posted on Jun, 10 2018 @ 09:03 PM
One of the most interesting phrases I've ever come by is the term "serious play". It encompasses the human situation to a T.
By serious, we mean not just the fact that fear of death keeps us on track, but even more importantly, the mystic realization of 'perfect symmetry'
leads to an experience of 'transcendence' - a state where the self appears to be 'seeing through the eyes of God'.
If such a state exists, then compared to the ordinary facts of human experience, it can seem not just extraordinary, but superlative: the only thing
which could possibly matter, or possibly be true, because of the intensity, certainty and profundity of the union between self and world.
Nature 'hits' you in a way far different from ordinary. It sparkles with its mysterious livingness. Everything finds it place, like a puzzle piece
fitted into the ecology of the landscape, everything, in a certain sense, could be felt to 'speak its words'. The only words one can properly
ascribe to this feeling are adjectives like 'enchanting', 'spellbinding', 'enrapturing', 'awesome', 'profound'. Clearly, the symmetry that
matters here is the external world and the brain-mind which models it. It's vision, the configurations of the whole, the feeling of the self: all of
this happens in a brain that is being enlivened by the light which mediates its visual relationship to the environment.
Awe of this nature is deeply, deeply powerful. But what I also experience is a feeling of being 'taken over'. It's a negative feeling, as the
feeling is powerful and almost too much. An image pops into my mind of "God walking through the garden", which immediately brings to mind the
biblical description, or which this experience I'm having seems so redollent of.
"Too much", seeing all this symmetry, this beauty, this remarkable, living semiosis, the embodiment of the dynamics set up by the solar system,
implicit in its motions, giving rise to all of this - these remarkable - monstrous - birds, chirping, singing, against the setting of the sun.
Mystical. My dog, running forward, like a machine she follows all the rules; the inner constraints of motivational drives - stereotyped action
tendencies; running after her own tail; reflexivity - the reflexivity of barking like a maniac when the door rings. My voice - an external constrain
on her functioning. My whistling..gets her to stop as if I were pressing a button on a remote control. Her attachment systems keep her close to me;
her basic motives - play, interesting smells, food, food, food...she runs and lives and she seems happy - tongue hanging out, eyes popping out of her
head. She's cute - I love her; I need her to teach me to feel at home in this world.
Such percepts like this contrast with the strange soothingness that comes from sitting in a house; or even contemplating a man-made thing. The gnostic
imagery soothes just as readily as it would another. We are of a kind; traumatized minds, conditioned by the same mainstream cultures; interfacing
with the same sorts of media, the same sorts of narratives, and thus feel the same sorts of conflicts between ourselves - this world we model as our
brain - and the spellbinding power of the natural world, which is so stark in juxtaposition with the former.
I can totally sympathize with this perspective, and because the ideas form in such a stereotypical way, it implies to me that everything we think
derives from contagion like transfer mediated by the mirror neurons in our brains, which 'sets up' an interpretive system that is compatible with
the person your interacting with. I am not interacting with anyone, but my brain still converges towards the gnostic interpretation: block out nature;
block out the "divine"; choose play and light heartedness over the awe of nature.
Even more extreme, or the most extreme of the extreme, is to go against symmetry itself; embody asymmetry; pursue asymmetrical acts. All such
extremism, unfortunately, has down stream events so that teh brain and body embody the same asymmetry; disease, of mind or body, is the result of such
psychological scrambling with the facts of things.
So what do I do? I relax my contemplation of the natural world, understanding that my brain is not adequately built to "make coherent" its power.
Absorption of that energy would lead to a 'world-weariness', which seems profoundly wrong and disconnected from the facticity of the universe. If it
exists, shouldn't I exist with it? Awe obliterates play; play is hated - play is made to seem the enemy. The satanic converse of this puritan
polarity is the hatred of awe; the hatred of coherency, of clear-mindedness, with reasonableness. This is all 'symmetry', and being phobic of what
that means, they suppress it.
It is not coincidental that western history going back 5,000 years is a big fat 'swinging' from one pole - extreme liberalism where selfish
expression focused on play is given priority over deference to the facts of reality and nature. This is 'awe' phobia, and leads to a profoundly
immoral way of being with other people.
But then circa the collapse of the Roman empire, around 300 CE, the masochistic influence of Christianity began to spread, which didn't relax its
phobia of play, family, and life celebration until the Rennaisance, with Erasmus as a leading humanist thinker.
Erasmus was more balanced (although he was still an antisemite, and slightly mysogystic) whereas Luther represented the polar opposite of the
scholastic emphasis on free will and reason, which, to a traumatized psyche like Luther's, was experienced - quite rightly - as too much, leading to
his own exagerrated opposition to the doctrine of free will and a hyper emphasis on Gods 'grace'.
All in all, since reason has not yet recognized that it is based in affect - or feeling - it took the theory of evolution, biology, and computational
and connectional neuroscience to explain what certain psychoanalysts and psychologists and philosophers had touched upon but could never concretely
proove, or describe with any sort of precision, the way contemporary neuroscience can.
At the edn of my walk, I returned to my interpretative homeostasis position of "Awe and Play are supposed to co-exist, not be in conflict with one
another". I see the evolution of the self-other dialectic, which beings in utero and post-natally as a focus on the body, to a focus on the
proto-self's emotional relationship with primary others, to a focus on ideas and concepts. The 'object' of early interoceptive experience modifies
the 'object' or interpersonal experience, which forms the basis of the 'object' of psycholinguistic interpretation of reality.
This profound understanding is based in the philosopshy of pragmatism, which sees self-regulation as the emergent ordering principle that grows out of
the "relaxing of stresses" that seems to operate as a way to maintain a dynamical symmetry with the external, constantly changing environment.