Sunday, March 31, 2013

Off By 6,371 Kilometers and Losing Our Way

What does 6,371 kilometers have do with the economy, social systems, and how we rationalize our understanding of the world?

Work with me on this because it’s actually an important conversation that was born with the sunrise on Friday and through trigeminal neuralgia (TN) carried into my office Thursday afternoon by a noble soul successfully treated with a gamma knife procedure that interrupted a case of the "suicide disease".  The sunrise, with it's apparent relentless northern progression across the mountain upon which Monticello sits opened a conversation with Colleen about horizons and perspectives.  Experiencing a brilliant person who was reconstructing cognitive function after being afflicted with TN for years and realizing that triangulated focus of gamma radiation pivoted his journey from suffering to healing reminded me of the imprecision of perspective.  In a world where we fail to contemplate the dimensional simplicity to which we cling in our metrics, social schemes, and religious myth narratives thereby neglecting the more rich, complex adaptive reality that is, the consensus perspectives we celebrate lead to our collective impoverishment.  As surface dwellers and myth tellers, we begin at a layer of concentricity which we mistake for ‘center’ and this makes all the difference.

Here’s the literal answer to my opening question.  When Persian and Arabic astronomers contrived a mathematical model of the universe, they began with, not surprisingly, where they were standing.  This spot happened to be concentrically ‘off’ by 6,371km – the radius of the Earth.  And from that horizon-circumscribed vantage point on the apparent plane, they discerned that the cosmos contained intersecting orbital planes defined in altitudes and azimuths. Watching the stellar lights pass above them and being inspirationally transcended from the plane on which they stood they began to form metrics and tools to discern their place on earth and their relative position in the cosmos.  They were not standing in the center – neither of the Earth nor the cKosmos (note: I use the 'cK' combination intentionally.  To my secularly predisposed friends, I'm comfortable with cosmos describing the expansive universe.  To my spiritual friends, I embrace the Kosmos metaphor to define the 'intention' dimension of the universe.  My adaptation is motivated by respect of both perspectives.)  

I stand in mathematical and spiritual awe of these careful observers who were drawn into this inquiry not merely for the complexity intrinsic therein but to the impulse to understand the precession of terrestrial and celestial events and discernment of auspicious seasons.  But I’m equally stunned by the elementary skewness evidenced in that, while looking up, their impulse failed to correct for the distance from center. What if stellar paths were not projections of orbital bodies in circles or spheres but more complex dances?  What if, from the center, the observations would be devoid of horizon?  Standing at 'the center' informed of no horizon, what cKosmology would we form and how dogmatic would be hold the correctness of our view?  What new tools would we devise to make sense of our place and the trajectory of our journey?

Our denominated and consensus ‘sense-making’ accessories are artifacts of a sensory state that deflects our ascension to our deeper core - both in our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we operate.  And yes, I mean the literal, non-paradox of a rising to a deeper core.

Those of you who are astute will appreciate the link between Aristotle's understanding of the basic human senses and the trigeminal neuralgia where this musing began.  The vital trigeminal nerve is the approximation of all sense into one cranial nerve.  It links the opthalmic, maxillary and mandibular nerves and, without its function, we are incapacitated in our effort to communicate perception.  Imagine a world in which Aristotelian basic senses were embodied singularly in five individuals.  One sighted, one olfactory, one tasting, one touching and one hearing.  These people are placed in a room with a candle.  In total integrity, they describe the completeness of the essence and state of their observation. They, like surface dwellers, could have a series of experiences.  In our present state, they could generously label as ‘spirit’ or ‘belief’ that which they apprehend ‘described’ by the other sensates.  Having no frame of reference (no planar 'horizon'), our disintegrated sensates would never apprehend a knowing state regardless of their individuated intention.  However, if they were to add a center – in this case transference integrity and trust into a transcendent collective – they could share a common sense of ALL and be lit, fragranced, carboned, warmed, and serenaded by a literal common narrative from the center – the candle.  This would have room for no dogma, no catechism, no tradition.  It could be informed by the sensory utilities refined in traditions but it would be harmed if these were anything but utilities for sensory acuity enhancement.

On all days of the planar, temporal and incorrect Gregorian calendar, Easter is the best of all days to reflect on this human paradox.  On a day which is meant to celebrate the incarnate human transcendence over death by a force that absolutely embodies the sacred and the profane we see the Celebrated enshrined in denominated discord by adherents rather than seeing an impulse to comprehensive union.

There is no unknowable phase or state.  There are several phases and states that defy our observation and our quantification because we have been incapable of refining our discernment and acuity to apprehending their signals.  The more firmly we hold our dogma of the unquestioned and absolute nature of our spatially distorted perspective, complete with building complex astrolabes and sensors to confirm that which we're sure we know, the less aware we are of the absolute phases and states and the more prone we are to pointless myths to rationalize that which does not comport to our vantage point.  Our social and ontological calluses, anesthesia, and cataracts limit our accession and our narratives preclude our collaborative impulse to engage in integrity transference in favor of our stale myths and beliefs.  Our efforts seek to confirm the certainty of our vantage point and our navigation therefrom without holding open the possibility that we are uncentered and, in fact, narrating our story from an indeterminant concentric horizon some distance away from the center.

On this Sunday, set by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. to be the 'right' time to celebrate the culmination of Passion, ask yourself a transcendent question:  Is there one 'other' perspective that might help inform my view of the world?  If I triangulated my perspective with one other observer clearly holding another vantage point, could our shared view more completely inform our experience?  Can 'wealth' and 'poverty' find shared purpose and stewardship?  Can 'powerful' and 'subordinate' gain operating effectiveness through alignment of interest?  

Sounds impossible or unlikely?  No, just uncommon in our times.  But our times, they are a changing!

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Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave