Like Relativity theory is essential to Physics, Awareness Intelligence guides a new understanding of the mental world. Contemporary issues such as health risks, conflicts, and inequality do point to a single most critical cause: Unawareness of lack of awareness. Awareness Intelligence is a specific constellation of ‘awareness about awareness’ and represents the break-through decoding of a socio-temporal structure of the human soul. The tripartite socio-temporal matrix of Awareness Intelligence provides for a mental reference system that empowers for spiritual exploration and practical application of meaning, love, and compassion that is teachable to anybody for increased well-being, organization thriving, and the common good alike.
Thanks to dedication and a multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and inter-generational approach, the discovery and deciphering of Awareness Intelligence has become possible. Logically derived, mapped to ancient wisdom, and supported by practical contemporary examples, I explain why it’s time to shift perceptions in fragmented spacetime to intelligent thought patterns in so-called ‘humantime.’
This painting is a suggestion for the symbol that could represent the novel term and concept of Awareness Intelligence™. It’s time for a new understanding of awareness, instead of maintaining old and incomplete notions of it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said more than a hundred years ago that history should be banned from school. I agree in the sense that the common issue of glorifying the past and using it to legitimate and reinforce established power structures, for example in politics, is hindering real improvement. The world needs new solutions to old problems. A spirit-based awareness to overcome ego-based identification is needed. Rather than closing down for victories, humanity needs to open up for progress. Just because things are our culture, they are not necessarily good. Good is what increases awareness.
For the original research and related articles about Awareness Intelligence, you can visit www.mathias-sager.com
In the US, one in six persons currently takes a psychotropic drug. In Switzerland, around one in ten regularly consume prescribed antidepressants. This population is a minority; all the others manage to live without, and so can you.
Modern psychopharmacology began in 1950 with the synthesis of chlorpromazine. Only from then on, the industry started to produce, patent, and market its invented/categorized types of diagnoses and related pills. Remember that before 1950 you most likely would have been considered mentally healthy.
The psyche is more than the bio-mechanical brain, and only you know what’s in your soul (again, which is not to be reduced to the physiology of the brain). Why should mood, way of thinking, and motivation be possible to be “repaired” by a so-called soul plumber (in German: Seelenklemptner) who is even not addressing the soul?! Shouldn’t psychological challenges be resolved psychologically (and psycho-spiritually) instead of chemically?!
You don’t have to compare yourself anymore with your friends who are all so super successful, happy, and beautiful (according to today’s conventional notion). If you don’t aspire for the hedonistic treadmill of advertised consumption-based happiness, you will realize that you might already be happier than you were made to believe.
That you feel down might not be a genetic defect to be corrected with a pill. Prenatal, childhood, and everyday stress (see also point 3) is the main risk for affective disorders, such as depression and even Schizophrenia. Stress also affects the immune system, which is central to the nervous system and the brain’s health. Have you ever thought of reducing stress in the first place?
Antidepressants are prescribed too quickly as remedies for possibly only temporary periods of low moods that are hastily diagnosed as clinical depressions without a holistic (biopsychosocial) understanding of the situation. Antidepressants are often hardly more effective than placebo, according to the latest studies (e.g., the 2019 study of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Kopenhagen). The world is how you see it, and the treatment that works is that which you believe in. Can you think that learnable mental strategies might be healthier and more effective than pills? I know that you get the medication subsidized by the health insurance company, while the learning to control your mind and to understand the soul has to be borne by yourself. Become more independent, invest in yourself instead of in pharmaceutical companies! Such self-efficacy is a huge reward in itself.
Almost more likely than a positive effect is unwanted considerable side effects that can irreversibly persist even after stopping taking the medication: These side effects include sexual dysfunction, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, and sleep disorders.
Being in control is highly satisfying and a key factor for one’s well-being. So, do you want medically enforced distancing from your emotions, and therefore allow the obscurification of your mental faculties that are disabling the possibility for self-reflection with a clear mind? Observing in an accepting and learning attitude how a lousy mood dissolves anyway might provide the lessons to unlearn learned helplessness and enable self-help and personal growth.
Are you against (synthetic) drugs? Then follow through. How about learning to “be high on your own supply?” There are plenty of possibilities like breathing techniques (the most fundamental function of the body that impacts all its workings), exercising, creative expression, nature exposure (e.g., cold water -> no pain, no gain! :-)), and especially thoughts and acts of kindness.
As with maintaining physical hygiene, it can be good in the mental world to dust off old and prevent new pollution from anxious thinking. Desires for security and the associated fear of loss darken the mind, which leads to defense, exclusion, hatred and aggression (incidentally, ignorance and avoidance are also passive forms of hostility). Have you ever tried a media diet and stopped listening to all the bad things that tempt you to take external measures (e.g. pills)? During a news detox, you will soon feel better and begin to take care of yourself instead of acquiring external effects that are supposed to do that for you.
