Friday, March 6, 2009

A creative writing and mental cleansing exercise

A creative writing and mental cleansing exercise

I’ve noticed that this modern society is very much into “cleansers,” usually for imaginary “detoxing” reasons, including the puzzling popularity of “colonics.” Well, detoxing and cleansing are of course worthy and important concepts in general, so here are a mental and spiritual cleansing exercise. Its purpose is to help people realign themselves into a more realistic perception of actual life and prudent separation from the depressive and paranoid imaginations that moderns now suffer from (and inflict on each other). This is also part of the faith and reason case studies, with a focus on regaining more authentic reasoning capabilities. Since it is a creative visualization exercise, you can also use this is part of my series on creative writing and arts exercises that focus on reality to provide positively imaginative and cutting edge creativity.

The basic premise of this story, this visualization, is that we are going to think of a scientifically and realistic, factual way to determine what actually happened each day in human history. In this story the reason that such a capability is created is that humans have lost the ability to look on their own past with any balance and reason. Here is an example of the problem. Some people are fascinated by ancient Indian cultures, such as the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans, because they consider certain segments of their culture to be either “cool” or “enlightening and mystical.” Thus they think that because there are certain cultural developments in their pagan mythologies and supposed forecasting of world events and so forth through their calendars that are exciting, mysterious and cool that the whole society had undue merit. By “undue merit” I mean that rather than just appreciating that they were fellow human beings who raised children and did the best they could, they are given, by some people, a numinous elevation in their importance. In fact, this elevation obscures the very unpleasant facts of their bloody torture and sacrifice of thousands and thousands of innocent people, including infants. As schools have become less judgmental and more “politically correct,” young people are less exposed to the mundane realities of human history and as a result turn to the imaginary entertainment media and other “soothsayers” who focus on the “cool” parts of human history and ignore the rest. This has led modern society into an awful mess and the ability to reason for millions of people has been polluted and damaged.

So let us suppose that there is a factual and scientifically valid way to take someone who has such a viewpoint, put them into a room, and turn on a television that allows them to see what actually happened on any given day in, let’s say, an Aztec city. This would be an actual viewing of the minute by minute genuine activities as they occurred. So there would be many hours of footage of watching people just do their day to day lives, raising children and slogging and toiling in the fields.

Here is the scientific principle of how this would work. It is important to understand that there is a way that pure factual science could in theory provide this capability. It is important to have a factual and scientific approach as part of the mental cleansing exercise so that one does not imagine that “aliens” or “seers” “provide” this “gift.” It is that mindset, both conscious and unconscious, that has gotten society into this dire mess of toxic mentality. So here is the science. Most people know that we are able to see and hear things because energy is reflected and/or emitted outward where the ears and the eyes then “catch” that energy and therefore perceive what is happening. We also know that the light continues onward into space. This is how we see the stars, because their light travels long distances until it reaches our eyes. Many jokes have been made on this principle that imaginary aliens will someday receive the first beams of our first television programs and enjoy (or puzzle over) “Howdy Doody” and “I Love Lucy.” So using that scientific principle, let’s take it a step further and build a system where not just television and radio waves but all waves, light and sound, are picked up in space to provide a real time image of what was happening on the surface of the earth.

So imagine that a million light years from earth (the distance that light travels in a year) we had cameras that were so powerful that they could collect the light of everything that was actually happening on earth, and so refined that they could detect down to the individual human or animal’s activity. In other words it is like installing a powerful traffic live cam except the events have already taken place and these cameras are positioned far enough out in space to collect all this light. Similarly microphones would be installed so that all sounds that were ever emitted were captured and matched to the visual images. This is, of course, where the science breaks down since all light and all sound is not preserved indefinitely nor are they powerful enough to actually live on in space. If you drop a book in your house the people on the street do not hear it because the sound waves do not travel farther than the walls of your home. But for the purpose of this exercise, let us assume that it is possible to gather all of the light and sound waves that were ever emitted on earth and view/listen to them as a genuine live stream of what had actually happened minute by minute on earth.

Thus one could take an Aztec admirer and put him or her in a room that receives these transmissions and they could watch and see and listen to any particular day of events in a given location in that time. So the viewer could flip the dial and watch a selected location on a selected day. Remember, they are not “back there” “in time” as if in a supposed “time machine,” they are simply watching, like on TIVO, what had actually happened in the past.

Nothing would restore mental balance and sanity faster. Anyone could watch day after day of reality, the boring mundane existence of people who had to labor for the food that they ate. However, one would also see that the one joy that people had was their children. People could watch day after day, year after year of this “television into the past” and essentially observe as it happened the reality that life was difficult compared to today in that everyone had to labor long hours just to survive, growing their food, building shelter, obtaining water and heat and raising their children. People could then also observe that children were the one gift that everyone had and valued… children were the treasure that even the poorest could “afford.” Such observing would take the glamour out of the few minutes of prurient and occult activity and perception of the culture as a whole, and restore the luster of understanding that through the generations it was children that were the goal of all of day to day human activity. Children were the reward for living, and rich and poor both agreed and were able to share in that common perception of the priority of life.

Thus one could restore through this television into the past a dose of the day to day reality as it occurred, not as compressed summaries or sound bytes of the exciting and mysterious “bits.” Further, one can then debunk the mystery of how things happened. One would see that no alien spaceships arrived to “give” the Aztecs or the Mayans “their calendar.” They could flip the channel and watch those who worked on those labors scratch their heads and observe phenomena that they did not understand (such as the stars), and then assemble the “facts” of what they saw into theories of world view. We could see if maybe the calendar turned out the way it did because King Freddie the Stubborn was in charge and the palace astronomers knew that he wanted the calendar to turn out a certain way. We could see that maybe one of the court astronomers is nagged by his hag wife and thus is in a bad mood whenever he works on the calendar. He thinks it is funny that he carves one of the snake gods to look like her. And then flipping the channel the observer could see how very uncool the roundup of the month’s bloody sacrifice of village people really was.

So using this television into the past people could book time in the television room to see what really happened in life in the past. It would serve two purposes. One is the obvious exciting ability to see what is true. For example, one could dial in and see the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One could see that slaves built the pyramids, not freaky aliens who flew in on a ship and told the slave masters what to do. So with the television into the past one could settle all sorts of debates about what actually happened and what did not. But more importantly, and you may not believe this but it is true, the second purpose would be to observe how human life is like watching paint dry. It is NOT about the supernatural and human power mongering moments that occur in a period of moments or days, or during the reigns of forgotten despots and kings. It is about millions of people at a time walking around doing what they have to do to survive in a day, and build a society where their children can at least live and eventually thrive.

This is why such a capability is so detoxing and mentally cleansing. It would counteract and refute the over stimulated and distorted “sound byte” and “visual byte,” say nothing of the “enlightenment byte” that has polluted modern faculties. Nothing would restore genuine balance more than watching, oh let’s say a million years, of early humans walking around picking berries and roots, hunting for animals to eat, finding caves to live in, and raising their children, and that’s it. A day of viewing would reveal exiting things such as what prehistoric animals existed and how humans got by in such a difficult life, but quickly one would see that the real message is the “typical day:” drink water where you can find it, lapping it like an animal, dig for roots, pick fruit, eat some leftover animal kill, shelter from the sun and from predators, carry your children. What an exciting “direct TV” package that would be! One could watch millions of days of people trudging along trying to survive and valuing their young (that’s their young, such as their children, not their youth, such as the lack of wrinkles).

One could see, as I mentioned, that Jesus Christ really existed. One could also watch the real Buddha sit under the real tree. One could see the miracles of Jesus, including, of course, his resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. But the television would not ultimately give one faith in God, of course. All one can do is see and believe the reality of God’s prophets. One could look down on the Israelites and see the great Theophany of God on Mount Sinai as they did, where God descended like a thunderous cloud and appeared to Moses alone. But of course watching the real events does not infuse faith into one’s heart thousands of years later. That is the whole point of the scriptures: you have to have actually been there to feel that full infusion of belief. The Apostles repeatedly explain that in their writings that they saw all of this with their own eyes and participated. One of the early Church fathers wrote about people who had seen Jesus and been cured by him still being alive and witnessing to the reality many years later. When one is part of the day to day one receives the full infusion of belief because you are part of the reality. But even the most perfect TV that allows one to look back in time, even in the side by side minute by minute way, cannot give the same fullness of infusion of impact of the events and the faith that is engendered as having actually been there and participating. That is the entire point of genuine history: you study and believe the people who were actually there.

So now I’ve created almost a longing for this past TV capability among you, I would guess. That is a good thing even though it cannot be technically fulfilled. That craving can be satisfied as it always was traditionally, until these modern dreadful times, which is through study and discernment of the facts, using faith and reasoning. There is a plentitude of literature by those who lived, for example, during the time of Jesus, the decades after Jesus, the hundred years after Jesus, and the two hundred years after Jesus. Moderns can actually read the facts of what people said, saw and believed and then decide on the impact on their faith. Instead we have people running around thinking that either nothing can be believed or everything can be believed as having actually happened, or worse, “could have happened.” I’ve pointed out in this post and other previous postings that there is a vast difference between the facts of real people who lived and existed, such as Jesus Christ, the Buddha, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and giving equal credence to writings that are mythologies (such as the fictional Greek and Roman pantheon of deities) and even worse than that, not reading any of the facts of who lived and what happened and making up by pulling out of one’s own mind and paranoia imaginary scenarios of “aliens” and so forth.

