This page is about focusing. It's about how focusing, if it's in some way pleasurable, always leads to repetition; it always leads to wanting more.

Other animals repeat their instinctive behaviour; but humans focus on and repeat learnt behaviour, we focus on and repeat all the things we want for pleasure and security.

This page describes what can happen when there is nothing to counterbalance the repetitions inherent in focusing.

The repetitions combine, and then the combinations repeat, and gradually everything gets quicker, more complex and more fragmented.

The Anthropological Timeline gives a scientific, objectively researched timeline of the ever-increasing pace of life – the velocity of change and development throughout our earth's history – and then there was man...

The Human Survival Strategy

Humans secured their survival with their focusing abilities. Unlike all other animals, we learnt how to survive without actively using our panorama senses.

And our ability to focus, developed amazingly and relentlessly. We could focus on memories, repeat selected ideas, associate them and learn. Focusing gave our imagination the practical context of words and concepts, and it got things done.

The Flintstones driving a car.Humans processed, collected and communicated ideas quickly. And from hammering the first flint tools, to making fire, to constructing wheels, it was a remarkable story, clever and creative, and life slowly became more enjoyable.

Focusing led to a world which gave us choices, it was always new and exciting, it even allowed us to develop a sense of purpose in life – to have focal points in life.

We focused on and repeated everything which gave us security or pleasure, and civilisation slowly developed comfortable cultural habitual ruts... with an ever-increasing multiplicity of things to want.

The Speed of Modern Life

The incredible momentum of modern life is all based on focusing, because focusing is the way we use our senses in order to do, want, and get, all the things which brought us pleasure or security.

In the material world The Speed of Life increased with a simple dynamic.

It's hard to put exact dates on it as different civilisations rose and fell, but generally, the increased choice had a beneficial effect and made life easier and more comfortable.

And the progress which modern living offers, is socially welcomed by a vast majority, who only complain about the shadow side – the inevitable exponential increase in costs.

Inflation occurred notably at the end of the Roman Empire, also in the Weimar Republic when people were pushing worthless Deutschmark around in wheelbarrows, until Hitler cancelled the Treaty of Versailles.

However, added to the inflation, now, for the first time in history, global problems are occurring due to a population explosion. And the sheer quantity of material products for the masses, the exploitation, waste and pollution, in turn leads to unbearable problems, and the inevitable population migration from poorer countries.

And all these physical aspects of life follow a simple line of repetition, they have a simple dynamic.

On a psychological level, the development has a far more profound and complex dynamic.

Beliefs and Their Confirmation

When early humans developed beliefs, they gave meaning to our lives and became the central priority for our sense of reality, identity, purpose, and even security, hope and satisfaction. They became our central focal points.

Sid the ice age sloth leading the choir.As with most other animals, our survival depended on a sense of belonging to a group. And for us humans, this meant the mutual affirmation of the ideas and beliefs of our tribe.

And generations of children were reassured as we repeated our stories, and established our culture's identity.

And it really didn't matter much if we all believed we were living on the back of the Great Turtle, The Sacred Great Turtle.or, that the stars were the children of the sun and the moon – because for our sense of identity and security, the confirmation of the tribe was more important than the truth.

And because social confirmation was always far more important than truth, the repetitions had a stabilising, unfying effect, and encouraged psychological security within a tribe or nation. Even over the last few thousand years as wars became common; the psychology of the individual was stable and secure, and the seperate cultures each had their integrity.

Beliefs and Their Confirmation explores how our understanding of the spiritual world developed, and then overloaded...

From Insecurity to Overfocusing

Then, over the last few centuries, as modern man developed his abilities with abstract thought, we started questioning our beliefs.

This was the beginning of a new era, and now we have lost the mutual confirmation of our social group.

The beliefs which in previous ages were central to our identity and security, and understanding of life – nowadays, it is exactly this level of abstract thought: which leads within each social group to division... and individually to insecurity.

Our modern liberal thinking to socially integrate the diversity of beliefs is a great step for civilisation. But, it will always remain only a shadow of the feeling of mutual, united and unquestioned confirmation of all the members of an entire local social group.

Our modern fight for survival has continued in the abstract dimension of beliefs, ideas, and opinions. And when we feel unsafe, it's because of psychological reasons.

Peanuts: Snoopy and Linus fighting for the blanket.We humans are often in denial about our psychological insecurity. But we face a form of collective psychological insecurity, which no previous culture has ever experienced.

The endless discussions going round and round inside our own heads are self-evident. With each individual trying to confirm their own beliefs and opinions, by their constant repetition.

This is a recent, common, extremely uncomfortable, cultural habitual rut. And it's become its own cause, always generating more of itself. It's an exponential repetition.

Regardless of our modern material security, we are collectively psychologically insecure.

In our modern diverse culture, the lack of mutual confirmation, is causing worry and suffering in a way that early humans never experienced.

Some people may cope admirably, but all the time, we are coping with a background insecurity which no other animal or early human has ever experienced or even imagined.

And we compensate for this insecurity with our species' tried and tested survival strategy – focusing and wanting more. More material things to possess and identify with, and more ideas to satisfy our emotional experience of life's conflicts, and establish an identity within a social group.

We have developed what in animal psychology would be seen as a form of displacement behaviour.

Displacement Behaviour

A dog scratching: displacement activity.This is the word used to describe the illness animals suffer when they feel insecure, and compensate with habitual but inappropriate, sometimes self-destructive activities.

