The Lego Movie


It is not just for kids! The Lego Movie was one of the best movies to come out in a long while… so good I saw it twice in the theater. This CG’d stop-motion non-stop action comedy’s got jokes, and so much more! The fast paced action and silliness combined with impressive demonstrations of the ancient toy’s creative potential will keep kids entertained while a red pill of truth is slipped in for the adults. Every scene is bursting with colorful meaning and laughter.

The Lego Movie

On one level, The Lego Movie is an early 21st century American social commentary. The issues facing the Lego Universe are our issues. The main character, Emmet Brickowoski, is an ordinary trendy guy who lives in a media saturated culture and goes along with the crowd without thinking too much about the problems facing his society. The media he takes in buries the hints of coming destruction in superficial nonsense. He has an instruction booklet that tells him exactly what to do all day long, and life is great as long as he follows all the rules. The Theme song sums it up: “Everything is Awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team! Everything is awesome, when you’re living a dream!” And everyone in Emmet’s city, Bricksburg, is living a dream. They seem to be a happy, but it’s a fake prosperity, the freedoms are hollow, and it is increasingly controlled by a growing super secret police state. President Business’s Octan corporation owns all businesses from the shallow media to overpriced coffee to (rigged) voting machines. Every day Emmet and other construction workers go out to build stuff, and every evening after they head home, President Business’s military industrial complex flies in to destroy their work. There is no progress. There is only an endless cycle of consumerism and waste that empowers President Business and allows him to control the people of the Lego Universe. President Business is actually “Lord Business,” the control-freak Demiurge with the horns of Baphomet who desires his particular version of “perfection” to be imposed on the universe. He has a dark plan to whip the inhabitants of Bricksburg into a state of elation through Taco Tuesday (government welfare) and freeze them in place with The Kragle (Krazy Glue).

However not everyone is content to go along with the highly controlled society created by Lord Business. A small group of rebels, superheroes, and free thinkers called the Master Builders (a nod to masonry?) refuse to follow the instructions and build whatever they want whenever they want out of anything. They rely on their own creativity, intuition, and training (in sacred geometry?) to travel between the various realms of the Lego Universe. They are not dulled by the consumerist media driven society of Bricksburg, but they operate at an elevated level of consciousness. They see what no one else can see. One by one, Lord Business has been capturing the free thinkers and imprisoning them in his “think tank” where he steals their ideas and uses them to tighten his grip on power. The sage leader of the Master Builders is Vitruvius. (Vitruvius was an engineer and architect under Julius Caesar who’s work inspired Leonardo da Vinci to draw the famous “Vitruvian Man”, an exploration through art and science of the geometric perfection of man.) Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_ViatourVitruvius guards the Piece of Resistance (cap to the Krazy Glue), but when it is lost, he utters a made up prophecy about a future Messiah… which “must be true because it rhymes.” His prophecy becomes a religion that causes the ordinary man, Emmet, to begin to see himself as special. In the end, it comes out that the prophecy was made up, but the truth remains that every man is special and every man has the creative intuition necessary to break out of Lord Business’s idea of “perfection”.  The prophecy was made up to help the ordinary man see this and find the piece of resistance. Emmet’s journey to becoming the Messiah of the Lego Universe begins with him believing that he is special and that he can trust his own divine spark of unique creative intuition.

Emmet’s journey begins when love and curiosity cause him to deviate from the rules. After taking a fall down the rabbit hole, he stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance and when he steps on his fears and touches it, he has a mystical psychedelic near-death experience that gives him a vision of the greater reality. Thenceforward the Piece of Resistance is stuck to him, and he is set on a path that expands his consciousness and makes it impossible for him to return to his previously ordinary unobtrusive mundane life.

Emmet and his crush, Wild-Style (or Lucy…Lucifer…Light-Bearer), go on grand adventures together through the various realms of the Lego Universe. In the realm of Cloud Cuckoo Land, they meet Princess Unikitty, a new-agey type whose willful repression of anything negative results in a schizo-personality. Cloud Cuckoo Land demonstrates the absurdity of a heaven without hell, the silliness of positivity without negativity, left without right, and freedom without restraint. Cloud Cuckoo Land is just as ridiculous as Lord Business’s polar opposite attempt to freeze a perfectly controlled society. The message is clear that dualism exists and the way to defeat dualism is not to try and gravitate to one pole or the other. The way it is defeated is through balance, creativity, being un-resistant to change, belief, and love.

The battle for the future of The Lego Universe is a great story and like all great stories, it is about the conflicts within our own society, our own universe, and ultimately the battle within ourselves. Left-brains want to control, to bring order, to color inside the lines, to follow instructions. Right-brains want to throw away the rules and be creative, rely on intuition, and make something new. It is only when there is balance between the left and right, order and chaos, logic and creativity, control and freedom, that a truly glorious and dynamic story exists. Our society, like Bricksburg, is pathologically left-brained and it is up to us individual Specials to restore balance, peace, harmony, and love.

Posted in Life Experiences, Philosophy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Prayer vs. Meditation


The title of this blog makes it sound as if prayer and meditation are mutually opposed. I don’t hold this view, but I know that this is the predominant view among fundamentalist Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In this blog, I want to make the case that the competition between prayer and meditation is really a competition between left and right hemispheres of the brain, and I want to make the case to my Christian friends that meditation is hinted at in the Christian Bible and that meditation complements prayer.

First of all, I want to clarify terms. When I say prayer, I mean it in the traditional Christian sense: speaking mentally or verbally to God as you would to any other person for the purpose of thanksgiving, petition, or communion: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come….” When I say meditation, I mean it in the Eastern sense of clearing one’s mind and focusing on a single point or nothing at all: “Ommm….”

In my last post, The Feedback Loop of Self, I explained how the principle effect of meditation is to temporarily stop the feedback loop between thinker and thoughts. It is this feedback loop that generates the concept of a self as an entity separate and distinct from the environment. It is the left-brain which is primarily responsible for this state of consciousness which breaks things down into pieces or words and applies sequential logic to these parts. It is the right brain which uses intuition to arrive at a unified view of all parts as one whole.

There is nothing inherently wrong with either the left brain logical or the right brain intuitive processes; however, I believe it is advantageous to strike a proper balance between the two. Prayer, as I have defined it above in the Christian sense, is a left brain activity. Eastern Meditation is a right-brain activity. Prayer uses words in a sequential logical coherent stream of thought to arrive at an intended destination. Meditation abandons words and allows the right brain intuitive holistic functions to dominate.

Since Western thought is largely based upon the orthodox Judeo-Christian-Greek understanding that truth is arrived at through the deconstruction of a whole into parts, the analyzation of written words, and of prayer as a left-brain wordy thought process, the West has glorified left-brain achievement and placed supreme value on one particular state of consciousness: the fully-alert, reasoning, left-brain, logical state. Some consider the achievements of our left-brain dominant society a triumph of reason over antiquated superstitious magical thinking that has given us wonderful technological advances. Others consider this over-emphasis on left-brain thinking a pathology that leads to selfishness, materialism, coldness, mistreatment of our environment, and ultimately the atomic bomb.

Eastern meditation and Eastern non-dual philosophy is largely based upon the holistic view that the self is contiguous with the whole and that truth is arrived at by avoiding deconstructing the whole into parts and words. The advantages of this holistic emphasis are low stress, equanimity, simplicity, and harmonious relationship with the environment (no need for an atomic bomb). The disadvantages of this philosophy are that there is no great impetus to evangelize or spread this philosophy or to protect one’s self from the left-brain, technologically-minded, achievement-oriented conquistadors.

Although fundamentalist Christianity and Western society place supreme value on the left-brain, alert, reasoning, wordy state of consciousness, there are hints of Eastern meditative type states of consciousness in the Christian Bible and traditions. Any Christian who has truly sincerely pursued a relationship with God will tell you that my definition of prayer described above is really a very shallow superficial one, and that effective prayer is much less about talking to God about your needs and wants, and much more about getting quiet and listening. Many pastors will advocate setting aside a quiet time for prayer of at least 30 minutes or an hour a day. I have tried this daily discipline of spending an hour a day in prayer. But what happens during that hour? Unless one is very loquacious, one cannot continue talking for a full hour. One’s attention begins to wander. So one disciplines oneself to continue bringing attention back to a single point: God (or one’s idea of God). And one tries to keep talking to God, but one soon runs out of things to say, so one begins to repeat things: “Thank you, God. Praise you, God. You are worthy, God. Bless you, God….” And as one repeats a mantra of praises or petitions to God, one begins to lose oneself in the exact same way as in Eastern meditation. The repetition of words or sounds is like giving the word-hungry left-brain a bone to chew on to occupy it so the intuitive holistic right brain can come out and have a chance to express itself. It is in this state of right brain dominance that intuition and insight flows more freely and this is called, “hearing God’s voice.” Studies have shown that all of us are telepathic, clairvoyant, and pre-cognitive to a certain extent. Studies have also shown that those who are creative (right brain dominant) and those who practice meditation score higher on such skills. We are undoubtedly capable of receiving information in non-local ways that bypass our senses and that information seems to come more readily through the right brain.

Most people are familiar with the story of Jesus walking out on the water, but the next time you read that story, take note of the fact that this occurred after Jesus had spent a very long time (perhaps 12 hours) on a mountain in solitude in prayer. Now if you thought talking for 1 hour is difficult, try 12! Perhaps Jesus had 12 hours of wordy conversation with our Father, but I doubt it. It seems very likely to me that this 12 hours of prayer involved a deep meditative state where words disappeared. There are numerous incidences in the book of Acts where believers are said to have fallen into a “trance” where they receive a vision or some kind of intuitive knowledge. Many Christians assume that a trance state of consciousness is only valid if God supernaturally forces a person into one, and that we should not purposefully intend to seek altered states of consciousness, but as I described above, this trance state is the ultimate result of a very long time spent in prayer.

In the same way that repetitious praises or phrases can pacify the left brain, speaking in tongues accomplishes this same thing. Many Christians do not accept that speaking in tongues is still valid, and why is that? Because our left-brain dominant society abhors illogical nonsense. In such a society, speaking nonsense is embarrassing and is something that can get you locked away in a padded cell. Some accept speaking in tongues but only if there is an interpreter, because if we can’t get any meaning out of it, then what is the point? Many Christians who are not familiar with speaking in tongues are afraid of it. They assume that it involves some outside force of God taking over one’s mouth and vocal chords to involuntarily produce sounds as directed by the Holy Spirit as if one were being “possessed.” This results in a great deal of frustration for sincere Christians who want to get “baptized in the Holy Spirit” and are waiting for God to literally take control over their bodies. But those who are familiar with speaking in tongues know that it is not being involuntarily taken over by an outside force. A person has to willfully open their mouth and freely utter nonsensical sounds. And what is the principle effect of uttering nonsense? The left brain is pacified and the right brain is in full control. The big dog left brain has a bone to chew on and the right brain can peek its head out and see what is going on from a holistic perspective.

Now that I’ve shown that extended left-brain prayer effectively leads to right-brain or synchronous meditative states, I want to explain why I hypothesize that meditative states make prayer effective. There is one thing the Bible pounds into us over and over: faith. Prayer without faith is ineffective. As James says, a man who doubts should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a “double-minded” man, unstable in all he undertakes. As Jesus said, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you curse a fig tree and wither it instantly, you can speak to a mountain and cast it into the sea. In other words, nothing is impossible with faith.

So what is faith? How do we get it? I want to propose that faith is the unification of the mind. It is bringing the left and right brains into synchronous harmony. It is no longer being “double-minded” but is returning to the single-minded non-dual state of a child where there is no separation between thinker and thought or doer and deed. Doubt comes through the feedback loop of self. When the feedback loop is broken by observing the feedback loop and collapsing it into a single point, I believe this is where a state of mind called “faith” is achieved.

Faith is often mistaken as the effort one makes to believe certain things, but if there is effort, this cannot be faith because faith is effortless. Faith is a state of complete internal harmony. If one is trying to believe something, then one does not believe it. If there is internal effort, then there is not internal harmony because there are two or more competing perspectives – the double-minded state of doubt. Meditation and Eastern non-dual philosophy is about reaching a place of effort with no effort or action without action which is synonymous with a state of faith. It is the feedback loop of self which keeps us in a place of no faith, of constant striving against ourselves, of constant division between our aspirations and our attainments.

When the feedback loop of self is broken, the mind is unified, and a state of faith or “no-effort” is achieved, then words are superfluous to prayer. They may be used or they may not be used. Jesus is said to have driven out evil spirits with “a word.” Many times, he didn’t even use words. One time he simply said, “I thank you Father that you heard me. I know that you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of those listening…” So in a place of faith, perhaps words are only necessary to help others understand something about what is going on. I believe prayer and meditation can work together to achieve positive results in one’s life and one’s environment.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feedback Loop of Self


Your self is a feedback loop. Your ego is a resonance. It is your idea about who you are. It is your thinking about your thinking. It is attention paying attention to itself.

Feedback loops occur in natural and engineered systems. They can be useful, but they can also be destructive. The cruise control in your vehicle is a common useful feedback loop called a PID loop. By properly balancing three factors, the feedback loop is able to take input from the speedometer and control the throttle input to generate a constant stable speed despite the rising or falling terrain. If a feedback loop is not properly balanced, it can generate unstable oscillating output and never hone in on the target output. Or worse, it can oscillate with increasing intensity until the whole contraption is flung apart in destructive resonance. Everyone is familiar with the painful screech that occurs when a microphone gets too close to the output speaker. To stop the painful screech, the feedback loop must be broken.

Similarly, the feedback loop you know as your self can be useful, but it can also be painfully destructive. The principle effect of meditation is that the feedback loop of self is broken. During meditation, one stops thinking about thinking, one stops thinking about what one is hearing or seeing or feeling, and instead merely hears, sees, or feels. The effect is like pulling the microphone away from the speaker: the painful screech fades away and the signal can be heard clearly.

Through meditation and the recognition of the self as a mask or an illusion, one can develop the ability to modulate the feedback loop of the self and bring it into balance. As with the cruise control which maintains a steadiness despite varying terrain, the modulation of self generates equanimity despite the mountains and valleys of life. But the goal of “dying to self” is not to become a catatonic zombie who has no thoughts and cannot have any attachments. The goal is to modulate the feedback loop so as not to get stuck on thoughts or attachments or be controlled by them. A cord that is stretched cannot be stretched more, but a cord that is relaxed can be stretched. A person with no attachments can be free to form strong attachments. A person with no self, can dive deeply into life as experienced by the mask of self.

When I was five years old I began playing the piano, and I was really good for a kid so young. I remember at one of the first recitals I played “The Hopping Bunny” or something like that… I was not shy or scared to be on stage in front of a crowd 200 strong. I hopped up on that bench, legs dangling in the air, and precisely pounded out those notes simply for my own pleasure… but then something happened… everyone loved me for it! I had so many old ladies coming by afterwards to pinch my cheeks and tell me what a fantastic job I did that an odd thing developed: I became self-aware. And what an awful thing that turned out to be! I could no longer play for my own pleasure, I had to please everyone listening. Instead of simply playing the notes, I was aware that my self was playing the notes and this resonance caused doubts to creep in that I was playing the right notes. Ever afterwards, recitals were dreadful events! I had to sit there in my Sunday best anxiously awaiting my turn to have all attention focused on the sounds produced by MY sweaty fingers. What if I messed up? What if I forgot the notes? I had to do it RIGHT! I didn’t want to disappoint all these people who came expecting a good show!

The feedback loop of my self turned something I loved, playing the piano, into a miserable experience. To this day, I much prefer to play when no one is listening so that I can play without the distracting feedback loop of self-awareness.

Of course, the self is something we need in order to survive, to fit into society, and become useful. The self has enabled us to develop fantastically complex and dynamic civilizations. The idea that we’re all one doesn’t help us accomplish much. We have to have names, and there has to be a me and a you and a here and a there. The same anxious self-awareness that made piano recitals the pits also motivated me to achieve in school which in turn allowed me to earn a living for myself.

So in the course of life we begin without a well developed feedback loop of self. As young children, we dance and sing and play and act a fool not giving a darn what anyone thinks… until we become increasingly aware that our actions are being evaluated and responded to by others… and that causes us to evaluate our own actions and turn our thoughts in upon ourselves. And thus the feedback loop of the little self or the ego is created. It grows to a fever pitch by junior high making social engagements terrifying and awkward, and yet it ensures our survival.

So we find that later in life, we have developed pathologies of the out of balance self and they take many forms. We can be overtly selfish and lie cheat steal, etc. But most often our selfishness hides in reaction to our attempts to not be selfish. We want to be humble and righteous so that we can have a better self, a well liked self, and perhaps a self that will get the attention of a higher being who will make us feel really good about our self. And so the feedback loop gets ever more complex, deceptive, and difficult to pin down, balance, and untangle. It manifests itself in guilt, shame, arrogance, hypersensitivity, feelings of worthlessness, visions of grandeur, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and any other form of maladjustment that can be imagined.

The feedback loop of self can destroy relationships. If each person sees the relationship as composed of a set of expectations about what the other should be doing for the self, then there is strife when those expectations are not met. This is why Valentine’s Day sees a high incidence of relationships break-up: elevated expectations about what the self deserved are not met and endless arguments ensue. When the self tries to grasp too tightly it loses that for which it strives. Dogs have little self awareness and therefore no expectations, so dogs are often idealized as “man’s best friend” with unmatched unconditional love. You could forget to feed a dog and it would love you just the same. Such absence of the feedback loop of self is beneficial and to a certain extent necessary in successful human relationships. But once again, the self exists for survival. Unfortunately, a dog will stay with an abusive master because he does not think he deserves any better. The sense of self may need to be conjured up or even painfully overdeveloped to protect one’s self from abusive relationships.

So our self grows out of necessity, but is a common source of disease and we increasingly desire to get away from it. We put our selves through all sorts of activities and experiences ranging from the repetitive and mundane to the extreme or thrilling in order to “lose our selves.” We drink alcohol. We seek danger. We sometimes stretch ourselves to the limit to find the end of ourselves. We say that after turning 30 we just don’t give a darn anymore what anyone thinks of us. We view the childhood experience of no self with nostalgia and we long to be carefree again. If doubt is to be “double-minded,” then a “childlike faith” is to be single-minded, unfractured in purpose from experience by the feedback loop of self-doubt.

To a large extent meditation and Eastern non-dual philosophic practices were developed simply to cure seekers of the suffering caused by an out of balance feedback loop of self. Meditation silences the mind and stops the feedback loop dead in its tracks. The non-dual philosophy provides an intellectual path to logically analyze away the self as an illusion, an apple on a tree, a wave on the ocean, or a whirlpool in a stream. Being free of the illusion of self allows one to take life less seriously, freely take on the illusion of self at will, and play the game of life with gusto. By dialing down the overworked survival mechanism, the enjoyment of life is increased. The richness of sensory experience and inner experience becomes profoundly wonderful. Relationships are freed of judgment and expectations. Playing the piano is transformed from a sweaty palmed terror back into a delight. Equanimity is achieved, yet the broadest range of feeling is possible because one is not stuck on anything.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham on Evolution vs. Creation


Regarding the recent debate between Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), I have a few thoughts:

Ken Ham is not a scientist. Science is a process involving logical methods and accountability designed to eliminate human bias and error so that we can increase our confidence in theories that describe the observable universe. Science is the best tool we have available to filter out bias. Ken Ham freely admits that he starts with conclusions drawn from his interpretations of the Christian Bible and that nothing could possibly change his mind. To start with conclusions, refuse to question those conclusions, and attempt to find evidence that justifies those conclusions is not science; it is the epitome of biased thinking.

nye-vs-ham

To be fair, there is also a “scientific establishment” which induces pressure upon scientists to hold certain institutional biases. I think Bill Nye is a bit naive to say that “just one piece of evidence could change the world!” and “the scientific establishment embraces discoveries that change understanding of natural law.” Once an idea has taken hold, it is difficult to alter it because scientists, whether atheist or religious have certain personal biases. Nevertheless, if the scientific process is allowed to continue unimpeded eventually things will be sorted out and the “truth” will prevail. As Arthur Schopenhauer said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Nevertheless, Ken Ham’s position is completely unscientific because he has ruled out from the beginning of investigation the possibility of having any evidence alter his conclusions. Naturally, everything he observes confirms his preconceived ideas because he filters out all contradictory data. His position is based in fear. The consequences of his worldview being broken are terrifying. Any genuine search for truth cannot begin with fear. It has to begin with freedom to question and accept what ever conclusion to which the data points.

Ken Ham repeatedly tries to create a distinction between scientific study of past events and scientific study of present events. Bill Nye appropriately points out that the scientific method is used all the time in crime scene investigation to draw conclusions about past events. We can look at a bullet hole in a wall and draw conclusions about the velocity and trajectory of the bullet (in the past). Ken tries to impart doubt in the capability of science to make inferences about past events by pointing out “we weren’t there to witness it.” But scientists routinely make observations and discoveries regarding past events that turn out to be accurate and offer useful predictions for future events. Ken Ham’s argument is self-defeating: if science cannot be used to tell us anything about the past, why are Young Earth Creationists attempting to derive scientific justification for beliefs about past events?

There is overwhelming evidence the earth is far older than 6,000 years. Radiometric dating is one important tool used to draw conclusions about the age of the earth. Any tool can be misused and there are a number of known ways that radiometric techniques can give incorrect dates. Geologists are aware of these potential problems and employ multiple methodologies that overcome these problems in order to hone in on the ages of rocks. Young Earth Creationists often hold up examples of faulty use of radiometric techniques as proof that all radiometric dating is useless. This is dishonest. Young Earth Creationists like Ken Ham are fond of saying that radiometric dating is based on “assumptions” which implies that these assumptions were pulled out of thin air with no scientific justification. One “assumption” is that radioactive decay rates have been more or less constant during the period in question. The constancy of constants has been the subject of a great many studies which give us a very high degree of confidence that the decay rates have been constant. I have gotten deep into debates over this subject with Young Earth Creationists before and it always comes back to the statement, “well we just weren’t there so we just don’t know for sure,” which is a self-defeating cop-out that rules out the ability for science to tell us anything whatsoever about the past.

Bill Nye was asked, how does consciousness come from matter? He responded appropriately, “we don’t know!” No one really even knows how to define exactly what consciousness is. If we can’t agree on what it is, we will have a very hard time working out the technical means by which it works. Furthermore, inherent in the question is a duality: matter and consciousness. Perhaps this is a flawed question if mind and matter arise together as one. Ken Ham’s response was that, “God breathed into Adam the breath of life.” This is a very poetic representation which, taken poetically and non-literally, I cannot disagree with. It tells us that the life and spirit of man is inextricably linked with and derived from the universal mind, Elohim, The Gods, the I Am, or as we translate it, God. It gives us something to think about; however, it does not address the specific question of “how?” Scientific knowledge of how God does something does not necessarily mean God is not the one doing it. You make your heart beat thousands of times a day without knowing how you do it. Scientific knowledge of how you make your heart beat does not mean you are no longer the one doing the pulsing.

When I was Young, I was a Young Earth Creationist. I was outraged that the evolutionists were conspiring with Satan to steal away God’s greatest miracle, the instantaneous materialization of the universe a mere 6,000 years ago. Then I began debating evolutionists on a forum and encountered evidence and arguments that shook my whole paradigm. Since I had been taught that either the Bible was true or Evolution was true, just opening my mind to the possibility of an old earth shattered my entire belief system. I questioned everything. This was incredibly painful and depressing. But looking back, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The honest search for truth begins with true freedom to question and the opportunity to go wherever the data leads.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

No Thing


My last post opened with the dogmatic pontification, “There is only one thing.”

Please try to understand my words as less of a prosaic resolute statement of fact, and more of a poetic playing with words. When attempting to describe the ineffable and infinite, all we can do is play with words and generate flawed mental models. I believe this is why poetry, art, and drama are often better teachers of truth than explicit dogmas and definitions. We communicate the ineffable through experiences and metaphors. To place too much stock in words will lead us astray because words, with their definitions, artificially parse things up like pixels in a digital representation of reality. Reality is not pixelated… it is fluid… because it is all one thing ;-)

One implies many. All of reality is a fluctuation or a continuous wiggling waving oscillation about some zero-point center. And this central point is the “One Thing”. Something may fly very far from center but it always finds its identity in its opposite and therefore returns to center by becoming nothing just as matter and anti-matter encountering one another. We see the world linearly as a series of spectrums of dualities. We cannot know anything except through its opposite. We cannot understand light without dark, good with out evil, north pole without south pole, here without there, me without you, and one without none.

One implies none. Something implies nothing. 1 implies 0. So by saying there is only one thing, ironically I’ve created this duality of something and nothing – two things. So when I say, “There is only 1 thing” I envision a large solid mass…. existing within a blank field of nothing… So it is equally valid and maybe more appropriate to envision this 1 thing as emptiness or nothingness. This is not the boring inky blackness that we think of when we think of nothing. There’s nothing boring about it because everything you see around you exists within it. Nothing is very exciting because it is pure potential. Empty space is said to be a field of Zero Point Energy. The particles that make up everything you see are literally materializing and dematerializing from this emptiness. Emptiness gives meaning to everything. You wouldn’t write a letter on a newspaper… you’d look for a blank sheet so that your words could be intelligible and have meaning. The use of negative space in art is incredibly powerful. So nothing is more powerful than nothing! Nothing is the still quiet center we approach in prayer and mediation and it is infinite energy and potential.

Since this Nothing is the center about which all oscillations occur, it is the ultimate truth. To isolate one end of the spectrum from the other results in something meaningless. To arrive at truth we must hold two opposites in mind simultaneously and allow them to annihilate one another like matter and antimatter. To conquer dualism we have to master dualism by embracing dualism. This is why the wisest sages often seem capricious and offer contradictory nonsensical proverbs that confuse almost everyone who hears them.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Thing


There is only One Thing.

To say, “there are two things,” establishes a relationship between the two things. This relationship exists in an environment and all together they compose a system which is One All Encompassing Thing.

We find ourselves in the middle of this One Thing and we always will because we are a part of the One Thing. We can’t get away from this One Thing because if we did, there’d be two things. But really… since there is only One Thing, it is not quite right to say that we are a part of It because “part” implies division. It is more accurate to say that we ARE the One Thing. If I poke you in the ribs, you will not say, “stop poking those ribs that are not me.” You’ll say, “Stop poking me!” Because “those ribs” are indistinguishable from you. Likewise, if I keep trying to kill you and you are a “rib” within the One Thing, the One Thing might appear to me in a vision and say, “Brandon! Brandon, Why do you persecute ME?” If the One Thing feels you as Him the way you feel your ribs as you, perhaps you are Him?

