Lately I find myself pondering the idea of a collective mind. This leads me to the questioning of proficiency or expertise. Just how do we become adept at any one physical or mental skill? Practice, putting in your time, hard work and repetition … these would be our simple answers. But then, why does this act of “doing” and then doing it again and again and again make anything easier?
So what if it’s something completely different that we’re practicing and honing? What if it’s not the skill itself but the access to some pure archetype of that skill?
This idea that there is a collective mind full of all past human experience and all of our mass memory and exploits … this keeps nagging at me. We get this sense of interconnectedness, it comes on stronger at times and then falls to the background; at our core I think we all know there is far more going on than the individuality that we so very dearly cling to. We’re all building towards a greater whole in some strange way. It seems to become easier and easier to access what was once considered to be astounding, the impressive becomes average and in turn a new level to aspire to is created.
We speed up the process by starting at a far higher level than those generations behind us and thus have the potential to keep pushing the boundary. From a biological standpoint we go through millions of years of evolution in a nine month span. Beginning as a single cell organism, multiplying, going through reptilian stages (tail included), then mammal, and then finally human form. The process of evolution still happens but this unspoken or “unminded” intelligence speeds it all up at an astounding pace. We are extraordinary pieces of machinery spit out into the world at a bizarrely high level of complexity, ready to become more and more complex. It can be difficult to gain perspective on this process since we are staring it directly in the eye, since we are the embodiment of the experience of compounding complexity. Herein lies the crux of so much human questioning … how does the result question itself? How does the answer know what the question was to begin with?
So we have tangible biological examples of starting at higher and higher levels. Add to this our ability to access and disperse information at a faster and faster pace. Language and the notion of using symbols to convey ideas, this was a huge step. This allowed the ethereal use of ideas to become a tool with which the complexity could build even faster. In the grand scheme of “time” we’re suddenly at the point where the internet is in our pocket, virtually all information is accessible at any time and most any where. Again, this process seems to be speeding up and aiming towards something grander.
But let’s get back to my original thoughts about becoming an expert in a field. Perhaps by practicing, focusing, putting energy towards any one thing, all that we’re doing is creating a more concrete and direct path to the perfection of that one activity. It’s as though a high level of proficiency exists almost autonomously from the participant and all that we’re doing is accessing portions of that higher level. In this way, an expert in one field would have a direct (or more direct than most others) path to the collective greatness of that field of consciousness. Said expert would not only be experiencing his or her own knowledge, they would be accessing all of the knowledge we’ve collectively gathered on that one point. Of course there would be degrees of access and some are far more honed in on the direct route … rarely (or perhaps never) does one have the perfect access but it seems as though very high degrees are quite possible. We can go back to the quote heard time and again by the genius in their creative field … the idea that they are but a receiver of the information and they are a conduit for that information to be released into the world. I’m sure anyone who has a bit of creativity in them (or has become adept at any one sport) has had the experience of feeling as though they’ve stepped aside and the action is just flowing through them. That feeling of being so in the moment that “I” don’t exist; eventually you can look back and wonder where it came from. Did I make that? Did I do that? It’s a beautiful place to be, humming along outside of time and outside of self.
Ultimately I guess I’m wondering if we’re just becoming more in tune with a certain aspect of the whole by partaking and focusing our energies towards that certain aspect. Are we ourselves are just an expression of the whole? And by focusing more and more on any one thing are we simply becoming a better/more refined expression? We are like the fruiting body of the fungi, the grand network of mycelium hidden from view but very much in existence. Our interconnectedness seems so very real at times but we do most everything we can to distract and deny its existence. In no way does this dismiss the act of becoming proficient, in my mind it enriches it. To become the best example of one aspect of the whole, this is a great aspiration. Perhaps we just need to address and be grateful for that whole on a more regular basis.