On Articulating Experience

“The more ways of articulating human experience one knows the better.”

– Eugene Gendlin

I would like very much to say/write something today.  Something resonant and broad, something that would stimulate empathy, reflection, acute sensations, self-awareness and some renewed purposiveness toward what any reader might consider their own “good” and the larger “good” of the “world.”  That would motivate us to be more fully, attentive to what we most value, what we most wish to value; that would tickle, trigger and activate that within each of our experiencings whatever it is in us that occurs in those sweet, heartbreaking and perception-exploding moments in which we feel like WE matter, that the WORLD we participate in matters, that meaning is worth, well, Life…and that Life as we are living it, we live together.

But I haven’t the first idea, concept or “hook” to know how to do that.  I have nothing to say.  I have urges, wishes, passions, dreams and a kind of crushing, yearning hope – that we might focus a little, shape ourselves, choose something for ourselves and one another and act with and toward ourselves, one another and the world in ways and fashions that could soothe, nourish, calm, comfort, extend and enhance our collective experience of being humans in a world full of so many other things we depend and inter-depend and co-depend on and with.  Rather than our easy, disruptive, erratic, dissatisfying instinctual and common practice of reactingresponding, self-protecting, guarding, distancing, lashing out, closing in…separating, hurting and harming, frightened, cowardly and weak.

I don’t know where to start with that.  I would that I could write the experience of others, could find synchrony and sympatico with my friends, family and acquaintances, could articulate the complexity and depth, mystery and reticulated implicit intricacies of their experiencings: their pains, joys, desires, griefs, knowings & doubts, wonderings and certainties, histories and prognoses, lusts and woundings… that I might be so much more tender to them, embracing, receptive, unthreatened and inclusive, gentle and comprehending.

I would like so desperately to be able to articulate the human experience of the world accurately…yet I am always wrong when I speak another, always deficient even when I speak myself…

other things articulate as well…

sciences, arts, histories, events, activities, gestures, accidents, philosophies, medicines, practices, rituals and religions

here are a few sounds (and in this order!) that have articulated my experience, today:


remarkable “accidental” or “fortuitous” articulations…

along with The Jerusalem Address by Laszlo Krasznahorkai

the sorrow and struggle of my love

the energy and delight of local biology professors to their craft and instruction

the events and experiencings of a day….

Here’s to us all



“Contemporary authors who construct a thick barrier between themselves and their readers such that authorial vulnerability is revealed negatively, i.e., via the construction of the barrier.”

Lavender-Smith - FON

“The scientist and philosopher are like identical twins in a world without mirrors.”

Evan Lavender-Smith

Found Object/Subject: Self-Portrait

Inundated in end-of-semester bewilderment and projects….I riffle through book stacks and this catches my eye again…
lines - ingold


and I quickly recognize myself in the mirror:

Self-Portrait of Mind – July 2013


Thinking about Origins

Along the networks of transductive reading, the following productive co-constitutive readings…

“The beginning is not the same as the origin.  When the beginning emerges, the origin recedes, leaving in its wake a past that becomes our future to form a circle that never closes…It is important not to convuse beginning with origin.  Origins are always obscure even when beginnings are not.”

Mark C. TaylorField Notes from Elsewhere-

“What if, instead of placing self-self interaction at the center of development, we were to posit relation as key to experience?  Relation, understood here in a Jamesian sense, is a making apparent of a third space opened up for experience in the making.  This third space (or interval) is active with the tendencies of interaction but is not limited to them.  Relation folds experience into it such that what emerges is always more than the sum of its parts…”

Erin ManningAlways More than One

bear with me – this is extended, but so merits reflection (I think)…

“What if neither skin nor self were the starting point for the complex interrelational matrix of being and worlding?  Being and worlding depend on the activity of reaching-toward.  Reaching-toward foregrounds the relationality inherent in experience, a kind of feeling-with the world.  This tending-toward is a sensing-with that does not occur strictly at the level of the sensory-motor.  It happens across strata, both actual and virtual.  A looking becomes a touching, a feeling becomes a hearing.  But not on the skin or in the body.  Across strata, both concrete and abstract, that constitute an assemblage.  This assemblage is a sensing body in movement, a body-world that is always tending, attending to the world…”

complex adaptive systems diagram

“…In equal measure, the world also tends toward the becoming-body.  Body-worlding is much more than containment, much more than envelope.  It is a complex feeling-assemblage that is active between different co-constitutive milieus.  It is individuation before it is self, a fielding of associated milius that fold in, on, and through one another.  For the associated milieu is never ‘between’ constituted selves: the associated milieu is the resonant field of individuation, active always in concert with the becomings it engenders.  Becoming-self is one of the ways in which this folding (body-worlding) expresses itself, but never toward a totalization of self – always toward continued individuation.  ‘To think individuation it is necessary to consider being not as substance, matter or form, but as a tensile oversaturated system beyond the level of unity’ (Gilbert Simondon).  Self is a modality – a singularity on the plane of individuation – always on the way toward new foldings.  These foldings bring into appearance not a fully constituted human, already-contained, but co-constitutive strata of matter, content, form, substance, and expression.  The self is not contained.  It is a fold of immanent expressibility.”

