I enact the personal epistemology standpoint to illustrate how my ontology and personal experience during the human rights monitoring mission transformed my knowledge about the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Guiding the reader through my visual and bodily interaction with the conflict zone, I illustrate my perception construction and deconstruction about the object of knowledge – the conflict – and the knowledge itself. The researcher is placed at the heart of this study. In my work, I stipulate the value of the world-mind monism stance in knowledge production and legitimises the self as a source of knowledge in international relations research.
Eye-witnessing the humanitarian crisis in the conflict zone, Russian biopoltics in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian willingness to defend their country, and experiencing the death fear at the contact line, I conclude the following. Rather than the degree of critical examination of the objective reality, it has been how I am “hooked up” to the world and the pathways I have taken that determined my perception of truth. From an abstract geopolitical situation, for me, the conflict transformed into the detailed multi-layered conflict reality.