Life is proving us constantly that peace is possible to the extent human awareness is embracing it. Consequently, if all the world is scoped-in for ambitions of peace, a peaceful world indeed becomes attainable. An awaria can come through the dissolution of the illusion of separated and separating personal and societal identities, which would not be bounded together by life across times. It will be a future world in which all human beings are aware of their shared awareness of life. Thanks to intelligent awareness, the relational and temporal modes of life will be better understood, accepted as an essential truth, and consequently being acted upon for individual well-being, collective thriving, and the common good. Awarian life is possible thanks to the systematic and continuous practice of Awareness Intelligence, the chief liberating and humanitarian enabler of a new age.
There are lucrative business cases behind the emerging possibilities in new technology such as smart devices, the internet of everything, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. The intentions of the humans who are creating and utilizing technology are determining how technological progress will look like. What is clear is that technology follows the mindset of investors, developers, and users. How virtuously technology will serve humanity depends on how people grow in their awareness. Never will technology lead or replace the natural, non-artificial intelligence of nature (see also #awarenessintelligence) that is the direct expression of the life force itself. The appreciative study of the human mind, therefore, should be the absolute priority of all undertakings.
Having learned English, French, and Japanese while living and working in different cultures, and as a global citizen, psychologist, and artist, languages (words, images, and the heart) are vital for me every day. Research into the psychology of language, or psycholinguistics, has helped better understand the mental aspects of language and speech with new and innovative implications on how we approach learning from a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral level.
Language organizes thoughts
You can perceive the world with your five senses and experience feelings and emotions without words. However, Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed that “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” which I find accurate. What if everything is just “cool?” Reports from people losing language as a result, for example, of brain tumors, evidence that when they cannot describe the world with words anymore, it essentially remains unchanged and, for that matter, unchangeable. Grasping, developing, and changing concepts requires analysis and interpretation of reality, which is accomplished through structured language. Only through organizing one’s thoughts can we fix ideas, reflect on, and monitor them. This inner, explicitly linguistic thinking enables consciousness to become awareness (for my differentiation between consciousness and awareness, see https://mathias-sager.com/2021/05/02/soulfires-flames/). Unfortunately, blissful quitting of thinking in meditation or distractions seems to be more in vogue than thinking critically about one’s thinking; for me, the main challenge of humanity. Again, we may think without language, but language lets us know that we are thinking.
The language of images
There are around 7000 languages spoken in the world today. However, there are many more different languages like specialty languages (e.g., computer languages), sign languages, even smell, and the language of images and music. As an artist, I have a visual vocabulary, which sometimes is not translatable to any words that I’d know. My inner speech while painting often isn’t either in German or English, but purely of images. I love to switch to the mode where I utter thoughts with colors. As my paintings and accompanying texts illustrate, the artistic language of colors, forms, and textures is more direct, compact, shorter, and faster than the concepts described in words.
I like that my artistic language for me is more independent from socio-cultural conventions. Although language helps to connect and build communities, it is used to exclude and manipulate. For example, my daughter and I are told not to use German anymore, which constitutes a strategy of maternal gatekeeping and parental alienation. [-> I love you, Natalie! As always, this work is for you!]
The ambiguity of language
The ambiguity of language can easily cause erroneous thinking. That is probably why many of us discover that life hadn’t turned out as we were told and had planned when we were younger. For example, all the promises about happiness primarily addressing only the hedonistic aspects of the term. The same with love; are we always clear what we mean by it: romantic, affectionate, familiar, playful, or selflessly compassionate?
Any language is possibly imperfect, so we all need to find the combinations of levels of perceptions, spoken words, and expressive means that serve us well.
Is what we teach our children mutually beneficial for other children too? Is our teaching inclusive and useful to all humanity? Is it timeless? If so, these are awareness-intelligent lessons worth to be spread. Such shared insights would come from and support full human potential. Unfortunately, the propagation of obscured views is in vogue. It seems like blind people are leading blind people and nobody realizes the lack of sight. Possible, because “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a king,” as the proverb goes. In any case, many do feel that there is something wrong. All the unnecessary conflicts and aggression are the awareness-blind persons’ desperate canes searching for a way out of disorientation and anticipating hurting clashes. It’s the awareness-blind persons’ own helplessness and frustration that leads them to hatred, self-harming, and violent behavior. Without prescribing a specific cure, it’s always possible to provide everybody in minimum a reference system to aid their orientation to find their cure themselves. If we teach humantime by means of explaining and internalizing the socio-temporal matrix, Awareness Intelligence, and therefore peace will ensue. If you want to re-produce your humanness beyond survival mode, create and enthusiastically inspire others by teaching how to consciously apply systematic thinking to activate the inner eye of awareness that is including the full scope of the socio-temporal system of human life.
[Excerpt from ‘Awareness Intelligence’. See also earlier posts for more context and details]
Often breakthrough findings are the simplest ones. If something can’t be explained easily, it is not well understood. If spirituality is advertised as requiring miraculous super-powers hold by few, it might be spiritual elitism that is not for all of us. An awareness-intelligent understanding of spirituality may be considered prosaic considering its modest level of mysticism involved, and yet it is whole and infinite, full of all the beauty and joy that life has to offer. Spirituality is simple and pure humaneness, it is the ultimate mental playground of human realization. We are all spiritual beings; we just need to be aware of and practicing it.
To organize our thinking about life, mind, and soul is not creating a false god. Neither has a logical arrangement have to deteriorate into a dogmatic belief system. Indeed, what wisdom means for one person may have a completely different meaning and quality for somebody else. What feels right at one time becomes obsolete later on. It’s of limited usefulness to name a spiritual authority or to lay down religious rules and rituals if not for institutional interests. The same is true for so-called consciousness-enhancing substances. However, there is a universal structure of life that we should all be aware of.
THE SOCIO-TEMPORAL MATRIX OF MENTAL WORLDVIEW SCHEMAS
A person’s worldview, i.e., the schema through which the world is experienced, influences one’s well-being. Cloninger’s ‘unity of being’ represents a model of a coherent self-concept that consists of the self, others, and the world as a whole and has an impact on the degree of self-reliance, hope, the ability to cope, compassion, and cooperativeness. In that sense, the socio-temporal matrix as a framework to identify and visualize worldviews can facilitate the exploration of similar possible psychological effects related to a person’s meaning-making and well-being through socio-temporal worldviews.
Figure 1. The socio-temporal matrix of worldview schemas
The novel socio-temporal matrix is derived as described in the following and as visualized by Figure 1. On the x-axis of the model, there are three variables of the temporal dimension. More specifically, this horizontal axis partitions itself, in the order from left to right, into the ‘past,’ ‘present,’ and ‘future.’ The vertical y-axis of the matrix contains the three variables of the social dimension. Starting from the intersection with the horizontal axis, which represents time as explained, the first third of the vertical line (y-axis) shall be labeled ‘intra-’ that is short for ‘intra-personal. The next, middle part of the vertical axis becomes ‘inter-,‘which stands for the ‘inter-personal’ scope. The third and uppermost vertical section is the ‘extra-,‘ which signifies ‘extra-personal.’ Similar to a coordinate system, through these two tripartite grid lines, a matrix can be formed (see Figure 1). When using the vertical and horizontal axis’ labels in the same manner as the numerical coordinates of a map, or the letters and numbers of a chessboard, it is possible to identify and navigate the three times three – in total nine – fields of the matrix (see Figure 1).
The nine fields of the matrix will be used to inquire about socio-temporal mental schemas. An individual’s worldview schema is expected to consist of a specific set of matrix fields, depending on whether one’s belief system emphasizes certain socio-temporal mental states over others. For example, one may emphasize other-related extra-past (e.g., socio-cultural upbringing), behave in an inter-present, rather relationship-dominated way, while focusing, however, on a self-oriented intra-future. Such a socio-temporal mental worldview schema might link to specific meanings as, for example, a more independent (i.e., denoted by the intra-past instead of an inter- or extra-past) and other-oriented (i.e., depicted as the extra-future rather than an inter- or intra-future) cognitive socio-temporal worldview preference.
Regarding the above-mentioned social dimension, the intra-personal, inter-personal, and extra-personal factors have been found to influence human perception, experience, and the capacity to manage life areas such as risks. Intra-personal means the thoughts and beliefs related to the individual herself. A definition of inter-personal comes from those thoughts and beliefs, which are related to personal interactions with others. Extra-personal can be defined as a social scope that goes beyond the direct interaction with others. Extra-personal beliefs are related to long-term interests such as social needs that surpass intra- and inter-personal benefits. They can comprise social relationships beyond group memberships, i.e., being a member of the whole human species.
What’s your socio-temporal schema constellation? What combinations of meaningful and often frequented social and temporal aspects within the socio-temporal matrix do emerge and predominate in your mind-wanderings?
You can also discover the adventure of your socio-temporal worldview here:
A man who loved lonely, carefree hikes across the country, noticed one day a strangely shaped plant in a narrow, elongated hedge between a meadow and a field. It seemed as if this spectacular plant was calling the man to it. With a queasy feeling, but driven by his even stronger curiosity, the man approached the plant.
“Wow, what kind of creature are you!” The man muttered to himself, barely audible. “What are you staring at me like that?” The plant replied immediately and unexpectedly. The man was just able to support himself on a neighboring branch, otherwise, he would have twisted backward as a result of his recoil. Frozen in his position, he asked back: “Who are you?”, to which he was replied: “I am an intelligent species and all of my leaves are intelligent”. The man was completely spellbound. He stared at the vegetation and it struck him that its strange shape came from a one-sided collection of shoots and leaves. These all stretched to the same point a little laterally above the theoretical center of the plant. In fact, half of the plant was missing due to the one-sided growth. The crowd on the overgrown side was so dense that one could no longer see the individual booms. Strikingly, the creature did not simply grow towards the light of the open area, but only in the direction in which the agricultural field was, and not the natural meadow.
