A philosophical work in progress.
Experience is the basis of understanding, but imagination is what gives context and meaning to our experiences.
Two people can experience the exact same event, but perceive it in two different ways. Even the most ardent of atheist scientists will disagree on the meaning of an experience they might share. And, since it is our perception of experiences (not facts) that guides our behavior, the difference is everything.
During the short period that we humans have been conscious on this planet reality has not changed, but our perception of reality has gone through slow, steady changes and major upheavals. These changes affect the choices we make, which, in turn, influence the way we live, the impact we have, our individual growth, and our overall evolution.
From this point forward, the evolution of our perspective cannot be left to the whims of random chance.
- Spirituality is the pursuit of awareness, comprised of Philosophy and Science.
- Philosophy is the pursuit of context, comprised of:
- Grand Theory – theories that are not provable or applicable in the real world.
- Practical Theory – theories that are not provable, but are applicable.
- Science is the pursuit of facts, comprised of:
- Scientific Theory – theories that are provable, just not yet.
- Facts – facts.
- Philosophy is the pursuit of context, comprised of:
Philosophy & Science, vs. Ideology
Philosophy is the pursuit of context. Context is the fabric of our understanding. Like space/time is to matter, context is the glue that holds our awareness together.
Science is the pursuit of facts.Facts are like bricks, and context is like mortar. By themselves we can only build simple structures, but together we can build large and magnificent edifices.
Ideology is a structure that serves the individual, not the community.
Theology, Religion, and Faith
Theology is a Grand Theory that includes a higher consciousness or power, and is usually attached to a religion.
Religion is a Practical Theory, an intricate formula of rites, rituals, and norms that enable people to build and maintain a complex society.
Faith is placing trust in someone or something without knowing what the outcome will be. Practicing a religion requires faith in the higher power described in the religions theology. Safely driving a car requires faith in the other drivers on the road following the same rules.
The Evolution of Our Thought Process
There are five steps in the evolution of our thought process.
The first step is processing memories while awake. This ability is a huge advantage, although not always successful. The most common failures in the processing of memories while awake is in the accuracy of the memory, and not being able to differentiate a memory from present reality.
The second step is imagination; the ability to pull memories apart and put them back together in new and different ways. The most common failure in the use of imagination is not being able to differentiate imagination from reality.
The third step is to be able to process emotional images, both memory and imagination, while awake. Failure in processing emotional images is displayed by people who cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. (Fantasy being emotional imagination, both positive and negative.)
The fourth step in the evolution of our thought process is the ability to separate our reasoning from others. We all have a unique perspective with a unique purpose. Thus, we must accept that we will all have unique reasoning.
The fifth step is the ability to separate our emotions from those of other people. Emotions are very important in our daily live and most people do not realize how empathic they really are. The measure of a successful empath is the ability to choose who and when they connect to other people emotionally.
Logic and Reason
Logic and reasoning are a function of imagination.
Logic is the ability to pull memories apart, categorize the pieces, and use those pieces to build ideas and images in a consistent manner that can appear to be universal.
Consciousness is the awareness of the mind processing information as it is happening.
The subconscious is the mind processing information without our awareness.
Both, the conscious mind and subconscious mind, are capable of making mistakes.
The Brain and the Mind are not the same thing. The brain is an organ within the body. The mind includes the brain, but extends out to include all the things that trigger reactions in the brain, as well as all the points along the string of cause and effect that come before those triggers; all the way back to the Prime Cause. Thus, the mind is everything. Some call the mind God.
The processing of information never begins or ends in the brain. Information comes in through our senses and then extends out through our actions. When humans communicate, they are extending their consciousness to include more than just their own awareness. When asteroids collide, information is being processed without our awareness.
Thus, there are no boundaries to the potential of consciousness.
The Evolution of Consciousness
The evolution of consciousness occurs in a layered progression of memory, imagination, and choice.
The first stage begins (1a) with being aware of the brain processing memories (simple dreams), then (1b) develops the ability to call on those memories for use when needed for something occurring in the moment, and finally (1c) the ability to consciously choose between memories as to which is the best to apply at a given moment. The failure of this stage of development is to not be able to discern between memory and reality – like a person having a flashback to a traumatizing event.
The second stage begins (2a) with awareness of the brain pulling memories apart and put the pieces back together differently (complex dreams), then (2b) develops the ability to do this reflexively to the needs of the immediate environment (intelligence), and finally (2c) we can choose do this at will like a philosopher, fiction writer, or Einstein (logic is a function of imagination). Failure at this stage is the inability to discern between our imagination and reality – like a person wearing tin foil on their head.
The third stage begins (3a) with the awareness of making choices (even though we might not feel that it is a real thing, we are aware it), then (3b) develops the ability to categorize and manage these choices in an effort to limit contradictions (logic and reason again), and then (3c) we learn to take control of the choice mechanism all together. Failure at this stage is complex, involving the other two stages, but is based on the inability to keep our choices within the confines of reality.
These three stages do not develop one after the other individually. They are integrated and evolve like a rondo version of “Row-Row-Row Your Boat”. For example, 1a, 1b, 2a, 3a, 2b, 1c, 3b, 2c, 3c. (Totally made up sequence.)
Perception is the reason and understanding an individual gives to an experience they have.
Some aspects of an individual’s perception are decided consciously, while the rest are dictated by the subconscious.
No individual has the level of consciousness required to be in complete control of all their perceptions.
An individual’s perception is adapted specifically to their environment.
The Evolution of Our Perception
Our perception, and faith, is not measured by what we say we believe, but by how we behave in the world around us. We, as individuals, evolve by a pattern that is easily extrapolated to communities, societies, and civilization as a whole.
- Paganism – When we are toddlers, regardless of what we may say, we are all pagans finding mystery and magic in everything around us. There are monsters under the bed, pixies and angels in the forest, and imaginary people walking around everywhere.
- Polytheism – As we grow up, we learn more about our environment and the magic begins to disappear. We become polytheists who see all the adults in our lives – parents, teachers, grandparents, and so on – as masters of our world. Everything we do is about the adults in our lives; pleasing one adult, avoiding others, lying to some, and manipulating others.
- Monotheism – By our late teenage years, one adult remains as the one with the most power over us. It is usually a parent, but it does not have to be. Sometimes it is because they are the voice of our doubt and insecurity, and sometimes it is because we aspire to be like them most.
- Atheism – Eventually, we all rebel against this one adult as we try to overcome the doubt and insecurity, or complete frustration of not being able to live up to the standards we set for ourselves. It is a brutal phase where we battle ourselves and everyone around us.
- Ipsotheism – When we finally stop fighting ourselves and simply accept responsibility for who we are, accepting that we are no different from our parents, we become ipsotheists. We see all those experiences, good and bad, as necessary lessons along the path of our unique lives.
(Ipsotheism is a word I made up for this.)
Theology is the glue that holds our perception together.
In the physical world we tend to create barriers that keep us safe and contained so we do not over extend ourselves. We build walls, we define areas, and we create rules.
Theology does the same thing within our imagination.
A sound theology will build on our memories and sense of history and focus our imagination in a direction we wish to go.
Having no theology is having no constraints on the imagination. Not many people can function that way. Even those who claim to be atheists, whether they are aware of it or not, have a theology that keeps their imagination contained enough to be a part of a social structure.
A theology can never be proven scientifically, because it does not exist in the physical world.
A theology is our view of ourselves outside of the physical world. Some believe we have an actually identity, and some believe there is only logic, or the idea of logic.
A theology is very personal and unique to each individual, because all theology begins with how we view our own consciousness.
The Law of Logical Probability
Out on the sidewalk there are millions of ants living out their lives perfectly and completely oblivious to our existence, and utterly unaware of our level of consciousness. However, everything we do has an impact on their survival and evolution – not to mention when we get it in our heads to kill them outright.
The Law of Logical Probability states that, since there is life on this planet that cannot perceive our existence, nor understand our level of consciousness, and can be impacted by our activities, then any valid theory of existence and evolution must allow for the possibility of life beyond our perception, at a level of consciousness that we cannot understand, and whose activities can affect our growth and development.
As above, so below.
Consciousness (A Theological Perspective)
Mathematicians tell us that there could be at least eleven more dimensions that we are not aware of beyond the four (length, width, height, time) that we call Space and Time.
In at least one of these dimensions, that we are not aware of yet, there is an energy that flows through the universe like light goes through Space and Time.
That energy is capable of supporting consciousness in the same way that the Earth’s oceans are capable of supporting life.
Life is a manifestation of the flow of this energy. It is not miraculous, it does not create life in the blink of an eye (from our perspective here in Space and Time). Like wind forming waves in the oceans and deserts, the flow of this energy causes spirals in the matter of Space and Time that can slowly and subtly form and influence life.
A barren planet is unaffected by the flow of this energy.
Our brains have evolved to receive this energy, step by step, like our eyes have evolved to receive light.
The more our brains evolve into consciousness, the more we are aware of our brains processes.
The more we are aware of our brains processes, the more we can help this evolution with practice and awareness.
Initially, our consciousness is not our own consciousness. What we perceive to be our consciousness is really our unique individual perception of the conscious energy we are receiving.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we translate conscious energy through our genetic construction, that has been developed in a particular environment. Nature and nurture.
How we perceive the world is an interpretation of the energy flowing into us. Our behavior and the choices we make are how we communicate that energy into the universe.
We can develop our own consciousness through an increasingly focused, disciplined, and efficient practice of living life and reflecting upon our experiences; experiences that include the thoughts going through our minds and how they are processed.
