197 – Self-Reflection is Innate in Nature …

Why is it so difficult for the human mind to comprehend the premise that self-reflection is innate in Nature? How else can anything on its own power attain stability, cohesion, balance, form, if not with introspection about itself?

Think about a tree. To grow on its own power into a cohesive and functional form, a tree must attain relatively constant equilibrium between its intake of energy from the environment and the energy it exerts to produce its physical structure. It cannot exist otherwise.

Or our solar system. To develop on its own power into a cohesive, functional and relatively stable system, our solar system must attain constant equilibrium between its force of attraction and its force of resistance. It would collapse otherwise.

Or ourselves. To develop on our own power into a cohesive, dynamic, and relatively stable organism, we must attain constant equilibrium between our level of activity and our intake of nutrients. We collapse otherwise.

Any two forces, elements, or quantities that develop as a unit, cannot attain relatively constant equilibrium … one always measuring the other … without a degree of self-reflection. This capacity, although mostly instinctive, is innate in Nature.

Yet we … the human animal … have evolved the capacity of conscious self-reflection, to be aware of our capacity to reflect upon ourselves and our world. But this level of self-reflection is just a small step up on the ladder of our ongoing evolutionary development.

So how, I wonder, would we be like when, and if, we come to possess higher degrees of conscious self-reflection than the germinal one we possess today? Would we be able to perceive our connection with everything in Nature through the fierce power of Life in us to self-generate, adapt, and survive? Or would we perhaps be able to reflect upon our genesis and trace the making of our destiny to evolve a mind … atom by atom, cell by cell, connection by connection …that perceives the Order that created it?

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196 – I am a Presence in the Universe

I am a presence in the Universe,

A catalyst for transformation.

Aware of my own awareness

I trace the making of my destiny,

And knowing where I must go

I set my mind free.

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195 – On Vacation …

I am on vacation.  If everything goes as planned I will post again on May 1, 2018.

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194 – Evil does not exist …

The history of how man acquired power and control over his world is full of examples of lies fabricated to shift blame for his destructive actions, or to avoid acknowledging his ignorance about events he could not understand.

The concept of ‘evil’ in some cultures and religious beliefs is an example of a lie fabricated in early patriarchal civilizations to avoid responsibility for men’s cruel and vengeful actions and blame them on someone or something else. As a result, we are now not only extremely good at lying and shifting responsibility for the consequences of our actions, but we have become the cruelest and most destructive species on earth.

Catastrophes and astronomical events like epidemics, floods, solar eclipses, were also blamed on ‘evil forces’, but this is more difficult now with the technological advances that help us explain their causes.

It is my belief that, historically, the main culprit reinforcing the fallacy of the existence of ‘evil’ throughout the ages has been the Roman Catholic Church. Under pressure to protect its fundamental dogma of an ‘all-knowing and omnipotent god’ in the face of the destructive and cruel aspects of man and Nature, the Church fabricated the lie of a powerful and evil ‘dark angel’ to blame for god’s folly.

How have the men of the Roman Church been able to get away with this lie, is beyond conception? The lie is pathetic. How can an ‘all-knowing and omnipotent god’ not know the consequences of what ‘he’ was creating? Yet with the horrors of the Inquisition, the barbarism of the Crusades, the threat of eternal punishment in ‘hell’ for disobeying patriarchal authority, this lie has been deeply imprinted on the minds of its believers while turning into a bonanza for greedy minds: If the men of the Church can shift responsibility upon others for their lies, why not the common man. The allure of this train of thought spread to other beliefs and has disastrously come to dominate entire cultures.

It is thus extremely disconcerting to see people who seem intelligent and learned, especially politicians, heads of corporations, religious and political leaders, lie with impunity and without a hint of compassion for the human beings they are blaming for their crimes.

Nature is the creative evolutionary process that amid constant change progresses towards complexity and order. This progression is achieved through the innate capacity of its creations to attain developing states of equilibrium between the energy consumed and the energy exerted. Nothing in Nature, as far as we know, can develop, survive, and transform itself and its environment without some degree of equilibrium, as is the case with the human fetus. From the moment the human fetus begins to develop, we consume sources of energy from the nutrients of the placenta, exerting the energy into growth and activity in equivalent measure to the quantity of the energy consumed, and the waste and gas produced in the process are disposed of via our mother’s blood supply. We instinctively know how to sustain this process in relative equilibrium while creating a complex and beautiful human being.

As all the myriad components of our Universe, we fuel our existence by consuming sources of energy … other forms of Life, other creatures, other systems … don’t we kill other living things to exist?

