Sunday, 28 April 2019

Connecting the Dots — a Storyteller Way of Seeing the Big Picture

Alan Watts

“The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that
what you speak came from his own mind.”
— Alan Watts

Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes a wide array of seemingly random dots connect and organise themselves in certain ways to form the cornerstone structure of a story. The process of seeing a bigger picture could take hours or it could take years. For a storyteller psychonaut, this completion, this closure is nothing but la créme de la créme of the art of writing. That is, if one is fortunate enough to go through such experiences during their lifetime.

You see, some people rarely ever connect the dots in life. Others do connect them but end up being overwhelmed by the amount of information. Then there are those who simultaneously connect the dots and are able to make sense, and use, out of them. For the latter group, patterns become the real guru, which help them understand the relationship between different ideas and experiences. Hence perceive the Big Picture while enjoying the more broad, overall view it offers us. 

The more knowledge, the more points to possibly connect. Since everything is interconnected, keen awareness remains all that is needed.

One example is the following introspective, Theory-Of-Mind type of Post I
ve recently written about the essence of being a storyteller; about how I use my stories in a way that could — hopefully — inspire others. Wittily, mind you, or so I like to think. Yet, without sounding preachy, authoritative, or like a know-it-all pretentious dude; as also without forcing my way of seeing things unto others. Why? Well, keep reading. 

To be able to write said words I had to dig down deep inside my mind and soul. I had to take a step further away from my autonomic existence, a leap more likely, just to be able to catch myself in the act” before analysing the findings. This is when altered states of consciousness come in handy. And to a significant degree this time I had been successful. Truth is, frequently playing Observing the Observer, one gets better with time. The result are the below words shared along an image with the John Lennon quote: 

My role in society, or any artists or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

This is the original:

When we care about people we naturally feel inclined to help them through any troubles they may face. Some, however, are not ready to be helped, and their reasons vary.

Through the years, the Messiah Complex I’m plagued by has developed indirect ways to be of assistance in such situations. To convey the message said folks are not ready to receive I create a story out of it; in which I incorporate the message in a story form that is easier to digest. This way avoiding any defensive reactions which may arise if they were to sense that you are addressing or “lecturing” them directly. Obviously I have been there enough times to be able to establish a pattern. 

Now, by incepting the thought on the go in such a way you play the role of the facilitator, allowing them to connect the dots by themselves and figure it out. Simply by playing a little game of suggestion. This is a more efficient and convincing way to reach a solution or truth than for it to be revealed or taught by someone else. It is also more empowering; hence the terminology The Power of Suggestion. Because the discovery becomes part of their own inner truth — while in many cases remaining oblivious to the fact that the thought was initially planted in their minds by someone else.

In psychology, suggestion is the process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of another. The idea was incepted in the 1800s along with hypnotism and trance. 

Oftentimes, the subject of the story is myself. Simply because I found out that it is easier, let alone much more genuine. So let’s say the person I’m trying to reach has a drinking problem: I open up about how I was hooked on heroin for years and how I overcame it. Also how the experience has been the most enlightening of my life; since “You overcome yourself and [hence] become fearless”. And that is that. This is all the empathy and hopefully inspiration I offer the troubled, without haranguing or telling them how to live their own lives.

While I acknowledge their willpower and ability to make the right choices — when their time comes — I treat them as such; as free, capable individuals. I also do not use “You need to, you must or should” among other authoritative ways of communicating. Rather, I seek connecting with them on a more intimate, empathetic level. Through showing them that I relate to their sufferings because I, too, have suffered; that essentially we are all each other’s reflections. From then on, how they may or may not decipher the story along the suggested message it contains depends on them alone.

Period. A few Instagram hashtags followed the words, including artist, poet, inception, storytelling, psychology, philosophy, Theory Of Mind and published it was. And that was it, right until... last night.

this recent exposé if you are interested in delving more into the topic: Theory of Mind: Thinking About Thinking and the Benefits of Observing the Observer.

Another piece to the puzzle

As previously shared, I indulge in occasional sleepless productive all-nighters which leave me looking like a Picasso the next morning. Several months after said post I was enjoying the quietude of one such nights, working on editing my book and surfing the net looking for novelty and inspiration and downright ridiculously weird things. Then, Lo and Behold, I see the featured caricature of none other than one of the wisest cats on the block whom I deeply cherish, Alan Watts, dropping that additional piece of the puzzle like freakin’ Salt Bae. I had to rub my eyes and reread the sentence to make sure my sleepless mind wasnt playing some kind of subconscious confirmation-bias trick.

“The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that what you speak came from his own mind.”

Wait! So Alan Watts thinks the same thing I had already deducted on my own? I may not be that full lunatic after all, huh. Now take that, society. This was certainly a sobering reminder that all ideas are indeed second-hand as Mark Twain wrote in 1903 to his amiga Helen Keller when she was accused of plagiarism.

The following puzzle piece came from the mouth of wily Jiddu Krishnamurti, who said:
When it becomes necessary for humanity to receive in a new form the ancient wisdom, someone whose duty it is to repeat these truths is incarnated.” Well Aha!

Speaking of, do you have an idea that Jiddu ( جدو ) means grandfather in Arabic? As you can see, one must remain careful not to follow too many dots all over the place. Because some of us can keep going ad infinitum. Then when too many branches are drifting out of the frame like they are trying to escape your mad mind, it
s not a story anymore, mon cher ami. But rather, it starts to appear and sound like the ravings, rantings, and ramblings of a non compos mentis who has too many browser tabs open. Focus, therefore, remains key.

The natural consequence of having the jigsaw puzzle extended just out of the blue was to create another fuller, richer story, which will incorporate the latest nugget of truth
piece from the Zen Head himself. In addition to few other pieces that happened to free-associate themselves into this body of writing.

Subsequently, just as I finalised the piece you’re reading herein, another dot just materialised out of thin air right there in the midst of my mind’s eye. This time, a reflection of mine which conveniently came at the right time, brilliantly fitting the narrative:

If you are doing your best while not seeking approval or validation, affirmation will still come to you in different forms. Oftentimes when you least expect it.

When Alan Watts expresses that which you already
— somewhat ‘originally had in mind, you know your philosophical thinking as well as logical reasoning are doing alright. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling than this type of affirmation. 

To more dot-connecting, pattern-decyphering, and the ability to always see the bigger, fuller picture for all of us. There is always one. At least.


Theory of Mind: Thinking About Thinking and the Benefits of Observing the Observer

The Intertwining of Genius and Insanity

Who Are We?

For The Love Of Storytelling

Different Shades of Passion

My Journey Towards Self-Transcendence

How Do We Know We Are Good at Something?

Why I Share Stuff

From English as a Third Language to Author — How I Expanded My Vocabulary
Selective Hearing Among Men and Women

What The Heck are Vocal Fry and Upspeak?  

Artists Between Mindset and Motivation

The Writing Process and the Creative Block

On Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing

The LSD Experiments of the 1950s and 60s [Videos & Documentaries]

Out-of-Body Experience and Ego Death on a “Heroic Dose” of Mushrooms

Surviving the Madness of Sakarana — Hyoscyamus muticus

The Intertwining of Music and Sexuality ― A Djembefola’s Tale 
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