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tropical living as conceptual recreation
august 20, 2009


I never liked the idiom “thinking outside the box” because the metonym doesn’t hint in any way that a way of thinking may be what should need to be reflected and rethought. But articulating one’s way of thinking is very elusive, as what one’s way is is obscure, like Self of oneself entering into psychoanalysis.

We know what “they” mean: thinking apart from one’s operative interpretive model or theory guiding inquiry—outside an accessible structure of understanding or evaluation that hasn’t yet been questioned, but that is unwittingly constraining, confounding. But the model/theory can be readily questioned, if you want to. Yet, the presence of an ostensible frame of mind can obscure one’s way of framing, concealing the credibility of questioning the elusive constituting of the obviously-well-tested frame, just as the appeal of an object distracts from its appealing for you. It’s compellingly as if the appeal belongs to the thing itself, even essentially so. The appeal can tend to be self-validating: It’s “valid” because it’s appealing and has legacy (or legacy may be greatly part of the appeal).

I’m commonly vigilant, even anxious, about there being confounding constraints in my understanding. (Sure, that’s ordinary critical conscience.) So, I’m distractible, I’m easily enthused by prospects that may be in offroad explorations: possibilities, new directions—even though my wayfaring remains well-defined (i.e., I don’t lose track of what I’m generally doing). Yet, I’m wanting my prevailing Project to be affected, revised, even re-envisioned, if that’s called for, because I don’t (I hope) forget my fidelity to realism (in the pragmatic sense!) and awareness of developmental relativity in any understanding. The sooner I recognize and get beyond a governing constraint that’s not constructive, the better. (“Positive” constraints, so called, are constructive, like maps and guidelines.) I welcome being wrong because it improves my development.

So, multiple explorations gestate around the leading one, like vines gravitating around main growth—yet growth that’s changed by vining’s presences. A common trope might be reframed or an exotic one mapped into what’s ordinary.

Conceptual blending” seduces. Hybridization loves you.

But I never (I hope) lose sight of need for credibility, plausibility, tenability (though I “push the envelop,” another idiom I don’t like). That might be called a virtue—the conscience, if not the good—of the conceptual recreator (gamester? playmate?). An eccentric view tacitly retains implied validity claims; but prudential parametrics can inhibit discovery, which precedes justification, like a profusion of sketching in developing the sculpture that will stand for itself. Sharing sketchtime deserves provisional acceptance of the promissory notes. You don’t get warrantable discovery without the discovery, and you don’t get discovery through primary concern for given normativity or for the priorities of accountants.

A synoptic argumentation sketch can be a means of sharing progress not yet meant to be convincing—trOpicality implying well-formability that can be elaborated: “Figuratively speaking, here is what I can explicate or argue in good form or put to good use intricately.” A crystal may figure a well-formed landscape.

Meanwhile, vining, trOpical prospecting, can become a generative mirrorplay of discovery, educing new frames, figures, models, modes, etc., via apparently self-assembling coherences. Gardens of phenomenality may be culled as apparently self-designing topographies of interplays of variable importances, thematology as phenomenology.

“Today, more news emerged with potentially historical, if not evolutionary, importance,” and it never ends—more vines drawn around the main inhabiting.

I’m one typical Earthling facing the cosmos, working to find something exemplary in that, for those who enjoy conceptual entertainment. I’m a typical member of scientific humanity, lost—but not wholly—to the planetary City’s ever-recurring, uncapturable climate of importances: needs of sustainability, virtues of liberalism, health of the financial estate, mechanics of democracy in America, etc.

These days, I’m wandering into aesthetics and conceptions of “literary” mind, into trOpical arms of a mistress (who justly mocks my pretenses), as if She might turn up something exemplary about living well, about the nature of importances, or enrich my sense of ‘the good.’ In longing to be transported, what’s the difference between sublimation and indwelling?

Is literary writing a kind of ethnological inquiry? psychological? political? philosophical? everything? Is “literary” mind just highly articulate license for vining, conceptual blending, and mirrorplaying modes of humanity? What’s the developmental relativity of a border (a liminality) between difficulty and obscurity in one’s experience of conceptual prospecting?

I would have Her stay to really listen and find our time worthwhile wandering about “the good”? (Yes, ‘wandering.’)

I would turn into literary voice, even surrealize, idioms of discursive inquiry as conceptual art without losing fidelity to the reality of discourse?

“Today, we shall entertain a primacy of valuation showing as intuitional reliabilism.”

Philippa Foot writes, in Natural Goodness, “...as philosophers we want to understand the conceptual structure of evaluation rather than details of the buzz and bloom of the animate world....what goodness in performance...may have to do with the manner of living and the good of our own species” (39-41).

O, the good of our species, let us wayfare for that.

Again and again, she alludes to “Aristotelian necessity”: “something on which our way of life depends” (114).

We’re the species that designs its progress, our way of life, so we have to ask: How should our way fare, such that we’re flourishing largely and richly in our depending, living joyfully, even beautifully?

Is our Conversation Of Humanity now led by scientific artists? Has the eros of leading artistry, in a thoroughly evolving world, departed from the legacy of mere “Art” (notwithstanding that art’s always departing from itself contra “Art,” but now lit by our bioglobality)?

One commonly wants a governing narrative about what’s waying on, a prevailing coherence in the growth of sensibility. So, we have our stories of evolving, emergent from the buzz and bloom of The Everchanging, the ecogeny of life living unto itself.

Maybe there’s a cognitive necessity here that draws all sense ultimately into artistry: We presume, implausibly (but needily), some singularity of humanity just to have a good story for workable lives. We need or want a coherent narrative that’s promising, please, born of a history that’s durable and really ours, because we trade in futures, love legacy, and both belong in shared humanity.

Be it contrary to our nature that discernible singularity of humanity is there in any literal sense, one anyway commonly needs appellant focus, needs telic Meaning—The Main Growing—for navigating our lives: your neighborhood singularity enlightening the conscience of your narratable, workable life.

One plays, one quests for Aletheia lightly dancing away.


  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis