November 20, 1998
The story of western story-telling is a telling story, .... it is about story-telling which seeks the 'limiting' of the natural story delivered to us by our sensory perceptions by eliminating all 'shadow attractors', .... those imaginings which surround us like spirits, billowing from the space-time phase patterns, the 'negative space', in which we are immersed.
By objectifying our reality in positive-space-only terms, we remove the telltale environmental relations which carry much intangible meaning relative to our excised objects-world, .... thus freeing us to mechanically re-animate our reality so that it marches in step wtih our preferred imperialist stories.
As Jean Houston says in 'Of Story and Myth' in her book 'The Search for the Beloved', "A great deal of current 'positive thinking' is premised on selecting by means of affirmation and visualization, only that aspect of your story that relates to your apparent prosperity and getting what "you" want out of the life. The problem with this is: Which one of the polyphrenic 'yous' is doing the wanting? Which 'you' is being used, and which of the 'yous' is getting abused? Those denied aspects of yourself, shadow and all, are having their stories rendered impotent and unseen. Inevitably they will rise in revolt. And then, suddenly, you will have to make many desperate and mindless affirmations against shadow forces that you earlier affirmed do not exist."
Our western culture, as many artists, anthropologists and psychologists have observed, has selectively embraced the 'material' and banished the imaginary, the intuitive, the creative, the 'deus absconditus' which lies hidden in or around the material. Our imperialistic story is one which exalts the somatic and eschews the psychic. It attempts the impossible, to shape reality into a vision of 'the universal knowledge of good' while eliminating all 'evil'. Of course, the problem is, that 'good' and 'evil', in terms of being the fixed properties of things or acts 'in themselves' ('an sich') are no more than the abstractions of the 'positive thinking' rational mind, and what that rational mind omits which the intuitive mind does not, is the 'environmental circumstances' (negative space backdrop) which connects with and gives meaning to 'positive space' things or acts.
Is killing (or injuring) one person to save an innocent other good or bad? Was Robin Hood right or wrong? What if the events are spread over time, so that one cannot capture the negative space-time detail and the positive space act within the same 'causal frame'? The negative space backdrop to the positive space 'things' and 'acts' that we talk about in our stories, goes on forever into the future and the past, ... it is a multidimensional resonant patterning in non-euclidian space-time, in contrast to the foreground 'thing' or 'act' which we culturally abstract out as we separate space from time, consistent with our proclivity for putting the euclidian mode of perception and inquiry in the primacy.
Detached and distanced from the environmental space-time reality which defines it, the 'thing' or 'act' can be woven into our Heraclean story according to the a priori purpose we'd like it to support. As psychologists have noted, and as is rather obvious, in the west, be it locally moderated or not, the 'Heraclean' myth is in the primacy, ... the exaltation of the winner and the disgrace of the loser. Training in this 'good guys, bad guys' story starts in a serious way in our early schooling, as has been so clearly and poignantly presented to us by anthropologists such as Jules Henry and psychiatrists such as R. D. Laing. And as we become adults, we accept as common practice the affirmation of only those aspects of our story which are in some way heroic, and that relate to getting what we want in a 'hero-myth' culture. For example, Fred shares his bio with schoolchildren at a show-and-tell;
"Very early in my schooling I decided to choose art as a vocation, but by the time I got to Junior high, I developed a compelling interest in zoology and got a part time job in a pet shop. When I graduated from high school, I felt inclined to serve my country before entering into a career so I decided to join the navy. By the time I got out of the service, I had made my decision to go to medical school and become an MD. Bernice and I met while in college and we decided to get married and have a family. And that's basically the happy progression that has made me a successful and influential member of this community."
.... but without the 'positive' Heraclean affirmation, the story may well be;
"Very early In my schooling I decided to choose art as a vocation (I was flunking everything else), but by the time I got to Junior high, I developed a compelling interest in zoology (my artwork was crap) and got a part time job in a pet shop (my old man forced me to take the job to work off his gambling debts with the shop owner). When I graduated from high school, I felt inclined to serve my country before entering into a career so I decided to join the navy (no wars on the horizon and the uniform plus a few packs of marlboro could buy you all the sex you could handle in third world ports). By the time I got out of the service, I had made my decision to go to medical school and become an MD (doctor's incomes were at an alltime high and I was obsessed with getting seriously rich). While I was in college Bernice and I met and we decided to get married and have a family (she refused to get an abortion and before I could extract myself from a shotgun wedding situation, her hoodlum brothers made me a deal I couldn't refuse.). And that's basically the happy progression that has made me a successful and influential member of this community (I have a big house, drive a BMW and am screwing the mayor's wife).
