The third turn in the history of experience was the discovery of a sense of order or, which amounts to the same, the experiential dimension of participation.

The Experience of Participation

While the first symbolic culture was limited to episodic representation, the third transformation added the new experience of participation among the elements of the cosmos. In this turn, the sense of order emerged. The Paleolithic experience of the world and its artistic expression is essentially episodic. In the cave painting, individual situations appear in each case, which do not form a narrative context, and which nowhere follow a common pattern. The sense of order now adds the perspective on the syntax of the cosmos to the episodic experiences.

This transformation took place at about the beginning of the Mesolithic (ca. 10.000 BC). Since then, humans began to see themselves as being part of a comprehensive whole, the cosmos. Accordingly, methodically constructed settlements, symbolically designed architecture, and situational composed artworks were the first evidence of this new experience. Through the sense of order, the regular relationship of parts became the dominant principle: the cosmological system of existence.

The Cosmological Syntax of Existence

Periphery and center, the circle and the cardinal points, the calendar and cosmological myth became the dominant symbolic forms of the cosmological system. Since the advent of writing in the Bronze Age, texts have supplemented the archive of symbolic artifacts. From now on, the experiences and ideas of these times can be understood through contemporary texts.

The nature-based rhythm of time is transformed into history, usually ordered by the principle of genealogy. Cities become the center of life. Finally, the order of common life is reorganized, for example, through fixed hierarchies, hereditary positions, and institutionalized property relations.


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