Pop!Tech 2007: An Expanded Vocabulary (and Perspective)
Active Words, Hyperactive Reading and Hyperconnectivity: Buzz and Scoble at NRC Palo Alto

Altered States, Alienated Majesty, the Vigor of Wild Virtue and the Magnetic Attraction of Awakened People

I awoke yesterday morning, still feeling in a somewhat altered state, ruminating on Andrew Zolli's observation of the magnetic attraction of awakened people that permeates Pop!Tech. When I logged in, I found an email notifying me of a comment posted on a blog entry I wrote years ago, on Self-Reliance vs. Interdependence: Inherence, Adherence and Coherence. The comment offered me an opportunity to re-read, reflect on and reaffirm some of the particularly appealing concepts and terms I'd gleaned from Ralph Waldo Emerson's inspirational book:

  • alienated majesty (hearing others speak truths we ourselves had earlier discovered, but rejected),
  • the vigor of wild virtue (uncivilized, spontaneous, instinctual aboriginal strength)
  • the corpse of memory (our concern with being consistent, lest we violate expectations and disappoint others)

All of these resonate all the more strongly with me during this post-Pop!Tech period. Many of the conversations at Pop!Tech helped me better recognize the alienated majesty within me (a developing self struggling with self-development), as well as the alienated majesty of the invisible and voiceless people who are struggling in many developing regions of the world. The wild virtue exposed and expressed through many of the presentations and performances (Vanessa German comes foremost to mind) was, well, invigorating. And as for the corpse of memory, well, I find myself increasingly fearful that Pop!Tech has permanently altered my state, that I won't be able to snap back to "normal", and that if I proceed much further along the path that seems to be silently - or, perhaps, not so silently - drawing me, I may well violate expectations and disappoint others.

There's a part of me that wants to go back to sleep ... reminding me of a Rumi poem:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

I was also reminded of Oriah Mountain Dreamer's observations in her audiotape, Your Heart's Prayer - which I'd earlier projected onto the practice of unfolding through blogging - about people who come into contact with spiritually enlightened individuals, such as Mahatma Ghandi or Mother Teresa, likening the experience to what happens when two tuning forks coming into proximity of each other: the strong vibration of the spiritually enlightened person transmits energy to any other person that comes near.

I felt like I was walking in a sea of vibrating tuning forks at Pop!Tech - so maybe, in addition to my earlier observation of combined high IQ and high EQ among people at Pop!Tech (Pop!Techies?), I should add high SQ (spiritual intelligence) to the mix. It seemed like everyone was in a highly awakened state ... and I wonder whether that represents an alteration of normality for others, or whether it is their normal state ... or perhaps [only] their normal state at Pop!Tech ... or simply another example of my seeing what I want to see.

I'm not sure what "normal" is anymore - for me ... reminding me of earlier periods when I identified strongly with the character of Phaedrus in Robert Pirsig's book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ... which I suppose is apt, given that I'm increasingly inquiring into values.

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