Posts Tagged conciousness
There was a man who lived in a cupboard,
and all he could see
was what was visible through the keyhole.
Because someone had stolen the key.
And thrown it away.
At any given point in time,
because there was no night or day,
he might see the thigh of a woman
or part of a cat as it passed by,
or the leg of a table but no more,
or an odd S shape in a carpet,
the rest of which was obscure.
And then there was another man
who lived on top of a mountain
and who could see everything
all at once as the wind blew.
His hands were always cold.
And his eyes always wept
and his smile was a rictus.
In between, someone lived
unaware of either constraints or limits.
He had to guess.
Cat parts seemed too mysterious to know
as did the shape in the carpet.
And the horizon was unfeasibly far and long.
He had a choice.
Ponder both views or ignore them.
In his confusion he did both
and both lived and died.
His constraints limited him
and his limits constrained him
They were and were not simultaneously.
Which is as it should be
because that’s the nature of things.
Ask a cat.
It didn’t help him much either
because with each passing moment,
with both his baffled stares and his overwhelmed wonder,
still the pain remained and the joy
and the inexplicable puzzle of it all
were both partly seen and wholly glimpsed.
When you truly listen to people
and you hear what they are,
you will find
that everyone is lonely.
Humans tend to assume that they have a degree of intelligence that gives them awareness that isnt afforded other species.
Criteria that are used to justify this perspective include lack of evidence of empathy, of emotions including fear and sadness, and of gratitude. Or an ability to assess a given context, and to calculate an appropriate response to it.
Every day, visible instances occur that prove these assumptions are just wrong. They imply an arrogance in humanity that is breathtaking. Other creatures are sufficiently sentient to respond to both circumstance and to other creatures as we are. How could they be alive otherwise?
Here’s a small example:
We have to reappraise our relationship with the rest of the world. To imagine that we’re somehow seperate from it is folly. The whole system that we observe and are able to analyse because its systemic, includes us as a key component. As it does every other creature. This is what makes it a system. How to extrapolate this? Discussions about ‘universal conciousness’? Perhaps. How is a component within a system able to see the system from outside? We can’t know this external perspective. We can only know what we see and experience, and deduce. And we can clearly experience sentience and awareness in other creatures, even with our own emotions and intuition, as opposed to powers of analysis. And deploying this experience usefully, must surely lead us to deduce that we arent a seperate cognitive function of the universe but just a part of a mathematical curve that, if we allow it, will extrapolate. And this is the ultimate goal of evolution.
So, some compassion and respect is called for I think… and a little humility. Otherwise we risk compromising the very system that defines us.
It’s all too complicated. I’m tired of complicated.
I want to get up in the morning, attend to those things I need to do in order to exist, with respectful regard to whatever it is that provides those means, and then to go to sleep again.
I want space and time within this simple process that allows me to reflect on its beauty or its ugliness, and to express my responses to those in words and images. To have my quiet say.
And I want to know my place amongst others, and the world around me, and not to have to worry about whether I deserve that place or whether I understand it.
I want my process of existence to contribute to my context simply by virtue of its being.
For my love not to be considered but naturally emergent, and for other’s love to be naturally received, without thinking.
I want to be, and to understand naturally, so that I may move on with greater understanding.
That hard bit just now,
after that warm and yellow bit.
I wonder what’s next?
Sitting in bath warm water,
waves lapping up my thighs,
leaning on one hand on the yielding sand,
watching the moon sink into the sea.
The natural world is all that’s real.
The rest is construct and hubris.
Watching that sinking moon
over the turning world,
and the whirling cosmos of a trillion lights,
all ticking step by step in time.
And then it came to be known
amongst all sentience
that the Original Source is me,
and we are the Original Source.
I wear my tears like
a Warrior who weary,
has become gentle.
Over drab hills held down
by scudding clouds,
a gap opened and sun’s rays shone down.
Splitting into a million colours
through a million tiny drops,
as the light of a star showed itself to us.
Its million aspects viewed with awe
by the only entity capable of seeing.
So see yourself in that light.
As he died and saw the world fade away,
he also saw his life spread out
like a two dimensional fan in front of him.
Then flames appeared and a charred black hole
spread out from the source into the delicate fan spread.
Each blade a part of his life,
crumbling to charred paper and blowing away on the wind.
