Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Our fundamental debate is between two conceptions of Being: are we a Newtonian machine constructed by an external agent of point particles in an absolute vacuum; or are we growing from within? Is life really a Holy War amongst these cellf-imprisoned points of pure pain? Is our essence that of a castle, or a growing, living, Being aware of its own Becoming?
"Coercion doesn't work," the UK decided after 15 years of terror, Phillippe Sands tells us. And that's what I was taught at UW back in the 80s: punishment is passé. So how come we've resorted to such primitive methods, namely cruelty and torture?
Because torture by isolation is at the very basis of our conception of Being.
Are we ego-driven machines? quantum singularities of pure pain? When C. Daniel Batson, University of Kansas professor of social psychology, dogmatically asserted to me in a type-written letter back in 1980something that "the self/other divide must be maintained," upon what evidence did this assertion rest? None.
No, that's an outdated and discredited reduction that presumes an absolute dualism that does not obtain. Prof. Batson crossed the line, from psychology into mythology, by denying that empathy involves a transpersonal realization of this self-evident Being Aware of Becoming "whose center is in each of us, but whose circumference is NoWhere."
If you're so convinced of the facticity of the self/other divide, dear professor, then put your finger on it. Of what is it made? how does it function? is it permeable, or semi-permeable? if there's stuff in continuous transport across the divide, then isn't it's delineation an arbitrary imposition by the observer?
No. This pointilistic conception of Being only imprisons us in CELLVES of our own making, from within which we then wage war on all else. Sounds like feudalism, to me.