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once upon a time
April 17, 2011


In a balmy summer late afternoon, a willow sways in the breeze. A bush by the tree is studied by a girl on grass who wants a ladybug to crawl onto her finger gently touching its leaf, as if a trusting scurry is befriending acceptance of her desire. One does, and the tickle makes her want to giggle, but she holds back so her finger won’t shake and scare her little dappled friend away.

1 | Stories can entrance, especially for persons easily entranced. In a wonderful movie or a reverie in a vista, you forget yourself. That you’re in the wonderful story (as if ) becomes you as the story going on (bearing no “as if” to one’s possession). In rapt release to the sway of ongoing, there’s only the sway of flow furthering one unto itself like a hypnosis (yet not like that, nothing other than the flow appealing unto itself).

2 | Your attention is given to the flow, not as attention given, merely as possession by flowing. Yet, it’s a possession of rapt attention in “terms” of what’s flowing. Rapt possession is a hallmark of minding: attention.

3 | Attention may be a choice; it may be evinced; it may be instilled. An array of importances, always some prevailing for attention over others in any given hour, lay out time like a topography of possible attentions. A deliberate day is an organization of attentions. An inestimable amount of importances may be pre-attentively awaiting, near to attention. Coming into attention is a nearing, some from far away (due to being startled), some nearly waiting because they were intended for the day. Things happen that miss one’s attention, as the day involves so much that’s non-attended (as not missed, because one can’t miss what didn’t enter into attention). Some things are kept out of attention (excluded, suppressed); other things that were earlier kept out became forgotten as having been excluded (thus, now repressed). Some things can’t ever be brought to attention (a-attention: mental efficacy as such, which cognitive neuroscience models), yet are efficaciously implicit (e.g., enactive capabilities, netweaves of memory).

4 | A cohering of all that—rapt, peripheral, non-, un-, and a-—could be aptly gathered, emblemized in a notion of attentionality: From deep implicity (brain-generated mentality) through marginality (potential for finding meaning, available memory) to rapt focus, psychality or mindality is hallmarked by its spectrum of attentionality in terms of explicit and implicit thereness, near to far, surface to deeply horizonal—mindality as the worldliness of there being anything through which we move and say, see and touch, etc.

5 | Emergence in mind happens paradigmatically in effortless attention. That’s a grammatically simple assertion, but finding an integration of the contents of those two collections of inquiries (I’ve not yet tried) exemplifies the leading edge of philosophical psychology (of that I’m confident), which I’m not going to pursue further now.

6 | We commonly give high importance to a fullness of mind or psyche through ideas of conscientiousness or (better) mindfulness. I prefer to think of mind as attentionality rather than as consciousness, but it’s interesting to notice that ‘conscious’ and ‘conscience’ have the same Latin root (which is to be with knowing, especially in an ethically-relevant sense of being known). It’s common sense to regard conscientiousness as a kind of good consciousness of what one’s doing relative to good attention toward what’s really important.

7 | But commonly, we use ‘conscious’ as a net (magnet? axis?) for all enactive mentality: ‘Conscious’ is associated, in various modifications, with knowing, perceiving, apprehending, noticing, recognizing, making present, subjectively having, personally feeling, being rational, aware, mentally active, candidly accepting, being concerned, and more (thanks to Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged online). Like many keynotes of life, ‘conscious’ is a term of gravity for a kindredness of meanings (but with a Catholic legacy). Now commonly, the conscious is the especially-enactive side of what’s represented as consciousness.

8 | But an academic analysis of consciousness as such (such be-ing as be-ing) brings one (back) to issues of theory and philosophy of mind that have historically resulted in the likes of the unmarried collections linked above: inquiry into the “nature” of emergent attention. I will use ‘consciousness’ later to mean meta-attentionality (self-representing phenomenality), as all common uses of ‘conscious’ and ‘consciousness’ express a self-reflective interest (especially the philosophical interest expressed in normal philosophy of mind).

9 | A mind finds and makes differences, finds (:G) and makes (:E) coherings (:F)—recalling my GEF model (¶s 9 ff.)—broadens and builds from there being so much reflecting mindality through inworldness: world of oneself, selfness in a world; outer directedness (taking in: G), inner-directedness (giving out: E); contained and containing; being held and holding; engivenness and enacting; granting and bearing—as if life is a biWay: breathe in, breathe out, fulfilling in a cycle-ity of flowing life.

10 | Our psychal condition of intelligent life reverberates with layers of time in the background of things, as ontogeny of capability for perception, then appreciation, echoes in the potential of things for interrelation; similarity and difference; cohering and interplay. All through growing up, potential is individuated recursively, a self-formative enrichment of worldliness. In a sense, ontogeny gives way to a micro-mentality (:G) belonging to the discernibility of backgrounds, as if the internality or reality of mind is the internality or reality of what’s experienced. Emergent from this ontogeny of temporal resonance is the sense of externality or environmentality itself, as ontogeny gives way to a macro-mentality (:E) belonging to the ostensibility of things (or the as-if ostensibility of mental things). A resonance of internal/external expresses itself in the singularity or identity (:F) of what’s ensited.

