In a previous post I discussed the idea of experiencing the substrate underlying our experience as a sea of impulses, from which we we assemble our perceptions of and interactions with the world around us. This video explores ways of experiencing and responding to external constraint by dealing with underlying impulses. The accompanying narrative describes the themes or storylines Bob and I use through the video, keyed to the running time as shown in your video controller. (I’m keying to the running time because it’s more precise than the clock time displayed on the screen, which I used earlier.) I’ve also captioned the video to identify the theme or storyline in play. If you find this useful, please let me know in the comments.
The Conventional and Refocusing Paradigms posit very different underlying realities; they explain the experience of living in and interacting with the world in very different ways. The Conventional Paradigm posits that the physical world really is as we experience it, made up of physical stuff with mass and density that responds to forces of various kinds in measurable and predictable ways. It explains my experience as being sourced in the external events I encounter and objects and forces I engage with during those events. If I find myself unable to move when Bob is holding me in place, or feel pain when he is twisting my arm, the Conventional Paradigm tells me that that is because of the physical characteristics of Bob, of me, and of our physical interaction.
The Refocusing Paradigm, on the other hand, suggests that our experience of physical events is at least partly illusory, created not by the physical causation to which we normally attribute it, but by automatic unconscious habits that create the illusion of that physical causation, in the same way that the programming rules in a video game create the illusion of physical causation within the game. At first glance, this sounds absurd, because the Conventional Paradigm seems so strongly validated by both personal experience and societal consensus. But if we look more carefully, cracks begin to emerge in the supporting evidence; it is not as rock-solid as it first seemed. Refocusing is a way of exploring those cracks, and the Refocusing Paradigm, as I am striving to articulate it, provides one plausible explanation. Continue reading Acting by Activating Impulses
If you are visiting this blog for the first time, you might find it more accessible if you start at the beginning of the Refocusing series.
My last post described a “theatrical perspective” in which I distinguished between my roles as a character in the long-running drama of life and as the actor portraying that character. I’m now going to explore another formulation organized around the concept of a paradigm, as a collection of shared beliefs, values, and ways of perceiving that determine how those sharing that paradigm shape and understand their experience of the aspects of reality that the paradigm addresses. I’m drawing from Thomas Kuhn’s usage of that term in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, though the subject matter I’m dealing with is somewhat fuzzier than Kuhn’s. Continue reading Toward a Refocusing Paradigm
Refocusing can be a weird and confusing activity — to participate in, to watch, or to write about. I’m finding it particularly clumsy to try to write about Refocusing in third person scientific voice — as an outside observer objectively describing the interaction between Holder and Mover. So I’m switching to first and second person — writing about you interacting with me, and what we each experience. I’m casting you in the role of Holder, the one applying the assault, and me in the role of Mover, who wants to neutralize your assault. As you read this, though, please try to imagine yourself in both roles. This shift in voice makes the writing easier for me; I hope it will make following what I write easier for you, as well. Continue reading What’s REALLY happening here?
In this post, I’ll talk about why I find Refocusing to be a valuable experience. I’ll also share a video exploring how we make ourselves solid in preparation for interaction with another person, and what can happen when we inhibit that solidity.
A colleague at the Rand Corporation once remarked about a paper he was working on that “When I get this written, I’ll know what I really think about this stuff.” I thought that was a profound observation at the time, but I’m really appreciating it now. Bob and I evolved a rich intuitive familiarity with the experiential territory we were exploring, with no need to articulate it in any formalized way. But to share it, as I’m now attempting to do, requires a semantic framework. I have to clean it up and regularize it, at least somewhat, but I don’t want to clean it up too much. I’m using raw video from our practice sessions rather than a more polished presentation of the same ideas because I want to convey the chaotic and irregular adventure that it was for us. I want to encourage you to wander along similar paths of discovery, rather than just to show you what we discovered. Continue reading Making Yourself Solid