the self

There is a great sythesis of many things occuring right now. My past year, years, of activities and readings and adventures have brought me full circle into fields with fresh eyes and deepened perspectives.  The classes that I’ve signed up for at PSU are both connected to each other and what I am already moving into.  My spirituality has deepened and my various views and policies and politics and attitudes have also changed.  I am, once again, coming to conclusions that I held a few years ago, but with a slight twist on them.  I will admit irritation and a rolling of the eyes when a 20 year-old tells about how the world is, how solutions to political systems are such and such and various other things that are spouted off at the mouth.  Diversity, social justice, women’s rights… etc… are all holy cow words that are spewed forth with great gusto but little insight.  They are not, absolute values in and of themselves.  What does it mean to say “love” thy brother?  This seems like an absolute good, yet it too can be warped and twisted.  Some Inquisitors believed that by getting a conversion to Christ under pain of torture really saved the heathen from eternal damnation.  Some, it seemed, tortured the sinners out of love.  It is with great distrust for any who would unthinkingly push any agenda without exercising their minds to it first that I argue any and every point raised in class at times.  As being too far in our current mode of patriarchal materialism has hurt us… what dangers are there in being too far in the other direction?

In class, diversity was said by one to be a value for psychologists in the community to keep.  What did they mean?  A cursory glance might show the usual respect for people regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, economic status, etc… and it sounds like a good thing.  Shouldn’t we all strive for this?  Isn’t this implicit in our Declaration of Independence?  Yet the same person who says diversity diversity diversity over and over again, petitions to get a conservative talk radio program off the air, boycotts and heckles a conservative speaker on campus, and other such actions.  Is that respect for diversity?  An old question in politics has been, should a democracy of free citizens that allows free speech allow for hate speech and speech?  Arguments for and against are many.  If we are to pick up the flag of diversity, are we also allowing the equal respect and time for elements that might be offensive to us?  It is easy to say no… until you have to live with those elements in your neighborhood. 

Anyone else bothered, as I am, of GPS tracking of sex offenders in Washington State? 

At Starbucks I read from another book, not for school but tying together themes that deal with two of my classes (ecological psychology and community psychology).

Reading “Green Psychology” page 100, the emphasis on the Great Chain of Being.  With the emphasis in two of my classes in diversity and the negative attitudes toward the notion of heirarchies, the view of man as over Nature is at odds with Deep Ecology.  There was a reminder of the Cabalist notion of the Tree of Life and to throw it out (as I noted within myself).

Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.  There are elements that are in opposition to each other but which have strengths and weaknesses of their own.  There are levels of complexities of life and spirituallythis coincides with our own development.  Have we not room to grow and develop our selves?

page 105, Thomas Berry writes:

our identification of the Divine as transcendent to the natural world makes a direct human-covenant relationship possible, but we also negate teh natural world as the locus for the meeting of the Dvine and the human.

To feel one’s Self- that is… to feel self awareness there ust be some distinction between the Self and what is not self.  There is, inherent in our consciousness (as a property of such), a dissociative split between our self concept, what we feel to be our selves, and the world around us.  This evolution of the consciousness was a biological one… it occured due to emerging complexities and not through a conscious choice.  We didn’t suddenly say to ourselves one day ‘I think that I will be self conscious now’.  Rather, it seems, we evolved levels of consciousness  and the earlier stages there were not the great level of seperation from the world and the Ego self as felt/seen today.  Rather, while there was an awareness to self, ideas were messages from the gods.  The “I AM” culminated with Descartes’ famous split and the split grows still today.  In thinking of a plant, it grows in connection to its surroundings, symbiotic relationships, the ecosystem from which it derives. 

I might add here that it is with ignorance of the greatest magnitude that there are those who would be willing to destroy and old growth forest due to ‘waste’ of the natural resource due to ‘rotting logs’.  These individuals, groups, and companies, are truly and deeply blind and ignorant to the great number of connections, systems, circular flows, interdependance, and interconnections within the Old Growth forest. 

Likewise, the mind, the conscious self, in its inertia of moving toward more and more self consciousness, awareness, isolation, also truly and deeply needs the others around it as well.  It functions best when it can relate its own seperateness with others.  Not only to percieve norms, but also to truly and richly experience itself.  It is a paradox that to feel its own self it must feel others, that to feel the togetherness it must feel it’s own uniquness (again, tied with isolation and seperateness) and vice versus.  As many in the military have said, to fully appreciate one’s own country one should visit other countries.  To understand ones’s own argument one must fully engage the possibility of its antithesis.  There are, in the nature of how our mind works, the tension of opposites and yet thes opposites have a unity to them.  This unity is the greater Self.  The Self of Descartes might be the ‘thinking I’, but it is not nearly the Whole, in all its meanings of the word,… the Whole Self.  The Whole Self also recognizes its relation and connection and the blurred boundaries between the thinking self and others.  Our memories, hopes, fears, expectations, and what we project to others (our poker face as it were) as well as what we percieve to be the same from others, as well as shared meanings and histories within locations and locales.  We are not beings in isolation.  This also extends out from our own species to other species, to places, locales, and ecosystems…

… and eventually back to the Divine.


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