Sunday, May 15, 2011

More on Language Deficiency (last post)

Relating that map to medical data, the pair found that, on average, the chance of any particular person becoming obese was 20 percent higher if a friend of a friend (or friend of a co-worker, or co-worker of a relative) was obese. The connecting friend need not become fat himself, and he might have moved a thousand miles away. Most importantly, the two people connected through him need not know one another. Even more surprisingly, the pair found that the effect extends to three degrees of separation. Any individual's risk of being obese was 10 percent greater if someone at three removes -- say, the friend of a friend of a co-worker -- was obese.

The relevance of this finding with respect to my last post is to show that in fact the empirical phenomenology is already quantified and accumulating in support of the basis for my hypothesis regarding the importance for making this area of our lives more conscious and linguistically accessible. More from the article...

The key point, Christakis says, is that people act like waves in a pond, and that our behaviors, like our diseases, ripple out as if from a fallen pebble, following the laws of physics whether we know it or not. In some respects this contradicts the social-atom model of decision-making, whereby each individual can and should be held responsible for each and every choice. In fact, "a smoker may have as much control over quitting as a bird has to stop a flock from flying in a particular direction," Christakis and Fowler write.
But, Christakis adds, any social link is a two-way street: The ties that affect you are also carrying your influence out to other people. The American media didn't pick up on that symmetry, but news outlets in less individual-oriented cultures did. So most United States newspaper headlines telegraphed the obesity study by saying, "‘Are You Packing it On? Blame Your Fat Friends,’" Christakis says. "But a lot of the British headlines had a different tone: 'Are Your Friends Gaining Weight? Perhaps You Are to Blame.'” Even as social-network theory seems to undermine the primacy of the individual, it also raises the individual's role, Christakis says. "We're saying that if you make a positive change in your life, you don't just benefit yourself; you also benefit your friends and their friends and so forth."

That expands the standard view on personal responsibility. The individual is not a social atom, with no impact on others; nor is it a social victim, helpless to resist their influence. Rather, Christakis believes, we each should realize that even our "private" decisions really do have an impact on others far removed from those we know directly, and we should take responsibility for the influences we transmit. If you decide to eat better and get more exercise, he says, "Maybe you don't care about all the strangers you'll help. But you're going to affect people you do care about--your family, your friends, and your neighbors." 

In fact, Christakis notes, the new theory of social networks invokes ancient principles -- responsibility matters precisely because we care about what we do to and for others, not just ourselves. 
David Berreby blogs about behavior at and has written about science for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He is the author of Us and Them: The Science of Identity, published by Little, Brown.
 These studies present empirical evidence of a process which is taking place on a higher more complex level which has its source not in the individual but in the relationships between individuals. There's no escaping the influence by putting some physical strategy in place like keeping a certain distance per se as the findings show influence ranges across 3 degrees of relation, where the terminal effects take place in individuals who are completely unknown to one another.

This is the frontier of our evolution as a collective species and which science in all of its monumental accelerating momentum to quanitify phenomena is already fully engaged in mapping even while the real possibilities present are yet lacking any language sufficient to express them. The upside or scientific salvation now part of the growing relevant data being gathered is that the influence of of relationship doesn't actually depend (at least instinctually as far as the studies I've so far been able to include here) on language. At leaast on the lower levels of function in man. But there is a threshold at the boundary between the empirical and the transcendental/integral. Where one man is expressing a vibrant energetic level of action which is integral and carries the dynamic space of process and the intrinsic unity expressed within him in relationship to it, the question seems encouragingly less of a hindrance as at every level of function in man up until this point such action's influence carries and leap frogs over 3 degrees in its effectiveness.

So, with that let me just conclude by repeating my original point of inquiry regarding what would be the expansion of possibilities should that higher influence be carried along lower functionality in language. In my mind, this is the real outstanding and current challenge for social network theorists to begin working on today. At least give us ONE that understands these possibilities which I am clarifying and his work will eventually begin to show up in a wider than expected range or area surrounding him. Everything else possible it seems to me will only repeat and reconfirm what we already have studied and quantified.
K'gaard, Chinary Ung, My Poetry

The following is a response to a friend which was my contribution to making K'gaard relevant today, making Ung's modesty understandable for what it stops short of expressing, and bringing into focus my own vision of what is possible and worth speaking for in terms of how I believe it necessary in order for man to realize his highest possibility again as PIONEER.

While your summary feedback on my comment I thought conceptually complete 99% of the way, there is one aspect to what I must infer that I failed to communicate and want to now emphasize as the fulcrum on which my experience pivoted so wonderfully in the reading of your poem. The old version is subsumed under living and understanding what I spoke of as on a entirely different level of concept than what you understood, at least in your manner and style in response. Somehow, I feel responsible for this "condition" since having clarity on the issue as key to higher possibilities for which poetry has always been a vehicle for exploring and channeling all things imminent in life for me, I don't see any other direction in which to continue this trend, except to CLARIFY the importance of shifting the LISTENING with the strength of my attention and response, leading to a immanent condition in the LISTENER's language about this issue.

What is the issue then, that I have now put in such a suspenseful relief with regards to your response to my comment and its traditional epistemology base? Think of your use of the notion of viewpoint. What I was speaking about certainly was associated to that idea but its essence existed with a radically different epistemology, concerning the nature of opinions and belief. What I was expressing was not a comment about something statically referenced externally to myself but rather dynamically understood within and inward to which I am conscious of as a process. In fact, one of the most notable aspects of your poem was the narrative process for its expressing so well much of what I was experiencing and thinking on, as I said earlier, just before visiting the cage.

Now, I hope that didn't sound like a bunch of gobbledygook because to interpret in terms of being a viewpoint loses the essential aspect of dynamic process which defines one principle dimension of the idea I'm trying to communicate. Without that aspect or dimension, the static or flatland "view" simply doesn't work nor does it in any way connect to the essence of what I was originally talking about, in terms of the relevant resonation I perceived between individual thinking and creativity that upon reading your poem evolved yet another dimension in my conscious awareness transcending once again ordinary ideas of relationship along this particular line of thought I'm traversing at the moment.

If I could articulate the higher dynamic dimensions and their essential roles in the integrity of my experience upon which our conversation at present is based, I would probably not have any more interest poetically, because I would be too busy essaying the truth to a much wider audience which for the simple reason that I could. Just like man traveled to the moon and walked around on its surface, including hitting a golf ball into the distance there, before he left. All of it was done because it was possible as a result of our choosing it to be realized in our consciousness with others in the world. Thus worth doing, it renewed our fundamental purpose in life and our passion to succeed, survive as pioneers, and evolve; by having the most profound effect of expanding humanity's cosmic boundaries in the Universe. So, gosh ... I hope my inability to articulate myself at the moment hasn't been to horrifying for you to wade through. LOL.

I'm grateful if you were able to stick with me to this point and retain some glimmer of the light I am attempting to shine on a mostly unconscious and unnecessary limitation we live with through our conforming to common parlance and the conventional knowledge is projects in our listening, for it represents a condition not unlike the one Kennedy transcended when he declared we'd bust a move into outer space within 10 years and play pioneer anew and fresh, once again. I know there are pioneers much more adept and masterful than I, running around this cage, if not every single member here, in fact.

The question then becomes how to stay conscious and how to create or add to the ongoing effort to create a new level of possibility in language such that ordinary listening on an ever expanding scale increases to articulate this higher dimension I'm speaking about. Think of it like constructing an infrastructure in our possibility to listen which is analogous to the physical infrastructure upon which society depends on with the result being once its in place an reaches a critical mass of organizing and quickly disseminating the higher energy and conscious awareness upon which the next higher dimension requires to show up for us and which is for now entirely invisible except to a few rare individuals at very uniquely rare moments of calm in the global gestalt allowing consciousness with enough dynamic energy to perceive such frequencies otherwise obscured by the normal daily noise and lower frequencies constantly engaged in chaotic and unaligned unconscious activity.

The upshot of all of that is nothing short of a completely peaceful and harmonious new power freely available and completely refining and upgrading every human's quality and possibility in life. Such a vision requires however this felt dynamic and becomes real only at the moment our speech articulates the space of it.

I read a really cool and 'spot on' relevant article to this issue earlier today in the local rag, about a Grawemeyer Award winning composer who will be coming to town soon, named, Chinary Ung. Our paper got it right this time by pulling this quote by him as a highlight introducing a sense of exactly what I'm attempting to not just metaphorically or symbolically or stumbullieya into, but drive hard towards connecting it with your listening, so that you feel the possibility yourself to recreate language in the moment to express this dimension. Ung was quoted as saying, "I don't believe in a complete loop or circle; I always leave room for negotiation -- in fight, in war, in love, in teaching, in anything."  There's much more substantive language within the article but I will leave it to you to research this virtuoso on the matter. I will add one more thing he said before closing though which so recreates what originally inspired my current cage ranting . He was referring to a chance encounter just before leaving school here to travel back to his homeland in Cambodia, a meeting which resulted in a scholarship that allowed him to return immediately to complete his formal education, but which also veered his path out of the genocidal meltdown there by Pol Pot which claimed 2 million lives including his family. He goes on to say, and I think THIS so fully echoes an aspect of this dynamic dimension I'm talking about with respect to living an ethical existence with respect to our most human capacity of choice and its relevance (see Kierkegaard's work on The Self and Ethical Existence for a full explanation), "The point is this, If I did not go (to that office), and I did not take that elevator at exactly the perfect time, I would have been sent back to Cambodia (permanently)."  And then, "Life is so delicate. It is so scary when you look back at that. It's incredible. I'm lucky. I'm not complaining." Kierkegaard is much more precise about the those rare moments and the choices possible for us and our ethical obligation to make them for ourselves. It wasn't the timing so much, as it was his choice to accompany the person he met in the elevator back for a conversation which lead to everything else instead of death, that is representative.

Now, you need to ask representative of what? And in that question, speak from the level of dynamic process which if someone becomes able to listen, will transform their lives from knowledge of a static unempowering world view to one which is moment to moment empowering and enabling consciously with respect to their possibilties and choice.

Hmmmm, I can't leave out his closing remark now for how well it matches yet again language evoking static knowledge compositionally (not poetically) to garner at least a slimmer of possibility for listening the dynamic range and its value. I'm speaking of a bold attack of creative expression whereas Ung is speaking on the level you did and yet by his remarks and my hypothesis here you can begin to notice a space of focus and valuation which once understood, itself will act upon your life in real time revealing to you with on going frequency how important everything I'm speaking about is with respect to raising one's consciousness and the possibility of higher realization of our one true highest possiblity to which we have an ethical duty to consider and work towards.

Ung says, "Yes, music is something I love to do but it is not at the top of my list anymore. Humanity, friendship, solving the suffering of your friends, yourself, reaching out to people and so forth. There's a list probably pretty long. And then there's music."     You gotta love the humble modesty of this internationally famous composer, don'tcha?

cheers, rj