Monday, 21 February 2011

Knowledge performances (again)

Drawing together my recent thoughts on knowledge performance, and the last few days thinking about sensuality and 'psychic systems' leads me to the following tentative conclusions:

1. Any knowledge performance combines a communication with sensual stimuli
2. The multiple descriptions of knowledge (Person-form, content-form, tool-form, purpose-form) are apprehended in the combination of sensual performances (with people, with content, with tools, with a context) and communicative performances.
3. traditional constructivist pedagogy focuses only on the communicative aspects and ignores the sensual. It does this because it doesn't possess a language for talking about the sensual.
4. By understanding a psychic system as:

  • responsible for making selections regarding communication
  • open to direct manipulation from sensual stimulae

means that we can conceive of understanding as the state which emerges as a result of combined sensual stimulation and communication.
5. Consciousness/perception/memory/etc (inasmuch as it makes sense to talk about them) is the continuous process of regulation between the psychic system and the external stimulae of communication and sensual experience.

But this raises questions about the nature of reality.

Those operations which are concerned with System 5 'dropping its guard' - for example, falling in love, are most interesting. It is at this moment we might perceive an oceanic state that one might associate with perception of a spiritual world beyond our individuality. Yet, we may be suggesting that this perceptive mode is a necessary state that the individual must be in in order to maintain viability. This is obvious for falling in love (otherwise we wouldn't be here!), but it may also be the case for religious experience. In other words, our experience of transcendence (an experience of God) is not an experience of supernatural reality. It is the result of viable operations of the individual.

My catholicism is somewhat perturbed!

However, we have to be careful here. Because in lowering our perceptual guard and making more things relevant (as in falling in love), we play our part not only in individual viability, but also in social viability. For in adjusting ourselves in this way, and taking on more communications and sensual experiences as relevant perceptions, our selection of effective communicative action is improved. We become more aware of the social trajectories of the action and the distinctions we make. In other words, there is a state of seeing the relevance of everything which opens us up to what we might see as a deep 'moral sense'.

To what extent might the 'voices of the dead' be part of this perception of all-relevance? I think we may seek to understand (or explain) what we perceive in an oceanic state as being the voices of the dead. Believing it may be part of the process which opens us up further to deeper perception. But in reality, Bataille is right: it may be just ourselves and our individuality on one side, and the vast infinity of death on the other. Loving God is simply a way we have come to understand this.

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