"We live in an age of gigantic pictorial illusionism and journalistic exaggeration of concealment." -- Marshall McLuhan
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." -- CG Jung
What you "see" is not always what you "get." Many people mistakenly take their own visions literally without "seeing through" the various possibilities that are outside their belief system, knowledge or skill base. Deeper reality is not remote in the physical sense but in a psychological sense. The archetypes of the collective unconscious are arrayed behind the scenes of current worldwide conditions, of crisis and confusion. They mirror our own states back at us, whether we perceive them as such or interpret them plausibly or not. The noise of ordinary consciousness and beliefs drowns out the signal. Unconsciousness is the background of our ordinary awareness.
Our organism is very much at the center of such effects. The organismic source is our human bodies and the focus of human consciousness. The fantasy principle dethrones reality, but can be dissociative or compensatory. The human mind is a meme-scape. Pre-conceived concepts vie with structures, concepts with images. Like scientists who ignore assumed truths, we leapfrog over our beliefs and personality deficits, claiming idiosyncratic imagination is literal reality. It couldn't be further from the truth and symbolism is utterly lost. The metaphor that might heal us enslaves us.
Perhaps images like the holographic universe have an implicate order. Can we have a sense of the cosmos in the world without projecting myriad fantasies on it that we embrace literally? Has the world become so horrible it is unreasonable to be realistic? We may need to look at our drives and wishes, rather than the fantasy content. Psyche constructs reality. Our experience of so-called reality is always mediated by our image of it. Even if all the contents of the psyche are real, that doesn't mean they are realistic. That psyche is real is still a radical proposition, but psychic politics certainly color the self-image and ideas of everyone. We observe and participate with images.
It is not a question of nature or nurture (genes alone or experience alone). Rather, everything is both. We inherit the structures that make our experience what it is. But the structure itself is “empty,” and each human culture “fills” it with its own specific adaptations. It is difficult to define an archetype and set boundaries that distinguish it from others. In a hologram each part contains all the information but in lower resolution. Archetypes have this holographic quality. There are patterns within patterns within patterns. Some overlap with others, and some are nested inside others.
Archetypal realities, passed on through DNA, are expressed in distinctive neuronal tracts in the brain. They include customs and laws regarding property, incest, marriage, kinship, and social status or roles; myths and legends; beliefs about the supernatural; gambling, adultery, homicide, schizophrenia, and the therapies to deal with them. A mythic and visionary language of immediate experience encompasses themes of deepest, highest, and ultimate concern.
Most fantasy-based individuals are at a complete loss to coherently explain their own conventional behavior much less anomalous events and their deep meaning, much less the cultural unconscious, or mythological unconscious matrix. But they try, and become utterly entrenched in their belief that they are right about the nature of the world and reality. We have pseudo-memories about our personal lives. Why not moreso for our collective life?
The subject matter often revolves around catastrophe, creation and the mythopoeic forces of mankind. Ignorant of such dynamics, interpretive mistakes and displaced psychic contents proliferate into errors of fact. Propaganda, media distortions, memes, and disinformation compound the social problem of misapprehension further. Shameless self-promotion by personalities of such ideas leads to cults. They make up myths about the myths of by-gone eras. Roiling unconscious images can be fatally confusing. Thought illusions culminate in projections and projections of mythology. Jung suggested symbols live only as long as they are pregnant with meaning.
Philosophy arose from criticism of myth, from discussing and challenging it. In science, we criticize, reject and eliminate theories. At the edge of the abyss of the unknown, new signs and symbols emerge. Credible theories and paradigms must include biology, physics, and neurophysiology.
Is it God or Memorex?
One of the reasons people "see God", or a guru, or anomalies may be because our brains are constructed to see reality through the eyes of others. There are heaps of mirror neurons which are there to make us feel the 'other'. Mirror neurons do for psychology what DNA did for biology. They provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities.
As in the psychochemical processes of empathy or falling in love, a complex feedback loop sustains a state of mind. But when we empathically transpose ourselves into someone else's position, we expose ourselves to that reality -- cognitively and emotionally. The unconscious complicates empathy, both ways. Mirror neurons might well play a role in bonding, language and self-awareness.
Naively, we take too much as self-evident. But 'seeing' is not always 'believing', though many make this error or leap in logic and formulate their choices and future accordingly. Yet, there is only one way to learn what consciousness is. Experience. But we have no satisfactory explanatory edifice for consciousness. Would such a theory release in each of us our own inner knowledge of the creativity of our own consciousness, and its infinite possibilities? The problem is trying to define a verb, a dynamic, as if it were a noun.
But we do recognize the effect of consciousness. It functions to mediate states of consciousness, high and low psychobiological arousal. Consciousness is the subconscious lifted up by the physical body. When the body fails, the consciousness collapses back into the subconscious. All our thoughts come from the subconscious which can see our intentions but not our world. This relates somehow to intention being imaginary and not of the physical frictionized world (King).
Gerald Edelman postulates that the flows of information in the brain are mediated through ‘re-entrant' feedback loops. As evolution provides new cognitive functions, new re-entrant loops are established. Even language itself is an archetype -- a chaotic field of dynamic associations. A subtle net of tropes, grammar, symbols, and meaning, the program language begins in limbic resonance. Some phenomena generate their own language patterns, nomenclature, and internal coherence of meaning and representation.
In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional space would also have to be viewed as projections of this deeper order. At its deeper level reality is a sort of super hologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. This suggests that given the proper tools it might even be possible to someday reach into the super holographic level of reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past.
Or not. A fantasy of such penetration or phenomenon inside the head is not the same as that penetration.
Like psychic DNA, the collective unconscious contains "inherited" psychic material that links us not only to other humans in the present but also to our ancestors from the past. According to Jung's theory, though each of us appears to function independently, in actuality we're all tapped into the same global mind. Symbols interact with and condition our biohologram. The Collective Unconscious is essentially a Hologram.
Symbols arise from and are embedded in the environment as holographic fields of energy. They are morphogenic veils of primal forces. If your brain acts like a self-contained hologram, it is possible your consciousness is actually a piece of a much larger hologram of overall human consciousness. Jung noticed that patterns spontaneously appear over and over around the world. They also appear as our Ancestral Memories or holographic wisdom field.
In the archetypal world, everyone is the same, all around the world... we are all Gods, and our emotional addictions to pain and suffering, contempt, insecurities, doubt, failure, is holographically-recorded and can be holographically healed. All archetypes are a form of human expression that is both holographic and physical.
Physical formations of archetypal sequences cause humans to behave in parallel manners to each ancestor that is associated. Integration is a function of intentionality -- conscious and unconsciously maintained, or incorporated. Integration occurs both without effort, as a redesign of the central processor of our minds, and voluntarily as a deliberate effort to understand, find meaning, and as rectification of our behavior towards others and towards ourselves.
Imagination is structured by the archetypal potentials of the unconscious. Archetypes structure the possibility to generate and entertain such ideas. The archetype itself cannot be known but structures everything we come to know. Their totality functions as a psychic organ. Universal themes appear in distinct cultural garb.
Over millennia, all the archetypes have emerged in stories, deities and cultural forms. One of the striking points of religious faith is that they aren't true. In early history people didn't know the ‘real' reasons things happened, so it's no surprise that their explanations were wrong. But then, why would we want to retrieve such superstitions?
Kuhn reminds us that even the most absurd or confused explanation of a phenomena can find acceptance in the absence of a competing idea. Once any explanation is offered for a phenomena, it has an explanation from that time on. Succeeding speculations might be able to explain the relevant phenomena better than its predecessors. Deities, as archetypal role models, are the opening gambit in the drama of understanding human subjectivity. Folk tales function the same way.
Deities or archetypes may have evolved to smooth interpersonal relations by including an understanding of human types, along with rules for helping the different types relate with one another. They are reflections of ancient evolutionary pressures, with a dash of neuroanatomy. We still have yjr same pressures today so the ancient archetypes still "work", regardless of objective existence of gods and goddesses.
Burke (2003) describes how the underlying pattern or strange attraction between transference and holography extends to other processes both within and outside the field of psychology. Such processes include projection, projective identification, splitting, memory, biology, creative discovery, theology, synchronicity, chaos, and nonlocality. Identifying the similar patterns of these processes demonstrates the existence of an underlying holographic archetype in which essential qualities of the whole are present in each of the parts of the whole. The autonomy of the overall human is present in each conscious and unconscious component part of the human psyche.
Cognition, itself is a holographic archetype. Many essential qualities of the whole are reflected or contained in each of the parts that make up that whole. It is a subtle net of metaphor, analogy and simile. Holographic archetypes effectively echo their resonant patterns through literal and symbolic reflectaphors. The passing forms of the holographic archetype include the hologram, psychic structure, synchronicity, wisdom traditions, memory, the process of scientific discovery, chaos in physics, nonlocality and virtuality in physics.
As unconscious structuring principle, the archetype lies beyond normal consciousness and emerges suddenly and dynamically from the (holographic) psychoid field, with a powerful emotional charge that invests it with significance. Everything that happens is conditioned by the moment in which it happens. The universal field imposes the conditions. Matter is not inert but receptive to holistic patterning. If the mythic world taught our ancestors how to manipulate the empirical world, it also taught them to manipulate that mythic narrative itself for control purposes. Socioeconomic power enforces its mythic narrative.
