A Short Essay

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A Short Essay

Postby BadgerJelly on July 8th, 2019, 8:14 pm 

Perceptions of Experience & Experiences of Perception

As the title suggests there is a strange misapplication of terms easy to slip into during the event of communicating, and processing, any given idea. As an example of this I am going to explore the use of the term ‘hammer’ and the experiences and perceptions of some ‘hammer’. The difference of ‘perception’ and ‘experience’, in this essay, will be considered thus ... ‘perception’ being the amalgam of sensible ‘experience’, where experiences are ‘after’ sensible input (of content receding into the past and drawn on to form the present context - the ‘perception’). To differentiate with more clarity between ‘perceive’ and ‘experience’ it will serve to view ‘experience’ as that which ‘moves’ back through time; a receding thought. Whilst ‘perceive’ is a reversal fo this; the ‘feedback’ - perceptions brought forward to culminate in the moment alongside, not apart from, ‘experience’. To sum up, Perception ‘drives’ forward and Experience ‘drives’ backward, yet they exist parallel/entwined in the now and are known as one unity pulled in different temporal orientations; attracted as they are toward temporal poles (future and past) yet BOTH in equal possession of said poles. This is akin to the ancient Greek titans, “Prometheus” and “Epimetheus.” The brothers representing ‘foresight’ and ‘hindsight’ respectively; or Perception (perceptive) and Experience (memory). Note: Epimetheus was often depicted as being ‘foolish’.

What is a ‘hammer’? Let us start by spreading our net far and wide rather than ‘hammering home’ some precise and rigid definition! Here the term is used as part of a phrase, and could even be used to reference other items or personalities; an ‘anvil’ or ‘Thor’ - the horizon quickly expanding into a seemingly infinite array of examples. We find that analogy, parable and metaphorical use all act to emphasize an idea’s import by capturing it within a more tangible symbolic form; this can obviously lead us away from the item in question or closer to it (this is the danger of misplaced creativity!). All this seems too distant from what we generally mean when talking of a ‘hammer’ - outside of contextualism that is. Many would say a thing is what it does and/or what its ‘use’ is. So, can we in this sense say a ‘hammer’ is for ‘hammering,’ and that this means the ‘hammer’ is what it’s used for? Without intending to I can see clearly that some would scream “contextualism!”, but that is like saying the purest item is known by a grain of impurity - or by reflection of relations. In relation to the above a ‘hammer’ may be used as a bookend instead or a weapon - it could be a war-hammer - but let us assume it is simply a ‘hammer’. Here we see the functional purpose; a war-hammer made for breaking skulls and a toffee-hammer for breaking toffee! We may think of ‘hammer’ as being for hammering nails into walls or for shaping horse-shoes. In all cases the ‘hammer’ is a ‘hammer’ due to ‘hammering’. Now we could just as easily use a brick ‘to hammer’ too, or our hand ‘to hammer’ on a door. In these cases the brick and/or hand are said to be used as ‘a hammer’ yet the intention - if knocking on a door - is not explicitly ‘a hammering’ intention; no nails to be ‘hammered’ or skulls to be ‘hammered’ (the hand hits the door as a ‘tool’ for getting attention not literally as a ‘hammering’ act). This reveals the imprecision of English, the poetry present via analogy and metaphor - a sneaky thing indeed!

Back to the day-to-day ubiquitous term ‘hammer’. We know a ‘hammer’ is for ‘hammering’ nails, and that other ‘hammer-like’ items are used for other actions. The combining force of these items is possessed in the act of use, or the purpose - the ‘tool’ made to meet a demand. A book is not created for the purpose of ‘hammering’ nails into walls. My intent, in the use of a ay resemble a ‘hammer’ use, but that doesn’t alter the obvious fact that a book’s primary function is not as a tool with which to apply precise kinetic force to a nail. We may still find ourselves asking “is a ‘hammer’ a ‘hammer’ because of the ‘hammering’?”; both go nowhere! This does reveal that the item we call a ‘hammer’ is based upon its purposeful creation as an item to apply a precise, and concentrated, kinetic force to another item in order to create some ‘event’ - to shift, drive and/or produce sounds. Symbolically the ‘hammer’ possesses ‘power’ and ‘precision’ - hence ‘hammer home a point’; metaphorically its misuse can easily result in self harm, as much as it can physically!

