In our default way of being in the world, in the West, we ascribe properties to objects. So without any conscious-deliberative thought, we say:
- This rose is red;
- This bag is heavy;
- My husband-wife-partner is selfish;
- My boss is harsh-selfish-demanding-stupid;
- My work is boring;
- The English are cold-unfriendly people;
- The Americans are arrogant;
- This food is delicious;
- She has such an irritating voice ……
Let’s stop and ask ourselves the question, “Is what I take for granted really what is so?” Let’s just consider the last assertion “She has such an irritating voice!”, as assertion made by a family member when she heard me listening to a podcast.
When I/you say “She has such an irritating voice!” what is it that I am sharing? Am I pointing out an objective truth? Am I pointing out to the intrinsic ‘suchness’ of her voice? It looks that way doesn’t it given that is our cultural practice: we stand aside from the world, looking at it as a scientist does, and describe the properties of the world – including the properties of people, of objects, of groups of people and objects. And in so doing we forget that it is i/you/we who are doing the describing!
It occurs to me that when I say “She has such an irritating voice!” I am not speaking an objective truth. Rather, I am pointing at and sharing my lived experience. If I were to describe this lived experience it would be something like this:
“In my state of being right now and the listening that automatically flows from my state of being, I find that her voice shows up as irritating. “
Do you notice the different between these two statements:
“She has such an irritating voice!” and
“In my state of being right now and the listening that automatically flows from my state of being, I find her voice shows up as irritating.”
Do you notice that the label ‘irritating voice’ points towards and highlights the flavour-tone-touch of my relationship with her? ‘Irritating voice’ is not a property of her. Her voice is simply her voice: it is neither melodious nor irritating. Any irritation that shows me in me arises out of my relating with her voice.
– man is being-in-the-world-with-others and as such always exist in relationship. Everything that shows up shows up in the space of relationship. There are no objects with intrinsic properties independent of others.
– all descriptions, all labeling, all asserting is done by someone. Humberto Maturna is reported to have said “Everything said is said by someone”. By this he meant that all acts of cognition-experience occur, are distinguished by, and spoken by someone. This also means that “All that is heard is heard by someone.”
– when you and I get that, really get that, then the space of transformation (in our relating to ourself, to others, to the world in which we dwell) opens up and is available for reinterpretation. Whether you and I step into that space is a choice that we can accept or decline.