The Architecture of Entertainment
“Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning and end.” ~ 9th-century Indian Jain text Mahapurana
An eternity of nothingness would be the epitome of monotony; whence Nature: the exhibition of existence.
The process of sussing Nature’s little secrets is endless because Nature is infinitely intricate. Despite the overwhelming complexity, Nature’s fundamental architecture is apparent. Let’s look at the indispensable ingredients for existence as an entertainment platform.
There would be no show if existence were a singularity. Indeed, Nature loves variety. This is most apparent in biology. Life on Earth has been an unimaginable potpourri.
If there weren’t so much diversity, so much complexity, Nature would not be nearly so interesting. Nature’s entertainment potential is enlivened by it being a convoluted conglomeration.
The present moment is only an incremental change from a moment ago; necessarily so. If the world changed unrecognizably from moment to moment the confusion would be insufferable. If you spontaneously changed sense of self would evaporate. Comprehension begins with consistency.
Consistency is cardinal for your mind to function. Time is the medium of continuity.
Memory is a critical aspect of continuity. To comprehend anything, you have to remember what went on before. Just as consciousness is the platform for being aware of the moment, memory is the means for appreciating continuity. Only because of memory can you construe a context. Indeed, a context is a construct in memory.
Doubtlessly you have experienced distress at not knowing the current location of a desired object. Life would be inoperable if that was an environmental norm.
Spatial (topographic) memory is vital to a comprehensible world. The harmony of consistency is attained by remembering the locations of objects in space.
Categorization plays an essential role in having a sense of continuity. All objects decay in time, foods especially quickly. Categorization lets you recognize the same object in different states. Learning about processes is only possible through object categorization.
Existence is an ongoing interaction between the entities within it. Everything is entangled.
“Our universe is fundamentally interconnected as a unified entity.” ~ English cosmologist Jude Currivan
Nature would be a nonstarter if everything were in its own little bubble, unable to interact with its environment. Interactivity defines living. Your world is defined by the interplay you have which become your experiences – events as processes, not objects per se. (Objects include animate bodies. Your body is an object.)
The objects aren’t what’s important: it’s what you do with them. Then again, it’s not even what you do with objects: it’s what they do for, or to, you. Activity is always aimed at some satisfaction: you do something hoping for something in return. Effort always has an aim. Desire is a stab at momentary satisfaction. Both the cause (desire) and the effect (satisfaction) are processes which transpire in the mind.
“We only notice an object once our unconscious has calculated its importance.” ~ Korean-born Canadian cognitive scientist Diana Kwon
Diversity and entanglement imply distinctive objects. Objects are the propulsive illusion of the entertainment platform.
Your mind presents the world to you as a collection of objects. But everything you experience are processes, with objects as instruments. This ruse runs to the core of Nature – the materials of which objects are made emanate from energy, which is nothing but the idea of process.
Actuality is a cognized representation of the world, including your own mind-body set into an ecosystem, with all the objects within dynamically interacting as gyres. A gyre is a dynamo which interacts with its environment, which includes other gyres. As gyres may be inorganic or biological, the world is a system of interactive gyres.
Appreciating all before you as process, rather than material objects, is a tremendous paradigm shift. The validity of that view is confirmed by thinking about the effect of time.
Everything in Nature exists for a limited duration. Matter invariably goes through phase transitions in the time span between its energetic creation and its inevitable entropic demise: fruit rots, bodies die, mountains crumble, galaxies run out of gas, the universe vanishes.
While the only moment is now, now doesn’t really do you any good. Now is just a steppingstone to what’s next. Without time you don’t effectively exist – you’re like a fly trapped in amber.
Your very existence, and all of the show called Nature, is mostly aptly characterized as undergoing a continual phase transition. All is process, disguised as objects.
Objects are now. Processes are emergence: continuously becoming. The real reason to be fully aware in the moment is so you’re as prepared as you can be for what’s coming; because now just doesn’t stick around.
The past is dead, and you cannot revive it. The future isn’t here yet, so you’re stuck in now. So, go ahead, enjoy the objects. Just know they’re only temporary. Don’t get attached.
The essence of life is consciousness. Your consciousness is your platform for awareness: the capability to perceive.
Consciousness is quietly attentive. In noisy contrast, all the bustle between your ears is your mind at work.
“In the end, we’re all stories.” ~ Scottish television writer Steven Moffat
Every engaging tale has had characters who faced a challenge and strove their way to a denouement. All stories are of struggle. The central conflict may be entirely within the protagonist’s mind: a miscomprehension which is resolved in a triumph of understanding or a tragedy of cluelessness sustained. As we are social creatures, most of our stories are of conflicting desires between people.
The source of struggle is ignorance. Ignorance has 2 facets: lacking relevant information (fact-ignorance or fignorance), or having the wrong worldview (perspective-ignorance, or pignorance). In this book, the casual use of the word ignorance primarily means pignorance.
Logically, fignorance is the cause of pignorance. Alas, logic does not deliver clarity. As fact invariably involves theory, perspective always impinges upon acquisition of fact. Fignorance is entangled with pignorance.
Logic is a tool of the mind, which the mind uses for its own devices: not to illuminate, but to satisfy itself. Conscious use of logic is quite limited – the facile shuffling of symbols, with the mind itself setting the grooves in which the symbols most easily move.
Science is a system of idealised entities: fictions compounded out of observed uniformities, deliberately adapted to mathematical treatment that enable men to identify some of the furniture of the universe, and to predict and control parts of it. ~ French philosopher Georges Sorel
There are more than enough known facts to suss the nature of reality. Scientists have not done so because science embraces a restrictive methodology with a sphinctered view: reductionist empiricism. They do so to ease their comprehension of the astonishingly complexity which Nature exhibits. Apprehending Nature through science is like trying to view a panorama by looking through a peephole.
(Reductionism is the idea that anything is simply the sum of its constituent parts. By contrast, holism embraces synergy. Science relies upon reductionism because holism is too intellectually demanding.)
(Empiricism is the philosophical stance that Nature may be entirely explained by physical forces: that existence is just objects in motion. Empiricists often discount the most important part – motion – to consider only objects in space.)
The mind imposes pignorance, which must be broken by shattering the beliefs which hold ignorance together. No one who cherishes their beliefs can comprehend reality. Scientists have not understood Nature because science is a religion, with science’s dogma inherent in its methodology.
◊ ◊ ◊
Suffering and conflict result from pignorance. If everyone was enlightened, cooperation would reign – not conflict over petty self-interest and greed. With cooperation, there is more than enough to go around. Enlightened people share and see the intrinsic value in comity. The story of enlightened people living in an enlightened society would be a snoozefest.
Because Nature is designed as an entertainment platform, you’ve been set up to be ignorant, as has everyone else. That’s what your mind is there for, behind the stratagem of continually feeding you its interpretation of events. The Collective – the great bulk of humanity – are believers in what their minds feed them, and so are subject to suffering.
Belief itself is ignorance and is the cause of the suffering. Evil makes its bed in the smug comfort of belief.
Desire propels us forward. The attachment to a want sets the determination with which it is pursued. You already know that strong attachments may blind someone to alternate opportunities which may be easier to attain and offer equal satisfaction.
“Pursue any desire, it will always give you trouble.” ~ Indian guru Nisargadatta Maharaj
Though desire has an emotional overtone that comes from anticipation of satisfaction, desire itself is not an emotion.
The purest desire is the most abiding, residing even in the hearts of sages: for enjoyment. For as long as you draw breath, the prospect of having another smile makes life worthwhile. Ultimately, all we live for is entertainment.
Your life is a continual stream of desires which your mind presents to you. A relative few desires you act out on and gratify rather immediately. Ease of accomplishment gives you a false confidence in your ambitions.
