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.
Lifespan Development: Cultural norms or personal needs?
Which one would you choose to visualize your life? They may seem quite similar and yet be very different. Both go along nine stages of a lifespan but in different directions and different coloring.
Building/buying a house
Do you experience different timing, sequences, or different qualities of life stages? Or do you even have different ones than what is socially customary? Maybe there’s indeed a need to rethink the concept of conventional lifespan development. There will still be falling in love, having children, and many other aspects (not to forget spiritual ones). But because today many young people worry about their life ahead, adults struggle with seeing meaning in it, elderly living in apathy long after they’ve stopped to lead a functional one, and then regret or denial on the death bed. Shouldn’t life be more joyful? Without giving prescriptive answers, the following considerations from lifespan psychology may provide some additional perspectives.
When and how one progresses with what personal development step varies a lot between cultures. Even within a particular culture, if not suppressed completely, different life paths can be observed as well. However, the vast majority within a culture chooses to conform with an established “norm.” But do these norms meet the personal desires of a human being, and do they take individual developmental needs into account?
Developmental neurobiological processes are more influential in early life stages (i.e., childhood), but cultural and social learning effects increase at later life stages.
Individuals in Eastern cultures relate in a more interdependent way than a more individualistic Western understanding of the self. At the same time, though, it was found that even in the East, the desire for some autonomous identity is a universally inherent human feature. Similarly, Parental over-control frustrates children both in the US and China.
19th and 20th century Western and Eastern artists were analyzed, and it was found that Eastern artists tend to arrive at their artistic peak achievement later in life, reflecting the Eastern tradition to emphasize the process to excellence rather than the more Western focus on originality and delivery.
Low self-esteem is linked to depression and reduced subjective well-being. Still, on the other side, heightened self-esteem risks degenerating to narcissism and the need to be better than others, which results in separateness. Instead of such a discriminatory pathway to self-worth, Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism’s mindfulness practices that promote self-compassion instead, are hopefully more and more (re-)discovered.
Mainly, lifespan development focuses on behavioral and material aspects, while it still discards concepts of expanded consciousness such as the already decades-old self-actualization theory. Also, statistical analysis prevails, and more qualitative research might help understand individuals’ life journeys better and add to a more person-centric and contextual perspective in studying lifespan development.
Economically developed regions, sometimes referred to as Western countries, make up only 20 percent of the world population, while developing economies’ population is even disproportionately continuing to grow. At the same time, economic development in the Non-Western, often collectivist societies is likely to dramatically influence the outcome of related cultures. Therefore, psychology needs to focus more on where the big changes and populations are to understand human development.
To further integrate all relevant aspects of human development, a closer collaboration between life-course sociology and life span psychology seems to be a further promising aspiration. Like the emergence of culture and art marked a new era of Homo sapiens some ten thousand years ago, maybe breakthroughs in understanding human lifespan development related to culture may define the next evolutionary steps of humanity.
I am convinced that more answers lie in how people manage to develop independently of the good opinion of others. In the past, critical thinkers were persecuted and hanged; today, these are considered heroic philosophers. Is it still worthwhile to stand up for something against the resistance of the mainstream? Surely. I believe that this is precisely one of life’s goals: to express one’s ideas, create, and put service to something bigger above one’s own desires.
The awareness for and about humanity as a whole is deliberately removed from the educational and journalistic framework. Instead, scare tactics, celebrity cults, groupthink and stereotyping are encouraged. Herd thinking seals off the boxes in the stables of the mind farms owned by the one percent that owns ninety-nine percent of global resources. In these closed mindset farms, people’s ignorance gets exploited. The domesticated herd of human livestock is fed and paid well enough to not revolt. Everything gets automated, and the thought-farming industry leaders stay mostly out of sight. Almost all of the financial means of this world are invested in businesses that help the money multiply. So, the breeding goes on and ever more extensive and efficient platforms are created for the keeping of human farm animals.
What a significant purpose of life: Life isn’t about learning to fit in somewhere; it is about creating somebody new.
Of course, you may want to stay social and cooperative with people in your life. However, with time, the nature of these relationships might transform as your awareness regenerates. Separation from yourself and others means, in a psycho-spiritual way, that you let go of your identity, which is based on social conformity and cultural beliefs that would be misbeliefs in a different culture. You also must let go of attachment to others’ judgments, which are opinions only and have little if anything to do with truth. By distancing yourself from the idealized role you have learned to assume during all the years of education, socialization, and enculturation, you begin to see who you really are.
