The Aiki Web
Take two tin cans (empty).
Punch a hole in the bottom of each, insert a string or cord or wire through the bottom and into the chamber, and tie a knot such that the line is fixed and runs between the two cans.
Make it a long cord. Stretch it taut.
Attach two people to the system, one at each end, integrated with the cans. Let one speak into his can, let the other listen into hers. Let them take turns.
Air moves. Vocal cords vibrate. Then air vibrates, then the resonator of the can. The string vibrates.
At the other end, the transduction process is mirrored, except where there were vocal cords, now there is a tympanum, malleus, incus, stapes, cochlea, neurons.
A signal is transmitted. A thought is formed at one end, its analog traverses space, and echoes in some form in the mind of the receiver.
Let them take turns, and witness the miracle that is ki musubi.
The wind blows, and also vibrates the string. We call this noise, but all noise is also signal. It's not exactly Cosmic Background Radiation, but -- well, then again, it is, actually. Everything is radiating. Everything is vibrating. Everything is signaling. It's only background when we choose not to focus on it.
Otherwise, the background is everywhere.
I'm sending you this message from out of the background. Hello? Hello! Focus. Foreground.
I wonder what would happen if we added a third? Can we tie a string to the middle of our string? Can we create a node and branch, so that another person with another tin can participate? We must try!
Look, maybe some refinements are in order, but it works! If we keep going, we can have everybody play. Soon our little system begins to look like a net. A network of knotwork. It's Indra's net. It's a tapestry of Arachne. It's a safety net. (It's a snare.)
A universe of thoughts and feelings and experiences and emotions and ideas and questions and solutions and memory -- all of this is vibrating, creating goosebumps on the skin of my mind, and ripples on the watery surface of my glands.
For heaven's sake, don't tell the neighbors! No, wait... the neighbors are doing it too!
Everyone is speaking, quivering at once. I can't tell you from me anymore. What happened to our traffic control? Let them take turns!!!
Oh, but see, some clever people have found ways to keep some of the nodes vibrating in a particular pattern indefinitely. Or else they've done some crafty knot-work so that when it's plucked, it sends out a signal, an analog of the twist and loop and topology of the tangled cord, itself an isomorph of a poem or image or secret cypher.
Our web is not transmissive only. It stores. It remembers.
Space and time have become caught in our web. They are now folded. Great distances are proximal. The past is present. The future is contiguous with now.
We speak continuously. We listen continuously. We take turns. The twine spirals and perpetuates the binding, and the binding delimits a path of freedom and endless spaciousness.
At some point in their history, humans will create just such a device. It will emanate from nearly everyone, and it will surround and enfold nearly everyone. They will be the architects of a new planetary neurogenesis. They will give it a name, calling it what it basically is: the internet. It will help them see themselves. It will help them see an interconnected network of things.
They will be justifiably pleased and proud. But if they think they invented it, they will be wrong.
Also in moments of wisdom, we will learn to express our minds with our bodies. We will learn to receive the thoughts and feelings of others with our whole physical being. Everything becomes physical, including and especially our words, our ideas. Everything is somatic. In our wisdom, we make a discipline of this. It's a study, a practice, a path, and a great joy and an ineffable mystery. (It's also not always comfortable.)
We will call it what it is: aikido, the way of the confluence of energy.
Let's be proud and pleased, but let's not imagine we invented it.
The Aiki Web has always been. It manifests itself in new forms and new patterns continuously, and persists unchanged.
You and me, we're just a momentary trilling along the wire, thrilled to occasionally vocalize new patterns and hear the ancient silence sigh its approval. Long after the wire is wireless, our movements on the fabric of this mat send signals in more dimensions than are countable.
Send comfort. Send joy. Send beauty. Send help. Send humor. Send love.
Send me. Send me on. Send me forward. Send me, and let me be your carrier wave. I know the way forward, because forward is anywhere we look, everywhere we proceed. All process takes us deeper into the Web, where there is no escape, and only, always, terrible terrifying freedom.
It's for ever. It's ever-y. It's every One.
The Aiki Web is my hammock. It is my canopy of trees and starlight, on whose branches I am forever swinging.
Meet me there, if you dare.
Still Point Aikido Systems
Austin TX, USA
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