Truth Values / Paramedia
Truth Values / Paramedia
TRUTH VALUES IN THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Is It Really?
An Essay on Naked Awareness
By Iona Miller, 2006
“The self-emancipation of our time is an emancipation from the material bases of inverted truth. This “historic mission of establishing truth in the world” can be carried out neither by the isolated individual nor by atomized and manipulated masses, but only and always by the class that is able to dissolve all classes by reducing all power to the de-alienating form of realized democracy, to councils in which practical theory verifies itself and surveys its own actions. This is possible only when individuals are “directly linked to universal history” and dialogue arms itself to impose its own conditions.” -Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle
Is the search for the “holy grail” of Truth the ultimate Quest, a journey rather than a goal, as so many philosophers imply? It has taken humanity through the physical rigors of horizontal exploration, and accompanied us on our trips down the rabbit hole of conceptual and spiritual exploration. But, as we know, there is ‘truth’ and ‘Truth’. It is the same drive that motivates both scientist and spiritual seeker to bite off an experiential piece of the Great Unknown..
Is Truth primary or emergent? What is Truth? We may know nothing about truth but presume it knows everything about us. Our concept of truth is actually pretty flimsy. Metaphysical truth is by definition beyond observation, beyond the physically observable, yet perhaps available by deduction or inference.
The very first and foundational inner experience in Kabbalah (the art of being fully human) is the Vision of the Mechanics of the Universe, in order to foster a critical eye toward Reality and its underlying physical laws. How can you possibly comprehend yourself if you don’t know the fundamental laws of physics and psychobiology? A common existential “mistake” is viewing ourselves primarily as a solid meatbody, rather than as an electromagnetic wavefront in space that science suggests. If you are wrong about the fundamental truth of your own existence, how distorted will your other notions be?
Kabbalah is radically pragmatic, though not objective, empirical, or reductionist in its approach. It invites you to subjectively make the experiment yourself. We should take care that our protocols and resulting theories have a sound rational basis, taking the best from both ancient and modern worlds. The brain can register the same result for a simulated or real event; that is a double-edged sword that leads many to faulty conclusions. Can Truth be extracted from Cosmos; will the Truth ever come out? And if so, where is it hiding? All we know right now about the primary groundstate of human existence is that it is Pure Nothing (vacuum fluctuation; ZPE).
Later, we will explore the physical and metaphysical roots of different kinds of Truth, relative and Absolute. They will include physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions; scientific and metaphysical truth. We will also explore different domains of truth and how they relate to the Big Picture, adaptation and human survival. Even beautiful and convincing explanations can be wrong. Science often doesn’t know if it is ‘true’ and that is why ‘falsifiability’ is a keystone of the scientific process.
We have various forms of truth but they are not reliable for understanding ourselves or Cosmos in the sense of a final and absolute Truth. We try to obtain the most accurate explanation we can at the moment. Still, we cannot say there will never be an absolute Truth. Yet partial truths remain approximations. But this very lack of absoluteness keeps the future open. What most attracts our concern is often at the creative frontier of the mind. Each individual, culture and era reaches backwards in an “archaic revival” to reconnect with the neglected and discadred threads of Truth from the past. Which threads are emphasized depends on what is missing in the present and not yet available from the future.
Our understanding and definitions are refined as data are refined and our perceptions become more enlightened. It doesn’t change what is true, but it doesn’t mean we can never comprehend an Absolute Truth that is currently beyond our ability. We can’t really know. But expansion of our previous understanding doesn’t change the reality or truthfulness of existence. In black and white: what exists and true and what does not is false or a lie. Our perceptions can be wrong and sensible. Reality can be strongly counterintuitive or contain hidden options at the point of observation.
Truth fits happier with philosophy, but should not be confused with probability, as shown in the nature of paradox. Seemingly obvious truths are often not correct at all. We all harbor unwitting biases that distort the signals received by our senses and generated in our own psychophysical systems. Experiments in sensory deprivation have exposed the intense power of inner-generated imagery/feeling states. We can’t remove this distorting prejudice from our viewpoint so Truth remains elusive, if not completely partial and relative.
Defined truths do not help us achieve an absolutely true sense of ourselves or universe. Mathematical and scientific truths come closer in this regard, but even statistical analysis is less than perfect and often not applicable to our unique case, certainly not experientially. Even if we misinterprete it, our experience remains our experience, but we can learn to sniff out our own distortions with critical thinking and reflection. The same is true for the laws of physics which work better for understanding universals than ourselves.
Explanations are always being tested and improved, but can never provide perfect, total descriptions. Likewise for facts, data, and evidence which are partial by nature. There is no completely general notion of truth we can define scientifically. But there might be specific absolute truths. But facts do not mean that all truths are relative.