And so he returned to his original state.
Now able to play a part in the way
he spent his life hoping he might.
Wiser now and on a universal stage
rather than a bit part in a sideshow.
But having learned to understand this.
You achingly dark spangled
infinitely deep universe
How does my mysterious sparking
Of elemental syntheses
Mirror your endless spinning rotations?
The qualitative universal components
That make my observations what they are.
So small are my thoughts by comparison.
Like splashing drops in an ocean wave
Crashing upon a shore,
Unrelenting in its logic.
When you reach a point where what you need to say cannot be expressed, and there’s no one to express it to anyway. That’s when you hit despair. When suddenly the odd phenomenon of being alive feels like a sensual experience that you’d rather not feel right now because it’s so uncomfortable. And your time is spent waiting for it to pass. Like being too stoned or too drunk, and waiting for the world to stop spinning because it isn’t fun any more. Fun sort of but not actually, and you want it to stop. And only what’s beyond this state is desirable. But beyond seems so far away. And it’s not allowed anyway. And seems to be impossible.
If you wonder why you exist,
It’s because life is a fundamental component
Of an inevitably evolving universe.
As fundamental as hydrogen or carbon atoms.
A reflection not of bits but of process.
Of how these and others interact.
And of the evolution of these interactions.
And as this interaction evolves,
It acquires ever evolving conciousness.
If you want to know how to be happy,
Understand this fact.
One life everywhere
So look skyward and see
That one day we’ll blend.
And at that point
The discreet existences we all know
Will come to an end.
As entropy finally converts all matter
To nothing more than understanding
And everything finally stops.
Because there’ll be nothing more to know.
It’s rumoured that we live in a multiverse, comprising an infinite number of universes wherein anything is possible. Somewhere out there there’s a ‘me’ writing something worth reading.
But I don’t think the multiverse is infinite. We may indeed live in a multiverse, but the only universes that exist are those that, from the infinite number of variances of outcome from the Big Bang, actually comprised an outcome that could, by it’s nature, go on to persist and to evolvet.
Most of the potential ways in which the results of the Big Bang could manifest milliseconds after the event were not tenable. They produced results that pretty much instantly collapsed and cancelled themselves out. They ceased to exist, even as they came into existence.
So, whilst there may have been, perhaps still is in creation, an infinite number of events that could have resulted in a universe, only some succeeded. And we exist in one of them.
Therefore there is not an infinite number of universes. Rather, there are a few. Perhaps, just possibly, there’s only one. And the rest failed to achieve suitable stability sufficient to materialise and to evolve.
And then of course there’s the question of life. At the advent of the Big Bang, when all things were possible and all things were attempted, most things failed. But one outcome was a universe that happened to comprise the elements necessary for the material coalescence of various components that are required for life as we know it, and experience it.
So our universe comprises various forms of hydrogen, carbon and other basic elements, and it’s in the nature of things that as these combine, in all the various ways that they’re capable of, the process we know as life emerges.
The sophistication of this process has also evolved. Because that’s the way of the context in which life exists… a context and combination of interlaced processes that obliges the materials involved to tend towards greater degrees of complexity.
And the ways in which life formed interacted with, and came to observe that context. It thus became more complex in its perspective, and ultimately in its understanding. Until eventually, life evolved that was capable of seeing itself within the very context from which it emerged, and of questioning it.
This isn’t necessarily the same thing as consciousness. All living things are conscious, if by conscious we mean aware of, and able to respond to, the physical environment.
But this awareness was to evolve to such a degree that it became aware that it existed, and so it became conciousness. The universe had evolved a way of critically observing itself. And it did so as part of a natural consequence of its nature – namely its composition.
So we can say that life is as much a part of the nature of the universe as say, hydrogen atoms.Or any other component. Life is an intrinsic part of the nature of the universe. The universe we know comprises life as much as it comprises anything else. So given that life, by its nature, evolves to be self aware, so the universe is self aware. Life is part of the universe’s evolution. And we are the manifestation of the early stages of that evolving process.
So open your mind to the beauty of the world, and its complexity and intricacy, and see your awareness of these things as a separate component that you have a responsibility to nurture. Because a unique quality of conciousness, over all the other elements and components of the universe, is that it’s able to manage its own evolution, and growth, and the way in which it functions.
