Monday 4 December 2023

Devonshire and Original Participation

Owen Barfield's conceptualization of Original Participation (OP) is the putative consciousness, way of "being in the world" of both ancient Men (nomadic hunter gatherers) and of all Men during early childhood. 

So, in principle, we should all be able to remember, to some extent, what it is like to live in Original Participation with the world: that is, to be an "animistic" consciousness that includes dreaming as well as waking; immersed-in and aware-of the family circle; and much else: house, garden, trees, animals, pictures, television and radio... All experienced as essentially alive and aware and in-communication.  

My own memories of this state seem to be particularly clear (compared with what other people tell me of their own memories), and this may be a consequence of the fact that my family relocated from Devonshire to Somerset just about the time I began school aged five.

Just at the time when my consciousness began to develop out from OP, and began the gradual transition of late childhood towards the "Consciousness Soul" at adolescence (and, in our society, continuing until death in most people). 

Therefore, my memories of Devon are through the lens of Original Participation, and as such rather clearly differentiated and cut-off from the later and more self-conscious and active - but alienated, detached - way of relating to The World that began sharply; with leaving the home environment, attending a school for many hours a day, and moving to Somerset.

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