Beyond postmodernism From concepts through experiencing (Excerpt) .htm

<<Beyond postmodernism From concepts through experiencing (Excerpt).htm>>

Bill...this is an article on the focusing web site by Gendlin--in case you
have interest in reading it. He talks about "perception" in here in his own
way. It's not the whole scope of perception as defined in PCT. His whole
approach and views always seem to go back to a bodily sense or "felt-sense"
as he calls it. Still, I think his views are interesting. I have no idea of
what the (......) symbol is that keeps popping up in the article. It makes
me think it was a talk and that someone didn't get that word down or
couldn't make it out if it was taped.

Built-in to his views is that humanistic and client-centered view that the
organism is moving towards growth-development. I don't know what that means
in PCT terms.

As you mentioned, he does seem to go down into the "body" vs. up. Is that
movement of up a level (or down) something that is sensed at all or is that
a theoretical view only? Because, if he uses language implying down into the
body it may have nothing to do with movement throughout levels.

I am still chewing on the previous responses from you.

Regards...Jason Gosnell
All electronic mail communications originating from or transmitted to
Bridgeway Center, Inc. are subject to monitoring. This message and the
information contained in it, which may consist of electronic data
attachments, are the confidential and proprietary communications of
Bridgeway Center, Inc. and are intended to be received only by the
individual or individuals to whom the message has been addressed If the
reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please take notice
that any use, copying, printing, forwarding or distribution of this message,
in any form, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in
error, please immediately notify the Bridgeway Center, Inc. Privacy Officer
at (850) 833-7540 and/or forward the message to and
delete or destroy all copies of this message.

Beyond postmodernism From concepts through experiencing (Excerpt).htm (25.5 KB)

From Bjorn Simonsen (2005.06.30,14:45 EST)]

Mail from Jason Gosnell received 2005.06.29, 05:22
You sent this mail to Bill. Excuse me for intervention. But I write this to
get a chance to be arrested for saying something wrong.

2. passage

In a long tradition most philosophers have construed "experience"
as something that is always already organized by concepts. This is
true, but experiencing also always goes beyond the concepts that are
implicit in it.

I prefer to say that people construct their experience by making the most
out of the existing hierarchical organization of neurons in the brain. I
think a little baby has experienced the mother's steps on the floor long
before the baby neither can say the word mother nor remember it.

Eugene Gendlin says that experiencing a depression e.g. goes beyond the
concepts we could express before our own experiencing.
I think that is OK.

3. passage

We have to carry the experience along with us. Experiencing never
becomes a concept. Since experiencing cannot be represented, the
concepts can only indicate various kinds of relations between
experiencing and conceptual patterns.


...............................................It is best known for denying
that there is any truth, or that one can claim to ground any statement
in experience.

Would a postmodern philosopher deny the statement that "there is no truth"?
What is truth? Would a postmodern philosopher deny that a stone will be
attract toward the earth with a force F=Mg, or would they just deny that
there is any -ism.

I think here is something PCTers can agree.

..................... I maintain that bodily experience can not he
reduced to language and culture. Our bodily sense of situations is a
concretely sensed interaction process that always exceeds culture,
history, and language.

As I wrote above, I think this is correct for a baby sensing her mother, but
I can't imagine how this process exceeds her "history". I think her history
has mad reorganizing possible.

Merleau-Ponty rescued the body from being considered one more
sensed thing like all the other sensed things (as it still is in


For him the body is a sensing, an internal-external orienting center of
perception, not just perceived, but perceiving. But perception is not a
possible starting point from which to understand ourselves and our bodies.

I think PCT disagree with Merleau-Ponty, but PCT agrees with the last
sentence above. For PCT the different matrixes of references are the
starting point from which we understand ourselves and our bodies.

By beginning with perception, philosophy makes it seem that living
things are in contact with reality only through perception.

PCT doesn't start with perception, but PCT says that living things are in
contact with reality only through perceptions.

............................................................But plants
are in contact with reality. They are interactions, quite without


It depends how we define the concept perception. If we insist that
specialized organic cells called sensing cells should be included in the
concept, he is correct. PCT claim that organs sense with other cells than
sensing cells.

It seems obvious that a situation does not consist of the perception
of colors, smells, and sounds. Even the simplest situation cannot be
grasped just in terms of the five senses. Every situation involves other
people and their complex involvements with each other. This cannot
be understood in terms of colors and smells.

Many people use this mode of expression (above). But I don't think anything
"seems obvious".
I think PCT agree. But I don't think PCT explain why in the same way as
Eugene Gendlin. I think PCT say that we know nothing about a situation in
the real world, but a PCT-er has a model of the extern world and he can
describe the situation from that model.
I also think PCT agree with the last sentence above if the perceptions are
done separate. I think PCT perceives the world in terms of a Vectorial field
of all the five (maybe more) senses.

