Thursday, March 3, 2011

Occult Objectivity

Jan Cox said once, that he only ever talked about one thing. And each night he spoke there were fresh maps, because it could be fatal to think to yourself, I heard that before, I know what he's talking about. Because an ordinary person could not. Because Jan was pointing beyond words. His aim was for us to be able to do this ourselves. The "how" of the method is not the current topic.  My newest phrase for the method, is, occult objectivity. Occult because the student should never appear strange to the world--the audience should not have their eyes drawn to something that in fact was motivated by the energy behind attention seeking. Objectivity because the method enables seeing the interstices of science, the gaps in theory, the horizon of ignorance. Occult because one must be hidden to oneself. Objectivity because in the reality of the shared edge of inward and outward lies what is. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tumbling tombs

Consider the importance of tombs to archeology. The progress of this science is largely dependent on tombs to evaluate and discover preliterate cultures. The discovery of a tomb with treasures is always an opportunity to learn, and any tomb furnishings open the door to knowledge, and many times graves are not just a main source of knowledge, they are the only source.

In literate societies you might assume the task of reconstructing the past to be different. Such is not substantially the case however. When you realize that words themselves, the record of which defines the beginning of human history, are a form of tomb, the possibility for a knowledge ignored by scientists is extant. Reality that is captured in words is AT BEST, only the past, never the present. So in a sense you are still not able to access an eye-witness account. Not keeping this aspect of linguistic reality in mind, hinders any apprehension of a real present, much less, what might have been a past reality.

The recognition of the reality of tombs allows a kind of knowledge, if that recognition is persistently pursued. The fresh, unbreathed before, air is in realizing the difference in horizons, in distinctions, like that between, 'there is no life after death', a binary phrase, and, the words of Jan Cox, only superficially similar, "there is no evidence of life after death."