Psyche & Eros: Order from Chaos

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Summary:  There is a lot of good research already done in relation to contextuality as it might pertain to word-sensibility in the relatively new field of Cognitive Poetics. Cognitive poetics is a way of thinking about literature, involving the application of cognitive linguistics and psychology to literary texts.

This article is an unedited work in process. Please do not quote or distribute.

Generally, Cognitive Poetics explores cognitive frameworks used to analyze literary texts in an attempt to uncover basic cognitive dimensions involved in interpreting the text. From an analytical perspective, the Q focus on words remains more ontological then compositional.  We are not claiming that we are doing cognitive poetics, however the Q shares a basic premise, that on some level our understandings repurpose our perceptual abilities to ground in our abstractions an identifiable sense of self, environment and community. In cognitive linguistics and cognitive poetics, this is generally referred to as experiential myths and emerges through metaphorical mappings to which we form, in Q terms, dynamical contexts.

  • “It appears that many ordinary expressions and ways of representing the world rely on metaphorical mappings, even when most of us do not realize the fact. Furthermore, these metaphorical patterns are so strong and widespread that we can even understand our philosophical view of life itself as being founded not on an objective world but on a set of metaphorical representations.” (Stockwell, P., 2002)

The Quadranym Model of Word-Sensibility (Q): An Ecological Systems Perspective On Word-Level-Concepts & Contextual Unitizations – Non-Mental-Representation Representation Design Before Define Approach.


Word-Sensibility Ontology: Philosophically, the Q takes a pragmatic approach on its epistemology and ontology. A formal ontology requires a commitment to logic when presenting basic categories and their relations. However, in the experiential sense of being as we are presenting it, the word-sensibility ontology begins as non-logical and poetical renderings forming disparate but natural responses of being, what follows is a more logical expression of experience, the compositional form. There are no initial concrete ontological foundations except for basic responses and motivations. Instead, ontological sensibilities and compositional sensibilities develop on the same continuum where they become more distinct over time and continuously form and reform each other. However, as a formality, ontology requires a logical foundation. To get there, the epistemological process of word-sensibility requires reciprocal dynamics between ontological and compositional senses. Compositional sense proves the logic. As we will show, this correlates with the dynamical and situational contexts. Based on these relations, word-sensibility content works to present a justifiable standpoint in the world. The dynamical context informs its epistemological senses for a commonsense ontology. Here, the dynamical context is about ways to bring about truth condition potentials. That is, memory becomes reconstructed to serve a purpose.


A Mythic Story: We composed a brief variation of the Eros & Psyche story with an attempt to keep with its basic form. Consider the two levels of context, the dynamical context and the situational context in the story. The dynamical context frames the tension of knowing between the dimensional roles that each character plays. The situational context provides the conditional circumstances that the roles are in e.g., not able to see in the dark, holding a lamp over someone, leaving someone or seeking someone.

Psyche & Eros (an abridged variation)

In ancient Greece, Eros had different personifications, one was as a primordial god who was born from chaos and who brought order. In another, his aim was to create relationships although he put little care in how he went about it. As this story goes, Psyche was a mortal who possessed astonishing beauty that captivated all including Eros. Against  the will of  greater forces Eros fell in love with her. He provided the mortal Psyche with order as she found everything she could possibly want within Eros’s domain. Eros had sources unknown to Psyche satisfy her every whim. To keep the relationship secret and safe from the wrath of greater forces, Eros gave Psyche a condition, she must trust him, never look upon him or know who he is. Psyche’s jealous sisters aroused a fearful suspicion about who her lover really was and narrowed psyche’s ability to focus elsewhere. She set out to look upon him when he slept and then she planned to strike him with the deadly blow of her blade, but when she held her lamp over him her suspicions immediately vanished and she fell deeper in love then she ever thought possible, but too late, awake and brokenhearted, Eros was compelled to leave Psyche because of her lack of trust. Psyche was determined to reconnect with her love. She began a journey that included impossible tasks. With help from unknown sources she completed her tasks. Again, against the will of greater forces, Eros secretly arranged assistance to be given to Psyche while greater forces plagued Psyche with misfortunes, hardships and frightful encounters. Still, it was Psyche who met her challenges, gained wisdom and kept true to her one goal, to reunite with Eros. Desperate, she traveled a perilous journey to a deep dark place to acquire special content in a box. The content promised even greater beauty. In the hopes it would please Eros she opened it, instead of beauty, she fell to the abyss. This was more than Eros could bear, against the will of greater forces he came swiftly to her side. She awoke from the abyss in the arms of Eros aware that it is her love who carries her away.“Their union now granted and sealed by supreme forces because of their purified love forged in mutual trust. The marriage of Psyche and Eros was celebrated. Psyche became immortal and gave birth to their child that she carried throughout her ordeal.


Scope: In this analysis, the attempt is to help illustrate the dynamical context and word-sensibility in relation to the experiential myth. The focus will not be on the mappings that necessarily occur between all the different domains but rather on the general dynamics between virtual ontological and compositional senses i.e., dynamical context and situational context. For example, consider this reciprocal dynamic in the story, while swinging between division and unity, Eros became aware of Psyche, something beautiful in the world, Psyche inturn, became aware of the beauty of Eros.

Focus: In the most basic sense of word-sensibility, as we mean it, attitude closes the loop on aptitude, thus, illustrating dynamical relationships between contextual unitizations of words; each a dynamic analog to a communities interactive experience with the world that entails the interactive experiences of the individual.

  • Attitude: The potential in any relationship is the aim.
  • Aptitude: The ability to transcend one’s being is the virtue.

