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playgrounding: genuineness as scenic minding
may 9, 2010


I hate to seem pretentious, because I’m really not (though saying that now connotes that I’m defending against an evident contrary). But I quickly feel the boundaries of others’ interest in what draws me. Yet, fitting in is easy, when I want to: Acquaintance is fun; new others can be funny, heartwarming, heartrending, enlightening, instructive, and supportive—which is not an exhaustive list. But friends are friends; kindreds, kindreds, intimates intimates. Though solidarity is a fine thing, I don’t give much time to mere acquaintance. Friendship prevails irt solidarity, kindredness over friendship, intimacy over kindredness.

self-caring basis of caring for others

I think it’s good to proffer healthy psychocentrism in human valuation. Generally, we are near-distance, then inner-directed, beings because the small-scale is easier to cohere, thus to manage (thus to make fruitful), and the psyche is the locale that’s really living, the locale for any granting of presence, any richness of bearing, the mirror in all appeals, the actor in all compellingness.

As a form of life must flourish before it can bear fruit—which leads to more flourishing, more fruitfulness—so too for genuinely giving of oneself for others. The better life expresses more individuation, thus becoming more psychocentric. Prevailing sociocentrism in the human sciences and humanities is contrary to what’s best about our humanity: the individuational nature of discovery and lasting contributions.

Good life originates from the ground “out,” given all due regard for human ecology. It’s essentially human that due regard is necessary for an ecology to be sustained, but due regard exists only when given, originating from a life giving what/how the life can give. Unlike non-human ecologies, human ecology is “parasitic” on deliberate sustaining. Valuing neighborhood over community, family over neighborhood, and self over family is necessary in order to, in turn, give to family, family to neighborhood, and neighborhood to community.

Specific to interpersonal interaction, to my mind, I can have no greater appreciation of another’s individuality than I have of my own except inasmuch as my stance toward the other is love of discovery, which is inevitably individuating. Others can’t seem any more complex than I understand myself, unless yielding to the other is also an occasion to enrich self understanding, i.e., appreciability between us—which can be generalized to enriched future appreciability of the unmet, relative to enrichment of present appreciability carried away, into selfidentity, as becoming one’s own sense of appreciation. The individuating value of enrichment by the other prevails over the other because all living options belong to a living life span, which prevails for any selfidentity over any given relationship within the life brought to the relationship and which will also go its own way, living with itself, apart from any relationship. Individuation gives independent efficacy to value for belonging to future interaction—enriching possible futurity—because it’s enowned as mine.

So much for justifiable self valuing or authentic self interest or valid “ego-centrism” (which is not an egoism or self-exclusiveness).

Suppose, for the sake of brief discussion below, the Myers-Briggs taxonomy for understanding personality. Giving primary importance to care of self, relative to the M-B approach, could be detailed as a centroverting sense of individuation or selformativity. The protean self would show a very good balance of M-B aspects in interpersonal relations. I don’t rely on this taxonomy in my own thinking, but it has flourished in professional counseling for decades and proves to be a good pragmatic for understanding interpersonal relations, for my purposes as prospects for practical complementation and supplementation in interpersonal life.

yielding to interpersonal life (granting in interpersonality)

Being good company, if you’re highly individualized, is very much a matter of other-oriented self translation. Yet, it looks to others like ordinary prudence, a well-grounded or centered outerliveliness (which is sociocentric). Yet, common ground is commonly fragile because the other tends toward psychocentrism. Genuinely other-oriented or other-centered interaction by an authentically self-oriented person appreciates our tendencies toward psychocentrism in terms of attunement to an other’s limits to what is psychocentrically fair play (e.g., what issues can be played with or questioned). Anyone who thinks that “fair play,” for personalizing interaction, tends toward being prevalently “normative,” in the sociocentric sense, is expressing interest in coping with depersonalization.

We want sufficient cohering between us, primarily in the sense of who we are relative to each other, thereby according self sense with another’s sense of oneself (and conversely). The mix of psychocentric and sociocentric play belongs to the individuation of the relationship. Our interplay, the relationship, is a mutual fruit, but if it’s really alive, it’s based in play that never reaches a sense of normativity. The relationship is always alive to changing flows, though improvisational conforming to-and-with a living, fluid playground secures the specific interplays (and keeps it comfortable—keeps implied boundaries safe, cliffs distant enough, pending chances for new kinds of flow).

For a highly individuated person (with a high sense of enjoying interplay), sensitivity, intuition, thinking, feeling, perception, and judgment might be all “tested” by an easy nearing of another’s boundaries, providing little chance for self translational spontaneity, without alienating. Capability for complementation through complimentary mirroring can be modeled in terms of M-B typology as mirroring thinking style with someone having difficulty with feeling, being literal with someone who mistrusts their own intuition, being decisive with someone uncomfortable with openness—and, above all, being extraverted with the extraverted, introverted with the introverted. Again, I’m idealizing a highly individuated person who is comfortable doing this; but this also seems to be a good model for what happens when relationships thrive with someone who has easily-triggered boundaries.

Ordinarily, it’s not conceivable that, beyond a ground of play, a different center may be well grounded. Center to center, somewhere else to our grounding, one’s play may be strange, anomalous, unnaturalmaybe exceptional, but still: too quirky, uncomfortable, if not easily evincing senses of something alien, even incompetent. The Greek origin of ‘eccentric,’ ekkentros, was about not having the earth as center, as if being extraterrestrial. (I enjoy joking about how an actual extraterrestrial, appearing human—easy genetic engineering for an ET—would durably act human, i.e., ordinarily fitting in.)

Relative to interest in sharing oneself or enriching another’s sense of myself (I should give up “oneself” here), interaction can seem to become so much impression management (complementary/complimentary mirroring), not to hide myself, but to show consideration of the other and appropriate myself to a shared, but very constrained, playground. I may be compelled to further turn away (“down”) from orientation to free play, relative to ordinary prudence, otherwise seeming too eccentric (uncentered, off-balance, unbalanced), which becomes merely tolerated on a ground that is losing flexibility or fluidity, calling for a lower level of translation as a matter of course. (Let no one pretend that hermeneutics begins with texts. Or rather: a Derridean textuality of speech can seem integral to highly-individuated interpersonal life. By the way, adult developmental psychology might thrive in doctoral teaching programs not primarily as descriptive of learning levels relative to curriculum design, but for guidance in gaining mentoring mastery in teaching. But that’s another story—as is the Derridean factor, to which his marriage to a psychoanalyst is not irrelevant, just as a reader here might feel overtones of my interest in therapeutic alliances—and fondness for free association, if not loss of focus [laugh].)

protean personality (interpersonalness in selfidentity)

Sigh... I’m so easily at risk of insufficiently constraining myself (another laugh). Poor Robin Williams. Or Woody Allen’s Zelig. The artist may tend to absorb whatever’s nearby. The bricolagic self fits in too well, then risks carrying the character too far. It’s that play of mentability that wants to include others’ sense of things. Transform my self understanding with your riposte “against” my play on your stances! Let me realize newly and learn from you.

So, all the years of the performance artist made him a weave of interpersonal threads, but it was an intent, deliberate, selformative weave that the life span becomes (psychocentric), irreducible to all the interpersonal relations (sociocentric). Add to the bricolagic selfidentity a love for transformational learning (or “the critical spirit”), if not provocative teaching (when someone deserves it), and you see an easily discomfiting player with an implicitly dramaturgical sense of fairness (tending to enjoy trumping willfully-encrusted terms of interaction).

But I cherish high fidelity to a holistic sense of caring (the theater as ethical round), always committed to showing integrative integrity toward the appeal of what’s integral to us.

shaping interpersonal life (bearing in interpersonality)

At heart, teaching (psychological, philosophical) stands in a midland, wanting an occasion that advances a life, if only in terms of some conceptual clarification (or emancipation of given sense).

