Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Beyond-ness

Originally posted on July 28, 2016

There are realms beyond our own. This truth has been almost hammered into human minds over the last five hundred years: Micro-realms with the invention of the microscope, and macro-realms with the telescope. Current developments have extended these view many-fold. We have further learned that we perceive and can perceive only a limited range of stimuli, and have mechanically and electronically extended our powers of perception regarding speed—stop action photography or ultr-fast action; spectrums of sound and light; and many other subtleties. It turns out we live within a very narrow realm of existence, while much of the cosmos imperceptibly goes on about its business. God is trying to tell us something about humility, methinks.

I dare speculate beyond what can be perceived by our species. I imaging realms of not only difference but complexity, realms of mind far beyond our own.

I have established myself as a thoughtful and responsible, high-status and well-educated senior adult. Good. I can afford now to dare to speculate, and it occurs to me that there is a fine balance of imaginative speculation and “truth-testing.”

I have studied writing as a medium, and appreciate its value. It also tends to be used oppress-ively. If it’s in a book, if it’s written or printed, what is said is granted greater truth value than a story told orally. On the whole, this has led to all the gains in civilization due to writing—good government, science, etc. On the other hand, “logo-centricity”—unthinkingly valuing the printed word—has a downside. It has the power to alone dominate any search for truth.

Yet many truths, especially in the realms of compassion and human relations, resist being confined by written language. Poetry attempts to transcend factual language. Dance, art, and other forms further seek this freedom. Plus, much injustice has been perpetrated, much domination by people who were literate over the illiterate. It’s not a clean tool, literacy.

So imagination needs to be woven into the mix. The letter of the law is often liberating, but not infrequently oppressing. How to overcome this problem? First, recognize that a problem exists and question the assumption that higher truths can be captured in the fixity of words, of laws.

One approach is to recognize that there are levels of consciousness beyond those that are presently dominated by logo-centricity. This is a stretch, because it seems to threaten the folly and chaos occasioned by human history that proceeded before international or local written law. Caprice and power dominated the scene, and often was used with great cruelty. All of modernity emerged along with the printed word. Now I’m questioning its ultimate value.

I don’t question the value of words and definitions in general; but I do question whether they are the ultimate factor in all evaluations. So much evil also uses words. I believe the saying is “The Devil can quote scripture.” So I’m opening a crack in the edifice of unthinking worship of logo-centricity, the rule of that which can be phrased as words. There is instead much room for imagination, compassion, role reversal.

One Response to “Beyond-ness”

  • Maximilian says:

    Hey Adam,
    its a good point that literacy is used as a tool of power to dominate the iliterate.
    I think the next big thing will be a change from the written word to data. Data means for me observations stored as numbers. This enables data-driven decisions that may be superior to the classical kind of decision making and also allows to under trends much quicker. This also requires a kind of competence (lets call it “data competency”). Progress may be based on accumulating precious data.

    But one thing comes to my mind, dont you think compassion and human relationships can be encoded in literature? Its also written down.


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