Which one is you?
What if I told you that mindless physical objects are running your life? That they make you do things without you knowing it’s happening? That nothing you do is really your own idea? That it’s been this way for everybody since life on earth began? And you’re only thinking this can’t be true because mindless physical things are telling you to think that.
But if it is true, imagine the potential benefits of running your own life. Of making your own conscious choices. Of having ideas you know are yours. Of doing what your conscious self wants, rather than letting the mindless things around you run your life and tell you who you are. But I guess you can’t even imagine that, you’ve been living an illusion for so long. It’s why getting you to believe this is gonna be all uphill.
Let’s start with the difference between the real you, and stuff that’s not you. All ‘you’ are is contained in your consciousness. Your hopes, dreams and aspirations, your awareness of yourself and everything around you, and so on.
(What about all of the hidden stuff in your subconscious? Things you know but aren’t always aware of? And memories? All of that? They’re you too. There’s a lot more in your subconscious than you think, but never mind that for now.)
The thing is, none of the stuff in your conscious/subconscious is physically real, right? It exists only and entirely in the uniquely immaterial environment of your mind. That means ‘you’ exist only and entirely in your mind too. So when your consciousness leaves your physical body – as in death – everything that ‘you’ are leaves too. I guarantee it.
Where you go wrong is in thinking that ‘you’ are your physical body, even though the conscious ‘you’ and that physical body couldn’t be more different.
Fact is, all of your so called ‘physical feelings’ only exist as ideas in your mind, the same way your hopes, dreams and aspirations do. Sure they have a ‘physically real’ cause, but when you experience them, they have no more physical substance than your memories do: zip.
So where does your consciousness stop, and the non-conscious physical world begin? Where and how do they interface? Questions like these are the source of all our problems as human beings. So let’s go back to the notion of you as a robot that lets physical things tell you how you should think and behave. Physical persuader numero uno is your own body (complete with nervous system and brain).
Don’t be fooled by its warm familiarity. That collection of atoms is as mindless and uncaring as a suit of armor. (As is everything else made from atoms in this physical world.) Mindless though it is, it has a will of its own, designed over millions of years of genetic evolution to enable it to survive and reproduce itself. But clever as it is, it’s still just a bio-robot, programmed by organic components. And like every other physical thing in this entire universe of atoms and molecules, it doesn’t give a damn about you or any of the unphysically real stuff in your fancy conscious awareness. It doesn’t even know that ‘you’ exist. (How could something that’s not conscious, know that consciousness exists?)
Side note: To overcome those problems is why some people try to isolate their conscious awareness from their physical body (and from the other physical things around them) through meditation and more extreme practices.
So why, if all of life’s problems are the result of allowing our decisions to be governed by mindless physical things, do we go along with all of this? It’s because we don’t know any better. We think helping genes replicate and reproduce themselves all that really matters. We think this is how things are supposed to be. And we got so used to doing it, we can’t see how back-to-front it is. It’s as if we’re all brainwashed with the crazy notion that our conscious selves are less important than our physical parts. That we only exist to look out for mindless atoms, accidentally shaped into a monkey suit by the equally mindless random activity of amino acids. We might even suspect that ‘we’ don’t really exist. Maybe we’re only imagining all of this and we’re nothing more than a deluded ghost stumbling around inside a mess of electrochemical circuitry.
Even if we see how things really are, we still gonna want to along with what physical things dictate – our own physical selves first and foremost -because while we’re human, it’s practically impossible not to think of yourself as physical. (Try it now.)
The conviction that we’re physical starts deep in the subconscious parts of our mind. That’s why we’re convinced that trying to ‘be physical’ is perfectly normal and natural for consciousness, and we actively wallow in the sensory aspects of the delusion.
It’s because we all behave like we’re physical robots practically all of the time, for all of our lives, that my home page starts with the question: What are human beings for? In science, if you don’t know what something is for, you try to figure out what it’s made from, how the stuff it’s made from works in other things, and what those other things are for, etc. Then you draw conclusions.
On the question of what we’re for they’re the wrong conclusions because we don’t know what we’re dealing with. We assume the obvious and imagine we’re just what our physical senses and physical brains tell us we are – human beings.
So what are human beings made from? Well, our physical parts are made from the same stuff as everything else in the universe: molecules, atoms, nucleons, quarks and even smaller stuff. On really small (quantum) scales, all of those things are made from particles that travel in waves.
On the smallest scale it’s all just energy, but that’s hard to imagine. Instead, think of everything in the universe as part of an endless ocean of incredibly fine particles. Different kinds of particles do different things, and over billions of years those differences wind up as stars and galaxies and planets. And people who, amongst other things, wonder where all of this came from.
And yet religions and philosophies aren’t based on curiosity about where physical stuff came from. We feel compelled to know where ‘we’ came from. And you know I don’t mean our physical selves; they’re just so much dust. I mean our consciousness. But we’re going the wrong way to find an answer if we go on confusing our real self – consciousness – with a bio-robot made of atoms.
You need to think big about this. The bio-robot is merely part of the mindless biological level of physical reality; the result of genes looking out for their own interests, as part of the universal machinery of evolution.
On the other hand, people who claim to know about these things say the robot exists only to help us figure out what our real conscious self is here for.
You could say we shouldn’t need to impute a ‘spiritual’ purpose to our conscious existence. We know only too well the difference between everything consciousness is capable of compared with mindless physical things. That should leave us in no doubt that ‘we’ should be calling the shots. Surely thinking takes priority over mindlessness? Are we running this railroad, or is it running us?
Thing is, the only way to be in charge of our lives, ourselves and our destiny, is by making a deliberate conscious effort to separate ourselves from the robot; to take hands-on control of what goes on in our mind, instead of just going along with whatever thoughts appear there. After all, it’s our consciousness that creates our reality, not physical things. (They only provide the contents. The food for thought.)
Taking control of your thoughts is easier said than done. It’s almost as if you have to step back from your own physical self. Is that possible? For most of us, maybe the only way is to imagine your conscious self as something separate. Well hey, imagination is a vital factor in all of the best ideas. You have to be able to see a thing, in your mind, before you can progress towards making it real. You know that.
But don’t be fooled – things worth having never come easy. That only happens in the realm of magic and make believe, whereas we’re talking about the most real thing there is: our own consciousness. I might even say the only real thing there is. Being in charge of your own consciousness means being in control of the most real thing there is.
Just keep remembering that a body is mindless atoms. It’s just something you put on to help you find your real self. But you don’t put consciousness on. You ARE it. Remember also that in the guise of human beings, this interface we make with the stuff we think of as physical reality is strictly temporary.
Let me repeat a few things: Our perception of ourselves, the world, and what ‘real’ means, depends entirely on our consciousness. Without it, the physical world simply wouldn’t exist for us.
Our consciousness makes physical things real for us only because, as consciousness, ‘we’ are a different kind of ‘real’ than physical things. Not an imaginary, second rate kind of real but a ‘more-than-physically-real’ kind. The only kind capable of bringing the atoms of these monkey suits to life. Monkey suits that we know for a fact would be dead without us.
Monkey suits are genetic organisms in their own right, just as other animals, plants and all so-called ‘living’ things are. They’re made from the same stuff that rocks and cars and buildings are. Stuff that we wouldn’t normally think of as living. In this sense ‘dead’ and ‘alive’ are totally subjective concepts. The only difference between ‘dead’ rock atoms and ‘living’ organism atoms is that some organism atoms are shaped into molecules that can make copies of themselves, and build bodies that reproduce them.
This is the great conjuring trick that succeeded in fooling everybody – that ‘dead’ atoms somehow come ‘alive’ because they’re in animated bodies. From that assumption we decided that anything with genes is ‘life’.
We may not know what we, as consciousness, are for, but we know pretty much where genes came from and how they work. We know that in their 3 billion year efforts to replicate, the organisms that genes evolved to reproduce themselves were shaped by their physical environment, aka the world.
Thinking we’re genetic organisms, we see all of that in terms of our need to survive in a hostile, competitive world. But survival isn’t a conscious decision we make. (Our immature, evolving consciousness wouldn’t last long that way.) Survival has to be instinctive, governed by what atoms are and how they interact. (If you could magnify those interactions you’d see they’re as mindlessly mechanical as clockwork.)
Being so closely interfaced with a genetic organism, this mindless physical survival activity motivates our consciousness to augment that self-preservation instinct. So, thinking we are the monkey suit, we look out for it as if our existence depends on it. (The fact that we appear to die when it dies is a great incentive.)
Thinking we’re physical skews our entire understanding of ‘real’. It’s how material things came to dominate our conscious existence, and it turns us against our real, conscious selves. It makes us want to be more like physical robots. It tricks us into believing our robot selves are worth more than our real selves.
True, quitting being a robot means growing up to the fact that, as consciousness, you’re not here to grab all you can, compete for recognition, personal fame or material wealth, or act as if you own the place. That stuff only stops you getting real.