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.
Plants can feed themselves. Humans need the help of plants because only they can process the nutrients of the soil into food. Humans have to compensate for their lack of natural intelligence with more complex structures. If plants were to economize as ‘intelligently’ as humans, humanity would depend on plants’ grace. The plants are unconditionally gracious, though. We know that plants can process information, communicate, and (re-) act. Do the plants know more? Why are they ready to plunge into ruin because of and with us? Is that how nature teaches us to love?
In this regard, two poems:
Who mocks the soul but adores the sky, adores the idolatry of a heavenly origin, the megalomania of a cosmic meaning, and the aloofness of a higher purpose.
Who adores the body but mocks the earth, mocks the responsibility of an earthly connection, the humility of a planetary nature, and the groundedness of a profound liability.
Who adores the soul and the earth, indeed, responds to the heavenly origin with an earthly connection, humbles the cosmic meaning through a planetary nature, and grounds her higher purpose on a profound liability.
PLANTS ARE STUPID
Plants are stupid.
They organize to turn earth into food, provide to the needy without being asked. Plants are stupid.
They share their parts and live on, provide in abundance without demands. Plants are stupid.
They cooperate for reproduction and growth, provide of harvest without a price. Plants are stupid.
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.
Have you ever tried to send positive energy from the inside (e.g., to comfort or heal others) and defend negative energy from the outside?
As a psychologist who has studied the scientific literature and discussions at leading Universities, read ancient wisdom, and experienced and conducted independent interdisciplinary research, this is the best explanation of what we are about from a holistic point of view. We are a constant energetic part of all universal energy, which vibrates in and as endlessly different frequencies. If we want to change anything, the vibration of energy needs to be changed, within and around us.
Don’t fight symptoms. Don’t fight your negative habits. Hopelessness raises the value of chemical aids. It’s hopelessness itself that needs to be addressed in the first place. Hope comes from within. Don’t rely on external approval and support for becoming who you really are and want to be. Use Awareness Intelligence to freeing yourself from others’ opinions and potentially wrong beliefs about yourself that may hold you down (i.e. disturbed, slowed down energy). We are not dependent on prescribed substances, behaviors, or even persons, if we are willing to take control ourselves.
I know, there is still a lot of Newtonian approaches around, which may make sense for the limited capabilities of our eyes observing the slowed down energy fighting gravity that our body represents. For the faster energy of consciousness and even particles on atomic level, however, common sense isn’t applicable anymore as Einstein or more recent quantum physics would tell you.
From a psychological point of view, it seems to be clear that doctors don’t heal; healing occurs within oneself. It’s life itself with all its rich variations, diverse types, and different ways that expect us to know and express what we really need. If life can create new bodies and souls, why shouldn’t it be able to heal the same? We can find everything we need in the life that is in us if we listen and serve it naturally as it is meant to be.
It is too hard to always send positive energy and fight negative energies at the same time. Therefore, rather than taking pills, real healing may require you to quit unwholesome situations, be it jobs or relationships, or anything that is unsupportive of your journey in line with wholesome living. For example, I have even left a faraway country, which I had made my home, as it became impossible to keep the energy balance. Being not welcome by my daughter’s mother while sending them both constantly positive energy took too much. I was not allowed to see you anymore, my daughter, but nobody can take away all the love I’m living to be the healthy, strong, and kind father I’ll always be to you. I hope you will forgive your mother and me some time. I miss you incredibly as I want to be there for you. But I’m sure you can feel that I’m continuing to be your energetic angel, although out of range of being bombarded with negativities all the time. Love you.
