Friday, August 10, 2007

a note of conscience in conceptual adventuring

A key feature of misunderstanding (or misreading) another person or text passage (posting, synoptic statement) is doing too much with little information. This might be innocent and creative, e.g., being inspired to think richly by ideas or questions. But it can inhibit mutuality of understanding to draw another’s representations far into foreign territory without tracking the draw, if you will. There’s nothing harmful about drawing freely, as long as one doesn’t lose sight of the difference between a representation’s own context and its deployment in one’s own conceptual adventure.

Anyway, it’s important to recognize when one is reading beyond the “object” and not lose sight of the difference between phenomenon (definitely describable in its context) and interpretation (redeployment beyond its own situation or, if you will, beyond its intended situationality).

This appreciation might be a keynote for critically recognizing mis-takes. It requires a capability of easily appreciating the “thing” itself, in its own integrity (or genuineness of location), such that one’s drawing freely can be distinguished, “in its own right” (or integrity), from the thing inspiring one’s adventure.

Given this, it may matter little that writing becomes unrelated to what inspires it or to what the other intends, as long as the difference is noted, which certifies the integrity of the difference. The other writer (or speaker or interaction partner) might be at least entertained (in a recreational sense) by seeing the difference between what one intended and how one was found entertaining, in the serious sense of entertaining an issue (or piece of text) in thought, then through writing.

Even with care in reading or listening, not-yet-understanding is inevitable in the beginning, which is not yet misunderstanding, but looks the same to the drawn-in other when their text/speech is already redeployed in some conceptual adventure.

Fully granting that I don’t yet understand, I might trust that I’m read to be acting genuinely by drawing what you say into foreign territory, because I’m inspired to improvise on what I’ve “read”. But I should appreciate what I’m doing and not hold you accountable for my redeployments.

Better yet, I should thematize the excursion, differentiating overtly what you say from what I’m doing. I might trust that you see the difference, and I might be wrong, such that you’re offended. You have to let me know.

Learning never ends.