The universe is like a small child that’s starting to understand itself, its nature and its place. It has become self aware. And it is life in its multitude of forms, that undoubtedly occur on millions of planets, that represents that awareness. You yourself are the universe thinking and watching itself. No less than that.
So wise up. Take your eyes off the money, let go of religious dogma and bigotry of whatever persuasion, see that time spent pondering why and what is not time wasted. Disconnect as far as is practically possible from the world of people, think more freely and let yourself be what you feel inclined to be. Because that ‘you’, with all its potential knock-on effects in a chaotic system, is probably why you exist. To play a part in the evolution of the universe.
With thanks to Jostein Gaarder, and his novel ‘The Castle in the Pyrenees’, for inspiration.
And so I’d like to go
To a place where it’s warm.
I’d lie and fade away under
Some wise-wrinkled olive tree.
Even as round and brown little
Beetles crawled over me.
The sighs of the ghosts of gods
Mixing with mine.
I see you wondering
With eyes fixed on a distant view,
Some place in your own mind.
Seeking a space that makes sense.
I do it too.
Sometimes it seems we think too much.
But there’s more to life than the trivial.
To know this is to be truly human.
So it’s good that you wonder why.
I do it too.
And even if it makes you cry,
Feel yourself growing wise.
One day you’ll gain strength from knowing
That you tried
And found a true perspective inside.
It was always there.
Discovering it was the point of your life.
Spinning up the motorway
I looked to my right,
And there hanging over the endless
Was a creature of such majesty
As made me see
Myself trying to be
Somewhere I had to be but wouldn’t know
Until I arrived.
That soaring cumulonimbus monster
Spoke to me
In tones that shook me
To the core.
As I drove up the motorway.
I saw us all
At real scale
And knew us
And saw us all
As very small things.
In other cars.
I’m sure I knew a world once that was round
And not sharp and jagged and jarring,
But which ululated
Sibilant sine waves
Of gentle experience.
Slow knowing and emergent wisdom
That felt right relative to
A gently shifting world.
Not this blind frantic electronic rocket
Through twisting changes so fast
That I can’t see what’s right and what’s wrong
And where there’s no chance
To stop and think.
Cast off your uniform
And throw back your head
To watch the clouds and see
How they do what they do regardless.
And hear the birdsong.
Whether the majority of us know it or not, humanity is undertaking massive genocide of hundreds (actually it’s thousands) of species of other creatures. We are proactively creating the Sixth Great Extinction, the last one being of the Dinosaurs. In doing so, we’re destroying the very biosphere that supports us. We are without doubt, unfathomably stupid.
The last Great extinction occurred 66 million years ago. And it took at least a thousand years, probably several thousand. If you map the lifetime of the Earth to a 24 hour clock, humanity has been around for about 4 seconds. In this blink of the planet’s eye, we’ve eliminated at least a third of the world’s forests and hundreds of thousands of species. If we’re so stupid as to commit collective suicide through religious and political dogmatism and ignorance, that’s our choice (and it is a choice). But we have no right to take every other species down with us.
And all this derives from our value systems. The way we perceive what wealth is, and how we manage it. Money. Particularly debt based money. And the externalisation (leave the consequences for someone else to clean up) of the bad impacts of wealth acquisition. The conventional political right and left both maintain these value systems, and many religious perspectives, especially in the US, support and advocate them under the guise of ephemeral supposed ethical standards like ‘freedom’ and ‘the work ethic’. How many corporate CEOs and bankers attend church every Sunday? Did you know that the pay of CEOs has risen 127 times faster over the last thirty years than 99% of the US population? What do you expect the consequences of such greed and inequity to be, particularly at a global scale, if not conflict? And as this money wealth is squirrelled away or squandered on yachts and stupidly big houses, it’s unavailable for such things as building cities that are worth living in for everyone, for education and the encouragement of more enlightened perspectives, the protection of the very biosphere that contains and supports us, and every other crying need that the fruits of all our labour is supposed to allow us to cater for. Yet the religious right encourage it.
Factor in other emerging crises like the impending failure of our medical systems through antibiotic resistance, shifting and more extreme climate events, ocean acidification and the consequent destruction of marine food resources, desertification and water shortage.. and a host of others, virtually all caused by humanity, and there’s good reason to believe the better minds than mine that predict global ecological, societal and economic collapse within just a few decades.
