Law in Contemporary Society

Content and Sense

-- By GregOrr - 17 Apr 2009

In Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities, a group assembled from Austrian society is given an opportunity to choose something or an idea to represent content/value and spur themselves/their country/the world to goodness (in the sense of what mountain, "baseball is life, the rest is just details"?, love, picture of wife and children on work desk, the future was a bit 'fuel cells' when I was in high school... ), and they survey/develop though have difficulty reaching consensus among various things and subgroup perceptions and interests. This provides foreground to personal experience/search/development of the title character, Ulrich, who experiences/sees actualities/possibilities and sides of things. Situations have general/particular/similar/different/combining/contrasting components, and even individual components have parts in this way, “Like watching someone eat silently, without sharing his appetite: You suddenly perceive only swallowing movements, which look in no way enviable.”

He observes, “Meaning lies roughly halfway between reasoning and capriciousness,” with common forms of capriciousness including how we privilege particular contents/interpretations through cultural or personal preunderstanding and “how we unquestionably seek the firm and solid in life as urgently as a land animal that has fallen into the water.” Ulrich wonders about semi-certainty, considering internal and external material and phenomena, in curious observation/exploration/interest/hope about things, good stuff/truth. Reasoning is often sufficient as well as sometimes asymptotic and/or confounded, with some level of capriciousness contributing to decisions made (or not made) in finite time ("my computer froze" "is it frozen or still calculating?" "there's an insouciance/tolerance/acceptability/appreciability cushion with not too severe content/stakes, at least with some things" "within reason" "but your computer has to know specifically... things, at least some things, are specifically... "). Ulrich has/finds/develops/codifies some at least subjectively interesting/positive/graceful material as he goes (subjective to me as a reader as well as the character/author, it is a well-regarded book, at least by some, I'm eating a pomegranate right now, which is pleasant, "are you insouciant to eating a cantaloupe?" "um, no" "where is it on your insouciance meter?" "I don't like cantaloupe, though my dad does"), as do other characters, though the book is not concluded, Musil (do you think a muse pun is intended?) died while still writing it.

In this essay I will further explore structure underlying these phenomena/ideas and consider implications. I will consider content and reality, understanding and misunderstanding, people's participation in, appreciation of, and creative development through openness and reflection in thinking and communication, and issues of range and parsimony.

Intersubjective Reality and Communication

In a definition of reality, I would include the objective world (I assume this substratum exists, given apparent substantiality and consistency) and all subjective consciousnesses/souls. Each subjective consciousness/soul exists experientially with perceptual data and substance, additive to and part of the whole. While there is real material, a large common thoroughfare, experience and reality of good and right at least in some areas/cases/senses, conventional wisdom, common sense, ability to understand and operate individually and between people, because each person only has access to and is particular to a subset of the whole (possibly pending the Lama's suggestion to Carl Spackler), one naturally operates with situations, assumptions, interests, understandings, and meanings that differ from others’.

We have some content, sense, and communication, and our lives, understanding, and effort have some substantial/epistemological robustness/delicacy, as far as we know/understand anyway. We have our five regular senses, thoughts and feelings, with some subset of material experienced/known in some extent, various in kind/degree, consistency/contrast. We have resources and rationality and move along in reality/pace/efficiency of space and time. We have language to formulate/represent/express/communicate/organize reality bouquet material with some fidelity/effectiveness, with some development/boundedness of language and degree of facility with it (how expert a musician are you? what are you able to play with your instrument in comparison with reality beyond/separate from that?), and when a person has/says something, there are usually/often elements of approximate model between reality and understanding and speculative hypothesis subject to iterative development, confirmation/rejection, some other ways of having/developing/resolving. A linguistic representation is a signal coordinating with and pointing to reference material, aside from possible non-referential and/or thing-in-itself ars poetica, lorem ipsum. Layered with this are supra or non-linguistic elements such as context, structure, tone, irony, facial expressions, body language, visual arts, and so on being/constructing/adding/refining. Some Finnegan's Wake surf in phenomenology, though there's much content and form clear positive and well-understood, like I get school, I get laws, I get spatulas and other things, I get industrial design ideas, more or less, reality is substantial/stable/sensible, my apartment and life makes positive sense to me, good/reasonable, health/taste, interest/productivity/responsibility.

There is sense/expression with some facility/difficulty and understanding of expression with some facility/difficulty. Expression conveys something subjective and becomes additional perceptual data for others. Evaluation commonly interprets expressional signals to be consistent with one’s own pre-existing subjective world. One tends to lock into what is perceived as common/connective between expression and material as one understands it and reject, ignore, or not hear the rest. Though this may be substantially an unconscious process, logically this may involve imputing underlying assumptions and experience similar to one’s own or identifying which communication script one is familiar with that seems closest to pertinence and/or interest. Responses then start with this interpretation while adding some related expression of one’s own. What can be funny or tragic is that the first communicator will often interpret the response under the assumption that the other has understood the first expression as intended, and follow-up can be confused. This is what we call talking past one another, which commonly happens to some extent/degree, even amid substantial and often/generally sufficient common thoroughfare, with varying awareness/certainty/import/effort.

Creative Communication

Nietszche said, "Woe to him who hides wastelands within." Ideally and commonly, as children and adults, with some sense and value of good appropriateness, we can and do trust each other enough to participate expressively, including exposure of lack or misunderstanding as it goes, though we may also have some reticence and oasis/privacy from external/invasiveness/harm/force. Heidegger said, “We ourselves are pointers pointing toward what calls to be thought about.” In actuality/experience/pertinence/interest... , we participate in and point to reality and direction.

Openness to changing/developing one's views/awareness coupled with active reflection on others' expressions allows access to a greater slice of intersubjective reality, which can lead to new and more complete ideas. Moreover, greater empathy to others’ expressions helps one to be a clarifying and productive communication partner. (There may be lepidoptery issues of content/exposure/relation/thought/feeling/equal temperament though ... I was nicknamed Little Man Tate, or Tate for short, in elementary school, and there's been more/different to think about that than I was aware of at the time. [Funny video where he's on the talk show and says "I bring in the mail" and recites the clipper ships poem currently unavailable on Youtube.] I don't want to wear red, ooh let's talk about colors, and be a sinful violent mess or whatever, I guess red's supposed to be like what happy/yum/heart some - are you blushing cause you like a giiirl? pomegranates - though it also conflates worse than that, I wear white like pure and good and nice and above board and dovish peaceful and comfortable/pleasant/light and normal/natural/clear, relaxed/unproblemed/unproblematic/unburdened/unburdening, though there's some existing/comfortable/appropriate proportion/spectrum/palette of color is how the reasoning/capriciousness thing is going and expressing on that these days, right now, with healthy/tasteful Bayesian/combinative buoyancy. It was like maybe May Day, Morris dancing whatnot, though I'd never heard of that, my brother who is named Daniel's birthday is May 1st. That one's green, as I gather... and green is pleasant/peaceful seeming to me - I'm Irish - though also conflated with other things (possibly Paddy O'Pagan's olive branch for all i know / don't know, possibly not knowing asymmetric information/situation one of the associations of green, what did/do you think of the movie Greenberg? He's Got A Lot On His Mind). What do you think/know about blue (on one hand, watch out for that blue Mulholland Drive box, on another hand it's nice cool balm water and sky, more pleasant/comfortable/appropriate than some bad red stuff), or other stuff? We were all Yellow... I was and am a normal nice guy ... in the green and white ... nice content/aspect pinball machine you got there ... )

Reflection on the processes of constructing expressions allows more accurate and productive interpretation. What’s his situation? What are his interests? What’s his intention? What’s the tone? Is he earnest or ironic? What’s there that I haven’t incorporated? What seems to be missing? What do I know that might be relevant? What don’t I know that might be relevant? What kind of mistake might he be making? What if I’m making the mistake and not him? What might a third person have a frustrated urge to tell me about it? What might be the next step? What's on second? How unimportant/unintentional might some things be? An interesting note in Samuel Beckett's Watt, the title of which is probably or sounds/themes like it might be a pun for what (?), is "no symbols where none intended." And a friend gave me Steve Jones' Y for my birthday one year. You've got male. An owl says who? Third base. I wrote a story called "The Squirrel and the Beaver" when I was young in which the primary issue/nature was what a couple of neighborhood friends were going to do with their time. Remember The House of Mirth? Maybe Carry Fisher gave Ned Silverton something to white-tailed hornet dunderhead about. Heh. White Castle Hobbs Garry Shandean. K? Policy Vote? I used to work at Kash 'n Karry, some other relevant details in private personal life. "You know, I believe we have two lives: the life we learn with and the life we live with after that." Well, go ahead and mention Orwell, I guess, can probably mature nice even if there's some heretofore unknown stuff. Artsy. A content and sense audience/people muse functionality, some experience and design thinking. Confucius says pleasant humaneness ...

