This implies, then, that meaning, symbols, and maps in general are all of a piece with the illusion that the world is broken. And so, through the internalization of these various social maps, we are eventually persuaded that the real world actually exists as a collection of disjointed fragments, some of which have meaning because they point to others! But the world seems to be this fractured affair only because those are now the terms which we perceive it. We approach it by slicing it to bits and then hastily conclude that this is the way it has existed all along. In a very real sense, our social conceptions have become our individual perceptions.
At this stage of the social game we have thoroughly overstepped the usefulness of the map by almost totally confusing it with the actual territory. Our maps are fictions, possessing as much or as little, reality as the dividing of the of the earth into lines of latitude and longitude or the splitting of the day into units of hours and minutes. Yet social fictions die hard. Useful as they are, untold confusion results when they are mistaken for facts. In 1752 the British government rearranged the standard calendar by changing September 2 to September 14, with the result that Westminster was stormed by people who were absolutely horrified that eleven days had just been taken off their lives! So also, every year in America, when certain localities go off daylight savings time, an unbelievable number of "little ole' ladies" rush City Hall, outraged in their belief that their begonias have actually lost an hour of sunlight.
These fictions are perhaps easy enough to see through, but many others, such as the seperation of life and death and the existence of an objective world "out there", are much more difficult to penetrate. The reason is that we have been thoroughly brainwashed, by well-intentioned but equally brainwashed parents and peers, into mistaking a description of the world as it is in its suchness, its voidness...Once we have accepted the social description of the world as reality itself, it is only with the very greatest of difficulty that we can perceive any other aspects of reality. Our eyes become glued to our maps without the realizing of what in fact has happened. Thus, as we have already indicated, all of these social maps bascially serve to mold an individuals awareness into conventional units meaningful to that society, and disastrously enough, all of those aspects of experience and reality which do not conform to this pervasive social mold are simply screened out of consciousness. That is to say, they are repressed-they are rendered unconscious-and this occurs not to such and such an individual but to all members of a particular society by virtue of their common subscription to that society's pictures of the world-its language, logic, ethics and law.
And so it comes about that, despite its numerous other functions, the Biosocial Band acts, in Fromm's words, as a major filter of reality, a prime repressor of existential or centaur awareness. As anthropologist Edward Hall explains it, "Selective screening of sensory data admits some things while filtering others, so that experience as it is perceived through one set of culturally patterned sensory screens is quite different from the experience perceived through another. Even more revealing, however, is psychoanalyst Laing's comment that "If our wishes, feelings, desires, hopes, fears, perception, imagination, memory, dreams...do not correspond to the law, they are outlawed, and excommunicated."
Just thought I would throw this out there-if anyone has any thoughts at all about this please comment! I have felt for a long time that the brain is a filter that prevents us from seeing "reality" in its glorious beauty and wholeness. If it takes a bit for your comment to appear-not to worry -lately my computer seems to be dictating the "reality" of when I will be online or off! I am also trying to get caught up with everyone's blogs that I follow or link to. Now to ponder even more important questions -Why does the pop diva "Pink" scare me? Why does my left ear always have more wax than the right ear? Why does my cat like to fetch pens-and steal them also-she has a veritable collection of writing instruments stashed all over my condo-is she wanting to write a book also? Why have I developed a craving for jelly doughnuts that is out of control? So many questions -so little time-peace and be well to anyone stopping by!