the Great Leap into the Abyss
Here is how Science finally answers to the Spiritual. Starting at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. No, even sooner than that.
Evil is often assumed to be a supernatural force that has existed all along, waiting for its opportunity to infiltrate God’s creation. But no, the Church describes an unspecified time where some kind of accident changed creation forever. Evil came into being when one of God’s angels fell from grace, which I’ll presume is another word for Perfection. Once fallen, the question becomes, where did he land? The answer is, in a kind of abandoned factory district on the edge of town. Probably a former realm of Heaven that went bust years ago. Heaven exists in a State of Perfection. The Bible considers the lost angel’s landing zone an entirely separate realm of existence then Heaven and well outside the State of Perfection. The alternative to being perfect is being non-perfect, which became another thing to be now that someone was being it. Hell was the new headquarters of imperfection and Satan was its CEO. Hell is a segregated realm, where it is possible to be perfectly imperfect. But that imperfection was only true from the perspective of Heaven, for Heaven and Hell represented two different kinds of perfection- two different versions of the truth. Evil begets evil just like good begets good, which need only mean that both are self-sustaining creations. Each has truths that are true relative to themselves but not each other.
Prior to The Fall, man lived in a State of Perfection that rendered the forces of evil impotent. Until Satan came along, all we had to do is listen to what creation told us to do. Then we would always make the right choice. The one God would have made. We don’t need to think for ourselves to be what God created us to be. To have a self to think for is to become once-removed from God. And why would anybody want to do that?
The Bible suggests that evil et al would not be an issue if no one ever ate the apple from the tree of knowledge. The Bible also suggests that knowledge was something we were doing just fine without, and in fact were capable of living in paradise without. Anything you really needed to know, is contained in how God created you. Any further knowledge would be an indulgence; getting into things we don’t need to know in a selfish pursuit of personal experience. So, what was knowledge doing hanging from trees in God’s creation if God had to forbid it? Couldn’t He just delete it? Perhaps knowledge was an integral part of creation and God did not want man to recognize its possibilities. What God had, and what the fruit offered, was the ability to know more than you know. It was a way to know it. The tree of knowledge could be likened to the tree structure of the filing system of our computers. Both offer a way to organize and store information as a cascade of interconnections that spread like the branches of a tree. Maintaining a connection between everything is the mortar or sap of the world we know. But like the Bible warns, this will include the knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge was apparently the only means of perceiving either of them. Knowing that they’re there takes some Smarts. Only the really Smart creations, like man, could know anything about this struggle. It is only man’s unique and nifty Smartness that could allow him access to knowledge, including that of both good and evil. How did man come by knowledge? Who was our connection?
God’s disloyal fallen former lieutenant Satan had been mulling about in his State of Imperfection for several months before the week or so God spent whipping up the entire universe and two humans. Satan apparently could observe all this and was excited to finally have something to do. But sadly, there was no place in Creation that God created for Satan. This was going to take some creative thought on his part, which in anyone else’s hands but God’s, can only be deviousness. Recognizing our unique potential for Smartness, Satan found his only opportunity in said entire universe to exist as a part of God’s creation. The Bible specifically describes temptation as Satan speaking or whispering to us. Making arguments and debating the possibilities. And doing it from somewhere other than creation. Inviting us to see the world from over there. But listening to him required turning one’s attention away from God, and into the self.
For us, our first fruit-tempted experiences of thinking for ourselves were disturbing moments of doubt. We became aware of possibilities and alternatives which filled us with conflicts and internal debates. We were no longer resolute in our instincts and became paralyzed in contemplation. It was a moment of weakness. That would be when Satan would appear. A voice would emerge from the chaos and tell you it’s going to be all right and show you what your world could be if you made some of these choices. Satan would play devil’s advocate in your internal discussions emphasizing how to achieve the maximum advantage for yourself. Satan was trying to sell us on the one thing God had specifically steered us away from- the Filing Tree of Knowledge. Why God made this one exemption is never made clear. May He thought we weren’t ready for it or perhaps selfishly desired to remain the only Creator on the block, jealously clinging to His creation- which was only a week or so old.
God’s warning about the forbidden fruit didn’t come with much of an explanation. He only invoked the threat of death as a consequence, which should fill anyone in a State of Perfection with dread. Any more elaborate explanation or a sign or something would of required the very fruity Smarts He was forbidding. This was simply the same dread that kept us from leaning too far over a cliff or from getting too close to a predator. Dread is a gut feeling that man experiences just like his animal co-creations and was already a common tool of parenting. Parents evoke dread of their wrath to protect their young from the world they are only beginning to perceive and may not understand fast enough. After giving us our great big brains, God saw the potential danger in Satan’s alternate reality and knew that sooner or later we would see it too except for the danger part. God was hoping that a bit of chest-thumping would be enough to dissuade us. It wasn’t. Once we ate the forbidden fruit, Heaven and Hell’s coexistence clashed in the world of men. The initial collision would change the course of creation in a way that God could do nothing about. The rest of Nature and the rest of the animal kingdom would remain in a State of Grace, but they would not be excluded from man’s fate. We burdened the world with Evil, but that was the price of our beloved Smarts, which was the result and the cost of eating the apple. Man had eaten knowledge and it was within him. And with it, came the struggle within him, between two states of perfection.
Under Satan’s encouragement, knowledge allowed man a new way of experiencing God’s creation- by recreating it as we chose. Shaping our lives to our own desires and making ourselves anything we want to be. For us, this turned out to be a hit and miss proposition. Since this is God’s creation, Evil remains a limited truth. Evil’s presence in the world is limited by the abilities of us humans, and since our capacity for knowledge is no match for God’s, sooner or later we create a sloppy mess. That’s when God is pushed too far and starts pushing back. Like when God confronted man is his alternative world and heard him speak from imperfect truth, which to God, just sounds like deception and lies. Our new truth was only true in our minds. Man had turned from God- looked away -and was escorted out of the State of Perfection.
Making that choice begins us on a path that requires making more choices to keep following it until the bulk of one’s existence is chosen. For us humans, that meant the power to create the world we live in. The more choices we made, the deeper we journeyed into the imperfect world. In a few generations, no one remembers anything about life in the State of Perfection. Satan no longer needs to talk to everybody as long as each generation continues to make the same choices. Satan had given away the store. We set off to build the eternal imperfect world, and we’ve been building them over and over again ever since.
None of this would have happened if Satan hadn’t made his evil pitch and talked us into it. The Bible laments about how creation might have worked if only Satan hadn’t ruined everything for everybody. This raises the question of why the All Powerful Creator of the Universe doesn’t just un-create Satan and nip Evil in the bud? Because Satan had infiltrated Creation in the one form that God could not reach- as a presence inside the minds of men. We created somewhere imperfect for him to be. As far as things in the material world were concerned, God never created Satan or Evil. We did. As far our fellow creatures were concerned, we humans were its faces and its actors. Now God used dread to warn the rest of Life about us. But He hadn’t entirely given up on us.
God offered us one last chance to someday cross the border and re-enter the State of Perfection. Because of our new and unfortunate Smartness infestation, this offer of grace had to come in the same form as temptation- as information. God would have to speak to us. If we wanted knowledge, then God would give us tablets full of knowledge- starting with what to do and then slowly dishing out what it all means. The accumulation of all this information eventually became the Bible, which includes this very explanation of itself. Certain chosen men experienced this knowledge from God and then wrote or dictated information gathered from the experience. Now in an imperfect form, it became available to the denizens of the State of Imperfection. In order to reach the new Smart Man, God’s knowledge became recreated and stored in a form that was only accessible to those with the same mind as those who wrote it. For all who lived with such a mind, it may be the only form of grace they will ever see.
God seemed to be trying to say that Redemption can be achieved through information. So we made informed choices to guide us on our way to redemption. Once we settled into our chosen world, making God-chosen choices, temptation appeared again in a new form. Now we were tempted by the choices we would have made if we hadn’t chosen God’s Choices found in the Big Book of God’s Information. We still felt powerful impulses toward the original choices God made for us long ago, before the Big Book. But we no longer recognized them. Our information about what God wants was at odds with our natural instincts and inclinations. We chose a path of chosen choices as the best path back to the State of Perfection. God told us we could find our way back by making the right choices. Our animal instincts aren’t chosen, so they are not part of the path. In the imperfect world, choosing any of God’s original choices is incompatible and destructive to one’s status and usefulness in it. And could be quite embarrassing. Instincts had become imperfections. Nature becomes, for us, our lower nature. In our lofty chosen world, we hold our ability to choose to be what hoists us up above the rest of nature and also what makes us messed up enough in the eyes of God for Him to send us the message of grace. God’s message revealed to us our imperfection and we started looking up to Heaven. Why up? Certainly any state of ascension we could experience would be somewhere above our chosen selves and not below it. This sort of up and down is just one example of where the choices we make about the world we live in contrast with the world we make them in. The Fruit of Knowledge apparently didn’t include knowing about the incompatibility of the relative truth of the two realms- the one God chose, and the one we chose.
So twisted is the view of God’s creation from the imperfect world, we perceive that the one responsible for our natural impulses is not God but Satan. We are convinced that the world we’ve built for ourselves is part of God’s Creation and was in fact built in collaboration with God and only sullied and interfered with by Satan. That cosmic role reversal is central to man’s predicament. Satan becomes God or at least seriously confused with Him. Our world as we saw it was used as an arena for a metaphysical competition between God and Satan, with Good and Evil co-existing in one world. This vision of how the world works survives because it was included in the information that each generation is taught in order to make choices in the imperfect world they inherited. Once a culture is older than anyone living in it, the information it is based on can take on a life of its own by taking on the lives of those revered few who are passed on. They will now speak the imperfect truth for the imperfect world so Satan never has to.
This illusion, and the cultural structure it informs, can sustain itself for centuries as long as we believe the path to perfection can be found by making enough correct choices within the imperfect world. Giving in to the temptations of our animal existence means not making choices. Losing the capacity to choose is a moment of weakness. If we lose our faith and our resolution in how we were raised and what we were taught, our natural impulses that we blame on Satan will swoop into us and destroy our chosen lives. To us, being natural is being imperfect and since only Satan would wants us to be imperfect, it must be Satan and not God prodding us to be natural. And there’s always Satan to blame when things go wrong because something “natural” happened either to the world or to us. Meanwhile, the real Satan is comfortably coiled around God in the confusion of the two realms in our minds. Satan knows he can get away with it. God could never exist in the imperfect world, so there’s no chance of them being seen together. And knowing that we are looking for God there, Satan can fill the role with only the slightest of efforts. Remaining distant and enigmatic (read: absent and unaccountable) only enhances his illusion of godhood.
Such confusion leads most to prefer leaving the metaphysics to the experts. Having done that, one then chooses a pre-organized path. Following it means deferring to pre-correct choices that were made for you by top men who sorted out the confusion long before you were born. For those like myself, the pre-correct choice was Lutheranism, which lies on the stoic and self-effacing end of Protestantism. I will speak specifically for this persuasion but there are many similarities with other religions. Here is where the confusion begins. Our top men, like many top men of their day, said Ascension comes in the form of personal redemption which we can earn by making the right choices. But it’s not ascension. It’s only a certification of ascension that is redeemable as an afterlife. That way Satan never actually has to deliver. To satisfy our aspiration for ascension, he just has to give us something more to do. Something to keep us looking for the right way to Heaven in the wrong realm. This began a long journey of confusion.
It started here in our imperfect world, where the criteria for ascension became the only thing our minds could imagine it being- perfection. This was when our aspiration for ascension became a quest for Perfection. We assumed it to mean having perfect knowledge, to know everything God knows. To experience all the sensations of creation, just like God does. We assumed reaching perfection meant making perfect choices and never making mistakes. To be like God is to not make mistakes. Being less than Perfect could only mean being flawed in some way. To be flawed is to be incomplete, lacking knowledge and missing connections. Perfection became that which is without flaws. Complete, mortared, and fully connected. Making the right choices. Never making mistakes. Things that don’t work out, or make mistakes, are imperfect. Flaws stand between us and perfection. We, as humans, are flawed because we live our lives in the filth of nature. So lowly and unclean a world that God goes there only when He absolutely has to.
The biggest flaw of all in the world we live in is death. In this world, things eat each other, piss on the ground, have sex, experience pain and die. That didn’t seem like Perfection to us. And before we screwed up with the Tree of Knowledge, everything in the Garden was Perfect. The logical conclusion from this information was things didn’t die, or do any of the other things mentioned before. We got selfish, and screwed up the whole of nature. The punishment that God inflicted on everybody was hunger, sex and death. Which is why animals are mean and ferocious. They’re angry at us. We and our pal Satan ruined things for everybody. We owe them big time.
Anyone who didn’t do any of these sinful things, especially not die, was seen as being closer to perfection than the rest of us. Death is for mortals, and that’s our fault. Which makes Grace our only hope. Death becomes okay, if you die while making the right choices. Death is conquered in the end because our promised Ascended Afterlife is eternal. Without death. …or sex, or eating, or etc. Only Perfection was allowed in Afterlife Land, which was why we couldn’t go in our smutty human form. But God would come to us in the form of miraculous events and personages who would show us the correct choices that lead to Perfection. Eventually. First, we must start by learning the correct choices that lead to containment of our filthy sinfulness. God needs us to be undistracted by our physical needs in order for us to concentrate on how we can make the correct choices using the information that He gave us. God needs us to have constant attention on His existence, and the Explanation He gave us. God doesn’t want us to expect much of physical life. There is no Ascension here. Satan saw to that.
Somewhere in this airtight confusion was something suspicious. Now and then people would notice that something didn’t seem quite right and think real hard about how to describe it to everyone else just before they were set on fire. The general drift was this- God creates this marvelous universe, then tells us it isn’t worthy of our attention and insist that we maintain constant mental activity that keeps us thinking about Him and His Kingdom. As if, if we were to forgot about Him or His Information, He’d cease to exist. And it’s curious that our access to God depends upon the leisure class sharing their Special Anointed Information which you’d never have if you weren’t lucky enough to be born where it’s available. As if we’re all creating something in our minds that depends on us passing on the creating to our children. As if something needed us to do this. Maybe Satan never stopped whispering to us. Maybe God speaks without talking. But no, we came to another conclusion.
God’s Kingdom was very fragile, and vulnerable to this sort of heresy. God need’s our protection. We had to be willing to do whatever was necessary. We had to hold the fort. Even if that meant killing people for their dangerous god-threatening thoughts.
The original confusion about death was made more confusing when it started to look to some of us that death was already here when we showed up. The discovery of dinosaur remains is a good example. Here were lots of creatures that aren’t here anymore because they all died. Apparently, they died before we were here. And it wasn’t our fault. This flew in the face of so many things our confusion depended on. Perfection makes change unnecessary. Change implies that something isn’t already perfect enough. The suggestion that imperfection was a part of creation was like saying God made mistakes. That would mean man did not bring death into the world as a punishment for disobedience. It all calls into question the whole concept of perfection. Which gives sin a credibility problem, and questions the necessity of a Savoir.
Rather than take a great leap of faith and start asking the questions, we leapt to the defense of God’s fragile Fortress. What could possibly be wrong with Perfection? There must be something wrong with archeology along with the rest of science. If science were right, it’d be perfect, and never make mistakes. It would know the truth absolutely, like we already can.
But God hadn’t made the mistake, we had. We thought that the knowledge of Good and Evil was something that was actually out there. We thought that we would know Perfection when we saw it because it would make sense in our minds. We would know Evil because it would threaten Perfection. Like science did. All things that stray from what we in our confusion believe to be the course of our ascension to Perfection are Evil. Science is not perfect because it’s only about things in the physical universe, aka God’s Creation, of which perfection is not one of them. To the universe, perfection means STOP! Since its inception, the universe has sought ascension just like everything in it. Ascension has no deadline nor finish line. There is no finality to ascend to. Perfection must never arrive. God put a great deal of effort into making a universe from which there will always be a beyond to aspire to. Ascension is a pursuit of experience, not perfection. To nature, we are always a perfect example of what we are which makes the distinction of no use.
Ascension means experiencing greater organizations. For us, our last Great Leap of Ascension was eating the fruit of knowledge and somehow that got us tossed out of God’s Creation. We call it the Fall of Man, but to where? Where was there to go that wasn’t paradise? To where man’s folly had made an imperfect world. To the only place man could go that wasn’t the Garden- into his knowledge filled mind. The experience of knowledge is an experience of information. That requires not experiencing the outside world directly. Which means it’s not an experience of Creation. There was now an inner outside that was where our knowledge was, and we were tempted to go there. Names like Satan was given to the intruder inside our minds that could speak with ideas and not just talk with words. At first, knowledge and the kind of thinking it made us capable of was not experienced as self. It would take time for this new organization to be embraced as self and become experienced. As far as God was concerned, knowledge had consumed us. Man had gone to the inner world of information. The voice that tempted us there was our own.
Knowledge would eventually come to consume its own origins. Knowledge-filled sinners would begin to question the awkward details of God’s Great Explanation. They would use science to do it. The new Scientific Knowledge would chip away the tree of knowledge, swinging away and threatening to chop down the whole Garden. Here is a recent example…
I saw a show on PBS about a guy who travels to the far ends of earth to talk to different races of people and suck their blood. In his trek to trace the original migrations of The Great Leap Forward, geneticist Spencer Wells expects to find evidence of a common ancestry between the San people of Africa and all the other races of the world. Using the genetic markers of DNA, Wells establishes that all of us are only two thousand or so generations apart. Even if he’s only partly correct, it’s a powerful contribution to science’s claim that we have a distant but common ancestry. What caught my attention was that he also expected to find some connections to our genetic migration in the creation stories of the cultures that sprang from the diverging races. He looked for hints of our ancient migration in the artwork and oral traditions and did not find any. There was resistance to the notion in the people he spoke to. They insisted that they came or sprang from the land of their ancestors. Wells waltzes in with his scientific evidence leaving them with no context for their own history except as mythology. Despite his efforts to describe science as the European creation myth, his explanation met with resistance. His intention to delight with enlightenment was an attack on reality. The assumption on both sides was that both sides could not be true. No matter how reasonable or demonstrable science could be, if it disagrees with people’s understanding of their origins then there must be something wrong with science. To the scientifically minded, taking creation myths as literally true makes as much sense as believing in the Xmas Bunny. His journey ends with biological certitude and a cultural quagmire. Why would people of opposing cultures want to believe they had a common ancestral origin? The truths of two opposing cultures can’t both be true. Besides, does genetics really have anything to do with culture?
The problem is with the first assumption. Both can be true because they’re true about different things. Human being are biologically the same and sprang from a common ancestry. This only informs us about our physical origins as biological animals. Science can only be true about physical things. Mythological or religious stories are not about our physical origins. They’re about our creations- stories that tell of the origins of what we’ve done with our minds. They’re narratives about our cultural origins. About what we said we were. But the modern self and modern culture were not created out of thin air. They were modeled on the creation of our souls.
Science and mythology do not contradict each other in the matter of our origins. What kind of system could contain both idioms and make them common parts of a greater whole? It would have to be one where science understood its limits and, mythology and religion was accepted as artifact. Each would have to accept the nature of their continuity. Science depends on God’s continuing Creation. Religion depends on ours. But both can coexist and operate on similar principles within a larger system that includes the physical world, spirituality and consciousness.
Continuity is the essence of being alive. Being alive means remaining an autonomous self-sustaining sub-organization of creation long enough to have a life. Any interruption in that continuity is considered not being alive. If we are not alive, we all know that we get absorbed into the organizations around us instead of maintaining an organization of our own. We rot. The stuff we’re made of re-assumes its original relationships with nature. The organization around us that takes over when we’re done is the zero stage organization. The zero stage is the here and now or, physical reality. Not God, but God’s experience. For as long as anyone can remember, that reality has been Creation, which became inevitable some fifteen or so billion years ago. Even with the Hubble Telescope, Creation as a whole is not available to us for experience. The complete and total organization of all the universe is the real Perfection. At this highest level of organization, Creation’s identity is the experience of God.
Creation is full of zero stage sub-organizations, starting with the physical laws that we perceive through mathematics. They are the fundamental organizations behind the structure and inevitability of the material world. Material then organizes into events which organize into behavior. Behavior begets patterns which provide further opportunities for organization. Organizations build upon each other in as if reaching for some form of ascension. Some are absorbed or overruled by others as complexity and cohesion increase. Matter becomes organized into tighter and tighter systems of things and happenings. Clusters of galaxies provide somewhere for lots of individual eco-systems to have a shot becoming even more coherent organizations like weather or geology. Now there’s somewhere for the new liquids and solids to see what they can come up with, which would include all the physical parts that our animal selves are organizations of. Our physical selves are a good if local example of what sort of organization had been pursued. The object was to create an attractive opportunity for experience. Something that things happened to that could tell thing were happening to it. Something with a life. Around here, that includes anything from hurricanes to beavers. All these are first stage organizations of Creation, and are opportunities for experience which God may or may not be taking. Whenever we take one, we call it being alive.
Step one in being alive is having somewhere to be whilst alive, of which the universe is the obvious example. Step two requires the creation of a first stage organization that presents a credible opportunity to become alive. If the opportunity for experience is taken, then its identity is assumed. Identity means a self/other border, which means a self has been created by an identity’s input on that self/other border. Like a pressure from inside, pushing back against reality. Identity experiences that which must survive and inevitability, or life, as an organization begins. Unless reality punches back hard enough at the self’s outward dent in the border, that organization’s existence is inevitable. There is now a default state for this organization whether it is experienced or not. It has chiseled its existence into Creation and can now exist whether an inner identity is looking out for it or not. It will look out for itself. What we consider biological life is one example of just such a dent in a self/other border. We are experiencing the descendents of an inevitability created hundreds of millions of years ago. Biology has shaped our physical form and established the format that is our own kind of physical experience. If you are reading this, you are experiencing biology. Biology exists even if no one is reading this. Biology is inevitable whether or not anyone experiences it.
That sounds like there are things in nature that live without a soul. I think a lot of nature is unexperienced, but then, that would have to include a much broader definition of life. Biology would just be one example. The criteria is coherence and attractiveness, or “being interesting”. That might include a short lived organization like a storm, or a long term investment like a biological animal or specie of plant. When you start to notice real aggressiveness in something’s drive to survive or a particular cleverness in its stratagems, that suggest that someone is experiencing that living organization. Events in nature like the weather can seem willful at times because perhaps sometimes free will is involved. The spirit of the mountain, the spirit of the sea… all kinds of organizations in nature are opportunities for experience. The really compelling opportunities for identity are taken quickly. The less interesting the organization, the less likely that the opportunity is taken. The plum assignments are lives with lots of opportunities for creativity and ways to be creative. We are a good example, but this probably includes being the spirit of things we haven’t even thought of. Identity can be vested in organizations that we have no perception of or only subliminal information from. Wherever identity is vested, independent will will participate in the creation of the self/other border of a system, and personality will appear. Someone will experience identity, and we will experience personality.
Creation stories describe a different genesis unrelated to genetics. If a tribe settles down in single area and thrives, its population will grow. There will be more opportunities for experiencers to experience being a human being. Chances are, they’ll be locals. They will spring from the surrounding physical organizations, and the pre-physical organizations that they sprang from. This will happen anywhere we humans prosper. We’re hot. We can create and experience alternate worlds. We can build new realities upon the reality of nature. We probably have more competition than we realize, but nobody here does it like we can.
So when the Navaho man tells Wells that his people sprang from the sacred ground of their ancestors, he isn’t talking about their blood or their cells. He is talking about what can happen when blood and cells are successful in providing a worthy experience for their ancestor’s souls. Human’s become opportunities for experience. Their ancestors created a conscious world that was inspired by and modeled on their spiritual origins. That world has been handed down continuously for many generations wholly through teaching, which is why they can remember and honor it. All the cultures that exist today have maintained continuity through teaching, even if their bloodline did not. We dig through the remains of all the cultures that are no longer taught, even those whose bloodline survives.
All creation stories, in one form or another, describe identity’s ascension into the ego and the consequent separation from God. The path of reunification as suggested in the treasured texts, always seemed to be perfection. But it’s not. It doesn’t really say that, we just think it looks like it does. The cognitive leap is in there just beyond the ego’s reach. The answer is in there, but it must be sorted out first before it can be recognized. Without sorting it out, it just looks like perfection. Ascension has also been likened to an achievement of completeness, but in this context it is still synonymous with perfection. Reaching some kind of totality is the goal of the conscious mind as it tries to put the most complete and self-connected internal conscious world. When perfection becomes the word we use to describe the ascension aspirations of souls, consciousness takes charge and the ego is sure that it’s the only one that can get you there.
Our conscious minds are well aware of many examples of physical experience that are categorized as spiritual. These are organic events that operate on the principle in the title. Identity rises through a variety of organizations. For most, eventually rising back again to the organization it started from. Some moments of contact between people may seem like telepathy or a private wavelength through reality. These are shared moments of existence experienced by overlapping identities. Any sense of communication is an illusion. No messages have to travel through space-time. It is a moment of identities mutually rising to a common level of a greater organization and broader experience than themselves. And back again. The principle is the same for descention. Some seek to sublimating all identity as an individual into the total organization of creation as in returning to the godhead. Sharing the organization of God, but without any point of identity that could say, “this is what’s happening to me”, as in a total loss of self. However, God has made you such a compelling organization, one is drawn into the experience of it. By being drawn into the experience of it, one is drawn. This stuff is difficult to discuss without straying into the eloquent but imprecise rhetoric of the New Age. I’m still referring strictly to the experience of events of the physical world which includes the organic spiritual world, all in the same universe. Our conscious minds incorporate these experiences into the building of the arti-physical world, which is not in the same universe. That gives us an arti-spiritual world where spirituality can be understood or at least with an understanding of why it can’t be understood. If the experiences are compelling and popular enough, they will be defined, explained and incorporated into the Great Information that explains reality. Even if it sounds like gibberish, you don’t have to understand why it’s not. What’s important is that you give the decision away. It is vital for the mass-mind to sate all of our needs including the spiritual. But there is a great deal of our spiritual lives that is beyond the reach of the mass-mind or the ego-self.
Some events are not always available for conscious re-experience. Usually because they are too fast for the diligent but slow-witted perception of consciousness. Not fast as in movement, but in brevity. And not necessarily brief as in duration, but as in not taking much time to exist. Sometimes existing so briefly as to fall below the threshold of any of our physical senses. It takes a certain amount of time to be a human being from one instant to the next. Where one stands on the timeline decides what else of creation is perceivable or malleable. What binds the world together is the way it’s organized. Things are interconnected on a pre-physical level. Organizations like what we call the physical laws must already exist before physical reality can. A little later, spread over a wide range of time, are a broad diversity of organizations composed of things of the physical world. We are made of things that must have already been here in order for us to make ourselves out of them. And then we make our minds out of what we’ve made of ourselves. Faster organizations are imperceptible and only indirectly observable as something that has power over the things around you that you can perceive. Slower organizations can be manipulated, but only up to a certain point after which they are beyond reach. There are organizations that take so long to exist they are beyond the range of any direct interaction with the physical world. That would include our conscious minds, which is one of the mental states we experience when we are being something more than our physical selves. For us humans, a variety of compelling mental states are possible. All are just different ways of organizing the building blocks of how our minds work. An infinite amount of pinnacles of organization are possible, but only some add up to something greater than the sum of its parts.
Other organizations of creation that are much faster than the material world require no continuous “substance” in order to continuously exist. Any sub-organization of creation is an opportunity for experience. Some are more compelling than others. Not all of them are in the pre-physical space-time of the spiritual world. We experience the connections in the physical world, which is itself a few micro-nano seconds departure from absolute now. Is this a spiritual philosophy or a theory of relativity?
Our modern world has seen the principle of relativity disrupt the structure of Newton’s Great Explanation and suggest an alternate view of our moral imperatives. It is a recent example of science changing philosophy because it changes the world we can be philosophical about. Relativity changes perception because it changes the world we can or are prepared to perceive. Reality is a little different depending on where and when you are. Our physical perception is only a local reality arriving at a single point of perspective and not reality itself. To our perception of the physical world, the speed of light is a constant, which makes time and space flexible. Conscious perception, in order to maintain continuity, must make the same assumption; our own sense of time unfolding in our mental awareness is our constant, which makes what we’re aware of flexible. The principle of relativity has applications for both our organic and arti-physical life. The organic mind doesn’t perceive continuity, it participates in continuity. It can race or hover, and follow variable rates of time. And in the conscious world of post-perception, consciousness and the mass-mind are the constants and our mental perception of physical reality is a variable. In a conscious state, the passage of time seems constant. Not of the outside world, but the passage of time in our mind. That speed is not the pace of reality. It is the rate at which your mind can change from one instant of conscious organization to the next instant of conscious organization.
The continuity we experience in our conscious minds is something our brains are doing and not something that’s happening to us. Moments when time seems to be elapsing in your mind are moments of consciousness. The conscious experience is not the experience of reality such as we perceive it, but an experience of a mental activity. That continuity gives us the ability to process reality as information. Analytical thinking is reasoning with static information, not unfolding experience. Consciousness is how we turn the continuous unfolding of real events in the outside world into information. This is how we sorted out things like farming or quantum mechanics. Consciousness was developed for this job. Everything else, the ego, civilization, came after. Why did that happen?
Because doing this job was a compelling experience, and the results bought the security and leisure that made more of it possible, we spent more and more time doing it. First like an expensive and rare trip to Disneyland, then as a week-end getaway, then a cozy and private den to retreat to, then suddenly a world crowded with people, and finally, a non-stop existence in a vast mental shopping mall. That final form is what is meant by the show that never ends. From inside the mall, looking out through the exits, is nothingness. It is unknown. For an identity in the mall, leaving the mall is stepping into the abyss. It can’t see itself being there. Because it wouldn’t be. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t.
Stepping out of mall world becomes a spiritual quest; a journey to discover a greater self from which to experience your life, instead of an ego trying to find its true self by shopping. This is a new journey. Finding the mall was the old journey. The growth of consciousness and our creation of the mass-mind was a spiritual journey. It is at the end of that journey that we need to re-acquaint ourselves with our full physical lives. Experiencing more of what we are capable of doing is the only way we can have information and hence conscious knowledge of what we are. Why conscious knowledge? So our internal recreation of the world will better represent the world we physically live in. Once part of our conscious arsenal of ideas, complex strategies can be created to maintain and maximize opportunities to experience our broadest possible self. Here begins a path or discipline or meditation.
Meditation was once indistinguishable from daydreaming and was a quest for a stable third stage mental organization. Then it was a discipline for achieving full possession of the conscious mind. Once meditation became indistinguishable from simply being awake, it was time for it to mean something else. Now there was a chance to quantify and organize a practice that had been with us for a long time. We had been using consciousness-like mentalities to assist and focus our second stage experience of the organic world. We still do, only now we have to read books about it. Meditation in a post-Golden Age culture can be almost anything including the opposite and original practice of using physical experience to enhance conscious experience, again. This was meditation’s first incarnation all over again but with a difference. The goal is the destruction of the ego-self instead of its creation. Some moderns may turn to those ancient rituals and holy inebriations for the compelling if theatrical experiences they offer. Or even a toxin-induced experience of a sedated body in first stage oblivion. None of it, outside of death or brain damage, had any effect on the ego. It always came back when you were done hurting yourself. Physical ordeal is how we used to make them long ago. For some, the only means of escaping the ego is its destruction, or the conscious world’s. For many, fourth stage experience is an all too familiar state of isolation and other-worldliness where there is no cognizant world. Human contact is through the ego and via the mass-mind.
