A Healing Tool in the Oral Tradition
Montréal, November 18, 2000

As I write this, I can see myself standing in front of the big capital 'O' in 'Oral' and feeling an enticing cOOl breeze flowing from it. When I step in through the 'O', I find myself 'immersed' in a mythopoeic world which is rich in mystery, ... I engage bodily with the tam-tamming of native drums and experience the unbounded volume of space, the sky above, the earthy topography below and the waters and trees and life which play together in the dynamic opportunity space which opens incessantly between the two. The O engages me like zero of the Zero Chiefs and I can hear their words, ... 'The Zero is the Spirit of all Creation.'

When I see the word 'Sight', the sizzling sound of hot, high-definition neon images comes at me, as if I were standing in Times Square or Picadilly Circus or the futuristic Los Angeles of the film 'Bladerunner'. In the bright light of these hot images, I become one with the darkness until there are only images, ... images whose detail spells out many things, .. much to think about.

The 'O' of Oral is cool and engaging and induces me in to immerse and bathe in it, becoming an inclusionary playground for all my senses to run free in. The 'S' of Sight is hot and assertive and imposing, rattling the steel cage of my mind until the full force of my rationality asserts itself from the darkness of my self-initiated exclusion.

The O is WahKahn, the sacred mother and the S is SsKwan, the sacred father. The Zero of the medicine wheel, of creation, is WahKahn and SsKwan.

These are my starting points for telling this story of the healing tool. Some may recognize, in the first four paragraphs, the interwoven geometries not only of the native tradition but also of the 'cool' and 'hot' media of Marshall McLuhan.

It's no accident to see this re-emergence of ancient themes amidst the noise of our high tech society, ... they are always with us. But for the children of the western world in the third millenium, ... they are "Not known, because not looked for / But heard, half-heard, in the stillness / Between two waves of the sea." [1]

Today, sizzling hot high definition technology is blinding us and putting us in the dark by amplifying our sight, ... an amplification which unbalances our senses and exiles us from the coolness of immersion in the sacred and mysterious windspace of the Zero of creation. There is much suffering because of this de-balancing technology amplification, a over-balancing of sight which effectively amputates our oral capacity and leaves us 'incomplete', ... as voyeurs who are no longer equipped for the passage through the O into the cool participativeness of immersion, ... voyeurs who have been exiled from immersion in their own lives by their new powers of sight which turn the rational millworks of their minds incessantly, reducing intuitive selfness to the frozen silence of intent, like a child in Picadilly Circus on a crisp dark night.

Down the brightly lit tube of a microscope, technology has allowed us to see the 'enemies' of our sick children and to assert ourselves against them with rationally crafted 'antibiotics'. We give 'anti-biotics', we attack life so that we can save lives. Mother Nature seems to have become a dangerous thing to us, a savage thing to be suppressed and controlled, and all the while we are killing life to save lives, we are being blown across the sky by a great wind. And that wind is stirring change all around us in the soup of life within which we are one of many constituents.

'Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste' said Chief Seattle. So why not 'probiotics'? The plants and micro-organisms of nature, somehow and somewhere within them, have innate knowledge of the equilbriums we seek to restore when our children are sick, ... they have innate healing potentials which we can have technology help us to orchestrate, rather than having our technology kill one brother so that another may live. 'No part is separate from any other part. The health of the whole enables the health of any part thereof. Sickness of the smallest part affects the whole' as Paula Underwood says.

But the hot sizzling technology of sight-amplification has been the technology of voyeur masculine assertion, not the feminine inductive quality which would open up opportunity for a more balanced assertion to re-establish the harmonious codynamic we call 'health' and 'life'. 'Life has been made the Enemy by woman-haters who despise Earth for being Female' says Estcheemah.

The dark night of technological lobotomization has already been long. And all the while we have been worshipping at the altar of science and technology, animated by its hotly assertive sizzle, we are being blown across the sky by a great wind. Our lives are becoming 'something that happens to us while we play with our technology'.

I like to speak with my native friends on the theme of healing, ... how we can become whole again and make our way through the O into the cool, immersed participation in our own lives, ... how we can use technology for healing, ...

That's where the conversation usually stops, ... and I am told that 'healing' or 'making whole' is a personal process which must come from inside, ... which must follow the ancient traditions developed through the experience of many millennia.

Yes, that appeals to me, and the moreso because of critical mass, of having a population which is still rich in those who have not capitulated to the deity of science and rationality. In my own culture, the pickings have become much slimmer as the inversion which puts assertive rationality into an unnatural primacy over inductive relationality has a 2500 year history. Amongst native americans, it has been 500 years and the organized resistance movement is still alive.

So I am happy about the strong ideas of my native friends, because they can become the renaissance base for us all.

But the technology issues are subtle. When the native parent sees his child become ill, the chances are he will use the 'antibiotic' because 'it is there', just as the textbooks and universities are there.

Technology is an arrowhead and a canoe, and technology is the alphabet and the printing press and the television. 'No part is separate from any other part. The health of the whole enables the health of any part thereof. Sickness of the smallest part affects the whole', ... and so it is with technology. The 'biotics' which are seen to 'attack' the child are the cognitive illusion of a culture which can only see 'assertive behaviour', which has forgotten that 'inductive behaviour', the art of the feminine, even exists. Healthy systems are systems which are in codynamical harmony. Unhealthy systems are those which have fallen out of codynamical harmony. Healing is the restoring of the codynamical harmony between the constituent and his containing constituency of nature.

The masculine assertive 'S' of sight and rationality has been technology-amplified, extending this human faculty to the point that it massively overbalances and effectively 'amputates' the inductive feminine O of auditive immersion.

We know what our assertive rationality does, ... it selects and excludes from its viewing of reality and then reconstitutes the picture in terms of 'objects' and their logical and kinetic trajectories. But in the process it loses consciousness of the 'inner-outer shape of space' which is fundamental to our life experience. The sizzling 'S' of technology-amplified sight reconstitutes life on the assertive flatspace of a television screen, losing all track of the 'shape' of 'dynamic opportunity space', that aspect of the Zero of creation presided over by WahKahn, the sacred mother, in its reconstituting.

Assertion is only possible in the enabling presence of opportunity. Without the inductive opportunity- opening skills of the feminine, assertion is paralyzed. This is the rising pain in a society which sees and amplifies only assertion. In lieu of the inductive, it can proceed only by 'exclusion' and in the educational and management systems of our western culture, this is exactly what is happening, ... the exclusion of the 'less performant' measured in the terms of assertiveness. We are witness to the purification of the assertive by exclusion, while our decommissioned inductive skills standby helplessly.

So where are the inductive skills, .. the technologies of cool immersion?... the dynamic opportunity space cultivated by the disciples of WahKahn?, ... those qualities which, in our masculine assertive culture have become "Not known, because not looked for / But heard, half-heard, in the stillness / Between two waves of the sea."

And why can we not see them anymore?

Lao Tsu gave us counsel on the subtle challenge of 'dynamic opportunity space'- watching;

"Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations."

... And he spoke, also, of the nature of the value of this space;

"Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there."

Our assertive culture, with its technology-amplified sight which selects, excludes and lifts material objects out of their volumetric immersion, and reconstituents them within tidy logical and kinetic frameworks, loses all track of the 'useful space' which Lao Tsu is speaking of.

The space of WahKahn and SsKahn, the dynamic opportunity space of immersion is a vibrant space-time continuum which resonates with the tam-tamming of our ancestors. Unlike the space of material assertion, there are no bounds in our containing space-time, the space which fills our vessels and our rooms, the interconnecting 'commons' of nature from whence all things emerge.

How do we 'see' this dynamic opportunity space, when we have become so conditioned to looking only at the 'assertive objects' which impose themselves within this space, along with their kinetic transactions.

Were I versed in the hunter's art, I would answer this in terms of the land, the forest and its diverse flora and fauna, but since I am not, I will answer it in terms of the geometries of the pool hall which I know well.

The wise pool player is a disciple of WahKahn and SsKwan and cultivates opportunity for his constituency of balls by using his assertive shooting skills in a supportive manner. The foolish player uses his assertive shooting skills in a primary manner.

The wise player, ever desireless in his own right, becomes the 'eyes' of each of his balls, looking out through them to assess the opportunity which is opening up for, or closing down for, each of his balls. He knows that if one ball moves, then the opportunity space for all balls is simultaneously transformed. Thus as he 'becomes' each ball, ... as he-the-ball moves, he must consider the transformation of opportunity space as seen by all balls, and move so as to open up opportunity for all his brother balls. The evolving shape of the dynamical opportunity space, over the course of play, if he plays well, will open up corridors of opportunity so that each of his balls may pursue their purposive quests unhindered, and find their own niches in the play. The wise player does not 'short' his assertive 'shooting' skills, but hones them in support of his cultivation of dynamic opportunity space, his 'shape-mastery'. He understands the mystery of immersion in the tam-tamming of unbounded space-time, a volumetric space which does not stop at the limits of the table but which extends on outwards and indefinitely, to envelope the players and their ancestors and grandchildren.

The foolish player, ever desiring, never thinks of immersing himself so as to see through the eyes of his 'brothers', to understand their opportunity relative to their purpose. Instead, he uses his powers of sight to select out his best opportunities, and follows through with his assertive shooting skills. He is scarcely conscious of how his assertive acts induce transformation in the shape of opportunity space, and he thus infuses dissonance with each shot. To him, the play is no more than the 'manifest', the kinetic transactions of the balls out of the context of the continually transforming dynamic opportunity space. He sees his task as one of managing assertive actions. He is a shot-master and the gallery, in an assertive culture, much appreciates the shot-master and is blind to the subtle skills of the shape-master. For him, the game stops at the limits of the table, ... a game of kinetic transactions played against time.

The feminine skill of cultivating dynamic opportunity space and subordinating one's assertive actions to support multi-constituent purpose is an everpresent principle in our immersion in nature. It is a principle which emanates from balanced sensory perception. Our biased technology amplification of sight via the alphabet, the printing press and electronic media has put the assertive and rational into an unnatural primacy over the inductive and relational. It has put the discrete, material and kinetic 'manifest' into an unnatural primacy over the volumetric, intangible and transformative 'mystery'.

The assertive culture believes that everything comes through assertion. It cannot visualize nor fathom the emergent qualities of dynamic opportunity space. It searches for rational answers to how, for example, the assertive actions of bees produce perfectly optimized hexagonal cells, without keying to the fact that these structures are not assertively achieved but instead, emerge from the inductive qualities of the bees as they collaborate in the opening up of opportunity space for their larvae. Starting off in their evolutionary philogeny, from building spherical cells to protect the larvae, the bees, packed into small spaces and working in close proximity, began to share the walls of their cells and avoid duplication, cutting their material consumption for wax in half and allowing them to convert the savings into honey instead, and cutting their space requirements by forty percent to enhance the defendibility of their hive. Ever desireless in their own right, they were able to see and respond to the mystery of dynamic opportunity space, the O of WahKahn.

The bees do not 'assert' their hexagonal cells, they 'induce' them, and this is the way of nature in general.

The assertive-over-inductive view which sees and accounts only for material kinetics is built upon the concepts of euclidian space and absolute time, ... concepts which greatly effect the psychology of our culture and constrain its healing potentials.

This euclidian flatspace framing which we, in our assertive mode take for granted is deeply imbued into the cultural psyche. Emmanuel Kant (1724 - 1804), for example, asserted that " Euclidean geometry is the inevitable necessity of thought", ... that no alternative system of geometry was conceivable to the human mind, and that time was "A category allowing one to order events in a before-after-relationship".

Our cultural imposition of this geometry of split-apart space and time, which differs absolutely from the dynamic opportunity space of our experience, suggests to us that our encounters with others, at particular places and particular times, are detached one from the other. This psychological view gives rise to the need for an 'ego' which must manage our emotional and material needs within each of these encounters. The ego, in pursuing its interests within each one of these perceived-to-be detached encounters, induces alterations in our personality within each venue; e.g. encounters with males, females, family, authority, dependents, other races, other nationalities etc.

