In my book, Digital Dharma,
I look at the seven core spiritual communications challenges encoded by the
different technologies of the Infosphere, and relate them to the "stages of
consciousness" described by the world's esoteric traditions, the work of
philosophers such as Ken Wilber, and the "spiral dynamics" model of Don Beck,
Christopher Cowan, and Claire Graves. This excerpt looks at our current
fascination with "coded reality," and connects it to the work of the esoteric
third eye (at the sixth chakra) and the technologies of digital compression.

The core personal metaphor of
sixth-level digital dharma is "deep seeing" – moving from focusing on
what's in front of us to expanding our vision to take in the big picture of
reality. This level of awareness, often realized through intense spiritual
practices (and sometimes via equally intense psychedelics or spontaneous
breakthrough situations) is awareness apart from the thinking mind. It involves
processing the data from the outer world in full consciousness that one is in
fact data processing.

Sixth-level thinking is by its nature holographic, holding all
levels
of the greater information- and energy-filled
"meta-universe" in awareness and appreciation; it is free to see
deeper, to tune across the whole range of consciousness. [1] This level of digital dharma is about
learning to communicate beyond the surface forms, to connect soul-to-soul. In
energy yoga, this communications transponder is centered at the
"third-eye," the organ of visual, psychic and intuitive
perception.
Its element is light, and its task is to open our imagination
to an expanded awareness that sees through (what Sri Aurobindo calls) "the
eye of complete union."[2]

From this place, the old habitual mindset no longer satisfies; all levels of
reality, all ways of seeing the world, are open for fearless exploration: experience
is all there is. Co-creation and collaboration are this level's social
organizing principles. Out in the day-to-day world, one's dharma is to become a
"systems seer," seeing and respecting every individual's and every
culture's belief system, freely and compassionately interacting across all
beliefs and psychological languages.[3]

Sixth level digital dharma requires one to widen reception channels, to take
in more frequencies, to consider other "truths" than those one is
most attached to. This is the practice of "turning" from the limited
data of the ego-self to something much bigger. On an inner spiritual level,
Buddhism calls the sixth-level realm of perception Dharmadhatu – the
realm of all dharmas, where all possible past, present and future realities
coexist, where what we call "darkness" and "light" are
united once again, a state of peace where emptiness and the arising of form are
in balance; where to see one object is to see all objects. Or in poet William
Blake's words: "to see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild
flower."[4]

In this state of awareness, commonplace things radiate their essence. The
eye is opened to the cosmic, but grounded in compassion. It decodes all
incoming signals and discerns which ones to act upon, knowing all the time (as
yoga philosophy tells us) that there is always more than one story to believe,
recognizing that all the stories of the manifest world with its attributes,
functions and relationship are but maya – fleeting illusions of
concreteness in time and space which are essentially false.[5] Sixth-level awareness sees beyond the
body into the cells and the DNA; it sees not only the individual frames of each
"life story cartoon," but the "cels" that created the
projector, screen, theatre and audience as well!

The mystic's eye sees beyond superficial appearance and personal
characteristics, beyond habitual concepts, to the true self in the other, to
what the Hindus call Advaita, the true state of non-duality, to the
underlying light of pure (Brahman) consciousness, which "modulates"
all reality. It understands intuitively what Marshall McLuhan told us
fifty-plus years ago: pay attention to the underlying medium, and do not get
hung up on each of the specific messages.

When the mind is prematurely opened to sixth-level awareness but not
grounded in the lower centers, when the filtering systems of fifth-level dharma
are not fully developed, the nervous system cannot handle the shock of seeing
beyond the veil. For some, the result may be false insights and delusional
"messages" from God. More often we simply get lost in our own knotty
ego projections, the mind's palace of mirrors.[6] At its worst, this is a place where
nothing can be trusted, where, like the nightmare worlds of Blade Runner,
Total Recall and Minority Report
created by science fiction writer Phillip
K. Dick, "dreams are real, and reality turns out to be a dream."[7] I believe that our interconnected,
packet-based web technologies have indeed thrown us beyond the veil, whether we
are prepared or not. Sixth-level digital dharma requires us to embrace the
"all seeing," all-spectrum, quality of the divine.[8] Our only other choice is to turn away
into a deconstructed universe, where nothing seems to exist but cleverness and
special effects.

