(part of) You Are Here: Explorations in Search of Current Reality

See also Tales of the Early Republic, a resource for trying to make some sense of early nineteenth century America


Friday, April 23, 2010

Berger's Sacred Canopy

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Berger's Sacred Canopy (from Take 1)

Gottttta blog! Anyway, gotta write for therapy against my mind turning to mush, a process well underway that I hope I can still reverse.

It has seemed like time to read some of those nearly incomprehensible 'seminal' works, like for instance Peter Berger's The Sacred Canopy. Berger has one of the worst prose styles I've encountered, IMHO. I open the book at a random point and look for an illustration. At the bottom of p14

"The world of social objectivations, produced by externalizing consciousness, confronts consciousness as an external facticity"

What's being said here? That any socially coherent group of people makes up some shared interpretation of the world around us (and can that process be called "externalizing consciousness"? "Consciousness" suggests the goings on inside an individual mind [it being hard to conceive of any sort of mind but an individual one], and somehow that consciousness gets secreted outside myself, and then confronts me, like the dreamed beings coming to life in Stanislov Lem's Solaris? (and lovingly(?) parodied in the 1st season of "Red Dwarf").

Whenever one (<== and that word hides a lot of handwaving) tries to explore the idea of being in a deep way, the being that is my consciousness cries out for attention in the most irrepressible way. If I consider the "being" of a rock, there is the rock that I saw on the ground earlier today, but there is also the rock that I dreamed of last night, and "common sense" (the common sense of my particular culture, anyway, which just suggests how difficult it is to start by contemplating nothing but my own consciousness) tells me that at least the "dreamed of" rock, is susidiary to my personal being, or consciousness.

[to be continued]

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