Is This Post Really Necessary? (A Word or 900 About Liminalism)

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Two days to Groundhog.

What is about to begin? I am feeling very apprehensive and dubious.

Something that is somewhere between the usual podcast interview series and a think tank is the general idea. The aim is to explore the subject of liminality and the possibility of liminalism as a “movement.”

As far as I can tell, the idea of liminalism as a movement (or even a “movement”) refers to the possibility of active, conscious (not just passive, unconscious) participation and cooperation with the liminal state. This is an idea I am seriously divided (liminal) about. It may be folly.

My view is that, once something becomes a movement, it ceases to move. It becomes fixed as an ideology, and ideologies create ideologues.

So how to set about deconstructing and removing ideology from human dialogues and interaction without turning that process into a new ideology? The answer is perhaps by observing how this can, will, and does inevitably happen with everything we do, because liminality (constant change, or flux) is both the nature of existence and the one thing we are all trying to escape from. Or I should say, if it is, since this is really all about me (though it becomes about you once you are reading this).

The medium is the messenger. But the reverse also applies: there is no messenger as separate from the medium (which is the message). And there can be no messenger without someone to receive the message. (That’s you, again.)

What did I just say? Close your eyes and try and remember the gist of what you just read. I dare you!

*

The Liminalist podcast ~ if it happens ~ will focus on the subject of liminality and the ways in which it can be used as a lens through which to view, and recontextualize our experience of, ourselves, the world, and everything in between. And naturally, to examine whether that’s a worthwhile thing to do with our time.

According to the moving target of liminalism, there are (currently) four primary ways in which liminality can be applied: spiritual/religious; social; political; and psychological.

Liminalism is ~ or might someday become ~ the conscious application of liminality in order to discover if it really is a working tool that fits every situation. (I think it is, obviously.)

Liminalism is ~ or could be ~ the willing cooperation with the undoing of our preconceptions and beliefs about ourselves, the world, and everything in between.

For example, to apply liminality to writing would mean allowing the writing process to occur in a liminal state, that of not knowing what one is writing about or why one is writing it. This leads to the focus of writing coming more and more into the moment of writing itself. The writing becomes a means to explore its own “happening.” Writing, after all, is itself (potentially) a liminal act, in that it occurs on the threshold between unconscious and conscious mind.

What is the purpose of this present sentence and how exactly will I end it if I do not know its purpose?

It can be seen how the sentence ended itself by formulating the question as to how it should be ended; hence the question transformed, mid-sentence, into its own answer.

It can also be observed how nothing has actually happened. The sentence has no reason to exist save to point to itself. (Sound familiar?)

Liminalism explores the possibility that all human endeavors have a similar quality: they are exclusively referring to the moment in which they arise and so destined always to end with it. They covertly provide the sought for solution, simply by recognizing the act of seeking as happening.

And I am not sure if that made sense or not.

*

The idea of continuity (of an end to liminality) is an illusion created by language, or more correctly, by thought, which is the product of internalizing language.

That which seeks to provide a solution (thought) is that which first introduces the need for a solution.

Problem, reaction, solution: all pertain to the realm of conscious thought.

This is why all ideologies are self-serving: they seek to bring about and perpetuate the circumstances that give rise to the need for themselves. The more ideology changes, the more it stays the same.

To then see ideology as a problem to be solved would be to play the ideological game and perpetuate ideology as a solution to the (illusory) problem it has created.

There is no way to win at this game.

The aim of liminalism can’t be to provide a solution but rather to allow for a full immersion in the perceived problem without any corresponding drive to fix it, solve it, or escape from it. Most important of all is for our experience of problem-immersion to transform, over time, from one of intense discomfort, panic, frustration, and existential anguish, to one of acceptance, comfort, contentment, and eventually, delight.

Let’s say that the human problem is the human tendency to perceive undesirable situations as problems.

And let’s just add that the end goal of liminalism is to accept that the need to achieve an end goal—either individually or collectively—is both imaginary and inessential to the psychic well-being, both of individuals and of the collective.

Hmmm. We can say that. But does that make it so?

I welcome all contributions.

I am going to be inviting other people onto the podcast to explore this; if you want to suggest someone, including yourself, email me or leave a comment.

13 thoughts on “Is This Post Really Necessary? (A Word or 900 About Liminalism)

  1. kind of getting it but the lens thingy..there’s two main theories. aFixed lens or prime lens allows in more light and produces a sharper image yet isn,t promoted at all in most mainstream shops . the image / subject comes to the lens and the fixed will have perhaps a few sizes. compare this to the more multi purpose or variable lens where one zooms , widens to a greater ratio one searches and hits the subject perhaps less personnel. Does the word retrace meant gave a connection at all ? It’s used in the stock market when shares come back up and seems an interesting phrase to work with.

  2. Undesirable situations are often the best teacher. Dusting off the word “surrender” I recently wrote to my banks and told them I had no money to pay their demands. My previous inaction was avoidance but the acceptance of my situation and the honesty with which I had to be seen taught me a valuable lesson.

    Bravery is created by fear. In the same way a bigger “baddie” creates a more potent superhero. Problems are created by end goals.

    There is no real point to this comment just to state that I have observed that reactions are the result of actions (obviously) and that currently I am finding some kind of inner peace when I stop seeking inner peace or, indeed, anything at all.

