Saturday, July 15, 2017

NONLINEAR THOUGHT IN METAPHYSICS, PSYCHOLOGY and EDUCATION


INTRODUCTION
                  The current thought process occurring in education all over the world is the sequential thought pattern. The purpose of this critical and exploratory essay is to explore the nonlinear thought pattern as well as elucidate its possible applications to such diverse fields as education, psychology, philosophy, theology, humanities and the social sciences.
DISCUSSION     
                  We must understand that the masses are used to thinking using a certain methodology. This method is called serial processing. The two methods of processing are actually two ways by which the brain is processing information. The left brain is the serial/analytical processor while the right brain is the nonlinear/synthetic processor. The left brain analyzes disparate information in stages because that is the way it digests knowledge. Furthermore, the left brain cuts down a pattern into different clues. The left brain is a destroyer of pattern matrices, in order to comprehend them. The left brain is the primary tool of the scientist and technocrat.
                  On the other hand, the right brain apprehends disparate information as whole, for the right brain is the chalice of the artist. Looking at a pattern as one, the right brain synthesizes the pattern information matrix in one singularity and attempts to absorb its data in one loop. This is obviously a higher order of processing, with the left brain serial processing being a lower order of rung. Yet both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Let us start with a very simple exercise to illustrate these two different informational processing realms. Collect twelve pebbles and arrange them in a series from left to right, one after each other, in a straight pattern. You could give them names like alpha, beta, gamma, delta and so on. Speak their names out loud if you wish, to accentuate the exercise. Now, look at what you have constructed. This is a serial or linear pattern, you called out the names of the pebbles from a certain perspective, using a certain direction only. This is how the human mind in the 3d universe thinks mostly.
                  Now, let us create another pattern. Arrange the pebbles in a circle, taking care to make the distance from each other similar as much as possible to effect maximum symmetry. Now, call one of your friends and ask them to contemplate the pattern. Can they tell which of the pebble came first in the order and which came last? Surely not, in normal terms. This pattern you created is now what we call the nonlinear pattern. It has no beginning nor ending, it is apprehended as holistic pattern by the mind, and it is not ordered in a sequential way. This is the true pattern of the universe, nonlinear reality. The sequential universe that we currently comprehend is thus only a simple derivative of the true universe.
                  The seeds of understanding the difference between nonlinear and sequential thought actually begins with the study of light. Light is both a particle as well as a wave. Here is already the difference. The particle property of light simulates the sequential universe while the wave property of light simulates the nonlinear universe.
                  The sciences by their very nature are exercises in the inexorable logic of the left brain, while the arts are delicious adventures in the panoramic feast that is right brain nonlinear processing.
WHEN THE MAPS ARE LOST IN TRANSLATION
                  Calibration, prediction and measurement are facets of sequential thought. They achieve their zenith in the predictive sciences. Since sequential thought is about the step-by-step processing of the mortal mind, then it makes sense for that mind to engineer and contemplate a sort of predictive method whereby he can believe that he controls the evolution of its worldsphere through space and time. Unfortunately, every time the sequential mind contemplates this fact, the very polarities that he wishes to control will now dance in his face, defying his well thought out schemes. The polarities themselves supply the challenge to his very mindset, and thus he rationalizes that use of technology for greater and greater mastery of the known variables of each continuum arrayed before him. He patiently categorizes all knowledge into the known and the unknown, and makes a persistent effort to discover the unknown. Much to his dismay, however, he finds that for every known that he masters, a new set of unknowns fly in his face. This causes him mental suffering. Locked in sequential thought processing, he wil continue to master every set of unknown variables thought time and space. Why? Because there is no other way to solve his conundrum.The sequential mindset is therefore locked in a vicious cycle of its own making.
                  The predictive power of the sequential mind, in its own context, is awesome, for it seeks to create, cultivate and propagate alphabets of understanding, which it uses to navigate from the known to the unknown. These alphabets are all the languages, from the linguistic forms to the mathematical worlds, to the computer languages and thence into all the symbolic forms. These languages are powerful in their own right, for they give rise to a certain kind of internal logic that arises out of their syntax and coding. Like a game of chess or GO, these languages persist for they can define protocols in their own worldspheres. Remember that all forms are fractals of the Cosmos, and therefore partake of its power. In this sense, sequential constructs have an abundance of order. Why? Because that is the part of the cosmos that they express. The problem, however, occurs when the sequential mind attempts to translate these languages and interpret the Cosmos as a whole. Here the map fails. And it fails miserably! The Cosmos is too awesome to be interpreted by any kind of mental map, however profound that map is. A map is still a map. Thus, there are limits to what a map can understand. These limits are defined by the nature of the fractal contexts of which the map is the intended instrument of measure. Farther and farther away from this fractal context, and the map loses intelligibility. The map “crashes” so to speak, meaning it lacks translation protocols to define new ways of understanding the terrain. It becomes “lost in translation.”
                  What is the lesson here for the sequential mind? Savor the various maps and languages and instruments for their own purposes. But remember, all maps have limits. Know when it is time to discard them. And never make the mistake of thinking the map is Infinite Reality itself.
THE ARTIFICIALITY CALLED TIME
                  We shall use this knowledge of the two informational processing realms and bear them on to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon called time. The arrow of time seems to be moving forward all the time. But this is an illusion. When consciousness singularities are experiencing the three dimensional universe, they are automatically delimiting their multi-dimensional selves into special vehicles that can assimilate a limited informational worldsphere, in this case the 3d universe. What we call time is really a special focus of attention whereby a consciousness form tracks the presence of certain worldsphere events and arranges its vector dynamics to travel that worldtrack in a specific fashion. The consciousness singularity is, of course, aware, that he can traverse the infinite manifold of the cosmos in many different worldtrack permutations. But, to maintain consistency in his 3d universe worldtrack, he prefers to traverse it using a specific vector frequency. This is called spacetime. And it appears to be flowing in one direction only, though of course, that is an illusion only. Since the consciousness is mainly using a serial processor biological mainframe to traverse the worldtrack, it makes sense to delimit his multi-dimensionality and focus only in one direction, otherwise the serial processor will not comprehend the data that he is exposed to.
                  Thus, spacetime in the 3d universe is configured to be assembled by the serial processor. They are made for each other. In order to comprehend the higher order data from higher order realms, another distinct information retrieval system should be manufactured or discovered or utilized.
                  Enter the nonlinear processor.
                  The nonlinear processor apprehends multi-dimensional realms simultaneously. It is like looking at an art form, or listening to a piece of music, or watching a dance number. The whole is assimilated completely, not part by part like the one in sequential thought. The learning style is holistic, and the learner assimilates a large amount of data.

SYMBOLIC SIGNATURES
                  The triangle or pyramid is the symbolic flag or rune signature of the sequential processing aspect of reality, while the circle or sphere is the symbolic flag or rune signature of the nonlinear processing aspect of reality. The triangle shouts its linear allegiance, and demands worship from its adherents. This is a way for the triangle simulated thought worldview to make its presence felt. Adhering to sequential processing, it must attempt to warp and force its native consciousness forms to partake of its feast. This process is almost a form of cruelty, because it uses coercion to manipulate the mind to become its slave. The mind is the direct child of consciousnesses, thus it is apt to be spontaneous in the beginning. The triangle attempts to surpass this nativity, by bringing the mind into full control. It wrestles with the mind, it seduces the mind, and when all else fails it coerces the mind through direct manipulation. When the mind surrenders, it surrenders itself to the machinations of the sequential universe. It begins to process in a linear fashion, delimiting itself and surrendering its full powers. It becomes heavy. It falls prey to gravity. It becomes enmeshed in the planes of matter. It becomes lost in the maze of its own making.
                  When sown in this manner, all the systems of thought are derivatives of the sequential worldview. The sciences, once powerful and objective, become slaves to it. They are quickly seduced by its twisted logic. And they come to believe that there are limitations to the unknown set of variables in the universe itself. They now begin to quest to master these unknown variables. Sadly, the sciences themselves become egocentric, refusing to countenance the possibility of paradigms that do not suit the tastes of the sequential universe. Science now becomes an adept at manipulation. It dictates the fashionable paradigms, it dictates the way to transmit these paradigms, and it dictates the way to deal with bifurcations in the road. The result is the glorification of the vehicle of the technosphere, for it represents the current mastery of its sequential paradigm. The hardware is glorified, the software is suppressed. The dream is under way…..
                  Being a slave to the sequential worldview, the sleeping soul trapped in the planes of matter holds fast to whatever tool is present at the moment that can ease its suffering. The sleeping soul itself become addicted to control and controlled environments. It reeks of sequential processing also. It desires to know, yet uses only the sequential thought process. It is trained by its master, the sequential mind. It comes to abhor all forms of nonlinear processing. They occur only to him as diversions, hobbies suited for playing in its leisure hours. It does not imagine that leisure itself may supply the answer to its quest……
                  Art becomes only a diversion now.
                  And yet, hope prevails for a solution is embedded in the soul matrix itself. This is the quest motif. It is a feature of all consciousness forms, whether solitary or collective, whether playing in the sequential or nonlinear universes. The quest motif is the desire, deep within every consciousness, to know the truth about itself and the universe. It begins as a form of restlessness, or a yearning, or a desire to study, or a penchant to travel, or an inclination to inquire from others, or merely curiosity, or any permutations of the aforementioned. This small fire can be fanned into a larger steady blaze by a constant barrage of synchronistic and enlightening set of circumstances. Let us call this Serendipity. Serendipity arranges the events in the life of the consciousness singularity in order to awaken the potential within that soul to access the Truth. The querent now begins to truly travel, immersing himself in the world of the quest paradigms. And, whether formulated consciously or not, it begins to mould its inquiry along the lines of the fundamental metaphysical questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?
                  The quest will carry the consciousness, let us call him the Fool, through mountains and valleys and caves of thought. He will encounter thousands upon thousands of thought systems, all clamouring for the attention of his foolish sequential mind. Initially, he will begin to question the system of thought which is its nativity. Its native system of thought, a child of the sequential universe, possesses the Truth in a distilled form, palatable only to the sequential mind, and consisting of various control parameters which make it hard for the seeker to embrace the nonlinear path. In addition, the doctrines of such a system has its own polarities, inconsistencies and dichotomies, which are the legacy of the sequential universe. Every system of thought in the sequential universe, being its child, possesses polarities at every level, in every dimension, and occurring in every construct. So, an added burden to the seeker is the unravelling of such polarities. This may even distract him from the true Quest itself. Thankfully, its Higher Self has the quest motif prepared in advance. The seeker will now have a life best by a continuous train of contradictory and challenging events which serve to awaken him to Absolute Truth. Such events may center, but not be limited, to various forms of existential dilemmas which challenge his loyalty, whether to the lower or the upper planes. As his consciousness begins to awaken, the inertial forces will in turn, become stronger and stronger and the querent must fight for the quest to continue.
                  It appears that the seeker is all alone in his quest, a lonely traveller in a dark road, where twilight and night entice him to rest from his quest. But, thankfully again, his Higher Self has prepared well in advance. Companions in his quest shall appear from time to time. These may take the form of actual people, or events, or books, or peculiar experiences, or even distressing occurrences. Environments may also become “companions” on the path. And so the quest continues.
                  One day, it all comes together. One lucky event, which appears to be random. But it is not random. And the traveller awakens. This is the awakening process, which shifts the consciousness of the seeker from sequential to nonlinear. And the drama returns full circle, and restores the symmetry. And the ending becomes the beginning…
                  The old paradigm is static, sequential and reductionist. The new paradigm is dynamic, nonlinear and holistic.
                  The eyes of the soul are opened once more, to the realities of the nonlinear cosmos. The veils of illusion are parted, the bars of the prison are broken. The seeker is awakened!

CONCLUSION
                  The nonlinear model of reincarnation is the greatest possible teaching for consciousness singularities traversing the breadth, height and depth of the Cosmos. For it encapsulates the nature of the cosmos itself. It is the very expression of cosmic life. Let us enjoy its priceless jewels:
                  The cosmos is nonlinear.
                  The cosmos is holistic.
                  The cosmos is one, the Oneness.
                  The cosmos is the supreme form of art.
                  The cosmos is infinite.
                  The cosmos is eternal.
                  The cosmos is interconnected, holographic and recursive.
                  The cosmos is absolute Love, in absolute permutation.

About The Author:
Sensei Erwin Rimban was born in the Philippine Islands. Since a young age he has been fascinated by the esoteric realm and avidly read books on world history, philosophy, astrology, mythology, the social sciences and similar fields. Educated at the University of the Philippines, where he graduated Cum Laude, he added Evolutionary Biology to his plethora of interests. After graduating from college, he spent many years in the tourist destination of Baguio City where he pursued a career in writing and teaching, while at the same time finding time to be a meditation teacher. Currently, he is active in organizational work, where he is promoting advocacy programs in educational philosophy, spiritual counselling, wisdom, metaphysics, mysticism, psychology, history, educational philosophy, ecology and alternative medicine. (He can be reached at this email: mentorpath@gmail.com).

Monday, June 19, 2017

UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTAL METAPHYSICAL QUESTIONS


UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTAL METAPHYSICAL QUESTIONS

By Sensei Erwin L. Rimban





Who are you?



         “I think, therefore I am.”

         “You are a child of the universe…”

         “We are all in a widowed state, and our task is to remarry.”

         The first one is attributed to the philosopher Rene Descartes. The second is from the poem Desiderata. And the third one is from Louis Claude de St. Martin. Throughout the ages, the greatest thinkers of humanity have endeavored to answer this most fundamental question of human existence. Let us now explore how various paragons of the ages have approached it and savor the insights we can glean from their thoughts.

         “You are a creature of God,” pronounced the Western theologians. But a sinful one, they admonish and thus continue the argument by explaining how you can be saved in the form of the various theories of salvation. “You are atman, a fragment of the Universal Soul,” asserted the Eastern spiritual gurus. Sinfulness is not an issue in the East, compared to the West, but ignorance of one’s true nature is. Therefore, the Eastern spiritual traditions emphasize the need to know one’s true nature. Some would say the East presents a much more cheerful prospect. “Man is rational,” said the ancient Greeks. “Man is spiritual,” countered the ancient Eastern spiritual teachers.

         “You are a body”, intoned the mechanistic Western physiologists. A lack of subtlety there, everyone can see they have a body. “You are a mind existing within the confines of the body,” championed the Platonian idealists. More subtle, assuredly.  “You are a body with a mind that is full of psychosexual dilemmas,” declared the Freudian psychoanalysts. The various psychoanalytic paradigms all flowed from this concept. “Your psyche is rooted to the Collective Unconscious, countered the brilliant Jungian archetypal analysts. And their disciples have been searching for archetypes ever since, uncovering every nook and cranny of the human psyche.

         “You are a battleground of the forces of light and dark,” lamented the dualistic-minded Zoroaster. Dualistic religions and philosophies flow from this theological position. You are a combination of Yin and Yang, but they are enemies on the surface only. This is a paraphrase from the Taoist masters. For them light and dark, yin and yang, are lovers beneath, whose eternal dance comprises the phenomenal world. “You are nothing,” counseled Prince Siddhartha Gautama upon his ascendancy as the Sakyamuni Buddha, perhaps with a twinkle in his eyes. Did he mean it literally? Allegorically? Or was he thinking of something else. “You may be nothing, but you create your reality by your free will,” added the pragmatists and existentialists.

