“What we call reality in actuality is our perception of it.” ~ American singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher
We naturally tend to take for granted that what we perceive is reality. Belief in our senses is instead a fantastic cage we build for ourselves, and so bound our comprehension. To get out of the cage requires the key to the nature of reality.
“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” ~ Greek philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis
The Nature of Reality
“I think, therefore I am.” ~ René Descartes
Though we know thought to be abstract, matterist science insists that the brain conjures the mind. At issue here is the heart of all philosophical thought and scientific endeavor: the nature of Nature and, by extension, the essence of reality.
3 possibilities exist: dualism, matterism, and energyism. Our everyday experience is dualism, with a distinct body and mind encountering an outside world.
“The world is seen only due to duality. If there is no duality, there is no world.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
If, instead, reality is a unity, the proximate illusion of duality flows from a singular source. The wellspring of existence may either be from matter (matterism) or otherwise involve a unified field of Cönsciousness (energyism) which creates a mirage of materiality.
Matterism and energyism are diametric concepts. If Nature emanates from a unicity, it must exclusively be either material or ethereal.
“Reality is not only stranger than we can conceive, but stranger than we can conceive.” ~ British scientist J.B.S. Haldane
Dualism is the belief that life forms are somehow bifurcated between body and mind, with an interface between the two. Therein lay the problem. Throughout history, despite relentless investigation, not even a scintilla of evidence for an interface between body and mind has ever been found. The mind-body problem has proved unsolvable.
“Even though everybody agrees that mind has something to do with the brain, there is still no general agreement on the exact nature of this relationship.” ~ Finnish psychologists Antti Revonsuo and Matti Kamppinen
The root issue of the mind-body problem is trying to entangle a duality; how do two very distinctive phenomena intimately interrelate?
“If this dualistic theory were true, it would confront us with the most embarrassing, insoluble difficulties should we try to explain how these two utterly different substances could interact with one another, as they appear to do in human behavior.” ~ American philosopher Mortimer Adler
If duality is an illusion, the mind-body problem dissolves. Either the brain manufactures the mind, or the mind fabricates a material mirage.
“Knowledge that a thing is false is a truth.” ~ German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
With dualism downed, reality must instead be a monism. Scientists tout matterism: the metaphysical belief that measurable matter and energy are fundamental.
“Matterism is the view that only the physical world is irreducibly real, and that a place must be found in it for mind, if there is such a thing. This would continue the onward march of physical science, through molecular biology, to full closure by swallowing up the mind in the objective physical reality from which it was initially excluded. The assumption is that physics is philosophically unproblematic, and the main target of opposition is Descartes’ dualist picture of the ghost in the machine.” ~ American philosopher Thomas Nagel
The focus of matterism is matter. Energy is undeniable, but matterists make no attempt to account for energy beyond treating it as measurable by its effect on matter.
“Matterism purports to reduce all forces in Nature to action and reaction.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
“The ontology of matterism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct ‘actuality’ of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible. Atoms are not things.” ~ Werner Heisenberg
Most saliently, matterism posits that consciousness and mentation are figments of the brain. Consciousness, coupled with the workings of the mind, is thought to come from cellular reactions of chemistry and electricity.
“Our own consciousness is a product of our brains.” ~ Canadian cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker
The grand delusion of matterism comes in confusing correlation with causality. Physical intelligence system activities, such as brain waves and chemical reactions, may synchronously coincide with mentation; but it’s not the brain telling the mind what to think.
Consider mistakes. How well people bounce back from blunders depends upon what they believe about the nature of intelligence. Those who believe that savvy develops through effort view their flubs as learning opportunities. To those who hold that intelligence is fixed, mistakes indicate a lack of ability.
The mental response to mistakes differs between these two groups. Someone in the growth mindset becomes more attentive after making a mistake, and so their accuracy improves. This betterment does not occur in a person with a fixed mindset.
“A growth mindset is associated with heightened awareness and attention to errors as early as 200 ms following error commission.” ~ American psychologist Jason Moser et al
Moser and his colleagues found this out by experimentally measuring electrical brain activity of participants in tests designed to provoke errors, and later asking the participants their beliefs about intelligence.
“Larger amplitudes of event-related potentials – electrical brain signals elicited by events – are associated with adaptive behavioral adjustments, such as slower and more accurate responses following mistakes.” ~ Jason Moser et al
“Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious.” ~ American cognitive scientist Jerry Fodor
It is impossible to construe how the brain could create beliefs. Conversely, that the mind affects the body, including the brain, has repeatedly been demonstrated.
