Racism, Empathy and Understanding

Wonderful piece on understanding, sympathy and empathy for and of fellow human beings.

EXPLORINGtheLATERAL

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Body Ritual among the Nacerima

The anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways in which different people behave in similar situations that he is not apt to be surprised by even the most exotic customs. In fact, if all of the logically possible combinations of behavior have not been found somewhere in the world, he is apt to suspect that they must be present in some yet undescribed tribe. The point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to clan organization by Murdock.  In this light, the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema present such unusual aspects that it seems desirable to describe them as an example of the extremes to which human behavior can go.

Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago, but the culture of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east….

Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique.

The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of ritual and ceremony. Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques to their shrine walls.

While each family has at least one such shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have the rituals described to me.

The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts. However, the medicine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.

The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charmbox of the household shrine. As these magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way protect the worshiper.

Beneath the charm-box is a small font. Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm-box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution. The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to make the liquid ritually pure.

In the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men in prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated as “holy-mouth-men.” The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed to improve their moral fiber.

The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.

In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens the client’s mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client’s view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-men year after year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay.

It is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is involved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was to these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily body ritual which is performed only by men. This part of the rite includes scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. Special women’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour. The theoretically interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantly masochistic people have developed sadistic specialists.

The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every community of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress.

The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal that a fair proportion of the really sick natives who enter the temple ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been known to resist attempts to take them to the temple because “that is where you go to die.” Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing but eager to undergo the protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian. Even after one has gained and survived the ceremonies, the guardians will not permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift.

The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes. In everyday life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body and its natural functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the secrecy of the household shrine, where they are ritualized as part of the body-rites. Psychological shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly lost upon entry into the latipso. A man, whose own wife has never seen him in an excretory act, suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course and nature of the client’s sickness. Female clients, on the other hand, find their naked bodies are subjected to the scrutiny, manipulation and prodding of the medicine men.

Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-mouth-men, involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant’s mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh. The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.

There remains one other kind of practitioner, known as a “listener.” This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe that parents bewitch their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The counter-magic of the witch-doctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the “listener” all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties he can remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirema in these exorcism sessions is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to bemoan the rejection he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals even see their troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth.

In conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices which have their base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive aversion to the natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. Still other rites are used to make women’s breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.

Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory functions are ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproductive functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and scheduled as an act. Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so as to hide their condition. Parturition takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist, and the majority of women do not nurse their infants.

Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly shown them to be a magic-ridden people. It is hard to understand how they have managed to exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon themselves. But even such exotic customs as these take on real meaning when they are viewed with the insight provided by Malinowski when he wrote:

Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization.

Originally written by Horace Miner

*Source

Melvin (music video)

Melvin has ShizoAffective Disorder. Melvin has no socially constructed ego.

This is Melvin’s daily lifestory. Melvin is fine one moment, and in complete madness the next, then after too much of society’s false conventions, platitudes, consumerisms, materialisms, pseudo-complexities, bureaucracies, frivolous and superfluous laws, governments,  neuromarketed ego need for shopping and other illusions and imaginary things, for too long, Melvin becomes shell shocked and unable to function. . . like a thousand yard stare.

This experiemental, ambient piece depicts the ups and downs, the good days and bad days, the moments when Melvin is “okay” and those moments when Melvin is going through hell. It’s syncopation follows the daily “schizo” moments wherein madness seems to overwhelm the entirety of Melvin’s consciousness and awareness and also those moments of beauty and tranquility wherein the whole of being becomes filled with peace of mind. This Melvin’s dis-ease, this Melvin’s life. Hit PLAY.

Melvin is a term of endearment given to me by my Stephen. So, this one is personal.

More of my music videos.

Credits–
[Clips used from the following footage. Some used with permission of CC license and others available in the public domain]:
“Sand City” by Don Whitaker
“sometimes i want to be a monk” from Daniel J Alex
“War Neuroses — Netley Hospital, 1917” by Wellcome Film
“chicago beach” from doctorfaustroll
“American Look (Part I) 1958” produced by Handy (Jam) Organization
“The Samaritans – Scream” from HallofAdvertising
“Platinum Fashion Mall, Petchburi Road, Bangkok” from Guido Vanhaleweyk

Image Credit (available through public record from the National Archives):
“Thousand Yard Stare” from The National Archives

Music:
“Melvin” by NIKOtheOrb, available for download and Track 1 off future album, From The Mind Of A Schizo, Affected (COMING OUT SOON!).