one more paragraph worth considering?….

senses of self are less bounded phases than fractal phase-spaces composed of interweaving strata.  ‘Once formed, each sense of self remains fully functioning and active throughout life.  All continue to grow and coexist’ (Daniel Stern).  No stratum is ever completely disarticulated from another in the creation of emergent senses of self.  Rather, strata veer through and across one another in the associated milieu’s intensive fielding.  As the infant ages and becomes verbal, for instance, their sense of being a coherent, willful, physical entity – foregrounding strata phasing toward organization – may intermesh with the frustration of not being able to express the feeling-vector of intensity that remains a key aspect of the tending toward coherence – foregrounding the strata phasing toward the virtual or immanence.  Every becoming is tinted with this double articulation.  There is no stable pre- and postverbal state.  There is no stable identity that emerges once and for all.  Becoming-human is expressed singularly and repeatedly in the multiphasing passage from the feeling of content to the content of feeling, a shift from the force of divergent flows to a systematic integration.  This is not a containment toward a stable self.  It is a momentary cohesiveness, a sense of self that always remains colored by the interweaving of forces that both direct and destabilize the ‘self’s’ proto-unification into an ‘I.’  With all apparent cohesiveness there remains the effect of the ineffable that acts like a shadow on all dreams of containment.  For double articulation reminds us that singular points of identification always remain mired within the complex forces of their prearticulation, prearticulation not strictly as the before of articulation, but the withness of the unutterable, the ineffable – the quasi-inexpressible share of expressibility – within language.  There is no self that is not also emergent, preverbal, affectively oriented toward individuation.”

Erin Manning, Always More than One

“That from which I emerge approaches by withdrawing”

-Mark C. TaylorField Notes from Elsewhere


Meeting the Requirements

For Friday Fictioneers – May 3, 2013

Copyright -KentBonham

Wobbling within our habitation – wandering and confused, almost wondering why, but still composing, constructing, rearranging and conceiving it again in different light at different angles in differing times from different points of view, almost like a structure or a form foaming out of content like both sides of a two-way mirror – what we’ve made of what we’re made of – making tremendous spackled multi-entried exits and shifting permeable boundaries – you push, I push, we pull – it changes – look again and reconsider, same as considering anew or forever beginning while still it’s taking shape, working it over even when we’re not working – not really – detail upon detail after detail ever only under one single purpose – to be functional.

N Filbert 2013

“a dynamically different system at each step”…Jay Lemke

I just have to share this article from my current research work – it so cogently contains the sort of theory I desire to work on and within…

Across the Scales of Time: Artifacts, Activities, and Meanings in Ecosocial Systems by Jay L. Lemke

related again

It is Still with Me

Last night Holly and I viewed Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life, having no preparation or knowledge about subject or style.  One of those films you throw in the bag at the library so you have a variety to select from should the time offer itself.

The Tree of Life (2011) Poster

turns out as a meditation, the oscillatory experiences of nature/grace; faith/doubt; hope/cynicism; mother/father…

and so on.

A kind of imaging of dialectics.

Aside from the choice of personal pronouns relating to “ultimate questions” it has stayed with me.


The oddities of learning development for the human organism; the broader context our lives happen within; contexts and networks, systems from family-to-universe, from cell-to-individual.

The developments of guilt and shame.  The nostalgia for innocence, the wonder of betterment, of choice.

What experiences “stick” and become paradigms to fit new experiences within.

The music was glorious and suited expertly to the images and tone.

I guess I recommend it.

It is a worthwhile experience to add to your complex and idiosyncratic mix.

In the arena of my recommendation that humans watch Synechdoche, New York by Charlie Kaufmann at least once every six months, to retain self-awareness and humility…

Or perhaps correspondence…(Asking after the Nature of Nobody, pt. 3)

from pt. 2:

This is a portion of a map that does not represent the territory.  There are, perhaps, moments – instances – in which I fit with my surround – but usually it is organizing a mapping conference of sensation, affect, percept and infinite inputs coupling to pre-formed acquired categories and classes, fuzzy generalizations to stencil lines and rivers, mounds and fissures with very little correspondence to the world.