The Infosphere's sixth-level technologies are our megapixel cameras,
camcorders and photo cellphones, our DVD players and HDTV receivers. All of
these tools are based on the digital encoding and manipulation of what we
think we see.
They all openly rely on illusion: on the creation of digital
sound and image files that trick the brain into creating more than what has
actually been delivered to the retina and eardrum. Just as we use digital
editing software to crop and zoom, choose a point of view, change colors,
contrast and brightness, routinely adjusting the "reality" of our digitized
experience, our media challenges us to explore our point of view, to look wider
and deeper, to focus on the once-hidden details of our visual field – and
metaphorically, on the shadows, the blurred lines and comfortable concepts that
have heretofore defined our personal reality.[9]

Random-access technologies invite audiences to actively play with the
unfolding of the traditional storyline. DVDs allow the viewer to experiment
with temporal order – adding a second dimension to the linear story flow by
skipping forward or back, jumping to alternative shots, or watching the same
story with a different soundtrack. No longer a passive receiver, one can
interrupt, request more information, read the script, interview the performers,
listen to the director's commentary, and try out different endings.[10]

High Definition Television (HDTV) brings into our homes panoramic wide-screen
images of incredible resolution and clarity. Its image signals contain double
the scanning lines, ten times the pixels, and a viewing field one-third wider
than the old analog TV screen. Viewers are freed from the restraint of the
close-up and overt (fourth-level) emotional cuing. Information comes from the
perimeter as well as the center of the picture. There is more to see, and the
viewer is now responsible for deciding what parts of the screen to focus on.
The cinematic "2-shot" – two characters, two voices, two actions – is
back on the hi-def screen, returning diversity and ambiguity to the TV image.
Wide-angle shots reveal not just the batter on plate, but the entire field of
action. New cameras under development promise an immersive 360-degree
high-resolution "elective cinema" experience, allowing the viewer to
focus on the hundreds of concurrent "inadvertent dramas" happening
all around her.[11]

Along with the main digital video transmission, a "datacast"
subset of the HDTV signal can deliver Web content, multimedia email, and even
control signals to your home thermostat. Within the veritable sea of digital
sound, text and image data streams is a critical "PSIP"
("Program and System Information Protocol) code to decipher them all and
route the picture to the screen, the data to the computer, and the DolbyTM
5.1 audio to your surround sound system. Without the correct decoding signal,
all this data can be received, but not processed.

The importance of having the correct signal to unravel the
abundant "data stream of reality" is the underlying truth of
sixth-level dharma wisdom. This is reflected in our contemporary cultural
fascination with codesDaVinci or Matrix, genetic or security,
and in the digital media tools of our age. The technologies of digital
compression that reduce our music and video files to smaller and smaller sizes
all use hyper-fast signal processors to convert "real world" analog
images (or in the case of audio, the sound) into numeric computer codes. These
codes are in turn reduced in complexity, and sent on to control the
manufacturing of an "acceptable proxy" of the original captured
image. Digital "instruction-set" transmission is much more efficient
and error-free than analog representation. Sending the recipe, not the
cake,
is what makes language more efficient than grunts and growls, written
alphabets better than pictograms, and DNA able to perpetuate every living
species.[12]

Digital encoding and compression is actually how the brain processes what we
"see." The visual world is so complex that storing even tiny
fractions of the changing image would overwhelm even the vast storage system of
the brain. Instead, it discards most of the information and relies on its own
version of pattern encoding, converting analog images to a limited set of
mathematical wave-pattern representations (called Fourier transforms) to
tap memory and build its picture of the world.[13] The visual image we see, says Howard
Bloom, "is the product of slicing, dicing, coding, compression,
long-distance transmission, and neural guesswork:

"Cells in the retina scrap 75 percent of the light which pours in through the
lens of the eye… they fiddle with the contrast, tamper with the sense of
space, and report not the location of what we're watching, but where the
retinal cells calculate it soon will be… Adding insult to injury, the
eye crushes the information it's already fuddled, compacting the landslide of
data from 125 million neurons down to a code able to squeeze through a cable —
the optic nerve — a mere 1 million neurons in size. On the way to the brain,
the constricted stream stops briefly in the thalamus, where it is mixed,
matched and modified with the flow of input from the ears, muscles, fingertips,
and even sensors indicating the tilt and trajectory of the head, hands, legs,
and torso."[14]

As evolutionary psychologist and meme expert Susan Blackmore tells
us, when we look out a window, we may have the impression of a beautifully rich
visual image, but in fact we're beholding only a compressed piece of the whole.
"All our brains are holding is a little piece of the central image, a very
rough sketch of the rest, and the ability to respond quickly to change and look
again when necessary."[15] PBS technology guru Robert Cringely
agrees:

"So the retina makes an estimate of a visual scene or image based upon
evolutionary knowledge of the statistical structure of natural scenes. The
retina then estimates the likely error in that original estimate. Each of these
functions is embodied in a specific segment of the retinal architecture. The
retina then transmits to the rest of the brain what can be described as a
real-time, 2-dimensional map of the likely error or uncertainty of the original
estimate. …What we 'see' isn't the scene itself so much as an error
map of the scene. We map the cliffs and potholes then paint the rest of the
scene in our minds from stored image data."[16]

Science is showing us that we are pre-wired for recognizing certain objects;
that what we "see" is based as much on past habits of seeing
as it is on the new data coming into our eyes – that much of what we see is
really fake!

"Ninety-nine percent of reality has nothing to do with vision, in fact
nothing to do with anything, any of the thoughts running through our minds.
Ninety-nine percent of the reason we want to live rather than die has nothing
to do with what we tell ourselves makes us happy. Ninety-nine percent is simply
here, with no perspective from which to view it, no surfaces by which to
identify it, no language to reveal it to itself."[17]

Digitally compressed audio MP3s, video Web streams, DVDs and HDTV all work
on the same principle of analog to digital conversion, statistical compression
and inference. New audio and video data are compared to the data already
received and decoded, and only the changes are passed on – everything
else is based on our "perceptual expectations" and stored
"algorithms of importance." In fact, the experience of
"reality" is always a half-second behind — the time it takes for our
inner decoder to grind away and produce its facsimile of truth — the latency
time our visual consciousness. [18] Blackmore argues that our experience of
"self" (the "selfplex") is itself the result, not
the cause, of our need to send and receive meme snippets of coded ideas.[19]

Sixth-level digital dharma asks us to recognize that we are always
processing codes of consensual reality, and pay attention to where we put
our attention
. Doing practices that open one to this stage of awareness is
a form of "esoteric signal decompression," allowing one to look
beneath surface identities to decode richer and subtler dimensions. Without
preloaded (habitual) coding schemes, the fully aware brain takes in each new
signal with fresh wonder as a sacred surprise; each sensory stimulus is decoded
in the immediacy of the Now, without reference to old memory patterns. At its
best, unclouded sixth-level vision brings one closer to experiencing the unity
of creation, seeing the underlying continuity and hearing the hidden harmonies
behind humanity's often painful apparent differences.

For the vast majority of us, full sixth-level seeing remains a distant goal.
Opening to all incoming data can drive one to terror; and focusing too much on
one slice of perception can lead to the "oh, wow" stupor that is the
butt of all the pot smoker jokes. Without a strong grounding at the lower
levels, and good "truth filters" at the fifth chakra, the esoteric
eye can be overwhelmed. When closed in self-defense, it refuses to accept
conflicting information or complex memories, and focuses on black or white answers.
This is the challenge put in front of us by our digital technologies. For, as
Erik Davis observes, "the logic of (today's digital) technology has become
invisible — literally occult. Without the code, you're mystified. And
nobody has all the codes anymore."[20]

The light and the shadow of sixth-level communications dharma are reflected
in our popular arts. The works of Phillip K. Dick, the aforementioned science
fiction writer of the 1950's, are today's hottest Hollywood
action movie properties, while Neal Stephenson's historical novels about codes,
viruses and "the hacker grail" have made him, according to a review
in the New York Times, "a cult figure among the digerati."[21]
Mastering the codes of consensual reality is the hacker's power in the
immensely popular thrillers of the Matrix series. The popular Da
Vinci Code,
with its clues and messages hidden in artwork, gravestones and
classical poetry, parallels the surreptitious appearance of "virtual
products" and corporate logos in TV programs. The 2004-5 series,
"Joan of Arcadia" disguises God as "a stranger on the bus."
On another show, TV detectives get help from a medium who hears crime victims
from "the other side." CSI distills the truth from microscopic
DNA crime scene evidence. While in many mosques, churches and temples,
fundamentalists offer simple solutions to today's complex problems by offering
up their simple interpretations of esoteric verses. In the political domain,
arguments over what "encodes" sexual identity have spilled over into
battles over state Constitutional amendments.

While a closed sixth chakra refuses complexity and vainly hangs on to the
"one magic code" that will make sense of the world's complexity, a
"blown-open" one no longer tries to ground the flow of information it
receives into a coherent narrative; every new image becomes, in novelist Alan
Lightman's words, "a disembodied nothingness," floating
weightless in a sea of "digital emptiness."[22] For some, ungrounded media saturation
has led to cults and magic. Many others have found themselves lost between
physical and virtual realities, adrift in a world of Grand Theft: Auto
and Mortal Kombat.[23] Combining high-definition video image
quality, surround sound and full interactivity with the experience of deeper
and deeper sixth-level "realities," – and the sweet lure of the
energies of sexuality and power, marketplace forces have made the video game
industry into a thirty-one billion-dollar global business ($10 billion
in the United States), supporting over 175 million players in the U.S. alone.

Most of us however find ourselves between these two extremes, trying to make
sense of our sixth-level media environment, trying to see more, to see wider
and to see deeper in a world where everything is in the process of being
digitized, where our entire culture will be delivered to our living rooms and
our pocket devices, our cars and our computers, our eyes and ears, as strings
of one's and zero's. Notwithstanding the popular image of compulsive teens
hooked on violent video games (the "Grand Theft Auto" series of games
has sold more than 21 million copies since 2001), or the rise of
"professional gamers" who play in public competitions for large cash
prizes, the real videogame mega-hits are virtual sports leagues and online
social simulation games such as SimCity. While the former ranks are
filled with adult men, these latter games are massively popular with both boys
and girls, who can create entire worlds: agricultural villages, vast industrial
mega-cities, high-tech edge-cites or small pedestrian-friendly communities. The
"Sims" series of games – which took the world-creating project into
the neighborhood and kitchen – has sold three times as many copies as the Grand
Theft
franchise, generating over $1.6 billion in sales since its initial
release in 2000.

A growing segment of the game market is devoted to positive social change:
many of them addressing real world problems – from Palestine
to the former Serbia.
The second most popular downloaded simulation game of 2005 was called Food
Force
. According to the U.N. World Food Program, "the game contains
six different missions for children 8-13 years old, who are faced with a number
of realistic challenges. In a race against time, they must feed thousands of
people in the fictitious island of Sheylan; they pilot helicopters while
looking out for hungry people; negotiate with armed rebels blocking a food
convoy; and use food aid to help rebuild communities."[24]

These open-ended games work, according to author Steven Johnson, not just
because they foster playing with possibilities, but also because they tap into
the human spirit's sixth-level desire to see more. You want to build the
building "not because it's there, but rather because it's not there, or
not there yet." [25] Online multi-player simulation
games, played simultaneously by thousands, invite players to try out new roles
and alter egos, to become parts of "communities of practice," and
experience novel ways of thinking – and other realities – that print can only
describe. New virtual worlds are being created, populated and socially
activated, not by monopolistic game companies, but by communities of users. If
you sign off and return a few days later, you may find that someone has build a
house next door or dammed the river above your town. Young and old alike are
attracted to the camaraderie and friendship of these online worlds and can even
experience grief when their network of affiliation collapses. Natural language
interactive dramas are on the drawing boards, promising, in the words of one
designer interviewed for the Atlantic magazine, "games (that) will
be as personal to you as your dreams, and as emotionally deep and meaningful to
you as your dreams."[26]

Our contemporary hunger for "seeing" has been reflected in the
multi-year debate over repairing the Hubble Telescope, and more closer to home,
in the explosion of Internet webcams – surveillance cameras, "nature
cams," "traffic cams," and, for exhibitionists, "voyeur
cams." Patrick DiJusto, a New York Times reporter found over 10,000
web-linked cameras, "showing everything from bedrooms and living rooms to
coin-operated laundries and shoe stores to plasma reactors and mountain
ranges."[27] Beyond seeing more is the challenge
of seeing deeper. We are creating technologies that remind us not only
to take in the wider view of life, but also to dig below, and up beyond, the
surface pixels that seem to make up our day-to-day reality.

Long-zoom consciousness – reflected by our digital capability to "zoom
out" from the scale of DNA through Google Earth's satellite maps to the
enormity of the cosmos – is emerging as contemporary culture's defining way of
seeing. It has created a new view of space – interconnected and multi-layered –
that is as disruptive to our old ways of seeing as the earlier revolutions of Newton
and Einstein.[28] Deeper-seeing is the core metaphor of
sixth-level digital dharma; it encapsulates the wisdom taught by contemporary
philosophers of consciousness and by the esoteric practices of many ancient
traditions. It is from this "big picture" place of compassion, beyond
the world of form, that one can watch the consensual codes of the "causal realm"
unfold and become "real" in the ever-forming Now. From this
viewpoint, our world is not a Matrix-like evil dream, but a constantly
redefined universal Wikpedia – the sum total of our belief systems. In
a few years our analog television sets will go dark unless we upgrade them to
receive the new digital transmissions. I believe that this technology shift out
in the Infosphere is also suggesting that it is now time for us to
switch to a higher-definition way of seeing.

 

Living in Full Sixth-level Teleconsciousness

I have suggested that the Infosphere provides us with a set of
metaphors to make sense of seeing with the unfiltered eye, demonstrating in
silicon chips how we create our consensual "stories" through patterns
of prediction based on limited data. Our sixth-level challenge is to see beyond
preconceived appearances to the creative causes behind the curtain; to change
our "spiritual operating system;" discarding the embedded habitual
"reference frames" that keep us from seeing with ever-fresh eyes,
fully experiencing the unfolding of the ever-present moment.[29]

Fifth-level digital technologies gave us a place to experiment with the
"truth" – taking on different personalities, trying on different
roles in the drama of life. Sixth-level awareness challenges one to step back
and see the play itself as a constructed event. Every time one puts a
CDROM or DVD into a playback device, one can remember that life itself is an
encoded story; every time one manipulates the virtual reality of a videogame or
immersive digital experience, one can step back and ask how our own everyday
reality is being manipulated.

The brain already has in place the mechanisms for recognizing our
"story codes." Whether from psychoactive substances, meditation,
fasting or prayer, it can be stimulated to release chemicals that suspend
short-term memory and dampen the background mental chatter, bringing one into
the deep present moment where all creativity begins.[30] For most of us however, meditation is a
less dangerous (and more socially-acceptable) path to sixth-level seeing. From
this place, one's intuition can tune into and decode the metaphors of the
subconscious, the messages of dreams and the universal truths of great art.[30]
With practice, it can also "hear" the voices of one's personal
spiritual guides, and guide one back home to the seat of the Soul. All
"magnetic" spiritual healing is based on sixth-level "energetic
code repair" – changing by the Higher Self's intention and the power of
the Universal Spirit, one's psychological belief systems, wounds and pain held
in the emotional energy field, one's attachment to the story of past-life karma,
or of the codes controlling physical health.

