Reflection 204: Book Synopsis Part 2/5

February 24, 2011

Copyright © 2011

Synopsis of Chapters 4-6 in my upcoming book, KNOW THYSELF: Adventures in Getting to Know My Own Mind.

Chapter 4, Understanding. When the various sensory elements of a given situation come together in my mind so that every phenomenon is coupled to a corresponding concept or interpretation in an aesthetic or coherent relationship, then my consciousness congratulates itself with a feeling of satisfaction that I have done my job and can claim to understand my experiential situation as I construe it in my mind. That situation as I understand it, then, is made up of an array of multiple concepts and multiple phenomena in coherent relationship at various levels of discernment as a basis for undertaking projects through action in the world. Understanding has different structural dimensions according to the phenomena, interpretations, feelings, emotions, levels of discernment, and organizing schemes which it encompasses.

Chapter 5, Being and Meaning. It is no accident that much of philosophy is given to considerations of ontology (study of that which exists or has being), epistemology (that which is known or has meaning), ethics (distinguishing right from wrong behavior), and aesthetics (distinguishing harmony from discord). These are intuitive aspects of everyday awareness, no matter how highly schooled a person may be, because their interplay largely determines the feel of mental events from a personal point of view. Sensory patterns in my mind provide evidence of existence. Abstract concepts are the currency of my knowing. The ethical feel (or valence) of a judgment tells me its merit in relation to my personal survival. And beauty is my mind’s gauge of coherence, unity, or perfection. I offer the example of a young girl learning the spelling word for tomorrow as an example of what happens when meaning and being become disconnected, causing some confusion until they are reunited.

Chapter 6, Feeling and Emotion. I use feeling to refer to the positive or negative attitude (or valence) that colors a great deal of awareness either good or bad from my given perspective, and emotion to refer to the effect specialized neurotransmitters and hormones have in interacting with my personal conscious-ness. To me, feelings accentuate the difference between go and no go, good and bad, right and wrong, do it and don’t even think of doing it. Visceral emotions such as fear anger, awe, yearning, joy, or attachment reveal the influence of hormones on mental activities during highly charged situations I am personally invested in.

In my next post, I give a synopsis of the next three chapters: 7, Loop of Engagement; 8, Situations; 9, Speech.

 

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