Spontaneous, Intimate and Aware!


The attainment of autonomy is manifested by the release or recovery of three capacities: awareness, spontaneity and intimacy.

Awareness

Awareness means the capacity to see a coffeepot and hear the birds sing in one's own way, and not the way one was taught.

It may be assumed on good grounds that seeing and hearing have a different quality for infants than for grownups, and that they are more aesthetic and less intellectual in the first years of life. A little boy sees and hears birds with delight. Then the 'good' father comes along and feels he should 'share' the experience and help his son 'develop'. He says: 'That's a jay, and this is a sparrow.' The moment the little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.

Father has good reasons on his side, since few people can afford to go through life listening to the birds sing, and the sooner the little boy starts his 'education' the better. Maybe he will be an ornithologist when he grows up.

A few people, however, can still see and hear in the old way. But most members of the human race have lost the capacity to be painters, poets or musicians, and are not left the option of seeing and hearing directly even if they can afford to; they must get it secondhand. The recovery of this ability is called here 'awareness'.

Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future. A good illustration of possibilities in American life, is driving to work in the morning in a hurry. The decisive question is: 'Where is the mind when the body is here?' and there are three common cases.

1. The man whose chief preoccupation is being on time is the one who is furthest out. With his body at the wheel of his car, his mind is at the door of his office, and he is oblivious to his immediate surroundings except insofar as they are obstacles to the moment when his soma will catch up with his psyche.

While he is driving, he is almost completely lacking in autonomy, and as a human being he is in essence more dead than alive.

2. The Sulk, on the other hand, is not so much concerned with arriving on time as in collecting excuses for being late ... He, too, is oblivious to his surroundings except as they subscribe to his game, so that he is only half alive. His body is in his car, but his mind is out looking for blemishes and injustices.

3. Less common is the 'natural driver' , the man to whom driving a car is a congenial science and art.

He, too, is oblivious of his surroundings except as they offer scope for the craftmanship which is its own reward, but he is very much aware of himself and the machine which he controls so well, and to that extent he is alive.

4. The fourth case is the person who is aware, and who will not hurry because he is living in the present moment with the environment which is here: the sky and trees as well as the feeling of motion. To hurry is to neglect that environment and to be conscious only of something that is till out of sight down the road, or of mere obstacles, or solely of oneself.

A Chinese man started to get into a local subway train, when his Caucasian companion pointed out that they could save twenty minutes by taking an express, which they did. When they got off at Central Park, the Chinese man sat down on a bench, much to his friend's surprise. 'Well,' explained the former, 'since we saved twenty minutes, we can afford to sit here that long and enjoy our surroundings.'

The aware person is alive because he knows how he feels, where he is and when it is. He knows that after he dies the trees will still be there, but he will not be there to look at them again, so he wants to see them now with as much poignancy as possible.

Spontaneity


Spontaneity ... means liberation, liberation from the compulsion to play games and have only the feelings one was taught to have.

Intimacy


Intimacy means the spontaneous, game-free candidness of an aware person, the liberation of the eidetically perceptive, uncorrupted Child in all its naiveté living in the here and now.

Usually the adaption to Parental influences is what spoils it, and most unfortunately this is almost a universal occurrence. But before, unless and until they are corrupted, most infants seem to be loving, and that is the essential nature of intimacy, as shown experimentally.

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For certain fortunate people there is something which transcends all classifications of behaviour, and that is awareness; something which rises above the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games, and that is intimacy.

But all three of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as 'togetherness'. This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.

[Eric Berne]
Games People Play, p.158, 159, 160, 162

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Another consequence of the nature of the intellect of animals, which we have discussed, is the exact agreement of their consciousness with their environment. Nothing stands between the animal and the external world; but between us and that world there are always our thoughts and ideas about it, and these often make us inaccessible to it, and it to us.

Only in the case of children and of very uneducated persons does this wall sometimes become so thin that to know what is going on within them we need only see what is going on around them.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, Volume II, p.61

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Related posts:-
The Attainment of Autonomy
Silent Violence
Learn, to be mindless
Pre-rational & Trans-rational
The Real Thing
Leaving the Vessel

1 comment:

  1. When the child is given names he is given concepts. He becomes rational, and begins to ascend the triangle, rising away from the earth. But this is unavoidable, inasmuch as the acquisition of concepts is an integral part of being human.

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