Radical Cognitive Mirroring of Globalization
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 9 Jun 2014
Dynamically Inning the Unquestioningly Outed
There is no lack of references to the complexity of global society and to the challenges it faces — nor to the manner in which people experience an increasing sense of disempowerment and uncertainty. The question is whether it is possible to think otherwise about this experience — to reframe it more fruitfully in some way.
The suggestion here is that in a strange way — that remains to be understood in all its dimensions — this confusion perceived externally constitutes a kind of mirror of an internal cognitive reality. Somewhat ironically, to what extent this is the case, and whether for everyone or only for some on some occasions, is a matter for “reflection”.
The assumption here is that possibilities may not have been exhausted by the arguments associated with social constructionism, personal construct theory, embodied cognition, and the like. Can the argument be presented more fruitfully? For whom?
Rather than a simple binary distinction between “external” and “internal”, as with the enduring nature-versus-nurture debate, is there a case for reframing the relationship in ways which transcend ready simplification — perhaps through recognizing a form of resonance, more consistent with use of the optical metaphor of mirroring. Irrespective of whether this is considered a potential collective opportunity, however that might be promoted, there is a case for considering any opportunity in which all can engage on their own.
Inclusion of “outed” in the subtitle exploits the sense in which this is indicative of rendering explicit to “others” what may be experienced as inherently ambiguous — unthinkingly rendering definitive (without consent) what may be primarily characterized by uncertainty. This is contrasted in the subtitle with the use of “inning” — used metaphorically in its occasional sense of reclamation of flooded or marshy land.
The implication is that there are cognitive modalities which have been “flooded” by externality and could be fruitfully “drained” for internal benefit, if only within a “tidal” cycle. Questions are then usefully raised regarding the nature of the cognitive container implied metaphorically by such suggestions of “in” and “out” (Gary Williams, Examples of the pervasive container metaphor, Minds and Brains, 23 July 2012; The Mind as Container Metaphor, Jayarava’s Raves, 27 July 2012)
How then does one engage with issues presented as external global realities (elsewhere), and as an ideal target onto which all blame for personal experiential suffering can be projected — given the intimate experience of inner reality (in the here and now)? The question of how this dynamic “internal reality” might be more fruitfully organized then also merits “reflection”.
The approach has been previously related to a range of specific issues within the global problematique: hunger, pollution, unemployment, etc., as noted separately (Degrees of Cognitive Engagement with Interrelated Global Categories, 2009). The argument here is introduced by questioning assumptions regarding the nature and reality of complex abstractions, whether in the form of such problems on a global scale or in the case of the entities purportedly dealing with them. At the time of writing, with the meeting of the G7 in Brussels, a particular focus is given to the global implications, most notably for local residents faced with a total lockdown of the city centre. The challenge to comprehension is compounded by the subsequent commemoration of D-Day (6 June 1944) by the leaders assembled — an event whose very existence is necessarily increasingly tenuous as a reality in the memory of emerging generations.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 9 Jun 2014.
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