Sooner or later, someone finds a way to organize and channel all the fourth stage activity that invades the post-Golden Age mind into something more constructive. Meditation is now also the quest for cognitive experience as an established path for the conscious individual. If the path becomes strictly a conscious experience, it has the potential to become a church or at least a hobby. With luck, the original aspirations will muddle through the gibberish, and we can, once again, find our way down the path of ascension guided by our spiritual ally, the ego-self.
The goal is a cognitive self that ascends beyond the ego and the confinement of social roles. The ego can lead you there, but the conscious mind won’t be going. Don’t look for it there. Consciousness would no longer be our highest level of organization. You’d have to look down to see it. Identity must be dis-invested from the ego in order to achieve this goal. But it’s a difficult matter for a stable and active ego to choose not to exist. Like ‘you’ deciding that you’re not you.
You don’t have to be an ego to have one. There will still be a you after you’ve decided that you’re not you. From this new self, consciousness is observed as a function and the ego as a tool. Your tool this time. You may well know this experience already. You’re probably already on this journey. A big step is this journey is the creation of a cognitive mental state here described as fourth stage ascension. The same ascension quest that has popped up since the classical age in many different forms. Including what I’ve called the correction religions like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. These new journeys wanted to depart from the ego but in time became systems that only an ego could keep track of. The mass-mind left them largely co-opted into the old journey. There is no room in the conscious world for the new journey. There is no place in the conscious world that says “put cognitive mental organizations here”. There is no information about fourth stage organizations. There is no fourth stage world to ascend into. The conscious world is the only mental creation we all mostly agree is where we are. Cognitive states are personal, or shared in social sub-organizations. Which is just how it was when third stage conscious experience first appeared. It took time and effort to build a world that everyone thought they were living in. Building a world for people in a cognitive state may take just as long, and would be another big step in the journey. For now, living in the conscious world must remain a priority, so any further ascension becomes a hobby or an indulgence in make-believe. And the lure of the conscious world is hard to resist. Which makes us very attached to our egos and all they’re capable of. But they do get entwined in the conscious world, which can get our identity entwined in the ego.
So what does it take to keep one’s identity away from the ego while still using it in your everyday affairs? It’s simple, but not easy. Ironically, it’s what morality is for. In all its different forms, from the Boy Scouts to the Moonies, morality and ethics are the way out. I’m not making a blanket endorsement of every wacky rule anyone’s ever come up with. They all have a common message at their core warning us about living with deception and possessiveness. That is difficult in a world that depends so much on possessiveness and deception. To live without deception means deceiving no one, especially yourself. Living without possessions means believing nothing. To live with either means investing ourselves in the arti-physical world. Deceptions and possessions are about the future and have to be remembered. Something is still mine tomorrow. Don’t contradict myself next week. I now have a stake in the arti-physical world. Something there matters, and I’ve made it part of my life. Or rather, part of my ego’s life. I’m going to need one in order to keep track of all my things and all my lies.
Those lies include things we don’t actually classify as deceptions, but are exactly the same. I lived in the town of Park Ridge, but there is no such place. We have all agreed to consciously remember that it’s there. I’ve heard people say that they are Republicans, but that is only because they consciously remember that they are. If they all stopped, there would be no Republicanism. Most of us might consider believing in these sorts of things as truths, as opposed to knowingly believing in a falsehood. What we do to create either is exactly the same. Deception requires a mental workspace in which to construct a fabricated memory and the you that you imagine lying. That same mental workspace will also construct a fabricated memory of the truth and the you that you imagine living up to it. The truth is something we willingly share between like-minded people, but lying means keeping a truth for yourself. Deception is another category of truth. Truth of whatever kind in the conscious world is all equally information. With it we construct the world we believe in and are prepared to be conscious of. We get stuck in the ego by living a lie. And by living the truth. But mostly by doing both.
What we tell ourselves about what’s out there and who’s in here doesn’t have to be the same as what we tell others with whom we share our “truth”. And vice-versa. You may be lying to yourself or lying to everyone else. Either way, truth or lies, it’s just information. Do you know how to be something you’re not? Not to whom? We can only lie and deceive other conscious humans and only within the arti-physical world. We can’t do that in the physical world. Can you be something different to that tree? Can you deceive a tree? Can you share the Truth with a bison? Why would a tree or a bison need truth? They are not the ones who are trying to find a way out of this imperfect place and get back to the Garden. That’s why we need morality and they don’t.
Being sure we have accurate, reliable information about reality gives us a warm, comfortable feeling in the survival instinct of our guts. Whether it’s truth or lies won’t matter. Either can soothe the gut feeling.
Almost anybody’s morality covered the basics like honesty and altruism, but after generations of whimsical and opportunistic tinkering, it usually covers a whole lot more. Somewhere there is a woman who can’t ride a unicycle without a chaperon. Over time this can create a thick arti-physical haze through which honesty means hiding nothing from authority and altruism means paying taxes.
If morality’s original purpose was for us to ultimately find our own way out, it’s done a marginal job of it. Whatever system tried to organize and enforce it would be absorbed and contained by the prevailing social structure. Morality is still what we live by, but now it means conscious obedience to a static code of behavior and duty to the maintenance of the Leisure Class. Society will do whatever it takes to keep that moral commitment firmly in the arti-physical world.