         “You are a collection of atoms, obeying the classical laws of physics, argued the mechanical Western scientists. For centuries, this has been the norm of Western classical thinking. But Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and other more super-intelligent quantum physicists arrived on the scene. And they changed the landscape of science forever. “You are a monad, a fragment of the universe, complete unto itself,” offered Leibniz, co-inventor of the calculus. “And you are immortal,” echoed Vardhamana Mahavira, champion of Jainism, thousands of miles to the East. Both of these thinkers are separated by distance and time, yet show surprisingly similar positions.

         So who are you?

         The best answer to this question comes from the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage, of quantum physics and the mystical arts. The most advanced quantum physicists are penetrating into the deepest mysteries of space-time, nature, and the universe. They are beginning to behold the Divine Wisdom, the wisdom of the ages, which has been shrouded in mystery since time immemorial.

         For centuries, the Divine Wisdom has been in the hands of the mystics of East and West. Experiencing firsthand the presence of Divine Intelligence, mystics are given a true experiential event where they apprehend personally the nature of man and the universe.

         Hieros gamos. The sacred marriage. More and more quantum physicists and mystical philosophers are communicating, sharing knowledge and critical insights. This conference of minds will help usher the Golden Age of humanity.

         This concludes our basic survey of the first fundamental metaphysical dilemma. It logically now leads us to the next question…..



Why are you here?



         “Something is doing we don’t know what.” A legendary remark attributed to Sir Arthur Eddington.  Let us continue our pilgrimage in wisdom by studying the second fundamental question of existence, the question of origin and purpose.

Two great systems of thought contested the nature of man’s origin in the past: creation and evolution. The diametrical opposition of the mechanical scientists and the stubborn theologians dominated Western civilization for centuries. But today, a new kind of thinking is emerging which is destroying the obsolete paradigms of the past. In this paradigm, both viewpoints can be assimilated into a new system of thought, one that synthesizes both creation and evolution.

         The universe is suffused with energy. And Einstein has demonstrated that matter is simply crystallized energy, a new concept that was extended by the mystical quantum physicists. This position correlates well with the viewpoint of mystical philosophers that matter is the lowest form of energy. We can accommodate the creation theory by tentatively accepting that the creation of this universe did exist as a point in time, corresponding with the Big Bang of the Western scientists. That settles the point of view of creation.

         Observe the universe. Explore our world. Open your eyes to your environment. The forms in our world exist as hierarchies. But the hierarchies are inter-related. Atoms give rise to various molecular arrangements. Molecules give rise to mineral categories. All the various kinds of plants are composites of atoms, molecules and minerals. But the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, a plant is more than a collection of atoms, molecules and minerals. It is something more! And by extension, all the forms of life are more than the sum of their preceding hierarchies. Plants exist as the subsistence of some animals. But animals are entirely different from plants. In the same way, humans eat plants and animals, but their forms are different. Humans are infinitely more complex than plants or animals, although these forms are composed of the same fundamental building blocks: the atoms, molecules and minerals.

         Thus, there exist hierarchies in nature. Preceding wholes give rise to new kinds of wholes. The building blocks remain the same, but the configurations are entirely different. All these permutations in nature display the fact that energy configurations are evolving from one context to the next, from one level to the next, from one hierarchy to the next. Visualize smaller circles of life giving rise to larger circles of life. Smaller energy configurations giving rise to higher energy configurations. This, then, is the new paradigm that accommodates both creation and evolution. In this way, we see evolution manifesting as the development of energy configurations in different environmental matrices, each building on the preceding whole. And creation is the original impetus that gave rise to the universal primordial archetypes of these forms.

         Fascinating!

         If energy configurations are evolving, then the level of awareness of these energy systems are evolving too! The level of awareness of an atom is limited to energy interactions that maintain its nuclear shape and integrity and insure its ability to form molecules with other atoms. The awareness of a monocellular organism is something else entirely. Its biological activities revolve around the maintenance of homeostasis and the capacity to reproduce. Thus, its awareness of itself has reached a different level, not necessarily higher in essence than the preceding system of an atom, but perhaps richer in context. Because the necessities of homeostasis and reproduction will cause the organism’s awareness of its environment to be on a higher level of context, richer, and more detailed.

          Which leads us to human awareness. The consciousness of the human has reached a level where he begins to inquire on the fundamental questions of existence. His awareness of himself is not necessarily higher than molecules, plants or animals. Rather, it is richer relative to the environmental matrix. Because if the human is to survive, he has to assimilate and conquer more of its environmental variables as compared to the lower hierarchies.

         Therefore, we can see that evolution is proceeding level by level, whole by whole, context by context. This is a secret that used to be shared only by the best quantum physicists and the most enlightened mystical philosophers. This is the fact that evolution means not only the development of outer physical forms but it is actually the enhancement of consciousness as a form experiences its pilgrimage through the levels of complexity in the nature of the universe.

         Creation means the inception of a universe. Evolution means the development of awareness or consciousness in that particular universe as its levels of complexity deepen; thus revealing their inherent beauty.

         And now, we are ready to tackle the final fundamental dilemma…..



Where are you going?



         “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This is a mystical saying attributed to the semi-legendary figure of Lao Tzu, reputedly the author of the Tao Te Ching, and considered the nominal founder of Taoism. 

         We have been exploring the fundamental questions of existence. We began with the question of fundamental nature: “Who are you?” Then we continued with the question of origin and purpose, “Why are you here?” Now let us study the question of destiny and finality: “Where are you going?”

         We have seen how the forms in nature are evolving into more complex forms, hierarchy by hierarchy. This process pervades the entire universe. And while matter is the outer form or clothing of this process, it is the evolution of consciousness which is the engine that drives it.

         There have been many allegories of this process. Some mystical writers compare life on earth in particular and life in the universe in general to a school. In this allegory, all beings are enrolled in some kind of school where skills are gained, lessons are learned and insights assimilated. In mystical Hindu philosophy, the tempering forces are called karma, dharma and samsara, among others. When a particular insight is learned, developing beings go on to the next level, where there are fresh lessons and new insights. Another allegory worth considering is that of a pilgrimage or a journey. In this particular allegory, the beings of the universe are on a grand adventure. The goal is perfection in evolution as well as the joy of exploration. I find this allegory to be a perfect educational tool for aspirants in the spiritual path.

         From the point of view of a single individual, life is so complex with its attendant problems and vicissitudes. Anyone can be overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of it all. Yet, all the great spiritual traditions of mankind have maintained that life has a purpose far more magnificent than our mundane existence. The trick is to discover the higher meaning of life. For this, all spiritual aspirants since time immemorial have been challenged to open their eyes to the wider world.

         Expand your consciousness. Inquire more. Reflect more. Contemplate more. Meditate more. Discover more perspectives. Get out of your shell, psychologically speaking. As the forms of the universe evolve into higher and higher modes of expression, so you too are invited in the great banquet of eternity. We have seen previously how the forms of life seek to produce more wholes, each more complex than the preceding one. In the same way, the journey of evolution is a pilgrimage of wholes. Let us see how this journey plays in the dance of the universe. Reflect very deeply as we essay the next few statements.

         You are a whole.

         Yet, you are incomplete.

         This incompleteness is not your fault (paradigm shift in Western religious thought). Rather, it is the product of inexperience. Why is this so?

         As you have journeyed in the planes of existence, you have assimilated experiences from your own perspective. Since you are a fragment of the greater whole, this perspective is necessarily incomplete. You can gain a better understanding of the infinite universe by increasing the quantity of your travels in awareness. This means experiencing more of the whole from your vantage point. More lives. More experiences. Thus, the wheel of time, the cycle of reincarnation.

         Meanwhile, you are a whole that seeks to enhance its wholeness. You seek perfection, but think it unattainable. Well, good news, your lower mind cannot attain perfection by itself. It must use other weapons at its disposal; some of which are known only to the Collective Unconscious. Waiting to be discovered, of course.

         You are a whole.

         Yet, you are incomplete. A fragment of the Greater Whole.

And this is the reason why there is a pilgrimage.

You are bound to evolve, into greater and greater Wholes.

Your coherence increases as your pilgrimage deepens.

Your capacity to process information shall increase!

And you shall evolve, more and more, expanding higher and higher!

Let me conclude by offering this saying of Teilhard de Chardin for contemplation:

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

Sensei Erwin Rimban (See Bios page for more information)


Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017 Call for Papers




The Journal of Metaphysics and Connected Consciousness is calling for papers on the supernatural and paranormal phenomenon.  As an academic journal, JMCC requires any articles be based in scientific rational discourse.  We welcome papers outlining case studies, direct experience or existing literature on this esoteric subject matter.

We appreciate articles with abstract, key words and source cited information.  You may review our submission guidelines here:  http://journalofmcc.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_12.html   

Please direct your submissions to jaiehart@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Dr. Janice Harter
Dr. Liam Leonard
The Journal of Metaphysics and Connected Consciousness

Saturday, April 8, 2017

God, I and the Universe



I see a broken mirror at an unsure time in Brooklyn. The early hours of the morning leave the streets quiet. I am walking with good energy next to me, and a whole lot of conversation that means little to me logically — for opinion appeals to my heart. My friend speaks of god, and inner peace, and my mind is screaming, ’this makes no sense.’ My heart says, yes. This fits like puzzle pieces.

In the beginning, maybe there is silence within. Usually, thoughts create thought processes, which build the scaffolding for a story, which creates a feeling. Beyond this, there is a gut-reaction phase, an ability to intuitively grab what the mind puzzles to understand. But I wish to understand. What happens when I am religious? Is my thought-process in complete submission to superstition? Am I moving sideways to my thinking? Am I shutting down my mind working on blunt ‘faith’?

Is God necessary for morals? I see no statistical difference between atheists and religious believers in making moral judgments. Robb Willer argues, when feeling compassionate, Atheists and Agnostics may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people. Besides, religious people don't derive their morals from scripture, or if they do, they choose the nice bits and reject the nasty. Their personal judgment of what is relevant from the bible is very much at play. Many Old Testament passages we would now describe as immoral. Richard Dawkins writes: ‘the very idea that we get a moral compass from religion is horrible. Not only should we not get our moral compass from religion, as a matter of fact we don’t. We shouldn’t, because if you actually look at the bible or the Koran, and get your moral compass from there, it’s horrible – stoning people to death, stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.’ ‘You don't need religion to have morals. If you can't determine right from wrong then you lack empathy, not religion.’

