I walk in an unknown, dust burnt by the sun, street, a busy one, and blocks in a line. Traces of war on walls, the street’s potholes, slow the convoys, and directed arms. Keeping the steady pace, to meet at my place, aimed to displace and cover my face. Shooting and hellfire, despite the scene so dire, I’m back to inquire, and I do see her. I could shoot as well, an angel from hell; they don’t yell and then repel. Torn out of this dream, no way to remain; I hope you’re fine, and we’ll return. A better time, peace, less shooting at least, conquered the beasts and where love wins. Strong to not lose faith, don’t give in to fight, a temporary night, and we’re alright.
SPORT AGAINST WIDESPREAD DISEASE NO. 1 (NO, NOT CORONA)
Like every day, I moved a lot today and even trained a little harder. I feel every muscle fiber much more and in greater detail than a lump of mass. Without a fitness center, without equipment and devices, just with my own body. Thank god gravity is still free. Exercise makes you feel good, and exercise feels good when you feel good. The opposite of a vicious circle; a circle of joy. I wish that to everyone. All it takes is a little overcoming and maybe an hour less overtime at work, TV, social media, or Netflix. Nothing new? I actually think so too. And especially nowadays, a lot of people call themselves very health-conscious. I often hear how people love nature, but I meet surprisingly few there outside of the tourist routes catered for astronomically.
Today four out of ten Swiss people are overweight. Obesity leads to cardiovascular disease (the number 1 cause of death), diabetes, and certain types of cancer (cancer is the second leading cause of death). The associated medical costs tripled between 2002 and 2012 and now amount to CHF 8 billion a year. The deeply anchored habit of the majority of the actually physically capable population seems to take the car even for short distances in fine weather and the elevator or escalator even for non-urgent situations. This is only one example, but it shows a fundamentally depraved attitude. Taxpayers’ money is used to further promote and maintain this unhealthy attitude. Corresponding infrastructure is being further expanded, and the number one “widespread disease” (still today in the Corona era) is being marketed as a business. So, the temptation is omnipresent and great to take the path of least resistance.
The most natural thing in the world is, e.g., walking even in the rain, or if you want to go faster, by bike (not to be confused with the battery-powered scooters with bike frames); to experience the freshness, beauty, and inspiration of direct contact with nature. We have fantastic bike and hiking trails in beautiful Switzerland at our disposal (I am happy to pay taxes for them). Nobody becomes overweight if more calories are burned than consumed. Healthy exercise also regulates a healthy level of appetite. Everybody enjoys movement. But humans also get used to inactivity. It is not easy to get used to exercising built into everyday life again, but it is worth it. All the best on a hopefully moving path!
Like a bird, you can let your thoughts fly across the infinite topology of awareness. But be wary; to have a birds-eye view on the wholeness of the world can be intimidating; too much is it also a threat to poles of powers everywhere. The flight routes of free birds guided by the universal intelligence of nature can’t be predicted precisely even by the most advanced artificial intelligence, which presents an issue to the desire to control. To ignorantly look up and take a side is encouraged, while shame is imposed on those who, full of awareness, don’t belong and choose their own way. I wish you a lot of strength; you need it to choose deliberately and fly in freedom.
The glorified vision of cybernetic organisms aimed at “improving” humans through electromechanical devices and software algorithms is a mechanistic approach that reduces humans to machines. Instead of a cyborg-like facade and mind, developments would be desirable, through which the human beings learns again to express their inner authentic, unique, creative and colorful true self with courage as an expression of their liberated souls. Back to nature, art, and love. Let us be spiritual organisms; It would be for the good of each and all.
Do we have a dark side that we can’t help it? The self-responsible answer is no. It’s a character choice that needs to be consistent over time.
The process between the conscious and the unconscious goes as follows:
Every action and thought is motivated by the unconscious at some level. Some motives are temporarily not acted out as long as the mechanism of repression works. Distraction, stress, sleep deprivation, and drunkenness can release repressed behavior by activating the subconscious. Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. Therefore, there is no excuse for the stressed or drunkard who ask what took possession of them. All behavior in any situation, including the subconscious surfacing, is created through the conscious. One can only act out what was before accepted to be put into the self. Consequently, to learn to behave by suppressing unwanted behavior (i.e., because fearing negative social consequences) is not the goal. Instead, one should cultivate thoughts and a worldview that can only generate desirable behavior under any circumstances.
There are lucrative business cases behind the emerging possibilities in new technology such as smart devices, the internet of everything, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. The intentions of the humans who are creating and utilizing technology are determining how technological progress will look like. What is clear is that technology follows the mindset of investors, developers, and users. How virtuously technology will serve humanity depends on how people grow in their awareness. Never will technology lead or replace the natural, non-artificial intelligence of nature (see also #awarenessintelligence) that is the direct expression of the life force itself. The appreciative study of the human mind, therefore, should be the absolute priority of all undertakings.
Is what we teach our children mutually beneficial for other children too? Is our teaching inclusive and useful to all humanity? Is it timeless? If so, these are awareness-intelligent lessons worth to be spread. Such shared insights would come from and support full human potential. Unfortunately, the propagation of obscured views is in vogue. It seems like blind people are leading blind people and nobody realizes the lack of sight. Possible, because “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a king,” as the proverb goes. In any case, many do feel that there is something wrong. All the unnecessary conflicts and aggression are the awareness-blind persons’ desperate canes searching for a way out of disorientation and anticipating hurting clashes. It’s the awareness-blind persons’ own helplessness and frustration that leads them to hatred, self-harming, and violent behavior. Without prescribing a specific cure, it’s always possible to provide everybody in minimum a reference system to aid their orientation to find their cure themselves. If we teach humantime by means of explaining and internalizing the socio-temporal matrix, Awareness Intelligence, and therefore peace will ensue. If you want to re-produce your humanness beyond survival mode, create and enthusiastically inspire others by teaching how to consciously apply systematic thinking to activate the inner eye of awareness that is including the full scope of the socio-temporal system of human life.
[Excerpt from ‘Awareness Intelligence’. See also earlier posts for more context and details]
Often breakthrough findings are the simplest ones. If something can’t be explained easily, it is not well understood. If spirituality is advertised as requiring miraculous super-powers hold by few, it might be spiritual elitism that is not for all of us. An awareness-intelligent understanding of spirituality may be considered prosaic considering its modest level of mysticism involved, and yet it is whole and infinite, full of all the beauty and joy that life has to offer. Spirituality is simple and pure humaneness, it is the ultimate mental playground of human realization. We are all spiritual beings; we just need to be aware of and practicing it.
To organize our thinking about life, mind, and soul is not creating a false god. Neither has a logical arrangement have to deteriorate into a dogmatic belief system. Indeed, what wisdom means for one person may have a completely different meaning and quality for somebody else. What feels right at one time becomes obsolete later on. It’s of limited usefulness to name a spiritual authority or to lay down religious rules and rituals if not for institutional interests. The same is true for so-called consciousness-enhancing substances. However, there is a universal structure of life that we should all be aware of.
THE SOCIO-TEMPORAL MATRIX OF MENTAL WORLDVIEW SCHEMAS
A person’s worldview, i.e., the schema through which the world is experienced, influences one’s well-being. Cloninger’s ‘unity of being’ represents a model of a coherent self-concept that consists of the self, others, and the world as a whole and has an impact on the degree of self-reliance, hope, the ability to cope, compassion, and cooperativeness. In that sense, the socio-temporal matrix as a framework to identify and visualize worldviews can facilitate the exploration of similar possible psychological effects related to a person’s meaning-making and well-being through socio-temporal worldviews.
Figure 1. The socio-temporal matrix of worldview schemas
The novel socio-temporal matrix is derived as described in the following and as visualized by Figure 1. On the x-axis of the model, there are three variables of the temporal dimension. More specifically, this horizontal axis partitions itself, in the order from left to right, into the ‘past,’ ‘present,’ and ‘future.’ The vertical y-axis of the matrix contains the three variables of the social dimension. Starting from the intersection with the horizontal axis, which represents time as explained, the first third of the vertical line (y-axis) shall be labeled ‘intra-’ that is short for ‘intra-personal. The next, middle part of the vertical axis becomes ‘inter-,‘which stands for the ‘inter-personal’ scope. The third and uppermost vertical section is the ‘extra-,‘ which signifies ‘extra-personal.’ Similar to a coordinate system, through these two tripartite grid lines, a matrix can be formed (see Figure 1). When using the vertical and horizontal axis’ labels in the same manner as the numerical coordinates of a map, or the letters and numbers of a chessboard, it is possible to identify and navigate the three times three – in total nine – fields of the matrix (see Figure 1).
