Picture Of Self—Description And Implications




When Socio-Economic Relationships Clash War Erupts

MV Conversation Continues
In Limbo

“So what did your `self’ picture’ look like,” said MV, “the one you gave to your Professor?”

“Well, in my description I left out the self’s logical component, but
the picture got the job done, at least it did for Jim,” I replied.
“Also, it probably helped that I compared my self-concept with
George Herbert Mead’s symbolic interactionist model of self. Mead was the `main man’ with some of the professors in the department, so if I compared well with him, I was home free.”

“Alright already,” said MV, “what picture?”

“I used Venn circles to describe the self. You know those three
overlapping circles originally used to test for the validly of
syllogisms,” I replied. “I used those circles to describe the three
cognitive boundaries of freedom, the boundaries of `self.’ Those
boundaries are 1) physical, 2) energy far from equilibrium–life, and
3) culture:

“Draw two circles, one slightly intersecting the other. Let one circle
represent life and the other matter. Let the exterior space of the
circles, the space that does not overlap, represent evolution, both
physical and biological evolution. Where the circles intersect, –the
space inside the two overlapping circles, let that space represent all
existing life, or the survival domain (the biosphere) of all living
plants and animals. When it comes to human life, however, something
more is required, and that something is something different. Let the
third circle represent that difference.

“Again, draw a circle that slightly intersects the other two circles.
The non-overlap portion of that circle represents the time-dependent evolution of human culture. Existing culture, the `now aspect of human culture’ is located (represented) within the overlap portion of the circles. Where this circle overlaps the other two circles, a curved triangular space comes into view. Let the lines defining that space represent the interface of human consciousness with its environment.

“Extending out from that triangular space are three leaf-like
structures—three quadrants. Where the circle representing human
culture overlaps the circle representing matter, that is where the
`self’s’ cognitive boundary interfaces with the natural world; that
is, that is where the `self’s’ curved triangular space interfaces with
the economic well being of the individual, where commodities (mortar
into bricks, iron into steel) are used to transform the environment,
and where power/knowledge relationships come into play. But, all of
these cultural artifacts, – tools, commodities, weapons- are
inter-reliant upon the `self’s’ other cognitive boundary, the `self’
boundary that interfaces the life circle. Here the `self’ engages
cultural meanings; here women and men develop their attitudes toward life. In this quadrant a diversity of attitudes and opinions are
communicated and psychologically weighted. The culturizing of
language, art, religion, ideology, and spiritual concerns develop
here. These shared meanings become the “life blood” of social
interaction, organization, and institutions. Consciousness gets
objectified here— beliefs and paradigms originate here. The lessons of
history are continually repeated here. When conflicting “objectified
consciousnesses” clash over differing socio-economic relationships,
war erupts here.

“To sum up, `what we do with stuff’ (blue leaf, pink line) defines the physical cultural quadrant of `self,’ and `who does what with stuff and why’ (purple leaf, yellow line) defines the quadrant of ‘self’ that adds the symbolic dimension to our physical culture; but, what about the other side of the three sided triangle (green leaf, red line)? What does that cognitive boundary interface with, and how does that quadrant affect the `self?’

“Living human consciousness interfaces with the survival domain of all life. ‘Red line consciousness’ is where we get to question our own ‘objectified consciousness and ask why’; it is also where we get to confront ‘our own demons and ask why.’ Again, it is here where our own spiritual journey begins—or not. Even so, opportunities, lots of opportunities for liberation, begin at this level of consciousness. Ian Barbour was not referring to ‘red line consciousness’ in the quote below, but, even so, he was/is describing it far better than I:

“In the capacity for abstract thought and symbolic language there is
a radical distinction between man and animal. Self-conscious
awareness, critical self-reflection, and creative imagination are
found nowhere else in nature. In memory of the past, anticipation of
the future, and envisagement of ideal potentialities, he transcends
his immediate environment. He is unique in his search for truth,
concern for moral values, and acknowledgement of universal obligation–and above all, in his relationship to God.’” (1966, p.29)

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to Picture Of Self—Description And Implications

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    I’m not posting anymore, but when I check my daily email, I also check the dashboards of both this blog and my bwinwnbwi music blog just to see the “hits”. The dashboards also identify the posts, so if an interesting post is hit, I usually go and reread it. I’ve created some really good posts over the years, and some deserve more attention. This one (and the two preceding posts) deserves more attention. It now will be displayed at the top of the comments so others can discover it just like I did today.

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    Picture Of Self—Commentary
    Adapted (loosely) from William Blake’s Songs Of Innocence And Experience

    Little Structure, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life and………………….Little Structure, I’ll tell thee, little structure I’ll tell thee:

    Innocence ~~b

    Experience: The logic/structure that separates/connects particles to waves, i.e., connects particle/wave to affirmative ideal—the foundation of science/mathematics and the logically implied universe of our experience. Bizarre as this may sound the experiment (http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_reality_tests/) suggests that we have a whole lot more to learn about what differentiates consciousness from reality and visa versa.

    [Blue quadrant pink self-horizon—~~b—reductionism, mass/energy, physical body mortar into bricks platform.]

    Little Structure, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life and………………….Little Structure, I’ll tell thee, little structure I’ll tell thee:

    Innocence ~bb

    Experience: Life, energy far from equilibrium, the permutation of ~~b structure into the ~bb structure—the source of consciousness/freedom/life/death.

    [Green quadrant red self-horizon—~bb—life existential meaning/emotions reproductive platform.]

    Little Structure, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life and…………………..Little Structure, I’ll tell thee, little structure I’ll tell thee:

    Innocence b~b~bb

    Experience: The logic/structure that separates/connects the aesthetic component of self-consciousness and theoretic component (sensory/emotional and affirmative ideal experienced together) not only allows for the confirmation/rejection of scientific hypothesizes, it also separates scientific knowledge from caring aesthetic values (the emotion/reason disconnect—at worst the reduction of goodness, love, and beauty to stimulus/response mechanisms) yet, one may ask: Why do caring aesthetic values still flourish? I suggest here that where love, beauty, and form merge—we also find and experience the reconciliation of opposites (but we are not there yet). What’s most important is that the “affirmative ideal” has purpose. Death (the life structure ~bb) is not about endings, it’s about beginnings, the evolution of life from simple to the complex, culminating in homo sapiens, i.e., b~b~bb structure where the ~bb of b~b~bb becomes the logic/structure that separates/connects humans to a “universe of knowledge”—the knowledge that builds civilizations and asks questions like: how, why, when, and where did human consciousness/freedom come from? The b~b~bb structure, simultaneous with it’s acquisition of knowledge, continually experiences “a present full of memories”—the joys, sorrows, anger, love, regrets/learning experiences etc., that “we know as the emotional events that spawn a life well lived—a life buoyed, as William Blake would have it, by innocence and experience!”

    [Purple quadrant yellow self-horizon—b~b~bb—the psychological sociocutural environment of human discourse/institutional education—the civilized aspect of civilization.]

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