Thursday, February 23, 2012

Orders of Abstraction

It feels like I am living my life one level removed from reality right now. It's not true, just a feeling. The stuff I am dealing with right now-- plane tickets and tax season and scheduling-- are completely real. Most people spend much of their lives at this level... But it feels artificial and unimportant.

It has been two years, give or take a month, since anyone tried to kill me. And that wasn't much of an effort, really, nor was it personal. But it felt real, infinitely more real than tax season at a small business.

In the 'ohno' moment, everything is what it is. Exactly what it is, no more and no less and no other. You see and you act, and every interpretation or memory or 'woulda coulda shoulda' thought is a distraction that can get you killed.

You see. You act.

Nothing more. If you do it right, you walk away. If you don't, you just become a piece of someone else's story.

When you think about it afterwards or debrief it, no matter how practiced you are in the AAR, you are removed from the event by a whole order of magnitude. It is a thing of memory now, something that happened. No longer a thing of fear and immediacy.

When you try to extrapolate the lessons (which is the sacred duty of all operators) you are yet another order of magnitude removed. Ten times as abstract. Trying to put or derive intellectual lessons from an event of meat and adrenaline.

Teaching is yet another order of magnitude removed.


Anonymous said...

my bipolarity fights my tripolarity whilst i sit catatonic from them both

Wayne said...

Mind thinking stuff, especially for those teachig (or interested in teaching) self-defense. Those layers between you and violence are something you have be aware of and figure out someway to get closer to the source so to speak.

I was actually going to write a post this weekend about my expereinces at the seminar and how I spotted a layer of abstraction that would prevent me from being a good teacher in the areas I'm really interested. Going to try and get it onto paper tonight.

Kai Jones said...

I have found movement helpful to reduce abstraction, especially walking through the experience in slow motion while expressing aloud the thoughts and feelings that repeat, as if they were locked in the muscle memory along with the movement.

Kai Jones said...

Saw this link today and thought it was relevant to the discussion:

the difference between happiness as it is known to the Experiencing Self versus happiness as it is known to the Remembering Self. The Remembering self responds to stories which are all about change, significant moments, and endings. So we might view an overall positive experience that ended badly as a negative experience, or a negative experience that ended well as a good experience.

Anonymous said...

Most Americans don't realize the level of comfort we exist in. A wordly person or maybe a person with a certain level of humility and rationalaztion can see threw the fog of bullshit that most of us believe is actual life. Our society as structured has us pacified to the point that most walk threw life believing that the mundane and trivial IS the meat and potatoes! Rory is not one of those.