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The Information Line

Part Two: What is "Zooming"?

moving within the range of consciousness


What exactly is "zooming?" Basically, it is just another way to refer to the way we alternate between the "small details," micro view of life, wherein we zoom in, and the "big picture," macro view of life, wherein we zoom out. Thus, zooming is simply our ability to change perspective from the little view to the big view and back. And if you are now thinking how similar this sounds to the way movie and television producers make movie and television shows, you are right. In fact, a good portion their art lies in their choice of perspectives.

Why do we build zooming into television and movie cameras in the first place? Because we model these cameras after the design of our own consciousness. In fact, zooming is what allows us to experience these movie and television shows as contiguous life experiences rather than as what they literally are: sequences of many individual frames and scene changes all spiced together.

What keeps us from recognizing that this aspect of our consciousness is important? Probably, the fact that we literally spend most of our lives zooming in and out. Also, because we can do it with so little effort and with such incredible speed.

In a way, this "not noticing" is very similar to how we do not notice that we blink our eyes. Thus, like the way we constantly blink our eyes and never notice, we also constantly change perspective and yet never notice. In fact, we do it just about every minute we are alive and yet, rarely, if ever, know it.

The exception, of course, is when people experience something which impairs their ability to zoom, such as when they take psychoactive drugs like marijuana and cocaine. In fact, one of the main things which happens to people when they take these drugs is they experience an impaired ability to change perspectives. In effect, they lose some of their ability to zoom.

What does this impairment look like? Most times, like the zoom lens got stuck. Thus, when people do psychoactive drugs, they often become locked in either the micro view or the macro view, sometimes for minutes at a time, often for even longer periods. In fact, this impairment is the main reason we experience these kinds of drugs as consciousness altering. These drugs literally alter our ability to be conscious, in that they impair our ability to zoom.

In this sense, then, psychoactive drugs actually do alter our experiences, in that they force us to witness these events either from the macroscopic, big picture view (the view some would describe as "looking through the eyes of God"; otherwise known as the "spiritual" drug experience) or from the microscopic, single detail view (the view some would describe as "looking through the lens of the great scientist's microscope"; otherwise known as the "insightful" drug experience).

Psychoactive drugs aside, though, let me now summarize what I have told you so far about zooming. In essence, there are four ideas at work here:

[1] there is the idea that we normally see things from only one of the two basic life views at a time. We normally see life either from the micro view or from the macro view, but not from both;

[2] there is the idea that although we constantly alternate between these two views, we rarely if ever notice;

[3] there is the idea that there actually are times wherein we do experience life events from both views simultaneously; in other words, there are times wherein we cease to zoom, because we can see everything without zooming; and

[4] there is the idea that while it is rare for people to notice themselves alternating between the two basic views, it is even more rare for people to witness themselves seeing both views simultaneously.

At this point, I'd like to try to help you to experience at least a little of what I have just said, and since the first two ideas are the easiest to experience, I'll start with them.

The First Two Things to Know About Zooming: We Zoom but Rarely Notice

Actually, the easiest place to start would be to have you again imagine you are in a movie theater watching a movie. Notice how you experience what you see as a continuous flow of action; as events which are alive and moving. This perspective is the macro view.

Now imagine the movie begins to slow down.

Of course, at first, the individual frames of the movie would be going by rather quickly and so, you would probably have a difficult time interpreting what you are seeing. Eventually, though, you would reach a point at which the movie was going slow enough for you to begin to see these individual frames as a sequence of many, individual pictures, each slightly different from its predecessor.

Imagine this is now happening. This perspective is the micro view.

Now take a moment to think about the literal reality of this experience. In truth, a movie literally exists both as a series of individual frames and as a continuous stream of life, and it exists as both these things simultaneously. However, although both views literally exist simultaneously, you did not see the movie from both views simultaneously.

Is there something wrong with the way you view movies or is it just the film's speed which prevents this)? No, not at all. Here, too, this inability to see both views simultaneously is simply the nature of our consciousness.