Achievement sometimes takes planning, patience, and cunning. Self-control is an essential ingredient in attaining such desires. Sometimes, as in comedy, timing is everything.
Certain aims are simply out of reach: you want something that is beyond you, for whatever reason. These are futilities. Some desires still held dear are vain, but you just haven’t discovered that yet.
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. ~ Turkish Hellenistic Stoic philosopher Epictetus
There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value. ~ English writer Jeanette Winterson
Nobody plays poker without betting something. The jeopardy of loss is essential to making the experience engaging.
If there were no consequences to actions, life would be a video game that you would quickly tire of. Instead, you feel invested with a gambler’s stake: the prospect of winning is thrilling, whatever “winning” means. And losing… you know what that feels like.
Emotion is the medium of jeopardy, with hope and fear the compass points.
Winning may be exciting, but your mind is more concerned about losing. The mind has a built-in bias against loss. (People often value their own personal possessions over new items of better quality. There is an emotional aura about ownership.) Fear invokes jeopardy.
The poles of your behaviors are attraction and avoidance, respectively driven by want and fear. Fear is the most pungent primal emotion. Fear is of the future, forged by the past.
You feel jeopardy because you want something that appears at the risk of loss. Jeopardy stems from attachment and is fostered by fear.
The ultimate loss is one’s life. People live in fear of death. The idea of mortality is the originating generator of jeopardy.
It is not that death gives life its meaning. It is instead that a sense of jeopardy underscores the preciousness of joy.
The urge to survive is most keenly felt when life seems most at risk, when mortality becomes concrete. Contrarily, chronic suffering can wear you down to the point that you want to give up, having had enough. The value one puts on life is a matter of perspective and prospect.
The sense of jeopardy in the Collective is palpable: you read it in the news every day, and you may feel it yourself. Ignorance is a heavy burden.
The Will to Live
Love is the ultimate expression of the will to live. ~ American author Tom Wolfe
The will to live is the vital desire which coincides with ignorance. Wanting more pleasure maximizes the drama of life. Lust for life even ensures its integrity. Multicellular life could not have arisen if not for reliability in cellular will to live.
One is accepting in an enlightened state of consciousness, affording satisfaction with whatever lifespan is allotted. Such nonchalance is woefully deficient to drive a riveting entertainment platform.
Your life has a master of ceremonies: your mind. The mind is everything: perceiver and deceiver. All that you experience, all that you think you are, all that you will ever know, lies within your mind.
As an aspect of feeling jeopardy, delivering distress is part of the mind’s job. The mind is not just a spectator and helpful problem-solver (willmind). Instead, through the cunning of sticking you with emotional attachments, the self-activating agent of the mind (nattermind) preys upon you, fabricating fears and hopes through fantasies. Your mind is the one who tells you how important certain things are and how you should feel about those things. Then the mind plays you. You know too well how the mind prattles at you, telling you things that have not and will not happen.
The single most defining characteristic of your life is deception. All that you perceive – rely upon as being actual – is just a fabrication of your mind. Yet you believe.
The default setting for information is acceptance – to believe what you experience, and even what you are told by others. In bestowing belief, your mind has gulled you.
“You never see the lies that you believe.” ~ English musician Elvis Costello in the song “New Lace Sleeves” (1981)
You are either a creature of the mind or its employer: either slave or overseer. The Collective are serfs who may believe themselves to be masters. Those who suffer but feel comforted by the false belief that they know what is going on live in smug ignorance – in a cage built by their mind.
To recap, the 9 elements necessary for Nature as an optimal entertainment platform are: diversity, consistency, entanglement, consciousness, desire, jeopardy, will to live, ignorance, and a deceiving mind. Diversity, consistency, and entanglement define Nature as an exhibition. Ignorance, jeopardy, and desire are all process-products of the mind. Consciousness is the means by which the experience of Nature may even occur.
You may already be wondering about an even deeper issue: who this entertainment bazaar is for. To answer that, the nature of reality must be understood.