Monday, July 13, 2009

Self-Transendance and Beauty, Part 2

Having been feeling a bit un-unified in all of my many activities lately, I have been looking for something to help move me forward, to help me find more meaning in what I am doing. Finding meaning in my activities has been helped tremendously by a concept of Victor Frankl's, as presented in his book Will to Meaning, published 1969. The concept is called dimensional ontology. Ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

Having read Frankl's definition, I realized that all of my activities make sense to me, as individual activities, but as a whole they are not ordered or grouped in a way that makes any sense to me. But then he had the following diagram in his book on page 23.

Basically, Frankl talks about how an object in a higher dimension can look contradictory in a lower dimension. For example, a cylinder, if viewed in two dimensions from a side view-point, will look like a rectangle. But if it is viewed in two dimensions from the bottom, it will look like a circle. A rectangle and a circle are contradictory, but they both describe a cylinder.

Perhaps my activities are like dimensional ontology. Perhaps what looks like several different activities actually reflect one activity or concept in a higher dimension? If I were to add up all of my activities; painting, writing, Art Dandi, coordinating gardens, coordinating public art maintenance, starting an education department, seeking local food access for the city I live in, fixing up my house, fathering, friendships and family, what do they all reflect in a higher dimension, from a broader perspective? An unruly mess. :P But as I look more closely I start seeing a larger concept of creating environments where transformation can happen. I am not focused on what elements create transformation, i.e. knowledge, time, physical growth, communal growth, etc. But I am very concerned about transformations happening. One form of transformation is self-transcendance. Another larger concept I see is the creation of beauty and beautiful things. Beauty creates transformation within an individual or group of a kinder, more compassionate way. Even a way of transcendance. So, I am beginning to understand the broader themes I find in my life. Like a child flexing its muscles until it can control what it is doing, I am building upon my life experiences to create environments for transformation, environments for self-transcendance.

These ideas have helped me to organize my life in my head, now I'll see if these concepts hold up when I apply my hands to them.

What's beautiful in your life?

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