A statement is true only if it applies to reality. In science, what was once heresy can become established as a new orthodoxy by further experimentation. But if we stop looking for the improbable, beneath our current beliefs, we will stop discovering deeper truths. Our truths are often the most accurate undestandings we have have in existence. Less accurate explanations often often circulate at the same time and are embraced by some. The joke is the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
Plato said poetry was nearer to vital truth than history. Myths were the original explanations and they are still with us, albeit in new forms. We still mythologize about our selves and bodies, about the arc of relationship and what is fair and what we think we deserve, we dream and grieve if we lose that dream. We concoct intellectual myths that we embrace passionately perhaps to counterbalance personal emotional disappointments, and a whole supermarket of spiritual beliefs and technologies with various goals and levels of access to deep reality. They also carry less obvious secondary-gains. Modern myths are the strange attractors of our day causing us to “worship” or reify what the culture admires, mostly notably celebrity.
If this essay makes you bristle with objections, realized or unrealized before, and raises only one question that takes you beyond where you presently stand, then my work is done. I only seek to disrupt whatever position you occupy, to perturb, to rototill the fertile soil of your own mind and send you caroming off to your own next real-I-zation. But don’t stop there. I want to plant the seeds of doubt, because therein lies the seed of your future’s fruit, the creativity and individuation that is your unique contribution.
I will ask far more questions than I can answer; perhaps yours will be among them. At least I can say I have recounted mine throughout my life, with or without an audience, in my writing and artwork. How can I be disillusioned? Let me count the ways. With my own body, with my own psychophysical emotions and relationships, with my own cherished concepts, ideas, ideals and spiritual beliefs. May I always welcome and learn from it.
This search is embodied in the practice of critical thinking, but we know from our experience that sometimes we just have to stand in the Mystery. There are limitations to our understanding, though we like to fill in the blanks for security. We think we have chipped away at pre-scientific explanations that filled the lacuna of the Great Unknown in our earlier history. But is our modern discernment any clearer or more functional in terms of human survival technology?
We can’t even accurately remember our own childhoods. Are we not as provincial and superstitious as ever? We bristle at things that go bump in the night. We look expectantly for signs with personal roots and build stories around the meaningful probability shocks of synchronicity, when the environment mirrors our psyches. We rely on astrology more than psychology and anxiously try to divine our futures. How far have we come in 50,000 years?
We are fascinated at the prospect of developing or experiencing our paranormal abilities often when we haven’t even developed our conventional talents or made a firm foundation by healing our early wounds. It might be a compensation for feeling powerless in an overwhelming, rapidly changing technological nightmare. We are numb with futureshock, endlessly learning new protocols in the rapidly changing electronic environment.
We cleave together in self-validating subcultures where we share compatible warm-fuzzy viewpoints. Our view of nature and the environment is still based largely on only one sense, on sight, and our propensity to believe what we see. Hubble has shown us the galactic nursery at the dawn of time.
Mentalists and magicians have exploited this smbiguity between Truth and amazement for centuries to make their illusions convincing. A good contemporary example is Chris Angel, “Mind Phreak”. And yet we “know” that they are tricks, tricks of the sensorium and mind, misdirections which our thinking processes can also play on ourselves.
We are probably our own greatest source of misinformation, as expert testimony in court shows. There is no insight, but rather a hollow echoing of our own misperception. Knowing this does not make us immune to bedazzlement. Does the Abyss not continue to stare wryly back at us, frightening us with the prospect of our own mortality, taunting our faith in nature, God or Goddess, and man?
TRUTH OR DARE
Is there ANY truth in us? Can we honestly believe our own propaganda or defend ourselves with philosophical denial? Can we believe we have “grokked” the situation as good as or better than the great minds that have come before us with an “archaic revival”? Can we stand in this existential “no man’s land” and survive emotionally? Has selective, eclectic borrowing of Taoist, Hindu or Buddhist beliefs of the East or the Red Road of Native Americans resolved the scientific questions of our naked awareness? Clearly not, at this point in time.
Is nihilistic disbelief a reason to stop searching or the fuel of desire to continue at an ever-deeper level? That would be a self-recursive dead end somewhere in limbo between the Knower and the Known. Can modern man really get by on faith alone, and a promise of “pie in the sky”? I’m certainly not the first to ask from a heartfelt place, nor shall I be the last. I’m not the greatest philosopher and can’t quote them at will, like some grand professor. I’m sure there is much that has been chewed on in that arena that I gnaw again here. But then what seeker doesn’t?
