Plasticity Takes Time

Our neural systems are not just like roots: growing, dying back, seeking nourishment, and succumbing to obstacles, poisons, pathogens. They are roots. They deal in connections, finding and bridging phenomena.

How do we increase clarity and coherence?

We can only do this by letting go of the assumptions based on the illusions of power. When we do this – follow proprioception – we attend to plasticity. To the dynamic of growth, reorientation, and bridging of our neural capacity. It’s what neural capacity does.

So long as we fixate on problems/solutions, strive after causing effects, and; even when we seek to change minds, including our own; we block attention. We inhibit it from doing what it does well. Plasticity: the capacity to change shape and form, occurs within a dynamic framework.

Plasticity is the way a node of awareness connects with everything. So long as we limit our selves to acting in a “real world” or considering ourselves “trapped in our senses;” we misunderstand what-is and what is possible.

Roots are not static. Roots are an elaboration and extension of a boundary. A linear boundary between here and there :|: is a wall. Extend a boundary into a convoluted and branching network of edges and the wall becomes permeable.

This is the basis of life. Complex organic molecules replicate, as viruses and cells. Awareness, embodied in an organism with a neural capacity, interacts with existence in a similar manner.

Both are evolutionary processes. Evolution is not limited to what happens across deep time. Evolution is ongoing. A range of actions, reactions, responses, and dead-ends are always in play.

When any organism relates to what it is embedded within everything that happens to-it/is-done-by-it is a part of life’s ongoing evolution.

In neural plasticity the same dynamics are at work. The capacity of a neural network to connect sensually with the salient aspects of all an organism is embedded within is always in flux. Inertia within awareness – the way any stimulus fades with repetition, for example – is countered by the organism’s ability to extend, renew, and reorganize its network via plasticity.

Plasticity is the work of awareness. It functions within awareness. Attention evolves as plasticity interacts with the totality of what-is.

The compelling nature of whatever is sensually available at a given moment tends to drive us to focus on what we expect at the expense of whatever is outside our neural/sensorium. Our blind spots are seamless and invisible.

If we allow ourselves to be mired in the compulsion to stay within expectation we take focus away from plasticity. We degrade its ability to change and create new connections. Instead we put our energies into maintaining division. Ultimately – and in short order! – these divisions open a growing gap/chasm between what we think we know and everything.

This can only lead to the destruction of our capacity for plasticity in favor of establishing broader and ever more stark either/or divisions. This is how we lose track of what-is and get mired in delusion.

The only way to remain engaged with a constantly shifting and evolving everything is to see this expectation of stability as dangerous and hold our attention on the requirements of plasticity.

When we look at proprioception and clarity and coherence as aspects of the functioning of our neural plasticity; as we focus on the necessary work of maintaining connection and extending our integration within the whole; so much falls into place.

An appetite for engaging in plasticity as an active interaction instead of something that just happens to us outside our awareness is another way of looking at a deeper aspect of proprioception. We have considered proprioception to be a defense against suffering.Seen in this new light it becomes something much more active.

Aligning our awareness to the dynamic of plasticity, we begin to see how we may act without trying. Without “not trying” turning into a blunt negation.

What does it mean to act without trying?

It is to act within an awareness of how plasticity functions?

This is a heuristic and not a Law. A working feel for the way plasticity functions and how we can get out of its way; to actually bring energy and attention to it; as opposed to bleeding energy and attention away from it to be spent on emotional drama; is a convoluted way of describing what it is to learn.

We are stuck within a paradigm in which learning is accepted as an accumulation of knowledge. This kind of learning has nothing to do with accumulation. It’s not about knowing stuff. It is learning how to move through learning. Learning as how we engage and stay engaged with what-is.

We cannot ever “know enough.” The pursuit of knowledge, data, information – all of it – is a dead-end. The universe – Greek for everything so lets just say everything instead – is a mystery. It seems to have a particular way of engaging with organisms like us. David Bohm likened everything to a holographic unfolding out of implication.

These insights take us out of the binds of dualistic thinking. What’s amazing to the extreme is how they lead us to the edge of all the binds we have come to call civilization. It’s that big a breakthrough. Potentially….

In such a form of relation with everything, with what-is, as Bohm suggests via proprioception and coherence, we have access to the way life actually interacts with everything. Evolution is plasticity writ large. Neural plasticity is the evolutionary dynamic in which awareness and attention are embedded.

To say that we can actively participate in our own plasticity is so far removed from the sort of Promethean ploy we see in genetic engineering. These gods-in-waiting are Frankensteins. They parody the workings of everything and play with forces they have no way to control. The Twentieth Century’s Prometheans’ struggles with Nuclear Forces are actually quite timid and less damaging than the forces these fools toy with.

To bring proprioception to plasticity is not to fantasize control over destiny and then destroy life as it is and destroy whatever swathes of our inheritance their unwitting machinations will alter. This effort is a way to enter into relation with a fundamental dynamic. Add our energy to how it works.

The fad around neural plasticity misrepresents what’s at stake, what’s available. It’s not a ploy to avoid aging, or how we can gain a new hobby. Plasticity is how awareness remains in existence. Without this dynamic awareness would quickly extinguish itself.

How do we interact with this capacity?

By recognizing that it takes time. It takes its own time, It is a process that takes place outside of what we normally consider awareness. So long as we stay trapped in Ego-centric strategies and theories of causation, etc., we cannot interact with plasticity. We cannot even have an awareness of it. When we speak of, “letting go,” this is what we’re letting go of conditioning for.

Plasticity can be felt. But only if we are open to how it works.

We bring an awareness of plasticity and its dynamics into all our practices. It is a fundamental aspect of how we interact within all three realms of action: Art, Craft, and Theosphere.

More on this to come….





Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

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