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On with the Expedition Briefing

No Middle Ground

Either you saw the 3D image or you didn't.

You had the experience or you didn't have it.

There is no middle ground at all. No "Well, I didn't exactly see it but I know what you mean."

Describing the 3D image will not give you the experience of seeing it.

What words would suffice to describe what Wade felt when he first detected the cave wall in the fiber of the music?

The  This Magic Sea section of the Thread of Awareness Web puts words and images to a relationship some people can perceive - the thread of awareness that lies beyond the horizons of our normal perceptions.

This section, Thread of Awareness, is a series of experiments to educate that ability.

As with Wade's experience, or the dolphin's discovery millions of years ago, it is up to each individual to have the experience. The experiments set the stage for  the thread of awareness to come into focus. When it does, it is exactly like a 3D image suddenly emerging from the relationships in the random dot pattern. Like the image of the cave wall suddenly emerging from the music. Like a whole world emerging in the mind of the dolphins from their own voices.

Imagination and Perception

What you need to avoid, is trying to imagine the Thread of Awareness instead of seeing it.  People just learning to see a 3D random dot image often ask what the 3D image looks like. It does not help to know in advance that the pattern in the stars is a concentric wave pattern. (I put some more images in the escape file if you are interested in more stereo images). You see it or you don't.

3D random dot images are one thing. The Thread of Awareness is another. It isn't something you see by adjusting the focus of your eyes. You see it by adjusting your mental viewpoint to see relationships, webs of communications, instead of things and objects. You see it by moving your mental viewpoint into different aspects of your internal and external environment. And when trying to "view" the internal relationships of the workings of mind.... well, let's just say that there is plenty of room for imagination to cloud the issue.

Be careful not to let your imagination substitute for having the experience. Or worse yet, prevent you from having the experience.

A Common Secret

The Thread of Awareness in Chaos is hardly unknown. Thousands of people have experienced it, written about it, spent their lives investigating it. There is even, now, a branch of science dealing with it called Cognition.

The curious thing is that civilization keeps loosing the thread. Over and over again. It seems to vanish from our collective understanding. I've noticed that people who have 3D random dot image posters on their walls quickly tire of seeing the hidden image and the poster becomes just another random pattern on the wall. In the same way, we are delighted and astonished when popular authors, like Lewis Thomas Lives of a Cell, The Medusa and the Snail, reveal portions of the Thread of Awareness to us. But the message seems to fade even as we put down the book.  Lewis Thomas pokes fun at the problem with his story "Scrambler in the mind." Gregory Bateson, in his book Mind and Nature, a necessary unity wonders why so many people have tried and failed to understand this experience.

I think there are three reasons the vital and essential Thread of Awareness experience is difficult to have and even harder to maintain.

  1. The first is  what I call the conspiracy of the inner self. This inhibits investigations into the thread of awareness and keeps people from focusing on the subject.

  2. The second reason is that the Thread of Awareness weaves mind itself. The closer we try to examine it, the more difficult it becomes to separate our perception of the Thread from the phenomenon of perception itself. At the highest resolution we are what we are trying to perceive, with no mental mirror to see our own reflection, no psychic camera to photograph our awareness.

  3. The third reason is, we are wet-wired to perceive objects and things, not the relationships, energies and information flow creating the "objects" or our perceptions. We did not even know we were made of cells 150 years ago and it was not until the 1930's that scientists realized our cells were independent little animals that could and did move around and do all sorts of amazing things. It was not until the 1950's that we understood the structure of DNA and how it functioned. So humanity's earlier experiences with the Thread of Awareness were, unsubstantiated, circumstantial, mystical, occult.

Forbidding Control Systems

The transition to understanding is hampered by our existing mental models. Especially by the words we use to build our mental models. Not just our every day language, but our specialized languages in both science and religion.

Words are directly linked to our most basic set of convictions - the conviction of a real world "out there" made up of distinct objects as separate "things." We name the objects we touch, hear, eat, taste, smell, run from and after. Our perceptions and our words are cued, tuned and timed to our perceptual abilities. We watch a series of still photographs projected at 24 frames a second and see a moving picture. Even if we could bring ourselves to do it, we could watch a blade of grass all day and never see it grow. We have perceptual limits and these impose themselves on our belief systems - our basic convictions - and form our "viewpoints."

Edward DeBono is one of the leading thinkers about thinking. You should check out Parallel Thinking and Water Logic, if you have not read these books already. He says we set up our system of thinking on a foundation of circular logic. Whatever new experiences we have get "tested" against our convictions. Obviously we have different convictions for different topics, but generally, we establish a basic set of ideas that form our understanding of what the world is all about, and how things work. This is fine, nothing wrong with a few good convictions to measure the world around us with. Most of these ideas are a bit shaky to start out with and get stronger and stronger as we test them and use them again and again. Just as an athlete or artist improves their talents by repetition.

The problem is, once we've got convictions, we have a hard time with new perspectives. If the words or images even come close to our basic convictions they are mentally transformed into some variation of our previous viewpoint. This prevents having an entirely new experience and understanding.

The other divers in the water with Wade did not "perceive" in the new way until Wade asked them to try. If they only imagined they were having the experience, they would discover their error the instant they swam into the cave wall. It's different when dealing with The Thread of Awareness in This Magic Sea. There is plenty of room for imagination and no real boundary to run up against to tell you if you have ventured into the realm of imagination.

The next problem, once you do have the experience of perceiving the Thread of Awareness, is explaining your experience to yourself, or anyone else. You are stuck with your own vocabulary, your own internal models of reality, your basic convictions that serve you so well from day to day.

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