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Marion Woodman – Jungian Analyst and a Messenger of the Divine Feminine

As I work on my Bigger Meaning of Life, I’m exploring many ideas. One of the biggest ideas is the role of female consciousness in the world and most importantly within each of us.

These concepts of the feminine are not related to gender, but are concepts that reside outside of the strict notions of male and female.

They can and do enrich our lives. Marion Woodman is an important contributor to these ideas. She is wonderful at explaining these ideas in a very human way that goes way beyond gender.

As a man, I was tired of feeling blamed for the world’s ills. I disagree with virtually all of the politics in practically every country. I reject the political and social status quo that is causing such suffering, so I was always miffed to feel that my gender was accused, to be responsible for this.

In reading and listening to Marion Woodman, my eyes have been opened to the reality of this domination by the masculine. It is not gender. It is not boys against girls as we played in elementary school. I was never against girls – it was just fun to chase them.

The entire world is largely dominated by a cartoon masculine structure, which largely serves a tiny slice of the people. Power and domination rule and women can and do participate and support that just as much as men. And many (most – all?) political movements such as Marxism are perfectly in synch with power and domination. The world culture at the top agrees on power and control – the fight is just over who pulls the levers.

I reject that political structure in the world. It is the divine feminine and making the feminine conscious within each one us, male and female, that will liberate us from this terrible status quo. Please see the current American presidential election in 2016 if any proof is required. This embrace of the feminine is not to eliminate or denigrate the masculine, but to restore a balance for the benefit of each one of us, and of the world. But the change must begin within each of us and you can do no better than to learn from Marion Woodman. I’m happy and proud to be a man and am in love with Marion Woodman and her wisdom.

For more on Marion Woodman, go to her foundation. Expand and evolve your life and your consciousness.

In this video, Woodman speaks of her overall experience with Jungian therapy that saved her life.

Live Only The Deep Life

Life is meant to be deep. Without depth, length is irrelevant.

Depth brings meaning to the mystery of life while expanding both the meaning and the mystery.

Meaning and mystery are the upward spiral of evolution and love in eternal becoming. The snake consuming his own tail in creation.

I Am Kloot

The Same Deep Water as Me

I Am Kloot

Swim out to the ocean
Drown your thoughts out at sea
And dip your hands in the water
Same deep water as me

You’ve been watching for cloudburst
You’ve been praying for rain
Drench your soul in the water
Cleanse your heart of the stain
Cleanse your heart of the stain

The river of love
Flows deep through the night
Rolls you in with the waves
Drags you out with the tides

Swim out to the ocean
Drown our thoughts out at sea
Dipped your hands in the water
The same deep water as me
Same deep water as me

A song inspired by Jung and depth psychology, whether or not I Am Kloot are aware of that or not.

This is why I am so drawn to the works of Carl Jung. He has opened my world to the depths that I had been ignoring.

In modern life it is way too easy to live on the surface. The dissatisfaction of most people – everyone? – is that we ignore our soul’s cry for depth. That lack of depth comes out in a thousand ways that sadden and numb us. Exploring the depths is work, but incredibly rewarding.

But to be clear, we are not talking about ruminating, thinking and rethinking about things. That keeps you on the surface of life and that is the problem for most people – over thinking and under feeling. I know that was my problem and remains a challenge, but it does get easier and more natural with time.

Evolution in the Way People Live – Communal Living

A dormitory. Miniature from a manuscript in French of the "Decameron" by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), Italian writer, illuminated by the Master of Mansel. 1450 . Arsenal Library, Paris, France (Photo by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

A dormitory. Miniature from a manuscript in French of the “Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), Italian writer, illuminated by the Master of Mansel. 1450 . Arsenal Library, Paris, France (Photo by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend

Evolution continues. Plus ca change…

People are looking for alternatives in living arrangements. The nuclear family and singles living alone isn’t going to go away soon, but the times they are a changing. This seems like a pretty fundamental change as people explore their options and find alternatives to the same-same of tradition. We are not moving back to the past, but moving forward into the future.

But that means the great mashup continues – taking from the past and mixing it with the present to make the future. These things have always been happening, but so slowly that they were hard to notice. we’re now seeing things changing in a few years.

And things change in a number of ways, along two axes. Things change slowly and quickly. And they can move between those paths very quickly. The typical famous artist can attest to those two paths. People think they are an overnight sensation, but it was the slow build that led to the sudden breakthrough.

The other axis of change is cycles and trends. Some things oscillate back and forth – in the sixties and seventies women’s skirt lengths did that to cite a somewhat trivial example. For men, mustaches come in and out of style. But other things change and keep changing to produce a trend. For instance I don’t see traditional marriage as coming back anytime soon, as the dominant family lifestyle that it was in the 1950’s. Its complicated and getting more so. Same sex marriage, extended families, singles and other choices are being embraced by more and more people. Traditional marriage is not going away and is a great choice for many people. It’s all about choice and evolution as we act individually to make the lives that suit us best.

Akira Kurosawa, the Great Film Maker on Writing and Life

Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest film makers. He is best known for Ran – a true epic.

