Myth of the Given and The Work

I read through the thread on Myth of the Given and The Work at the Integral Naked forum, and learned something more about the myth of the given.

Apparently, working with and seeing through the myth of the given goes beyond the simple version of it: recognizing appearances as just appearances, filtered in numerous ways, conditioned by infinite causes. It also includes a specific way to analyze why it appears as it does through bringing in the intersubjective, and the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st person perspectives.

I guess we have do it one that one specific way for it to count 🙂

So does The Work do it in that one particular way? Let’s see…

  • Intersubjective. Well, The Work is intersubjective in one way (I know this one doesn’t count), in that it is often done with a partner, and also shared with others. Also, it is intersubjective in that many of the subquestions (under question no. 3) specifically helps us look at how our beliefs are created in community, and appears real because they are shared by community. Questions no. 4 and the turnarounds helps us see how they are not absolutes, and that different communities indeed see and filter things differently.
  • 3rd, 2nd and 1st person perspectives. As with the 3-2-1 process, the initial statement and subquestions to question no. 3 is an exploration of the 3rd person perspective (he/she/it). The second person perspective (you) comes in mostly when we work directly with another, reading our inquiries on statements on them while they listen, and we then talk about it afterwards. And the first person (I) comes in throughout.
  • The filter of context. For me, and also others it seems, an analysis of the role of context follows from some of the subquestions for question no. 3, as outlined under the first point. For instance, when we look at the question “when did you first have that thought” it is often clear how it came through culture, family, religion, or some other influence.

This isn’t to say that The Work completely addresses the Myth of the Given, nor that it has to. Also, maybe some additional subquestions, and different configurations of doing it, would make it more aligned? (One question could be “where did the belief come from”, although the answer to that one usually comes through the question “when did you first have that belief”.)

And even if The Work already addresses the Myth of the Given, through many of its subquestions and the turnarounds, why make it explicit? Why not let people discover it for themselves? If it is made explicit, it can too easily just be another myth, another belief, another “should”, another way to blind ourselves.

I also see that the Myth of the Given seemed so obvious to me initially, that we filter the world in innumerable ways, and that these filters are created by infinite causes. But it is apparently not that simple. I still don’t quite get how KW and others use it…

This also reminded me of that old filter list, all of which may come up in a thorough inquiry…

  • The filter of this particular universe, with its habits, characteristics, evolution and so on, expressed both at the seen and seeing (this human self as a perceptual organ) end.
  • The filter of biology. As humans, we have a certain size that makes us perceive things a certain way. We have a lifespan that gives us a focus on things happening within this timespan and – for instance – makes it difficult for us to grasp things that happens over much longer time spans. We have certain sensory organs that each filter input a very specific way. For instance, a gold fish can see beyond the spectrum we can. There are biological gender differences, even in how our nervous system is put together, which also filters the world in specific ways, and so on.
  • Culture, which obviously filters how we perceive things and what we put value on. And when we have a certain filter, it filters the world to make itself look very real and true. It is difficult to not notice this one today, in our global multi-faceted civilization.
  • Subcultures. Again, this one is pretty obvious in daily life. We all grew up in and function in a range of different subcultures, from our families, nation, ethnic group, religion, politics, friends, and even life experiences (a subculture of one), which all filter the world for us as anything else.
  • Development. When we develop along the different lines of development, these lines and where they are at filters the world for us. Again, pretty obvious in daily life. Babies filter things different from older children, which in turn filters things differently from adults. adults. Also, when we develop within any single line of development – be it kinestetic, moral, cognitive etc. – it changes how the world appears to us.

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