What things mean.

We attribute meanings to the things in our life based on what motivates us. And we’re motivated by what we think we are. I’ll clarify those concepts later on, but first I want to make it clear that our ability to think about what we are doesn’t require us to have free will in the truest sense. Just as well, because none of us actually has it. Our ‘free’ will is a manufactured product of our circumstances. You don’t choose to be what and who you are, or even what you do. Those things are all decided for you.

From the day you’re born, you’re trapped inside a body designed by genes over many millions of years for one purpose only: to ensure those genes get copied and reproduced.  All the major decisions about what you are physically have already been made by that process.

What about who you are? The non-physical stuff? Your thoughts, memories, ideas, opinions, fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations and so on?  Obviously those all arise from your conviction that you’re a physical body in a physical world. They’re also a result of what your body and brain, were designed for, the way they were designed, and the materials used.  All of those factors have a near total influence on the subconscious parts of your mind, and thus the way you think and feel – about everything.

In other words, all of your thoughts, memories, ideas, opinions, fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations and so on, are the result of genes and their blind, mindless efforts to get themselves copied and reproduced.  Mindless, that is, until you came along believing you were the body, brain and mind that genes built, for themselves. (And it took you a couple of million years to even figure out what genes are and how they work.)

Because your thoughts, memories, ideas, fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations and the rest are all concocted in a brain built by many millions of years of genetic replication and reproduction, you’re now stuck in a designer reality, built by genes for genes. But you think of it as your human reality. Human society, like all other organism societies, is a product of the conviction that being in a physical body is the way things are meant to be, and so far as insentient bits of protein called genes are concerned, it is.

Just don’t run off with the idea that how you want things to be, is somehow separate from the way genes want it to be.

And then there’s God.  Ideas about God are side-effects of the instinct to survive as genes, for genes, in a material world. Believing that your beliefs are inviolate is itself a defense mechanism to protect your survival as genes.  Naturally you won’t think so, but remember what designed and built the brain and mind that your thoughts and beliefs are coming from, and why. You’re made from physical components, shaped by laws of physics into a gene-survival suit…and you’re kidding yourself there’s an all-knowing, all-powerful ‘something’ behind it all? Even more delusional, you imagine you know what this ‘something’ is?

Not only are ideas about God indivisible from the survival instinct – for real reasons just outlined – they’re fashioned from materially real imagery. Human minds in physical bodies are incapable of comprehending a reality not built on physically real phenomena, or conscious interaction with it. In other words, your ideas about God are fashioned from your painfully limited understanding of yourself and your place in a physical reality.

What about the environment?  We know of just two fundamental phenomena in our cosmic environment: physical things, and consciousness. The only consciousness we know of is our own. Physical stuff is just that, whereas consciousness is immaterial. It has no physicality. Yes, consciousness is assumed to be made by atoms in a brain, but it’s not made from brain atoms. There is no atomic structure of consciousness. There are no molecules in an idea.

And yet ideas are all and everything that we are – along with thoughts, memories, assumptions, fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations, delusions, pretensions, etc, etc. Put all those together and we appear. Take ‘em all away, and we cease to be, leaving only the shell that genes built.

Now forget genes and bodies and brains. They’re not what we are, they’re only what we imagine we are. Our bodies are merely part of the physical environment we were born into. We mistake ourselves for them only because they enable us to exist as consciousness in their physical environment. Immaterial though we are as consciousness, our thoughts, memories, ideas, fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations, etc. are able to translate physicality into so much more than atoms and molecules…by giving physical things meaning.

As consciousness, we’re a separate environment made from our own and each others ideas, thoughts, memories, fears, hopes, dreams and aspirations. Our real environment became exclusively one of immaterial mind stuff when we became conscious of being conscious.

The physical sensations we ‘feel’, along with ‘our’ emotions, are generated by chemical interaction in a non-conscious genetic body, nervous system and brain. As consciousness, we only identify with those chemical interactions in terms of the ideas – the meanings – they help us conjure up about ourselves.

‘Sensations’, ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’ are illusions we perceive as real only because our immaterial conscious self is so closely interfaced with a material body, nervous system and brain. The nature of this interface translates physical sensations into consciousness for us, otherwise we’d be unaware of them.

