Reply To: General discussion

  • Paul

    April 17, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Hey Lucy

    Thanks for your lovely and thoughtful reply. I was very evocative and I recalled similar experiences from my past. And I know just what you mean.

    In answer to your question, I don’t know if I can help you understand better- I think you understand. For that matter, I think we all understand… intrinsically, implicitly and fully what we experience. The issue is that this understanding of the whole isn’t particularly declarative or explicit, that is, it does not lend itself to words: instead it is represented by written text.

    And yet your words can lead me to my recall of something from my life- your description led me to Islington in London, circa 1986… a park, a Victorian wrought iron gate, a sky suffused with colour, enchanting and timeless. A place and a moment I visit in my dreams from time to time.

    In this way, words can lead others to their version of an experience, rendering the words whole, reconstituted in a new moment.

    As Iain was emphasising in his recent YouTube conversation with Alex Gomez-Marin: consciousness and experience are about connection and relations; about the inseverability of the whole and herein lies our greater understanding.

    I will try to articulate what this evoked in me. I don’t know if this will be understandable but perhaps it will.

    Because humans use words to represent their experience to other humans, that representation tends to become an experience “thing” in collective or social settings. I am trying to communicate something of ghastly and existential complexity here so I do hope I’m not too far from the mark but basically, the same tendency is exhibited when words represent objects or classes of objects.

    If you consider this for a while, I believe it possible to see that the naming of something (an object, a class, or a category etc.) is an act that actually creates the thing or object. Independently of naming, ‘it’ is simply part of the whole- inseverable, contiguous and continuous with it.

    Such is the power of language for humans.

    Consider a simple example: A car. Ok, we can all agree what one is. But is it a car without a road? Of course, it is a car in field. But without a road it cannot be driven. Problematic, surely. Is it a car if there is no driver? Yes, maybe? But how about no mechanic, no filling station? How about without the huge coniferous forests and an intervening hundreds of millions of years required to turn them to crude oil to provide that fuel, or an education system that assists people to understand how the processes of nature can lead to engineering and manufacturing the iterations of design over centuries that leads to the car.

    If we leave the car in the field long enough it will return to its constituents.