The psychoid field imposes holistic function. Autonomous inner forces arouse compelling opportunities to enact archetypal behaviors. They guide our perceptions and behavior, usually without our awareness. Limbic action of complexes is a big part of the holistic dynamics of the psyche. Dreams report what goes on beneath the veil of conscious awareness. To the consciousness of the 'thinker', knowledge is thought. Period. Without thought, the consciousness of the 'thinker' collapses into psychosis.
With archetypes come the potential for wisdom, relatedness, sociality, ambiguity, paranoia, projection, identification, denial, inflation, subpersonalities (fragmentation), defensiveness, obsession, hypnotic dissociation, the contagion of participation mystique, mythologizing, complexes, compensation, and self-delusion. Compensation may calm or disturb consciousness. There is no imperative for the ego to integrate these alternative perspectives, private and public myths. The unconscious can produce deep wisdom and utter nonsense. It is up to the ego to discriminate. The value of myths is purely heuristic, not pragmatic.
Trances People Live
Identity is a characteristic of the primitive mentality and the real foundation of participation mystique, which is nothing but a relic of the infantile non-differentiation of subject and object, the primordial unconscious state. The further we go back into history, the more we see personality disappearing beneath the wrappings of collectivity. Any individual's existential condition is just a typical variation on the collective themes of the eternal human condition. Our particular individuality emerges from a collective mythic existence.
Individuals may have an unconscious identity with some era, person, group, or object. Participation mystique means a mystical connection in which one cannot clearly distinguish self from other, bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity or transference. Unfortunately, that is tantamount to giving part of yourself away. It is the mostly unconscious instinctive human tie to symbolic fantasy and mythic emanations leading to literalisms and concretism, the attempt to turn the imaginal into events.
Mythological motifs project themselves into situations and objects, including other persons. Everything unconscious about ourselves is projected. When the boundary between consciousness and the unconscious is blurred, either intentionally or unintentionally, the ego has a hard time differentiating between what belongs to itself and what belongs to the other. The two become identified with each other.
When a projection is strongly fixated, it may be next to impossible to separate one’s projected material from the person who is carrying the projection. Whether it is a person or an object, suddenly, all those things outside become carriers, unconsciously, of what resides within. Such illusory states left unconscious turn toxic and consuming. Denial leaves room for serious errors of fact. It is a warning against extreme conscious attitudes which inevitably get compensated by the Shadow. In the process Jung termed enantiodromia, projections can break or revert into their opposites as psyche seeks to equilibrate or re-balance itself.
Rightly or wrongly, every phenomena is subject to being named, labelled and interpreted, including the sense of self as the biological basis of consciousness. In the struggle to narrate its experience, the mind tends to label phenomena and to spontaneously generate ideation and imaginally fill in the gaps in awareness. Subcultures are dynamic marketplaces for knowledge construction, authenticating and authorizing claims within an overall belief structure. Such authority structures may be benign, toxic, exploitive or malignant.
It's only a small step from known psychological mechanisms that generate illusions to perceiving an entity 'out there' with the archetypal characteristics of a personality - e.g. the pater noster or any 'other', the Not-I, who interacts with us in the way we interact morally with others. This is where social selection really favors mirror neurons that can produce neurological tricks we interpret subjectively, according to our beliefs.
Social order is organized around both faulty and plausible knowledge of reality. Ritual is a creative process used to construct meaning worlds. But they don't reliably produce intuitive experience with consensual meaning. Most often such experience and interpretations are idiosyncratic, cannot be validated, and are rooted purely in beliefs as assumed truths.
Most of this retrieved esoteric knowledge reflects superstitious ideas arising prior to the seventeenth century. Archaic consciousness of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic lies buried within us, but to trying to relive them today may mean being less than wholly present now. Such beliefs effectively 'teleport' one back in time into less sophisticated modes of ideation.
In archaic identity there is no differentiation between object and subject and no distinction between lived experience and what the subject believes he or she perceives about the world. Perceptual competence is self-assessed in grandiose terms without cognitive and emotional balance. Credibility is conferred by the untutored crowd based on otherwise unworthy persons, with charisma and emotional appeal. Orthodoxy of interpretation gives rise to organizations.
The recognition and withdrawal of projections usually provokes a state of disenchantment or, conversely, elation and inflation of the ego. However, these processes can also open the way to a practice of the symbolic life and of human relations without too much alienation or mystification in the therapeutic process. This is a ‘knowing’ of the things of life and their inherent mysteries through the experience of the mundane as well as the spiritual. It is an immersion in the mysteries of nature and the seeking of knowledge through mystical participation.
The "sensed presence", including the God-image, arises when the right hemispheric sense of self falls out of phase with the left hemispheric self. The right ‘self' is experienced as an external presence. Commonly, a person feels that the sensed presence is not themselves at all, but an outside, ego-alien, being -- "Not-I." The two hemispheres can act independently, as shown in ‘split brain' studies, giving the person a partitioned awareness. The sensed presence might be likened to a temporary split brain, but limited to its senses of self (Persinger, 1993).
If the experience involves one of the amygdala more than the other, the result might be an emotionally intense experience. If one amygdala or the other really dominates the experience, then a terrifying demon, or a deeply comforting angel might be the result. If the experience involved the sensorimotor cortex, it could include feelings of movement, which can be extrapolated into sensations of flying, rising or falling.
If the experience includes the lower (ventral) portion of the temporal lobes, where long-term memories are stored (Squire, 1991), it might include exotic memories, such as ‘buried' childhood memories), ‘past life' memories, memories of encounters with aliens (Schnabel, 1994). These mysteries are seen to be truths which one had only forgotten, as their content is perceived through neural avenues that usually manifest memories. All these implicate the parahippocampal gyrus, the entorhinal cortex, and the perirhinal cortex, where long-term memories are accessed or consolidated (Miller, 1998).
Several brain structures outside the limbic system further color excitation or inhibition of the functions below the limbic system, such as the thalamus (whose pulvinar nucleus can induce aura vision when stimulated), or the reticular formation, which has been implicated in the life reviews (Taylor, 1979).
The sensed presence is only one example of a whole class of experiences called visitor experiences, or just visitations (Persinger, 1989). It falls at one end of a spectrum. At the lower end we should expect to find the sensed presence, and at the other, we find a very affective being, such as God or Satan in a fully extrapolated environment, complete with heavenly or hellish sounds, smells, bodily sensations, etc. One approach to the phenomena develops self-delusions or cults, while the other develops psychologies or defines neurological pathways.
As the experience deepens in intensity, recruiting more and more brain structures, it can include visions, smells, tastes, vestibular feelings of falling or rising, parasthetic feelings of tingles, and energetic effects in the body. Visual components emerge as the temporal lobes spill over to the occipital lobes. The Presence becomes a figure of some kind; an angel, a ghost, the spirit of a beloved dead friend or relative, a guru, a God. Spiritual claims arise in a vacuum of other more plausible theories and are most often conditioned by unscientific cultural tropes. Paradoxically, junk science is often enlisted to support such claims.
The idea that we are naked before the moral deity is a real mirror neuron trick. If we can 'feel' them, they can feel us by the same mechanism is a faulty conclusion. Self-generated illusions aren't necessarily reciprocal, but they do form self-amplifying feedback loops and strange attractors, even Black Holes and "gravity wells" in the psyche. Experiences are just qualitative perceptions associated with feelings and attitudes about them -- sensations and abstractions. But observations of nature and cosmos can only be accurate if physical occurrences are correctly conceived and unconscious mental mechanisms understood.
Esoteric knowledge is "acquired" in a moment of intuition when sensory perception and thought combine. Knowledge is an important part of religion that also gives rise to incompatible concepts and understanding, rooted in historically diverse traditions, cultures, paradigms and frames. Esotericism, a medieval repository of alternative ideas, seeks congruence of material and spiritual ideas attached to natural phenomena. It is a subjective hermeneutic interpretation. Traditional worldviews are challenged by other ways of perceiving reality.
So even if everyone 'sees' God it doesn't mean a figurative or 'non-figurative' God exists. Of course we also have the genetic argument that religious belief is selected for because it fosters larger more dominant societies. Again this is no reason for God to exist. It also doesn't mean individual experiences aren't "real" - but they can be caused by a variety of brain variations such as full-blown or sub-clinical temporal lobe epilepsy (TLTs, or temporal lobe transients) or peculiar EM wave interaction or intrusions from the environment, as demonstrated by Dr. Michael Persinger's ongoing "God Helmet" experiments at Laurentian University.
He theorizes that the sensation described as "having a religious experience" is merely a side effect of our bicameral brain's feverish activities. Simplified, the mind generates a "sensed presence" when the right hemisphere of the brain, the seat of emotion, is stimulated in the cerebral region which controls notions of self, and then the left hemisphere, the seat of language, is called upon to make sense of this nonexistent "entity."
Do We Have to Believe What We Believe? Literally?
We can also program ourselves into a variety of beliefs by immersing ourselves in subcultures of such beliefs until we "see the light" according to that dogma or groupthink. Critical thinking is replaced by "true belief." This is the basis of cult conversion and propaganda campaigns, changing values and focus by influence strategies and covert hypnosis, creating a lived trance that is a "foregone collusion."
Naked awareness is a core experience that presents mystically, as numinous. We fool ourselves with a trick of our own mind, when the truth of primordial ground or fuller Awareness lies below all such contrived or confabulated notions, or any 'content' of mind. Intention without intelligence is useless. Intentionality is striving for the future. History rewritten by amateurs or the 'lowest common denominator' is no better than a politically motivated version, and possibly even more fantastical.
To remain balanced and integrated, we have to also be rational about consciousness through experience, even though the only way to become experts about consciousness is by studying and exploring our own different consciousness experiences and states. Everybody knows we can change the focus of our own attention. Structural coding includes informational, energetic and material factors. But it's still scientific heresy to say all energy contains consciousness, and virtually no one can speculate about what 'level' of consciousness that might be.
Confabulation occurs in particular when people study and retrieve their individual notions of the spiritual practices and histories of by-gone eras, which brings "old wine in new bottles" (OWINB), old superstitions into the attention and worldview of the person. You cannot know a culture without living in it, and pretending you did is even more ineffectual. You can hopelessly interweave it with commonly accepted facts, dressing it in the Emperor's clothes of plausibility. Robert Anton Wilson called such retrievals "reality wormholes", and cautioned against taking them literally. Joining with others in "movements" just amplifies and co-opts personal experience into a sociopolitical agenda.
Any mega-trend, the latest vogue or version of "OWINB", by the recently 'initiated' but somehow 'blessed' may contaminate the individuation process and experience with "imported" notions and interpretations, rather than allowing organic emergence as individuation. 'Initiation' is, after all, only a "beginning", more about 'becoming' than 'being'. It implies you are less-than-whole, even though you always carry your own potential and are inescapably holistically connected. Yet, you can become more aware of rather than unconscious of such states, experientially.
Mind vs. Its Contents
Marshall McLuhan also noticed such thinking patterns in social cycles. Thus, such thinking is an archaic cultural artifact, not a fact confirming process. Retrievals are revivals of systems that failed to sustain themselves the first time around, becoming obsolete for a variety of reasons. Rather than a step forward, retrievals of obsolete forms, processes and beliefs are a step backward, a step into another limited figurative form, a step away from the "now."
Archetypal dynamics originating within can push us toward external imports of attitudes and beliefs, by promising social secondary gains -- fitting in, "belonging", or whatever infantile needs remain from our childhoods. But all that is 'natural' is not necessarily healthful to our adjustment or psychophysical well-being.
McLuhan's "cool" style explores rather than explains, it requires participation and engagement, and it will only frustrate or annoy those who approach it as detached observers wanting evidence and facts to support the many claims. McLuhan's often misunderstood heuristics has aphorisms, like "figure/ground," the role of cliches, and the laws of media, and McLuhan's analytical and predictive tools. His four effects include: enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal. Retrieval is to obsolescence as enhancement is to reversal.
You can intervene in this cycle and catch yourself in the act of programming your own beliefs and short-circuit the process. The problem occurs when people try to turn their imaginal events, which are neither real nor unreal into concrete events, and then create 'movements' of them which invariably become riddled with polyglot or eclectic dogma...a mishmash of misperception, then convince themselves there is "reality" in it. The subtext is, it challenges the natural authority of people.
This toxic narrative is particularly so among those "selling spirituality." First they create an existential 'problem' in your head or redefine one in the social landscape in some fantastical way, then provide a psychosocial solution -- usually in "kool aid" form. If only this or that were so, it would not be so horrible.
Chomsky points out, "but it's hard to be a decent person when you have your boot on someone's neck. In a patriarchal family, the abusive father doesn't think he's doing anything wrong. If you oppress people, you have to have a reason for doing it; in order to look yourself in the mirror, you have to make up a story."
In the '60s, McLuhan predicted computers would break down barriers of global communication and “enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip it into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.” He also predicted a rise in the cult of personality.
Sophistry or Sophistication?
Sophistry or Sophism in the modern definition is a specious argument used for deceiving someone. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching aretê — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. The practice of charging money for education (and providing wisdom only to those who can pay) led to the condemnations made by Plato (through Socrates in his dialogues). Plato regarded their profession itself as being 'specious' or 'deceptive', hence the modern meaning of the term.
Plato is largely responsible for the modern view of the "sophist" as a greedy instructor who uses rhetorical sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive, or to support fallacious reasoning. In this view, the sophist is not concerned with truth and justice, but instead seeks power. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all challenged the philosophical foundations of sophism.
Some scholars, such as Ugo Zilioli argue that the sophists held a relativistic view on cognition and knowledge. However, this may involve the Greek word "doxa," which means "culturally shared belief" rather than "individual opinion." Their philosophy contains criticism of religion, law, and ethics. Though many sophists were apparently as religious as their contemporaries, some held atheistic or agnostic views (for example, Protagoras and Diagoras of Melos).
Plato and Aristotle regarded philosophy as distinct from sophistry, the latter being regarded as specious and rhetorical, a practical discipline. Thus, by the time of the Roman Empire, a sophist was simply a teacher of rhetoric or a popular public speaker. To mistake such for wisdom would be an error of class.
The term originated from Greek σόφισμα, sophisma, from σοφίζω, sophizo "I am wise"; confer σοφιστής, sophistēs, meaning "wise-ist, one who does wisdom, one who makes a business out of wisdom" and σοφός, sophós means "wise man". But you must remain alert for who these things serve, what hidden agenda on the part of the self-appointed mage is in motion? The shadow is the stage assistant of the magician and Trickster. Magickal assistants have many ancient names -- gods, angels -- daemons, but the "shadow" is an obvious extension of the person.
Trickster anthropology includes theorizing ontological ambiguity, transgression and transformation. Anthropology now talk of flows, communities of practice, and mobile cultural geographies in what appears to be a radical shift of object, from social structures and a standardizing view of collectivities, to individuals, processes, entities and agencies.
Anthropologists of religion have long grappled with the figure of the 'trickster' - the playful, deceitful, shape-shifting archetypical spirit whose resistance to categorical stasis and ontological certainty is a reminder that cosmology can often escape human determination and containment.
Through diverse ethnographic instances and contexts, we explore the idea of 'anthropological tricksters' in the more encompassing domains of politics, kinship, and social identity, where ambiguity may not be just transitive but indeed constitutive. The field is exploring novel ways of recording and theorizing ontological transgressiveness and transformation. see http://www.scribd.com/doc/70353722/The-Shadow-as-a-Magical-Assistant
Sophistry is part of the speculative basis of language based subcultures -- persuasion and rhetoric with a dash of charisma. Such persons may believe wholeheartedly in their own self-delusion and zealously try infecting others with it. But why? The question remains, but often has a narcissistic basis.
Argumentation skills don't necessary lead to truth. Arguments can be utterly fallacious, "bait and switch" pseudo-philosophy, or a confidence trick. Deliberately flawed reasoning and arguments may even be less harmful than those unconsciously produced by those with self-deluded good intentions based in fraudulent assumed truths. The effect of both on others is still exploitative.
Bread & Circuits
The situation is compounded by netlife: From magicians and mediums to immersive media, and from the circus to cyborgs, the celebration and/or mistrust of illusion has been a central theme across a range of cultures. Notions of fakery and deception remind us that our identities that are performative. The figure of the ‘mark’ of the fairground scam remains culturally ubiquitous, perhaps more so than ever, in an era of (post) mechanical reproduction.
Is new technology a flight from the real or merely a continuation of older cultural forms? Is it necessary, or even possible, to define reality in relation to the illusory? What realms of ‘otherness’ remain to be embraced? We can discuss staged illusions across a spectrum of historical, geographical and cultural contexts, including: 3D cinema, the paranormal, the music hall, digital trickery, the fairground, magicians and illusionists, theater, science, the museum, the magic of cinema, the gothic, digital gaming, role play, social networking, the circus, advertising, illusory bodies and genders, theme parks and digital animation. The unknowable isn't always the spiritual.
Each age has its quest for the Holy Grail, however you define it. The New Age dogmas may be even more difficult to escape than the conventional ones whose boundaries are well known. Supernatural beings don't influence us, rather it is the human who allows himself to be influenced by others.
You can make yourself believe anything, moreso, by repeated exposure to such notions and engaging in self-confirmatory searching for material and individuals that support those erroneous conclusions based on partial information or even disinformation. This is the basis of mind control in cults. Groupthink repels rather than persuades the spiritually mature because it is the opposite of self-actualization and self-realization which is true gnosis, or self-knowledge. It is in the interpretation of such phenomena that people depart from 'reality' into self-delusion, religious and otherwise.
Does consciousness supervene on all identical worldlines and where the multiverse differentiates (or as bundles of worlds divide), where the first person experience is indeterminate. Secondly, does local causality then apply?
"Space" as the master trope of this century, and in the domain of 21st century (post) humanists, is a concept gaining significant attention in rhetoric and composition. Even a lifetime of compulsive dissent may be totally off-track, supporting nothing more than a false personality rather than health and well-being. We voice great moral indignation about other people's atrocities but not our own. Thomas Aquinas called it intentional ignorance - when something is not nice to think about.
What some people often miss is, in the emerging, more unified paradigm, that which we usually think of as "objective" (and/or "objective truth"), really turns out to also be instances of very strongly repeatable subjectivity. This sort of reveals what is coming at us and that what we really experience are forms of strongly repeating, stochastically repeating and the rare-to-never repeating instances of subjectivity.
After a fashion EVERYONE gets to strongly, stochastically and rarely repeatable subjectivity, and our much loved objective certainty shimmers away. So, we feel a chill run through us, or we encounter a sense or a presence. And, we KNOW that it is of the rarely repeatable category. A fully cloaked being sitting on the bed and scaring the whiskers off the cat, or Christ in his full, compassionate sensitivity, but also hidden from direct view.
One may notice that even now some people think of physical life and also spiritual life. Much of the physical life IS strongly repeatable, but not all. And much of the spiritual life is rarely repeatable and certainly not on our whim and control. So, some paradigm transition, some adjustment in the world-modeling is deeply warranted.
Do we just take a load off and tune in, structurally code into the strong, stochastic and rare flavors of repeatable subjectivity? Do we remain fascinated with following the high weirdness of our faulty perceptions or try to see through the dynamics of the process in motion? In this sense, archetypes and anomalous phenomena function like magicians of the psyche, deluding us with misdirection. Does the paranormal contradict scientific explanation or merely elude it?
Social Media Analyzed through Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad
Enhancement: What the medium amplifies or intensifies. Social Media intensifies the ability to communicate, create and interact. Always “on.”
Obsolescence: What the medium drives out of prominence. Social media reduces the importance of traditional media, and gives a voice to everyone. Reduces the one-way flow of communication.
Retrieval: What the medium recovers which was previously lost. Social Media returns our control over content, and promotes transparency and authenticity.
Reversal: What the medium does when pushed to its limits. Can’t tell the difference between reality and sponsored conversation. Misinformation, self-appointed policing and fluff.
If the archetypes have a location; neurostructures that instantiate them, it's not impossible that we can believe in god because we have a brain center that specializes in fatherly images seems not unreasonable. Behavioral paradigms have been found to have neural representation, puberty being the best known of them. The archetypes are often, if not usually, found in the various deities worshiped in a culture, and they reinforce the roles people experience during the different phases of their lives, able to advise or give guidance about almost any situation.
Particularly clever stratagems would be remembered. Over millennia, all the archetypes have been made explicit in stories, deities and cultural forms. One of the most salient aspects of many points of religious faith is that they aren't true. In our early history people didn't know the ‘real' reasons things happened, and so it's no surprise that their explanations were wrong. So, why would we want to retrieve such superstitions?
According to Philosopher/historian of science, T.S. Kuhn, even the most absurd or confused explanation of a phenomena can find acceptance in the absence of a competing idea. Once any explanation is offered for a phenomena, it has an explanation from that time on. Each succeeding speculation is better able to explain the relevant phenomena better than its predecessors.
The deities are the opening gambit in the drama of understanding human subjectivity, and many of the lessons they offer are still the best lessons available, especially for children, or the uneducated, which represents most of the people on earth. Folk tales function the same way.
Deities or archetypes may have evolved to smooth interpersonal relations by including an understanding of human types, along with rules for helping the different types relate with one another. If the deities are just reflections of ancient evolutionary pressures, with a dash of neuro-anatomy thrown in, we still have same pressures today so the ancient archetypes still "work", irregardless of any objective existence of gods and goddesses.
Strange Attractors: Transference, Holography, and an Archetype (Burke, J. , Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2003).
There are similarities between the patterns of holography and of psychological transference, where holography is the process of recording and reconstructing holograms. Employing a theoretical perspective using a hermeneutic method, this dissertation parallels holography with transference, offering another way to encounter transference by showing similarities between the processes of each and the results of each. Though complex, infinitely varying, and unique, their patterns are clearly identifiable. Thus they are a metaphorical fit to the concept of strange attractors in physics and a more literal fit to the concept of archetypes in depth psychology or dynamic psychology, psychology which attends to the living, autonomous unconscious. This study explains how holography models transference, what a hologram is and how it works, and how depth psychology's understanding of the interaction between consciousness and the unconscious is related to the hologram. It describes transference and related psychological processes as understood in six different schools of depth psychological thought. It shows that the underlying pattern or strange attraction between transference and holography extends to other processes both within and outside the field of psychology, processes such as projection, projective identification, splitting, memory, biology, creative discovery, theology, synchronicity, chaos, and nonlocality. By identifying the similar patterns of these processes, this study demonstrates the existence of an underlying holographic archetype in which essential qualities of the whole are present in each of the parts of the whole: the visual image of the overall hologram is present in each component part of the hologram, the autonomy of the overall human is present in each conscious and unconscious component part of the human psyche. By noting differences as well as similarities in these processes, it suggests an inventory of the qualities of the holographic archetype. This study furthers understanding of the pervasiveness, force, and autonomy of the unconscious acting through transference and projection by identifying a group projection of domestic violence lying at the core of the Christian myth. This study also furthers understanding of the concept of transference by providing a reflection hologram of the human psyche as an artistic work and as a visual metaphor of transference. http://pacifica.edu/pgl/stories/storyReader$730.html_print-friendly=true.html
Burke, Joseph. The Rainmaker’s Reality and the Holographic Archetype. Psychological Perspectives. 50/1, 2007. A Jungian psychotherapist evokes the luminous feature which suffuses deep religion and science by way of the optical hologram whence each iota contains a refraction of the whole image. From the Sefirot and Indra’s web to our intricate, nested psyche and on to an ascendant similarity from galaxies to Gaia, the same pattern and process holds and recurs everywhere. Another view of the once and future salutary secret if only we might learn to see and read together.
We postulate and support the existence of an archetype -- a holographic archetype. Cognition, itself is a holographic archetype. Many essential qualities of the whole are reflected or contained in each of the parts that make up that whole. It is a subtle net of metaphor, analogy and simile. Holographic archetypes effectively echo their resonant patterns through literal and symbolic reflectaphors. The passing forms of the holographic archetype include the hologram, psychic structure, synchronicity, several teachings in the sacred traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity, memory, the process of scientific discovery, chaos in physics, nonlocality and virtuality in physics.
Like psychic DNA, the collective unconscious contains "inherited" psychic material that links us not only to other humans in the present but also to our ancestors from the past. According to Jung's theory, though each of us appears to function independently, in actuality we're all tapped into the same global mind. Symbols interact with and condition our biohologram.
Other people have come up with similar concepts, from different disciplines. For example, neurologist Karl Pribram and Manhattan Project physicist David Bohm rooted their holonomic brain theory in quantum physics. The Collective Unconscious is essentially a Hologram. The prime characteristic of a holographic image is if you cut up into pieces, each of the pieces still holds the whole hologram, only at lower resolution -- the information is fuzzier. Information about the image is in all different parts of the hologram.
Empirical research has demonstrated that the brain is the same way: memories aren't localized (stored in one place); rather, they're spread across the associative areas of the brain. Associative areas aren't set aside for particular functions like speech production, language comprehension, and memory encoding; instead, they're responsible for all "miscellaneous" tasks.
If you cut out a piece of the brain like a tumor, the patient never forgets Aunt Cindy but remembers Uncle Dave. miThe patient may temporarily or permanently lose certain functions, since some functions are dependent on a particular part of the brain, but if you don't remove the entire cerebral cortex, knowledge can't be cut out. Each associative area seems to contain echoes of all of the information. Symbols arise from and are embedded in the environment as holographic fields of energy. They are morphogenic veils of primal forces.
So if your brain acts like a self-contained hologram, the reasoning goes, then isn't it possible your consciousness is actually a piece of a much larger hologram of overall human consciousness; that is, of the collective unconscious? Jung believed that the way to learn what was in the collective unconscious was to watch for the appearance of archetypes: patterns that spontaneously appear over and over around the world. They can also appear as our Ancestral Memories or holographic wisdom field.
The most obvious place to find archetypes is in stories. The righteous warrior, the smart-cracking sidekick, the villain who must be overcome, and the love interest are all archetypes. Plot patterns can also be archetypal—the humble birth and prophesied journey of the hero, for example. Each archetype is referred to by the purpose it serves. Though there are many, we'll talk here about some of the most familiar.
In the archetypal world, everyone is the same, all around the world... we are all Gods, and our emotional addictions to pain and suffering, contempt, insecurities, doubt, failure, is holographically-recorded and can be holographically healed. All archetypes are a form of human expression that is both holographic and physical. Physical formations of archetypal sequences cause humans to behave in parallel manners to each ancestor that is associated. Integration is a function of intentionality -- conscious and unconsciously maintained, or incorporated. Integration occurs both without effort, as a redesign of the central processor of our minds, and voluntarily as a deliberate effort to understand, find meaning, and as rectification of our behavior towards others and towards ourselves.
Obsolete Reality Wormholes to Past Beliefs
OBSOLETE REALITY TUNNELS: DigI/Osophy. The digital universe consists of 1’s ad 0’s; input and output: I/O. Likewise, our subjective experience consists solely of Input and Output, even though as human beings we can’t be reduced to purely mechanistic descriptions. There is organic and mechanical logic, that both hold true philosophically: garbage in, garbage out. But ‘self-organization' and ‘self-steering' provide an alternative dynamic perspective on the causal effects of conscious will in Chaosmos. The structure of digital information is decentralized, heralding the end of cultural and individual control fantasies.
