Thursday, February 22, 2007

There's a catch, isn't there?

Money powers culture, the behemoth that swallows life energy. Yet money and cultutre reign only when credence is given and attention paid. Dominion over life energy requires complicity.

Gandhi taught his disciples how to dissolve domination. He instructed, "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." I take this teaching to mean that one need not fall prey to the powerful temptation of culture. The temptations are 1) to clamor for recognition, 2) to avoid (at whatever cost) embarassment, and 3) to defend oneself and fend off defeat in the material world. Abstaining from these temptations is easy within a sincere and encouraging community.

However, culture diffuses both sincerity and encouragement. Outside its direct sway, culture trumpets individualism, amplifying loneliness, weakening one's ability to generate and sustain sincerity and courage. The technique is highly effective because any life energy is always already individualized. Our "own-liness" serves culture by permitting isolation even and especially in the public sphere. In isolation we whither, for we need a sea of souls to sustain us, to model sincerity, to bolster our courage.

Instead culture prompts us to suckle the virtual, electronic simulations presented by culture. The simulations are contrivances that pose as substitutes for community. We individually attach ourselves to this pacifier that never yields nourishment. We suck and swallow and wonder why our hunger and thirst continue to grow.

I hold a very simple view of what we are. Each of us is an aware energy. Awareness modulates amid three dimensions: the cognitive, the limbic, and the visceral. Awareness forms a "strange loop." Being aware and what it is aware of are one and the same. Another way to say this is in receiving the data we are aware of, we actualize who and how we are. There is no difference, distinction, or distance separating the subject and its object(s). There is a unitary, though ever modifying, field.

The cognitive receives and broadcasts ideas through language. The limbic receives and broadcasts the cardio-electromagnetic field of emotion. The visceral receives and broadcasts posture, sensations, pleasure, pain, tension, and relaxation. All three dimensions operate at some level of intensity as long as energy endures. Spirit is the whole of awareness, the unitary three-dimensional tissue of experience. One's capacity to engage the dimensions determines one's level of excited presence. One's energy unremittingly produces expressions and experiences.

Martin Heidegger recognized a fundamental difference between life energy and its expressions and cognitions. He called the difference the “ontological difference.” One’s energy cannot help but express and receive, yet no expression or reception (the two inhere as another strange loop) exhausts, completes or even defines the initiating energy. The energy itself both eludes manifestation as itself while it sparks further expressions to more completely cloud its presence.

Purveyors of "success" generate formulas and recipes for making one's way in the world. They pre-construe life as functionality, directing activities to hide or distract anxiety. From the Heideggerian prospective, this is inauthenticity. Anxiety is life energy itself. Any attempt to manipulate it into “going away” is an act of self-deception that must ultimately fail. One can refuse to admit it, but one cannot fool oneself. The tricker knows it’s a trick.

So what do people do who won’t play these games? People explore their life energy, recognize how it works, and learn to work with it or, better said, play with it. They open and enter an interpersonal sphere that is an alternative to the public sphere dominated by culture. They experience radiance, resonance, and significance in the intimacy of true community.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who cares?

Here's the conundrum: I am absolutely free to make myself up, yet I am entirely dependent on a world that is totally made up already. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It is just how things are. Furthermore, as I act on my freedom and make myself up, I add to the whole mess. My way of life can't help but show up in the world. I generate physical and social artifacts that contribute to the enormous clutter.

What about this assessment? The world is a mess, an enormous clutter. Does that strike you as true? Think of cities, industrial sites, railroad corridors, that closet, drawer, garage or basement somewhere in your life. Messes are everywhere and the world includes every single one of them.

Certainly the world also teems with innumerable pockets of meaning, organization, and order. But there is no continuous thread that runs through them all. All of them are nested in the wider world. And so are we all.

I call this situation "structural" because it sets the conditions that prevail whenever and however we make ourselves up. Messes are incongruencies where things don't match up, things are out of place, or broken. They can be picked up, sorted, re-ordered, hidden away, repaired or ignored.

We make our way in this kind of world, but usually the chaos recedes from view in order that we can attend to particular pockets of meaning (jobs, health, family, tending to our stuff). When our caring engages our attention within one or more pockets of significance, our lives inflate with that significance. We have a purpose.

Purpose is rooted in ambivalence. The structure wherein we make ourselves up is the mess of the world. The world has already been made as both definite and as yet undefined. Neither aspect is under our control. The dynamic tension between our freedom and the brute factuality of the world comprises who we are. So how are we?

The dismal and delightful game is ours for the stretch of time we each endure, our lifetime. Our roles are self-selected within the factical circumstances of our inividual perspectives. Win-lose games don't ultimately add up to much. Yet the game of building significance has neither victors nor victims when it is grounded in the tension and not aimed at eliminating it.

Creativity research supports the game of building significance. Though not the easiest or simplest game to play, this game reliably provides the means to manifest easy motion, not as a product of play but in and through the process of play, of being who one is.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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What is easy motion?

Easy motion is life energy resonating. Not just any life energy, by the way, but the life energy you are. That's right, you. There are lots of reasons that most of us do not recognize ourselves as energy resonators. These reasons often keep us alienated, diminished, or both. Easy motion does not pertain to these states.

Easy motion can be demonstrated through creativity research. The Easy Motion Studio is a laboratory where phenomenology is practiced. But it always remains a studio where art work comes into manifestation (shows up through the artist's wiles).

I welcome all sincere players to explore with me the simultaneously dismal and delightful game we share about us. Our journey takes courage. We are here to encourage each other.

The old saw is partly right: life is what you make it. Life is also lots of stuff you didn't make. If and how these realms integrate makes a difference. There will be more. Soon.