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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Narrative Rug

Some people... a lot of people, actually, think my idea that we create our own reality is hogwash. When I say that our Being-in-the-World is a history, a story, they shake their heads and point to real objects, saying that that over there is a real river landscape, for example, and we are two real entities inhabiting that landscape. When the river floods in spring, our houses are inundated - a real disaster; it is not a "story" disaster we made up in our minds.

I agree we did not make it up in our minds, but we did start the scenario rolling; we took the script, got everyone on their marks and said "Roll 'em!" when we decided to build a house on the floodplain. Otherwise, no flood story.

What happens in the spring flood is like rug making:  real knots of yarn of weft tied onto the warp of intelligence...
if they are to become part of our communication. From a distance, the knots look like real flowers, for example; up close under the microscope, they become "fuzzy" and indistinct. If we are looking at pictures, the pixels become indistinct.
When we discourse about them, we want them to appear real again.

If we choose to ignore them, they become like the trees in the forest which fall noisily if we are standing next to them, silently when we are absent, and again possibly noisily when we talk about them philosophically:  
if we ignore the distinctions between knots, we see flowers;
if we pay attention to the distinctions, we no longer see flowers, for each knot is alone and separate from the whole;
if we talk philosophy about it - like we are now - we see more possible states and the whole history of rug making.


Arsen Darnay said...

Prefer always to be among the "few people," and, come to think of it, that's where I usually end up. And so here too. I *like* your notion that we create our own reality.

Montag said...

Thanks, Arsen. My biggest problem is how to describe it without relapsing into a naive Idealism vs Realism type of stand-off.

I think the first step is noticing how we focus on relatively few "events" in the billions and billions of "events" we are in the midst of every day... the editorial function of the brain, I guess.