Monday, June 3, 2013

The Self/Other Gamut

Cast Self and Other as a finite gamut. What would be some of the touchstones of this gamut? What are the two extremes? I conceive of it in this way:

Extreme: Perception
Sensory Data
Our Body
The Room
The City [Other Bodies]
The Planet
The Universe
Other Minds
Extreme: Mystery

Perception is the extreme of Self; all perception has a first-person quality to it. Following that, our thoughts are more our Selves in that they are more particular to us as individuals than, say, sensory data that people are generally all able to cast in the same way. Still, sensory data is the data received by our senses, whereas our bodies are something that we perceive via our senses even as our senses are bound up with our bodies; that is we look down and see ourselves, we smell our own odors, we hear our own bones crack.

The air in our lungs, the food in our stomachs, passing into our bodies and passing out of it. Our bodies are distinct from our environment, but the distinction is sometimes fuzzy. When we are in a room, the room's temperature changes in response, the smell changes, certainly the sound waves, and our bodies likewise change in response to the conditions of the room.

The City I use here more as a world for community. We know what our bodies are like, we see other bodies, we influence them. I speak and they listen, they speak and I listen. We collaborate and, with sufficient understanding, it might appear to an outside observer that we live the same life to such an extent that we are almost no longer distinct from one another.

The Planet is our global environment. Here it is easy to find things that seem almost entirely alien to us. Things that have left no mark on us in our lives up to the point that we encounter them for the first time.

The Universe is the totality of known existence. It is mysterious. We struggle to make sense of it. We will never encounter more than a fraction of a fraction in our lifetime.

While the Universe is practically separate from us, Other Minds are fundamentally separate from us. We can never experience another person's perceptions, we can only look at our own perceptions and wonder if they see and feel as we do.

The extreme of Other is Mystery. That which is not perceived. 

No comments:

Post a Comment