Some might think I’m dawdling over preliminaries. Like I’m endlessly adjusting my coat and tie, but never actually going out on stage and performing anything. All backstage banter.
That’s not wrong. In these essays the subject itself is backstage banter – the behind-the-scenes mumbling in our own heads.
It’s very hard to find anyone raring to talk about the way we frame reality back there. It throws unpleasant light on our habits of denial, repression and justification, which keep us consistent if nothing else. So this subject is almost inherently “uninteresting” to anyone who considers themselves already sane.
Thankfully I don’t. And neither do some of you. However, you’re almost unlocatable as a group. No demographic defines you. So I’m not even addressing you directly. I feel like we’re sitting side-by-side under a tree together, sharing a slightly psychoactive substance. What we have in common is the willingness (I suppose) to recognize a certain insanity in ourselves and not push the subject aside as a dull complacency. We’re willing to see our condition as abnormal, which is a surprising relief. Because if this way of life isn’t “normal”, then we can begin healing. Otherwise it’s just a condition defining us in some conclusive sense. I guess I’d rather be considered insane than evil.Read More »
I’ll dare to state this as a Negative Truth: Any transition from a lower level of being to a higher order isn’t rooted in the lower order.
An order emerges that exceeds the previous level. But not just exceeds it in power and mass, but in kind. A wholly different organization somehow leaps out of a previous organization without precedent. This lower order can’t give birth to something utterly new without a leap from nothing. So mind doesn’t appear to be a product of matter.
The so-called “new physics” seems to agree. They view the world starting with an infinite potential of information (a form of mind), which precedes the explosion of energy, which condensed into matter. What they’re suggesting is that Mind is the starting point. And Mind is the source of energy, which condenses into matter.
But let’s ask the question anyways: Can matter be responsible for mind?
Is it possible that it is and it isn’t, depending, as always, on context? Is this relationship like a wheel that can be spun in both directions when needed? If we look at the universe as starting with an explosion of energy, we will watch that energy coalesce into matter, which grows in complexity until it produces brains and minds. From there, we’ll also see a secondary wheel spinning in reverse, whereby minds generate energy, and energy is interest, is curiosity, is motivation to re-form matter into tools and computers?
Our mistake might lie in assuming that the wheel only spins in one direction, or starts at the same place. Or is operating on only one level at a time. What if matter, mind and energy are three phases of the same ungraspable movement, spinning in all imaginable ways in any context, wheels within wheels?Read More »
Between the idea And the Reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow
From “The Hollow Men,” by TS Eliot
I notice that I share a fundamental starting assumption with post-modernism – the realization that everything is a story, and the impossibility of obtaining “positive certainty” about the full nature of anything.
Even the factual things people do manage to measure with precision are already fictional distinctions premised on limited assumptions. We imagine different ways of separating and measuring what is otherwise an infinite but unrealized potential, the so-called Void.
And I understand (but don’t share) their tendency to make no distinction between thought and thing, because the “thing” is also a thought. Everything we know is put together by narrative – it’s all a fiction. Peering through the post-modern lens, everything, in other words, is just language. From this angle there is no reality beyond language, or no meaning beyond what language ascribes.
There is insight here, but there is also a very subtle blunder. It’s the same one I made as a teenager when I fell into a depersonalization/derealization crisis, which is a terrifying physical and psychological conviction that nothing is real.
Here’s what this post-modern insight misses: If all conclusive meaning (Truth or Reality) is fictional, then this information itself – this negative discovery – is an example of an insight that is non-fictional, non-linguistic. “Truth” doesn’t disappear, but changes at this juncture from positive certainty to negative discovery. Truth changes shape but doesn’t disappear.