For the introduction to this series of posts, here.
Article from Time Magazine, Q&A with author Hilary Black by Andrea Sachs.
The first move, as per the genre of writing, is to take a 2nd person point of view, a dialogical point of view. Andrea Sachs who is her own first person aware of herself as a first person [1p(1p)] approaches Hilary Black as a 2nd person, who from her view is her own first person 2p(1p). Black similarly approaches Sachs in the same manner.
The initiator of the conversation is Sachs. She is going to interpret Black’s book (entitled The Secret Currency of Love). The book itself is an anthology meaning it is a compilation edited by Black of a number of other writers–all women in this case. All of whom are their own first persons, edited through Black’s interpretation (the editor here has her own voice and is almost in a sense a separate author unto herself). So the book is her interpretation and compilation of other’s writings. The book itself is dialogical as it interacts with itself.
The Secret Currency of Love
Currency is an appropriate word here in many ways because it reveals that money (as a form of energy-communication-adaptation-responsibility) is an intrinsic part of existence in every moment from birth to death–either yours or through relations with others (e.g. as a child in a family, dependent on adults). Currency helps reveal the interpretative-value laden (LL quadrant), socially and culturally constructed meaning frames for money. It is also helps reveal how money is inherently tied to self-identity (UL quadrant), particular emotions like feeling of self-worth, itself while individual always in part shaped by social eyes/awareness of one as a social being.
Money therefore is intrinsically tied up with consciousness and in many cases is used as a representation for the expression (the “circulation”) of consciousness-energy.
That this currency is secret means it is largely therefore unconsciousness. Both socially unconscious as well as individually so. As Wilber says, the embedded unconscious of an individual is typically the social ego/construct.
It is particularly secret, the authors, argue for women in US society.
In answer to the question of why this currency is so secret and so taboo, Black responds:
I think it is because money is so wrapped up in self-worth for a lot of people, and self-esteem. The tradition of not talking about money and not talking about your salary is something that has been long-standing over the past 40 years. I think that it’s private because people feel that they don’t want to reveal that personal part of themselves. For a lot of people it’s wrapped up in how successful they are as a person. It is a very powerful force in intimate relationships, because whether you have a lot of money or a little money, it’s always there. You don’t ever escape its power.
The tradition of not talking about money and not talking about your salary is something that has been long-standing over the past 40 years. I think that it’s private because people feel that they don’t want to reveal that personal part of themselves
The tradition of not talking about money
This tradition is a the social environment (LL), the interior cultural sense of rightness/justness/caring around the issue. It is long-standing over the past 40 years (longer than that I would say) insofar as it helps protect a liberal social contractual order (orange modern meme) which believes in the notion of privacy of the individual ego (UL). By enforcing a social taboo (LL), the inner individual buffered atomic self (UL) is left untouched. We can not then talk about the role of money nor the ethics of money (the ethics of our jobs, our industries, our vocations) in order to avoid uncomfortable, potentially emotionally explosive/painful, conversations.
Black here, in a very dialogical mode relative to Sachs’ questions, is entering a very interpretative hermeneutic (1st person plural) way of being. She is also teasing out structural elements (a 3rd person mode relative to a 1st person mode), i.e. the hidden “codes” or “rules” of social conduct. She is nicely balancing hermeneutics (the way we make meaning together) and structural analysis (the codes which are shaping said discourse).
What I hope people will take away from this is the idea that money issues are inescapable and that by reading these stories, people will see themselves — aspects of themselves, ambivalence about money, anger about money, how it changes things between people. And I feel that reading these stories will help people navigate their own issues, which I think will be exacerbated by what’s going on in the economy right now.
What I hope people take away from this….
Here is the language of first person intentionality. Phenomenology (perhaps the single-best form of inquiry into reconstructing the first person singular mode of being-in-the-world, alt. UL) says that all consciousness is consciousness towards, i.e. intentionality. Or in this case hope. The editor’s hope shapes the way undoubtedly she has designed and edited the text. But to be sure, people will take all kinds of other lessons away (as individuals are always free to interpret but will to a degree always interpret through their own location, worldview, etc.). So the lessons drawn might be ones Hilary Black does not expect and she might learn of some of those and find some of these other lessons positive, other perhaps neutral, and still others perhaps negative. The relation of positive, netural, and negative (and degrees of each) of course depends on Black’s own views and her own Basic Moral Calculus/Intuition relative to any number of arising ethical decisions and occasions.
and that by reading these stories, people will see themselves — aspects of themselves, ambivalence about money, anger about money, how it changes things between people.
Reading these stories
Injunction/praxis (!) language. Take up and read as Augustine heard the voice say to him. Tolle et lege. To enter the art of reading and (presumably the editor assumes) reading well. It is a conservative act, an act of conservation, in some measure. The practice precedes us–the hermeneutic circle of conversation was begun long before us and will exist long after us–we enter a show already in progress. And yet (on the liberal side), the individual is free to read in many (almost infinite number) of ways. The injunction to read is undertaken by readers who come with their own occasions (as holons with their own four quadrants, their own life conditions, their own needs/desires, angles, povs, etc).
People will see themselves
i.e. People will imagine themselves in the perspective of the people in the stories. The characters in the stories are based on the first person experiences of the authors themselves, but of course they are partly (as in all writing) interpretative. The ego/self-construct is always aware (particularly in writing as my first person is now) that others will be reading (are in a sense watching). So there is on the individual level the question of the author’s intentions (and the reader’s interpretation of the author’s intention–see Wilhelm Dilthey) as well as the public meaning of the author’s intention manifested through the social medium of writing-reading (see Paul Ricoeur, Hans Georg Gadamer). Again as a dialogical relational (reader-author, author-critic, reader-author-critic) mode of being.
To see themselves in others is to enter as reader into one’s imagination/interpretation of the mind of the character in the story (again the character mediated through all of the above). Cognition, that which is (or which one can cognize) grows by the ability to take more and more perspectives. There is again here a deep relationality–of substituting oneself for other (itself grounded in the fact that metaphorically all Consciousness in Relation is able to occur since all is One Spirit).
The infinite extends infinitely, as we finitely enter the infinite, infinitely in all our finite moments.