Saturday, June 30, 2007

Where is life located?

Carle P. Graffunder headshot by Carle P. Graffunder

Artwork by Charmaine Frost
Artwork by Charmaine Frost

Where are the emotions of joy, chicanery, veniality, pride, slyness and craftiness, elation, guilt, desire and any of a myriad of other qualities and experiences located? Indeed, where is imagination, inspiration, character, pain, exuberance, discriminatory pleasures and perversities and specializations of “rightness” and “evil” and satisfactions too numerable to mention?

Volitional aspects in human existence may present other difficulties of magnitude. Research psychologists and other pragmatists long have discarded attempts to find where “paying attention” or “focus your thoughts” or “listen carefully” can be located. Where “real” is long ago passed into obscurity as a field of scientific interest departing with the dictum that a thing is real if it is real in its consequences.

All urges, all fantasy, all insight, all intuition, all goal-setting, all of these and more slip into and out of our consciousness at times and places we can only partially - often, only with difficulty - even describe. To “locate” their “presence” seems even more evasive. It is as if a kind of emperor’s new clothes enclosed in our “selves” and these phenomena. The eye does not see directly. The paths of stimuli are traceable through a series of connections each energized briefly only enough to start up the next. So that what finally reaches the visual field is not what shone in the eye of the beholder. The person believes he is “seeing;” but it is an illusion. When he understands that, he can begin to understand impairments of vision and vision related phenomena such as migraine or dyslexia. So with hearing, we do not hear direct; waves disturb various tissues in succession, the waves are directed by physical engagements to take prescribed pathways to relevant auditory brain situses, in accordance with frequencies to which they are sensitive. What happens if pathways are blocked or misdirected? We have the illusion that we are hearing directly: and to comprehend that is an awakening experience. Such knowledge allows imagination to play a very large part in problem-solving in medical areas. But also the knowledgeable person will begin to get some insight into the fragile and tenuous nature of ideas and of any and all “knowledge.” He can discover that a world of illusion is where he lives.

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