CULTURE HISTORY

by Hugh M. Lewis

 

Superman has long been a mythological archetype of many different cultures. It is a human of supernatural origins and a human upbringing who exhibits superhuman physical strengths and abilities, which he uses in a series of trials and contests with monsters, villains, Gods and with other men. Behind Superman is always a female seductress who threatens to rob him of his powers. The Hebrews had their Samson, the Greeks had Hercules. Ancient Mesopotamian civilization had Gilgamesh, the Indian had Arjuna. There have been many variants of this common theme, and the point of variation upon a common theme is as important as the understanding of the essential structure of the theme itself.

It was Frederick Nietzche who gave to western rational philosophy the contrast between Superman and the slave, superman being the superior man who was the goal of evolutionary 'survival of the fittest'. Recent German ideology capitalized upon this mythological theme as a core archetype of their superior civilization which was rooted in their genetic history, and a unified, strong nation was mobilized under a fanatical leader to go to war with the world to conquer and dominate it militarily.

In this instance we have a clear example of how the power of a mythological theme can be used to foster collective ideological illusion around which shrewd and cunning leaders may mobilize the people of an 'ethno-nation' for fanatical action. 'Understanding kills action, for in order to act we require the veil of illusion…' (Frederick Nietzche, The Birth of Tragedy)

All cultures have their different hero myths. We have whole pantheon and Halls of Fame devoted to the greats of baseball, football and basketball. We have political heroes and folk heroes, we have war heroes, scientist heroes and even industrialist heroes. Heroes become the stuff of which legends and children's day dreams are made of and from our legends come the justification of the greatness of our cultural traditions and the object lessons for how we spend our lives. Now we have a whole movie industry which regularly creates and recreates these hero myths in living color, to give our collective illusions a substantial sense of perceptual realism, however two dimensional and electronic. And film and TV creates its own legends, stars, great directors and great roles which provide us with yet other pantheons of Oscar winners, wax museums and parades.

Humans seem to need heroes to serve as role models of exemplary behavior and superhuman feats and as paragons of our cultural values and virtues. They are the semi-human props for our everyday illusions and the superhuman solutions for our existential problems. Everyone loves a winner and no one wants a loser.

In our daily performances and enactments of our cultural values, in our recreations of our mythological characters, supermen and heroes, we can see clearly how myth may both serve to reflect and to regenerate our cultural traditions and inform our lives and our daily destinies with special significances of which we may quite unselfconsciously aware. For us they are reflective of our cultural orientations, but they are frequently not reflexive of our own realities.

We sometimes seem to so need our hero myths and legends that we are quite willing to completely disregard the kernel of historical truth lying at the center of the story in order to better enjoy the flesh of the fruit grown around it. In our culture, we consume our heroes as we consume our junk food and our material possession, to use them up at our convenience and then discard forever the pithy remnants into the junk heaps of our buried and forgotten history.

 

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It has been the study of culture history which has provided us with an intellectual window onto this cultural process of mythology, hero making and consuming, the illusion and superhuman spirit of ideology it cultivates and the sense of history that’s inevitably left behind. It is the study of culture history which best answers our 'why' questions about the happenings of history and the events of culture, because it allows us to paint the sense of holism and animation that imbibed a people with a collective purpose and orientation and gave to their culture the breath of history. Culture history elucidates the integrity and synergism of a people within a given period and place, and shows how its mythology is related to its language and psychology, and how its history and ideology is related to its mythology and how its sense of civilization, its sense of individual self, gender, class, and even its ecology and experiences of its environment are conditioned through and by its mythology. It also shows how this mythology is also rooted in its geography, its ecology, its economy, its sociality, its customs and manners, its politics and its history. In short within the study of culture history everything is somehow related to everything else, however indirectly or remotely or superficially.

For those students of culture who would seek to know a foreign people, or even to study themselves, the firm foundation of the understanding of the people's culture history is of paramount and prerequisite importance in the contextualizing and grounding of their studies, no matter how scientific, specific, a historical or sociological. It is foolish for such students to conduct research of any kind without a well rounded appreciation of the language, culture and history of the people whom they study. Without such culture historical understanding, such researcher's inevitably fall prey to either the mythologies of the people's that they've ignored, to their own culture historical mythologies that they have ignored reflexively in themselves, or else the results of their studies will stand apart from the whole fabric of human consciousness itself, as something disconnected, irrelevant and worst of all, trivial--of little or no value at all in any culture historical framework.

The culture history of a people is similar to the people's own 'ethno-history' or 'folk history' except that culture history comprehends this insider's frame of reference as well as the outsider's frame of reference , within a dialectic of views that leads to its synthesis. Culture history stays with no single viewpoint, but seeks a wide variety of perspectives in its encompassment of the contexts of mind in which a particular people are situated. Because an infinite number of such viewpoints are potentially possible, the program of culture history is never finished, its images and stories of a people never complete.

Several key themes characterize the study of culture history and distinguishes it as separate from other kinds of studies of people. These themes are:

Mythology; culture history is preeminently a study of mythology--its common themes, variations, ranges, histories and 'structures'.

 

Tradition; culture history is basically a study of a people's common or separate sense of tradition, how it relates to their histories, folklore, mythologies, customs and character.

 

Language; culture history seeks to study language in its many modes and mediums of expression, especially from the standpoint of its semanticity, its pragmatics and its metaphorical connotations and connections.

 

Customs and values; culture history seeks to understand a people's cultural orientations, values and how these cohere to give cultural life consistency and efficacy, customs and constraints, rituals and ceremonies which surround, explicate or deviate from such value systems and cultural orientations.

 

Stereotypes; culture history seeks to comprehend and understand the kinds of 'stereotypes' are used within a grouping of people or are used about such people. Culture history can be said to deal in stereotypes, in the dialectics of their social cultural construction and critical de-construction.

 

Social structure; somewhat surprisingly, culture history, to be complete, must understand the regular patternings of political, economic, social and religious behaviors of people, as these 'structures' interrelate functionally and organizationally to give a long lasting and pervasive sense of 'structure' common to a collectivity of people.

 

Cultural geography; the landscape, environment, ecology, means of adaptation are all necessary to a complete picture of a group's culture history.

 

Integration; culture history attempts an inquiry into the systemic and symbolic integration of a people's culture historical realities, to demonstrate the many possible interrelationships with in a collectivity of people.

 

Variation; culture history attempts to understand the many historical and geographical variations of the cultural themata around which a grouping of people are organized, as well as the individual ranges of variation between individual' within groupings and the ranges of variation of culture histories of different groupings of people.