The living body consists of interactions with others in the world.
"Perception" appears only before or to a body. But the body is
an interaction also in that it breathes, not only in that it senses the
cold of the air. It feeds; it does not only see and smell food.

Our lungs are like machines and we can use a machine if our lungs are not
functioning. I think PCT
makes organisms more understandable when the brain and the body is
BCP has also a comment about a solid beef.

The body senses the whole situation, and it implies, it urges,
it implicitly shapes our next action. It senses itself living the
situation in its whole context.

PCT uses the concept "perceive" in preference to "sense". Sensing in PCT is
a behavior we control at the second level.

It is a gigantic omission to miss the role of the body's
self-sentience, and to try to constitute the world out of
percepts of the five senses.


Suppose, for example, that you are walking home at night,
and you sense a group of men following you. You don't merely
perceive them. You don't merely hear them there, in the space
behind you. Your body-sense instantly includes also your hope
that perhaps they aren't following you. It includes your alarm
and many past experiences - too many to separate out - and surely
also the need to do something, be it walk faster, change your
course, escape into a house, get ready to fight, run, shout (.....).

I think PCT and also other schools cal it imagination.

My (.....) expresses the fact that your body-sense includes more than
we can list, more than you can think by thinking one thing at a time.
And it includes not only what is there. It also implies a next move to
cope with the situation. But this implying of your next move is still
a (.....) since your actual move has not yet come.

Some people are really good in imagining. Some of them are called creative

The life process is self-organizing, but much more intricately
than we can conceptualize. A great undivided multiplicity is always at



With focusing we discover that we are much more organized
from the inside out. Direct access to this intricacy enables us to
think-from much more than the usual concepts and assumptions.

Words can be used to say the most incredible.

No, I prefer PCT.
Eugene Gendlin writes one place "Please notice for a moment that this is
true; you can sense the space behind your back". Then he analyses the
statement, but he never explain if it is correct.

He uses many words and misguides them who read the essay/book.


[From Bill Powers (2005.06.30.0850 MDT)]

Built-in to his views is that
humanistic and client-centered view that the

organism is moving towards growth-development. I don’t know what that

in PCT terms.

I don’t either. I don’t really think much in such general terms. Maybe I
should. I think that the brain is a very complex organization, so complex
that it takes a lifetime to get it all operating somewhat as a coherent
unit. But I really don’t like pretending to know more than I do, or
playing guru. I don’t know where “the organism” (whatever that
is) is moving. I doubt that they’re all moving the same way.

As you mentioned, he does seem
to go down into the “body” vs. up. Is that

movement of up a level (or down) something that is sensed at all or is

a theoretical view only?

For me it’s experiential, and PCT is simply an aid to understanding what
is going on. The foreground-background thing seems quite clear and real
to me – the change of viewpoint, and the way experience changes as a
result. In retrospect, I’ve done this up-a-level thing all my life. It’s
how I’ve always solved problems, technical or personal. And I can tell
you that the first solution isn’t always the best one! But with time you
learn not to accept the first thing that pops into your mind. Just
thinking something doesn’t make it true.

Because, if he uses language
implying down into the

body it may have nothing to do with movement throughout levels.

I think it’s easy to forget that all we know about the world comes to us
in the form of neural signals in the brain. That includes all we know
about the body. The body image is in the brain. I don’t think awareness
extends to anything that is not in the brain; the brain is awareness’
means of knowing about everything else, to the extent possible. It’s
funny how that concept of experience has been slowly taking form in my
mind without my realizing exactly what it was adding up to. It’s as if my
brain is gradually forming a picture of what awareness is, so the model
of what I am gradually gets clearer. The model could be totally off the
track, of course, but it’s interesting while it lasts.
Anyway, what this implies is that we have to be careful about taking
appearances at face value.
And this means that we have to become very clear about the difference
between what we imagine and what we actually sense. The brain can
construct any experience we want, just by generating internal signals in
the right places. This is why we have to test things all the time.
“If this is true, then if I do that, a specific result should
happen.” If you think you can sense your body directly (without
using the brain), have someone do something to your body that doesn’t
excite any sensory nerves and see if you can say what was done. Of course
I can’t see right now what sort of thing that might be, since the body is
loaded with internal sensors. If you think you can sense the space behind
your back (Bjorn mentioned that), have someone do something unpredictable
in that space and see if you can report exactly what it was. It’s really
not hard to test most of the ideas we have – but often we’re a little
reluctant to do the test, because we like the ideas and don’t want them

And don’t fall into the ESP trap – start out with an idea that there is
a very clear robust phenomenon like telepathy, and end up trying to
salvage some vague statistical indication that such a thing might
possibly happen sometimes to some people, long after you should have
admitted defeat.

I can imagine going down into the body, but that’s just it: I know I’m
imagining it, and that to make it seem real I have to try pretty hard.
That’s when I think, “Oh, phooey, I’m kidding myself.”


Bill P.