Ekstasis: Displacement of perception and its connection to spatial understanding

Abstract for ACSF10th 2018

<Ekstasis: Displacement of perception and its connection to spatial understanding>

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

– T. S. Eliot, The Little Gidding –

Ékstasis(ἔκστασις) is known as the Ancient Greek word for ecstasy, meaning “to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere”(ek- “out,” and stasis “a stand, or a standoff of forces”). Quoting Karen Armstrong, ekstasis is a “stepping out” from a habitual, self-bound consciousness that enabled man to apprehend a reality that is called “god”. Continuing phenomena around religious pilgrimages show the subtle preservation of such idea in life in order to search for moral or spiritual significance and awakening. It becomes clear that a proper ‘ekstasis’ is in connection to the domain of consciousness, or more accurately saying, a perception that human being is capable of exerting, when the individuality is displaced, leaving one to remain out of any sensorial realm.

In this paper, I would like to put an emphasis on the meaning and a actual working of ‘ekstasis’ on human perception and its bond to spatial understanding. As its definition clearly states, it is an act of dis-placing one’s own individuality and letting a concealed reality come onto the surface. The displacement is in this sense a legitimate tool for one to be engaged in an authentic self, a sacredness within which has been veiled by customs and biases.

Anchoring the notion of ’Ekstasis’ in the idea of displacement leads to the term called “Extrasensory perception”. By looking at the etymology of it, it is a perception that is engaged when one successfully steps out(extra) of sensory-dominated perception. Closing down ordinary modes of perception opens up the extraordinary perception that sees the nature as it is.

The research on the kinesiological response from bodily muscles shows the associative evidence whether this extrasensory perception is palpable. As the well-known psychiatrist and physician, David R. Hawkins says, this body-perception may be a form of communal consciousness, spiritus mundi or a database of consciousness. A body knows what is good and bad at a level outside of a current consciousness and is able to signal its knowledge through a simple muscle strength or movement. A practice called “dowsing” is based on the same mechanism of such “already in- built” system of knowing through a body. The historical evidence of its application in wide fields of exploration shows its distinctive usefulness when finding out something out of a rational consciousness.

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What the extrasensory perception geared by body signals can reveal in nature is quite remarkable. The invisible realm becomes visible(measurable). The myth turns into the real. The mysterious settings of ancients architecture suddenly emerge as the clear-cut case of inevitables. Mounds, cairns, dolmens, stone circles, temples, and churches are revealed to be in proper resonance with the effective forces at play. Whether it is ‘earth magnetic field’, ‘spirit lines’, ‘dragon currents’, ‘song paths’ and ‘astronomical alignments’ or not, what is more important is to see the authentic picture of space before culturally biased naming and be genuine about the facts. This is what the understanding of a concept ‘architecture’ in ancient Greek meant, a mode of disclosive looking into the origin or the root of all-that-is.

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Proper displacement leads to proper perception which then bears proper architecture. It is about making oneself ‘extra’, taking a spiritual journey as a pilgrim to tabular rasa where one would find the essence, a sacred picture of man’s relation to the universe by becoming a true architect.

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