“Why are all your shoots and leaves crowding in the same direction when there is more light than enough for everyone in the other direction?” Asks the man. “We are just intelligent and know how to participate in modern advances. To the north we can even get hold of some agricultural pesticides,” boasted a particularly exposed leaf of the bush. “But isn’t this too narrow, light-robbing, and dangerous for you?” The man wonders. “Not at all. We were even told that this is good for us. Too bad for the stupid plants, who just can’t understand that and still behave according to their so outdated, primitive nature. If the lower rungs are not too lazy, then they can grow and also position themselves better ». As the man could see, this indeed appeared to be the case. The plant had already grown extraordinarily for the time of year. And yet it could be seen that the deeper the layers, the more stunted the leaves.
The man had never seen anything like it. The plant seemed so completely unnatural to him. Why should plants be so intelligent? The man thought about it for a long time, but couldn’t find an answer to the question. A few days later, on his wanderings, the man passed the hedge of the intelligent plant again. The man wanted to ask whether the shoots and leaves could actually decide for themselves, or whether the plant as a whole would dictate the direction. Just as the man was about to leave, he was approached by a farmer who had dismounted a little way away from a tractor. Equipped with hedge trimmers, wooden stakes and wire, he trudged straight towards the hedge. Without waiting for the man to say hello, the farmer announced sternly and bustlingly: “Good day. So here are my loved ones; today it’s your turn. If I only had such hedges, I would have nothing else to do but cut them back; my crop would be full at all times. Ha, ha, ha … ”, came with a loud sound from the farmer’s mouth. Half intimidated, half doubting himself, the man did not mention his experience with the intelligent plant and soon said goodbye.
On the way home, the whole story seemed like a dream to the man. Nonetheless, he kept addressing plants, although he has never seen one as strangely shaped as the intelligent plant. These wonderful, balanced forms of life showed him all the possibilities of natural growth. However, they remained silent, which the man enjoyed very much. #art #artist painting #figurative #abstract
BENT TIME (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on wood panel, 60 x 60 cm)
Part of Awareness Intelligence is the ability to mentally stretch to both sides of the circle of life. For our eternal soul that is a breeze, but for our human lifetime awareness and related thinking, it is a gymnastic split we need to practice for. All-inclusive and endless knowing requires to mentally stretch enough into the time before our physical birth, as well as into the time after our death to bend the timeline into a circle of perpetual and unified life. We have to sense our soul-relatedness to the immaterial consciousness to detach ourselves from the illusion of time that is only bound to objects such as our bodies. Despite the need to handle practical time for physical experiences, one needs to connect to the timeless sphere of universal intelligence. It is our human capacity to be aware of this co-existence of practical and universal, cosmic time; the awareness of the parallel truth of life, life’s immortal intelligence that breathes the energy vibrations of consciousness even into our objectified temporal bodily manifestation.
Can you imagine? Your agency, meaning in life, creativity, and satisfaction are depending on it
“Nothing happens in the real world unless it happens first in the images in our heads” (Gloria E. Anzaldúa)
“Through the inner channels of the imagination, we can see through the eyes of others, travel back to the past, anticipate future circumstances, visit imaginary places and create impossible worlds” (Marks-Tarlow)
Imagination to connect
Apparently (I say it again and again), people’s stress and anguish, the conflict between societies, and how the environment gets maltreated do not diminish. It seems that the human ability to mentally embracing a global collective as a species does not keep pace with the globalization of the world. In other words, there’s a lack of mentality in the sense of how populations can imagine their connection to a broader context like all humanity and the planet. However, the feeling of interconnectedness is essential in contributing to health and well-being. Indeed, research findings suggest that psychological well-being is dependent upon one’s connection to a broader, even widely anonymous social scope that comes with a sense of meaning in life. Carl Jung spoke about different parts of the self that transcend the ‘ego’ self and that these need to be integrated to complete a harmonious inner self. According to Carl Jung, human creativity, as expressed by imagination, can be seen as a force of the universe that extends into each individual and may help assume a perspective of wholeness, i.e., the unification of the self, the planet, and the cosmos. It’s such coordination of views that affect people’s socio-temporal experience of the world, and the imagination of alternative perspectives can turn over beliefs that were perceived unsatisfactory.
Imagination to imagine the future
Imagination is required to imagine future events, which constitutes (besides recalling matters of the past) a part of the ability to mentally ‘travel in time’. If people don’t imagine the future, their sense of self and the perceived agency diminishes.
Imagination enhances meaning in life
The human ability to simulate temporal and social perceptibility is a mental process that was found to enhance meaning (e.g., knowing what is truly important) and psychological well-being. Mental simulation precedes behavior, either by triggering actions or by supporting self-control that can constrain activity. In that sense, simulated mental constructs form worldviews, which guide a person’s understanding, point of view, meaning-making, and experience of the world.