In the following clip, he asked by an interviewer for advice for aspiring film makers. Akira, near the end of his life responds with wonderful advice for almost anyone, but to writers in particular.

In order to learn? Do. Do. Do. And when results don’t come. Or when it gets hard. Keep doing.

I can attest to that advice. As a thinker I was always looking for shortcuts or clever tricks to make things easier. There are such tricks for little things. But for the big things in life – the important things in life, there are absolutely no shortcuts.

Do. Write. Act. Perform. Create. And never stop.

 

Race is a False Boundary

Race is a false boundary. All boundaries are ultimately an illusion, but many are very useful and are part of love-evolution. Boundaries are necessary for our consciousness to function. Boundaries separate subject and object, shadow and light. Two entities exist because of a boundary between them.  Boundaries are fluid and subjective. They can be a useful way to slice and dice entities and reality in our minds, but you have to be ready to pivot and change your views – sometimes in a heartbeat. That’s true for all boundaries. Boundaries do not exist fundamentally in the entity, but we impose the boundary to perceive and understand relationships. But not all boundaries are useful

Race is generally a destructive boundary that seldom serves love-evolution. Even on scientific and materialist terms, which are very limited, race is essentially a bogus concept. It is now largely recognized as a misleading concept that relates people based on superficial differences. As our future unfolds, and people travel and hook up more widely, race will dissolve as a concept. For me, the sooner the better. The reality of both our individuality and our universal humanity will dissolve the false and tribal relationships, which serve to separate us. It will take time, but it is happening now and will accelerate in the future.

The Myth of Race – Debunked in 3 minutes

 

Art, Free Will and Carl Jung

I posted this on FaceBook on my personal page, but I want to expand on it.

“The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is ‘man’ in a higher sense – he is ‘collective man,’ a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.”
(Carl Jung, Psychology and Literature, 1930)

I think Jung is understating the role of the individual or he assumes it is obvious. The artist is tapping into the collective unconscious of humanity as the primary source of art. She is contributing back to the unconscious psychic life of mankind. She is a unique and vital conduit actively adding her own personal experience and knowing into her art in the service to her and our evolution. It is an intimate dance with the collective unconscious in which the artist creates. Both her individuality and the collective unconscious are necessary.

Art is a manifestation of one’s personal experience with the collective unconscious. Art is a solitary activity, but one that is intimately involved with humanity as a whole. Two sides of the same coin. Carl Jung knew and communicated the value of art – infinite.

I think that free will is central to our lives and to evolution. A deterministic life course makes absolutely no sense to me. A fixed path determined by forces outside of our control makes us redundant. Why bother having human beings who think they have free will? You could just run the program and see how things turn out at the end. If we’re just robots, why not use robots?

So I think that artists bring their free will to their art just like we all do to every aspect of our lives. Jung seems to say in the quote above, that the artist is under the control of the collective unconscious. I understand that he is stressing the importance of that collective unconscious to the creation of art. I’m no artist in the conventional sense, but my ideas and my writing comes from a place outside of myself for sure.

I often wake up, sometimes in the middle of the night, with new ideas and a compulsion to write them down. I also get the compulsion to read something, which leads to more writing and more ideas. As I read more Jung and become more open to all of this, it is happening more and more. I have no doubt that these ideas come from the collective unconscious outside of me, as well as from my own unconscious.

Many artists and scientists acknowledge that they don’t know the source of their inspirations and creations. But I think that the person receiving these signals and ideas from outside of them, are still not passive channels. That is my intuition and it makes sense to me. An artist is receiving something from the collective unconsciousness to inspire their art, but the art is unique to that person because of their contribution through their own actions and their own free will.

The few hours before the inspiration must be important. I can’t believe that free will is not operative then. And prior experiences and thoughts of the days and weeks preceding the flash of inspiration must also be important. So if free will is not operative during the creation process, when does it become derailed or overwhelmed by the collective unconscious? I believe that free will is always operative, at least to some degree.

I cannot deny the overwhelming feeling of inspiration from the outside that can make us seem like we are lacking in free will. I think that was what Jung was referring to. I’m just so big on free will as a determinant of our lives that I cannot let it go. But Jung may be right, or I may be over-confident of free will in all circumstances. I am just now reading about Jung’s ideas on the shadow and the anima, where he stresses the role of the unconscious – the source of the shadow and the anima. If we are not conscious enough, we can lose our freedom of choice. I can understand and see that. And I have experienced it.

For now, I think the artist retains at least some free will in the creative process despite the power of the unconscious. There is lots more to explore here, and we will.

MashupSoup Needs to Become More Mashup

I’m not living up to the title of my blog – mashup. I’ve been holding back to make the posts more logically sequenced. I’m going to quit that. It’s time to just get things out there. I’ve been too active in reading and writing – I just have to post in whatever order occurs.

I have established my ground, however. Love-evolution is the meaning of life and all the stuff that fits with that. I’ll be expanding on this idea and adding lots more. As I indicated in a previous post, Love-Evolution-the-Manifesto, Carl Jung and his ideas are central to my explorations.