Don’t waste your thoughts on interpreting equipment, façade styles, and fashions. They are not relevant to our true selves, and they go as fast as they came. We are not our social personalities. Clinging to our social identity and old ways of thinking about ourselves makes us, in any case, matter less than we deserve. Artificial rules that protect selfish interests are not natural laws of life. So don’t take them so seriously!
Children are dependent on the care received from their parents and other adults in the culture they are born into. For them, inter-psychological learning, the influence of other people is unavoidable. Their survival depends on following their caregivers. Such dependencies should not exist anymore later in life, though. An adult person can re-build their own identity intra-psychologically. There is a possibility, even a necessity to recognize your socio-cultural independence. It is a trap to let others’ opinions and beliefs define one. Therefore, such an awareness allows you to free yourself from backward-related definitions of your person by others.
Losing one’s identity
When I moved abroad and ended up being on myself in a completely different culture, there was nobody and nothing anymore that would have supported and validated my identity at that time. For my new environment far away from my former social networks, jobs, and possessions that had defined me to a significant extent for a long time, too, I then was left to be just an unknown foreigner. Therefore, I could not and did not have to live up to any story anymore. What an opportunity. I’ve realized how foolish it had been to build one’s personality too much on the unstable ground of externals.
Meanwhile, having left most of the external things and values behind, there has remained one true identity-giving source: The inner self that connects all of us on a deeper human level. I’ve found this true self when mentalizing back to before I had grown into an adult body, before I was associated with a particular social status and related privileges, and before I started to hold on to a variety of achievements and acquisitions. Then, literally as an alien in a foreign country, I became aware of what was left, what will always be left, and I mentally returned to the core of whom I am: The consciousness that is all and my origin of life. For all my life, I was looking for happiness. Then I found meaning. And when I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless. That’s when I started to really enjoy life again; joy through the effort to create awareness-intelligently an identity instead of blindly assuming one that’s tried to be assigned to me. That’s also when I better understood what it means to be an artist.
When you experience meaninglessness, low motivation, and urges to give up, it is helpful to check the extra-future element and probe its awaring, for example, as follows. Ask yourself: Am I creating in line with life, the life that continues in all human evolution beyond my family, my party, my nation, my race, etc., or do I identify with such social constructs on which can’t be hold on to in the perishable physical world? If it is the latter, feelings of meaninglessness could stem from such a misidentification. One might feel that clearly when losing somebody close when having lost a job, or being rejected from a social group. We must die to our ego during a lifetime voluntarily. As we shift from socio-cultural group identity to a universally valid life membership, we will have found our purpose in life as well. The ego cannot be overcome by disabling the mind (as sometimes advertised in meditation classes). Selflessness is achieved by thinking awareness-intelligently about the egoless self, through non-transactionality in meeting others and focusing on a mutually beneficial future in all humanity’s interest.
Achieving a symmetrical, congruent (awareness-intelligent) identity
We can clearly feel that we separate mental awareness from bodily sensations and instead picture the wholeness and infinity of life. We can change our way of thinking. The most profound, impactful, and sustainable way to change is to change the layer from where thought arises: awareness. The human condition is no longer dependent on social identity alone. It learns to integrate the three modes of the intra-past, the inter-present, and the extra-future into increased and undivided awareness (for the detailed explanation, see https://www.mathias-sager.com/tag/awareness-intelligence/). As our thoughts and actions become more symmetrical (and our business and private cards more congruent), life will never feel like a lie again.
Becoming a genuine leader is founded on mastering self-leadership and being at peace with oneself and the world. To serve as a role model, one must be ready to give up their title and position. Too dissonant can a professional identity become with the aware self. How could one ever enjoy people who admire rather their title-based authority and social status rather than knowing about their creativity, vulnerability, and loving character in the first place?
It cannot be seen, and yet it can be made visible. A tapestry, a matrix of combined dimensions. And layers of consciousness, awareness. Light and triangular roundness, everything else illusion and darkening. Our duty to show it so that it is not forgotten. When you are overwhelmed by reality that is ever passing quickly, come back to the Eternal that grows in the field of the soul.