Imagination creates realities
Although common sense still tends to propagate a ‘what I don’t see, I don’t believe’ attitude, the human imagination represents the pinnacle of evolution. “Through the inner channels of the imagination, we can see through the eyes of others, travel back to the past, anticipate future circumstances, visit imaginary places and create impossible worlds” (Marks-Tarlow). In fact, we create reality with our imagination. “What is now proved was once only imagined” (William Blake), and “nothing happens in the real world unless it happens first in the images in our heads” (Gloria E. Anzaldúa). It’s little the outer circumstances nor the past or the future we suffer; we suffer from our memory and imagination. That’s why it is crucial how we remember and imagine. The ‘now’ isn’t the whole reality because experience isn’t direct and a mere result of our five senses. Instead, we experience through imagination as our brain cannot differentiate between a sensed and imagined experience. Imagination is causing same brain activities as actions. Even the imagination of the past and future creates our present experience. The placebo effect illustrates well how our thinking becomes biology.
Artists and leaders use imagination
Artists, for example (see Kolb’s learning styles), tend to use imagination to solve problems. They master viewing concrete situations through several different viewpoints. Although they like symbols and rules, they don’t take these for granted and instead freely imagine new ones. That’s why they are feared and persecuted by rulers. Artistic skills require spatial intelligence, which involves active imagination, for example like mental imagery, spatial reasoning, and image manipulation. One downturn to such a preference may be that people who have the most vivid imagination capacity are often less likely to realize it as it will never be so nice in reality. On the other hand, considering our temporary and fragile body and related materialistic cravings and fears, our spirit is all we really have. Only when creating in freedom, without fear and shame, we experience the joy of intrinsic satisfaction. In more poetic words, it’s the bringing out of the divine of our highest purpose.
Imagination can be learned
Paradoxically, humans try to change what has evolved over long periods of time and isn’t that easy (let alone healthy) to change: our body. Yet, they still don’t see that they could change their mind instantly. Eventually, there is hope that everybody can learn imagination and achieve more meaning in their lives, for example, by expanding the connection to serve even anonymous others and by broadening one’s time orientation, especially towards the future (see my writings about Awareness Intelligence and the related socio-temporal matrix). “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world” (Albert Einstein).
The body underlies the law of the now; it can only be enjoyed in the present moment. As for the mind, however, we got the ability to anchor in a primordial self-awareness, alertly touch the present, and expand our awareness into the future. Such an extended and multi-directional quality of the mind does not fall prey to present-moment boundedness and is able to navigate time freely. Like a bird, we can let our thoughts fly across the infinite topology of awareness.
It is tempting to ask “Which one do I like most?” But actually, I like them all …
We wish to be intelligent to perform tasks such as reading, calculating, solving technical problems, create music, understand nature, be a good employee or entrepreneur, and so forth. These may all be important to fulfill social roles. And, social comparison is a strong happiness factor. People tend to be content if they do well compare to others. Because there are always others who do let us appear compare unfavorably, the choice of a limited circle of easy-to-compare others might be a comforting self-protection strategy. However, such avoiding behavior also prevents from connecting to broader and more diverse walks of life. The measurements of traditional intelligence quotients have only amplified competition unnecessarily. It’s not necessary to compare to others and derive satisfaction from relative high scores in intelligence tests in areas we even don’t feel drawn to naturally as these, in fact, are not of most fundamental relevance to a soul-inspired human life. It is unnecessary to feel judged as a human being by culturally and commercially defined concepts of intelligence. Social comparisons are causing a lot of discrimination, feelings of unworthiness, and related suffering. What makes people really joyful is their capacity for self-determination, which means to be in the driver seat, to function mentally well, and enjoy psychological well-being.
The collective human delusion assumes ‘spacetime’ instead of ‘humantime’ as the fabric of the human psychic universe. Why should space be the component to be studied and mastered as human beings? It’s not the geographical but psychological distance that causes human troubles. I always conclude that the dimensions relevant to humanity are how we relate to our species, life, and how we refer to time. Therefore, our awareness should comprise combining social and temporal dimensions rather than the combination with space. Of course, the achievements of physicalism and technocracy in modern science are fantastic; they brought us, among other things, inventions of the sort of the Internet of things and so forth. However, I think it is time for the internet of human souls, an endeavor that needs a different type of intelligence. Rather than following the tradition of physics and studying the deconstruction and mechanics of the material world, I suggest deciphering the logic of humantime and its effects on psychological well-being, creative performance, and the peace of the collective mind. Humanity would be well advised to invest more in empowering humanness to address known social problems instead of using nationalized budgets for space forces and other armed defenses to fight the unknown material.
“Most conflicts are based on black and white thinking, the fear of devaluation, and the threat to one’s own (cultural) identity. There is one level, though, the global mindset, on which black is also white.”