But the culture not only encourages us to re-interpret our stories in a more heroic light, it superimposes its own myth on top of the stories of other cultures. For example two nights ago, I had a long discussion with an Abenaki indian, who is now a painter and writer (age 63). He shared with me the 'moment when the shit hit the fan in his life', when he was in grade one in the white man's school, and the story-telling discussion turned to 'the savages' and how they cut out the heart of the man they killed and ate it. The impression given by the teacher was one that ascribed plain and simple mindless and demonic savagery to the indians. however, this Abenaki boy knew from his grandmother, that it was a sign of great respect for animals in general, to pay tribute to their courage or strength after they had been taken, to eat that part which was powerfully developed by the Creator in that animal, e.g. a portion of the bicep or heart. You can imagine how far he got with that one, ..... he was totally and mercilessly put down by the teacher, and how must it have felt to, by implication, see his wise, kindly and respected grandmother put into the category of a 'demonic savage'. The point being that what was 'normal' to his culture was a shadow attractor or taboo in the white man's 'good' and 'evil' culture which could not be safely discussed in most public situations.
So it seems western story-telling both 'giveth and taketh away'.
The doctoring of our western 'story' is euphemistically termed 'positive thinking' but it is a self-deception which can lead to general social dysfunction and in extreme cases, to serious psychopathology.
For example, in "The Psychoanalytic Roots of Patriarchy: The Neurotic Foundations of Social Order ", the power of the hero myth in pathological situations can be significant, i.e.; "The Heraclean complex "aims not at active or passive symbiosis but at elimination of its object.... I can escape the feeling of my own powerlessness in comparison with the world outside myself by destroying it."20 Heracles was the greatest of the Greek heroes, and was the only hero to achieve godhood.21 He was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the great-grandson of Perseus. While he had several wives, he was no friend of women and was often in conflict with them. He began life by crushing a pair of serpents with his bare hands while still in the crib. (The snake or serpent is one of the symbols of the Goddess, and artistic depictions of Heracles holding a snake in each hand call to mind the goddess figurines found at the palace of Knossos in Crete.) In a fit of madness, he killed his wife and children. He was a member of the brotherhood of heroes that made up the Argonauts, the crew of the ship Argo. As the archetypal hero, he seems an appropriate mythical figure to give his name to the destructive misogynous drives in males which generate such activities as rape and multicide, and exclude women from the various brotherhoods, whether military, scholastic, or religious."
The western patriarchal world not only continues to feature and support this somatic imperialism of 'win-lose' geometry, but in many realms, such as business, it would appear to be intensifying it; e.g. the MADness of mergers, acquisitions and downsizings which breakdown or crush existing ecological patterns, and impose their own story in its place.
It seems a fair question to ask, .... whether today's giant transnational corporations are pushing their own 'imperialistic stories', and 'limiting the story' of natural community ecologies, or not. Is the 'story' of the transnational corporation 'sensitive' to local tradition? .... and does it try to subsume and preserve the evolved diversity which it finds 'in its path',... or does it try to present a common, McDonald's-like face wherever it goes, .... to guarantee the same timely and mechanical service, regardless of local pace and custom? Is the steamrollering of natural ecological diversity healthy? .... or is it a disease?
The rising demand for 'local currencies' and the return to a cultivation of 'bioregionalism' is all about preserving and cultivating the local story, .... it is about seeing the limiting of story as an illness if not a disease. As Jean Houston says; "Cancer can be seen as a limitation of story, a limitation in the relationship between cells, so that one limited but imperialistic story proliferates. On the simplest level, the cure is the burning or cutting out of the imperialistic story. The more complex cure is the finding of ways for the richer, deeper stories to rise within the organism." Local currencies and bioregionalism would appear to be such deeper stories, which strive to re-enrich the floral tapestry of human ecology and to help the aesthetic of natural diversity rise up through the oppressive cover of blandizing somatic imperialism.
Meanwhile, impediments to these story-revitalizing initiatives are rooted deeply in our story-telling philosophies. A view into the role of philosophy in the underpinnings of story-telling emerges rather tellingly in a reconciliation of western and aboriginal story-telling anatomies in an ontogenetical context. What is also suggested here is that our story-telling ontogeny recapitulates or emulates our cultural ontogeny; .... i.e. the story-telling medium is itself the message;
"The different approaches between aboriginal myth and storytelling a la McKee's story-writing method manual ('Story') mirrors the different philosophical geometries of the aboriginal and western culture. (McKee is a highly acclaimed hollywood screenwriting teacher who students have gone on to write many of hollywoods top films and TV series.)