 

Civilization; civilization is construed as culture historical process which gives to a grouping of people a collective consciousness of being distinct and unique. Civilizations may be great or small.

 

Collective representations; religious beliefs, attitudes, symbolisms, superstitions which informs a people of their culture historical identity and of the identity of others.

 

'Mentality'; culture history has always been a study of human 'mentality' as this may be different or similar between groupings of people in time and place--to understand the basis of these differences and similarities.

 

History; culture history is the study of the 'culture of history' and the 'history of culture' as well as the study of 'meta-history' as a dialectic between 'stories of people's past' and 'people's past itself'.

 

Culture; culture history is also, simultaneously a study of human culture as an organizing metaphor for the pan human phenomena and experience of things cultural--and of its many thematic variation in time and place as well as the 'continuum' of pan human 'culture' in the 'structure of the long run'.

 

Contextuality; culture history is an attempt to contextualize and understand the inherent background contextuality of time and place in which a people are situated. Contexts are relational frameworks which provide a sense of the interrelationships and interrelatedness of people within social and natural environments through time.

 

In the study of culture history no kind of knowledge or information is beyond its purview of importance. The aim of such study is always comprehensive in seeking a compendium of understanding about any grouping of people. As such psychology and phenomenology are also valuable perspectives of a culture historical approach, as would be physical anthropology or sociology or even sociobiology. The culture historical paradigm is encompassing and non-exclusive in its orientation. As such it is also necessarily generalistic and unparticularistic in its synthesis.

 

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The notion of what is 'general' is better restated as an issue of 'generalia' (things in general; general principles or terms) have referring mainly to ideas, notions, terms, and systems of such things. 'General' is defined as 'the whole; the total; that which comprehends all or the chief part; opposed to particular.' or as 'applicable to or involving the whole or every member of a group. 2. Widespread; prevalent. 3. Not restricted or specialized. 4. True or applicable in most but not all cases. 5. Not precise or detailed. 6. Diversified…' In this context general might also be referred to as 'generality' or as 'generality' defined as 'the quality or state of being general. 2. The main body; the hulk, the greatest part…3. An idea or expression of a general, indefinite and vague nature; a general statement or principle' or as 'generally' as 'in general; extensively though not universally; most frequently but not without exceptions. 2. Without detail; in the whole, taken together' or in terms of 'things generalizable' or as 'generalization'.

'General' then has several interrelated connotations of theoretical, philosophical, metaphysical, comprehensive and universality of meaning--'as broadly based, deeply significant, as widely applicable as possible'. Comprehensive generality as a way of comprehending holistically an undifferentiated human reality is preferable over a notion of strict universality with the connotations of 'absoluteness, completeness, finality or ultimate'.

Being general and a generalizing study, it is also a study of generalization about human reality. Culture history tends to speak of groupings of people as if they were whole and in a sense complete, and to some extent isolated and independent of an outside world. There is a search for an overall pattern of configuration of culture about some central archetype or model or paradigm. The classic conception of culture historical study has been the depiction of a culture as a wheel with spokes which radiate from a central hub or axis around which the wheel of culture turns. Each of its spokes is an aspect of that culture which converges towards a center.

But the generalizing nature of culture history is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness, and this seems to hook it upon the horns of an unresolvable dilemma which 'stems from the chastening insight that no culture can be mapped out in its entirety, but no element of this culture can be understood in isolation…' (Gombrich, page 41)

It must be understood that the study of generalization in culture history is a necessary way of proceeding toward a holistic understanding of culture history. Generalizations based on patterns of phenomena are formulated in order to then be 'de-constructed', reevaluated and reconstructed. Though this process theoretically never ends, through it we are provided with a multiplicity of possible patterns and generalizations from which themselves certain meta-order paradigms emerge in the generalistic understanding of a group of people. It is not the generalizations themselves which are important, except as vehicles of understanding, but it is appreciation of the people and a grasp of mind which characterizes their group that is the final aim of culture history.

From this standpoint, culture history must be understood as a dialectical methodology which always poses a paradigmatic thesis to then contrapose antithetical counterexamples or exceptions through which conjunction yields a synthesis of mind. The important concerns are not the thesis or anti-thesis, or even the synthesis itself, but the act of the dialectical process itself in revealing mind and human reality. The culture history stands outside of the terms of the dialectic, while still enacting the dialectic, and studies the unfolding of the process in its entirety from an uninvolved distance which allows the student to step outside of the hermeneutic circle of ideology and history, and to become reflexive about this hermeneutic circle as well as about his/her own dialectical involvement in it.

There then occurs in the study of culture history a fusion of horizons between the student and the people whom he studies, a kind of identity of difference which allows cultural generalizations to be made and to stand for themselves without an involvement in the hermeneutic history of their production. These generalizations remain as necessary vehicles of the hermeneutic process, but do not stand as ideological props, paradigms of power or as mythological charters.

 

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Culture history is the study of mythology which is itself situated in mythology. It is a study of ideology which is itself situated in ideology. It is a study of structure, history, culture, mentality which is itself situated in these 'things'. The only hope of escaping this paradox is by its own reflexive transcendence that steps beyond the parameters of its dialectic. In the process culture history becomes meta-paradigmatic and relatively a-mythological mythology, or de-ideologized ideology. We move from structure to anti-structure and then back again but in the process stop midway between the extremes to discover a middle ground of meaning which exists from the tension of the dialectical extremes.

Culture history proceeds to make generalizations about the cultures and histories of people which then eventually become associated with racial epitaphs and ethnic ideologies. And yet culture history does not stop because of these associations and distanciation of 'surplus' meaning. The danger of reification of subjectivity constituted realities are surpassed by the knowledge and appreciation gained by the process, knowledge and appreciation which eventually goes to undermine the very reifications upon which it was founded.

The dialectical process itself is one of a 'collectivizing/relativizing' perspective or orientation in which symbolism of identity and difference become configured and contextualized in relation with the world. These are processes inherent to our understanding of human reality and are not to be denied except at unnecessary cost to ourselves in terms of our failure to realize more fully human reality.

It may be asked what the net result of this process is in the world. It leads neither to the deflation of ignorance nor to the progress of human enlightenment. It may only be said that it is mostly pursued for its own sake, for learning what it means to be more fully human in a greatly inhumane world. In other words, the pursuit of the study of culture history does not seek justification beyond itself, beyond its own process of study--its justification is found in its own appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a human being in the world, in its own terms of this meaning of being human. Humans do it because they are human, whether they do it well or not.