It writes this as “my world,” or “the world that I in-habit.”

Or perhaps correspondence…

(Asking after the Nature of Nobody, pt. 3)

…is precisely what is occurring.

“Each biological life-form, by reason of its distinctive bodily constitution (its ‘biological heritage,’ as we might say), is suited only to certain parts and aspects of the vast physical universe.  And when this ‘suitedness to’ takes the bodily form of cognitive organs, such as our own senses, or the often quite different sensory modalities discovered in other lifeforms, then those aspects and only those aspects of the physical environment which are proportioned to those modalities become ‘objectified,’ that is to say, made present not merely physically but cognitively as well…the difference between objects of experience and elements of sensation is determined primarily not by anything in the physical environment as such but by the relation or, rather, network and set of relations that obtains between whatever may be ‘in fact’ present physically in the surroundings and the cognitive constitution of the biological organism interacting with those surrounding here and now.”

-John Deely, Umwelt

Given the apparent disjunction of its maps to the potential largesse and intricacy (unknowns) of the territory, it reconsiders.

It thinks it may be inextricably related to the territory.  In no way accurately or exhaustively (in relation to the territory) yet constitutively via what kind of co-respondence pertains (in relation to the species of which it is an example).

In other words, by inter-relation to the territory, and by nature of its dynamic organismal systems of sensation-perception-cognition and communication (+ language – the capacity to model the above relational systems): it is I.

It co-evolves personhood.  The capacity to refer to an I among Is.  An individual personality among a We.

Map and territory, co-respondent.  The map being a model of that correspondence and correlation.  Therefore, of course it is idiosyncratic and fraught with misperceptions, disjunctions and erroneously organized interpretations and representations of the networked environments…yet the map = correspondence with the territory in species-specific experience.


Correspondences of one to many and many to one, and to a very delimited aspect of the territory, but still constructed by real linkages (reciprocal relations and responses) to that “Territory.”

Bees’ links look different.  If a lion were to speak we would not understand.  Every organism its own relations to the territory, selecting and responding, sensing and processing various aspects of the territory into species-specific lifeworlds, but correlated and corresponding particular to their kind.

Or…our maps are our maps.  Ever changing, adapting, responding to our environments and experiences, genuinely related to the territory, representations of our habits of being in the world (in-habit-ing it as humans).

I can’t lay claim to truth about the territory, but my maps derive from it and shape my forays within it, can be shared and examined, evaluated and adjusted with other mapmakers, and trusted as the experience of a peculiar entity of a particular species modeled in reciprocal relation to specific environs of the territory.

“The map is not the territory” but a model, a depiction, a fragment co-evolved in and with that territory, a specific kind of rendering and representation, and valuable for the explorer-species of the sign.

Umwelt by John Deely

Disjunctive Cartography – Our Propensities, Asking after the Nature of Nobody, cont’d

“The map is not the territory.  That’s an expression which  means

the world does not match the picture in our heads”

-Lemony Snicket, All the Wrong Questions, vol. 1

            It thinks.  It considers that it has not done with it.  It reasons that I will know more tomorrow.  Its hope of reading, of selecting and organizing, of patterning and arranging toward some partial whole, toward an item, an element, a concept or thought (any Other) that it might also become (or have been, an “I”).

In other words, it requires difference.

Yesterday I played soccer with  my son, it concocts.  I was the Other experiencing, moving, tripping-shouting-laughing – discretelyother than the ball or grassy ground, other than the leafy trees and wind, the boy (the one I called son), it was anOther yesterday, and therefore it may refer to that example of human-in-a-context (a surround of not-it) by a meaningful (adequately functional) pronoun (name-toward), namely “he” or “I.”

I gained definition by my surroundings, it conjures.  Any object will do (it’s perceiving assorted matter and energy, its limbs rest on some as “desk,” the 10” fence as “books” and the process of sensing, transforming to perception as “time” and mediates “it” as separate-though-connected – of the same stuff (matter) but in motion and of a unique form (relating to) – and names its organized system “self,” “me,” “I”).

It meditates (categorizes, classifies, identifies, compares and contrasts) on these sensations/percpetions/affectations and wonders.  “It was I,” it hears without sound – a confession aimed at a photo of a boy-child near against an aged man I knew as “grandpa.”  I looked so different – of different cells and height and weight, blood pressure and vision, facial contours, bones, hair and skin – so very different (it looks at a reflection) – how is it the “same” (identical to) “I” it is now?