11 | I won’t dwell here with Sternberg’s “componential” model of intelligence, except to emphasize the discreteness of the theory, which is a bit boggling, given that recursiveness of the 3-fold happens in theory, as well as in experience; i.e., each component of the triarchy has 3 components homologous with the triarchy itself. Specifically: Intelligence can be empirically modeled in terms of micro-mentality (:G), macro-mentality (:E), and local mentality (:F). Micro-mentality (:G) can be empirically modeled in terms of knowledge-acquisition components (:G), performance components (:E), and metacomponents (:F). Knowledge-acquisition components (:G) can be empirically modeled in terms of “selective encoding” (:G), “selective combination” (:E), and “selective comparison” (:F). I won’t continue the listing, but performance components (:E) and metacomponents (:F) have GEF features, as does the 3-fold macro-mentality and the 3-fold local mentality of the triarchic theory as such. The triarchically recursive generativity of intelligence grows itself in terms of embodied inworldness as the discernibility (:G), usefulness (:E), and meaningfulness (:F) of whatever. Correlatively, reason (mature intelligence) may be theorized (:G), practiced (:E), or reflected (:F). One could model self formation in terms of moments of an integration (:G) which individuates (:E) for the sake of anewed identification (:F), anticipations (:G) made (:E) into presents (:F) that become memorable background (:G)—a cyclical cohering of lived time—for new anticipations (:G—> :E?) born (:F?) from new (:G?) desire (:E?). So, temporal recursiveness makes 3-fold modeling easily dissolve into itself (ambiguity as to what’s given and what’s enactive; what’s fulfilled and what’s given), as all aspects of time (futuring: G—> E?, presencing: E—>F?, and pasting: F—> G?) are aspects of any resonant presence, drawing anticipations from its givenness. Modeling destines its own horizonality (or ultimate liminality) and thereby implicitly calls from its future for transposition into a new mode of modeling.

12 | Life enriches itself relative to attentions (enacted discoveries), emergences from non-attentiveness (implicit discoveries becoming explicit), and breakthroughs of un-attentiveness (discoveries imposing themselves), all dyadically relative to the enacting/acted difference (expressing/expression, doing/what’s done, I/me, etc.)—which might be generally modeled as an active (a)/static (b) dyad of dyads: (a) an active dyad of outer directing (in to givenness, inner directed) and inner directing (out to enacting, outer directed), opening and closure, as true to cellular life as to self enhancement (rendered earlier). [This reminds me that philosopher John Searle fleshes out a sense of “direction of fit,” but I haven’t been directly influenced by this. I recall it because his exact notion can fit well into a phenomenological view—here rendered only vaguely—which derives in his case, I believe, from his colleague Burt Dreyfus, a phenomenologist and close friend of Searle in his department.] The static representation of (a)—a biWay of enacting, expressing, doing, I-ing—is (b) an outside/inside difference. The active biWay (a), like breathing, is a singular flow of complementary directings, not a static difference, though the static trope outside/inside is metaphorical of enactive bi-directionality, as images may be metonymic of processes.

13 | Insiding, so to speak (like so-called “introjection”), is outer oriented (outer directing); outsiding (like desire satisfaction) is inner oriented (inner directing). The static difference between outside/inside de-activates (de-temporalizes) what’s happening. I’ll call this an active/static differencing (i.e., the differentiation of enactivity—as bi-directional—and representational dyadity). Making the difference (active/static) is transposition or translation of a (a) living difference (active dyadity in flow) into (b) a trope—proffered representability of representing, instilling an activity. Making that difference (the instilling) is enactive, resulting in the instilled, static difference between enactivity (biWay flow) and static (out/in) trope.

14 | Conversely, a static difference can be transposed into active differencing, which is what I was hoping to do by introducing the enactive difference (implicitly straining the common sense of outside/inside). Understanding a sense of me (any person saying “I”) as the sensing (I-ing) generating the sensed (“I” said or me represented) could be taken as a release of the static (or stantial) representation into its enactive basis. Entranced attending (be-ing in the letting-be of disclosure or presencing) is the generative complement to attention in terms of what’s in attention (there be-ing of be-ing or there-ing, thering). This simulates a release of static coherence and difference into its earlier futurity of generative enframing instilled (which may also be extant potential released from its earlier enframing).

15 | One could say. I might be rendering something untenably (if we get really analytical), but this kind of modeling has been useful for a long time (e.g., a later-Heideggerian legacy of literary-philosophical work, with which I’ll dwell again eventually and text [now a transitive verb, which makes me giggle] online).

16 | This differencing (a biWay of instilling and releasing)—trOpically (instillingly) call it a difference between vertical (enactive, personifying) and horizontal (ensiting, stancing) engaging—may be an evocative (releasing) axis figuring a threshold of psychal dimensionality (make a third dimension biotemporal?), as a present discloses its own presencing (or presencing is troped as a present). Facing the prospect of differencing (releasing a present into its presencing) is a threshold of enactivation, a potential entrancing of something released into its generative resonance, whether by imaginative appreciation (granting, enriching) or opening (educing) its own play (released bearing). Entrancing a generativity of something is like passing a threshold into its relatively otherworldly presence (relative to static present“ness”). Anthropologists of ritual cite the liminality of celebratory possession (tangibility of survivalist life glories in possession by intangibility). Literary Romantic minds steeped in tangible nature glorify the Sublime. And many poets (pre- and post-Romantic) feel thankful to a muse (giggle).

17 | Psychal creativity emerges from entrancing horizons, ontogenically temporal backgrounds as an inworldness of things, resonances of sited presents: a text, an intimate, or so many paths (misleading and fruitful) weaving into their emergently telic cohering, a long wayfaring Project emergent from whatever whatevering.