Saturday, December 09, 2006

The fiction of a thinkable world - Michael Steinberg

I've just started reading this wonderful book, and it's joining many dots for me and feels like a culmination for me of a time spent processing certain intimations, which I didn't have (but have been acquiring, slowly) the apparatus to sort out and describe (memories of scribbling things about "no subject and object divide" years ago!)

I've scribbled down the following in condensation and interpretation of some of the ideas (which I may be mistransmitting so take w/ a pinch of salt)-

Instead of a subject-object divide, they are in a sense one. The borders between beings, and between them and the world is porous and subject to a process of continual mutual evolution and creation. our bodies are records of experience manifest in the world they belong to and which belongs to them; there is no thinking, conscious subject apart, in the interior recesses of the mind, which is us, which perceives and controls the rest. Our body moves before we have the conscious experience of deciding to move.

This situates us as a subject grounded in the universe; the universe forms the substance of our body, as well as encompassing it; our consciousness perceives their interactions, yet is not favourised within the relationship. The body moves, the universe moves in synch, the conscious mind perceives the adjustment; from here its attachments are equalised; we use reason to do the best we can (effective instrumentality; clever use of feedback loops of intentionality in order to best further the being to and through constructive experiences).

So we are returned to our true possibilities as mutual creators, in every new second; within equalised-out constraints of certain continuity of our bodies and of the circumstances, attended also by discontinuity, by change and evolution, and the results of feedback loops.

So consciousness does not encompass all our experience, nor all our choosing, nor all our thinking. Instead it is an alert arbiter and calculator assisting and adjusting. Neither do "we" confront the world as subject-object, input-output, perception-action choosers; despite that this is the prevalent experience put about by capitalism (and hence, Steinberg notes, a reason for latter's success - it doesn't propagate an ideology, but an experience). The latter leads to the iniquities we know about. Instead we have the joined-up continuum of being and creating; of movement and response in parallax play; a treasure to be recouped (and which remains in modern life perhaps only in the experience of falling in love).

In relation to this, then, capitalism is a simple endless dry cycle of commodities, power of market over life (free rein for wealthy to enrich selves), compartmentalised and isolated "user experiences";

In relation to this, spiritual training is another refinder of this experience of the primacy of the welling being within us, which is us. And it's a bath of experience feedback which allows us to know the parallax of mutual self-determination with the universe, which leaves the conscious mind again as arbiter, from an equalised-out position of dynamic truth participation.

Given our access to this experience, and to the reality it conveys; and the understanding of its usefulness and acute relevance in confronting the system/situation which substantively opposes it and which is hegemonic today, ruinously so; and also our understanding of the brittleness of the constraints which oppose me, subjectively, acting, as a micro individual, as a collection of circumstances, implanted into a material-political superstructure; in other words knowing latter are contingent and also prone to effective manipulation and moulding, by understanding how intentionality works in this context (a positive feedback); and also how perception works (self-fulfilling, in a positive feedback loop) - given this, we have an apparatus (joining our motivation) by which to work fruitfully, directedly, positively, for change.


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