A Doctorate in Here and Now

2013_06_15_mh (51)_doctorate

I want to study the everpresent present, and I want to study particular things in the omnipresent, momentary present.

I want to understand these things without knowing any facts about them. Facts are abstract, telling about the things, without being the things themselves. Colleges grant degrees to people who know lots of facts and ideas about certain things. I want a degree in not-knowing facts.

Which is not to say that I want to be rewarded for laziness. No. It’s just that knowing facts seems too easy. As a culture, we’ve been forming ideas about particular things for thousands of years now. We’ve been comparing this thing to that thing, seeing how things are similar to each other and how they’re different, and proposing ideas as to how things came to be. This is OK, but it should hardly be the end of our mental processes, I’d think.

I’d like something beyond mere idea-making. Rather than labeling a thing, I’d rather resist from labeling it. Of course, I’m still stuck in my own mind here, but my mind seems capable of doing things other than just thinking about other things. I want to sharpen my mind on the whetstone of particulars — or, rather, I’d like to aim my abstraction-apparatus on what may be the most abstract of all: particulars.

It’s not too hard to think about things once we separate ourselves from them. I can think about yesterday because it’s not today, and I’m not still living it, and for that reason, it’s even easier to think of a longer time ago. I can look at ants, say, and look at how they move and how they’re not me.

But to look at the present moment is perhaps to look at my looking itself. To look even at those sensible (sensory) things around me is to try to bring my mind back from abstraction-land. To think is an attempt to get distance. So don’t seek distance, by not-thinking? To not-think is to be open, to be close, to be whole, to be here, and now, but that’s also unable to communicate.

Do I need to communicate? Well, maybe one reports back to people on shore after diving. Shoot — I don’t want image or metaphor here. Language be simple. Simple be my language of now-studies.

This is second draft of this text, and the first draft was chatty, and I now see that I was communicating my mind, my mind-voice, instead of giving a lecture in here-now-ness. (Perhaps edit out cleverness, neologisms, and allusions to Heidegger’s “Dasein” nomenclature?)

“Reality Studies” sounds fun, but it’s pretty abstract already. Maybe new language is needed for non-abstract studies?

Generalized knowledge (abstractions) lasts for long time — is never alive and so can never die. Perhaps present-moment-studies (to label already is to limit?) can’t be recorded? Can only be fleetingly seen and not held onto?

The earlier draft of this post had this idea that seemed exciting when it came to mind: Only the present exists, but we don’t know when that is. As I type, the present is becoming the past. The future is only an idea, and the past is only an idea — the present is what happens between two ideas?

And now I’ll close this draft because things that are not abstract — things that are particular — cannot end. And perhaps what I’m grasping toward here, a no-word place of observation, of fleeting thoughts and letting go, is actually (it just now comes to mind) related to (or is exactly the same thing as?) the experience I have of creating, of having my attention obliquely focused as I write?

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