It’s news to no one that there are lots of things that we see every day and don’t notice, until one day, for whatever reason we do. Many, perhaps most of us have at some moment suddenly understood something important about our behaviour that, as impossible as it seemed, we had never noticed before. Perhaps that came about as a result of a particular kind of work of self-knowledge, or a radical change of our external or internal situation, or simply through an accumulation of experience.
Is it possible for Silo’s teaching to have a central point that, I for one understood intellectually but certainly managed to ignore, underplay, or reduce to a purely, abstract matter. Am I alone in this experience? I don’t thinks so. Though sometimes its hard to believe that there are key aspects of his teaching that many of us have managed to ignore, or perhaps pay lip-service to without really digesting. However, I think a little digging can turn up good reasons for that overlooking of “the elephant in the room”.
I know that there are various fundamental aspects of Silo’s teaching that I for one treated this way, sometimes over a very long time. In their writings about working with the principles of valid action Roberto Verdecchia and Fernando Aranguiz both give examples related to this kind of growing, or cumulative understanding that produces an unexpected comprehension. Interestingly, both their stories at some point involve plumbing, but that is really another tale. In at least one of his writings on the subject Roberto explicitly addresses the specific situation of being very familiar with an aspect of Silo’s teaching that nonetheless took him years to bring into focus for himself, despite “knowing the idea” and knowing how Silo, many times over the years, pointed out the centrality and importance of this theme.
I suppose these maybe considered examples of the old Siloist distinction between understanding and comprehension, where comprehension is defined as the result of the interaction of understanding and experience.
Similarly here we are treating a very extreme example, since Silo tells us that this is the centre of his teaching and somehow we (or at least I) for the longest time simply reply: well ya, sure, and never quite get beyond the words to the registers, or we nod and pass on to less troubling notions.