Had our psyche assumed that unbounded dynamic opportunity space, the space of our exerience rather than the fragmented space of our rational conceptualization, was 'where we lived', our ego would not be faced with the multi-partition management problem. In fact in the case where our psyche sees our containing space as one unbounded space-time continuum, our 'ego' is subsumed by our 'authentic self', which may 'tune' to the needs of each encounter situation, as an actor might, for the sake of codynamical harmony but without ever losing track of his own authenticity.

Because our assertive-over-inductive overbalance continues to be exacerbated by technology amplification, the notion of detached encounter partitions is intensifying. Without a strong 'authentic self', the 'ego', in trying to satisfy our emotional and material needs in each of multiple types of encounter situation (each one imposing its own 'political correctness' requirements), induces multiple personas, and then is faced with the management of these multiple personas. If our nature is 'relational', ... to try to satisfy others, our persona is pulled into multiple dependencies on the personal profiles of others who we are trying to please, leaving a 'hole' in the middle where the authentic self should reside. If our nature is 'rational', ... to try to control others, our persona is asserted outwards in multiple dependencies keying to the personal profiles of others we are trying to control, building a hard 'control center' in the middle of where the authentic self should reside.

But all of this manoeuvering of the ego is based on the false premise of the detachment in space and time of our encounters. If we perceived ourselves as living within unbounded space-time or 'dynamic opportunity space' as our experience in nature tells us we do, then this rational-conceptual notion of detachment of our encounters would be 'demoted' to the status of a supportive tool rather than a 'reality', and we would once again be in tune with the geometry implied by the notion that; 'No part is separate from any other part. The health of the whole enables the health of any part thereof. Sickness of the smallest part affects the whole'. What this means is that our words and actions within each different encounter situation, while they would change to fit the circumstances, would be referencing to our authentic self and thus would produce no conflict in us if our words and actions in one sphere came into reconciliation in another.

The self-deception of the 'reality' of split-apart euclidian space and absolute time is not only the source of psychopathologies, it presents a huge impediment to the 'healing' process. The problem, as systems inquiry shows, is that "If each part of a system, considered separately, is made to operate as efficiently as possible, the system as a whole will not operate as effectively as possible." [2]

As the leakage across unbounded space-time proceeds to confound the multiple personality efforts of the ego, conflicts occur and the difficulty for the ego to manage multiple personas rises. While the former psychological geometry leads to bipolar personality and psychosis, the latter geometry, in the presence of conflict, leads to unipolar depression and addiction.

All of this stems from the unbalanced technology amplification of 'sight' and the relative amputation of immersed oral sensory experience, thus putting the 'assertive' into an unnatural primacy over the 'inductive', ... 'split apart euclidian space and absolute time' into an unnatural primacy over 'space-time continuum' and the 'ego' into an unnatural primacy over the authentic self.

Where are the inductive-over-assertive technologies needed for 'rebalancing' the codynamics, ... for healing?

Technologies are not necessarily hard-wired for either assertive use or inductive use, but can be used in either mode. Language can be used in both 'cool' (oral, immersed, low definition, high engagement) mode or in 'hot' (sight, voyeur, high definition, low engagement) mode. Idea sharing can be used in either the inclusional, inductive, holographic imaging manner of the 'sharing circle' or in the exclusionary assertive 'darwinist' debating mode which 'purifies' by selecting on the basis of assertive content and discarding 'less performant' ideas. Information technologies can be used to give the individual 'team member' an immersed view of the opportunities relative to purpose seen by his fellow team members (i.e. overriding the control oriented use of information technology). Exceptional teams 'manage opportunity space' by utilizing language, sharing circle and information technology in this 'inductive-over-assertive' fashion, but such teams are the rare minority compared with 'action management' focused 'assertive-over-inductive' teams, and, moreover, the exceptional teams sprout up in a business management 'soil' which is toxic to their approach and thus they are highly exposed to poisoning and early demise.

In the domain of psychological healing, the need is to bring ourselves out of our self-directed confinement in the flatspace of sight and rationality, and back into the immersion of the oral tradition and the unbounded space-time continuum.

But how do we do this when our ego stands in the way, ... insisting that we cannot possibly dissolve the carefully guarded boundaries between our multiple personas and allow our various private dialogues with others across multiple situational spheres spill into one another. One does not easily revert to speaking and acting from one's authentic self, and ignore the political correctness pressures which have shaped us over the years, in a variety of encounter environments. One does not even easily admit to oneself, the dishonesty implicit in this cultural practice. The pain of such internal admission is the force underpinning the psychopathologies of psychosis, depression and addiction.

The ideal space for healing is one in which the ego cannot enter, and this is indeed what is accessed in meditative rituals such as native sweats, fasts and dances. The ego cannot enter any unbounded space-time containers since its existence forms out of the detachment of space and time and its 'language' is the language of 'time', ... the historical remembrance of places and times where commitments were made and where joy and trauma were experienced. When the language of time and historical events disappears, so disappears the ego, ... and the door is open for the authentic self to resume its role at the helm.

Beyond the unbounded space-times of sweats, fasts and dances, there is an evolving technological space which has these same ego-dissipating attributes. It is the space of 'neurofeedback' where a person may immerse himself in his own tam-tamming rhythms, the interfering multitude of rhythms of his psychosomatic network, ... rhythms which represent the codynamics of his inner-outer co-existence and co-evolution. Here he can engage with his own unique tam-tamming rhythms, reshaping them without initially having to deal with his ego, and when he returns to the split apart space-and-time world, he may find that he is better able to deal with the problematic time-language event structure of his life.

As is characteristic of 'inductive-over-assertive' technologies, neurofeedback is not technology which works by 'doing something to you', but is simply an enabler for one's immersion into unbounded space-time, ... a space which knows no 'time sequence', where 'history' does not exist, only the 'eternal now', the continuum of inner-outer experience wherein the ego cannot live. It is the space of no-beginning-never-ending 'tam-tammings' which transcend the inner-outer boundaries of the physical-psychical self.

Neurofeedback space is tam-tamming space wherein one has a chance to retune one's container-constituent-codynamical balances without running the gauntlet of the ego-pain of historic remembrance and its defence mechanisms. While clinical reports [3] may give testimony to the healing potential of this technology, its basic geometric nature gives it a rare appropriateness as a technological candidate for native american styles of healing.

My own journey has induced me to acquire this new 'inductive-over-assertive' technology and I shall soon be sharing what insights may come of this, to me, and to others who might explore this 'healing tool in the oral tradition'.

Such a tool is not intended to replace the unique personal transformational experience as envisaged in the ancient native traditions, but is seen as a supportive technology, in the manner of drumming, to help open the door to such transformation.

* * *

[1] from 'Little Gidding' by T. S. Eliot

[2] Russell Ackoff

[3] Conclusions from;

Alpha/Theta Training of 19 Dine' Alcohol Drinkers
- Three year Outcome Study

Matthew J. Kelley, Ph.D.
June 8, 1998



Nineteen Dine' (16 male, 3 female) drinkers were selected by nurses from an in-patient facility in Gallup, New Mexico. The assumption is made that this selection method was biased toward less likely clients, ie, those whose drinking was more severe and who produced more problem behavior, and which was complicated by more dual diagnoses. Four years before the follow up study 14 of the 19 were alcohol dependent and 5 were alcohol abusers.

The Peniston protocol was modified by: (1) more sessions; (2) longer sessions; (3) more introductory sessions (with more imagery including Native American imagery; (4)breath training including a capnometer; (5)a system of headphone given induction at the beginning of each session; (6) training sensor placement at CZ rather the O2; (7) utilization of Native American spiritual context. Three years after training, four of the Dine' now drink rarely if at all and are in sustained full remission; 12 are in sustained partial remission (DSM-IV); three of the subjects remain in dependent drinkers. Clinical workers, the author, and objective testing indicate marked to major improvement in emotional and behavioral variables in the lives of the 19 program participants.

175 Lookout Place, Maitland, FL 32751

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