Artifactual Respiration

Uncomfortably Numb
The Interactive Newsletter You Never Asked For

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Artifactual Respiration
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Perhaps we’re not so much “growing up,” as people say, as awakening from a kind of fevered dream.
—David Brin / Earth

Historically, transformation has been described as an awakening, a new quality of attention. And just as we marvel that we could have mistaken our dream world for reality once we have come out of sleep, so those who experience an enlarged awareness are surprised that they had thought themselves awake when they were only sleepwalking.
—Marilyn Ferguson / The Aquarian Conspiracy

Writing this issue has been quite different than the other two. Maybe something inside me is beginning to awaken. Sometimes the words flowed like they were being squirted out of a hose—almost as if they knew what they were doing…

[He] felt the words wash over him. They were like swarming creatures. He had a strange fantasy the things were seeking places within him to lay their young.
—David Brin / Earth

Of course, it’s well to remember that our language is a crude artifice. Words combine like mud and straw baked in the sun, fashioning the irregular bricks—metaphors—contained within these pages. There are, most likely, more effective, substantial, tangible devices to utilize, but for now, they elude me.

True creativity often starts where language ends.
—Arthur Koestler

There’s a wonderful paradox hidden within these words, whether they spilled onto the page in a gushing flow, or, were laboriously pried from my mind, one – at – a – time. There may be resplendent beauty in some of these thoughts, but subjectivity sometimes hinders our ability to distinguish paste from pearls.

Words bend our thinking to infinite paths of self-delusion, and the fact that we spend most of our mental lives in brain mansions built of words means that we lack the objectivity necessary to see the terrible distortions of reality which language brings.
—Dan Simmons / Hyperion

Maybe we should don Walt Whitman’s audacious attitude when confronting the helping/hindering nature of language and just shrug it off:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.

The point, is not to be daunted by this paradox. Our tools may be crude, but we artisans may be inspired: we can imagine and intuit our way, bridging the gaping chasm between the scratches on these pages and the visions of our soul. If we believe, we can. We can because we’ve remembered we can.

Virgil, among others, would urge us to begin acting on this recovered memory. Such as Ralph Chaplin’s:

Mourn not the dead in that cool earth lie
But rather mourn the apathetic throng
The cowed and the meek
Who see the world’s great anguish and its wrong
And dare not speak
—Solidarity Forever

There’s a poem in Bernie Siegel’s Love, Medicine & Miracles that eloquently sums up the perceptual/conceptual leap we must make to combine and transform Virgil’s “They can because they think they can,” and Borghese’s “It is necessary; therefore, it is possible,” into: “We will because we know it is necessary.”

Come to the edge.
No, we will fall.

Come to the edge.
No, we will fall.

They came to the edge.
He pushed them, and they flew.
—Guillaume Apollinaire

The time has come for our spirits to soar—to bring light and life to the masses…

We have been forced to adapt, to make use of a new talent that was lurking in the wings of evolution…

No life, no mind, no thought or inspiration can exist in isolation. On its own, a mind is deprived of the nourishment it needs… But given its root in nature, there seems to be little that the combination of mind and matter, brain and body cannot accomplish. And given half a chance, it seems predestined to go a step beyond ordinary consciousness with its petty restrictions and into supersensory space.

All it takes is a little help from our friends.
—Lyall Watson / Beyond Supernature

Certain moments qualify / In winter’s darkest storm
When stars call / And you fly!
—David Brin / The Uplift War

Contemporary mystical experiences from many individuals and many parts of the world have centered in recent years on a collective and intensifying vision, the sense of an impending transition in the human story: an evolution of consciousness as significant as any step in the long chain of our biological evolution.
—Marilyn Ferguson / The Aquarian Conspiracy

As was written in Give and Take:

I claim to have seen a “layer of communication” that’s designed to transform us, “to reach into us and awaken the hero within—the benevolent, loving being that lurks just below the conscious level in most of us, most of the time.” I’ve been led to believe that we are living in a time of transition, that we’re encouraged—urged—to actively participate in the transformation of humanity.

emergent evolution A theory holding that completely new types of organisms, modes of behavior, and consciousness appear at certain stages of the evolutionary process, usually as a result of an unanticipated rearrangement of the pre-existing elements.

The answer is often hiding right in front of us—right inside of us.
—Journal Entry / February 5, 1988

There’s an ebb and flow of awareness driven by emotional gravitation. The tidal surges we’re beginning to feel are the inexorable onward rush of Love followed by the terribly illusive rip-currents of dread. The ebb tide of doubt and fear will slacken, and eventually cease altogether, but before that time I expect a fevered frenzy of emotive resistance when the onset of transformation is more clearly perceived by the masses. It doesn’t matter that the transformative process will be wondrous, the specter of awakening contains the seed of a memory we’ve been thoroughly conditioned to fear—the latent recollection of a wrong that must be righted before we move on with our chrysalis.

Some of us will have to provide the soothing, healing, empathetic balm of unconditional love—the guiding light of our Golden Rule—sharing and shining, all the way home.

Rest / Rest and listen / Rest and listen and learn
For the Startide rises / In the currents of the dark
And we have waited long / For what must be
—David Brin / Startide Rising

When you come to be sensibly touched, the scales will fall from your eyes; and by the penetrating eyes of love you will discern that which your other eyes will never see.
—François Fénelon

Credit where credit is due:

Ramana Maharshi’s quotation in Thinker Toys, was lifted from Yatri’s Unknown Man. Yatri’s the one who first thought of using this quotation to help illustrate Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields. The quotation fit so well into his work, it was too good to pass up in mine. Thanks, Yatri.

The idea for the chapter entitled: Leftovertures, came directly from the 1976 Kansas album of the same name (in the singular: Leftoverture). The title and the cover art still resonate in my memory, as does this song from that same album:

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher / But I flew too high

Though my eyes could see / I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think / I still was a madman
I hear the voices when I’m dreaming / I can hear them say:

Carry on my wayward son / There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest / Don’t you cry no more

Carry on / You will always remember
Carry on / Nothing equals the splendor
Now your life’s no longer empty / Surely Heaven waits for you
—Carry On Wayward Son

Remember… Respond… Restore… Respire… Resonate…

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<<< Afterwyrd | Issue Four: Connections >>>

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