Seeing Reality

PROPOSAL: FEEDBACK WELCOME (for example, what text do you suggest reading?)

"A riddle is a tale so familiar you no longer see it." (Patricia McKillip) Is the world a riddle?

There are many ways to conceive what surrounds you. How you do conceive it says something of how you live. The way of seeing matters to the way of living.

Ways the world appears

  • Change and Flow, All is Process
  • Reality is Ambiguous
  • Contingency, chance, luck
  • Pattern and Exception and Name and Nameless: weave, history, geometry, form, truth, naming: "A man who can name himself can see to name other things." (Patricia McKillip), elementals, sonic patterns, knowledge and lore
  • Every finite entity expresses the infinite: microcosm, holographism
  • There is an invisible dimension: evidence, mark, sign
  • Everything is related
  • Difference
  • Everything is energy
  • Idealism: whatever can be said about the world depends on my knowing creation of it

Modes of seeing

  • poetically
  • philosophically
  • scientifically
  • narratively

But mode and appearance are inextricably involved, mutually entailed.
There is a relation to be explored here between conception of reality and one's values or ethics.
We will explore several possibilities for reality-conceptions and ask what sorts of life each supports. We will wonder what reality-conceptions best support socially transformative action.

n.b.: This course is one branch of a split course with "Spinoza" and "Difference and Repetition." Since enrollment is low in all three course, I will combine them to start, beginning with a reading of the first two books of Spinoza's Ethics, and then branching off into distinct studies from that point.

Method/Procedures: shared inquiry, knowing oneself, phenomenology
Schedule: Mondays, 6-9 pm, beginning May 31
Location: Porter Square area—contact teacher.
Fees: pay what you can
Teacher: Eric Buck

Possible texts
Phenomenology of Perception, M. Merleau-Ponty
Things: Four Metabletic Reflections, J.H. van den Berg
The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram
Daodejing, the Laozi Gang, and Zhuangzi
The Nature of Order, Christopher Alexander
Towards a Philosophy of Zen Buddhism, Toshihiko Izutsu
various chapters by Ursula Le Guin

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