Choosing to receive Spirit's blessing and healing the pain of the past is a
commitment to changing our perspective, to unlearning the compression scheme
that decodes our experiences. Neil Douglas-Klotz, in The Sufi Book of Life,
suggests that two of the 99 Arabic names of God, Al-Ghafur (the
Forgiver) and Al-Afuw (the Pardoner), are such affirmations: inviting us
to burn off, and in the second case, to blow away (the resulting
ashes of) old impressions, clearing the dust on the surface of our heart. I
recently learned another name Al-Tawwab, the Beckoner of our Return, and
its affirmation, Ya-Tawwab, to repent and to return to an all-forgiving
Spirit, to "turn away" from the old stuck beliefs, to forgive others
and one's self; in effect, to replace an old decoding scheme with a better one.
These practices are an invitation to "cleanse the buffer," to release
the "cleverness" of the ego, and return to one's true nature, one's
"original face." This is the uncluttered state, according to
spiritual teacher Stephen Levine, of boundless mind, "before it became
conditioned, socialized, prejudiced, terrified."[32]

Meditation is, in effect, a process of observing the instruction
codes of reality without processing them into thoughts, emotions and
suffering. We can choose whether to engage or to just observe the flow. We have
the power to decide whether to identify with the stories of life experience, or
be the silent observer of the codes. Our gullible consciousness responds to any
software we put into it. A discerning awareness of our "programming"
can take us out of our self-imposed prison of limitation. In the Vedic story of
the Upanishads we are introduced to two birds of the same name:
"beautiful of wing, friends and comrades," clinging to a common tree.
"One eats the sweet fruit, the other regards him and eats not."[33]

Sixth-level dharma is about deciding if we want to identify with ego and its
attachment to the fruits of externally-modulated local reality: the worldly
dichotomies of pleasure and pain, success and failure, good and evil; or if we
want to move to the silent observer place of full decompressed awareness,
watching, as if on a video monitor, the multiple levels of reality unfold
before our eyes. Using our big picture zoom, we can practice expanding our
field of awareness until all subjective understanding gives way to the
universal Source, the quiet center where the underlying spirit of the universe
is all there is. From this place it is easy to imagine unselfishly (and without
attachment to either outcome or being special in any way) observing, then
taking in, the black programs of human suffering and replacing them with a
newly encoded "lighter" version for all of humanity.[34]

From this stance of loving observation, one can become, in Sri Aurobindo's
words, more than "a laborer in a thought factory, but a receiver of
knowledge from all the hundred realms of being." With access to all
potential codes, one is free to choose a more loving and less fear-based life
story from the library of Creation, to "repair one's karma," and
following one's deepest aspirations, jump to a higher track of spiritual
service in this round of incarnation.[35]

 


[1] Ervin Laszlo, Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of
Everything,
Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions (2004),
p.140. On Critics, Integral Institute, My Recent Writing, and Other Matters
of Little Consequence: A Shambhala Interview with Ken Wilber,
excerpted at http://www.ki-net.co.uk/spiraldynamics_wilber.html;
see also Wilber (2000a), n. 114. Neuroscience is discovering that the brain has
its own receptors for "seeing deeper." "Anandamide"
(triggered by drugs such as marijuana, chanting, meditation and religious
bliss) has the effect of slowing the processing of peripheral data, allowing
one to dive fully into the "now" of the moment, and the purity of the
object (or in Buddhism, the "non-object") of contemplation. See also,
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World, New York: Random House (2001),
147-168.

[2] Satprem, Sri Aurobindo, or The Adventure of Consciousness, New
York: Institute for Evolutionary Research (1984),
p.168, 66. Anodea Judith, Waking the Global Heart, Santa
Rosa: Elite Books (2006), chart on p. 214.

[3] Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path
to Self,
Berkeley: Celestial
Arts (1996), p.358; Anodea Judith and Selene Vega, The Sevenfold Journey:
Reclaiming Mind, Body and Spirit through the Chakras,
Freedom CA: The
Crossing Press (1993), p.225. Ambika Wauters, Chakras and their Archetypes:
Uniting Energy Awareness and Spiritual Growth,
Freedom, CA: The Crossing
Press Wauters (1997), p.137. Mathew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of
the Flesh: Lessons for Transforming Evil in Soul and Society,
New
York: Harmony Books (1999), p.301. Don Beck and
Christopher Cowan, Spiral
Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change,
Oxford:
Blackwell (1996) p.277.

[4] On Dharmadatu, see Dr. Yutang Lin's essay at
http://www.angelfire.com/realm/bodhisattva/dharmadhatu.html.
Augeries of Innocence by William Blake (1803). Online version at http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/blake/to_see_world.html.

[5] This focus on the "essence" of the
mundane is discussed by Pollan, 147; see also Ken Wilber, (2000), p.60; and
Laszlo (2004), p.141.

[6] Ibid. 219. Ken Wilber, The Atman
Project: A Transpersonal View of Human Development,
Wheaton,
IL: Quest Books (1980), p.154.

[7] Paul Verhoeven, Director of Total Recall, a film based on a Philip K.
Dick short story, quoted in Frank Rose, "The Second Coming of Philip K.
Dick, Wired Magazine, December, 2003. Dick was the author of the short
stories adapted for such films as Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990),
and Minority Report (2002).

[8] Al-Basir! – one of the "99 Names
of God" in the Muslim tradition. Neil Douglas-Klotz, The Sufi Book of
Life,
New York: Penguin
Compass (2005), p.72.

[9] This "creative" process is of course perfectly acceptable with home
movies and snapshots, but not in science. Some professional journals have
discovered "enhanced" illustrations in research manuscripts. In a few
fraudulent cases, new elements were added or conflicting images removed. See,
Nicholas Wade, "It May Look Authentic; Here's How to Tell It Isn't," New
York Times
, January 24, 2006;
D1.

[10] The DVD Comes of Age," New York Times Arts and Leisure Section, August 17, 2003. AR1. Elvis Mitchell
calls Marti Scorsese's comments on the Criterion Collection's laser disk of
"Taxi Driver", more than a commentary. "(It) isn't just an
interview; it's a master class, with an intoxicating wealth of raw data and
insight into his perspective." "Everyone's a Film Geek Now," New
York Times Arts and Leisure Section,
August 17, 2003. AR1.

[11] Nick Paumgarten, "Bad-Ass Camera," New Yorker, August 21, 2006. 26.

[12] Susan Blackmore, The Meme Machine,
New York: Oxford
University (1999), p.213. See her
website at: http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Books/Meme%20Machine/mmsynop.html

[13] Michael Talbot, The Holographic
Universe,
New York: Harper
Collins (1991), p.27. Lynn McTaggart, The Field, New
York: HarperCollins (2002), cites the work of Karl
Pribham to build a mathematical model of perception based upon Fourier
transformations, the same "cosine quantization" tools used in today's
video compression standards. Loosely speaking, the Fourier transform decomposes
an analog function into a continuous spectrum of its frequency components.

[14] Howard Bloom, The Global Brain, New York:
Wiley (2000), p.66.

[15] Blackmore (1999), p.216.

[16] Robert X. Cringely, TV Oaxaca, July 1, 2004, in "I, Cringely"
website: http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2004/pulpit_20040701_000817.html;
on "pre-wiring" to recognize sexual images and celebrities, see New
York Times Magazine,
December 11, 2005, 82.

[17] Richard Grossinger, On the Integration
of Nature: Post 9/11 Biopolitical Notes,
Berkeley: North Atlantic Books (2005), p.190.

[18] In fact, your experience of "reality" is always a half-second behind
— the latency time it takes for your inner decoder to process and
produce its facsimile of "truth" in visual awareness. For a
discussion of back-dating" reality, see Rita Carter, Consciousness,
London: Weidenfield and Nicholson,
(2003), p. 31.

[19] The "selfplex," she argues, has evolved to support our role as
communicating beings, spreading bits of ideas — memes — into the
Infosphere. "The selfplex is successful not because it is true or good
or beautiful; not because it helps our genes; nor because it makes us happy. It
is successful because the memes that get inside it persuade us to work for
their propagation."
Blackmore (1999), p. 234.

[20] Erik Davis, TechGnosis: Myth, Magic +
Mysticism in the Age of Information,
New York:
Harmony Books (1998), p.181.

[21] "The Second Coming of Philip K. Dick, Wired
Magazine.
Edward Rothstein, "Pursuing the 17th-Century
Origins of the Hacker's Grail," New York
Times
, September 20, 2003.
A17. See also, Davis (1998),
p.273-4.

[22] Alan Lightman, Reunion, New
York: Pantheon (2003), reviewed in the NY Times
Book Review,
July 27, 2003.
p. 6.

[23] William Irwin Thompson, Coming into Being, New
York: St. Martin's (1996),
p.194.

[24] Clive Thompson, "VIDEO GAMES; Saving The World, One Video Game At a
Time," New York Times, July
23, 2006. Accessed at NYT Archive, http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F60B12FA3D5B0C708EDDAE0894DE404482
(8/21/06): U.N. news
release at http://www.food-force.com/downloads/one-million-players.doc.
The game itself can be found at http://www.food-force.com/.

[25] Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You, New
York: Riverhead Books (2005), p. 37.

[26] On the psychological space of multiplayer
game domains, see Margaret Wertheim, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace, New
York: W.W. Norton (1999), p.235-252, and Videogames and the Future of
Leaning,"
a paper by David Williamson Shaffer, Kurt R. Squire, Richard
Halverson, James P. Gee, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Academic
Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory, http://www.academiccolab.org/resources/gappspaper1.pdf. J. D. Lasica, in Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation, Hoboken
NJ: John Wiley and Sons (2005), describes Second Life as a game that
lets people express their personalities and display their creativity (in)
"a rich, diverse landscape filled with interesting characters, whimsical
domains, and cool getaways" (p. 244). The decision in late 2005 to
"revamp" the popular online multiplayer simulation game Star Wars
Galaxies
into more of a shoot-em-up experience (to attract younger
players), left most of its 200,000 adult participants in great despair over the
loss of both relationships and communities that they might have spent many
hundreds of hours constructing. See, Seth Schiesel, "For Online Star Wars
Game, It's Revenge of the Fans," New York
Times
, December 10, 2005.
C1. On the future of games, see Jonathan Rauch, "Sex, Lies, and
Videogames," The Atlantic, November, 2006, 76.

[27] "NASA Says Hubble Repair Mission Is a Go," AP Report at the Houston
Chronicle
website, October 31 2006; http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/science/4301525.html;
"On the Net, Unseen Eyes," New York Times, Circuits Section,
February 24, 2005, E1] reports on the number of unmonitored Webcams, including
those found in a middle school locker room, that can be accessed with a simple
Google search.

[28] Steven Johnson, "The Long Zoom," New
York Times Magazine
, October 8,
2006. 50. On disruptions to ways of "seeing" space, see
Wertheim (1999) and Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics: Parallel Visions of
Space, Time & Light,
New York:
William Morrow (1991).

[29] Judith and Vega (1993), p.226.

[30] Pollan (at p.170) describes the brain chemistry of transcendence. Physicist
Amit Goswami, argues that once the brain's habitual decoding buffer is cleared,
we have a new choice, whether to let our ego-identity act on external stimuli,
or in the gap between receiving incoming data and deciding to "decode"
it, we can make the "quantum leap" necessary to transform our inner
consciousness. Amit Goswami (with Richard Reed and Maggie Goswami), The
Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World,
Los
Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher (1993), p.234.

[31] Wauters (1997), p.138.

[32] Neil Douglas-Klotz, The Sufi Book of
Life,
New York: Penguin
Compass (2005), p.92, p.226. On a Sufi interpretation of Al-Tawwab, see:
http://wahiduddin.net/words/99_pages/tawwab_80.htm.
Our true face is in Buddhism called "Original Mind." Stephen Levine, Turning
Toward the Mystery,
New York:
HarperCollins, 2002, p.57.

[33] Rig Veda, I.164.20, cited in Satprem (1984), p.44.

[34] On pulling out the to larger field, see Goswami (1993), p.237. Replacing dark
rays of suffering with light is at the heart of the Buddhist
"Tonglen" breathing meditation. See, http://www.quietmountain.org/links/teachings/tonglen.htm
and http://www.beliefnet.com/story/4/story_425_1.html

[35] Satprem (1984), p.50. Pir Vilayat Inayat
Kahn, Toward the One, New York:
Harper Colophon (1974) warns (at p.155, 159) that at death "you will be
removed to whatever plane corresponds to your aspirations." His
suggestion: aspire for the highest plane!