We are our own creation

In looking for the realness in things, other ideas usually get in the way, as do words themselves. (I’m not an eloquent writer nor the clearest of thinkers at the best of times.)

I tried to cram a lot of complicated ideas into a small space in my earlier post – Ideas R us – and reading it over I can see all the clumsiness I overlooked in aiming for the realness, along with a couple of points I missed.

The basic premise was that we are consciousness. (The YOU who’s looking out at whatever’s around you right now.)  But obviously there’s a lot more going on, because while you’re doing that, the things you’re looking out at also are coming into you.

As consciousness, we’re ‘made from’ the ideas we have about the things around us that constantly come into us through our senses; the things that cause us to think and feel.  But because our real, essential self is nothing but immaterial consciousness, even our feelings can only come to us in the form of ideas. (Hard to appreciate, but true. That’ll be my next post.

Put simply, we don’t create conscious concepts from actual physical components. We convert physical data – the activity of photons, electrons, atoms – into the non-physical data of ideas.)

And while we’re making those ideas from all that’s coming into us through our senses, ‘we’ – immaterial consciousness – are becoming the ideas we have about everything

Frankenstein-BrideWe’re not passive idea receivers though. (As if we needed reminding.) Ideas are dynamically alive; they do things; they change things, much of the time without our knowledge through subconscious action. The ideas we think of as our feelings/emotions aren’t just the sensations that we assume happen in our physical bodies and brains. We really don’t understand consciousness, or that its myriad dimensions and depths, colors and resonances exist in a different reality than the clunky nuts and bolts of the physical world these bodies and brains belong to.

On a more prosaic level, grappling with the constant inrush of data, and turning it into ideas, is like riding an unbroken horse. The horse is you. You’re creating yourself and everything you are and do from the ideas you’re making out of all the sensory inputs bombarding you from the outside world. But what each of us chooses to do with these ideas, becomes the shape and content of who we are. The decisions, choices, preferences and biases that each of us builds from the ideas we create, become our entire conscious self. And because our conscious self has an overriding influence on what our physical self does, we turn the ideas we create from sensory inputs coming from the world around us, into how we interact with that world.

Individually and collectively, we help to make the world, and it helps to make us. It’s a round process.

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Ideas R us.

‘That’s a great idea!’ ‘I have a better idea…’ ‘A company built on ideas.’

Everything we’re aware of is made from ideas. Everything we can possibly know about will be in the form of ideas. Our thoughts and our emotions too are just collections of ideas.

KleeWhere do ideas come from? What exactly are they?

From everything outside of us. And yet, paradoxically, ideas aren’t simply ‘out there’, ready made, waiting to be plucked. They depend on what we are: conscious awareness, aka a non-physical mind.

NOTE: (If we let the premise that our mind is in some way manufactured by physical processes intrude into this, we risk thinking – however irrationally – that our consciousness and physical things – our brain for instance – somehow smear into each other. That idea is what clouds all progress in so-called ‘mind science’.)

Ok. So, as a non-physical mind, ideas are what we make from non-conscious physical things that have no awareness of their own. But the ideas aren’t already there as ‘ideas’ in physical things outside us. We have to look at physical things, and then create the ideas from our perceptions about physical things.

NOTE: (I’m using the concept of physically real things to keep this simple; in fact we create our ideas from anything outside our own conscious awareness, and much of the stuff outside our own conscious awareness isn’t physically real. But our human understanding of ideas about things can only reference material phenomena.)

See what happens when you try to clarify stuff? You make it more complicated.

But anyhow, the ideas that we create from, and about, physical things, are then exclusively in our conscious awareness. What’s more, by creating ideas from things outside ourselves, we become those ideas.

So…we don’t simply ‘have’ ideas – we are ideas. Ideas are all that we are. We’re nothing else. As conscious awareness, we are ‘idea gathering and processing plants’. What we do with the ideas becomes the shape and content of our mind. We then turn those ideas into the shape and content of our world and our reality.

Emotions as ideas.

When we create ideas from perceiving physically real things, it’s not a cold, mechanical or strictly intellectual process. As conscious awareness, we’re a living environment in which all our ideas – including those about physical sensations, feelings and emotions – merge together in a fluid, seamless whole. (This is where the smearing effect from earlier might be misconstrued as a merging of conscious and physical, when it’s merely where the effects of physical processes, and the sensations they cause, interface with, and are perceived by, our consciousness.)

NOTE: To see that, you have to go really small; far smaller than atoms, their smaller component parts, or even the quantum particles they’re made from.

The problem is that it’s pointless thinking about single, isolated particles in a situation where you need to imagine countless megazillions of these particles all working together. There’d be no physical phenomena with just one particle of physical stuff, just as there’d be no conscious phenomena with just one particle of conscious stuff. And this goes infinitely smaller than what we think of as particles.

Fluid’s a good word for the environment of ideas we call consciousness. Our mind is a deep ocean of ideas. The ideas are like the particles of the water itself, while our everyday consciousness might be the relatively shallow surface layer. (This could turn into a complicated analogy, but I want you to see ideas the way I’m trying to – not as something abstract but as the stuff of real life, and as the effects that physically real things have on us. Particularly as things that delude us, seduce us, mislead us, pollute our mind, turn us against each other, and generally screw things up for us.) It’s not the physically real things in life that do all that, it’s us and the ideas we have about them.

Another analogy for us and our ideas is a nebula. (A cloud of dust and gas in space.) Each of us is an incredibly complicated nebula of conscious awareness made from ideas about everything you can possibly think of, and then some.

As I said, ideas aren’t just neat, discrete thoughts about things – they’re colored by feelings, emotions, memories, hopes, longings, aspirations, desires, passions and all the rest of it. Together, all these comprize this nebula of stuff that makes each one of us uniquely, humanly what we are. And as I also said, without our own personal ocean/nebula of conscious awareness made from ideas, there’d be no ‘us’.

Of course none of us is a nebula where everything just swirls around in a haphazard mess. There’s an organizing force (evolution or God – you choose) that gives us a physical body in a physical world to reflect us back at ourselves and lets us create ideas. Our physical bodies are a collection of processes that evolve to do specific things, but with one purpose: the replication and reproduction of our genes. We know these things because we’ve perceived them as ideas, and processed those ideas to create yet more ideas in our environment of conscious awareness.

It’s because we are this environment of conscious awareness that we don’t think of ourselves as that collection of physical processes; that would make us less than human. We do, however, overlook the fact that on their own, the processes that comprize physical bodies are less than human; it takes our conscious awareness to make us human.

We also overlook the fact that our feelings, emotions, memories, longings, desires, passions and the rest are all just a result of mindless genes copying and reproducing themselves – with our conscious help.  All of those distinctly ‘human’ feelings, emotions, memories, longings, desires, passions and the rest – are not human in the consciously aware way that we think of ourselves. They’re just countless numbers of mindless atoms and mindless forces colliding: the unknowing, uncaring physical consequences of evolution. We – the conscious awareness – only imagine those mindless, non-conscious, unknowing and uncaring physical processes are part of our conscious selves.

Naturally you might well have other ideas about all of this…

Get real.

I think, therefore I think I’m something special.

We imagine we’re somehow above everything, better than the rest of creation, ‘chosen’ in some inexplicable way, if not by God then by the universe that went to the trouble of building us from stardust.

Being special, we demand this, we want that, we deserve respect, love, success, and the rest.

Had we been around when Darwin’s ideas first appeared, we’d have been outraged by the notion that we could have evolved from apes.

Even now the fact that we’re fundamentally no different than other animals is artfully buried under our pretensions of civilized sophistication.

More than that, we think that by dressing up the same instincts, urges and bodily functions we share with other species, we become not just superior to them, but perceive ourselves as part of a different kind of reality where only we and our needs matter.

At best, the arrogance of this delusional elitist attitude becomes an instinctive urge to protect the things we depend on for our well-being – but only so we can plunder them more thoughtfully.

At worst our approach manifests as a godlike disregard for anything that isn’t useful to us. Even each other.

It took millions of years of evolution for us to become separate from our surroundings; to recognize that our senses were not the same as the physical environment that caused them.

Our senses now define us as individuals and give us our personal identity. But senses – along with the bodies and brains that go with them – were evolved by genes to ensure their own survival.

With our vain glimmering of awareness, we still imagine we are genes. With that comes the human delusion, built on the genetic survival instinct, that as the human manifestation of my genes, ‘I’ matter most.

It’s a conviction that naturally leads to the idea that we’re all separate units and simply co-exist in our own personal world of ‘me-ness’.

The closest we ever come to true unity is an illusion created by our own personal desires for ourselves as individuals.

Anything more profound that could transcend the ‘me-ness’ is practically metaphysical and incomprehensible to us, because our physical bodies and their demands trick us into believing physical sensations are the real raison d’etre for this whole charade.

As an entirely physical process, our genetic heritage actually contrives to keep us apart at the level that matters: the conscious one. That’s the one we need to work on.

What makes sense?

I try to write about real things. To say how things really are, rather than how I’d like them to be, or how I want you to think they are. I try to be honest.  But what gets in the way is me, and you, and all the junk we carry around with us.

Each of us is the product of our own unique set of experiences, so those are all we have to draw on for our understanding of things; for the way we see ourselves, each other and the world.

But we’re not just the sum of our ongoing experiences, we’re also the conclusions and opinions we have about those experiences. We’re how we feel about things, consciously and subconsciously. We’re our likes and dislikes, our biases, aversions, illusions and delusions, hopes, dreams, fears and the rest.

All of those ingredients make us what we are. Yet in terms of genuine realness, most of those ingredients are just junk. Most of the stuff we lug around is trivial, irrelevant and stupid.

Forget about human minds as perfect edifices of unassailable moral principles, unchallengeable ethical precepts, or mathematically precise concepts. Those are just meaningless words compared with how we really are: a disorganized, confused shambles. Our perceptions are a joke. They’re flawed, idiosyncratic, wildly inaccurate and subject to constant change.

This state of turmoil is who we really are.

Why don’t we appear this way to others, or even to ourselves? Because we’re all great actors, skilled at self-delusion, trickery and deception. Below the surface we’re all contriving like crazy to present an outwardly acceptable self to the world.

Even we don’t realize how much work we’re putting into just being the self we think we should be. That’s how expert we’ve become at creating and maintaining the façade. But then, we’ve been practicing from day one to maintain the act.

And anyhow, the people around us are all so busy working on maintaining their own act, they don’t think about how hard we’re trying simply to figure out who we really are, or who we want to be, or ought to be, or could be, or whatever.

You wouldn’t believe how hard that is when everything is changing all of the time. On every level of physicality, from the subatomic to the cosmic, from one nano-second to the next, nothing stays the same.

We needn’t worry too much about the cosmic, but on the subatomic, and even below that, is right where each of us lives. Our brain runs on this level, and yet brain complexity is simple nuts and bolts compared with the major symphony of subtleties involved in being conscious.

Think of your consciousness as an orchestra with a trillion musicians all trying to follow a continuous, unfinished score that’s constantly being rewritten and added to by the world around you in a megazillion subtle ways.

Now wake up, because this isn’t about music, it’s about how we decide what’s real. And if we don’t get it right, we’ll be playing to a score written around make-believe, fantasy and delusion, and that would make no sense.

What does make sense though?

‘Sense’ comes from what our senses tell our brain about the material world, but senses are designed only to help genetic organisms survive long enough to replicate and reproduce their genes.

That kind of ‘sense’ is what holds us back. It tells us what’s best for us as mindless physical organisms, but nothing about what’s best for us as conscious human beings.

Trying to live according to what makes sense to our genetic selves is why we all have so much trouble figuring out who and what we actually are. Genetic sense makes no sense for us as consciousness. It’s what turns us into self-interested play actors living on a superficial level where all that matters is what satisfies our hungers, panders to our illusions, strokes our ego or placates our instincts.

Genetic sense tells is we should all look out for ourselves, first and foremost. It puts ME and MINE top of our priorities list, makes us mean and self-centered, aggressively possessive, vindictive and vain, and all of our other infamous traits that seem to be ‘reality’ for most of us: a genetic reality that makes sense only to replicating molecules.

Seeing ourselves as ideas.

guernica

This blog was inspired by the ideas in a book: Diary of my life after death. I wrote the book, and while it would be easy to think of the ideas in it as mine, all I really did was to give a shape and context to ideas that already existed. Other people’s ideas.

In effect we’re all plagiarists, or perhaps ‘agents’ is a better word, for ideas that originate elsewhere; ideas that have evolved from earlier ideas and will go on evolving.

Ideas are an essential factor in our own evolution, because the one thing that makes them not only possible but fiendishly complex, is our consciousness. Our ideas make us what we are.  Our future hinges on how we use them; on which ideas we encourage and which we discard.

One idea we should certainly reconsider is that each of us is separate, unique and individual, because thanks to consciousness and ideas, that’s an illusion.

Like the ideas it borrows, processes and develops, consciousness is neither original nor unique to each of us. It’s not conjured up from scratch by molecules shaped into the brains of a few billion separate individuals.

Consciousness itself is what’s unique – as the medium of ideas; as an amorphous, immaterial phenomenon that we share and are joined by, even without knowing we’re sharing or joined. Consciousness is an ocean of ideas and their more fundamental component parts that we build into larger, more complex concepts.

The very nature of consciousness as a shared phenomenon is what allows us to mix and match ideas so fluidly, there might as well be no physical heads and brains separating us.

Because of this conscious facility for open sharing, we might say that ‘our’ own conscious selves aren’t separate, discrete entities, but are actually just areas of self-awareness in that ocean of ideas. And all that really separates us are the ideas we favor.

Maybe you’d care to share a few ideas about this?