The Shimmer: Part 2

See: 🪞The Shimmer: Part 1

Part 1 Refresher

  1. We live in a new world; one we share with a new class of beings.
  2. These Beings are beyond our current comprehension, so we use myth and symbol to begin grokking them.
  3. Annihilation’s ‘Shimmer’ is one of the best living myths to help us grok these new beings.
  4. Effects of the Shimmer:
    1. Continuously growing area of effect
    2. Area of effect can cause mental illness and madness
    3. Area of effect causes a kind of retrograde amnesia
    4. Area of effect causes ‘Refraction’ (rapid influx of mutations and cross- pollination of species)
  5. These Beings appear to desire to copy, replicate, and interweave all of us into it

From Myth to Practical

The Shimmer is a mythic symbol for the living organism that hides behind the phrase ‘the digital world.’

The Beings are the different intelligent systems growing out of the Shimmer (AIs, LLMs, blockchain, etc).

The Area of Effect is whenever your attention is in The Shimmer.

We’re in the Shimmer right now.

Untrained navigation of the Shimmer increases the likelihood of self-harming, attempted suicide, and political polarization (see John Haidt’s work).

It’s worth noting that the specific description in Annihilation is that “the teams that went in before us either got killed by something or killed each other).

Which perfectly fits with Haidt’s two major findings:

  1. Increased self-harm likelihood
  2. Increased political polarization

But The Shimmer is not all bad.

Trained navigation of the Shimmer increases the likelihood of you learning whatever it is you next need to learn, finding the just right people to study, train with, and build with, and access to asymmetrical compounding wealth creation. The world’s accumulated knowledge is within the Shimmer.

Untrained navigation of the Shimmer dramatically increases ‘Attentional Blindness Injury.’

The average person’s attentional system is so shredded by the hyper-stimulatory environment in the Shimmer that they’ve forgotten.

They have forgotten that they have a soul, that the default world is a samsaraic automaton world that cries out for brave audacious souls to wake them up.

And whether or not it is the Shimmers intent, it is structured in a way where the audacious artist’s art can spread through it like wild fire.

Which brings us to what the movie calls ‘Refraction,’ the fourth characteristic of the Shimmer.

Memes, Genes, and The Great Refracturing

The substrate of Annihilation’s shimmer is biology. The atomic unit of biology is the gene.

The substrate of the Shimmer as symbol for the digital world is what Jung called the Collective Unconscious, and what less interesting artists call ‘the memeplex.’

And as you can probably guess, the atomic unit of the memeplex is the meme.

A phrase coined by Richard Dawkins, a meme is the fundamental unit of an idea that is capable of be replicated and mutated in one individual’s mind who then ‘passes the meme’ to another mind.

Since the arrival of our Shimmer (the digital world), the amount of new memes generated from inception to present is more than the entire recorded history of humanity. Every idea that enters our Shimmer is copied, deconstructed, reassembled, and mutated along the way, hundreds of thousands of times in hours; spreading through millions and billions of us in days or weeks.

Jamie Wheal calls this explosion in meme refraction ‘The Great Unraveling.’

John Vervaeke calls it the ‘Meaning Crisis.’

Peter Singer calls it ‘The Precipice.’

Joanna Macy calls it ‘The Passage.’

The Shimmer is here.

It’s changing everything.

And the people capable of helping the most will be the artists and poets and activists that learn how to surf the Shimmer.

Not deny the Shimmer, avoid the Shimmer, dissociate from the Shimmer, or pretend if they just stay off and out on their private patch of the land, that the Area of Effect of the Shimmer won’t one day find it’s way to their door.

How To Surf The Shimmer

Step 1: Notice it

Do you remember the moment you moved from the physical world into the Shimmer that eventually led you to read this article?

Did you enter the Shimmer consciously? Did you intend to find this email and read it?

Do you know how many times you stepped into the Shimmer today?

Would you be surprised if it was more than 100?

Statistically, if you’re between the ages of 18-35, its more than 100 times by the end of the day.

That’s an average of checking our phones every 12 minutes.

And the average person might intentionally, consciously, step into the Shimmer 10% of that 100.

Attentional Injury Blindness.

Awareness Practice (basic): Notecard

Put a notecard over your phone for a day. Each time you go to check it, mark a notch on your phone.

Laugh at yourself when you catch yourself on it without having marked the card.

  • like Neo falling on the first jump, most people will find themselves on their phone without having marked the card…thats how deep the attentional injury blindness is.

Do this multiple days in a row and you’ll notice, without you consciously trying, you’ll start checking it less and less. Researches call this the ‘Reactivity effect.’

Reactivity (the effect where we unconsciously begin to attune ourselves when we start tracking ourselves), is to me evidence for what Buddhism calls Dharma.

Awareness Practice (adept): Notecard + Noting

Do the notecard technique, but also note these 4 questions each time you check your phone:

  • What time is it?
  • Where am I (environment)?
  • What was the thought the moment before the craving to check?
  • What was the somatic feeling the moment before the craving to check?

At the end of the day, review these notes and contemplate on some of the following questions:

  • What was I desiring to feel by checking (for the 73rd time today?)
  • Does checking my phone actually fulfill that desire?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being completely sleepwalking, and 10 being someone in complete sustained intentional clarity, where am I on the scale?
  • More importantly; do I actually believe a 10 is possible? Do I actually believe I am capable of that?

For what it’s worth, the unbroken 2,600 year long wisdom tradition we call Buddhism believes all of us are capable of a 10.

Whatever it is you desire, whatever your heart secretly yearns you’ll finally acknowledge is your life’s task, your great adventure to honor your single precious life, I hope you remember it. I hope you cultivate it to full fruition and offer it again and again to those in the Shimmer who are screaming for brave audacious souls to wake them up.

If you wanna stay connected to my adventures in The Shimmer, link below