The Topography of Experience

The non-linear experience of reality can be thought of as a kind of topography.

String Theory and Phenomenology

I suspect that string theory has powerful implications for phenomenological philosophy. There are at least 11 dimensions, and most of them are beyond the grasp of experiential consciousness. But the fundamental idea behind the theory is that reality is vibrating strings of energy. So that seems to imply that the most “real” thing that can be said to exist is waveform.

The Elusive Question

This leads to a very crucial question…

I find I’m having trouble putting my question into words. It’s related to my idea that, it is possible that, on the level of the string, the artistic experience may take primacy over metaphysics in the exercise of consciousness. But that’s a really bold assertion, and my question feels much more basic. The language may be obsolete for this. Not the exercise of consciousness. The flow of the sequence of experience. Yes. That’s better.

Experience as Topography

We seem to experience reality linearly, but maybe it’s more of a malleable landscape that we shape to guide the course of the river of our subjective experience. I have developed the idea that, through language, the focus of the human essence rises above the ego and becomes appropriated to the linguistic will. But there’s another aspect to that.

Language and Emotional Innovation
This is a photo of a wonder of topography.
“Horseshoe Bend,” by Ken Kistler.

The emotional experience necessitates the development of language, such that even metaphysical models, in the end, find themselves rooted in an emotional agenda. But it’s a feedback loop, because language, so to speak, “strikes a chord” with its appropriated subject. In other words, it invokes an emotional innovation. When language grows into a new idea, perhaps one of the most significant aspects of that is the fact that the beholder of the idea that is created experiences a new way of being. This, then, calls the subject to a new level of emotional experience, which makes it necessary for him to further invest himself into the language, yielding further innovation of being. So, through language, we, perhaps intentionally, or perhaps not, shape the future landscape, such that it determines the course of flow of our experience. But this process is not merely, or even primarily, conscious. Consciousness is the child of language and emotion. It is the finger on the wheel that guides the momentous mass hurdling across the landscape.

Emotion, the Linguistic Will, and the Topography of Experience

It is the emotional experience that gives birth to the linguistic will. We have no power to choose the force and course of our emotional experience, because that is simply subject to physical law. The role of consciousness is to shape the landscape to guide the course of experience, thus applying a measure of influence on the future state of being.

The Shifting of the Human Singularity

So far I have been describing this in three dimensional terms (i.e., landscape). While that analogy is useful, the essence of the idea itself is much more complex. I’m close to the question now, because this is where an understanding of string theory could be helpful. In the shift of focus from the ego to the linguistic will, consciousness stretches itself to apprehend and attain the focus. In so doing, the nature of its state of being radically changes, along a topographical course that is consistent with some facet of itself taken to an extreme. When this occurs in a way that the subject finds extremely intense, there is a number of possible consequences. When consciousness stretches itself in this manner, it is still inexorably connected to its most fundamental point of focus: the unconscious singularity. When the extent of the stretch is extreme relative to the singularity, the subject experiences stress. With the application of this stress, the singularity can be dragged across the topography to release it, or it may become stuck. But here, were talking about another subjective-spatial topographical dimension. This stress is, in some way, being applied by the friction and force of the flow of experience across its own dimensional topography.

The Question

I now have the linguistic tools to pose the question. What is the relationship between the frequency of the strings that are relevant to the flow of experience and the way in which the topographical landscape is shaped by consciousness?

A Personal Account

I tend to believe, in regards to myself, that whatever I imagine myself to be – that’s what I am; and I find that, to a large extent, this is borne out, because what I imagine myself to be, I project to others, and they cooperate with me to make the factual eventualities fit my vision. But I don’t think this is universally the case. I can think of some cases where, what a person I encountered believed of himself was in direct contradiction to what I perceived him to be. In fact, this has happened many times in my life, and, throughout my teens and twenties, this has sometimes caused me to unconsciously cast myself in the role of a loner/outcast, because I never had to actually say anything for people to realize that I was not cooperating with their self vision, so they chose to associate with those who did. And I can’t help but think that, in those cases, their sense of self may have been powerful and compelling, but was actually paper thin; subject to rippage at the very slightest challenge to it.


This has been particularly true of so called “Alpha” personalities that I’ve encountered. And, seeing as my professional peers have frequently been my fellow infantry officers (who are alpha personalities within the context of an already alpha profession), this is something I’ve encountered many times. And it isn’t an insignificant flaw. If you ask any NCO to talk about the foibles of some of the officers he’s had to deal with, he will talk your ear off for hours with tales of officers’ painfully stupid hubris and dismissiveness.