I have never been introduced to a thinker that resonates so well with my life and my experiences. Jung has opened my eyes, and my heart, as well as my mind, to the infinite mystery before us, and within each of us.

I’m also going to be starting to make videos on a regular basis – posted on YouTube and here on my blog.

I am excited for the future and I want to do what I can to bring about the future…sooner.

We are here to change the world.

It’s time.

Begin.

Love-Evolution The Manifesto

Evolution starts with love. You cannot have love without evolution – without evolving yourself. You cannot evolve without love. Love-evolution is the snake that swallows its tail. Love and evolution are the sub-atomic particles and the ultimate building blocks of the universe and of life. They are the basic products of the first consciousness – the ultimate One. They both began when the One divided. Both love and evolution require a relationship. When the One became two, and so on, to where we are today, the infinite division of the one, and where we are going, love, relationship and evolution became possible – in fact, inevitable.

Love and evolution are the warp and the woof of the fabric of the universe. Being is love. Love is being. Evolution is becoming. Becoming is evolution. You cannot have being without becoming. You cannot have becoming without being.

Love and evolution are the beginning of everything. They are the qualities inside and outside of all dualities – all objects in reality. They are the qualities that unite – our path to unity – to the one. Unus mundus is Latin for “one world” and is “the concept of an underlying unified reality from which everything emerges and to which everything returns”. This is from Wikipedia, which goes on to say that the phrase was popularized by Carl Gustav Jung. I will have lots to say about this concept, in future posts.

To evolve is to love. To love is to evolve. Love and evolution are the ultimate and absolute truths of existence. They are universal everywhere and in everything.

Art is the manifestation, expression, guide, inspiration, and celebration of love-evolution. Perfection is the ultimate illusion, but it creates the infinite potential space of love-evolution to reside in and to expand into. Art lies at the center of love-evolution.

Psychology and physics are the remaining areas of human knowledge and experience absolutely central to love-evolution, the big meaning of life.

Psychology looks inward to explore our individual consciousness and psyche. Physics looks outward to explore our relationship to existence beyond the self, including both physical and non-physical existence.

Love-evolution is/are central to psychology and physics, although the relationship to the latter is not yet clear. We are just at the beginning of understanding the central role of consciousness in the universe. Quantum physics has left no doubt as to the relationship of the physical world to consciousness, but we are in the very early stages of understanding that relationship. And yet, many still deny the evidence of the centrality of consciousness. The future will confirm this fact, indeed axiom, to more and more people.

Psychology, art and physics are the handmaidens to love-evolution, to make a sacred group of four.

The greatest explorer in all this is Carl Gustav Jung, a psychologist, philosopher, and deep explorer. He spent his life in this intersection of art, psychology, mythology, and physics, and other fields. He is best known for psychology, but his interests took him much deeper into psychology, metaphysics, and the ultimate nature of reality and our place in it.

The other great explorer in this, and my second inspiration is Joseph Campbell. He was inspired by the same yearning to understand our existence, and our place in it. He was very much a co-creator with Jung. Campbell was more focused on mythology and its role in art, psychology and life.

If I could paint, I would try to express myself through art, but right now I am limited to words and ideas. They are useful, but words are limited – the product of our rational minds. The finger that points at the moon is not the moon. Art is the moon and I will do my best to work within the limitations of my words. Poetry can be the moon. I’ll have to work on my poetry in private. Words are the beginning of understanding, but art, the heart. and the soul continue where words cannot travel.

I will do and be what I can. Thankfully I can evolve, just like everyone else. One of my goals will be to include art in all this because it is so central to love-evolution and to psychology. Jung used and respected the fundamental power of art. He was a true artist in all respects.

Jung and his ideas are central to my thinking and I think, to our existence. He started to explore the ideas that each one of us need to explore in our own lives for deeper, richer and more satisfying lives. He has given humanity a wonderful start in this direction, but one that is not broadly appreciated. I am dedicated to changing that. Jung’s ideas must be brought to a wider audience, and more fully appreciated. And more utilized!

Art and psychology work together to explain, celebrate, and evolve our life and our existence. Art and psychology are entwined, with mythology, to reveal ourselves, to ourselves. Art is the tapestry we weave as we live. There is conscious art and there is unconscious art., or deliberate art and not so deliberate art. I am simply in awe of conscious and deliberate artists who devote so much of their lives to their craft, gift and inspiration. Their gift to us all is incalculable.

Ultimately, everything is art, but deliberate art is most obvious and inspiring. Art is the richest and most complex metaphor in existence. It is a moon that is impossible to pin down with words. All we can do is point, perceive, enjoy and celebrate – absorb and integrate as we evolve. And of course, as we create.

We would all do well to work to become more conscious, deliberate and aware artists. I hold the conscious and deliberate artist to be a sacred hero in our society.

Make no mistake, love-evolution is art, and it is work. This all takes will, energy and effort. This work is never meant to be drudgery, but we often make it that.

Recognize the meaning and purpose of life as love-evolution energizes and sanctifies that work. It is the journey we are all on.

Art is essential in this work. Conscious and deliberate artists will tell you that creating their art is real work. But creating and living a meaningful life is real work and we have to make that work more conscious. We have to bring greater awareness to our lives, and the journey each one of us are on.