Es kann nicht gesehen, und doch sichtbar gemacht werden. Ein Wandteppich, eine Matrix kombinierter Dimensionen. Und Bewusstseinsschichten. Licht und dreieckige Rundungen, alles andere Illusion und Verdunkelung. Unsere Pflicht, es zu zeigen, damit es nicht vergessen wird. Wenn du von der immer schnell vergehenden Realität überwältigt wirst, komm zurück zum Ewigen, das auf dem Acker der Seele wächst.
This painting is a suggestion for the symbol that could represent the novel term and concept of Awareness Intelligence™. It’s time for a new understanding of awareness, instead of maintaining old and incomplete notions of it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said more than a hundred years ago that history should be banned from school. I agree in the sense that the common issue of glorifying the past and using it to legitimate and reinforce established power structures, for example in politics, is hindering real improvement. The world needs new solutions to old problems. A spirit-based awareness to overcome ego-based identification is needed. Rather than closing down for victories, humanity needs to open up for progress. Just because things are our culture, they are not necessarily good. Good is what increases awareness.
For the original research and related articles about Awareness Intelligence, you can visit www.mathias-sager.com
In the US, one in six persons currently takes a psychotropic drug. In Switzerland, around one in ten regularly consume prescribed antidepressants. This population is a minority; all the others manage to live without, and so can you.
Modern psychopharmacology began in 1950 with the synthesis of chlorpromazine. Only from then on, the industry started to produce, patent, and market its invented/categorized types of diagnoses and related pills. Remember that before 1950 you most likely would have been considered mentally healthy.
The psyche is more than the bio-mechanical brain, and only you know what’s in your soul (again, which is not to be reduced to the physiology of the brain). Why should mood, way of thinking, and motivation be possible to be “repaired” by a so-called soul plumber (in German: Seelenklemptner) who is even not addressing the soul?! Shouldn’t psychological challenges be resolved psychologically (and psycho-spiritually) instead of chemically?!
You don’t have to compare yourself anymore with your friends who are all so super successful, happy, and beautiful (according to today’s conventional notion). If you don’t aspire for the hedonistic treadmill of advertised consumption-based happiness, you will realize that you might already be happier than you were made to believe.
That you feel down might not be a genetic defect to be corrected with a pill. Prenatal, childhood, and everyday stress (see also point 3) is the main risk for affective disorders, such as depression and even Schizophrenia. Stress also affects the immune system, which is central to the nervous system and the brain’s health. Have you ever thought of reducing stress in the first place?
Antidepressants are prescribed too quickly as remedies for possibly only temporary periods of low moods that are hastily diagnosed as clinical depressions without a holistic (biopsychosocial) understanding of the situation. Antidepressants are often hardly more effective than placebo, according to the latest studies (e.g., the 2019 study of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Kopenhagen). The world is how you see it, and the treatment that works is that which you believe in. Can you think that learnable mental strategies might be healthier and more effective than pills? I know that you get the medication subsidized by the health insurance company, while the learning to control your mind and to understand the soul has to be borne by yourself. Become more independent, invest in yourself instead of in pharmaceutical companies! Such self-efficacy is a huge reward in itself.
Almost more likely than a positive effect is unwanted considerable side effects that can irreversibly persist even after stopping taking the medication: These side effects include sexual dysfunction, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, and sleep disorders.
Being in control is highly satisfying and a key factor for one’s well-being. So, do you want medically enforced distancing from your emotions, and therefore allow the obscurification of your mental faculties that are disabling the possibility for self-reflection with a clear mind? Observing in an accepting and learning attitude how a lousy mood dissolves anyway might provide the lessons to unlearn learned helplessness and enable self-help and personal growth.
Are you against (synthetic) drugs? Then follow through. How about learning to “be high on your own supply?” There are plenty of possibilities like breathing techniques (the most fundamental function of the body that impacts all its workings), exercising, creative expression, nature exposure (e.g., cold water -> no pain, no gain! :-)), and especially thoughts and acts of kindness.
As with maintaining physical hygiene, it can be good in the mental world to dust off old and prevent new pollution from anxious thinking. Desires for security and the associated fear of loss darken the mind, which leads to defense, exclusion, hatred and aggression (incidentally, ignorance and avoidance are also passive forms of hostility). Have you ever tried a media diet and stopped listening to all the bad things that tempt you to take external measures (e.g. pills)? During a news detox, you will soon feel better and begin to take care of yourself instead of acquiring external effects that are supposed to do that for you.
