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Step 77: Perspective Framing

Perspective Framing

In this episode, Ryder Richards explores the concept of perspective framing, drawing inspiration from Slavoj Žižek’s idea of The Parallax view. He delves into the challenges posed by post-structuralism, negation, and the need for self-narrative in a constantly shifting society.

Highlights

  • 🌐 Ryder discusses the concept of perspective framing and its role in undermining binary oppositional ideas.
  • 💭 Post-structuralism and deconstructionism have led to a society that constantly repositions itself, seeking liberation but creating more complexity.
  • 🌆 Some individuals seek stability by turning to traditionalism, while others explore the idea of panpsychism.
  • 🧠 Techniques like psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation help individuals reframe their perspectives and cope with societal pressures.
  • 💡 Buddhism’s focus on dissolving the ego and desire challenges traditional notions of identity and positioning in society.

Listen

  • 0:00 Introduction of the parallax view.
  • 2:19 Breaking the power of hegemonic narratives.
  • 4:28 We must retain the positions we’ve just cancelled.
  • 6:44 Why we need to break traditional beliefs.
  • 8:47 How to choose a new perspective.
  • 11:23 Psychoanalysis is more about sizing the psychotic subject than the ego.
  • 13:41 How to become an individual subject without ego.
  • 16:18 To sin is to miss the mark.
  • 18:44 Reframing the problem into parallax.

Summary

Ryder discusses different perspectives (psychology, Buddhism, Christianity) on resolving inner turmoil; which leads to introducing Zizek’s parallax view for positioning ourselves amidst postmodern chaos.

  • 🧠 Perspectives from psychology, Buddhism, Christianity on resolving our inner crises
  • 😟 Society makes us unhappy; we’ve lost idea that happiness is fleeting
  • 👨‍⚕️ Therapist reframes trauma; Buddhist dissolves ego; Christian aligns with God
  • 🤔 But do these just reposition us around the problem vs solving it?
  • 🔭 Zizek’s parallax view: our focus shifts as our viewpoint shifts
  • 💡 Zizek: the solution to postmodern chaos may lie within the rubble itself

Step 77: Perspective Framing

Introduction

Welcome to the problematic realm of perspective framing. Ryder Richards will be your dubious guide through this profound exploration of self-awareness and understanding. Central to our journey is the parallax view, a powerful method of finding our place in the world by establishing reference points by Slavoj Zizek. But first, we must challenge hegemonic narratives and reconsider Hegel’s notion of negation, as breaking free from (or subsuming and overcoming) conventional beliefs allows us to envision new possibilities.

As we progress, we’ll examine how psychology analysis, meditation, and Buddhism provide tools to reshape our perspectives and alleviate societal discontent. Psychoanalysis will offer unique insights into the human psyche, highlighting the potential for multiple points of fixation as normalcy which creates markers to allow a fixed identity.

Moreover, we’ll consider all of these topics related to the “desiring self” and its role in identity. Most pointedly, we will look at Christianity’s perspective on sin related to desire, and how desire is necessary to align with God.

Stay tuned for the next post, where we will dive deep into the intricacies of the Parallax View, a possibly revolutionary approach to subjective positioning that allows understanding without always negating the negation, as deconstrcutionism does.

Step 77: Perspective Framing

Part 1: Context (Background)

Now… as a contextual precursor I am going to map out a quandary, a conundrum, which has multiple proposed solutions for the same problem. 

We are all familiar with this kind of thing, but my reasoning for the episode is to walk through a problem of perspectives around the same problem before we define PARALLAX next episode. 

The grand cultural context we are in is, our background to all our arguments today is, arguably, post-structuralist or deconstructionist theory: our brains are trained to be creatively destructive. We are always seeking chinks, pouring ourselves into them, and expanding, creating widening gaps to crack the hegemonic narrative. This clever prerogative is billed as liberation from lies and authority. We are looking to break power, and in so breaking it, we gain a semblance of righteous power as the liberator… as the clever breaker. 

The professed ultimate goal of breaking, deconstruction, is to limit exploitation and abuse which should empower the individual. And overall this shattering should provide us with the stability of flattened equality… like a gravel pit where once there was a castle. But that doesn’t really seem to be the outcome. 

One way to consider our ideological ontology is Hegel’s notion of “Negation.” This is not the negative, but it is our ability to negate the impact or power of something, to nullify it or cancel it, while oddly enough preserving the positions we just canceled. Our liberation is by canceling, but we must retain the position we canceled, otherwise we would not have anything to fight… and who are we if not what we are fighting against? 

But this sounds odd right? What it exemplifies is that we have to have some self-narrative and eventual goal in order to position ourselves in society, which is how we know who we are: we look outwards to society to mirror our position back to us. 

So, given this awkward negation that includes preservation of what we just negatedour negation informs our status, that is ourselves.

We have moved fully into a time of continuous reframing, repositioning, rather than a stable tradition. In our attempts to liberate ourselves, to be free, we have made a world of evermore positions, more gravel. We not only have the positions we supposedly overcame, which though canceled and supposedly non-relevant, as fractured rubble, but each position we take to negate is itself negated from a new position. The worry is, besides all points getting lost as the gravel multiplies, is that gravel can be a slippery surface get traction on. 

Hence, we are witnessing a retro-nostalgic turn, people attempting to return to the past, to rebuild some sort of foundation, and the gluethe mortarthey are using is traditionalism: as in, we know it was bad, but it can’t be any worse or more precarious than it is now. 

matthew b crawford

 Matthew B. Crawford and others say this started about 100 years ago to avoid the totalitarian narrative, the nationalistic fascist mindset that was sweeping Europe. So, modernist thinkers broke traditional beliefs, like the authority of the father, social norms, and zealous religious belief. And in so doing, we were left relying on alternate ways of framing the world, which became increasingly complex or incommensurate. 

So, this is the background of our perspective. When we look to the hills, they have been flattened, the trees harvested or burning, and -I think- there are a couple of dispositions in the rubble: people wanting to build something, craving stability and willing to submit to authority despite it’s historic dangers AND the counter-point which is to pan-psychically elevate atoms as unique. But there is also some rubble that has given up, been too far broken, that will just take soma, play video games, upload your consciousness and fade out, probably because the other two options seem insane.

Step 77: Perspective Framing

Part 2: a shrink, a monk, and a preist walk into a bar

Ok, so on our perspectival journey, let’s walk through something I have been pondering lately, which are methods of reframing our lives -choosing a new perspectivebecause we are more unhappy, anxious and despairing than in the past. 

Consider that we are either 1) we are caught in a deforming brutal system that preys on our mental health or 2) we are delusional to think the world should be nice. While I hope it is 1, it is probably a combo.

What we are offered today by therapy, meditation and religion are tools to alter our subjective framing, tools for relief, that pull us out of our instant reactions to reposition us in with a different perspective. 

This is the equivalent of walking with your head down not to trip, and suddenly being able to look up and around: to see the horizon instead of your portending doom. 

Psychology

So, a psychologist walks into a bar… and blames his parents. 

Today, In psychotherapy Cognitive Behavioral Theory helps us self-soothe by reframing, moving past the initial fear/rage/anxiety reaction to a broader, more moderate position. 

Arguably, psychoanalysis does the same… in therapy you recognize your trauma from your origin (or some point previously unexamined) and once enlightened to it’s effect your original position of reaction is mollified. Not that you won’t have another reaction, but it won’t come from the same point.  

An interesting aside here from Zizek: Laconian psychoanalysis is more about hysterisizing the psychotic subject. The psychotic has found their desired path, and the analyst forces a rupture, a schizm, to move them beyond a single point fixation. Which implies to be normalized, non-psychotic, is either to have multiple points of fixation, or more accurately, to never know exactly who you are. “Why am I who you say I am?” is the normal position from which you rely on society… so the danger is to know precisely who you are and what you desire. That makes you psychotic.

Buddhism

A monk walks into a bar… and forgets to order a drink. 

Reframing in the context of Meditation attempts to center us in the present, “Be here now,”” as Ram Dass says, which dismisses past rumination and future worry. 

This draws from Buddhism, which says desire causes worry and fear. To regret the past and attempt to make up for it, or worry about the future and assume you can control anything, is your ego assuming it can effect the world. By dissolving the ego you can release fear and pride, which are motivational drivers, and suddenly no one can control you because you are not motivated by their motivations. 

