Thinking about Thinking
as opposed to subject-matter
Einstein claims the kind of thinking that generates
the “problem” can not be the kind of thinking that
(Differences in KIND. Not just in phdegree.)
But I seem to practice only one KIND of thinking—
whether it’s thinking or thinking about thinking, or
thinking about thinking about thinking:
Ego-conscious purposive agenda-driven thinking..
How do I get out of it? .
Tar Baby Thinking: the more I whack at it,
the stucker I get.
Here’s an idea I got from reading Gregory Bateson.
Steps to an Ecology of Mind. It’ll sound trivial in
content, maybe ridiculous but if I used profound
and epic “topics” like sustainability and strategic
planning, universal health care & swine flu avoidance,
the subject-matter would occlude the structure
and process (environ-mentalism) by which it was
propagated —which could be called a different
level of thinking, know what I mean?
“This Rock is Hard” my butt signals me
(so to speak as I sit on a large unrolling stone.
“I see that the relationship generated (emerging)
between my butt and this rock is one of
a “hardness” not present (located) in my butt
or in the rock, but rising up in the relationship
between the two.”
Level I thinking unconsciously collapses a ternary
dynamic to a binary dualism, reifying “hardness”
into an adjectival deal that can be projected onto
the rock, so that the rock is called hard when it
is actually the ratio between butt and rock that
Level II. thinking: a more complete description
of what’s actually happening, and truer to higher
systemic levels of representation--even while it’s
a strangeness: an offense if not ridiculous to
common sense “reality.”
We scapegoat rock in calling it hard. Rock
carries the burden of explanation, interpretation,
because & affect, blamation.
This is a different way of thinking, yes?
A different level? From binary to ternary,
from dualistic to triadic.
So what? you might ask. No one thinks
that way —in those terms. .
We think in a way that ignores (eclipses) the
ratios (the rationality) between perceiver and
perceived and we ascribe reduced “systemic”
qualities to a single component of the whole
of any dynamic relationship.
When my student exclaims, “This Book Sucks”;
my colleague says, “You'ree a pain in the ass,”
my wife insists “the cat is a sneeze-maker,“
my neighbor accuses “Wall Street” as responsible
for our fall—or “Maddoff, damn him: the one
that ripped-off my estate.”....
These are all variants on the butt-to-rock kind
of reified ratios that generate our because-ality
& reasons-why capacity.
Our accusatorial epistemology reduces 3 to 2,
slapping the “other” with the quality that rightly
rises up (emergent) as a phenomena of
relationship among parts and wholes & is more
than their summation and not located anywhere
you can finger.
Assuming this distinction makes sense to you
(binary vs ternary assessment and account-ability):
it changes everything. You could stumble around
like the one-eyed man in the Valley of the Blind,
like the philosopher who burned his eyes outside
the cave. surrounded by all of us failing to see in
terms of ratios and relationship (reason) but only
in terms of I-Other, whether theOther is considered
Thou or It makes no never minding.
The crime is committed.
The whole reduced to a part &
the part carries the weight of the relationship.
As if Wall Street is responsible. As if Bush is,
Barack is, the major automotive manufacturers,
Enron, Kim ii Sung, Martin Luther King, Gandhi,
Ok Ok they all are (responsible) so to speak, in
our manners of speaking. Necessary but insufficient
causes. But actually, systemically, IT's always lmore
than the sum of these parties & their participation;
and our common sense epistemologyis reductive,
a violation of the whole, perpetuating (from the
stand point of the whole) errors in description that
are continually validated by convention and
contribute to our ways of seeing,talking,
thinking and knowing.
Ouch! Damn rock.
Oh that water is COLD!
Warren Wilson: liberal!
Dean Kahl: kindly, genial
& humble.. Etc.
All of the above:
Collapsing & casting
the qualitative location
of the relationship on the “other”
Satanic, really, in the original sense.
Got a problem with that? We can argue.
You can improve my terms. J’ai accusé:
of being hard, cold, hot, bastard, liberal,
kindly, Satanic in its descriptive beauty: a
word lost to us. Scapegoated to carry the
burden of our richly impoverished accusatorial
epistemological habits of talking, thinking,
knowing, assessing: the kindof thinking that
generate our human predicaments: —not
that there’s anything wrong with that.