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The Writing on the Wall #7: "Not All That Can Be Imagined Works In Practice"
J. Harmon Grahn
v12, September 21, 2012
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0 Introduction & Synopsis
In what follows, we cover a good deal of ground in various domains, which probably do not command a great deal of attention in most people's daily lives. Perhaps these matters "should" command greater attention: for they draw into question virtually everything "everybody knows" to be "self-evidently true" about "reality." In summary, there seems to be a convergence from a number of different fields of interest upon a vision of "reality" in striking contrast to what we might term "conventional views" — not excluding the thoroughly entrenched views of "scientific orthodoxy." The contemporary residents of planet Earth, wherever, and whoever we may be, seem to be sharing an experience in which all the ways of life to which we have, collectively and individually, grown placidly accustomed, like it or not, are being "shaken up." The cards (in the "civilized house of cards") are being vigorously reshuffled; "a new game's afoot!" and the name of that game, in a single word, is LOVE.
But what does that one word mean? It has been used in so many different ways, in so many different contexts, from the sacred to the profane, that by itself it cannot be said to convey any meaning whatsoever, to anyone. Therefore, we shall here take an unhurried, meandering stroll, employing many words, to wend our way eventually to a visionary glimpse of what that one word might possibly mean for the future of humanity.
In § 1 The Beginning, we commence our discussion with the title observation that not all that can be imagined works in practice; and conclude speculatively that not even "Almighty Bob" — in this connection, supposed to be "Creator of the Heavens and the Earth" — is excluded from the rigors of this discipline. The equation, "2 + 2 = 4," for example, is one that works — for you, for me, and for "Almighty Bob." The partial equation, "2 + 2 = 5" does not work, for you, for me, or for "Almighty Bob;" and unaltered, cannot be made to work, by any of us — although with various alterations, it can be balanced, and turned into a whole equation; as for example, "2 + 2 = 5 - 1."
In § 2 "Civilization" — here always enclosed in quotes, because it has never fulfilled its advertising — we underline what we have often stated in prior essays, mainly that "civilization" is a mechanism that does not work; and in its present and historical form, cannot be made to work. This is so for a very simple and uncompromising reason, viz.: "all human 'civilizations' have been established and maintained by means of the coercive power of the more powerful, exercising their will at the expense of the will of the less powerful." The "bedrock principle" upon which all "civilizations" have been founded was enunciated succinctly by the ancient Athenians to the conquered Melians during the Peloponnesian War (-431 to -404): that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
The reason this system doesn't work is "because Cosmos — which may be considered as a purposeful, intelligent, creative entity — does not function on the basis of coercive power: because coercive power is fundamentally incompatible with purposeful, intelligent creativity: the essence alike of humanity (in potential), and Cosmos (in fact): the prototype upon which humanity, and all existence, are modeled like a self-similar fractal shape."
If so, then we Earth-humans find ourselves in a rather "tight spot" just now: because we've been doing this "civilization" thing for at least the past five thousand years — or for as long you like to trace the continuity of human "civilization." "Civilization" is all we know; and if it does not work, what are we to do instead? This is not a question with any "easy answers."
In § 2, we also give consideration to some "transdimensional" possibilities, and note a number of ways in which "civilized" humans actually spend most of our daily time in states of consciousness significantly removed from "third dimensional reality." Thus we feel justified in suggesting here that "there is a great deal more to human life than 'third dimensional reality.'"
In § 3 "Post-Civilization", we begin to seek viable approaches to the tough questions with which we Earth-humans are now confronted: If not "civilization," what? Where do we go from here? That works?
In § 3.1 Transdimensional Possibilities, we note briefly that "Stepping deliberately beyond the fences of 'third dimensional reality' at once opens vast, unexplored, and mostly unimagined domains of possibility; and casts us upon uncharted seas that may be sown with hazardous reefs, and unknown dragons of the deeps — and perhaps . . . with unimagined blessings as well;" and warn that "these speculations are not anticipated to appeal to 'just anybody.'" § 3.1, like its following Subsections (with one exception) are quite brief.
§ 3.2 Life and Death briefly considers the mysterious transition between the status of being "alive," and being "dead;" and notes that "just as observation of the wave properties of light excludes observation of its quantum properties, so the observable differences between a living being and a lifeless corpse are partial equations, or polarized thought-forms, and 'are not the whole story.'"
§ 3.3 "Knowledge" — like "civilization" is enclosed in quotes — because I find, as with "civilization," reason to doubt that "knowledge" fulfills its advertising; and observe in a footnote (20) that "One may persuade others to share one's 'certainty;' or bludgeon them, or terrorize them, or otherwise coerce them at least to espouse one's views; but proof, applicable in mathematics, is a slippery term, which may not have applicability within 'third dimensional reality.' 'As far as the theorems of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.' —Albert Einstein (1879-1955)"
§ 3.4 Tolerance recommends that "tolerance for 'alternative realities' is an essential condition for the emergence of a 'post-civilization' that actually works;" because "each of us is potentially, and legitimately, in command of the entire content of our own imaginations: which is the whole cloth of which our respective 'realities' are woven. If we forfeit command of our own imaginations, we are most thoroughly and effectively enslaved. Thus uniformity among 'realities' authored by those who inhabit them cannot possibly be achieved without stifling human purpose, intelligence, and creativity."
However, "uniformity among 'realities' has been high on every 'civilized' agenda since the dawn of 'civilization;'" and "If one hopes to dwell in peace within the unique 'reality' of his own imaginative fabrication, he is clearly obliged not to interfere with others who similarly hope to dwell within their unique 'realities.' The corollary, of course, is that those who are unwilling to allow their 'realities' to others, will surely forfeit the same liberty they deny. This plays out in 'civilization,' even among the strong, who 'do what they can,' no less than among the weak, who 'suffer what they must.'" Why this is so is discussed further in § 3.4.
§ 3.5 Wisdom makes a bid to gather under its wings the concerns of the prior Subsections; yet admits that "the 'wisdom' of one may appear as 'unwisdom' in the appraisal of another;" and that for the past several thousand years "'civilization' has been presumed among virtually all 'civilized' people not only to work, but to be the only system of social organization that can possibly work among humans, anywhere, ever. Yet in the midst of mounting chaos in every part of the 'civilized world,' we have ventured here to suggest that 'civilization' does not work, never has worked, other than as an 'emergency measure' to bridge the gestation, or infancy of the human species; and never will work on a permanent basis: because the coercive preemption by the more powerful of the choices of the less powerful runs exactly counter to all the patterns in Cosmos that manifestly do work. Is such a suggestion wisdom, or folly? Only you may decide that; and act accordingly."
§ 3.6 Love is the exception to the rule of brevity that applies to the prior Subsections; and it seems to be the "heart" upon which this entire essay converges. It quotes Jesus, including Matthew 7:12, and Luke 6:31: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them;" and continues with paraphrases to similar effect from many "transdimensional" traditions, ancient and contemporary.
All of these statements have about them the properties of whole equations — clearly distinguishable from the partial equations of the altered-ego. They might be summarized as expressions of a universal equation between self and everything "else," or as statements of the fundamental unity, or oneness of all things, including the individual self. They share in common the quality of being inclusive, not exclusive. They are expressions of "Living, Loving Divinity."
They may also converge upon that illusive vision we are groping toward: the vision of a "post-civilization" that actually works. The statements listed above, and others like them in various forms, are quite familiar to all "civilized" people, everywhere. Yet they are often far removed from actual 'civilized' practice — which seems in general to be much more closely aligned with, "Do unto others, before others do unto you."
The later part of § 3.6 gives consideration to the astonishing near death experience (NDE) and recovery from terminal cancer of Anita Moorjani; who when hospitalized in a comatose state the morning of 2/2/2006, was not expected to survive the next 36 hours. Moorjani describes her vivid experience during her "comatose" state, while medical tests on her vital functions were being analyzed; how she was embraced by overwhelming love, and was given the choice as to how her medical tests should turn out. That is, her medical tests could either show catastrophic organ failure as the cause of her death; or could show no trace of cancer anywhere within her body. Moorjani took the second option, emerged from her coma, just in time to receive the results of her medical tests, which showed healthy organ function. Extensive follow-up tests could find no trace of malignancy anywhere within her body.
This episode raises fundamental questions about the nature of "reality;" which we begin to explore in the following Section.
§ 4 Many Worlds commences an extended examination, including the related Subsections, and Sub-subsections, of what is understood, or misunderstood, about some of the more esoteric and arcane aspects of "reality." Of particular interest are the implications of quantum mechanics, and its alternative interpretations.
Surprisingly, there was evidently little interest among advanced theoretical physicists in the implications about "reality" that follow from the startling discoveries of the pioneer quantum physicists during the period prior to, and following World War II. "A common academic policy," wrote Osnaghi, et al. in a paper cited in § 4, "was to gather theoreticians and experimentalists together in order to favour experiments and concrete applications, rather than abstract speculations. This practical attitude was further increased by the impressive development of physics between the 1930s and the 1950s, driven on the one hand by the need to apply the new quantum theory to a wide range of atomic and subatomic phenomena, and on the other hand by the pursuit of military goals."
Now this strikes me [I write] as a quite revealing commentary: because it may furnish a "real-world" example of the idea . . . that the purposeful, intelligent creativity of the "more powerful" is stifled by the exercise of coercive power, no less than is that of the "less powerful:" because the former — not excluding even the hallowed halls of advanced scientific research — are under the perpetual threat of usurpation, sooner or later, by an even greater power.
The impression I take away with me is that the leading-edge pioneers during the early days of quantum physics simply had very little interest in the philosophical implications of their own discoveries: because the technical applications to which fledgling quantum theory was applied, primarily to victory in war, and the probable economic leverage they made possible (which amounts, at bottom, to the same thing), occupied a much higher priority in their evaluation than did their discoveries' philosophical implications. Those who numbered themselves among the 'more powerful' in those days — or whose research was financed by them — simply did not have time for philosophical implications. They were all too keenly occupied with "more important" matters, such as fighting the cold war, and keeping pace with the arms race — or in sum, defending their power against the possible emergence of a greater power: the "lose/lose game" humans have been playing on Earth since the dawn of "civilization."
§ 4.1 "Quantum Weirdness" is where we get a little dirt under our fingernails by digging into some of the more accessible aspects of quantum theory — particularly in what came to be known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. The Copenhagen Interpretation, centered around Danish physicist Niels Bohr, arrived almost reluctantly at some highly counterintuitive conclusions about the nature of "reality" — at least at the quantum scale. Without going into it in advance, suffice to say that § 4.1 provides some basic background for the following Subsection.
§ 4.2 An Alternative Interpretation wends its way by easy stages to consideration of . . . well, an alternative interpretation of quantum mechanics, developed by American physicist Hugh Everett III, to the effect in part that (quoting from § 4.2) "all so-called 'material objects,' that manifest in any way as existing, may be considered to be wave functions. Another way of saying this is that there are no 'solids:' there are only waves, or wave functions. That is simply what photons, electrons, atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, planets, solar systems, galaxies — or anything, and every thing, including you and me — are: infinitely various wave functions."
Everett called his theory The Theory of the Universal Wave Function. It was his doctoral thesis at Princeton University in 1956, and was later referred to as "the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics." At the time, it was not well received — in Copenhagen, or anywhere else; and after securing his Doctorate, Everett left Princeton, and theoretical physics, and never returned.
§ 4.3 Implications, including the following Sub-subsections, is another extended discussion, this time of implications following from, or giving consideration to, Everett's theory of the universal wave function. In light of Everett's theory, we return our attention to the case of Anita Moorjani, and ask, "Was this an instance of a bifurcation in the space/time continuum — or what? Follow-up tests were immediately and repeatedly run, none of which returned so much as a trace of cancer anywhere in Moorjani's body. Her doctors had no satisfactory explanation for her virtually instantaneous recovery, but 'put it down to me suddenly responding to the chemo,' Moorjani remarked; and she lived to tell her tale to the world."
One of the implications of "the Everettian heresy" [the § 4.3 discussion continues] is that somewhere there is an "alternate reality" in which Anita Moorjani never recovered from her coma: her organs shut down, as anticipated by her doctors, followed by a funeral attended in great sorrow by her family and friends; and the story of her "miraculous" recovery was never told. But that is not the "reality" in which you, and I, and Anita Moorjani live today. We live in a "reality" in which all this "really happened," and a live and healthy Anita Moorjani shares the "real world" with you and me. Makes a fellow think a bit, what?
In § 4.3.1 A Remote View, we turn our attention to the work of Courtney Brown, PhD, Director and founder of the Farsight Institute, a nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to the study of a phenomenon of nonlocal consciousness known as remote viewing.
Remote viewing involves achieving a fluid state of consciousness in which the Viewer becomes skilled at suspending the usually active conscious mentality, and taking note of subconscious content without the normally reflexive intervention of the conscious mind. This is a subtle, delicate process that requires practice and perseverance to master; yet it can be learned by anyone who focuses the necessary effort.
The precision and spectrum of results achievable through the rigorous protocols of what Brown terms Scientific Remote Viewing (SRV) are very difficult to "explain," or even rationally comprehend, within the framework of conventional views of "reality," or classical epistemology. The same may be said of the NDE of Anita Moorjani. These clearly observed and unambiguously documented phenomena simply cannot be — if "reality" really is "like everybody thinks it is." Evidently, it is not. So, "What in Sam Hill's goin' on?"
§ 4.3.2 Imagination and "Reality" makes a stab, in a highly speculative manner, at grappling with this conundrum. From the perspective of our historical and prehistoric past, we have unmistakably entered terra incognita here, and creative speculation is our only map.
The demonstrable and demonstrated fact that remote viewing is even possible, with any verifiable reliability at all, is a paradigm-shifting circumstance: for it suggests possibilities not imaginable from within the confines of classical epistemology. It may even be so that remote viewing itself, far from being a bizarre phenomenon beyond the experience of most "normal humans," may be among the most common of human experiences. It is imaginable that exercise of the creative imagination consists in essence of "tuning in," perhaps with varying fidelity, to "alternate realities" that actually exist "somewhere" within the universal wave function that manifests all possible "realities" — including, by the way, those that work, and those that, like ours, do not.
This is entirely speculative, and is not intended as a description of "how things really are." How "things really are" may be considered in many different ways, on the basis of many different assumptions, or speculations. Under some circumstances, it may be useful to consider imagination as a facility for "tuning in" to "alternate realities" that are presumed already to exist "somewhere." In other circumstances, this may be too passive an approach to imagination, and assigning it instead a more actively creative function, in which it is instrumental in bringing "alternative realities" into actuality, may be a more useful approach. These alternatives may be complementary views, either one of which, exclusive of the other, produce partial equations that "are not the whole story."
§ 4.3.3 Alternative Time Lines introduces yet another element into this rich mixture of imaginable possibilities that may, for some, become extraordinary — or maybe only ordinary actualities. The source of the element under discussion in § 4.3.3 are the Hathors, "transdimensional" beings who are not entirely "foreign" to this essay series.
Of particular interest here is a recent Hathor communication titled The Sphere of All Possibilities: A Hathor Planetary Message through Tom Kenyon, dated August 18, 2012; in which is described a method of manifesting new realities by means of the sphere of all possibilities.
Perhaps in part because I have been thinking rather intensively in these terms for some time, I perceived in the Hathors' sphere of all possibilities elements in common with Hugh Everett's universal wave function, as I have been imagining it.
The information we are giving here in this message [the Hathors write] is meant to assist you in manifesting new realities for yourself and for humanity. This method greatly accelerates the manifesting process, and since time, as you perceive it, is speeding up we believe a method that works quickly will be of great benefit.
. . . manifesting new realities for yourself and for humanity. Quickly. Now on the basis of the discussion so far, this may not be regarded as just an empty phrase. In the near death experience of Anita Moorjani, the theoretical physics of Hugh Everett, and the work in remote viewing by Courtney Brown and associates, we have discussed at considerable length some pretty compelling reasons not to dismiss casually the utterances of the Hathors about "manifesting new realities."
§ 5 Convergences attempts to pull this assortment of thoughts and observations into a coherent vision for a human future that may have some plausibility for a self-selected few with "resonant" inclinations. Or, this essay, and its prequels and sequels, may amount to no more than a series of "school exercises" for the author, in the ongoing process of becoming his future self. They make no claims, nor have attached to them any expectations. Simply having been written, they fulfill their entire purpose.
1 The Beginning
This edition of The Writing on the Wall springs from a remark in the prior edition, § 4 Transdimensional Realities, in reference to a "Cosmic, Creative, Purposeful Intelligence" that may be imagined to have purposefully designed and created the Cosmos in which we find ourselves at this time. "Such a Cosmic Being," I wrote, "would have discovered early on that not all that can be imagined actually works in practice."
This raises an intriguing metaphysical question: If Cosmos, "All That Is," is imagined as the work of a "Cosmic, Creative, Purposeful Intelligence" — we'll call Him "Almighty Bob" — is He in any way bound by constraints that limit the shape or nature of His Creations? And if so, what is the origin of such constraints, assuming that "Almighty Bob" is the source and starting point from Which, or Whom, follows everything that exists, anywhere, at any time?
For example: in the Cosmos with which we have some tangential familiarity, it seems to be unequivocally "true" that 2 + 2 = 4; or that •• + •• = ••••. However, if it had suited His purposes, could "Almighty Bob" have created a Cosmos in which it is "true" instead that 2 + 2 = 5? Or that •• + •• = (count them) •••••? And if not, why not? After all, this is "Almighty Bob" we're talking about, the "Creator of the Heavens and the Earth," not "just anybody."
Some years back, I ran across an item (this is supposed to be a "true story") describing how a State Legislature somewhere attempted to write into Law a measure intended to simplify things that seemed unnecessarily complicated to the sponsor of the bill. The effect of the proposed legislation was to make it a Law in that State that π, the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle, should henceforth be 3.0000 exactly, instead of the more cumbersome 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937511 . . . , an irrational non-repeating decimal fraction that has no theoretical final digit. Fortunately, a mathematician was in observance in the gallery during the Legislative Session in which the bill was being considered, and ventured to explain to the Legislators why such a Law should not be enacted.
However, in the interest of making Cosmos a less complicated place, could "Almighty Bob" have enacted such a Cosmic Law, when He first started creating things, and putting them in motion? Again, if not, why not? Who, or What dictates conditions to "Almighty Bob?"
The equations discussed above may be visualized as being represented by means of a mechanical balance beam, suspending at either end two identical pans. In one pan may be placed, for example, 2 + 2 identical objects: •• + ••; and in the opposite pan a number of the same kind of object, such as •••, or ••••, or •••••. I think you will probably expect intuitively, as I do, that if you actually perform this thought experiment in "third dimensional reality," or I do, or "Almighty Bob" does, we will all find without exception that only when the number of identical objects in both pans is the same, will the perfectly adjusted beam balance perfectly. The equation, •• + •• = ••••• is a partial equation, not a whole equation; yet it might be amended, and turned into a whole equation that balances, for instance like this: •• + •• = ••••• - •; or 2 + 2 = 5 - 1.
If we define a perfectly balanced system, or a whole equation, as "working," and imbalance, or a partial equation, as "not working," our thought experiment suggests that in relation to "things that work," and "things that don't work," "Almighty Bob" may be surprisingly kindred with "plain ordinary Bob," and with you, and with me. Accordingly, I speculate that, if Cosmos really is a product of purposeful design, then "Almighty Bob" (or/and Whoever, or Whatever else may have participated in its design and creation) must have devoted considerable "attention," one way or another, to working out, in excruciating detail, exactly what works, and what does not work in practice, in order to have come up with the Cosmos in which we now find ourselves.
In this respect, I imagine "Almighty Bob" cannot be a whole lot different from "plain ordinary Bob," who makes intricate kinetic sculpture whirligigs in his garage across the street. Except that "Almighty Bob" evidently had a lot more "time" than may be available to "Neighbor Bob" — allowing scope to the Former for significantly more ambitious projects (such as the invention and manufacture of electrons, protons, neutrons, atoms, planets, solar systems, galaxies . . . to name only a few) than the latter may wish even to contemplate.
Among humans, the inventive/creative process is prototypically exemplified by Croatian genius-inventor Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, who described in his autobiography how he routinely designed complex mechanisms entirely within his imagination, in which he perfected them without the aid of drawings or laboratory testing. He described his method of invention like this:
The moment one constructs a device to carry into practice a crude idea, he finds himself unavoidably engrossed with the details of the apparatus. As he goes on improving and reconstructing, his force of concentration diminishes and he loses sight of the great underlying principle. Results may be obtained, but always at the sacrifice of quality. My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance. There is no difference whatever; the results are the same. In this way I am able to rapidly develop and perfect a conception without touching anything. When I have gone so far as to embody in the invention every possible improvement I can think of and see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form this final product of my brain. Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it. In twenty years there has not been a single exception.
In this way, Tesla described an inventive process very similar in principle to how I imagine "Almighty Bob" might plausibly have invented Cosmos: working out in pure imagination every detail and nuance of His Creation, possibly before "fabricating" so much as a single electron. This process, whether engaged by "Almighty Bob," Nikola Tesla, or by you, or me; and whether conducted in the laboratory, in the field, or entirely within the imagination; is in all cases one of sorting out and keeping elements that work, and perfecting or discarding elements that don't work. It is in essence an evolutionary process, or a process of selection — yet not Darwinian "natural selection," which "scientific orthodoxy" insists without compromise is entirely a "mindless" and "purposeless" process. Rather, the selection process Tesla described, and creative beings everywhere employ in countless different ways, is in essence an unambiguously conscious and purposeful process aimed at intended results — that work — among all the results that may be imagined, but do not work.
As Nikola Tesla — and as I imagine "Almighty Bob" — have employed this imaginative process, it becomes quickly evident that, for possibly mysterious reasons, "not all that can be imagined works in practice." Thus "2 + 2 = 4" works; "2 + 2 = 5," although it can be imagined, does not work, and unchanged, cannot be made to work. Similarly, "π = 3.0000" does not work; whereas "π = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937511 . . ." does — although for the purposes of most projects undertaken by human hands, "π = 3.14" works just about as well; with the advantage that it is only slightly more complicated, yet is significantly more truthful, than is "π = 3.0000." Greater precision may be achieved if required, by extending the value of π by two or three additional decimal places — or if necessary, by even more.
In any case, if an intended result is to be achieved in any endeavor, elements that do not work must be excluded, amended, or replaced by others that do — whether it is you, me, Nikola Tesla, or "Almighty Bob," seeking results. The creativity of any creative being consists not only in forming creative thoughts and ideas, but also in refining them by a process of purposeful selection aimed at identifying within them every element that does not work, and eliminating it, correcting it, or replacing it with elements that do work.
Now the trend of this series of essays has taken the position that human "civilization" is a mechanism that does not work: for the reason that all human "civilizations" have been established and maintained by means of the coercive power of the more powerful, exercising their will at the expense of the will of the less powerful. How this may have come about is discussed at some length in The Writing on the Wall #5 § 2.2 Wealth and Power; and the reason it doesn't work is quite simply "because Cosmos — which may be considered as a purposeful, intelligent, creative entity — does not function on the basis of coercive power: because coercive power is fundamentally incompatible with purposeful, intelligent creativity: the essence alike of humanity (in potential), and Cosmos (in fact): the prototype upon which humanity, and all existence, are modeled like a self-similar fractal shape."
We've been through all this before; and are left with the question, of swiftly mounting urgency: "If what we humans have been doing here on Earth for the past several thousand years doesn't work, what should we do instead that does work?" I've been going round and round in circles about this, and coming up with very little in the way of a "practicable answer" to it. Yet when I step out under the stars at night, I see all around me an overwhelmingly abundant manifestation of an entire Cosmos that manifestly does work, flawlessly, and as far as I can tell, eternally. Even right here on Earth, there yet remains a fantastically rich cornucopia throughout the "natural world" — in distinction from the "civilized world" — filled with things that work, flawlessly, beautifully, exquisitely; marred and wounded only by the ham-fisted and unenlightened meddlings of "civilized" humans — by no means excluding myself.
If all humans were to vanish overnight from the face of the Earth — without further disturbance to the planet — I fancy that Earth would with amazing resiliency heal the wounds inflicted by humans, regain her equilibrium, and "live happily ever after" in uninterrupted ecological bliss — without humans. Why cannot such a paradisaical state be achieved with humans? The manifest presence all around us, over our heads, and under our feet, of a world and Cosmos that work bears powerful testimony that it can be achieved. The question is: How? How do we get "there" from "here?"
This becomes an intensely personal question, as well as a collective human dilemma incumbent upon all residents of planet Earth. I regret to confess that, in my personal "dark night of the soul," I do not have a "ready answer" to it that may be applied to the apparent situation on three-dimensional planet Earth. However, it is also intuitively apparent to me that Cosmos, Earth, and humanity (including myself), in order to exist at all, must be vastly more than "mere" three-dimensional artifacts. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, our being must include "transdimensional" aspects beyond our obviously three-dimensional experiencing.
In The Writing on the Wall #6 § 4 Transdimensional Realities, pp. 22-23, I wrote:
Yet another neutral approach to transdimensional realities is the simple realization that you are already experiencing them, and always have been. We have long since established (have we not?) that each of us lives, moves, and has our being in an "imaginary reality" entirely of our own making. "Or in other words," I quoted myself above (p. 6) from a prior essay, "in as real and literal a sense as may be expressed in word-symbols, each of us is the author of our own 'reality' — than which there is no other we can in any way experience."
Imagination is the stuff of which transdimensional realities are made; and each of us lives within multiple, partially overlapping "realities," fabricated entirely by our imaginations. This is at least "fourth dimensional," and maybe verges upon "fifth dimensional" experience. Meanwhile, we naturally live in and experience "third dimensional realities" as a matter of course. Yet if we insist that "third dimensional reality" is the only "real reality," we may be sure we have been misled, yet again, by a partial equation, or a polarized thought-form: for we have denied the "reality" of the largest part of human experience.
I believe it cannot be an exaggeration to say that most people spend most of our time "elsewhere" than within "third dimensional reality." For consider:
Practically everybody requires about eight hours' sleep, more or less, out of every 24; at least a portion of which is occupied with experiences in "dreamtime," whether recalled upon waking, or not; and all of which is by definition passed in a state of unconsciousness, during which one is oblivious to "third dimensional reality."
In addition to that, the average American — and this may be generally applicable to the average "civilized human" — spends four to six hours every day watching television. Most of this time is passed in a state of highly suggestible receptivity, almost entirely detached from the "third dimensional reality" in which the viewer's three-dimensional body is situated.
In addition to the time spent daily either in sleep, or watching television, with few exceptions, everybody spends a significant part of every day performing repetitive, routine tasks, such as driving familiar routes, sorting or assembling parts, washing dishes, peeling vegetables etc., which require only a fraction of one's conscious attention. During this time, most of one's attention is quite "somewhere else," which hardly interferes at all with whatever task occupies the three-dimensional body; and takes place "elsewhere" than within "third dimensional reality."
Additionally, growing numbers of humans are spending increasing amounts of time, probably overlapping with other items mentioned here, under the influence of intoxicants and consciousness-altering substances, including but not limited to medically prescribed drugs, that have the effect of placing them "elsewhere" than squarely within "third dimensional reality."
Adding all these up, and extending them over the course of human lifetimes, how much time is spent, on average, among "civilized humans," in conscious, purposeful presence, "right here, right now," within "third dimensional reality?"
My off-the-cuff guess is, "not much." However, this may not be entirely a "bad thing." For one, it demonstrates rather strikingly that there is a great deal more to human life than "third dimensional reality." This alone is something worthy of pondering.
Nikola Tesla, mentioned above, evidently spent a significant fraction if his life "somewhere else" than within "third dimensional reality:" with spectacularly productive results. Tesla vividly described some of his "transdimensional" excursions — although he did not himself represent them in these terms. Yet how might the following be more appropriately described than as a "transdimensional" excursion?
. . . I instinctively commenced to make excursions beyond the limits of the small world of which I had knowledge, and I saw new scenes. These were at first very blurred and indistinct, and would flit away when I tried to concentrate my attention upon them. They gained in strength and distinctness and finally assumed the concreteness of real things. I soon discovered that my best comfort was attained if I simply went on in my vision further and further, getting new impressions all the time, and so I began to travel; of course, in my mind. Every night, (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on my journeys — see new places, cities and countries; live there, meet people and make friendships and acquaintances and, however unbelievable, it is a fact that they were just as dear to me as those in actual life, and not a bit less intense in their manifestations.
Tesla may be an extreme example, with few parallels among humans; yet his experiences and remarkably creative accomplishments demonstrate some elements of the human potential. And of course there are other remarkable individuals who have demonstrated others. Even if these are extremes, establishing the high-water mark, beyond the achievement of "ordinary people," still they demonstrate possibilities in principle potentially within the reach of others who are willing to stretch themselves to achieve them too, and even to surpass them. Roger Bannister was the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes (3:59.4, Oxford, England, 1954). Since then, his record has been broken many times — because, it may be argued, Bannister had first demonstrated that it could be done.
"Civilization," even if its citizens spend relatively little time there, is wholly an artifact of "third dimensional reality" — at least inasmuch as its bedrock foundation is victory in war, and the prevalence of the more powerful over the less powerful. As implied in #5 § 2.2 Wealth and Power, when two expanding human populations encounter each other, for instance seeking additional territory to put under cultivation to produce the food needed to feed their expanding numbers, a corollary of the three-dimensional law that "two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time" asserts itself. In "civilized history," the outcome of such collisions has typically been decided by war: in which the victor occupies the territory of the vanquished; the latter being either annihilated, dispossessed, or enslaved.
The Greek historian Thucydides, (approximately) -471 to -400, depicted the essence of this situation, in which the Athenian delegation dictated terms to the Melians:
For ourselves [the Athenians said], we shall not trouble you with specious pretenses — either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us — and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
This is a quite "practical," "down-to-Earth," "three-dimensional" assessment of the situation — as well as of countless situations like it throughout preceding and succeeding "civilized history." In historical fact, there can hardly be a more succinct and complete summing up of what "civilization," at bottom, has always been in principle than this: that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. All else is "window dressing," or the sugar coating on a bitter pill. In contemporary "civilized" parlance, this inflexible principle bears the label, realpolitik.
It may be thought ironic that this principle should have been enunciated by the Athenians, whose "Golden Age of Pericles" (the span of but a single generation) has been held among succeeding generations to have exampled the best that "civilization" has ever had to offer — followed by its tragic self-destruction in the Peloponnesian War.
Ironic, maybe; yet not surprising: for Periclean Athens, notwithstanding its inspiring architecture, art, drama, and philosophy, was no less a slave state than any that have risen or fallen, from that time to this. As in all "civilized" states, Athenian high culture was by, of, and for the privileged classes: the free men of Athens; not for the far more numerous women and slaves, who actually performed the mundane tasks necessary to keep the Athenian high culture functioning from one day to the next. The free men were empowered to "do what they can;" while women and slaves were forced to "suffer what they must:" the same as practiced — often in more or less disguised terms — in any "civilized society," then and now.
As stated at the outset of this Section, and repeated variously throughout this series: in a Cosmos created and inhabited by purposeful, intelligent, creative beings, the principle enunciated by the Athenians to the Melians does not work, and cannot be made to work: simply and inescapably because it stifles — alike for the more, and for the less powerful — purposeful, intelligent creativity; which cannot thrive or persist, absent the liberty to exercise it. Full stop.
So here we come round the circle once again: If not "civilization," what? Where do we go from here? That works?
It seems natural that anyone coming from a "civilized" heritage — even those who might provisionally entertain the arguments proposed so far suggesting that, if humanity has a future, it must lie somewhere beyond "civilization" — would expect that future to unfold, as has the human past, upon the stage of three-dimensional planet Earth. This is the stage upon which all human events occur, is it not? today, tomorrow, and throughout human history, and prehistory. Where else, if not right here on Earth, would future human events be staged?
The answer appears to be so obvious that the question itself seems absurd. Are the pioneers of "post-civilization" to go kiting off into outer space to find another Earth-like planet somewhere to colonize? How? Where? And even supposing that a few privileged humans were somehow able to get "off planet," and locate a biologically habitable "Virgin Earth" somewhere else among the stars: taking their "civilized" heritage with them, what assurance would "the menace from Earth" have that they would not botch the venture just as thoroughly as Earth-humans have done on this planet? The notion is practically absurd, and cannot be taken seriously.
However, although we have acknowledged that "'civilization' . . . is wholly an artifact of 'third dimensional reality'," we have also observed how "third dimensional reality" is not, even now, where most "civilized" people spend most of our time.
Particularly, as described by Tesla above, the creative process takes place almost entirely outside of "third dimensional reality," where some of its 3-D manifestations sometimes appear. Rather, all products of human creativity have their origin within the "transdimensional" human imagination. Tesla may have been exceptional in the extent to which he was able to conduct the entire creative process, beginning to end, in his imagination; relying upon "third dimensional reality" only for the conversion of his finished creation into a three-dimensional mechanism — that worked, he claimed, first time, every time, precisely as designed.
For most of the rest of us, the process is a more "hybrid" affair in which creative development passes through intermediary stages, often involving a succession of 3-D versions which are progressively improved in the imagination, informed by observation of their 3-D performance; then actualized in improved 3-D versions. In all cases, though, the creative process itself takes place in the imagination, beyond the fences of "third dimensional reality." Tesla demonstrated that it is humanly possible to conduct the creative process entirely within the imagination, with no resort at all to "third dimensional reality." Perhaps this is a straw in the wind, hinting of future possibilities in human creativity.
3.1 Transdimensional Possibilities
Stepping deliberately beyond the fences of "third dimensional reality" at once opens vast, unexplored, and mostly unimagined domains of possibility; and casts us upon uncharted seas that may be sown with hazardous reefs, and unknown dragons of the deeps — and perhaps . . . with unimagined blessings as well. To the altered-ego, habituated to the constraints, and the illusory security, of "civilized" power, such ventures into the Unknown may be reflexively terrifying; and only the internal recognition that "civilization" does not work may provide sufficient motivation for such perilous explorations. Be advised: these speculations are not anticipated to appeal to "just anybody."