In this way, interpretations can veer from one thing to another, or from a thing to its opposite. Ideally, open and reflective communication finds its way to increasingly robust understanding.

Range and Parsimony

A reflective orientation increases one’s range in the spectrum of reasoning and capriciousness, and position on that spectrum is part of one's condition/facility. On the razor's edge of interpretation/pragmatism, we have/accept some level of awareness and capriciousness in being/behaving pleasantly and reasonably. The mix of rationality and irrationality has some manifestation of two-sidedness in results, however, one example being that from the ground up in bowling I get some score between 0 and 300, I bowl pleasantly and reasonably more or less (I have not seen myself bowling on video... ) in the good/perfect vector though I 'irrationally'/incapably/happenstantially/acceptingly/enjoyably do not bowl perfect games all the time, and we can sometimes be shocked by bigger misjudgments (ooh, hit the head pin but got the 7-10 split, did you know apparently the greek church is the hardest spare to make?, never been very good at the Cracker Barrel Peg Game *spoiler alert, not knowing how to do it and trying to figure it out is part of the fun, you don't just look up the answers to a crossword puzzle*, Those Mysteries, watch out for that Rubik's Cube bub, not sure what I'd see or how I'd feel about the possible bowling video of me, there might be some tuning feedback, though I bowl in a personally natural way, a bit like handwriting, I am ok with my handwriting, there is probably some natural feedback mechanism to seeing it, like a deaf person may not speak as well naturally because they don't have that sense feedback, these examples vaguely suggestive of my possibly controversial/delicate karaoke career, which I haven't seen on video though I do have ears, it's one of those first-person subjective things, a question of appropriate reticence some, getting along, maybe discretion the better part of valor, might be / probably would be some level of shock to observe, it may look in no way enviable. Oh, I actually have seen myself bowling on iPhone video, it seemed positive/mixed/variable/fine to me Frank Luntz / Robert Nozick morality/pleasantness epistemology tracking monitor/clicker wise, more or less, but that's just bowling, and what kinds/degrees of surveillance judgment (and possibly manipulation) are we dealing with anyway, personally and externally, to be reasonably kind/nice/good-oriented? Pretense/expectation/orientation to/comfort of benignity generally, internally/in-itself and relatingly/affectedly/affectingly, internal/external (including other internal, externalness of you to other) being/observation/relation/interaction membrane/frontier.). Range plus point about life / stuff / doing stuff, don't be a [redacted], get out there on the [possibly redacted], though with good moral/stuff guidance/limitation, for this essay loop part.

Thanks for bearing with this essay written/iterated in amateur interest/productivity. I currently prefer/practice one space after periods instead of two, though when I originally wrote this essay apparently I was still practicing two spaces. Either way is acceptable to thoroughfare, I mean c'mon, though there may be some good/right thought/reality/experience about it, flow/space/style and whatnot, still think/perceive about it, sometimes/maybe depends on the case, though there's like the policy generally and cases, consistency, yada yada yada, like what Emily Post or Strunk & White, etc, think/know about some things, what is the case about some things. Some other content/style issue concern edits/development. Like Bill Bryson is a decent sense idea/tendency. [Singing] "Life is a highway, I want to ride it ... " God? The way and the truth and the life, the true (di?)vine, The Ten Commandments, not allowed or good/pleasant things in Leviticus (not that you would want or even think of some of these things in good normality, good normality in some ways is significantly/pleasantly emergent/established/natural as well as with guidance/directions/rules) ... reading is a pleasant/interesting/productive thing to do, contentsensefeel, i like puppies and music too ...


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r34 - 02 Nov 2019 - 19:52:03 - GregOrr
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