Metaphysics, Beingness, and Personality

This dovetails with my model of beingness and metaphysics quite well. The projected self image is a fact independent drawing out of beingness, condensed by a linguistic affirmation. This projection becomes an appropriating event whereby it finds cooperative perspectives to engage with it on its terms. So, in this way, it transcends fact, because facts condense to it as a consequence; not a cause. But here’s where it gets screwed up…

The Elusive Conclusion

Actually, language is failing me again. I’ll have to develop the language to explain the difficulty that I’m perceiving.
Emotional Innovation as Projection onto Dasein
Any sane man knows – and this may be the very essence of sanity itself – that one can project from Dasein something which is not supported by it. Herein is the impulse to not uncover uncomfortable facts. We are all subject to this, and here’s why: to live – really live, and not merely passively exist, we must project. What’s more, we must project beyond what we know to be supported by reality. Even the most Cartesian, scientistic Dawkinsian does this (he’ll call it “forming a hypothesis”). Not only so, but, at least to some nominal extent, we must commit our mental and physical resources to this projection. No; not just mental and physical resources. This ties back into the idea of the essence of humanity as a sliding scale. This comes back to the emergence of the linguistic will. This has to do with the volume of established fact that resonates with what is being projected; and the more it connects previously unrelated factual systems, the more compelling it is. No, not factual systems; men are not compelled by factual systems, but rather project linguistic structures which give birth to facts as definitively refined truths. The topography of reality is neither exclusively objective, nor exclusively subjective, but some resulting broken plane which is an emergent effect of the combination of the two. I’m thinking of it linearly and incorrectly when I say that the topography is shaped ahead of experience; experience in the sense in which it relates in absolute terms to the topography of reality is not bound by the a priori conditions of consciousness.
The Emotional Aesthetic and the Topography of Experience
The emotional aesthetic flows over the topography, cutting through it ahead of the linear sense of presence exactly in the same way that a river cuts across a landscape to form a canyon. We exist, emotionally, from the linear perspective, in our futures, cutting the topography ahead of our a priori bound point of focus. The topographical effect of a river has to do with volume, speed of flow, and malleability of the soil. In this, the analogy, I think, holds. Respectively: spiritual and emotional depth and intensity, and objective resistance, or lack thereof. I feel like the analogy is still missing something, but I’m having trouble putting my finger on it.

Emotional Habit

Time. Time is the element I missed – except that it’s not time in the sense that we’re used to experiencing it, but rather effect of habit. That is, to what extent is our projection a matter of solid habit? The more habitual it has become, the deeper and more solid the canyon in which we find ourselves from the a priori bound perspective. I’ve experienced being avoided because I disillusion the projection. On the other hand, I‘ve witnessed people I didn’t believe in who believed in themselves so strongly that, much to my surprise, they ended up turning me into a believer. The shared characteristic of these is the insistent depth and intensity of their projection. When you see intensity of projection, your immediate thought is that those waters do not run deep, because a fast river is usually a shallow one; but a deep, fast river, ultimately sweeps over everything in its path. But there’s another element to this. It’s related to belief.


Depth as a Measure of Topographical Emotional Paving

One tends to think that the act of struggle toward an ideal is what is responsible for personal greatness, or, the other way around: that greatness is what instills the will to struggle. This is not quite true. Struggle, life experience, and spiritual exploration result in personal depth and intensity. Think red badge of courage. A man who wins a war faces death in the face, and then his life becomes a trench. It isn’t the facing and overcoming of death that wins the war; it is the projection and the becoming. Projection – facing the challenge to the projection – the deepening of the self. You win the war when you have become the man who wins the war. Tactics didn’t win the revolutionary war; Valley Forge did. The soldiers who endured the winter in the valley and, in the spring, put their tattered boots back on and shouldered their muskets – they had completed the process of becoming. There wasn’t a force on heaven or earth that could have stood in their way once they had. When the Israelites showed up and knocked in the gates of Jericho, 40 years of desert life had already made them victors. It didn’t matter that the natives were twice there size, better fed and better armed: once the hardened, ruthless Israelites cast their gaze on their land, they were already dead. The river projects itself across obstacles, but from the perspective of the a priori bound focus riding along its flow, obstacles are received and flowed around or over. When the flow lacks the depth to do this, it is either redirected or stopped. A key aspect of emotional maturity is the depth. A man of depth receives obstacles and is not encumbered by them. He does not have to avoid the faithless and the uncooperative terrain, because he’s able to receive it and flow over it. The ephemera of the projection of the common alpha falls apart because it lacks depth. Depth takes tried belief. But again, the belief is what comes first, not the facts. The facts emerge from the depth of projected belief as a consequence, not a cause. I have the required elements, now.

The Conclusion Reached

The trajectory of the self is prepared by emotional and linguistic projection ahead of the a priori bound point of experience. As the belief in the projection is tried by competing linguistic norms, it is either dissipated or deepened. The deepening of the projected emotional-linguistic resolve increases the tangibility of the facts which accumulate to it, until it becomes firmly established and accepted by other participants, who then are compelled to yield themselves as cooperative components of the projection, which, at this point, has become an appropriating event.

Leadership as Applied Emotional Topography

The greatest leaders deliberately exist not only in their own emotional futures, but also pick up on the very best that is being projected by those under their leadership and in massively biased manner, chooses to reinforce those elements. They make others believe in themselves. A man who is great in the presence of the leader because of his focus, will follow that leader into hell and back – because that is what the best that is in him demands. And every man wants to exist as his best self.

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