Or might be tomorrow – through an utterly unknowable future of events, weather, interactivities, sensations, affectations and cognitions.  Will it be me tomorrow?  It wonders how identity can withstand such difference – variance, change, even replacement and erasure – and still meaningfully or validly considered “same”?

It places its’ head on its’ wrists.  It writes these words (is writing) in order to create (or craft) a recognizable trace, an effect, communally learned, socially agreed-upon marks that construct a momentary reflexivity its’ own existence.  A sort of extrinsic, partial it, to feel like also an I, at a moment.

It in-scribes in a medium, borrowed from others – borrowed, acquired, manipulated, stolen – a kind of proof to it that it is, and is unique, separatively connected, yea, conjoined seamlessly, molecularly, and yet… distinguishable… therefore I-able.  Referable.  Nominal.

It senses discomfort in parts labeled (categorized, classified, i.e. generalized and lumped indiscriminately/arbitrarily or learned) “head” and “neck” and “shoulders.”  It shuts its eyes.  I slept well last night, that is, I woke refreshed, my discomforts (aches) diminished.  It remembers I went to bed dry-eyed and suffering allergic responses to Springtime.  It drinks coffee.  It is not the same.

This is a portion of a map that does not represent the territory.  There are, perhaps, moments – instances – in which I fit with my surround – but usually it is organizing a mapping conference of sensation, affect, percept and infinite inputs coupling to pre-formed acquired categories and classes, fuzzy generalizations to stencil lines and rivers, mounds and fissures with very little correspondence to the world.

It writes this as “my world,” or “the world that I in-habit.”

-Becoming Human: Asking after the Nature of Nobody pt. 1

Becoming Human: Asking after the Nature of Nobody

“What, in summary, is the nature of the singular entity referred to by the word ‘I’ in judgments like ‘I am in pain’?  Answer: since those uses of ‘I’ do not refer, the question is nonsensical.  One might as well ask after the nature of Nobody.”

-John Canfield-

“The ‘main point’ is rarely extricable from the digressions.  Every section spills into every other… [he] no longer knows what he was talking about.”

-R. M. Berry-

            It grows hair.  It remembers things differently.  It is singing as if in a mumbling voice.  Yesterday I got angry.

It thinks, but after talking with the child I was upset with, it revises its conception, taking into account that she said I exhibited joy.  Yesterday I was happy.

This glassy essence.

“I will need to accomplish a task tomorrow,” it thinks, in a manner different from image, music or text.  It can almost see me doing it – in a situated context – surrounded by people (other ones), objects, time and space.  Not essentially.  Well, maybe.

It calls to mind (read fabricates) what I was like two decades ago.  I was climbing mountains then, most often alone (i.e. not in the company of additional humans), still it is able to consider me there.  There where?  It imagines Long’s Peak in Colorado (in neither image, language nor feeling – it cannot recall particulars well enough to reconstruct)…it senses I was there.  It is reading in a diary.

Does this make it me?  The same as the I who wrote it, camping somewhere along the Eastern slope of Long’s Peak in 1995, apparently gladly absent of friend, foe, spouse or tamed animal counterpart?

I had a pack full of peanut butter and potatoes, a couple jugs of water, a tent, a cloak, a knife, an assortment of pens, books and blank journals.  It roughly remembers some of that.

It reflects (not to itself – that doesn’t even make sense) – must be a sort of nuanced synonym for thinking – (with itself? of itself? nonsense, it simply reflects) – I’m sitting cross-legged on a small clearing near a frothy crystalline stream within a circle of baby pines, trying to read philosophy texts packed in for the purpose of uninterrupted, or it could be me yet-to-come as distinguished by Swiss mountains and an understood language barrier protecting my solitude along with evident (it imagines) distance (and therefore time) between whatever residents might exist and I.  It (hypothetically) notices that (well, enough to pick out an “I” on the Jungfrau or Matterhorn).

But that has happened too.  Does the case that it conceives me thus proscribe an identity?   It isn’t sure, but there are similarities of some variety.  It isn’t saying for certain (the fact is it could say “for certain” but what might that establish as regards me?) – the appearance and accidents, character and behavior are in many ways inexact and altered – but for pragmatic and discriminatory purposes – it would designate me “me” (if it were in conversation or thinking extrinsically).

Could it really say, most definitely, that I was there?  Any more than that I will be?  It is uncertain, entirely possible.

This glassy essence.

It remains, for now.

Thinking of the time I was writing this (nearly now but just before).  It is writing, but not this, I have written this, it is aware, but only just before or just after – that it is I.

It writes.

“…man, proud man,

Drest in a little brief authority,

Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d,

His glassy essence, like an angry ape,

Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven

As make the angels weep.”

-Shakespeare, Measure for Measure