online: 10 july 2009 modified: 30 june, 1, 10 july 2009 30 june 2009 environment and self
...a cool evening on the heath after a warm day indoors... lacking energy to do anything else, i've been reading books chosen by chance... chiefly Calvin Tomkins' account of John Cage and others* (my first encounter with Cage, and it still inspires me)...
...yesterday i read several essays about Gregory Bateson** (by Edwin Schlossberg, and others)... timely reminders of the unity of bodymind and the error of dividing it through misuse of language... i normally distrust writings about 'the environment' but i much like this essay of Schlossberg for its explanations and examples of non-dualist communication...
As I write you read, you read ... [page 156]
[in which i find at least two meanings:
As i write the phrase 'you read' you are reading it.
'As i am writing you are reading' and you are also reading that statement.]
We look at the effects that human beings have had on the environment only when we consider ourselves not part of it or them. Then we realise that it is exactly because we do not consider ourselves as part of it and them that we can behave and think as we do ... At the moment when we can step into the present completely, the need for these ruminations about how and why will become a sign on a journey that we no longer are taking. [page 167]
...then i walked a chance-determined path among pine trees and heather to dead-ends among brambles, already in bloom... at which i imagine the first blackberries that will appear in about three weeks, i imagine...
*Calvin Tomkins, Ahead of the Game, four versions of the avant-garde, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Tanguely, Robert Rauschenberg , Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1968 (published in the USA as The Bride and the Bachelors, 1962).
**About Bateson, Essays on Gregory Bateson by Mary Catherine Bateson, Ray Birdwhistell, John Brockman, David Lipset, Rollo May, Margaret Mead, Edwin Schlossberg, with an afterword by Gregory Bateson, edited by John Brockman, E P Dutton, New York 1977.
...Edwin Schlossberg's essay (titled For My Father) is the most interesting and helpful writing i know about environment and self... a revelation of how these words need not refer to objective things but can be parts of a non-objective whole... eureka!
c o r r e s p o n d e n c e :
this entry to my digital diary includes parts of your essay - which i still think is the best writing about the environment... do you permit the quotations and do you wish to correct my interpretations or add a comment?
good wishes chris
i permit the quotations with pleasure- as infants and children we do not consider boundaries since we perceive and conceive simultaneously- as we focus the networks of our neurons we can lose the reintegration capability which was the essence of what I was writing about- by getting serious we exclude the joy of seamless extension connection with living and focus on life-there is an environment when we need to understand it but should never assume that it exists-best wishes -edwin
the environment and self do not exist unless needed - what a relief!... may i include your reply?
for comfortable line length set the window to about two-thirds of the screen width