  3. ‘ to apply liminality to writing would mean allowing the writing process to occur in a liminal state, that of not knowing what one is writing about or why one is writing it. This leads to the focus of writing coming more and more into the moment of writing itself. The writing becomes a means to explore its own “happening.”’

    I suppose this applies to talking (and thinking)as well. When we talk it often seems like we don’t know or formulate what we’re going to say, like we just take it for granted that the words will flow, without really noticing how they are formed. There was a time, for about a year, when I could not carry not out a normal conversation because that process seemed to have broken down. The words just did not magically come, instead there was just a terrible kind of frozen self-consciousness. (like instead of a writers block a talkers or thinkers block) It was also extremely difficult to make decisions because there seemed so many factors to take into account to make up my mind. Like the thought process had slowed down completely and I had become more conscious of the process of talking and decision making.
    I’m still amazed sometimes at how quick-witted people are. Often it’s only after the conversation is finished that I think of what I ‘should’ have said.

    I was also wondering if you could say there is some kind of liminal space between the dual and non-dual perspective on the world, some kind of place of balance between the accepting ‘void’ of awareness or perhaps you could call it a more self-conscious ‘witness’ and the charged actions of the individual swayed by fear and desire. How they meet or how the person operates there.

    I came across this quote

    “Confuse the sacred and the secular in your environment. Create a liminal, neither here nor there, milieu. It is always in the liminal places that significant things happen, so work at creating liminality.” A Religion of One’s Own, Thomas Moore

  4. Terrific quote thanks.

    A talker’s block, what many neurodivergents suffer from I am sure.

    The liminal speech would be in between thoughtless speech of most people and the very carefully thought out speech of good speakers.

    Performers (like Robin Williams or Robert Downey Jr) can develop this art of free-association so that it has an almost mystical on-point-ness.

    Personally I think the delight of liminal speaking is not so much in the insights that it can uncover but the surprise (for the speaker) of uncovering them.

    Maybe this is the space you are speaking of between non-existence (in which nothing is happening) and duality (in which nothing NEW is)?

  5. I imagine it as a place of balance between an open receptivity to ‘what is’ and pragmatic action, so there is an efficient flow.

    I came across this which seems something like it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29

    Like a mindfullness, what seems to work for me is to bring my attention back to my body and vital energy,which seems to bring more of a sense of intuition, and then just focusing on what needs to be done next on a mundane level and that seems to override that constant mental commentary and judgement and fear which feels like a debilitating self-consciousness, or awkwardness, which might have been the noise blocking out the signal when I had trouble with talking.

    When it comes to spiritual seeking I’ve always felt there must be a method that I could follow, maybe what I needed was a way of putting that self-consciousness into abeyance, to give it a task such as to sink into a state of alert feeling in the body. Like a computer putting a virus into quaranteen to make it harmless.

    It’s funny that being self-conscious or awkward is very uncomfortable but in a different sense being conscious of some real sense of Self (or lack of?) is a spiritual goal,

    I’m reminded of the quote from Blake

    “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise”

  6. Flow psychology = “The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”

    Autism.

  7. I finally listened to the two of you (Jasun + Douglas) & really felt something. Of course, I love your personalities, your pure, raw honesty, & his laugh, deep considerations & grasp for spinning the dial on perspectives. It’s easy to grow to love you two more & more. Hearing the voices adds a special dimension print cannot give me. Yes, lately I find myself having clawed passionately at this weird, ineffable, visceral, untamed, odd “thing” that just is, before the imprints imposing themselves. And then to gropple with the slow strict laws of matter’s insistence that we meditate on sukkotash, getting and putting and so on. I’ve also almost [it’s still fun!] seen enough already to rebel against, so am with you in your feeling states, at least I sense, Jasun, in a lot of what you’re expressing, big time. Something conspicuous by its absence, that we all know well, that operates no matter what. I feel as though I’m strapped onto the back of a crazy grasshopper that is my “spirit” that does what it does, & I may try to figure it out in retrospect, but when I do, it sounds something like what you two are talking about!

  8. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems that you’re often trying to write or think yourself out of writing and thinking which makes it ironic that your occupation is a writer and thinker. I often try to read and write and think myself out of reading and writing and thinking as well, but I’ve got no excuse not to stop. I’m just trying to watch the compulsion I guess. Which is probably why I relate to your work.

  9. “Liminalism is ~ or could be ~ the willing cooperation with the undoing of our preconceptions and beliefs about ourselves, the world, and everything in between.”

    So typically would liminalism be a state where beliefs are suspended?

    I was reading about the idea that some thoughts have a believing quality or aspect to them that some brains are more prone to downloading and therefore be kind of hypnotised by or caught up in. The idea I think is that there isn’t an ‘I’ that believes thoughts but rather the believing aspect of thoughts itself contains in it the ‘I’ .

    “And let’s just add that the end goal of liminalism is to accept that the need to achieve an end goal—either individually or collectively—is both imaginary and inessential to the psychic well-being, both of individuals and of the collective.”

    The need to achieve an end goal would be based on the belief that there is some desirable end goal, without the belief, that need would not be there.

  10. A state where beliefs are suspended, the opposite of a movie, where disbelief is suspended. Tho movies are also liminal spaces, or rather, liminoid ones ~ neither waking nor dream state.

    >there isn’t an ‘I’ that believes thoughts but rather the believing aspect of thoughts itself contains in it the ‘I’ .

    I believe therefore I am.

    Belief is belie + f.

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