The Perception of Type

The Nuance of Innocent Until Proven Guilty

“[T]here is no more one Truth, general, applicable everywhere and at all times, but a multiplicity of values which relativize each other, complement each other, nuance each other, fight each other, and are worth less for themselves than for all situations, phenomena, experiences they are meant to express.” ~Michel Maffesoli, Eloge de la raison sensible, 1996

Elegant Background 0005I do not know, too much does not make sense. Too much just seems to be a game created as a practical joke but the joke has been going on so long that no one remembers anymore that it is a joke and no one bothered to call April Fool’s. So, what is the alternative? What has to be done? Live as an animal in a zoo, trying to hoard its sanity in a Skinner Box built by Schrodinger?

The Modern Goddess of Satirical Mutilations I should hate, but I do not. I should, though, because existence could be easier momentarily. Except I would have to be an asshole, and I cannot do that to myself. It is weird though because ‘Asshole’ is just a word, a label, a name, innocuous on its own. But a weapon in an insecure society. A society intent upon the annihilation of ‘I’ (as the seat of consciousness) and the abhorrence of the egoless.

Animals habituate in a zoo, captive and captivated by the sickness called Man. We. HA! How can there be a We among Man when he cannot walk down the sidewalk without bitterness toward his fellow man? “What’s he got that’s better than mine?”The maxima of their sordid, little lives.

Sometimes, I must laugh because Insecure Society tells me that I am cold, as if that defines me and not their perception. As if within the actions I make sits “coldness”. As if coldness were composed of the act itself. This is a misperception. The burden of the label is not upon the shoulders of action and actor, but upon the witness. Insecure Society has bestowed Name to the actor; the act is not a performance. Do you see how easily reality is undermined? How quickly the mind can turn innocuous into guilty?

The Perception of Type“Innocent until proven guilty.”—Some say the justice system has forsaken that mathematical moniker [mathematical because it is more of a logic problem than it is a truth, but I digress], I disagree. I say that is wholeheartedly upheld by the justice system and those workers within the justice system. The focus ought to be on the “thought words/symbols” Innocence, Guilt, and Proven. What is proof of guilt or innocence? Further, what is Proof? And how is it done? Proof does not require rigor in Zoo Civilization. Proof only requires perception (and more words and symbols). Innocence or guilt is not a matter of inherent flaw detection, but simply a matter of convincing one party of the factual events (that alone without words can be perceived infinitely by any who bear witness) and whatever version of interpretation necessary to win the case or win the argument. It is just a matter of winning and who wins. Not about how to the crux of a matter so that it can be improved upon or changed or evolved or eradicated, if necessary.

See, no one is interested. It is just a matter of convincing. It is even in the language of the court: Conviction, a Judge pronounces Sentence. See? It is weird. So, when people talk to me about environment, they never mention the subtleties, the true nuances.

Lights of Fractal Metropolis 0009I am often (daily) accused of not understanding social nuances by those whom are now called ‘neurotypicals‘. I used to believe this and it drove me into madness. I no longer believe this blatant conundrum. It is not I who does not understand nuances, but members of the outgoing insecure society who do not understand nuances. See, nuance has to do with divining and awareness of subtleties. But when Society says social nuance it posits Do Not Mean What You Say, Do Not Say What You Mean and Say One Thing To Do Another. That is not nuance that is manipulation. And only in Western Culture could awareness become manipulation.

I do understand nuance, I see nuance everywhere. I cannot possibly comprehend if someone does not say what they mean or mean what they say or say one thing to do another (which is actually rather close to deception). And for some reason disagreement means incomprehension in Society. I cannot fathom how twisted Western Culture can be. How twisted that every one act becomes another. Confidence becomes arrogance, Quiet becomes fighting, Help becomes Attack, Ask becomes Compulsion, Voluntary becomes Required, Agreement becomes Contract, and Tradition becomes Law

Tell me, what is the true perception?

Unknown

*Image credits  (all work used through CC license)–
“Lights of Fractal Metropolis 0009” by Andrew Ostrovsky
“Elegant Background 0005” by Andrew Ostrovsky
[“Unknown”] by Joel, Evelyn, Francois
“The Perception of Type” by arnoKath
“The Modern Goddess of Satirical Mutilations” by Derrick Tyson

Out with the Old, In with the New Culture

Evolution is a process of creating patterns of increasing order….I believe that it’s the evolution of patterns that constitutes the ultimate story of our world. Evolution works through indirection: each stage or epoch uses the information-processing methods of the previous epoch to create the next.”

Planet 8000 background by Courtney RhodesMuch like the hippies, the hepcats, the mods, hipsters, flappers, etc., the culture of the constitution and the work ethic, of the social etiquette and clearly defined boundaries, the impunity of bloated, over-regulated bureaucracy and the absence of accountability are on its way out.

Web 2.0 Digitage 2012 by Maureen Flynn-BurhoeWelcome to the electronic culture.

Science fiction writers forewarned of this inevitability for years. Although, we cowered and enjoyed the show heed was not paid. Now, the ideology that one must work hard at one’s career in order to reap the most benefit from the American Dream no longer applies.

The incoming culture does not seem to want the promising career, as they understand that the dream has popped. Go to school, graduate with your [enclosed] classroom mates in a building on a stage; go to college, work for more money to afford necessities, graduate in an old-fashioned building in uniformity and lockstep. Then get a job, pay your student loans, work until retirement, pay your taxes to The Man, pay into social security, get a mortgage and a family, start accumulating debt, do this for 30-40 years and retire. . . broke and sick. This is not an American dream it is a nightmare.

Euphoria by HartwigHKDThe incoming culture seems to embrace a familiar, yet, new and improved for the 21st century paradigm as well as advocating a simpler, less regulated lifestyle. Social morality and responsibility that seems to have been inspired by Kohlberg’s scale of moral development, post-conventional level has replaced conventional social roles, norms and mores of daily behavior.

Economically in the upcoming culture, quality is far more valuable than quantity. Quantity is synonymous with junk, but junk that can be cheaply modified into a quality product. Shopping for quality, the most return (worth) on a single item, or purchasing in bulk to save money seems to be favored over mass-produced products planned for obsolescence. As shopping malls along with other box stores close, much more informed shopping waits in the wake. Now, a desired item can be price-compared across the planet with an easy Google search. The best quality items can be bought to exact and personal specifications for a small price; even a car, land and home can be purchased this way. Much more productive and constructive actions can be performed online at home, than can be accomplished by, at or in many obsolete jobs of the outgoing culture.

Eole Airlines by Eole WindThrift shops offer many name brand fashions at 70%, 80%, 90% off the regular price, leading to the understanding that you can look sharp at pauper’s prices. Eating healthy: the adage You Are What You Eat seems to have gripped the public imagination (or at least the media’s).

Further, the incoming culture seems much more informed than the outgoing culture. As the incoming culture becomes more wise to the wiles of social engineering—as that culture having grown up on the internet uses social engineering for practical jokes and pranks—media like FoxNews ceases to be the sole source (or even preferred source) of current events around the world. The internet serves as a much more organic and dynamic source of current events, like the rise of Twitter as a relevant and reliable news source. The heroes of the incoming culture do not include the founding fathers, but such instantly recognizable figures as Bill Nye, MythBusters, Carl Sagan, Charlie Bukowski, Bill Murray, zombie apocalypse, and the unending fleet of viral memes like Antoine and, recently, Homeless Kai.

From another dimension by HartwigHKDGod and organized religion have been fired as even FoxNews shows the glaring hypocrisy contained therein. Now, genuine and sincere acceptance (rather than tolerance) for anyone to be who they want to be as long as no harm becomes another is the mantra of fellow humans (see the new niche, Random Acts of Kindness). Religion (and to some degree science—see noetic sciences) has evolved to interdisciplinary perspectives that combines science, the esoteric and occult, and the mystical.

Sex is great and awesome as much as possible with consenting parties, free love 3.0. The incoming culture knows much more about the political arena (and not what comes sold on TV, or hired out to speechwriters and/or lobbyists). The incoming culture knows the political game and are not only playing it when the need presents Dematerialization by HartwigHKD itself (i.e., when one of the outgoing culture exits stage left), but are satirizing, criticizing, scrutinizing, and parodying the game. They know and understand the lingo and jargon and they have hawk eyes that see through the drivel. Creativity abounds and is nourished (oddities are accepted and oftentimes poached by corporations).

The status quo of the outgoing culture has ended, supplanted by the incoming culture and their more eastern-influenced and indigenous ideals. The new maxim might become “Come One Come All, Just Don’t Be A Douchebag”.

“Each epoch continues the evolution of information through a paradigm shift to a further level of ‘indirection.’ (That is, evolution uses the results of one epoch to create the next.)”

TL;DR by Skinned Mink

Image Credits (all used with permission through CC license)–
(in order of appearance)
“Planet 8000 background” by Courtney Rhodes
“Web 2.0 Digitage 2012” by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe
“Euphoria” by HartwigHKD
“Eole Airlines” by Eole Wind
“From another dimension” & “Dematerialization” by HartwigHKD
“TL;DR” by Skinned Mink

*Quotes by Ray Kurzweil

Complex States At Being

Emotions can be incredibly complex states of being/mind.

