Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Collaging the Uncertain: In Search of Hermes' Metaxy
by Edelson, Rachel, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2018, 207; 13423665
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is written in collage format, a non-linear style that belongs to the creative area of arts-based research, falling midway between fields of philosophy and poetry. The linearity of a traditional dissertation cannot capture the elusive multidimensionality of paradigms still in transition—the postmodern and the quantum, both of which explore the instability of meaning and subjectivity of a participatory world described by the observer effect, linking the knower with the known.

A collage dissertation is multidimensional. It is spacious, using the blank spaces on each page to draw the reader into making the associative leaps befitting a written structure that is rhizomatic and fractal rather than linear, a text more widely metaphoric than logically metonymic. A second kind of spaciousness occurs as the collage’s far-reaching overtones are emitted by ideas inextricable from their poetic form. Due to the expansive overtones, readers of this text will inevitably create meaning more than they will find it. As well, this spaciousness of subjective response is parallel to the broad range of the writer’s sources: gleaned not only from the relation between tenets of the postmodern and the quantum, but broadly transdisciplinary, culling from physics, psychology, linguistics, literary theory, dream theory, neurology, mythology, and art.

The author has designated the Greek god Hermes as the presiding deity of this work. Most encompassingly, this god personifies the complementary qualities inherent within border crossings: both ruler of the metaxic space of the in between, as well as a thief carrying messages from gods to humans, befuddling them as he enlightens them. A creature of great complexity, Hermes bestows meaning that is endlessly mercurial, and yet, all meaning, despite its mercuriality, is doomed to become culturally rigidified within paradigms that constrain our thinking—such that we inevitably become sentenced by our sentences.

Fittingly, in his travels between the underworld and the world of mortals, Hermes personifies the collage dissertation’s complementary interplay of research that is both academic and personal, external and internal. When these two forms of investigation coalesce, especially within the capacious umbrella of the transdisciplinary, a tempest of implication befalls writer and reader.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wells, Jennifer
Commitee: Deslauriers, Daniel, Sapen, Daniel J.
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Transformative Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Creative writing, Philosophy, Rhetoric
Keywords: Arts-based research, Collage essay, Entanglement, Metaxy, Post-modernism, Quantum physics
Publication Number: 13423665
ISBN: 978-0-438-76220-6
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