So this is the territory I will be exploring – psychology, myth, art, and physics in service to love-evolution. My focus will be on psychology, and Jung and Campbell in particular. But psychology and myth do not end with Jung and Campbell. They are the starting points. I intend to weave this all into a bigger picture and bring it farther, in a way that helps to make more sense and to help people use this in their lives. All in service to love-evolution – it’s our human gig.

I hope that seeing the biggest picture will help to make sense of the little bits that make up our lives – the little bits that constantly rain down on us, often adding to our confusion and alienation, without that central meaning to make it whole. I believe that a big meaning of life allows us to make sense of where we are and where each one of us are traveling. I believe a big meaning of life, love-evolution, will help us to become more conscious and aware of the path each one of us are on. It will help us to integrate and make use of all those little bits that come into our lives.

Love-evolution is the big meaning of life. But it is simply the starting point that allows each one of us to create our own personal meaning – our own personal journey of creation – always unique and adventurous, but always in service to our own evolution. Evolution is the gig, but each one of us defines that evolution for ourselves. I understand now that this uniquely personal evolution is the leap in consciousness that we are now witnessing in the world. This process began some time ago, will accelerate in the future, but will play out over a longer period than we can imagine.

The times they are a changing.

Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A Changin

I hope that I can explore art as well, but we’ll see what the future holds there. We have work to do.

We’re here to change the world.

It’s time.

Begin.

The Meaning of Life – Part 3 – This Is It!

In Part 1 of the meaning of life, I worked to establish the reason that I think that having a meaning of life is important. Nothing I can say right now will likely convince you that I’m not crazy or joking even to suggest that there is such a thing or that mine makes any sense. That is for you and time to judge.

In Part 2, I talked about the ultimate nature of nature or of reality. I wanted to establish my idea on this before going on to the meaning of life. I think that the underlying nature of reality is not only an interesting problem, but it has direct bearing on the meaning of life and that has a direct bearing on everything in our life.

Now I want to plunge into the actual meaning of life – my BMOL.

BMOL = Big Picture Meaning of Life

My motivation to get this out now is to make my blog make more sense. My BMOL is the central idea behind all my thinking here and really, all the thinking in my life. I do have an agenda and it is not to change minds, but it is to stimulate thinking. Your mind is not mine to change. Your own independent thoughts and ideas are as much a part of my BMOL as my own.

But as I talked about in my blog manifesto, the world needs changing and I am exploring these ideas as I try to change my own world.

So without further ado, my big picture meaning of life, my BMOL is… evolution.

That’s it? You’re probably asking yourself. I warned you at the beginning that the answer may seem underwhelming at first. It may seem too general, or too scientific, or not useful in terms of guiding you in your own life. Au contraire. Anything this big has to be non-obvious at first. Stick with me and I think you’ll start to see the value. It may take a while, but give it a chance.

With apologies to John Lennon – “All I am saying is give evolution a chance.”

I’ll be answering these objections, briefly, in this piece. And I’ll be expanding on the power and the usefulness of evolution in the weeks, months and yes, years to come. I am convinced that evolution is absolutely central to understanding our lives and making the decisions that will lead to more fulfilling lives. Recognizing evolution as the central hub of life will ultimately lead to happier lives, although fun and happiness are secondary effects of evolution. Evolution is not always easy or fun or happy in the earlier stages. And almost never in the earliest stages. And sometimes not until you’ve come out the other side of a major evolutionary step. But this knowledge and perspective should enliven the journey.

A major problem with evolution is that it’s a cool word and idea, but it doesn’t seem to apply to our lives in any significant way. Evolution seems to happen on a giant time scale – millions of years for a species and maybe decades for a city.

Ask a lot of people – “How’s it going?” “Same – same” is often the reply. “What are you up to?” “Nothing much – the usual.” To often we see our lives largely as flat meaningless landscapes of unchanging sameness. Evolution? Relevant? Hell yeah! But why evolution?

I’ll start with the metaphysical – the ultimate nature of reality as a continuation from part 2.

As I discussed in part 2, I think that the ultimate nature of reality starts with consciousness. Call it what you will. That consciousness is ultimately the source of everything – of all the physical matter and all of us conscious beings in this universe. As I discussed in Part 2, you have to start somewhere, with something – either matter or consciousness and I have chosen mind or consciousness for the reasons I outlined. It just makes the most sense to me.

So just think of yourself as this one consciousness sitting around by yourself, it’s boring – you’re bored. There is nothing to be aware of since you’re it – everything. At some point you divide into smaller bits of consciousness and these smaller bits can be aware of the other bits. You can now have relationships and interactions and you can evolve – you can change and grow. As more and more little bits of consciousness are spun off, the interactions and relationships can become much more complicated and much more interesting. It’s a lot more fun than sitting around as one big blob of consciousness. Evolution is the fundamental gig – the prime job of this consciousness. Dividing and relating in new ways – that is the essence of evolution.

As part of this evolution you can make games for your little bits of consciousness. These games limit the conditions under which those little bits operate. Games are determined by limits. Soccer is a great example.

