On the subject of gestalts

Common sense is constituted of gestalts. It is shared gestalts that transmit being across scales.

If I experience some entity (of whatever kind), with my conceptual mind, participating body, and feeling viscera, as a unity, I become a unity in experiencing it fully. In experiencing the entity’s objective unity as real, I experience my own unified subjective reality, first-person singular.

And if I, as a unity, experience this entity with another person, who also, as a unity, experiences the entity, and we experience it together, we together become a subjective unity. We have a shared experience of reality and we are first-person plural.

I’ve stopped trying to be sane, so I see this new first person plural subject as essentially the same as the first person singular. Just as groups can align or conflict, a single self can align or conflict. An individual person can be self-estranged into dissociated “dividual” bits of clashing consciousness who cannot make up our minds, or are of two (or more) minds, or seized with inward conflict or chaos. And this state varies by context. In some situations we are divided against ourselves, and feel estranged not only from the context — where we are, who we are with, what we are doing — but within ourselves. In other contexts we feel at home and at peace with ourselves.

This is why I am always saying that a personal subject and an academic subject are a subject in the same sense of the word. Each is a system of gestalt-capacities that unifies itself around some particular subject-matter. An academic subject is a subject state attuned to make some particular kind of sense of some particular unities within reality. A personal subject that knows an academic subject becomes a participant in the academic subject when attuning to its gestalts with others with the same attunement.

The word I have used for a gestalt-capacity is enception. I’ve also used the word sensibility (ability to make a particular kind of sense) and arcanum to mean the same thing. If we apply enceptions (especially with others) to make a spontaneously experienced common sense, this application is what I’ve called synesis. And objective reality as given to any particular subject is what I have referred to as an enworldment. (This has also been called lifeworld by Husserl and his followers. I just like enworldment better.)

Endemic to this problem space is a confusion between subject and object. We tend to conflate subject-matter with subject, when, often subject-matter is only that by which a subject is acquired. The object is the means by which the subject is induced and animated. Doctrine is the means by which faith is summoned to life.

We can perceive or conceive gestalts of actual entities — systems that function as a unit.

But we can also perceive or conceive gestalts that seem to — but do in any way — function as a unit. We reify ideas corresponding to nothing beyond themselves, sometimes affording them agency they simply do not have.

Ideologies are the subject-matter of collective subjects who experience common social gestalts.

Ideologies can be in touch with reality (as Fritz Perls say) — that is, perceive, conceive and respond to actual entities that function systemic units. Such ideologies are in contact with reality. Liberal ideologies acknowledge that multiple gestalt systems can contact reality in divergent ways, and experience reality differently, producing different conceptions of what is true. That is, they are pluralistic. But some ideologies that are in contact with reality are not pluralist, and this can cause problems.

Other ideologies are driven by a compulsive need to form its kinds of gestalts, whether or not those gestalts correspond or not to any actual entities. These ideologies fall out of contact with reality, to some degree. Such ideologies can become aggressive and destructive in their effort to force reality into conformity to their gestalt schemas. They are sustained largely by social conformity, so nonconformity is experienced as an existential threat.

Whenever I seem to attack groups or members of groups, I attack them as subjects, and usually ideological subjects. I tend to attack non-pluralist ideologies, regardless of their degree of contact with reality.

My own passionate conviction is that the fullest degree of contact with the reality of other subjects brings us into contact with the ultimate reality of pluralism.

Yes, I am, in fact, moving toward a correspondence theory of truth! But it is a pluralist correspondence. This is new for me. Cool!

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