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.

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