On the one hand, the aboriginal culture puts intangible patterns in primacy in its life-navigating and story-telling schemata; i.e. it uses 'guiding beacons' such as honesty, kindness, sharing and strength and would have the individual key them to the unique circumstances in which the individual finds himself IMMERSED (i.e. key them to the 'negative space' which surrounds the individual), allowing himself to be pulled forward on the basis of co-resonance between his purpose or 'real need' and the unique, surrounding, environmental flow patterns, a process which will lead by-and-by to the natural evolution of his 'image' as a person (at which time, the aboriginal will be given an appropriate name in which he can take pride because of its authenticity with respect to who he is 'becoming'.).
On the other hand, the western culture uses the notions of generalized 'good' (i.e. 'the universal knowledge of good') and its converse, 'bad', to abstract, out of the overall context of environmental circumstance or 'negative space', the 'choices' which CONFRONT him and would have him interpret his ontogeny in terms of a linear succession of choices and decisions, or 'causal progression' which he will use to 'construct' and 'manage' his own 'image' as a person.
While the aboriginal approach, based on 'immersed space-time (shared space), purpose, pattern-recognition and co-resonance, leads to a 'discovery of authentic 'self'', the western approach, based on 'positive space snapshots' (voyeur space), cause, transactions and decisions, tends to lead to 'self-management of one's image'. That is to say, the aboriginal is taught to navigate within a containing nature by qualitative patterns and inner purpose towards the discovery of 'who he is', while the western child is taught to steer through the obstacle course on the basis of the good/bad choices which confront him relative to his desires, so as to construct and manage the heroic image of his choice.
The aboriginal approach then, is non-euclidian (i.e. immersed space) and 'pattern-recognition' based and has the properties of inclusion (i.e. one includes everything one knows about both positive and negative space and intuits one's appropriate action), and uniqueness (i.e. one comes up with a unique response to a unique set of conditions). Meanwhile the western approach is euclidian (i.e. a confronting space of things and void) and 'logic-based' and has the properties of exclusion (i.e. one makes only one decision at a time based on one's perceived 'choices' on the issue of focus, and excludes from consideration, all other issues and the surrounding negative space circumstances) and it is generalization oriented (i.e. one bases one's decisions on cultural generalizations of what's 'good' or 'bad').
Problems with the western philosophies of perception and intellection have been brought up many times over the course of history, and Ernest Becker, in his Pulitzer prize winning book 'The Denial of Death', probes same question in terms of a self-imposed vision-limiting psychology, noted that while we have acclaimed the works of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and others in exposing fundamental flaws and inconsistencies in our belief systems, very little change has resulted; i.e. Becker notes; "If the penetrating honesty of a few books could immediately change the world, then the five authors just mentioned would already have shaken the nations to their foundations. But since everyone is carrying on as though the vital truths about man did not yet exist, it is necessary to add still another weight in the scale of human self-exposure. For twenty-five hundred years we have hoped and believed that if mankind could reveal itself to itself, could widely come to know its own cherished motives, then somehow it would tilt the balance of things in its own favor."
What is holding us up?
While Emmanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) 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"; i.e. a definition based on anthropic utility, these views changed in the radically in the nineteenth century with Riemann's (1826 - 1866) work on curved space, opening the door for us (although the western culture has yet to go through it) of thinking in terms of an immersing space-time continuum. By 1908, Hermann Minkowski, Einstein's geometry teacher, was saying in a famous lecture; "Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of unity between the two will preserve an independent unity." Einstein later said of Riemann "Only the genius of Riemann, solitary and uncomprehended, had already won its way to the middle of the last century to a new concept of space, in which space was deprived of its rigidity, ... in which its power to take part in physical events was recognized as possible." and Max Born reinforced this unrestrained praise, saying of Riemann's spherical space, "This suggestion of a finite but unbounded space is one of the greatest ideas about the nature of the world which has ever been conceived."
Even prior to Minkowski, Einstein and Born's comment on the importance of perceiving reality in terms of non-euclidian space-time, Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) had taken a close look at physics and nature in 'The Will to Power' and proposed that natural forces of attraction and repulsion implied purpose or goal orientation, and that it made no sense to put 'cause' in a primacy over 'purpose', that it was 'unimaginable' to think that events occurred without purpose [one can think of this in terms of patterns of attraction, resonant zones etc.]. These statements by Nietzsce were an implicit rejection of euclidian space and linear time assumptions, since being 'pulled' into the future is a wave type phenomena which involves space-time interference or 'curved' space-time.