In soccer you kick and move a ball into a goal without using your hands to touch the ball. There are eleven players on each side etc. etc. Now the rules of soccer limit the actions of the players. You can’t pick up the ball and run with it. You can’t play with more than eleven players. The field and the goal is of a certain size etc. etc.

Human beings do have arms and hands, yet the rules place limitations on how the soccer game is played. With those limitations, people have developed the ability to do amazing things with their feet and the ball. I bet that no one would have developed the amazing skills of manipulating the ball with their feet without those limitations imposed by soccer. And every year more people develop more amazing skills

Think of all the amazing skills that humans have developed because they’ve had to work within the limitations of a game, or a job, or a hobby. Basketball, snowboarding, magic tricks, brick laying, painting, sculpting, singing, dancing, acting– and a bunch of things we haven’t even dreamed up – yet.

Think of games that are new and just starting out – chess boxing – yes boxing and playing chess together.

So my analysis of our situation is that we are tiny bits of consciousness playing a giant and very complex game in this physical universe. This physical universe is our game board or field and we are playing the game and interacting with everyone else. The laws of physics ultimately determine how we can interact, but the scope is huge. Until about a hundred years ago, people couldn’t fly in anything heavier than air. Now we do it without even thinking.

At one time air travel was reserved for the wealthy – it’s now affordable for a huge part of the planet.

This is evolution and that evolution began when the big single consciousness split up into smaller multiple bits of consciousness, ultimately to make us and everything else. And there is no question that process is still going on. It’s evolution and that evolution is facilitated by many things and one of them is constraints – limitations. Gravity on our planet and you can’t touch the ball with your hands in soccer. But evolution is working within constraints to produce more evolution – not stasis. Those limitations make useful interactions possible and valuable in the service of evolution. You couldn’t play soccer and develop those amazing skills if you could pick up the ball, but you can in North American football – different game – different rules – different evolutionary paths.

When most of us think of evolution, we think of Darwin and the origin of the species. But evolution, as I see it, is much more complex, much broader, and even more fundamental than that limited view. Darwinian evolution is an important part of any notion of evolution, but it’s really only a tiny part.

Biological evolution as Darwin theorized and discussed, works over many generations. Humans have now moved way beyond those genetic and biologic limitations, which are still undoubtedly occurring. That form of evolution is dwarfed by the evolution we’re now experiencing in terms of our cultures, our art, our technologies, our knowledge, our personal lives, our thoughts and our ideas.

Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, said that change was fundamental to existence and I agree. Evolution is fundamental. Its our number one gig. It is really both the fabric and the weaver in this universe of ours.

My working concept of evolution right now is the growth in complexity and relationships of things in the universe towards greater diversity, connection, and suitability to the environment. I hope that gives you the scope of what I am considering here. This is monstrously huge, but it all begins within each of us, in small and big ways.

None of these ideas are unique with me. I don’t claim to have discovered anything on my own, but I have never found the meaning and significance of human life set out in just this way. I’ve spent a great deal of time considering the applicability of evolution to our lives. It all makes sense to me and it has since I started thinking about life in this way.

I’ll be talking a lot more about those people and ideas that have led to my thinking in this. There are a large number of sources, but there are a few people who stand out for me. They will be important for the future as I develop my ideas. The more I consider the general notion of evolution, the more useful and the more valuable I see it. It is everywhere. It is us. We are it.

My original idea for this blog was to be a mashup of ideas that point to an evolutionary jump in human consciousness. I hope that the focus of my ideas and writing in the blog will be more clear now as we explore this enormous idea of evolution. I had to get that elephant in the room.

My blog has evolved – what do you know?

The Meaning of Life Part 2 – The Nature of Nature

I am establishing a context for my blog here, because ultimately it plugs into a central meaning for me and that is the meaning of life.

I started this discussion in Part 1 which can be found here. In this I talk about my search and why I think a meaning of life is so important for us all.

Now before we are ready to move on to the actual meaning of life, we have one more piece to examine.

We need to visit the nature of reality. Physics? String theory? Higgs boson? Unified field theory?

No. More basic than that. And I’m not a physicist. We are only going to examine two possibilities or two factors in the nature of the universe or the nature of existence – or the nature of nature. But the two biggest factors.

I have to credit the philosopher Ayn Rand with exposing me to these ideas at a young age when I fell in love with her thinking and approach. I no longer hold the same axioms as she did (as I once did) but she is a wonderful thinker, working within a very narrow framework. She believed in the power and beauty of ideas and she saw the universe as a benevolent place for humanity. Those ideas have never left me and are really stronger in me than ever.

So the ultimate question on the nature of the universe or reality is: what is primary? Physical existence or consciousness? Stuff or thoughts? What comes first? Is consciousness a product of matter? Or is matter a product of consciousness?

This question points to the existence or non-existence of God, but not cleanly. It’s messy. You can click on the link to read my previous ode to messiness. And you can give that global or first consciousness any one of many (dare I say infinite?) names – the one, the ultimate, God, the all – whatever you wish. So we’ll leave aside the nature of that first consciousness because that is a very messy and distracting question. And that question is not primary.

But the preceding question is central to any examination of a BMOL, in my opinion. Or at least in my BMOL, which I’m trying to make as big as possible. We don’t have to figure out God – physicists certainly haven’t figured out the ultimate nature of matter if that is first, so the consciousness first side is not at any disadvantage.

So the question before us is: what comes first – matter or consciousness?

Conventional science is firmly in the physical material camp. Stuff or matter “appeared” with the Big Bang and the universe was formed. Human consciousness and any other forms of consciousness, and life in general, formed somehow, from that lifeless material of sub-atomic particles.

Now perhaps my conclusion is showing here, but I think it is important to frame this in a fair way. For most people living today, to say there is a consciousness that made everything seems to be an absurd and extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary proof or explanation. In our modern scientific world, it seems obvious that matter is primary and that life and consciousness arose from that. And if it is claimed that a consciousness made the physical universe, then how did that consciousness arise? Good question, but you have to start with something – an axiom – a starting point. Either matter or consciousness. Each starting point is just as valid as the other, if you examine the question without prejudice.

As Terence McKenna rightly puts it:

“Modern science is based on the principle: ‘Give us one free miracle, and we’ll explain the rest.’ The one free miracle is the appearance of all the mass and energy in the universe and all the laws that govern it in a single instant from nothing.”

There is just no getting around it. The fact of our existence is a miracle no matter where you start, so it is profoundly up for grabs which came first – matter or consciousness. Most of modern scientific orthodoxy is just biased for matter and against consciousness.

When you really look at scientific claims and theories about the origin of our universe – the big bang – it’s wild and extraordinary too. It seems less so because it is the orthodoxy – the standard story that we’re told. It is the standard axiom in our culture. Stuff came first. We accept it as obvious, when it is no more than an assumption – it has to be. It is the starting point – the ultimate axiom for existence. No proof is possible – you just have to start with matter or consciousness and see where it leads you.

Most of us are not well versed in theoretical physics and lack the education to dispute the notions inherent in the current orthodoxy of matter coming first. So we are intimidated when considering the alternative. If all these smart and knowledgeable people think this way, then who am I to contradict their basic premise? I will talk more about the necessity of claiming your own sovereign power over your own mind more in the future. But it is important to know that not all physicists agree with the orthodoxy and historically we know that it is not unusual for the majority to be wrong. For now, please simply accept that you are competent to judge ideas regardless of your own credentials. This does not mean that anything goes in the claims of truth, but I think it does mean that anything goes in the search for truth. Peace, love and exploration rule.

Now the tricky part is that matter seems obvious. Bang the table. Try to fly off a garage roof. Life seems physically obvious. So if there is no evidence for anything before or beyond physical matter, can we go there? Yes we can, because we have to start somewhere and that somewhere is an axiom.

Either matter is primary and came first. Or consciousness is primary and came first. The first seems obvious and intuitive and the second seems absurd and extraordinary, but only because of our modern scientific culture. A science founded on the primacy of consciousness would be just as valid and useful as one founded on the physical primacy. The scientific method and process would carry on in the same way. In fact, if the primacy of consciousness is the true nature of reality, science based upon it would be more valid and more useful. The primacy of consciousness does not negate science – just some of the axioms and conclusions of modern science. But if the primacy of consciousness is our reality, the recognition of this will open up enormous new vistas in science. Science founded on a false axiom will be limited by that axiom, or starting point.

Science can be thought as two things that get mixed up or combined – science is a process of discovery and testing to arrive at conclusions and the truth – one hopes, but constantly open to revision. Science is also considered to be a body of orthodox knowledge, or collection of facts. This serves to make a body of knowledge, the one that most current scientist think is so, the one that is considered to be THE TRUTH. And it can get trickier.

For instance, people used to believe the world was flat. Science now knows that the earth is a type of sphere. Saying it this way implies that ignorant people used to believe an error about the nature of our world and now scientists have corrected this erroneous belief to establish the truth that the earth is spherical. By saying “science” it implies that this is some sort of dispassionate entity, apart from normal human behavior, in search of scientific truth. It appears to remove the human and individual components of science. But science is like any other human endeavor – a product of individual humans.

In this context, there is no real “science” except as a consensus of opinion held by people, presumably using the scientific method to establish facts and opinions. It always comes down to people performing scientific inquiry in the best way they can, but it means that new data and interpretations are always a possibility and so “science” in this context is not established – it is constantly in flux and much more open to change then many scientists would care to admit to the rest of us. They know it when they discuss their field of expertise with themselves, but for the rest of us, the monolith of science appears largely intact.

I certainly don’t consider myself a scientist, but I do have my Masters of Science in human growth and development. I did perform clinical research on people as part of my thesis. I am familiar with science and it is much, much messier than we often think. I can forget how messy it is when I’m reading some science story in the media.

That messiness is not a bad thing. It can actually be a very good thing. It is certainly inevitable. But it is vital to constantly be aware of that messiness in science – and really anything else.

I am not criticizing science or scientists, but we have to keep in mind that scientists are all working to figure things out just like the rest of us. They have specific training which can help them. They have the time and resources to study and perform experiments. But scientists make mistakes. They have prejudices just like anyone else. In fact, their expertise can make them more prone to prejudice. They have perhaps spent decades in their field with a relatively stable orthodoxy and changing that can be very hard. They have limited knowledge, just like the rest of us. Science is a wonderful process of discovery, but it can only be performed by imperfect humans. Never forget that science is a process and not a destination. Science is not “truth”, but a method of discovery, testing and arriving at knowledge.

Back to our starting point with the nature of the universe. If axioms are a starting point and can’t be proven, then what do we do to decide upon which is the truth? We look at where those two axioms take us. Which one fits better with our observations and data?

I’m going to make a pretty simple case here. We don’t have the time or space to fully explore this fundamental question, but I hope to show that the answer is not as obvious as our modern scientific view would have you believe. I will be exploring this idea more in future blog posts because it so fundamental and it’s so interesting.

As I said, I started my real philosophical explorations with Ayn Rand and her thinking. She was firmly in the primacy of matter camp. She actually cheated and called it primacy of existence, which assumed her conclusion – cheeky. She should have at least said her axiom was the primacy of physical existence as opposed to the primacy of consciousness – the only alternative.

For most of my life, I was firmly in the primacy of physical existence camp. I followed the modern scientific, mechanical, physical universe theory or axiom. But in the last few years I started to doubt that this theory could explain the universe as I was coming to understand it. I started to explore ideas and theories that required the primacy of consciousness and sure enough, I started to see that there were holes in the physical first theory, or axiom. That physical first axiom led to problems.

Here are the major issues that concerned me about the primacy of physical matter:

One.

If you accept that humans are conscious – among other animals and who knows what else – then you have to figure out how consciousness arises from physical matter. This is the subject of much speculation and includes scientists and philosophers who don’t believe that humans really are conscious. Some people recognize that explaining how consciousness can arise from lifeless physical matter is difficult, and perhaps impossible. Yet they believe they must hold on tightly to the primacy of physical existence, so they dismiss consciousness as essentially an illusion.

To me, that points out how dedicated some people are to that axiom of physical matter as the basis of our reality, in spite of contradictory evidence. I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced that I am conscious. And my whole life has confirmed that I am witness to that same spark of consciousness in every human being I’ve ever met and in all the animals I have interacted with. I’m not saying that it is not possible to get consciousness from physical stuff, but I really have my doubts. And the materialist approach that runs science now doesn’t show much promise.

So if you believe in consciousness, then it is a problem to get that from physical matter. The problem may have a solution, but no sign of that yet.

Two.

Never mind consciousness – how do you get life from non-living physical stuff? The current scientific thinking is that a primordial chemical soup from both earth and space (from comets) was able to form the chemical components of life over a long period of time. If this is true, it is a great start. But those chemicals still have to make the connections and the spark that is life. A very tall order, but perhaps not impossible. Again, modern science is a very long way off from showing how this happens. No artificial life so far.

Three.

The double slit experiment is a classic one for quantum physics and one that shows a very weird property of the universe at least at the quantum level. This quantum level is the submicroscopic world of photons – particles of light and electrons – a major sub-atomic particle. In one form of the experiment, photons are sent to a screen with two narrow slits. These particles can act as discrete particles or they can act as waves – actually waves of probability. The wave doesn’t describe anything real per se, but really represents the possibilities of position. Quantum physics is very non-intuitive and some say “spooky”.

So these photons act like particles or waves and it seems to be related to the presence or absence of a consciousness to interpret information about the photon. With no consciousness to access the information on the nature of the photon as it passes through a slit, it acts like that wave of probability. If there is a consciousness with a detector to collect that information, the wave form is said to “collapse” to become an actual particle.

The important feature is that information and consciousness appear to play a direct role in the physical reality of those particles. That is huge and for some, it implies or confirms the primacy of consciousness, or information as a manifestation or substrate of consciousness. There are other interpretations that seek to preserve the primacy of physical reality and I am only stating how I am interpreting this. But for me, this is a case of the first and most basic science, physics, challenging the primacy of physical reality – wow! Consciousness is directly affecting physical matter.

Four.

Another finding in quantum physics is entanglement. When two twinned particles exist, they have opposite and complementary properties. One may (metaphorically) spin clockwise, while the other spins counter-clockwise. If you change the spin of one particle, the other will instantly change to continue the complementary relationship. And note – instantly. This applies even if the particles are kilometers apart – and presumably light years apart – instantly.

But this means that the information of the spin of one particle is instantly transmitted to the sister particle, even at a great distance. This means the information travels at a much greater speed than that of light, but that should be impossible. One interpretation is that if reality is really a field of information beyond or containing our physical reality then this can be explained. This can imply that physical reality is a kind of information system, similar to a game or simulation run within a computer. The computer is used to manipulate information in the physical world and likewise, an information matrix outside of physical reality could be running our physical reality.

 

For me, these four issues are solid, physically based reasons, to call into doubt the primacy of physical existence.

It is interesting to note how physics is a shadow of its former self. Technically it continues to do remarkable things with super colliders and such. But the first half of the 20th century was the most amazing period of revolution in physics and those days have not returned. Could it be that most physicists, since the mid 20th century, have worked so hard to deny the fundamental shift in our notions of reality that this resistance has led to a stasis?

At some point one has to step out of a paradigm to make progress. This is what happened in 1900, when Max Planck ushered in the quantum revolution. He was an unlikely figure to do so. He considered himself conservative and cautious, but at the same time very rigorous. That rigor and a desperation to explain a phenomenon and fundamental problem in physics, led Max Planck to come up with a radical notion that opened the door to the disruptive theory of quantum mechanics that turned the world upside down.

The radical notion is that reality is not continuous – it is divided up into quanta – the plural of quantum, a term that Planck coined. Water is uniform and appears to be continuous – no gaps. Planck found that reality itself is not continuous – not just atoms of matter with spaces, but space and time are actually chopped up into tiny chunks. It is like the pixilation in a photograph on a computer screen – at some point of magnification, the picture is seen to be made up of those little dots. Reality is the same – space and time can only be resolved down to tiny chunks. Reality turns out to be like a computer with pixels and the clock ticks of a computer chip. We see the world as continuous on the scale we operate, but it’s more complicated under the surface.

This has opened us up to a new way of seeing our reality. It is not the intuitive view that we have come to depend upon. That day back in 1900 was the day that our universe revealed itself to be very different from what it seemed to be.

This was really a revolution that is still reverberating. It has really not been integrated into the scientific community, let alone in the general population. I was not exposed to any of this when I was taking physics and chemistry, up until the introductory level at university, when I entered dental school. Newtonian physics is still useful in the day to day world, but not even to be exposed to quantum field theory and mechanics was a major deficit in my education.

I know why this was done, and likely still being done. Science portrays itself as a fearless quest for truth, so it has a vested interest in appearing to be a consistent edifice of knowledge.

Lord Kelvin said around 1900, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”

A poorer prediction could not have been made at that time. A number of brilliant men, including the iconic Einstein were on the verge of blowing up the prevailing edifice of physics by developing relativity, and then quantum physics. Quantum field theory has been a wild and non-intuitive theory that defies common sense and our real world notion of reality. And its claims and predictions have stood the test of time and changed our world from theory to practice. The first half of the 20th century brought us a revolution in thinking and knowledge that simply cannot be exaggerated.

After that revolution and those great physicists who discovered and developed quantum field theory? Meh. I’m not trashing physics – just the current physics that looks at the basic structure of matter and the universe.

Quantum physics is certainly not an end point in discovery – there is much to explore and discover. We’re not going to make the same mistake as Lord Kelvin. But after all this time, the best we seem to have is string theory.

If you Google “string theory is”, Google gave me the following suggestions as of Jun 29, 2016:

“not science”

“dead”

“bullshit”

“wrong”

“nonsense”

“a dead end”

“pseudoscience”

“false”

“isn’t science”

“Islam” – I have no clue how that one came up.

String theory is a further attempt to explain reality in physics. Any theory meets resistance when it’s first developed and Google suggestions are not proof of anything, but they do suggest. String theory was developed in the 1960’s and it’s been a pretty underwhelming performer. The last half of the 20th century and the first part of this one are dwarfed by the revolutionary discoveries of the quantum era in the early 1900’s. String theory has not made useful predictions and from this non-physicist, it appears to be a pretty leaky boat. It is not the only candidate for moving past quantum field theory, but it seems to be the front-runner of a poor lot.

Quantum field theory isn’t perfect – nothing is – but it has been as astoundingly successful as it is weird and strange.

Moving to the primacy of consciousness from the primacy of physical matter is a radical notion. But after the radical notion of quantum physics, there is precedence for such an upheaval in our understanding of reality. Quantum physics may not prove the primacy of consciousness yet, but it certainly opens up the question. And again – you can never directly prove an axiom – matter or consciousness as the starting point. Start somewhere and see where it leads you.

Scientific convention remains committed to physical matter as the starting point of the universe, but there are certainly those who question that. I am most interested in the physicists who question that starting point. These are the people who did the experiments, came up with the theories and went way beyond Newtonian physics to bring us the quantum revolution.

Quantum physics is science and it is wild and non-intuitive, but it cannot be used to justify every single New Age belief and theory. I’ll talk about Quantum physics and the New Age more in subsequent blog posts, because it is both interesting and relevant.

I’ll leave you with some quotations from physicists, all of whom, with one exception, are from the first half of the twentieth century.

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.

Max Planck

 

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.

Max Planck

 

In order to more fully understand this reality, we must take into account other dimensions of a broader reality.

John Archibald Wheeler

 

Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.

Erwin Schrödinger

 

If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.

Niels Bohr

 

I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy.

Max Born

 

For me, and many others, it would now seem that the most logical and reasonable starting point for existence is consciousness and not matter. I am certainly prepared to change my mind with new data or theories, but for now it simply makes the most sense.

So I believe that our existence begins with consciousness and not matter. I think we can now move onto my meaning of life – my big picture meaning of life – my BMOL.

We are here to change the world.

It’s time.

Begin.

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