The essence of Nature is transformation through creation and destruction; its evolutionary process could not exist without either one. But because the destructive side is chaotic, full of uncertainty, and oftentimes catastrophic and devastating to human life, it does not mean it is ‘evil’; it is just the essential complement that nurtures the progression of the creative side towards complexity and order.

Evil does not exist.

When will the human mind be able to realize that it has been duped by a lie?  Evil is a fabrication like those of mermaids and unicorns. But this lie imprisons the human mind and drives us into deception and cruelty.

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193– The Human Mind …

I wrote this essay some years ago for a course I was taking on creative writing. I have revised it, but the essence of the original remains intact.

_________________________

Neurons are the electrically excitable cells that receive, process, and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals, forming a web of communications with other neurons and generating the human mind.

The phenomenon of my mind, with its capacity to let me move beyond boundaries and wander in the realms of the imagination, is the most awesome quality any creature can possess. The untapped powers waiting to be discovered in the incredible amount of information stored in the relatively small space within my skull, besides being the fountain of the imagination, is one of the most fantastic riddles of this Universe in which I exist.

The creation of my mind began the instant a sperm and an ovum bonded into a sentient being inside my mother’s womb. From that very moment, a set of instructions that have been evolving and specializing through eons of time was set in motion. Cells multiplied in mysterious and beautiful patterns that led to the creation of the different components of my body and the magic of my mind. Every single movement was constrained by primal mandates within the magnificent order of Nature, yet there was a suppleness that allowed for creativity and for the accession of a mind aware of its own awareness: Life looking at itself.

Trying to discover the riddle of my mind has taken me into the exploration of insightful scientific theories and the wisdom of philosophic thinkers throughout the ages, and so I have come to understand that my level of comprehension is grounded upon ancestry that goes way beyond the plains of Africa.

Mind is the physical energy infusing every single component in my body with a universal mandate to become, self-organize, bond, self-generate, adapt, self-perpetuate, transform; while at the same time, every single component participates in the regulation and transformation of my mind by receiving, processing, and transmitting with a relative degree of freedom the energy they absorb from the environment. This symbiotic yet supple relationship is what allows me to function as a dynamic, cohesive and relatively self-governing organism; it is what bounds me to physical laws that pre-determine my development, yet oftentimes allows me to challenge them, and, sometimes, overcome them.

There is a universal mind whose energy binds us with the mandate to self-generate and survive while endowing each and all of us with a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our environments. This is the primal energy driving the creative progression of the universal evolutionary process into the levels of complexity and order we see today. How else could a Universe evolve from a microscopic singularity into a colossal organization of billions and billions of galaxies, each utterly unique, yet each bound to develop into mere three shapes: spiral, globular, and lenticular? How else can a Universe infuse billions and billions of minuscule living creatures within our bodies with the energy to generate a mind that can not only become aware of itself, but also of the magnificence of the Universe in which it exists?

Both, the Universe and I, began as a small point in space and time. Once engendered, our development was set in motion by generating and self-organizing into cohesive yet supple structures. The natural laws of the environments in which we were embedded regulated the early development of our bodies, but slowly, very slowly, we began to experience a relative degree of freedom to manipulate and give direction to our development. And then, the powerful energy of a creative mind began to emerge, giving us the power to progress toward the levels of order and complexity that culminate in conscious self-reflection.

Therefore, I have evolved to be able to look at the skies and inquire, and question, and imagine, trying to understand the energy that binds me to a universal mandate yet endows me with a mind without boundaries to wonder.

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192 – What is it about us? …

It is very easy for us to recognize that as human beings we are highly ingenious, adaptable, resourceful, intelligent, aware of our own awareness. With ingenuity we have extended our vision and our imagination by creating instruments that allow us to see the microscopic and the faraway and immense components of our Universe; with our adaptability we have populated just about every continent and sizeable island on the surface of the planet; with our resourcefulness and intelligence we have transformed natural materials to speed up time travel, to extend our life-span, to create a world-wide web of communications; with the awareness of our own awareness we have come to realize the power within us to transform ourselves and our world.

But somehow, although the signs are becoming more and more evident and menacing, it is not easy for us to recognize that our exponential growth and voracious consumerism are driving us into an unprecedented and violent confrontation with the atmosphere in which our lives, and the lives of myriad other organisms, depend. The dominant, destructive, aggressive, visionless role of our species, has driven us to become like a ravenous and unstoppable virus overwhelming the organism that gives it nourishment.