Of course, it was only in the west that we had come to believe that Euclidian space and linear time was 'the way it is', so Einstein's statement at the end of his 'Geometry and Experience' lecture to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1921, i.e.; "My only aim to-day has been to show that the human faculty of visualization is by no means bound to capitulate to non-Euclidian geometry" was to do with getting a 'rational' view of it, since our intuition (geometric-experiential theorizing) was operating on the basis of non-euclidian space-time while our rationality was (and still is, on a general cultural basis) assuming that Euclidian space and linear time 'is all she wrote'.
The answer to the question posed by Becker, ... 'since we know we're screwed up at the most basic levels of philosophy, why aren't we changing?' ... has been addressed by many people as well. The concensus answer appears to be, 'the medium is the message'; i.e. the structure of our language, story and myth innately preserves and autonomously teaches the notions of Euclidian space and linear (independent) time from which the Heraclean myth of exclusionary win OR loss is an inevitable fallout. Our language, unlike the language of the aboriginals, is based on independent subject and object, which precludes the direct conveying of curved space-time in which subject, object and container are all interdependent. As Wittgenstein says; "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language", and "A picture held us captive and we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably."
What has been much overlooked, however, is the very straight forward conceptual models of Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630) which demonstrate how euclidian (flat) and non-euclidian (curved) space-time assumptions relate to our two different modes of perception and intellection. Kepler, in discussing his 'harmony and structure' archetype, pointed out that we have the choice of two fundamentally different perceptual orientations; looking upwards and outwards as if from the center of a sphere of resonance (e.g. from the sun), which gives one the feeling that one is within a shared container with the rest of nature, and, looking downward and inward, which gives one the feeling that one is detached from nature and watching life as if it is being projected onto a flat space or screen. The different respective 'feelings' involved suggests the terms 'shared space-time' and 'voyeur space' for these two different perceptual modes.
It's worth noting that when one feels immersed in space-time, there is no notion in our minds that reality can be captured in a flat space snapshot since one has an awareness of what is going on behind one's back and in other places beyond his immediate vision. This feeling of three dimensions is provided by space-time phase information of the same type which is used in holography to capture the three dimensionality of a natural scene. Now when we flip to 'voyeur mode' and are scanning the structural details of, for example, an attractive woman across the way, ... we are in flat space (euclidian) mode in that we cannot, at that precise same time, experience the space-time phase information needed for the three dimensional space-time (non-euclidian) mode of perception. This represents our human physical experiencing of 'quantum duality'; i.e. when we are perceiving positive space 'things' out of the context of the space-time continuum, we destroy the interference patterns (space-time phase information) in the act of doing so.
From the point of view of physics and Gabor, the measurement of space-time phase information requires two signals, an uninterfered with reference signal as well as the signal which has engaged with the surrounding reality. By analogy, it is almost as if we turn off our reference signal when we go into voyeur mode, since it seems to others, as has been noticed in the world of art and representation, that we become invisible to ourselves (cannot see ourselves or the full scene we are immersed in, in our mental picture) when we do so. It is as if our transmitter has gone off and we are in pure receive mode, and hence cannot be in co-resonance with a dead transmitter.
Research into the nature of memory (e.g. Schacter, 'Searching for Memory') suggests that we have two types of memory with respect to the viewfield, 'field memory' which includes us in the picture, and 'observer memory' which gives us only the limited 'voyeur' view of things. These studies also show that 'field memory' carries with it much more emotion than 'observer memory' (consistent with the notion of sharing space with interdependent lifeforms).
It seems clear that we are indeed capable of reconstituting ourselves in our imagery through space-time phase information; e.g. we walk into the meeting and the top of our head brushes the top of the door opening, telling us we are as tall as the doorway, people look into our eyes and smile, telling us not only how far our eyes are above the ground, but also reflecting the happy mood that we are signalling to them, ... our angry comment may expose fear in other males, telling us something about our size and demeanor and the potency of our will, and so on and so forth, .... over time, this space-time phase information allows us to re-constitute a holographic image of ourselves in this three dimensional, shared space container. On the other hand, if we are staring at someone's boobs, and they suddenly look us in the eye, it is apparent that we were 'not home' but were in 'receive only' mode, and we have to quickly fire up our transmitter to 'connect' and sort out any dissonance which may have been generated by our euclidian voyeurism.
