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Reply To: The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is Within Reach,” with Dennis Slattery, Ph.D”

Dennis Slattery

    Thank you very much Drewie, for your further reflections on what you have contributed to this site and reflections that grew from my essay. Very gratifying. I like the fluid nature of your response as you move about in these subtle fields of meaning and its absence. If we think about our experiences and their meanings in terms of a well-used metaphor of Figure/Ground, wherein as we pay attention to one experience as a figure of our attention, then our other experiences for that moment become ground and recede, but do not disappear, from our screen of awareness. When we concentrate on experience, meaning becomes ground. If we concentrate on the meaning, then the experience becomes ground; but this is a fluid relationship.

    When, for example, Stephen Daedalus in Joyce’s magnificent novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is walking along the strand outside of Dublin, lost in his philosophical musings, the world is ground. But then he looks ahead of him and sees a beautiful young woman, with her skirt hiked and tucked into her belt, entering the water, he gasps in a moment of “aesthetic arrest.” Now the world becomes ground to this marvelous figure that transforms Stephen on the spot. We all have these moments of aesthetic arrest where the world disappears under the pressure and the pleasure of such a vision.

    I sense this presence in you in your last response. Keep it going; being a bit fluid is more open to the imaginal than to be too fixed in place or idea. Thanks Drewie.