On a hot summer night I lie awake and listen
To the still air.
Small insect sound from somewhere.
Then the air’s viscosity alters
As a call pierces the dark.
Something happening there
That makes no sense
From my decorated bedroom
But which affects my dreams
And appeals to my blood.
Whoever you are.
Standing opposite me
And watching me
As I watch you.
The gap between us
doesn’t exist though.
In some place
We’re the same mind.
Knowing in this being alive,
The other side of the dichotomy
So we may know the whole.
I’m listening to Bach. There are two ways I can listen… one is in a thoughtful way, where I assess the music and consider how it’s affecting me and ponder its complexity.
The other way involves shutting down any form of analysis and stopping thinking all together. Then the music washes over me as though I were lying on a beach, letting waves break over my body. Now the music is an occurrence that blends me with the world and the universe around me. Now the boundary between my skin and everything else becomes less significant. As the vibrations of the music pass through the air and into me, I become part of the same contiguity. Part of the vibrating air. Part of the world around me that’s vibrating with these sounds that evoke in my consciousness, emotional responses and deeper perceptions.
How can a mere vibration through air induce me to tears? There’s something happening that is profound and revealing. Something that hints at the true nature of what I am. I am contiguous with everything else, if I let myself be so. I am capable of becoming part of something so much greater them the self contained package that part of me sees me as.
There is an underlying intelligence in all that is, and I am part of that. This material manifestation that I find myself in is wonderful, but it’s a temporary thing. A necessary lesson. Required in order to understand the vastness of the underlying power. To experience the material is to understand the transcendent that powers it. We live in order to make sense of what is. There are always two aspects to everything. The transcendent cannot be without its material opposite. And to know the transcendent, we need to experience the opposite, the material manifestation. And that is why we are alive.
The river runs fast.
Faster than your perceptions,
And you start to drown.
Rise up above it.
Now look down and see it whole.
Your start and your end.
The bit in between
Is bound by landscape
And flows as it must.
Don’t cry and don’t laugh.
Wait for the true view.
I’m disappointed by humanity.
If a power had evolved with the intelligence to see,
And saw something wrong and became confused,
I could understand.
But it saw and just carried on,
Leaving me and all those who see,
Bemused by its stupidity.
And then turning a corner I saw the moon
Hanging orange in the sky like an upturned half melon.
Silver slivers of cloud ghosted each side
Like angels either side of a god.
I stopped and watched and in that moment soared
Up there where the angels fly,
Dipping down again across the dappled brown land
Divided into little patches with fences around.
A blacker curve cutting across the sky
Told me to rise and I rose in an arc with fingers splayed wide,
Up through the angels.
Up past the god.
Up into a space all of my own,
Where I stopped, sat quiet and contemplated
The worlds of gods and men around me.
Did you see that?
Against that rough hewn hill
Of rough textured tweed colours,
That swooping sliver of bird flesh
Slipping through grey swept skies.
On wing feathers spread
Like the fingers of a Japanese dancer.
Through a hundred metres
Of aquamarine, shimmering beauty
At sunbeams shining down
At acute angles to each other
And fading away into marine gloom.
And the flickering fish swimming
Across the view.
So small am I hanging here.
So very small.
A mere fluorescing fleck
Born by strange and vast currents.
Where I’m taken I go.
What I see, I marvel at.
So flying was I past blossoming white clouds
As I soared and soared and soared
Through blue space,
Through my life clear
To darkening blue as stars began to shine.
Then my breath grew thin
And the world turned self contained
Far beneath me.
An eye in a dispassionate face.
It was then that I’d seen too much.
The place of my world in the void.
The size of everything.
And my heart left me and stayed there,
Glorying in the glory of it all,
Whilst my mind started to fall.
And as the eye came nearer
I saw myself reflected in its blue.
An aberration in an otherwise flawless hue.
A spec in the eye of what’s true.
I came to land in a field of flowers
With solemn trees all about,
And on my back I looked back up
To a flat blue sky that had my heart
Like a cloud.
Of the dissonance.
Of the distance
Between its place
You don’t need to cry
In a world that’s made by you.
Just see the beauty.
I walked a path
Through the heather yellow and spiked
And dripping with the dawn dew of a new day.
But one path through heather
Looks much like another.
Whether the view be of hillside
Or arid plain and gasping scrub,
The questions remain the same.
There’s the rub.
‘Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer…’
It doesn’t matter.
Do what you feel with due regard
For what makes you content.
As worlds whirl past you
In fluid current
That heaves and seethes,
Quiet at both start and end
But loud and turbulent in the moment
That demands you listen.
‘Tis nobler in the heart sometimes.
Sat at my PC,
Watching a world supposedly
At the tips of my fingers.
A bee lies dying on the windowsill,
Sun splashed flowers a few feet away.
The world suddenly seems ethereal.
Thin and without substance.
A matrix of chance webs
Strung out and interconnected,
But thin and friable and translucent.
A small distance between
One strand and another.
Suspended in a pink light void.
And there I sit like a fly caught,
Struggling in my small and quivering way.
If I broke free I’d fall
To land caught on another strand
To struggle and look up at
Where I’d been.
And the light around me would remain
Still and pink and translucent.
The truth lies somewhere
In the constancy of the spaces between
The places to which we become attached.
Everything that ever was or will be
Happened in an infinitely small moment.
And then what was aware decided to consider it.
And that’s when time became.
Standing between two mirrors.
Looking over my shoulder,
Looking into the past,
I see behind me many times.
Looking forwards into my future
I see me ahead many times.
Both are illusory.
I woke slowly to watch light patterns play on my ceiling
And the music of the new day slowly gained purchase.
I lay still and watched and listened
To the men loading my rubbish into their truck.
The men swore and in the background a bird sang
A song that was of a separate world.
Then I rose and showered and dressed slowly,
Wondering why and whether my day to come
Would be of music or of song.
The song or the noise of the world to which,
As a man,
I’m supposed to belong.
There’s no need for religion
That sets man against man
And creates false, faith derived
Divides between us.
Understand that we know enough now
About the nature of the material
To know that we constitute something different.
All of us.
Forego your religion and open your mind.
Christ and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest
Were wise men who understood
And couched their insight in the language of the times.
Now you wake up and see
That religious dogmatism will lead
To the demise, through war and strife,
Of us and all that we know to be fundamentally wise.
For if God were to commit suicide
Then the matter of the universe would
Cease to be required.
What a tiny thing I am.
The sum of a few interactions between
Fundamental parts of a universe
That we only begin to understand.
A small agglomeration of matter contrived
Such that it’s able to see it’s circumstance.
No. A natural result of a process
Of refinement of all that it is
That comes to know that it is.
And in that tiny aggregation of effect
Lies an awareness in us that sees
And this is the miracle of intelligence.
It’s not about God.
It’s about what is.
If you insist to me
That there is a God
Then I say that we are God.
In a universe that comprises nothing more
Than sub, sub and sub components of matter
That resolve as energy and nothing more,
The fact that there’s awareness obviously states
That there is something more.
And it’s you and I that are aware.
There’s a common force
Which we constitute,
And that may be God.
But we are not subject to
Any external control.
The responsibility is ours.
And when we experience what we believe to be God,
We’re knowing a momentary commonality
Of consciousness. A shared experience.
There is no other way that God could possibly manifest
As a force that gives us so much freedom.
We are God.
The moment where I am now
Offers neither hope nor despair.
It’s merely a place where
I contemplate without involvement
A future over which I have no control.
Like a leaf blessed with consciousness
That sees itself floating hither and thither
On an autumn breeze.
Sparkling sun flashing and flickering
Through warm summer air that vibrates
With life and change and smells and colour.
Understanding as I drift down for a short while
That sees the truth between life on a branch
And the musty ground that promises
Slow integration with something
It’s a small insight.
Lends little to wisdom but something to understanding.
I was there and I’m going there.
It’s the only insight that I’m ever likely to really know.
And even then
I’ve had to work so hard to see it.
As matter is energy that coalesces
To form the universe we know,
So is thought that sees the same
And yet by virtue
Of some power called choice
We’re pulled together and forced apart
By opposing thought and instinct,
Like a centrifugal force, opposing unity.
And as we seek a common goal,
A flat green field where all can play,
So more the world just tips away.
There’s some division
Between a man’s ideal
And a man’s ideal
That’s a sure consequence
Of trying to level opposites.
