Reply To: Encounter in the Wild from an LH/RH Perspective

  • Peter Barus

    January 10, 2023 at 10:54 pm

    I’m finding this conversation quite clarifying, thanks for staying with it. Without this thread we have been sharing, I’m not sure any of this would have occurred to me.

    I suspect memory is a synthesis of the narrative and background (L & H), but it is all representation and a memory of a bullet is not the bullet. The moment anything happens, it is gone, and the representation is all we have. And maybe all we ever have. So memory is as real as it ever gets, and certainly does matter if anything does.

    I’m intrigued by the notion that the two participate in synthesizing any complicated series of actions, so that even with constant feedback and adjustment to circumstances, familiar functions don’t require a lot of attention. I’m thinking of performance, for example, when technique, once perfected to a degree, is completely discarded, and one becomes a human being (as distinct from a human doing).

    I can attest that at such moments performing is as easy and thoughtless as breathing. And afterwards it is nearly impossible to remember.

    A friend of mine, a student of Lakota medicine, says that fear, such as may arise in an encounter with a bear, is an opportunity to practice a virtue, such as generosity. Perhaps the bear has many mouths to feed, and needs your body, so you make the offer. This doesn’t require you to get eaten, it’s just acknowledging our relationship to life. Maybe an upbringing in that cultural context would qualify as bear training.

    In the heat of the moment, LH might struggle to keep up with events. And certain default reactions are available, such as fight, flight, freeze, flock, etc. Or, the situation being other than life-threatening, but still a cognitive overload, one might break into helpless laughter. In some Japanese martial arts, this is a well-known phenomenon known as the “aiki giggle.” It certainly clears the mind.