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On The Art of Writing Questions

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of June 5, 2006

these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor."

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Gary S.]
  • What is pride?
  • How do I learn to write experientially?
  • Is being connected to the Muse a Layer 10 event?

Do you know?

[Question 1] How does writing tap into the conscious mind in ways that verbal communication does not?
You ask deep questions, Gary (grin). And to find answers to deep questions, we must start with deep maxims. So start with this.

Start by remembering how we define consciousness. We define "consciousness" as "the skill of picturing movement." Or said in other terms, consciousness is "the skill of picturing change."

Now move to the first part of your question and apply what the maxim. The question then becomes, "how do writing and verbal communication each tap into the conscious mind?"

My answer? Quite honestly, I know of no easy answer. Why not? Because as personality theorist David Magnusson of Stockholm University might say, we are all Holistically Interactive. What I think he means by this is that, human nature is neither totally organized nor totally chaotic. In other words, we each have within us patterns which organize our natures, both interpersonally and intrapersonally. However, all these systems interact with each other. Thus, while the patterns themselves do to some degree limit the possible interactions, there is still a heck of a level of complexity at play here.

So am I saying there is no answer to your question? No, I am not. I am simply prefacing my answer with that there is no simple literal answer, as both written and verbal interactions can involve all of our senses. Thus, both may, in theory, tap into every part of our conscious mind.

Is this true in real life though? Probably not. For most people, then, writing probably taps into more of the conscious mind than speaking. Why? Because writing generally places people in more than one role.

Said very simply then, speaking is the act of being a speaker. Writing is the act of being both a speaker and a secretary to this speaker.

Now add to this the idea that most of us are more self conscious when we write than when we speak. This in and of itself tells the tale. Or at least the bias. Why? Because saying we are more "self conscious" is just another way to say we are tapping into more of the conscious mind.

As for the details of how this occurs, I'd say it probably does not matter really. It matters only that we know what we do. And that we use this knowledge to improve our writing. And speaking.

[Question 2] I keep going into shock whenever I try to come up with questions. How do I get past this painful Catch-22?
[Answer] Ironically, by asking, you have already begun to get past this very thing. How? For one thing, by noticing how you go into shock. For another, by stating out loud your desire to get past this BLock.

What I'm saying it, if you can name it, you can heal it, and if you can name it as it is happening, you are already well on your way to healing it.

Applied to what you've asked about asking questions then, if you can notice how you react in the times wherein you are trying to come up with a question, then you can begin to heal this problem. How? By focusing your attention on finding the exact moment in which you lose your ability to picture.

For instance, start by finding a time, before you have asked a question, in which you can still picture. This time defines the pre-wound boundary.

Now find a time, after you have asked a question, in which you can again picture. This defines the post-wound boundary.

Now picture these two points on a timeline, with the focus on the space in between the lose-the-picture point and the regain-the-picture point. You have now defined the BLock.

To make this process even more effective, you might try doing it on paper. In fact, seeing these two points drawn out on a piece of paper can very much help you to heal this BLock. Why? Because in the language of Emergence, these lines become "the lines around the hole." And since the "hole" is the injury, these lines define your injury.

Now use what you have defined to help yourself to heal. While trying to come up with and asking a question, begin to visually fill in the hole. You can do this either by working forward from the begin-to-go-blank point, or by working backward from the begin-to-be-able-to-picture-again point. In either case, the goal is to fill in as much as you can from each end of the hole.

Know also that you can fill in this hole with any visual material that comes to mind, including even ridiculously absurd stuff. For instance, you can picture me standing right behind you complimenting your efforts with a big cheesy grin. Or you can picture a group of children delightedly waiting for your next words while picking their noses.

If you just laughed, you just healed a bit. And if you can picture and laugh, you have healed a lot.

Finally, remember that emerging from an injury often requires multiple sessions for the same "hole." In other words, don't be discouraged if this takes several sessions. In addition, remember to note, and visually explore, any and all scenes which come up during the healing process, taking special care to not do this part alone.

What I'm saying is, being both one's guide and the explorer, while possible, is not the easiest way to do emergence. Nor is it the best way. So do yourself a favor and remember to ask for help.

[Question 3] If writing provokes memories of painful events, can it be used as a tool to catalyze emergences?
[Answer] Absolutely. Especially if the writing focuses on defining the "hole." In fact, I have often used either story boarding or narrative writing as the means to get at what has been hidden within a BLock. Some times, I even use both methods sequentially, usually drawing first, then writing about what I've drawn, then refining the drawing with what I've discovered.

Note that here again, what you are doing is you are drawing the lines around the "hole"; meaning, you are looking to define the limits of your injury. These limits get defined not by limits in functional ability but rather, by limits in visual ability alone. This is why we say, "what you can see" is the symptoms, while "what you cannot see" is the wound.

Said in other words, the wound is the "hole," and the symptoms, the "lines around the hole."

[Question 4] To me, writing seems to be a solitary exercise even when done in the presence of others. Can you truly be connected to another person while writing?
[Answer] If you are asking about connecting while in the literal presence of another person, then, yes, I agree. Writing is a solitary act, even when done in a group of people. However, there is more to connecting that just the literal act.

Thus, I believe we do our best writing while we are connected to someone else; traditionally, to the person to whom we are writing; to the "listener." So while we may be unable, for the most part, to remain connected while writing to the others in our presence, we will do our best writing only while connected to the "listener" in our minds.

This makes learning to be aware of the "listener in our minds" one of the most valuable skills a writer could ever develop. And nurture.

It also means good writing may not be a solitary exercise at all.

[Question 5] Is being connected to The Muse considered a Layer 10 event?
In reality, yes. The Muse is considered to be a Layer 10 event. However, we generally see the Muse as a "being." Thus, although "inspiration" is a Layer 10 event, connecting to the personification of this inspiration; the Muse, is a Layer 9 event. And in case I may just have confused you, realize that the best things in life occur while we are connected in both Layers; 9 and 10.

This is the experience of knowing a soul mate. Or of being in the Garden of Eden. In other words, it is the "pre-birth" state; the experience of "being connected to another while you both are connected to the divine" state. The "sharing the beauty in nature with a loved one" state.

[Question 6] I can't picture doing this exercise without feeling tortured and ashamed. I know that I want to love writing. But this is just intellectual mumbo-jumbo. How do I learn to love the writing process experientially?
[Answer] The simplest way is to focus on learning to see the beauty in writing questions. And to, in an ongoing way, personally monitor yourself for when you lose your ability to see this beauty.

What I'm saying is, recognizing the absence of beauty is simply yet one more way to find a BLock or BLocks.

What then?

You could begin by trying to picture yourself at the beginning of this exercise. Try especially hard to find a visual pre-injury point wherein you are actually having fun, even if this does not involve actual writing.

Then look for the visual post-injury point at which you can again have fun. Again, it need not include writing.

Now draw a timeline which defines these two points. Visually draw it, even to the point wherein you might draw yourself, as a stick figure, some where on the line.

Now explore the blankness between these two points, paying particular attention to any and all scenes or ideas to which your mind feels drawn. No pun intended. And as the medical doctors say, take this remedy five times a day as needed.

All kidding aside, know you will heal. I am certain you will. We just do not know when. So don't give up before the healing happens. And remember. The thing you have not been able to see is usually not too far. Most times, it's right in front of your nose. Be consistent with your efforts and patient with yourself and you will heal.

[Question 7] If we use "why logic" to explain missing pieces, and if the essence of "why logic" is to blame, then are there any explanations that are not blaming?
[Answer] There are many non blaming explanations. Every thing which explains how human nature works is non blaming.

Thus, if we ask people "how do you feel?" and they answer, "I am angry," then we have simply asked them to describe some part of their current nature and they have answered. No blame here.

But if we ask this same question but voice it as something like, "Who made you angry?" then we are asking people to point to some person who caused this anger. Or if we ask "what made you angry" and they explain how someone disrespected them, then they are blaming their experience on this other person.

