Sunday, November 29, 2009

Belief Salad

Why are some things easier to believe than others?

We certainly believe in the things we perceive physically, and those which seem “obviously true/commonsensical” to us, mostly based on experience and tradition and consensual reality.
How are beliefs about the afterlife/lack thereof any different than those that characterize regional and ethnic struggles, those obvious struggles in which it is obvious to the outsider that neither side is “right”?

I have found belief in a great, vast, mysterious world outside our own limited, consensual reality because I have no choice but to believe. Fortunately, this vast world offers ample room for all competing ideas - where there is paradox, there is a greater system by which the opposing parts are assumed into a greater whole.

Ideas from every culture and every belief system have begun to fit nicely into my newly constructed framework: Christianity (the wisdom of Jesus, unlimited compassion, “being a child of God”, end-of-time ideas), Islam (submission to ‘God’), Buddhism (wisdom, reincarnation, karma, simple living), Hinduism (creative and destructive forces, the third eye), shamanism (connection to Earth, levels of consciousness, spirit realms), new age (healing, prophecy, universal consciousness), astrology, science, etc. Anything earnestly believed may reside in “true” reality without negating the others. At the very least all must at least be considered, no matter what your current beliefs (which tend to fall into a “this is it” type of assertion). Be careful though: much belief is human invention. It is important to find the kernels.

What about UFO encounters? These have recently moved from the realm of ridiculous to the realm of the sublimely possible (in my view).

Firstly, a simple reading on the subject indicates the the phenomenon has much more depth, breadth, and width than I would have previously imagined. Skeptics more stony-hearted than I have been converted by direct experiences or accumulated knowledge of mystery.
Something has happened to these people to inspire belief. They’re not all bumpkins; they’re not all freaks; they’re not all followers. Considering that the idea of “abduction” has been reported throughout times in terms related to culture and period, I’m curious as to whether there is a outside-normality explanation.

If you don’t want to belief anything but the few sparse facts science has unearthed, that is, of course, your prerogative. But try, if you can, the alternative: living mythically and mystically, seeing meaning where you see it, and keeping a very open mind. Not all people whose ideas are unbelievably different than yours are crazy [, NTs I know].

Fractals, Coincidence, Prophecy, New Agey Weirdness

Coincidences happen, yes? “Do they have meaning?” is a more difficult question. Synchronicity, and by association the fractal nature of reality that is such a common vision for psychonauts, and is such a recurring motif for New Agers, intuitively holds the key. For this post, the question will be reworded as Is reality fractal? with the collarary being “Are coincidences meaningful in that they refer to a higher system of meaning?”

A constituent element of a fractal is the ability for the part to mimic or represent the whole. Any arm in a spiral fractal can be found to contain spiral arms of itself which in turn contain their own identical spiral arms, and so on.

Is reality much the same?

For example: I see the like/dislike spectrum of human experience to be very associated with negative and positive charges inherent in atoms themselves. Even on the smallest level, matter divides itself into “attract/repel”, two opposites with no consciousness of their own, but which perceive, and act on perception.

Also, I sensed it while tripping. So did Jeff.

Similarly, you see this in studies by which humans instantaneously are attracted to or repelled by an object or concept, only after which are they able to find reasons for the attraction of repellence - a type of reverse causality in consciousness. Perception is the true king, with rational thought following nude and silly as the Emperor.

Matter knows matter. On what level? According to astronomy, gravity entails every particle affecting every other as space-time bends. According to quantum mechanics, particles become entangled and never part perception, despite distance or time - it is possible that the entire universe is one entangled mess on the sub-sub-sub-atomic level. We’re all connected by the forces that govern the universe. What forces and laws do we not yet know? And what implications may they have?

This, incidentally, makes prophecy theoretically possible, if you accept that reality is fractal, and that the fractals can be perceived (usually in altered states of consciousness). By being able to sense the greater pattern’s rhythm and form (which has to be done on an intuitive level, considering the greatness and complexity of existence on our one planet, much less the universe), it may be possible to see how the lowliest and most mundane phenomena can be related to the future and past events on a grander scale. Reading such signs... is most likely impossibly difficult without using a different form of consciousness. Dreams? That's where a lot seem to come from, and it's where all my deja vu has its genesis.

Other people’s beliefs in these phenomenon give me hope. I‘d rather not divide the world into “rationals” and “others”, considering how the definition of rational has changed throughout history. It is a short-sighted person indeed who believes that not only can all be known, but that reality can be extrapolated by the things we’ve figured out in the last couple hundred years.
I think I’ll put my faith in what has been figured out in the last couple thousands of years.

And finally, do coincidences have meaning? THE ANSWER!!!!: maybe.

Monday, November 23, 2009

First 7 Insights from the Celestine Prophecy

From the Wikipedia page for The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (I edited parts of the following so that it makes more sense to me).:
  • The First Insight... A Critical Mass

A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture; an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences [aka the fractal nature of reality].

  • The Second Insight... The Longer Now

This awakening represents the creation of a new, more complete worldview, which replaces a five-hundred-year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort. While this technological preoccupation was an important step, our awakening to life's coincidences [aka the fractal nature of reality] is opening us up to ... real human life on this planet, and the real nature of our Universe.

  • The Third Insight... A Matter of Energy

We now experience that we live not in a material Universe, but in a Universe of dynamic energy. Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing our attention in the desired direction, in that where attention goes, energy flows, influencing other energy systems and increasing the pace of coincidences in our lives. It is possible to see this energy enveloping all living things.

  • The Fourth Insight... The Struggle For Power

To gain energy, we tend to manipulate or force others to give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened and often fight back. Competition for scarce human energy is the cause of all conflict between people.

  • The Fifth Insight... The Message of the Mystics

Insecurity and violence ends when we experience an inner connection with divine energy within, a connection described by mystics of all traditions. A sense of lightness or buoyancy along with the constant sensation of love are measures of this connection. If these measures are present, the connection is real; if not, it is only pretended.

  • The Sixth Insight... Clearing the Past

The more we stay connected, the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection, usually when we are under stress. In these times, we can see our own particular way of stealing energy from others [or having our energy stolen by others]. Once our manipulations are brought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more constant and we can discover our own evolutionary path in life, and our spiritual mission, which is the personal way we can contribute to the World.

Here the four main "control dramas"—the Interrogator, the Intimidator, the Aloof and the Poor Me—are discussed.

  • The Seventh Insight... Engaging the Flow

Knowing our personal mission [can] further enhance [or enrich] the flow of mysterious coincidences [aka the fractal nature of reality] as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question; then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us towards the answers, which [can be] synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Striving for the Mundane

"when we alter our state of consciousness, we can get closer to the baseline state that is pure God consciousness. From my personal experience, this is best achieved through the ingestion of 5-MeO-DMT and is far more effective than any meditation regimen or other “mystical” practice. 5-MeO-DMT is about as altered as any human being can get, but from the God perspective, that state of consciousness is simply the way things actually are. In other words, that state of consciousness of complete mystical union is actually the super-mundane state of reality. It’s the most ordinary, non-fantastical thing. It’s the reality game that we’re playing here in embodied form that is fantastical, given that it’s all a complex and grand illusion."

-Martin W. Ball from Being Human: An Entheological Guide to God, Evolution and the Fractal Energetic Nature of Reality, P38

Buy his book online here

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts on a Blog / a Story

Reading over my first blog post is damning. Who am I arguing with? In my mind, probably my roommate. He has a "piss n' shit worldview" (his words), and my recent mental and psychic explorations are either offensive or pointless to him. So... I must argue my points in order for them to feel valid.

But I don't truly wish to argue. What I am going through right now is on a deeply personal level, and even if all the specifics are wrong, the quest of the thing opens up a new world of real possibilities [of life experience and knowledge].

Here is a brief story that holds all facets of the newfound quest:

During my trip, I perceived in my matter the greater universe, and suddenly all the religions, prophecies, science, mysteries, and philosophies I have ever mulled and dismissed unified into a coherent whole whereby the universe's structure and processes are both weirder and more complex than I could have ever imagined on my own. In my last post, I said no one knows The Truth, but what I really should have said is that the billions of Truths out there are all fragments of Totality.

So was I whacked out or what? In previous trips, I have made great personal discoveries, abandoned my fear of death, saw the Earth from space, etc... but I never ventured outwards. But this time, by the end of the night I started to believe in things that I never could before. A meaningful, full, complex universe full of unknown (but explorable) dimensions. The death of my parents at a young age eliminated all meaning besides perceivable, mechanical process. A purposeless universe made sense to me, because their deaths were very purposeless. Not to say there was no joy: at the very, very least I came from nothing to exist for awhile before the inevitable return to nothing. Joyful existensialism was what I called my philosophy (although it wasn't so joyful during my long and frequent bouts of despair and depression).

Anyway, this caused my a lot of anxiety in the following days. I was going to have to give up my sardonic irony and nihilism to embrace sincere, real beliefs. Were the mushrooms truly "mind-expanding" or was I just experiencing bizarre neurochemical interactions? Was the profound Truth I experienced during the trip real in any empirical way?

Reading Daniel Pinchbeck, Stanislaus Grof, and a couple other advocates for psychadelics made me take the idea seriously - these were people in similar situations who have compiled a large body of writing on the subject. The ideas matched up in very convincing ways - the spiraling, fractal nature of time, the approaching "new age" (bleh, too many connotations with that phrase, but close enough), the oneness of it all. Similarly, talking with Jeff about the experience made me realize even during that strange night, I was not alone in following impossible thoughts. But still... I wanted a sign. A real, unambiguous sign like I'd read about that if I opened my senses and consciousness, the universe would manifest to me.

I had a dream:

I was at a party thrown by the Christian God of the Old Testament (at my Godmother's house). Wild revelry, drunken spectacle, late into the night. Eventually the party wound down, and I made my way downstairs to the basement with a man and a woman.

The basement was filled with mutilated corpses. As we stood there, God came down the stairs and shot his arm T-1000-style into the chest of the man and ripped out his heart. I knew I was safe, and so did the woman, but all three of us (woman, God, and myself), knew that what he had done was wrong.

As we sat silently, suddenly my cellphone rang. I took it out of my pocket and looked at the caller ID. It said, bursting with "meaning":

217 - ..............

I could only make out the area code. I answered, and a voice told me he was coming for God. God glared at me with blazing eyes, and I knew in that moment that He wanted to kill me.

I woke up sweating. I rarely remember my dreams, but I had asked for a sign, and I had received a name and number. I wrote them down and fell back asleep, thinking that I would find 217.

Two days later, I lay in my girlfriend's bed, looking at her bookshelf. On it was a Bible, and I figured that it would be worth looking at, considering all the Christian imagery in the dream. I flipped to page 217, but there was nothing there - not that I was expecting there to be, page numbering was too arbitrary. My mind wandered to a conversation I had with my Grandmother the night before. I had never humored her borderline fundamentalist beliefs before, but before the call ended we had gotten into a conversation about Acts of the Apostles - she was going to Bible Study that night, and it was the book they were analyzing. If there was one book I should check (before I ran to the bus to get to work), it would be that one, my inner something said. I found Chapter 2, Verse 17 and an electric shock ran through me:

Acts of the Apostles 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

There could not be a more meaningful or unambiguous passage to describe what I was going through.

The meaning of the dream became clear. I was the detective, and I must do what a detective does: search for truth.

It could be a coincidence. As I've said, none of us know. But... if it is a coincidence, it is the most profound of my life, right when I asked for it.

Now what?

Blogging, I guess.

Acting Mythologically

In the "in-itself" there is nothing of "causal connections," of "necessity," or of "psychological non-freedom"; there the effect does not follow the cause, there is no rule or "law." It is we alone who have devised cause, sequence, for-each-other, relativity, constraint, number, law, freedom, motive, and purpose; and when we project and mix this symbol world into things as if it existed "in itself," we act once more as we have always acted--mythologically.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Quoted in 2012 by Daniel Pinchbeck p50

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eric Has Landed (Somewhere)

Thanks, Jeff. Glad to be here.


I am tired of using my forebrain. It's still new (evolutionarily speaking), and the kinks have not yet been worked out. My emotions affect my reasoning, as does the weather, the people around me, my health, and my location. So do about a million other things, too varied and subtle to name. Cultural bias, yes, strongly. Genetic wiring of the thinking hardware, definitely. Hormones, color, music, stress, peer pressure. Context.

Value judgments. They are subjective, entirely. "Good" and "bad" are not empiric qualities. You feel first, rationalize second. You didn't like "Titanic"? A lot of people did. They're not wrong. You're not right. It simply is, and all value-laden adjectives are a projection of your own values and personality. It's a post-modern world out there, and no one has a clear view of it all (although everyone thinks that they do).

I yearn for the world beyond words and reason. The insane chaos of existence we try to keep at bay with technology, comfort, mind-numbing drugs, and sureness in our beliefs. Do you yearn, friend?

I do not know how many people intuit naturally. I suspect it is present in all to some degree. But how do you interface the truths that bubble out of your subconscious with that which your mind/history/psychology tells you is actual truth? The forebrain speaks in words. Your intuition has no need for such prisons of meanings - but it speaks nonetheless.

Recently, my life has changed. My intuition went into overdrive on the last trip I was on with Jeff, and I realized that I could/should no longer suppress my deepest feelings with culturally-biased mental-rationalism regarding the reality that was presenting itself to me. It is a reality that is not of myself (I hope), but of the Earth/universe working through me, a amalgam of ancient matter that can perceive and feel and perhaps understand itself on a global/universal level. I wish to transcend the realm of context, and know the all/one.

What this means both practically and spiritually... will be the subject of the next ten thousand blog posts.

Am I writing to anyone? For anyone, or against anyone? I do not yet know. I am simply writing for anyone who peers around the edges of modern "reason".

Evolving our Awareness

"Many [scientists] have spoken powerfully regarding the type of intent needed to give rise to a more integral science. For Bohm, the imperative is to evolve our awareness, so that it might naturally become more whole, more in line with our connectedness to the world. Without such awareness we're blind to the impact of our current ways of thinking. "Thought," as Bohm often said, "creates the world and then says, 'I didn't do it.'" Einstein spoke of the "optical delusion of our consciousness," whereby we experience ourselves "as something separate from the rest." "Our task," he said, "must be to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Maturana's work embodies his commitment to "a manner of co-existence in which love, mutual respect, honesty, and social responsibility arise spontaneously from living instant after instant." He says that we become more human through realizing "that we do not see the world as it is but as we are" and reminds us that "no human being has a privileged view of reality." When we forget our contingent view of reality, we lose our capacity to live together; as Maturana says, when one person or group asserts that only they see "what is really going on," they are actually making a "demand for obedience.""

From Presence by Senge, Scharmer, Jaworksi & Flowers, p 202-203

New Contributor

My good friend Eric will now be contributing thoughts to the spot-
Welcome, buddy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Trip, Some Conclusions

Psychedelic mushrooms heighten whatever my natural reaction would be to a given scenario. So if a certain conversation makes me uncomfortable, that same conversation would make me really uncomfortable while on mushrooms; or if something is beautiful to look at normally, it would be strikingly beautiful on mushrooms. One other effect mushrooms have on me is that they allow me to see more clearly the causal (or fractal) nature of the world and my mind-- I am able to see more clearly the causes of my thoughts, the consequences of my words, the effects of stimuli, and the natural emergence of life.

I posted this quote from Ernst Casserer, two posts ago:
"Physical reality seems to recede in proportion as man's symbolic activity advances. Instead of dealing with the things themselves, man is in a sense conversing with himself. He has so engulfed himself in linguistic forms, in artistic images, in mythic symbols or religious rites that he cannot see or know anything without the interposition of an artificial medium"

David Abrams in The Spell of the Sensuous says that the big leap in man's symbolic activity occurred when man invented alphabetic language. Before the existence of alphabetic language, man would say a word and it would have a direct relation to the physical thing:
Word ---> Physical thing
After the invention of alphabetic language there was an artificial intermediary, the alphabetic word:
Word ---> The alphabetic word ---> Physical thing
At first this seems like a trivial difference, until you realize the profound consequences it has. Suddenly, the mind can stop short of the physical thing, and operate in a completely human realm -- it no longer needs the physical landscape from which all language sprang. Thus, "man is in a sense conversing with himself"

It is important at this point to note that the argument above isn't stating that once symbolic activity is invented, physical reality immediately disappears- but rather there is a proportional shift; as our use of symbols advances, physical reality recedes. The invention of alphabetic language is just one of the most notable historical occurrences of the advancement of symbolic activity.

When I recently took mushrooms, I noticed a causal (fractal) link between symbolic activities and deep feelings within me of stress and discomfort. When my mind strayed to things like advertisements, office jobs, fashion, pop-culture, or comedy bits, I would find myself in a deeply uncomfortable mindset; which, as I said previously, is just a heightened version of my normal reaction to these things. On our trip we walked to the lake; The walk there, along Belmont, was intense & stressful- but as soon as we arrived at the lake the stress and discomfort fell away from me. I was suddenly overcome with feelings of deep pleasure, comfort and belonging-- again, a heightened version of my normal reaction. While at the lake, my mind wasn't cluttered by any symbols and so I was able to clearly experience the moon appearing just above the horizon, I was able to smell the fallen leaves, to hear myself breathing, to feel the air on my skin, feel the ground beneath my feet-- i felt as if I was no longer chained by the world of symbols but free to be myself: a physical, sensuous being in a physical world.

At that moment it was abundantly clear to me that symbols have no real existence. When I give them power, they overwhelm me and pull me away from the world where I feel most at home. As such, I have lost all patience for people or institutions who force their symbols and subsequent stress & discomfort into my life. I just can't be a victim to a non-existence force-- so I'm taking the reigns to my life back. I'm going to be more forceful in the acquisition of the things I need to be happy and more discriminating in the activities I involve myself in.

Friday, November 6, 2009

As Symbols Proliferate, Physical Reality Diminishes

"Physical reality seems to recede in proportion as man's symbolic activity advances. Instead of dealing with the things themselves man is in a sense constantly conversing with himself. He has so enveloped himself in linguistic forms, in artistic images, in mythical symbols or religious rites that he cannot see or know anything except by the interposition of this artificial medium."

Ernst Cassirer
quoted in Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman