My laptop is down.  It sits at the left side of my desk.  At the right side of my desk is the older unit I used until three years ago.  That is where I sit until Bob arrives and figures out what’s wrong.  When that’s fixed, I’ll have access to all current projects and I’ll be able to start my day.

Just now, sitting in my chair three feet to the left of its usual location, leaned back in the chair with my head cocked to the side, I was startled into noticing a particularly powerful combination of visual elements outside the window of the office.  The way that the oak tree, banister, stop sign, distant foliage and apartment building across the street arranged themselves was a uniquely powerful congregation of composition, color, contrast and depth.  When I untilted my head, the arrangement was still there, but I’d never noticed it before.  All it took was an unexpected adjustment in my viewing angle from an unusual position behind my desk to recognize beauty that had always been there.

It’s all about the frame.  The window “frames” the world to allow a particular point of view.  A framed painting cues the viewer that there is a communication occurring within a nonarbitrary boundary.  Art is about nonarbitrary boundaries allowing a settling of perception into deliberate perspectives.  Whereas life is rife with attempts to communicate particular points of view, art allows a context where this can occur while the observer is aware that this is the case.  Perhaps artists take themselves too seriously, believing the content of their communication is the point.  For me, what art is about is the awareness that we are aware.  By continually adjusting our perception to different frames, we can become aware of the relativity of experience and perception.

The primary way that humans fashion or frame experience is through language.  We take language very seriously and so often forget it is only a frame, a system that suggests where we put our attention.  The relativity of words are forgotten, their associational properties neglected as we instead embrace the concepts they seek to only represent.  We take words very seriously.  We forget we are practicing art in every moment.

Chomsky hypothesized that language emerged as a selected cluster of grammatical structures that showed evolutionary fitness and survived.  Consider that language, a framing mechanism that seems to somehow accompany split awareness (split because one is aware, and one is aware that one is aware), is a direct reflection of embryonic epigenetic relationships between an ontogenetically growing individual and an environment supplying information regarding particular ways to grow.

There are two shifts in understanding how we grow and evolve that contribute to this alternative way of understanding how language may have emerged.  First, consciousness always existed.  There is the big consciousness that characterizes the whole, and there is the consciousness featured by every individual.  Individual consciousness is not self aware.  Life is not lived in frames.  A dog is not aware of its dogness in the context of a larger world.  The dog is just aware.

When we become aware that we are aware we embrace the frames.  We are choosing our perspectives, our world views.  Our minds are split with a characteristic sensitivity to different time, place and personhood.  We can experience empathy because we can understand a time and place different from the time and place we occupy right now.

The first of the two shifts in understanding is characterized by split consciousness as opposed to consciousness.  Pure consciousness or nonsplit consciousness is where we mostly spent our time perhaps as recently as 50,000 years ago, when in the womb, or when last dreaming.

The second of the two shifts in understanding has to do with a reappraisal of what we think our boundaries are.  Classic evolutionary theory has us slowly adjusting over generations to environmental contingencies that prune those of us with less talent for achieving procreation opportunities.  Consider that as only a fraction of the story.  Arguments among theorists for over a century have revolved around understanding how exactly the features of individuals are generated for an environment that then determines who survives.

Variation is not random.

A place to look to discover nonrandom feature proliferation is in the human womb, where the environment is having a profound effect upon the individuals that emerge.  Consider that language, the way the split consciousnesses have found to communicate with each other, is a direct reflection of the epigenetic conversation between heredity and environment in the womb.  Seeking the structure of language, we need go no further than discovering the particular ways that environment and heredity converse.

Consider that the language of language is deeply similar to how an individual listens and responds to the world while in the womb.  We prolonged the womb experience into the post-birth world, introducing society to our ability to converse.

Split consciousness emerged with humans acting out the role of both heredity and environment, having learned to both speak and listen.  Having carried the womb experience into adulthood, we have brought with us the language of the womb.

In other words, human society with its constant shifting of frames is acting out an ancient womb environment of infinite growth contingencies.  Every looking out a window is a natal balancing of incoming information in preparation for another ontogenetic shift.  Who we are as human adults is deeply informed by our experience in the womb.

It requires a shift in position to view split consciousness as integrally tying together natal epigenetic (womb environment/heredity) conversations and language.  Viewing things in different ways is what being human is all about.


Name (required)

Email (required)


Share your wisdom