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USE, ALIENATION OF THE SELF, AND MEANING PDF Print E-mail
Life – Consciousness

D OneInwardness - Transcendentalism - Spectral Vision
The bounds of the use of the human psychology as seen from that psychology, sensory representations, the structural features of the cosmos and of the relation of humans with these things have been extended at a period when consciousness of the causal cohesion of our self and of the world has not been sufficiently cultivated, while the meaning of uses has been located in diffusions to obtain relief and contradictions which are entropic in relation to the duration of happiness and cultural progress.

'Use' contains a reference to meaning, and meaning contains the continuity of Existence, its Unitariness, and Spiritual Emancipation from machine and technological evolution.
To everything we do we ascribe a meaning, but, frequently, what we try to do is to is to deny the meaning of meaning, the cause of existence of meaning. We attempt, that is, to stop the flow and the influence of meaning, limiting it only to the level which we have chosen, and saying that, allegedly, there is no meaning.

The use of technology
Since technology is the principal field of expression on the part of man, we should recall the saying of Einstein, which is a necessary and balancing exaggeration, that there is nothing great in this technology; the spirit must attain to it, surpass it, and dominate it. So without continuity of existence, use is suicide. Similarly, the momentariness of entertainment is suicidal in its mindlessness.
Meaning, on the other hand, must not take away freedom, and it must not break down subjectivity and so lead to a mechanical way of looking at causality and identity. Neither the chaotic nor the mechanical alienation of the freedom of meaning is needed, but a relation of erotically charged rebirth and quality with one another.
This is, undoubtedly, an exceptionally difficult venture both for the many, who want a course mapped out in advance, so that they themselves do not have to undertake the responsibility of making necessary choices, and for those who wish through the meaning which they sincerely understand or which they deceitfully put forward as being the case in order to control the rest mechanically at the level of consciousness.
The element of chaos in 'freedom' is an advanced distortion of liberty and a mimesis of it, which, in the end, is acted out as eccentricity, as supposed original / primary will so that something is just so and not otherwise. This chaotic element also constitutes a diminution of responsibility because of the sublimation of the relations of causality.

The following are the two complementarily distorting poles as regards the apprehension of meaning (with probable gradations and intermingling between them).
The one pole, the mechanical, is sufficiently well known in history from the influence of fanaticism on human evolution - religious or political fanaticism, for example.
The second, the chaotic, has not yet been adequately explored in history. If this had been done, it would have made the magnitude of the distortion more intelligible, as it would have rendered visible the distortion of consciousness on which it is based. Man, however, staggers between the two extremes, which are ostensibly opposed to one another but have a common cause. However, it can be said that both - apart from anything else - involve a distortion of freedom.
The mechanical alienation of meaning breaks down subjectivity, since subjectivity is totally bound up with freedom. Here, naturally, it is not, in any circumstances, subjectivity or subjectivism as a fantasy or entrenchment in individualism that is meant, but subjectivity as inner causality, as an attribute of Being.
The momentariness of alienated sensibility can be a spiritual crime, as can the systematic tyranny of the measure and of objective 'correctness'. Sensibility cannot be allowed to cause a breach in time; it must develop in an evolutionary way, abounding and with continuity in time.
The relation between sensibility and time, in all its dimensions, is crucial for the elimination of alienation.
The momentary projection of alienated sensibility can indicate a solid and systemic distorted foundation, which, however, in any event, will refuse the apprehension both of the true equilibrium between meaning and freedom, and of the very meaning of freedom and of meaning in itself.
The breach between sensibility and time points to an attempt at disengagement of sensibility from its results in time and from the effects of time upon it. In reality, the results occur in spite of the theatrical attempt at the breach. Since the results are unavoidable, sensibility cannot be truly 'liberated' from the inevitable logic of time, and cannot lend man more than a hollow feeling of freedom. The logic of time is totally unlike human logic. The responsibility which time imposes cannot be avoided and is a necessary consequence of freedom. Real freedom is in itself a 'terrible' thing, and, for the present, not accessible for man. Irresponsibility as freedom from time and circumstances is a tragic imitation of the will as freedom, and - contrary to what is generally believed - leads man to dependence on others for the acceptance of the burden produced; it leads, that is to say, to a power relation.
Sensibility, like the mind, has a relation of evolutionary continuity with the Self or Being - it is not in a relation of entropy with it. And when entropy is attempted, this does not means that there are no results, but that the producer of the entropy can only shoulder certain of the results for the present. Thus the attempted discontinuity in time causes alienation because it denies the relation with the self, it is alienated from it through identifications with idols of error which are, for the most part, idols of will, of power, of freedom, and of separateness.
Meaning and sensibility are brought through psychological evolution and maturity to development of the individual Being as love which releases both the powers of the individual and of the cosmos in the direction of co-existence and presence.
Meaning and sensibility are vindicated in Love, which creates a synthesis of the person with the Self and the Cosmos and eliminates both the alienation of the Ego, and the alienation of the Environment.
Sensibility cannot be understood as self-existent, except as a cancerous development.    
Love is the very centre of ontological apprehension. Without it, the self and its relation with the world and the beyond which we presuppose cannot be adequately and rightly defined. But love is not an emotion, or easily accessible - without this meaning to undervalue the emotions. Love is the expression of the Unity of person, Cosmos, and Self, of Unity of spirit and matter, of unity of the individual and Wholeness - including in Wholeness the wholeness of Time. Of course, the greater part of all this is incomprehensible. Nevertheless, the first principles governing it (e.g., the principle of Unity) can be approached. These, and in their transcendence also, will not be annulled by something opposed to them, but will only be made subject to something more comprehensive and abstractive. This can avert the abuse of freedom, and, at the same time, leave man truly free.
Meaning is the link in the consciousness and the rational cohesion between the individual and his cause. It is the course of the process of evolving in time which leads to knowledge and full self-knowledge. It is by no means a matter of chance that those who refuse self-knowledge also refuse - directly or indirectly - meaning.
Unity is the great wager for humanity. It is here that the field of humanity's failure is also to be found, because the experience of individuality has become depressingly divisive and competitive towards other individualities and the Whole, and because separateness, as a distortion of Unity, makes man dependent on others - but as objects. This is a schizoid reality which we must one day face up to decisively.
Meaning encompasses the apprehension of sensibility about its self and the cosmos, without, however, replacing the reason for the existence of the cosmos, or the principle of freedom.
Self-apprehension always includes the element of definition of the original cause as a generative factor, which, of course, is by its very nature based on abstraction and not on idols, however much man tries at the same time to idolise it. Naturally, as such, meaning cannot replace the reason for existence, because this overlies consciousness and cannot but be a result of freedom, even of freedom from apprehension concerning freedom. Consequently, meaning does not even replace freedom. Meaning refers to our consciousness in the way in which we understand it.
The principle of purposiveness and the principle of freedom are compounded in the principle of love.
Without losing its spontaneity - given, moreover, that love is complete spontaneity, complete evolution, complete purposiveness, and complete sensibility - use must also be consistent with its meaning and with sensibility.
There has been much discussion of the question of purpose and purposiveness, and human beings have expended great efforts on this, but purpose and purposiveness have always been understood by the majority of mankind as an analytical plan, an intellectual process which limited the freedom of other beings. But this has to do with the travesty of purposes of mankind; these are individualistic and reflect  individual perceptions. Ontological purpose, that is, purpose as transcendence, has to do with Unity or Synthesis, and, as such, cannot but relate both to Love and to Freedom. This lies outside our human understanding, but cannot do anything about this. Love as an expression of underlying Unity or Synthesis puts together the two principles of purposiveness and freedom, thus removing the perceived divisiveness of purposiveness and the perceived chaotic nature of freedom. Love is a transcendence of seeming contradictions. This, however, in no way means that it takes, for example, a little separateness and a little chaos in order to produce a mixture of the two with correct proportions, but, rather, that it contains the models of unitariness, thus eliminating both as distorting negativities. In this sense, Love is still unapproachable, even though it is 'known' as a concept.
Harmony, balance, and dialectic constitute a meaning of organicity of uses and of species in space and in time.
The use of any thing (object, subject, situation, and so on) has for man a tinge of non-existence of its subjectivity, a tinge of objectification of everything, even of the self, instead of all of them being perceived as one organicity. This organicity could remove disharmony both in space and in time, with the mortality which it brings about, as well as between space and time.  
But sadness and endless death, a sense of the futility of life, of the spontaneous, and of freedom should be far from us. The mind which projects life as futility, even its transience, is an 'assassin of the real', as much as if it deifies it.
The nature of the spirit is bliss, and bliss is only approached through the harmonisation of Enduring Experience, of Eternal Now of Fullness, both of the here and of the ubiquitous presence, and of beneficial uses / harmlessness, with the abandonment of selfishness. Happiness becomes ecstatic, as the miasma of desire and phobic anxiety are the final obstacles to blissful perception, which is neither passivity nor neutrality.
The apprehension of the spirit is inclusive and liberates the sense of the world and the self from being objects for use, in a fullness of blissful co-existence and self-existence. This, in any event, is also the experiential core of the great religions and the schools with a quest.
This whole issue is truly exhausting, and can, understandably, lead man to regarding everything as in vain when faced with what he thinks likely to be great, with the sense of oppression caused by it, or when faced with the unknown, with the hidden element of the unexpected, like its insoluble riddle. But the sense of vanity leads inevitably to apathy, to neutrality, or to the active selfish absolute identification with what is visible. The visible is the easy road, even though its contradictions are equally visible, but they are resolved, potentially and in fantasy, by the usual means of competition, fear, and conflict. Of course, the visible is not useless and it would be a crucial omission to understand it as such. The visible is the field of the testing and revelation of the nature of choices by means of the results which these bring about; it is the field in which our relation with freedom is revealed, strange as this may seem. And the field of the revelation of its nature and its function is open to all of us, otherwise any fantasy about the perfection of apprehension or authority would be truly in vain.
If, then, someone cannot apprehend all things as an organicity in space and time, he cannot apprehend the importance of transitoriness as such either, because it is only in this organicity that this can find its meaning. In this case, however much we deify this transitoriness, this will be nothing more than a form of cynicism, a hidden lament for what is being inevitably lost, a vengeful bitterness, because transitoriness is, in essence, an - unadmitted by us - zero, and, consequently, there is then nothing to be destroyed or to die.
Sadness of this kind is far removed from the spirit, just as the spirit is far removed for a nirvana-like separateness from the struggling world as manifested at all levels.
A definition of the spirit cannot be attempted, because the fragmentary state of the consciousness in time averts us rationally from such a dramatic and definitive delineation of this concept. Nevertheless, apprehension is not only at the intellectual level analytical and final, but is shaped through balances between different observations, concepts, choices, sensibility of the mind, and all the parameters in general involved in man's 'mechanisms' of apprehension and consciousness in dependence upon both the nature of his self and of the transcendental Self.

