C-96. Presence and Performance

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” But how much worse it is to tightly bind minding, to prevent, not just by neglect but by suppressing development of the minding capabilities (Topics V, VI-XII) … to thus impede the progress toward Presence (App. XIX). Presence is here a theoretical construct (C-81), introduced to replace vague, albeit familiar, concepts like conscience, consciousness and concentration. (And, to escape the shackles of mind as a body concept.) Presence comprises all that minding, if and when fully realized functionally, might and should bring to the guidance of moving in the constructed behavioral molecule. Which is to say: Performance. Performance is best when it manifests fully realized Presence – i.e., needed, developed and exercised capability.

Presence speaks to optimal realization of the four stages of consequentiality (App. XIX), but especially of the middle stages, of behavioral architecture (C-90). It produces the Present of compositional change (II; App. XIX), as distinguished from the conceptual “present” of particular circumstances – e.g., of time and place and non-absence. Presence is in, and by, which we are most consequential C-47). It works to solve the behavioral problem while helping to solve our many and varied situational problems (I).

We should distinguish B-Presence from S-Presence (III). B-Presence, such as body size and body state (aka emotion), has behavioral import. Just think hard collisions and their consequences. However, think too of arranging soft collisions and avoiding hard collisions. It is S-Presence … and S => B and B => S abstracted from B <=> S [XI] [and, of course, B <=> S too] … that requires attention be paid to step aspects of Presence. If we are to fully realize Presence, Performance and Present. If we are to be as consequential as we might and ought to be. (See CEM-pragmatism, CEM-positivism and CEM-functionalism. [App. XI].)

We have done Presence a great disservice if all we have come to know functionally about behavior is akin to evolution’s blowfish-like and clam shell-like collision avoidance and camouflage-like collision arrangement. These pertain to B => S,just as emotion may occasion aggression, but they limit behavioral realization to just some of B => S: to the fourth stage of consequentiality (App. XIX). We can and must do better re collisions — i.e., relationships to be built, as by cognition and communication and composition, via relating capabilities and relations (X) and not just relationships discovered after the fact. (See two kinds of knowledge: C-93.) We need to make use of Stage 2 & 3′s opportunity to make the steps we can then take – i.e., to compose behavioral molecules. Process has structure. Process is itself product, in addition to any product of that process.

We also need to distinguish G-Presence from p-Presence (III). That is, to distinguish – and make independent in anticipation of a productive interdependence – the G-Presence which, when developed, expresses behavioral principles in consequence of the Nature of Things (e.g., requisites and imperatives: Topics VI-XI) as distinguished from p-Presence which, when implemented, focuses on this or that particular (e.g., the observed in “Observer-observed”). We need to respect the ramifications of collisions per se and not just those of this or that collision.

Far too much of the Nature of Things (Stage 1) is of consequence, especially re needed capacity and capability for (necessarily) behavior entities, for us to neglect and abuse development in Stages 2 and 3, thereby to make far too much fuss about Stage 4′s particular behaviors – the learning of them and the concepts addressing them … the particular behaviors that we have become accustomed to using to think and talk about Presence (and just about everything else!)..

When we glide blithely (or not: see rebellion) through or by Stages 2 and 3, from Stage 1′s needs to Stage 4′s particular behaviors, we may be – indeed, are — tempted to choose from among candidates rather than to invest in development. We miss too much of what we need of and from realization. (See C-97: Late-stage functionalism and C-98: That other climate change.)

Consider, for example, a technology for sensery vision – as contrasted with, but complementary to, sensory vision. “Vision” is here partly metaphoric (re minding), but it helps in making a needed distinction. Sensery vision, like sensory vision, has a central aspect and a peripheral aspect.

For sensory vision, which is primarily a matter of capacities, the central aspect serves, and gives priority to, the focal attention role in minding while the peripheral aspect serves the exposure role. Together they deal with a prospective collision (focal attention) while making some, but only some, provision for other possible collisions (exposure).

For sensory vision, which is primarily a matter of capabilities, the minding priority of central over peripheral is reversed. The central aspect still serves focal attention. But now the peripheral aspect serves the generalities (if realized!) of the Nature of Things – i.e., all that is of consequentiality. Sensory vision is going to take an arranging (i.e., composing, utilizing cognitive and communicative capacities and capabilities: App. III) approach to collisions – even if this is in order to avoid them.

(Note that the concept of “an open mind” is not too helpful here. It may be too easily interpreted as sensory vision’s peripheral accommodation for needed exposure. We would like something more positive ["critical thinking" is suggestive – if it conveys the cognitive as well as the affective], something like the compositional (therefore communicative and cognitive as well) resources comprised by sensory vision’s peripheral contribution.)

Sensory capability is exemplified dramatically in Boggs’ EffectiveArts use of an “Attend To’s” technology. These Attend To’s point to focal attention needs (i.e., matters of consequence) for staff development programs in the health field – and more generally to any helpful developmental initiative re problem solving. They are not, however, stand-alone cautions and/or associated with “Do this” instructions. Each is accompanied by a “How?” This How (i.e., looking advisedly to step construction) is to be made with regard to the focus of attention but it is an open question with answers new as well as old, answers which may be functionally equivalent for the attender – but not pragmatically equivalent for the situational problem. For that construction’s realization, and then for its relevance (e.g., to solve a situational problem), there had best be principles applicable to composition. Thus the need for a peripheral capability to grasp and involve (VII) all there is of consequentiality from the Nature of Things (App. XIX’s four stages).

One thing that notice of the peripheral sensory capability does is to help keep the behavioral problem in the picture along with the situational problem (I). (An Attend To Self is implicit in the application of the other Attend To’s, as the helper copes with the dynamics and complexity of behavioral and situational problems.) And the peripheral sensory capability does so independently, such that when we come to community per se (e.g., team) as a problem, itself in need of development before it can become an effective change agent, we will not try to fashion it without consideration of all applicable consequentiality (Stages 1-4). We won’t try to build it just in Stage 4 terms, as if it were a simple extrapolation from the particulars of a copied “person who” – an individual seen(but incompletely realized) as possessed of this, that or those capacities and capabilities.

Both the minding and moving components of a step contribute to Presence and its manifestation in performance. They each contribute in capacities, to be sure, but especially in capabilities needed, developed and exercised. Rote performance is the antithesis of Presence. Dramatically, no actor can be compelling who routinely mouths the lines and goes through the moves. The consummate actor comes to each performance anew, rebuilding and further realizing the character and rebuilding the conversation (aka relationship) of that character with fellow characters and with this audience.

(c) 2013 R.F. Carter