Monday, October 27, 2014

Lived Experience

Mixed images from

Lived Experience

Human being vibrates, ever reaching
Into an unknown
Seeks further meaning

Increasingly aware of the numinous
Tastes eternity
Feels balanced motion

Never to be sated but simply left
A bit less lonely
Appeased by beauty


         The term of the day, for me—but first a Dis-Claimer (a dis on myself actually). I’ve learned not to expect to be on the earlybird timetable for coining a phrase or even picking it up when it’s hot. So this term won’t be new for most anyone else. I know. OK. I know Van Manen’s Researching Lived Experience was published a quarter century ago.  And from von Franz over a half-century ago in her commentary on Apuleius and his protagonist Lucius in the Golden Ass: “Lucius thus represents the principle of consciousness or the possibility of becoming conscious through lived life experience” (p. 30).
         So I’m slow, but I still want to know, why “lived” as a part of the experience?  Do we have many unlived experiences? Or partially lived ones? Hmmm. While it may be argued as semantically wasteful, I’m thinking that to tack on “lived” to “experience” pushes me toward increased consciousness. And that sets up the advance into quantum consciousness.  Now with that connection I’ve got a good reason for plumbing the phrase.
         When I look again and more closely into van Manen for his purpose of putting “lived” in combination with “experience,” I’m concluding that he seems concerned that the bare term “experience” has been compromised by our scientific bias. Probing pure experience gets lost in analysis. The first explanation I find in Researching Lived Experience comes on page 9: Phenomenology “differs from almost every other science in that it attempts to gain insightful descriptions of the way we experience the world pre-reflectively, without taxonomizing, classifying, or abstracting it.”  A few lines later, “Consciousness is the only access human beings have to the world. Or rather, it is by virtue of being conscious that we are already related to the world.”
         In a way, engagement with “lived experience” cycles me back, in that unending tour around the ancient tower of one’s destiny, into the “sense born-with” and through the theme of resonance. Phenomenology, in the Heidegger track (in addition to epistemology's how do we know?), elevates ontology: why/how is a person here? Might it be that engaging and re-entering experience with deepened insight marries the individual with his and her indwelling gift. Von Franz talks of this as our daimon or the individual genius: “each individual had his idios daimon—his own specific daimon…the Greek word which Apuleius translates quite adequately in Latin as ‘genius.’ From the Jungian point of view, one could say that it is the preconscious form of individuality…The genius made one genialis—sparkling with spirit and life” (pp. 14-15).
         Lived experience pulses with a two-way dynamic with its striving for both X (more presence in the immediate moment, the way an artist works/plays) and Y (increased dedication to representation and reflection on the experience). The dynamic carries a vibrant commitment to returning with more wholeness, holiness, like a marriage between X and Y. The opening lines of this blog reach toward that kind of pulsing dynamic gained through lived experience.
         A gift of this past weekend came in our hometown’s studio tour as we watched and talked with artists.  Creation happens as an intense, yet playful, search with a gaze into the artistic act, the phenomenon, for glimmers from beyond, and with an eagerness to re-enter. Quantum multiplicity glistens in the artists’ eyes with reflections picked up in my camera lens and mixed in this video: