This is an experiment in writing I’m going to try out. It’s based, as will become clear, on my thoughts while walking in my neighborhood. It is an attempt to communicate an integral mandalic experience/form of meditation. That is the experience of sensing one’s entrance and exits from the three basic perspectives (1st participant, 2nd dialogic, 3rd observational) of living in the world via the description of a quadratic phenomenology (a mega-phenomenology) that describes the arising and cognition of the quadrants in any experience/data stream in the life process.
The Quadrants are the individual (UL), communal (LL), biological (UR), and techno-economic-ecological (LR).
The writing experiment beings after the jump…
The route I walk three to five times per week is without my thinking about it anymore essentially routinized. Just the other day it occurred to me that this is was in part the design of some city planner(s). I end up walking to a nearby park and the route I go to get there is the fastest, with the least traffic (not that there is much in my hood anyway) and often the most tree lined.
My consciousness (UL) and my physical body/organism (UR) ride and are only possible due to the gift of this person’s vision and the labor of many others.
From a birds eye/God’s view perspective, from the person standing on a rooftop in my neighborhood, they could watch me walk and would quite easily be able to predict my end point and the route I will take to get there.
But that person would not be able to sense the rhythms of my body–only a person following up close to me during my walk could take my heart rate or listen to my breathing or any other number of biofeedback loops. But they could not gain the vantage on the path I/we would be taking.
While consciousness never exists with a material rider and in this case as well as urban planning, systematic structures. No consciousness in that exact time and space without the sewer lines, the booming real estate industry, etc.
Now on these walks I tend to do my “big picture/free mind/deep thinking.” Walking, movement (e.g. pacing) has always in a sense freed my mind up to be more creative and productive. Undoubtedly there is some biochemical rationale involved here–the walking releasing some hormones perhaps that help give space to deeper thought.
Similar because of the ordered design (LR) of the neighborhood I can walk without focusing too heavily on my immediate physical surroundings, also opening space for deeper thought.
But seeing me walking (either from the birds eye position or the up close biofeedback position) would one be able to determine/guess what I was thinking. While the material substrate of both my biology and the environment (natural and human-created) make possible this conscious exploration/meditation they do not determine its contents or contours. But again no thought without them either.
How would one know that I was doing this very thought experiment on the arising and coherence of quadratic existence? How would one know via 3rd person modes of being-in-the-world what my first person mode of being in the world was contemplating?
Unless of course one asked me (LL). And then we entered 2nd person conversational mode of being in the world. If a person approached me as another human (i.e. a thinking-feeling being of depth) and asked me what I was thinking about my response would be based no doubt on what I was contemplating.
But I would have shifted as well from a 1st person mode (interior phenomenological turning in on my own mind) to the outward other and Language would then enter–discourse, dialogue, the 2nd person m-o-b (mode of being).
This conversation is itself not determined by either the city architecture, our respective biological organisms or even our own individual thought (though each are always in play). As Paul Ricoeur has shown we never gain access into the inner experience (the other’s 1st person m-o-b) but what is communicated is the public meaning/presentation of my inner experience.
Just as I now am communicating in public the reflection about this period’s reflection. It can not recreate the inner felt experience of my personal cogitation, and no doubt the format of this writing is itself shaped by the medium of blogging (itself shaped by the exigencies of its technological frame, i.e. the internet). Yet it is always free and non-determined.
Though it is not entirely free on the other hand. The language we speak presumably would be English already massively structured in terms of grammar, social approved/valued forms of communication and the methods and ways of such typical conversations. All of these are never absent from my communication of my interior thought and yet again (since all quadrants arise) are not totally determinative of what I say.
But what I say is not always what is heard/communicated and the dialogue itself opens up the possibility of new learnings, new creations, new memories that retroactively re-create what I was thinking in the earlier episode.
And then the individual may walk away after our brief conversation. The birds eye viewer has only seen an interaction between two organisms. I return to my first person frame/experience. I cross the street.