Dreamscapes and Illusions

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Images

Some of my favorite dreams come from borrowed fragments of somebody else's imagination. I for one, am one of those individuals who gets way too invested into movies. I enjoy them entirely too much. Much like books were in the last century before the advent of radio, I feel movies have become more than just entertainment, for this generation.

Games will, in my mind anyways, eventually surpass movies as the contemporary medium of modern times. Fully interactive experiences (games of the future) will help influencers more easily coax the general public into common ways of accepted groupthink. These same games, will become havens of safety and security for those escapists who wish to avoid the harsh realities of a very real world.

Hence my opening statement. My dreams are borrowed.. Almost all of my favorite ones come from someone else. Guilty as charged. When I speak of dreams it usually involves some kind of intense struggle followed with epic swells of emotion. I'm involved in some kind of great effort, some kind of overwhelming task that's being undertaken to create a desired result…

Talking with one of my closest friends, I find the opposite is true. She dreams of quite visceral observations and experiences. Sometimes she's falling, sometimes running in pursuit of… Sometimes running in fear from… All the while perceiving minute undercurrents of emotion or awareness… of something not quite right, nagging her from somewhere in the background.. In my dreams I know the names and faces of characters. In her dreams I've come to note that she feels the flow of the quicksand swallowing her up or the waves of water as they rush past her in the sea. Always running from phantoms… Always laughing or interacting with faceless friends.

When I'm desperately fighting off zombies in my dreams or fighting for my life in some obviously ridiculous circumstance, I reflect now that I'm awake, how odd it is that I never question it in the moment. I fight, I run, I drive, all without a second thought as to how I actually got there or what took place to make all of this insanity possible. I am fully aware of the moment… Completely submersed inside of the dream.

It's awkward and frightening for me to imagine a future where society at large will live mostly to participate in such virtual realities… waking dreams if you will… Borrowed dreams. Does it matter that they originated in a boardroom or on a piece of paper in the hands of some struggling storyteller?

Maybe not.

It doesn't escape me that many folks would actually prefer to live within a fantasy instead of actually live life. In an article I recently read, it is mentioned that modern day men have taken to dating “virtual” girlfriends. What is significant to me is that the marketplace has actually responded to this “need” by supplying certain physical locations which house sensors that allow said guy to take a picture with his virtual love interest. “Watching men form relationships with two dimensional characters in a video game is both fascinating, sad, and suggestive. Where might we be with this phenomenon in 10 years?

In the future, when man lives on the moon and earth is no more than a living mausoleum… perhaps then people will laugh at how we constantly fought wars and almost destroyed our own planet by misusing and abusing our resources. Perhaps then, they will dine on genetically modified, extinct animals and take 3D videos of their virtual grandkids and fly space vehicles to the nearest, planetary, getaway hotspot.

Perhaps then, someone will learn the meaning of what it all means to truly and intentionally, live life to the fullest… Without selling it and formulating it into another, #1 bestseller ebook… that will sell millions of copies to millions of people who will never, ever finish reading it.

Perhaps not.

I believe that the art of communication isn't lost. There is always a chance to influence others for good no matter what type of world springs up around us. God isn't the author of confusion even though the devil wishes he could convince us otherwise. Whether we prosper or falter, there is always hope. I try to remind myself never to forget that. Art, in many people's eyes has a responsibility to help facilitate change. In others opinions, it is merely meant to communicate whatever “honest” thought is happening to be felt in that particular moment. I think that both of these ideas are true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all, right?

My questions becomes more than questions when I consider the order in which history is playing out before our very eyes. To some beauty is a garden, a building designed for a purpose, an institution chartered to inspire the gifted… To others, however, beauty is destruction, a picture of a dead body, a book written to glorify serial killers. As Shakespear once wrote, “For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come”…

In 2011, an Illinois man used a GPS tracking device to kill his ex-girlfriend.

We have an incredible capacity for good or evil as finite, human beings that only live once on this planet. It says in the bible that God himself, once walked with Adam in the garden, in the cool of the day. That statement implies that they spent time together, continually. Fast forward to today where people wonder and argue whether God even exists.

I believe that God and his existence are more than apparent. Just ask Albert Einstein.. “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Those whose dreams would have others perish, to me, resemble nightmares. My dreams, albeit the ones where I survive, are usually ones with a happy ending. If heaven once touched earth, to the point where man was free to walk and talk with God on a daily basis, what has changed? What calamity befell us all that now we have people inspired to kill, steal and destroy and call it a good thing? History would prove that this has always been so but I would argue only that it has increased in frequency and intensity.

I believe that just like a radio dial, some of us are tuned into God… While others are tuned into the devil. I think this is best illustrated by C.S. Lewis when he once wrote,

” …at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.”

Should we strive to be better people? Yes.

Should we desire to dream better dreams. Sure.

Should we fight against the night and live for the day. Definitely.

Is it purely speculative and generally wrong to expect that we should all respect each other and live peaceably, if at all possible??? Never.

I don't curse in my songs because I am a perfect human being. I never use curse words in my art because I don't want that to resonate and to reflect and reverberate throughout all of history, long after I'm gone… Years from now… Miles from here. I want to change the world even if its as imperceptibly as planting a flower or showing kindness to a stranger. I want to shine bright in a world full of shadows. I want to as they say, “be the change that you want to see in the world.”

We all have dreams. It's only some of us who dream big enough to outshine the clouds when the storms come. Selah.

 

Philip

Liberation Redux

 

The Beginning of Chaotic Order Pt. 1

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Images

Mappare-noi-stessi

Learning about learning has me thinking of the probability that there’s so much more we have yet to learn or know.  And as such, it has me questioning how what we learn or know can come to be untrue.  Every individuals knowledge can come to differ or contradict with one other’s.  The world as we know it is subjective to each of our perspectives and experiences… Yet where is the absolute?

As we take in new information and are connecting it to what we already know – we are finding relationships.  What we already know is not always the same as someone else’s version of “the truth”.  We have different experiences causing different perspectives or memories causing those relationships to relate to new information in a different way.  What I’m saying is what we experience as we grow,  what we come to know, sets the stage for all neural connections/pathways in our brain.  What we are grounded in can effect the order in which we learn (Your Neural Network).

The subject of the film “Roshamon” has very interesting reasoning behind it. The subjective recollections behind the character’s all differ after witnessing one crucial event earlier in the movie.  The film ends with an outside witness, dictating an absolute version of events that countered each individuals subjective version of what took place.

Much like the movie, as we attempt to recall a memory, it travels the neural pathways we create as we associate it to what we already know – in our long-term memory. This can cause the memory to alter as we make those relationships. Although everything seems subjective, to each subjective thought there is an order – a relationship of parts – stemming from the original order before it.

motion-map

It’s interesting that even the mind, as the rest of the world, works in a way of relationships – a sort of ecosystem of parts.  We live in an ecosystem of many different & smaller ecosystems that make up the whole of one.  Although, seemingly chaotic, a closer look illuminates the order in which it is made.

And so I have to wonder, where is the end to the environments and systems we are in? Is there a beginning to our space; an onset of time and matter; the beginning to the order of things as we know it; so to say, an absolute beyond time and space?

Allyson

Liberation Redux

Because We Choose

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Images

Phil

So we’re exploring some darker themes in our next record. This is something that has to be seen to be understood, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, we have yet to properly release our first effort. Liberation Redux released “Spectators” to friends and family of the band in 2012 and have continually given it to close ties to the band as a soft release… A proof of concept, if you will. Of course this is another way of saying that we haven’t struck it rich with any million dollar, recording contract as of yet so take that as you will. (Insert emoticon with a smiley face here.)

Our new record has no title yet but as with life, things may just have to develop organically… real and natural like and not in any other way. I’m excited for it though because Allyson and I have grown in our songwriting partnership since last year.

To break it up here, I have to mention that I am really loving this band called “The XX” right now.
Check them out. They are the same idea but almost diametrically opposed dynamics-wise, (is that a word?) from us as a band.

Allyson and I have had the pleasure of recently playing an event celebrating women and the arts. We got a chance to collaborate on some new material because, before now, I have been the main vocal contributor to our output as Liberation Redux. Years ago, we worked together on Gomroki, which we will resurrect when the time is right. That music project is something that we are still moving towards but until we get there we can use LibRedux as a vehicle to explore Allyson’s songwriting in the meantime. Just in case you’re curious you can hear Gomroki here.

gomroki

Electronic music and analog sounding instruments, paired with visceral, traditional instrumentation is a real, creative turn on for me as an artist. I have always loved music like Bjork, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and recently The XX these past few years. Finding a way to successfully create something beautiful that’s organic and mysteriously futuristic and robotic can be quite chaotic at times but ever so rewarding.

Right now, as I said, I’m discovering certain ideas that lend themselves well to where I’m coming from during this period in my life. One of them, is actually one of my favorite titles to date that I’ve ever decided to use for a song. The Bystander effect is, according to Kendra Cherry on About.com, the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.

Playing lots of late night, live shows have recently inspired me to go to gun shows and as of this Saturday, take up shooting as a means to learn self-defense. We live close to St. Louis, Missouri which has been given the distinction as ranking second on the most dangerous cities list. According to this CNN Money article
While it is safer than it used to be… “Still, at about 35 murders per 100,000 residents in 2011, St. Louis claims the third highest homicide rate of any major city.” So I’ve begun to, without even meaning to, take my friends up on offers to go “shooting” and hopefully learning how to safely utilize these deadly, hand cannons.

Also, I have begun writing about the social and moral decay of society as a whole. While the “Spectators” record was hopeful and full of light, this new record turns the page and while still offering hope, lights up the downward trajectory things can sometimes inevitably take. Life is a machination made up of cycles, as most of us have come to discover, sometimes it seems that you cannot have one without the other. Peace and war are not just paradigms made up for television shows and songs on the radio. They are very real states that some are born into and others still are thrust into with or without their permission.

I don’t mean to idolize or trivialize violence in any way. That said, I have a very real and true responsibility to those that I love and care for while pursuing something so trivial, if only by comparison, as my art. Last weekend in St. Louis, a man was brutally stabbed in the neck and later died when confronted by an evil person who wanted to rob him of his cell phone. Just saying…

God is God, even still, ever still, in all of this. That is my voice’s true aim and highest aspiration. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be but I can see the truth when it’s staring me in the face. There is a God who loves us and wants the best for us regardless of what anyone else says. I love that I’ve been given a talent and if possible, I would like to share this without pretense, in the most enjoyable and entertaining way as possible. First up, for now in any case, is music. One day, God-willing, I would like to make movies. I would like to tell an amazingly well thought out and wonderful crafted story much like the short lived but very prolific writer, Flannery O’ Connor.

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The funny thing about life is, no one is guaranteed anything. You take it as it comes and you hope for the best, but no one great ever did anything lying down. So here I sit, with my laptop in hand, writing a much overdo blog about what have you and here I am, virtually, mentally naked, for lack of a better term, for all to see.

If there was anything I could give in theme or in substance it would be this:
Life is but a vapor. Time isn’t anyone’s companion for very long. Do what you were made to do and do it well.
You never know who might need it or when the curtain may come calling.

I’ll leave you with the second song that we will be releasing here shortly.
“Slough of Despond” which if you are not familiar, refers to a passage found in Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

Philip
Liberation Redux

Slough of Despond
Song & Lyrics Copyright © 2013 Liberation Redux All rights reserved.

Everyone should have something to live for. It’s not so easy to stay alive out here.
Got my gun, I got my ammunition. No wars are won with indecision.
There’s not enough to go around. They take your past and then they nail you to the ground…
“Better you than me”, is what the people sing.

“We Have nothing left to live for. We have nothing better to fight for…”

Don’t get wrong, don’t get me wrong, I get it.
The man who sold the world said he did to save it.
Couldn’t make a right from the wrong inside.
Couldn’t take flight when buried alive.

“if you want to survive,
Give us all of your money buy a place in line.
Do what you want, do what you need, Do what you got to do
because we tell you to.”

I don’t believe, I can’t believe, I won’t believe a lie.
Can’t seem to make a myself, make myself wanna lay down and die.
I saw the light, I’ve seen the light, saw the lightning in those eyes. 
Won’t turn away, Can’t look away,
Not even if I wanted to…

Don’t Ignore the warning signs
Rise or end up eaten alive
Wars are fought and lost inside
Gotta keep hope
gotta keep hope alive

Traverse the Great Divide
Or wash away with changing tides
I want something better to live for
I need something better to fight for

When all the world’s become a trap to kill you
You need to open up your eyes.
No one else can do it for you!
No. No! No!

Don’t Ignore the warning signs
Rise or end up eaten alive
Wars are fought and won inside
Gotta keep hope
gotta keep hope alive
Traverse the Great Divide
Or wash away with changing tides
I want something better to live for

Come away
Come away
The dark cant stop the light of day
Rip away
Tear away
The lie is that “there is no escape”

If we could ever hope to break through
It will only be because we choose.

The revolution is here. Now what?

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Images

rotterdam360

The open access & networking capability of the web is amazing. I realize this sometimes when I actually think about it. Like all other great advances in technology it has major implications. We’re more open and free than ever before to share and solicit ideas, and at the same time being under the greatest amount of surveillance and data mining than ever before. Considering the technology itself, how we use it, and how organizations or governments determine it to be used make the possibilities endless! I, for one, have enjoyed the awesome mobility for information sharing & new ways to work on more creative output. After all, it’s what allowed Liberation Redux to begin.

There was a dry patch, but I’ve recently revisited indulging my “free” time in mobile apps. This has especially become advantageous for me as I continue to consider the vast world of an open source society, coupled with my endeavors in instructional design. Basically I have a sincere intrigue in how we think and learn. The other day I was reading an article by Marc Prensky, a reading from the first MOOC (massive open online course) I’m trying out. A Basic idea he presented was that the changing landscape and tools available to us allows the way we think and learn to change. The implications of this idea are interesting to me – not only because theories or practices derived from it would apply to my work as a designer of instruction, but also because I see how it is related to effects of my activities in mobile music, along with the fact that implications on my children & generations to come could be important to consider (that goes without saying that I, like everyone else, believe the education & learning of people is a critical concern to our society in general – & our institutionalized educational systems I’ll, in a nice way say, has opportunity for MEGA improvement). Of course, there’s many arguments to this idea of restructured thinking, as there hasn’t been much “sound” research to base it on.

I walked away with an ‘anything can happen’ degree in Mass Communication having been convinced (not by my professors, but my own judgements from research presented) that we are indeed affected by what we watch & see. Yes, this includes media. I think it has the critical power (not all power) in forming perspectives & ideas, individually & socially – in the ecology of us, as it surrounds our daily lives. Not necessarily that watching violence literally makes us violent – but, on a level I think it can effect the way we see the world, ourselves and each other. It’s proven that kids learn and form opinions not only from “doing” but also from watching us & the world. The tools or delivery systems (to avoid using the word “technology” the taboo my first professor ingrained in me, as technology is simply processes not media/delivery tools) we use are very different from the ideas & stories we watch (.. Or are they?); but even more so by them being more visceral, I would think, in the manipulation & consumption of information. So, can it effect us on another level? This “processing of information” level… & does that even matter? Well, for me as I want to help individuals learn in the most effective ways by designing & presenting the most engaging learning materials for them possible, it does.

As Prensky put it, “These operating systems are affecting our ‘operating system’… Today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors.” Although this statement is not based on sound research it does hint towards Dr. Bruce D. Perry’s (of Baylor College of Medicine) statement that “Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures.” So maybe not only are different generations receiving different or new information & ideas in media, they also are processing that information differently as the media tools/delivery systems & the ways in which they engage with info is changing.

I’m thinking this may lead to Prensky’s coining of today’s youth as ‘digital natives’. I’ve read arguments to this idea by a few from older generations who are indeed very tech savvy, and may have taken offense to such ideas. However, I wasn’t interpreting it to infer that younger generations are smarter or better within technology – but that those who spend more time with such tools or have considerable more comfort with them would apply to this idea of digital natives. It doesn’t have to be an age thing (but in most cases may be a commonality). I feel like I’ve experienced this on a small level: The first year of my Master’s program I started researching & consolidating information online and writing out research papers & my own reflections… and I noticed there was a shift in the way I sought & processed information. In my efforts I learned to do it faster & I began to break out segments of information in “chunks” like I had not done before. If in this the way I processed information changed after taking in information differently, I think I can begin to consider the implications this might have on generations as the way we consume information (on a wide level) continues to change with the given tools.

cartoon

So, maybe I can understand how the way we connect, communicate, and exchange information could be pulling us towards a more of a term you may have heard by now, ‘networked individualism’; which I understand to be (correct me if I’m wrong) a more person focused & less family/unit/social group focused mentality or dependency – self-directed engagement in more loosely structured temporary networks – a person being at the center of their own “universe”. So these delivery methods could actually be affecting the way we organize and structure information internally, & ultimately the way we communicate to those around us.

So, I wonder about the idea that we are becoming more segmented among numerous groups; more reliant on ourselves than dependent on our ‘group’.

revolution-copy4

The possibilities this leads to are vast – more creative information sharing and collaboration across the world via a multitude of networks. Yet still lingering in the back of my mind, beyond the technology & tools and how they will be used, I struggle with another part of the ecosystem. If there is more of a networked individualism and less identification with social control of groups/family/etc. where does the social control lie? Now, maybe that’s just a matter of social determination factors…. Who will this technology serve the most?

- Allyson
Liberation Redux

… To boldly go…

Posted: January 23, 2013 in Images

In an effort to add more of a productive aspect to what I perceive is a more pedestrian, civilian kind of lifestyle, I have decided to begin writing in this here blog. My wife kindly helped me to figure out how to log in, sort of like when I help her to figure out how to use the computer to watch some far fetched, hard to find, foreign cinema… Yes.

Now that I'm here I'll try my best not to look too awkward like the freshman at the dance with no one to dance with…

I'll try to act perfectly natural like I belong here and not at all like I have to visit the restroom because I've already ingested too much tropical punch.

I think that for our next issue we are going to explore dreams. I have had quite a lot of confusing dreams as of late… I don't mind telling you either because I don't believe in ESP or any of that nonsense. I don't know how much I believe in the telling of dreams to become reality except from what I've read in the good book and that had quite a few stories in it where some odd person would change the course of a nation with a dream… Or the interpretation of a dream brought about something here or there or what have you… I think the reason I am so distrustful of the whole “let me tell you what your dreams mean” dynamic is because it has to be accepted wholly on blind faith. There is no way one can substantiate it one way or the other. I prefer my faith to be wide eyed and incredulous, sure, but never blind.

Some say love is blind and perhaps they are right but I… I am one of those who prefers to believe that I am walking into my beliefs with my eyes wide open. I believe, in God for instance, although I find it hard to believe in what his people say from time to time… I'd chalk it up to ignorance but then again somehow I feel 'safer' in my own ignorance at times it seems.

These days I can be found consorting with all manner of folks but my favorites are the honest ones. They do exist, irregardless of how skeptical and how glorious some of my friends might believe they are in there own “mature” cynicism. I like the believers and the non-believers alike but I have to say my favorites are the honest ones. The ones who really know why they think they know something.

There, I said it.

Having said all that, I realize I have so far to go to truly understand ANY of this. Why do dreams effect you so? Why do you wake up mad when you've been tossing and turning all night, when the offensive party you are so angry with, had NOTHING to do with you and your dream? I've had it happen more recently than ever before it seems. Maybe it's because I'm working too hard, possibly because it's spiritual and I have a lot of sorting out to do with the big man upstairs… Whatever you believe, I'm cool with it, just don't tell me!

Some part of me wants to figure things out on my own… Another wants desperately for this all to have been over and done with so I can move on to the next, bigger, better, thing. Whatever that is. I like the act of creating and the process of educating oneself to go further, farther, faster… Even though after years of playing and writing music, I feel old in spirit. My head is better than ever but my heart is sad more often than not. The funny thing is, in my dreams I can't remember any of my present circumstances or disappointments and so I fight! I run! I clamor to defend or in some cases to attack because I know in my heart, in the truest place, deep down inside my soul, that If I try hard enough, I can win!

When I wake up is when the gravity begins to set in again… I was just dreaming… For better or worse, now I am awake again.

What day is it? Oh yeah, this thing is late, that other thing is due and God help me, I've gotta tear outta bed. The day is already upon me!

Thank God for dreams though. Even the ones where I wake up tired because I've been struggling and fighting all night.

Thank God for his imagination to imbue such creatures as ourselves with such a separate existence from ourselves as is found in dreams.

Life isn't so hard and mine especially is nothing to frown upon as I am BLESSED… Coming in and going out. I need to keep my head about me. Not everyone can see… Not everyone can, some say, dream.

Not everyone can sing! …I need to sing. I need to dream. I need to see…

Lord God, I pray, help me to see. …Help me to see.

“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” – C.S. Lewis

“I refuse to lay down the goodness of God on the alter of my own understanding.” – Greg Morisson

 

- Philip
Liberation Redux

DoorwaysComingandGoing

The name of this blog derives from one of our favorite poems by Audrey Lorde, A Litany for Survival.  As a small homage we’ve also included it as a lyric in our song Kairos.  In time we hope to give you something substantial here for you to explore.

Image  —  Posted: January 20, 2013 in Images