 

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From this standpoint, culture history can be understood as both a methodology of the study of the processual patterning of mind as it has become evinced during the cultural development of humankind, and a systematic, if not inevitable, consequence of the functional patterning of mind itself. Culture history becomes both an representation and a reflection of mind, both an expression of mind and the movement towards its reflexive understanding in the world. It has as its basis the study of how mythology contributes to the understanding of how mind works in the historical and cultural development of humankind upon earth.

Culture history provides a super organic approach which allows us to capture the synergism of human reality--it provides a meta-paradigmatic framework of conception which transcends the dichotomization of reality by framing such dichotomies in terms of its dialectic.

The culture history approach directly confronts the philosophical/theoretical problematics of history as an inherently relativizing and particularizing process, and the related problem of ideology as a collectivizing and universalizing process. Culture history is informed within a dialectic between history and ideology--how ideology entails an implicit denial of history and a rewriting of the past to suit the purpose of the present--how history in the making entails a working out of ideology as the unintended consequences of its self fulfillment.

Culture history as an updated and revised paradigm is a necessary antidote to the modern syndrome of an earthbound world view which prevents us from seeing the most common basic differences and similarities between ourselves as individual human beings and as members of humankind as a single geo-biological species, and which would allow us to come to terms with our present predicament in a global environment and to adapt to it in a more realistic and human manner.

One of the most important aspects of the culture historical approach is that it follows a central place for the individual in a broader scheme of generalizations about the world--it allows us to look at cultural and historical processes in a holistic and relativistic manner without losing sight of the key roles always played by individual actors upon the stage. This is perhaps the greatest paradox of the culture historical approach--it begins with generalization only to end in particular persons. This tends to run counter from more 'empirical' social sciences which claim to start inductively with particular individuals and to eventually build up to generalities. It is a fact that in almost every theory of the social sciences, including psychology, there is no room left for fitting the individual, independently acting person, at the hub of the Hegelian wheel.

 

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It has been culture history that has given us the ideologies and theories of cultural relativism and determinism, the 'world view' problem, theories of diffusionism and by logical extension, acculturation, theories of cultural configurationalism and dynamics, and 'culture and personality' studies which purport to demonstrate how culture is reflective of the predominant personality orientation of its people, and of notions of the primitive versus civilized mentality and about 'collective representations'. It has also lead to the development of Hegelian dialectics, structuralist and post structuralist critical theory, existentialism, hermeneutics and phenomenology.

Its study has been received with much ambivalence within western academic circles in which sciences are the predominant paradigms. Culture history remains associated with the humanities as its temporality of perspective is held to be one of 'pattern' recognition, or of 'Geisteswissenschaft' versus the spatially oriented positivistic 'naturwissenschaft' of science.

Much of the ambivalence centers around the inherent paradoxicality of the dialectical nature of the study of culture history and in the promotion of its 'strong' ideologies versus the power of suggestion of its 'weak' theories. The dialectic of culture history begins with the recognition of this paradigm which then process to the deconstruction of this paradigm through further study, and then the reconstruction of the original patterning upon which the paradigm was founded. Part of the dilemma of this process is that the 'original pattern' is also destructed in the critical process of deconstruction and that the reconstructed paradigm is based upon a derivative but different pattern. This confers upon its dialectics a sense of always trying to catch up with reality, of being one step behind the actual unfolding of events, and of trying to keep its feet firmly on the ground of human reality. Its ontological status is derivative of and dependent upon the ongoing ontological status of human reality. As such, there is in its studies a sense of time lag separating its paradigm from the real patterning of events--it is a depiction of yesterday and yesteryear which can ultimately never be demonstrated as either true or false. This also renders it susceptible to the mistaken identity between past and present, of ideological reification of the past in the present or of its superimposition upon the realities of the present. Through culture history we can learn from our past, so as not to make the same mistakes in our future, but we can also make the past our master and our future a slave to the past.

The dialectical process of paradigm construction, deconstruction and reconstruction is an ongoing one that needs to be kept apart from the actual movements and turning of events. It never yields a complete or ultimate or perfect paradigm--the aim of its dialectic is the production of multiple paradigms about the central axis of dialectical development. This confers upon its dialectic a sense of directionality and of its own ontology, but one which is only reflexive of the real ontology of events.

 

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To the extent that the dialectics of culture history are rooted to the ongoing experiences of the past, then it can be said to serve as a collective memory of mind, and that it is a memory which is always limited in its re-constructive capacity and therefore always selective. Its editing function of selectivity, of what elements to focus upon serve as important and which kinds to exclude, renders its dialectic fundamentally a normative function of human evaluation, interpretation, decision making.

Its editing function also tend to render the past in terms which are of service to the needs of the present, as well as to promise that any such paradigm must always remain partial and imperfect and therefore soon to be replaced by yet another paradigm, as present sets of needs change.

Social science which are grounded in a spatial framework of synchronicity of elements and stable continuity of structure implicitly held to be uninfluenced by historical events or process of change, are also actually all tied to an selective editing function of events of the past, and therefore always partial and imperfect. No paradigm producing study of patterning of human reality is not so tied to the past. This makes social sciences susceptible to the same influences of ideology and to criticism on this ground as culture history. The important difference is that culture history should at least reflexively recognize its own partiality and bias of ideology, whereas with the social sciences, for the most part, this bias is usually invisible or implicitly denied by the superimposition of an unempirical 'rational structure' which is separate from its history. In other words, social science are no less ideological than culture history is, to the extent that they study the same basic events and experiences of the past and suffer the same lag between past constructions and present de-constructions. The difference is that when reading social science, there is no sense of past, but only a sense of frozen, permanent present fixed by structure. Without acknowledging its own ideological and ontological status, social science is more susceptible to the influence of ideology than is culture history and more tied to the needs of the present.

From a social science standpoint, even history itself becomes structured in the sense that it is seen as a diachronic series of events or processes which are the result of the mechanistic function of an unchanging social structure. It is this kind of ideology which looks for strict causality between past and present and through the statistical determinism upon our sense of past experiences to be pre-determinative through its dialectic rather than post determined in the modus tollens sense of present consequents confirming past antecedents. It also leaves a broader margin of self organizing criticality in its less particularistic and more generalizing framework. Its inherent holism guarantees that its histories will always tend to be multiply determining and determined in a non-exclusive manner.

It is the inherent, explicit openness of the study of culture history as a system of inquiry into human reality which is its chief and primary advantage.

 

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A great deal has been written about the relativity of culture, language, cognition and history and yet relativism remains poorly defined and largely misunderstood as an alternative paradigm of rationalism. It is also often confused with its strong ideological form of determinism which creates fictitious little culture gardens the life of which are completely independent of outside influence and yet this is precisely contradictory to the genuine significance of relativism, that everything, no matter how bound, is always related to and configured against a larger background of contextual relativity.

It is the relative contextuality of an particular place and period which renders its understanding culture historically different from the understanding of other points in time.

It is this relational contextuality which allows the study of culture history to remain an open system of inquiry, for whatever its paradigmatic definitions these are always to be understood within a more open and indefinite contextuality which always surrounds it.

Because contextual relations are always changing the general relativity of a particular place and period is always different from that of any other. When a statement is made that something is relative, it must always then be asked 'relative to what?' Relativeness is never absolutely determined and never determines absolutely, but relative is always relative and indefinitely determined in relation to something else. This is part of the dialectical process of culture history--to frame the understanding of something particular within a more indefinite and generalistic context of understanding.

The value of the relativism in the culture historical understanding of human reality is precisely that it provides us with an non-absolutistic framework for the understanding of difference and dynamics in the processual patterning of mind--it enables us to deal with change in a more realistic and less idealistic fashion as a part of a larger, encompassing context.

Relativism also helps to cultivate a general attitude of open mindedness which is essential to the study of culture history--it provides a 'generalizing' framework for understanding human reality.

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Cultural configuration was an effort to find persistent and generally predominant patterns of a grouping of people in a place and period--these patternings were held to be somehow 'essential' in the culture historical understanding of culture. It is no accident that such configurationalism turned to the purported general psychology of the individual in order to understand the core of this patterning, as such psychology was held to be 'essential' to culture historical ethos. The exact psychological mechanisms involved varied and were left indefinite, but the general theme was always that early patterns of childhood socialization and enculturation of cultural values and norms produced a predominant personality type which tended to reinforce and replicate the norms and values of a particular cultural orientation and this predominant personality conferred the unique and peculiar flavor to a distinctive cultural orientation. This 'configuration' defined the normative boundaries individual variation. If people's psychological pre-dispositions fit the general pattern, they had a greater likelihood of successful adaptation, on the other hand if their character varied or deviated too far from the normative center, then they might well suffer marginalization or persecution.

This configurationalism was never so much 'wrong' so much as it was over simplifying of cultural realities. All cultural orientations has a 'core' value culture which mutually fit certain psychological character traits more than others, but this perspective emphasize culture as the 'multiplication of uniformity' and tended to ignore the degree of individual variation tolerated within a culture--the 'organization of diversity'. Taken to their extreme such studies led to 'National Character Stereotypes' whose profiles were based on somewhat specious and spurious theories of socialization and superfluous understandings of the evaluative complexities of any and all culture.

Such studies also tended to presume an a-priori culture historical 'baseline' which as left tacit to the studies themselves as something taken for granted. A baseline is a starting point, a line of demarcation or departure, usually rather arbitrarily chosen, from which change, convergence or divergence, however relative, can be measured. The fact of the matter is that there are few if any non-arbitrary baselines or bottom lines in the demarcation of contexts in human reality or in human history.

But we need our generalist stereotypes whether they are the archetypical 'peasant' or 'savage' or 'village' or 'tribe' or 'city', however implicit and taken for granted as the thetic starting points of our dialectical synthesis of a people in a given place and period. It is better that our culture history attempt to explicate these bottom line stereotypes or 'pre-paradigms' or 'Gestalts of collective mind' rather than to leave them as implicit only as so often is the case in social sciences. These pre-paradigms or 'proto-patterns' form the prerequisite ground upon which we can then reconfigure our generalistic understanding. It is important that we actually return to and amend our original preconception many times over which allows us to fashion a more accurate rendering of what it is we see in reality. By explicating these preconceptions, culture history adopts a reflexive attitude towards its own understanding of reality.

 

An essence then, may and usually does, involve systematic relationships between many descriptive elements; these relationships themselves contribute to the essential definitions of the related parts. We may then speak of about the horizon of a book (as opposed, say, to the horizon of the spoken word), of nineteenth century landscapes, of universality life, of the Renaissance in Italy, provided, however, that in all these cases we can show that there is a single essential structure to the phenomena. I believe we can even speak of the horizon of atoms and elementary particles--but more about this below. We can have apodicity about the structure of the horizon only in the reflective attitude, because only in this attitude can we be reflectively aware of the full range of profiles to which an essence refers. (Patrick Heelan, 1983: page 10)

 

The fact that culture history eventually amends, or else replaces, its preconceived models with newer ones is called 'learning' and it allows full the elaboration of a fuller more complete range of profiles and a more sophisticated and elaborate model (or sense of essence) that what existed before.

Culture historical configurationalism of the interrelationships and inter-relatedness of culture and character is not wrong in its direction, so much that it has so far been simplifying in its aim. The inter-relatedness between culture and character is much more complex and contextually involving than is realized, but within such studies there is much room for the formulation, elaboration and alteration of basic stereotypes of culture historical configurations that has yet been realized.

It is important to understand that culture and character are interrelated in many different ways upon many different levels within different contexts of understanding. Archetypes of culture historical configurations are the key paradigms of their understanding. They are composite symbolisms made up of many different elements--they tend to focus upon and become embodied within and personified by certain character profiles. People may or may not try to live up or approximate such stereotypes according to how they construe them and come to understand them within their own individual contexts. It is likely that their understanding of culture history is much more complex, yet more straight forward, than anyone yet realizes. Any one culture may offer more than one kind of archetype or have a set or series of configurations which allow different people a whole range of options. It may be that there are rarely central or predominant archetypes but several competing ones or a plethora of possible paradigms waiting to be 'vitalized' by people. But culture historians must proceed with one at a time, exhaust the profiles of each, and then move on to the next.

We all need our heroes, but we need them all differently.

 

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Culture is our organizational metaphor for comprehending all those varieties of experience and diverse phenomena for which we would otherwise not have a name for, and yet which make up so much of our lives. Culture is our conceptual recognition of the patterns that happen in our experiences of human reality. We do not organize this phenomena about our own definition of culture, but we fit our understanding of what we call culture to our own self organizing patterns of our environments and experiences. This patterning is epiphenomena on mind, as it works through us in our own mental templates of 'culture' and as it works through our experiences of our environments as contexts of culture. Our cultural templates serve to order and reinforce our organization of culture, and cultural phenomena provide the evidentiary ground of experience by which we construct our templates. Mind exists as the basis and product of this interrelation between our selves and our environmental contexts of our phenomenal experiences--between ourselves and our worlds.

As such, the patterning of culture is always ephemeral as well as dialectical. It evolves as we evolve within evolving environments. Mind mediates our sense of self and our sensing of the environment.

 

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Cultural dynamics has been the name given to the culture historical study of how culture works within groupings of people. It sees that people are socialized and enculturated as children into their cultural ethos. Sanctions in adulthood reinforce these cultural orientations and it is in adulthood when adults deliberately alter or break with given cultural constraints. This is the process of the production and transmission of culture through time and across space. Cultures are composites of many aspects, of which there are focal aspects which become more highly elaborated. It is in the focal areas of a culture that there is greater variation and elaboration, and a culture tends to drift and change in the direction upon which is focused. Cultures drift along given directions until they run into other drifting cultures and have 'historical accidents'.

An understanding of the processes of culture change underlies the understanding of variable cultural forms. 'cultural forms are the expression of unique sequences of historic events but they are the result of underlying processes that represent constants in human experience.' (Herskovits, 1964:page 231)

Cultural dynamics as a way of understanding the 'mechanisms' of culture change are a point of entry to the problems of change in culture history, yet as it was elaborated by Melville Herskovits it remains a rather simplistic device for understanding the multiple permutations of human culture history. It is referenced against a baseline of stable and conservative pattern--'patterned structure, regularized form…as the designs taken by the elements of a culture, which, as consensus of the individual behavior patterns manifest by the members of a society, give to this way of life coherence, continuity and distinctive form.' (Herskovits, 1947:page 202)

The problem is that culture history must study change from a relativistic standpoint as continuous and contextual. In this sense cultural environments and its elements provide the substrate upon which individuals regular reconfigure their designs along certain broader paradigmatic parameters or cultural context of available or possible schemata and 'frames' from which an individual's or a group may continuously 'construct' and 'reconstruct' their culture along a dialectical pathway directed by tradition. Change happens within a cultural continuum of many small cycles that begin with the birth of each individual and end with their death.

It is the overall robustness of the larger cultural context of a grouping which gives a distinctive culture its consistency, conservation and stability of patterning. The elements of this context change, but overall at a much slower rate and individuals work to refashion these elements, but in the process slowly modify them as well.

Change is influenced simultaneously both from within a culture by its constituent members and outside of a culture by relations with other cultures and with the natural environment.

We must come to understand that culture is similar to language in that all people share a pan human capacity for language and a common 'deep' structure which is rooted in mind, which allows all cultures to be mutually intelligible and translatable, and yet culture as the patterning of mind is highly variable across space and through time, and continues to vary with only few fixed constraints.

 

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To see then history as our recognition of the unfolding process of mind as largely self organizing process is to acknowledge amidst our efforts to discover a deep structural dynamics of historical process all the many unintended consequences and local details which render such structure as best vague and most general, highly relative and always contextual.

Human histories have largely been political histories, the areas of greatest power having predominant influence over the control and directionality of change. In this sense change has largely been relative power in human history.

 

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In the context of the idiographic phenomenological experience of the individual, historical process must be seen at a level of local face to face, interpersonal interactions between different people. From a bottom line, empirical standpoint, this is the basis for the construction of history. Group history incorporates all those relations bound by a grouping in a particular period and place, including those external influences and relations with other groups or outsiders.

People form networks in time and across space. These networks overlap and reintegrate or segregate. Social networks are the grindstone of human history. These networks are the weave of culture history with the worf of time and the weft of space.

Such networks provide maps and avenues which individuals, in their daily rhythms and streams of consciousness, learn how to navigate and manipulate. People interact within multiple networks and this meta-level of interactions, 'pseudo events' confers a higher order of social integration.

In a most general sense, culture history is always complete and total, always comprehending the full extent of all social networks of all peoples across the world and throughout history, as these are mostly interconnected and overlapping.

To see how networks, in their process and patterning, and in their interpersonal negotiations and transactions and individual enactments, interrelated and cohere to articulate social structure, cultural praxis and historical dynamics and in their instantiation come to reflect the contextuality, relativity and the patterning and process of mind, is to understand in the most empirical way possible how history moves and culture change.

 

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The culture historical study of social, interpersonal networks as 'events' of mind, leads to a related study of the historical patterning of social movements as a basis for understanding the dynamic patterning and processes of the mythological paradigms of mind. Social movements begin small, with but a few casual prophets, and , if successful, emerge large. This growth from small to a large scale, the history of social movements within larger culture historical contexts, the biographies of its founders and subsequent leaders and the psychology of its members, the basis for its organization, the stages of transition through which they pass, the reasons for its stagnation, demise and death, the process of splinter groups branching away, provides, when coupled with the study of networks, an in-depth look at how culture historical process actually 'happens'.

Social movements here is used most generally, to encompass virtually every form or kind of corporate human organization, or ad hoc mass movement or spontaneous social event, which exists or had existed, including religious, ideological, secular, national, revolutionary, peasant revolutions, criminal organizations, etc. All such movements entail certain common attributes and characteristics which provide a sense of 'on going' structure to the process of culture historical development.

 

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Civilization is the pan human process of culture historical development. It represents the unfolding of mind. Civilization is not culture historically specific, but rather it is general. It happens to all cultures, and encompasses cultural groupings of people within larger culture historical frames. It happens to and around cultural groupings. Civilizations are inter-group phenomena--large scale patterns of group relations which become 'great traditions' which unite states into nations, nations into regional empires, and regions into world civilizations.

Civilization as process is largely a function of power, and is similar to the process of inter-group acculturation with which it is dialectically interrelated.

Civilization is always defined relativistically in regard to its centers of power or its mainstreams of development. It is to be understood in the metalogical idiom of mind in terms of relational human power structures within the context of human culture history. Within this context, there are many sub-groupings, some of which are more interconnected and interrelated than others which are relatively isolated. At any point in time, tracing the lineaments of structural interrelationships within the whole continuum of culture, there can be identified 'cultural complexes' possessing a center of gravity and a definite patterns of structural growth.

 

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Another problem confronted by culture history has been the elucidation of 'mind' as different kinds of 'mentality' as evidenced by beliefs, world views, superstitions, collective representation, attitudes and reason. There has been a basic dichotomy between the primitive mentality and the civilized mind, between the Dionysian and Appollonian, between the pre-logical and the rational, the concrete and the abstract.

There have been different versions of this common theme, one such version seems to have some historical substance. There seems to be a fundamental difference of 'mentality' between predominantly 'oral' cultures which have an oral tradition of transmission and 'literate' cultures which have a literate tradition of transmission. These basic differences of mentality are reflected in basic configurational differences of culture and character as well. The development of writing and especially of printing, entailed major revolutions of human consciousness which brought with it, among other things, the development of historical civilization that was no longer bond by a tradition of oral recitation.

Just how important this single set of difference are had become a matter of some speculation, and what this means for the study of culture history remains to be determined, but it is one clear instance of the culture history of the development of mind.

 

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The principle paradox of the study of culture history is the understanding of change in human reality--how it happens, why it happens, and what happens. Culture history seeks to understand change not in order to discover means of exerting control over it as a form or instrument of power, rather merely for the sake of its understanding in our lives--how it influences us in cultural historical contexts and how we characteristically adapt to it or fail to as human beings.

Change always presents us with paradox, because it is continuous and always relative. In our attempts to control change, change controls us.

 

"This is how we escape from our second apparent dilemma and rest comfortably on both its horns. Culture is both stable and ever-changing. Cultural change can be studied only as a part of the problem of cultural stability; cultural stability can be understood only when change is measured against conservatism…perhaps the basic difficulty arises from the fact that there are no objective criteria of permanence and change…" (Herskovits, 1947:page 20)

 

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The basis of the study of culture history is the philological enterprise of hermeneutical exegesis--the systematic explication of signs, symbols and language in its culture historical context. Culture history is an open, unbound sense is the study of human mind or of frames of mind as these are the hermeneutical points of view or profiles of the 'horizons' of individuals, as these are manifest through time and across space, through the excoriation of identity and the determination of basic difference in a relational context.

 

"A world though singular in that it applies exclusively to a particular community at a particular place and period, is not the only world: Worlds are historical and anthropological, differentiated by peoples, times, places and perhaps professions. A world is always inter-subjective, the shared space of a historical community with a particular culture that uses a common language and a common description of reality." (Patrick Heelan, 1983:page 11)

 

Hermeneutics involves the systematic elucidation of contextual relations and the encompassing of the multiple interpretations or 'profiles' of a phenomena.

Culture history does not see the study of cultures as analytically separable from the study of history. All cultural phenomena are historical in an idiographic sense and all of history is cultural in a contextual-relational sense. Culture history studies the interface between space and time, culture and history, people and their environments, as these become articulated and mediated through human experience. Nor does culture history see the study of physical human phenomena as analytically separable from the study of the mind and metaphysical meanings structures as both interpenetrate one another. Culture history is synthesizing and integrating--it looks for whole patterns and general processes of change. Culture history also steps outside of the boundaries of 'normal' consciousness through the breaking of these boundaries.

 

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The cultural continuum exists across space and through time, and there is in the last analysis no clear separation between the spatial and temporal dimensions of its occurrence. Any culture and all cultural groupings have a locationally fixed center of gravity--a central place from which it spreads across space and lasts through a duration of time before disappearing into something else. Through our science tends to analytically separate these dimensions of understanding into 'synchronic' and 'diachronic', with such profound consequences for the final form of our thinking, in actuality the universe of cultural phenomena exists upon a single spatio-temporal unidimensionality of mind. This is reflected in the symbolic universe by the inter-translatability of spatial metaphors into temporal terms and vice versa. Space can be converted into a matter of time, and time into a process of space.

The spatial temporal unidimensionality of the cultural continuum leads us to look at the symbolic universe as composed of a uniform and universal cloth of culture history, the fabric of which is composed of interwoven threads of space and time--the worf and weft of human consciousness and culture. The cultural continuum is a huge edgeless tapestry, made up of an endless series of collages of cultures consisting of recognizable patterns and distinctive designs. This seamless cloth of culture is always unfolding at the future edge of the present moment--at the here and now. It may become wrinkled or folded over upon itself or stretched out very tightly. Rips and holes may form in it in which there is a general vacuousness of culture history.

Space time unidimensionality of the cultural continuum and the symbolic universe becomes the fabric of culture history as both a collective state of mind, a 'universal frame of human consciousness' and as the symbolic fabric and textuality of the cultural continuum itself. Symbolic space time becomes the object and subject of culture historical understanding, and culture historical understanding becomes the universal frame of symbolic space time.

Culture history becomes the study of the symbolic inter-translation between synchronic and diachronic 'modalities' of human 'beingness' in the world, of 'mind' and its reflections and projections in reality.

 

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Death is the only absolute horizon of the culture historical continuum and of our symbolic universe--it is the ultimate unknown which mind cannot see beyond. But there are other relative horizons of knowledge and understanding of mind--ever receding toward which our symbolic universe spreads but which it never reaches or surpasses. Infinity and eternity are two things which we cannot directly know--we cannot know definitively the origins of the culture historical continuum itself in our collective past, nor will we ever know the total range of its variation through time and space. There are also many other relative horizons of our knowledge and understanding--our own humanness imposes a natural horizon to our understanding of other non-human beings, our culture and language limits our understanding of other cultures and languages and our own mind of beingness limits our knowing of other's minds of beingness.

Culture historical horizons are something different from spatio-temporal boundaries. Spatio-temporal boundaries are always relative in terms of continuous degrees of separateness or distance between beings in space or time--spatio-temporal boundaries are always physically real, the result of being situated in space and time, whether as an individual or as a particular cultural grouping. Spatio-temporal boundaries always have a quantitative continuity about them--they always exist in the same physical universe. Culture historical horizons may exist in the same symbolic universe, but are characterized by a qualitative discontinuity of different orders of beingness within the same time-space framework.

Culture historical horizons overlap with spatio-temporal boundaries in regions of the symbolic universe in which matters of social distance between self and other, or culture historical distances between different groupings, become expressed in spatio-temporal terms as well. This is a kind of phase harmonization between boundaries of being and horizons of mind which has periodicity and a regularity. These regions of overlap create channels of movement and change which give to mind its momentousness and to culture history its momentum.

 

CIVILIZATION AND STYLIZATION

 

For Alfred Kroeber, the process of growth, atrophy, decay and disintegration of civilization are only analogical metaphors of superorganicism--they only resemble organic process of biological growth and decay. Kroeber located three co-occurring components of civilizations--a body of 'cultural content', adequate adjustment to environmental problems and to social structuring and a release of 'so called' creative energies more or less subject to shaping by the factor of style. These components are holistically integrated into a unique 'nexus or system of style patterns'. Creative processes are the 'growing' points of civilization, stylizing civilization but never determining of civilization. Though the understanding of civilization is 'a generically and genuinely historical one', historiographical methods hardly reveal the structure and content of civilization except as 'events of history', the changes of structure and content as 'institutional events'.