Hens scratch and peck at nothing just because they feel nervous and insecure; dogs and cats clean themselves when they are confused or want feeding.

Any habitual activity can be displaced. And we have begun to act like birds in captivity who can't stop whistling, in a desperate search for mates and territory.

We are in the process of destroying ourselves, our culture, and our environment with an inappropriate habit. The human habitual rut – focusing.

And in the same way that a dog obsessively scratches himself because he can imagine no better response to his confusion – we hardly notice that we are compulsively focusing, because we have no idea that there is any other way of sensing.

Displacment Behaviour in Humans explores the depths and dimensions of our blindness. We are overfocusing.

Our subliminal psychological insecurity drives us to fill the vacuum left behind by the disappearance of our mutually confirmed beliefs. We don't know who we are individually or as a culture, and as we become more insecure we displace more, and the spiral accelerates exponentially.

And the ultimate cause is our human form of abstract thinking, (dolphins think abstractly, but in a different way). Our human abstract thought habitually and continually, places focal points in relation to other focal points, subjects doing things to objects, in order to establish who and where we are in life, to confirm our identity, to reassure us that we feel secure.

Other animals stop still for a moment and practice panoramic sensing. At those times, they can't even start to question the experience, that would disturb the awareness. So the mental wheels stop turning for 5 seconds. And 5 seconds is all they need to reassure themselves that their lives are safe.

Five seconds is all we need to interrupt the relentless repetitions governing our lives, otherwise all we are doing is making our pre-existing preconditioning happy.

We humans are only conscious of our need for identity and a purpose in life; we think that this will make us happy.

And each child must find or develop their own focal points, their own social image and identity; or accept the identity of their peers and elders; or feel insecure.

And having a choice is great! Some successful influencers and leaders even manage to win the battle for a socially confirmed identity, as a focal point looked up to by their followers. But without being able to "just be" for 5 seconds, they are committed to always wanting more, or becoming lonely and confused.

Our Involuntary Egoism

Our one-sided way of sensing life, has become self-fulfilling. Our psychological sciences and even modern religious thought is about self realisation, 'finding yourself' and 'being a self-reliant individual'.

Even our sociological ideas stress the importance of relationships between individuals – security and stability through an interdependence between individual focal points.

But all these modern ideas on the value of individuality and relationships are only a product of, the one-sided survival strategy of focusing with our thoughts and senses.

Our modern individualism is the natural culmination of our 'blinkered' focused approach to life. We're only looking for focal points, we're missing the panoramic perspective.

Throughout our evolution we lived for the group. Humans are not by nature egoists, but we are always focusing and we suffer from this unintentional and involuntary (and ridiculous) form of tunnel vision which has led to a sort of self-hypnosis.

The self-centred individualism and egoism evident in modern life, is a mental imbalance, an involuntary response to stress, and a symptom of psychological insecurity.

Our basic need is to feel safe, satisfied and at peace. Being any sort of focal point is a sidetrack. It isn't necessary to 'find ourselves' to feel alive, safe, and wholesome.

Animals have a way of sensing the world directly, now, as a whole; alive, and connected with all other living things: panoramic sensing. For animals, this is a constant reminder of how it feels to be open, and safe, at the same time.

This is a natural balance in life. Other animals don't balance their focused work with entertainment, or closing the senses and meditating on an ethereal focus point.

There is no need to stop any of these non-essential focused activities, but other animals balance all such activites with periods of panoramic awareness.

Even when they have enough peace of mind to doze in a state of just being which is similar to meditation; birds sleep with half an eye open, hares ears are turned open, outwards – even when dozing animals maintain a panoramic awareness of the world around them.

It is ironic that animals can't really enjoy their panorama mode, because of their fear of predators like humans – and that humans, now that they don't need to fear for their lives, have forgotten all about it.

Survival in The Modern World

Do we really not need to fear for our lives? – With the 1.5C limit, unbearable inflation, over population, on the one hand; and on the other, lies, crazy ideas, self-justifications... but, i don't need to define what i personally see as symptoms of the madness.

The point is, these days, we all have different standards, and we all see a form of craziness in everyone outside our chosen circle.

Our way of thinking, which is based purely in focusing, has led to this situation.

And now, the greed, egoism, and narrow-mindedness which are the prime causes of the world's problems are all classical examples of human displacement – overfocusing.

And those with a heart are helpless; they only focus on fighting the selfishness and greed.

We must remove the basis of this self-perpetuating 'blinkered' approach to life. We must recognise that the exclusive use of our focusing abilities, is encouraging blindness; we must stop limiting our basic awareness and understanding.

Animals coordinate or alternate almost all of their focused activities with periods of panoramic awareness. This is a balance. Their survival depends on it.

Mankind has lost part of how we always sensed the world around us, part of how we managed to survive for millions of years.

Any individual who doesn't use their panoramic awareness is certain to have fears and feel the need to fight for their safety.

Any animal species which doesn't use their panoramic awareness would become extinct.

Panoramic sensing is the natural balance for focusing – and the cure for overfocusing.

Please do the exercises yourself.

The Priority Pages continue with Our Animal Gurus
Chapter Three continues with Balancing on Solid Earth

Back to Chapter Three : Civilisation's Habitual Ruts
Back to THE SENSE OF IT ALL Priority Pages