The Parable of the Cage

The dawn of freedom--digital-artOnce, on the air there lived a bird who loved to fly. The bird was not at all extraordinary or even beautiful, but all of its extraordinary beauty was seen in its flight. It loved to fly higher than any other bird even the prettier ones, as if it were not afraid of ever falling to the earth. And this bird was not afraid of falling to earth, for it never did, so skilled and adept it was at flying. As if flying were an extension of its thoughts, as if it were mate to the air and the air pleased to do its bidding. The bird would wrap the air round its body and wings in such ways that it could perform the most difficult feats with an unmeasured ease. The bird loved flying so much it did not build a nest for the clouds cradled it, it did not mate for the air was its soul mate, it rarely ate for the feel and view from the air sustained it.

mutationOnce in a while the bird would plummet to the earth as if it meant to crash headlong into it, but would flick a wing at the last moment and always the air was there to catch it so would soar once more into the depths of the sky. People would gather below to watch the bird and even the dullest of wit could recognize its art. But it was not the dullest of wit that sought to possess the bird and its artful flying, so planned to capture the bird on one of its rare plunges to the earth. A man, the cleverest of all the rest, devised a contraption that he may have the bird for his own use. He also built a cage, a special cage, customized for the bird and its special talents.

MadalenaOne day, everything done and after much stalking and careful observance, the man knew the bird made its plunges only on rainy days, for the bird adored the sun, so loved flying those days most. The next rainy day the man took his contraption and his plan down to the place where he knew the bird would plummet, and stood ready. The man placed his contraption on the ground, painted to camouflage the ground; gate open, painted to camouflage the earth. The bird, fooled by the disguise Prison Planetbecause it did not know harm could come by it on the ground, for it had grown accustomed by the air, sky, and sun, plummeted, but before it had chance to flick its wing to again take the air, it heard a clang and found itself trapped inside walls. The bird tried to escape but could not feel the support of the air in order to gain speed enough to burst through the walls. It would not have mattered, as the man was clever and fashioned the walls much too thick to break. So, the bird lay on the ground held fast by its gravity. Like this, the man carried the contraption, the cage, and its prisoner back home.

How do you interpret The Parable of the Cage, reader?

A.D. 2050*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Caged” by Jeff Babbitt
“The dawn of freedom — digital-art” by balt-arts
“mutation” by Ozge Gurer
“Madalena” by Catarina Carneiro de Sousa
“Prison Planet” by Mark Rain
“A.D. 2050” by jaci Lopes dos Santos

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Self-Inquiry

“To know a species, look at its fears. To know yourself, look at your fears. Fear in itself is not important, but fear stands there and points you in the direction of things that are important. Don’t be afraid of your fears, they’re not there to scare you; they’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” ~C. Joybell C.

 

“The way to embody love completely is to see and appreciate life just as it is, and not as you believe, fear, or desire it to be.” ~Eric Micha’el Leventhal

 

To Understand Is To Perceive Patterns

INSPIRATION:

Albert-László Barabási, author of LINKED, wants you to think about NETWORKS:

“Networks are everywhere. The brain is a network of nerve cells connected by axons, and cells themselves are networks of molecules connected by biochemical reactions. Societies, too, are networks of people linked by friendships, familial relationships and professional ties. On a larger scale, food webs and ecosystems can be represented as networks of species. And networks pervade technology: the Internet, power grids and transportation systems are but a few examples. Even the language we are using to convey these thoughts to you is a network, made up of words connected by syntactic relationships.”

‘For decades, we assumed that the components of such complex systems as the cell, the society, or the Internet are randomly wired together. In the past decade, an avalanche of research has shown that many real networks, independent of their age, function, and scope, converge to similar architectures, a universality that allowed researchers from different disciplines to embrace network theory as a common paradigm.’

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, writes about recurring patterns and liquid networks:

“Coral reefs are sometimes called “the cities of the sea”, and part of the argument is that we need to take the metaphor seriously: the reef ecosystem is so innovative because it shares some defining characteristics with actual cities. These patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you’re looking at original innovations of carbon-based life, or the explosion of news tools on the web, the same shapes keep turning up… when life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents”

Patrick Pittman from Dumbo Feather adds:

“Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected.

“…Johnson uses ‘The Long Zoom’ to define the way he looks at the world—if you concentrate on any one level, there are patterns that you miss. When you step back and simultaneously consider, say, the sentience of a slime mold, the cultural life of downtown Manhattan and the behavior of artificially intelligent computer code, new patterns emerge.”

James Gleick, author of THE INFORMATION, has written how the cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding and how Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.. (Its an ECO-SYSTEM, an EVOLVING NETWORK)

“If you want to understand life,” Wrote Richard Dawkins, “don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.” (AND THINK ABOUT NETWORKS!!

Geoffrey West, from The Santa Fe Institute, also believes in the pivotal role of NETWORKS:

“…Network systems can sustain life at all scales, whether intracellularly or within you and me or in ecosystems or within a city…. If you have a million citizens in a city or if you have 1014 cells in your body, they have to be networked together in some optimal way for that system to function, to adapt, to grow, to mitigate, and to be long term resilient.”