What is also apparent is that we can ‘ask’ for a ‘hammer’ and receive one. We don’t even need to utter any words to do so. We can ask ostensively - by way of mime or gesture referring to an action. This tells us that meaning of the item ‘hammer’ is an extension of the action ‘to hammer’ - the ‘hammering,’ if not in actual naming, precedes the ‘hammer’. The creation of the specific tool ‘hammer’ is only apparent to use by its prerequisite need in a practical life situation to ease the burden if work. It is essentially a conjured ‘object’ made physical to assist - it is ‘efficiency-physically-manifest’. The thought of ‘efficiency’ though, is never felt in its birth. Only once it’s offshoot is perceived, and habitual to experience, can ‘efficiency’ be alluded to - and ONLY alluded to - as its shadow is cast forward. By the accident of efficiency and, importantly, an attraction to efficiency, can purposeful creation come into being - the crafting of ‘tools’ as an ‘instinct’ for ‘efficiency’. In this sense the physical object ‘hammer’ and the concept ‘hammer’ are revealed as alien to each other even though, in our worldly life, we frame them as synonymous: intricately woven into each other simply because of a shared communicable word (spoken/written) colloquial exchanges.

Through the appropriation of experiences, framed in the current perception, the item of ‘efficiency’ nascently emerges as a thought of physical interaction with the world and is captured once articulated - be this adumbration by the lexicon possessed, and/or (likely ‘and’) through ostensive revelation. What is apparent here is the flourishing of concepts produced. With ‘efficiency’ ‘technique’ forms out of mere ‘difference’; meaning where items were once merely differentiated by size, shape, sound or any other banal physical features, they are now appreciated - or ‘reconstituted’ - in a landscape of ‘value,’ of degrees of technical use for more specific tasks: hence the birth of the ‘toffee-hammer’ and ‘paper knives’.

In an analogous sense what we can see here is as open ‘theatre’ upon which we throw ‘characters’ of our experience - the ‘theatre’ being a stage of possibilities vying for attention from the perceiving audience. We place the ‘hammer’ on the stage and mirror the interactions that grab our immediate attention. The most intriguing aspect of this analysis is that we don’t know how our ‘characters’ are going to perform. We can, and do, at least dress them up at we deem suitable attire or place them on this or that scene - but they are essentially there to show us what they are and are existent only because they are not fully developed or understood by us. If they charm us further, beyond mere selection, we mimic them and come to understand the deficiencies and benefits they exude when we take on their role. As an example of a ‘character’ let us return to the ‘hammer’. We don’t cast the character ‘hammer’ onto a stage for ‘writing’. As a tool of ‘writing’ the ‘hammer’ may be cast alongside a ‘stone tablet’ though, and would work in the narrative more efficiently with a chisel. If there was ‘paper’ one would not cast ‘hammer’ in this play though, it would not even get an audition!

What use is such an analogy? What roles are being played? What is the theme? To explain we use our ‘hammer’. Let us imagine a generic ‘hammer’, and I expect most of us will conjure up the image of a regular ‘hammer’ used for bashing nails into walls and such. What needs to be addressed here is that not everyone will conjure the image of this particular hammer type; there being an array of ‘hammers’ as previously mentioned and that in the subjective experiences held by people the ‘hammer’ we bring to mind may not resemble a ‘hammer’ o some distant person - our biased exposure to some ‘hammer’ of childhood years forms a generic nature of the ‘hammer’ we conjure up now. Even so, what we mean in a universal sense, is to refer to a physical object that we’ve held, seen held by another, or understand as a physical object used for ‘hammering’ in some situation. It is this physical object, as a character of being, that is placed on the stage. The abstract nature of the concept ‘hammer’ is envisioned as some generic physical item. What the character then performs is a non-physical, non-solid act - enter the creation of the ‘abstract’. In its infancy this theatre is occupied by a variety of concrete objects, and it is through their relations and expressions performed upon the stage, that the ‘abstract’ objects emerge - such concepts as ‘efficiency’ manifest slowly like spontaneous plumes of smoke eventually condensing into a solid form. Such items are differentiated because they are non-physical. We can never hold ‘efficiency’ in our hand or share a static physical image of ‘efficiency’ as it is a conjunction, the air and lives of the concrete characters upon the stage (the plots and intrigues themselves). Fleeting or ephemeral as such characters may be they nevertheless intrigue us, and by doing so manifest as characters on the stage called “enigma,” “curiosity,” and “intrigue”. I hope it goes without saying that the evidence for these phantasms can be seen throughout all cultural mythos. The most ancient representations being iterations and amalgams of love, death, beauty and evil. Often, if not always (?), pantheons of gods encapsulate a whole spectrum of features related to their primary core; the ‘hammer’ being one such instance of items associated with mythical beings and historical figures.

