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the Emergence of Mid-Point "Time Consciousness"

The Discovery of "Time" as a "Continuum"





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On 9/5/04, Terry wrote:

You might find it interesting that my own instant reaction to the image displayed on http://theemergencesite.com/Tech/TI-Time-Consciousness-Moving- Box.htm was neither of the two supplied answers. Rather, my first thought would be best verbalized as, "One box leading to another and then another and so on, in succession."

Basically, the boxes registered as separate objects, while the arrows registered as pure symbols of movement.

Further, the "pre-age seven" answer struck me as odd at first while the "post-age seven" answer struck me as making sense, but not being what had actually come to mind. It seems to me like the "early" answer is purely literal, the "late" one is purely metaphorical, and my own was a mixture.

I wrote back:

Hi,

First, thanks so much for writing and for sharing your reactions.  And yes, I do find your reactions interesting. And thought provoking.

As to what you've written as far as possible interpretations to the test responses, let me start with that the two suggested interpretations I offer are, of course, theoretical extremes, opposing poles on a continuum of human consciousness. Thus, what is more important for a person to see here is to see which of the two causes the stronger reaction, this being your default state of time consciousness.

As to the personal reactions you've shared, please know that while we have never met, there is much implied even in the brief words you have shared with me, starting with the idea that you see past the "two supplied answers." You are obviously a deep thinker and a seeker of the meanings inside both life and yourself. In this I can say, "me too."

As for my thoughts on what you've written, let me start with the idea that the pre-age seven answer "struck you as odd at first." This implies that pre-seven time consciousness is not your default state. In fact, while you are absolutely right in seeing this answer as purely literal, in reality, people who see the boxes this way tend to be picturing real boxes rather than merely seeing what I've drawn. Literal? Yes. But in a very personal and creative way.

You also say, "my first thought would be best verbalized as, one box leading to another and then another and so on, in succession." This clearly says that your default state of time consciousness "tends" toward the post-seven state of time consciousness, and the word, "succession" is the key. Children before seven normally can not sense time unfolding as least as far as a "succession." They have yet to learn how. Thus, their constant battle with impatience.

What is odd though is that you mention that the boxes registered as "separate objects," this being the pre-seven answer. Here is where you've provoked my thoughts the most as, in stating this, you've offered a blend of the two states, a "mixture" as you say.

To be honest, I'd not gone this deeply into the interpretations of the continuum of time consciousness myself. I generally use the two theoretical poles as a quick and easy way to guide my explorations into a person's life, using the two possible answers to aid my searches.

What you've offered seems to go way beyond these two poles and as I think about it, seems to me to be a  "transitional" time consciousness. By this, I mean, it seems to be a combination of the two states wherein the boxes are still separate objects while the arrows represent "pure symbols of movement." This implies you see the boxes through the eyes of a pre-seven being and the arrows through the eyes of a post-seven being.

What does all this mean?

Again, prior to your email, I hadn't considered this. Now, I am guessing the obvious, that people can default to a state of time consciousness wherein their sense of "succession" is still emerging. This would place their default state of seeing the world as neither pre-seven nor post-seven but rather roughly through the eyes of an actual seven year old, time wise.

What would this look like?

Very inquisitive. Very alive. And very balanced, in fact. Patience begins to exists, but mostly while in a state of inner visual exploration. Impatience also exists, mostly when exploring "symbolic," non visual experiences such as higher mathematics and more as a tendency toward wanting to "get it quickly" rather than in the more emotional sense of impatience.

Finally, let me ask you. Would you be willing to write back and tell me a bit more as to your sense of time unfolding? As you can see, you've really provoked my interest and a dialogue might add a lot to the ways people can be helped.

Also, would you be willing to let me post our exchange on my site, anonymously, of course? I ask only in that is seems you have much to offer as a "conscious" observer of "mid-point" time consciousness.

And thank you again for writing.

Steven

Terry then responded with

Steven: As to the personal reactions you've shared, please know that while we have never met, there is much implied even in the brief words you have shared with me, starting with the idea that you see past the "two supplied answers." You are obviously a deep thinker and a seeker of the meanings inside both life and yourself. In this I can say, "me too."

The particular phrasing "seeker of the meanings" strikes me as more scientific than how I tend to feel, unsurprisingly. Is the human mind really all that measurable in the end? I'm inclined not to think so after so many attempts on other people's part to measure me, but occasionally the attempts are interesting to see.