The effective potency of placebos is one of innumerable known examples of mind-over-matter which matterism cannot account for. Another broad area of immateriality at work involves the well-known deleterious effects that mental stresses have on the body. Conversely, whereas mental attitude can be curative, the brain has no such power.
Caring & Control
Babies are motivated by the biological desire to find out how to effectively deal with their environment. From a tender age to one’s dying breath, people strive for control.
Most people gain greater control over their environment as they grow older. That trend is often abruptly reversed when infirmity strikes the elderly. Many aged people experience further decline after being institutionalized.
The consequences of such a loss of control usually include withdrawal, depression, and sometimes early death. Experimental studies with animals, including humans, amply demonstrate the negative effects of loss of control. ~ American psychologist and gerontologist Richard Schulz
In the mid-1970s Richard Schulz conducted an experiment on control among the institutionalized aged. A group of his undergraduate students visited old folks in a retirement home for 2 months. The visitors were strangers to the elderly people visited.
For the study, retirement home residents were divided into 4 groups. One group received no visits. A 2nd group was visited at random. A 3rd group was told when the visits would occur, and how long they would last, but otherwise they had no control over the visits.
The 4th group was given complete control over visitation: they could decide not only how long each visit lasted, but how often they were visited.
Residents who were most able to predict and control the visits became happier, healthier, and more hopeful than other residents. Their new-found zest for life meant more activity, less boredom, and fewer medications. They looked and acted less like old people. Schulz concluded that controllable visitation “actually reversed the pattern of progressive decline.”
The coda to this story is a sad one. Follow-on study showed that gloom again descended after the visits ended. The toll was especially high for those in the group able to regulate their visits. For them, losing the sense of control that had enlivened them was deadening. Their zest for living evaporated, and their health precipitously declined.
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“Having control over a stimulus means that it is predictable. It becomes important to ask, therefore, whether the ability to control adds something over and above the ability to predict.” ~ Richard Schulz
Schulz’s retirement home study showed that exerting control creates the ineffable product of inestimable value: joy. The jubilant bounty of living comes from exercising meaningful will.
“Total care for the aged is just as bad as no care at all. Other animal studies have demonstrated that organisms prefer working for positive reinforcement over securing them for free.” ~ Richard Schulz
“Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life.” ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Along with Transcendental Meditation®, Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught sutras: advanced meditation techniques for various purposes, including raising awareness of how Nature works.
One of the sutras was improving mind-body coordination, by desiring the body to have the “lightness of cotton fiber.” The sutra is practiced sitting in the lotus position, where it is physically impossible to jump and leave the ground. Yet, the outcome of practicing the akasha sutra is a levitation hop: going up ~1/2 meter and ~1 meter forward, at least for the author. The sutra momentarily suspends gravity around the meditator. Known physics has no explanation for how this is possible.
Maharishi also had a sutra for becoming invisible, but he did not teach it on a wide scale. The reason: whereas 90% succeeded in hopping, only 10% of seasoned meditators had positive results with invisibility.
Rather than risk frustration with practitioners, Maharishi left on the shelf what physicists would marvel to disbelieve even more than levitation. That light can be bent to conceal objects has been demonstrated; to do so at will is miraculous.
Maharishi taught that meditation was transcending to the ground state, and that the sutras were exercises in using the power of the vacuum state: the mind coherently attuned to cosmic energy. That sutras falter in performance emanates from the limits of individual consciousness.
Autism is characterized by impaired communication and social interaction, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Symptoms of autism usually manifest in the first 2 years of life. Boys are 5 times more likely to be autistic than girls.
Estimates of autism prevalence vary from 0.1% to over 1% of the population. Some 10% of autistics show extraordinary abilities, along with typical impairments. Amazing artistic, musical, mathematical, spatial, and mechanical talents are most common. Most savants have a single special skill, but some have more than one.
“The skill is staggering, and usually involves a remarkable memory.” ~ American psychologist Tammy Reynolds & American physician Mark Dombeck
The miraculous memory of autistic savants is rote, and typically limited to a specific subject or skill. Musical savants may be able to replicate a long, complex piece of music after a single listen. Some savants can dismantle and reassemble complex machines, such as clocks and radios, relying only on memory.
A savant may be able to tell you what the day of the week was on 7 January 1807, as well as the phase of the Moon; but the same savant may not be able to make change for a dollar.
Some savants can instantly tell the day of the week of any date. This is not rote memorization; instead, it is applying the calendar algorithm at inexplicable speed.
