Friday, 2 October 2015

What biofocusing can do in respect of grief

Here are a few ideas of what happens in Biofocusing: the Grief Workshop. No explanation can replace experience which is what the workshop is about, but a few points about how biofocusing works will help. The sub-heading for biofocusing is "choose a point of attention, and then act in respect of it". Attention, focusing and intention are closely linked. These seem to be cerebral words, like encouraging, persuading or forcing the brain to go somewhere. Once you pull emotion and volition into the mix, something holistic happens. Like falling in love, you don't do it with part of yourself. Everything about both of you is involved. Biofocusing is like stepping back, or perhaps forwards, into your livingness and experiencing it with a different intensity, perhaps more, perhaps less, allowing the focus that presents what arrives. Biofocusing is about managing attention, which is a good thing, because humankind hasn't learnt how to do that. We believe too much and we know too little. I have often been intrigued by how children follow their parents' careers. From farming to law to medicine to business, the pattern is re-presented. The management of attention is achieved almost completely unconsciously in this way.

Attention is also hijacked by illusions of reality: centrality of money, depth of love, power as freedom, solitude as prison, and many more. Where our gaze goes, our sense of reality persists.

Aunty Carol who was my Mary Poppins, used to sing to me:"Be careful little eyes what you see, there's a God up above, looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see". It's a child's ditty, but really, I can't help seeing what's put in front of me. Yet I can certainly choose where I look. And where I fix my gaze.

Similarly, I can choose what I hear.

I heard what they called the Gospel so frequently as a child that I knew the jist of it from back to front. It has taken me close to sixty years to make any sense of it. In fact, much of the motivation to develop the Grief Workshop arises from my experience of people using words that didn't help, deep words, to convince each other that they weren't grieving, although they were grieving as much as anyone ever has. That has bothered me a lot, because, intuitively, from the beginning, I knew that grief can be transformational. Grief is the signal that part of our mission as humankind is to create love, not to miss it.

Being alive is surprising, mysterious and often baffling. Grief lets us know it's also deeply painful. Taking a step into livingness involves getting closer to emotions. The pleasant ones feel better, the painful ones are best avoided. The worst ones are shattering and we prefer not to go there. Yet, as C.S Lewis pointed out, pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Grief is not a singular emotion, but a vivid and multi-faceted experience that emphasizes uniqeness. What grief does to me is pick up all my understanding, drop it so that it shatters, turns my body into a spasm of unbearably awful pain, and then, after some time, reminds me that I am not only able to choose where to put my attention, but that in fact I am forced where to put my attention. Don't misunderstand the "force" of that. It's not about coercion, but about the sense of truth.

It's weird: what you choose as truth is a major factor in creating your sense of truth. Politicians and attorneys know all about this. Biofocusing involves choosing living. Choosing living is not the same as not choosing death. An early lesson they mistakenly teach at schools is "opposites". Life and death are not opposites. And living is not temporary. If you attend to the experience of grief you will learn something unique. Attending to grief is not about becoming ever more grief -stricken. It's about going where the exeprience wants to take you. There's no recipe, and no generic outcome.

When I turned thirty, Uncle John, who had been my Sunday School teacher, joined the party. He had become a friend whose company I valued and enjoyed. On that birthday, the most ubiquitous gift was ice-buckets. But his was something different. I unpacked a small, dense parcel, and unravelled a message that read:

"out of the eater came forth meat, out of the strong came honey: things are not always what they seem to be".

 It was a Lion matchbox, and into it and around it he had managed to pack R50, which was a significant amount in those days.

The elephant in the room is also not always what it seems to be. Temporary and eternal are not opposites either. The drama neither ends nor begins when we stop breathing. It's in the here and now, and the meaning is not a given but what we create.

So far I've been addressing biofocusing more than grief. I'm saying more than "life is paradoxical" and I'm certainly not saying that grief is illusory. I'm pointing out that attention is malleable, even fluid, and that when one is offered ways of managing one's own attention, very much can change for the better. I had two outstanding mentors, Ken Dovey and John Gibbon: one taught me that life is for living, and the other showed me how to manage living. Now that I've combined the two for myself, I'm in a position to share the praxis.

What we do in the Grief Workshop is attune emotional attention, just as perceptual attention has been stimulated by the last three pictures. What you experience isn't all that there is. It's difficult to run when you're weeping. But it's not difficult to weep when you're running, especially when its towards and not away.

Joy and grief arise from the same place, and this is not a linguistic trick.

More in the Grief Workshop. Thank you for your interest, locally and globally.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Biofocusing and grief: announcing the Grief Workshop

I could say that my very first impression of being alive was an awareness of grief. It's a large and scary experience to find yourself in, when you're about three, and trying to make sense of the world. Although my mother and I were not close as two people, or even mother and son, we were close spirits, and her grief at her father's early death, though not discussed, hung in the air, an unspoken balloon of fear and anguish, that delicately refused to do more than merely touch surfaces of silence before moving away.

She grieved her father's early death, she grieved her brother's death, she was badly homesick for her Swiss homeland and I would guess that she also grieved for each baby that had died in her hospital. But she seldom wept, she simply became ever more severe in speaking of the love of her Lord and Saviour, whose death she also grieved.

It gets worse. Every forty-eight hours, at one or another Christian evangelical meeting, I encountered deep grief in others, concerning the suffering and death of Jesus on their behalf, their own sinfulness, and the desperation we face as we must make that awful choice between eternal life and eternal loss, hell, death and damnation.

I was a scared child who learned to control my fear, and created layers of confidence. I survived the fear, but in the end it outwitted me.I waited for some months for my heart to stop, but it didn't. I survived that, too. We're wired to live, not to die, but in the end all of us die.

Living stands for something we don't quite grasp.

I had to learn that my very sophisticated thinking, and to put it simply, I am among the world's most educated, means absolutely nothing when it comes to working out grief.

What sort of feeling is grief? I have a strange contrbution to make: it's what angels try to impart to us when we aren't listening or don't want to listen. We are not going to go to heaven: we're there, we're present to heaven, as well as to earth, we are "a little less than the angels", we have not learnt to calm our intensities and reflect passages of heaven that we walk, knowingly and unknowingly. Our bodies are of this planet, our awareness is of this planet, and for the sake of simplicity, heaven. By "heaven" I refer to the rest of the knowing cosmos.

There is something that my body knows, but really, it won't easily go into words or stories. We have some sacred stories for which some have lived, some have died, and some have killed. These sacred sstories are still warring with each other. It's time to say that something about them doesn't work. At my most needy point, when I wasn't sure of anything but death, failure and ultimate disappointment, the feelings of which were utterly breaking, I searched for my most holy words, and found them to be "the Spirit of Christ".

There I learnt that the Spirit of Christ is wild, and touches us in our most primituve state of awareness. The Spirit of Christ has to do with where we come from but, unhappily, where we have not gone. Our cognitive efforts are noble but not sufficient. We need to go the other way, and state our helplessness before pretending our heroism. If grief is an important signifier of humility, and it is, joy is the way beyond grief. I have a ridiculous confession to make: when I learnt this one, it was because I heard the muse while I was listening to Goldfish performing "Moon Walkaway". There was such a prepostorous joy to this utterly peripheral, inane, going-about shout of drama declaring local yet cosmic freedom, that I had to agree, because something in my cells grasped that movement is better than logic.

Not everyone else has had that luxury of knowingness.

Grief is a symptom of baffled awareness. True, loss and missingness are not easy. But that deep cellular posing as cerebral intensity has more to say than we think, or feel.

Everyone experiences grief, and we would try to be kind, and prevent our children from this. First, the hamster dies, and parents explain something, before we get to grandma, grandpa or closer.

Truth is, who knows what to explain?

Biofocusing is about getting real about living. And most truly of all, living is about living in the here and now and living eternally, infinitely, joyfully, adventurously and gratefully.

Careful science, severe religion and self-conservation have little to do with living.

Biofocusing is pleased to announce the first event of the Grief Workshop. Here are the details:

Healing begins with consciousness and the will to move beyond an emotional given. All the thinking in the world will not help us until we have decided that we are going to do something, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

Let's see you there! And those in other countries, your interest is appreciated vey much.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Biofocusing, stories about the universe, and beyond.

Biofocusing, as I have said before, has a lot to do with paying attention. Now I'm going to take it a step further, and say that it's also about creating attention.

When we pay attention to something, we give it enough importance to get real. Take Facebook, for example. Once upon a time it was only an idea but now it's fundamental to many daily behaviours. Or, one single item of behaviour, like an assassination, becomes a world, even an historic moment. An epic story is contextualised around that one finger pulling the trigger that sends the bullet to the target.

When attention is paid, a story is created. The more attention paid, the greater the chance of credibility. And therein lies the rub. Stories and the sense of reality impinge upon each other. The trouble with this adjunction is that people commit themselves to both the story and the sense of reality it brings without realizing, as a hypnotist would know for sure, that whatever story you tell, there's another that is just as true.

The sense of truth itself, is merely that: a sense of truth, and the truth of that is that it can always be improved upon.

Before anyone shoots me (I'm not in the league of those worth assassinating) here are the points I want to make:

stories reflect self-conscious management, usually poorly executed

the stories that arrive in book form cheat time, the subjective-objective split and run the risk of being regarded as discrete enities, like numbers

stories that arrive as movies do the same, but popcorn dampens the overall effect

stories that have not been released by the human organism into communal domain are privately motivated, the power of which is gravely underestimated

stories that are released into communal domain, no matter how selective or all-embracing such domain may be, are mostly granted the status of being real, largely because of obeying linguistic rules

stories that are told in a serious tone tend to be taken seriously 

stories that are told humourously tend to be taken humourously

stories that are told authoratatively command esteem more easily than others.

Tone, an important element of which is volume, sets much.

The universe began with a big, loud bang.

Oh, it did, did it? I've read about the evidence for that story, and then found another story, for which, apparently, there is also evidence. This one says that the universe is breathing in and out.

The truth, which is a collapsible word, is that no-one knows for sure. Are we entirely thwarted in the mission for a grand grasp of our existence? The cosmologists are not going to agree, for the time being. Then there are those who go another way, and suggest, demand, require, kill us if we don't agree with an already recipe-d story, which is the way of general religion, expecially the crazy, fervent ones, the emotional glue of which is alarmingly sticky in current times. We may be living in what is a definitely post-reasoning world if we can't find a way to de-enthuse fervency and expose it for what it is: synaptic overkill, physiologically and literally.

For too long a time I believed what people had told me about the Bible,and I tried to work my way into all the stories set out there, until I made the effort to sort out something understandable for myself. The fear of hell which was drummed into me before I could think for myself was quite a tough one to chuck, but in the end this simplicity held:

Be more than your instincts because you are more.

The "more", I discovered is entirely negotiable. It's a story you get to author yourself. The odd thing is that once you start authoring for real, sync happens.

If you describe your beginnings, you'll go back to mom and dad, early memories, what was going on around you, a bit of objective history, in retrospect, that really truthful stuff collated, corroborated and communciated which makes it all for real. You got into an organic but badly-languaged world, and listened to the words, and got hypnotized by the tones. The thing about thrillers is that they keep the same tone, but take off every now and then to go a little bit deep, strike an instinct and come back.

So I was born, and my story began. Let's try again. I began before I let myself get pulled in once again. This truly pitiful level of consciousness called human is a wail in the cosmic night. Who can resist? It's supposed to work right, and fit in with the beautiful world to which it belongs, but it's a total fuck up. The Bible uses the word "sin". It means that the arrow didn't hit the target. The assassin missed, but that's my version. Don't mess with the truth.

Bottom line: truth is created, never owned, and humans have the opportunity to create.  Because they aren't so clever, they quickly drop to instinct.

Now for the big one: love. Is it bigger than instinct or just an empty word?

Well, check the wind for movement. The eternal waft, and certainly it's there, you might try to fool your own mind, but your mind isn't there to fool anyone, least of all you.

Last time you checked for truth, how was it?

Note to self. becoming non-self: you're gonna die.Perhaps comfortably, holding hands with family, perhaps really sore, hurting, anguished, tortured. Screaming.

Then what?

You then lose you. All your organic stuff starts to work. What your body is, is something else, but going another way.

So let's tell another story. Let's say that there's more going on than we can say, but we'll try to say it.

God save human consciousness. But who is God? And how does God work?

Who do we choose to listen to?

Science will try a certain  kind of story, religion another. A third option:

just tell the story, and let it tell itself through you, no control of how it goes, it will link up the way it does, the way worlds and wills match is so different to what we think:

Humans are cruel, abominably cruel, that's how it is. It's in their corpuscles, cells, and neuroreceptors. They fail to kill that old enemy, the false self, as soon as it stands. They haven't the heart to assassinate their weakness. They believe in their own strength, forgetting to honour their source.


It all comes from a random mind that could be focused, but the motivation to focus waits, wanting something that reduces the access to something less:

there are worlds and universes waiting to land on our human platform, humble though it should be.

We have grown blunt, we need to re-recognize the drama in which we participate. As many as possible will create a new season. The issue is to recognize it.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Biofocusing, beliefs, narratives, meta-narratives and magical thinking

Focusing on purpose, because you're alive, have a curious mind, an alert awareness and a sense of wanting to move wholistically is more than a mental concentration. It's also an emotional manouvre, a spiritual crisis - and the subtlety thereof doesn't lessen the crisis - a personal imperative, and evidence of collective change.

Let's list the things that make complete sense even though they go against the flow of accepted consensus:

awareness and consciousness link far and wide, across this planet and beyond, even as far as worlds and spheres we can't comprehend

material sensibility is a persistent illusion

solitary experience is notional, who knows what kind of junction happens because of human skin?

what you believe doesn't make it so

no story is cast in eternal stone

consciousness arises from neither birth nor body, and does not decay on death

the five senses create a natural focus which is more of a constraint that a clarity

intuition and imagination offer paths to a para-natural clarity for which there is plenty of evidence:if you don't accept this, it's because you don't want to

authoratarian religion doesn't make it authoratative

authoratative science is attitudinal and can't be actual, nothing works for everybody all the time, and if you keep an open mind about laws, watch what happens

the games that adults play are deadly whereas the games that children play are creative

heaven (or the lack thereof) isn't waiting for you, it's in the moment of the here and now

the story that you tell yourself about your life is always insufficient

the story that others tell you about your life is always insufficient

more than you realize is always happening

if you haven't created your sense of self on purpose, it's been constructed for you by others

life and death aren't opposites, you're alive now, if you're reading this, and you're even more alive than you think, in respect of never coming to an end, even when your body stops working

grief is evidence of ignorance

and so on, and so must have the drift by now.

The meta-narrative is that kind of consciousness into which we grow whereas narratives are accounts by which we make sense of experiences. Consciousness is not merely cerebral. Most of it is emotional awareness and highly volatile. Belief is about making an holistic commitment which can be particlarly unhappy if you commit to something which won't do you any good in the long run, like a spouse who has no congruence with you, a job that you can't do, a goal that damages humankind in the core, like sheer profiteering, or religious fanaticism.

Biofocusing finds the way between a tightly controlled mind and a free-ranging awareness. Our acts of consciousness have not been definitvely listed: emotional intelligence has helped to balance the scales, and every other kind of intelligence has been brought up, too.

The big issue is that we'll never be able to objectify that marvellous thing called the consciousness of the mind, which is a tautology, even before you start. The language - consciousness continuum is something of a red herring: tell me what you believe, and I'll show you your magical thinking.

Emerson offered the advice to take the path away from man, not to man. Humankind isn't the centre of anything except the greed for money and a genuis for cruelty. It really is beyond time to wake up and move from this to something better.

Heaven is now, and it's better to co-operate rather than argue over words, fight about emotional platforms and kill for beliefs.

But how do we know what heaven is communicating and doing? The politicians are almost entirely rubbish (I'm thinking of that South American president who drives a Beetle -only him - as the exception), the preachers are mostly rubbish, the academics don't know the difference between rubbish, business leaders thrive on rubbish, so how could we recognize the gleam of heaven seeking to glow through the narrative of our lives?

Go to the magical moments of your life. Insert the pictures. I have many. A golden sunset on Chapman's Peak Drive. A descent through the mist from Alleheiligeberg in Switzerland. Moments of rare warmth between friends. A knowing of deep acceptance. An intense recognition by a stranger. Grace in many unexpected, undeserved places. A walk with a dog.

Biofocusing will, I hope, come into its own, just as psychotherapy did. It's purpose, as I think of it, is to popularize a depth of honesty, to create a path for experience to say something new to the world we now find around ourselves. We have never created the ground on which we stand, but we have certainly created how we communciate about everything, without stopping to sense the greater communication of which we are part.

What changes the world is not necessarily the grand plan, it's the daily movement not of twenty-four hours but of conscious awareness infusing and suffusing human corpuscles, bringing the dream from where it used to be to where it's going. Our co-operation means very much more than we think. But we know that, anyway.

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Risen Christ and Tortured Mice

Since this is Easter I have been thinking about approaching one's very core in respect of learning about the praxis of biofocusing. I've worked on this notion for some years now, and some very surprising things have fallen into place. One is that the majority of people don't enjoy approaching the core of who they are. They might even say they do, but they don't. A lot of folk live a lifestyle of entertaining themselves and distracting themselves, not going too near the core because the core isn't deemed to be relevant. Even more folk live trying to survive on a daily basis, and I don't mean emotionally. They have to hunt for food and water.

But what is the "core"?

It has to do with what you prioritise and what prioritises you. These two perspectives contain the active and passive aspects of bio-focusing: focusing on your aliveness, and focusing from what makes you alive.

Philosophising about being alive isn't the purpose. Responding to being alive is more like it. I grew up in a conservative, evangelical Christian environment where my real response to anything was unacceptable from the word go. They taught me that unless I got saved I would go to hell. They assured me that if Jesus returned, and I wasn't saved, the rest of my family would be raptured away, and I would be left behind for the devil to sort out. Frequently, before I was eight years old, I tip-toed down the passage, alarmed by the silence, fearing that the end had come, and went to my parents' bedroom to find out if I could hear them breathing in their sleep. For most of my life I have struggled to come to grips with that terror.

I have come to realise that the story of Jesus shouldn't have that effect on anyone who seriously studies it. Last year I found myself facing that old terror head on. It has taken me a full year to recover, but I will never be the same again. All my life I have been learning flat-out so as to manage that terror by sheer cogitation. I failed in that endeavour. That stark fear had been managed, not eradicated. By coming at the story of Jesus from every angle I could find, I desperately wanted to control the fear that the story produced in me. I became an expert in narratology, a professor of literature and a multi-disciplinary academic of some repute in a few small circles of academia. None of this helped.

Jesus doesn't hurt anybody. People do, and even when they mean well. Were my parents bad people? Absolutely not. Did they mean well? They did. Then why did they mould my emerging emotions into such terror and rage? They had no idea that this was happening. How could that be possible? Because they were responding to being alive in respect of being focused by where they came from. They didn't come from an easy era or comfortable family backgrounds: two world wars, the Depression, a father lost early in life, a mother lost early in life, being shunted around from pillar to post as a child, going from house to house, fianlly being brought up by an aunt because of a father who felt it was his mission to travel the world to save Catholics from a lost eternity, beginning with Spain and ending in Chile.

Many default emotions are destructive, having been set up quite unconsciously. The consequences can last a life-time. I have been fortunate. I won't go into too much detail in how I understand the story of Jesus now, but the following statement is relevant: the Spirit of the Risen Christ is for real, and this Easter I am prepared to state my commitment the felt reality of this.  The words are inadequate to describe what I mean. The idea that we get one shot at being alive and then it's heaven or hell is plain wrong. Goethe said that he had been around a few times and expected plenty more. It doesn't happen in a row. Read the blog on focusing on time. Read Eben Alexander. Read Brian Weiss. Read Mira Kelley. Read the Bible. Read what you're taken to, and let your neurons do the processing and make the connections. The Spirit of the Risen Christ doesn't belong in a church which is usually the heart of utter boredom and pretence. The Spirit of the Risen Christ is utterly intermingled with the sub-atomic surprises of each atom of your body, long before the molecules and cells do their thing. The Spirit of the Risen Christ is more you than you realize. And no magical thinking is required. Amputation of intelligence is also not required. Best of all, you don't have to become a Christian and adopt a role.

It's unfortunate that the Christians have not been that good at setting forth the story of Jesus and proclaiming Christ. In fact, quite a few of them have been downright vicious, cruel, malicious and evil in the ways they have used, edited, re-written and otherwise manipulated the Good News. Yet the story remains, and has a lot to do with aliveness, which is the core of bio-focusing.

The lesson in all this is that the good we intend and the good we do are not always the same thing. What we focus on as priority has its birth in a pattern of emotionality which is a mix of chosen attitude and default attitude. While parents may urge children along the path of what they believe to be good and true while actually harming them, politicians almost always encourage nations towards self-destruction, and we still play the voting games. The science of medicine has made huge progess which has helped millions and millions of lives out of misery and early death, yet experimentation has depended on torturing mice as well as other animals.

C.S. Lewis once explained that the fastest way forwards might be the longest way back, and in many cases, personal freedom can only be achieved if you go back to where the wool got tangled, and take the time and find the energy to make the way straight.

I don't believe it's possible to achieve this on your own. Emotions can reach pitch-dark places such as in the cockpit of an aircraft which is taking everyone on board to their deaths on purpose, and on beaches where ISIS followers decapitate captives. The spirit of humanity needs to be rediscoverd in the Spirit of Christ before humanity disappears for ever, and this can happen only on a volunatry basis, by listening to personal stories which have not dared to surface for one reason or another. 

Instead of freezing me into fear and terror, the people who influenced me in such a way should have encouraged me to go forth, be fruitful and multiply over all the earth. But who can tell what might have happened to me then?

As I have come to understand, the Spirit of the Risen Christ, moves us towards humility and compassion and gives us the power to make miracles happen. If someone were to challenge me by asking me which is the more important, the life of a mouse or the life of a human, my answer would be that life is indivisible. Like Nicholas Berdyaev, I believe that there is no such thing as individual salvation. The soul of planet earth is one, and the message of Easter includes the reality of freedom from personal trauma and the recogntion of a greater purpose.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Focusing on the illusion of time.

It's been pointed out by a number of people that time is an illusion. The measuring units of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years and millenia are inventions, not discoveries, and actually do not work exactly. We run out of, or into, moments every so often, and the last one I heard about was when the Japanese added or subtracted a second to a year not long ago. The Swiss were too busy to get involved.

It's okay to joke about these kinds of things, but the implications are huge. What we believe about time changes everything. In the Western world, you begin at birth or conception, move along a straight line of so many days, and then die. End of line. Christians say that you begin at birth, or conception, live for three score and ten years, and then go to heaven or hell, and you get one shot at either of these two, and as my Irish friend told me, if you miss it, it's a total miss. The Eastern way of belief holds you may come and go many times. I am over-generalising, of course, but the point is that each one is born into a way of thinking about time and eternity.

I am happy to concede that time is an illusion. My watch, which is so Swiss that it's face is a franc, is one of my favourite things. I like to be punctual, and I like things to work on time. Yet I am aware that being born on a planet with specifications that connect with a solar system and sidereal dynamics immediately takes me out of the time system and into a multiversal anti-system. Goethe made the remark that he was convinced that he had been around and would come around very many times, and that was still within the solar -system time-dynamic.

I find it weird that so much that has happened on this planet is taken for granted. I lie awake at night trying to fathom out how organisms could have become independently mobile. What on earth happened to result in the crust of the earth to make coagulations of breathing dust independently mobile and thereafter capable of believing that each one is an isolation, and inevitably entrapped in sixty seconds a minute at the expense of very much else?

It's one thing to think about time being an illusion, it's another to notice that it actually is an illsion.

Some of the implications of no time are the following:

"time is money" is folly of the most short-sighted kind

no-one begins at conception and no-one ceases to be at death

a sense of reality based on a sense of time is reversible

urgency is not about time as much as it is about requirement

eternity doesn't come after death, it's right now

eternity doesn't come before birth, it's right now

when the heart communicates, it's away and out of time

and the most telling one of all:

what you experience now, contains what God the Creator imparts to you.

Alertness gets out of the line of time, inasmuch as time isn't a line a but something tangential to the vastness of eternal living which is what we are part of. Not hard to grasp, but business and belief don't want to go there. Biofocusing focuses from and on being eternally alive. A Christian jingle won't verbalise that kind of living from the core of the core, neither will the commitment to the malevolence of ISIS do so. You don't have anything to add to livingness except for your alert attention, which, when emotionally integrated and intellectually adept, conveys a vaulable  commitment, the activity of which is relative to who you are and where you are. I can't include "when"you are, because we're saying that time is an illusion. But the spirit of any era is real: spirit defines time, in that sense, and you may enjoy it, or are called to witness against it, as the case may be. The spiral will tell you all about it. The one-liners are for jokers.