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Campers might differ widely in how tolerant they are of rain and mud, but none of them like it. And yet I actually liked the mud yesterday.

When I walked uphill, towards the mountains, the ground was rocky and well-drained enough to be un-muddy. Walking downhill, the land flattened out and became less rocky: sure enough, my feet left muddy prints on the road. Glorious!

By the end of the day, the sky cleared up. It too felt glorious. That is what is special about rain in the desert. The land seems to exude health. But it isn't just the land. The human observer is also restored to healthy-mindedness.

There is so much difference between dry sunny skies most of the time versus all of the time. That is obvious, but you have to live through it to really appreciate it.

I keep re-designing a homemade rain gauge in my head: some sort of wide-mouth funnel, cone, inverted umbrella; with a translucent straw glued into its bottom. I want amplification over 100. The trouble is that it is too bulky to carry around!



XXXXX said…

Here in the PNW, the experience takes the opposite form. We get lots of rain in the winter and it is the sunny dry day that is glorious.
However, there is another layer to all of this which makes whichever direction the experience goes in irrelevant.
It helps to go within instead of focusing on the exterior experience. You found yourself liking the mud seemingly because it is the polar opposite of too much dryness, too much sun and its ability to sap the life (moisture) out of everything.
I think a rain gauge defeats the real purpose of experiencing fully the experience you speak of. Don't take your mind off the ball. Can you simply allow yourself to experience without reducing yourself to analysis?

Oh my goodness, George. The book I am reading at the moment (Rousseau and Romanticism by Irving Babbitt) would take your last sentence and throw you into the hopeless-Romanticist basket!
"...instead of focusing on the exterior experience?" The overall experience requires the exterior experience to get it going. I can't sign on to the idea of unlimited subjectivity. I like the tension and interplay between the outside world and the interior world between my ears.

I agree with Babbitt that one-sided Romantic subjectivity is really just a type of masturbation. (not his word)
XXXXX said…

Ha! So you haven't given up on philosophy after all.

Glad to see it.
An over-emphasis on the subjective and psychology angles is equivalent to saying that a human being is 100% mind.

I think a human being is also flesh, and the outside world affects that flesh.

Philosophers -- starting with Buddha and Plato -- downgraded the body and objective reality because that makes philosophers more important. They wanted to believe that their own MIGHTY thoughts are the center of the universe or even the entire universe.

It makes me think of that scene in the Coen Brothers' "Barton Fink" where the movie director tells the writer 'you think the whole world revolves around what bounces around in that little head of yours.' (more or less.)
XXXXX said…

To be objective here, it isn't possible to know Plato's true motives and anyone who thinks they can do so is simply projecting their own thoughts into the situation. Common human error.
To be objective, everyone has the experience of their own thoughts being the center of the universe simply because our own thoughts ARE the center of our own little universe. I don't see anything about what you are saying which exempts you from this very human dilemma.

I am not arguing mind over body. Obviously, we have bodies and they exert a profound effect on our minds. The interaction between the two, that middle ground of experience, is a very interesting place.

Do you think the whole world revolves around what bounces around your little head? I'm sure you don't. Give me the same consideration.

Too much coffee this morning?

Sorry, George. Rereading Babbitt's book always fires me up with anti-Rousseauianism! and anti-subjectivism.
XXXXX said…

If I'm understanding your meaning correctly, your point is to not 'over-mind' something and consequently minimize the body in the process. That seems to be the reason for bringing up the criticism of Plato and the Buddha.

In my first post, I was trying to do exactly that. The experience of mud and water is an experience of the body which, of course, translates into the mind which makes meaning of it.

I was trying to encourage you to stay longer in the experience of the body and not jump so quickly to the mind's tendency to always want to quantify experience for the purpose of qualifying it.

Staying in the body is not romanticism. It is simply giving proper legitimacy to what the body is experiencing and that requires we stay in that body experience longer so that it can fully register on the mind. It's a lot like making sure we eat slowly so that we can actually taste our food and notice its texture.

Consciousness is somewhat of a curse in that it wants to jump to analysis too quickly. I would say what our body experiences is objective and what the mind makes of it is subjective, so in support of your point, my initial post, IMHO, is supportive of your position, at least as I'm able to understand it.