- Human Attention Forms and Feeds the Life of Big Bodies -
by W. David Kubiak

It is no small feat to stand up to huge corporate predators, but it is an ironically far bigger chore to ever really see one. Even after centuries of plundering round the 'hood, our Big Body brethren remain so obscured in semantic fog we still find ourselves squinting after them clueless and swinging blind.

After all, what do you actually see when you face a legal fiction, an artificial entity, an economic firm or a statutory person? Not much in physical fact, yet these vacuous characterizations continue to permeate our discourse and dominate our minds. They only persist, I wager, because they offer such diverting cover. These assumptions help convince us corporate bodies can only be fought in legal, artificial, economic or statutory arenas. Accepting these premises, however, disastrously disarms us because these are their areas of greatest strength, the realms in which they rule.

Our oft desperate mano a mano challenges thus only elicit a flutter of charters, spread sheets, flow charts and logos. "Nobody in here but revolving suits and us abstractions, boss!" Yet each time one of these legal fictions poisons our water, butchers a species or mind-rapes a kid, we can sense we're dealing with some thing far more concrete, some quite animate thing in fact that can palpably act, even kill, and wield fell power in our world.

So if we can sense the mothers, why in hell can't we see them? Alas, dear friends, the fault may be ours, and due to an odd defect in our sensorium (and schooling) that prevents clear perception of life-born energies, even our very own. While our species has learned to see viruses and Venusian seas, nanotubes and nebulae, we still can't make out the subtle energies that animate us internally or intercourse among us in families, gangs or corporate towers.

If you work at it of course, the more imaginative among you can soon learn to envision these flows. The secret is to observe and understand attention, our sensorimotor tendril of connection to the world. Attention, we shall see, not only provisions our personal consciousness, it supplies esprit, force and even form to our ubiquitous Big Bodies.

A short Eastern word on and for attentional energy: Whenever we pay attention to something, East Asians say we are extending and fastening our ki (or chi) to it. Inside our bodies, ki is the patterned cycling force invoked in acupuncture, chigung and tantra which distributes sensation and vitality to all our cellular systems, integrating and binding them into a coherent living whole. In the Orient's view, the ki flowing out of the mind-body (ie, as attention) remains just as nourishing and adhesive. They simply recognized: a) things that get lots of attention -- be they muscles, skills, kids, cults or gardens -- develop far better than those that don't; and b) constantly feeding your attention to another -- whether lover, friend, or corporate mother -- creates a strengthening vital bond. Our collective attention flows thus not only invigorate a group's shared life, they generate its ligaments and structure.

Asians aren't the only smart guys. In a great eureka moment of the Sixties, anthropologists M.B.R. Chance and Clifford Jolly discovered that they could precisely map the power structure of any primate group simply by recording who paid attention to whom, how often and for how long. The individuals most repeatedly looked to (literally, re-spected) commanded the most attention and thus could exercise most control. Chance and Jolly called this rather stable cat's cradle of shuttling energy the social body's "attention structure." They also noted in passing it could grow quite complex as a group enlarged and assume a virtual life of its own. You see where this is going...

(Maintaining these energetic pecking-orders was also a zero sum game. That is, attentional ki winners waxed more virile and robust while losers were gradually drained, first of chutzpah, then libido and finally immune zeal. This bares Big Implications for our stressed corporate underlings, but that is a later tale.)

In sum, I believe learning how to see (and show others) the secret workings of attention will be the greatest political breakthrough of our age, and thus is the mission we charge you with here. It is an illuminating challenge and mocking in the sense it may hinge on something cheap and simple as guerrilla CG. Once some gifted twisted computer whiz hauntingly renders the ki streams irrigating our flesh and feeding out to incarnate Big Bodies, Shazam! We will at last possess a magic lens, a VR Big Body-scope if you will, to finally expose these monstrosities and their pitiless suction on our souls.

Go for it, my hardies, they've raped us incognito far too long.

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