Steven: As for my thoughts on what you've written, let me start with the idea that the pre-age seven answer "struck you as odd at first." This implies that pre-seven time consciousness is not your default state. In fact, while you are absolutely right in seeing this answer as purely literal, in reality, people who see the boxes this way tend to be picturing real boxes rather than merely seeing what I've drawn. Literal? Yes. But in a very personal and creative way.

While I saw the boxes as objects, I didn't see them so much as "real" boxes in the sense that some might mean is so much as "cartoon" boxes, for lack of a better word. This would seem to be less creative than what you appear to describe by your definition, yet I'm generally regarded as a rather creative person.

Steven: You also say, "my first thought would be best verbalized as, one box leading to another and then another and so on, in succession." This clearly says that your default state of time consciousness "tends" toward the post-seven state of time consciousness, and the word"succession" is the key. Children before seven normally can not sense time unfolding as least as far as a "succession." They have yet to learn how. Thus, their constant battle with impatience.

I was taught about time pretty early, at age five -- though I don't recall whether I really understood it right away. I think I did get it by age six, though. So be careful about making age-based assumptions...

For that matter, be careful about assuming that impatience is caused by a lack of a sense of the concept of time. Just because one knows one has to wait doesn't necessarily mean one *likes* it.

Steven: What is odd though is that you mention that the boxes registered as"separate objects," this being the pre-seven answer. Here is where you've provoked my thoughts the most as, in stating this, you've offered a blend of the two states, a "mixture" as you say.

To be honest, I'd not gone this deeply into the interpretations of the continuum of time consciousness myself. I generally use the two theoretical poles as a quick and easy way to guide my explorations into a person's life, using the two possible answers to aid my searches.

What you've offered seems to go way beyond these two poles and as I think about it, seems to me to be a "transitional" time consciousness. By this, I mean, it seems to be a combination of the two states wherein the boxes are still separate objects while the arrows represent "pure symbols of movement." This implies you see the boxes through the eyes of a pre-seven being and the arrows through the eyes of a post-seven being.

Personally, I think this is a better test of one's tendency towards literalness versus abstractness than towards default time consciousness in particular. Keep in mind that the purpose of a box is found in its existence as an object (you put things in or on them or stack them together) while the purpose of an arrow is found in its symbolic value.

Steven: What does all this mean?

Again, prior to your email, I hadn't considered this. Now, I am guessing the obvious, that people can default to a state of time consciousness wherein their sense of "succession" is still emerging. This would place their default state of seeing the world as neither pre-seven nor post-seven but rather roughly through the eyes of an actual seven year old, time wise.

What would this look like.

Very inquisitive. Very alive. And very balanced, in fact. Patience begins to exists, but mostly while in a state of inner visual exploration. Impatience also exists, mostly when exploring "symbolic, " non visual experiences such as higher mathematics and more as a tendency toward wanting to "get it quickly" rather than in the more emotional sense of impatience.

I can't say I'm impatient in that sense... but then, I *do* tend to understand concepts pretty quickly. I'm pretty good with both language and mathematics, a fact which prompts my father to expect more of me than I really think I'm capable of. Brightness plus an unusually balanced and integrated mind does not necessarily equal genius. Eesh.

Steven: Finally, let me ask you. Would you be willing to write back and tell me a bit more as to your sense of time unfolding? As you can see, you've really provoked my interest and a dialogue might add a lot to the ways people can be helped.

As far as actual life, I'm not sure what there really is to tell about my "sense of time unfolding". It's not something I really think about much. What I can tell you is how I write a story and how I feel about deadlines.

Writing a story for me is pretty much about fleshing out a rough internal outline of plot points. These plot points have an order, particularly the major ones, though some points have a firmer place in the orders than others. Time usually isn't important in the order except to the degree that it's important to the plot (this character needs time to mull this over before that can happen; that event can't happen more than a day after this event because of this factor); drama or simple intuition have more weight (though these tend to agree for me anyway).

As for deadlines... well, deadlines are a pain. Do people really think that one's best work can be summoned up at will like a computer program? Mine certainly can't; I turn out much worse results when rushed, and I tend to feel bothered by this. True inspiration in particular I find is very random. It seems to me like creativity is expected to follow a schedule for the sake of a steady flow of money, which is of course the only thing some people care about and furthermore forced on us as something necessary for our own survival if we're going to have time to do anything but survive... but I digress.

Steven: Also, would you be willing to let me post our exchange on my site, anonymously, of course? I ask only in that is seems you have much to offer as a "conscious" observer of "mid-point" time consciousness.

Feel free. :)

Steven: And thank you again for writing.

You're welcome. :)

And a few days later, I wrote back.

Hi,

Thanks again for writing. And for the permission to post what we've spoken of, anonymously, of course.

What strikes me the most about what you've written is how literal your words are and yet, how much emotion you refer to without actually stating it. I sense you feel things intensely at times. More so, not being understood for a lifetime is painful as hell. I know. I've felt this often.

As to the topic we are speaking of, of time consciousness itself, I'm not sure I can get across to you in words what I mean by the difference between pre-seven and post-seven time consciousness. I base this remark largely on your comment that you learned to "tell" time at age five. And while you are right to caution me about making age assumptions, I've made none other than to generalize this aspect of human nature and even then, only to the degree knowing this difference helps people to heal injuries and to blame each other less.

I'd like to try to put it into words anyway. Perhaps the best place for me to start would be with the word "consciousness." Thus, what I'm referring to here is that I see a great distinction between how children "sense" time, roughly before and after age seven. Here, the word "sense" is the key word.

Thus, with regard to learning to tell time at age five, while children and adults normally consider "learning" to be "the ability to parrot what has been taught" (as in "getting good grades in school for parroting back what has been taught"), I see "learning" as having consciously and personally "reinvented the wheel," especially with regard to "telling time." Said in other words, I see "learning" as becoming personally able to "sense" and "picture," on the screen of the mind, in an unfolding sense of the process, what is being taught.

How does one do this with time?

I'm not sure I'm skilled enough to even put this experience into words. Thus, while I routinely teach this distinction to the majority of people I work with, my using connected personal experiences to teach a person about time unfolding and my telling someone about what I teach about time are worlds apart.

Perhaps a story might help.

One of my fellow Emergence practitioners, Ed, had a heck of a BLock in and around managing money. By his own admission, he seemed to frequently get in trouble with money and could not see how.

Long story short, he had a scene emerge wherein he was six years old and in the teller drive-up of a bank. His parents were having him open a savings account with money he had just gotten for his birthday.

He remembers being told to put the money into a tube and that it "never" came back. His life strategy from this point on became to always spend what he had before someone could take it.

Is he different now?

Amazingly so. In fact, Ed so loves managing his money that he often remarks to others about how much he loves doing it, especially how much he loves saving it.

How does all this connect to pre and post-seven time consciousness?

The words "always" and "never" represent a pre-seven sense of time consciousness, as in "time" as an unchanging experience; as in "time" not unfolding. No surprise many children's stories involve this type of time consciousness, e.g. the "happily-ever-aftering" or "never to return" senses of time consciousness.

In Ed's case, then, the fact that he experienced the money as "never coming back" is the point. Unknowingly, and with the best of intentions, his parents had directed him to open a savings account before he had a post-seven sense of time. This experience, then, as seen through his eyes at age six, had shocked and injured him, so much so, in fact, that his ability to learn to experience money over time became BLocked.

One can only wonder how many people have experienced similar injuries.

More over, when parents expect children who still experience time in the pre-seven sense of time (children who still experience "always" and "never") to understand the post-seven of time ("time" as a "continuum"), they make a great error. For example, telling a four year old "wait 'til your father gets home" is a punishment beyond measure to a child. Why? Because in a child's sense of time, this painful "wait" never ends.

But doesn't it end when the child's father gets home?

Literally? Of course. But in the child's sense of this experience. No. Why? Because children aged four do not normally sense time as unfolding. Thus they do not normally connect life events time wise, even when they connect them logically.

Said in other words, children this young do not normally place events into an ongoing, historical, experiential continuum of time. In effect, this means they experience life events as separate and unrelated events even when they can logically connect similar life events or even moments from the same life event.

This means children this young have a difficult, if not impossible, time learning from their mistakes, other then to attach fear, guilt, and punishment or reward to them. In fact, this is what makes cognitive-behavioral therapies appeal to so many people. Since most injuries to human personality occur before people are seven, and since cognitive-behavioral therapies work primarily with fear, guilt, punishment, and reward, reframing peoples' fears and guilt with less blaming alternatives makes people feel better. Until the next time they feel the very same pain only with a more evolved, intellectual explanation.

Are they better? Not really. Not in the unfolding sense of time that is; meaning, not unless they feel better effortlessly and without overlaying logical reframing to avoid fear and guilt.

Guilt aside, what about when a child aged five or six is able to report the correct time from a clock then?

