A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Great Frustration

One of the problems with writing essays is that each one must begin with the distortions and madnesses that make up the social/political/economic reality of an audience.  I feel the need for a general tutorial on how to get from the present state of madness to a point of, at least, some touch with the flow of reality.  It is like the water bugs living in the tiny swirling currents at the edge of a fast flowing river taking their perturbations for the river itself.  Before describing any motion with a hope for real clarity it is necessary to reference the main flow, otherwise, all understanding is provincial, short-term and wrong.

But understanding the main flow, or even in a larger context, the influence of confluences, oceans, patterns in both space and time of rains and melts, is a monumental task; like understanding the fourth dimension.  We are no longer the little water bugs that can live and die riding on the swirling currents as though they were the whole of reality.  And yet, that is our habit and our natural capacity – even as we have capacities to comprehend beyond such limits.

It is a great frustration to see a whole planet begin to stagger under the weight of a species, my own, that is doing everything just as it must.  We are being exactly what we are as we geometrically populate and consume; as we dig the ground first with a stick, then with a shovel and then with the 300 square yard bucket of an earth moving behemoth. 

And yet contained in, perhaps buried in, our capacities for imagining and creating our imaginings there may be the ability to imagine not doing something; or perhaps, if not available directly, ways of taking our straight ahead style of doing of things and designing inhibiting systems.  

Our future is having less, making less, doing less.  Less is always available; more has its limits.  “Less is more” has an Orwellian ring to it, but it can be both truth and salvation.  The head-on collision of demanding more from less and less can only result in a great perturbation that in the end will deliver the necessary result.  But as with all things in the human experience successfully acting in reality requires a recognition of and humility before The Real, i.e., requires the basic foundation of sanity.

Sanity was once easier.  To return to the water bug: recognizing and responding to the patterns of currents in the local swirls was the best and the highest of art.  Today, an appreciation of whole river flow is a minimum.  The melting mountain snows, the slitting of river mouths and more have become the immediate concern of the tiny river margin pool.  

Madness is now easier.  Everything is available to Madness.  Gods and truth are only a simple belief away.

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