In the X-Files, the most prominent item in Mulder’s office was his poster of a UFO with the inscription “The Truth Is Out There” and the retort, “I Want to Believe”. He sought to chase Truth down from the incongruent bits of so-called evidence and reports that came his way, which became his own experiential database, his personal interactions and memories. But how reliable were those perceptions; isn’t truth related to the ability to trust what we know and what we think we know and how we know it? In THE MATRIX, our misperceptions were more overt. These are the great ontological and epistemological questions of philosophy.
Can the search for Truth in the universe and in ourselves ever bear fruit? I looked for truth in the self-reflective narcissism of youth and drugs, I looked for truth in spirituality; I looked for truth in magick and the ancient Hermetic arts, I looked for truth in depth psychology and cutting-edge science. I looked for it in the hypnotic wisdom of spiritual Masters. I looked for truth in bleeding-edge art and beauty; I inadvertently sought it in the black hole of conspiracy theory culture. I sought it in spiritual, medical, and technological meditation and self-regulation. I sought it in mentoring from some of the world’s greatest minds, in ruthless self-knowledge, and in my compassionate fellow human beings.
I must confess I haven’t found it anywhere, though seeing through to the distortions of each provided the greatest revelations. It may be even more disturbing when mentors suggest you “get it”, even perhaps “better” than they do themselves. Can I badger my own Witness, my own Observer self? The answers I’ve consistently fed myself have often come back up from the extradimensional wormhole of Truth, recycling with each generation of seekers, or in my own as concerns move beyond family and work to the issues of later life.
I have found love and compassion present, but generally with blunt self-serving interest as the bottom line, once the niceties are stripped away. They make us feel better, somehow, but isn’t that just psychochemical manipulation in the end, mental masturbation in the name of good will? The humanities describe our condition without illumination. Yet, can we be fully human without the realization of Truth, even about ourselves? Are we stuck with this as the human condition?
TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
Truth IS stranger than fiction, as they say. But when I bring it up here I don’t mean what it generally implies that our experience is weirder than anything we can make up, even though it is. I mean that TRUTH, itself, as a concept is perhaps one of the most difficult to define with any degree of satisfaction. In fact, what the pursuit leads to is an infinite continuum of “satisfictions”, reassuring only to those who naively buy into them. The Truth is out there, all right; WAY out there.
In our age we’ve been taught through the process of groupthink, generally known as education and corporate media, to trust the veracity of science and the political insights of our leaders. Despite our best efforts at deciphering ourselves and Nature, truth remains a philosophical problem. Personal and collective truth depends on what groups we identify with, and how large and influential they are.
Are we more than the sum of the parts of nature and nurture, spiritual propaganda, powerful persuasive rhetoric, cultural memes, and trends? How much Truth does it take for us to overturn our own cherished beliefs and desire to fit in? What do conversion experiences say about our ability to make a philosophical 180-degree turn? Can we ever empathically walk a mile in another’s shoes?
The postmodern era reconditioned some of us to “believe” we should reject all metanarrative, and that any existing so-called truths could only be relative; glosses of relative diversities of opinion. Science, looking deeper into the nature of so-called Reality without consensus, has had to relinquish any solid ground for our existence. After about 350 years of the scientific method, it has virtually admitted that it has become a Natural Philosophy once again.
Which truth are we supposed to believe about our fragile existence on our rather delicately poised planet? Religious Truth; cultural truth; political truth; scientific truth; conspiratorial truth? Is spiritual truth any better guide to life than humanistic truth? New Age “magical thinking” alleges we create our own reality by the way we perceive and that we can exert a mysterious agent called “intentionality”. It is not without reason we say that the road to hell is paved with “good intentions”. How can we even presume to know what is good for the collective, even presuming we are one holomovement?
An intention is the same as a goal; intentionality is goal-directed behavior, a conscious choice of the ego. “Intentionality” is a mystification of the word into a nonlocal holistic goal, a waveform analog of point-directed volition to improve our collective reality, but in many ways is indistinguishable from wishful thinking.
Intentionality still implies changing the script in an ordered direction. It may or may not include invoking some forms of divine intervention. But isn’t that arguably another belief with a few missing links in a chain that is called nonlinear to skirt the conundrum? Who among us can distinguish what ‘choices’ are unconscious, preprogrammed or intentional volition. We can blame a seeming match of volition and result with a nonobservable “resonance” or “entrainment”, which may or may not exist. When the environment mirrors our desires, it often doesn’t mean we did it, and to declare it so is often considered a sign of mental illness as in schizophrenic magical thinking.
We intuitively have two contradictory gut feelings: we are convinced that we can mentally deliberate to make actual what now only exists in potency as one of many futures and choose the one that really will make a difference in our future lives. But we also know that ultimately, it was based on how comfortable we felt with the choice, an affective consideration hopefully reflecting the truth value of our decision.
