Unreal Nature

September 27, 2010

Phantasy World

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 8:06 am

… in the main what exists are doctrines regarding expression, gestural equipment for providing displays, and stable motives for encouraging certain imputations.

… what is real … is merely a differently grounded — usually more stable and more acceptable — motive for maintaining a particular appearance.

Returning to Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience by Erving Goffman (1974):

Laing has a useful comment:

Interpersonal life is conducted in a nexus of persons, in which each person is guessing, assuming, inferring, believing, trusting or suspecting generally, being happy or tormented by his phantasy of the other’s experience, motives, and intentions. And one has phantasies not only about what the other himself experiences and intends, but about his phantasies about one’s own experience and intentions, and about his phantasies about one’s phantasies about his phantasies about one’s experience, etc.

… Our understanding of people seems to be linked to a tacit theory of expression or indication. We assume that there are such things as relationships, feelings, attitudes, character, and the like, and that various acts and postures somehow intentionally or unintentionally provide direct evidence concerning these things. But the position can be taken that in the main what exists are doctrines regarding expression, gestural equipment for providing displays, and stable motives for encouraging certain imputations. It could then be granted that certainly feelings, relationships, and attributes can be faked and that indications can be provided in absence of their proper referent. And further, that it is important to distinguish these fakeries from the real thing. But what is real in each case, it could be argued, is merely a differently grounded — usually more stable and more acceptable — motive for maintaining a particular appearance. And insofar as this is the case — insofar, for example, as a personal relationship can be defined as a coalition between two players to provide each other with expressions of the existence of a desirable bond — then, of course, two-person worlds are vulnerable indeed. The indication that each party provides the other that nothing whatsoever could break them apart is itself the substance, not the shadow, and should the motives of either or both change in this matter of supporting a particular appearance and encouraging a particular imputation, then the displays themselves can be very quickly altered.

-Julie

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