Figure and ground is the basis for perception to distinguish this from that. I think ground is a more complicated phenonomen than simply being the undifferentiated backdrop to thingness. The perception of ground contains a set of assumptions and guesses. For instance a frog assumes that everything not moving is neither food nor threat. Everything that does not move is the backdrop allowing things (foods or threats) to manifest.
Humans require a more complicated backdrop – “sociocosmic forms of aggregation and conceptions of self and non-self.”
Descola’s intent is to distinguish how the experience of interiority aggregates portions of the physical world into the experience of self, leaving the rest as non-self.
Yet the language is also evocative of Buddhist ideas of Non-Self as a mark of existence. So despite the experience of a Self as not only the referent point for perception, but as truly existent, self-sufficient essence, its nature is in fact Non-Self.
Training in not only the idea , but the experience of this as well, leads to the recognition of the non-duality of subject and object – Space is Seen.
So meet Red Bob #2 – part of my own ongoing training in non-duality.
Look: In my mind is a single flowing page, constant, unbroken; when I write it pours out of me. Not seamless but nearly so. It might be more seamless still, in time; there might be no more walls, just me and my words and the world. I reject the idea of “age-old”. What age? How old? Better to ask what the words look like when still inside, how they flow outward, what they look like when they are at once inside me and inside you, (Sarah Wanenchak, Cyborg Writing:becoming the Tools – Cyborgology).
See: In my mind are scraps, paper, crumpled and torn, neurons interrupted by infarcts and lesions, lacking object permanence to the illusion of the self that seems to have a voice of its own although its seems to be my voice (there’s that “my,me self” again) when it comes out of my (sigh) mouth in fits and starts, then sometimes, like somebody turned on some big ol’ reel to reel tape recorder (is this In Real Life Fetishiizing?) with a bad motor and when its done I sit there dazed and somebody takes the reel and puts it back on the shelf in my head and I look and wonder if anyone involved understood anything of what whoever said whatever they said or wrote or thought. Better to ask were there any words at all.
Last night , Karen, Emma and I drummed for the return of the sun. It’s our Winter Solstice custom, a Shamanic ritual of remembrance and looking to the future.
Well, almost. Last year, through inertia perhaps we didn’t do it. And sure the hours of daylight got longer anyway, but it was a rough year, there was much darkness in our minds.
I think we have to have a more elastic sense of causality in these kind of things. A sense of karma across a continuum of awareness expressed maybe in units of lifetimes, extended in the rebirth of an unaware non-self.
So last night we drummed, around a single candle, instead of our usual fireplace fire, welcoming the four guests, the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, the Spirits of the Place, and the Beings each of us have a special karmic connection to, each of us expressing in rhythm, frequency and volume something as ephemeral as a lifetime, as solid as daylight.