However, the spirit as transcendence of the known and of external identifications is a factor for synthesis and abstraction at one and the same time, and special attention should be paid to this (that synthesis and abstraction are identical). If we take into account the fact that man's fundamental problem is the relation of the part / individual and Wholeness, we can understand both the difficulty of solving it and the range of possibilities of apprehension and its different qualities.  As such a factor, then, the spirit cannot but synthesise in a new unknown partial apprehension within time with the Consciousness which transcends Time, and the sense of place with 'presence everywhere'. Of course, it could be thought that in this way the weak part is lost in everywhere and all things. But the Whole is not a sum of parts, nor is it in competition with Its Self; it cannot contain within Its nature such a violent use of power against a hypothetical 'other'. This approach through reductio ad absurdum rejection cannot, of course, raise us up to the level of apprehension of the whole - and this would be a ludicrous error if it were not, before that, so tragic. In reality, we cannot give definitions in eschatological terms since we are within the part, but we can and must reject whatever denies Wholeness as Unity, Abstraction, Synthesis, Unselfishness. Any other approach to Wholeness as being, supposedly, represented by society, the state or anything else man-made would be coercion. It is only in freedom that Wholeness can be attempted, can be approached to some degree, in a freedom of consciousness both for oneself and for others.
In this sense, the spirit is bliss. But bliss should be understood as something beyond competitive desire or inertia and neutrality, since these are in effect the entrenchment of individualism.
In the spirit, the self ceases to be an idol and object of man himself, because every idol is an object, and so, therefore, is any identification. Man has, in reality, created an idol of himself and identifies with that. This idol is an object, in spite of the care and laborious efforts which he puts into constructing and maintaining it, in spite, even, of any possible merits of the idol.

Uses with a critical dynamic character
But let us come now to uses which have a critical dynamic character.

The use of cyberspace and genetics  
The use of cyberspace may be open to the Satellite Surveillance of the Earth and the Cosmos, to virtual constructs, to direct connections with the centres of power and decisions, in nanomechanics and microscopy laboratories and data, and in communications without limits. It may, nevertheless, be maniacal and addictive, and our business is to assist cyberspace to be integrated, creatively and smoothly, as a field of evolutionary normality, into human psychology and anthropological data and not to replace fundamental human skills, simply because of the ease which promotes inactivity, thus occluding even more the spiritual perspective. Every facilitation which reduces the spirit and the consciousness is negative and abrogates the purpose of knowledge. This view is also consistent with scientific data which reveal how man, in using cyberspace, does not imprint the information he receives on his memory, but where and how he stores it! In this way he ends up with having a mechanical relation of use with information and not a relation of consciousness – without, naturally, our meaning by that that the whole mass of information is necessary. How useful is such information? The future will show. But liberation of the consciousness so that it can go into the void is not liberation but blinding, which, because of the perceived absence of limits as regards purpose, meaning, and relation, imitates freedom and the possibility of will as to the unexpected.
Furthermore, the use of the genetic field, the use of nature, and the use of people should not take on the one-dimensional perspective of the manic consumer, but should enrich the horizon of relations with an overflowing of the life of spirituality in the collectivity, in group solidarity, but also in the individuality of people and of the world. Here questions of bio-ethics, ecological balance, the world heritage of fundamental goods, and many others, can be raised; these have been touched upon in part, but in no circumstances have they been the objects of institutionalisation as they are new and unknown fields and fields of vested interests.
But this overflowing, this abundance, cannot come from a tying down of the consciousness, of relations and of life on the basis of use. Naturally, it cannot come from desire, insecurity, and prohibition either.
Legitimate use, excluding harm to the reasonable limits of ownership (prohibition of theft) and harm to common goods, should not be prohibited.

The use of free time
Recreation is a means of using free time, but the problem is that it is virtually the sole one. Recreation as it is today is associated with the chaos of the 'meaning' of life as being supposedly the same thing  as freedom, lack of responsibility, and the absence of the influence of need. There are also those who do not know what to do with free time, even though they can have it.
Another way of using free time is inactivity.
And both of them constitute distortion.
In reality, free time is 'psychological time' and should be devoted to freedom of consciousness from the influence of need, devoted to the consciousness itself, without this precluding necessary recreation. But dissipation of the self, lack of communication, and mindless entertainments plunge man further into the world of need, not only because they feed a system of subjection to it, but because they render him inactive in terms of consciousness… when consciousness is the only thing which can lead to a correct choice of a way of escape. Such an escape can in no way be a fantasy or a strong selfish desire. Any escape must be related to the corresponding responsibility towards reality, otherwise it is selfishness, however much liberation may seem incompatible with responsibility.
All man's efforts have freedom from need as their aim, but these efforts, because of inertia and selfishness, always lead him to the world of need.

Use of the self
The tendency of man towards the objectification of everything is so great that it renders even the self - at least that with which he identifies his self - an object for exploitation and a means of achieving supremacy. The cultivation of his physical and psychological image makes him - often involuntarily - into an object, however much this is socially accepted and regarded as success.
Advertising also is a part of the use of selfhood, of human consciousness, because it targets the consciousness, is persistent, and does not have genuineness of relations as its aim. It seeks profit at all costs, creates a world of illusion, and attempts to manipulate the sphere of the market in the interests of power. But the domain of the market is not a domain of objects, but one of human relations, and this is not brought out through the one-sided presentation of economic magnitudes, regardless of their influence on the cultural dynamic. It is literally a mania of the market which is based on the absence of activeness of consciousness of man, which it then intensifies further. The result of this manic presentation of bargains, goods, and the rest is the manic consumption of goods which attempts to make up for the psychological and spiritual failings of life and give it meaning through objects which are - potentially - longer lasting than man.
The answer to this problem of use as consumer mania is use which is both necessary and restrained – use, that is, which liberates from mania.
'Use mania' is a matter for education and the therapeutic 'deployment' of the powers of the Self against the alienation of the Ego. The concept of therapy does not entail the tyranny of the 'correct', but a freedom-loving self-knowledge, and, in parallel, a sense of the sharing in common of goods.
The desideratum is for us to reveal abundance of life and meaning hidden in the world and our self, and we should never forget that appearances are inviting - as love is - in their ideas and endurance through time, as an adventure of Being and of beings.

Ioannis Zisis, writer
Ioanna Moutsopoulou, lawyer

Photo from wikimedia

 
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