So, dissolution of the ego means it is hard for society to position you when you no longer have the ego handle it can grab onto and jerk you around with. 

The ego, in this sense, is a positioning element: it lets you know where you are in relation to society, the ego is a score keeper and a status machine, obsessed with where you fit in. 

In a bit of a leap here, if you lose ego, you lose the  Laconian conception of “you”. Simplifying Lacan, how you become an individuated subject, a unique individual, that is, how you become “you” is precisely through pursuing the object of your desire… and without desire… who are you? 

CBT, therapy, and meditation all help you reframe how you fit into the world, how you see your position in the world. It allows you to prioritize desires differently. If you are heading towards that castle, slogging uphill, these techniques ask you to stop and smell the roses, or realize you are next to a beautiful lake, and perhaps you can take your foot off the neck of that goose you furiously trampled in your headlong rush. 

Buddhism is ridding yourself of even attempting to desire anything at all. 

if you remove the object at the center of desire, be it status or a sexy partner or that really nice coffee machine or tablesaw that would make you complete as a person. Well, if you lose that object, you lose the “self” in terms of location: We have lost the markers of our positioning… it is as if you were heading to that castle and suddenly a fog descends. You are lost and wandering. And you choose to be ok with that.

Christianity

a priest walks into a bar… and turns around and leaves. 

Ok… Perhaps you are thinking “I am not a buddhist and I don’t believe in therapy.” Perhaps you are a Christian getting all you need from your religion, and you think, “thank God, I am never lost.” So, yes, you have a North Star, not a castle you are chasing. 

But the question for this exercise is “are you a “self” without desire?” 

so, let’s walk through this: a conundrum still exists between how you are a self, and how we react to and through desire. How it motivates us, and this makes us an individual. 

So, let’s consider most of our desires as profane and fleshy sinful temptations. 

To sin is from the Greek ‘hamartia’ or Hebrew ‘hata’ which translates as “miss the mark.” To sin is to position yourself further away from God, the ideal, the center.  So, when you sin you know where you are. 

Now, in Christian theology the split between soul and body attributes sinful desires to the flesh not the spirit. Your animal body is tempted into sloth, sex, gluttony, greed, etc… and you must overcome. 

Interestingly, you are allowed desire: the desire to align with God, to grow nearer the object of desire. You attempt to close the gap, reducing sin by desiring proximity to the One. 

This desire like any modeled memetic desires is not for unique individuality, but to be utterly consumed in God: the absolute christian loses subjectification, enters the radiant hive mind washed clean and pure, perfectly aligned with the center of your world. 

If you capture your desire and “you” cease to exist as an individual: you are at this point completely aligned, completely subjugated and subsumed. 

In this way, Christianity uses your desire rather than negating it. Your desire fulfilled leads you to no longer desire. 

Unfortunately, what we encounter is the non-perfect state, a failure to close the gap completely: the desire to sin remains, because we are trapped in the flesh, and the act of repressing these bodily desires becomes the “self”… That is, the discipline of profane desire for a spiritual desire becomes who you are. It allows proximity to God, but never sublimation until you are liberated from the flesh sack God trapped you in.

Step 77: Perspective Framing

Part 3: From Perspective to Parallax

So, this is leaning a bit sideways right now, it’s a meandering path… this happens to me when I get into religion and psychology. I get all dizzy. 

But the point of that little walk through the conundrum of the “desiring self” is to walk you through some of the contradictions that plague us, they appear irreconcilable, even given a number of different positions. 

We have to ask if the framing position in Lacan, Christianity, or Buddhism changes the problem itself, or has it merely changed our subjective position? That is, does it just reframe our perspective on the same problem? 

The answer from Zizek is yes and no! of course. The problem he shows us next episode is that Our focal point, that is Christianity, Buddhism, or Therapy offer a focal point against a background, and that focal point actively shiftsit slides sidewaysas we take on a new vantage point. 

Now, what he suggests, instead of the “negation” deconstructivist rubble I talked about earlier is… that is our apocalyptic landscape… well, let’s save that for next time, but I will say that maybe the apparent dialect issue has it’s own solution inside of itself, that is, immanent to the problem is the solution. No extra positions are necessary, no breakage, no hierarchical struggle.

Step 77: Perspective Framing

Thank you!

The next episode will help us grasp the “parallax gap.”

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