The term ‘intention’ in medicine means the healing process of a wound. We may create plans based on any beliefs that bring us to an achievement of something out there we think is missing, or we can be drawn to deeper roots that are pulling towards internal healing and recovery of inner truth. While intuition is the messenger from and to our source (or in AWI terms: intra-past), imagination is the force pulling from and to our purpose (extra-future). Intention resides in the inter-present in full cooperation with others, and it is the binding element between intuition and imagination. Intention is the doing between one’s true intuitive being and imaginative becoming. If you have intentions in line with your intuition, even if there seems currently no practical way to act upon, do maintain the thoughts about them, and you’ll keep a healthy attitude. The universe will conspire to co-create over sooner or longer if one stays awaringly alert. The benefits of staying authentic are to reveal in any case. Because even without external stimuli and actions in the here and now, mind-wandering back to intuition and forth into imagination does create present moment emotions and thoughts, similar to real-life experiences. The brain cannot differentiate between real and imagined, and images get memorized similar to experiences. Therefore, intentional mentation is as much real reality for answering the big questions of life beyond practical considerations as is the experience from physical respectively geographical immersion into a socio-cultural and possibly even individually mismatching interpretations of reality. The mere memory or the prospect of a joyful experience can enable a joyful desire to let go of curtailing attachment. It is highly awareness-intelligent to motivate oneself and inspire others to achieve this prospect of joy by accessing the roots on both ends, the past and the future, intuition and imagination.
“Many of us have been convinced that we carry the darkness within us, in our selfish genes. “It is simply human nature,” we’re told, “to rape and kill and enslave—and anyone who thinks otherwise is a foolish romantic.” This messaging not only offends our decency and dignity, it insults our intelligence. The depiction of human nature embedded in the narrative of perpetual progress isn’t science; it’s a marketing campaign for the status quo.” – Civilized to Death (Christopher Ryan)
‘Civilized to Death’ counters the idea that progress is inherently good. Chris Ryian argues that the “progress” defining our age is analogous to an advancing disease, but he does not deny the benefit from specific achievements. For example, child mortality has decreased dramatically. However, already in ancient times people lived well into their seventies once they surpassed the age of fifteen.
The ones constantly striving for more (as defined by our socio-economic system) and the so-considered wealthy and happy ones carry like all of us the same burden of perpetual dissatisfaction from the unhealthy structures and related human estrangement. Connections make people happy, and status and wealth often even come with isolation. Maybe due to the Corona measures put on us, the system favors the rich again in this aspect, as the resources and space available allow them to maintain a social environment more easily. The people told to stay in their tiny homes and away from their workplaces and closed public recreational opportunities can’t.
Nevertheless, this book is very timely, fair, and balanced. It does not ignore the signs of civilization heading towards a culmination point of destroying itself (as all high cultures have in the past). On the other hand, the author encourages a positive outlook that appreciates every individual’s humanity. Unfortunately, the capitalist system cannot successfully support us in living up to our potential and a truly vibrant life.
‘Civilized to Death’ does not only rely on a vast collection of scientific study results but convinces through well-illustrated arguments and impressive observations. By comparing ours to pre-historic life, the picture favors the genuine and content foraging societies. In contrast, the life our ancestors have preferred over hundreds of thousands of years (and still did/do when being offered/forced into civilization), contemporary men appear like disturbed creatures living in a self-designed zoo. If people don’t hoard and possess and instead have free access to natural resources (because these are not yet misappropriated and made scarce by the economic system, there is no reason to fight wars.
While we have learned to see the world from a scarcity point of view where we protect our feeling of never having enough, foragers felt rich given the abundance they saw available around them. Of course, their consumption was much less (and so was obesity and related diseases). Therefore, today’s high world population isn’t the issue at hand. Also, the small forager communities did not concentrate in cities and nations. They were characterized by inclusive, appreciative, and egalitarian structures that met their desire for anti-authoritarian co-living, collaboration, and mutual help.
The book offers many eye-opening findings and logical explanations for why progress in the wrong direction is not the gift that is sold to us. The tremendous amount of money in this world wants to grow, and personal growth seems to be coupled with such an understanding of richness. That’s why people accept being sold countless myths (not to say ‘lies’) and buy into the narrative of perpetual progress.
If we are interested in living a conscious life that respects us holistically as fully, healthily functioning, and enjoying human beings, then this is a fantastic read. The book connects the dots in an interdisciplinary way, and it courageously clarifies what many of us feel in our guts. There is hope for chances to correct the history of wars. We must look back far enough and learn from the times before the spread of our all-consuming civilization that constantly tries to fix its self-created problems with commercially driven symptom fighting. I hope you enjoy this enormous treasure trove of healthier alternatives attainable for everyone, society, and the future of all humanity and the planet.
We are treated and coached all the time. That is good for the gross national product; but is it also for us? Doesn’t the ever-increasing over-pedagogy of the young and over-treatment of the elderly mean that our upbringing and education do not make us self-effective individuals?
Torn by our loved ones
Listening to everyone means having to bend over the top. Looking back and planning ahead at the same time is difficult, especially when it comes to the interpersonal level. And for most people, it’s about the relationship level. Should we let them draw us into a drawer and hold us back?
Only your own past counts
The way we look at family and friends is actually always the cause of problems. Expectations, inadequacies, regrets, fear of being alone, etc. That is why our thoughts in the past should stay with ourselves. Only with us, because we all got everything we need as human beings. During the first nine months, nobody had to tell us how we were going to develop.
The meaning of a larger whole
Thoughts in the future should be less on the intra- and interpersonal level. Yes, we will lose everything one day, and we cannot insure ourselves against death either. Neither can we protect others from it; that’s part of life. What we can do, however, is to leave something other than rubbish and weakening structures for the planet and the next generations. Service to a larger whole is ultimately the only deeper meaning in life.
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 can look the same, but not at the same time. Green, greensand, ochre, umber, blue, turquoise. Land and water, summer and winter. Compiling it all into one at once, that’s how I show you the world. I love you, child of the soul.
Is it the shore of a lake or the coast of an island?
The view towards the water. Watching the depths of the psyche. Both fascinating and frightening. Overcoming the fear of the hidden, that’s how I’d like you to understand the world. I love you, child of wisdom.
Is it to float or to dive?
To immerse without the need to walk on water, meeting intuition and inspiration. The conscious and the unconscious. Blurring, transcending the physical boundaries, that’s how we can connect across the worlds. I love you, child of the muse.
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.
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.
Having learned English, French, and Japanese while living and working in different cultures, and as a global citizen, psychologist, and artist, languages (words, images, and the heart) are vital for me every day. Research into the psychology of language, or psycholinguistics, has helped better understand the mental aspects of language and speech with new and innovative implications on how we approach learning from a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral level.
Language organizes thoughts
You can perceive the world with your five senses and experience feelings and emotions without words. However, Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed that “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” which I find accurate. What if everything is just “cool?” Reports from people losing language as a result, for example, of brain tumors, evidence that when they cannot describe the world with words anymore, it essentially remains unchanged and, for that matter, unchangeable. Grasping, developing, and changing concepts requires analysis and interpretation of reality, which is accomplished through structured language. Only through organizing one’s thoughts can we fix ideas, reflect on, and monitor them. This inner, explicitly linguistic thinking enables consciousness to become awareness (for my differentiation between consciousness and awareness, see https://www.mathias-sager.com/2021/05/02/soulfires-flames/). Unfortunately, blissful quitting of thinking in meditation or distractions seems to be more in vogue than thinking critically about one’s thinking; for me, the main challenge of humanity. Again, we may think without language, but language lets us know that we are thinking.
The language of images
There are around 7000 languages spoken in the world today. However, there are many more different languages like specialty languages (e.g., computer languages), sign languages, even smell, and the language of images and music. As an artist, I have a visual vocabulary, which sometimes is not translatable to any words that I’d know. My inner speech while painting often isn’t either in German or English, but purely of images. I love to switch to the mode where I utter thoughts with colors. As my paintings and accompanying texts illustrate, the artistic language of colors, forms, and textures is more direct, compact, shorter, and faster than the concepts described in words.
I like that my artistic language for me is more independent from socio-cultural conventions. Although language helps to connect and build communities, it is used to exclude and manipulate. For example, my daughter and I are told not to use German anymore, which constitutes a strategy of maternal gatekeeping and parental alienation. [-> I love you, Natalie! As always, this work is for you!]
The ambiguity of language
The ambiguity of language can easily cause erroneous thinking. That is probably why many of us discover that life hadn’t turned out as we were told and had planned when we were younger. For example, all the promises about happiness primarily addressing only the hedonistic aspects of the term. The same with love; are we always clear what we mean by it: romantic, affectionate, familiar, playful, or selflessly compassionate?
Any language is possibly imperfect, so we all need to find the combinations of levels of perceptions, spoken words, and expressive means that serve us well.
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:
A man who loved lonely, carefree hikes across the country, noticed one day a strangely shaped plant in a narrow, elongated hedge between a meadow and a field. It seemed as if this spectacular plant was calling the man to it. With a queasy feeling, but driven by his even stronger curiosity, the man approached the plant.
“Wow, what kind of creature are you!” The man muttered to himself, barely audible. “What are you staring at me like that?” The plant replied immediately and unexpectedly. The man was just able to support himself on a neighboring branch, otherwise, he would have twisted backward as a result of his recoil. Frozen in his position, he asked back: “Who are you?”, to which he was replied: “I am an intelligent species and all of my leaves are intelligent”. The man was completely spellbound. He stared at the vegetation and it struck him that its strange shape came from a one-sided collection of shoots and leaves. These all stretched to the same point a little laterally above the theoretical center of the plant. In fact, half of the plant was missing due to the one-sided growth. The crowd on the overgrown side was so dense that one could no longer see the individual booms. Strikingly, the creature did not simply grow towards the light of the open area, but only in the direction in which the agricultural field was, and not the natural meadow.
“Why are all your shoots and leaves crowding in the same direction when there is more light than enough for everyone in the other direction?” Asks the man. “We are just intelligent and know how to participate in modern advances. To the north we can even get hold of some agricultural pesticides,” boasted a particularly exposed leaf of the bush. “But isn’t this too narrow, light-robbing, and dangerous for you?” The man wonders. “Not at all. We were even told that this is good for us. Too bad for the stupid plants, who just can’t understand that and still behave according to their so outdated, primitive nature. If the lower rungs are not too lazy, then they can grow and also position themselves better ». As the man could see, this indeed appeared to be the case. The plant had already grown extraordinarily for the time of year. And yet it could be seen that the deeper the layers, the more stunted the leaves.
The man had never seen anything like it. The plant seemed so completely unnatural to him. Why should plants be so intelligent? The man thought about it for a long time, but couldn’t find an answer to the question. A few days later, on his wanderings, the man passed the hedge of the intelligent plant again. The man wanted to ask whether the shoots and leaves could actually decide for themselves, or whether the plant as a whole would dictate the direction. Just as the man was about to leave, he was approached by a farmer who had dismounted a little way away from a tractor. Equipped with hedge trimmers, wooden stakes and wire, he trudged straight towards the hedge. Without waiting for the man to say hello, the farmer announced sternly and bustlingly: “Good day. So here are my loved ones; today it’s your turn. If I only had such hedges, I would have nothing else to do but cut them back; my crop would be full at all times. Ha, ha, ha … ”, came with a loud sound from the farmer’s mouth. Half intimidated, half doubting himself, the man did not mention his experience with the intelligent plant and soon said goodbye.
On the way home, the whole story seemed like a dream to the man. Nonetheless, he kept addressing plants, although he has never seen one as strangely shaped as the intelligent plant. These wonderful, balanced forms of life showed him all the possibilities of natural growth. However, they remained silent, which the man enjoyed very much. #art #artist painting #figurative #abstract
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.
It is tempting to ask “Which one do I like most?” But actually, I like them all …
We wish to be intelligent to perform tasks such as reading, calculating, solving technical problems, create music, understand nature, be a good employee or entrepreneur, and so forth. These may all be important to fulfill social roles. And, social comparison is a strong happiness factor. People tend to be content if they do well compare to others. Because there are always others who do let us appear compare unfavorably, the choice of a limited circle of easy-to-compare others might be a comforting self-protection strategy. However, such avoiding behavior also prevents from connecting to broader and more diverse walks of life. The measurements of traditional intelligence quotients have only amplified competition unnecessarily. It’s not necessary to compare to others and derive satisfaction from relative high scores in intelligence tests in areas we even don’t feel drawn to naturally as these, in fact, are not of most fundamental relevance to a soul-inspired human life. It is unnecessary to feel judged as a human being by culturally and commercially defined concepts of intelligence. Social comparisons are causing a lot of discrimination, feelings of unworthiness, and related suffering. What makes people really joyful is their capacity for self-determination, which means to be in the driver seat, to function mentally well, and enjoy psychological well-being.