La segunda parte en la serie de diez ensayos de poeta Mike Mahoney presentados como contestaciones al libro La chispa azul por nuestro socio el filosofo J.P. Kruse. Cuadro realizado por pintora Gracia Salvaje.
Part two of poet Mike Mahoney's series of essays responding to The Blue Spark by J.P. Kruse. Painting by artist Wild Grace from her Ever Present Series.
Part two of poet Mike Mahoney's series of essays responding to The Blue Spark by J.P. Kruse. Painting by artist Wild Grace from her Ever Present Series.
Just as we are embedded in fields within fields of electromagnetic frequencies carrying their own cosmic oceans of information nurturing, toxic, and neutral to us, we are also embedded in many layers and strata of time: energetic and vibrational time, biological and metabolic time, seasonal and star time, evolutionary time, business time, etc.. We’ve built our entire cultural model, however, on just one kind of time: human time, or more specifically, the abstracted digital time of our techno-linguistic financial economy; the frenetic, bordering-on-panic, rush-hustle time of trying to keep up with perpetual distraction within the “rat-race” of working our life away to buy simulations of our misdirected desire in order for a few to monopolize the many and establish a global oligarchy of management within the homogenized landscape of our illusory “freedom” and government granted right to the “pursuit of happiness,” which can never actually be achieved from the inside since the realization of deep happiness would signal the end of the pursuit on which our entire cultural economy is based, and the population-wide realization of true freedom and happiness would probably end historical time as we know it altogether.
We are encapsulated, enwombed, interwoven and encompassed by many fields and layers of time, of many cycles of rhythm, which we remain blind and deaf to, remain unaware of within this cultural bubble of our historical simulacra. The rhythms of Earth and Her seasons of growth, death and transformation, slip & pass by unnoticed to most of us, which when we do see them it’s mostly for the commodity and sale of Her fruits, or in the clothes and fashions corresponding with snow or spring flowers, autumn leaves or summer beaches. The rhythm time of the stars and constellations, the time and special awareness of mountains, minerals, rivers and forests remain silent to our ears, invisible to our eyes and, perhaps most importantly, absent from our stories, and therefore appear lifeless, meaningless, here simply as our resources. The sacred cycle and spiritual time-consciousness of life-&-death as a single miracle of transformation, and as two sides of the same Grace, seems to be the most difficult aspect of time for us to accept, to perceive in its divine light with any clarity of understanding, and thus we continually suffer, & in a million different ways, from our collective-yet-unspoken cultural avoidance of this central mystery.
We live within the consensual hallucination of linear history, where in the current century of cultural date-keeping, “time is money,” & if you’re not making money or buying your own distraction, you’re wasting your own time & the time of others. But by operating on just this one mode of time, this digital-financial time of distraction and interruption, we’ve shut ourselves out and cut ourselves off from any perception and relationship with life that’s deeper than a surface-reflection, more subtle than an explosion, or which lasts longer than the average commercial spot. We become ignorant of, (or if aware, then spooked by), any experience of time not compatible with the frenetic yet dull pattern-cell of work/consume/work, or slower than the hyper-acceleration of our ever-spawning forms and variations of communication and super-computing technologies. The human world of material capitalism now spreads like a cancer sprawled out across & encompassing the globe, recognizing neither day or night but one seamless and bland blend of time of “expansion and profit,” or of “reduction and debt.”
As with layers and dimensions of different frequencies of time we don‘t notice, we are embedded in thousands of different forms and variations of unheard language, as well. The languages of frogs and birds, of trees, rivers and stones which are slower, of the moon, forests and weather patterns, slower still, of the days and nights, oceans and seasons, years, dreams, generations and millenniums – all of these things have their own languages which we cannot understand as long as we dwell only within the bubble of our own alphabet. And just like those fields of time we move in & through, only seeing & processing within one of the billions of different types and layers, & thus labeling & ignoring as “not real” all of our experience of everything outside of our thin slice of the time spectrum, we do the same with language. We’ve packed all our belongings & moved into just one or a handful of languages, completely oblivious to the voices of Earth crying, or worse, falling silent.
This language we live in seems to be dictated by whatever the predominant “portal” of the cultural era is, itself usually directed by the latest technological inventions, and though it’s safe to say that money and financial value are still the main doorways to our sense of meaning and truth, with the passing of the 20th century those doorways transformed from a million different physical shapes, forms, services and materials, into the singular, world-wide & hyper-compatible, digitally-connected doorway of our techno-culture’s economy, while its binary-shaped & homogenized algorithms gobble up the diversity of species and ecosystems, ideas and even other cultures in its globalizing spread, like a cancer.
A couple thousand years now into the process of cultural abstraction and the symbolic games of our linear and linguistic march through a collective dream we call History, our ears have fallen deaf to the crying world we’ve half-destroyed, (& totally de-story-ed), while we look away to anything that will distract us for a little while, reminding ourselves that the Earth, (that mute lump of dead rock and ocean), doesn’t speak, let alone sing or sob.
The language we choose to live and play out our games in, to think and express ourselves with, adds to & strengthens another field, the field of ideas. The Earth as mute lump of dead rock and ocean is a virus of an idea that propagated itself through a few thousand years of human agriculture and patriarchal religion, of male-dominated cultures filled with Taboo & the Myth of Separation, Law, Ritual & Class Structure, Technology and Abuse of Resources.
In present times, we walk and dance, (or mope and trudge), through a million-plus year-old morphogenic dream-world of all the ideas and currents of awareness every person of our species who ever walked the earth ever had. “We stand on ground that is the whole human adventure,” (Pearce), and whether we’re ever taught it or not, made aware of it or not, it seems to be one of our powers as human beings to tune in to these currents like a radio to all the different stations beamed across the epigenetic sky of our historical trip, and in fact, if we widen our lens of attention through sacred silence & other forms of magic, it seems we can tune in not only to every station in the human spectrum, but to all the different stations beamed across all of the Earth and even the Universe, from protozoa to pulsar, from plants to planets.
We seem to live, however, only within the slim band of attention of our own cultural field & heritage of human ideas. (Are we noticing a pattern yet?) Each day we wake up inside of our culture, inside of the awareness expressed and sustained by our culture. We open eyes inside the thousands of ideas it takes to build a house or apartment building, get out of the idea of bed, go through ritualistic performances of ideas about hygiene and dress, and decorate ourselves in ideas called clothes, jewelry, shoes & identity, drive to the idea of work in the millions of ideas collectively called a car, and generally spend our days moving from one collection of ideas into another – ideas infused into material objects & structures, architectures & automobiles – rarely touching the Earth or experiencing it beneath our layers and layers of virtual realities.
Not only is each object and reified thing of human design we see and use a fossilized fusion of probably thousands if not millions of ideas – some going all the way back to our primate ancestors and before, blobbed together over time and solidified into existence by our use and expression of them, by our inheriting and carrying them over from previous generations through our individual thoughts and behaviors – but even the singing forms and diverse beings of the natural world we share this living planet with are contorted & distorted into the images of our ideas about them; are barely seen or heard through the thicket of stimulus and noise, of concepts and beliefs we lay over top of them as a massive brickwork topology of words and symbols. Of facts, categories, beliefs and assumptions. Of nouns and verbs, hallucination and delusion. Of separateness and fear.
Often times, the longer and deeper the chasms of time and history these ideas span, the more solid they become as a field-effect of culture, they more they take root, grow and expand, and simultaneously the more they evolve and transform, (or further stiffen and harden, fossilized into lifeless artifacts at best, truths at worst.)