I often hear that mindset is everything. This common knowledge is used in various contexts and as a ‘tool’ to reach different goals. “If you just put your mind on it, you can get it” became a standard approach in the personal development business. While it’s a good thing to have that knowledge and skill in one’s individual toolbox, I’m also interested in how humanity can achieve a mindset that brings the whole species forward as a whole. From an Awareness Intelligence perspective, my area of research and practice as a psychologist, it is about how to learn to set our minds for increased (if not maximum) true diversity and inclusiveness; something I consider to be crucial if we want to address a more peaceful world. I have written a lot (also in this collaborative) about Awareness intelligence. In terms of the topic of mindset, the concept of ‘global mindset’ possibly comes closest to what I mean.
Mindset: Where’s your attention?
At its heart, mindset is an attention-based approach to performance and for describing a global mindset, therefore, ‘international attention’ – attention to global strategic issues, attention to international beliefs and issues, can be used. How does international attention occur? In accordance with research, for example, traveling to foreign locations or discussing international issues fosters cosmopolitan thinking and behavior. I’ve experienced that during my international work and life as an expatriate in Japan. At the same time, my work as a psychologist and artist involves a high degree of a growth mindset, which might be positively influencing the development of a global mindset. For example, by expanding my horizon, I could fill in some of the blind spots of a fixed psychological map that all too often results in automatic judgment based on cultural understanding. Having a cultural identity makes people’s life easier; many do rely on cultural notions of categories of people to predict others, rather than considering people as individuals, and they favor people they consider to be members of their group. That provides for the human basic need for stability, respectively a sense of safety. in contrast, some people can overcome fear and enjoy more risky, complex, and elaborate thinking, and who are more willing to reexamine initial notions in light of new information. These are the ones who often are attracted to art, theoretical disciplines, and philosophy. But it can take them a long time to decide. Sometimes too long. Or never!
The development of intercultural sensitivity
Intercultural sensitivity is a helpful model for developing a global mindset. Intercultural sensitivity is high when one can adapt to add new behaviors to be more effective in moving in between cultures. In this model from Milton Bennet (1993), the experience of (cultural) difference is moving from more ethnocentric to more ethnorelative stages as follows:
Denial: “I don’t think there’s any other way.”
Defense: “My way is the best.”
Minimization: “What we have in common is more important.”
Adaptation: “I’m adding new behaviors to be more effective in a cross-cultural environment.”
Integration: “I can move in between cultures.”
Personal development towards a global mindset is a hard process because discrepancies between global and situational meaning cause distress. In fact, most conflict is based on the fear of invalidation, the threat of one’s (cultural) identity. A high degree of self-reflection, fearless self-questioning, and openness to commit to giving up privileges and support unity in diversity is required. In short, tremendous effort is required to reduce the distressful discrepancy between situational and global meanings.
Instructions for global information processing
Views that are limited to narrow social boundaries are inhibiting the development of social networks. Such symptoms and communicative isolation in their most extreme forms are characteristics of autism, a distinctly defined illness since the 1940s. The good news is: People lacking more global information processing can be instructed to improve. Humanity is not ill, but it definitively requires instructions on how to develop higher levels of awareness to connect sincerely with others. Interestingly, the availability of more and more global information (i.e., the Internet) did not increase the state of humanity’s global mindset. Instead of teaching how to justify current political structures, which are always local, we should educate on how to become global citizens who care for all.
A shift from cultural competence to Awareness Intelligence
Global citizenship is not a travel lifestyle, it should rather be an attitude of compassion. Multi-relational ability in the sense of Awareness Intelligence is a precondition for cross-cultural competence but goes beyond as it is culture-neutral. Any travel starts within! Cultural competence can be developed by putting one’s feet in another’s shoes. Awareness Intelligence (see also related articles on www.mathias-sager.com), however, is putting one’s consciousness in another’s soul. This will not only enable us to experience some different walks of life but to learn to qualify all of life’s souls. Real and lasting change comes from the level of mental models that enable awareness. Only if the deep-rooted individual mindsets shift towards forming a regenerated collective of deculturized societal structures, human behavioral patterns will start to change accordingly as well. That’s the utopian world of my dreams, the passion in my teachings, the goal of my art, and my deepest belief that it’s still possible; for the benefit of the individual and the common good alike.
One of our uttermost critical faculties in which lies the power to become aware of the nature of lifetimes is attention. To do the mental work of attending, the working memory needs to be able to allocate sufficient capacity. If we are not able to hold attention to picture life as a whole lifespan, how can we situate anything between the coming and going of life conceptually and as applied to ourselves and others? Do we think and act in full temporal awareness, which means to be aware that time is an illusion, or are we just following the row of events, one after the other, without questioning the more prominent arch of a life? Do we just follow cultural customs and social rules of temporal sequences or do we have an own understanding of the right timing of developments in our life along different possible milestones such as the time we go to school, work, marry, and retire? By following everybody else’s planned schedule, there is the peril of missing one’s making of an own plan. The ability to oversee the whole is critical. To do always the seemingly momentary correct thing that is, however, not validated against an integral perspective, risks to end up in unfulfillment and deep regret.
