A Brief Timeout From My Journal Travelogues
In the next series of posts (9), I will continue to make the case for a different way to understand “reality” and “self”—the carrier of free thought, i.e., the observer/observed relationship. I will describe existence, life, knowledge, and meaning—the meaning of what it means to be intelligently alive in a spiritual universe. Cassirer’s philosophy and Sartre’s for-itself philosophy, especially its structural significance, will be noted and further developed. My old post—“Sunyata At The Root Of Being” will be re-posted and following that post I will present a diagram that describes the observer/observed relationship. The last post, the post before my return to my northwest bicycle trip, will be a review of Ron Krumpos’ excellent e-book on mysticism: “The Greatest Achievement In Life–Living In Conscious Oneness.”
“Meaning becomes the moving force of self-transcendence, which reaches beyond the limited horizon and longs for the whole.” (Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe)
If a universal structure is co-contemporary with the world and its history then we should be able to find this structure waiting to be discovered. I believe this structure has always existed, unconsciously no doubt, in the historical context of people and culture. Levi-Strauss’s structuralism, especially as it is described in The Savage Mind, is just one attempt at disclosing this structure. The holism/ elementarism debate,–the tension that exists between group demands and individual desires–is another attempt at disclosing this structure. This tension exists in all cultures, but varies in degree. For instance, it appears as though Pre-modern man, in the early stages of his development, was able to maintain cultural stability while at the same time maintaining a holistic perception of his environment. This ability, in the words of the anthropologist Levy-Bruhl, “sets Pre-modern man apart from his modern predecessors.” The qualities that we take for granted, or our ability to differentiate the space that surrounds us ad infinitum, did not exist for Pre-moderns. Rather, his/her experience of the participation process was more restrictive and inclusive within what Levy-Bruhl called the “synthetic whole”. In other words, Pre-modern society was considerably different from modern society. Still, all societies must have some mechanism to preserve and perpetuate the social roles that are vital to the on going existence of the group. For Pre-moderns, as for the rest of us, this mechanism lies in our work. In this respect the investigations of Ernst Cassirer become extremely helpful.