Designing a Metaphysical Zone near the Miami River
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A METAPHYSICAL ZONE
We should accept the experimental nature of our prototype; we can push the design as far as our theories will allow, since whatever we produce may be tested by others. Our position within electracy is not unlike that of Plato in literacy, if only in the sense of what we are attempting to do (and not what we have achieved). Plato is credited with being the first person in the Western tradition to isolate and work purely within a conceptual discourse (he invented Philosophy). The first concept to be treated in this fully abstract way is "justice," and in a dialogue such as THE REPUBLIC Plato discusses what justice "is"--asks after its essence, its inner nature, its being--as opposed to dramatizing its dispersed qualities in a series of narrative actions, as the tragedians were still doing, not to mention the status of such a thought in the oral epics.
When we isolate the Miami River as a zone, we are raising it to the status of an idea, or even of a category. As the Greeks assimilated literacy, the term eidos evolved from its original usage in Homer--"what one sees," "appearance," "shape"--to the abstract forms ("suprasensible reality, eternal, beyond the merely sensible") (Peters, 46-47). In Plato's metaphysics (his theory of what there is in the world, what is real) a set of eide evolved--the Good, the Beautiful, the One. At first there seemed to be an eidos for each class of things (ethical eide, mathematical eide). Then a hierarchy emerged, with certain final forms (Aristotle called them "categories") that did not mix among themselves, such as Existence, the Same, the Different, Rest, Motion (49).
What we are doing is generating an electrate mode of reasoning by means of an extended analogy ...
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...rds and meanings most commonly used in such systems ( "If you hear a crow cawing on your righthand side, be very cautious in all you do that day"). Our consulting works this analogy at two levels: first, our zone consists of the Miami River and the movements, positions, identity, and "cries" of its denizens--Haitians, coast guard, Italian taxi drivers, and the like. Second, the form (shape, eidos) of our practice adapts some of the features of divination specific to the Carribean basin, specifically aspects of Santeria and Vodun ritual. We may also find useful parallels with the notion of the augur as "bird watcher," if we think of our interface metaphor of tourism.
Peters, F. E., GREEK PHILOSOPHICAL TERMS: A HISTORICAL LEXICON (New York: NYU, 1967).
Telesco, Patricia, FUTURE TELLING: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO DIVINATION (Freedom, CA.: Crossing, 1998).