Reframing the Voice, A Lengthy Reflection on Hominids, Respiration of Trees and Other Metaphoric Science.
The bioluminescent Ctenophora (above) thrives, having evolved a powerfully well-bounded self-structure. Photo courtesy of Luminescent Labs.
Just after the reckoning of Gregorian’s calendar determined another square 12 months had elapsed, I dined with a scientist in the academic city of New Haven, Connecticut. I was multitasking the two acts of gratefully scarfing Saag Paneer at an Indian restaurant on Howe street and conversing.
I actually feel the art of eating is best done in reverent quietude (a notion recently confirmed in the poised booked “The Yoga of Discipline,” which poetically details the meaningful purpose of our practices; what we eat, how we eat and with whom we eat, it turns out, is at the heart of our entire sense of well-being). Though my closest allies have accepted that I prefer to eat my meals in intentional silence rather than in chitchat or business meeting mode, I felt semi-capable of holding a heady conversation with the above-mentioned scientist, on this night, a possible effect of the glass of wine I was licking down, or the end of my twisty holiday journey through the New England states coming to its close. We were talking about the genus Homo and the subject of our human existence on earth.
I believe I was touting my (stretched) knowledge about the Rishis, the cave-dwelling poets, who lived “way before anyone else” when the scientist brought to my attention that Homo sapiens have lived on earth for around 200,000 years. In the next minutes, a few factoids of datum were dropped as an anthropological refresher:
1. Homo sapiens lived during a time other Homos lived. Homos like Neanderthalensis, the Denisova Hominin, the H. Heidelbergensis and also Homofloresiensis, littler dudes who maxed about 3.5 feet and whose brains were evidently smaller than ours. Homo sapiens didn’t just appear second to none. There was a significant stretch of some-thousands of years where competitive interbreeding and interrelating was going on between massive amounts of variant Homos. The political schema was potentially much more heavy than we can imagine during this intersecting period. (More on this in the next written bit below.)
2. Evidently, throughout the entire 4.543 Billion years of the earth’s existence, only 1% of species have survived. Every other species has been wiped out entirely, to never return. That means (for all of you whose math comprehension skills, like mine, require redundancy for proper digestion) 99.9% of all life on earth throughout the last 4 billion years has not lasted “forever” or in a recognizable, continual form.
For reasons deeper than my conscious cognition could fully grasp, the next two days after the new year felt extremely re-evaluative on my end. Until this point, I believe I'd oriented my life’s work around the premise that not only should and could humans live in much more notable accord with the planet, heal and reverse the accelerating chronic situation of our climate and collective lifestyle, but that we definitely also stood a real chance of continuing on as the earth’s main squeeze, from now to infinity.
I mean, people (and all forms of dramatic narratives) constantly draw on the theme of "not destroying the planet" and somehow in this very legitimate concern-- a significant relational perspective seems to fall to the wayside. Unless we have a very different role than 99.9% of all life that has ever been on this terrestrial planet, the earth and us are not “going out together”.
As uncertainty seems to be the leading lady in the Shakespearian script of quantum physics , I am not here to predict nothing, but I started to reframe what healing the planet and ourselves might mean; certain things started to click together while other things seemed to break away like asteroid pieces into the ether of my brain. First I concluded “well, F it then, we’re 99.9% fated…” but following that thought onward, I began to make sense of our future purpose.
“Wait a second!” I thickly postulated, reconsidering the purpose of man's redundant history: “Maybe the invention of religion was legitimately formed around a straightforward, labor union-y kind of consideration that since we’ll likely not altogether make it on a physical realm, the real bucks are in essence insurance. For a sheer moment I reevaluated religion's possible useful role within my new comprehension of Homo sapien Industry.
Then–– I saw an entire movie in my mind about this: 200,000 years ago. We banged Neanderthals who, though more muscular---and likely much more well-endowed---were too peaceful to object to our aggressive wits. Neanderthals were faded out by us after torturously being literally confused to death for years by our mixed messages as we simultaneously both had their babies and attacked them. When I try to trace back to the point where collective human shame began, I consider this. Not only were we banging Neanderthals from the start, but we humans were more (I quote) “aggressive and hyperactive” than our fellow Homos, and we basically overwhelmed all of our brother and sister species to death. I read in the Journal of Biological Research that people of Eastern Asian cultures, who possess “2% more Neanderthal DNA than Western Europeans” are generally non-violent. Their societies have lower crime rates and less ADHD. The journal went on to report that, when it comes to the different species of the genus Homo, “genes linked to hyperactivity and aggression are, in fact, only found in Homo sapiens”. I’m not sure about the implications of all of this, but, in my movie, I imagined an even more complex world than the one we live in today. In this world, 200,000 years ago, humankind scrounged for berries and bugs, off their rocker, hyper as all hell, starting fires, screwing and killing their relatives at the same time. I was thinking, if I have spent hours in this "modern era" trying to get various male Homo sapiens to accept the full spectrum of my emotional expression, how much struggle I may have had as a woman Homo sapien, wild and furious, shoving bugs in my face and up my nose instead of Saag Paneer. I imagine (because I typically feel like a paradoxical anachronism) that 200,000 years ago I definitely would have fallen hard for some distant strand of male chronospecies and begged for him to mutate into me. I imagine wars of love, passions of killing, everything mixed up so much more intensely than even Fox news can do us these days.
I wanted to write this piece to share with you what I truly know about reframing how we perceive the biological role of the human voice. In the process, though, I wrote about the genus Homo as a prelude, a preface. This preface is just about reframing. Everything.
When it comes to the voice, I want to share what I’ve learned recently about photosynthesis, check this out:
Trees, whose photosynthesizing job is to transform the photons of sunlight into sugar, take the nighttime in repose. The sun’s no longer in view, and in these nighttime hours they solely respire. It may take me a little time to "justify" this new factoid to you, but through research, experiment, and voice-coaching work, I am discovering that music, seemingly, is the matter of plant respiration—their effectively echoing dreams-- or a way they protect themselves, or else communicate with each-other, or with their own individual, complexly brilliant systems. I’m realizing, in our interesting evolution, which continues with most stable certainty on metaphysical plane, considering we have a scientifically statistical 1% chance of physically sustaining throughout the duration of planet earth’s entire existence, that our voices, and our music in whole, have a much more palpable large-scale role than we’ve yet recognized. Consider this: before animal eyes were eyes, they were a jumble of opsins, or “sensing proteins” that changed when light hit them. Those proteins started evolving, and (as the above-mentioned scientist, told me) eventually a whole bunch of the "chips came together" and eyes were formulated into entities. At this point, earth’s living creatures experienced a major leap forward in their evolution, a leap known as the Cambrian Explosion. Basically, the evolution of our senses determines the evolution of our lives. I am proposing that we are currently using the voice in the same limited manner that animals used their opsin proteins before they evolved eyes and took a great leap forward. My experience is that while we currently apply our voices in many modalities (in proving points, melodic performance, heatedly debating, delivering stunning and cunning talks, tweeting, etc.) we have just touched one thread of what our voices can actually do, independently and collectively. My feeling is that around 500 years from now in our human development, we will see great shifts in how we apply the function of our voice, we may begin to see significant leaps forward in our sensory systems in conjunction with this shift of vocal application.
After years of working with hundreds of voices around the world (everyone from healing professionals to those seeking healing, to the high-security prisoner, to the high-level executive, to the international performer, to the novice) I believe that the voice is a primary resource in our "consciousness evolution". I can attest that I have physically accessed both my own and others' voices in order to:
-become sensually cognizant in the body/mind/spirit
-activate or clear the electro-magnetic field/the aura/the chakras
-relieve stagnation, re-orient tension
-extract meticulous energy holds and blocks
-move through major grief and trauma
-use the function of the voice as a "listening" tool and an illuminating, feeling light.
-employ the metaphysical and physiological body to altercate (refine, raise or balance) levels of healthy self-esteem, pain thresh-holds in the body, engage safely with past muscle memory and much more.
Whales already know this. They use their songs to share pristine holographic images with each-other. And bioluminescent Ctenophores (like in the photo I shared above) already know this, too. They use their evolved senses, their “voice”, as a way to exquisitely and colorfully protect themselves, living as one of the 1% species who have evaded extinction. I’m not saying we’ll make it into the 1% category if we evolve our senses or if we alter other aspects of how we interact with the planet, ourselves and each-other. I feel that setting our aims so high may make us miss our chance entirely. What I’m saying is that it’s been a full, humbling journey we’ve taken-- starting out as hyperactive, tripped-out disasters, knocking out our fellow subspecies with our homicidal bunnyrabbit-like tendencies to both procreate and kill. However, there is some evidence which suggests as we’ve journeyed on in the last 200,000 years we’ve been growing our capacity for peace and for self-awareness, cultivating an important emotionality we recognize as more essential than any of our other inventions or triumphs throughout our time. Even beyond the stinky remaining fumes of our initial Homo sapien nastiness, which is still expressed in the inanities and trials of modern politics for example, we’re developing a new perspective of what “potential” might mean for us Homo sapiens. Maybe it’s about living in a way more essential to the most harmonious possibility of our design, a way where we choose love as a practice of being, a way that soothes whatever energy brought us onto earth with such frenzy and aggression. Reframing how we understand the possibilities of the function of the human voice could greatly affect our life on earth. I am convinced that one day we will value the practice of conditioning our voices (and developing our breath) in the same way we now value health habits such as practicing good dental hygiene, exercising regularly, being nutritionally proactive and responding to other important physiological needs. I believe recognizing the evolutionary needs of our senses and developing strong practices to best support their growth will help us to create lives filled with pertinence and grace. And perhaps grace, defined as a simple elegance or refinement of movement, could allow us to see outside of the linearly reckoned measurement of 4 billion years. Then, even if we can’t live on in some extensive “forever”, we can live our way into a different version of energized everlastingness, one gauged by extensive profundity and presence.
Slight Addendum to text:
Current modern humans, it seems, are classified as "Homo Sapiens Sapiens", which are just slight variants of our Homo Sapien ancestors. For the purpose of this writing I used the name Homo Sapien to include both us and the original Homo Sapien. This Genus stuff is full-on.