The bigger one side of the coin,
The bigger the other.
And circles within circles at every scale
Manifest the same tension,
The more complex we make our fine machine,
The more complex becomes the resistance.
The resistant inertia that draws us back
To make a more natural state.
And like a centrifuge the parts
Spin out and find their own place.
Like oil and water,
They’ll make their own space.
So it is that as we see
The world more as one,
So each of us tries to run and hide
And find the place that’s theirs.
The proxy spirit that is man
Must love itself and won’t give sway.
As each ourselves will always know
To stand up proud and say
That our own path is the only true way.
Earth photographed by the Voyager spacecraft from 3 billion miles away. Still within our solar system.
One small planet in a solar system. Trillions of solar systems in our galaxy. Trillions of galaxies in our universe. Earth like a grain of sand on a very, very big beach, with seven billion atom sized entities clinging to it, all proclaiming their importance and their opinions and their understanding of the nature of things.
If we’re not alone, we’re pretty insignificant. If we are alone, we’re still pretty insignificant. Even collectively as a species, a phenomenon. Never mind as individuals.
I don’t know whether we have meaning, or what that meaning might be, but I suspect that either what we perceive, vis à vis this photograph, is illusory and we actually stand a chance of meaning a great deal in some unappreciable way in a different kind of universe that we can’t imagine, or it’s not illusory, in which case we’d better get our heads out of our arses and grow up a bit, because no one is going to give a shit if we decide to cease.
I think I may be
Some smoothly blended entity
Merged with some other
Seamless contiguity as one.
I don’t believe in the space
Between me and all others.
There are too many strands
Of coincidence and coordination
For any of us to be discreet.
Whoever heard of a bit of a dance,
Or a fragment of swirling fog,
Or a drop of water underwater in an ocean.
The views much better up here in the blue fog.
Down there in the brown murk, slow fires burn blurred
Between dark spaces. But up here in the clear blue
I can see myself reflected in the firmament.
A matrix of meaning. Points of light.
So what do I do with this perception? I gaze at it
And taste it tentatively, sniffing like a cautious hyena.
Not noticing how my model and I slide slowly back into brown dark.
And as the stars grow dim and chaos’ roar sounds,
Does my soul go up or down? My heart slides
And freezes as a sense of cold reality
Strokes my shivering skin. These fires aren’t hot.
They burn cold and constraining.
And the dark places are full of demons.
There’s nowhere left but back up.
Now where did I put that lighter
I gorge peach becomes human.
I breathe air becomes me.
I breathe out my body.
The water that makes me
Once ran down the Nile,
Once formed a crocodile.
Where is the edge between this world and me?
All is contiguous,
One blended entity.
We exist as a drop of water
In the sea. No distinct identity.
Our sense of self then is immaterial.
This is the greatest proof
Of soul as a truth,
Which allows us to feel whole and discreet.
It exists like a permeable membrane in water
And contains us. Defines us. Each.
But the atoms and stuff of the universe we see
Flow through and between us
As we eat, live and breathe.
Our bodies are bubbles of identical matter
To the earth and the air and the trees.
It’s only our souls that allow us to care
And to know and to love and to see.
And when we move on from this liquid domain
And become free of illusory form,
We shall see what we are and meld yet again
To a more vaporous medium by far.
Where all of us join in one uniform sphere
Of pure harmonious joy.
I drink too hard
In torn deference to times lost
And fallen by the wayside.
Sinking spirit. Cheap as well.
Slinking down some road to hell
But now I’m in my own world
In some contentious way.
Sweating through my traumas
And beating them
With righteous venom.
I see now the truth
Of my fire.
But also see,
Through some quiet part of me
That sees and doesn’t speak,
That some truth is vain
And some is true.
The next days dawn
Will play with me and,
Still lacking clarity I’ll
Wonder how I knew so well
My true self glimpsed,
That knew my hell
For what it is
Now once more buried
Under mad reason
And stubborn fact
And life goes on
In some small space
sits a thought of mine.
Like a golden nugget
in perennial slime.
Disconnected from the rest
and so unable
to truly form.
Part of some particulate
from past or future.
And I am with it.
It is me.
There making what the world is.
Whilst even reflecting
in vicious spiral
like a black hole.
Never to change anything.