Even if I form an active intentionality to affect your or my own health at some quantum level and have engaged in intentional development of my extended sensory system, and/or notice certain synchronistic, placebo, or other changes in my own or another’s subsequent state it doesn’t mean I did it, or my intentionality led to healing.
It may just be a control-fantasy, a people-helping fantasy, a fantasy of self-declared healing “mastership”, though there are demonstrable psychosocial shamanic effects. Conscious self-care is another matter altogether because self-regulation is definitely possible and stress and immune function can be modulated with diet and lifestyle.
Narrative glosses are no reliable sign of an agent’s active control over an event. In fact, it is just as plausible that the belief is an indication of a trance-like mindset or self-induced mind control, motivated by a variety of circumstances, secondary gains, and unconscious dynamics. Internal misinterpretation of self, others and world is a potent for of disinformation, which can be nevertheless validated by cultural viewpoints. Yet, who among us today believes a fakir can defy the laws of gravity climbing up an unsupported rope. You might say “I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it”. In science, it is called observer bias.
Any ability to augment or “broadcast intention” could have many more plausible psychosocial mechanisms than mind-over-matter nonlocal perturbation. It isn’t entirely ruled out but is certainly difficult to separate in a non-controlled setting. But what kind of control does the agent have over guidance and and regulatory aspects? When are we able to chose or not between alternate scenarios? Can they be modified in the execution phase? Do results stand up to scrutiny? How can they be distinguished from self-renewal?
If we want to believe we will. We will say things like, “What about people who are healed who don’t know they were worked on?” I say this fully aware that experiments by credible M.D.s have been done showing the power of prayer over bacteria, for example. I still don’t feel that those results generalize universally, though some of the results suggest remarkable things.
I’m not trying to disabuse you of your belief, but challenge your intellect not to accept “intentionality” as little more than a popular buzzword. As a word it doesn’t explain anything; it has become a knee-jerk response. Maybe “expert” focused human intention has the possibility of creating robust effects on physical reality, and maybe not. It is definitely a popular notion right now with roots in shamanic phenomena and what Jung called it the mana personality. Even the possibility of seeing the Doctor can spike blood pressure in a phenomenon known as “white coat syndrome”.
Declaring oneself a “healer” is a way of acquiring personal power and cashing in socially and financially, even in an unconscious well-meaning way on the gullibility of others. It might even short-circuit someone seeking more conventional treatment. But few people other than debunking skeptics are willing to say the emperor has no clothes, though plenty of pseudo-scientific rhetoric has been brought to bear on the subject. Certainly, no one will assert that all “healers” are created equal.
The same may hold true for the popular notion of “healing the planet”, which from outside the New Age mindset looks more like a compensatory wishful thinking to counteract the degradation of the environment. Wouldn’t it be potentially more effective to take collective active political and social action instead of driving around in your gas-guzzling SUV dreaming of a better world for your soccer-playing kids?
To me it seems like a “confusion of the planes”, like invoking the undines to save a drowning child instead of jumping in for the rescue. Whether it is human impact or due to natural cycles, the temperature keeps warming, the ice is melting, the ocean pump is breaking down, natural and forced extinctions are accelerating, and wishing it away isn’t likely to do anything constructive.
Arguably, neither neurology nor consciousness studies has found any indication of so-called “free will”. Positing an extradimensionality just mystifies the whole process again without saying anything definitive. Quantum theory is often cited as the bridge, but this is a functional theory, not a description of ultimate reality. It is just our best current concept that allows us to make predictions and do work.
Shouldn’t we really be digging below the onion layer of our own human belief systems to determine why we believe and act from what we believe? We build our identifications, self-image and style around them; what we accept and violently reject.
Global wars in the name of religion, with their roots in the Middle Ages and before, bring our beliefs about ourselves and our fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth into question more than ever in that magically eternal moment we call Now. We could dismiss this puerile question of truth as one to mull over in college if it weren’t desolating our planet. We have separated the academic question from everyday life to our degradation.
Heavens forbid we should ever learn “the truth”, even about ourselves. We staunchly defend our own self-images in a denial that would make the biggest addictions seem tame. You cannot make a more severe attack on a person than one against the self-image, which will be defended absolutely. Even our best friends have to agree to disagree, to remain silent in their personal dissenting observations.
Yet psychology and consciousness studies have failed to turn up this elusive integrated “self” that we defend to the death in some cases. We can display consistent character and self-imposed limitations, but we can also be wildly inconsistent, even in non-adaptive, self-defeating ways. Are we each a house of cards based on no more than a collection of randomly adopted whims and chaotic accidents of upbringing and genetics?
In hypnotherapy, we have the concept of subpersonalities, inner figures (inner Judge, Rebel, Child, etc.) with competing agendas that can hijack out lives for their own goals. Likewise, Jungian archetypes, transpersonal dynamics represented in ancient times as gods and goddesses can also effect our notions of Truth. Each form has a different truth, acting like a lens for the mind focusing it on certain thing over others. They influence our “self talk”, persuade you toward ‘their’ view of reality.