Crumbling truths were simulacra all along. Meaning has imploded into digital binaries of electronic society. Reality has imploded into hyperreality. For example, digital art can be a copy of photorealism that is tweaked into a reflection of the imaginal theater of the mind; a copy of a copy of a copy of the original, bearing only a surface resemblance. Multiplied stylized images take on a life of their own, shattering the grid of representation (Deleuze, Guattari).
Metaphysical beauty hides the rotting corpse of new age thought, the eclectic pastiche of rotting and ruined abstractions. Seeking a root in today’s creatively evolving culture, many look backward, recursively adopting an outdated philosophy. R.A. Wilson and Tim Leary called them “reality tunnels” while McKenna dubbed it an archaic revival.
Tunnelling makes us “see” in a certain way; create our often myopic beliefs about self, others and world at any time. They are belief wormholes that take us to potential universes that don’t necessarily match up with Reality. They are a way of sticking our metaphysical head in the sand.
Physics and art face similar problems with imaginary universes that do not match up with this existent one. Even Renaissance art was trying to re-capture some values from the past, technologically. It’s good to ask yourself just where you think you are going? Where do you go from here?
You are already living a Hyperreality. Debord calls it the Spectacle; Baudrillard calls it the Similacrum. Beliefs are false promises to restore a mythical truth underlying the simulation. Belief maps create the fabled territory that claims to be salvation but is a well-disguised trap, mentally and spiritually. Do you opt for magical concepts that are tricks of the mind or the charm of the so-called real? Imaginal representations are metaphysical simulations, virtual realities.
Metaphysics is a dead end; all points of reference are liquidated by the universal solvent: chaos. Likewise the preferred terrain of popular religions. There is a short-circuit in our psychological position. There is no touchstone of reality or truth, beyond the simulation of the sacred, the content of sacred technologies. We have mass murdered our own models, creating a power vacuum. Only the simulation of power masks the political fiction.
Baudrillard concludes, "It is no longer a question of imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even of parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself; that is, an operation to deter every real process by its operational double, a metastable, programmatic, perfect descriptive machine which provides all the signs of the real and short-circuits all its vicissitudes. Never again will the real have to be produced: this is the vital function of the model in a system of death, or rather of anticipated resurrection which no longer leaves any chance even in the event of death. A hyperreal henceforth sheltered from the imaginary, and from any distinction between the real and the imaginary, leaving room only for the orbital recurrence of models and the simulated generation of difference."
CLICHES AND ARCHETYPES: Are you creating a unique reality tunnel reflecting your aesthetic like an artist, or a haphazard victim of dogmatic programming and conditioning? There are no ideals and no ultimate negation. Those choices just buffer us in archaic perceptual cocoons, rather than drawing us into the vortex of developing future. McLuhan pointed this out long ago, saying, "Utopians and anti-utopians are always obsessed with a period preceding their own. Orwell's 1984 happened in 1930." - Marshall McLuhan, Take Today, p.75.
Most of New Age culture is either Theosophical or Utopian, sometimes in a very saccharin kind of way, sickly sweet if not toxic and phony; full of New Age “guilt”, parroting, parody, and put ons. Of course, it is good to root in tradition, but we can get caught in the web of living metaphors. But reality tunnels create tunnel vision, a subconscious filter of belief-congruent experience, confirmation bias. In the womb we recapitulate the phylogeny of species, and after birth our beliefs evolve following the historical arc. Yet, we never stop in our arc to live like a reptile, for example.
The human mind is a competitive memescape. Its 'normal' to have our desires shaped by the social grid and social codification (groupthink), but it makes us neurotic. The effect of pop culture is conformity; even our subcultures are homogenizing and recur in an infinity of fractal forms. Pop art is an oxymoron since it cannot fulfill the promise of art to deliver us from the conformity of market forces. The 'original' becomes a fiction; nothing is original since it is all derivative. But it may reflect the zeitgeist of the moment.
Everyone is a fundamental slave to the system because virtually no one can ever fulfill their desires. There is the saying those who forget or do not know the past are condemned to repeat it. But, in the post-postmodern world, what hasn’t been done? And done to death probably as good or better than it can be redone? Where is the unexplored territory?
BEYOND BELIEFS: Neurotheology has shown that spirituality is a natural phenomenon, hardwired into humans as a biosocial survival strategy that bonds groups with common beliefs and goals, personal and collective. This current runs so deep that for the majority of people, nothing is more important. It infuses all life passages with Presence and meaning in animism, shamanism, polytheism, and monotheism, even science-ism. We believe in belief even over uniformity of belief. But there is a deeper causal vector than beliefs, rituals, customs, commitments, and sacrifices: evolutionary value or fitness. It is the source of mythmaking, morality, sociality, and redemptive values.
Belief systems and paradigms provide rigid structures, the matrix of belief, we can use as our medium for self-expression. They allow us to investigate existence in conventional or unconventional ways. Research methods include setting aside received wisdom, burrowing deep inside your subject and learning to think like your material.
A meme is a self-propagating idea, a unit of cultural imitation that, much like a biological or computer virus, effectively programs its own re-transmission. They spread through motivating their "host population," novel configurations of old ideas, and by proselytizers. Popular beliefs spread like contagions, cognitive viruses. Memes are informational viruses that influence our thinking, feelings, even our physical regulation.
Memes function like evolving cultural viruses taking on a fractal life of their own as the trances we live. They engineer our cultures and subcultures; what we will, won’t and can’t do, and believe. In short, self-replicating memes condition our lifestyles as “True Believers”. Each meme is an existential trance state. Memetic structures compel our attention; we propel and persuade one another toward them socially; sociocultural programming.
VIRTUAL REALITY CHECK: Korzybski pointed out that there are two ways to slice easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking. So, from time to time you have to give yourself a Virtual Reality Check. The hallmark of postmodern philosophy has been disbelief or skepticism of all "metanarratives," or translations of reality. Postmodernism has even turned its profound skepticism on such important humanist concepts as "objective truth" and reason.
Yet, for a deconstructionist postmodern society, individually we are still riddled with superstition and gullibility, and open to manipulation through our belief systems as any politician, philosopher, clergy, or salesperson will attest. Further, most people are painfully naive when it comes to even the simplest scientific understanding. Most of us don't have a clue about the fundamental nature of physical reality or our own psychological nature, and our ability to be fooled by our senses and mind, or methods of social and technological persuasion. We may think we know, but the penetration is deeper than we dare imagine.
Nature rejects the naivete that seeks absolute truth. We are beginning to realize, individually and culturally, 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 challenge of the therapist in these times of chaotic change is to validate the concept that we don't have to fear the collapse of what we think we are.
We can embrace this disruptive chaos, trusting that it is an emergent self-organizing process. We don't need to fear the collapse of our personalistic belief system (the "box" we live in), nor our belief in absolute truth. A strong desire to engage in the "quest for uncertainty" complements our anxiety that perhaps there is no absolute, objective ground to reality. The warrant of Truth is ever elusive when we deconstruct the foundational justifications of our convenient notions about the way the world works.
It is easy to confuse what is actually the creation of beliefs with the "discovery of Truth," a common goal of science and theology. Science offers no ontological Scientific Picture of the World but substitutes a number of applied theories as meta-theory. It’s close, powerful and useful: it ‘works’ and allows use to do work. But the still mysterious “true” meta-theory may reveal the basis of consciousness. But who knows when we will lift that veil?
Permeating the living reality of our culture are certain contagious notions, fads and trends that have the ability to influence the way we think about the nature of Reality and ourselves. Some of them are toxic and can consume you; others are just whims of pop culture infectious and benign as the common cold.
Jung described the concept of psychic contagion by certain archetypal forces inherent in the human psyche, which manifest in our spiritual lives and belief systems. He spoke of both conscious and unconscious contamination. Notions like this range from simple superstitions to scientific concepts, to urban myths.
Notions sweep through our culture and insinuate themselves within its fabric, as fads, whether they are "real" or not, they can be influential. They mood alter us, make us feel we belong. An analysis of these notions is useful in distinguishing a common human phenomenon from any potential "alien influence" which may or may not be exerted on us from an unknown source.
BREAKING THE SPELL: Skeptic, Daniel Dennett takes a hard look at beliefs and attendant phenomena in his new book of this name, and asks: Where does our devotion to God come from and what purpose does it serve? Is religion a blind evolutionary compulsion or a rational choice? In a spirited investigation that ranges widely through history, philosophy, and psychology, Dennett explores how organized religion evolved from folk beliefs and why it is such a potent force today. He contends that the “belief in belief” has fogged any attempt to rationally consider the existence of God and the relationship between divinity and human need.
Ask yourself how adaptive it is to remain spiritually, mentally, or emotionally stuck in the past, for whatever reason. In my written archive you can catch me at virtually every phase, yet never stuck in one. Most forms of ‘worship’ are either archetypes or clichés, perhaps both. Personal revelatory experiences are no measure; they are often fraught with strong emotional content, but faulty thinking built on a grain of Truth. Often it is a compensatory mechanism to help us maintain specialness, a trick of the mind and self-image. If you recycle a retrievalist reality tunnel you are blinded to other options. It’s like being a scientific or artistic specialist; you know more and more about less and less.
What organic robotoid, parroting perennial philosophy is truly spiritual? Future-resistance stops the process of maturation, as well. What we procrastinate about can take on overwhelming dimensions. It is a way of not “letting go” of outmoded forms that stunt developmental potential. Be careful what models you let colonize your imagination. Are the terms you define yourself with irrelevant? Those whose cherished beliefs are challenged in the context of traumatic life events are likely to experience severe spiritual disequilibrium; manifesting chaos instead of self-organization.
Spiritual disequilibrium can be a blessing, heralding rebirth: emergence from the destructuring of emergency, breakthrough from breakdown. The future draws us forward like a handshake reaching back from somewhere between our fate and destiny, the strange attractor of our own futurity. It does not squeeze us into a recycled mold, and send us down a dusty rabbit hole of myopic vision.
That is not focus, but self-deception, disinformation. You are probably not the “reincarnated alien-hybrid messiah of world peace and environmental restoration”. But you do make your own global contribution to the commonweal, especially through self-awareness, practice, service, and compassion.
The Cloud of Unknowing, a medieval mystic text, describes the human soul as embodied in one's memory, reason, will, imagination, and senses. Yet, all these faculties are falsifiable or easily subject to distortion. Unless USED artistically, rather than passively, media is an interruption of our internal narrative, our self-talk; a detour in content and focal point. Is your phone more important than your movie, or your loved one?
Interruption enables incoming messages by lending them shape and hijacking our attention, or they enter subliminally. Particularity is content and momentary truth. The goal is not to pick the right reality tunnel or be psychically tunneled by obsolete beliefs but to live freestyle on the tunnelless edge of dissolving boundaries, the anticipatory/participatory fusion of NOW.
BOUNDARY FREE CREATIVE EDGE: In part, this is the source of the generation gap. The imaginative and adaptive faculties play a big role in what century (archaic revival) we choose to live in, according to our adopted beliefs, which condition our perceptions. Popular options include eclectic adaptations of the world’s religions, neo-tribalism, psychics, and gurus; even science and art have their own historical POVs.
The so-called New Age of spiritual snake oil sales actually harbors the agenda of hijacking the Holy Grail of new paradigm thinking, as long your new vision resonates with a polyglot of poor research protocols, implausible assumptions and lack of critical thinking. Radical pointlessness is the least occupied position, having no POV the toughest to maintain. The poetic vision of Science-Art does not split the material base of Multiverse from the reflexive component of Spirit. It encourages mythopoesis but not literalization at the expense of common sense.
There is a paradoxical dissonance between old and new ways of being in the environment; things that should be preserved and those that are emerging. Things that stay the same are isomorphic constants; but metamorphosis, metaphoric change creates a sense of novelty and newness. The new excites us by emotional appeal, overwhelming our senses, shocking us, thrilling us, or otherwise modulating our systems in a way the old cannot. It reflects the future of our dreams.
Our own epistemological metaphors describe how we know what we know and what it is like. Harking back to the past for a point of reference helps us move from the known to the Unknown in our descriptions, but if we take our metaphors literally, our beliefs stay archaic. We continue to recapitulate the philosophical evolution of mankind, but not truly move forward into new territory. The same is seen in the iconography of “sofa” art, which recycles the same tired themes and styles in the same media, over and over.
ALL the creative juice of science and art is at the leading edge, the living edge. Chaos theory defines the “edge of chaos” as a special dynamical balance. Science has shown that order emerges from the critical paths of chaos. In psychology, it means sticking to the image as given in Imagination, rather than resorting to glib dream or symbol interpretations. Shamanic personalities work at the edge of chaos for healing. Talent expresses at the edge. Phase transitions occur here, state changes, quantum leaps of consciousness, complexity. Like Schrodinger’s Box, it separates the Living from the Dead.
COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS: Wyndham Lewis wrote that all "living art is the history of the future". The formula is we become what we behold. What our culture compels us to behold is the holographic ICONOSCOPE: all the new media that both virtually surround and contain, as well as permeate our lives, and comprise an intrinsic part of our environment. The mind-numbing rate of change in our society is so unprecedented it is called Future shock. It’s a technological tsunami.
Debord called it a Society of the Spectacle, emphasizing its visual nature. Everyone is a player. Spectacle as a commodity is embodied in so-called Reality TV. The War on Terror is a materialized ideology, fighting an Idea. It is unwinable since you can’t wage war on an idea. Ideology is the problem, not the solution to human survival technology. Coercive ideas foster looting of natural resources, coercive institutional power and imported orthodoxies. The same dynamic produces trends, fads and memes, which permeate thinking as well as lifestyle. All gnostic forms are based in an ideology and theology of truth and secrecy.
Baudrillard speaks of successive phases of the image: 1) It is the reflection of a basic reality. 2) It masks and perverts a basic reality. 3) It masks the absence of a basic reality.4) It bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum. In the first case, the image is a good appearance: the representation is of the order of sacrament. In the second, it is an evil appearance: of the order of malefice. In the third, it plays at being an appearance: it is of the order of sorcery. In the fourth, it is no longer in the order of appearance at all, but of simulation.
YOU TURN ME I-ON-A: We literally have the electromagnetic capacity to broadcast our images if not ourselves to the stars. We broadcast our identities as a fusion of recombinant personae, cliches, and archetypes: infinite fractal use of finite iconography: technological self-amplification of our bodyminds. You turn me on; I turn you on in a fusion of knower and known. I call my broadcast "Radio Free Qabala". coming to you from station IONA, sponsored by the Temple of Living Light. Channels may vary in your locale, that is, by your capacity to tune in and comprehend my essential nature.
Hegel said, “Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself only insofar as it exists in and for another self-consciousness; that is, it exists only by being recognized and acknowledged.” Likewise, only relationships between objects are observable. Arguably, language was the first real technology, and all others mere extensions of our five senses.
Metamagic, the original reality medium, is a hypercharged spiritual technology, driven by ritual and belief: active attention is synonymous with “worship”. We are a fractalization of collective history. We are carried forward by the anticipation of our own lives, their emergent qualities. Infinite mirroring and anticipation is beyond synchronicity; Xenochrony is the holomovement of Xenochronicity. Only the level of resolution changes, not the content.
LIFE IS A HOLOGRAPHIC PROJECTION: The term 'gene' is used slightly differently in biochemistry and in abstract evolution theory. In biochemistry, it usually means a DNA sequence that codes for a polypeptide chain. In abstract evolution theory it means a replicator that encodes an adaptation in an organism. DNA sequences that code for polypeptide chains might not be the only 'genes' in this sense.
'Genes' in this sense need not be DNA at all, in principle. Also, certain DNA sequences could in principle constitute 'junk DNA' by the first definition but not by the second. Retrotransposons that are known to comprise about half of the genomes. Retroviral-like transposable element sequences, transposable elements once considered 'junk DNA' turn other genes on and off.
The team of physicist Peter Gariaev detected DNA Phantoms in their research and concluded that we are human biocomputers. This work is controversial and embryonic, but we just use it metaphorically and tosuggest analogies, not as literal genetic fact. In the future, a true science of reproducible 'wave genetics' may make it more viable, as the plausibility of a wave-component in DNA can be reliably generated.
The genome is a quasi-intelligent system, but the wave level of genetic coding programs and organizes our 3-D spatial/temporal organism. Gariaev describes DNA expression as a meaningful text that is read and projected by DNA in 3-D in a bioholographic process with sound and light, much like programs of DNA movies or videotape. The digital analogy is probably even closer to the process of development and maintenance.
These movies get corrupted over time and produce aging and mutations. Wave genetics offers new healing and life extension possibilities. Morphogenic information is holographically transmitted and programmed. DNA is not 98% junk, but the formative and transmissive text. We speak of it now in terms of epigenetics.
Gariaev imagines that all the cells of our organism combine to form a unified informational space which functions as a DNA wave biocomputer regulating morphogenesis and metabolic information, activated by transduced coherent light and modulated sound. This is more fundamental than genetics or molecular biology. Disturbances in the field that presage disease can be treated. [Premature claims to have done so fall into another category which remains to be adequately demonstrated.]
According to this hypothesis, healing information can be transmitted in waveform by resonance, sound and light, correcting error patterns or missing information. Video morphogenic information is regenerative, patterning a healing matrix. Allegedly, the bio-computer reads or scans the data and adapts according to the DNA-movie of healthy form and function.
A weak field produces a powerful result. We are mutually linked material and nonlocal energy-informational substances that dynamically exchange energy and information. Soon, Gariaev alleges, we’ll be able to “change the movie” physically with quantum bioholography as the medium. This is another aspect of the Acoustic Environment: structural cymatics.
TECHNOTOPIA: Evolving technology resonates like feedback in our phenomenology. Buckminster Fuller did not view technology as separate from nature and our nature, biological intelligence and technological evolution, including speech. Our separateness has created the pursuit of infinite individual "reality wormholes" which reconnect us with collective unconscious, collective identity through "voluntary ESP".
We no longer live as point-particles but in our waveforms, often spread simultaneously over several time zones. We can read the entire holographic time log of the Akashic Records at our local theater or on DVD. In Dobb’s vernacular, “past times have become our passtimes”, including interests in deep nature as the province of science and art, and obsolete gnostic and spiritual technologies.
According to Baudrillard, when the real is no longer what it used to be, nostalgia assumes its full meaning. It also turns out that the postmodern revolution in academic thought is also no longer what it used to be, and it is critiqued on numerous points. Like any approach it has its own delusions mixed with opinion and truths.
