Maturana Seminar LO13015

John Farago (
Tue, 25 Mar 97 21:42 GMT0

Replying to LO12961 --

> I am still reeling from the seminar experience and gradually trying
>to take in statements like:
> 'We exist only in the present. The past and the future exist only in
>the present.' (Think about that. If you are thinking about that you
>are doing so in the present!)

How Maturana has changed my 'observation' of the world! [Of course, when I
described the dynamic, almost dancing performance of the Professor's body
and mind , it was merely a personal observation of 'how it was for me'.]

Yesterday on BBC Radio 4 [an institution that I have been addicted to for
over fifty years - how I missed it when I lived in Australia in the 1980s,
even thought the Australian Broadcasting Co. is very good] I heard a
brilliant production of Sophocles' play: 'Oedipus, the King'. Although
about 2500 years old, it could have been written specifically to
illustrate Maturana 's observations (or perhaps, although he did not
mention it, classical Greek drama may be one of his inspirations.]

Like all Greek drama [Unity of time and place], the action takes place
continuously 'in the present'. Past events are unfolded before the
spectator in a series of revelations by different observers who have
different realities. The 'reality' of Oedipus's world changes for him
'here and now' in front of the audience (observers!).

I apologise for the crude retelling and inaccuracies, but for those that
do not know the story, Oedipus is King of Thebes, married to Queen
Jocasta, widow of the former king, Laius. Oedipus believes that he is the
son of the King of Corinth, although he tells us that once a drunken party
guest had suggested that the King of Corinth was not his real father.

Consulting an oracle, Oedipus, was told that he will kill his father and
'defile the bed' of his mother. To prevent himself from doing that he had
left Corinth and become a wanderer. It is revealed that he had, on his
way to Thebes, without knowing the identity of his victim, killed a man
and his bodyguards in a chance encounter at a cross road. After arriving
in Thebes he was offered the crown of the kingdom and the marriuage to the
widow of the former king. Then it is revealed that his victim was Laius,
his wife's former husband. Next it is revealed to him by messengers that
indeed he was not the son of the King of Corinth but that he had been
rescued when he had been left to die on a mountain (because his parents
had also been told by a seer that he would kill his father). So it
becomes apparent that he had indeed killed his real father and that his
wife is his mother. Jocasta, realising this, goes off stage and it is
then reported that she has hanged herself. Oedipus goes off-stage and
gouges out his own eyes, (Thoughts of Maturana's salamander) exiles
himself and again becomes a wanderer.

It is the way that 'reality' and 'history' is again and again transformed
in the here and now - for Oedipus and for the audience - that is
transformed for me by the Maturana perspective. (John Farago)

-- (John Farago)

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