The basis of the human psyche seems to be a collective of selves–a multimind in a multiverse. Independent and autonomous, they relate with one another mostly unknown to the outer awareness. The extreme form of splintering seen in Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) simply reflects an extreme form of multiplicity with conflicting perspectives. The “multistate paradigm” of human nature extends toward a psychology and spirituality that is polytheistic, even pantheistic.
“We conceptualize self in terms of dynamic multiplicity of relatively autonomous I positions in an imaginal landscape. The I has the possibility to move, as in a space, from one position to another in accordance with changes in situation and time. The I fluctuates among different and even opposed positions. The I has the capacity to imaginatively endow each position with a voice so that dialogical relations between positions can be established. The voices function like interacting characters in a story.” (Hermans, Kempen & van Loon, “The Dialogical Self”)
Fictional virtual realities are constructed by aspects of the self as imaginal conversations. Imaginal dialogues play a central role in our daily lives, existing alongside actual dialogues and interactions. The dialogical self can be seen as a multiplicity of I positions or possible selves, with a decentralized, polyphonic character. This view dissolves the sharp “self-not self” boundary. Attractors work at the edge of chaos to form our existential hologram.
Ecological fundamentalism has sought absolute truth in nature, but nature rejects this naivete. The notion of “relativity” implies that there is no absolute truth, therefore, no absolute self. Thus arises the notion of “radical pluralism”, which is reflected in our chaotic modern society as exposure to virtually every religious belief, every political view, and a myriad of social values. There is no central belief system in a pluralistic society.
The social construction of reality is up for grabs. The whole concept of reality has been called into question by a variety of ideologies and lifestyles. There are widening splits within traditional belief systems. There is transition in human cultural evolution, with the new paradigm in dialogue with the old, seeking a new synthesis. The move is toward a substitution of “story” for Truth, reflecting that sense of movement, change, flow.
Perhaps the hallmark of Post-Modern philosophy has been disbelief or skepticism of all “metanarratives.” The breakdowns of the story lines of religions, ideologies, even science has led to chaotic social change. We are beginning to realize, individually and as a world-wide culture that “realities” are all human constructions. The task becomes one of “catching ourselves in the act” of creating our own “reality” from the flow of events.
Human truth is always an engagement of mind with experience. The sociological message of Chaos Theory is that we don’t have to fear the collapse of what we think we are. We don’t need to fear the collapse of our personalistic belief system, nor our belief in absolute truth.
What's New with My Subject?
PARAMEDIA ECOLOGY: LET THE READER BE AWARE
by Iona Miller, 10/2006
“Paramedia” describes what happens when peers come together in networks of influence, using media innovation. In the era of USER AS CONTENT, self-organizing people with the status skillsets of traditional media and access to media publishing tools converge in mutually-reinforcing, democratic and purposeful new ways beyond journalism and the shameless self-promotion of "Web 2.0" and other non-compliant media and distribution channels. It is an extension of the zeitgeist of our times to connect directly with Source and Spirit.
Paramedia is arguably the single most important factor in current social evolution, light years beyond the offerings of dry pedagogy and endless Power Point presentations. It promotes both/and thinking and penetrates deeply into the gaps of conventional culture, rigidity and atrophy, bursting it apart at the seams, like overripe fruit. We can put collective shifts into high gear - and have a great time doing it.
Born at the creative edge of culture, paramedia helps us create the means to unleash our full potential. The future is being unleashed by a new generation of collaborative artists and Internet tools, such as conscious social networking, paired with an integral approach to personal growth. It is a chaotic creative factor mirroring the criticality of our times, and magnifying its influence through the butterfly effect of info-memes. It is a new way of getting our intellectual, emotional and expressive needs met through resilient communities.
Infowars: Taking its message directly to the people who either actively seek it or come upon it synchronistically, paramedia is a new way of teaching, learning and sharing that suits our busy lifestyles and our infolust for concise, up to the minute reportage, discussion, analysis and application.
Paramedia opens the door to direct modeling of behaviors as well as mentoring. But, let the reader be aware of its inherent challenge: separating the wheat from the chaff. Remember the consumer maxim, "Let the buyer beware." Let the reader be aware, since you may be dealing with OpEd news, mis- or disinformation, intentional or otherwise. As with all media, once you digest the content, you are invited to make up your own mind for yourself.
Paramedia Ecology describes the peer-to-peer world of subtle interactions of the sum of all such evolutionary media interactions, networks of influence, and peer relationships. It includes social and political potential, agitprop, blogging, podcasting, videocasting, network nodes, tiny TV, You Tube and the next thing we haven't heard about yet but will soon all be doing.
