Friday, December 23, 2011

Jung on wholeness

"Wholeness is represented by the family, and its components are still projected upon the members of the family and personified by them. But this state is dangerous for the adult because regressive: it denotes a splitting of personality which primitive man experiences as the perilous 'loss of soul.'

In the break-up the personal components that have been integrated with such pains are once more sucked into the outside world. The individual loses his guilt and exchanges it for infantile innocence; once more he can blame the wicked father for this and the unloving mother for that, and all the time he is caught in this inescapable causal nexus like a fly in a spider's web, without noticing that he has lost his moral freedom.

But no matter how much parents and grandparents may have sinned against the child, the man who is really adult will accept these sins as his own condition which has to be reckoned with. Only a fool is interested in other people's guilt, since he cannot alter it. The wise man learns only from his own guilt. He will ask himself: Who am I that all this should happen to me? To find the answer to this fateful question he will look into his own heart." [Psychology and Alchemy]

Thursday, December 22, 2011

bates eye method in a nutshell

a good practicum for understanding sight
but also a non-local metaphor for how to best navigate the world of experience...

Bates Method in a Nutshell
The Basics of Better Eyesight: Instructions on how to improve your vision with simple eye exercises and visual habits

Written by Alex Eulenberg in 1995, based on Better Eyesight Without Glasses by William H. Bates (New York: Henry Holt, 1981), Chapter 24, "Fundamental Principles of Treatment", pp. 193-200. Last revision, May 18, 2009.

The means to better vision is through relaxing the eyes. Rest makes vision better, strain or effort makes vision worse. There are several ways to rest the eyes.

Close your eyes. While doing this, think of something agreeable.

Cover your eyes. Called "palming". If you cover your eyes so as to exclude all light, the eyes will be able to achieve a greater degree of relaxation. Cover both eyes with the palms of your hands, your fingers crossed on your forehead. Note: in order to be successful, you must be able to relax while palming. Some people cannot do this, and palming becomes counterproductive. The blacker the field you see, the more relaxed you are. But if you "try" to see black, this may cause more strain. Don't try to see black: it is better to imagine a concrete, familiar object or scene.

Observe the swing of things. As you move your gaze from one point to another, things seen should move in the opposite direction. For example, if you look at the upper left corner of the letter "H" and then shift your gaze to the lower left corner, the "H" should appear to move, or "swing" up. If it doesn't, this is a sign of strain. There are a variety of exercises to practice the swing. You can gently swing your whole body to the left and to the right, and watch a distant tree swing to the right and to the left, you can move just your head, or just your eyes. The better the vision, the shorter the swing can be made to be.

Use your imagination. By seeing things with your mind's eye, and remember them in precise detail, you increase your ability to see actual objects better. The perfect memory of any sensation can be produced only when one is free of strain. It also helps, when practicing with a test card, to imagine that the part of a letter that one is looking at is blacker than the rest of the letter, or to imagine a small letter within a small black spot of a letter. In this way you direct your mind to appreciating finer and finer detail.

Catch those flashes. When your eyes finally achieve a state of relaxation through swinging or palming, you will see a "clear flash"; paradoxically, the sight of everything in focus is such a surprise that it causes strain, and the blur returns. So before the clear picture blurs out, close your eyes and remember the image in its full sharpness and clarity.

Keep your vision centered. When you regard an object, only one small part should be seen best. This is because only the center of the retina -- the fovea -- has the best vision for detail. Farther away from the fovea, the retinal receptors get progressively less able to pick up fine detail. Therefore, trying to catch all the detail with all of your retina at once causes strain because it cannot be done! To be able to see all the details of an image, put each detail into the center of your visual field, where it can be seen best, one at a time. Allow each detail to become less clear as you move away from it and center in on the next detail.

Enjoy the sun. Get out into the open and enjoy every sunny day. It is especially relaxing and stimulating to the eyes if you close your eyes and let the sun shine onto your lids as you sway back and forth.

Practice with a test card. Keep an eye chart on the wall. To practice, stand from 10 to 20 feet away, and read the smallest line that you can without straining. Then look at one of the letters on that line and close your eyes. Remember that letter -- go over every detail in your mind; shift from part to part, from curve to corner and so on. When you open your eyes, you will see not only that letter better, but also the one below it. If you find yourself staring at the letters, which results in the line becoming blurred as soon as it comes into focus, it is best to close the eyes before this can happen. When you open them, shift to another letter on the same line. If you close your eyes for each letter, you will become able to read the whole line. Practice every day for five minutes or more and keep a record of your progress.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

McLuhan on being an amateur

"My education was of the most ordinary description, consisting of little more than the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic at a common day school. My hours out of school were passed at home and in the streets." Michael Faraday, who had little mathematics and no formal schooling beyond the primary grades, is celebrated as an experimenter who discovered the induction of electricity. He was one of the great founders of modern physics. It is generally acknowledged that Faraday's ignorance of mathematics contributed to his inspiration, that it compelled him to develop a simple, nonmathematical concept when he looked for an explanation of his electrical and magnetic phenomena. Faraday had two qualities that more than made up for his lack of education: fantastic intuition and independence and originality of mind.

Professionalism is environmental. Amateurism is anti-environmental. Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment. Amateurism seeks the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness of the groundrules of the environment. The groundrules provided by the mass response of his colleagues serve as a pervasive environment of which he is contentedly unaware. The "expert" is the man who stays put.

"There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago." [Robert Oppenheimer]