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Consciousness and the City

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

Mind, like gravity and electromagnetism, is at the core of existence. So science suggests:

"...panpsychism is the view that mind or a mindlike aspect is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality. It is also described as a theory that 'the mind is a fundamental feature of the world which exists throughout the universe.'"
  - Wikipedia

Consciousness is the bedrock of our existence, our "I am." But do we really know ourselves? How conscious are we of who we are, how self-aware? Radio waves exist, but we are only aware of them when we turn on the radio and tune into a station.

Strange things happen when we do tune in and become more aware of our self. Noticing yourself is like the infinite regression that happens when two mirrors face each other:

I am frustrated;
then I become aware that I am frustrated, of the I that is frustrated;
then I become aware of the I that is aware of the I that is frustrated...

This super-perspective is a stepping outside of our normal, superficial sense of self, a detachment, like counting to ten before speaking when one is angry. It is a rising above the usual, hormone-driven response. With it comes a freedom of thought and action that Zen calls "unconditioned mind."

With it I still feel frustrated or sad or angry, but I don't add to it. Some vicious emotional cycle is broken. I don't get angry because I am angry or sadder because I am sad. I am not frustrated by my frustration.

There were three maxims chiseled into the stone in the forecourt of Apollo's Temple at Delphi. The first of these was "Know thyself." Another was "Surety brings ruin." (The last was "Nothing to excess.")

Being sure when we ought to have doubts, brings ruin. Mistakenly thinking that we already know, believing we have nothing more to learn, precludes our figuring it out.

Psychology demonstrates that becoming aware of our hidden motives is therapeutic. Knowing that you have a problem is half of the solution, the harder half. Seeing difficulties in a new light, illuminates the path forward. Of course, as the failure of Freud's "talking cure" demonstrates, becoming aware of the problem isn't enough. Practical change is required.

Jordan Peterson, in his 5-million-copy-best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life advises people, especially young people, of practical ways to come to know their deeper selves:

1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
2. Treat yourself like you are someone you are responsible for helping.
3. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
4. Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today...
5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).
8. Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie.
9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
10. Be precise in your speech.
11. Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding.
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

Indeed, hundreds of thousands of people have found meaning following Dr. Peterson's advice, often starting the process of getting their life in order by cleaning up their room. But what then? What about after you put your room and your life in order?

After you put your individual life in order it's time to expand your definition of self, to extend your network of relationships and build a healthier community.

We are social beings. Our relationships define us. Healthier relationships are a large part of being a healthier individual. Our network of relationships is our community, our larger self. If our environment, our neighborhood is unsafe or toxic, it affects our personal well-being.

A friend and advisor ask me if Lokkal, my virtual town square project, is a business or a social movement. I admit to having messianic intentions, but really it's both, because, building healthier communities is good business, very good.

Piaget's last phase of adolescent development is the "messianic stage," in which young people see themselves in a major effort to reform the world. Jordan Peterson observes that "The human heart demands an adventure, especially if you're young." He laments that the steady incremental progress in well-being that has characterized capitalist society on virtually all metrics in the last 100 years (especially in the last four decades) does not present such a captivating narrative.

"...people are living longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. The angst and hand wringing that permeates our culture is not just misguided, it is wrong... All data conclusively support the proposition that life has never been better... predictions about future calamity MUST deal with centuries of previous predictions that have failed to materialize 100% of the time."
  - Jim Atkinson

Lokkal's community building focus allows energies which are now destructive, or at least poorly directed, to be channeled in a positive, constructive way, benefiting the individual, the neighborhood, the city and society as a whole.

In the same way that Dr. Peterson's 12 Rules provide practical structure for the development of self, Lokkal's online platform provides the practical technology to structure the development of community.

Richness depends on a refined appreciation, a better understanding, a sense of subtlety and detail. Lokkal fosters an enriching perspective on community, a deeper, more nuanced view of our life in common. Lokkal projects meaning onto the city, enhancing the way we look at the city. And like the infinite regression in two mirrors face to face, it works both ways in that our refined observation of the community reflects back on and enriches the community itself, as quantum physics shows that observation changes that which is being observed.

Lokkal is the community becoming self-conscious. Like in some artificial intelligence fantasy, it is the city becoming aware of itself, and that's when strange, wonderful things happen.

You can sit down at your computer or pick up your smartphone and feel community, in your city and in other cities. You'll be able to visit lokkal.com/paris or lokkal.com/jerusalem and get the edification of travel, without the airplane.

With that Lokkal becomes a digital, interactive experience of planetary consciousness. People don't need to meditate, have a near-death experience or take mind-altering substances to grasp world unity. With Lokkal the experience of our interconnectedness is available on your digital device.

The internet is the brain of the world. Until now it has been a very chaotic brain. Strange, mystical things happen when we start putting that brain in order and the planet becomes aware of itself.

**************

Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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