Maybe religious ideology exacerbates the world’s problems? Taboos against marrying out, the labeling of children in terms of their religious beliefs (before they even know what they believe), and damaging emotional blackmail, such as threats of Eternal Damnation, and whatever other undefined ideas they can conjure up, leave a person wondering if there is even any space for god inside these archaic structures. I wonder: is religion actively perverting morality? Only religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate utter madness —from holy wars to countless terrorist attacks. The current war against terrorism is a tragic consequence of religious idealists who have an unquestioning faith. Unquestioning faith is not a path to peace, but a pathway to war.

As for the logical reasoning, there is an argument for the existence of god that goes as follows: when I see a complex object such as a watch, I know it has been designed. Therefore, when I see a complex object such as a tiger, I should infer that it has been designed. This act of comparing two objects and drawing similar conclusions based on similarities (while ignoring important differences) is a prime example of a false analogy. The point of the analogy of the watch is that a watch implies a watchmaker, and that the world is like a watch, in that the world implies a world-maker. There are many flaws to this analogy (the world isn't even remotely comparable to a watch, for example), and in fact, Scottish philosopher David Hume pretty much demolished this argument, called the teleological argument, before Paley was even born in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The watchmaker analogy has evolved to include the notion of "irreducible complexity," a term coined by the prominent Intelligent Design proponent Michael Behe. So now instead of having the mere presence of a watch imply a watchmaker, we are to conclude that the watch is far too complicated to have been created by natural processes, and that therefore the watch must have been designed by an intelligent agent. Thus life, like the watch, is too complicated to have arisen by natural causes. But if the watch looks designed compared to its surroundings, the only logical conclusion we could draw is that its surroundings are not designed. (If we were unable to differentiate the watch from its natural surroundings, then we would deem it to be a natural object no different from a rock or a tree.) If we say that life is designed, again, with what are we making the comparison? Suppose we say that the entire universe is designed. Well, we don't have another universe to compare ours to. We only have experience with one universe, and unless we have the opportunity to examine other universes (which we have not done as of yet), we cannot say with any degree of certainty that our universe is designed for lack of comparison.

Other shaky arguments include that it is impossible to fake a mass revelation (it is), and the cosmological argument of First Cause. The First Cause Argument is popular, and asks what came before The Big Bang i.e. what happened before time, which means something like what was color like before color? The basic premise of the argument is that something caused or continuously causes the Universe to exist, and this First Cause is what we call God. However, ‘any god capable of intelligently designing something as complex as DNA…must have been at least as complex and organized as the machine itself - far more so if we suppose him additionally capable of such advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving sins. To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like "God was always there", and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say "DNA was always there", or "Life was always there", and be done with it.’ (Richard Dawkins).

Science has effectively replaced religion in terms of understanding the natural world. Apologists have tried to find God in the realm of physics too, attempting to attribute the big bang to a supernatural origin. Unfortunately for them the data strongly indicates to us that no such miracle occurred to kick-start our universe into being. Some scientists place the formation of the singularity inside a cycle called the big bounce in which our expanding universe will eventually collapse back in on itself in an event called the big crunch. A singularity once more, the universe will then expand in another big bang. This process would be eternal and, as such, every big bang and big crunch the universe ever experiences would be nothing but a rebirth into another phase of existence.

Stephen Hawking wrote in 1988, "In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that the negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero." Apologists will then most likely posit the question 'Why is there something rather than nothing?’

Any attempt to answer the question has to be clear about the definition of “nothing.” It is not enough to describe a mechanism in which a baby universe might spark into being through a quantum fluctuation and then undergo expansion and inflation and increasing complexity until finally we wind up with galaxies and planets and dolphins shooting up out of a pool to grab a fish from the trainer. In that scenario your “nothing” still has qualities that give rise to something. It’s not a true nothing. My version of zero has no superscripts. And if you can tell me there’s a Multiverse from which our universe bubbled forth, you’ve merely moved the fundamental problem of existence back onto a broader platform. This also covers the god explanation. If god is the ultimate cause of the universe I’ll want to know why God exists. The obvious answer is: He just does. He is. He’s what Holt calls the Supreme Brute Fact. He explains himself. And so on. A secular version of that, one that doesn’t require a supreme Creator, is how I approach the something-nothing question.

Seems to me that “nothing,” for all its simplicity and symmetry and lack of arbitrariness, is nonetheless an entirely imaginary state, or condition, and we can say with confidence that it has never existed. “Nothing” is dreamed up in the world of something, in the brains of philosophers etc. on a little blue planet orbiting an ordinary yellow star in a certain spiral galaxy. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that nothing could not in theory “exist,” but seems to me that it hasn’t. We live in the something universe, either in our tidy little Big Bang universe or in a Big Bang bubble within the Multiverse, and no amount of deletion of the elements and forces of this universe would ever get us to a condition of absolutely nothing.

The idea of nothing has bugged people for centuries, especially in the Western world. We have a saying in Latin, Ex nihilo nihil fit, which means, "out of nothing comes nothing." It has occurred to me that this is a fallacy of tremendous proportions. It lies at the root of all our common sense, not only in the West, but in many parts of the East as well. It manifests in a kind of terror of nothing, a put-down on nothing, and a put-down on everything associated with nothing, such as sleep, passivity, rest, and even the feminine principles. But to me nothing — the negative, the empty — is exceedingly powerful. I would say, on the contrary, you can't have something without nothing. Image nothing but space, going on and on, with nothing in it forever. But there you are imagining it, and you are something in it. The whole idea of there being only space, and nothing else at all is not only inconceivable but perfectly meaningless, because we always know what we mean by contrast.’ (Alan Watts).

So, then, why is there something rather than nothing? Or rather, is there everything? Obviously there remain huge cosmological questions, and we’d all like to know what happened before the Big Bang, but I’m fairly persuaded by the Hawking notion that time itself begins at the Big Bang and there’s no “before.” There’s no boundary. The universe is finite but unbounded, like the 2-D surface of a sphere.

Next, is when people resort to using the word god interchangeably, saying that scientists replace the word god with the word energy, and so on. However, the laws of nature are not the laws of God. Rather than have a reverence for existence as we understand it to be as science has revealed it to be.

If there is no ‘nothing’ maybe we have everything, I wonder. Naturalistic pantheism paraphrases and reinterprets our current understanding to ascribe nature with a higher meaning. Something that does not exist, except in peoples imaginations — as of yet.

Next, comes the question of psychic phenomena. If you strip away the fallacy of most of it, you are left with a nagging something: people seeing spirits, reading minds and auras, telling the future, or the past. But to define this we must first define the self. And ‘I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really hallucination. What we really are is, first of all, the whole of our body. And although our bodies are bounded with skin, and we can differentiate between outside and inside, they cannot exist except in a certain kind of natural environment. Obviously a body requires air, and the air must be within a certain temperature range. The body also requires certain kinds of nutrition. So in order to occur the body must be on a mild and nutritive planet with just enough oxygen in the atmosphere spinning regularly around in a harmonious and rhythmical way near a certain kind of warm star. That arrangement is just as essential to the existence of my body as my heart, my lungs, and my brain. So to describe myself in a scientific way, I must also describe my surroundings, which is a clumsy way getting around to the realization that you are the entire universe. However we do not normally feel that way because we have constructed in thought an abstract idea of our self.’ (Alan Watts). From there, we can surmise that altered states in consciousness can bring about altered states of perception. And sometimes these perceptions will include the breakdown of prescribed frames of mind, and an introduction of psychic phenomena.

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen tells Alice that in her land, "memory works both ways." Not only can the Queen remember things from the past, but she also remembers "things that happened the week after next." Alice attempts to argue with the Queen, stating "I'm sure mine only works one way...I can't remember things before they happen." The Queen replies, "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”

People I’ve met, and those I’ve read about, who claim that psychic abilities (such as telepathy, clairvoyance or telekinesis) or paranormal phenomena (such as ghostly apparitions) do not exist because there is no scientific basis or proof for such things, do so out of sheer ignorance. Both the British and the American Societies for Psychical Research, established in the late 1800s, have tons of research data pointing to the existence of psychic and paranormal phenomena. Psychic skills are totally real. We are all wired to do it. The problem with 'natural' psychics is that they do not know the exact and precise method, which the subconscious mind communicates with conscious awareness.

But the truth is that these effects are actually pretty consistent with modern physics' take on time and space. For example, Einstein believed that the mere act of observing something here could affect something there, a phenomenon he called "spooky action at a distance.” (Quantum Entanglement). Similarly, modern quantum physics has demonstrated that light particles seem to know what lies ahead of them and will adjust their behavior accordingly, even though the future event hasn't occurred yet. For example, in the classic "double slit experiment," physicists discovered that light particles respond differently when they are observed. But in 1999, researchers pushed this experiment to the limits by asking, "what if the observation occurred after the light particles were deployed?” Surprisingly, they found the particles acted the same way, as if they knew they were going to be observed in the future even though it hadn't happened yet.

Such trippy time-effects seem to contradict common sense and trying to make sense of them may give the average person a headache. “Quantum Mechanics is completely counter-intuitive and outside our everyday experience, but physicists have kind of gotten used to it.” (Chiao). So although humans perceive time as linear, it doesn't necessarily mean it is so. If we suspend our beliefs about time and accept that the brain is capable of reaching into the future, the next question becomes "how does it do this?" Just because the effect seems "supernatural" doesn't necessarily mean the cause is.

Lastly, we have spiritual experiences. The concept of seeing God, of seeing angels, of seeing Jesus, or whomever. Seeing things within the mind is imagination, and the expression of these visions can result in beautiful works of art: writing, paintings, religious text etc. As J.K. Rowling famously wrote: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” The experience of someone who is having a spiritual experience is profoundly ‘real’. But this in no way makes it true to shared reality, much in the way that someone can hallucinate an experience, to the extent that they can taste and smell and see the experience, without ever having had the experience. “What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” (The Matrix, 1999). The things we imagine are ‘real’ within our heads. But then again, so is life.

Waking up like lucid dreamers, fantasy and reality become a matter of converting ideas into form. Humanity takes an early retirement. Physics continues. Computers replace us and we evolve further. We go home, we stare the most powerful creator we have witnessed in the mirror.

‘Have you been I all along?’ We think aloud.



 Rachel Landes

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Beautiful Revelation



Abstract
The purpose of this essay is to critically examine the ways by which Beauty is revealed to the human consciousness and how this impacts its expansion and evolution from an individual and collective standpoint. Three main aspects of how Beauty is revealed is identified and situated in the context of its impact on the evolution of human consciousness.

Keywords: Beauty, Consciousness, Humanity, Evolution, Physical, Creativity, Art, Emotion

A Beautiful Revelation

From the dawn of civilization, humankind has always sought to answer the question “What is Beauty?” This simple question has perplexed philosophers, theologians and scientists alike and has resulted in the postulation of numerous definitions across different disciplines. What has emerged is an abundance of terminological ambiguities that neither satisfactorily encapsulate the underlying essence of Beauty, nor provide for any critical insight into its revelatory aspects. Perhaps this is because Beauty has myriad expressions that are revealed to the human consciousness at different levels or stages of its evolution. This essay will examine three revelatory aspects of Beauty and situate them in the context of the ongoing evolution of human consciousness.

As sentient beings in a physical universe, we perceive reality through sensory perception from which we construct and make sense of our world. In doing so, we interact with nature and each other which necessarily opens us up to what we come to know as Beauty. This element of truth is more than a mere ideation or construct of the human mind. It aids in the evolution of our species from a physical, emotional, and spiritual perspective by how it is revealed to us.

We can approach the concept of Beauty as being revealed to us in three primary ways. First, because we are part of the natural world, we perceive Beauty through our senses. When we employ these senses via sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell to our environment, our consciousness can become aware of Beauty as it is revealed in nature. Hence symmetrical patterns inherent on a butterfly’s wings or on a nautiluses’ shell can appear to be beautiful to us because of their aesthetic qualities. Similarly, the sound of rustling leaves or the taste and smell of food, or even the sensation of wind upon exposed skin, can all be perceived as being beautiful.

This particular revelatory aspect of Beauty can be viewed as Topical Beauty. Topical Beauty is the physical manifestation of Beauty as revealed to us solely via our senses. This aspect of Beauty exists in the natural world and is apparent to us from a mathematical standpoint. For example, symmetry can be perceived in the face of a young woman or man and harmony can be gleaned from the acoustics of natural or manufactured sound. The sensations of taste, touch, and smell can also be measured and quantified in a scientific manner.

Such beauty however, is topical because it is revealed only on the surface of what we deem to be reality. In other words, it can be construed as the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”. It is expressed in nature through geometric patterns and is readily observable and measurable to all. Topical Beauty thus represents the physical aspect of Beauty.

The second way in which Beauty is revealed to us is through works of art. When the consciousness of humankind engages in creative pursuits, we are able to perceive the revelation of Beauty on an emotional level. Thus when we listen to one of Chopin’s piano concertos, we can come away feeling deeply moved by the beauty of the piece’s arrangement. Similarly, when we look at a Van Gogh painting, it can have a profound emotional effect on us because it possesses the capacity to elevate our consciousness to a level that is at once both physical and emotional.

When artists engage in creative endeavors, they are opening their consciousness to the apprehension of Beauty that exists in the sphere of imagination and wonder. This is outside the purely physical realm and enables the mind to transcend it by acting as a conduit through which Beauty can be revealed to us from an individual and collective standpoint.  

Art forces us to look beyond the physical and allows for the evolution of human consciousness beyond its material limitations. When we have achieved such depth and breadth of consciousness, Beauty is revealed to us Sub-Topically. At this stage, Beauty has the power to move us in a physical and emotionally way simultaneously. Thus some individuals may weep at a musical concert or be left breathless upon seeing a sculpture, while for others; touching a quilt their grandmother made years ago can move them in a very deep and personal way.

Once revealed, Sub-Topical Beauty allows for the evolution and transcendence of human consciousness beyond the purely physical or emotional. This is because it engenders capacity building by elasticizing our consciousness through art. We can no longer just apprehend beauty via the senses, but we can now feel it in the very core of our being. This further enables us to partake in the beautiful for when we create, we beautify.

Upon reaching this level of consciousness, we are now in a position to understand how Beauty is revealed to us in the third way. When we engage in acts of virtue, whether towards other humans or to other species, we perceive Beauty that transcends emotion and reason. In such instances, the laws of nature do not apply since there is no inclination towards self-gain. Our actions become altruistic and in doing so, they beautify us collectively.
When we show compassion to the other, we engage each other in a beautiful way. When we impart kindness or tenderness to others, there need not be an aesthetic quality to such acts for us to find meaning and beauty in them. When we show love to an animal, it beautifies the human in us. When we forgive, our mercy allows us to redeem and beautify the other and this in turn, beautifies us. Understanding and perceiving Beauty in this manner allows for not only an expansion of our collective consciousness, but a deepening of it too. As human beings, we are flawed creatures. But, if our imperfections are what make us human, when we consciously engage in a virtuous act, it is our humanity that ultimately makes us beautiful.

This third way of perceiving and understanding Beauty thus transcends the physical and emotional. It is, in effect, apprehended by our consciousness intuitively. Such beauty affects us spiritually since we begin to see the other in ourselves and better understand our interconnectedness with all forms of life, human or otherwise. This is what I call Intuitive Beauty.

In conclusion, the apprehension and understanding of Beauty is directly linked to the evolution of human consciousness. As we mature and evolve as a species, so too will our capacity to beautify and become expressions of Beauty ourselves both in a concrete and abstract manner. Our pursuit of knowledge inevitably opens us up to the possibility of finding elements of verisimilitude from a physical, emotional, and intuitive perspective. In this respect, our potential to find Beauty within ourselves is, ultimately, one of humanity’s most profound endeavors.

Jeevan Bhagwat, See Bios Section for more information -
Contact Information:  @j_bhagwat