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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Why Prove It?

What is the relationship between opinion, the interpretation of experience, conviction and Truth?

Somehow for others, empirical reasoning and personal observation seems to be at odds with subjective observation and "personal research." For me, personal research is the Truth - but of course, it's an operational truth that can always be updated.

So - what is "proof" of reasonable, operational truth?

Why - it's the sum total of your ability to integrate the conclusions and insights you've gathered and how you are making use of them. Sometimes it's the collection of assumptions you've decided to believe that other people have told you, you've read, and some of what you've decided to believe purely because it sounds like a good idea to you.

Perhaps this is why many people continue to imagine that the Alexander Technique stuff that I enjoy teaching is some form of hypnosis-type or alternative medicine. We in the field of Alexander Technique think of it as primarily an education in reason, self-observation and self-control that happens (as a by-product of enough practice,) to have a cumulative, preventative and therapeutic benefit over time.

F.M. Alexander "assembled" and furthered his work with empiricism and reason. Yet utilizes such "crazy" things as Direction and advocates Directing for being an effective and reasonable tool for change.

Then brain research comes out and declares that before we know we've made a decision, our body has already prepared itself...and we only have 1/64th of a second to veto what we've already prepared to do. We don't have the "will to do" that F. M. described as his mistaken assumption. We have "free won't" just as F.M. tried to describe the use of what he calls "inhibition." (That's another word for impulse control without inner conflict.) After this brain fact, suddenly Alexander-style Directing isn't so "crazy."

Well - most of us think in our language. (Actually, that's another way I differ from most people. I don't...think in words all the time. Sometimes, I think in images. When I think in words, they are randomly shifting phrases of words, poetically intermixed and remixed, depending on shifting priorities.)

Describing reality "seems to be" one of the irresistible assumptions inherent within the structure of English...and the nature of reality will differ depending on perception/attitude/conditioning.

Well - let's take the saying "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."(For those in ESL, it's an expression implying a justification that revenge is justice.) But now it's been proven that a judgment of what is equal isn't going to be fair.
A scientist proved how perception misjudges intensity: the work of Daniel Wolpert. He says people hitting each other are going to escalate the payback until there is war. How the brain interprets relative force depends on if you're doing it to someone else or getting it done to you.

Apparently, relative force is just one perceptual misconception that got measured - there are many more that haven't been measured...yet. Here's another one:

I think the culprit is that English doesn't have a convenient way to indicate subjective experience. English has... "seems to be," "from my point of view" or "IMHO," but these are examples of qualifiers that attempt to serve this function of describing subjectivity.

When using those qualifiers, there's danger that a person's motive will too easily be misunderstood. Writers will be admonished by editors to come out and dare to make the declaration. Uncertainty is regarded by editors and readers as "timid." But, these qualifiers won't adequately convey the writer's motive of an open mind. What if the subjective attitude is not meant to be considered a rhetorical point delivered with uncertainty, self-effacement or with tongue-in-cheek? "From my point of view" is not necessarily another way of saying "I haven't taken a poll or conducted my research properly."
For me, using a subjective qualifier is a proud way of conservatively stating my own open uncertainty toward the possibility of discovery.
...and this attitude of mine certainly backfires sometimes!

Readers have reacted to my using language in this way as if I'm obligated to talk this way legally. Because otherwise I'm "making claims" that could be proved false and might be sued for making promises I can't keep.