The nine fields of the matrix will be used to inquire about socio-temporal mental schemas. An individual’s worldview schema is expected to consist of a specific set of matrix fields, depending on whether one’s belief system emphasizes certain socio-temporal mental states over others. For example, one may emphasize other-related extra-past (e.g., socio-cultural upbringing), behave in an inter-present, rather relationship-dominated way, while focusing, however, on a self-oriented intra-future. Such a socio-temporal mental worldview schema might link to specific meanings as, for example, a more independent (i.e., denoted by the intra-past instead of an inter- or extra-past) and other-oriented (i.e., depicted as the extra-future rather than an inter- or intra-future) cognitive socio-temporal worldview preference.
Regarding the above-mentioned social dimension, the intra-personal, inter-personal, and extra-personal factors have been found to influence human perception, experience, and the capacity to manage life areas such as risks. Intra-personal means the thoughts and beliefs related to the individual herself. A definition of inter-personal comes from those thoughts and beliefs, which are related to personal interactions with others. Extra-personal can be defined as a social scope that goes beyond the direct interaction with others. Extra-personal beliefs are related to long-term interests such as social needs that surpass intra- and inter-personal benefits. They can comprise social relationships beyond group memberships, i.e., being a member of the whole human species.
What’s your socio-temporal schema constellation? What combinations of meaningful and often frequented social and temporal aspects within the socio-temporal matrix do emerge and predominate in your mind-wanderings?
You can also discover the adventure of your socio-temporal worldview here:
BENT TIME (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on wood panel, 60 x 60 cm)
Part of Awareness Intelligence is the ability to mentally stretch to both sides of the circle of life. For our eternal soul that is a breeze, but for our human lifetime awareness and related thinking, it is a gymnastic split we need to practice for. All-inclusive and endless knowing requires to mentally stretch enough into the time before our physical birth, as well as into the time after our death to bend the timeline into a circle of perpetual and unified life. We have to sense our soul-relatedness to the immaterial consciousness to detach ourselves from the illusion of time that is only bound to objects such as our bodies. Despite the need to handle practical time for physical experiences, one needs to connect to the timeless sphere of universal intelligence. It is our human capacity to be aware of this co-existence of practical and universal, cosmic time; the awareness of the parallel truth of life, life’s immortal intelligence that breathes the energy vibrations of consciousness even into our objectified temporal bodily manifestation.
Can you imagine? Your agency, meaning in life, creativity, and satisfaction are depending on it
“Nothing happens in the real world unless it happens first in the images in our heads” (Gloria E. Anzaldúa)
“Through the inner channels of the imagination, we can see through the eyes of others, travel back to the past, anticipate future circumstances, visit imaginary places and create impossible worlds” (Marks-Tarlow)
Imagination to connect
Apparently (I say it again and again), people’s stress and anguish, the conflict between societies, and how the environment gets maltreated do not diminish. It seems that the human ability to mentally embracing a global collective as a species does not keep pace with the globalization of the world. In other words, there’s a lack of mentality in the sense of how populations can imagine their connection to a broader context like all humanity and the planet. However, the feeling of interconnectedness is essential in contributing to health and well-being. Indeed, research findings suggest that psychological well-being is dependent upon one’s connection to a broader, even widely anonymous social scope that comes with a sense of meaning in life. Carl Jung spoke about different parts of the self that transcend the ‘ego’ self and that these need to be integrated to complete a harmonious inner self. According to Carl Jung, human creativity, as expressed by imagination, can be seen as a force of the universe that extends into each individual and may help assume a perspective of wholeness, i.e., the unification of the self, the planet, and the cosmos. It’s such coordination of views that affect people’s socio-temporal experience of the world, and the imagination of alternative perspectives can turn over beliefs that were perceived unsatisfactory.
Imagination to imagine the future
Imagination is required to imagine future events, which constitutes (besides recalling matters of the past) a part of the ability to mentally ‘travel in time’. If people don’t imagine the future, their sense of self and the perceived agency diminishes.
Imagination enhances meaning in life
The human ability to simulate temporal and social perceptibility is a mental process that was found to enhance meaning (e.g., knowing what is truly important) and psychological well-being. Mental simulation precedes behavior, either by triggering actions or by supporting self-control that can constrain activity. In that sense, simulated mental constructs form worldviews, which guide a person’s understanding, point of view, meaning-making, and experience of the world.