I mentioned above that "I regret to confess that, in my personal 'dark night of the soul,' I do not have a 'ready answer' to [the question, How do we get 'there' from 'here?'] that may be applied to the apparent situation on three-dimensional planet Earth." Frankly, "the apparent situation on three-dimensional planet Earth" appears to me to be shaping up as "a global train wreck" without parallel during the entire span of "civilized history." Yet this is a thought-form I do not wish to energize further with more than the barest of minimal attention. I choose to direct my attention instead to the question itself; which may be rephrased as: How might those who so choose walk away from the "train wreck," and create "post-civilization" instead — and what is "post-civilization" anyway? In the concluding § 5 Convergences we arrive at some possibilities in response to these challenging questions.
Meanwhile, "civilized history" does not seem to bear within it clues any more useful for answering these questions than does the experience of the fetus in the womb bear useful clues to the nature of human life after birth. The Earth-human future, however it may unfold — and if there is an Earth-human future — will not resemble the Earth-human past. Those who seek it will find it, if at all, only by venturing into the perilous Unknown.
3.2 Life and Death
Mention of "a global train wreck," and "the perilous Unknown," especially for the altered-ego habituated to the "civilized" past, is likely to set off reflexive alarms not unlike those triggered by life-threatening contingencies within every-day "third dimensional reality." Is "life as we know it" really imperiled on planet Earth at this time, or/and in the immediate future? Is my life in jeopardy? Maybe. Yet these uncertainties can raise not only terrifying alarms, but stimulating questions as well.
How much is really known, for instance, about "life as we know it?" Is it not practically so that your life is potentially always in jeopardy, every moment of every day? If you get out of bed in the morning, the possibility exists that you may not survive until sundown. If you go to sleep at night, you may not awaken in the morning. Everything that lives seems to dwell under the perpetual shadow of possible death. So it is said, "Everything that has a beginning has an end."
More to the point, what is life, and death? Some of the differences between a living being and a lifeless corpse are obvious, and easily observed. Yet just as observation of the wave properties of light excludes observation of its quantum properties, so the observable differences between a living being and a lifeless corpse are partial equations, or polarized thought-forms, and "are not the whole story."
There is obviously a monumental transition that takes place between the states of what we call "alive," and what we call "dead." Yet no living being has experienced that transition; and none who have experienced it are "alive" to describe it — with the possible exception of those who have experienced "near death" events. Those who have not had a "near death experience" (NDE) have various opinions about the descriptions provided by those who have; so the transition between "life" and "death" is still a mystery to those who have not experienced it, or come close to experiencing it. Therefore, for most of us, it is Unknown.
To the altered-ego, the Unknown is a source of reflexive fear; yet anything that is in fact Unknown is not inherently threatening. How can it be? What it is is simply not known. It could be a blessing, or a curse, or neither; and assuming prejudicially that it is an object of fear in advance of knowing anything at all about it is, like "2 + 2 = 5," a partial, unbalanced equation, and not a reliable source of information about anything. Fear of the Unknown amounts in essence to a formidable obstacle to learning anything new — the universal plague of the altered-ego — because paradoxically, in his quest for "knowledge," the reflexive response of the altered-ego to the Unknown (the only domain from which new "knowledge" might be gleaned) is to recoil from it in fear, and seek refuge in what he already "knows."
For that matter, how much is really known about anything at all? Being terrified of the Unknown, the altered-ego naturally claims "knowledge" of many things. Yet upon what bases do such claims rest? This question was discussed at some length in #3 of this series: "How Do You Know That You Know What You Know?"
The reason this matter keeps rising to the surface [I wrote] seems to have to do with how easy it is for practically everyone to assume by default that we do know many things that are obvious and apparently self-evidently true, upon which we rely in making choices in our daily lives; and extend that assumption to include all of our beliefs about "how things are." However, the essays cited above all draw attention to items that were at one time or another believed to be so by "practically everyone," or at least by "many," and were subsequently demonstrated not to be so, or to require more penetrating understanding.
The principle of complementarity has been discussed several times in this series, most recently in #6: "Inquire Within" § 3.1 Some Useful Word-Symbols; in which I observed (p. 13) that every thing we observe, or think about, has at minimum two complementary aspects, only one or the other of which, but not both, may be observed or thought about at any moment. If so, "knowledge" of one complementary aspect of anything precludes simultaneous "knowledge" of its complement(s) — or in other words, within "third dimensional reality," "knowledge" is always partial, never complete; and when examined impartially discloses itself to be a partial equation, or a polarized thought form that has left something out, and "is not the whole story." "The only 'place' I have ever been able to find," I wrote, "where such uncertainties may be resolved, is the oracle within myself."
By "inquiring within," one may satisfy oneself of the certainty of something. However, such certainty is not exportable, and cannot be "proven" with certainty to anybody else. I am certain this is so (I think), and it is applicable at all scales, including but not only the minute scale in which Heisenberg's uncertainty principle was originally framed. Naturally, I cannot "prove" this to you. You may verify it (or not) only by consulting the oracle within yourself.
This may be a thoroughly unsatisfactory state of affairs for the altered-ego, terrified of the Unknown, and attached like a limpet to its own accumulated store of "knowledge," and to the "authoritative certainties" of "civilization." Sorry. If it helps at all, I never insist that my "certainties" are applicable to anybody else; or that the "reality" I experience has much in common with the "realities" of others.
Cultivation of this kind of tolerance for "alternative realities" is an essential condition for the emergence of a "post-civilization" that actually works: because as discussed in #6 § 2 "Virtual Reality" Revisited, each of us is potentially, and legitimately, in command of the entire content of our own imaginations: which is the whole cloth of which our respective "realities" are woven. If we forfeit command of our own imaginations, we are most thoroughly and effectively enslaved. Thus uniformity among "realities" authored by those who inhabit them cannot possibly be achieved without stifling human purpose, intelligence, and creativity.
However, such uniformity among "realities" has been high on every "civilized" agenda since the dawn of "civilization," and has been pursued with countless variations and repetitions, impelled by the terrors of the altered-ego: because universal consensus upon the placement of the fences dividing "reality" from "unreality" — established "authoritatively" by the powerful — is essential for maintaining the power of the strong over the weak. It is now becoming clear that this strategy, although imaginable, and having its own peculiar kind of "logic," does not work, and cannot be made to work: because it directly opposes the fundamental nature of all humankind, and Cosmos at large.
If one hopes to dwell in peace within the unique "reality" of his own imaginative fabrication, he is clearly obliged not to interfere with others who similarly hope to dwell within their unique "realities." The corollary, of course, is that those who are unwilling to allow their "realities" to others, will surely forfeit the same liberty they deny. This plays out in "civilization," even among the strong, who "do what they can," no less than among the weak, who "suffer what they must."
This is so, because the parable of the tribes, discussed in The Writing on the Wall #5: "Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels" § 2.2 Wealth and Power, was never anyone's choice; yet was imposed upon everyone, from Neolithic times to these, by the chain reaction set in motion when humans first resorted to coercive power to settle their differences. As noted above, the exercise of coercive power does not work, simply and inescapably because it stifles — alike for the more, and for the less powerful — purposeful, intelligent creativity; which cannot thrive or persist, absent the liberty to exercise it. Full stop.
The purposeful, intelligent creativity of the "more powerful" is stifled by the exercise of coercive power, no less than is that of the "less powerful:" because the former are under the perpetual threat of usurpation, sooner or later, by an even greater power. They are thereby forced, willing or no, to focus their constant attention upon the maintenance and expansion of their power — at the expense of the unfettered exercise of their purposeful, intelligent creativity. It is a "lose/lose game," exampled by "the fastest gun in the West," who will surely end his days in a pool of blood, when (not if) he meets a "faster gun" than his.
The altered-ego is blindsided by this inevitability, because, ruled by fear, whether more, or less powerful, he deals in polarized thought-forms, and partial equations that "are not the whole story." He imagines only that he will "win" in whatever partial equation he happens to be playing out, because his partial experience "so far" has confirmed to him that he "always wins." After all, he is "the fastest gun in the West," is he not? Yes he is — until he isn't — and then the latest "fastest gun" walks away from the late "fastest gun:" to a similar fate: on another date. This applies alike to men, and to nations, as confirmed without exception, sooner or later, by "civilized history."
Only those who are able to cultivate "inclusive, as opposed to exclusive, perceiving" may evade this eventual trap for the altered-ego, who loses either way: whether he numbers himself among the strong, who "do what they can," or among the weak, who "suffer what they must." As described in #6:
There is nothing mysterious or mystical about this. It is a simple and demonstrable fact that when one Identifies with anything, to the exclusion of its complement(s), one cannot avoid being led astray by a partial equation that "is not the whole story," and can only yield unanticipated, unintended results. One, and perhaps the only way to avoid this repetitive error, and its consequences, is to expand the scope of one's vision, and practice inclusive, as opposed to exclusive, perceiving: the fusion of complements, instead of polarized choices among them. This is possible, because for instance, although the complementary quantum and wave properties of light cannot be simultaneously observed, one can easily grasp the idea that light must somehow be a fusion of quantum and wave properties, and not exclusively one, or the other.
Perhaps what all this adds up to — "transdimensional" possibilities; a philosophical relationship with life, and death; a balanced assessment of so-called "knowledge," as understood by the altered-ego, within the context of "third dimensional reality;" tolerance for the "alternative realities" of others — amounts to a kind of wisdom. Yet wisdom is evidently not easily attained, and may not even be easily assessed, or appreciated: for the "wisdom" of one can appear as "unwisdom" in the appraisal of another.
For the past several thousand years, for example, right up to this very day and hour, "civilization" has been presumed among virtually all "civilized" people not only to work, but to be the only system of social organization that can possibly work among humans, anywhere, ever. Yet in the midst of mounting chaos in every part of the "civilized world," we have ventured here to suggest that "civilization" does not work, never has worked, other than as an "emergency measure" to bridge the gestation, or infancy of the human species; and never will work on a permanent basis: because the coercive preemption by the more powerful of the choices of the less powerful runs exactly counter to all the patterns in Cosmos that manifestly do work. Is such a suggestion wisdom, or folly? Only you may decide that; and act accordingly.
Meanwhile, we shall venture even further, and suggest to you that a "post-civilization" that actually works may emerge only among people who have attained to a certain level of "wisdom." This would be characterized in part by an ability to see beyond the partial equations, and the polarized thought-forms of the altered-ego. It would also include an ability to appreciate on some level the intricately interconnected and interrelated "parts" that combine seamlessly in the "Whole," or "All That Is," or the Macrocosm; of which every "part," from quarks to galactic clusters, including every human, is a microcosm. Such "wisdom" would clearly appreciate the reciprocity whereby every "part" embodies all the essential qualities of the "Whole" — which in turn is the Source of every quality of every "part."
Every Blossom, every Bee,
Every Leaf on every Tree,
Every Snowflake, every Drop in every Sea,
Every Atom, every Planet, Star, and Galaxy
Is a Part, and has a Place
In the Whole that forms the Face
Of Living, Loving Divinity.
Love is a word with so many different meanings, in so many different contexts, that in common usage it seems almost to have no meaning at all. Yet contemplation discloses that it also signifies something with a profundity of bottomless depth. One way it has been described — by whom I cannot say — is as a sense of satisfaction with the wellbeing of another, equal to that with one's own wellbeing. Jesus taught that the first and greatest commandment in the law is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" and the second is to "love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:36-39; Mark 12:29-31)
He also recommended: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27-28) And "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them." (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31)
These advisements, central to Christian tradition, have resonant echoes in many other "religious," "spiritual," or "transdimensional" traditions as well. For examples:
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
—Buddhism, Udana-Varga 5:18
Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.
—Taoism, T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
—Judaism, Talmud, Shabbat 31a
This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.
—Brahmanism, Mahabharata 5:1517
Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness: Do not unto others what you would not have done unto you.
—Confucianism, Analects 15:23
That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.
—Zoroastrianism, Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
And harm ye none, do as ye will.
Don't do evil to others, for if you do, you will pay for it here on earth.
—Kikuyu people of Kenya
In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves.
- As thou deemest thyeslf so deem others.
—Sikhism, Guru Nának
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldest not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.
—The Bahá'í Faith, Baha'u'll-ah
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
—Mohandâs Karamchand Gandhi
All of these statements have about them the properties of whole equations — clearly distinguishable from the partial equations of the altered-ego. They might be summarized as expressions of a universal equation between self and everything "else," or as statements of the fundamental unity, or oneness of all things, including the individual self. They share in common the quality of being inclusive, not exclusive. They are expressions of "Living, Loving Divinity."
They may also converge upon that illusive vision we are groping toward: the vision of a "post-civilization" that actually works. The statements listed above, and others like them in various forms, are quite familiar to all "civilized" people, everywhere. Yet they are often far removed from actual "civilized" practice — which seems in general to be much more closely aligned with, "Do unto others, before others do unto you."
"Civilized" practice is guided by the fundamental axiom that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. The "civilized" axiom is clearly not in any way an expression of "Living, Loving Divinity" — which may have something to do with why it does not work — do you think?
It is not difficult to find among "civilized" humans those who agree with many or all of the statements listed above, and with many comparable expressions of universal love. It is much more difficult to find people who make the effort to practice them in their daily lives. What if this were to change? Such a change is imaginable; how might it work in practice — or could it work at all?
Such a change could not be "made to work," by anybody: because that would involve some form of coercion — the very thing we are trying to imagine moving away from. As discussed at considerable length in #6: "Inquire Within", such a change can only be negotiated individually by self-governing Cosmic beings. But it might be done. In #6 § 2 "Virtual Reality" Revisited, p. 7, we observed that taking responsibility for the content of our own imaginations about sums up what it means to be a self-governing Cosmic being. In today's world — or for that mater, in any "civilized" time or place — this may not be easily done; but it is not impossible.
In any case, no matter what happens, and no matter what anyone does, or fails to do, "civilization" is going away from planet Earth, as was ordained from its earliest inception: because it does not work; and what does not work does not last. Meanwhile, although collapsing under its own unsustainable weight, or evaporating due to its self-devouring insubstantiality, "civilization" retains at this time a lingering presence upon this planet: which is inhabited by seven thousand million mostly "civilized" humans — whose imaginations are almost entirely in thrall of "civilized" power. This condition renders each human so placed incapable of governing himself, and consequently reliant upon the "governance" of "civilized" power — for better or worse, so long as it may yet linger.
However, although one's imagination may be captivated by others, it nevertheless really does belong to each individual: because it is essential to what each individual is in Cosmos. Therefore, though lost, one's imagination may be recovered. This requires individual effort, for there is no way it may be done by proxy. Conversely, there is no way it may be prevented by anyone, or anything.
Recovery of one's imagination is accomplished by choice, or by a series of choices, entirely exclusive to the one making them, and without conflicting with the choices of anybody else — including even the choices of whoever or whatever may have captivated one's imagination in the first place. Therefore, recovery of one's own imagination is wholly compatible with the inclusive, "Living, Loving Divinity" given expression above from many diverse human traditions. It may even encourage the recommended practice to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you," without the least murmur of reluctance, resistance, or resentment.
How so? Because however you imagine It, Deity — "That" Which created and sustains your existence, and that of all else besides — is the essential Source of all that exists. Love exists: within you; within me; and therefore within "That," and within all. If you are able to apprehend this much, and appreciate it, even as a suckling infant appreciates its own mother, how then can you not love "That" Which gave you life? And if you love "That," how can you not love all that is loved by "That?" And how could "That" have created anything, without loving it? Even "your enemies," and "them that curse you," and "them which despitefully use you, and persecute you?" Even such as these are loved by "That" — or they would not exist: even as you would not exist, without the love of "That."
Or put another way, if "All That Is" really is unified within a "Cosmic, Creative, Purposeful — Loving — Intelligence," then every part, "omitting no detail, however slight," is loved by "That:" because all truly creative acts are acts of love. Therefore, the only way we, being "slight details" among "All That," can possibly balance the equation of love whereby we exist, and are sustained, is by returning the love of "All That," "omitting no detail, however slight." It may even be said that the element of love may function as a mysterious, "transdimensional" x-factor with the power, if exercised, to restore balance to partial equations and polarized thought-forms. Contemplate these things, Beloved of "All That."
Recovery of one's own imagination is recovery of the full spectrum of what is possible: for anything that can be imagined is possible, and sustainable, provided only that it works. Divinity has an incalculably long track record of creating things that manifestly work, flawlessly, timelessly, and ultimately, eventually, without exception. By the examples of the whole equations listed above, giving parallel expressions from diverse human sources of Divine, nonexclusive Love, we are given a common thread that when put into effect among humans has a verifiable track record of working in practice. In this way, Love, in its most expanded meaning, emerges as a plausible portal to the more agreeable "transdimensional" possibilities many of us have glimpsed through our various and frequent ventures beyond "third dimensional reality."
Perhaps the near death experience of Anita Moorjani gives further glimpses into some of the possibilities that may be available through the portal of Love. She has written, in part:
. . . Words seem to limit the experience — I was at a place where I understood how much more there is than what we are able to conceive in our 3-dimensional world. I realized what a gift life was, and that I was surrounded by loving spiritual beings, who were always around me even when I did not know it.
The amount of love I felt was overwhelming, and from this perspective, I knew how powerful I am, and saw the amazing possibilities we as humans are capable of achieving during a physical life. I found out that my purpose now would be to live "heaven on earth" using this new understanding, and also to share this knowledge with other people. However I had the choice of whether to come back into life, or go towards death. I was made to understand that it was not my time, but I always had the choice, and if I chose death, I would not be experiencing a lot of the gifts that the rest of my life still held in store.
As she describes in an account of her near death experience, Anita Moorjani (quoting) "had end stage cancer (Hodgkin's Lymphoma), and was being cared for at home. I was connected to an oxygen tank, and had a full time nurse. But on this morning, February 2nd 2006, I did not wake up. I had fallen into a coma. My husband called my doctor who said I needed to be rushed to hospital. The senior oncologist looked at me and told my husband that it was now the end, and that my organs were now shutting down. I would probably not make it beyond the next 36 hours."
During her comatose state, although exhibiting no outward sign of awareness, Moorjani later wrote that "I saw and heard the conversations between my husband and the doctors taking place outside my room, about 40 feet away down a hallway. I was later able to verify this conversation to my shocked husband. Then I actually 'crossed over' to another dimension, where I was engulfed in a total feeling of love."
It is evident from her account that, while "three-dimensionally comatose," Moorjani was the whole time possessed of full awareness in a "transdimensional" state not at all subject to the limitations of "third dimensional reality." She was at all times engulfed within a profound sense of love and wellbeing; and her choices, particularly between "life" and "death," were not circumscribed in any way.
The near death experience of Anita Moorjani, like the inventive genius of Nikola Tesla, may be unique within common human awareness, with few or no known parallels. Yet by the Principle of Repeating Patterns, "Where there is one, it may be relied upon that there are many others of the same kind, even if none other than the one have been discovered, or observed."
The "transdimensional" realms visited by Moorjani seem not to have shared with "third dimensional reality" the limitations of time and space, or of the three-dimensionally supposed chain of causation. As is written:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
That principle did not seem to apply to Anita Morjani, who was given extensive tests upon her emergency hospitalization 2 February 2006; the outcome of which were self-evident to all who observed her. However, as she wrote later:
. . . I seemed to understand that, as tests had been taken for my organ functions (and the results were not out yet), that if I chose life, the results would show that my organs were functioning normally. If I chose death, the results would show organ failure as the cause of death, due to cancer. I was able to change the outcome of the tests by my choice!
I made my choice, and as I started to wake up (in a very confused state, as I could not at that time tell which side of the veil I was on), the doctors came rushing into the room with big smiles on their faces saying to my family "Good news — we got the results and her organs are functioning — we can't believe it!! Her body really did seem like it had shut down!"
After that, I began to recover rapidly. The doctors had been waiting for me to become stable before doing a lymph node biopsy to track the type of cancer cells, and they could not even find a lymph node big enough to suggest cancer (upon entering the hospital my body was filled with swollen lymph nodes and tumors the size of lemons, from the base of my skull all the way to my lower abdomen). They did a bone marrow biopsy, again to find the cancer activity so they could adjust the chemotherapy according to the disease, and there wasn't any in the bone marrow. The doctors were very confused, but put it down to me suddenly responding to the chemo. Because they themselves were unable to understand what was going on, they made me undergo test after test, all of which I passed with flying colors, and clearing every test empowered me even more! I had a full body scan, and because they could not find anything, they made the radiologist repeat it again!!!!
You might want to read that again. In summary, Morjani was rushed to hospital the morning of 2/2/2006, where her physical condition was obvious to all who beheld her, and tests were administered to confirm the obvious. She was not expected to survive the next 36 hours.
Still in coma, yet possibly more fully aware than anyone around her, Morjani had her near death experience; during which she was given the choice to continue her three-dimensional physical life, or end it. Her choice was to continue it; and as she emerged uncertainly from her comatose state, medical staff rushed into her room with the results of the tests that had been made before her choice to live, indicating that all her organs were functioning normally. These are medically documented facts that remain to be understood by (among many others) the medical staff that had administered the tests earlier the same morning. Now: Will the "real reality" please stand up? No? Oh, well. . . .
4 Many Worlds
In § 3.3 above, I mentioned that the principle of complementarity has been discussed several times in this series. As such, it has been applied much more broadly than intended when it was first articulated in 1927 by pioneer quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976). Heisenberg developed the uncertainty principle, or the principle of indeterminacy, in order to deal with specific difficulties encountered in making precise measurements at the unimaginably minute scale of quantum events. He showed how complementary properties of particles, such as position and momentum, cannot both be measured with precision at the quantum scale. Precise measurement of a particle's position throws its momentum into complete uncertainty; and vice versa. Heisenberg demonstrated that the product of the uncertainties in position and velocity is equal to or greater than h/(4π), where h is Planck's constant, a very small number of joule-seconds, infinitesimally greater than zero (6.626176 × 10⁻³⁴, if you really want to know).
Although my usage may have implied that the uncertainty principle and the principle of complementarity are interchangeable terms, there is a "back story" to their emergence in scientific discussions that is relevant to the thread being developed in this series. The principle of complementarity was an elaboration in 1927 by Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962) upon Heisenberg's then-recently published uncertainty principle; and it appears that Bohr's complementarity was not as well received among experimental physicists as was Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
In the US [Osnaghi writes], which after the Second World War became the central stage of research in physics in the West, the discussions about the interpretation of quantum mechanics had never been very popular. A common academic policy was to gather theoreticians and experimentalists together in order to favour experiments and concrete applications, rather than abstract speculations. This practical attitude was further increased by the impressive development of physics between the 1930s and the 1950s, driven on the one hand by the need to apply the new quantum theory to a wide range of atomic and subatomic phenomena, and on the other hand by the pursuit of military goals. As pointed out by Kaiser, "the pedagogical requirements entailed by the sudden exponential growth in graduate student numbers during the cold war reinforced a particular instrumentalist approach to physics." In this context, "epistemological musings or the striving for ultimate theoretical foundations — never a strong interest among American physicists even before the war — fell beyond the pale for the postwar generation and their advisors." A few textbooks, like for example David Bohm's Quantum theory (1951), discussed some issues of interpretation. However, as a rule, the textbooks in use in the 1950s (in America as well as elsewhere) did not reflect much concern at all about the interpretation of the theory.
A consequence of this attitude was that little attention was paid to Bohr's complementarity, which, according to Heilbron (2001), was perceived as an eminently philosophical approach, an especially obscure one indeed. Kragh has observed that "the uncertainty principle was eagerly taken up by several American physicists [. . .], but they showed almost no interest in Bohrian complementarity." According to him: "Most textbook authors, even if sympathetic to Bohr's ideas, found it difficult to include and justify a section on complementarity. Among 43 textbooks on quantum mechanics published between 1928 and 1937, 40 included a treatment of the uncertainty principle; only eight of them mentioned the complementarity principle."
Now this strikes me as a quite revealing commentary: because it may furnish a "real-world" example of the idea discussed above that the purposeful, intelligent creativity of the "more powerful" is stifled by the exercise of coercive power, no less than is that of the "less powerful:" because the former — not excluding even the hallowed halls of advanced scientific research — are under the perpetual threat of usurpation, sooner or later, by an even greater power.
The impression I take away with me is that the leading-edge pioneers during the early days of quantum physics simply had very little interest in the philosophical implications of their own discoveries: because the technical applications to which fledgling quantum theory was applied, primarily to victory in war, and the probable economic leverage they made possible (which amounts, at bottom, to the same thing), occupied a much higher priority in their evaluation than did their discoveries' philosophical implications. Those who numbered themselves among the "more powerful" in those days — or whose research was financed by them — simply did not have time for philosophical implications. They were all too keenly occupied with "more important" matters, such as fighting the cold war, and keeping pace with the arms race — or in sum, defending their power against the possible emergence of a greater power: the "lose/lose game" humans have been playing on Earth since the dawn of "civilization."
Bohr's complementarity expanded upon Heisenberg's narrowly defined uncertainty principle, drawing attention to some of its implications about the nature of the larger context in which these remarkable discoveries were being made — that is, about the nature of the surrounding universe, and ultimately, about the nature of "reality" itself. And those who pilot the course and direction of scientific research, evidently having other fish to fry, were not interested. This in itself is "interesting" — because the philosophical implications of quantum theory may in historical fact be more accurately described as tumultuous, Earth-shaking, and otherwise intrinsically fraught with interest. Perhaps now that the cracks in crumbling "civilization" are becoming everywhere more evident, the "bizarre" implications of quantum theory that began to emerge a century ago, may capture some of the interest they deserve.
4.1 "Quantum Weirdness"
Classical epistemology, the study of the basis and nature of knowledge, is rooted in the presumedly self-evident notions that a) reality is objectively whatever it is, regardless of what anyone may think about it, or whether or not it is observed or measured; and b) what goes on in the human mind, such as sensory stimuli, and their interpretation, is hermetically sealed from direct contact or relationship with objective reality. These two premises gave rise to the appearance that the subjective experience of living humans seems forever to be separated by an impenetrable barrier from the "objective reality" of the "real world." We can view the world "out there" through the window of our senses, and evaluate our sensations "in here" within the recesses of our minds; yet we can never, so it seems, actually touch the "real world," or experience other than a subjective relationship with it. Consequently, our subjective experiences have no effect upon the nature or behavior of "objective reality". Or in other words, in relation to "objective reality," which is presumed to be a de facto Cosmic "given," all humans are "innocent bystanders," and it is incumbent upon each of us to deal with it, however we find it, as best we can.
We have discussed much of this at considerable length in prior numbers of this series, and have arrived at numerous indications that classical epistemology may not have "the whole story" about "reality." Nevertheless, classical epistemology is "bedrock" to scientific inquiry, the impulse of which has been to use our native human senses, including their extensions, such as telescopes, microscopes, and other technological instruments of amplification; combined with our rational analytical powers (and their technological extensions), to create within our imaginations models of "objective reality" having the verifiable property of reliable correspondence with the actuality of "objective reality."
Correspondences between the model and "reality" are supposed to be evaluated by means of rational analysis of carefully controlled and repeatable experiments designed to test them. A complete model would be one with rationally demonstrable one-to-one correspondence with every feature of the "objective reality" it is supposed to model. A successful model of this kind would bear the same relationship to "reality" that an accurate map bears to its corresponding territory. Naturally, the "Holy Grail" of classical physics was a demonstrably reliable "Theory of Everything" which could provide humans with a complete description of the "real world" we can otherwise never actually see, or touch.
Such a comprehensive theory would obviously be highly prized; and before the end of the 19th century, such a theory was thought to have been virtually within reach. Aspiring graduate physics students were being advised at the time to seek more promising opportunities for original research in other fields than were soon likely to be available in physics. The field of physics, they were told, was all but wrapped up. However, the discovery of quantum theory threw a spanner into these optimistic (or pessimistic) expectations, by demonstrating with rational, repeatable, experimental rigor that the long-held premises upon which they were based are not supportable; and it has become evident that "reality" is not entirely as it seems.
For example: at the humanly familiar scale of people and planets, it is intuitively self-evident to us that objects like the Moon, or the many smaller satellites we humans have placed in orbit about the Earth, may potentially have their orbits changed either by gaining or losing kinetic energy. That is, by using rocket thrust to give an orbiting satellite additional energy, it is possible to boost it into a higher orbit. Conversely, if the satellite encounters drag from the upper fringes of Earth's atmosphere, it looses energy, and descends to a lower orbit — where it encounters stiffer drag, absorbing more of its energy, its orbit decays further, and it eventually plummets to the surface; or more likely, burns up like a meteor in the atmosphere. All of these processes are apparently continuous and occur in smooth graduations. All this is quite familiar, and intuitively sensible to most of us.
At the quantum scale, however. . . . Well, in 1913 Bohr discovered something very "peculiar" about the atom; which in 1911 New Zealander Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) had demonstrated to be a miniature analog of the Solar System, consisting of a massive nucleus surrounded by swarms of lighter particles: somewhat as Earth is today surrounded by swarms of orbiting satellites.
Only . . . what Bohr discovered was that the particles orbiting an atomic nucleus do not behave at all like the satellites orbiting Earth. Instead, when they change orbits, they do it in "quantum leaps." That is, when a subatomic particle gains sufficient energy, say by absorbing a photon, it too is boosted into a higher orbit — but in a surprisingly "peculiar" fashion. Instead of moving sedately and "sensibly" along a curved trajectory to join its higher orbit, as all "right thinking" people would expect, it leaps instantaneously from its lower orbit to its higher orbit, with no time interval, and without physically traversing the intervening space between orbits. At another time the particle may lose energy, radiate a photon, and again leap instantaneously back to its former orbit, with no lapse of time, and without traversing the space between orbits. The orbit of a subatomic particle about its atomic nucleus is invariably spaced in instantaneous steps, which occur in multiples related to Planck's constant. If this is not weird — in relation to classical epistemology — then what is it? Never mind: it only gets "worse." Or "better."
In fact, the behavior of "subatomic particles" belongs to a class of physical phenomena that are difficult to visualize three-dimensionally, and can be modeled accurately only in purely mathematical terms. As such, a "subatomic particle" takes the form of a mathematical wave function — which is not a physical wave, like ripples on the surface of a pond, or sound waves. This is often described as a "probability wave," which delineates a region in space where the "particle" is most likely to be found at any discrete moment. Where it is actually located may be anywhere — until and unless it is observed by somebody, or detected by an instrument. Observation is said to collapse the wave function, which then manifests as a discrete particle at a particular intersection in space/time. Where it "came from," however, and where it is "going," are then complete unknowns, as the "particle," no longer under observation, immediately dissolves into its inscrutable wave function, and may again be located anywhere.
Now if observation has the experimental effect of "collapsing the wave function," and bringing into manifestation, somehow, an observable quantum event, we seem to be entering a domain which doesn't conform to the classical epistemological premise that a human observer can have no effect upon that which is observed in the "real world." And this, it developed, was but the beginning of the "quantum weirdness" at intuitive odds with our most fundamental expectations about the nature of "reality."
Just as Einstein identified in photons the quantum properties of light, heretofore treated exclusively as a wave phenomenon, so Louis-Victor de Broglie (1875-1960) proposed the wave properties of electrons, heretofore treated exclusively as particles; and was confirmed in 1927, the year of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, and Bohr's principle of complementarity.
Upon closer examination at the quantum scale, it emerged that there seems to be a fundamental ambiguity between the properties of waves and particles — which may be intuitively equivalent to saying that there is a fundamental ambiguity between the properties of elephants and mice! That is, a particle is small and compact, and occupies a point-like locus in space; whereas a wave is fluid and spread out, and occupies a wide region in space: as sound waves can easily fill a concert hall; and light waves can easily fill the universe. Two more dissimilar phenomena can hardly be imagined. And making matters even worse, the implication of quantum theory is that this astounding ambiguity may be resolved (momentarily) by the observation of somebody standing outside the wave/particle system.
The implications of these esoteric disclosures are larger than may be immediately apparent. When elements as seemingly dissimilar, and as fundamental to "reality," as light, and electrons, turn out both to display quantum and wave properties, which are nevertheless mutually exclusive to observation, it begins to emerge that the classical assumptions about "reality" may stand in need of re-evaluation — if not overhaul.
In sum, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Bohr's elaboration of complementarity, and the disclosures of quantum theory in general, touched off a powder keg under the classical views of "reality" that had been in place since the days of René Descartes (1596-1650). If quantum theory is sound, then the common-sense view of "reality" mentioned above must be revised, somewhat along these lines: a) "reality" consists of an unavoidable reciprocity between observer and observed; and b) what goes on in the human mind has a reciprocal relationship with observed reality.
Many people, including Albert Einstein, didn't relish these implications; and some may have taken solace in the thought that, anyway, it only applies at the minute scale of quantum events, in relation to the minuscule value of Planck's constant. However, although unimaginably minute, Planck's constant is not zero; and that makes all the difference.
If Planck's constant were zero [write Nadeau & Kafatos], there would be no indeterminacy and we could predict both momentum and position with the utmost accuracy. A particle would have no wave properties and a wave no particle properties — the mathematical map and the corresponding physical landscape would be in perfect accord.
Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr conducted an intermittent debate between 1927 and Einstein's passing in 1955, in which Einstein proposed various thought experiments intended to define circumstances under which two complementary properties of a quantum event could be observed simultaneously. In each instance, Bohr rebutted Einstein's argument, in accordance with what became known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
As to the idea that quantum theory applies only to esoteric subatomic phenomena at the unimaginably minute quantum scale, and so may be ignored in circumstances encountered at human, planetary, and Cosmic scales: the "reality" is evidently quite the reverse. Quantum events are what Cosmos, and everything and everyone in it, seem to be made of. They constitute the ground of being, for everything. Although the Copenhagen Interpretation tended to isolate the implications of quantum mechanics to the minute scale at which Planck's constant looms large, and treat physical events at the human, planetary, and Cosmic scale in classical Cartesian/Newtonian terms, such a distinction provided an opening for dissension, and alternative interpretations. Whatever "reality" is, it can only make sense if it is "all of a piece," and not arbitrarily divided into segments in which different "ground rules" apply.