In this state, where we can witness without trepidation the environmental crisis we are bringing upon ourselves, it is, of course, about impossible for us to see the beauty of a Universe that over eons of time and through incredible struggles has created a niche for Life to begin to be aware of itself. We inhabit that niche. And we are breaking its equilibrium.

What is it about us that we are able to recognize our intelligence, ingenuity, adaptability, resourcefulness, and yet, with self-imposed blindness, avoid recognition not only of the destructive impact of our actions, but of the consequences on the beauty and fragility of the niche in which we have been able to attain a high level of conscious self-awareness?

Centuries ago, even if it was contrary to the perception of our organic senses, the incorporation into our understanding of Reality of the fact that it is our planet that orbits the Sun and not the other way around, catapulted our perception into a more accurate vision of our Universe. In a similar way, the incorporation into our understanding of the empirical facts that our most basic components are atomic particles, and that in great measure they are mostly made of energy, will bring us to accept the fact, even if it is contrary to the perception of our organic senses, that we are made mostly of energy. Energy is a physical substance. We absorb it from the environment and convert it into power and transformative forces. That is how we develop and empower our bodies. That is how we fuel our daily activity. That is how we pump our hearts and energize every single component in our organisms. That is how our ideas can change minds and start movements that can become a force around the world. That is how, with the power of our convictions, we can move multitudes. That is how we give boundless flight to our imagination.

Energy fills us and radiates from us. This is evident in the common experience we call magnetism when we focus our eyes on a person and make her or him feel us and look at us.

What is it about us that with our highly developed levels of ingenuity, adaptability, resourcefulness, intelligence, conscious self-awareness, we cannot yet accept the self-evident fact that it is the energy in us, the energy that we radiate, that gives us the unequivocal power to transform not only ourselves but also our world. Accepting the force of this power within us will set in motion a worldwide comprehension of the damage we are inflicting on our source of life. It will change the course of our evolution.

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191 – Aren’t we among pioneers? …

“One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the most significant mass extinctions on Earth was the Great Oxygenation Event (also known in scientific media as Oxygen Catastrophe, Oxygen Holocaust, Oxygen Revolution, or Great Oxidation), which began approximately 2.45 billion years ago and was induced by the appearance of free oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Although the causes are not completely clear, the current evidence is the exponential growth of a bacteria (Cyanobacteria) that developed into coordinate macroscopic forms as early as 2.3 billion years ago (approximately 200 million years before the event) and produced oxygen through photosynthesis. The increased production of oxygen set Earth’s original atmosphere off balance. Oxygen was toxic to some living creatures at that time on Earth, and it wiped out most of them. *

The evidence that by disturbing the balance of the atmosphere, we are positioning ourselves … the Human species … to be the next biological organism to cause a mass extinction on Earth, is more and more incontestable by the day.

In early civilizations, man learned to avoid responsibility for his cruel and destructive actions by blaming someone or something else … there was always a vulnerable group, an individual, or a catastrophic event to blame … with the avoidance of responsibility, introspection about the consequences of his actions was blunted – practically obliterated. And thus, in a male-dominated civilization, we have become the cruelest and most destructive species on Earth.

The mass extinction of wildlife due to our exponential population growth, overconsumption, and poaching, is already on its way.

Extreme climate change, melting Arctic sea ice, rising ocean levels, constant conflict, unimaginable levels of cruelty, migrations, severe droughts, fires, flooding, will continue to accelerate under the pressures on the environment of our exponential growth and an aggressive economic system that demands more and more consumption.

There is no turning back from the damage we have already done. There are, perhaps, ways to ameliorate the impact of what we have set in motion. But that we must face the consequences of our actions is not a question any longer.

The survivors and descendants of the mass extinction 2.45 billion years ago were, as is obvious, adaptable, oxygen-breathing organisms from which we eventually evolved. The populations that might survive the mass extinction of our own creation will have to adapt to a rarer, harsher, more volatile environment, and, hopefully, evolve with the knowledge that, as the destiny of a fertilized human ovum is to build … cell by cell … the pathways to the self-reflective mind, our destiny has always been to know that we are building blocks in a majestic and ingenious universal plan. Aren’t we already among pioneers in conscious self-reflection?

*Data taken from Wikipedia

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190 – How can I forget? …

I live in a culture that tells me to forgive, so I can forget the horrors of the past.

But how can I forget?

How can I, if my body won’t let me?

Forgiving is easy:

there is nothing in the past I can now change,

whatever happened happened,

what was done was done.

The main thing is that I made it,

a bit crippled, a bit awkward,

but I made it.