It would be foolish to assume the script is inculcated; that each rendition will be verbatim of the previous viewing. The theatre of the mind must possess a semi-permanent existence though, or all would be indistinguishable; therefore unknown and unknowable - be this by way of illusion or delusional presentations. Any ‘absolute’ mask given common parse (‘all,’ ‘infinite,’ ‘permanent,’ etc.,.) is appreciated as an ideal means of representing the extreme end of an idea, NOT as something actually ‘absolute’ in some unimaginable fashion - for reasons too explicit to bother attending to! Meaning opposites are set up - or ‘proposed’ - as a means to orientate thought around a communicable medium (aka ‘language’, such as in this written instance).

The ‘hammer’ is then an ‘experience’ and a ‘perception’ that drifts into the theatre of consciousness in the spirit of ‘efficiency’ - perceived and experienced, cast to a future outcome and driven by memory. This is NOT to say ‘experience’ is set in the past and ‘perception’ is cast in the potential future. As stated earlier ‘experience’ and ‘perception’ exist at every conscious moment and differ - as defined - as temporal-directional-facing. This renders a rough definition of ‘hammer’ as a temporal-directional-facing of efficiency-physically-manifest. Where this appears to lead us is to a ubiquitous definition applicable to all human action or thought. What is not a ‘temporal-directional-facing of efficiency-physically-manifest’? If we are to remove the ‘physical’ what kind of ‘manifestation’ would we need to consider in its stead? This is a complex matter of linguistic hoodwinking; a kind of fixedness, set kn language. Here lies the commonly termed ‘explanatory gap’. The circularity is that ‘hammer’ is not ‘physical’. When it comes to cognitive thought (or rather, worded thought) the ‘hammer’ I can hold in my hand is no more physical than the thought of holding the ‘hammer’ in my hand - separated as it is be from sensation by some degree. The ‘hammer’ is a manifestation; a conceptual framing of the world of intentions and interactions - a tailored term made to fit the frame within an imagined frame. The ‘hammer’ is an adumbration that can be put to task relative to shifting experience and perception.

What is to be taken from this essay? I hope that the use of ‘perception’ and ‘experience’ offer the reader tools to play with and that the reduction of human activity to the principle of ‘efficiency’ is worth consideration too. The analogous use of ‘theatre’ does require greater elucidation though, from what I can tell.
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Re: A Short Essay

Postby CanMan on July 10th, 2019, 12:09 pm 

Sorry, but you lost me at...

"perception’ being the amalgam of sensible ‘experience’, where experiences are ‘after’ sensible input (of content receding into the past and drawn on to form the present context - the ‘perception’)"

...too deep for me.
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Re: A Short Essay

Postby BadgerJelly on July 10th, 2019, 7:08 pm 

CanMan » July 11th, 2019, 12:09 am wrote:Sorry, but you lost me at...

"perception’ being the amalgam of sensible ‘experience’, where experiences are ‘after’ sensible input (of content receding into the past and drawn on to form the present context - the ‘perception’)"

...too deep for me.


It should’ve read “... from the present context - the ‘perception’”.

I was trying to cram a lot in within a set word limit of 2000 words (which I went over by a out 100). If you stopped there I can only suggest you read on and then see if it makes sense after that.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated :)
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Re: A Short Essay

Postby charon on July 11th, 2019, 12:23 am 

Badger -

Having worked it all out and got it off your chest now, what you should do is précis it in a few apposite sentences. Cut to the essence!

(For the thickos like me :-o)
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