Shinkai by Seth Moris
(The comic was made using photo manipulation via an app called Half Tone 2, and is no where near as difficult or as demanding as drawing actual comic panels or graphic art, so my definite props goes out to all those graphic artists out there who can do this stuff better by hand ~ Seth Moris)
I live in a world that is constantly bombarded by advertisement, both overt and subliminal. It funds media, and is spliced through and through. Every advertisement is an attempt to change your mind, to catch your attention, to alter a view. This wouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t for the fact that the mind is the brain from another vantage point. Essentially, every attempt to change your mind is an attempt to change your brain, physically through the neuroplastic connections in your brain.
Now, before you get all worked up or use this to validate some sort of Orwellian doom-saying, keep in mind this is the reality for psychical beings. We live in a world of ideas, symbols and of mind, and we are affected by ideas, symbols and mind. It is hardly a malevolent conspiracy and probably has far more to do with humans being social beings than anything else. The fact that symbols, letters and speech can physically and psychically (two vantage points of the same thing) change a human being is a necessary part of being able to communicate and to be able to pass on wisdom. Most people would hardly view it as a form of mind-control for an experienced person to warn a novice about impending, unforeseen dangers. Such an act of communication does surely impact the brain/mind, but also for the good of the ‘group’ involved, if they are co-operative. The medium itself is neutral, neither ‘malevolant’ or ‘beneficent’ by itself. It must be programmed by the person using gestalt-manipulation for their own ends. The question becomes one of motive.
Far removed from human pro-social groups is the idea of advertisement. You may be getting the idea that it is some sort of board of evil old men in business suits sitting around with cigars, chuckling about how they are taking over the world, but the truth seems much more…boring than that. Businesses and corporations are made out of people, but I think it would be incorrect to say that humans actually directly control them. It seems that they take on an emergent property after you add enough specialization and humans to the mix. In the end, the corporation is run on algorithms, and the humans are merely following out the orders of math. They do ‘what makes sense’ in a business. They want to make money, and more of it than last year. In a way, even though the businesses themselves are made out of individuals, and highly chaotic beings (such as humans) the overall structure of it is quite primordial and crude, almost like a giant amoeba. So when its decided that making advertisements would benefit the business, its hardly the decision of a board of evil masterminds. It goes through a chain of command, and is done for a reason that makes sense in the sphere of existence that is that mathematical entity, the corporation. Humans are merely interchangeable parts in the vast super-organism that is a corporation or a business. If someone is fired, or quits, or dies, there is almost always a replacement. It is out of the hands of most people in a corporation to have any affect on whether or not the business actually dies out or not. In short, the advertisement is just the end result of a huge machination, and that machinations relation to other giant machinations, so we can’t exactly simplify it to being a few ‘evil’ people.
That being said, there is a source of ‘mind/brain changing” that is fired upon us with no empathy, and (you guessed it) it comes from these inhuman mathematical super-organisms. Not because they are evil, but because they are the furthest thing from being human (even though they are made up out of humans) and thus could be said to be ‘alien’. What serves a corporation or a business does not necessarily serve humanity as a whole, and does not even necessarily serve the humans that the corporation is made up out of (though arguably the most successful ones would take care of their own humans). From out of these monetary titans comes gestalt-manipulation on scales never before seen or possible for humans in the past.
Some people hate to watch commercials, I watch them on purpose. I like to dissect them, I like to purposefully notice the things within them that were intended to not be noticed. I like to notice the paintings and bookshelves in the backgrounds of commercial actors, where nobody looks, and see what paintings and what books they are. I like to take note of the lighting and the colors, and of the type of people and how they are dressed in the commercial. Every commercial is intended to change something within a certain percentage of people, probabilistically, and I like negating their intended purpose to take up my psychic air-time by dissecting them to the point of being silly. The net of memes, viral campaigns, mottos, slogans, branding, logos and theme songs are an effectively concrete aspect of our reality. Pepsi flags, Coca-Cola cults. They exist like a virtual overlay over simple matter, project from our minds, and where do you think the seeds of such projection came from originally?
Effectively the over-saturation of advertisement and gestalt-manipulating media has created a ‘mnemonic web’ or overlay that exists over what we would consider physical reality. Nudging people to associate stimuli together until they end up being at the beck and call of external stimuli, or at least marginally changed by it.
But instead of trying to combat it, to take it down, why not subvert it? The work is already done, and these psychical monoliths stand over the horizons already. All attempts to ‘take down’ these corporate mnemonic webs have proven futile, but re-programming them or de-programming yourself from their influence remain viable and useful. The monetary super-organisms have already shown far more signs of being ‘alien’ and ‘inhuman’ and technically a type of ‘neutral’ than ‘evil’, so why spend a lifetime trying to destroy what you cannot destroy, and even can get benefit from? Does one break the wild horse, or shoot it because they can’t get it to yield? What am I talking about?
Hijacking the advertisement overlay, with your mind. Without breaking the law, without destruction of property, you can effectively utilize a mnemonic web bigger than anything else we’ve ever had and use it to your own ends. It just takes association re-programming. Instead of associating a commercial for Pepsi with thirst or a sugar high, force yourself to focus intensely on some ideological, practical, philosophical, or psychological concept. Change it so that every time you see a Pepsi commercial or the Pepsi coloration, the Pepsi logo, your brain doesn’t do what they want it to do, and instead use that time to remind yourself of something. Maybe to remind you of your True Will? Maybe to remind you to do a reality check for your lucid dreaming experiments? Maybe you could associate a universal archetype to subway commercials, or attach the Three Poisons of Buddhism to McDonalds, Fox News and Wal-Mart. Go nuts.
