Born in the Middle (Pt. 1)

We are born “in the middle” – unaware of our own beginnings and endings.

By the time a child has learned to name herself, her reality has already been deeply conditioned by the ways of her parents and the language she was born into. The different levels of agency she experiences in her world – from the ability to move her body, the ability to affect her parents’ behavior, the ability to manipulate other objects, including small animals and smaller siblings – demonstrate to her that the world is a rigidly stratified place. Objects persist long after their appearances are gone, and people compete for having things the way they want them to be. The process of naming things and using language to make sharper distinctions and shape new realities, exaggerates the thing-like nature of reality and weakens the sense of interconnectedness and inter-being. Events and happenings—the feelings of participation—slowly give way to things and their causes. The conventions of life become a matter of utility and instrumentality.

By the time we are old enough to begin to ask questions about our own beginnings and the nature of reality outside of conventional discourse (post-conventional inquiry), our way of reasoning and going about inquiring are already encumbered by layers of pre-conditioned meaning and the pre-constituted self. These include 1) a metaphysical framework primarily fixated with static things, 2) a permanent use of figure-ground contrast to organize reality, 3) conceptual metaphors that are constrained by the rules which govern the physical and gross embodied experience, 4) the implicit laws of reality that are transmitted by the structure of language, especially the subject-object (noun-verb) construction 5) cognitive biases of all types, including the split mind, 6) a privileged perspective based on a limited life experience 7) a diminished perspective based on repression of cultural bias and stereotype,  the effects of shadow material at the levels of self, culture, species, and biotic community, 9) primacy of operations in 3-dimensional rather than n-dimensional space and 10) an inflexible apperception of time.

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