• Paramedia is a form of media that applies the training that has been largely restricted to journalists, artists and storytellers by limited access to the tools and channels for making and distributing messages;
• Paramedia operate beside, between, above and below the traditional practitioners of media and the paramedia channels enjoy an increasingly similar access to audiences through distribution channels.
• Paramedia can be dysfunctional; the assumption by established media is that paramedia is essentially flawed by a lack of professionalism. Paramedia people, likewise, believe the conventional media they supersede is dysfunctional. (Ratcliffe).
"McLuhan believed that electronic environments were molding people on a scale that was greater than any artwork, and that, therefore, artists should embrace the technologies of the future," says Paramedia Ecologist, Bob Dobbs."By this, he meant that in mass media environments, people are molded not only by the content but by a sensory bias specific to the medium," says Dobbs. For digital media, he adopted a different adage, that the "user is the content."
McLuhan's "put on" is the mysterious process of continual mutual transformation,”resulting from a reciprocal dynamic whereby a reader's perceptions are altered by putting on a mask or poem, and a writer or maker puts on the reader, having to project his own image as the mask of the user or reader.”
McLuhan would later note that the "complexity of this process is such that even literary critics have despaired of ever unravelling it. Critics of the press, on the other hand, are accustomed to label the whole thing as degrading…" given that in the commercial sphere, the process can be referred to as "giving the public what it wants." He continues, "this process is at the very heart of any communication activity…It is certain to remain the central issue so long as readers are human and not merely robots."
Now, it's time for the TAKE OFF, as we all GET REAL, online or off, once again ~ what is called in media ecology, the ANTHROPOMORPHIC PHYSICAL (AP), the physical body - not just the chip-body.
The audience is US, the users, the DOWNLOADABLE HUMANS.
MYTH IS the pattern of information/culture/community/technology and words/archetype/story/passion. Previously myth was imposed, now it is evoked. Instead of ruling people by controlling their passions, we rule through their passions.
Myth is passion and under the electric myth all passions are retrieved and recycled simultaneously as software "form" (to live in on a long-term basis) and as hardware "content" (short-term and temporary lifespan). In terms of communication, which is what a medium is - it's shared information, it's community - shared communities and archetypes are talking and talking back, living out loud.
Paramedia ecologist, Bob Dobbs suggests, "We are polluting Art as fast as we are tidying up Nature. The people of the Earth are encouraged to engage in an experiment of utmost urgency. We must turn off the electric environment for a period of one week to perform a cleansing of mass-man's mind, body and spirit. We must get back to our bodies, lest we forget they are still there! Imagine the freedom to be experienced as the top-down cultural control of civilization is eradicated for even the briefest period! If everyone did participate in the media Fast, how would we know it happened? Stay tuned..."
Who Are We?
What we need is a new existential paradigm, a design pattern for putting knowledge into action. Doctors tell us we don't know the simplest things like how to eat or sleep properly. Psychologists tell us we don't know how to behave and politics shows us we don't know how to get along. Pundits and talking heads tell us we don't know how to think critically. We don't know what to believe, and fall victim to mind control, the spiritual supermarket, memes, agitprop and propaganda, and our own outworn childhood scripts.
We need a new Participatory Wisdom for how to be and how to get along in our rapidly changing world. We need to change the architecture of our participation with self, others and world for a richer user experience, an attitude not a technology. Science isn't the panacea. Soon it will make us Borg, transhumans with bioelectronic supplementation. Science still doesn't know what energy, matter, electricity, life, or the cosmos is, but the secret of the Universe is that IT's ALIVE! And so are we.
That very nonmechanical liveliness, the joi de vivre of passion, best communicates our holistic Presence to others, to the world. In ancient times, wisdom was thought of as the type of knowledge needed to discern the good and live the good life. It was one of the four virtues, including justice, moderation, and courage, which comes from the heart as the root couer, shows. The pursuit of wisdom comes from a willingness to expose the pretenses of wisdom wherever we find them, even in ourselves. It gives us the infallible judgment to discern what is worthy of pursuit.
The "courage to be" -- what we potentially are, our mission and raison d'etre -- is essentially an ethical act of affirming our identity despite any shortcomings or the possibility of dreadful outcomes. It is embodied in two basic life strategies, which can be summed up as, "Say it then play it" or "Play it and then say it."
In the former we declare our intent. We begin with an inspiration, fantasy or desire, name it then go about the process of making it so. In the later, we place ourselves in the matrix of spontaneous events and find ourselves living larger than life, and then maximize that fortune to parlay it into further opportunities for fantastic experiences. Wisdom is developed through experience, insight and reflection -- the common sense of foresight, or "connecting the dots."