The idea of shelter and lodging is a very old idea, hundreds of thousands of years old, hundreds of thousands of years of man’s full attention and ingenuity, although the variation of this idea I pay rent to live alone in, the "studio apartment," is quite a recent style of living in human history. (Note how, as a recent or newer variation on the idea, it’s resonant with an ancient form – the cave.) The chair I sit in is an old composition of who knows how many individual’s ideas based around carpentry, mathematics, upholstery, comfort, zippers, cushions, physics, body mechanics, aesthetic and design, symbolism and myth, fatigue, necessity, etc., all expressing a field or cluster of attentions revolving around the human activity of sitting. The personal computer i will type this poetic essayling into – itself a cannabis-catalyzed litany of ideas being spun out of a web of countless others' ideas, culled and gleaned from a rather wide stretch of time and reading – is a technology of tremendous depth and breadth of ideas; a massive nexus point of millions of ideas, themselves made up of millions of ideas, big and small, brilliant and obvious, psychedelic and synchronistic and profound at every level and scale from every twig, root, bud, leaf and branch of human knowledge and study; a magical machine condensated out of the human imagination (with a chemical dash of help here and there), which took all of human history and the millions of years of stirrings of our creativity & intellect beforehand to come to, and in fact much longer than that, as the rare earth metals and elements used for its construction were initially cooked up who knows how many stars ago?
Perhaps it’s helpful to see ideas as a type of mental technology, and, in some sense, as the cognitive offspring of all of our languages, whether they’re expressed in “a linguistic, pictorial, architectural, mathematical or musical guise,” (Kruse). (Note: I’m entirely avoiding here the type of ideas which are nonverbal, not language-based, even though upon further examination this type of wordless thinking and feeling may buttress, if not underlie and to some degree spark, every language-based idea we entertain.) Just as our technologies, (material objects embedded with ideas), have shown ideas can be as life-affirming and heart-opening as they can be dangerous and deadly. They can destroy empires as well as build them up; can manifest complex labyrinths around us in which we get lost, or they can safely lead us out of them. They can make gods & healers, saints & mystics of men and women as easily as devils and tyrants, savages & worms. They can perform miracles like saving the Earth or illuminating some of Her mysteries just as easily as they can infect and infiltrate our organism, culture and planet with toxicity & disease. (For the past few human generations, at least, it seems this planet has been choking & sputtering on a few of the undigested ideas of humanity’s western materialist culture – undigested by both the planet and by humanity. Similarly, most of our human cultures have an awful time trying to swallow a few of the planet’s ideas, specifically those of her sacred, psychedelic plants – strange, brilliant, poetic and funny though they may be.)
Sometimes an idea, or cluster of ideas, (ideology, belief, technology), becomes so powerful, its basin of attraction so deep, that it nudges the entire trajectory of the human adventure. It releases a charge or “current capable of carrying away generations in its slipstream.” (Kruse). When the true depth of power ideas contain to influence, destroy, create and transform realities is understood in this light, it seems appropriate, perhaps, to consider ideas as mediums which both extend and amputate elements of our reality, and to ask of them the four fundamental questions put forward by McLuhan in his Laws of Media: What is gained? What is lost? What is brought back from an ancient time? And what will come of this if we let it go too far?
Erected and sustained by which ideas they let in and which they aggressively stamp out, ideas are the glue of culture. In looking at the various cultures of Earth throughout history and our present day, we can catch a pretty clear glimpse of what happens when ideas are allowed to go too far – usually through initial success – and what becomes of the cultures built upon such mutations. We see this by the exaggerations of what was gained by those ideas being preserved and distorted, generation after generation; of what was lost by this junkie-like addicting to possession of specific culturally inherited ideas, inherited modes of behavior and attention; and what behaviors or ideas are brought back from previous times, dressed up and redesigned to fit the culture, of course. This is easier to see in cultures than in their individuals simply because of the large scale it takes place on. When ideas are inherited on a cultural scale, below the level of our personal awareness, they are expressed, animated, and reinforced by the unconscious behavior of the entire tribe or community, and folded over again into yet another layer of reinforcement by the compulsive need everyone feels to comply and fit in to their group. These ideas become so deeply ingrained that we often only experience them in our unawareness. As a field of our reality we never question. They become the water we swim in, so to speak, the air we breathe, and the epigenetic field we grow and live within. They become the eyes we see with, and as a result they’re ideas which people barely even notice anymore, let alone consciously engage and play with, or participate in, but rather submit to as pillars of reality, as basic facts and tenets of the fabric of life. As the condition of human nature. ‘The way it’s always been.’