 

"To summarize. To the historian, civilizations are large, somewhat vague segments of the totality of historical events which it may sometimes be convenient or useful to segregate off from the remainder of history, and which tend to evince certain dubiously definable qualities when so segregated. To the student of culture, civilizations are segments of the totality of human history when this is viewed less for its events, and less as behavior and acts, than as more enduring produces, forms and influences of the actions of human societies. To the student of culture, civilizations are segregated or delimited from one another by no single criterion: partly by geography, partly by period; partly by speech, religion, government, less by technology; most of all by those activities of civilization that especially concerned with value and the manifest qualities of style. This is an area of subject matter peripheral to the historian, but increasingly in his view. Culture is most easily conceived as a static generalization of collective behavior suppressing event in favor of non-transitory form. Yet it is increasingly evident that no civilization is actually static. It always flows. Like style, it is a qualitative, structured form in process. The form and structure possessed by civilizations invite a comparative morphology. Yet the forms are always in process means that they are also historic phenomena and must be viewed historically. To the point at which historical examination and morphological inquiry seem most fruitfully to interact is in the phenomena of culmination which civilizations share with styles. (A. L. Kroeber, An Anthropologist Looks at History; page 17)

 

Kroeber viewed the historical development of civilizations as a form of socio-cultural process which 'means the relation of pattern to pattern within successive developmental stages of civilization, these civilizations themselves being viewed each as a total unit and ultimately also in comparison with one another.' (1963;page 27) The most important characteristic of the endogenous process of civilizations are the stylizations it achieves, its unique forms of cultural expression. Style is the most distinctive attribute of a civilization, giving it form and continuity. 'A style may be provisionally defined as a system of coherent ways or patterns of doing certain things.' (1963;page 66) The developmental cycle of a civilization is signified by the developmental life cycle of its styles:

 

"The characteristic forms of culture which are non-repetitive, plastic and creative, are its styles. Styles are characterized first by internal consistency, second by the property of growth and third, by a quality of irreversibility: they can develop but they cannot 'dis-develop' or turn back. All three of these qualities--consistency, growth and irreversibility--are characteristic also of organisms; though this similarity is only analogous, since organisms are animals or plants functioning through physiology and heredity, whereas styles are social products of the one species of organism, man. Civilizations contain more or less repetitive elements in which the qualities of style are present only feebly or transiently; but they nor only do also contain styles, but on their creative dynamic side they consist characteristically of styles. They may be described accordingly as a collection or association of styles, and in proportion as this association is integrated, we can usually regard a civilization as a sort of super style, or master style, possessing some degree of overall (WORD?????PAGE 303) and being set, faced or sloped in a specific or more or less unique direction.

A civilization would presumably partake of the qualities of the styles of which it is composed. Besides the consistency of coherence which we have just mentioned, civilizations should then also show the property of growth, and this property they are indeed generally credited with. Finally civilizations might share with styles the property of irreversibility and this is the problem we have set ourselves to inquire into." (Kroeber, 1963;page 57)

 

The culture historical development of civilization refers then to two dialectically interrelated processes, the 'push' of endogenous processes of socio-cultural stylization, and the 'pull' of exogenous process of acculturation. Together this dialectic of the development of civilization may be referred to as culture historical dynamics. Acculturation is the process of external, extensive evolution of the environmental contexts of civilization which impinge upon particular cultural groupings to cause change and adaptation and to constrain the directions of such changes.

 

STRATIFICATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Stratification of consciousness is the culture historical consequence of the development of world view as orientations and paradigms of power in the world. It occurs as a separation of symbols into multiple, hierarchical levels of taxonomies of increasing generality or descending particularity and is reflected by the symbolic 'embedding' and layering of ideas in both our collective experiences and our collective environments.

Stratification of consciousness leads to a polarization of human reality, and a dichotomous bifurcation between the real and the ideal, the rational and the empirical, the term and the thing, and a subsequent confusion of ontological, phenomenological status between these separate worlds of consciousness. There occurs reification of ideas and the abstraction of concrete things.

Stratification of consciousness also results in an arbitrary or collectively customary, relative prioritization and hierarchicalization of values, significances, relations and interests in the world. This has resulted in a false distinction between primitive and civilized frames of mind, between rational and magical modes of thought and to a false separation between 'natural' and 'cultural'.

Stratification of consciousness is the result of the radical shift from a primarily extensive frame of mind and beingness in the world, informed by natural linguistically, to a predominantly intensive world view of non-being informed by a rational linguisticality.

The rise of principles of power, hierarchy, control, authority and corporateness are a reflection and a consequence of the stratification of consciousness in the world.

 

MOMENTOUSNESS OF MIND AND THE MOMENTUM OF CULTURE HISTORY

 

The corporate super-organicism of mind confers to it a kind of momentousness--a universal significance of value and meaning and a sense of 'purpose' which goes beyond the mere summation or economization of its 'ideas'. As a social phenomena it exists 'larger than life'--always greater than the individual ideas which compose it. This larger than life quality is not, though a super organic integrity in the same irreducible sense that individual ideas are--it is not a higher consciousness or a different plane of order or transcendent plan of being. It is 'self organizing' in the sense of approaching a super criticality of interrelationship of ideas--a systemic level of self organization beyond which it tends to have 'super critical events'--haphazard, random but predictable 'happenings'.

This momentousness of mind confers upon the unfolding of culture history a certain irreversible momentum--an inertia of movement which must be overcome in order to deflect or shift the direction of change or development of culture historical process. This momentum confers upon culture historical process a certain predictable directionality and inevitability of change which tends to impel and overwhelm the most counter movements or efforts at resistance. It is the great flood of human history which sweeps in its tidal power all things down its channels. The momentousness of mind expresses this momentum if culture history in terms of its 'important and decisive events'--it confers upon this momentousness of mind a directionality in the sequencing of 'one event leading to another'.

Momentousness of mind and the momentum of culture history tend to counter balance each other past a point of criticality--the super criticality of mind checks or breaks the unfolding momentum of culture history, just as the momentum of the culture historical stream tends to sweep the momentousness of mind along with it--Events of mind renders the unfolding of culture history ultimately unpredictable with a sense of random chaos in the course of events.