Philosophical teaching seems to me firstly psychological or psychoactive, which is why, I think, teaching begins as tutorial and returns to that in advanced teaching.

Proximally, is a given attachment part of a system of attachments that is inhibiting development of perceptibility, feeling, intuition, etc.? How do “we” instill better intuition when a life is timidly dependent on proof (usually lacking)? How do we enrich capability for feeling when a life is too deliberative—or instill appreciation for prudence when a life is too impulsive? How do we enrich perceptibility when a life is too judgmental? How do we give fair play to innerworldliness when a life is willfully outgoing—or create a courage to create, when a life hides its light under a bushel basket?

An adaptability or improvisational contextualism or attachmentality that easily detaches can model a process of self-reflective, self-enhancing, and self-corrective learning that is integral to self-actualization. If I fit in here-and-there very easily, but also fit out just as easily, off again into my own domains, I model something very integral to creativity itself, for those to whom that appeals.

But fair dwelling in philosophical teaching as such is one of those projects in my vining, for another day. My intent here is merely to introduce a notion of developmentally-educive complement to genuinely appreciating given interpersonal life (“yielding to interpersonal life”).

scenic minding as granting/bearing mirrorplay

A “realism” of good sense (taken to be ordinary prudence) can be bridged by idealism of selfidentity in individuation, a bridging that can be facilitated, hopefully furthering the other’s individuation.

Ideally, though, we are each other’s teachers, each other’s students, which is, to my mind, one of the best aspects of friendship. In the playground of true mutuality, a creatively good order of life (as I wrote earlier) balances good form when that’s called for (genuine realism) and variety of formativity when that’s felicitous (genuine idealism).

We want “realism” or clear ground when it’s needed, idealism or something exotic when its feasible, and a balance of these two model modes of sense for the long run, which could be called pragmatic; i.e., being pragmatic, relative to interpersonal life, is a relational or interpersonal individuation that balances good groundedness and good prospects, realism and idealism, for the sake of each other’s growth (ideally beyond mere interest in “well-being”).

For the highly-individuated self in interpersonal life, it seems to me, the “Truth” of the life is its authentic living in genuine mediation, an abiding balance between what’s given and what may be, ensurance and prospect, relative to where the other is thought to be along shared pathways of topography available.

I may mediate myself with the (given) ground, what’s ours, thus play to ground in that sense (i.e., seek to play my part well in sustaining common ground). But that center to center—mine (authentically self centered) to ours (genuinely mutual)—may become appropriative, for my part (educational, therapeutic), wherein the mediative distance in play stays efficacious (i.e., good “zone of proximal development,” it’s commonly called, in educational psychology) as long as our play remains comfortable, and a shift of boundaries remains comfortable, with tensions giving way easily enough to award enough satisfaction facing difficulties. This may be a common (though intuitional) condition in good parenting, as well as good teaching, even true (again, intuitively) for love that lasts (though who doesn’t laugh at my intricacies of abstraction; I do.)

Thinking now beyond interpersonal life, relative to ongoing Self actualization across a life span—thinking of individuation irt innerworldliness (self-worlding relations of the lifelong life) and fruitfulness as actualization irt outerworldliness (interpersonal-worlding relations in the life), then the living fruitfully (i.e., living as such, inasmuch as it’s fruitful) might be regarded as the temporal mediation or appropriativity of lifeworldliness.

Later, I’ll detail a sense of Appropriative ethics, relative to others’ discursive work in ethical theory, which I regard as an endeavor of Appropriative philosophy. Here, above, I’ve introduced a sense of appropriative pragmatics as interpersonal individuation. I am indeed exuberantly appropriative. This longstanding approach to thinking caused me to enjoy a neologism ‘ensitefulness,’ and you may have noticed that the byline of my “conceptual prospecting” blog has always been “ensitation.” I can think of fruitfulness as ensited presence.

Next: admirability of ethically artful living for living fruitfully.

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  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis