Algorithmic thinking is the work of deeply powerful and protective impulses. Within human cognition lays beautiful and poetic fast flowing maps which we rely upon to process and determine answers to complex questions presented to us in our work and daily lives. The power of this type of thinking being uniquely human has led our species to our relatively fast ascent into Earth domination. And, it is exactly this type of thinking that may lead to our fast demise as well if we don’t free ourselves from cognitive slavery and find balance between head and heart. We have become “heartless” in our relationship to Earth, each other and at the very root, to ourselves.
Human evolution thus far has resulted in enslavement to our thinking minds. We have gone so far now as to create computer realities that merely mimic our ego mind’s need for algorithmic solutions. We are living in what I have heard called the Age of Algorithms. Every time I hear that name, it makes me giggle a little. Of course we are. Until we free ourselves from our own algorithmic mind control, this will continue to be reality. The outer world merely mirrors the inner world.
Dancing this week I have simply been noticing with gentle curiosity where I use algorithmic thinking in the dance space. Not in a making myself right or wrong way, but simply noticing to learn more about myself. This gentle attention is the healing art of mindfulness. What I’ve learned so far is I use algorithms to make decisions about my safety in a room and my safety in relation to other dancers. I use them to make decisions about the safety of my own dance movement. I can choose now to dance the algorithms because I am aware of them, or I can choose to step out into something totally new. Without knowing they are there, we can unconsciously find ourselves dancing the algorithmic list of acceptable movement and feelings on repeat without our deeper creative sources getting much room to groove.
As humans we are so sensitive and vulnerable. We have no stiff fur, nor big claws and are relatively puny creatures. All we have is our minds to keep us safe. What I’ve learned about myself is, my thinking, algorithmic mind is deeply tied to my sense of safety.
Through embodiment work I am discovering my untapped human superpowers are not so much in my powerful mind acting alone, but instead within my heart as guiding system administrator. Humans have the ability to feel and love in a way that no other creature ever has before. But for most of us, it looks like the Grinch in there. Our hearts are starved and shriveled from lack of attention and nourishment. Our mind is so dang busy sucking up all the energy keeping us safe and employed, our hearts barely have a chance to be seen nor fed. Our prudish, brain-based culture is the result of our deep fears. As Zhen Dao’s work shows, we have lost our connection to our human superpower Eros. In this, we have lost connection to our greatest attribute as humans, our ability to love and truly be with one another.
For the world to heal, we have to be willing sometimes to give up our sense of safety. We get to risk being hurt. We get to risk looking foolish to others. And we get to Love. We get to do the hard work of unconditionally loving ourselves.
To stand fully grounded in unconditional Love my work currently is in saying yes to all that I am and have been. Uffa, and YES again and again until I return to that instinctual embodied version of Self that I abandoned in childhood in order to fit in with the other brains on legs.
My antidote to falling prey to the loneliness and despair of the Age of Algorithms is embodiment practices. There are multitudes. For me currently, healing is in the Dance. Join me this summer if you’re curious or feel called. See the calendar for more details.
Art/Poetry Credit -Mary Oliver