Friday, August 2, 2013

Reality: Where Were You When We Needed You?

For most of your emerging life, you've been in an arm-wrestle with Reality, at first attempting to understand it, then define it, and then duplicate it in laboratory conditions you've come to see as story.

Without your conscious awareness of the fact, you were creating a dialectic, which lead you in earlier years to think you understood Marxism.  At more or less the same time, you were investigating another dialectic, the charged, argumentative conversation of story, which led you to think you understood it.

In more recent years, you became aware of and intrigued by such phenomena as parallel lines and how they began to assume for you the movement of Reality and Story, thus your dialectic materialism became distinct from the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels,  You settled into a negotiated settlement with the notion of parallel lines and argumentive conflict as your pole stars for your life in Reality and your life in trying to understand and produce the drama of story.

Such explorations led you on merry stumbles of mind, heart, and that borderline landscape between the two you've come to regard as imagination.

Reality reminds you at times of some of the Vedic approaches to Hindu theology, wherein most attempts at defining the divinity, aka the godhead, are doomed from the start because the act of definition immediately places limitations on a thing held to be limitless.  

Your attempts at defining Reality produced the sorts of dreadful reading to which you were often subjected during your years as editor in chief of a scholarly book publishing venture.  The dreadful reading was frustrating and disheartening, qualities you work to keep out of your own composition.  But as these blog essays attest on occasion, your success in this area has some notable holes.

At the moment, your attempts at defining Reality have taken you far enough to give you a sense of a huge apparatus, much like an enormous loom, spinning out events with neither pattern nor purpose other than to serve as fodder for a kind of Darwinian progression.  And yes, you recognize one immediate flaw in logic as you attempt to describe Reality, just as you recognize the flaws inherent in many attempts to describe the godhead.  

In simplistic but by no means reductionist terms, many Hindu thinkers refer to the godhead as "the one without a second," leaving It as a unique form, without shape, size, time, space, or causation.  Some non-Hindu religionists see such Hindu presences as Shiva, Krishna, Kali, and Durga as a pagan panoply rather than the Hindu regard of them as mere aspects or segments of "the one without a second," accordingly missing the Advaita or oneness aspect of Hinduism.

Your attempts at defining Reality have left you with a number of simplistic visions such as "A universal progression of causes, events, and spaces."  You are willing to let matters with Reality rest there, until the idea for a story comes to you, at which point you attempt to see the elements of that story as an aspect of Reality.

Whether your approach holds logical water or not, it allows you for the present to move away from the line of definition and onto the parallel line of a linked series of invented events which you attempt to portray as having a tangible sense of Reality.

Whatever it is you are defining or attempting to define is one-dimensional description.  So much then for mere description.  You're looking for the movable tide of Reality and its component events, involved in argumentive flux.

Motion is the essence of matter.  Dialectical materialism is a way of measuring and discussing Reality.  Motion is also the essence of story.  Story is a way of measuring and discussing Reality.  Because an infinitude of events and movements are possible in Reality, an infinitude of stories orbit our lives, waiting to be told.

We can never complete the description of Reality, whether as philosophers, storytellers, or both.  Some amazing individuals--Hegel, Marx, Hannah Arendt, Camus, Simone De Beauvoir, and Susan Sontag--have attempted one or the other or even both.  We are caught between the rock of dialectics and the hard place of writing, even if we attempt to keep the investigation close to hand, focusing on the Self.

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