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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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The Immanence of Everything

The Immanence of Everything

Tardigrade photo by Frank Fox at www.mikro-foto.de, from wikimedia CC-BY-SA 3.0

Recently I’ve been reading more of the work of Parul Sehgal, whose article laying out the dangers of stories inspired my last article on immanence, which is perhaps the best piece of writing I have ever done. Stories, she suggested, might be a distraction from (and impediment to) seeing the world as it really is.

I could obviously speculate on whether our stories are “all we are”, such that the ‘story of me’ is a ‘loud’ fiction that obscures and dumbs down our capacity to see things in all their complexity. Or that all stories, including the ‘story of me’ are lies and propaganda, describing what we want to believe happened (or is happening, or will happen), rather than what actually is happening (which can never be contained in a story). Or that immanence, the simple ‘being-ness’ of things without thoughts or stories or meaning-making about them, is what radical non-dualists are referring to when they say “All there is, is this.”

Parul’s follow-up is a critical attack on the modern prevalence of ‘trauma plots’ — novels, films and other stories (including some people’s summing up of their ‘life stories’) that attribute everything that happened to their characters to their traumatization. She ascribes this to lazy writing (and, I suppose, to the propensity of many in our bewilderingly complex world to want to hear stories that are simple and pat). Some have even described it as “trauma porn”.

That got me thinking about my recent use of this ‘cycle of trauma’ model.

Am I guilty of over-relying on this ‘simplistic’ model to explain too much modern human behaviour (the genocide in Palestine, for example)? It’s certainly possible…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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