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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Our inner and outer lives...

The ego and the id along with the conscious and the subconscious are both stories about human purpose. There are many, many different stories about something that we already know really well, our inner lives. Here is where language and thought can lead us to ask many questions that sound reasonable but actually have no rational answers. However, humans still imagine answers anyway and then create stories that answer those questions.

Language gives us a many different ways to describe our common experiences and as a result it is often difficult to identify common experiences when people describe them so differently with such different language.

It is obvious that each of us talks to ourselves in thought just like we would talk to someone in conversation, with language. It is equally obvious that our consciousness has fundamental limitations in what we can know, not the least of which is what we can know with that very language. 

Nevertheless we accumulate information and matter as memory through experience in order to better predict our future and to better predict journeys to a desired future. We select a future from a set of imagined futures based on our accumulated knowledge and feeling, and then choose actions to journey to that desired future.

All along the way our feeling evolves as our purpose evolves. We ask ourselves,

"Am I improving? Is my life better? Do I feel better?"

These are questions that we also ask others.

"Do you think I am improving? Do you think I look better? Do you feel better?"

What about asking for help, what about petitionery thought?

"Please help me find my path and understand my purpose."

To whom do we ask for help? Our subconscious? Other people? A supernatural agent?

What about gratitude, to whom do we give our gratitude?

"Thank you for the gifts of air, water, stone, soil and fire. Thank-you for the gifts of civilization and life and of the sun, galaxy, and universe. Thank you for the time that we have with each other and for the gifts that we share with each other."

Whom are we thanking? Ourselves? Our supernatural agents? Other people?

It is no little irony that we think in exactly the same manner as we pray and as we meditate−as if we are talking to another person. Therefore it is quite natural to suppose that there is someone with whom we are speaking and that these voices help us find our way in life. It is very gratifying to thank someone for our gifts.

Whether you call this asking or thanking yourself or you call it asking or thanking a deity, we do it the same way and it has the same effect on the evolution of our feeling. We generally feel better. This is the way we can think about matter-time agents without the clutter of more traditional supernatural agents.

Thus prayer, meditation, self-hypnosis, affirmations, tapping, conscious disagreement, visualization, sweat lodges, quests, and other spiritual experiences are all conversations that we ultimately have with ourselves as well as others. Whether you think of them as prayer or thought or mediation does not change the fact that they are all done in exactly the same way, as conversations with ourselves and others.

Interestingly enough, all of the conversations that we have with ourselves seem to have the same demonstrable effect on our feelings. They make us feel better and make our inner life better. Such conversations access parts of our mind that are beyond conscious thought and beyond language. So quite naturally humans give those parts of our consciousness any number of different labels and create any number of different stories about them.

The dao or way dates to ancient China and has been an evolving story first attributed to Laozi in 200-300 BCE but there have been any number of other contributors since then. The wisdom of the dao is in explaining the inexplicable and how to live a good life in spite of the misery of your circumstance. It was first written during the same period and region as were stories of Confucius and Buddha and the dao has a lot in common with those stories as a result. The truths from such stories are very similar to those that come from all religious stories and it a very useful exercise to extract the truths that resonate with your feeling.

Indian Hindus and Buddhists both fold their hands in greeting to acknowledge the inner supernatural life in each person. In Hinduism, the universe is filled with a large number of agents while in Buddhism, there are no agents, only the misery of life and the joy of nirvana, and yet both Hindus and Buddhists revere the inner self as supernatural. Meditation is done in exactly the same manner as prayer and people report exactly the same kinds of feelings, but most insist that meditation is quite different from prayer.

Hypnotic or drug-induced trances also seem to have much in common with prayer and mediation or even with contemplative thought. However, people seem to react quite viscerally to the suggestion that these various forms of thought seem to have much in common.

Quite naturally we imagine in our consciousness an existence that survives outside of our body, i.e. we imagine that we have a soul. The concept of an everlasting soul is so pervasive and so widespread that it is a compelling part of our human condition. The logic of physical reality, though, shows that the chemicals of emotion: dopamine, gaba, adrenaline, oxytocin, seratonin, anandamide, nitric oxide, etc. are all functions of our body chemistry. In so far as our feeling is based on these chemicals of emotion, how can our consciousness survive without the chemicals of emotion?

One might argue that the compassion is much more than just the neurochemical oxytocin. However, one might also wonder what compassion would be like without the reactions of a body to the effects of the release of oxytocin. Without sensation and action, imagination and feeling would have no anchors and consciousness would drift into a sea of dreams.

There is one way and only one way that consciousness survives the final dream of our inner life. Consciousness exists not in our own minds as an inner life but also exists as an outer life in the minds of other people outside of us and in objects that we have touched in our lives. We are conscious in the end not only because of our inner life, but also because of what others feel about us as our outer life. Our outer life's journey leaves a fossil record of actions in all that we have touched and the persistence of that fossil record is our outer life. This means that our outer life does indeed pass into eternity even as the inner life of our consciousness ceases to be. Our memories and the fossil matter of those who we have known are the inner lives of those that have touched our outer life.

And there is the further mystery that is the limit of reality, the limit of what we can ever know.

These limits are summarized in many different ways by many different peoples but in matter time, they are the trimal of origin, destiny, and purpose. Once you have consciously grounded your reality with these three primal beliefs, you will find life's purpose flowing like a silent mountain stream.

Ancient Beliefs and Aethertime

Ancient stories represent a wisdom that helps us better understand our reality in these ancient stories like the bible or the dao or the vedas. We do not necessarily need to adopt religious doctrines or divine metaphors in order to benefit from their wisdom and there is useful wisdom in nearly all of the ancient stories of various religions and science. Unfortunately, there can be much less useful guidance in these stories as well and so it is important to use a prism of some kind to refine their useful wisdom.

The beliefs of matter, time, and action are a way of believing in matter as mother earth and time as father time and are metaphors for these many ancient stories. The action of earth and time leads quite naturally to us as progeny and so those metaphors also lead to both to a metascience as well as to a physical universe.

It is a wonder that all human actions are based on the prism of three trimal beliefs:

1) Origin; this can be creation or some other story;

2) Destiny; this can be an eternal life, a reincarnation, or some other afterlife;

3) Purpose; our purpose in discovery decides the future that we select and actions that we choose to journey to a desirable life. Our discovery during a lifetime mirrors the evolution from the seemingly random and chaotic choices of an infant into the complex patterns of adult choice that we call purpose. This recursion is our reality.

The bible has an origin story as the creation of Genesis and a destiny story as heaven or hell. Fine. There are lots and lots of different ancient stories of origin and destiny so take your pick. The prism of matter time provides stories that guide both a rational science and metascience from which a universe now makes better sense to me.

Besides origin and destiny, where there are a great variety of stories, religion then comes down to guiding human purpose. What is our purpose? Do we even have a purpose? Does it evolve? Religions teach that true purpose lies in a belief in a particular metaphor or dao or nirvana and true purpose will therefore result in a “good” future or good qi or good kami. Furthermore religious stories invariably suggest that without some kind of a divine metaphor for the greatest good, humans can not trust their own feelings for guidance in life. 

That is demonstrably not true.

Humans do have a purpose in discovering how the universe works and discovery exists with or without religion. Religions usually associate something like the greatest or highest good with a supernatural agent and that agent guides human purpose and destiny. Nevertheless, with or without religion humans discover and select desirable futures based on feeling and the feelings of those whose lives we touch.

Even without religion, we all share stories about our lives and experiences and as a result, our feelings evolve while we journey to a more desirable life. Our stories allow the evolution of ours and others feelings for an ever larger number of people.

Summum bonum, the greatest or supreme good, is a concept from the philosopher Kant that has had many manifestations. Religions commonly associate feelings that point to the greatest good with a divine metaphor. Immanuel Kant was a philosopher and religious scholar whose 1781 Critique of Pure Reason "proved" that a greatest good divinity must exist.

"Reason tells us that without a supreme good, moral laws would be idle fantasies,"

is my paraphrase of Immanuel Kant.

Pessimum malum, the worst evil, is the logical antithesis of the greatest good and religions commonly associate a worst evil with various lesser divine and thoroughly bad metaphors. Note that arguments about greater and lesser, good and bad, are often not very productive when it comes to bad. Both secular and religious people in society generally acknowledge that positive emotions are desirable and therefore good: joy, pride, love, pleasure, and contentment.

Correspondingly, both secular and religious society generally finds negative emotions undesirable and therefore bad: misery, shame, hate, anger, and fear. Therefore humans align their feelings by communicating with and touching others and that is how we imagine a desirable future for ourselves and for the lives that we touch.

The stories from the bible can be very uplifting and they also can be very depressing. While the poetry of Solomon is very pleasing and desirable, the diatribes of Leviticus can be correspondingly angry and undesirable. Selecting particular stories from the bible without knowing about their historical context and without knowing about their relation to the many other human stories diminishes their value as wisdom.

There are many bible phrases and stories that only make much sense when they are placed in the context of the ancient times in which they were written. Many bible stories have been lifted from Babylonian or Sumerian or Hittite folklore. Others involve a Judean civil war with the losing side not getting its book in the bible, only denigration. Some bible stories were during times that the Hittites and Egyptians were at war and Judea happened to be in between.

The seven-day creation makes so much more sense with the traditions of Babylon that associated each of the week days with one of the seven heavenly bodies of Sumerian and Babylonian astrology. Given the 40 years of captivity in Babylon, it is not a surprise that Judaism absorbed much Babylonian wisdom including the seven day week. After their return to Judea, Judaic traditions were again challenged by the Greek invasion of Alexander the Great, the time of Macabees. It was during this period that the Jewish bible was written in Greek in about 265 BCE, and it is ironic that it is that Greek version that has survived antiquity.

Joseph Campbell wrote extensively about human stories and said,

“I think that it’s important to live life with knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery.”

Noah’s flood story in the bible after all appears in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, told and retold for nearly 1000 years before the bible was conceived. The stories that we create today will be the stories of our future.

Our purpose in life is in knowing our feelings, listening to others, and selecting our journey on that basis. We all journey to a desirable future by actions that best fulfill our destiny and that is our purpose. Religion can either help our purpose or hinder it or they might not be that useful at all.

Emotion, Purpose and Feeling

Matter exists as both objects on isolated objective Cartesian trajectories and as relational matter waves whose exchange of amplitude and phase subjectively relates objects to all other objects and to the universe. Between any two people sharing an experience, there are many different senses in play: sight, sound, touch, etc. The sum total of their experiences represents a state of objective emotions for each person and ends up with what we call a subjective feeling.

A subjective feeling goes beyond any single objective emotion or sense and it is quite certain that there are parts of the inner life of human consciousness that we do not now and never will completely understand. Therefore the subjective feelings between two people are necessarily affected by each other and by those whose lives they touch in ways that we do or do yet not understand and some ways that we never will understand.

There are bonds among people who share their subjective feelings with each other beyond any objective sensation. People are all part of an undulating sea of matter waves whose matter exchange separates objects and binds objects to each other with time delays. These matter waves are both photons of charge force and photon pairs of gravity and so matter wave amplitudes and phases are therefore difficult to measure directly. Since we already live in a very noisy background of rather incoherent electromagnetic, gravitational, and thermal matter fluctuations, this chaotic background makes it especially difficult to measure the discrete aether exchange that is the basis of aethertime.

Coherence among matter waves results in bonds that do stand out from chaotic noise that affects electromagnetism and gravity and so it is true that a coherence between matter waves can persist across the universe. We can measure matter waves as both amplitude and phase under the right conditions and find that these matter waves are consistent with the structure of galaxies and with the periods of the solar cycle and ice age epochs.

Matter waves are also consistent with the complementary images that we see with the multiple reflections of light in mirrors, beamsplitters, and kaleidoscopes.

It therefore appears that we are all entangled not only with each other but also with the stars after all.

Ptolemy began modern astronomy in 150 A.D. by showing in his Almagest a model of the heavens centered on the earth with the complex paths of orbiting planets as epicycles. Epicycles are recursions of circular orbits that embed lesser orbits and show planetary positions that were consistent with the rough observations of the time. Later with improved data, Copernicus and Galileo in 1500-1600 CE showed a different heliocentric model without epicycles. Instead of epicycles, elliptical orbits show the sun as the center, not the earth, with the universe, the earth, planets, and stars all orbiting around the sun.

In the last two centuries, science has further showed that the sun is only a local center. The sun was not after all the center of the universe and rather the sun orbited about another center as a star within a galaxy with 100 billion other stars...and then that that galaxy orbitted yet another center that was also not the center of the universe and our galaxy seems to move as one of another 100 billion galaxies as threads of the universe. According to current interpretation of Hubble's redshift data, the universe expands uniformly from all centers and so ironically, Ptolemy was right after all and the earth is at the center of our expanding (or contracting) universe.

Ptolemy predicted the apparent heavenly motion of stars and planets, sun and moon, in his Almagest that reproduced many of the observations of heavenly bodies over thousands of years of observations. Ptolemy further described in his Tetrabiblos or four books the predictions of human behavior based on a birth date and the corresponding heavenly constellations at that date, which became the metaphysics of astrology.

However, unlike the Almagest that was based on observations of Heracles and Sumeria, Ptolemy never provided any observations for the principles of the Tetrabolis, even though somehow Ptolemy's astrology survives to this day. Many people still believe that the heavenly constellations determine human destiny despite the lack of any objective measurements.

People are certainly bonded to each other in many different ways. They share stories and images of each other and their events, they touch and smell one another, and they touch in more intimate ways as well. People share experiences and have feelings in common about one another that involve their total experience.

When I share an experience of an object with someone, I see the same object as an image from a different perspective. If that image reflects from a partial mirror, I share with someone a complement of the same image, one reflected from and one transmitted through the same partial mirror. Mirror reflections are complementary and coherent images that simple pictures and videos do not have.

What this means is that there are some properties of images and objects that we do not normally perceive directly. Our consciousness does not perceive and record any of the phase information from light, i.e. the exact timing of light's arrival or polarization. Therefore our experience of reality is largely associated with only light's intensity as energy pulses as we gather neural stimulation. We only perceive the phase or timing or coherence of those energy events by perspective even though the timing between events is much less than our ability to discern them.

There are a number of techniques that allow our otherwise slow perception response to resolve events that are much faster or that involve phase as well as amplitude. These techniques compare an unknown event with a known event in a manner that allow us to perceive their coincidence. Such techniques as interferometry, stereopsis, parallax, echolocation, and other sensory timing events allow us to perceive aspects of images and sounds that are otherwise hidden from our senses.

Human feeling, though, is a very complex superposition of emotions and a feeling is often very difficult to completely articulate or explain or communicate. Humans therefore exchange many stories and images and facial expressions and gestures about the nature of their feelings and at any given moment, those feelings represent our feeling and our feeling is our state at that time. Our feeling affects and is affected by those around us: family, friends, neighbors, city, country, planet, solar system, galaxy…and actually the entire universe as well.

As far as we can use our emotions to perceive the phase and amplitude of our reality as well as the observation of reality in time, that feeling extends the context of our reality. Our feeling sometimes allows us to discover a reality that does not always follow Cartesian causality and we would then sense objects without being able to project those objects into a Cartesian space.

Such nonsensical imaginings are a very common attribute of human consciousness. Normally we must reject or at least strongly control nonsense thinking since it can result in injury or even death. If we choose inappropriate actions in order to journey to a future that is impossible, those actions might threaten our very survival. On a mountainside, we must somehow choose to stay on the path and not walk off of a steep cliff adjacent to that path.

Imaginings of apparent nonsense can, however, reveal our subconscious inner life and so we can learn from such imaginings such as dreams and other subconscious experiences. Moreover, our imaginings can be very subtly coupled or entangled with other observations. While these couplings can be very difficult to measure and understand, the coupling between gravity and electromagnetism should in principle be measurable as matter waves as well.

Our observation of a photon or other particle allows us to know that an observer, with whom we are coherent, likewise did not observe it. And yet we cannot conclude that that photon or particle journeyed a Cartesian path from an object to us. Rather we must conclude, because of the quantum interference effects of reality, that that particle was somehow wavelike and existed as matter amplitude and phase on two or even more than two coherent paths until we observed it as matter intensity.