Civilized societies, which began perhaps around 10,000 years ago, make up less than one percent of humanity’s presence on the planet. Prior to the gradual emergence of herding and farming communities, over 95% of humanity’s existence was spent as small-band hunter-gatherers. As the neocortex grew, with its astonishing capacity to create inner images not present to the senses, abstracted images filled human consciousness, pushing aside nearly all ‘other’ ways of knowing and relating. As abstract knowledge grew, so did its power to enchant. We lost track of what the mind is doing and assumed the image is real. Reification created a false virtual reality, mistaken as real, in which past knowledge, culture, personal identity, and ego, with their implicit conflicts, dominate. Technology magnified the excluding nature of this virtual reality, amplifying and broadcasting it simultaneously around the world, capturing humanity in a homogenized Global Brain, that is dominated by an easily manipulated artificial reality.

While technology creates the appearance of exponential expansion and change, the conditioned nature of thought and imagination, and therefore culture, identity, and our manufactured reality, continue to enchant human consciousness, excluding what physicist David Bohm described as ‘infinite potential.’ As a fish fails to perceive water, humanity hypnotized by conditioned thoughts, knowledge, and technology fails to see that it is enchanted, blinding us to the larger creative context that made thought and memory possible. The direct experience of this ground, or living context, with its infinite, unconditioned potential, breaks the reified enchantment human consciousness has been caught in for thousands of years. Awakening from our self-imposed dream, we see that the mental images we create are simply images, including the images we have accepted about ourselves, our core identity. With this ‘insight’ our identity shifts from the image to the ground. This shift resets the default state of the mind, how we perceive and relate to everything.

Perceiving directly, and the insight this experience reveals does not emerge or depend on concepts, past experience, or existing knowledge. While these influences till the soil of the mind, and therefore how each may conceptualize insight, this direct perception, and self-world changing experience arises when concepts, past experience, and existing knowledge are suspended, absent, when attention is empty, the conditioned is silent.

Without the direct experience that we are the ground, the ground being nature with its infinite entangled potential, and not an image, the abstracted, disembodied, virtual reality thought creates is all there is. Thought is then assumed to be the master, not simply a powerful tool. This direct experience that we are the ground changes profoundly our core identity, the nature of what we think, and perhaps more importantly, how we perceive the function of thought and its creative potential. The well-known observation that ‘a problem can’t be solved at the level of the problem’ becomes crystal clear. Thought, creative imagination, and existing knowledge are then used in the service of the ground, which is what we actually are, which is empathic-entangled life, not an abstract image of self or culture.

Awakening from the false dream-identity that language and culture imprint, ‘dominion’ becomes responsible for, not control and domination over. This fundamental reset of the default state of human consciousness is the evolutionary step that will save us from technocracy before we forget forever what we actually are. Our challenge, not to be underestimated, is modeling this awakened state as normal and natural, thereby imprinting it as spontaneously as our children learn to walk and talk. And doing so when we and most children have near-zero direct contact with nature. Easier said than done.

This fundamental shift demands an incisive understanding of what thought is and what it is not, thereby negating thoughts excluding nature, opening the doors of perception to states of mind that are now missing, to our true, explosive, and infinite creative potential for wholeness. Our challenge is to invent new ways that this awakened identity can become the new default state for humanity, which begins with each of us, as living models for children. Without this flip, thought has no governing context. Goethe’s Sorcerer's Apprentice is the archetype. It is up to us to find ways to embody and imprint this newly awakened state in children before humanity morphs into its technologies. As Emmerson observed in the mid-1800s, ‘the weaver becomes the web.’

My New Year's Resolution

Michael Mendizza