"Reporting" is not "time consciousness." It is merely "information with a label" consciousness, a type of consciousness which normally begins to appear in people in and around age two and which I commonly refer to as the "assigned meaning."

What about the "impatience" I referred to as being normally present in pre-seven aged children?

Here again, there is a great difference between "intellectual" patience and "experiential" patience; between "intellectual sequences of events" and "time unfolding." Case in point, while you say you are not usually impatient in the pre-seven sense of impatience (what I refer to as "experiential impatience"),  you say several things which imply you do feel impatience in this sense. For instance, you say:

As far as actual life, I'm not sure what there really is to tell about my "sense of time unfolding". It's not something I really think about much. What I can tell you is how I write a story and how I feel about deadlines.

Writing a story for me is pretty much about fleshing out a rough internal outline of plot points. These plot points have an order, particularly the major ones, though some points have a firmer place in the orders than others. Time usually isn't important in the order except to the degree that it's important to the plot (this character needs time to mull this over before that can happen; that event can't happen more than a day after this event because of this factor); drama or simple intuition have more weight (though these tend to agree for me anyway).

As for deadlines... well, deadlines are a pain. Do people really think that one's best work can be summoned up at will like a computer program? Mine certainly can't; I turn out much worse results when rushed, and I tend to feel bothered by this. True inspiration in particular I find is very random. It seems to me like creativity is expected to follow a schedule for the sake of a steady flow of money, which is of course the only thing some people care about and furthermore forced on us as something necessary for our own survival if we're going to have time to do anything but survive... but I digress.

Clearly, while I do not read minds nor know other peoples' emotions better than they, saying you do not normally think about "time unfolding" implies your default time consciousness is still, in my words, primarily "pre-seven." More over, when you describe deadlines as being "a pain," this does imply you feel impatience.

Thus, while I can certainly sympathize about feeling the pressure of deadlines and have felt similar feelings to you in the sense that the muses are fickle, I rarely feel deadlines as negative anymore. In fact, I often feel positively motivated by the constraints of time, an affect modern astrologers might call, feeling the beauty in "Saturn."

No surprise, the Roman god "Saturn" and his Greek counterpart, "Kronos," are the beings we now refer to as "father time."

My point?

My work; "emergence"; differs markedly from the work of others in one way in particular: that it focuses on having the "beauty" in these experiences emerge, not merely the philosophical or logical beauty but more so, the more personal, experiential senses of these life situations unfolding.

Case in point, like you, I used to hate deadlines. I now love them and feel this good feeling without effort.

Second case in point. Ed used to hate having to "manage" his money, meaning, he hated having to be conscious of his money over time. Now he loves managing his money and feels this way without effort, even to the point wherein he loves saving it.

Please note, both these life situations, by their very nature, require conscious time management; post-seven time consciousness. Thus, being able to experience time in the post-seven sense of time on these two life stages is clearly an advantage.

Here again, being able to experience this good "effortlessly" is most important part. In fact, to me, the only proof that people have actually healed a BLock is if they can effortlessly experience the good in the situation they could previously experience only with logic and will.

Just as important, too, is for people to also be able to experience time in the pre-seven sense of time, especially in situations wherein this is the better experience, for instance, when having to create a story or write a song, or while on vacation or in a classroom.

Here, then, is the point I've been trying to make with regard to being aware of the whole pre-seven, post-seven time consciousness thing: being able to consciously and effortlessly choose the perspective which best fits the moment you're in.

Thus, people who fall in love frequently can't sit still long enough to enjoy the experience. They're too busy planning the things they feel they have to accomplish, things like weddings and having children.

And people who want to and or need to learn a new skill frequently feel pressured to "get it" right away rather than enjoying the learning process. Learning, to me, is much more than being able to parrot information. It's being amazed by what you've just discovered, in a similar way to the original discoverer. In fact, to me, learning is one of the most wonderful experiences in life, similarly to creating.

Then, too, managing one's life is also supposed to be one of the most wonderful things in life. Including being able to effortlessly appreciate that things take time. And love this quality in life.

Finally, it occurs to me that you may not realize how much the intensity of things is directly related to a person's sense of how long they last. People who live primarily in a pre-seven sense of time often do not experience life events as ending. Thus, they often feel that life experiences, especially strong emotional life experiences, are very intense.

A good thing? It can be. If these feelings generate a good life. And to me a good life is one in which a person experiences the beauty in life consciously, as both unfolding beauty and never ending beauty.

Thanks again for sharing yourself with me,

Steven

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