Philosophy as the love of wisdom is a metaphysical pursuit, which opens the depth dimension. Sure, each of us can be wise in our craft, but that is merely a steppingstone to the greater accomplishment of a well-lived life, optimizing our talents and opportunities for expression. Knowledge is the basis for making good choices. Without the right information, we are stuck in the "garbage in/garbage out" modality.
Practical wisdom, then, means the disposition and skill to use knowledge in the right ways -- fully actualized power. Skepticism toward rigid dogmas and even our own beliefs helps us stay quietly open to the opportunities, which might otherwise be lost. In this mode, faith comes from a solid connection with the nurturing Ground of our Being, the inherent power of self-affirmation, despite the threat of nonbeing.
Faith in oneself pragmatically confronts and transcends both theism and mysticism with a skeptical eye toward their limiting content. In this regard, it affirms radical freedom. This is a freedom to simply be what we are, more fully, without cultural or "imported" conditioning.
Insecurities remain, but are no longer paralyzing. When the inner aim is true, we cannot help but be drawn forward toward our own Truth. Aligning ourselves with others who appreciate the fundamental interconnectedness of life helps us thrive. It opens the door to both learning and mentoring others.
Courage in the face of the unknown is a gift of our Spirit. This strength of mind and heart is our Essence, our essential nature, which can neither be taught nor learned, but is a grace. It means power over oneself to muster and self-regulate inspiration, mood and creativity.
The evolutionary "edge,” the new self-organizing order always emerges from chaos. Courage gives us the will to surpass ourselves, and joy in doing so. Without courage, we can’t tolerate failure or success. With it, we can face the prospect of setbacks, guilt, condemnation and even death, for our lives are not empty nor meaningless...but a grand work of art, an artfully lived life with the acceptance that what IS-IS.
Thus, seeking and promoting wisdom means the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides that is the domain of aesthetics - Art with Heart. There is an art to creating environments, new worlds of perception.
YOU REPRESENT; THEY RECOGNIZE
"Association with pupils keeps one's work youthful. Critiquing others keeps one's point of view clear." (William Merritt Chase, 1849-1916)
MENTORING is the art of giving and receiving wisdom; guiding, nurturing and enabling others to realize and develop their full potential with respect for their own journey. It celebrates an extension of self-cultivation with kindred spirits in soulful relationships.
Mentoring is a means of expressing and receiving feedback from many points of view (POV). It is a mode of knowing and learning with. We find our identities in “mirroring”, empathy, mind-sharing and the struggle with different points of view.
Mentoring is individualized and tailored. Instructables means sharing what you make and how others can make it: step-by-step collaboration and nouveau niche opportunities - status skills. Once you find your niche, phreak it!
Now, consumers and "trysumers" can acquire as many skills as they want, but equally important is showing-off what you've learned and created. Don’t forget: without ‘the others’ seeing, tasting, hearing or smelling your skills, without the inevitable story-telling, there is no status coming your way!
The anti-trend to status skills is LACK OF TIME, balancing skill time and consumption time. Where on earth will consumers find the time to actively acquire these new skills? Infolust drives status skill-building and trend immersion.
The intergenerational "group leader" is a very busy and observant character, anticipating and even creating trends. While alternately bombarding the viewers and leaving them in pregnant silence, her approach is nevertheless anticipatory and dependent on the will of individuals within the group. This goes a long way toward avoiding the toxicity of recipes, the flapdoodle of stating the obvious.
The mentor must be able to think on her feet, with fluid concepts and creative analogies, and thus make it a learning experience for herself as well. Her job is to inspire, encourage and validate, to give authoritative crits, tips, demos, as well as input from Leonardo, Andy, Vincent, Georgia and others. It's good to instill and cultivate a feeling of the historic brotherhood and sisterhood. Newbies benefit when they keep their pride and lose their inhibitions.
Teaching can stealthily eviscerate your own need for art-making. Of course, there are those who find teaching a stimulus. Because many of us have a hard-wired need to share--and teaching is an obvious vehicle--we need to find ways of satisfying this need. Teaching art and hypermedia is not like teaching accounting. In the first place, individuals in an art community are likely to have vastly different expectations, potentials, aesthetics, icon repertoires, and prior experiences.
Because everybody is on a different page, you need to adjust your methodology. A feeling of "We're all friends here" must be established. In a game-like environment and an urgent atmosphere, all the participants start by going to work on current projects at their own level of proficiency. When the mentor feels that some direction can be reasonably offered, she engages on a one-to-one basis.
Students, collaborators and colleagues may gather or disperse. On occasion the mentor may pontificate for the whole group. She may quickly demonstrate her own or another's work for whoever may be interested. Examples of work, good and bad, finished or not, are held up for quick discussion. There's an ongoing interactive crit, a celebration of individuality within the joy of the group.