The simplicity of this space-time phase notion emerges in the Nobel Prize presentation speech honouring Gabor for his development of holographic theory;
"And yet, important information about the object is missing in a photographic image. This is a problem which has been a key one for Dennis Gabor during his work on information theory. Because the image reproduces only the effect of the intensity of the incident wave-field, not its nature. The other characteristic quantity of the waves, phase, is lost and thereby the three dimensional geometry. The phase depends upon from which direction the wave is coming and how far it has travelled from the object to be imaged. Gabor found the solution to the problem of how one can retain a wave-field with its phase on a photographic plate. A part of the wave-field, upon which the object has not had an effect, namely a reference wave, is allowed to fall on the plate together with the wave-field from the object. These two fields are superimposed upon one another, they interfere, and give the strongest illumination where they have the same phase, the weakest where they extinguish each other by having the opposite phase. Gabor called this plate a hologram, from the Greek holos, which means whole or complete, since the plate contains the whole information. This information is stored in the plate in a coded form. When the hologram is irradiated only with the reference wave, this wave is deflected in the hologram structure, and the original object's field is reconstructed. The result is a three dimensional image."
The process I described above, of brushing the top of the door opening etc. represents the continuous collection of space-time phase information which contributes to our feeling of three dimensionality. As we move through the door and into the room, we get many more of the these phase datapoints and it is their space-time relationship which gives us the feeling of being immersed in a shared containing volume. It seems that when we focus on a particular object in voyeur mode, it is as if we turn off our 'reference signal' and as a result our sense of being immersed in three dimensional shared-space collapses.
Since our western culture often chooses to perceive and inquire into our reality on the basis of euclidian 'things' out of the context of time, this puts us into a two-dimensional space. When we are reviewing business transactions involving 'scenarios, choices and decisions', we are in two dimensional space. Two dimensional space is all about 'positive space' material things; .... it is about a world of 'absolute truths' and exclusionary 'either/or choices' rather than a continuously evolving flow. This reducing of our three dimensional experience to two dimensions was the theme of the 1884 classic, 'Flatland' by Edwin Abbott (1838 - 1926), a mathematician and Cambridge lecturer who "sought a complete reconciliation and harmony between his scientific convictions and his religious faith". Abbott tended to 'blame' this cultural proclivity on the Catholic church and the 'credulity' that the belief in its teachings demanded. That is, he believed that the church had drawn the line between science and religion in the wrong place, confining to science the realm of simple mechanical processes and to religion, the domain of complex phenomena which could have been explained by science, to the domain of 'faith' and 'miracles'. In a book which criticized church doctrine as expounded by Cardinal Newman, he declared; "And when a man feels (as I do) that he has at last attained a profound spiritual truth which will, in all probability, be generally accepted by educated Christians who are not Roman Catholics, before the twentieth century is far advanced, he can well afford to be patient of prejudice."
Abbott would undoubtedly have been familiar with Riemann's curved space work and Keplers, as this excerpt from a conversation between 'Square' and 'Lord Sphere' suggests; "My Lord, your own wisdom has taught me to aspire to One even more great, more beautiful, and more closely approximate to Perfection than yourself. As you yourself, superior to all Flatland forms, combine many circles in One, so doubtless there is One above you who combines many Spheres in One Supreme Existence, surpassing even the Solids of Spaceland."
The sphere within sphere geometry, whatever Abbott intended (which was clearly profound as indicated by his critique of Newman), is certainly reminiscent of Kepler's 'harmony and structure' archetype and the ovum-and-sperm blossoming of subsuming sphere over subsuming sphere.
Kepler's works demonstrated the ability of humans to perceive reality in either of two modes; as if immersed in a shared three-dimensional space, and as if looking into a fishbowl 'in front of us', wherein we become as voyeurs, objectifying that which is in our field of vision or mental focus and losing the sense of our being contained within a shared immersing space. That the western culture has opted to put the two-dimensional objectified view into the primacy (while the aboriginals have kept the three dimensional view in the primacy) is a cultural choice which is both unnatural and dysfunctional since, geometrically, 3D perception contains 2D as a special case, but the reverse is impossible; i.e. subordinating our 3D to our 2D perceptions is a cultural pathology.
Returning to our view of how the 'media' propagates this dysfunction, McKee's basic story-building geometry is what he refers to 'the Gap' and he says; "Story is born in that place where the subjective and objective realms touch." This is an innately two-dimensional view in which we look forward into the objective domain as if it is an obstacle course in front of us. As Jantsch points out in his models of perception in 'Design for Evolution', reality is more accurately described in terms of where the subject, object and containing space are all interconnected.