Know that what I just wrote can be interpreted in many ways, some of them blaming and some not. Moreover, learning to tell blame from non blame can require a heck of a deep effort. After all, we are all programmed by nature to use blame to explain our suffering. No one needed to teach us this either. It is simply a part of our nature.

This means that in order to see past our blaming excuses, we must learn to see past our own natures. Not an easy task. Nor an impossible one either.

Where could you begin? By realizing that just about anything we humans are capable of feeling can have an almost infinitely complex root source, including every single life event we and everyone else has ever felt. Singling out one cause out of all this complexity is like attributing the cause of some particular cloud to a single source, such as to that some certain wind made it happen. This wind may have had a part in making the cloud, but so will the sun and lack of sun for influencing the wind, and so on.

On the other hand, we do have a nature, meaning, we do have patterns which limit the possibilities. This makes learning to see ourselves making these blaming excuses as they happen the best way to learn to see past them.

And what is the best way to learn to see these blaming excuses as they happen? Learning to recognize ourselves, in real time, over and under reacting. Then what? Realize that when we over or under react, we are simply reliving the past or experiencing a yet to be lived future.

How does this help us to see past blame? Because the true nature of all over and under reactions is that they are our responses to our BLocks. Knowing this then allows us to "allow for the possibility" that what we are certain we see happening is only a flawed vision at best. This then allows us to set aside what we feel certain is the source of our pain long enough to search for the real source of this suffering; our blocked visual ability.

As for the typical blaming excuses; things like "you did that to me because... ", these kinds of ideas; that things can be attributed to a single source, are simply reductionist ignorance. And cold hearted finger pointing. In life then, these kinds of blaming excuses seem to hold special appeal for the more scientific types, for instance, for aloofly scientific psychologists. Nonetheless, these cause and effect explanations are so far from being a comprehensive truth as to be worse than no having explanation. Particularly when you are trying to heal a BLock.

Finally, as for what I've just said about "aloofly scientific psychologists," please know I believe with all my heart the thing that Jesus is said to have spoken as he died; "Forgive them for they know not what they do." And while I am certainly no Jesus, knowing it natural for human beings to blame whenever they cannot picture helps me to believe in, know, feel, and live this saying as the truth.

[Question 8] What is pride?
[Answer] There are generally two kinds of pride; "unconscious pride" and "conscious pride." Unconscious pride is also know as "hubris," while conscious pride is simply said to be the "authentic" kind of pride. What's the difference?

My favorite dictionary describes the conscious kind of pride as believing in or recognizing one's own worth, as in modest or right sized self esteem, satisfaction, and having a realistic sense of one's achievements. They also describe the unconscious kind of pride as conceit, vanity, arrogance, and egotism, all of which have to do with something over done.

Here, then, is the key to knowing the difference. Pride which is right sized; neither over done nor under done, is authentic pride. Pride which is either over done or under done is the inauthentic kind of pride. And if you refer back to the previous answer, you'll see I've spoken about "things being over done or under done" as a way to find your BLocks.

Finally, if you recall the Christian idea that there are "Seven Deadly Sins," you know that pride was one of them. But if you want to see past the blame inherent in this idea and see through to the truth in it, you have but to consider a life lived without each of these things.

Life without occasional lust is a life lacking in romantic passion. And a life filled with confusing demands from your romantic partner.

Live without occasional gluttony is worse than having anorexia. And a life lacking in one of the best of life's pleasures; sharing meals.

Life without occasional envy is a life lacking in material motivation. And a life disconnected from what others want and work for.

Life without occasional sloth is out of control work-a-holism. And a life with no vacations and no appreciation for the time off you earn by working.

Life without occasional jealousy means your relationships will lack reassurance. And feel lifeless and old.

Life without occasional greed is to live without ownership. It is a life without boundaries, nor a sense of what is owned by others.

Finally, life without occasional pride is a life without self appreciation. And a life with no measure of one's own self worth.

My point. The "Seven Deadlies" done in good measure are what I call the "Seven Necessities." We need each and every one of them to be a happy, healthy human being. More over, neither over done nor under done, they are some of the best things we can experience in life.

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