February 10, 2021

The “Holographic Deck” and an inner space for mindfulness. 

Gene Roddenberry first wrote what was to become a long and enduring franchise of Star Trek©️. It reflected the concept of boldly projecting power both militaristic and as the indomitable capabilities of the human spirit... But even then, however, it reflected and explored the frailties of both our social and political assumptions collectively and also as individuals, not least still traumatised from what was then a recent global world war. This against a backdrop of a world on the brink of the nuclear clock seemingly relentless in its advance to midnight and DEFCON 1 with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the death of a President.


The world has vastly changed in so many ways since the beginning of the 1960s, perhaps none more so than the way we view ourselves collectively and as individuals. We thought of our place as the dominant species to which all other realms of life were there to serve. Our understanding of the cosmos has also greatly shifted to a realisation that what seems like empty space between autonomous stars running an automated life of nuclear fusion, with little bearing on us and our daily lives, is not the case. We are after all made from the dust of exploding stars, the ultimate recycling!


In many ways, the evolution of the Star Trek narrative is a good barometer of how we have evolved socially, culturally and how we view our place as individuals within. When we look into this mirror it is also a reflection of not just what we are here and now, but also how we might wish to be in the future... It may seem a little intimidating to think in terms of aspirations for utopia. When John Lennon and Yoko Ono first sang Imagine©️it collectively and individually created a tension between a juxtaposition of hope for something better and an anxiety for a concept requiring massive change in all that seemed familiar and reassuring.


So should we be so surprised and self critical that we find ourselves falling short of expectations in terms of our collective and individual mental resilience? In the current state of flux around us we are coming to realise and explore the mechanisms for mutual and individual mental support as a matter of necessity. Not just on a direct human level but also through our relationship with technology and communication.


So back to Star Trek and its reflection of the latest instalment of our evolution. In spite of all our developments projecting us toward utopia, the narrative continues to acknowledge the demands this places on our mental and emotional abilities to cope with this ever-shifting reality. Hence the concept of the Holographic Deck. A space where the individual can disengage from the demands of that seemingly sci-fi reality and retreat for a while into one of their own vision. For Captain Picard it was being Master at the helm of a square rig sailing ship at the behest of the wind and a star to steer by.


When we talk of mindfulness in today's world and the challenges it presents us with... is this not the same concept and recognition of our need to acknowledge and manage our limitations? The difference being we are able to create that Holographic space in our minds. It is much like painting a picture. It's ours to create and add the touches and detail as we like. While meditation is about bringing a stillness to the consciousness of our thinking mind... to create this vision needs a balance of thought and quiet observation. Like meditation it takes practice. It is said that the shaman of many cultures past and present, who retain their close bonds to the natural world around them, have the ability to project their consciousness beyond their physical being and to wander amongst the landscape and even the stars. Would a 40,000 year old cave painting be such a vision to make sense of the world... and gains and losses there in?


As a final thought. It was reported that many people who watched the film Avatar©️ were both elated but also bereft, having seen a concept of an alternative reality in which people could be at one with their natural surroundings, but with no apparent means to share in it once the film ended... they felt left behind.


So what of my "holographic image..." floating in a warm sea, on the edge of a coral reef with its many variations of colours and textures contrasting with the adjoining void of limitless depths, shifting from light to dark blue and velvet black. With shafts of sunlight, like glass shards piercing into the pelagic depths. Mystical shapes imagined and half seen of manta rays, giant sunfish, whales and sharks. Contrasted with the coral reef in starkly polarised sunlight with columns of softly swaying tentacles and minutia of thumb-sized iridescent fish, darting and shoaling in a very three-dimensional space. Above the water, a vast seemingly impossible overhang of limestone with deep vertical fissures suspended in the rock. Swallows swooping for insects and soaring up into the vivid green vegetation within the fissures. These crevices in turn illuminated as if picked out by a spotlight of the low-setting orangey-yellow sun. In the opposite direction a full moon, low and translucent blue/grey on the horizon of the sea reflecting the shapes of the deep. All is peaceful, with the soft lapping of the waves and soft call of the swallows in flight... all in the far-off place of the Palawan islands and the Sulu Sea, many days from here🌿☯️©️


Have a good day and continue to stay loose.. Mark Hunt.