McKee goes on to say; "The protagonist seeks an object of desire beyond his reach. Consciously or unconsciously he CHOOSES to take a particular action, motivated by the thought of feeling that this act will CAUSE the world to react in a way that will be a positive step toward achieving his desire." [cap's are mine]
This is clearly the same model as is generally employed in corporate business (those businesses which are NOT run on the basis of their employees three-dimensional shared space co-resonant intuitions). It is also worthwhile at this point, to consider Nietzsche's statement that 'the belief in purpose collapses with the belief in cause'. By objectifying the world, we visualize it as being 'out in front of us' (we are no longer immersed in it) and seeing it as constituted by an array of 'choices and decisions', by which we 'cause' things to change in our favour. But by thinking in terms of choices and decisions, we fragment and reduce our sense of 'purpose' to a component 'desires' (rather than real, multidimensional need) which pertain to the particular choice which confronts us, ... and we ask which is the 'best' and which the 'worst' option. We are clearly operating in a two dimensional mode at this point.
As Wittgenstein pointed out, the logical description of reality we come up with when we approach it with an a priori need (instead of opening ourselves up to what is going on ontogenetically) is OUR REQUIREMENT, rather than a description of the reality. And he points out that we need to rotate the axis of our inquiry about the fixed point of our real need (purpose); "For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not a 'result of investigation', it was a requirement."
Wittgenstein is saying the same thing as Nietzsche, (and Jean Houston), .... we are 'polyphrenous' people living in a multidimensional possibility space who have multidimensional needs which cannot be characterized by a summing of the parts, ... we cannot optimize the satisfaction of each of our desires, love, sex, companionship, employment, artistic, intellectual stimulation etc. on a single issue basis ignoring the interdependencies, .... we need instead, to move forward into those space-time zones which co-resonate with our multi-dimensional purpose. In order to do this, we must stay in three-dimensional 'shared space' mode and allow our actions to be intuitively pulled by a sense of co-resonance, rather than by objectification of 'what's out in front of us' and seeing life as a linear progression of choices and decisions.
There's no doubt in my mind, that I am still on 'the learning curve' on this one, when it comes to the everyday conscious processes of navigating reality, but I must also admit that I am finding it very fulfilling as I move more towards 3D navigation. I can perhaps illustrate what I mean with an example from a few nights ago. It's a pub scene as usual, perhaps because pubs are places where people 'empty their cups', not just literally, but also in the sense intended by the zen buddhist belief, .... i.e. pub frequenters are more likely than the average person, to be looking for 'a new story to be born into), and this prevalence of 'empty cups' givies greater opportunity for co-resonant navigation.
It was 'blues night' in this Irish pub in Montreal, and in the slightly offbeat manner of the following account, I met a very interesting individual, .... with a most unusual and strikingly rugged and raw but handsome appearance, .... tall and strong, with wiry, curly straggly black but appealing neck-length hair, strong features and a huge 'masculine' potency and storminess about him. I was sitting at a central bar-table (the pub is not a big place) and he (must have been) sitting at the end of the main bar. He came up from behind (I didn't see him approaching) and he pushed my shoulder from behind to get my attention (why he got up and walked over to me particularly, while I was watching and listening to the band play, i have no idea) and says to me angrily (he clearly had to share his anger with someone), 'I came here to listen to Irish music, what is THIS shit', .... as if I was responsible, almost. I calmly explained to him, as Steve the bartender had done for me, that one night each week, Tuesday, was 'blues night' and the other nights were Irish. Since he must have just come in, and since I intuited that something else was going on in his mind, .... I said, 'I know how you feel, when you come to something with certain expectations and get something else foisted upon you instead, ... but hang in there because these guys are really good!', .... anyway, he goes away into the background again, and the blues trio plays 'Daniel', and they do it so well, like nothing i've heard before, and the singer's voice is so perfect for it, .... and just before the song is over, it comes into my mind, just from the space-time phasing of it all, ... that this song has the right geometry to be melting the guy behind me as well, and I intuitively turn and give him a thumbs up and our eyes meet for just the tiniest fraction of a second before I return my gaze to the band, but it's enough to see that his insides have also been melted by the music.
A few minutes later, he comes over to me in his same gruff way, and asks me what I'm drinking, I give him a one-word answer 'Guinness' and continue watching the band (the co-resonant geometry which feels 'right' here is pure gruff). Five minutes later he plunks a pint down for me without saying anything, and returns to his 'roost'. I take the beer, saying nothing, without removing my gaze from the band.
