Sunday, May 24, 2009

philosophy as meditation

Some days enlightenment comes in profound realisations, some days it trickles in.
I know i had read it before, and heard it before, but it was not until hearing this in different combinations in the thinking of others (transported and translated by others) that it seems to have impacted on me, today, in a more fundamental way.

There is no transportation without translation.

In every shift something is altered.
For every thing being transported there is translation.
A thought goes from here to there, in the transportation there are shifts.
The actor carrying the message alters the message, the words, the inflections, the import....the medium itself becomes part of the message... the medium is the message

So the thing that moved from here to there is altered, but is it just the thing, or object and actor.
Contact is a two way force.

The thing is altered, when it goes from a to b there are new relations, the network alters.
The actor transporting the t too altered.

Seems reminiscent of a law of physics.
Metaphysics, ahah.
Change begets change; there is no difference that does not make a difference.
An ontological meditation.

And what lies beneath and beyond?
Graham Harman suggests "no two things ever really come in contact"
Object one and object two, barely collide and there are alterations. Like billiards colliding they touched, energies shift, the impact alters each object's trajectories, and at an infinitesimally small level even such objects are altered, and so is the surface that supports them... and so is the game...and the watchers...and so it goes on ad infinitum. For Harman it means that the two objects were simulacrums of themselves, different before, different after, only seen from one's own position? A multiplicity of realities that don't quite touch?

Talking this down to earth: getting grounded in some reality.
With txt counselling there is a message, if i say it or write it, the message differs. Just as a map is not the territory, a message conveying feelings and thoughts is still a symbolic representation of what can be expressed. In pushing a message out there is a construction what can be told. What can be told then moves from the person to a cellphone, whats written is not what is, but a rendition, a translation as it were.
This passes into the cell phone, the message shaped by what can be 'said' as well as shaped by button taps and eyes attentive (or not) to what is represented (altered by use of T9 or predictive text, or not) and combined with idiosyncratic variations of a language evolved by constraints on the size of sms (160 characters) and a playfulness used at the discretion of the 'speaker'. Then whether the message gets transported or not depends on the contract being paid, the cell phone coverage, the state of the battery , the size of the memory....

Similarly receipt depends on the receiver's contract, the bandwidth availability and frequency not overlapping, reception, and having a counselling centre staffed, and willing to use the sms medium. The capacity to make sense of the message as a literal translation and as an emotionally charged one, and to respond in a caring way reshaping whats known of counselling to be supportive, strengths based, affirming, acknowledging...

And of the message, how does it alter the intermediaries involved?
The cell phone may become a little more used, the memory a little more full, the bandwidth a little more congested, the account a little less full...the voluntary organisation as well as the sender become a little poorer, as txting costs...

But are there other layers as well?
In narrative therapies the telling of the story has its own healing potential. In other counselling traditions, including the client centred Rogerian method taught to this organisation's counsellors, catharsis is facilitated. Reflecting back the emotional content being synonymous with being heard and accepted. Then in psychoanalytic traditions there is the occurrence of transference and countertransference occurring as relationships have their own life.

People are changed in the act of communicating, and not just because their brain cells went through some chemistry in the process. The act of counselling occurs with the intent of a subjective and sometimes objective change of state. Beliefs get reshaped. Some of this might be anticipated, much is not.

In undertaking this task, whether considered as philosophy, meditation or research, the thoughts did not spontaneously combust. There was a transportation of ideas. The anthem site provided me with an audio recording of a reading group's discussion of Latour's reassembling the social. In following this discussion of intermediaries and actors, I found myself googling Latour intermediaries and translations since it appeared crucial to any shared understanding of Latour's basic terms. While there i noticed a reference again to Graham Harman and the new book on Latour being treated as/by a philosopher: Prince of networks, and in the absence of that book, which i had heard reference to and not seen, i found myself down yet another google rabbit hole chasing references to book reviews and discussions. The resultant journey around th, flattening the terrain as i seek to trace the connections through a blog by Harman and also Larval subjects.
As always in research, the ideas always evolve, I think my thinking is my own but its also coloured by where I've been. All errors of understanding I cannot say are my own any more than i say that what i learned can be attributed elsewhere.
All is transported and therefore, translated.

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