cinemaesthesia [from Greek, kínēsis, motion, movement, change + aísthēsis, perception, sensation] Also, cinemæsthesia, cinemaesthetic, cinemaesthetics, cinemaesthetic field. Compare with synesthesia, anesthesia.

Cinemaesthesia is an expression that can be used to describe a changing field of human awareness that involves information and communication technologies (photography, film, video, audio recording, radio and television broadcasting, internet, cellular phones, etc.). The cinemaesthetic field is a third mode of the imaginal field experienced both in waking states and also when dreaming.

Powers of the cinemaesthetic field

The cinemaesthetic field has irrupted, largely unrecognized, from the early-19th into the 21st centuries through technologies that affect perception and proprioception of change in motion. The effects of cinemaesthesia are not reducible to a singular formulation of cultural norms, social relations, or any set of identifications, categories, or comprehendings. The powers of the cinemaesthetic field exceed those of electrical transmission and encompass the combined industrial-productive outputs of global economies. These powers are greater than a calculus of capital, technological innovations, global organizational vectors of governance and political ideologies. 

Education in the cinemaesthetic field

These powers call for educational approaches that appropriate the planetary transformations that are erupting on scales without precedent in human experience. Educational errors occur in any program that diminishes the richest possible consciousness of life as we are living it. Authentic education observes the powers of the imaginal field that exceed the powers of the cinemaesthetic field. Authentic education serves with compassion the creativity of free, flesh-and-blood human beings living the convivialities and mysteries of Life at all scales and in all dimensions of proprioception, attentiveness, participation, and planetary responsibility.

A discussion of cinemaesthetic field theory

Let me describe what I mean by cinemaesthetic. It’s a big word, but it’s a very big idea that I think can be applied to all our lives as we are living them right now. Just think of “field” like a football field or baseball field (or soccer or cricket field). Just hold that idea of “field” in your mind and think about it a little: the nature of that open field with nothing happening on it.
Think of a field in the country, an open field. A farm, like a sports field, is generally “set apart” by boundaries and by purposes. A cornfield is defined by a fence, a baseball field by the fair play area, and a football field by the grid. For farming, there is the knowledge of when and how to work the land that determines plowing, seeding, etc. For baseball and football, there are whole sets of rules. But even then, nothing has happened. Teams have to be formed, be prepared, show up at a specific time, and then the game begins. At that point, the excitement is not-knowing what exactly is going to happen. The outcome of the game is not known in advance, nor any of the outcomes of any of the plays. In baseball, there is never any way of knowing how long a game is going to take. These are unpredictable. 
We have the fields of possibilities, we have some rules, we have those who are going to act on the basis of the rules, we have the purposes of winning, we have uncertainty about how things are going to turn out.
So, a farmer goes out into a field of possibilities. A farmer hopes for rain, may pray for rain; hopes against blight or early frost. We’ve got some idea about fields, why they matter to us, how we use them, and what happens on them—and what we do not-know about what is going to happen.

What is the “imaginal field”? When most of us think of a field, we probably think “horizontally”—a surface that is perfectly flat to play on, or reasonably flat to plow. But fields are also vertical—goalposts, outfield walls, fences, stadium stands, light posts, or a farmer on a tractor spending enough time among the crop rows. So there are horizontal and vertical planes, plus there are time factors. Games occur at a particular time. There are seasons for various sports and for wheat. Still, the excitement, and the challenge, is—how is the game going to come out? Will it be a winning season? Will the crops come in? All these dimensions, then, are part of a complete “field.” Otherwise, we only have an incomplete field. We have to imagine what might happen.

We could say that for all these elements there exists in an “imaginary field,” or imaginal field. This field is vital for our survival and includes our memories and understandings of the past and our abilities to “fantasize” and plan possible futures. So the imaginal field is what sets the stage for future ball seasons and theater seasons. Otherwise, eventually, we will see no games, no shows.
So here we are now, in a field (right here, right now, in the letters you are reading on your screen). We are experiencing a field of possibilities. And as you scroll on down, we are experiencing the cinemaesthetic field (just what you are looking at, how you are moving your mouse, what possibilities you are imagining, what you care about.)
But this field is not limited to the horizontal, or vertical, and it is also not limited in time among us—there’s no time to “show up” other than “anytime-you-want.” My “now” when I write is some other “now” when you read. On the other hand, these bits move at the speed of light.
There are no fences, no walls in the cinemaesthetic field. Information and communications technologies inform and infuse the global environment. The cinemaesthetic field is a way we human beings have of expanding our imaginal fields—we can imagine more possibilities with internet access than without it. 

Anyway, with that mouse in your hand there, we are here in the cinemaesthetic field right “now.” Are there rules? Is there a cost? Is it changing our sense of who we are? Is it changing our sense of how we are going to “see” and scroll through the words and images (and videos and MP3s and whatever emerging technologies) of our future?
That’s just getting started with our adventures—and the powers of the cinemaesthetic field. It is a very different world that the children and grandchildren of today are growing up in. And what’s going to become of it? What’s going to become of us here? It’s a very large, complex, powerful—and in some ways very dangerous—new playing field.


John Dotson 

October 2009