The cause of autism is not known. The condition is typically attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
“There appears to be a unique pattern of brain organization that underlies superior problem-solving abilities in children with autism.” ~ Indian American psychiatrist Vinod Menon
Menon assumes that electromagnetic waves measured near the brain means that the brain causes autism. Rather, all Menon discovered was that energetic activity near the brain is different in autistic people. Menon illustrates the unscientific propensity common among scientists, in assuming too much and confusing correlation with causality.
There are physical differences between the brains of autistic and normal people. Scientists conjecture how these distinctions might cause cognitive problems. The miraculous mental feats of autistic savants cannot be accounted for physiologically.
American actor Dustin Hoffman portrayed an autistic savant in the 1988 movie Rain Man. The real-life person that the movie was based upon – Kim Peek – was not autistic.
Peek was a savant: able to perform extraordinary mathematical feats, and with miraculous memory. From 18 months, Peek could memorize books by seeing the left page in the left eye and right page in the right eye. He could read an 800-page book in an hour. By the time he was a teen, Peek could accurately recall at least 12,000 books.
Having memorized global maps, Peek could provide driving directions between any 2 cities in the world. At age 18, Peek accurately worked out a company payroll of 160 people within a few hours, without a calculator.
With an IQ of 87, Peek was unable to reason through mathematical problems, or follow directions. Peek relied entirely upon intuition.
Peek did not walk until he was 4 years old, and then in a sidelong manner. He constantly fidgeted; so much so that he was expelled from school at age 7, after just 7 minutes in class.
Peek was severely brain-damaged: with macrocephaly, a corroded cerebellum, and lacking the normal connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Peek suffered from a rare genetic disease linked to a defective X chromosome. In Peek’s case, extensive brain damage made his mental abilities completely inexplicable physiologically.
Beyond the powers of the human mind, matterism has no explanation for how organisms without identifiable brains could possibly behave intelligently, from microbes on up. The savvy of plants is indisputable, yet they have no physical system for cognition.
That the mind and body are entangled is obvious. The brain is not causal; nor, for that matter, is the mind, which plays its part as presenter of physicality via symbolic processing.
Matterism ignores modern physics: that matter is energy transposed, and that energy is a fabrication of Nature, which is a chimerical show. Adaptation – the irrefutable momentum behind biological evolution – cannot be explained via matterism.
There is a difference between the biomechanics by which adaptation appears to work, and the goal-directed process (teleology) by which it proceeds. Matterism can partly account for evolutionary mechanics via genetics, but not the impetus behind adaptation, nor even many known evolutionary phenomena, such as precocious knowledge.
Albeit convincing by appearance, matterism is ultimately unreal. Scientifically, matterism leaves far too much mystery.
“It all looks fine to the naked eye, but it don’t really happen that way at all.” ~ English musician Pete Townshend in the song “Naked Eye” (1971)
Because it seems so outlandish (as does quantum physics), few apprehend energyism as the nature of reality. Under energyism, consciousness passively witnesses while the mind cognizes. Any semblance of a physical intelligence system is merely a correlate. The mind and body are an apparent but illusory duality. Materiality is formed by energy, which is immaterial.
Appreciating energyism scientifically requires careful recognition of the difference between proximate appearance (actuality) and (ultimate) reality. A similar issue arises in quantum physics: is a quantum a particle, or a coherent, localized field? The answer is an interaction, not an object; a field, not a particle. Nonetheless, all that ever may be experienced is particulate. Fields are only felt from their effect on matter.
Before proceeding, we must come to terms with this strange landscape of a fundamental immateriality. Under energyism, phenomena are only proximate. Reality is ultimately of noumenon: nonexistence.
In that the mind’s workings can be observed (introspection), the mind cannot be considered the first cause. Contrastingly, the passive witnessing faculty of consciousness is the ground state.
Actuality and reality are day and night. There is a vast, irreducible void between proximate phenomena and an ultimate noumenon. The bustle of multifarious existence emanates a singularity of conscious nonexistence.
The tangible world is a mirage. A brain may putter away, but it and other material objects are ultimately figments of the mind, without independent existence.
“The world exists within oneself. The world is a creation of your consciousness.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Energy is more a ‘scientific’ idea than substance.” ~ English chemist and molecular biologist Graham Cairns-Smith
Energy is the coherent medium by which Nature manifests. Construing energy as confined within any physical system – such as the universe – is inapt because energy is immaterial. The hypothesized ‘laws’ of thermodynamics are fictional.
Energy is what it takes to get matter to work. Only the effects of energy on matter are phenomenal. Any measurement of energy is always the impact that it has on a material substance.
Understanding energy for what it is (an abstraction), and what it is not (material), you can see that the supposed unbounded energy of the ground state is mere mathematics. If the nothingness of vacuum has energy beyond imagination, how can it be phenomenal?