As the environment of ideas within a material environment, our reality is fast becoming less about what the physical environment makes us, and more about what our ideas make it.  We pervade these biological vehicles as an immaterial phenomenon; we really are the ghost in a biological machine. Though as aspects of the environment of consciousness, rather than think of ourselves as indeterminate parts of an amorphous cloud of vapor, say, we each have a distinct existence as a core self made from a unique set of ideas.

Our personal core self is constantly reshaped by outside influences that affect us consciously and subconsciously. We evolve as a result of the ideas – and meanings – we’re constantly interacting with. And while our conscious selves evolve, the genetic bodies we’re in evolve too.

But it’s meaningless to say that we’re how genes – or even the physical universe – became conscious; no two phenomena are so different from each other as physical matter and consciousness. We were never physical.

What does all of this mean?  Regardless of what we believe about our origins, as conscious minds caught up in genetic hardware, it’s for us alone to decide what it means to be conscious, in a physical human body, in society, in a material world. Finding meaning for ourselves isn’t something our genetic bodies are capable of; meaning is unique to us as consciousness; that should be obvious.

Ideas about God or an afterlife are consistent with this search for meaning. Perhaps they’re inevitable. But whatever we choose to believe, the hard fact is that while we’re here, as consciousness in a material world, this is the only world we, as human beings, can perceive or have ideas about.

We’re simply not designed to have ideas about any other kind of world than a material one; in a material body and brain, our mindset is anchored in our subconscious identification with our perceived material self. It’s also a delusion that we can imagine a world, a reality, in which our own conscious motivations are free from the instinct that motivates us to survive as physical beings.

As said, part of that same delusion is to imagine we can separate ideas about God from the instinct to survive in a material world. We demonstrate that by using the God concept as a tool or a weapon that works to our own advantage, allowing us to see the meaning in things that we choose to see. This is survival-oriented ‘meaning’, reflected in all our thoughts and actions; in what things are worth to us and why we value them.

We can’t be relied upon to decide impartially about meanings or values. Our entire understanding of value judgement evolved to favor things that mean the most to us, and – for all the reasons touched on above – nothing means more to us than our survival as genes.

Yet we need meaning in our life – in fact an endless series of small ongoing meanings that make an overall meaning. Meanings give our existence a purpose. The problem is that we’re immaterial consciousness existing in a physical world, the most immediate aspect of which is a physical body we claim as our own, and in doing that, lose our real selves.

In a physical body, we think – instinctively – of ourselves and our survival in physical terms and look for what physical things mean for our survival as physical beings. But in our true environment of consciousness, the things we value most in the physical world are not physical; they exist only as ideas, hopes, dreams, aspirations, awareness, understanding, etc.

Tread carefully here, because though our hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations and ideas are about what physical things mean to us, they’re not about what physical things mean to our physical selves; nothing has ‘meaning’ for the atoms and molecules of our physical selves. Our hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations and ideas are exclusively immaterial, and so can only ever be about what physical things mean to us as immaterial consciousness.

Be more of what you really are.  The value we place on physical things is part of the illusion we unwittingly create for ourselves. The real purpose of our conscious presence in this physical environment is to transform physical things into a dynamic collection of immaterial ideas that transcend the physical world. That goes for our ideas about our physical bodies too. Thus transformed, physical things cease to have value only as divisive life support for genes, and instead, in our immaterial minds, become only about the conscious meanings we choose to give them – meanings that can only have ‘meaning’ for consciousness.

Physical things then become a reflection of us and our purpose – to make the most of what we really are: something far more than mindless and uncaring physical matter that has no meaning for itself. The meanings we choose to give physical things are the meanings we choose to give ourselves and each other, rather than the lack of meaning placed on us by physical matter.

When we think of ourselves as physical beings first, we naturally downgrade what we really are – our real, conscious selves – and instead chase the objects and experiences that feed our illusions about ourselves as physical beings. We allow mindless, uncaring stuff to call the shots.  We all do it, imagining this will benefit our conscious selves too, but it has the opposite effect.

As conscious beings, only we can decide the value of things. But because the physical things of our environment affect the quality of our life and our fate as physical bodies, we allow them to decide the value we put on ourselves and each other, period.

While we base our values on physical things, we judge the value – the meaning – of ourselves and each other as conscious beings in terms of the relative value we place on physical stuff.

Do we really want the meaning of our existence to depend primarily, or only, on the value we put on physical things? How we use them, share them, distribute them, withhold them, covet them, beg, borrow or steal them?

 

 

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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.

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?

Only minds are real.

Questions like why are you here, and do you have a purpose are too big to be thought of as real questions. But the mundane necessity of our survival as genetic organisms compels us to think otherwise. 

Science wrongly assumes how we got here can explain why, while millions of believers delude themselves that their religion can give a reason for our existence.

The real reason for our being here is the one phenomenon that makes both science and religion possible. A phenomenon we don’t understand: Consciousness. We haven’t the faintest notion of what consciousness is made from or how it works. But we know that it alone creates our reality.

How do we know that, and what is reality? 

Besides being here on your screen, these questions about why you’re here, what God is, and what reality is, are entirely in your mind and nowhere else (unless you decide to reproduce them in a physical medium).

Questions don’t exist in non-conscious physical things. Atoms don’t ask questions. An entire universe of atoms doesn’t ask questions. Only minds ask questions.

But what is your mind? Where is it?

Like questions, it has no existence in the physically real world of atoms, yet it’s the only place you exist, and consequently the only place ideas about God exist. Without minds, neither you nor God would exist. The meaning of numbers wouldn’t exist. Science wouldn’t exist. Reality wouldn’t exist in any form. Nothing would exist.

So as consciousness, only we can decide why we’re here and what our purpose is.

Don’t just accept things.

 

Rene-Magritte-Wallpaper-The-Human-Condition

Too often we don’t wonder ‘why?’ about things.

Especially the biggest, most important things.

We just accept them.

DON’T JUST ACCEPT THINGS.

That’s how ALL of our problems arise.Why?

Because nothing is what it seems.

Everything your senses tell you is real, is part of an illusion.

You’ve lived with this illusion all your life.

You believe it’s real, but it’s not.

It’s only a partial glimpse of how things really are.

Even that glimpse is so distorted as to be mostly meaningless.

This is not mystical bullshit.  

It’s how things really are.

I won’t kid you this is easy to understand.

But it is worth your while to try.

All that ‘we are – our personality, our awareness, knowledge, ideas, memories and anything else that you can possibly ‘think of’ – literally – exists ONLY in the form of our consciousness.

As consciousness, ‘we’ can only ever know about, or come into contact with, anything outside of our own consciousness (the things we call ‘physically real’, or other consciousnesses) as purely non-physical conscious experiences.

See that? It’s just the beginning.

Your perceptions of yourself and the world around you – everything from the most vivid physical sensation to the subtlest mental notion – exist in your consciousness only as non-physical ideas.

Being able to experience pain, anguish, joy, frustration and other emotions exclusively as non-physical ideas – yet think they’re physical feelings – is just one of the remarkable – and inexplicable – things about consciousness.

Consciousness alone brings the vibrant colors and nuances of our physical experience of the world and everything in it – our physical selves included – into existence for us. We make the physical world real for ourselves.

We create our own reality.

But why, if the things we think of a physical experiences are just non-physical ideas for us, do they feel so physically real?

It’s because, as consciousness, we’re so tightly interfaced with a body and brain, that our consciousness functions as if we are those physical components.

That’s another unique quality of consciousness.

There’s nothing else like it.

Our body is merely part of the physical world of atoms. That’s why it can interact with that world. By interfacing our physical body, we can have a conscious experience of that physical interaction.

(Think of a body as a ‘middle man’ between our consciousness and the rest of the physical world.)

Reality is unique for each of us.

Each one of us perceives reality in a different way because we’re all unique individuals, fashioned from a unique set of personal experiences of the physical world – not to mention our unique personal experiences of other consciousnesses.

I gather some of us see reality very differently from others. (That’s a post for another time.)

So what is physical reality really?

What exactly is it that our consciousness interfaces to convince us that physical things are real?

That depends on how you look at things.

On the smallest scales you can change things just by looking at them. But we’re coming to that.

Your experience of physically real things starts where the edges of your conscious self meet your physical body.

That body (complete with nervous system and brain) evolved over many millions of years to interpret the physically real world for your consciousness.

It’s impossible to grasp the subtleties of the interface between the conscious you and your physical self.

For instance, even on the relatively clunky scale of atoms, nerve signals travel instantaneously, making you think that every movement of your body is part of the conscious ‘you’.

If we go in a lot closer than atoms, the solid ‘things’ we ‘think’ of as physical realness, disappear entirely.

Still more surprising, at these highly magnified scales, there are no pre-formed structures ‘outside’ of us; no sounds; no colors; no textures.

‘Reality’ is just shapes that form in energy.

Both the physical realness outside of us, and our conscious perception of it, are made from countless vibrations of minuscule quantities of energy.

What we think of as ‘real’ things are simply patterns that form in the energy.

We ‘see’ and ‘hear’ and ‘feel’ them the way we do because evolution caused energy vibrations to become shaped into ‘real’ things.

Our body, nerves and brain are some of those ‘real’ things, made of energy vibrations, that our consciousness perceives.

Consciousness is energy too.

When the energy patterns that make our consciousness, interface the energy patterns that make our body, nervous system and brain, ‘we’ experience the physical world not as energy patterns, but as physically real things.

To create our visual picture of reality, energy shaped into light waves ‘bounce off’ physical objects and enter our eyes. That causes nerve impulses (made from more energy) to jump to our brain (which is also just energy).

When that happens, our conscious mind (still more energy, but of a much more refined conscious kind) becomes aware of ‘seeing’. (It’s a similar story for hearing, touch, smell, taste and the rest of our consciously perceived experiences of physical ‘reality’.)

By adjusting a sufficiently sophisticated microscope you’d be able to see the energy vibrations as molecules, then smaller atoms, then nucleons and electrons, and then quarks and gluons, and even smaller particles.

It’s when you get down to truly small quantum scales that you can change things just by looking at them.

This is where the illusion of realness is itself unreal.

Quantum particles don’t behave the way our consciousness has evolved to think ‘real’ things should behave.

Down at the quantum level of ‘reality’, our understanding of realness goes right out the window.

A single quantum particle (of the kind that atoms are made from) can be in many different places at the same time.

This is called being in a superposition of states; it gives the impression that quantum particles exist as part of a wave of particles.

But if you look at a single particle, you cause the wave to ‘collapse’, so you see only one particle in one place.

That suggests nothing is actually ‘real’ until someone conscious decides to look at it.

So consciousness decides what’s real.

Quantum particles – and quantum ‘unreality’ – are the underlying machinery of the entire physical universe.

What you’re conscious of right now is nothing but quantum ‘unrealness’, aka quantum uncertainty.

Yet somehow, your consciousness turns this quantum ‘unreality’ into what you think of as real things.

Remember, none of this is mystical bullshit.

Where does it leave our ‘reality’?

Although it implies that we create the reality we want for ourselves, things aren’t quite that straight forward.

The ‘reality’ you’re seeing now is in fact only one of many possible ‘realities’.

You see quantum vibrations as your particular ‘reality’ because of the level your consciousness has evolved to.

And the level of your conscious evolution depends on how your consciousness interacts with your physical brain.

In effect, you can only be as conscious as your physical brain allows you to be. And you can only see the reality that your brain allows you to see.

There’s another problem.

The reality we think we want, isn’t really what ‘we’ want.

Our consciousness can’t be free to see reality for what it really is – whatever that might be – while we’re influenced by physically real things.

The only reality we see is the one that physical things – our body in particular – want us to see.

Physical things have their own powerful agenda. We experience that agenda most profoundly through our interface with our own body.

Our body makes demands on us, without even knowing it does, and we assume that’s what we want.

Your body’s agenda is driven by the self-interest of physical evolution.

That is, by what the physical universe is made from, and the way it’s screwed together.

Likewise your brain is just a biomechanical engine, designed by millions of years of evolution only to keep its body out of trouble.

It doesn’t ‘know’ it’s doing that. It has no more conscious awareness than your electric toothbrush does. So it doesn’t even know the conscious ‘you’ exists.

And yet by interpreting quantum ‘unreality’ as physically real things, your mind brings that physical body into existence.

Why?