Imagination creates realities
Although common sense still tends to propagate a ‘what I don’t see, I don’t believe’ attitude, the human imagination represents the pinnacle of evolution. “Through the inner channels of the imagination, we can see through the eyes of others, travel back to the past, anticipate future circumstances, visit imaginary places and create impossible worlds” (Marks-Tarlow). In fact, we create reality with our imagination. “What is now proved was once only imagined” (William Blake), and “nothing happens in the real world unless it happens first in the images in our heads” (Gloria E. Anzaldúa). It’s little the outer circumstances nor the past or the future we suffer; we suffer from our memory and imagination. That’s why it is crucial how we remember and imagine. The ‘now’ isn’t the whole reality because experience isn’t direct and a mere result of our five senses. Instead, we experience through imagination as our brain cannot differentiate between a sensed and imagined experience. Imagination is causing same brain activities as actions. Even the imagination of the past and future creates our present experience. The placebo effect illustrates well how our thinking becomes biology.
Artists and leaders use imagination
Artists, for example (see Kolb’s learning styles), tend to use imagination to solve problems. They master viewing concrete situations through several different viewpoints. Although they like symbols and rules, they don’t take these for granted and instead freely imagine new ones. That’s why they are feared and persecuted by rulers. Artistic skills require spatial intelligence, which involves active imagination, for example like mental imagery, spatial reasoning, and image manipulation. One downturn to such a preference may be that people who have the most vivid imagination capacity are often less likely to realize it as it will never be so nice in reality. On the other hand, considering our temporary and fragile body and related materialistic cravings and fears, our spirit is all we really have. Only when creating in freedom, without fear and shame, we experience the joy of intrinsic satisfaction. In more poetic words, it’s the bringing out of the divine of our highest purpose.
Imagination can be learned
Paradoxically, humans try to change what has evolved over long periods of time and isn’t that easy (let alone healthy) to change: our body. Yet, they still don’t see that they could change their mind instantly. Eventually, there is hope that everybody can learn imagination and achieve more meaning in their lives, for example, by expanding the connection to serve even anonymous others and by broadening one’s time orientation, especially towards the future (see my writings about Awareness Intelligence and the related socio-temporal matrix). “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world” (Albert Einstein).
One of our uttermost critical faculties in which lies the power to become aware of the nature of lifetimes is attention. To do the mental work of attending, the working memory needs to be able to allocate sufficient capacity. If we are not able to hold attention to picture life as a whole lifespan, how can we situate anything between the coming and going of life conceptually and as applied to ourselves and others? Do we think and act in full temporal awareness, which means to be aware that time is an illusion, or are we just following the row of events, one after the other, without questioning the more prominent arch of a life? Do we just follow cultural customs and social rules of temporal sequences or do we have an own understanding of the right timing of developments in our life along different possible milestones such as the time we go to school, work, marry, and retire? By following everybody else’s planned schedule, there is the peril of missing one’s making of an own plan. The ability to oversee the whole is critical. To do always the seemingly momentary correct thing that is, however, not validated against an integral perspective, risks to end up in unfulfillment and deep regret.
POLLUTED DESIRE FOR LIFE (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm)
One may find a lot of examples supporting the thesis that things got better, safer, and healthier. However, not being aware of globally increasing wealth inequality, existing heightened levels of hunger, and peaking numbers of refugees in some areas of the world, as well as soaring amounts of prescriptions of antidepressants in many societies, signifies that local perceptions might lack accurate information and understanding. Because what is affordable within reach, is unavailable at another place. What is acceptable for some, is intolerable for others. And what means poverty in this place, passes for luxury elsewhere. While escaping environmental pollution here, more pollution happens there. The growing world population and economy continue to exploit the planet’s resources faster than these can be renewed. Nature gets intoxicated with garbage whose decomposition takes centuries and irreparably contaminates with spurious poison the earthly and universal flow of energy for the generations to come. In developed countries we see today the first generations who are facing decreasing life durations. The life expectancy of a fifty-year-old in a low-income country, which represents the majority of the world population, remained the same as it was thirty years ago. In the last forty-five years, suicide rates have increased by sixty percent worldwide, which indicates a desperate mental climate even in countries of relative wealth. The desire to die usually comes from unfulfilled desires for life. Also most individuals who seem tired of life would decide to live if the necessary psychological support factors such as meaningfulness, purposefulness, and spiritual growth through awareness-intelligent living would seem achievable. All these can be achieved if egoistic group thinking is replaced with the ability to include all and everyone in one’s worldview. We need worldview and human identity that goes beyond the here and now, one that is socio-temporally inclusive of the extra-personal future and, as a result, is intelligently aware.
