Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nature is Kind

Disclaimer: I'm not recommending this book.

Nature -- the psyche, the workings of my logical, emotional, and reptilian brain -- has been kind to me in that my world is merely (mostly) permeated by a discomfiting fog.

In the haze, these passages shone out:

From Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson:

Strange or unsettling ideas are dealt with as the oyster deals with the bit of grit, packaged in soothing ways, smoothed over.
--"Daddy?" --"Yes?" --"Wouldn't it be a good thing if people gave up words and went back to only using gestures?" --"Hmm. I don't know. Of course we would not be able to have any conversations like this. We could only bark, or mew, and wave our arms about, and laugh and grunt and weep. But it might be fun -- it would make life like a sort of ballet -- with dancers making their own music."
The artist's dilemma is of a peculiar sort. He must practice in order to perform the craft components of his job. But to practice has always a double effect. It makes him, on the one hand, more able to do whatever it is he is attempting; and, on the other hand, by the phenomenon of habit formation, it makes him less aware of how he does it.
Finally, in the dim region where art, magic and religion meet and overlap, human beings have evolved the "metaphor that is meant," the flag which men will die to save, and the sacrament that is felt to be more than "an outward and visible sign, given to us." [Or a ring that joins two lives?? -- My addition).] Here we can recognize an attempt to deny the difference between map and territory, and to get back to the absolute innocence of communication by means of pure mood-signs.