I just want to be happy by bravelittlebird on flickrPeople (particularly in this western culture) are afraid to experience emotion due to heavy amounts of socialization and conditioning, especially in school. You know, we’re taught to sit still, to be quiet, to “use our inside voices”, to line up, to avoid disorder and be orderly, to obey, to submit, to share. To share, but not to cooperate. There is a difference. Sharing does not necessarily imply or guarantee cooperation. In school, sharing is a behavioral technique; used as a means to control the behavior of a room full of pinging (that is, naturally rambunctious and curious-minded) short beings.

Let me tell you a story: a sad story about a little girl who cried.cry_baby_cry_by_Barbara_Pellizzon_flickr

To get to City Island one can walk across a 2,800 foot long truss bridge, which was exactly what I was doing when I spotted a brief exchange between a little girl and her father. The little girl’s father, pushing another child in a stroller, told the little girl to look around as well as look at all the fish visible in the River below. The little girl was throwing bread over the side of the bridge to the fish, and seemed very happy.

Later, having crossed the bridge, I was sat under a pavilion and saw the little girl and her family again as they were passing by. The little girl tripped over a rise in the structure of the sidewalk and fell very hard. So hard that I winced when I heard the sound. She immediately bawled, as I’m sure that hurt her terribly. Probably terrified at the pain, you know, she ran to her father for solace. . . and he admonished her. He yelled at her as he brushed the dirt from her clothes, “You gotta watch where you’re walking. You can’t be looking around while you’re walking!” He seemed actually angry with her that she tripped, an accident on her part, no intent to spoil his day whatsoever. She only cried harder asking then for her mommy. At this, her father really became angry and shouted, “That’s it! You’re going back to the car you can’t act right!”

Did you see the contradiction?

Just moments ago, on the bridge he was telling her to LOOK around, then minutes later punished her for doing exactly that. These are the kinds of happenings that disturb me in the world. What did that do to the mind of that little girl? How could she possible understand that kind of contradicting information from such a trusted and authoritative figure as her father? What was the impact upon her consciousness? What did she just unconsciously learn? How did that affect her ego? Her sense of self in the world she knows and how will that affect her sense of self in subsequent years?

Which brings me back to emotions and the horrors some humans have undergone. That suffering. What I think not many humans grok is that suffering can be soft, horror is not always large, it can be very subtle. . . like entropy, changing and developing small vibrations over time that then result in the current personality/identity of that child in the form of an adult.

The_Girl_Who_Cried_Wolf_by_GaelForcePhotography_flickrWhat happened to that little girl is a subtle terror, an event that will accompany who knows how many more and will shape her as a human being. It’s systematic, to get children all to sit still or to behave as one being so it could be easier (or more efficient) for the teacher to educate them. A good idea, sure, but in actuality what happens is that the children become standardized. The spark, the inspiration for creativity and innovation and imagination breaks down because the channels created have no room for them, no means to categorize something as unpredictable as a room full of children all having ideas simultaneously.

This is one way that fear of emotion is installed in the collective consciousness. That fear to really let go and be fully in the space. . .

“. . . and I’m free, free falling.” ~Tom Petty, ‘Free Falling’

*Image credits (used with permission through CC license)–
“I just want to be happy” by bravelittlebird
“cry, baby, cry” by Barbara Pellizzon
“The Girl Who Cried Wolf” by GaelForce Photography

The Wellspring of Quantum

Eclipse_by_Mario_in_arte_Akeu_flickrDepending upon the level of magnification, the scale or lens through which one perceives, society and its rules/laws change.

It does not stop there, in but a single dimension. Levels can overlap and can affect one another and send vibrations through the levels. What is being perceived, or conceived, or even social systems or social institutions within a society or within a framework of a corporation can change depending on the level. In other words, there are systems within systems, societies within societies, tangents within tangents, and all are approaching convergence without actually ever arriving definitively at a point of convergence, there is no real convergence coordinate, only a continuous—sometimes discrete—movement towards convergence.

Escher_3000_by_Roberto_Rizzato_flickrAlso, similar to the idea that there are small pockets of movements (social movements, civil rights movements, etc.) occurring simultaneously, often with none of the participants aware of the participation of the other participants [this idea is like the idea of cooperation, but like a prisoner’s dilemma inverted cooperation. The prisoner’s do not know each other, but in the act of operating selflessly—the movement itself, advocating civil rights or something like that—cooperate with one another to cause the same outcome, that of ending suffering and obtaining civil rights]). These are magnifications (magnifications also because each individual has an amalgamation of cells and genes and symbiosis with one’s environment through those cells, comprising a group, which operates like a cell, comprising a movement, which operates like an organ. All of this swinging from quantum to macro), protrusions into this “dimension” called Reality or The World.

