we must stretch equally in the opposite direction to balance out. The heart’s garden, the mind’s study, are created from certain experiences, or from many of them blended together, to make a place we can think freely: objectively the body takes a chemical tone in its hormones, its muscles take a pose, but inwards we live in that imaginative space.

            Thus it can be said that we base beauty off our mother’s face, and base authority from our father’s tone. These become first of all symbols, or metaphors for the whole concept, and finally become the very syntax by which we base the much wider experience of beauty and power we confront in the world. Personal experiences, initially so complex, hollow out to stand for more and more similar experiences. This is akin to what we learn from etymological dictionaries, how a word initially stood for a gross sensual fact, and grew more and more spiritualized and generic, for absolute unity stands at the end of long thread of thinning out of reality.

            An environment we say has a mood, an ambience, a “sense” an atmosphere, a character. Ultimately, this derives from the personalities that choose it, alter it, and inhibit it, and the types of personalities who would choose it and could thrive there. Places range from the literal room around you, to the barest geometrical idea of “room” in your head. Between this, and situated not only in memories, but also in all abstract ideas, is a cognitive “room” or space we place it in. Ideas are not held together by webs and diagrams, as the textbooks say, but by a certain metaphorical geometry.

            Decorating internal spaces and external spaces can be gaudy, sloppy, and clumsy, or sparse, expertise, and exquisite. Each ornament should symbolize the unity of the room, trigger the moods and body stance that suit the functions within the room. Ultimately, a room, like a building, like a person, should hold together on one central name, and let all its parts radiate from that.

            We internalize spaces, therefore, as fitting environments for the roles we will have in them, and a man cannot be the same man whatever his environment, but he is already cast in the tint of a role merely by standing there. Each space grants it own freedoms and constraints.

            Events stand for ideas. Historical epochs as well as hour long events become pure language, metaphorically, and finally, literally, when nothing is left of them but stories and sometimes a single word.

            Sometimes the people who live with us lack the distance to step back and get us. They take us along with the environment, and can’t see us apart. Sometimes the deepest friendships, with the greatest insight, are between people who never meet face to face. Sometimes the greatest respect a man has for another is for an ancient writer, or a forefather.

            The rose is the West’s flower, and stand for beauty and love; the lotus is the East’s flower, and stands for enlightenment and spirituality. These ornaments suggest the metaphorical attachments, and so are able to uphold them. In the same way, an environment absorbs the personalities who come to it, and yet it chooses the persons in turn.

            This explains the logic of the living house that fascinates so many horror stories, a house that witnesses brutal murders and becomes evil. The sense of the living house is intuitive, especially to creatures who anthropomorphize all things, but perhaps there is more to this idea then the sentimentality of it would first indicate.

            Freedom to misbehave at times is the only way to maximize obedience. When an important political figure visits a university, some of them put up “free-speech zones” where the students may protest and picket, out of sight of the cameras and the politician. This is an affront to “free-speech” but in a different sense, each of us must have a space to really misbehave, break the laws, defy convention, raise hell, and this alone maximizes obedience. Without that space, to misbehave, we could not be good citizens, nor conformists. In the same way, we each need our own garden to tend, that place where we own everything and do not have to share our will with others. That private space also balances the will.

            Nomination makes One thing stand for many, and so takes our care for the many, and concentrates that importance on the one. We must merely believe that the one thing represents the class, that it is nominated, and so long as we do, that is real to us, and it becomes part of our language. Rooms, objects, and friends all become nominated in our minds, they represent a class of ideas, attitudes, and experiences. They become not only persons, and objects, but also ideas and language.

            The apogee of love resides in those moments of intense mutual care called intimacy, and this can never be bought from a psychologist, nor even expected from a friend or lover, except with an earned trust with proven fidelity, and even then, the actual moments of touching heart to heart are brief, and fulfill us in that – for sustained intimacy becomes so tender it hurts. We may say to a lover “you make me feel free,” but intimacy is the opposite of freedom, for there is no power in it. Thus though it fulfills us greatly, it does not fulfill us completely in itself. Otherwise we would be born with four legs and four hands.

            Learning how to love is a difficult process. Learning how to stop loving can be even more difficult, for so much is at stake. The private internalize world of our mind does not fulfill us fully until we plug it into object reality. Then it serves as an interface. But when the objective world ceases to cooperate, when other friends and lovers withdraw their hurt and refuse intimacy – and this can even be in the act of making love – what can we do but suffer at the shame of holding out a gift that has been rejected?

            Words are crystallized desire, which melt when we submit to them and take them to heart. We must be able to understand, and yet we cannot be perpetually open, or we will suffer foolishly, and become calloused. Intimacy is a shared metaphorical place, an imaginative place shared by two minds attuned. To bring two minds together, so that the internal environments are reciprocal and mutually open, requires a certain language, and again a magic language, where the words are fused from desires that can only be genuine.

            The request for love comes only from weakness, nor can power demand it. For at that moment we request something, request another to see our beauty and accept it, to admit that we desire it, we make ourselves vulnerable. It may take courage to do this, but in itself it is an act of weakness, a risk we must take. A recent bumper sticker gloats “love wins” but this is inaccurate. Love loses. It loses freedom. Power wins. And yet though power demands respect, and gets it, desire cannot demand love, and can only get it by opening up tender beauties. Love is the loss that fulfills us.

            The heart is full of many emotions and desire, and must find expression for all of them, often many of them at the same time and towards the same object. And yet each person, place, and thing in our life becomes more comfortable as a predictable conduit of such emotions, letting them do the most through them; though dynamic and somewhat unpredictable, the men and women and places in our life not only persist in their stereotypes, but sometimes see us looking at them in that way, and become even more aligned to our view. Of course sometimes they resist it, but not as much if they do not perceive it consciously. And once we are used to a certain set of characters and situations, it is easy enough for our unconscious mind to convert all other characters and situations into repetitions of them.

            And of course, we can stereotype our own image of ourselves, convert a few slogans about ourselves into automatic thoughts. “Well of course he doesn’t like me, I’m boring” – I’ve heard this audibly spoken by friends, and then when I pursued it, those people denied they really meant it, though they felt it, nonetheless. Like all jokes, they say something but deny responsibility for meaning it; they communicate but can’t be held responsible for having communicated it. This is the virtue and vice of jokes as well as light talk.

            And thus we come to the indirectness of love, for though love seeks direct contact, it must seek it through indirect means, and though power seeks to misdirect threats, it must do so by directly mastering them. Power is direct, but love is indirect.

            The body, being the medium of communication, and also palace of the internalize world, stands as a microcosm for the world and its relationships. The flow of emotions and the stance of the muscles evoke our many environments, and summon them through mind with a mere flex of the muscles and pinch of desire. Not only does the body communicate through its many gestures, but also in how it structures the skin and muscles, which stand again for the meeting place between needs and world. And so certain anxieties trap the expressive energy and depress its source; certain gestures substitute for the act, either to communicate to others, or to unconsciously express what we aren’t otherwise controlling.

            Gestures express emotion, and so give us peace. Love does not grant freedom, but frees us from freedom, from responsibility and duty, for love brings pleasure, and pleasure unfocuses the mind. For many people who cannot handle intimacy, they express it in so many gestures, tokens, words, and games; and this works too, to a degree. Many people can gain some touches of intimacy from the roles of life, for this is safer, and we are not touched by the real risks. If somebody rejects me, they did not reject the me-myself, but merely an aspect of me, a put on, something that I might as well reject—see?—and now I’m unscathed. But when somebody sees an intimate part of us, beautiful or ugly, and condemns us, that person we hate, and always will, whatever polite veneers we put over it.

            Gestures, small talk, politeness, it seems like so much pond water. Nobody deep can handle it; they are confused. And yet the social gliders and charismatics shine in such an environment, and can amass millions to love them. Slogans too can harness much social energy, and let those who are willing to give up freedom for formulaic intimacy pour their hearts out. Thus we have world religions, who count their numbers as an argument for them, rather than against; thus we have best-selling authors, who a tasteful reader won’t even glance at. What is deep and intimate and real, difficult, brilliant, and ingenious, requires great intimacy and yet great power – thus, great control between the two – and those who can grasp it are rare.

            For us the sensitive, the world is more real to us, and thus we prefer hidden places, and know also how to structure the mind and face to block out any unwanted touch from the world. A touch is too much for us, so we hold back, and are called introverted or eccentric, or moody, or weird. We are not the successful, but our achievements are not the achievements of roles which were given opportunities, but a self and a me that needs no opportunity. We are the heart of the world. What others won’t feel fully, we can teach them to feel in part. The divine class of poets, thinkers, teachers, and innovators, the saints of the world, are from our stock. Many of us are mad, some unhappy, and yet the innermost joy of authenticity beats in all our hearts.


No comments: