Saturday, April 29, 2017


The origin of abstraction is feeling, and its proper purpose is a return to feeling.  I have spoken often, although not recently, of Perceptual Breathing, in and out.  You breathe in, and go up to the most condensed abstractions imaginable, like F=MA, then out, and you go out the limits of feeling and direct body perception.  In the middle, you are gathering and spreading facts, which are mini-abstractions.  A "fact", if you think about it, is a symbol for a large reality, such as "most birds fly".

But the reason someone built a motor car was for the feelings of accomplishment, of speed, of perhaps becoming wealthy and powerful, of safety.  There are many possibilities, but the only reason anybody does anything is to get a feeling.  The most uptight, cerebral, dissociated people you have ever met are seeking the feeling of having suppressed their feelings, of having escaped something really bad.  Usually, they are also seeking the feeling of power which the feeling of intellectual superiority gives them.  Many smart people become so because they are compelled by emotional conflicts to seek out knowledge, to thrive on abstraction and things that most people take no interest in.

I am meandering, and to some extent describing myself, but the point I wanted to make is that all abstractions are stepping stones, and if they become ends in themselves, this is inherently a sign of compromised and defective mental and emotional health.

In health, one decides what one wants to do, creates a plan based on abstract understandings and perhaps concrete observations, and then executes the plan.  The abstract becomes the concrete, and the concrete results then become the food for further and more accurate abstractions.  There is a corrective process in place, because there is a feedback process in place, and a firm clarity about the desired end result.

When one sees a phrase like "the consolation of philosophy", it is stating directly that the goal in thinking a certain way is to feel a certain way.

Even when thoughts are made ends in themselves, they never can be.  You cannot divorce the process of thinking from the process of feeling.  You can merely tell bad lies by willing yourself to be stupid.

You cannot not feel.  You can only do it more wisely, or more foolishly.

I am, again, speaking to a part of myself which is unclear on all this.

I will add, I have a pile of diaries that is at least 8" tall, filled with my scribblings.  I never go back and read them, and I realized the other day the reason I don't  is that I fear that I will find there the same thoughts, the same struggles, the same lack of progress across decades.

And I likely would.  But these things take as long as they take.  Life is a school, and the curriculum lasts until the needed lessons are learned.  And I chew small things many times over.  I am like a cow with many stomachs.  But I also digest things deeply, or am in any event learning how to do so.

This will be my abstraction for the day.

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