“The universe does not violate the conservation of energy; rather it lies outside that law’s jurisdiction.” ~ Australian astrophysicist Tamara Davis
Gravitational threads create entropic distortions in the fabric of the universe, weaving a web which guides celestial affairs: a stringy equivalent to black holes, which steer galaxies. Along with the ground state, these are energetic instances of nothing coherently shaping everything.
Energyism has been scientifically validated countless times; a fact that is universally ignored because researchers never question their assumption of matterism. Instead, scientists are sometimes left scratching their heads at inscrutable discoveries. Conversely, some who should be brain dead are not.
“What’s surprising is these people exist.” ~ American cognitive neurologist Changiz Geula
In 1906, German physician Alois Alzheimer had a patient with sudden, profound memory loss, among other psychological deteriorations. In an autopsy, he found her brain physically ravaged. How she had managed before her memory crisis was inscrutable.
An unknown percentage of people with brains chock-full of the plaques and tangles that characterize Alzheimer’s disease maintain razor-sharp memory and mental acumen.
“These people, for all practical purposes, should be demented.” ~ Changiz Geula
This is but one of innumerable scientific findings which cannot be accounted for physiologically.
Olfaction is common to all life forms: microbes, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Disparate organisms have distinct biomechanical means for detecting odors, yet their senses of smell are the same. Houseflies, which have a dissimilar olfactory system than humans, smell molecules in the same way; as do fish, with their distinct olfactory physiology.
In organic chemistry, a functional group is the specific group of atoms within a molecule involved in characteristic chemical reactions for that molecular structure, regardless of the size of the molecule that the functional group is part of. A functional group characterizes what a molecule does, as contrasted to its structure.
Being able to sense functional groups is essential to being able to predict what effect molecules will have on cells. If an organism could not smell functional groups, it would have no way to know whether a substance was food or poison. Hence, functional, not structural, olfaction is essential.
The widely accepted explanation for how olfaction works is a shape-based, lock-and-key fit between a molecular odorant and its biological receptor. But the shape theory fails to explain why similarly shaped molecules have different smells. More importantly, atomically hiding a molecule’s functional group does not mask the group’s characteristic odor; something which the shape hypothesis cannot account for.
There is no evidence for the shape hypothesis of smell, but the explanation is preferred because it is a purely physical one. In contrast, olfaction via vibrational quality smells odorously ethereal to an matterist.)
“A remarkable feature of olfaction, and perhaps the hardest one to explain by shape-based molecular recognition, is the ability to detect the presence of functional groups in odorants, irrespective of molecular context.” ~ Lebanese biophysicist Luca Turin et al
Olfaction works by sensing the vibrational qualities of an odorant. The isotopes of molecules (molecular variants by the number of neutrons) smell discernibly different, despite having identical shape. Conversely, divergently shaped molecules with similar molecular vibrations smell alike.
(Isotopes can react quite differently in the body. For instance, heavy water, with neutron-enriched hydrogen (deuterium), is toxic to humans in large quantities. Normal drinking water is “light water,” with hydrogen not having any neutrons.)
The specific mechanism for olfaction by vibration involves quantum electron tunneling, an extra-dimensional dynamic. Smell works more like a “swipe card” than the lock-and-key mechanism proposed by the shape hypothesis.
Nature has a deep evolutionary conservation for providing olfaction to all organisms. It does so through energetic biomechanisms which belie physiology as being causal.
“Even the simplest visual scene is nothing short of a miracle.” ~ Indian neurobiologists Chaipat Chunharas & Vilayanur Ramachandran
Our sight seems so effortless that we take it for granted. But vision is physiologically impossible, for numerous reasons. First is the nature of photons. Sight is a matter of refractive absorption and translation. We can see things because the atoms of objects from which photons bounce off absorb specific photonic wavelengths. Every time a photon is banged up, its story changes.
The human eye is an odd construction. Before being absorbed by the cells that receive the message which light has to offer, photons must first pass through the nerve tissues that act as signal transmitters to the brain. The cells that absorb light are at the back of the retina.
Given that photonic energy is altered by its substantive encounters – the fundamental nature by which vision works – how the light patterns that strike the eyeball make their way to the back of the retina unmolested is inexplicable. While retinal gel is transparent, the ganglion and bipolar cells in front of the light-receiving rods and cones are not. Incoming light is disrupted before being absorbed by photoreceptors.
Then there is the problem of translating the photonic wavelength data into perfectly accurate information that the brain can use. Neurons are not optic cables. They use both chemical and electrical signaling. According to matterist dogma, precise light energy compositions are perfectly transcribed multiple times before the brain recreates the exact image of the outside world, which came in through the eye upside-down and backward.
“Your only high-resolution vision is in the very center of your eye – about 0.1% of your entire visual field.” ~ American neurobiologists Stephen Macknik & Susana Martinez-Conde
Then comes the problem of arranging the billions of photons received into a well-focused panoramic picture fast enough. What we see as the outside world is a massive montage, inscrutably assembled. Tens of thousands of snapshots must be collated, correlated, and exactly aligned into a seamless image in less than 1/100th of a second.
“Information that the brain receives from the eye is already out of date by the time it gets to the visual cortex.” ~ Gerrit Maus
Then there’s blinking. Humans blink their eyes about every 4 seconds. A blink lasts 1/10th of a second, and every time it happens, the eyeball moves slightly.
Yet visual imagery remains constant despite frequent outages and misdirection in eye movement. This cannot be accomplished through purely physiological means. Research has shown that there must be image consistency at least every 13 milliseconds not to detect jitter; far faster than the time it takes the eyes to blink.
The upshot is that vision is physiologically impossible. Rendering sight is an immaterial miracle.
“A dissociate state of arousal may modify the components of sleep-wake behavior, consciousness, and also pain perception.” ~ French psychiatrist Régis Lopez
Sleepwalkers present an intriguing paradox: although they are prone to headaches while awake, while sleepwalking they are unlikely to feel pain, even upon serious physical injury. There are many recorded instances of sleepwalkers falling and breaking bones without waking up.
It is hard to credit this happening if the brain were running the show. Only if an energy system manufactures the mind, and physicality, does this make any sense.
The Cellular Effects of Meditation
“Meditation can influence key aspects of your biology.” ~ American physician Linda Carlson
When a person experiences a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system – which is ostensibly responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response – kicks in, increasing production of NF-ĸB.
NF-ĸB is a heavy-hitter protein complex involved in cell reaction to stress. NF-ĸB plays a key role in regulating the immune system, cell communication (via cytokine production), transcription of DNA, and, ultimately, determining cell survival. NF-ĸB sparks cytokine manufacture. Cytokines are proteins that can inflame cells.
Revving the body to respond to stress is a survival instinct that tears the mind-body down when stress becomes chronic: inciting psychological problems by invigorating nattermind, accelerating aging, and causing cancer. People who practice disciplines which quiet the mind decrease production of NF-ĸB and cytokines.
“The health benefits of yoga and meditation begin at the molecular level, and change the way our genetic code goes about its business.” ~ Croatian psychologist Ivana Buric
Telomeres are the protein complexes at the end of chromosomes that protect chromosomal integrity. Telomere length is critical to health. Shortened telomeres are associated with cell aging and several disease states. Longer telomeres are thought to provide some disease protection.
After just 3 months, the telomere length of breast cancer survivors who took up meditation was maintained, while those who did not meditate suffered shortened telomeres.
Cells respond to meditation in several ways, including healthier activity and improved genetic expression. There is no physiological explanation for how quieting the mind can conjure optimal physiological activity.
“The calmness of our mind can influence gene expression.” ~ American psychologist Richard Davidson
A scientific worldview which does not profoundly come to terms with the problem of conscious minds can have no serious pretensions of completeness. Consciousness is part of our Universe. So any physical theory which makes no proper place for it falls fundamentally short of providing a genuine description of the world. ~ English mathematical physicist Roger Penrose
The obvious stumbling block to energyism is how individual minds might share the same experience of duality. The answer is simple: each individual consciousness is a localized manifestation of an all-encompassing field of Cönsciousness.
“Cönsciousness itself is the source of everything.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
To populate the performance of phenomena, Cönsciousness infuses life with awareness. Cönsciousness is a unified, noumenal field which manifests in localized form – giving rise to individual consciousnesses, which are bound to individual mind-bodies, down to the level of sentient molecules, such as proteins.
“Every organic being, every autopoietic cell is conscious.” ~ American evolutionary theorist Lynn Margulis
Cönsciousness pervading life at all levels is subtly apparent by the fact that not only do organisms possess awareness and proceed with purpose, but so do cells within a body, the organelles of cells, and the workers within: proteins. The discretionary decisions involved in intracellular coordination, adaptive immune systems, the healing of wounds, and intercellular communication are examples where physical forces alone cannot explain the intelligence behind the processes.
As with quantum particles, objects and bodies are artifacts of coherent energy fields. Nature is nothing but an ongoing process. Our everyday experience of individuality and separateness is make-believe.
Cönsciousness is the passive platform for awareness. Its energetic counterpart – the coherence of Nature – nudges with discerning deportment.
“Whence arises all that order and beauty we see in the world?” ~ Isaac Newton
The interactive force behind Nature is cöherence. In other words, cöherence is the mind of Nature. That Nature has order of seemingly infinite complexity is the testament of cöherence.
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” ~ Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung
Classical physicists identified 4 natural forces: light, electricity, magnetism, and gravity. Modern physicists combined the first 3 and determined that gravity is an entropic warpage of spacetime caused by concentrated mass; quite dissimilar from energetically active electromagnetism. Quantum physicists identified 2 nuclear forces: strong and weak, which respectively hold atomic nuclei together and have them decay in a ballet between stability and change.
(The term interaction is now preferred by physicists over the brusquer force, as interaction emphasizes that energy only changes via interactivity. Existence is ever ecological.)
Physicists theorize that all interactions are unified at some level, as they were at the surmised instant that was the birth of our universe, when the cosmos was a supposed singularity. Their suspicions are correct.
Cöherence is the first, fundamental force, with infinite energy at its disposal; hence the infinities that appear in mathematical descriptions of quantum mechanics and geometric relativity. Energy is the immaterial medium by which coherence weaves the materiality we call Nature.
To date, scientists have sidestepped the basic existential issue: mute about the font from which energy flows. Instead, the intricate and powerful weavings of energy are blithely assumed to be systemically intrinsic.
Scientists do puzzle over patterns which converge in widely divergent phenomena, illustrating fundamental algorithms at work. For instance, the mathematical rules for how plants grow and how brain cells sprout connections are selfsame. Both need to cover territory, completely but sparsely, without self-interference.
Evolution is an exercise in decision-making which necessarily involves intelligence and teleological intention. Adaptation is localized coherence.
There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance without a contriver; order without choice; arrangement without anything capable of arranging. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subservience of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. ~ English philosopher William Paley
In that an order is apparent, there must be a composer of it – not as a supernatural being, but as an ongoing natural process. That our minds are inclined to view the beauty of Nature as organized patterns reflects how individualized consciousness corresponds with unified Cönsciousness.
The symphony of patterned existence is written in mathematics, which is the language of Nature.
“Reality is a mathematical structure.” ~ Swedish-American cosmologist Max Tegmark
While physics provides an apt landscape upon which coherence comes into view, the most cogent argument for the unity of coherence and Cönsciousness is life.
Cönsciousness and coherence are described as if they are independent channels. They are not.
Monism means unity. Any duality, or multiplicity, that seems to arise is ultimately fictive. As such, Nature is a simulation of physicality, arising in the mind.
Our minds have a natural tendency toward factor analysis: to tear apart complexities into simpler units to facilitate comprehension. This is the inclination toward reductionism.
Owing to this proclivity, we have a hard time grasping the notion of synergy: that the interaction of constituent elements produces a greater effect than the individual elements can. Holistic understanding is hard to come by.
The rampant environmental destruction that humans have unleashed upon Earth owes in large part to our inability to comprehend the importance of healthy ecosystems as holistic processes. We instead think of individual animals and plants, and their population numbers. The extinction event now underway is a product of erroneous abstractions, welded into bogus belief systems. Such is economics: a conceptual reductionism which has senselessly left the majorities of peoples around the world struggling to survive, while a tiny minority wallow in wealth.
Capitalism, which eschews large-scale cooperation for minor league contention, is irrational in many ways. Yet the market system dominates humanity because its core atomic abstraction is appealing to the Collective: wealth attained by competition, with winners and losers. That, and people don’t care enough about each other. Owing to the insidious psychological effects of selfish economics, human cultures have failed in knitting people together into rational societies.
The phenomenal world is ever emergent: continuously created. The only moment that manifests is the ever-present now. The future is a projection, and the past a memento of memory. Both are products of the mind.
But so too is the present. Our experience of each instant is a fabrication gleaned from disparate inputs: many millions of photons processed into a pastiche seen as vision; rumbling in an aural range of frequencies sounded out as hearing; chemical vibrations that come off as smell and taste; and the sensate sense of proximity termed touch, forged from harmonic interactions at cell membranes.
How do you know when you touch something wet? There are no skin receptors for sensing moisture. Wetness is a perceptual illusion: a mental construction through intricate multisensory integration. We learn to perceive moisture through repeated encounters, soaked in the effects.
As an entertainment platform, existence has 4 essentials: diversity, continuity, entanglement, and actors.
A universe of singularity would be practically nothing: energy without frequency, which is unimaginable. Hence diversity, which defines every facet of existence. Nature loves variety.
Every identifiable thing – inanimate or alive – is unique. Mental categorization is merely a convenience for managing potential interaction.
“Behavioural individuality is thought to be caused by differences in genes and/or environmental conditions. Therefore, if these sources of variation are removed, individuals are predicted to develop similar phenotypes lacking repeatable individual variation.” ~ ichthyologist David Bierbach et al
The Amazon molly is a small freshwater fish native to Mexico and southeast Texas. The term Amazon in the molly’s name refers to the female-run society in Greek mythology, for Amazon mollies are an all-female species, reproducing clonal daughters.
A tightly controlled experiment tested “whether near-identical rearing conditions and lack of social contact dampen individuality,” as predicted. Instead, each molly showed her own unique personality.
“Substantial individual variation in behaviour emerges among genetically identical individuals isolated directly after birth into highly standardized environments.” ~ David Bierbach et al
Without continuity, there could be no comprehension, as there would be no consistency or predictability; whence arises the vector of time. For individual life forms, continuity provides a platform for memory, and its temporally-vectored converse: the future, which provides for goals, problem-solving, and planning – in short, something worth living for.
The dimensions of space provide localization, which, coupled to linear temporality, afford a venue for both dynamic expression and diversity. Spacetime is the outcome of the requirements for diversity and continuity.
Coherence achieves complexity by combining diversity and entanglement. But entanglement serves a much more fundamental purpose: it is the glue of diversity, facilitating ecological intricacy among constituents. The agents of Nature must be able to interact. The field that delimits every object and life form is woven with entanglement.
Life is an entangled diversity at every level. Populated by legions of proteins working together, even the simplest cell is brimming with intertwined complexity. Multicellularity exponentially entwines synchrony with variety to achieve macroscopic life: the living world of Nature we experience.
Entanglement is apparent at every scale, as are diversity and complexity. Entanglement is an acknowledged quantum phenomenon, but it is also vital at the ambient scale. Ecosystems are expressions of entanglement. Cosmological construction is driven by black holes: massive nothingness entangled with everything.
The sublime moves, the beautiful charms. ~ German philosopher Immanuel Kant
Aesthetics is integral to living. Among animals where females select mates, females want traits that indicate fitness and skill – traits that will serve offspring well. Shapes go wonky and colors go flat if a male is not buff. Antlers need lots of calcium, and the bowers of birds unstinting dedication.
In another instance, an evolutionary handicap principle applies. It is hard to stay alive adorned with a huge or brilliantly colored attraction. Such a male that lives to show off must be sporting a genetic package worth carrying into the next generation.
Winsome allurement does not always signal fitness. Sometimes, aesthetic evolution is to its own end: beauty is itself enough.
“The most refined beauty may serve as a sexual charm, and for no other purpose.” ~ Charles Darwin
“The universe is not fine-tuned for us; we are fine-tuned to the universe.” ~ Victor Stenger
The stage of spacetime is populated by actors: organic agents, interacting to create the drama of life. As an exercise in storytelling, actors have 4 ingredients in their experience: consciousness, ignorance, desire, and jeopardy.
Sentience is essential to experience the entertainment of Nature: whence consciousness. At every scale, a life form is a soul – a resonant consciousness – caged within a mind-body.
Something must propel actors: provide motivation and the will to live. Thus, desire beats like a steady drum on the soundtrack of life.
“All the business of life is to endeavor to find out what you don’t know by what you do.” ~ Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Every story is of conflict, involving individuals that struggle. Not-knowing always factors into the fight; hence, ignorance is an essential ingredient to entertainment. By contrast, an enlightened actor acts with a detachment that is dramatically unbecoming.
“Nothing endures but change.” ~ Heraclitus
As an aspect of diversity, there is also the requirement that actors come and go in Nature. Though negligible senescence may be possible for some organisms, jeopardy means that none achieve immortality: the fate of a finality to an individual’s story ultimately catches up to all. More generally, jeopardy is dramatically essential; and, for the individuals that experience it, to rendering life as real, and not just a dream of no consequence.
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Beyond its brief seasons of reason, the mind acts to facilitate a sense of jeopardy (expressed as fear), provide the propellant of desire, and fabricate the fog of ignorance. Thus, the mind is an all-purpose tool: building and maintaining a dark prison for the soul, yet letting its inhabitant see daylight.
“The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between this profusion of matter and the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.” ~ French novelist André Malraux
The knowledge of an ultimate immateriality, and an enveloping Cönsciousness, has been known for millennia by a relative few who became enlightened. The conveyance of this esoteric truth has often been misunderstood.
Enlightenment is the state of consciousness with abiding connection to the unicity of Nature. Realization is the state of consciousness with abiding experience of the unicity of Nature.
