Precise/Imprecise

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Part of the reason that the bible is full of internal contradictions, is the same reason that a dream is full of internal contradictions.

Imagine you have an impressionist painting: it’s messy, and the image emerges - and you might say, ‘well, we could replace that with a nice clean line drawing, or even a sequence of stick figures, and get the basic point across.’ Well, you would, but the inarticulable richness would be lost in the premature attempt to bring logical closure to the phenomena.

That may be the difference between dreams and waking thought: waking thought sacrifices completeness, for coherence; dream thought sacrifices coherence for completeness.

Precise thought excludes too much, and imprecise thought is not sufficiently coherent. So we do both.

Precise thought: left hemisphere, linguistically mediated, sequential, logical.
Incoherent but complete thought: imagistic, emotion-based, right hemisphere.

The right hemisphere even has a more diffuse structure - it’s like the right hemisphere is trying to get a picture of everything. It’s not going to be a very detailed picture, because it’s a picture of everything, full of contradictions. But at least it’s a picture of everything.

And the left says, ‘that’s not good enough for precise action.’ And it’s not. So we narrow it to precision, but lose the richness.

You need both, so there’s an interplay. The documents that the Bible is composed of are half dream and half articulated thought, and they have the advantages [and] disadvantages of both. To the degree that it’s articulated, it’s in a dogmatic box; to the degree that it’s a dream, it’s still incoherent.

The problem is, you have to move through the entire world, even though you don’t know it in detail. So you need detailed knowledge, where detailed knowledge is necessary; and you need vague-but-complete knowledge where that’s necessary. Its a very uncomfortable balance. We have to face everything, even though we don’t understand anything completely.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'2017 Maps of Meaning 10: Genesis and the Buddha'


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