We cannot will our own consciousness into existence with empty, wrote, and repetitive adherence to blind rituals.
To be alive on this planet a person has to have faith. It does not have to be a faith in God, but it does have to be a faith in something.
To drive in a car safely we have to show faith in the other drivers. To fly in a plane we have to have faith in the pilots and the mechanics.
There are actually many levels which faith is necessary; faith in yourself, your relationship with your spouse, your family, community, country, and so on. Faith must be maintained on all of these levels concurrently for life to go along smoothly.
However, it is only at the highest level do we fight over whether faith is necessary or not.
Purpose and Good & Evil
The goal of life is to learn to develop and maintain our own consciousness. This process requires the practice and experience of individuality.
Individuality, and not Independence.
It is through Independence that we can learn Individuality, if that is needed, but Independence must never be the goal.
It is the practice and experience of Individuality without Independence that is most valuable in pursuing the goal of developing and maintaining our own consciousness.
Good and Evil are not the same as Right and Wrong. Good and Evil are about who makes the choice. Right and Wrong are about whether or not the choice was right or wrong.
A good person makes their own choices, and allows others to make their own choices. An Evil person will make choices for others, and/or manipulate people to make choices for them.
Sometimes Evil is necessary. When we become parents we must be Evil and make all of the choices for the new baby. Hopefully, however, over the next eighteen years we slowly learn our way to being Good by teaching the child to be Good as well. If we can do this without reacting into “Independence”, then we will have successfully evolved our consciousness to a higher level.
There are more levels of consciousness than the Human mind can comprehend. On this Earth we can only ever experience a few of the most basic levels.
Maturity (A Theological Perspective)
Maturity is best measured by how much control a person has over their own behavior, not reacting for or against, in the presence of their parents.
The Four Labors of Life
- Physical labor – regular old manual work.
- Intellectual labor – manual work in the brain.
- Emotional labor – the work of building, maintaining, and breaking-up relationships.
- Spiritual labor – the work of getting to know our Self.
The Nature of Labor
At any given moment, every person is engaged in at least one form of labor; whether they are aware of it or not.
Each labor makes the previous ones easier. For example, intellectual labor makes physical labor easier, and emotional labor – building a team or community – makes intellectual and physical labor easier.
However, it is all a double edged sword. Someone might use emotional labor to break-up another’s relationships, or physical labor to destroy another’s property (aka, war).
The Psychology of Labor
When we are young it is easy to sustain ourselves on the manual labors alone; physical and intellectual. But, as we get older, if we do not perform emotional and spiritual labor, our labor first becomes our prison then our destruction.
- Every person has one labor that is their strength.
- A healthy person can do all four labors when necessary.
- A conscious person can choose which labor is best the moment.
The Labor Ecosystem
A healthy and evolving civilization requires all four forms of labor, equal and integrated in application.
Civilization crumbles when people look to only one form of labor, when corporations and governments look to only one form of labor, to solve all problems.
The soul is our awareness of self.
If our awareness of self is limited to our own bodies, then that is what our soul is… just our bodies.
If our awareness of self includes our families and friends, our soul is larger than ourselves and survives in their memories.
If our awareness of self includes the whole planet and all the people on it, then our soul is vast and eternal.
Passion and Enlightenment
When we honestly and sincerely pursue our passion, we enable ourselves to learn and grow at our optimal rate. Although, sometimes this learning and growth is through negative discovery.
Passion is a drive of the senses. Every person’s passion is driven by one sense or another.
We have five base, or animal, senses and three higher senses.
The five base senses are touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell.
The three higher senses are emotion, reason, and consciousness.
Consciousness is a sense. And, just like any other sense, it can be strong enough to overpower reason. When this happens it is called enlightenment.
Many experience enlightenment, but few are aware of it, fewer still understand it, and only a couple can take advantage of it.
Everyone who experiences enlightenment will try to share and explain the experience from their own perspective and understanding. Most are not prepared to do this.
No one has ever, nor ever will, achieve enlightenment by their own efforts alone. No matter how hard a person might train their ears, no matter how skilled they become at discerning different sounds, if there is no sound they cannot hear.
Some are more genetically predisposed to experience higher consciousness, no different from how some people are genetically predisposed to contract certain types of cancer. However, being genetically predisposed does not guarantee anything. Many generations of primates came and went before their prophet showed them how to use their opposable thumbs more effectively.
Few have been able to prepare themselves (with some help) for a wave of consciousness just before it arrived.
Evolution of our consciousness is a combination of nature and nurture. We have the capacity to create an environment that will enable us to evolve into a higher level of awareness. Step by step, we can build ourselves forward.
First we fight ourselves to control our own behavior in order to build a better society, which allows us to evolve into the environment that we created.
The danger is to create an environment that does not pressure our evolution in a direction that we wish to go.