In the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, Chinese sage Lao Tzu wrote of the Tao: the absolute stillness that is the source of Nature.
“The great Tao extends everywhere. It does not have a name. The nameless originated Heaven and Earth. Tao acts through natural law. All things depend upon it for growth, and it does not deny them. Evolved individuals hold to the Tao, and regard the world as their pattern.” ~ Lao Tzu
In 3rd century BCE, legendary Indian guru Patañjali instructed the path to enlightenment through meditation:
“Freedom is won in realizing the true nature of self. Matter is transcended. The nature of being and the force of absolute knowledge are then revealed.” ~ Patañjali
Buddha placed the mind as the central force in shaping our lives.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~ Buddha
Buddha also stated that the existence itself is ultimately illusory.
“All compounded things are subject to vanish.” ~ Buddha
(This quote about energyism suffers in translation, but its gist remains enigmatic to matterists.)
To someone steeped in belief of duality or matterism, Lao Tzu, Patañjali, and Buddha read like dreamy gibberish.
Conversely, those who granted these men credence ushered in religions: Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, respectively. In doing so they were – in their ignorance – turning instructive truths into myths and rituals.
The usage of ignorance here is of having the wrong worldview (perspective-ignorance), not of lacking relevant facts (fact-ignorance) (though that may also be the case).
In the Western world, men seeking authority fabricated a supreme being – God – to have other men cower to the absolute power these hucksters said they were in touch with. This religious scam remains a major attraction, with suckers aplenty hoping for eternal salvation after their dreary existence here on Earth.
The religiously inclined, scientists included, take umbrage at the foregoing. But they look to self-validation, not honest investigation. The ignorant are always smug in their beliefs.
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that, at least once in your life, you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” ~ René Descartes
Conforming to modern physics, energyism accords matter as proximate phenomena: an actual world in appearance, but ultimately unreal. This is admittedly difficult to believe, but it is confirmed by all that science has revealed which is otherwise inscrutable. There is much mystery to be had, as we have already seen in our brief survey of physics, and in pondering how evolutionary adaptation could possibly work other than through an intentional interactivity (teleology).
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Every story is of conflict, resolved by the protagonist either gaining insight, and thereby reaching a higher plane, or else struggling onward in continuing ignorance. So it is that the purpose of life is to gain understanding. If it were easy, there would be no entertainment.
“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.” ~ Irish philosopher Iris Murdoch
In ignorance, nattermind is given free rein, thereby binding consciousness to the mind-body. The mind creates the duplicity of duality: that one is an individual self in a physical world. This is a deceptive separation. What you think to be the world is merely a construct of your mind.
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ~ American writer Edgar Allen Poe
Whatever correspondence your sense of actuality has with others is possible because it is a shared belvedere: a beautiful ruse by Cönsciousness of physicality, the provision of the entertainment platform called existence.
The marvel is in how utterly convincing the illusion is. If relieving oneself of ignorance was easy, the game afoot would hardly be worth playing.
This ongoing process of incomprehension is abetted by the flames of emotion. Love, hate, anger, greed, and attachment exist only as appearances, like mirages in a desert of shimmering heat; yet they are compellingly real in the moment.
To bathe in emotion is to dive headlong into the great pool of illusion. Whatever we believe is make-believe.
Nattermind’s roil blocks awareness of what is, substituting for it a sense of mortal self. Removing the rubble clears the channel to Cönsciousness.
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” ~ Lao Tzu
Whereas an unbridled mind is the source of mental illness, liberation from nattermind enables psychological health. This is enlightenment: awake awareness with sustained quietude. The road to enlightenment is a discipline: consigning the mind to a mere utility, by exiling nattermind to the subconscious, where it may toil away.
The discipline involved in reaching enlightenment is meditation; not just as a regular practice, but as a lifestyle.
“Do not just meditate; live in meditation.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Quietude emerges with persistent insistence not to indulge nattermind. In its wake comes contentment: the bliss that Cönsciousness experiences in all of Nature.
To discover joy is to return to a state of oneness with the universe. ~ American author Pegi Joy Jenkins
The task at hand is to joyfully live. To do so carefully requires abandoning all cares, for those are the blockades to awareness of what is, built from fictive fear of what may be. Beyond the necessities of living, nary a thought is worth having.
“The realized one knows that all this is the play of ignorance.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
With the rumbling of nattermind at bay, connection to Cönsciousness strengthens, allowing one to comprehend Nature as it is, not merely as it appears. Enlightenment leads to realization: a conscious state of unity with reality while still bodily confined.
“Try to realise it’s all within yourself.” ~ English musician George Harrison, in the song “Within You Without You” (1967)