Sane thinking and sane living involve this order of progression:

1) Read and study factual accounts where they occur, whether writings or scientific records, such as fossils and geological formations.
2) Identify correctly those productions of humans that are pure imaginary that are done for cultural reasons and thus have value, of course, but are not factual.
3) Develop theories (called “hypotheses”) for the missing gaps, for what is not understood, but starting with the firm foundation of what is known and what can be reasonably inferred and deduced.

This used to be the way that individuals, groups and societies used to think and perceive reality. I am horrified to the very roots of my hair at how fewer and fewer people think in a clear, cleansed and factual way in these dreadful modern times. The imaginary has overthrown and distorted the reality.

Why has this happened? The obvious two reasons are that prosperity has separated too many power brokers from the reality and tempo of actual life, life that used to center around survival first and prosperity second. The second reason is that entertainment media has taken over the thought process of the vast majority of people, also the result of prosperity. People no longer value facts and reasoning, all they care about is “imagining,” “escapism” (which then becomes their new and horrible reality) and artificial or extreme sensation seeking. Any given hour of modern media gives more stimulation than an entire year of actual life would have among even the Aztecs. That is what has been totally lost in the modern psyche and what our theoretical “past TV” would provide the instant cure for.

So what do we do? We have to get back to genuine reality of perceptions within a reasonable tempo of life. Humans never lived in a time where our children, for example, can experience a daily diet of overstimulation. Even in the most dreadful times of war, for example, in human history, the vast majority of people had to plod each day to the fields to tend to the crops, their herds of animals and their children. No human ever experienced a daily or even a monthly or yearly diet of over stimulation as do our children and adults in just one hour of video games, television viewing, celebrity antics or the news, which contains so much that is dreadful. I’m not calling for censuring, but rather an understanding of times that have passed. It used to be, when I was young, that one could go a year without hearing about, for example, a father or mother killing their entire family. Now one cannot go through a day without hearing another example. I’m not saying that the news should not be reported, by using this example. I am pointing out that the news all by its self is over stimulating because of these events in these awful times, so why in the world is fuel being added to the fire of overstimulation on top of the sad reality? As I said, even in the worst of human times no child or adult experienced a relentless hour by hour day by day exposure to tragic real or imaginary over stimulation. Even work has become combative in modern times, with people having warlike analogies for their every day activities.

Think about that. If you could watch our “past TV” you’d notice that it’s not like the Smiths who grew corn on their acre imagined “marketing war” with the Jones who grew barley on their acre. Rather, even the Bible documents rules for how farmers should lend each other their tools. Yet we have corporations who are structured in totally warlike “free market competition” and individual “competitiveness” (look at the torture of the “human resources” departments with their “performance review system”) and you’ll see what I mean. I've spent years in corporate America and it is unrecognizable from where it was in the 1950’s where one could be competitive on one’s own initiative rather than competitive based on principles of looting, torture and war.

If you watched our “past TV” you’d see that generation after generation tried to do better for themselves and their family, not compete, loot and over stimulate. Farmer Smith would hope that next year he could extend his field another few feet in one direction in order to fit in another row of corn, and thus do a little better. Farmer Jones would hope that she could extend irrigation to another part of her field, and thus ride out times of low rain better. They didn’t plot against each other and instead they supported each other. Their kids did not go home believing that aliens talked to bug eyed Egyptians and played video games of how many they could slaughter. Humans simply are not meant to be as they are today; they are not meant to be like the moderns are today either spiritually or biologically, as “past TV” could show what kind of lifestyle and outlook humanity is evolved to be part of. Humanity is meant to be in a reality based incrementally improving standard of living that is individual, family and community based, punctuated by moderate stimulation as needed (times of crisis, sports, adventurers), and all revolving around one’s treasure of investment which is children, the present and the future.

To summarize, therefore, “past TV” would provide the following mental cleansing:

1) It would remind people that factual evidence exists to discern between what actually happened and the imaginary works of humans.
2) It would remind people that there is a tempo of life that people emerged and evolved into, and have now totally lost in the vast parts of modern society.
3) It would starkly demonstrate that modern humans have become paranoid and combative by their own choice and thus the imposition now of society, particularly modern workplace and “entertainment” ethos and that such an attitude never existed in even the most pained and troubled times of human history.

It is of the most desperate importance that everyone, individually and in our systems such as schools, return to a reality based process of learning and thinking. I hope I’ve provided one small but helpful visionary tool, where people can once in a while stop and think, “What would ‘past TV’ show us about what actually happened and how people genuinely lived?” You will develop a much refined and truer taste for everything, from intellectual to entertainment, if you do this, without losing any of the benefits and pleasures of genuine imagination, including for diversion.

What a mess.