The spell of the sensuous...

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Will
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Re: The spell of the sensuous...

Postby Will » 10 Jul 2011, 00:01

Having read SoS, I find Abram's offering quite solid inspiration in and of itself; though based on quite a poor attempt at the phenomenological method. The core message stands on its own, while the attempt to justify it in phenomenological method distracts; and I think drives the argument to a misguided conclusion. Not an erroneous conclusion, but a bit of the mark. Of course this said with 15 or so years hind-sight and having worked with similar ideas for some 50 years or more. These following in no way meant denigrate, only seek to open specific ideas for further discussion.

I was first struck by DA’s easy and unwarranted and un-noted slide between the individual, the occasional, the case example and the universal. Reporting on individual experience is part of the method, but in now way warrants an automatic conclusion of universal, or even common applicability. To say that an elder of a community does something, hears something, is not to say that every one in the community, indigenous oral or otherwise does likewise. In my view Abrame makes far to general or communal a case for what in essence is and must be a singularly individual and personal decision on one’s individual relationship with Earth.

I also found his phenomenology of time quite awkward. He goes to some length to establish an ecological location for “the past” and “the future“ without first establishing that either exist in any experiential way. For example, rather than “the past”, the more real experience is expressed as “my past”, “my future” or “our past” "our future". In trying to locate “my future” within the ecology, I must admit that alert to it or not; aware of it or not; “I” am within the ecology, part of the ecology. Hence whatever is in me must also be within the ecology; within the Earth.

This places each individual far more directly and immediately in the path of Earth’s emergence or as I prefer, “in Earth’s flow”. Keeping to a strictly personal and individual experience, then, the import of my individual choice to either attend to or to ignore my individual relationship with Earth become far more apparent. In my view, it may always been thus. Some of any one of Earth’s kindred communities; but not all of anyone community individually identifies as critical the mutually nurturing relationship with Earth. Some, but not all humans do. Some otters, some rocks, some clouds; but not all. We can seek a kin relationship with any oak, owl, or opal, as Abram’s suggests, but that does not constrain any other kindred to answering.

Just a few notes, if any wish to explore further. I largely end up at the same place, the need for me, individually, to engage in an alert, consciously chosen relationship with Earth (c.f. page 268). I think the how, the why, the what of such an experience of engagement must be and is the heart of a druid responsibility. I thank Abram for promoting the conversation with SoS; and look forward to a further exploration and elaboration of these ideas.

And to the telling of stories.

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Re: The spell of the sensuous...

Postby Explorer » 10 Jul 2011, 08:05

Having read SoS, I find Abram's offering quite solid inspiration in and of itself; though based on quite a poor attempt at the phenomenological method. The core message stands on its own, while the attempt to justify it in phenomenological method distracts; and I think drives the argument to a misguided conclusion. Not an erroneous conclusion, but a bit of the mark. Of course this said with 15 or so years hind-sight and having worked with similar ideas for some 50 years or more. These following in no way meant denigrate, only seek to open specific ideas for further discussion.

I was first struck by DA’s easy and unwarranted and un-noted slide between the individual, the occasional, the case example and the universal. Reporting on individual experience is part of the method, but in now way warrants an automatic conclusion of universal, or even common applicability. To say that an elder of a community does something, hears something, is not to say that every one in the community, indigenous oral or otherwise does likewise. In my view Abrame makes far to general or communal a case for what in essence is and must be a singularly individual and personal decision on one’s individual relationship with Earth.

I also found his phenomenology of time quite awkward. He goes to some length to establish an ecological location for “the past” and “the future“ without first establishing that either exist in any experiential way. For example, rather than “the past”, the more real experience is expressed as “my past”, “my future” or “our past” "our future". In trying to locate “my future” within the ecology, I must admit that alert to it or not; aware of it or not; “I” am within the ecology, part of the ecology. Hence whatever is in me must also be within the ecology; within the Earth.

