Saturday, March 27, 2010

a topologist in flatland

The day can feel defined by a sense of living in two separate worlds
at once, where others, in casual relations, have apparently no idea of
the possibility, so we interact in common sense, with common sense, as if that’s everything. The other’s comfort may depend (I feel) on an unrealized common-sense attitude that wouldn’t know what that is as such (it seems to me), because there’s just “the” day, the world
in common. The notion of common-sense attitude only makes sense
(as such) relative to there being a different way of understanding
that becomes, relatively speaking, an “uncommon” attitude (the issue
of eccentricity again).

Like a kid who loves to be quietly hidden up in a tree as a friend searches for him, never looking up, I enjoy the liminality of being in a ground of “ours,” that is ours, where I’m also, at the same time, in a tree. It’s no invalidation of the friend that I stayed quiet while he’s so unlikely to look up. I may love my friend who doesn’t look up. But I’m not going to deny myself the pleasure of quietly sitting in the tree, partly for the sake of my own entertainment. Likewise, it’s no invalidation of others that, say,
they seem surreal.

So, I may be gladly playing to common sense while standing elsewhere, playing to interpersonal validity that unwittingly presumes itself to be non-relative, while standing where the validity is quite relative—though presumed non-relatively valid for good reason (others’ development, organizational parameters). After all, the common sense world is common because the world needs broad-based commonality to work well at its prevailing level (where maybe so much flows to become part of the vast lowlands whose fruitfulness feeds midlands).

It’s not disingenuous to live with another as if there’s only “our” ground, which the other understandably believes wholeheartedly for the sake of his/her comfort. Their self esteem and identification with their developmental level maybe can’t be understood by them as [mere] developmental level, because that relativity only makes sense from a “vertical” view of interaction. But our valid bond maybe can’t be, for me, as totalizing as it is for the other, for their good reason. I see why their presumptiveness needs to be so for them.

I’m not going to alienate the other and undermine our valid bond
by seeking recognition of my own stance, my ongoing sense of relativity. I appreciate the attachment of the other to their sense of the world
(that works for them, sustaining enough self-efficacy).

So, life can be a kind of valid theater of No Theater, a playless play
to the day that secretly validates the integrity of others’ common sense
in my standing apart from that—“above” that, in a non-elitist sense.

A hidden sense of such inWorldness, if you will—an appreciation for presumed non-relativity of relativity—is no dishonesty toward the integrity of “our” ground, for those who don’t realize they need that presumption (lived as no presumption at all, i.e., they don’t yet realize
a “vertical” alternative to common sense). There may be everything to cherish about and with the one-worlders, the flatlanders.

Having traveled widely (suppose), but living with those who’ve never traveled, I might feel their easy guiltiness about provincialness, as if being from elsewhere is an implicit invalidation of them (I’m caused to feel). So, I might not bring to mind where I’ve been, even evading others’ interest in one day going there, as truly “I’d love to do that with you.” (I’ve more than once failed to say that I’ve seen a movie, done a restaurant, read a book that the other wants to introduce me to.)

People will stop being candid in casual situations when they find they’re talking with a psychoanalyst; or stop being candid about their views of whatever, when they believe they’re being judged—actually projecting their own implicit discomfort with their own views. If you’re an ethnographer, it’s commonly better to act like a tourist.

I can so love being with others, on their own ground, as if, yes, “this” place is [like] everything, I too love here with you that’s so valid. The as if, to me, is endearingly everything for them, for us, because the integrity of that is easy to feel. “How fine that we are here.”

Parents don’t invalidate a child’s integrity by pretending the child’s world is everything. Good teachers let students play as if there’s no boundary
to their presumptions (very instructive). Psychotherapists get into an alliance with the clients who may love them. Artists may “suffer” businesspeople because the world needs us all.

A dramatist lives in the “same“ world as everyone else, where there’s no presumption of a play, as the play unfolds as if there’s no theater. The fourth wall is like a mystery of the omniscient voice, as if gods were being entertained, and we gain that distinction by seeing a world be just a play that has a good ending. For the playwright, though, lightness of each day can be very strange, when playfulness is not to be.

In the beginning, writers created the gods as uncreated creators
in a universe that could be controlled and comforting.