And in every experience I now experience,

in every emotion that overwhelms me,

in every feeling I cannot feel,

in every cruelty I wish I had not seen,

my body remembers,

it is what I’m made of.

There is no horror I can now change.

The past is all forgiven

and forgetting would be erasing a part of me.

 

To forget with intention of erasure is possible,

and oftentimes … for the sake of survival …

we do it unintentionally,

but to intentionally erase the past from our history

is inducing a replay of what we are trying to forget.

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189 – The Universe in Me …

When I think about myself as the communal activity of myriad components in my body, I cannot help but contemplate the fact that I am just a partial owner and operator of my own Self. I am a partial owner and operator because at the moment I was conceived, the driving force of the primordial being most of us understand as ‘the subconscious mind’ was introduced into my life. This being is the one who knew how to generate, organize and build the entire structure of my body out of two miniscule cells; it is the one who knows how to decipher the input my body gathers from the environment and transforms it into the self-reflective mind with which I try to understand myself, make sense of the world, and feast on the boundless reaches of the imagination.

And even though my relationship with this primordial being is what has given me the physical experience of a unified Self traversing through Life, I only have the heavily dogmatic teachings of organized religion to explore it. Because for the most part, science claims that the primordial power of our instincts is a ‘self – less’, spontaneous phenomenon. But how can something as complex as the brain of the human animal, in which trillions of synaptic connections create a mind that tries to understand itself, can be something spontaneous, something that happens by chance? And so, I must rely solely on intuition:

The being we call the ‘subconscious mind’ is the universal force manifesting in my instincts, desires, fears, needs; mandating me to become, self-organize, bond, self-generate, adapt, self-perpetuate, and yet endowing me with a degree of freedom to transform myself and, perhaps even the world. The being we call the ‘subconscious mind’ is the Universe in me, and I am made to see it.

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188 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? VII

 

Update on my ongoing quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posed to the human mind. These questions are the title of the beautiful Gauguin painting shown above.

Where do we come from?

 Like cells created by the self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming processes of our bodies, we are created by the self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming processes of the phenomenon we call Life. But Life is just the progression of a phenomenon that, amid trial and error, creation and destruction, inexorably evolves toward greater levels of complexity and order.

And because for us the progression of this phenomenon is self-evident and relatively measurable, its self-determination tangible, its power to create and destroy explicit, yet it continues to remain beyond our comprehension, some call it God, Allah, Shiva, etc., etc. But we tend to create deities when there is something we cannot comprehend.

And although the evolution of this phenomenon is the cause and the reason of our existence, what it is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot yet comprehend – perhaps we never will.

What are we?

 I do not know. But what I do know is that we have evolved into one of the most beautiful and complex manifestations of the phenomenon we call Life; that we have grown self-conscious of our insignificance in the scheme of the Universe and our significance in the scheme of the atomic elements; that we are participants in the universal mandate to Become, Self-organize, Bond, Re-generate, Adapt, Self-perpetuate, Transform; that we are co-creators and promoters of the constant renewal and perpetuation of Life.

And although we know that there are physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we also know that we possess a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world. We are sources of transformation.

Where are we going?

 Limited by our internal and external environments, yet pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world, we forge ahead until we no longer can; at which point in our existence, we begin the inexorable return to the environment from which we emerged.

But in equal measure to what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given to the world,

we may re-emerge upon more complex levels of existence.

Think of Einstein – how his ideas live among us, opening new visions and challenging our understanding of Reality; or Darwin – how his theory of Evolution lives among us, stimulating research in the origins of Life; or Mandela, or Gandhi – how their courage lives among us, inspiring pacifist rebellion against the destructive tyranny of unaccountable power; or Socrates – how his method of inquiry lives among us, stimulating the intellect to the study of itself; or Gauguin – how his profound questions live among us, daring us to wonder and find answers. These individuals live among us in the progression of our evolutionary processes, in the greater reaches of our perception, in the heightened insights of conscious self-reflection; they live among us, challenging and transforming our understanding of the unfolding phenomenon from which we emerge, helping us move forward in the transcendental process of Becoming. And because of what they accomplished with their lives, we are more daring in our visions of the future, more curious about our origins, more aware of what is right and what is wrong, more self-conscious about the struggles and the wonders of existence.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? Out of a self-generating, self-organizing, self-transcending Being whose unfolding we call Life.

WHAT ARE WE? Self-conscious sources of transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? Into the future, but in equal measure to what we do with of our lives.

 TRANSCENDENCE IS A MEASURE OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EXISTENCE.

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