March 30th: Contemplating the mechanics of imagination

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Today there will be no ceremonies, a couple of the remaining guests are leaving to make room for the new group arriving on Wednesday. I spend the morning walking around the jungle, and I am feeling my conceptions of what imagination is and how it operates being challenged. Being from a highly anthropocentric culture, I have always understood imagination as an individually generative process, being generated from within the mind of the individual. This seems to be how it is regarded by most people, “you” use “your” imagination.
This way of looking at imagination makes the human seem very extraordinary, being capable of generating imaginal worlds essentially out of nothing. A notion very akin to the western conception of god, and indicative of the style of thinking we tend to fall into in the modern world.
 
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I have had difficulty with accessing “my” imagination in my adult life, as I expect many people do who live in an environment that does not excite or nourish it. However, as I am walking in the jungle, I find access to new forms of novelty and previously unrealized forms in my mind much more effortlessly. Unfamiliar feelings and images present themselves on the periphery of my awareness.
It would make very much sense to me that the noosphere functions under the same principles as everything else in the universe – emergent properties. Emergent properties is a term popularized by Whitehead for describing how seemingly “new” things come into existence. It requires a configuration of parts previously never combined before, this configuration yields “emergent” properties – properties not reducible to the sum of it’s parts.
 
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This would suggest that imagination is neither something purely generative, nor something that you simply “tune” into from external sources, but rather a process of co-creation. The imaginal forms that you are presented with are a completely unique phenomenon born from the combination of your internal state and the external energies accessed by your awareness.
When you become habituated to the energy of your surroundings over time, imagination becomes more difficult to access, and similarly so if your mind becomes stagnant without any large changes over time. The combination of new energies and psychological alterations will inevitably yield a flood of novelty. Imagination is the language of novelty in the noosphere, and communication between parts in the overall system.
 
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………….
 
As the day progresses, some panic and anxiety begins to set in. I miss people from back home quite strongly and am beginning to grasp how difficult this process of healing with ayahuasca is going to be.
I am very familiar with this feeling of panic from my prior experience with asceticism and extensive meditation practice, it will come and go in waves. As it comes, there is nothing I can do but lie in silence and let the energy flow outwards as much as possible, in whatever form of expression it takes, resistance to it will yield no freedom from it. This is the price of clarity, I have seen before. Letting go of all certainty, illusion of control, and security.
 
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I am not fearing the physical and energetic pain but the solitude, I look forward to the arrival of the larger group if only for the feeling of other humans around.
I try to cultivate love for my surroundings, all the nature surrounding me. If I can only calm my mind, I know it will speak to me and be my guiding force, my anchor of connectedness. However, I must go through the pains of letting go first.
 
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