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[xmca] if you like james-- try this one

from Pragmatism, p. 259-260. Two versions of this appear in *Cultural
Psychology*, one from Roger Barker (ecological psychologist), the other from
Ray Birdwhistle (kineastheologist). They all help help me think about that
elusive concept, context.

The world is full of partial stories that run parallel to one another,
beginning and ending at odd times. They mutually interlace and interfere at
points, but we cannot unify them completely in our minds. In following your
life-history, I must temporarily turn my attention from my own. Even a
biographer of twins would have to press them alternately upon his reader's

It follows that whoever says that the whole world tells one story utters
another of those monistic dogmas that a man believes at his risk. It is easy
to see the world's history pluralistically, as a rope of which each fibre
tells a separate tale; but to conceive of each cross-section of the rope as
an absolutely single fact, and to sum the whole longitudinal series into one
being living an undivided life, is harder. We have indeed the analogy of
embryology to help us. The microscopist makes a hundred flat cross-sections
of a given embryo, and mentally unites them into one solid whole. But the
great world's ingredients, so far as they are beings, seem, like the rope's
fibres, to be discontinuous cross-wise, and to cohere only in the
longitudinal direction. Followed in that direction they are many. Even the
embryologist, when he follows the DEVELOPMENT of his object, has to treat
the history of each single organ in turn. ABSOLUTE aesthetic union is thus
another barely abstract ideal. The world appears as something more epic than
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