NOTE

[This particular page is where ongoing personal conversations are handled, which may commence anywhere in this site's endeavor before they then move on to whatever other parts of the site's overall network they go to -- such as The Human Realm Group, which is already on Facebook, o r My Life In The Movies (that aids an individual's personal exploration by using films and music), or even in our blogs found at Word Press, like Sensing the Way, or Out Where The Big Waves Areand the others. --G.R.]
   





Where All Of Our Experience Comes From




THE MARK OF LIFE -- READING THE SIGNS


Human personality is not a ready-made object: man creates it
                        especially in knowing himself, for "self" is primarily an act.
                                                                -- Nikolai Berdyaev



Experience is: life in the act of making sense. It is life moving in thought, word, and deed to make sense and read the signs of all it comes across. Thus, it's also the mark, the very first sure and certain indication, of any human life.

And as a physically embodied and enacted reality, it always has these three aspects to it: the experiencer (the who of experience), the experienced (the what of experience), and the experiencing (the physical act of experience that unites the who and the what into a meaningful whole). The single word "experience" is made up of and can be broken down into each of these.

With all three aspects brought together, life is no longer merely lived out but actively experienced, and at that precise moment when human life begins, continuing from then on up to its very end. We keep right on of making sense of whatever we come across, all the while living that sense which we make, and this is precisely the way we come to build our lives.




THE SENSE OF LIFE -- COMING TO TERMS


                        Now it is at the heart of my present that I find the meaning of
                        those presents which preceded it, and that I find the means of
                        understanding others' presence in the same world, and it is in
                        the actual practice of speaking that I learn to understand.
                                                                     -- Merleau-Ponty


So, let's come to terms with human experience.* You may already be familiar from early sections in the book (The Stuff of a Lifetime: Self, Sense, Soul, and Spirit in Human Experience) with the distinction between awareness and experience, which is diagrammed there, both in relation to each other and to the world. Picture human experience, if you will, as a globe -- like the earth with its north and south poles. Just as it is possible to travel from one pole to the other, so too can a person move at will from the experience end of the pole all the way to the awareness end at the other, or, at any moment, chance to stand somewhere in between. This is done by choosing to focus one's attention more on the experiencer field at the one end, or on the experienced field at the other. We refer to these as the who of experience and the what of experience, respectively.

(Occasionally, for ease and swiftness, these two experience fields are simply referred to as "subjective" and "objective," however that is merely a means of identifying just where any given individual's principal psycho-physical charge lies at the given moment, remembering that these two are still, always and only, the opposite ends of the same pole -- the same one which all human beings instantly  move their attention back and forth along each and every minute of their life, in what are the inevitably intentional acts of their own personal experiencing.)


* The book's glossary of key terms and core notions will be posted on the 'Blog' page of this website as soon as the 'Train Station' page here is complete and fully operating.
















[SPECIAL NOTE, February 19, 2019: The procedure for a personal conversation path 
(used to explore one's own track of lived-experiencing) will be placed on this page as soon as its necessary linkings are completed in the 'boarding the train' motif displayed in the many photos. Its will begin on the 'Contact Us' page directly link one's personal conversation activity to whatever avenues are most suitable and appear here as distinct parts of The Human Realm network. --G.R.]


We approach with caution that which has been dear to us
when we know that the intention is to understand it.

                                                                              -- Soren Kierkegaard


Nature is not separate from our life, and so our life is not separate from what we experience. Whatever is happening in human life currently -- known or unknown -- is to be found right there in the backyards of our own physically unfolding experiencing. 



THE STUFF OF LIFE -- MOLDING
THE CLAY

In any living thing the organized system . . . this
coordinating mechanism which regulates behavior. . . is the same as that which coordinates all other vital activities, notably those of development and function.
                                                          -- Edmund Sinnott

But we now descend from the realm of ideas into the arena of actuality, to meet Man in a particular condition, and consequently under limitations which do not originally derive from the mere conception of him, but from external circumstances and from a fortuitous excercise of his freedom.
                                                        -- Friedrich Schiller
There is a background, belowground, aboveground, and foreground to all human experience. These make up the fundamental and inherent aspects of the stuff of life.

The Background of Life: the times, language, and givens one
can't get away from.


              What there in fact is, what is given, is my coexistence with things,
                that absolute event -- a self in its circumstances.
                                                                            -- Ortega y Gasset
   Nobody grows up in a vacuum. We always live at an inescapable time in history. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, political upheavals, scientific and technological inventions -- these and other factors bring realities into being at one time and move them away at others. Also, every individual grows up using a specific language, culture, and cluster of influencing relationships. All of these combine to form the background of a life. This background changes across time, but it is always there, and it is impossible to extract or remove oneself from it. Much of the context of our experience derives from the specific setting given us as the background of our lives.
The Belowground of Life: itchings, urges, longings
and stirrings.


A mysterious power that all may feel, and no philosophy
can explain.
                                                                          -- Goethe


    The belowground is the movement at the depth or source of a life. It is often overlooked altogether and therefore easily underestimated. Several historic figures have had a lot to say about it, so it has been given a great number of names, but most people know more about its names than they truly know about it. Regardless of what it's called, though, every single human being has it; and after all our thinking, talking, reading, and wondering about it, it remains there -- seeming large now, or small, but always very much alive, and something for one to make something of.

     It may take years for us to directly stumble upon it. When we finally do, we may label it as something foreign. Then we will see it mainly as an "it," which makes it like some foreigner whose rights and whereabouts are to be only within those limits we prescribe. Of course, it heeds no such limits but keeps on moving, because life is much more a spring than a stagnant pond -- until it eventually spills around the edges of our conceptual comprehension to swell up within us as urges, longings, itches, and stirrings of every kind. Because it is our own "more," yet not recognized or called so, we thus become strangers to our own vitality. Then when it moves or stirs we experience it as some invasion from without, a threatening intrusion upon our native soil that we somehow sensed would one day surely come.

    Or on the other hand, we might instead label it as something familiar, ad feelings and fascinations that leave us either overwhelmed or pleasantly whelmed from time to time. Such tasing and tingling titillations are the stuff of which attractions and affairs are often meade -- where one "falls it love" with those qualities in another person that bear a suspiciously striking resemblance to the yet undiscovered dimensions of oneself. When the discovery is eventually made that the stirrings of one's long-submerged self have surfaces, then a truly new and wholer way of living can indeed begin -- which, of course, is exactly where most affairs come to an end. Whatever popular sentiment may lead one to say, feel, or think at such moments, each individual involved must then choose and pay the cost of either going along with the old or getting on with the new.

     Whether one meets the belowground as foreign or familiar, it will definitely stir and move; and we wonder what has come over us, when all the while the issue is what is taking place right under us, the ground has been pulled out from beneath our feet -- but which is the very place where we must come to find our footing or fall.
    
 
The Aboveground of Life: dreams, demons, things unnamed
and unknown.



                  Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
                                                Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
There are some experiences we never find good words for. Dreams can set our souls soaring, or leave us with such unspeakable sadness or unfathomable serenity, which even though inexplicable remain so exquisitely clear that they surpass most of our other experiences and stand out in memory. They become like a painting one happens upon in the side gallery of some museum: The artist is unknown to us, yet the subject and its treatment seizes our attention and will not let it go.

     And there are visions too, some sought and some not, much grander and longer lasting than dreams, which are "seen" when one is quite wide awake. Then too, what might a demon be? Or the splendid magic of an unforgettable moment on some starry night. And for millenia people have spoken of an abyss, something tinged with deep dread and out of which the bottom keeps dropping.

     However these depicted awarenesses are eventually interpreted -- if ever -- the fact remains that in such acts human beings are experiencing something definite. It's still an open question whether the same types of experiences are open to everyone. Is everbody able to experience the way Columbus or Cleopatra did, or Einstein and  Homer, or as Spartacus, Moses, Socrates, Buddha, Mohammad, Shakespeare, or Jesus -- or an astronaut . . . a clown . . . or someone living just down the street? How much do you suppose your neighbor is experiencing of what you do in simply living night and day, and vice versa?

     Simply because you or I may not have experienced things similar to these so far, is certainly no indication that we never shall. Life is something that for you and me is not uet used up. We may have the notion come into our minds that we have mainly finished with it; but it clearly has not finished with us or we would not still be here. And there's even at least the outside chance that we will yet meet up with something considerable greater than we've ever met before, for much of life is still up in the air.
    

The Foreground of Life: peaks, pits, plateaus, and all of the wanderings and wonderings in between.



 His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but
                himself . . . it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and
                              never rest night or day. These are his life, and they are not
                written and cannot be written.
                                                                                    -- Mark Twain





All human experience finally funnels into the foreground of an actual someone's life. One and all, rich and poor, old and young, black, white, red, yellow, and brown alike -- we go through the motions of life with longings, urges, stirrings of whatever kind, have our dreams, meet the unknown and unnamed in our respective ways -- all of which then becomes the foreground of our uniquely individual lives.

    The foreground is the lived experience of an individual across time. It is the continuing thread that runs throughout a life and on which all its experiences are strung. We experience more than we remember, and because of the way our minds work, we also remember "more," or a little differently, than what weoriginally experienced.*

     Whatever then happens to or for any individual, and whatever he or she may or may not later recall or even misperceive of the whole of it, that person in every case experienced something. And this specific something comprises the foreground of that particular person's life -- and it's this that joins itself to the background, belowground, and aboveground of his or her life.   
* The foreground should not be taken to be "consciousness," which has proven to be an inexact and most unfortunate term in that it suggests the other three grounds of a life are to be taken as somehow "unconscious." This reasoning leads many to unwittingly assume that human beings somehow do not or indeed cannot naturally reach or experience directly these significant aspects or dimensions of their lives -- a mistaken notion which, though derived mostly from a definition, is unhappily quite widespread.

Experiencing Is Never Only About Self-Discovery,
  For It Also Seeks To Find The Ongoing Ways 
 By Which To Steer One's Own Becoming



And What Thus Emerges As Your Unique Identity, 
Showing Itself Over Time In Everything You Do,
Is Today Primarily Known As Your Character