When one’s worldview expands entirely in a grid of paramount awareness, the energy of a unified field begins to radiate In physics, forces are theorized to be transmitted through so-called fields. Others use, besides the term of the ‘unified field,’ also ‘cosmic consciousness,’ in which the ‘in-here’ and ‘out-there’ meet. Awareness Intelligence can be understood as such a field where life-intelligent consciousness and mentalizing are harmoniously unified. Through unifying our thoughts with the nature of a multiverse, a state of all-inclusive and timeless humanness can be achieved, which lets us witness its power through showers of bliss.
POLLUTED DESIRE FOR LIFE (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm)
One may find a lot of examples supporting the thesis that things got better, safer, and healthier. However, not being aware of globally increasing wealth inequality, existing heightened levels of hunger, and peaking numbers of refugees in some areas of the world, as well as soaring amounts of prescriptions of antidepressants in many societies, signifies that local perceptions might lack accurate information and understanding. Because what is affordable within reach, is unavailable at another place. What is acceptable for some, is intolerable for others. And what means poverty in this place, passes for luxury elsewhere. While escaping environmental pollution here, more pollution happens there. The growing world population and economy continue to exploit the planet’s resources faster than these can be renewed. Nature gets intoxicated with garbage whose decomposition takes centuries and irreparably contaminates with spurious poison the earthly and universal flow of energy for the generations to come. In developed countries we see today the first generations who are facing decreasing life durations. The life expectancy of a fifty-year-old in a low-income country, which represents the majority of the world population, remained the same as it was thirty years ago. In the last forty-five years, suicide rates have increased by sixty percent worldwide, which indicates a desperate mental climate even in countries of relative wealth. The desire to die usually comes from unfulfilled desires for life. Also most individuals who seem tired of life would decide to live if the necessary psychological support factors such as meaningfulness, purposefulness, and spiritual growth through awareness-intelligent living would seem achievable. All these can be achieved if egoistic group thinking is replaced with the ability to include all and everyone in one’s worldview. We need worldview and human identity that goes beyond the here and now, one that is socio-temporally inclusive of the extra-personal future and, as a result, is intelligently aware.
Excerpt from Awareness intelligence (M. Sager, 2018)
As you know from my blog posts, I combine psycho-philosophical discussions with painted metaphors. The combination of words and images is an opportunity to engage the mind and the soul at the same time. Both intellect and intuition add to the process of holistic (self-)reflection.
I live the teachings I write about as much as I can. I use the conclusions from my research and creative processes to guide me in my quest to become a fitter, kinder, and wiser person. Having a mantra to aid in keeping the focus right is a well-established method in personal development. Our surroundings trigger and remind us constantly and, therefore, influence us very much. In that sense, our clothes are the most proximate environment. I made the experience, that wearing expressive shirts helps to keep me accountable towards myself and increases the commitment towards the outside. I also experienced many interesting connections with others thanks to the food of thought and emotions that are radiated by the shirts.
It’s easy to find decorative, fashionable outfits with commonplace quotes. But it’s more difficult to find original combinations of psychology & art Therefore, I’ve designed my own Psychology & Art T-Shirts and love to wear them on (m)any occasion. Now I make them available to anybody, hoping that the artistic, colorful, and awareness-intelligent messages can inspire others as well.
I’d like to thank you for being a subscriber of www.mathias-sager.com and a loyal fan of mathias sager – Psychology & Art!!! It is my pleasure to offer you some of the more recent original art highlights printed on T-Shirts. Now for 30% less until the end of May 2021.
Express Awareness Intelligence and add color and awareness to style up your daily adventures! 🙂
Coupon 30% discount code:
You can use the coupon when ordering at https://mathias-sager.com/product-category/t-shirts/ (or see links below). Please let me know in case of anything.
How to Synchronize, Increase the Frequency, and Sustain the Rhythm of the Dance of Life
Humans like stability to feel safe, and they seek preservation of their identity, whether it be good or bad. In the short-term, though, people often also do not like repetition as it leads them to boredom. In a time paced rapidly by ever shorter business cycles, everything tends to become judged as boring by the declining attention span of the consumer mind. In contrast, as to the creating mind, education and professional practice training are considered successful if one has learned to tolerate the monotonous tasks of the streamlined information and production processes as input to the modern economic societies. That’s how many forgot the excitement of rhythm and surprising improvisations of a freely lived life.
Like evenly-timed rhythms such as four-quarter times are often interpreted through triple step dances (for example, two quick steps and one slow step), it is the shift from the balance of even patterns to the harmony of three that introduces a higher level of human experience. Having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern. To overcome the avoidance of change caused by the monotonous evenness of commercial mainstream and its resulting addiction to stability, we are well-advised to hear the rhythm of the dance of life in all three the past, the present, and the future.
