Tag Archives: Philosophy

Reality and Limitations

When considering my personal goals for our celebrations of reality, I’m caught considering the nature of what exactly it is that we are celebrating, as well as questioning the limitations I find myself getting stuck in.

When considering the limitations that present themselves, I find myself coming to a line, and wondering how far past that line I can push myself to go.

Pondering this line in the sand led me to consider the concept of duality within reality as a whole.

I first began thinking on the topic of ego and ego death, and the concept of the constant death and rebirth of the ego in my everyday life.

I often strive towards this state of “ego death,” and I find that the moments of pure truth and beauty that I witness, (which I feel are generally my main goals for these celebrations), mostly come from within that state of egoless objectivity.

But, we often live in the in-between. The ‘bardo’ state — bouncing between these moments, and the more subjective, ego enacted moments that allow us to: form thoughts, consider the future and work our way through social constructs.

In the essay Being and Nothingness, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre writes on the topic of objectivity and subjectivity. He talks of how the mere possible presence of another person causes one to look at oneself as an object and see one’s world as it appears to the other.

He speaks of how this transformation is most clear “when one sees a mannequin that one confuses for a real person.”

While you believe it is a person, your world is transformed. During this time you can no longer have total subjectivity. The world is now the other person’s world, a foreign world that no longer comes from the self, but from the other. The other person is a “threat to the order and arrangement of your whole world…Your world is suddenly haunted by the Other’s values, over which you have no control.”

When you realize it is a mannequin, and is not subjective, the world seems to transfer back, and you’re again in the center of a universe.

Ken Wilber takes these concepts to the next level by studying and categorizing ideas in terms of their nature as a holon, a term deriving from the writings of Arthur Koestler.

He observed that it seems every entity and concept shares a dual role: being both an autonomous, self-reliant unit (whole entity) unto itself, and also a part of one (or more) other wholes.

Consider that a cell in an organism is both a whole as a cell and and at the same time a part of another whole – the organism.

Likewise a letter is a self-existing entity and simultaneously an integral part of a word, which then is part of a sentence, which is part of a paragraph, which is part of a page; and so on. Everything from quarks to matter to energy to ideas can be looked at in this way.

He then organizes how we as humans act as wholons; as parts, into quadrants:

“I”
Subjective Individual
Intentional
“It”
Objective Individual
Behavioral
“We”
Subjective Collective
Cultural
“Its”
Objective Collective
Social

 

According to Wilber, this means that multiple viewpoints are inherent in the nature of wholons and each of the four approaches has a valid perspective to offer.

Wilber states that it is important to consider all four perspectives since all are needed for real appreciation of a matter. To collapse them all or dismiss one of them is often a serious mistake.

Wilber then describes his AQAL (All Quadrants All Levels) theory which also considers:

Multiple lines of intelligence including: Cognitive, ethical, aesthetic, spiritual, kinesthetic, affective, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, karmic, etc.

Levels or stages of development including: cognitive development, moral development, hierarchy of needs, psychosocial development, ego development etc.

States: This refers to those aspects of consciousness that are usually, without specific training, temporary, experiential, and often implicitly or unconsciously experienced. E.g. waking, dreaming, and sleeping.

States can also refer to exogenous or induced states, which are intentionally generated from exterior influences; such as psychedelics and other drugs, or situational induced states, such as hypnotherapy or guided imagery.

Types: For example, masculine/feminine.

Bringing this back around to the point at hand, it seems when wondering what we can personally do to contribute to these celebrations, that if we can pull inspiration from all dimensions of reality… we can accomplish almost anything.

Nebraska Thunderfuck XoXo

On Metaxis, Metamodernism and the evolution of the American Dream.

At the beginning of the 19th century, modern art broke from tradition and adherence to strict continuity and conventions. Art became “whatever you could get away with.”

Then, half way through the 20th century, the horrible existentialist nag of post modernism began to take hold. Postmodernist critics proclaimed that newness was exhausted and that everything new was just an insignificant variation of something that had already been investigated or created.

Postmodernists went on to claim that the next logical progression in the arts was to borrow, combine, refer to, imitate or comment on previous works of art. Therefore postmodern artists should no longer seek to create entirely new means of art, and their artwork should now become an investigation of what was already new.

Plato coined the term “metaxis” to refer to the state of existing and oscillating between two opposite poles. Examples include simultaneously being an individual and a member of a group, or being an observer and also a performer.

American Dream writer David Foster Wallace once spoke of “analysis parayalysis” – the inability to make a choice or decision while needing to make one in order not to perish.

This can be especially seen in our generation in North America. We experience the great modern abundance and consumption of resources in our daily life, but are postmodernistically aware of the brewing ecological crisis at hand.

We, thinking postmodernistically and buy locally grown organic vegetables, but we drive our modern gas-powered car an extra half mile to get them.

Metamodernism means continuously oscillating between the two “opposite poles” of modernism and postmodernism, and simultaneously surpassing both movements in search of new ground.

It is a structure of feeling that builds upon itself. It’s about participation between the observer and the artist and this participation feeds upon itself.

The Metamodernist Manifesto claims “Metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition between irony and sincerity, naïvete and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons. We must go forth and oscillate!”

Dutch professor Hans Boutellier speaks of a society that gradually takes the shape of an improvising jazz orchestra, in which individuals aim to provoke direction to complexity by establishing networks based around like-minded ideas or ideals – structures that sometimes lead to harmonious playing, but, as with all forms of improvisation, often lead to chaos and disharmony.

My hopes for these celebrations of reality is to achieve great oscillations of both chaos and harmonies, irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, and modern and postmodern art, thereby creating a community in which we can play off of each others “jazzy structures.”

Let us go forth and oscillate!

Why do we burn down beautiful things?

Everything is temporary. Eventually, entropy will turn the universe into a pile of goo. The state that your consciousness occupies right this fucking second has changed and is gone by the time you finish this sentence. The cute chicky-snack you met and fell in love with at the bar last night will never call you. The special moments you shared with her are gone.

So why do we spend so much time building intriguing and beautiful works of art, just to watch them be destroyed?

The destruction is a reminder. That amazing sculpture or whatever it is will soon be on fire. So while it exists, you better climb on it, smell it, look at it, take pictures of it, fuck it. Get the most you can out of it. Soak up the experience and artistry. Let it permeate your brain. Because it’s going to burn. You’ll miss your chance. Seize the day. Seize some art. Do some shit.

Or don’t.

You can make the decision not to climb and touch and experience. Use the knowledge of that decision to acknowledge your limitations. The world doesn’t wait for you. You must keep up with the world the best that you can. We all do.

Here today, ashes tomorrow.

Adiós.