So what you consider to be you is really an arbitrary imaginary boundary that is commonly called the ego. It is as arbitrary as saying that a wave on the ocean has a separate existence from the ocean. It is as arbitrary as the 49th parallel that divides Canada and the USA. The idea of the USA is like the ego. It is a completely arbitrary construct of the human mind that vigorously defends itself when attacked. So although the USA with its arbitrary boundaries exists only as a transient idea, it is composed of eternal stuff. The land of the USA has been here for billions of years and before that it was pure energy. The people and animals for hundreds or thousands of generations. So suppose I were to meditate on this notion that the USA, though relatively recently mixed up with some arbitrary political boundaries, is composed of ancient stuffs and I declared, “before Abraham was born, the USA existed!” It only seems nonsensical because the idea of the USA is relatively new, but everything that composes the USA is ancient. Now I could apply the same meditation to the subject of myself. What/Who/Where/When am I? How do I define me? To define is to lay down boundaries, and since there is only One Thing, all boundaries are arbitrary and illusory. So by trying to define myself I create an artificial separation of myself from the One Thing. If I meditate on this long enough, I might come to the conclusion that, “Before Abraham was born, I am!”

And this is the mystical transcendent experience in a nutshell. And since “common sense” tells us that there are two or more things and you, as in your ego, is a relatively new construct, mystics are commonly seen as non-nonsensical. If you know that you are this One Thing, you also know that death is nothing to be afraid of because you’re not going to stop being this One Thing like that wave on the ocean headed for shore. Since governments and certain religious establishments require that people be afraid of death in order to control them, these governments dislike mystics and frequently kill them.

Those who have been raised in a culture to have a view of God as a supreme kingly omnipotent technocrat will call the man with a transcendent mystical experience a heretic and blasphemer and begin asking him all sorts of cynical technical questions to prove that he is not this One Thing. “Oh yeah? How did you part the Red Sea? Can you turn these stones into bread? Jump off this cliff and fly!” It is assumed that technical knowledge and skill is required to do something. But I could ask you, “How do you make your heart beat? How do you breathe?” Do you need technical knowledge of these things in order to do them?

We think that memory gives us definition. You dream every night and those dreams seem very real while you’re in them, and yet you forget most of your dreams. Does that mean they never happened to you? When a person has a tragic accident and forgets who he is, does that mean he never was? Did that person come into existence anew as soon as he woke up in the hospital? Suppose you were around before Abraham was born and you simply forgot about it. You got a case of amnesia when you woke up in the hospital on your birthday.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Myth Makers


What is your myth? What is your narrative? What collection of metaphors have multiplied and congealed in your jiggling jello-like neo-cortex, seizing your imagination to shape your view of the world, your self, and your place within the world?

Has this mental mass solidified around you and arrested all movement or does it remain soft and pliable – even flowing? Can you tweak your own narrative and explore alternative story-lines? Or do you yield your rights of creation in ignorance to become a victim in someone else’s story? Are you enslaved by another man’s myth?

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.” -William Blake

Does it make you uncomfortable to tweak your own myth? Do you see it rather as solid objective reality? Do you use your myth to very sanely go about staying safe and maximizing your enjoyment of life? Or is the alteration and refinement of your myth its own reward? Is your myth defined by the behavior of people – their actions all relating somehow back to you, the protagonist? Or is your myth defined in part by the behavior of sub-atomic thoughts flowing through you?

We do not need to wait around for science to catch up with science fiction and bring us some powerful new machine that creates inter-dimensional portals in time and space. All the machinery you need is already in your head. You do not need jiggawatts or warp drives or spinning magnetic fields. All you need is the right combination of chemicals and the powerful resonance of attention paying attention to itself. If the fabric of the universe is consciousness, then this resonance is the folding of the fabric so that distant regions touch.

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment