I feel as though we have lost touch. We have lost touch to where we really come from and what it means to be an equal part of a working system so much bigger than ourselves. I believe that the human species have placed themselves on a pedestal of dominance over all other living things and that this myth is the engine that drives our day to day activities. Many people operate by this myth – whether consciously or unconsciously, that the Earth was “created,” for us to live on and take whatever we need from it without understanding the consequences. This has led to alarming environmental destruction worldwide and an overall lack of recognizing the intrinsic (natural) value, not economic, value of all living species. With this anthropocentric worldview placing humans at the center of everything, the natural balance that once existed between species on this Earth has been lost.
Now, the natural imbalance I mentioned relates to global warming and climate change. In the past before major human interference of natural systems, the Earth was able to maintain a state of “homeostasis,” a balance; of species, temperature, you know. But now, because humans have interfered and developed a way of living that consumes so much of the world’s natural resources, pollutes and disrupts so many natural ecosystems so quickly, the earth is having a harder time keeping the balance and temperatures are rising. You may have seen Al Gore’s zigzag graph that points to our most imminent doom.
You may not be with me on this, but I happen to agree with the thousands of scientists that have worked and continue to work tirelessly to be able to tell us almost unequivocally that climate change is indeed happening, is indeed a great threat to all species on this planet, and is indeed caused by human activity in the past 100 years or so. Before I go further I will make a distinction between climate and weather. Weather is our day to day, its rain, its snow, its blazing heat, its freezing cold. Climate is the average of all these things over time, lots of time. So to people who say that climate change and global warming are not happening because of one cold day in the summertime, that’s just not the case. The average weather (climate) is getting warmer and shifting. Now the worst effects of this may not be felt by westerners, but it is being felt by many third world countries and small island nations. The alarm is ringing and people need to stop tuning it out. One devastating effect of climate change is the worldwide destruction of coral reefs. Coral reefs cover one sixth of the world’s coastlines, are the most productive ecosystems on the planet and are the livelihood of the people that live near them. Because of rising temperatures, a slight increase in the temperature of the water as well as increased pollution and agricultural run off which is nutrient and mineral rich into the water causes massive blooms of algae to grow. Algae out-compete the corals for the nutrients that enter the water from the run-off and the algae end up using up most of the oxygen in the water leaving barely any for the corals. They also create a blanket which can block out the sunlight, decreasing the ability of the corals to photosynthesize. Fishermen use cyanide, sulphur and explosives to stun tropical fish to make them easier to catch and sell in foreign markets. These chemicals along with algal blooms cause the corals to bleach and in many cases, die. Scientists predict that coral reef ecosystems are in danger of becoming extinct and to prepare for this they are in the process of collecting corals to keep in storage in case one day the water returns back to a state in which they can thrive again. This is just one effect of climate change and one way that our current way of living is affecting the environment.
There was a new philosophy developed in the 1970’s by Arne Naess called “Deep Ecology.” This philosophy centers on the principle that all living things are equal in the inherent value on Earth, in other words, no one species is more important to life than another and everything is interconnected and interdependent. It rejects the anthropocentric way of life, just as many civil rights, feminist and animal rights movements have as well. Its not misanthropic, or people hating, it simply recognizes that we aren’t the center of things and our needs aren’t the only thing that matters. This has been one of the philosophies that has fuelled environmental activism in the past few decades. It is kind of related to the Gaia theory proposed by James Lovelock that suggested that the Earth functions as one organism or one entity, so if one part of the organism defies this then the whole thing goes all wacky. In respect to climate change, the deep ecology worldview is a way of seeing the world that leads to a respect and appreciation of nature and the complex web of life that we are a part of. One of the basic principles of deep ecology is to question things on a deeper level, to question where we came from and what that means. Our actions all have a consequence, and whether or not we can feel the effect of those consequences in our daily life, we can’t avoid them.
What I’m getting at is that I am worried that the majority of people don’t value nature outside of its economic worth, or at all. There needs to be a shift in consciousness toward a worldview that does not alienate our species against all the rest. All species share the same right to live and flourish. There is a great opportunity for self realization in identifying with the natural world. To realize that we are all interconnected, all animals, plants, insects, bacteria, etc., is a process of self realization. We all share the same history and we are all one.
I will add one more thing. While I was researching this I learned about social ecology as well and on particular thought stood out and that was the fact that “we can’t expect to treat the natural world appropriately unless we take care of other human beings appropriately.” This is an excerpt from something I read, “…But humanity is a part of nature too, and the development of our awareness and our human freedom is an important step in ending the environmental crisis. I would say that deep ecology is part of the great liberation movement that culminated in the Enlightenment and is now trying to move beyond the Enlightenment’s limitations. It’s not just about freeing white men from the control of the king, and it’s not just about freeing women or blacks anymore. It’s about freeing all beings from unnecessary kinds of control and exploitation.”
So what do we do? Well I suggest we educate ourselves, we talked to people, we reach out, we connect, we question, we find true value in life.
P.S. Please question, challenge, comment.
Right now, in the western world, anything goes. Believe whatever you want, think whatever you want, define your own truths. You are truth, and that is all that’s true. No certainty, no rules. But since we are renouncing all certainty… is even that true? The renouncing of one thing is the accepting of another. Even if what you’re accepting is to abstain from accepting any one thing. So still we say: you think what you think, I’ll think what I think, because there is no right or wrong anymore. It sounds great, and its gotta be better then warring about things like religion. But does it really help us? We’ve started to be too accepting, too inclusive, and too “free”. Don’t get your back up, hear me out.
I am a post-modern child, I don’t deny it. I love it. I agree that (for the most part) truth is constantly evolving. I think there are few, if any, things we can know for sure. There is evidence for and against every argument, and physical reality is no longer a doctrine. There is a great liberation in the realization that there are simply things we cannot know. The problem with this is that in its infiniteness, it is limiting. By recognizing the fragmentation and uncertainty of this world and this life, we have relinquished the activity of true conversation. By entering into an interaction of any sort, with the idea that whatever the other person is going to say, is their belief and it doesn’t concern you, sets you up for a conversation that doesn’t involve a real yearning for understanding. Allowing for missing pieces in one’s personal manifesto is a necessity, because there are many things that are unknown. But it is not an excuse admitting us from asking questions, challenging, or being challenged. Believing that you may never know absolute truth is not an excuse for not searching for it. By elevating ourselves as individuals, we lose the ability for community. We must acknowledge the difference between tolerance and understanding, and aim first at understanding. “Just as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” (proverbs)
How many times have you been in a group and heard someone say “I don’t talk about religion or politics”, or see someone back away from a conversation that might get the least bit controversial? I see it all the time and it makes me itchy. No one wants to over step, no one wants to offend. I’m not saying we should speak with the intention of offending, but should we really be hiding what we think out of fear that someone is going to disagree and we may actually have to try and explain ourselves?
We have lost the desire to communicate. In this whole “you believe what you believe, I’ll believe what I believe” society we’ve created, we’ve wiped out real dialogue. No longer do we feel the need to explain, express, or expose our beliefs, ideas, or truths. We are the most adamantly inarticulate generation, and we need to start speaking with intention.
I support the freedom that comes hand-in-hand with post-modernism, but I don’t support the segregation. We are no loner segregating by means of religion, culture, or other collectives, but we are segregating individually. We are all allowed to be as open-minded as our minds will stretch… so long as we do it in our own back yards.
We need to start opening our minds up even further. Not just accepting that we are all free-thinkers and “to each their own”. That’s all well and good, and a great progression from traditional ways of thinking, but let’s not stop here. We need to start talking, start testing, and start learning from each other. And real, true, open listening, not debating: conversing and understanding. We have to regain conviction, we have to start advocating for what we believe to be true, but all the while being open to the possibility that our truths can change. If we don’t start really speaking to each other, we are going to drown in our own thoughts and become stagnant. Growth is a result of struggle. It’s not enough to be questioning authority; we have to start speaking with it too.
We are all living in one eternal moment. It isn’t even really correct to call it a moment because “a moment” denotes a given point in a linear time length. I mean what we are living or experiencing is infinite, not in regards to time only but in regards to the process. How would one know this? How would one know that it was finite? For it to be finite one would have to know of something outside of the box that is not included. The known is the realm we are in, not the unknown. For when it becomes known it ceases to be the unknown. Time and space is the most common form of experiencing for humans, physically. Our daily lives. What we know to be ‘real’. Many people however experience a multitude of ‘other’ types of experiences, some more common than others which include out of body experiences, meditative trances, psychosis, comas, dreams (lucid and non), de ja vue, psychedelic drug trips,etc. While in these states most experiences claim that time and space tend to lose their meaning. Their experience of being becomes qualitatively different. Time-dilation, lost time, experiencing time backwards, being able to tell the future second by second or experiencing ‘forever’ all in one instant are just some examples.
Most who have not had these experiences of altered states of consciousness either reject the idea altogether or do not fully understand what it means because they have no reference of comparison in order to comprehend it. For whatever reason, fear, ignorance, chance, unavailability or lack of access, they have only seen one side of the coin. Because the number of people who have these experiences (though recently growing) is so low, the general consensus of the population is that they are either ‘not real’ or that people ‘are just seeing things’. Also, many psychedelic drugs which are safe and have even been proven to help patients with a variety of psychological problems have been lumped into the ‘drug’ category and outlawed, because “drugs are bad”.
The fact is that nobody really knows what anything is. We can nit-pick at every little atom, every little quark, do a trillion experiments in the lab, shoot atoms along a track at each other to recreate the conditions shortly after the big bang forever and that will never make us understand what shit is, but what is it really? What is the big picture? Not what is one pixel of it. Once you get to see the big picture you are still looking at a picture. So life is not a game to be won. There isn’t some kind of experiment that will yield a result to satisfactorily explain all of existence in one neat little formula. The more answers we find the more questions open up. That’s just a fact.
Here is an example of how much we actually don’t know. Big bang theory which is the current scientific model of the universe posits that time began at a certain point. The big bang, a rapid expansion of an infinitely hot and infinitely dense point (the gravitational singularity) and it is still expanding to this day. The way we found this out was by using Einstein’s general relativity and extrapolating events backwards in time by observing and making calculations about expansion of the universe. We concluded that since the universe is expanding in a certain way, it must have all been together once. However, at the point of the singularity, general relativity breaks down, meaning at that small of a scale its formulas don’t work. So the science that we used to get there doesn’t work once we’re there. So what is a gravitational singularity, what is gravitation for that matter? We know what these things are but their full nature is still debated to this day. We also don’t know where shit goes when it goes through a black hole, or what dark matter or dark energy is and they apparently make up 95% of the universe. We don’t even know if they exist we just had to make them up to account for missing areas in our calculations about gravity and the workings of the universe. My point is that no matter how much we try to understand intellectually, things are still happening. Gravity is gravitating and the singularity is singu…lating. There’s still always shit to observe and figure out. There is something to be looked at there. Things are happening, how beautiful. Not just understanding them verbally and knowing what happened a long time ago or what will happen in the future. What about now? What is now? It just is!!!
Something interesting… the speed of light is always 299 792 458 meters a second in a vacuum. Information/energy/matter can not travel faster than light. If it could then it would be possible for a signal to be received before it was sent. There is a theoretical particle called a Tachyon which has the properties of only being able to travel faster than light. If Tachyons were found to be real able to be used to send information, then it would be possible to violate causality in Einstein’s special relativity.
“If one of the two events represents the sending of a signal from one location and the second event represents the reception of the same signal at another location, then as long as the signal is moving at the speed of light or slower, the mathematics of simultaneity ensures that all reference frames agree that the transmission-event happened before the reception-event.However, in the case of a hypothetical signal moving faster than light, there would always be some frames in which the signal was received before it was sent, so that the signal could be said to have moved backwards in time. And since one of the two fundamental postulates of special relativity says that the laws of physics should work the same way in every inertial frame, then if it is possible for signals to move backwards in time in any one frame, it must be possible in all frames. This means that if observer A sends a signal to observer B which moves FTL (faster-than-light) in A’s frame but backwards in time in B’s frame, and then B sends a reply which moves FTL in B’s frame but backwards in time in A’s frame, it could work out that A receives the reply before sending the original signal, a clear violation of causality in every frame.”
It would be like receiving a text message, and then replying, but in reality the text you are sending as a reply is the causal factor in the text that was sent which you are replying to. That’s almost like there is no free will involved at all there. Is this type of relation similar to the one of consciousness and matter? Which one came first? When?
The experience of time passing is psychological. Our brains process information at something below 100 HZ. Your computer runs at about 3 GHZ, unless you are a noob in which case your computer may run anywhere from 1GHZ to 2GHZ. If a computer was self-aware or could perceive time a second to us would be like 30 or more to it because of the amount of information it is processing, would it not? Time is an experienced duration of being, memories of past, hopes of future. All imagined. We arrange events in a linear fashion within the brain and we say this was before and this will come to be after. The reality is that what is happening is happening now and only now. Tomorrow never comes because it is always today. We are present. We are here. We never go there or anywhere because once we get there it is here.
Now is a pivotal moment where all events are possible. If one was to fully recognize that then there would be no fear and all dreams would be immediately fulfilled. We spend our daily ‘time’ considering what we want to become or worrying about not making the same mistakes we have in the past. One big problem is being concerned with death but real death is not being in the moment, it’s missing out on every ‘now’ that ever happened in your life because you were worried about losing your ‘self’ or leaving your ‘things’ behind, or uncertainty of what might be ‘after’. To say death is a moment in time at the end of your life is like saying the moment of birth is your life. There is a thing that frees the mind of that and it is called action. Acting is the assembling of perfection, doing what needs to be done. All at once it is moving into the future and putting the past in place like setting a table or cleaning a room. Living is dying, literally. Not just that we live and we die, or we live to die. But we do both simultaneously, they are the same thing. The process is one of duality. It is showing opposites. Life comes with death. Light comes with dark. Yin and yang. It is meant to be experienced and embraced. Or else it wouldn’t be there. There’s no point in worrying about the past because it is finished and there is no point in worrying about the future because the future is now, and that’s what we have to grasp- fully with everything we have, not just in words.
The more one tries to understand in words the less one understands because words have a definition which is defined in terms of words also. We can never escape words unless we jump above and beyond to a higher level of intuitive understanding. This understanding can truly only come with acceptance of the fact that there is other shit that you haven’t experienced. For all you know what you are experiencing is less than 1% of total reality, and there may be a reason for that. Human life with all it’s time and space bullshit might just be that small percentage of a bigger cycle of existence. A type of existence that maybe isn’t even subjective at all, and where time and space, matter and energy have no meaning whatsoever. Psychedelic or higher dimensional experiences are just one example of an uncommon form of reality experienced by many, and what occurs in these states is just as real as any other state. It is something experienced and perceived, and perspective is reality. So we must observe this fact and be as aware as possible of what is going on. Then we can reach a higher level of understanding of what is. Or what is is.
Don’t believe everything you see.
When you look at the sun it shines in your eyes with blinding light; even though your brain remains in complete darkness it perceives the light, and this is the basis of perception; your brain calculates the light we are able to see without actually seeing it. It is also our brains ability to do complex mathematical calculations in nanoseconds that allow an astronomer to be amazed at the sheer distance when he looks through the telescope at a distant star, the massive distance is only perceived by his brain, and are really just electrical, and chemical reactions sent to the brain relative to known experience; activated by the by the eye’s perception of the visible light that it can see. So what is the reality we see? It boils down to chemicals, and electricity. Our subconscious brain makes a nice picture for us of what it believes we should see.
This chart here shows the Visible Light compared to the invisible light, and for all we know the chart most likely goes on forever up, and down in frequencies (I may be wrong as I’m no electromagnetic specialist), but if this is true then we cannot possible base anything off of sight; as we can only comprehend a small sliver of light.
One can argue that they trust their sight fully; then you must ask them if they have ever had a depth perception test. The results usually are astounding; when I did one I thought for sure I had it. I was about seven inches off. The fact that this basic test can fool almost anybody shows that we can’t really rely on our eyes. How many times have you been watching something on TV and this happens? You are looking right at it, but you miss something important in a split second like a breakaway goal, or your favourite wrestler gets eliminated from the Royal Rumble, without this flaw in our memory and sight TiVo would never have been made. Even looking at one of those “magic-eye” pictures we can conclude that sight is indeed flawed.
Everything you see everyday might not even be there. Distance, shapes, colours, sizes, and textures we perceive are just electrical and chemical signals telling our brain what to tell us we see. Like the curved mirror at the carnival. Our view of the universe is impaired. What we see as empty space is filled with air and water vapour and shit that we cannot perceive with sight. If a human brain were able to be placed inside some sort of container that kept it alive and fed it the right electrical and chemical stimuli, a Matrix like world would exist for the individual, it could see, hear, taste, and smell physical objects in a dreamlike induced state; as well as have its own physical body. One can only wonder if the technology to keep someone alive in a Matrix type storage device is already here or not. One thing many will argue is the fact that if you hit something made of physical matter… it will hurt; this is another issue of perception that I will definitely get into in a later post about perception.