the Art of Nao
Scroll 30 . 92 x 171 cm ~36 x ~ 67 inches
Scroll 30-section 1.1
> certainly, from physical modifications.
Conventional meanings generally bias our perceptions and cause us to act upon them automatically, without questioning their premises. This is the neurological source of stereotypes and prejudices. Unless we explore the validity of those meanings that we take for granted, then we may be living a life of empty ones and never realize it.
Like the cultivation of a fruit tree, clipping or fostering the branches of our neurological system can alter the meanings in our lives both for better or for worse. This is possible because neurological relationships are not static, but fertile and evolving maps. Nerves can modify themselves, increase, compensate for damage, and respond to stimuli with a great degree of plasticity. They alter due to our experiences, as well as from our deliberate efforts to educate them.
Scroll 30-section 1.2
Meanings weave themselves into our perceptions as if meaning itself were something external and inevitable. However, meaning is not inherent to life, but a powerful act of human creation, one that comes from within. You cannot physically locate another person’s meaning, nor hand over your own; meaning can only be transmitted via self-expression and its reception.
When this is successful, the receiver is able to “try on for size” the subject matter’s neurological networks within the sender, enough so to have a sense of what is meant. This kind of receptivity to another’s way of interpreting life is at the roots of such experiences as realization, understanding, insight, empathy, and true communication.
When this fails, however, then misunderstanding another’s meaning can readily lead to aggression and conflict of varying degrees, as can disagreement with what has >
Scroll 30-section 2.1
> properly been understood. This battle can be framed as: my nervous system is right and yours is wrong. The error here results from how easily we can agree on obvious physicality in the outer world. From such somewhat shared views, assumptions come that we all see the same meanings in them as well.
However, our inner world is where meanings arise, for the outer world in itself is without them. It only contains specific forms, textures, processes, and forces, something that any animal can recognize and respond to. Wild animals routinely respond to their environments based on how they experience it sensually and in the moment, but not according to meanings. Most animals will infer intrusion from the occurrence of a sudden loud noise, or imminent change from a fast movement nearby. Sensual information of this kind is always about something concretely based.
Such neurological events do not require meaning, but rather significance—what is something a “sign” of?
Scroll 30-section 2.2
What a sign conveys will be constant and always provides sensual information about the moment. This immediacy restores us into a full biological relationship with what is. Meanings, on the other hand, are abstract and variable; they depend upon whose meaning it is.
When someone says that they “really mean it,” and they do, then you can be sure that their whole nervous system is engaged in the materialization of their expression. The counterpart of “I didn’t really mean it,” represents that their actions were based upon weather of the moment, and not on any deep neurological commitment to the message itself.
We often use the word “meaning” when we are talking instead about a sign. For example, when we say that increasing wind and looming dark grey clouds “mean” that it is going to rain soon, then we are >
Scroll 30-section 3.1
> making the word “mean” do the work of a sign. That wind and clouds are obvious signs of lurking rain is due to meteorological forces acting according to constant laws. The meaning of oncoming rain, however, differs for each person: “The coming rain means that I can’t wear my suede shoes.” “The coming rain means that I don’t need to water my lawn.”
None of these meanings is fixed. You might still wear those suede shoes if you get them waterproofed; perhaps you will still water the lawn because the rain was too sparse…and so on. Unlike the variables of meaning, the reliable signs of rain in the form of rising wind and grey clouds won’t change, whether or not you wear your blue suede shoes, or if you water your lawn.
Most of the hard sciences are based upon this attitude of relying on objective signs rather than on meanings.
Scroll 30-section 3.2
Sciences tell us how things are constructed and how they work; they do not tell us what something means. That’s why scientists can do research on stem cells and find it exciting work, while others think it “means” that they want to play God.
Stripping away all meaning is unnecessary in the ordinary course of events. On the contrary, in its absence, we seek meaning as a way of saturating our feelings. When life becomes problematic, however, and precisely because of what something “means,” then our ability to distinguish meanings from signs quickly helps reduce stressful neurological activity.
Meanings as Maps of Nerves
A simple and true-to-territory way to think of meanings is to see them as created by neurological maps with specific path- >
Scroll 30-section 4.1
> -ways: N-maps. As with physical ones, our neurological maps are where we have gone, can go, or will go. The fact that one neurological route became the more travelled does not remove the possibility that other paths to the same place could have been (and still can be) created.
As with external places, abandoning a well-worn trail results in it’s becoming overgrown, whereas, repeatedly treading a new one eventually turns it into a familiar route. Changing one’s N-maps comes from perceiving something in a different way, and so, activating an alternative course of connecting synapses.
