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Re: [xmca] The Interpersonal Is Not the Sociocultural
That is a beautiful interpretation of my meaning, and one with which I am much in sympathy. But it's not really what I meant. I meant, by way of hyperbole, to pull the trigger in the political revolutionary sense of taking irreversible, morally fraught, physical action --like killing people, blowing things up, etc. Damping down the rhetorical hyperbole, that comes to things like speaking out in public, donating to political causes, marching in protests, going on strike, and nonviolent civil disobedience. All those cases where the stakes feel high enough to demand a sense of certainty as the ground for action ... but for which I am arguing that certainty, moral or otherwise, is an unreasonably high standard, and indeed an in-principle unachievable one, that hamstrings those whose sense of moral responsibility misleads them to demand the impossible.
Zen archery is usually not practiced on live targets. Today.
Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
University of California -- San Diego
La Jolla, CA
On Apr 4, 2010, at 1:20 AM, Larry Purss wrote:
> You state "it is quite possible to pull the trigger while remaining very unsure of the consequences."
> This is a central notion in buddhist zen archery as I understand it. The practise of zen archery is to learn the discipline to focus all your attention on trying to hit the center of the target but at the moment of releasing the arrow [pulling the trigger] you let go of all desire and attachment for the outcome of the action you have initiated.
> This understanding of zen archery [I hope I'm accurate] has been a guiding image when I'm trying to negotiate interactions with others. Try to act ethically and morally "as-if" you can influence the future events BUT release attachment to the outcome of your intervention. It helps me to enjoy uncertainty and fallibility as ideals to strive for.
> -----al Message -----
> From: Jay Lemke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Saturday, April 3, 2010 4:04 pm
> Subject: Re: [xmca] The Interpersonal Is Not the Sociocultural
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
>> Yes, the notion of "attunements" strikes me as a nice
>> metaphorical way in to the issues of meaning-and-feeling being
>> context-sensitive but not context-determined. And also
>> recognizing that there is a certain degree of "negotiation"
>> going on -- though I tend to reserve that term more for dialogic
>> situations where interests are conflicting and getting both
>> goals is not easily done. I might say instead that there is an
>> active process of meaning-making and feeling-attuning that is
>> never entirely satisfying, always still-in-process, until we
>> move on to something else.
>> As in the discussion with Michael R. about Derrida, Rorty and
>> meaning, this is where I think Pragmatism in its more
>> sophisticated, Peircean forms and continental "deconstruction"
>> can live productively together. For Peirce the "interpretant" or
>> the semiotic process as a whole, dynamically viewed, is endless,
>> it always keeps driving itself forward, there is no stable,
>> final, definitive meaning. And clearly also for Derrida meanings
>> cannot be stable, because in interacting with them, or in
>> framing them in terms of differences and deferrals of
>> alternatives, we get caught up in a process in which
>> interpretation, or elaboration of meaning never stops.
>> This seems to be quite upsetting to people who have low
>> tolerance for ambiguity and absence of closure. It hardly means
>> that life is impossible, because it would seem to be the very
>> essence of being alive that there is always something next, and
>> it always arises in part from our now. Time makes itself move
>> forward. What it does make impossible is certainty and Truth,
>> absolutes and essences. The strongest objections to this
>> approach that I've heard are the political ones: that you can't
>> beat the rhetoric of certainty with a discourse of open-
>> endedness. Or even, that you can't decide to pull a trigger
>> without the kind of certainty that I would claim is impossible.
>> But I don't think either of these objections are more than
>> fears. People do get drawn to dogmatics, but they just as surely
>> rebel against them and seek the freedom to re-attune, re-
>> imagine, re-invent. And I think it is quite possible to pull the
>> trigger while remaining very unsure of the consequences. People
>> do it all the time. Certainty cannot be the sine qua non of
>> moral judgment, else we choose between moral paralysis and
>> fanaticism. In fact in many ways our modernist emphasis on truth
>> and certainty seems to be leading to just this dichotomy. The
>> wise hesitate, while the fools take action.
>> The moral implications of our theories of meaning are not often
>> enough explored with sense.
>> Jay Lemke
>> Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
>> Educational Studies
>> University of Michigan
>> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
>> Visiting Scholar
>> Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
>> University of California -- San Diego
>> La Jolla, CA
>> USA 92093
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