Attentional Processes: Beyond the Consumer Dream
Attention shuttling is self-soothing - a positive coping mechanism of resilient individuals, shifting attentional focus between the cognitive and emotional regulatory process. It is more akin to multitasking than the pathology of ADHD. It allows us to correct imbalances in our immediate environment by finding wider frames of reference that meet our needs better. It stimulates inner dialogue that often can’t be reduced to a single viewpoint from different perspectives.
Based on his work in creativity and with gifted children, John Curtis Gowan developed a model of development, which bootstrapped off Piaget and Erikson, but included adult development beyond the ordinary or "normal" adult successes of career and family building, extending into the emergence and stabilization of extraordinary development and mystical states of consciousness.
Gowan described the entire spectrum of available states in his classic Trance, Art, & Creativity (1975), with its different modalities of spiritual and aesthetic expression. He devised a test for Self-Actualization, called the Northridge Developmental Scale. http://www.csun.edu/edpsy/Gowan
Gowan outlines a developmental theory whereby we may tap our latent creative potential and self-actualization, organically growing toward the psychedelic or soul-revealing and illuminative states. He describes these states most fully in Development of the Psychedelic Individual (1974) and in Operations of Increasing Order. His use of the term 'psychedelic' does not connote drug use; quite the contrary he is strongly opposed to the developmental forcing and disintegration drug-use brings.
He describes how dyplasias between cognitive and affective growth can bleed off developmental energies, resulting in dysphoria and displacements, leaving us feeling unintegrated, blocked or stuck. He carries developmental theory past the concept of a strong coping ego. Fearing the loss-of-control by our egos, we may be reluctant to enter the soul-revealing stage of psychedelia and remain content to re-experience successes at our familiar or comfortable level of experience--usually expressed by the metaphor of "the American Dream,"--a cultural myth.
Gowan considers plateauing out before these upper stages to be akin to lack of sexual maturation in an adolescent. Clearly, resilience is the ability to continually redefine oneself and experience are fundamental to this life-long process of connecting with Source and Spirit. One of these means is finding more resilient ways of processing information through emotional and spiritual intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is demonstrated by the individual who is able to interrupt the emotional feedback loop as needed in order to allow the brain's logical functions to assess the situation. The techniques by which this is adaptively and intelligently accomplished are what psychology calls "positive coping mechanisms." Maladaptive coping mechanisms include those which succeed in circumventing emotional over-reactions at a cost of psychophysiological health to the individual, (Goleman, 1995).
Goleman's expanded model of intelligence thus presents a compelling argument that it is actually intelligent emotions rather than intelligence alone which forms the core of human coping skills and thus makes it a "master aptitude," (Goleman, p. 80).
We can fulfill the developmental process and develop our emotional intelligence to help us become more resilient. This facilitates information-shuttling between left and right hemispheres which intuitively facilitates the intelligent sequencing of information so that we more resiliently make use of our human emotions. From this enhanced state, intuitive information-sequencing facilitates evolution of resilient personality traits and adaptive coping styles. We become increasingly conscious of our own ability to effect positive outcomes within our worlds.
We can mirror the optimistic positive attitudes and aptitudes of our mentors. The process of co-consciousness or mindsharing involves a shared reality in which the integrity of the mentor stabilizes the journeyer even though they may be moving through the fear and pain in a highly emotional state. The empathic sensing, "mind reading," and compassionate reassurance of the mentor sustains the dynamic momentum of the process as it moves spontaneously toward natural healing.
Mindsharing comes down to us from the ancient shamanic tradition of spiritual healing.. "A shaman is someone whose specialty is induction of a well state, someone who may help either through research or treatment to induce a state in someone else's brain that will produce health," according to psychiatrist Arnold Mandell. "But the brain is an open, instrinsically unstable system, and if its higher level order is perturbed enough, it gets more and more turbulent. It fractures, then organizes into a new regime.
By directing our attention both inwardly and outwardly, we connect with the eternal source of wisdom and our intuition comes to the fore. An inherent part of the process of changing from the inside out is that as the deepest self transforms, downline faculties such as beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior, as well as psychosomatic condition, automatically change as well. Thus, resilience can be seen as the ability to dynamically change at the most fundamental level toward a more adaptive way of being in the world.
Individuals can develop a sense of wholeness on all three levels of their identity: 1). the egoic, which requires a more adaptively cohesive sense of self identity with and yet separate from the world; 2). the existential, which while encompassing the egoic state, also requires a more coherent sense of one's individuated state within the human conditions; and 3). the transpersonal, which requires that one transcend the egoic, existential identities and enter into a heightened awareness of essential unity with all human beings, living things, and perhaps the cosmos.