Sometimes when we revisit past places and/or relationships, we find that we no longer can travel passageways to once accepted meanings. The opposite can also happen when past meanings flare up with as much fullness as if we had never been away.
Scroll 30-section 4.2
In this case, no subsequent information formed a modified channel to a revised meaning.
N-maps also include places of meanings where we are trained not to go, or where we fear to go. These relate to taboo thoughts and actions, the subjects considered to be “bad”, the deviant.
Every meaning has its companion feelings that ascribe if a meaning’s textures are rough or smooth, hard or soft, easy or difficult, pleasant or not, with all shades in between.
There are words and themes whose meanings for us throw a large shadow on other meanings because we associate them with self-worth and survivability, or else their absence. Words such as: love, success, race, failure, family, religion, health, and others. N-maps regarding any given subject are part of an active network whose neurological ends consist of both words and images. When we >
Scroll 30-section 5.1
> think of a given word, associated images conjure up its reality, and when we have a given image, multiple words get tagged to it.
Since the same word can be associated with different kinds of experiences, and just as a freeway exit branches out to different places, the paths of N-maps are segments of a network whose “word” locations connect with multiple roads. Like all meanings, words require context for their intended content.
The phrase "the knife is too dull" has completely different implications if we're cutting a sandwich rather than performing a surgery. Even though we understand that the ”too dull” part is the point of the sentence, this dullness’ application is the important aspect of its meaning. Each of the differing contexts has a neurological pathway to its distinct sense.
According to what is our attention’s center stage, there is a greater or lesser neurological flow among all of the N-maps.
Scroll 30-section 5.2
Our current N-map on a given matter has the potential to hyperlink to maps of previous activations on subjects quite foreign to one’s present circumstances.
When we rethink a word or image and come to a fresh perception as to what they are “about,” then, all of our N-maps dependent upon that word's or image’s participation are also redefined. The more critical either one’s role, the more revolutionary the ripples of change throughout our neurological networks.
Ideas, simply on their own, are so powerful specifically because they can completely revise any number of N-maps in a single sweep, and through thought alone. As such, an idea’s potentially uprooting power can cause people to resist it, lest their neurons begin to respond to its possible materialization. If we do not have the necessary nerve, then some imagined realities are too threatening >
Scroll 30-section 6.1
> to contemplate even in conceptual form. We might also have to alter our self-image just for having considered a controversial idea. This inflexibility protects the individual from any realizations that might cause them to adopt a—possibly, too radical—new way of being, along with its greater or lesser effects of re-routed neurology.
And because some words associated with a “forbidden” idea must, nonetheless, also function elsewhere, such closed circuits can create damaging neighbourhoods of neurological resistance on matters that are not, in essence, controversial—I was once told by an old woman, of the prudish Victorian era, that it is improper to say “pregnant pause.” Any such stagnant N-maps render a person extremely rigid and unreasonable because they cannot process uncontroversial activations between words that must also be used to speak about controversial subjects.
On the other hand, not having the nerve to contemplate something is a desirable trait when it comes to a latent potential for harm, or for the exploitation of others.
The flow of electricity among our N-maps, or else its absence, is the basis for either “feeling good” or “feeling bad.” In the first case, uninterrupted transmission keeps the beat of the moment; there is minimal friction and all systems are “go.” It is a day when we feel everything is going our way. By contrast, when it’s just not our day, then there are bumper-to-bumper movements among N-maps as we stumble over uneven conceptional and emotional ground.
Scroll 30-section 6.2 — End of Scroll 30
A sense of flow can only arise when N-maps do not resist one another’s transmissions or inhibitions. Turbulence usually arises when N-maps with more freedom are pitted against overly restraining ones.
The results of neuron-imaging offer solid proof that the words and images we use have decisive effects upon all of our physical and psychological systems. Mirror neurons, especially, clearly illustrate the power of our imaginations over our bodies. As described also elsewhere, viewing externally or imagining internally, activates in us corresponding neurological pathways. It is as if we were acting with our own physicality what we are viewing or imagining. Just picture something that genuinely disgusts you and try to get into it. After only a brief time of doing this exercise, you’ll want out.
Having pointed on that, this dynamic is nonetheless an invaluable aid for making desirable affirmations. Like blueprints for a new home, the constant imagining and planning of our desired state builds up neurological events into connected N-maps.
This mirror-neuron process is what makes movies and spectator sports so popular. The catch though, is that the resultant desensitization of our nerves from their constant >
© C.C. Elian 2010 - 2016