Author Paul Stammetts writes about The Mycelial Archetype: He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure.

An article in Reality Sandwich called Google a psychedelically informed superpowered network, a manifestation of the mycelial archetype:

“Recognizing this super-connectivity and conductivity is often accompanied by blissful mindbody states and the cognitive ecstasy of multiple “aha’s!” when the patterns in the mycelium are revealed. That Googling that has become a prime noetic technology (How can we recognize a pattern and connect more and more, faster and faster?: superconnectivity and superconductivity) mirrors the increased speed of connection of thought-forms from cannabis highs on up. The whole process is driven by desire not only for these blissful states in and of themselves, but also as the cognitive resource they represent.The devices of desire are those that connect,” because as Johnson says “CHANCE FAVORS THE CONNECTED MIND”.

*Source

The Sensation of Awareness

I became vividly aware of the fact that what I call shapes, colors, and textures in the outside world are also states of my nervous system, that is, of me. In knowing them I also know myself. But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was that I did not appear to be inspecting them from outside or from a distance, as if they were objects. I can only say that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear. I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head, having sensations. I was the sensations, so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened – not to me, but just happened – moment by moment, one after another.

To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release. For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but to itself.*

A Little Pool of Rain*by Alan Watts

Interconnected Posts–

HyperReality: The I In Me

“Why do my eyes hurt?”
“You’ve never used them before.”

The I In MeLest you question the possible existence of hyperreality, look then to the reappearance of Tupac Shakur.

Tupac Shakur the human being died in 1996; however, Tupac Shakur the Living Memory, the Rapper Simulacra appeared on stage April 16, 2012. . . as a hologram. The cut of his muscular body was evident in the hologram. More real than real itself. No one or thing need never die or disappear. The CGI and hyperreal Pixar animation so prevalent in films today, the seamlessness between actor and environment or actor and screen. In other words, an actor need not be physically present in his environment that can be inserted later with no visible lines. And an entire film (or video game to be even more precise) can be created without live actors, i.e. avatars, video games have already begun to employ this and getting more advanced and are advancing rapidly. With the progressive technology of resolution and frame rate (high definition and high speed filming), your household television, computer monitor, digital camera and video camera can deliver a picture more crisp than any digital photograph and possibly more than your own retinal signal processing, that is your sense of sight and its subsequent process in the brain for identification. Would you believe hyperreality over reality itself, as how could you really (that is sensationally) distinguish any difference between the virtual and the nonvirtual? You may even prefer hyperreality to reality as it is more improved now with more reality!

What of a generation raised on the Simulacra? Fed by inception and familiar with the supernatural as your current environment? Would such a child ever believe what its eyes saw? Suddenly, the dialogue in the Matrix uttered by a newly unplugged and awakened Neo has a whole new connotation. It seems the line between that reality and the literal reality is not far off.

Metaphorically speaking, we do not use our senses as they are becoming obsolete in the world of the hyped reality. What use is taste when flavor is synthesized and lab-created or added to an otherwise tasteless and bland chemical concoction? What use is hearing when surrounded by constant noise and frequent stimulation to the extent that the brain filters only that which is relevant and the rest to a comfortable static. So much so that this noise is preferred over a crushing, unstimulating silence. Or if brand jingles and ideological slogans are “heard” in the brain like a multimedia center? What use is touch/feel when feel and touch are blocked by screens and devices and personal space an engagement with gadgetry mostly? Or when feel has become synonymous as a concept with think, so that it is an intangible, not an action performed with the body. As unobtrusive as a physics abstraction. What good is smell when pheromones are lab-created and sprayed, rolled, or inked on? Cleanliness is meant to be after one bathes in a series of chemical containing unpronounceable ingredients. In effect, the sense is fooled; hyperreality creates these senses, creation ex nihilio. What use is sight when what is seen is only that which matches what one believes or has been told or when augmented reality streams through data directly to the brain? What does the machine look like now to you? Like a pod perhaps, as in Matrix? Or a 15 square foot space in the cubicle of the machine?

The machine has the face of Man.

 

*Image credit (all stock used with permission)–
“I, Internet” is a photomanipulation created by NIKOtheOrb using stock produced by:
Chris Moody, “Macro Iris”
Nick Fedele, “Alex’s Eye Macro”
Serial Killer Stock, “Circuit Board”

Binaural Eerie

We perceive our world through sensory input. What happens to that world when only one perception receives input? Soundscapes: a new idea, currently under development, as I experiment with the ways poetry, stories and other forms of creative writing can be conveyed using only our perception of sound.

The story is binaural, so I recommend wearing headphones for the full effect. In the spirit of Hallowe’en, I give you “Binaural Eerie” a trip through the experience of another world.

WARNING: There will be more of these.

Credits–

Sounds mixed by NIKOtheOrb using Audacity.
All sounds and effects from Freesound.org, voices recorded by NIKOtheOrb and guest.
“Laughter” at the end by FXProSound

Music From: BeatsRoyaltyFree.com, Title: Someone Knows; Artist: Pitbulljones

*Artwork from AshenSorrow Stock Art Resources

All music, sounds, and effects used with permission under Creative Commons License, public domain.