Well, I have other work I really need to be doing but I can’t concentrate until I process this, so here I go.
Of the five classes I’m involved with, I “acted out” (for lack of a better term) in three (actually, four, w ith only a mild stretch) of them this past week. Here’s the “data”:
1. an email that was ambivalently received and caused pain (damn)
2. a deviation from the assignment into a “visionary rationale”
3. a desire to “widen the circle” of interaction even as we enter the “storming phase” of group development
4. doing none of the assigned reading (well, 5%, maybe)
What the heck? I characterized my “hasty email” in situation #1 as actually “reckless“. Why?
I have certainly done such things before, although less and less frequently as I “mature.” (I was telling friends last night that since I didn’t really “show up” consciously in my body until I was 27 that makes me about 14 – right smack-dab in the middle of adolescence!) %-) What caught my attention was the brief but somewhat cognizant processing I went through before sending the email, the outcome as it has unfolded, and these other events. There is a similarity to them, in terms of the phenomenological affect of my internal subjective experience.
I think they were all attempts to engage myself more deeply with LIVING, especially at a point in my life where I’m not really sure I want to. I think they are signs of rebellion/resistance to the depression that has been plaguing me for awhile, a way to instigate stronger (if temporary and even tenuous) connection with other people at a time when my lonliness and sense of isolation in the world has never been so acute.
In no way does this realization or framing absolve me from the consequences of my actions; its not an excuse. Just a means of trying to understand how/why I have ended up “here”, and to dissect the features that make me feel like this is an experience (a loop?) I have been through before. I am chagrined to find myself here again. 🙁 Not only because it hurts others, but also in its ironic and paradoxical effects – it ends up depositing me back right where I started, not sure If and to what extent I actually “belong.”
I just did a quick search on structure-agency loop and found something interesting on emergent systems. I quote, with my comments in italics:
In emergent systems, once a stable equilibrium emerges in a given system, perturbations must come from outside the system in order to produce certain kinds of observable change. The Game of Life won’t do anything new after a certain point if someone doesn’t come and make it do something new. Where does novelty come from in emergent systems, especially in terms of applyiing them to human history and the human future?
Does emergence show us new ways to think about the relationship between agency and structure?
Yes; it is a a powerful new way to think about the “structure-agency loop”, both philosophically and practically (what it means, and how it works).
Does it tell us anything about the perspective of agents in an emergent system, how they see and understand their environment and their place within it?
Not really, not yet, (not ever?) Maybe this is what I’m trying to document with the experiment/project of this blog?
Seeing things from the agent’s point-of-view: the consciousness illusion, but how can you get an illusion that can perceive its own illusory nature? If I think that my thought is an illusion, why do I continue to think? Group relations theory, Billig’s notion of dialogical repression, other communication theories suggest consciousness is not so individual, so maybe this question needs to be rephrased, redirected….perhaps along the lines of Irigary’s notion of the “subject-as-two”?
Do emergent systems tell us anything about the possibility of directed, intentional action in the world? Besides how creeping hard it is?!?
Not in “strong emergence”: ultimately “strong emergence” adds up to an intensely determinist slanting of the agency-structure loop which is resigned to explaining change in the world as the consequence of the determinate interaction of many numerous complex systems rather than the result of willful effort by agents within the system. But in “weak emergence”? Yes, absolutely: in this case emergence has the possibility of being an applied technology of change over time. But this is only possible if there is a conception of an objective or goal which is seen as been intrinsically outside the loop of emergence, as something which is chosen by the agents who wish to pursue it. Hmmm….so emergence must be “directed” or “aimed” for it to have any chance of success? There is something about intentionality here (Viva Briankle!), but also a collective base/agreement about such intention…?