Artistry in the Information Age (A Primer)

Op-Ed by Hassan Zaman

Shores of Space-Time

In this new age, innovations in traditional perspectives on the mechanics of reality brings concepts like space and time under re-inspection. The perceptivity by which human beings navigate reality has largely been informed by an Issac Newtonian mode of thinking, establishing a foundation for the natural sciences during the Scientific Revolution, beginning around the 14th Century. The world has been unequivocally tumultuous since, with its ample compounding of warfare and social growing pains throughout the 20th Century. This transition into our burgeoning age of information—emboldened by its evolutionary strides in civility, technology and research—is an opportunity to transparently apply what we’ve learned through the guises and polarities of his-story. The implications of deepening and broadening purviews on the faculties of reality (featuring the integration of ideas in quantum science, and the Western popularization of Eastern wisdom traditions like yoga or Buddhism) prove markedly revelatory, with the inherent potential to considerably mitigate the constrictions of a stringently Newtonian worldview. 

Transitioning into this current millennia with information at our fingertips, it’s the interplay between any and all ideas which will foster the vanguard. Perhaps, the most essential quality of the Information Age is its interdisciplinary nature. In considering an interplay between scientific advancements and wisdom traditions, for instance, artistic expression in modernity can be deeply affected, both paralleling and being indicative of humanity's spiritual evolution (Doctor Eamonn Healy gives an evocative soliloquy on the telescoping nature of this evolution in Richard Linklater’s 2001 film, Waking Life).

Monkey Sense, Monkey Do     

Big-R Reality is a notion submitted by 19th Century philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegelian Reality is sentience as it is experienced by an individual, subjective point-of-view.

With the individual’s Reality in consideration, we can confront synchronicity, highly regarded in some spiritual communities, as the phenomenon in which one experiences events in-concert with one another in meaningful ways (read: serendipity, divine timing or the musicality of life). It's in highlighting Reality that we can invite synchronicity as a valid mode of perception, in alignment with reality's inherent mechanics. Though to embrace this invitation requires, within at least some degree, a commitment to neutral awareness—an objective, nonjudgemental and open temperament in experiencing perceptual information (not to mention the disassociation from, or deprogramming of, cultural conditioning, societal standardizations and other superficial or arbitrary valuations). This is to propose, that in order to more adeptly comply with whatever the fundamental mechanics of reality actually are, that human beings cultivate purviews which at once welcome and integrate information so that it is conducive to the process of expanding and evolving conscious awareness.

The Hundredth Monkey Effect is a phenomenon which illustrates that an advantageous behavior can proliferate throughout a community without explicit instruction. A population adapts behavior as a critical mass of beings within it become tangentially cognizant of it, choosing to adopt it simply by virtue of being a facility which is conducive to individual wellbeing (Further substantiating this phenomenon is Rupert Sheldrake’s study of Morphic Resonance, observing how ideas—i.e. energy, frequency and vibration—can permeate throughout communities by sincere and persistent practice). This is a significant realization to integrate: that elegant thought-patterns or behavioral solutions to environmental challenges can be introduced and spread throughout communities by the Doing—by the Being

Soul of the World  

Contrarians of spiritual ideas, like synchronicity (or the clairsentience that could be implied by Morphic Resonance), might argue that these ideas cannot be explicitly qualified by the physical senses within three-dimensional space-time reality, and are therefore inherently negated. It’s implied that identifying with Reality exclusively through a Newtonian worldview will easily perpetuate delusions of separateness. It's academically staid to claim allegiances between polarities within dualistic concepts (like dark and light, evil and good, anarchy and order, et al.), subtly perpetuated via society and culture over our lifetimes. But dualisms do have their implementations on the journey. It’s just under the guise of “concepts” and over-identifications with either/or polarities that our perceptual clarity (i.e. wisdom) becomes diluted.

The individual's own realization of truths can be integrated as insight necessary throughout the process of evolving consciousness. By intersecting and playing with ideas, we develop grander perspectives, and elevate a unified consciousness as a preeminent innerstanding of the divine, wholistic-happening of existence (the “on-going wow”, as Speed Levitch put it). Embracing conscious awareness as such cultivates a more luminous and fulfilling conduit between the savage dimension of our human condition, and the creative expression through “the better angels of our nature”. In film or photography, for example, pictures are the captured reflections of happenings as space-time...

As technology and the internet refines (especially quantum computing), and the species gravitates towards singularity, insistences on separations will dissolve, and the fundamental nature of Being will illuminate itself. In realizing the spirit inherent as all experience, we remember and recollect that the seen and the unseen commingle as wholeness (as the Soul of the World, as Paolo Coelho might describe it). 

Crafting Experience

From our new age vantage, we can declassify and reunify art, science and spirituality as to dissolve notions of disparate disciplines. We may learn to appreciate that perceiving any bit of information as distinct from another is just a way-post on the journey to embracing and participating in One-Whole, evocative experience of Being anything at all.

Given these myriad insights on the cogs of conscious awareness, the human experience can become considerably less foreboding, and far more welcoming to what is fundamentally spiritual inquiry and cultivation. It’s in commingling and harboring intimacy with multiple disciplines, which the Information Age affords us access, that our species can continue to navigate, alchemize, collaborate and evolve. We can integrate energies to become more whole, building a purview which embraces unity consciousness as the pervasive axiom. 

The idea of Maya, deriving from Eastern wisdom tradition, signifies the existence of inherent illusions in our perceptions of (R)reality. We may ruminate on ideas as tools with which to decipher, contend with and transcend layers of illusion. Your Reality is a refraction of divinity. All that you experience is a reflection of your Universe. Nothing is disconnected, and evolution is always happening. But whatever your conscious awareness on these matters, remember this: the Greeks said, “gnothi seauton”. 

Hassan Zaman is a writer living in Rochester, New York, USA. Tweet him @_hzaman.