Archive for November, 2013

I went back to the previous entry after posting it and found it kind of murky, so I reworked it a bit to make my points clearer and tie up most of the loose ends. There was, however, one point that I’d deliberately deferred until later, because I knew it would take an entire entry to do it justice. That is the question of intentionality.

The dilemma I’m facing is that the cycles can look very different depending on the angle from which you view them. Seen from a distance, they give a strong impression of conscious design — especially the phase which extends from the collapse of one dominant partnership to the formation of the next. That’s why I wrote in the previous entry that “this cascade of adjustments, which I’ve repeatedly compared to a wacky Rube Goldberg device, might be better characterized as a deliberate juggling act, guided at every point by higher intentionality.”

On the other hand, if you examine these changes from the perspective of someone living through them, there’s no obvious sense of deliberation. They appear instead as the summation of a host of spontaneous decisions on the part of many autonomous individuals. We all contribute to this process through the attitudes we endorse, the people with whom we associate, even the clothing we wear and the food we eat. Some of us may take a more active role by offering new interpretations of existing visions or giving artistic and philosophical form to the vague hints of emerging visions. But it’s always done on-the-fly and in-the-moment and shows no sign of being coordinated on any higher level.

But then again, if you step back and focus on the picture instead of the pixels, all those individual choices start to blend together into something that resembles the thought processes of a single great mind — mulling over the deep questions of existence, trying out various experiments and marking them as successes or failures, occasionally arguing with itself about how to proceed, and crafting increasingly elaborate frameworks for understanding.

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