Neither McLuhan nor the postmodern philosophers will have the last word in the debate on the nature of reality, no matter how they try to 'break it down'. No matter how much we 'chunk up' or 'chunk down' even in physics we are still pursuing coherent theories, awaiting debunking or more accurate iterations.
Postmodernism as a general cultural mood and a style in art, architecture, and literature is uncontroversial. It suggests itself as a replacement for enlightenment thought. But it doesn't present a coherent intellectual doctrine or theory of politics, art, or life. They don't and cannot attack metanarratives as seers or prophets.
They misplace or over-emphasize analogies, invoking metaphor to shore up empty tropes -- bolstered by the prestige of science. Hard science takes the philosophical, symbolic and metaphorical as fashionable world-salad -- the verbal equivalent of a New Age Bullshit Generator.
There is a proliferation of myths of origin and signs of reality; of second-hand truth, objectivity and authenticity. There is an escalation of the true, of the lived experience; a resurrection of the figurative where the object and substance have disappeared. And there is a panic-stricken production of the real and the referential, above and parallel to the panic of material production. This is how simulation appears in the phase that concerns us: a strategy of the real, neo-real and hyperreal, whose universal double is a strategy of deterrence.
KINETIC FIELD OF DREAMS: The Digital Revolution is here and it IS being televised in a myriad of fractal incarnations, but not on your Grandmother's screen. For artists, the 21st Century is a Digital Universe. In the perceptual-space we now occupy, the gender of presence is neither male nor female, but discarnate! It is the era of the metamorph.
Even conventional artists can manipulate their images into a myriad of morphs. Because of insurance problems, fine art has moved toward the giclee print where originals are printed onto canvas and overpainted with a topcoat of paint. But why even bother with the smelly stuff? High end galleries are installing projectors. Popular art is being displayed as virtual paintings on plasma screens in private homes.
NEW MEDIA: Digital Media guru Mark Stahlman defines this term he coined as the media, which replace the ‘cinesthesia’ of TELEVISION as the dominant environment in our lives and culture. Surround sound is already the medium that replaced television. Home theaters now dominate the consumer electronics business. They are simply big television sets with multi-channel sound added, replicating the experience of multi-channel sound in movie theaters. Acoustic space as surround sound replaced the "tactility" of television.
Media analyst/cultural theorist, Marshall McLuhan stressed that ALL media are ultimately a matter of sensory balances and sensory biases. He believed that artists need to integrate, analyze and utilize rapid changes in technology, in order to truly have a mass impact on people in the modern age. But the electronic environment isn't limited to artists but is available to virtually everyone. No one escapes its influence. Rapid evolution of communication devices enables and future-shocks us at the same time.
On the other hand, some new media are in the hands of individual artists, who have the capacity to produce desktop films, find innovative new means of distribution, or create art that helps us meet our future. It doesn't take a multimedia studio to create meaningful work. But cultural and political factors are still limiting factors in the global arena of spiritless totalitarianism.
The era of revolutionary democracies is over, replaced by corporate feudalism which holds our attention in a vice grip of technological self-absorption and self-interest that infiltrates the thinking of both left and right with media propaganda. The Fear-Media Machine fights democracy and liberty with fear and racism, creating a mass culture of disembodied cyborg mutants.
The alluring promise of full-immersion Virtual Reality is the ersatz embodiment of this disembodiment, naturalized technological alienation. Still, the so-called New Age is still focused on 19th and 20th century out-of-body experiences, apparently ignoring they are rarely in-habiting their physical bodies.
By subverting new media, the artist introduces a new way of being: Homo Lumen, who recognizes our essential nature is nothing but light. It is the old shamanic function of art and artist in 21st century form, artists and scientists who make the electrons dance.
In Simulacra and Simulation, French social theorist Jean Baudrillard argues that our "postmodern" culture is a world of signs that have made a fundamental break from referring to "reality." Reality is simulation of the simulation of reality. The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth, which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.
For Baudrillard all the media of information and communication neutralize meaning and involve the audience in a flat, one-dimensional media experience which he defines in terms of a passive absorption of images, or a resistance of meaning, rather than the active processing or production of meaning. The electronic media therefore on this account have nothing to do with myth, image, history, or the construction of meaning (or ideology).
Television is interpreted instead as a media "which suggests nothing, which magnetizes, which is only a screen, or is rather a miniaturized terminal which in fact is found immediately in your head -- you are the screen and the television is watching you. Television transistorizes all neurons and operates as a magnetic tape -- a tape not an image"” (from Baudrillard: A New McLuhan?)
Welcome to The Media Matrix, the 'machine war'. Are you the One; a Neo trying to figure it all out in a world where nothing makes sense but Ones and Zeros? New Media paradoxically sucks us into the vortex of disembodiment and is simultaneously the anodyne that assuages the resulting pain of alienation. We have fused our nervous systems with the information environment, fusing and morphing both art and nature. Biomedia, genetics and wave genetics are not human survival technologies, but just the opposite, by making us transhuman.
FIGURE-GROUND SHIFT: Shift happens. It is the ground that is the medium, for the most part, and the figure-ground relationship that creates the message. It is the capability of the underlying medium to appear in and through fundamental changes and to sustain fundamental change in this way which is the message (mission), the sending.
It might be said that the message of (genitive?) medium/media exceeds any figure-ground relationship by ex-posing the passing of some previous ground or grounds in the past and pointing to the analogous passing of the present one in the future.
Exceeding figure/ground indicates grounds (plural), indicates medium indicates message: "changes the medium, which is the message." The medium is the message because the medium, aka the plurality and dynamics of media, is what the message is always going on about.
In Take Today, McLuhan states, “Hypnotized by their rear-view mirrors, philosophers and scientists alike tried to focus the figure of man in the old ground of nineteenth-century industrial mechanism and congestion. They failed to bridge from the old figure to the new. It is man who has become both figure and ground via the electrotechnical extension of his awareness. With the extension of his nervous system as a total information environment, man bridges art and nature.” (p.11)
New Media are the various implementations and the profound implications of the shift by acoustic space from the ground of our lives under the conditions of the electric media environment (i.e. television). They are becoming the figures of expression in our increasingly post-electric world -- in particular, as reflected in three-channel stereo (3CS.) When you run your own multimedia content through your home theater, it becomes your own Church of Self-Amplification.
The post-electronic environment is the ground that is the true medium which creates the message, altering our perceptions of self, others and world. The ground of consciousness itself is necessarily double. It includes the nothing part of itself and the something part of itself; and can’t see itself. Conspiracy is the ground of the shifting paradigm.
Bob Dobbs points out, “I would say, the reason why the profane think (increasingly) conspiratorially, is: we have disappeared. So, we are not manipulable anymore. Therefore, the whole social engineering through the media, controlling masses as puppets (conspicuous consumers) - it’s a rearview mirror image. We can now see it aesthetically; or as an artform. So WE like to think and project that we’re being manipulated. Thus, conspiracy is the crude popular slang version of watching (Orwellian) TV and seeing the arty ego-ads manipulate you - saying: hmmm, they’re manipulating me. And I know they’re manipulating me! And they know I’m knowing that. There you have a menippean irony going on! And so, an alphabetic distillation of this process is: "We’re being controlled and it’s a conspiracy."
BYTE ME: Media are unconscious extensions of our sensorium. In 2006, New Media are Broadband, Wireless, High Def, and creating portable environments: the cell phone, high rez digicam, digital video recorder, gaming, podcasting, V-cast. The cell phone became the smartphone: both the mini computer and TV screen with on demand self-programming of content. Portable screens represent a crucial inflection in the arc of digital media development.
McLuhan's famous dictum, "The Medium is the Message" had a second part -- "The Audience is the Content." Entertainment content must become more and more compelling or we simply make our own. We all now have the capacity to capture virtually every nuance of our lives digitally. We don't have to "download" our psyches into the computer; they are already out there in the data streams as disembodied bytes in the aethyr, each with discrete wavelengths: our images, thoughts, and emotions.
LUMONICS: High Brow art dominated the artworld before Duchamp, followed by Low Brow postmodern rejection of all metanarratives. Arguably video guru Nam June Paik ushered in Know-Brow art based in electronic media. Only light can capture the nuance of energetic processes. Special FX pushes it imaginatively over the top. The multisensory electronic moving image is now an artist's medium. It can be employed to express representational and abstract imagery through recorded and virtual technologies.
The moving image is central to our visual culture, articulating new strategies and forms of image making. The kinetic image fuses electronic and digital media into a new form of expression. We can easily alter both materiality and composition of the electronic image; we can refashion its content, visual vocabulary, and plastic forms.
Desk-top cinema has made individual productions a possibility that has jumped the Theatre of the Mind, to become sensuously embodied as a "body without organs", an Android Meme. In the vernacular of paramedia ecologist Bob Dobbs, the parts of the Android Meme are the Chemical Body, the Astral Body, the TV Body, and the Chip Body. But in an era in which everyone is a filmmaker, who is the audience?
PARAMEDIA ECOLOGY: Primal man made his environment by magic rituals that were re-enactments and dramatizations of the creative process by which the world comes into being. Even Renaissance art was trying to capture the values of the past technologically, but 21st Century art is a holographic time machine. Your beliefs determine what century you are inhabiting. Technology has the power to be environmental entirely independent of art as environmental.