In reality, then, although both views always exist and although we can easily be aware they exist, the nature of our consciousness is such that we normally experience life events from only one of these two views at a time: we usually see our life events either from the overall view (which is the way most of us see a movie and the way we occasionally see life) or from the individual frames view (which is the way movie editors often see movies and the way most of us normally see life) but not from both of these views simultaneously.

Now before moving on to the third and fourth ideas, let's take another look at these first two ideas, especially at the second idea; the idea that we rarely notice we zoom. Please know, the exercise I am about to suggest can be a little difficult, so go slow and be gentle with yourself.

This time, you can start by considering what you are doing at this very minute. You are reading. Nothing too difficult here. This is the micro view of your current life events. (I call this view the micro view, because your reading is but a single detail from your current life experience. Certainly this single detail, that you are "reading," does not fully describe all of what you are now experiencing.)

Now if you were to imagine slowing down your current life experience in the same way in which I had you previously imagine seeing the movie slowing down, at some point, the words you are now reading would cease to be words and would become individual letters.

Can you imagine this is happening now? (Still, nothing too difficult here. You are simply zooming in toward the micro view.)

And if I had you continue to slow your experience down even further, eventually, you would stop seeing whole letters, and you would begin to see the individual strokes which make up these letters. In other words, the more you zoomed in, the more detail you would see. Still with me?

And if you were to continue zooming in, at some point, you would begin to notice that the strokes which make up these letters are actually composed of very small dots, dots which are so small we normally do not see them.

Finally, in theory, if you were to then continue this process, examining what you are reading in finer and finer increments, the more you divided your experience (the more you zoomed in on the details), the more detail you would discover, and this process would continue all the way out to infinity.

Go slow now. Infinity is too big a detail for our limited minds to comprehend. Why? Because we can not picture it. And what we can not picture, we can not consciously comprehend. Here again, there is nothing broken here. This limit is just one more aspect of the nature of our consciousness.

What do we normally do, then, when we exceed the limits of our ability to be conscious? We turn around and zoom in the other direction. And if we wanted to do this here, we could just zoom out. What would this entail in real life?

Actually, all we would need to do would be to take a moment to examine the previous exercise. (Go, slow now.)

In the exercise you just did, as you zoomed in, what happened to your ability to comprehend what you were reading? Of course, what happened was, the more you focused on seeing the small details, the more you lost your ability to understand the big picture; meaning, the more you zoomed in, the more you lost your the overall sense of what you were reading.

And as you continued to zoom in, what happened then? Literally, the more detail you saw, the more of the big picture you lost. In fact, eventually, you even lost your ability to understand the exercise itself.

Now at this point, please realize that losing your sense of the exercise itself is normal and that there is nothing wrong with you. You simply attempted to reach beyond the limits of your ability to remain conscious. How? In a sense, you zoomed in so far on the details of what you were reading that you reached a point at which your view was so small it was too big to comprehend. Translation. You view became infinitely small).

This idea, that of "so small it was too big," is one of the great paradoxes of human consciousness, and this aspect of consciousness is clearly represented in the accompanying diagram on "zooming." Here again, though, rather than examining this paradox or the diagram, let's stick to the topic at hand, which is how zooming affects our ability to experience information.

OK. I started this exercise by having you notice you were reading and then I had you zoom in. As you zoomed in, what happened to your ability to understand my points about zooming? And what happened to your ability to understand how zooming relates to consciousness and information? OK. Now look further.

As you continued to zoom in, what happened to your sense of what brought you to be reading this paper in the first place; in other words, what happened to whatever motivated you to even be examining these ideas in the first place? Are you getting lost again?

If so, please just take a breath. Now, please note that everything you just did directed you more and more toward the macro view. Also, please note that what I just asked you to look at are things which you are not normally aware of any of, even though none of them should come as a surprise. Why?

Because being aware something exists is not the same as being conscious of what it means (more on this later).

Thus, despite the fact that we are easily able to see when we are zooming, especially when someone brings this to our attention, we normally do not notice when we zoom. Further, despite the fact that both views always exist, at no time during this exercise were you moving in both directions at once let alone seeing both at once. Thus, you were either moving inward toward the finer and finer detail of the micro view or outward toward the larger and larger scope of the macro view. But at no time were you moving in both directions simultaneously.