The idea is that by focusing intently on something alternative to the intended ‘point’ of an advertisement, logo, etc, that you get a giant ‘reminder’ system for free. Like a wake-up call at a hotel, or having your own disembodied personal assistant. Through the power of mental alchemy you can transmute a web meant to coerce you into buying stuff using emotional appeal and gestalt-manipulation into a way to re-shape your phenomenological existence.
~ Seth Moris
Hand with Reflecting Sphere
“How very paltry and limited the normal human intellect is, and how little lucidity there is in the human consciousness, may be judged from the fact that, despite the ephemeral brevity of human life, the uncertainty of our existence and the countless enigmas which press upon us from all sides, everyone does not continually and ceaselessly philosophize, but that only the rarest of exceptions do.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines lucidity as the following-
I won’t bore you by going in depth about the subject of lucid dreaming, there is more than enough information about it on the internet and I wouldn’t be able to cover it as thoroughly as I might like; suffice to say the experience was life changing. I had been laying in my tent on a sunny late summer day, eyes closed and repeating a self-made mantra and visualizing a chasophere. I was not sleepy one bit, I had decided I wanted a lazy day (was exhausted from walking around with all of my possessions on my back) and my friend whom I was traveling with had gone off on a mini-adventure. Tiggle, my dog, was curled up around my feet and without any amount of tiredness left in me after a long nights sleep and a morning nap, I managed to slip directly into a lucid dream state after what was probably a couple of hours of complete stillness. I ignored the aches, pains, and itches that my body flung at me to test whether or not I was truly ‘asleep’, and suddenly where there was only blackness there began to be hypnagogic imagery dancing on my eyelids. Soon after that, I began to see my arms in front of me and just as vivid as real life, out of the darkness came a ‘scene’ in which I was sitting in a cafe with a random guy I had met at a festival months beforehand and wasn’t particularly friends with. I could ‘feel’ my body laying down in the position I had been in, in the tent. When I tried to move my arm, just like I do in waking life and with a sense of that arm being in that tent by my side, my new virtual reality arm moved around instead. I mucked around for a little bit and ended up getting so excited by the lucid dream that I woke up.
This would be the first and last time I lucid dreamed for quite awhile. But I had proven to myself that not only could it be done in general, but that I myself could accomplish a lucid dream. When I returned to my home state and settled back into the domesticated life (to whatever extent that I have) I started having an interest in lucid dreaming once again, due to seeing the topic brought up in a variety of online groups and forums. I tried to replicate my lucid dreaming experience in this housed life. Things did not go according to plan. I found it not only immensely more difficult to lucid dream for me in civilized living conditions but it was also much harder to recall my dreams. The beds were too soft. I slept too soundly. I didn’t have to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the sunset. I could indulge in late nights thanks to electrical lighting, so on and so forth. When I had been traveling, sleeping out in the wilderness and off the road kept my mind alert, kept it vigilant and focused. It was at that point I realized I didn’t understand lucidity. That moment of having a W.I.L.D had shown me that I hadn’t really had a grasp on what it was exactly, I couldn’t point to it in myself and go “Aha! Lucidity!” except for after the fact.
But now I had a piece of evidence, a phenomenological snapshot of what lucidity was. Those moments leading up to and after the W.I.L.D experience were not the normal states of mind I was absorbed with day to day. They felt ‘focused’ like a magnifying lens angling into a hot dot of sunlight on a dead leaf. It took finding that focus to realize that day-to-day and even in the life of a transient (where I was certainly more vigilant than in a house) I was not generally speaking ‘lucid’ during the day, either. Since I had completed a sort of ‘pass/ fail’ test of lucidity, that slippery mental concept, with the W.I.L.D. I could finally see what lucidity was not. And I was that not lucid far more than lucid, even while awake. I had the illusion of lucidity while awake, which was promptly shattered.
I realized that part of the reason I had such a high failure ratio for my lucid dreaming attempts was because I was not a very lucid individual at that period of time. I had gone from living outside to cushy indoor beds and sinks and stoves. It was intoxicating in its luxury compared to sleeping on the ground and cooking with stick fires and scavenging food. The softness of the situation had made it even easier to forget myself, and lose lucidity. I realized that meditation would be instrumental in the honing of this ‘lucid focus’, and began working backwards from lucid dreaming into such meditations. I had never been into meditation very heavily, and was quite the amateur at this time. I had a hunch that the lucid feeling I had experienced right before my W.I.L.D, which felt very much like an altered state of consciousness, might be brought about by zazen meditation. After much practice, I found I was correct. The mental state I was getting into after much practice of zazen was indeed the ‘focused lucidity’ preempting the virtual reality experience.
But the identification and distillation of what ‘lucidity’ was hooked me like an earworm. I was caught in a net of mystical/philosophical questioning. I had found not only lucidity, but also automaticity. Without lucidity, our actions are reactive and automatonesque. Defining lucidity had forced me to define the lack of lucidity. I now believe the mind has a way of tricking a person via autobiographical memory to give the appearance of semi-consistent ‘lucidity’ where there is mostly an ocean of automaticity.
And even more concerned I became with the idea that to be lucid in a dream, while perhaps more fantastic seeming than being lucid while awake (lucidity which is a fundamental aspect of volition, or will) was a shadow, a mere hint of the possibilities that a lucid waking individual possesses around them. I believe to be awake and lucid bears even more power in the waking reality than lucid dreaming bears power in dreams. Life is not an “on-the-rail’ shooter , or at least it doesn’t have to be. If you walk through life non-lucid, you are so much dust on the wind, a biological tumbleweed.
Play it like a sandbox. Stay lucid.
~ Seth Moris