Focus


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I think the ongoing evolution of human consciousness is the ongoing ability of the brain to process greater amounts of information. With our relationship with technology, we are literally stretching the amount of information that our brains can process at any given time. We are in the age of multitasking:watching TV while we text, tweeting while we post on Facebook. In fact, I’d like to say that if you don’t have ADD you’re not paying attention.

We are overextending our attention faculties and causing a kind of bandwidth anxiety. We just don’t have enough RAM for the apps that we have open! We need to come up with techniques and ways to engage with this multiplicity of options while still retaining our intentional focus that allows us to function. The evolutionary goal our species is to transcend boundaries.We didn’t stay put in the caves, didn’t stay put on this planet and are now not staying withing the limits of our biology. I think we’ve dovetailed our minds to our tools. When those tools start dovetailing back, the line between the user and tool become flimsy.
The brain is an energy saving system that decides what information is useful and deletes everything else. The brain has an internal map–an internal model–of the world that it has to interface with. So if I take the same route to school or work everyday, I could go there with my eyes closed(neglecting the traffic). Therefore I’m not noticing anything new. But when you change something in the world, your brain notices. The brain is programmed to notice something different and biologically selected to notice the new. If we know that, we know that our brain is awakened by something new. Then we want to play with our focus. Focus on what you don’t focus and don’t focus on what you usually focus. We can then take active steps to perform a ‘meta-cognitive hack’! 

Beauty is transcendental

“Beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.” -Imaginary Foundation

The philosopher Joseph Campbell used to say that when we are transfixed by beauty, we are beheld in an aesthetic arrest. We are so transfixed that we stop breathing. We well up inside and experience life lived to the point of tears. Why do we love these experiences so much? We love them because they arrest time and force us to marvel. They allow us to become contemplative beings and enter those head-spaces outside of euclidean space and time. They provide a kind of respite for the human condition.

We temporarily step off the ‘people mover’ that’s carrying everyone else towards death and we become Gods outside of time. We are reveling in an ecstatic illumination, staring into the Sun and being moved by its magnificent opulence. The Universe is singing in rapture and we are just drowning in it! It’s like the last scene in the movie ‘The Fountain’, where Thomas becomes a bubble that explodes in space. There is a kind of mythic death, rebirth and resurrection happening. We smash our sense of separateness in these moments. I think we do it because it is therapy. Awe is therapy.

Freeman Dyson talks about a new age of wonder in which literally a new generation of artists will be writing genomes with the fluency that Blake and Byron wrote verses. We try to dissolve our sense of separateness in temples that morph into electronic Buddhism, with throbbing beats temporarily allowing us to merge with the other. It mirrors Richard Holmes’s book ‘The Age of Wonder’, where he talks about the 17th century artists and the scientists being friends and the astronomers being poets.
The relationship-dynamics that Richard refers to can be though of as the right-brained approach. A more creative side of the same coin. This paradoxical attitude is the key to perceiving a higher sense sense of beauty and hence transcending into an expanded consciousness. I urge you to shift your vision slightly out of focus and see the world for what it really is.

Altering perspectives

From birth we are all taught what our parents have been taught; which is often simply what their parents have taught them. We take this in without ever asking many questions such as who we are, why we are here and why things are the way they are. Generations have passed, trends have changed, technologies have emerged and communication has opened the doors to new evolutionary ideas and insights that are pushing the envelope on society’s boundaries. Yet, evolutionary ideas seem to remain in the ‘fantasy‘ section of an industrialist system.”

“Authority knows best” is the slogan that guides our conventional wisdom. We meanwhile, are left to mind our own business, go on with our lives and attempt to live happily ever after– as long we conform to the norms forced upon us. From cradle to grave, we are led to follow the guidelines of what authority defines as A state-of-the-art System; a system in which success seems to begin and end within the running wheel of education, career-performance, debt-management and retirement.
 A vibrant economy is the ultimate priority of our global hierarchy. While a vibrant planet, respect for all living beings, healthy meals, peaceful ways and conscious seem to be a mere subject of conversation, often turned into fund-raising campaigns with little to no impact at all. We shall nonetheless pass on these capitalist and patriotic values to our children– giving them the tools to carry out the very same cycle we have been in for as long as we can remember. After all, it is all we have ever known.
Some have stated that we have reached the peak of human evolution. But have we really moved beyond all the archaic and backward concepts of reality? Have we collectively let go of all that restrains humanity? When we consciously expand our awareness and look beyond what our system stands for, we realize that it is simply erroneous to presume that it endorses a ‘forever-sustainable’ way of living. It is no concern for respecting either Nature or human lives. It profits only through the notion of human unconsciousness. How many war casualties, oil spills, dead fish and natural disasters will we need to see before we set aside our differences, and awaken to our inter-connectedness with each other, with the Earth and all life-forms?
We destroy our home– the Earth– for the sake of the economy.
We torture and treat animals as mere commodities for the sake of the economy.
We continue to use oil–despite the alternatives– for the sake of the economy.
We perpetuate war and kill each other for the sake of the economy.
We promote superficial and materialistic values for the sake of the economy.
We in-debt the poor for the sake of the economy.
We remain asleep for the sake of the economy.
The understanding and wisdom that would deprogram our minds and open our eyes to the grand scheme of things has no economic value in the eyes of
The System”.

Vivid Dreams

So my question is, “How do I want to feel?”
I’ve become really interested in the idea of mediating experience of directly engaging the technical material of subjectivity itself; of employing technologies of rhetoric like language, song, storytelling and cinema.
To capture and control attention and thrust one’s subjectivity into a state of deep immersion and absorption is a necessary precursor for any kind of inter-personal persuasion, transformation or education to take place within one’s psyche. Janet Murray in her book ‘Hamlet on the Holodeck’ talks about the fact that as narrative beings we long to be immersed.We long merge with the narrative to obliterate all sense of separation and to be enveloped in the mediated environment-the ‘story world’.We want disappear and come out on the other side. And she says that so powerful is our desire to be immersed that it’s not just that we suspend or disbelieve but we actively create belief using our sophisticated intelligence to reinforce our belief in the ‘story world’ rather than to question it. We actively metabolize belief in the story. Knowing this, it’s a challenge for the artist as he constructs the cultural technologies of  the 21st century.With our technological desire to virtualize reality we should keep in mind that we have this immense opportunity to artfully and creatively construct these subjective ‘story worlds’.Thus, the narratives of the future have the potential to literally transform what it means to be human, to employ landscapes of mind and turn subjective experience in to a living, breathing painting; a dream that transcends into reality.
This is our opportunity.