It’s not a process…

It may be, then, that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Wendell Berry

The urge to slip into short-cuts that short-circuit any possibility of movement seems insurmountable. “It’s a process…” How often do we hear this characterization, even make the statement our selves, no matter how reluctantly?

Whenever we begin to look at life’s dynamic instead of remaining trapped in binaries we find our efforts misunderstood as defining something – life itself? – as a process.

This is absurd!

This may not be clear.Looking at it straight-on what does this statement imply? Insisting that life is a process we insist that life is no more than a means to an end.

Is it?

Is that really how we want to live?

“No!” This refusal to cave into this absurdity may well-up inside us, but it is fragile. It can so easily be shoved back down by an up-welling anxiety as we fear what all this might lead to. We’re likely to fall-back into a morass of conditioning wrapped in clichés; our attempts at conversation weighed down by absurd assumptions we feel we are trapped in.

These, our customary traps, are pernicious. Even the assumption that; at some point In the future we will be free of it all; is itself, another symptom of how deeply immured we are in a paradox hidden inside false-problems.

Defensiveness, our inability to have a sense of self that is not cocooned within an identity, is only one aspect of this evasion with which we hide from our immersion in incoherence. In my life I have had the rare fortune to have been stuck in paradox – in apparent double-binds without any possible solution – for decades. I survived this condition relatively intact. And then, I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to face the fallacy of perceiving thought as what happens to a me, becoming acquainted with the proprioception of thought.

No presentation of evidence, no explanations, no convincing arguments; have any influence on how we may break free of our stuckness and move along this track. No effort of will, no amount of striving after solutions, has any effect on this trajectory. Other than to delay or derail us.

“Sure, it’s a process!”

No. It is not.

A process implies a mechanistic model. “Insert A in B and turn to the left….” This is a process. There is, within a narrow pragmatic view in certain narrow cases, a workable sense of cause-and-effect. Doing this will result in that.

What is hiding in plain sight behind our insistence on falling into these traps is just how problematic our understanding of cause-and-effect really is. It could be said that cause-and-effect, and our customary sense of identity, are two sides of the same quandary. Both are illusions that allow us a fantasy of control. Neither is supported by any evidence that holds up once we stop looking at life, and our weorld, through reductive blinkers. Both are defended to the death – of us all and so much of life on Earth – whenever there is any attempt made to show them for what they are.

Most of the battle to maintain our belief in power happens unconsciously, below the level of our working proprioception. Lacking this crucial awareness – not an intellectual knowledge of a theory but an actual, embodied knowing – we struggle to maintain some semblance of stability within an incoherent and therefore inherently unstable condition.

This should not be surprising. Proprioception, an awareness of what is within one’s grasp and what is not, is hidden behind these entrancing illusions of power and the fantasies of the efficacy of an isolated self. The very notion that thought is not just what it seems from within the images it projects on the shadow-box of Spectacle is unthinkable to those caught within it. Any attempt to rattle this cage is met with angry resistance, “Why are you trying to make me feel bad?”

It is a frightening world to be trapped in a condition where others have the perceived power to make us feel bad, or good. No wonder there is so little energy left to do anything but cope….

We cross a horizon as we find these shackles loosening, bringing on an initial elation. Certainly this is a momentous event worth celebrating! Soon after, we find another horizon closing in. We seem to have passed through a boundary with no way of relating our passage to those around us. While we continue to be at risk of falling victim to mounting collateral damage even more troublesome can be the sense that we have no way of sharing what has come to light.

Some of this difficulty arises as a result of how we are accustomed to reacting from within the realm of negotiation where knowledge is treated as just another currency of power. It can be difficult to set this attitude aside when dealing with the illumination of insight. We may find ourselves piling-on with one-upmanship against all the dumb “Sheeple.” Behind this paradox is the lack of substance of a currency which is no more than a symbol standing for a thing – in this case an illusory thing: useful power.

Insight is not interchangeable with knowledge – thank God! Knowledge is stuck in the realm of explication, another chimerical dead-end. Insight cannot be abstracted and stored. Insight only exists within a context, within the fabric of existence it illuminates.

Insight cannot be propagated, transported, delivered on schedule. It exists within relationship in the Theosphere, Art, and Craft. There is a basic heuristic we can turn to that will show us when this might occur: Avoid explanation. Stick to creating embedded, holistic, metaphoric activities so we may share catalytic moments with those with whom we may discover fresh insights together. Not exactly a slogan that fits on a bumper-sticker or one to be scrawled on a sign, Instagrammed, and pumped-out over Twitter….