The Third and Fourth Things to Know about Zooming:
Sometimes, Without Knowing it, We Stop Zooming (We See Both Views Simultaneously)

Let me now move to the third and fourth things to know about zooming which, admittedly, are a bit more difficult to help you to experience. Here, I will be trying to help you to see that there are times wherein we experience both views simultaneously but never know it.

This time, the exercise is, try to imagine you are a famous scientist, someone like Einstein or Newton. Now imagine that a moment ago, you discovered something so big, you already know it could change the whole world. At the same time, you can also see all of the ways this discovery could be used, the thousands of ways this discovery could change the way we live and understand life.

Is this too hard to imagine? If so, try this. Try to remember a time in which you fell in love, with anything or anyone. Perhaps you could recall a moment in which you fell in love as an adolescent. This love could be romantic love or it could be the kind kids sometimes feel for a teacher or a hero. Or you could try to recall a moment in which you fell in love with an idea, something like being a parent someday or getting married or landing your dream job.

Now consider how experiencing any one of these events could, or did, affect both that single moment (the micro view) and the rest of your life (the macro view). And consider how highly conscious you would have been, or were, in the middle of one of these events, both in your sense of the macro, big picture view of life, and in your sense of the micro, small details view of life.

This simultaneously heightened awareness of both views is actually what allows people to make these discoveries, regardless of what the discovery entails. It is also one of the two things we must be able to do in order to see the actual nature of consciousness. And the second? First views, first.

Here again, notice we can easily be aware that both views exist simultaneously and yet still not realize we are experiencing both. Further; and this is very, very important; because both perspectives always exist equally and simultaneously, both perspectives are always equally valid and equally true.

How can both views be equally valid and true?

Because each view is literally the perspective of ONE WHOLE WORLD, either the whole physical world view or the whole spiritual world view. And yet, each whole world also comprises only one half of our existence. This means each view is equally valid and true

Said in other words, from the mind's perspective (from the conscious seat of the physical body), life is a series of many separate and distinct moments, similar to the way the many individual frames of a movie make up a whole movie. In the same instant, from the heart's perspective (from the conscious seat of the spiritual body), life is one long continuous event, wherein everything blends into and affects everything else, and this is similar to the way we experience the many individual frames of a movie as one continuous experience. Finally, from the holistic perspective, both of these views are accurate and equally valid and true.

What is so amazing to me here is that we do not usually recognize that these two views even exist let alone that they are equally valid and true. Yet, despite the fact that we are normally unaware these two perspectives exist, these two views, the micro life perspective and the macro life perspective, form the foundation of the two most significant life perspectives we have; the scientific perspective and the spiritual perspective. What I mean by this is that, the basis of all scientific experience is the breaking down of life experience into individual moments; into individual waves of experience; while the basis of all spiritual experience is the blending of these individual moments into one continuous ocean of experience.

What is important to see here is that, for the most part, and without ever noticing, we alternately experience the illusion that life is ONLY a continuous stream of experience (our spiritual world experience) or that life is ONLY a rapidly progressing sequence of individual moments (our physical world experience). Then, because we mistake this illusion for actual reality, we rarely, if ever, recognize the times wherein we experience life in both ways in the same instant.

Here, then, is the main reason why the two that are one is so hard to experience consciously: we are programmed to view life from only one of the two primary life perspectives at a time. In a sense, we are programmed to see life as a two that are two, as two possible choices, each made one at a time. Further, because we are normally so unaware these two views even exist, we rarely, if ever, realize we sometimes see life from both life perspectives at once.

Why mention how difficult it is to experience this concept anyway?

First, please know, I, in no way, mean to discourage anyone. I simply hope that if I point out that we have this blind spot in our natures, that people will not mistake what I am saying as obvious and therefore, unimportant.

This said, let me go back to my definition of the two that are one: that there are two worlds, two bodies, and two languages, and that all these things exist both separately AND together in the same space and time.

How can these things exist both separately and together in the same space and time? Let's begin with the bodies and languages.

The Information Continuum Menu

[1] the "Two That Are One"
[2] Zooming
[3] the Ocean Metaphor
[4] What is Information?
[5] Points of Interest
[6] How Information Wounds

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