Sunday, December 16, 2012

Synesthetic Noetics: Cognition vs. Intuition

Intuition                                  Cognition

“The Noetic Quality, as named by William James, is a feeling of insight or illumination that, on an intuitive, nonrational level and with a tremendous force of certainty, subjectively has the status of Ultimate Reality. This knowledge is not an increase of facts but is a gain in psychological, philosophical, or theological insight.” - Walter PahnkeThe Psychedelic Mystical Experience in the Human Encounter With Death

“Although contemporary neuroscientists study “synesthesia”—the overlap and blending of the senses—as though it were a rare or pathological experience to which only certain persons are prone (those who report “seeing sounds,” “hearing colors,” and the like), our primordial, preconceptual experience, as Merleau-Ponty makes evident, is inherently synesthetic. The intertwining of sensory modalities seems unusual to us only to the extent that we have become estranged from our direct experience (and hence from our primordial contact with the entities and elements that surround us.):

'…Synesthetic perception is the rule, and we are unaware of it only because scientific knowledge shifts the center of gravity of experience, so that we have unlearned how to see, hear, and generally speaking, feel, in order to deduce, from our bodily organization and the world as the physicist conceives it, what we are to see, hear, and feel.' (Merleau-Ponty)" - David AbramThe Spell of the Sensuous

"Hallucinogenic discourse, both of scientific and “recreational” nature, faces a similar rhetorical dilemma as the rest of the ecstatic traditions it responds to: It must report on an event which is in principle impossible to communicate. Writers of mystic experience from St Teresa to William James have treated the unrepresentable character of mystic events to be the very hallmark of ecstasies. Hallucinogenic discourse faced a similar struggle in the effort to report on the knowledge beyond what Aldous Huxley (and Jim Morrison…) described as the “doors of perception.” - Richard Doyle, "Consciousness Expansion and the Emergence of Biotechnology" in In Semiotic Flesh: Information and the Human Body

Note: Volume II of my "Synesthetic Landscape" series is now available for purchase (softcover, hardbound with wrap-around cover, and pdf versions).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Beneath the Surface

"In a photograph, if I am able to evoke not alone a feeling of the reality of the surface physical world but also a feeling of the reality of existence that lies mysteriously and invisibly beneath its surface, I feel I have succeeded. At their best, photographs as symbols not only serve to help illuminate some of the darkness of the unknown, they also serve to lessen the fears that too often accompany the journeys from the known to the unknown." - Wynn Bullock

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Boundless Sea

“The hidden well-spring of your soul
must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea; 
And the treasure of your infinite depths
would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to
weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your
knowledge with staff or sounding line. 

For self is a sea boundless and measureless. 
Say not, I have found the truth, 
but rather, I have found a truth.
Say not, I have found the path of the soul.
Say rather, I have met the soul walking upon my path.
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, 
neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself,
like a lotus of countless petals.” 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


“There is no ideal in observation. When you have an ideal, you cease to observe, you are then merely approximating the present to the idea, and therefore there is duality, conflict, and all the rest of it. The mind has to be in the state when it can see, observe. The experience of the observation is really an astonishing state. In that there is no duality. The mind is simply - aware.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Nature of the New Mind

Time's Arrow

“Time goes forward because energy itself is always moving from an available to an unavailable state. Our consciousness is continually recording the entropy change in the world around us. We watch our friends get old and die. We sit next to a fire and watch it's red-hot embers turn slowly into cold white ashes. We experience the world always changing around us, and that experience is the unfolding of the second law. It is the irreversible process of dissipation of energy in the world. What does it mean to say, 'The world is running out of time'? Simply this: we experience the passage of time by the succession of one event after another. And every time an event occurs anywhere in this world energy is expended and the overall entropy is increased. To say the world is running out of time then, to say the world is running out of usable energy. In the words of Sir Arthur Eddington, 'Entropy is time's arrow'.” - Jeremy Rifkin, Entropy

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Familiar Paths

“The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around.” - Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

Monday, December 10, 2012

Collective Unconscious

“My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.” -  Carl Gustav Jung

Friday, December 07, 2012

Universal Flux

“There is a universal flux that cannot be defined explicitly but which can be known only implicitly, as indicated by the explicitly definable forms and shapes, some stable and some unstable, that can be abstracted from the universal flux. In this flow, mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of our whole and unbroken movement.” - David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Nothing is as it appears

"Know all things to be like this:
A mirage, a cloud castle,
A dream, an apparition,
Without essence, but with qualities that can be seen.

Know all things to be like this:
As the moon in a bright sky
In some clear lake reflected,
Though to that lake the moon has never moved.

Know all things to be like this:
As an echo that derives
From music, sounds, and weeping,
Yet in that echo is no melody.

Know all things to be like this:
As a magician makes illusions
Of horses, oxen, carts and other things,
Nothing is as it appears."

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Catalytic Geometry

"Why is geometry often described as 'cold' and 'dry?' One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line... Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity." - Benoit MandelbrotThe Fractal Geometry of Nature

"Life emerged, I suggest, not simple, but complex and whole, and has remained complex and whole ever since—not because of a mysterious √©lan vital, but thanks to the simple, profound transformation of dead molecules into an organization by which each molecule's formation is catalyzed by some other molecule in the organization. The secret of life, the wellspring of reproduction, is not to be found in the beauty of Watson-Crick pairing, but in the achievement of collective catalytic closure. So, in another sense, life—complex, whole, emergent —is simple after all, a natural outgrowth of the world in which we live." - Stuart Kauffman, At Home in the Universe

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


“Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience -- to appreciate the fact that life is complex.” 
- M. Scott Peck

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Rhythmic Silence

‎"The power of quiet is great. It generates the same feelings in everything one encounters. It vibrates with the cosmic rhythm of oneness. It is everywhere, available to anyone at any time. It is us, the force within that makes us stable, trusting, and loving. It is contemplation contemplating. Peace is letting go - returning to the silence that cannot enter the realm of words because it is too pure to be contained in words. This is why the tree, the stone, the river, and the mountain are quiet." - Malidoma Some, Of Water and The Spirit

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Wakeful Dreaming

"Those who dream of the banquet, wake to lamentation and sorrow. Those who dream of lamentation and sorrow wake to join the hunt. While they dream, they do not know that they dreaming; and only when they awake do they know it was a dream. By and by comes the Great Awakening, and then they find out that this life is really a great dream. Fools think they are awake now, and flatter themselves they know if they are really princes or peasants. Confucius and you are both dreams; and I who say you are dreams - I am but a dream myself." - Chuang-Tzu