Reflection 207: Book Synopsis Part 5/5

March 3, 2011

Copyright © 2011

Here’s the last installment of the synopsis of my upcoming book, KNOW THYSELF: Adventures in Getting to Know My Own Mind. –Steve Perrin

Chapter 13, Reality. From my perspective, the big picture in my awareness constitutes my sense of the real world. That assumption is the basis of the human condition, or as I see it, predicament. Usually we assume that such an overview captures the essence of the physical, cultural, or economic world—as if it were somehow external to ourselves; but these are highly elaborate constructs or belief systems in our minds. Through introspection, I have learned that reality is a dynamic creation of my mind engaging what I can experience of my situation in the world through a looping engagement of continuous action alternating with paying attention to the results of such action. I create reality in subjective consciousness through a bioenergetic engagement between the unknowable-in-itself substrate provided by my embodied brain in dynamic relation with the unknowable-in-itself substrate of the physical world. In that sense, reality is a virtual figment maintained at considerable expense by my devoting a good portion of my life energy to the mutual interaction between my unknowable brain with its unknowable situation in the world.

Chapter 14, Conflict. Each of us being mentally unique, no two people live in the same world of awareness. Conflict comes with the variety of our outlooks on the world. To get along with one another, we have two options: cooperate, or do it my way. Another source of world conflict is caused by one person (group, corporation, nation) attempting to dominate the minds of others so they come around to a preordained way of thinking (voting, consuming, fighting, believing, buying). Much of America’s stance in the world (e.g., claiming to be the world’s only superpower) is based on convincing others to grant us a larger share of world resources than is warranted by our portion of the global population, allowing us to live higher on the hog than others may find fair or deserved. In daily life, we group ourselves by our common interests, forming subcultures (unions, managers, executives, artists, entertainers, immigrants, men and women, the young and the aged, etc.) that speak different languages and define themselves by their differences with subcultures viewed as standing in opposition to them. At the same time, we are great game players and watchers, pitting ourselves against other people, teams, nations, and so on in rule-governed competition. Rules make the difference between ruthless anarchy and civil society, but they require enforcement to make sure the field is level for all players. As a means of conflict resolution, games are played out in the minds of participants and spectators alike, loss in one game not being the end of the world because there’s always the rematch or next season to aim for, and the one after that. I include a post to my blog on the topic of harvesting rockweed in Maine as an example of dealing with conflict between seaweed harvesters and fishery managers, a topic I got into because of my conflict with one particular harvester.

Chapter 15, Power. The source of personal power is the assumption that I am right and you are wrong about an issue, and I am going to set you straight because it is to my advantage to do so. Each of us is more-or-less determined to dominate the mind of the other to the point of agreement, submission, or surrender. This is predominantly a patriarchal or “father knows best” strategy, in contrast with a matriarchal strategy such as “let’s build a relationship,” thereby spreading networks of mutual support to children, spouses, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and surrounding communities. Exerting power over other minds is a way of dressing personal authority as a virtue, personal ideology as a civic benefit. Wealthy politicians and corporations these days have legal teams, publicists, bank accounts, minions, profit-hunger, and arrogance enough to want to exert control over the reality in which others live their lives. This invites well-funded elites to dominate large sectors of the public mind, even depriving entire classes and generations of the right to be conscious for themselves.

There you have it in summary, a rough outline of my upcoming book, INTROSPECTION: Adventures in Getting to Know My Own Mind. More about its availability in subsequent posts.



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