Therefore, the three steps of the dance of life can be seen as follows:
• Step 1: SYNCHRONIZING THE RHYTHM – Guidance by the past of universal unity
• Step 2: INCREASING THE FREQUENCY OF THE RHYTHM – Attendance to the present without fear
• Step 3: SUSTAINING THE RHYTHM – Abundance through service to the future of all
Step 1: SYNCHRONIZATION OF THE RHYTHM –Guided by the past of universal unity
Most people are not able to not have to belong, respectively are not able to belong to everybody, so they will belong to certain/specific groups. Group thinking often inhibits critical thinking. However, experiences of togetherness also reveal the motives for unity that involve rhythmic, synchronous movements like marching and dancing. To march or dance together to the same rhythm creates intense feelings of unity and fosters a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for one’s mates. Again, this bears risks and opportunities: Applied to an exclusive group, this is the essence of the birth of radical ideologies and religions; However, when extended to all of humanity, true spirituality opens up.
Step 2: INCREASING THE FREQUENCY OF THE RHYTHM – Attending to the present without fear
The ego always fears to lose, why others are seen as threats. This attention to the fear of loss eventually is missing for the attendance of inspiration and love. Because of the fear of losing one’s identity, change becomes the ultimate threat. However, on the dance floor of life, many people dance, and the music will change all the time. So, we should not get angry and fearful when the rhythm is changing again. However, we also shouldn’t necessarily let the music played by others let us dictate our pace. It’s best to choose the music that reflects our natural rhythm so that we can pace ourselves in our journeys of personal development. It’s exciting to meet new people. Meeting strangers creates high levels of synchronized rhythmic activities in the brain. Therefore, let’s enjoy social arousal from novel encounters; the more exciting and less frightening they are perceived, the higher is the frequency of the neuronal dance in your brain.
Step 3: SUSTAINING THE RHYTHM – Abundance through service to the future of all
The commitment to live life in a sustainable rhythm, without greed, without unnecessary selfishness, helps to avoid depressive thoughts of loss, burnout, despair, and getting stiff in the ability to dance smoothly. If we change the rhythm from an attitude of “getting what’s in for us” to one which services the others, it’s possible to create a different cadence in life, a rhythm of an all-new quality. We think our life with birth and death is different than anything else as we consider it not to follow a recurring rhythm. That’s why we mistakenly don’t dance through life. On the other hand, we run as straight and fast as possible in one direction, completely denying the possibility that there is no other place than the here and now to go. Shouldn’t we joyfully embrace life as an endless and abundant dance of collective consciousness to which we can contribute as an equal part (not as less nor as more)?
In that sense, let’s overcome avoidance and become guided and attentive dancers for abundance. To live from unity, in love, and for service to all is the ability to synchronize the rhythm and dance the dance of life. This was, once again, another analogy for describing the socio-temporal rhythmic system of the universe on which Awareness Intelligence (see www.mathias-sager.com) is based.
SOULFIRE’S FLAMES (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 120 cm)
Consciousness and awareness
In English, there is a differentiation between consciousness and (self-)awareness. Consciousness commonly means the ability to perceive one’s body and environment. Awareness, on the other hand, is the recognition of that consciousness, which includes the understanding of one’s ability to self-reflect on one’s existence.
Thinking, thinking about thinking (self-reflection), emotions caused by thinking, and the control of emotions through self-reflection
THE ANALOGY OF THE FIRE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Consciousness is the source of our soul’s fire, and awareness is its fuel. Firing energy as the fundamental element of consciousness is the nature of life itself; it exists everywhere and in all of us. It just has to be inflamed. The body does not produce consciousness. Awareness, however, is bound to our existence here on earth. Awareness-generated thoughts are the heat and light of the soulfire’s flames.
Flames of poisonous thoughts come from the impure fuel of ignorance. We cannot stop the inflammatory nature of our consciousness, nor is it desirable. What matters, however, is what fuel is burned, whether it is intelligent reflective consciousness or not; Perceptual awareness alone, however highly praised meditation, is not intelligent, but reactive and detached from the whole.
The quality of thinking is determined by the level of reflective awareness from which it arises. Thus, our thoughts and the resulting feelings are in our control. Through the right self-reflection and appropriate conclusions, the perceptual consciousness and corresponding thoughts can be kept pure as meant by nature itself. In this sense, consciousness directly affects our cognitive abilities and, whenever we think, our state of mind, as well as the emotions that follow the quality of thinking. We can also think of emotions as the smoke created by the flames of poisonous thoughts. Impure thoughts generate uncomfortable emotions, such as dark smoke produced by heavy fuel with, for example, a high degree of moisture, while positive and bright emotions arise from thoughts of awareness-intelligent purity and composition.
Our thinking does not have to be emotionally controlled and potentially confusing, as the flames of thought are not defined by the smoke of emotions, but are generated by a holistic, healthy, and sacred reflective awareness, which emulates universal intelligence and therefore can be called Awareness Intelligence.