But what we’re really talking about are cultures, or a culture, and there are cultures within cultures. To look at cultures is a big scale, I think (well, relatively.  Not relative to, like, the sun or something, but relative to say groups or departments or neighborhoods, which, incidentally can all be cultures. But I’m actually referring to volume in this line of thinking). So, at what level do we stop and say here is where we know what we are seeing? It’s like the Wave/Particle Problem. Why does a photon behave as a wave when unobserved and behave as a particle when observed? What is it about this observation that alters the potentialities of the atom? So, do we run into a problem (or did we run into a problem) when trying to ascertain from what level of magnification to begin? From where the problem can begin to be addressed? How to remove the self as the observer? Or, remain the observer while subjectively interacting with the environment that withdraws the elements that serve as catalyst for the movement?

We are the rudimentary manifestations of the quantum behavior of a photon.

 

*Image credit (used with permission through CC license)–
“Eclipse” by Mario in Arte Akeu
“Escher 3000” by Roberto Rizzato

 

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”

Thou Art God

Thou art God, and I am God and all that groks is God.” ~A Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

Thou Art GodI was reading about chakras, and in doing so I come across the third eye crown chakra, which leads to the pineal gland which leads to melatonin . At melatonin, I find out that this is the chemical that regulates sleep patterns/cycles (circadian rhythms), which makes me wonder: What does that say about the waking state and the dream state? Give me your hand. Follow me, Alice, as we travel down the rabbit hole of a tangent….

We have wondered for millennia why do humans dream, yes? And we have wondered what is the dream state either in contrast to the waking state or in contrast to nothing. What is the dream state? And is that state when we are immersed in it, a reality? We, when we are asleep, seem to accept it as such (unless, of course, we are lucid dreaming, which is a whole other tangent, because we could say that the lucid state within the dream state is not unlike the waking state within reality, yes?). Melatonin also regulates the oscillations of the body, harmonizing with the surrounding environment so that the mind/brain can enter into the trance/dream state without any problems. How is this not unlike meditation, or even deep meditation?

Why do we still dream? Dreams as they are currently known could be residual memories, leftovers, remnants, perhaps fragments of a time when humans were fully consciousness. Downloading information from the cloud, or from the aether (in other words, whatever environment, your reality by which you are surrounded). It is effortless, I think, because the aether and you are one in the same. There is no boundary between the body and space. The skin is not a terminus…you know, at the end of my fingertip, I end. Boundaries are an illusion. I do not stop at my fingertip, I continue. My skin is not boundary betwixt I and space, skin is more like clothing. I am a protrusion into the third/fourth dimension, as such comprised of the fabric of the universe itself, same as the sun, the tree, a star, an insect, etc. Ultimately, there is no one I, nor is there a We, but only Is or This or That Which Can Be Called EveryOne. I don’t have a word in the language for this concept. That does not mean that there are no other Ones, I’m speaking merely for this universe, I have no certainty beyond that (or actually any at all, for that matter).

“Inside most people there’s a feeling of being separate — separated from everything. And they’re not. They’re part of absolutely everyone, and everything. [People have this] spot that [they] can’t see past…, the spot where they were taught they were disconnected from everything. [If they could they would see that they are connected] and how beautiful they really are. And that there’s no need to hide, or lie. And that it’s possible to talk to someone without any lies, with no sarcasms, no deceptions, no exaggerations or any of the things that people use to confuse the truth.” ~Powder

People are afraid to live in this way (reality as decoherent, as a quantum foam, or a non-solid state; reality can be as flexible as a dream) because they are afraid that they will shatter. These are all delusions, I think. There is no such thing as retribution; this is a human invented trait, not one of nature. There is no such thing as punishment; this is merely a legal term. People are afraid of condemnation or of excommunication. But humans do not have to live in this way, it is possible to be honest without worry of that.

It IS possible to live that way, but it can be scary on the way there. People are always looking for the jackboot and the oppression because in western society, that is the consequence. Human beings have forgotten how to treat one another as humans and most of all, they have forgotten that they ARE human beings, living organisms, who are children of the universe, and really have nothing to fear because death is not an afterlife or a hell/heaven, or an end, but another form of energy, just as life is a form of energy. We are not bound to life; therefore, we are not obligated in death. Immortality exists, just not in the way the movies describe.

 

*Image Credits (stock used with permission)–
“Thou Art God” (above image) is a photomanipulation created by NIKOtheOrb, using stock produced by:
EK Stock Photos, “Macro Eye I”
Luca Pedrotti, “Male Silhouette Pointing”
Funerium, “Cosmos8_0009”, distributed by Resurgere Stock
Inspired by a drawing on Reddit