Thursday, July 13, 2006

Externalization

The spiritual need of externalization represents an interesting contrast (and similarity) to the need of visibility (written about elsewhere).

But first things first. What is externalization? Simply put: it's expressing oneself, in one form or the other. So the need for externalization is then the need for an expression of mental content.

But how can that need be explained? What is it we get out of expression things? Certainly what I have in mind isn't practical values such as, say, the need to tell someone you love her to let her know so that she can decide whether she feels the same. Now, that's a reason to express oneself too, but that aspect isn't an example of satisfying the need for externalization.

Rather, I think the reason is the same as with visibility (and the need for art). That which only exists in our mind isn't completely real to us. We don't fully experience it until there is some physical expression of it. And this is something that is very central to everyone's life. Every spoken and written word is a physical expression of something, as is how you decorate your home and a million other things (needless to say, a specific form of expression may not interest a given person. We all have our own priorities in regard to what to express and how and when, and so on.)

It's central and broad, but not everything can be said to be externalization. For example, consuming art or trying to understand something (by thinking) is not examples of it.

Both visibility and externalization are central in proper human relationships, and that's a big part of why the relationships are so valuable and irreplaceable. Although, while visibility is heavily dependent on human relations, externalization can be exercised without it (though some content of the mind is easier to express in interaction with someone)

If that which you express isn't really you but a faked you, you won't satisfy the need to externalization, and likewise you won't get the right things back from others. They won't mirror you. So you'll leave both those needs unfulfilled. That's one reason why it is so stupid and painful to be a criminal - you can never be open with decent people, because they will despise you. You will either have to lie massively, or spend time with other criminals. Two very unattractive options.

A large part of all human activity can be explained in terms of visibility and externalization.

Interesting integrations can be made to creating art, which happens to be externalization per excellence.

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