A Letter to Neale

Dear Neale, In your article, "Becoming Aware of Non-Awareness," you write  that the only way a person can step out of the experience of his/her culture is to be non-aware of it or non-aware of its import.  Actually, in postmodern theory - in order to be unbiased by your perspective - it is important to be very aware of it.  We all stand somewhere and we are often unconscious of it.  We can never be totally aware of every aspect of it.  The key to be able to enter into someone else's world view without bias, according to post modern theory - is to be super aware of your own bias, not - non aware of it.  

Perhaps what you are saying is that before you can adopt the stance of non-awareness, you have to be skilled at being supremely aware.

Anyway - I teach post modern interpretation of literature - and I have found that when we discuss where we start when we read, what biases we already project into the text, how the text subconsciously clues us due to the way culture has conditioned us - and then we decide to read from a totally different perspective outside of our culture - we become more aware of our biases.

Reading texts is the same as reading life.  And for me, the post-modern stance of being supremely aware of our biases is the only way that I can see outside of them.

Am I understanding what you are saying correctly?

Barbara R

Neale Responds

Dear Barbara --- Thanks for your letter. I agree that your post-modern model of humans can best approach the world of thoughts and beliefs. We do, indeed, benefit enormously from looking deeply at our own biases and beliefs.

The point I was hoping to make in the book The Holy Experience is that not only do we need to look at and be familiar with our own beliefs by gathering all the data we can about them, but we need, as well, to be able to free ourselves from the dogma and doctrines behind them.

Of course, we can’t free ourselves from something if we do not know what we are freeing ourselves from. As you point out, “We all stand somewhere and we are often unconscious of it.” So the first thing we have to do is be conscious of where we stand now. Or, as my writing put it, “We can’t be meandering about our world bumping into things, as it were; breaking lots of glass and stepping on the shards. We have to know what’s out there, and where and how we fit in.”

I hoped I conveyed this when I said, with regard to our own belief: “...we have to know it, but we have to have none of it matter—except when it does.” I then said that “Non-Awareness allows us to use the data that we have gathered about Life and Self and God, without having the data use us.” So I think that we are saying the same thing, Barbara --- and perhaps this week’s article, above, gets my thoughts across a bit more clearly. I hope so. Sincere thanks for your reflections, which I found to be far more articulate than mine!


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