Reflection 205: Book Synopsis Part 3/5

February 26, 2011

Copyright © 2011

Here is a synopsis of the next three chapters in my upcoming book, KNOW THYSELF: Adventures in Getting to Know My Own Mind. –Steve Perrin

Chapter 7, Loop of Engagement. I reach out to the fabulous world (which I know primarily through stories I have heard or tell myself) by making gestures meant to produce a desired result, and the world in turn responds by reaching in to me through my senses, both my actions and perceptions contributing to the vital exchange I known as personal experience. This ongoing loop of engagement binds me to my surroundings on levels depending on my reflexes, assumptions, habits, or full-fledged conscious awareness. The deeper into consciousness I plunge, the greater the effort I must expend to conduct my mind’s business. I propose that the end of consciousness is action in the world appropriate to the situation I am involved in at the time as best I can construe it. Being connected to the fabulous world through engagement in an ongoing loop between my active and receptive acts from birth unto death, I learn the results of my efforts soon enough, hopefully in time to ensure my efforts are appropriate to my current situation.

Chapter 8, Situations. Situations are the arenas or playing fields of consciousness. I can’t be aware of everything happening within or around me (much less in the fabulous world), so I deal with those aspects I judge to be germane to a particular matter I am involved with. As a result, my consciousness is situational by nature because my mind takes an active role in structuring what it judges to be of concern in order to propose an appropriate response. The greater the detail considered, the greater the effort I must devote to making such a response. If a tiger emerges from the undergrowth ahead of me, there isn’t much time for debating what to do. In such an emergency, survival requires maximum action, minimal thought. In routine situations, I park my mind in habitual mode, and do again what I have done countless times before (sharpen pencils, play solitaire, slice a banana, make the bed). Judgment whether I am in a novel or familiar situation is paramount when survival is the issue.

Chapter 9, Speech. Speech requires fine muscular control of jaw, tongue, lips, and breath, not gross control of torso, arms, or legs. It is a highly efficient means of consulting others without committing bodily resources prematurely. Speech allows a trial-and-error response before we commit ourselves to bold action. It is no accident that most education is conducted in the idiom of speech. Testing: one, two, three, four. But when decisive action is called for, essays or bold promises are apt to be wholly deficient. In daily life, written speech aids such as calendars, schedules, agendas, and to-do lists are often useful for organizing and planning future activities when we have the luxury of time before having to commit ourselves to a plan of action. Where do words come from? I feel them emerge from kernels of awareness deep inside my ongoing engagement with a particular situation, and specifically, from the feelings or tensions which govern my attention and loop of engagement.

Next post: synopses of chapters 10, Values; 11, Goals; 12, Projects.



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