Somewhere in this mass of words thrown after words there might be a glimmer of what is involved. Writing in this way only skirts the precipice of explanation by the narrowest margin. It can only be attempted, essayed, through an act of faith that what could be taken for just another explanation might possibly be perceived as a rough form of description, a stumbling towards something forming in common between a writer and a reader. Not just another act of propaganda.

This site has been, and continues to be, a place where a single intention has been pursued over time. None of these post/essays stands alone. Each builds on what came before. Not just because the point at which each is essayed would not have been there to stand-on without what came before, but because they each rely on our continual grappling with specificity maintained throughout the whole of what precedes it.

Precession, proceeding… these terms flirt with that thought-stopper, Process. This again is another sign of how impossible it is to get anywhere without first wrestling our terms free of the concretions of expected, assumed meanings.

Meaning faces a scorching, withering wind, eroding context and dissolving content. Our civilization has honed and developed its organs to successfully perpetrate this dissolution. This is a fundamental aspect of our predicament. Experts at alienation, our institutions and powers-that-be, strip words of meaning at a tremendous rate. Urgency is pressed on us from all sides to compound these effects.

“Who has time?”

This question only makes sense if we remain within the assumptions of process.

We neither have nor lack time. All we have is this moment.

How do we connect with what-is?

Here is a question worthy of employing our attention. Let’s see how this impeded stream sings!

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7 thoughts on “It’s not a process…

  1. You rang my tuning fork with this. We seem to enter the territory beyond the precipice through a natural negation, a letting go of conclusions, of static structures. Maybe that wind dismantling the meaning of words is the way truth itself feels. The same wind that blows apart the sand Mandala, knocks me free from one certainty after another. This force itself is a kind of certainty. But it’s a certainty that isn’t attached to a fixed position.

    There seem to be two possible responses to being dislodged. Either we end up reattaching to new certainties (successfully or not); or now and then we end up leaping like an electron into a completely different relationship to words and their failures and to truth. And from there we can’t seem to dangle a rope of explanation to our previous minds. There’s a discontinuity in this change.

    If we leap, then words are released from an old bondage. It’s a bondage we probably believed we already escaped. It has to do with the confusion between word and thing. Once we heard Korzybski say it, we thought we had it. But that was also only an idea. When we leap, we’re no longer looking for a static finish line, we’re suddenly interested in feeling the push of incompleteness itself. Then we no longer picture the truth as an eternal verity that words struggle to mimic. Words are no longer expected to bear that burden. They’re no longer expected to build a static reflection of some ultimate permanence, but to flex and shift like sails.

    Now we actually want to feel the push of that inaccuracy, the way words can never house that power. We flex these sails playfully now, using them knowingly as theory, as metaphor, abandoning completely the need for solid ground, for permanence. Everything is an assumption. The infinity of thought is assumption. An infinity that is also limited.

    We feel the boat beneath us morphing and rolling in a truth far exceeding it. The deficiencies themselves suggest the bigger world. We no longer try to stuff truth inside static containers. Words are not containers now. The static now seems shamefully small. It was like trying to stuff a bear in a parakeet’s cage. Now we cheer the awesome power of the bear to exceed our expectations. It frustrated us because we believed in a static idol of truth. We didn’t really see the difference between word and thing. Now the wind exceeding the sail is beautiful.

    Therefore our perpetual adjustments of language are never complete, and we never expect completion. We neither expect it nor want it. It’s the corrections we enjoy – the chance to play more. We like the feel of the current pushing us away from these old formulations into perpetually deepening waters. It’s the slack that lets us use words more freely. Freed from this burden they finally come into their own. It’s a limited domain, but a domain that finally highlights their potential craftsmanship.

    We see now that when Bohm used “theory” he meant this: When Krishnamurti used “fact” he meant the incompleteness. In theory we’re always cognizant of the pull of incompleteness. We feel the question. And we feel the incompleteness pushing us always off our static forms. Then we leap at the opportunity to adjust the metaphoric sails. And on and on, following an ever subtler, more powerful current.

    1. Jeff,

      Thank you for this. I’ve been away and just got back. I’ll respond fully as soon as things settle back down after the holiday. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this!

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