The weaver becomes the web. The more we relate to dead things the less alive we become. Emerson made this simple observation as the industrial revolution was pouring across the globe. The environment shapes development. Development shapes perception. Perception shapes reality. Reality projected outwardly shapes the environment and round and round we go. Resonance….
Joseph Chilton Pearce made a profound and critical observation about virtual reality and the devices that produce them; they are dead, meaning they have no intrinsic resonate meaning, something all life forms share. They represent counterfeits of the mental imagery the most highly evolved regions of the brain evolved to generate. Exposure to counterfeits as the brain is developing (most importantly during the early stages and decreasing in importance through age eleven), retard the development of the capacities the counterfeit mimics.
One is bathed in living resonance sitting in the lap of a storyteller, hearts beating, nonverbal emotions, body contact, movement, temperature, order, touch and many other subtle fields of meaning. Holding a tablet or phone with a screen in your lap one is bathed in toxic microwave radiation. Yes, the senses are stimulated by lifeless counterfeits of living experience, startling bursts of sounds, moving colors, often frightening by design. Nature’s agenda is clear. We become the models we are given. At the turn of the century Emerson said: The weaver becomes the web. Joe’s insight is brilliant. Life and its meaning are defined by ‘resonance.’ Resonance is life itself. But we forget.
Prenatally the developing human is bathed in resonance. The first two years after birth are extremely sensitive. Attunement is the norm even if the adult is not tuning in. The developing brain is exploding with new and boundless possibilities all defined by resonance, that is, the nonverbal meaning of the model’s state. Nature assumes this model is a sensitive, available, attentive and attuned mother supported and nurtured by a father and extended family.
With the unfoldment of spoken language the child’s attention shifts to new internal imagery now generated by symbols and metaphors. As this new field of internal imagery expands attention shifts from the nonverbal meaning found in resonance to the play of words and relationships defined by words. The meaning of resonance slips in the background and is often forgotten, a tragic and unnecessary loss. What happens if the child’s models are lost and absorbed in virtual reality and its counterfeits. If they, the models, are not sensitive, available, and attuned to resonance - what value will the child find in maintaining and developing this subtle capacity?
Imagine a developing human being interacting with a stimulating but dead technological environment. The model imperative and Epigenetics are lawful. They don’t care. Give a child dead counterfeits of living resonance and that is what you will develop in that child.
And down the slippery slope we go, bonded to dead virtual reality, increasingly unaware of what we have lost.