Portland Japanese Gardens

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  I’m working on my dissertation and hopefully I’ll post some bits when I feel they are polished enough.  In the meantime, my sister is visiting from Durango and we had a great time at the Portland Japanese Gardens.  It rained (expected), showed (whaaaat?) and sunned (OMG!) all within half an hour, which made for some great lighting conditions… enjoy!

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  1. What an excellent photo series! I enjoyed it very much.

    What is your dissertation on? I would love to see your bits and pieces. I have been getting your blog for 6 months or more and I have to say that each one has challenged me. This one, the Japanese Garden, took my by surprise! Love your it!

    Best,
    Rhonda

  2. Hi Rhonda, my dissertation is entitled “Towards an Aesthetic Epistemology: Transforming Thinking through Anthroposophy and Cybernetic Epistemology”. I am examining how anthroposophy and cybernetic epistemology can work together to provide a perspective on the transformation of thinking processes. It is a theoretical dissertation that weaves modern principles from cybernetic epistemology (levels of order, recursion, systems-thinking, complexity), ideas of Gregory Bateson, Brad Keeney, Mark Johnson, Eugene Gendlin, Edgar Morin, Basarab Nicolescu, and others, with anthroposophical works, specifically those about epistemology.

    I’m using ‘aesthetic epistemology’ in a very unusual/unique sense that is hard to explain in a few words. Basically it has to do with the inclusion of elements of a transformed feeling life into the thinking, so that the foundation of thinking can be carried out in conjunction with an enlivened feeling life. “Feelings” are not emotions, but are related. Feelings have more potential for subtlety, and more importantly, the potential to connect our inner soul states with the inner movements of the cosmos. Thus feelings form the basis of an aesthetic type of perception that helps form our thinking — our thinking becomes awakened to the aesthetic dimension of the cosmos, and the aesthetic component of our own thinking processes becomes a key to a deeper connection with the world. In developing our feeling life, we reduce the effects of sympathy and antipathy in the soul, allowing for more subtle levels of perception in regards to things like how a thought unfolds in us, and similarly, how a thought unfolds outside of us in the world. It is by developing our feelings that we can perceive this connection, in a sort of aesthetically-imbued thinking process. Aesthetics here does not refer to any sort of cultural standards, personal taste, or anything that, through sympathy and antipathy, leads the soul to perceive primarily itself. Rather, aesthetics (in this context) means the capacity of the soul to flow objectively in patterns that are like living mirrors of outer processes. We perceive then not just a series of facts out there, or a series of thoughts ‘in here’, but gain a sense for the quality of the unfolding and interconnectedness of those percepts or concepts. The training of our feeling life towards an empathatic (not sympathetic or antipathetic) aesthetics leads us towards the ‘innerness’ of the world of outer facts, presented inwardly to us either as percepts through sense perception or concepts through the activity of thinking. Goethe’s phenomenology was a training and result of building this capacity for aesthetic perception-in-thinking and thinking-in-perception, which is precisely what led him to the strange idea-percept of the ‘ur-phenomenon’. His ability to weave between artistic and scientific endeavors facilitated this discovery/insight, and provides a foundation for where we need to go if we are not to dissect ourselves into oblivion.

  3. Alexander Rabitsch May 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm · ·

    Uh….most interesting. Epistemology also is a subject of my interest – as well as cybernetics. I made your acquaintance not by fluke …. >>Welcome to the real world.<< I can hear it all the time ;)

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