Edmond Chibeau looks at performance and theatre from the avant-garde communication perspective

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Location: Mansfield, Connecticut, United States

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Journey to Become Conscious

IT’S SIMPLE! Ordinary common-sense explanations for everything you haven't figured out yet. 
by:  Dean Hanotte & Rachel Bartlett
Publisher: The Paul Rosenfels Community

IT’S SIMPLE! is a collection of essays written by Dean Hannotte and edited by Rachel Bartlett.  To say that Bartlett edited and wrote an introduction to the book is not enough.  To this reader her creative influence can be felt throughout the book.  I believe that is why both names are under the title on the cover of the work.

IT’S SIMPLE! cuts through the clutter that chatters away in our head as we try to figure out the myriad conundrums that life throws in our path.  It offers guideposts in our “journey to become conscious.”

The introduction by Bartlett is an important part of the book and is an essay in its own right.  She tells us that, “More people should write autobiographies, or at least essays, so their children and grandchildren would inherit more than money and fuzzy ideas of love and responsibility.”  But responsibility is a through-line of these essays.  The book asks us to look for, and helps us to find, fruitful and conscious responsibility, not a soft-edge, vague, shifting of our responsibility to the shoulders of others.

Hannotte warns us that, “Language conventions can embody philosophical errors and trick us into deluding ourselves.”  What he wants us to do with the book, is use it to see past the grammatical structure into the larger questions that are, imperfectly, and sometimes wrongly, embedded in those grammatical structures.  The authors want us to see through the cloud of idiopathic confusion, and to simply confront ourselves as we are, here, in the reality of this moment.

For Hannotte the “unconscious mind” hypothesis is crutch that allows us to pass off the “hard work of introspection and consciousness–raising.”  The collaborative writers of this book, Hannotte and Bartlett want us to use our intelligent memory (yes for them memory has intelligence) and re-memorize raw information so that we may re-interpret it as we discover changes in our environment, and ourselves.  “Objective insight into the human condition is almost the most important kind of knowledge there is.”

The influence of the psychologist Paul Rosenfels can be felt throughout the essays.  The book is not a mere restatement of Rosenfels ideas but stands on its own, while recognizing the influence of earlier thinkers.  Rablais, Leibniz, Niels Bohr and Mark Van Doren are also woven into the fabric of the work, although it is not necessary to have read any of them to appreciate and understand IT’S SIMPLE!.

Is romance important?  Why is it so hard to write an autobiography?  What is correct, politically? Why are people like computers?  What is our species ultimately capable of?  These are some of the questions that are negotiated in IT’S SIMPLE!.  You won’t agree with all of it, but you won’t regret reading it.  And you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.

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