Journal of Neoscience
Studies in Reflexivity
What is Reflexivity? Identity
and reality are reflexive. This concept and the observer/observed dynamic have
been illustrated over and over again. In a given perceptual frame (what we call
the lateral frame) identity and reality reflect one another. In the
transformation frame, or trans-lateral frame, this is not true.
The arguments for this are as follows: to identify one’s self one must compare to an exterior reality. What we think is real in the exterior world, we then use to define what is real in the interior world. Neither of these positions or views is provable.(Godel) Instead we find, we stipulate, or choose various assumptions upon which to base our life. These assumptions at different levels make up our thought system or the perceptual glasses we wear.5 To change these glasses we must make new choices through a process of moving deeper within.
The perceptual glasses metaphor is a helpful way of illustrating this. Suppose the lens of our glasses is colored blue. If we shine a light through the lens, this projects an image to the world. We could call this our self-image or our identity. The light coming back to us is what we perceive to be the exterior reality. However in this situation both the projection and the perception of the exterior reality are colored blue. Our thought structures also work this way. By using mathematical proofs and drawing on observations made in several fields such as quantum physics and systems science, this principle has been
illustrated over and over again. The observer and the observed are inextricably tied together in a reflection. Like an image in a mirror, they are looking at one another. How does one then escape a particular reflection? This is what transformation is all about.
One must move out of the reflection to move to another reality. This is what is meant by the term traveling across realities. Its important to note here that what we think we know is what we call “rational” or real or true. So moving out of it by seeking transformation is always an irrational act. It is something akin to jumping off the proverbial cliff. Thought in a given perceptual frame is connected, no matter how loosely. We perceive certain causal relationships among elements of our reality. To die to this understanding is to turn our whole world upside down; it is letting go of these causal understandings. History has shown time and time again that the greatest discoveries have been made when individuals let go of how what they thought they knew and moved into another place. Recall those such as Galileo, Columbus, Einstein, and there is no question about it — this act takes courage. Courage is a key signpost on the path to transformation.
In moving transformationally, we must throw out our understandings of
reality and self. In so doing we must also abandon our traditional “rational”
methods of navigation, or making decisions. This is intensely frightening. It
is something like being stranded on a dark ocean without any lights, no stars,
and no compass. This single dilemma is perhaps one of the key
reasons people do not pursue a practice of transformational living. The good news, however, is that there is a way to navigate through such a process.
In one of my theoretical works years ago I discovered this “way through” and
it has made all the difference in my life. This way through is an affective
compass, and is further explained in this book (as well as other works
including Trust Arts). What we call rational thought, or our causal picture of
the universe, has to do with trusting that we can manage this reality through
the understanding of cause and effect relationships within it. I use the word
“trust” intentionally because it is one kind of trust. It is kind of a
Transformation requires another kind of trust, however, one that is more open and one which can no longer depend on this previous rational reality or understanding.
Affective Epistemology — Navigation by Affect
So how do we navigate? There is a truism about thought/ feeling relationship that makes navigating trans-laterally possible. This is simply that emotions or affect is relative to perceptual fields but not specific to them. This means that there are certain types of processes and certain types of thinking that will bring us to feeling the same set of emotions, even though the specifics of thought are totally different. What this means to us on an inner journey is that we can begin to navigate by what we feel rather than what we think. We can begin to develop a higher understanding of what certain kinds of feelings mean to us. We begin to realize that based on our experience of affective energy (feelings and sensations in our body), we can navigate trans-laterally. All of this is possible because affect is relative to but not specific to thought.