We think knowledge is our
servant (and it can be) but for the past 5000 years and perhaps
especially for the last 150 years the reality and outcomes of
human relation with formal knowledge has been ‘mostly serpent’...instead.
I agree it appears heroic, but most of that appearance
is revealed as adept and often predatory mimicry when
we examine the facts of global and personal circumstance as well
as the response to ‘the outcomes of the shapes of the ideas
humans make about themselves and their universe’.
There are some ways of interacting
with language, meaning and symbols that by their nature guarantee
their own survival and elaboration first.
When we are trapped in the ways we are taught to explore and relate
with meaning, elements of how human knowledge and relation systems
work — transform into ‘more Serpent than Servant’.
This process hides its tracks
so adeptly that no trace of its activity is ever apparent —
unless some aspects of our root-metaphors are allowed to shift
away from what they normally highlight — in the dimensions
of meaning, and relation-shape.
There’s one sort of
knowledge that leads to direct connectivity with the problems
and the solutions (something like revelation) — this form
of knowledge ‘dissolves itself in scales’ until it
has provided direct access to experience and understanding.
There is another more formal
sort of knowledge — and it is very concerned with
formality. It actively obscures what it represents, while highlighting
its own status and credentialing authority instead. It
assembles itself in scales...making something we might liken to
trees, on which each branch is a new and yet similar tree —
no matter how far one might zoom in or out in perspective.
The latter is the kind that our species has been largely stuck
with for thousands of years; and the former is our birthright.
When we are stuck with only the latter, we cannot remember how
to find or play with the former — which is meant to be the
master of the pair.
Some metaphors are more
important than others:
Life, Time, Light, Unity, Separation, God, Evil, Source, World,
Animal, Star, Food, Eye, Self, Other.
These seem like concepts —
regular metaphors, but they aren’t — they are examples
of holophores — the generative sources from which metaphors
accrue character, shape, meaning and relational continuity. Part
of their power is that they are very general, and another part
is that they are very ancient.
These ‘root metaphors’,
or holophores get ‘folded’ into more complex children
by sentient hosts (like us) — which results in concepts
and assembly-methods for valuing, sustaining, linking and communicating
‘concepts’ as language and activity. When there is
damage to these roots in the domain of general accuracy, or direction
of travel (away or toward greater general accuracy), the damage
resident in their children, in terms of meaning-shape-relation,
is geometrically magnified. This happens at a speed in human populations
that makes lightspeed seem like a crawl in comparison —
depending of course upon the scale of our perspective in time.
When we change our relationship with these holophores, the rest
of our pre-existing knowledge explodes with change as
a repercussion — because nearly all the other metaphors
and assemblies we can make, depend upon ‘roots’ like
these for their ‘source-shape’. Because they are already
present in all the extant concepts we assemble and encode, changes
in this domain of meaning-relation — and ability —
radically alter what we are capable of learning, perceiving, experiencing,
There are dimensions of relation
and understanding far more vital and profound than those we refer
to with tokenized knowledge — such as the outcomes
of the application and common agreement with systems of knowing
emergent from sciences or philosophies.
It is from these dimensions
(of ‘playful’ integration) that the tiny shaving of
them we emerge with and tokenize into formal existence as knowledge
is taken. Unfortunately for us, for almost all of human intellectual
history — and certainly in our own lives and nations —
‘the best parts’ of knowledge were ‘hidden’
long before the sliver we would eventually receive and disproportionately
revere would come to lodge in us as the sole replacement for our
birthrights of organismal sentience and relation.
If our access to an ever more
generally correct relationship with holophores is co-opted against
us, erased by common agreement, or damaged — we become slaves
to ways of knowing. If on the other hand this access is instead
experientially available, protected, nurtured and celebrated by
common agreement, we get something we’ve rarely glimpsed
on Earth, and it is not entirely unlike our concepts of Paradise.
I say that it must at this
point in our cognitive and human evolution become obvious to us
as a species that the root powers not only of intelligence but
of sentience lie not in specificity, but in vast
and truly ‘magical’ integrations — perhaps primarily
occurring in domains our modern ways of knowing would be forced
to scoff at because their shape and history does not allow them
to ‘lose their chains’ of ‘what is known’,
and thus ‘make large the wings’ of what is to be discovered
or more truly revealed with nothing more than the agreement to
proceed for the sake of mutual uplift.
Perfect specificity is deadly.
Creatively recombinant (broken) integration — now that’s
something worth pursuing.