This places each individual far more directly and immediately in the path of Earth’s emergence or as I prefer, “in Earth’s flow”. Keeping to a strictly personal and individual experience, then, the import of my individual choice to either attend to or to ignore my individual relationship with Earth become far more apparent. In my view, it may always been thus. Some of any one of Earth’s kindred communities; but not all of anyone community individually identifies as critical the mutually nurturing relationship with Earth. Some, but not all humans do. Some otters, some rocks, some clouds; but not all. We can seek a kin relationship with any oak, owl, or opal, as Abram’s suggests, but that does not constrain any other kindred to answering.

Just a few notes, if any wish to explore further. I largely end up at the same place, the need for me, individually, to engage in an alert, consciously chosen relationship with Earth (c.f. page 268). I think the how, the why, the what of such an experience of engagement must be and is the heart of a druid responsibility. I thank Abram for promoting the conversation with SoS; and look forward to a further exploration and elaboration of these ideas.

And to the telling of stories.
Hi Will,
I see that this is your first post, welcome to this place!

I agree with what you say here. I don't know the 'tradition of phenomology' (as DA called it) well enough to know how pure he is in his method. But I did get the feeling that he tried to match the personal experienced senseous relationships with the world a bit too much with certain philosophical structures. Like you say, very inspiring. But at some moments his train of thought is a bit over the top, which diminishes the power of message a bit for me.

Coincidently, we (my wife and I) read and discussed that chapter about time yesterday. And I know exactly what you mean. My wife read it to me during a long drive, and by following the flow of his story, and trying to enter in his here-and-now mindset, I could actually predict where he would end up with 'the past'. The past being in the absent, the inside and under the ground, it felt very intuitive, especially after going through the ovate grade.
But, at the same time, I felt that there was something wrong with it. This was intuitive to me, why? And I realized that these concepts are very much part of our everyday life already. When we talk about the past, like causes of events, we speak of the roots of things (underground). And we also call future events as being 'still over the horizon'. The complex and detailed train of thought that he needed to arrive there was a bit too defined and unnatural for me, even when his conclusion felt right.
I wondered about that friction, until he himself gave a clue. He said that he was trying to reconcile the animal and the philosopher. Aha, perhaps it should be more animal and less philosopher then?

So, I think I come to the same conclusion as you.
I find the message is inspirational, the described experiences full of emotions and authenticy. But the philosophical tradition of phenomology that permeates the book sometimes feels like you're in your sleeping bag in the wilderness, feeling one with nature, and suddenly you realise that the waterfall you were listening to isn't a waterfall at all, but traffic in the distance.

But still a very good book, there are some billiant idea's in there.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Will
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Re: The spell of the sensuous...

Postby Will » 10 Jul 2011, 20:10

Explorer

Thanks for the welcome. Yes this is my first post here as I've been preoccupied elsewhere for many years with life, things ADF (cf http://www.cedarlightgrove.org/) etal. Recently retired (or sort of), I return now to "set asides" from years past, one being a dabble in Philosophy. (or a quibble with Phil O'Sophy; one of my old Irish drinking buddies? :grin: ).

"...I don't know the 'tradition of phenomology' (as DA called it) well enough..."

Two of my favorites are phenomenology and the work of CS Peirce and Lady Welby. Hence, I came looking for a discussion of SoS and Abram's work; and found a way here.

As a practical application of Abram's thought, I can suggest "Whirling Subalpine Fir" by Darla Dench ( cf http://journals.sfu.ca/pgi/index.php/pa ... ticle/7/43 or google the title) . It is short and well worth the visit. I think it a marvelous illustration both of Abram's "story telling"; and of phenomenology. Much of the applied phenomenology I’ve found relates to health care or education, both being singularly “human” fields. (cf http://www.ijqhw.net/index.php/qhw/arti ... /5882/8106). An interesting project to further Abram's SoS might take the latter as a starting guide and apply it to the “composite” experiences of we who might be “nurses in training” for service to one or more of Earth’s kindred? Of course, based on both Abram's commentary on the alphabet; and on a notion of druid lore being also a largely oral practice, such a story telling project might best be done face to face.


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