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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want to increase reliability in decision-making, you need three fixation points, respectively three sources, for a three-way match. If for a point to be confirmed, you can’t find two other reference points, verification is weak. Think about a tripod and how its three legs need to interact simultaneously to provide a stable stand. Only by such a well-established awareness, more significant logical arcs of higher importance and sharper thought can be captured. Whether you want to achieve better thought-through results or to relax mental tension, think thrice, the same way as you take three deep breaths as a physical exercise. Don’t judge too early; only cross the street of thought after applying a ‘watch-listen-walk’ attitude in your decision-making. For your own and all others’ safety, watch (1) your intrapersonal self, (2) the interpersonal others, and (3) the extrapersonal all, as well as (1) the past, (2) the present, and (3) the future. Awareness Intelligence comes in through the combination of (1) watching the intra-past, (2) listen to the inter-present, and (3) walk the extra-future.
The KNOTGOBLIN (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50 cm)
Consistent thinking is the knotgoblin that is strangling our Self. That’s how I’d interpret the deeper meaning of the saying ‘Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
First, not changing one’s mind testifies the absence of learning, the addiction to the ever-same thoughts, respectively the missing implementation of lessons learned. Second, if the mind is consumed with matters of consistency (i.e., the texture of material things), there is no space for the world of consciousness that is the seat of the soul.
We all have experienced the feeling of the depressing weight of a knot in our hearts we wish to untie. When the knot gets too tight, we even want to cut the rope. Actually, that’s precisely what needs to be done to remove what makes us feel stuck, stiff, and ugly. If we declutter our minds from stuff, we become free to reach out, love, see the bigger picture, and thrive intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Declutter from consistency, unravel tribulations, detach from dependencies, and the rope will flatten and relax. That’s how the space arises in which we grow.
Do you know your knotgoblin? How’s it holding you knotted? Have you ever tried to untie it?
ARMS OF AWARENESS (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 80 cm)
The observation of the environment helps to see the light as all material objects reflect light. Light is everywhere, including in all of us, and time does not let it fade. That’s how reflections become perennial. There is still the reflection of our ancestors in the light, the same light that will transport our visual and energetic appearance forever. That’s how, whether present, future, or past, consequently, everything exists in light in parallel. Besides such a notion of cosmic time, I agree that in everyday life the concept of a timeline is practical. However, such a linear conceptualization of time represents a serious impediment. Maximal temporal awareness bends the imaginary timeline into a circle in which the past and the future, both infinitely stretching into eternity, meet. If you can stretch your linear image of your lifetime between birth and death into this cyclical form beyond our physical existence, you have achieved a similar quantum leap to the one we’ve accomplished when accepting that the physical world is round rather than a finite plate with dubiously ending edges. Don’t fear thinking into the seemingly impossible and become of the infinite, spherical, and parallel nature of time. Don’t stressfully define your mind, stretch it. The farther apart you can stretch, the broader your arms of awareness. That’s how we can embrace the whole universe.
Excerpt from Awareness Intelligence (M. Sager, 2018)
Mindfulness is a buzzword used all over. But still, few seem to understand what exactly the mind should be full of. Most people do not systematically think about their thinking; they do not reflect on their scope of awareness. Psychic blindness appears to be a common issue and, therefore, hinders natural fitness, unconditional kindness, and spiritual wisdom.
“The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.” – Unknown.
The eyes are not speaking to the mind and soul directly. Any external stimulation first always goes through a layer of receptiveness and awareness that is filtering and transforming signals into emotions and thoughts. It’s this layer of the mind that determines what we are aware of and, consequently, how wholly and wholesomely we experience the world. This mental capacity, though, has been neglected severely, why also the concept of Awareness Intelligence (AWI) was discovered only recently.
I’ve written a lot about Awareness Intelligence, what it means, and how it develops. In terms of psychic blindness, it implies the presence of blind spots that typically prevent an awareness-intelligent set of mind. The three psychic blind spots, how they shape our identity/worldview, and what can be done about them are as follows.
#1 – Your intrapersonal past for FITNESS
You don’t see your true nature due to social conditioning, cultural education, and ethnic identification.
Let go of your history; it’s random and imposed on you because of others wanting to preserve the status quo and their privileges. You, as a human being, are not defined by external societal rules, status, race, and type, and level of schooling. You are a human being that, like all others, can find all of life’s intelligence within your nature, in which the full human potential is contained. Only you can know what is in you. So, reach out to your real, authentic self from before you were born. You are life and its natural strength and fitness; unfold accordingly free.
#2 – Your interpersonal present for KINDNESS
You don’t see yourself and the persons you interact with as they are at the moment because you define people based on their performance cards of the past and their social perspectives.
Do not judge and do not expect. The past is a matter of interpretation, and the future has yet to be defined. Both the past and the future are beyond our direct control, so don’t let your interpersonal presence be influenced by such conditions. The kindness in relationships can only be enjoyed in the present, and you too deserve to be loved unconditionally.
#3 – Your extrapersonal future for WISDOM
You don’t see that there’s nothing to worry about in the future. Let go of ego-driven dominance of safety-related desires.
Only if you learn to detach, you overcome the fear of loss that is the cause of any depression. You are not a human being having a spiritual experience; you are an eternal spiritual being having a temporary human experience. If you serve this infinite force of life unselfishly, you can experience the most-satisfactory joy of service. The future belongs to the next generation that is life’s yearning for itself. Be part of it by serving it. Wisdom ensues when you can shift your purpose from hedonic happiness to a more profound, respectively broader meaning.
You don’t see that there’s nothing to worry about in the future. Let go of the ego-driven dominance of security-related desires. Only when you learn to detach, you overcome the fear of loss, which is the cause of any depression. You are not a person who experiences a spiritual experience; you are an eternal spiritual being experiencing a spiritual human experience. When you serve this infinite power of life unselfishly, you can experience the most satisfying joy of such services. The future belongs to the next generation, which represents the longing of life for itself. Be a part of it by serving it. Wisdom follows when you can shift your purpose of life from hedonistic happiness to a deeper and broader meaning.
“We must put our mind on this as we do put a man on the moon.” – Jacque Fresco
It’s not that complicated to understand this socio-temporal structure of the mind. Yet, it can only be changed by challenging one’s own identity/worldview. However, most people instead prefer to live in blindness than to have to change. Sadly, remaining in that comfort zone causes the above-described limitations and suffering, for which, when becoming too big, our society offers pill subscriptions to fight the symptoms (instead of the cause) and further fog and blind the mind, so one perpetually remains oblivious to the need to change. After all the technological progress and artificial intelligence that eventually benefits more economic aspirations than heart needs, it is time for increasing our Awareness Intelligence. What an exciting opportunity for our generation to evolve to a more awareness-intelligent way of thinking and life that is so vital for any endeavor of human learning and behavior to become fitter, kinder, and wiser for individuals’ benefit and the collective alike.
Pleasures are shortcuts for joy, meaning does trump happiness, and everything starts with being your true self as if there were no expectations and boundaries to you. Don’t take the lift and complain about bad fitness; climb one mountain after the other. Unlearn the stories of deficiencies you told yourself. Overcome the illusion of being able to possess or be possessed by any worldly thing or person, and thereby take the chance to choose change toward a more awareness-intelligent humanness.
(Excerpt from Awareness Intelligence, M. Sager. 2019)
People who are not able to coordinate complex multi-limb movements with their bodies are called disabled and are not allowed to do certain things like, for example, driving a car as it would be too dangerous for others. But people who are unable to coordinate complex multi-perspective situations in their minds are allowed to run organizations and countries.
In contrast to a leg-focused person who forgets about the arm-movement and therefore is realistically considered a risk for driving a vehicle, a single-minded career, for example, of exclusively fighting for one particular group’s interest is likely to be admired. Standing up for one group to succeed over others from a humanitarian perspective, however, is like prioritizing eating over drinking. Thus, the organism of humankind is doomed to die.
Here are some pictures from the currently running group exhibition at the Van der Plas Gallery in NYC. Happy to be part of this rich and inspiring show with lots of new ideas beyond the notion of conventional art.
Van Der Plas Gallery Cordially Invites You to View “Vor Kunst”
Exhibition Dates: November 23, 2020 – December 3, 2020 Location: Van Der Plas Gallery, 156 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
(NEW YORK, NY) From November 23rd to December 3rd, Van Der Plas Gallery is pleased to present the works of sixty-eight local and international artists. We have asked artists to submit works inspired by their subjective interpretations of the Hegelian concept of “pre-art”, or “Vor Kunst.” “Pre-art” (Vorkunst), according to Hegel, arises through the direct and primal expression and representation of forms and symbols. Hegel’s account of symbolic art encompasses the art of many different civilizations and shows his considerable understanding of, and appreciation for, non-Western art. In contrast to “art proper” The sphere of “pre-art” comprises art that rests on a relatively abstract conception of spirit” (Hegel’s Aesthetics). We have asked artists to create freely and directly without inhibition through their own unique visual languages. We encourage artists to embrace their own artistic self-expression in relation to the primitive “pre-art” of forms and symbols described by Hegel.
“Vor Kunst” displays sixty-eight different perspectives from a wide range of artists. The show challenges notions of what “proper art” is and how we can break free of these limitations and constraints. The show will look at how we can expand upon and move past ideas of what is deemed proper or acceptable in the art world today. From figurative to abstract, expressionistic to illustrative, this collective body of work shows how these artists have responded intuitively to their interpretations of Pre-Art.
Hoping, speaking out for, and acting for social justice and change is not coming from negativity. Instead, it is the expression of positive thinking that things can be done better and a healthier and more peaceful world is possible.
It is easy to love people when they smell [look] good, but sometimes they slip into the manure of life and smell [look] awful. You must love them just as much when they smell foul.