Life is proving us constantly that peace is possible to the extent human awareness is embracing it. Consequently, if all the world is scoped-in for ambitions of peace, a peaceful world indeed becomes attainable. An awaria can come through the dissolution of the illusion of separated and separating personal and societal identities, which would not be bounded together by life across times. It will be a future world in which all human beings are aware of their shared awareness of life. Thanks to intelligent awareness, the relational and temporal modes of life will be better understood, accepted as an essential truth, and consequently being acted upon for individual well-being, collective thriving, and the common good. Awarian life is possible thanks to the systematic and continuous practice of Awareness Intelligence, the chief liberating and humanitarian enabler of a new age.
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).
The body underlies the law of the now; it can only be enjoyed in the present moment. As for the mind, however, we got the ability to anchor in a primordial self-awareness, alertly touch the present, and expand our awareness into the future. Such an extended and multi-directional quality of the mind does not fall prey to present-moment boundedness and is able to navigate time freely. Like a bird, we can let our thoughts fly across the infinite topology of awareness.
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.
When one’s worldview expands entirely in a grid of paramount awareness, the energy of a unified field begins to radiate In physics, forces are theorized to be transmitted through so-called fields. Others use, besides the term of the ‘unified field,’ also ‘cosmic consciousness,’ in which the ‘in-here’ and ‘out-there’ meet. Awareness Intelligence can be understood as such a field where life-intelligent consciousness and mentalizing are harmoniously unified. Through unifying our thoughts with the nature of a multiverse, a state of all-inclusive and timeless humanness can be achieved, which lets us witness its power through showers of bliss.
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.
Single-mindedness is praised and rewarded everywhere in science as well as in business and private matters. If integrating more aspects of life into one’s lifestyle, one is considered unfocused and not knowing what he/she wants. People typically educate and develop in clearly predefined, straight career paths, and socially common and therefore accepted ways in which people all too often assume a tunnel view on life so they can be put into one-themed, clearly labeled boxes.
The Last Universalist
As French Henri Poincare described so well “Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.” In the context of understanding life and its signification for human existence overall, some dots undoubtedly remain unconnected. Henri Poincare who died in 1912, is considered the ‘The Last Universalist’ in mathematics since he mastered all the disciplines at once. If today’s specialized scientific fields work in silos and are hindering inter-disciplinary cooperation, it might indeed be the case that a lot of knowledge is not brought into a more meaningful context and does not result into a house of wisdom that benefits and protects all humanity in a broader sense.
Missing systematic management of the mind
Project and productivity management skills to organize business processes are taught everywhere and on all levels of the education system. Surprisingly, the same diligence is not applied to the mental world. How can we think about our thinking and improve it for our own and others’ well-being? How can we critically check our awareness to make sure we don’t miss any essential aspects? The answers to these questions determine how we care for the world, and yet they are not discussed systematically enough in school. To quote the Buddha, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” I think it is overdue to build wholesome human attitudes, which is to think more and in different ways about how we develop and use awareness.
The benefit of mental triathlons
Awareness Intelligence is like a mental triathlon, or a triptych in art. It is not just one focus of mind, but a threefold set of socio-temporal perspectives that form a person’s worldview (for more on socio-temporal mental schemas see the Awareness Intelligence literature on https://www.mathias-sager.com/tag/awareness-intelligence/). It is to be hoped that one-sided extremism evolves into inherently diverse lifestyles. We need monks who are not only wise, but fit and socially engaging. We need physically fit intellectuals who care, and intellectual and kind sportspersons. We need leaders who serve on the ground of honest servant leadership style based on what’s healthy for human beings. And, we need real, fair competition that rewards not only the smart, but especially the kind.
Horizontal integration for more relevance
For a more harmonious and wholesome lifestyle it is to hope that personality is understood to not only develop vertically (i.e., into a specialization in one field), but horizontally (i.e., integrating multiple fields) to become aware of broader contexts, interdependencies, and connections across everything and all that is relevant.
Looking at people’s stress and anguish, the conflict between societies and how the environment gets maltreated, it seems that the human ability of mentally embracing, being aware of a global collective as a species did not keep pace with the globalization of the world. Is there a lack of a kind of mentality (respectively, awareness) in the sense of how populations connect themselves to a broader context like all humanity?
Transcending the narrow world of the ego
It appears challenging to bridge between individual and collective levels of reasoning. 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. The power of imagination can overcome an inflexible ego-centered mind. Imagination is also 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.
The social and temporal dimensions of awareness
Moreover, it is a person’s relation to the social world and time that can determine his or her meaning-making. In other words, it is a core construct of beliefs in these dimensions that forms a so-called ‘worldview’. ‘Sensemaking on a worldview level’ and ‘mental schemas’ are appropriate related terms at the cognitive level to determine what one is aware of. Hence, awareness seems to be linked to such mental schemas as they help to understand how people self-reflect on their socio-temporal worldviews.
Reflecting on one’s worldview
Worldviews are arrangements of beliefs used to create meaning of one’s experience of reality. From a cognitive perspective, worldviews involve ‘thinking systems’ including intricate patterns of thoughts and beliefs that integrate as an interactive whole. Beliefs are mental constellations that stand for relationships between categories, which determine how one experiences (i.e., is aware of) the world. For example, social worldview schemas would represent an individual’s beliefs about the social world. To mentally build a worldview, the abilities to learn and imagine, all of which require reflection, are essential. And humans do reflect on the continuum of time, a mental process that involves thinking about the past, present, and future.
Meaning-making through awareness about one’s socio-temporal scope of thinking
Accordingly, what results from combining thinking about social relations and time, is a socio-temporal matrix (see Figure 1) that can be used a framework to identify and visualize worldviews, and that can facilitate the exploration of psychological effects related to a person’s meaning-making and well-being based on their socio-temporal scope of awareness.
Socio-temporal worldview schemas
The nine fields of the matrix can be used to inquire about socio-temporal mental schemas, which means the scope and configuration of a person’s awareness. 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.
A tool for self-reflection
In that sense, the socio-temporal matrix provides for a tool, respectively a mental map to support the navigation of socio-temporal worldviews, which, again, represents the scope and configuration of one’s awareness. The matrix has proven to be useful for self-reflection and fostering awareness about oneself and others.
Did you know, we are the only species who know that they know? Thanks to the development of our conscious we were able to discover this. Hence the choice of this month’s topic. Discover what the Skilled Helpers of this wonderful collaborative project have to say about Awareness…
Resilience, change and even love are topics we as human beings are aware of. In addition, we can be aware of an act, such as being aware of the effort you take each month to read our collaborative articles.The Skilled Helpers Collaborative
The Skilled Helpers Collaborative is an initiative aiming to bring meaningful content to you. Various skilled helpers from different backgrounds sharing their perspectives regarding a specific topic.
Grateful for their willingness to participate in this collaborative project, this month’s contributors are:
Mathias Sager -Psychologist
Rika Cossey-Transformational Coach
KallyTay -Freelance Expert
Sujit Gogoi–Career Clarity Coach
Claire Rajan-Life Coach & Enneagram Coach
Does our conscious make us aware? Does awareness equal consciousness? Or does being aware have everything to do with mindfulness and / or intelligence? Maybe awareness is a behaviour, an activity or a choice?
Discover what the skilled helpers of our wonderful collaborative project have to say about Awareness. Read the articles below and if it resonates, let us know by leaving a comment.
Don’t hesitate to Connect with one of the Skilled Helpers, in case you could use guidance.
ARMS OF AWARENESS (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 80 cm)
The observation of the environment helps to see the light as all material objects reflect light. Light is everywhere, including in all of us, and time does not let it fade. That’s how reflections become perennial. There is still the reflection of our ancestors in the light, the same light that will transport our visual and energetic appearance forever. That’s how, whether present, future, or past, consequently, everything exists in light in parallel. Besides such a notion of cosmic time, I agree that in everyday life the concept of a timeline is practical. However, such a linear conceptualization of time represents a serious impediment. Maximal temporal awareness bends the imaginary timeline into a circle in which the past and the future, both infinitely stretching into eternity, meet. If you can stretch your linear image of your lifetime between birth and death into this cyclical form beyond our physical existence, you have achieved a similar quantum leap to the one we’ve accomplished when accepting that the physical world is round rather than a finite plate with dubiously ending edges. Don’t fear thinking into the seemingly impossible and become of the infinite, spherical, and parallel nature of time. Don’t stressfully define your mind, stretch it. The farther apart you can stretch, the broader your arms of awareness. That’s how we can embrace the whole universe.
Excerpt from Awareness Intelligence (M. Sager, 2018)