The directionality of culture history may be easily deflected or shifted by momentous events of mind--a slight deflection may have dramatic and cataclysmic consequences which may radically alter the culture historical stream, which in turn leads to dramatic 'changes' of mind which are a structural reorganization or revolution of mind.

The momentousness of mind confers upon the momentum of culture history a sense of self fulfilling prophecy, of fate, destiny or divine intervention. The momentum of culture history confers upon the momentousness of mind a sense of Divine Will or Divine Plan, a sense of Spirit in the unfolding events of the moment.

 

METALANGUAGE AND THE TAPESTRY OF CULTURE HISTORY

 

A meta-language must be both beyond language, or transcend any particular language, and also be about that language, or refer to any or all particular languages. That a philology of mind must consist of a coherent and consistent meta-language and be fundamentally culture historical in orientation is de to the culture historical embededness of language which a 'meta-language' must both transcend and be about. It is no wonder that hermeneutic philosophy and critical theory should be so steeped in its own kind of esoteric and impenetrable jargon in attempt to analyze the rhetorical power of language--to speak about language in its own terminology is to be unable to transcend the logos of its terms--it is to remain entangled in Wittgenstein's language games. A scientific linguistic approach--a phonetic alphabet of universal transcription and a phonemic structural analysis of a language--effectively transcends the language but in its objectification cannot refer back to the meaning structures which are intimately connected to culture historical context and give that language living relevance. A scientific meta-language is at best a third, culture historically situated, language of it own, which cannot be about any other language except in its own terms. It becomes a positivistic 'Esperanto' instead of a language of inter-translation or inter-mediation between two languages--it begs the problem of direct translation between two languages by interposing an indirect translation to and from a third language.

A genuine meta-language must be about and in terms of the universal fabric of culture history itself--the common cloth of mind itself in terms of its spatio-temporal translatability and symbolic inter-textuality common to all languages. It is not necessarily a universal grammar or 'deep structure'--but it basis is in the equivalence of complexity and sophistication acquisition and performance--what has been loosely referred to as the 'psychic unity of humankind'. A genuine meta-language depends upon the fact of mutual translatability of all human languages as well as upon the universal symbolic integrity of human languages--as living systems of symbolic mediation of human reality. It is about and in terms of spatio-temporal symbolic universals in human culture history.

It is fitting that the unfolding tapestry of human culture history--the evolution of mind--be described and interpreted in meta-linguistic terms which reveal the embedded pre-understandings implicit in our own situated languages and which transcend the boundaries of other culture historical groupings as well. What is called for is a systematic 'destruction of the familiar' and the discovery of universal symbolisms inherent in all languages.

 

INDIVIDUAL AS BASIC CULTURE BEARER

 

The fundamental unit of culture historical analysis is not the culture as an isolatable entity, but the individual human being as the culture bearer. Wherever or whenever we look at 'cultures' we see people acting, transmitting, interrelating, talking, etc. 'Cultures' are relatively fixed in place and time--cultures flow through space and time via people as the basic carriers. Cultural groupings may migrate as unities, but they must come into conflict with or displace some other cultural grouping in space and time, or else lose their distinctive identity. But such groupings do so as collectivities of people sharing the same cultural orientation. When cultures disintegrate they do so in terms of its individual constituency dissolving common cultural bonds. People as individuals transmit culture or pass between cultural boundaries, taking p new cultural identities. People are the primary agents of culture change, and the principle agency of cultural conservation and transmission. And all people have culture historical provenience which always serve to situate them in place and time.

Individuals as culture carrying 'units' are irreducible 'integrities' (individual personalities) which always have a 'dual identity' defined introspectively in terms of 'self identity' and extro-spectively in terms of other identity or social status role identity. We may further reduce individuals in categorically classified, purported universal bundles of traits--intelligence, strength, emotionality, health, skills, innate abilities and we may use such schemes as interpersonal and cross cultural systems of nomothetic classification and comparison--this is frequently done in many ways. But in doing so we concomitantly destroy by analytical dissection the synthetic idiographic integrity and culture historical tapestry composed of individual's interrelationship in shared cultural environments as discrete units of culture historical analysis. This sub-individual analysis is precisely what the 'progressive' social sciences (linguistics included) have for the most part done, and this is precisely where they have mostly failed in their attempts to come to terms with human reality. Individual human beings symbolically learn and transmit culture in certain common ways which characterize their humanness--ways which cannot be systematically reduced to trans-personal trait complexes without loosing sight of the super organic structure of such symbology.

 

CONSCIOUSNESS AND UNCONSCIOUS

 

Consciousness is symbolic enactment--the active process of experiencing environments. Consciousness is the act of walking through the forest, of seeing the individual trees of the forest. The forest itself is the domain of the unconscious. To refer to the 'unconscious' as a 'thing' which exists in our heads is somewhat of a misnomer. It is better to call it 'unconsciousness' as the sense or state of being unconscious--the lack of conscious awareness. As long as the 'unconscious' is construed as a 'deep structure' rooted in the human brain, it will remain a reductionistic and over determining reification. Synonymous to 'unconsciousness' is the contextual relations of the world and of beingness in the world--it is the universal context of experience, which always 'backgrounds' or relates the act of experience to everything which remains unexperienced but experienceable. The forest of the unconscious is the universe of experience, the sea through which we swim like fish.

Collectively, conscious and the unconscious become the 'known and the unknown'--and we must separate the 'unknown' of the unconscious from the 'unknowable' of non-consciousness. What is unknowable is not the unconsciousness, but defines the boundaries of the unconscious. Bringing things into consciousness is an act of 'learning'--of making known by separating the unknown from the unknowable.

Consciousness is the process of 'minding and mattering'--of thinging and relating--unconsciousness is always implicit and indirectly inferred from consciousness. It is important to note that this 'contextualization' of the unconsciousness liberates mind from Freudian libidinal chains and from 'structuralists 'rational categories'--the 'unconscious' as 'nothing but' the analytical components of the human psyche, but unconsciousness as 'something more' potential synthesis of mind.

This entails that there is no precise way of separating internal constructs of meaning from external embodiments--unconsciousness is a passive possibility--the expression of non-beingness which is rooted to the environment of experience as to the experience of environment.

Unconsciousness is composed symbolically as possible experience. Waking consciousness is the self determining experience of beingness in the world--dreaming consciousness is the unconsciously determined experience of non-beingness.

 


Blanket Copyright, Hugh M. Lewis, © 2005. Use of this text governed by fair use policy--permission to make copies of this text is granted for purposes of research and non-profit instruction only.

Last Updated: 08/17/06