After the set finishes, I go over and sit a couple of stools down the bar from him, ... intuitively responding to a co-resonant need to open the door to a conversation without 'causing' anything to happen. The conversation kind of 'emerges' and It turns out that he is a Berber originally from a mountainous region in algeria, (he must be about 38), and moved to France (Toulouse) with his parents and brothers and sisters when he was a teenager. He avoids my casual questions about his life in France or over here etc. (he has children and a wife maybe, back in Toulouse), .... anyhow, we talk in sporadic, but natural and fully comfortable exchanges, ... few words being exchanged but much communication. After a while, a kind of space-time phase container of trust evolves, and he tells me that he just got out of jail after finishing a 14 year sentence which had to do with his being picked up with a loaded gun. I can see him fighting the sadness associated with this great wound in his life as he shares this with me. He is not the type of person to share this readily, this is evident to me from the 'pattern'. He says he was young and adventurous but that he was no terrorist, ... but he was a Berber and had his foreign accent and wild mountain man looks (truly!), and claims this worked against him. I told him i knew about the Berbers, and had much respect for a Berber named Hadi, that I had worked with in Libya. ..... in my mind the Berbers are indeed a very unique breed, with that strength and purity which is very reminiscent of the masai warrior 'geometry'.
I told him an account of two blacks in Dallas, one of whom I knew about through his therapist, who were stopped by the cops for having one taillight out, who then found a loaded shotgun in their trunk (they lived in a hellish neighbourhood). Neither of them had done shit, and they had no records, but the cops roughed them up real good after finding the loaded shotgun, and one of them, when he was being whacked over the head as he lay on his stomach (hands cuffed behind his back), ...rolled over, got on his feet and as he ran off, was shot in the back and is now paralyzed.
This whole exchange was heavy duty stuff because it was somehow so raw and natural, ... so 'wide band', and it was at the same time very purifying and honest. We had high fived each other at several times in our 'story', and when i decided to head out and walk back up to the plateau, he bought me a drink for the road (I had bought him one previously, and each exchange seemed to transpire almost as it 'had to'), and we shook hands and that was that, ... his name was Rebah. For me, it was powerful, shared-space stuff, and I think, for him as well.
It may not come across in the above anecdote, but the whole exchange between Rebah and I did not come through a linear progression of culturally molded choices, judgements and decisions, as in man first time encounters I have had, .... it was pure co-resonant 'tuning' pulled by purpose (multidimensional real need), his and mine orchestrated by the space-time phasing of the shared space we occupied. As such, our whole beings participated in the engagement rather than just our rational minds, and it was extremely 'fulfilling', .... the kind of experience that restores one's faith in humanity and life, and gives you strength which you can share with others in the form of positiveness and good humour in spite of the negativity of the news media etc.
It is clear to me, that it is in this kind of open and honest 'co-resonant' way that we as humans, westerners, easterns, aboriginals or whatever, prefer our 'stories' to evolve, though our skills may vary in it, both from person to person and from situation to situation. From my experience, this geometry rarely prevails in the work environment or in more formal culturally modulated situations. Instead, we tend to revert to the two dimensional euclidian 'choice-judgement-decision' mode of perception and inquiry in which we handle things on a single issue basis and fragment our purpose into one-dimensional desire in the process.
What this fragmentation does is to take us into the realm of the purely material, since the intangible is of the domain of space-time relational phase. As soon as we regard reality in terms of an objectified space in front of us, whether this is the business deal or the girl we have decided we'd like to meet, we have moved out of three diimensional shared space into the two-dimensional voyeur space of material objects and 'cause'. Sure, we can still flip back and forth, ... my point is that the western culture tradition, and particularly its story-telling mode, encourages us to put into primacy, the voyeur space of choice, judgement, decision and linear causal progression.
Within the written word, the same 2D-in-front-of-you, and 3D-immersion choices are possible. In a written story, the 'container', if there is one, is the implicit 'voice' which, if it is 'there', develops a containing environment of trust via the space-time phase information it weaves into the story. For example, the multidimensional story-telling 'voice' in Huckleberry Finn is what induces the co-resonant feeling of trust with the reader which allows the book to use the word 'nigger' and to speak in generalizations about how blacks love to eat watermelon. It is able to do this because it puts the reader into a shared-space mode, where one is 'in the story' with the characters and sharing in their mutual trust and friendship, rather than being made a voyeur by the story-telling style. If the story voice is no more than the sum of the parts of linear characterizations, even if the characters are very interesting, you remain a voyeur, and you are not there and while you can certainly be 'titillated', you cannot take the experience home with you. In the domain of memory, it is stored as a lookup table and not as an integral part of your ontogenetic experience.
This brings out a general point of observation. Written stories which include space-time phase patterns, or 'mythic dimensions, can develop a co-resonant container of trust for the reader to enter into and immerse himself in. Such a holographic, trust-container enables one to interpret the scenes and information in terms which are larger than our judgements might otherwise be on such issues, taken in their own detached right. This type of story 'uses us', as Houston says, and the container of trust facilitates our being 'reborn to a larger story' subsequent to our being wounded by a specific item of content. Meanwhile stories which lack the 'mythic dimension' needed for an 'immersive participation' which links us to our collective ontogeny, such as 'agreements', are intentionally stripped of their space-time phase information, and made wholly logical-causal instead, thus they do not invoke the co-resonant trust needed to put us into three-dimensional shared-space mode, and they bring out the voyeur in us which, instead of sharing, induces us to affirm only those aspects of the story which give us our private jollies.
Francis Fukuyama alludes to this point in his book 'Trust', pointing out that it was 'highly sociable' (trusting) Americans who pioneered the development of the modern corporation, but that things have changed radically since that time ... 'By contrast, people who do not trust one another will end up cooperating only under a system of formal rules and regulations, which have to be negotiated, agreed to, litigated, and enforced, sometimes by coercive means. This legal apparatus, serving as a substitute for trust, entails what economists call 'transaction costs'.
But the problem seems a lot worse than 'transaction costs', i.e. in those cases where the 'stories' are linear characterizations or 'agreements' (as in the recent agreement between republican and northern factions in Ireland), we run into the very different geometries of 'healing'; i.e. the 2D 'redemptive' or 'corrective' cure which fixes what is wrong in the story (removes a hurdle from the obstacle course in front of us), or the 3D 'transcendent' or 'learning' geometry (grows a larger sphere or story which subsumes the old one). While the former is like fixing the logic tables in a computer program, the latter is like the ovum-and-sperm geometry where we become 'larger than our judgements' and 'die to our old story, to be reborn to a new and larger story'. Trust, encoded into the story via space-time phase information, is the container which allows us to grow three-dimensionally, to extend the radius of our containing sphere in such a way as as to retain the old stories but embed them in a new and larger story.
Montreal has somehow done a lot of this over the years (it was founded in 1642), and the story of Montreal has become much more than the sum of its subsumed, preserved parts which include unique districts, fetes, food and art of the following communities; ; bengalie, japanese, kampuchean, korean, laotian, pakistanie, phillipino, sri lankan, tibetan, vietnamese, estonian, latvian, lithuanian, bulgarian, czech, slovak, dutch, german, hungarian, polish, romanian, ukrainian, serbian, croatian, greek, italian, jewish, argentinian, bolivian, brazilian, chilean, mexican, salvadorian, portugese, armenian, egyptian, iranian, bahaian, lebanese, maghrebian, palestinian, turkish, not to fail to mention francophone, aboriginals (mohawks etc.) anglophone and irish (lots of irish here).
The charged feeling one gets whenever one catches the scent of this, .... from seeing everyone sharing and enjoying the harmonies emanating from and across this diversity, is part of that bigger story. Sure the imperialistic stories of francophone and anglophone, continue to vie, via legislative agreement, for which shall have the winner-take-all Heraclean victory, just as is going on in Ireland, but as a Quebecoise friend points out, the voting weight of diversity-appreciating Montrealers in Quebec continues to rise, and is approaching the point of outweighing the imperialist story factions, either one of which, seek to break the pattern of the many, ... to excise their stories and impose their own,.... this is a pattern-breaking, structure imposing mode of story-telling which is both unnatural and dysfunctional.
Win/lose competition then, along with the patriarchal geometry of the western culture, appears to be part of the continuing dominance of euclidian perception and of the Heraclean story, ... a binary exclusionary formulawherein the winner is exalted and the loser disgraced, ... where, the loser's story is slain and the winner's story is imposed, where we encourage a somatic imperialistic takeover of our psyche along with the banishment of trust and creativity, on the road towards a whataburger world of artless uniformity.
Do we have a choice? Each time we come upon the shrill metallic question of 'choice', it seems to constrain us to two dimensions, and mesmerize us into voluntary enslavement to one or the other. 'Choice' is a cultural abstraction, .... to make it disappear, all we need to do is enlarge our story and subsume the question, ... all we need to do as Mary Oliver says in ''Wildgeese', 'is to 'let the soft animal of your body, love what it loves'.
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