Even Jung had no dynamic idea of the psychic role in creating technologies or in responding and reacting to them. Yet technologies, especially electronic tech, are extensions of the body, making us all Cyborgs. The psychic and social saturation resulting from electric extension of the nerves is much swifter than effects of mere extensions to our physical being, such as clothing, or the wheel, or mirrors. The environmental role of art can be spiritual or concretely physical. The actual effects of new technologies turns old environments into art forms that help define us as modern humans.
Dobbs defines the Android Meme as the ability of human-invented technology to acquire the intimacy of speech and intuition. In other words, the Android Meme is technology that has the qualities of "being alive". McLuhan’s chief characteristic of modern media is that they're living organisms. That means they can communicate. The Android Meme wants to join with us in an unholy alliance of archetypal technology and human organism.
The Android Meme is a cacophony of all media, all technology and all ideas of particular times, anthropomorphized, trying to make itself human. There is no great architect of the Meme besides our compliance to feed it. It is collective mythic thinking, in the Jungian sense, where people mime/behave cues from technology when it becomes used by a million people and becomes environment (morphic resonance).
We actually download the archetype of the Android Meme into our nervous systems through television and multimedia. Bob says, “The Android Meme absorbs any response made to it. The artist's task is to understand and meditate upon the why's and wherefore's of its present techniques. This effort has nothing to do with how an artist survives economically.” So, don’t quit your day job.
"Media are really environments, with all the effects geographers & biologists associate with environments. We live inside our media. We are their content. TV images come to us so fast, in such profusion, they engulf us, tattoo us. We're immersed. It's like skin diving. We're surrounded & whatever surrounds, involves. TV doesn't wash over us and then go "out of mind." It goes into mind, deep into mind. The subconscious is a world in which we store everything, not something, and TV extends the subconscious....Such experiences are difficult to describe in words. Like dreams or sports, they evade verbal classification." (Edmund Carpenter; They Became What They Beheld 63)
According to anthropologist Carpenter, we are forced into new modes of communication and forced to create our own environments of declassified information when media render old patterns of perception obsolete. When we program our own psychic and sensory lives, we turn to artists who practice creating their own lives for reference. In many ways we are forced to improvise, taking what is at hand, and forming it into something that could be, into something new, but which is made from the parts of the old in a fractal reiteration.
ANTI-MYSTERY SCHOOL: SACRED AND PROFANE. We virtually 'worship' that which we give our attention; the more energy we give it the more we worship it. Our society is compulsive. Technology as the "demon of progress" is a spiritual rival, a rival to spiritual technologies, our "technical destiny". Naturally in the electric age this rivalry for the soul of man is far more intense than ever before: inner vs. outer quest. McLuhan’s thesis was revolutionary: each medium has a larger effect than its mere content, overloading, compensating and extending our physical senses, forcing individual minds and whole societies to adapt.
Today's 21st Century Media Mystery Schools retrain our perceptions even reviewing obsolete Reality Tunneling of the past: ritualized utility and understanding without boundaries or satcom interconnectedness. Technology competes for and effects human senses and perceptions. Art is inherently and seamlessly wed to media ecology.
In some sense, the environment can be seen as merely a war between good and bad art. The question becomes not what do we believe and have faith in, but how can we live more artfully and heartfully, developing human survival technologies that feed our souls and spirits.
RECYCLING CONSCIOUSNESS: McLuhan taught that the environment is a programmed teaching machine. He was arguably the first feedback artist, hungry for people with new ideas, angles, insights, so he could use that material to generate more of his own. Feedback of feedback is bad feed, imitation and parody rather than the chaotic creative edge.
Now, with weblife, smartphone/cameras, Blackberries and Sidekicks we all live in our nonlocal "chip bodies" and have become feedback artists, perhaps imagining we are generating our own content of infinite fractal reiterations in a vast parody of ourselves-the put on, the spectacle.
Is there any CONTENT without an audience to receive it? Is there any reason to DO anything if it isn't a PhotoOp? At art shows now people are more interested in taking their own photo with the art, than in looking at it firsthand. The same is true for travel; everyone has a camera or digital video attached to his or her POV.
Between space and ground camera surveillance and GPS accountability no one is ever really ALONE; no first-person singular exists anymore. In Dobbs-speak, between voluntary ESP (net) and synthetic telepathy we no longer own our own thoughts and can't even know what they are or might have been without that perturbation. No wonder there is so much static on the Reality Channel of the Digital Universe. Also see http://www.fivebodied.com/project/
METAMAGICK; TECHNOSHAMANISM: Shamanic beliefs are based on the notions that 1) the matrix of reality can be manipulated with artistic endeavor and spiritual technologies, and 2) powerful artwork can be stimulated by a variety of consciousness altering experiences, or initiations.
Technoshamanism is the process of altering consciousness through technology. It implies using the artistic, psychosexual, healing and mind altering techniques of ancient shamanism combined with modern technologies for altering consciousness, culture, and the holistic mindbody.
Technoshamanism is the interactive integration of futuristic technology with ancient pathways of the past. As an artform, it implies access to full-immersion experiences, virtual realities that have consequences in the real world.
Magickal technologies evolve; belief systems are technologies. Magic means intentionally defining a state of reality through the transmission of information; the medium is the message. Ritual technology is manipulation of categories of information as data and instructions. Contemporary magic claims that the human mind can directly influence the state of reality, though old-fashioned magic attributed it to manipulation of spirits or occult forces.
This gnostic experience for the new millennium explores the final frontier: the untapped powers of the human mind: spiritual technology without the straightjacket of fixed belief. It means dancing through the doors of perception into the hyper-spatial realities of the unfettered collective imagination. The world of mage and shaman is the world of the spirits, psi powers, psychic phenomena, initiation, altered states, dreams, death, rebirth, and healing.
It is the irrational realm of body, faith, trust, and belief. Shamanism reveals the uncanny world of superstition, disruption, dissolution, intuition, mysticism, transcendence, psychedelia, cosmic consciousness. It controls societies, revealing Dionysian and Apollonian spirit: sex and madness vs. conventionality, intellect, morality, and dogma.
Technoshamanism is also the world of what we can call extrasensory science. We can bridge the archaic and modern with cutting edge science and art, which dares to trespass into the forbidden realms. We can play the human sensorium with modulated electromagnetic energy.
We can move shamanically through our blocks by heading directly into the fear and pain, which are the doorways to our transformation and head chaotically toward the creative Source. This is the shamanic journey. It is a restructuring process that dissolves old, outworn forms, and fosters spontaneously emergent new images and manifestations.
Technoshamanism is a voyage into the holographic matrix of experience, reflecting both our tribal heritage and global citizenship. In mythology Prometheus, staling fire from the gods, represents the archetypal technological man.
Arguably, two defining characteristics of the modern age, icons of our times, are the omnipresence of the Promethean spirit and the pervasiveness of sexuality and its imagery, soft and hardcore pornography. But even more important and fundamental is the power of imagination, passion, and pathos. We can each tap the spirit of Prometheus and Promethea, grasping our share of the fire of the gods, taking a bite of the forbidden fruit.
To the extent that the shamanic personality (like any artist) has great power, he or she penetrates deeply into the basic roots of the structuralizing process, and brings that symbolic information back. In the realm of “metaphorms” our brain images reality and the universe in its own structural terms. This surreal vision attempts to portray the working of the subconscious mind.
The future is being created in the imagination of the now. Herein lies the tremendous power of both art and invention. All the symbolic iconography of the ages is perpetually recycled and morphed at warp speed, and the vanguard senses that breakthrough is near. The morphology of this repertoire is embodied in Know Brow Art, neither high nor lowbrow, but cutting edge electronic media.
TRUTH VALUES: Categories of the "real" include not only the symbolic and imaginal, but also the hyperreal. Even our libidos have been hijacked and short-circuited by the therapeutic medium. Truth changes what we think and what we think is possible. All forms of psychotherapy are riddled with fads, buzzwords, and belief systems about how and when healing and transformation can and do occur, and what constitutes the valid content of the trusted process that leads to the healthy, authentic life, self-actualization. It may be an oxymoron.
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’. Our beliefs compel us to engage in confirmatory searches, where we support, corroborate and verify to our own personal satisfaction.
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. Science has also made the enlightenment notion of free will obsolete. 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; virtual photon flux, ZPE).
The physical and metaphysical roots of different kinds of Truth, relative and Absolute, include physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions; scientific and metaphysical truth. Truth relates 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.
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. Most of what we absorb is a melange of truths and half-truths, even from scientific research. Participative viewers are all outside the scope of regressive postmodern theory.
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 -- between compensation and completeness.
There must be time when each of us is logically incoherent, hence 'irrational,' but we don't have to 'make a career' of it.
For Hillman, a "good" image actually has nothing to do with formal aesthetics. It is one that temporarily arrests the movement of psychic process and, like an alchemical drawing, expresses in metaphorical language a personification that can be psychologized, "seen through" to its ideational or archetypal/mythological significance. It opens to the numinous. As electric media proliferate, whole societies at a time become discarnate, detached from mere bodily or physical 'reality' and relieved of any allegiance to or a sense of responsibility for it ... The alteration of human identity by new service environments of information has left whole populations without personal or community values..." (McLuhan, p. 379).