Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I am the Walrus

I’ve been thinking about perception and experience recently. Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” - thanks to the rock band as well – was my first experience of experience – if I can still remember what the diethylamide haze felt like after all these years.
Finding a foothold on behavioural and experiential reality is more slippery at some times than at others.
This from R D Laing’s “The Politics of Experience” (abridged) – most of which I think I agree with.
We can see other people’s behaviour, but not their experience. This has led some people to insist that psychology has nothing to do with the other person’s experience, but only with his behaviour.
The other person’s behaviour is an experience of mine. My behaviour is an experience of the other. The task of social phenomenology is to relate my experience of the other’s behaviour to the other’s experience of my behaviour. Its study is the relation between experience and experience: its true field is inter-experience.
I see you, and you see me. I experience you, and you experience me. I see your behaviour. You see my behaviour. But I do not and never have and never will see your experience of me. Just as you cannot "see" my experience of you. My experience of you is not "inside" me. It is simply you, as I experience you. And I do not experience you as inside me. Similarly, I take it that you do not experience me as inside you.
"My experience of you" is just another form of words for "you-as-l-experience-you", and "your experience of me" equals "me-as-you-experience-me". Your experience of me is not inside you and my experience of you is not inside me, but your experience of me is invisible to me and my experience of you is invisible to you.
I cannot experience your experience. You cannot experience my experience. We are both invisible one to the other. Experience used to be called The Soul. Experience as invisibility of man to man is at the same time more evident than anything. Only experience is evident. Experience is the only evidence. Psychology is the logos of experience. Psychology is the structure of the evidence, and hence psychology is the science of sciences.
Evidence, it seems,  that demands a verdict. One way or another. John Lennon's "I am he as you are me as you are we and we are all together" sums it up for me today. I think I'd prefer to be 'just me'. The upper image is of Aldous Huxley. I have no idea who the other guy is, but I think I know how he feels.

1 comment:

  1. "I do not and never have and never will see your experience of me." D. Laing thinks too much.

    One of the exercises I give my students is to challenge them to respond only to what people say or do. To take words/behavior literally and respond only to that. Not what they (the students) think, feel, or believe about what the other said/did.
    Always produces some hilarious stories and enlightening experiences. Makes for great discussion in the next Psych 101 class.

    The Johari Window, Mirror Image Theory, and John Lennon all in one. Clearly you have not spent all of the past week contentedly mooning over perfect Fibonacci-like curves.


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