Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Storytelling Age: Information butand Quantum?

            Overall, I like the message of the four-minute video “Wisdom in the Age of Information” and resonate with Maria Popova’s lines like: “The great storyteller is the kindly captain who sails her ship with tremendous wisdom and boundless courage, who points its nose in the direction of horizons and worlds chosen with unflinching idealism and integrity.” Check out this Future of StoryTelling's video.
         But—you knew there was going to be a “but” didn’t you, or there wouldn’t be a blog. No one, no story, says it all. We need the dialog of voices; the dissonance of honest conversation speaks true in our quantum age of multiplicity. So perhaps I should say “and” instead of “but”; or better yet, we might make up a word like “butand.” 
         My reaction comes in my sense that situating wisdom atop a ladder with information as the base is missing something.  Like Resonance. Popova's video references direction as North-South-East-West. What about those authentic other ways known to native peoples like up, down, and inner. Those directions are not found in data.
         The Age of Information works on the scientific method with its assertions of supposedly generalizable conclusions, and the subsequent transfer of “facts,” that is, information. We need storytellers for the Quantum Age where travelers at the edge of consciousness might need facts butand also feel (and that includes suffer as well as thrill) the loss of significant meaning. For at least a hundred years, the search for destiny has been looking for guides who acknowledge the validity found in quantum discovery: uncertainty and indeterminacy.
         The compass for today’s age gets forged in developing inner sense, and even the old old stories tell it.  For example, I vibrate on the strings of the search told by Rumi (~1250) about the “Lost Camel” (Mathnawi, Book 2, beginning about line 2970, depending on the translation) where the time spent in imitation gets acknowledged and then surpassed. The search is not straight-line, not directed by information; but it’s made meanderingly, yet true to passion, inner vision, companionship as well as individual integrity.
          Destiny doesn’t drop on persons who sit (like grad students choosing the back row) and wait to be titillated by a bit of information, drugged by the thrill-a-minute entertainment culture, and motivated by the get-off-your-butt video/movie/blog… The Information-Ager might catch a cruise ship with 24-hour entertainment and might even make center-stage on it. Butand that age no longer commands my quest and it doesn’t reflect the base of the storytelling I care about.
         A ladder doesn’t seem to fit the quantum age. It’s too linear, too authoritarian, too presumptuous. I like Rilke’s poem of the ancient tower with circling spirals and uncertainty of whether I’m a hawk, a tempest, a story, butand a horserider. “Horserider” makes a special translation of the poem because it’s where my resonant field intersects. A good story makes a space that opens for the participant to enter, to make a telling translation. The telling gives a reading of the magnetic field that rights destiny.
         In the field of terms needed for storytelling that trues our lives, I value experience, resonance, and circling destiny. Good stories locate the space that often grumbles “Nonsense!” The quantum storymaker turns the edge of consciousness from nonsense toward “not-yet-sense” by playing resonance into the scent. This play builds a feel of fit, butand it’s not a steady state. It’s a balancing act, like centered riding with a magnificent horse.

Legacy says: Not-yet-sense is good focus for Good Stories. She imparted this affirmation in our time together this week by giving a movement that boggled my system. She offered a strange bump in the midst of our ride and it just didn’t compute. In other words, we entered the mist of nonsense. I was muddled with uncertainty: Had I just felt a half-hearted buck? Butand, might we have made an inarticulate shift toward a higher-level position?
         Given the context described above related to Good Stories, I interpret Legacy’s message as affirmation of not-yet-sense. That’s helpful because it’s difficult to engage positively with experience that doesn’t flow into meaning. Yet sometimes the space to create new meaning, especially advancing consciousness, simply needs holding until the wiring adjusts to different frequencies. The shout “Nonsense!” offers a convenient escape hatch from the discomfort of developing. That’s dangerous if we take nonsense as a turn-off or run-away signal rather than possibly as hold-on-here.
         Breathing into dissonance instead of bolting or shutting down takes courage, patient courage not the heroic kind. In our Good Story this week, the much-needed development of feminine leadership depended on suffering the still point. It extends our first Good Story, “Visit,” when the Old Woman made Ivan into a pin and stuck him on the wall, a still point needed to get the direction necessary to continue the quest for the Beloved. In this week’s “Golden Water,” the character had to stay in a hut just outside the holy place and endure the criticism of the masses for a long time. Our inner as well as outer critics may fuss loudly when we take the time needed to integrate developing sensitivity. Dragnet still sounds: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Significant advances in evolution have taken centuries, but a year’s internship may sound intolerable to us.
         The Information Age supported many advances; butand it also risked loss of certain kinds of knowing. The world of stories creates a category of “nonsense tales.” Some storytellers, especially ones in an information age, require a stated moral, and some versions make a nonsense tale into silly entertainment. Others, perhaps ones sensitive to a quantum age, hold a space for nonsense to transform into not-yet-sense with generative capacity to support voyagers at the quantum edge of consciousness.