Excerpt from Awareness intelligence (M. Sager, 2018)
How to Synchronize, Increase the Frequency, and Sustain the Rhythm of the Dance of Life
Humans like stability to feel safe, and they seek preservation of their identity, whether it be good or bad. In the short-term, though, people often also do not like repetition as it leads them to boredom. In a time paced rapidly by ever shorter business cycles, everything tends to become judged as boring by the declining attention span of the consumer mind. In contrast, as to the creating mind, education and professional practice training are considered successful if one has learned to tolerate the monotonous tasks of the streamlined information and production processes as input to the modern economic societies. That’s how many forgot the excitement of rhythm and surprising improvisations of a freely lived life.
Like evenly-timed rhythms such as four-quarter times are often interpreted through triple step dances (for example, two quick steps and one slow step), it is the shift from the balance of even patterns to the harmony of three that introduces a higher level of human experience. Having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern. To overcome the avoidance of change caused by the monotonous evenness of commercial mainstream and its resulting addiction to stability, we are well-advised to hear the rhythm of the dance of life in all three the past, the present, and the future.
Therefore, the three steps of the dance of life can be seen as follows:
• Step 1: SYNCHRONIZING THE RHYTHM – Guidance by the past of universal unity
• Step 2: INCREASING THE FREQUENCY OF THE RHYTHM – Attendance to the present without fear
• Step 3: SUSTAINING THE RHYTHM – Abundance through service to the future of all
Step 1: SYNCHRONIZATION OF THE RHYTHM –Guided by the past of universal unity
Most people are not able to not have to belong, respectively are not able to belong to everybody, so they will belong to certain/specific groups. Group thinking often inhibits critical thinking. However, experiences of togetherness also reveal the motives for unity that involve rhythmic, synchronous movements like marching and dancing. To march or dance together to the same rhythm creates intense feelings of unity and fosters a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for one’s mates. Again, this bears risks and opportunities: Applied to an exclusive group, this is the essence of the birth of radical ideologies and religions; However, when extended to all of humanity, true spirituality opens up.
Step 2: INCREASING THE FREQUENCY OF THE RHYTHM – Attending to the present without fear
The ego always fears to lose, why others are seen as threats. This attention to the fear of loss eventually is missing for the attendance of inspiration and love. Because of the fear of losing one’s identity, change becomes the ultimate threat. However, on the dance floor of life, many people dance, and the music will change all the time. So, we should not get angry and fearful when the rhythm is changing again. However, we also shouldn’t necessarily let the music played by others let us dictate our pace. It’s best to choose the music that reflects our natural rhythm so that we can pace ourselves in our journeys of personal development. It’s exciting to meet new people. Meeting strangers creates high levels of synchronized rhythmic activities in the brain. Therefore, let’s enjoy social arousal from novel encounters; the more exciting and less frightening they are perceived, the higher is the frequency of the neuronal dance in your brain.
Step 3: SUSTAINING THE RHYTHM – Abundance through service to the future of all
The commitment to live life in a sustainable rhythm, without greed, without unnecessary selfishness, helps to avoid depressive thoughts of loss, burnout, despair, and getting stiff in the ability to dance smoothly. If we change the rhythm from an attitude of “getting what’s in for us” to one which services the others, it’s possible to create a different cadence in life, a rhythm of an all-new quality. We think our life with birth and death is different than anything else as we consider it not to follow a recurring rhythm. That’s why we mistakenly don’t dance through life. On the other hand, we run as straight and fast as possible in one direction, completely denying the possibility that there is no other place than the here and now to go. Shouldn’t we joyfully embrace life as an endless and abundant dance of collective consciousness to which we can contribute as an equal part (not as less nor as more)?
In that sense, let’s overcome avoidance and become guided and attentive dancers for abundance. To live from unity, in love, and for service to all is the ability to synchronize the rhythm and dance the dance of life. This was, once again, another analogy for describing the socio-temporal rhythmic system of the universe on which Awareness Intelligence (see www.mathias-sager.com) is based.