Evolution and the iPhone

Linda got a new 3g iPhone and I got her less than 3g iPhone, which I have named Gigi. I have been playing with this new toy, and the idea of how in just two controls you can move anywhere. It is the same hub and spoke system that revolutionized package delivery networks. If all technology is an exteriorization of an internal process, then it looks like we are creating mandalas everywhere.

Our thinking always evolves with the technology because that is where we get our metaphorical reflection of ourselves. Think of how easily now people can say that their disk is full, or that a file is missing. It's fun to begin to mirror internal functions in externalized functions.

It's such an elegantly simple control mechanism, mirroring an internal and equally elegant process. We have a place which contains equal access to all systems, and to move from one to a different one, we have to return to neutral and select the icon. It's such a simple idea but so was the wheel. It's also the secret Alexander learned which allowed him to recover his voice when he was onstage. He discovered that in order to release a pattern from the body, you first have to move into neutral. Only then can a new pattern set itself. I'm not sure how that relates to icons, though.

What comes to mind in association with icons is the idea of archetypes, such as king, prince, warrior, traveler, thief, trickster (to use a few of masculine gender) and how each of these can be represented and selected to run a program. It is the icon which gives form to amorphous energy, the way a cutout can give form to light from a candle, reflecting an image on the wall. The amorphous source is surrounded with symbols through which the energy is filtered.

Years ago I came to understand from my studies that the source of the energy we use is amorphous. It is without any processing. My favorite story describing this idea was from Castaneda, about Don Juan and Carlos while they were having lunch in a small cafe in Mexico. The subject was the realm of the tonal and the realm of the nagual. Don Juan told Carlos that anything he could name was in the realm of the tonal, and told him to think of it as the table. There were lots of tables, but he said this table was the tonal of his particular time.

He then instructed Carlos to begin using the objects on the table as abstracts such as love (the sugar bowl of course) and god (the tablecloth, wouldn't you know). Anything he could name was part of the tonal, and it was on the table. “And what is the nagual?” Carlos asked him, and Don Juan swept his arm in an expansive gesture and said, “It’s everything that’s not on the table.”

So the nagual is amorphous, pre-verbal, a flux of possibilities as yet unrealized, like my iPhone before I select something. Once I select, I move into a confined program chosen for a specific function. I can't resist comparing this to my right brain, which deals in novelty, where nothing is true and everything is permitted, and the left brain, which runs patterns. It's zero and one again, the ring and the sword.

It’s interesting to me to watch how thinking changes with the evolution of metaphor, so that we can see, for example, the shift in metaphoric relativity from the mechanical age to the Information Age. In the last age people used gears and tools and gauges and counterweights to metaphorically engage a similar, internal, logical process. Now we are thinking with Information Age metaphors, multiple processors, icons, encryption, wireless networks, artificial intelligence, etc. If all technology is an exteriorization of an internal process, then everything we build is a reflecting pool.

The image which comes up with the reflecting pool, in this regard, is of the ancient kings who knew god because he was their size, sort of like a twin. But when god went missing he got elevated to the realm of spirit and myth, the same as when anything else moves from consciousness to unconsciousness ... marriage between first cousins for example was once the common system, but has now gone largely unconscious. It was represented by a cross enclosed in a circle, showing four quadrants, two men and two women. It was forbidden to marry into the patrilineal line, so for example a male could marry his mother's brother's daughter. This was before gay marriage and the taboos were in place to protect the bloodline.

With the expansion of exogamy it began to move out of collective consciousness, making a stop as a divine right of royals before ascending into the spiritual realm, or collective unconscious, to manifest as a yearning for union with the holy father and the great mother, as well as hanky panky among cousins at family reunions.

The first missing god report was filed in 1230 B.C. by Tukulti-Ninurta I, tyrant of Assyria, who had a stone alter built showing him kneeling before the empty throne of his god. As was pointed out by Julian Jaynes; "No king before in history is every shown kneeling. No scene before in history ever indicates an absent god."

The elevation of god to fit an empty throne -- you know how imagination can fill a vacuum with fearful images -- paralleled a rise in cruelty, as did the spread of the alphabet. Both events heralded the concentration of patriarchal power, as One defined itself in opposition to Zero. Cool. Even the way they are shaped makes them iconic of the sword and the ring. Or using a bit of imagination you can make base 10 pornography. I'm digressing.

The energy went up to the one, but promised to come back down again. I think that's just an explanation of an evolutionary process, told in such a way as to make the bleeding edges have an at least unconscious framework for the cutting edge. At least I prefer that construct to one in which I am going to be snatched off the earth and beamed aboard the Enterprise as a reward for choosing the right checkout line.

And now we are in the Information Age, and we are beginning to understand ourselves as being information. The question which comes now, to my mind at least, is, how do we navigate a seemingly impossibly large and complex array of information? I guess we just need two settings: Zero and One. Menu and Select. Left side and Right side.

The problem with moving the thought process to mirror the technology is of course mechanical thinking. It’s like trying to wean an old hippie off of tie dye. What has been true in the past was true only inside a context; it was consistent with the internal logic of a system. Mechanical thinking was entirely consistently with mechanics, and still is, and there’s no problem in that. But mechanics isn’t the containing system once more inclusive systems evolve. Truth does not survive an upgrade of the operating system.

In some strange way it seems like all that spiritual search I went through, looking for secret knowledge, was just making a big deal out of Zero and One. Get into a sword fight with the Black Knight, or the Black Night, and you are focused. Stare at the lotus blossom long enough and without words, and you move into the center of the wheel, timeless bliss, so long as you don't choose an icon and go to work.

The bad news is that neither of those places has an exit which does not lead to the other, so it’s a good thing if they see themselves as settings on the same system, instead of two systems vying for supremacy. Besides, the Captain’s Chair is in the center of the mandala, from where the Enterprise is navigated through any world for which there is an icon.

This is going to be so cool. I love evolution. It is the drive which propels us forward into the unknown when behind us the guards are trying to shoot us for deserting an old movie set. "After him! He's got Gigi."

Posted: Tue - September 2, 2008 at 05:24 PM