The mimosa experiment

Why crisis breeds nature

When you touch a mimosa, you notice how sensitive its leaves are; how quickly the mimosa plays domino with nature and every leaf, in a sequence, closes. The important here is both the visual and touching impact. Unless you touch it, you do not feel the change.

Accordingly, if this quick reaction –of the mimosa leaves- were applied on the human body, in conjunction with an external crucial condition, such as crisis, this application would be used as a meditative vehicle so as to point out the natural ability of the interrelated human mind and body to be adapted into new situations and adopt a proper way of parallel behavior every time that the balance of life is reversed. We would then take into further consideration the fact that the experience of nature is the same for all people notwithstanding the country they come from. People feel what they see and when they participate. Time needs space and space is full of places, which need to be relocated and recognized by the human look and body engagement. Moreover, it is important to correlate all the above with Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) written arguments taken from his book Phenomenology of Perception and particularly from the chapter “the body in its sexual being”. There, it is argued by the author that “a sight has a sexual significance for me, not when I consider, even confusedly, its possible relationship to the sexual organs or to pleasurable states, but when it exists for my body, for that power always available for bringing together into an erotic situation the stimuli applied, and adapting sexual conduct to it”.

Thus, experiencing a sight regards experiencing one self’s nature. It lies on experiencing both the inner psychology and reaction to the visual image(s). Also, “leafing through” the living book of nature regards a global habit, which unifies and does not separate people from different countries of the universe. On the contrary, when the issues of culture and language come to the fore, there seems to breathe the heart of the problem. In a nutshell, the description of this non synchronization problem could be summarized into 4 words: poor academy, poor analogy. That means, when you shrink from meeting people and seeing new countries, as a person and traveler, open to the world, the thinking process lacks then in originality, spirit, imagination and flexibility.

Especially, “crisis”, coming linguistically from the Greek repertoire, regards not only the economic status and the externally understood state but also the economy of the mind and emotions, that is, the cultural level. Everyone correlates power with hierarchy, so that the more it is feasible to handle of orders, the better the success is achieved. More is better; there seems to be the key. One cookie is never enough. So, the sense of the non satisfaction becomes gigantic and puts the subject in a predicament. More is needed for pleasure; more for self-satisfaction. In a return, the need for more duplicates the sense of poverty and leads to a crisis blind-alley, whereas the notion of crisis should be linked to the mimosa experiment. Crisis breeds nature, that is, human creativity. If you live like fighting cocks, you will spend time on a boring Truman show. Crisis is in life what the coin for money. It is the cell from both sides of interpretation: either biologically or socially.

As the success of this ordinary life lies on the successful set up of orders, relating to even contradictory subjects, and therefore, on the hierarchy of decisions and choices, it does not suffice to assume that the fantasy level of our life would then be something like the proper motor force which goes against and fights both presence and power of this ordinary thing, that is, routine. Consequently, routine implies social and interpersonal poverty. Anyway, a fantastic life is a plasmatic life; something fake emerging from superficial and one side views. For that, it is significant to perceive in the right way. Going back to Maurice Merleau-Ponty arguments, according to the perception effect, we learn that “to perceive is not to experience a host of impressions accompanied by memories capable of clinching them; it is to see, standing forth from a cluster of data, an immanent significance without which no appeal to memory is possible. To remember is not to bring into the focus of consciousness a self-subsistent picture of the past; it is to thrust deeply into the horizon of the past and take apart step by step the interlocked perspectives until the experiences which it epitomizes are as if relived in their temporal setting. To perceive is not to remember”.

In conclusion, The Mimosa Experiment relates to the three following conditions: be there; see and then touch; dare to take on the responsibility, on your own. Moreover, regarding the last condition about the undertaking of any responsibility, there should be a link between response and responsibility, that is, the embodiment of the response, taken from the sight, where we are, afterwards can be exploited and turned into responsibility. From this standpoint, the ethical idea of responsibility is not static but dynamic, through the body implication. Ethics meets the myth; the crossing point of time lived as a child and time lived as an adult. Moreover, responsibility regards the ability to recognize and grasp the response; snap at its bait. In relation to the Phenomenology of perception, the reasons why we travel are examined in a multilateral level. We should travel as dwellers; to examine where and why something has been kept for us to find. This is nothing but a snapshot. Otherwise, we may confront the danger of being exposed to …nap shots.

It is significant to admit a country as it is, without projecting on it personal desires, which reveal the deep and devastating impact of the western culture. In this case, the alienation from the new country blocks both the human imagination and spirit. On the contrary, every traveler should be like a key-ring holder, so as to be able to unblock body and soul; navigate in the horizon of the past; cultivate both will and courage to collect new images as fragile objects. Traveling is all about fragile objects; this demands sacrifices. It could be portrayed with a hole-opening in order to take the key for the whole experience. The Mimosa Experiment relates then to the motion remembering not against but beyond any constructive narratives; in a spectrum life, motion brings commotion. The mimosa touch that happened some day, abstractly in the past, and not specifically yesterday, has been converted into a strong impulse to remember the country where it took place; Nepal is better experienced through this motion-picture than through the demand to eat kid-meat there or even with a leopard umbrella holding under the sun all the time...

Accordingly to Nepal reality, Greek reality is better experienced in Greece than anywhere else. Poverty -that visits minds and economies- regards also the lack in language and therefore it is linked to the understanding process. To perceive is to conceive; this is the proper motor force, which fights routine and opens new perspectives. Thus, reality is embedded on ethical ways of behavior seen from a phenomenological approach. To perceive is to reunify. To act against and beyond poverty, it is significant to surpass the romantic lie hidden in the saying “don’t trust the lions” and go through the novel truth, according to which the tigers are strollers in the dark… there is no point in barking at the moon. The point is in collecting the pieces of the puzzle about some universality in truth, in case there is. Universities, such as the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, cultivate this spirit. Academies don’t. Of course, this is achieved only through the investment on human capital and not with the aid of university cups and umbrellas on commerce. The current media situation, at an international level, which sometimes reflects one exaggerated bad image of Greece and the country’s economy, should be regarded as the other side of the coin; it should be regarded as a lack of the better understanding in Greek language. If you don’t speak, you will never seek…

1 Maurice Merleau-Ponty Phenomenology of Perception, Routledge Classics, London and New York 2006, p. 181
2 Maurice Merleau-Ponty Phenomenology of Perception, Routledge Classics, London and New York 2006, p. 26

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