Synthesizing Conceptual Realms

October 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Living amidst a vast expansion of scientific inquiry, we have understandably come to invest much faith in empiric reasoning. There is much imperative to do so, considering this manner of thinking is largely responsible for the complex infrastructure with which we are now endowed. However our adherence to scientific rationale has developed into a tendency towards conceptual isolation, and a loss of contact with the intuitive spirit, which is rarely recognized, and even more sparingly appreciated by the scientific community.

This repulsion seems to be a reaction towards the millenia of disruption caused by the molding of intuition by religious indoctrination. But the hostility enforced here is hypocritical and only serves to prolong the chaos. Intuition, regardless of the degree to which it is consciously recognized and interacted with, is an essential part of our humanness. It will forever be interwoven within our more deliberate creations. It is the sustenance that sustains the living foundation of our culture.

Our modern, shared experience is made possible by countless structures that have arisen and interlocked throughout time. The existence of the present moment implies this history. Civilization in its present form is a result of  numerous intermediate states of development and an accumulation of all actions taken in response to environmental context… the basic principles through which life proliferates. This propensity for expansion is present in both biological and cultural life, but their essential driving forces contrast greatly.

Biological adaptation relies upon the ability of the organism to sequester enough resources to reproduce and successfully transmit it’s genetic information through the creation of a new being. The resources required to build and maintain sinew, leaves, bones, branches, sensory organs, circulation systems, and the rest of the  living concoction are limited, and thus there is competition for these resources. Conversely, the growth of culture relies on cooperation. Our communal social dimension is built largely on information, which is conveniently easy to share with little cost. There is no vicious competition for information resources. Rather, they are enhanced through collaboration. Which is precisely why the hostility among varying schools of thought is so perplexing.

In an opinion article for SEED Magazine, David Weisman questions the concepts of unified mind and soul by citing the scientific insights derived from the examination of an anomalous physical occurrence, a stroke, or a cerebrovascular accident. Mr. Weisman describes a patient whose dysfunctional right brain was unable to recognize that her left arm was a part of her body and infers “your sense of unity, only perceptible to you, is a sheen on the surface, not a deeper layer of reality.” Through mapping this subjective qualitative analysis (there is no measurable ‘thickness of reality’), he blatantly caters to the scientific prejudice: “This leaves a distinct absence of soul, by whatever name. Importantly, this absence does not arise because of cultural biases and inertias, or because of overarching dogmas and hidden agendas and wishful thinking. It leaves an absence because the available data supports it and tends to falsify everything else.”

Weisman barely considers cultural context before dismissing it from his considerations. His conclusive statement is an uninformative smattering designed to convince the reader that all cultural significance has been overridden by ‘the available data.’ He offers no elaboration as all social implications are completely disregarded.

The concept of the soul can be associated with an infinite number of social and subjective conceptual interpretations, which have spurned major psychological adaptations, which have in turn become a significant part of value systems worldwide. Without even an inkling of this consideration, Weisman explains that “neurology and neuroscience […] have eroded these ideas, the soul and the unified mind, down to nothing.”

Mr. Weisman’s article embodies a major aspect of communication that is hindering our growth as a people: addressing conceptual communities as isolated entities. Humanity cannot be confined in this manner. Such thinking can only exist as a transitory phase. To avoid considering the conceptual realities of others is to deter maturation. Entertaining this attitude hinders progress and sustains ignorance.

It is imperative that we investigate the variety of factors contributing to our conscious experience. Yet biological anomalies and explanations will need to be interwoven into the ideological fabric that is already present in society. Our conscious experience is a great integration of many different perceptions and conceptualizations. Unification is a core aspect of expression, and the desire to express… Elements unarguably involved in the creation of Mr. Weisman’s article.

We cannot quench the ineffable qualities of human experience. There will always be poets roaming the streets, and there will be shattered glass in their wake through which hordes will pour through. Bodies will reverberate with endless music. Dreamers will lie in fields simply to entertain their humming sense of wonder.

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