In the past, I noticed that I often struggled that I struggled. Achieving the ability to observe that I was having difficulty having difficulty, I was eventually able to just observe that I was having difficulty. Eventually, I acquired an ability to just observe.

In other words, I was often angry I was sad, sad I was angry, angry I was angry, sad I was sad, frightened I was frightened, frightened I was angry, occasionally angry I was frightened, sad I was frightened and sad I was angry.

I don’t remember being frightened I was sad. I was familiar with eight of the nine dissociative derivations. It might be some kind of record. I suspect not. At some point, I just started noticing that a sizable portion of my experience was my experience of my experience. I realized that I was operating on three experiential levels at the same time: observer, experience 2, experience 1. And, I realized that I was realizing it.

Being in the present had always been sort of a group adventure. The present for me was characterized by several layers of experience. It was when I began to notice this view of the present and exercised an inclination to pay attention to how I paid attention that the various layers began to collapse.

Read the papers, watch TV, peruse the blogs and observe that society behaves similarly. Over the last couple decades, we’ve observed a transition from news to opinion of the news, often blended, so that we are presented with both layers at the same time. Observation of experience has been replaced with exaggerated emotions assigned to observation of experience. My comrades and colleagues on the Left experience strong emotions while targeting the professional, arm-waving opinion-havers that are in the process of evaluating those individuals seeking to address something in the news.

It feels noteworthy that our society engages in this not frequently observed dissociation. Offering attention to myself, I’ve experienced a transformation, an evolution to a position characterized by less self-doubt, self-consciousness, or self-recrimination or self-loathing. What would be the intervention that would compel a society to pay attention to itself? What could encourage our culture to self-observe, possibly opening a door to peace?


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008 at 6:29 am and is filed under 10-Most Commented, Auto-Biography, Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
3 Comments so far

  1. Morpheus on June 3, 2008 6:58 am

    I just finished reading Eckhardt Tolle’s new book, “The New Earth,” and I think you would enjoy reading it, too. He talks about what you are questioning here.

    He calls observing one’s emotions and actions a transformation in consciousness, or awareness. Society will become aware of itself when more individuals become aware of themselves it seems.

  2. Andrew on June 3, 2008 9:37 am

    I haven’t read Tolle. Ken Wilber cites him. These ideas bounce around Wilber’s work, too.

  3. Leona on June 3, 2008 7:53 pm

    WOW… I was perusing the net and fell into neoteny’s web and finally your blog. I was actually just about to hop off elsewhere (the evo- biology stuff is a bit beyond me) when I chanced upon this post.

    I have only recently started to observe myself responding to my responses to my own experiences (it’s a really *amazing* paradigm shift) and it’s amazing how much the response to the response is the problem, and not the original response itself. Would that I had your eloquence – I’d have said all this first! :-)

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