Thursday, June 08, 2023

Prolegomena to a Cosmic Flowchart

That term just popped into my head, but what exactly is a flowchart? It has something to do with business, but I flunked out of business school, and besides, I'm thinking more of isness. 

The first definition that comes up calls it "a diagram that illustrates the steps, sequences, and decisions of a process or workflow." However, mine will be a verbal diagram, plus we're talking less about work- than slackflow: what is its principle, and what steps does it take to end up down here?  

I guess we're talking about an actual map of the vertical, but I certainly wouldn't be the first to take a crack at this. 

Over the centuries there have been any number of vertical cartographers, but most of their maps turn out to be pretty unhelpful as far as I am concerned. They range from the complex to the simple (which I don't mean pejoratively) to the simplistic (which I do mean pejoratively) to the annoyingly baroque and idiosyncratic (by whom I mean a Ken Wilber).

I just googled "ken wilber map of reality," and look at this hideous thing. At least it's not in English, so we don't have to endure his hamfisted prose:

An example of the simplistic would be a one-substance and single-level pantheistic monism, but nothing is that simple, let alone everything

An example of the simple kind would be a straight-up two-storey Creator / creature version of Islam or various strands of evangelical Christianity. In the words of the song,

Well, me and Jesus got our own thing goin'
Me and Jesus got it all worked out
Me and Jesus got our own thing goin'
We don't need anybody to tell us what it's all about

Problem is, I guess I'm just not that simple. Sometimes I wish I were, but then there would be nothing to blog about. 

Back to our flowchart. In a sense, we're talking about "the flow of flow," so to speak. I'm thinking of the gramatically unflowing Dr. Csíkszentmihályi and his theory of flow: 

flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. 
In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time. Flow is the melting together of action and consciousness; the state of finding a balance between a skill and how challenging that task is. It requires a high level of concentration; however, it should be effortless (wiki).

Sounds very much like slack, but there are important differences. In my map, Slack is anterior to flow; it is something like the Tao, or the Chinaman's wu-wei, or maybe the Oriental Jazzman's favorite record, Music for Zen Meditation and Other Joys, by Tony Scott.  

Now, the more I write about this, the more I think it actually deserves a serious post. Let's consult a book we were discussing before McGilchrist came along and diverted our attention, one called Philosophy of Science in the Light of Perennial Wisdom, specifically, chapter 3, The Degrees and Modes of Reality

I like what the authors have to say, because they strike a balance between the excessively complicated and the overly simple.

Some, considering the essential identity of Creation with the Principle, may describe total reality as being one indivisible Unity.

For example, did you ever read or listen to, say, Krishnamurti? I dabbled in his ideas back in the day, but ultimately found them to be unhelpful. And irritating:

I'm also distracted by the flow of his combover.

As alluded to above,

Some may divide it up into two degrees, the Divine Order, and that of all that is created, namely, Creation.

At the other end, "some have proposed forty states," but there has to be an easier way. I actually have to think about this, so we'll try to plot it out in the next installment.


ted said...

I preferred UG Krishnamurti to Jiddu. Was crazier but more authentic.

We also don't need any stinking maps when we see the cosmos is a map of me.

julie said...

I'm also distracted by the flow of his combover.

Plus, if he's right, what's the point of thinking? Or of anything?

Funny how often deviating from the true, the beautiful & the good results in an ethos that gives a person no reason whatsoever to get out of bed in the morning.

Gagdad Bob said...

"One Cosmos" doesn't mean what he thinks it means.

Gagdad Bob said...

Come to think of it, the kabbalistic tree is a kind of isness flowchart.

Gagdad Bob said...

I like the idea of the limitless beyond-being at the top and the complementary positive and negatively charged poles descending downward.

Gagdad Bob said...

At the bottom would have to be the absolute absurdity of formless matter or something....

Van Harvey said...

Geometry is and provides a pretty good flowchart... who was that... ah yes, "Beauty for Truth's Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education" by Stratford Caldecott, points towards some good doodling.