A Mind’s Odyssey seeking The Silence.

After few years working on the photographic series Oneness that took place in the years of my pre and post-coma trying to locate myself in the world, or as part of nature as a man, woman, animal, I found that it was time now to start working on one’s mind: The mind within the body.

The experience of the several hours that I’ve been in the pre-coma stage was terrific, to say the least, as an experience of life. Going further back to a non-existence concept of body while subconscious and consciousness had the deepest and hardest talk.

The Bird and the Wolf, by©GBénard

I always enjoyed silence, as I always needed it to live and to create: to have my own balance. Silence that you can only have when your mind is balanced. As most of our issues, silence of mind can also come into a vicious circle: You need silence to get balance but you can only get silence when your mind is balanced. So let’s send that message to our subconscious and while it will process and keep it or save it the best way, we can use our consciousness to work it out, to create filters to avoid the noise. The noise from outside and the noise from within.

This is much more complex if you start digging within yourself. We all have little traumas from childhood that were saved and kept in our subconscious, but for us to be able to live properly sane our consciousness worked out so we don’t have daily access to them. Or at least is how we work it out in western world, not listening to the subconscious, only working and feeding the consciousness. The society secretly raises us in a way that we should build filters. Your education, your believes, your society. Filters that makes you not to listen to yourself, ignoring your own being, in a collective empathy, intelligent telepathy that not many are aware at the time.  And so we learned better than anything else to create filters to be able to survive the best way. Your body do the same, commanded by your mind: if you really don’t want to see, you’ll not see it, even if you have it in front of your eyes 24h/day. Like noises, or smells, you learn how to ignore them creating filters.

When this doesn’t happen you’re completely unsafe, unguarded, unprotected; and you’re taking the risk to become completely unbalanced. And your mind will deceive you making the worst noise within. Here you have 2 ways of deal with it: you’ll need silence from the outside world to absorb it, or even more noise so you don’t listen to yourself.

Sound cancelation would master this, an anti-sound device. For those of you that have no clue what I’m talking: Anti-Sound sound or a active noise control device is basically a microphone, speaker and processor, when sound waves come in the device generates an anti-sound wave that interferes and annihilates the original sound wave, resulting in no sound. Too confusing? Imagine a building with microphones installed on the outside walls to get all the traffic and noise pollution, connected to speakers also installed on the walls of the building spreading the same sound that comes in, on the same frequency which at certain point will annihilate the original noise. This is already being used in certain top headphones, not yet in buildings though nor in human heads. In a human body we should be able to create the same sound on the same waves as we hear from the outside. But that’s not possible, so we create filters, or we just disconnect from that sound.
If you’re working on a place with air conditioner, you might listen to it working on the first minutes, after that your mind will disconnect to that sound getting used to it. You’ll find out the silence when the central disconnects the air conditioner when you less expect; only then you realise the silence.

If you did scuba diving you know what silence can mean, as water can give us a protection not carrying such noise weight like the air.

Like the dreams as an escape or release of the mind, of our subconscious, as Freud said, our filters (super ego’s work for Freud) are something vital in our own balance here in today’s society.

Words heard, screams or music, turbine’s sounds and all the noises we have in an urban space could affect us when we live unprotected without our superego’s work. You’re start being affected by every single noise, as it will come echoing and amplified into your mind. Not only the sound itself, but the meaning of it. Your mind will start getting weaker and weaker absorbing it all without filters. Any beautiful music will be listening to as distorted and noisy now. You need desperately your inner silence back to you, as you can’t live with your mind screaming.

The Crowned Wolves by ©GBénard

I came into coma. I had no more concept of body. The blood stopped circulating and no more oxygen into my brains. Nothing else worked but my subconscious and conscious world. It was my body begging me to stop the noises, the consciousness begging me to allow filters. The subconscious giving me the most positive information so I couldn’t give up. Like if I was myself bodiless but responsible for the balance of both: subconscious and consciousness.

And in fact we are, we are the only ones who can lead them, in a battle of energies and waves and silent lights.

My new series of photography will be all about silence in one’s mind, the construction of the superego as Freud called to our vital filters, and how can we survive in today’s noisy society without the need of scuba diving the whole time. We live in a world of pollution and if we don’t protect ourselves we become polluted minds in a collective empathy.

The mind also needs to keep collecting data for our own knowledge, by reading, learning, data basing the senses, like in a matrix, arranged in our mind’s ways collecting elements and entries. We can also damage these matrices though, by collect useless or damaged data, not giving the mind time to fix it and creating empty matrices instead.  The process of growing up should include this knowledge, but there is no universal manual so it all depends on one’s mind ability to filter and create filters and know how to use them all.

And photography comes as the essential part of a triangle in a silent dialogue composed by the creator and the viewer, in which it is the visual language played by both consciousness and subconscious in a game of lights, mirrors and zoom-in-minds.

text by ©Gonzalo Bénard 2012

note: Sigmund Freud categorizes the mind into three parts:

Id – centred on primal impulses, pleasures, desires, unchecked urges and wish fulfilment.

Ego – concerned with the conscious, the rational, the moral and the self-aware aspect of the mind.

Superego – the censor for the id, which is also responsible for enforcing the moral codes of the ego.

When you are awake, the impulses and desires of the id are suppressed by the superego. Through dreams, you are able to get a glimpse into your unconscious or the id. Because your guards are down during the dream state, your unconscious has the opportunity to act out and express the hidden desires of the id. However, the desires of the id can, at times, be so disturbing and even psychologically harmful that a “censor” comes into play and translates the id’s disturbing content into a more acceptable symbolic form. This helps to preserve sleep and prevent you from waking up shocked at the images. As a result, confusing and cryptic dream images occur.

According to Freud, the reason you struggle to remember your dreams, is because the superego is at work. It is doing its job by protecting the conscious mind from the disturbing images and desires conjured by the unconscious.