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Much like the story of Eros and Psyche we might imagine a word-sensibility as that which takes aim as a dynamical context so it may transcend its intended meaning. With this, a word sense may routinely begin naked and dress to suit the occasion of a situational context. As a matter of representation, what does the initial orientation of a word look like? How do words  become analogous factors of understandings? What is the systematicity needed before truth conditions can align a word with the world? These are some of the questions central to word-sensibility. In any variation of the Eros and Psyche myth, the story is as much about division as it is about unity. Perhaps division and unity drives the sense of any word.


The Mythic Form: The Eros and Psyche plot contains love and romance, struggle and truth, but in our perspective, on the level of the dynamical context, it is a mythic rendering towards mutual awareness. Perhaps, this is a basic mythic form that we find in the allegories of many cultures as it also tells the story of self awareness. The moral implication is, if a myth of this form is followed participants are compelled towards an enlightened communal unity. The practical aim of a communal unity is to draw a beneficial distance between individuals of that society and the dangers of the natural environment. How a society connects back to the natural environment is important to the health of that society. Individuals draw on their experiences to formulate situational understandings with others where a word is an experience rendered a contextual artifact that is, dynamically actual and situationally potential. A word’s word-sensibility dynamicity encompasses environmental, social and personal potentials. In this view, we suggest that although the target of a word belongs to society, the source of a word necessarily belongs to the individual.

“Eros had sources unknown to Psyche satisfy her every whim. To keep the relationship secret and safe, Eros gave Psyche a condition, she must trust him, never look upon him or know who he is. Psyche’s jealous sisters aroused a fearful suspicion about who her lover really was and narrowed psyche’s ability to focus elsewhere.”

  • The symbol of societal unity takes many forms. The ‘Word’ might be based on the most mundane and compliant form. In other words, word-sensibility is the most basic and practical use of the experiential mythic dynamic between a community and its environment.

The Experiential Myth: In our approach, metaphorical structure depends on inter-contextualizations between discrete dynamical contextual units. Context is not just relating content to situations but also to dynamical sensibilities that are open ended in relation to content where content is captured by an internal sense of movement, a response initially driven by the environment. This is a kind of remembering action as it might be described in the process of simulating perceptual experiences. We aim to provide an architecture to abstract these processes for a word-sensibility representation. In short, it is a process of the environment driving and memory guiding. Necessary in this process is continuity of self. A discontinuity between contextual units seeks resolution to continue reciprocity. Continuity between contextual units is about the intention to identify the relationship to true objects in the world. Since such continuity can be based on a repurposed dynamic, we might consider the counter factual initiating from a new trajectory in the reciprocity between units. Imagine Eros and Psyche as being each a dynamical context capable projecting this continuity between each other, that is, self as community. Eros found beauty in Psyche, that represents a trajectory. The reciprocity is signified when Psyche finds the beauty in Eros. What is implicated here is not just a decoupling from the environmental inputs suggested in a given situation but more deeply, from the motivations and tendencies found in the trajectory of the dynamical context of one. Situations are changed by new overriding motivations. We see this in the reciprocity between the characters. Consider the tragic consequence if not for the beauty that Psyche saw in Eros as social reciprocity overrides individual tendencies.

She set out to look upon him when he slept and then she planned to strike him with the deadly blow of her blade, but when she held her lamp over him her suspicions immediately vanished and she fell deeper in love then she ever thought possible, but too late, awake and brokenhearted, Eros was compelled to leave Psyche because of her lack of trust.

  • The schema can be described as, being-becoming circuits that close the loop in a reciprocal development between situational and dynamical sensibilities.

Divide To Reform: Perhaps the Eros & Psyche story continues to fascinate because these two characters tap our compulsive and divisive social-nature. The allegory touches on many societal issues and negative human emotions including mistrust, jealousy, revenge and lust. Somehow through it all, as people often do, they learn to benefit each other. As we have been suggesting, the plot towards this benefit is on the two different contextual levels of the story, the situational context and the dynamical context. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, and according to some cognitive scientists, the ability to share focus with others is the blue print for human self awareness. The dynamical relationships between a society of organisms and their world, between the organisms, and between the organisms and their symbols is a evolutionary progression towards self awareness. Although, this is not our primary inquiry, it is a recurring consideration in the illustration of the Q model.

“Eros secretly arranged assistance to be given to Psyche while greater forces plagued Psyche with misfortunes, hardships and frightful encounters. Still, it was Psyche who met her challenges, gained wisdom and kept true to her one goal, to reunite with Eros.”

  • The Q approach to a mythic framework pertains to a dynamical description of a society of organisms who divaricate between themselves – their basic individual organismic interactions and responses to the environment – that, in its effect – produces the seeds of ritual, self identity and culture.

Unite To Transcend: The dynamical/situational framework of word-sensibility pertains to the word level but also pertains to levels of the literary composition otherwise there couldn’t be word-sensibility. In our view, a composition utilizes the dynamics of the ontological framework to unite abstractions with a virtual sense of ocurrent experience. We suggest that the allure of the experiential myth is not founded on the abstraction but where the dynamic of one’s actual experiences can be found in the abstraction. Meaning is primarily the dynamical development. We suggest that the dynamical development is toward the contextual awareness of the self and the place it occupies in the situational context of the composition.

“Their union now granted and sealed by supreme forces because of their purified love forged in mutual trust. The marriage of Psyche and Eros was celebrated. Psyche became immortal and gave birth to their child that she carried throughout her ordeal.”

  • The reciprocal relationship between dynamical contexts and situational contexts renders an experience a word-sensibility orientation.

Driven by the Environment

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