Keeping such a commitment can be difficult for people in an emerging type C. Those of us with an otherwise stable ego-self may face a crisis in our lives where we just don’t want to be what we or everyone else thinks we are anymore. Our conscious self doesn’t feel like our true self. We still want a conscious self, we just want to start a new one. But the old one still has many connections to the conscious world. That identity, and its counterpart personality, has a role to play that everyone expects, like personal commitments or owing money. For some, the only way out of their self is to leave everyone they know behind. Those who choose an acetic way of life are trying to remain dispossessed of the ego. To possess nothing, believe nothing and deceive no one is to not do any of the things that create an ego. This is not easy unless one isolates themselves from the conscious community. That might mean living in the woods or under a viaduct. Even then, the inevitable contact with society will require at least fleeting use of a stable conscious state. If these encounters occur often enough, a consistent ego self may emerge anyway. Unless an organic inability to do just that is what led one to choose such a life.
Deciding not to be a self doesn’t really work. Even if you don’t do that sort of thing, you still live in a world in which you are that which is not doing it. You’re surrounded by people who expect you to, and can only treat you as if you’re disappointing them. The whole idea only works if everybody does it. No one expects anything of anybody. Freedom from the self is assured. But that rules out civilization. Perhaps there’s a way to keep the self and lose it at the same time all while keeping the fish filets frozen.
What if we lived in a world where your ego could be upgraded or replaced –like getting a new car. All you had to do is say so and everyone around you would give you a clean slate, and anxiously wait to see what you’ll become next. What if, by filing a few forms, you could change everything about yourself- hair color, accent, political persuasion, and cancel everyone’s expectations of you and still keep your phone number? Would that be freedom? What if everyone treated the ego as something the self does and not the self itself? What if everyone knew it was an act? And knew there was a job to do in carefully creating our interface with society. That would mean what others thought we were was more important than what we think we are. We would choose our actions from that perspective. If everyone knew that to do this rational civilized man thing was to create a character and act the part, they might do a better job of it. How would this help? When we communicate with our fellow citizens, most of us think we’re coming across loud and clear, and don’t understand what the problem is with other people that just don’t get it. When we experience our own expressions, or our experience of the self expressing, we can decide if we’re satisfied with our performance and delivery. The trouble is, we’re not critiquing the same performance as those we are performing for. There is a second performance slightly later that might bear little resemblance to the show you saw. This one’s more of an audience participation sort of thing full of spontaneous contributions and does not always stick to the plan. Personality looks a little different to everyone. Identity is always sure of what it saw. Identity is preaching to the choir, while your role in personality is as only one voice in a choir.
When we talk to each other, it helps to be cognizant of how others also create what we’re expressing. That’s not something the conscious mind can do. Only a greater organization of ourselves can be cognizant of both consciousness and our organic selves who do the actual performing. That moment we were doing that would be a moment of fourth stage experience. After a few repeated experiences, we learn enough to create such an organization at will and, eventually, automatically. One that doesn’t need to be experienced. Such a mental state may spring to life at some moments as a reaction and without taking identity away from the ego-self of the conscious mind. This allows a greater organization of our mind to manipulate both our expression and our expressing in ways that the conscious ego-self can not perceive. We can make choices that we can never know we made. Which suggest we might not always be the one that made them.
We should be used to the idea of not having been around to vote on every single choice made by every fleeting organizations of ourselves. We rely on our ability to react to things before we’re informed about it. We are picky about our physical experience. We don’t have to be in on everything. That includes all the stages of mental organization.
Some mental states have been long established by natural selection and are vital to survival. These are first and second stage states that tend to make choices for themselves instinctually. For those that live in conscious communities, the experience of them is likely to be as a passive observer. All pre-created mental states occur as needed whether we experience them or not. If not, that organization can still occur and present the same opportunity to the rest of creation as it might have been for us.
We are a seriously complex living organization that attracts experience just like our biological selves did to us long before we were born. Our organic selves become like an antenna to the spiritual or pre-physical world. At this level of organization, we interact with creation in a way that the conscious mind can’t observe or act on. We create fleeting organizations that merge us deeper into the substructure of creation and into the pre-physical world. It’s where metaphysical events begin and where action at a distance takes place in time frames far briefer than anything in the material world. Even faster than hydrogen! This murky realm lies between the instant total zero stage experience of God and the sort of stuck in time and physically localized first stage organizations of our organic selves. The same murk where our organic selves have always interacted (organically) in ways that are not included in conscious experience and are only observable later as knowledge.
I really have gone on. I’ve been looking for somewhere to land for the last many pages, so how about if everyone ends up naked? And alone and in the bathroom. Consider ourselves looking at ourselves in the mirror. What do we see? What are we looking for? Fresh from the shower, we see our first stage organic self from the outside, at least as much of it that reflects light. But only for an instant. Then we see our minds. Try this… put some masking tape on the mirror where your eyes and the sides of your mouth appear to be. Hold your gaze as long as you can or until your mind has the uncomfortable feeling that something is going wrong. We are unaccustomed to such a sustained look at our first stage personality. As soon as we get a fix on our face and eyes, we see a more complex personality. One with a broader range of emotions and full of curiosity and power. We are seeing our mind’s second stage personality. But again, it may be brief. If we should start to think about ourselves, then we will no longer see the mirror or our reflection. It can take only a second or so for the ego to appear. Even the bathroom may disappear. No longer seeing, you are experiencing a computer generated image. Let’s go get dressed and come back and see if we can see ourselves as the guys and gals our minds really think we are. Let’s dress for work and see if we can see managers and salesmen and doctors and clerks and all sorts of thing that aren’t really there except by the determination of our minds. What we’re looking at is not within Creation. We’re looking at the arti-physical world. This is where we went when we left the Garden of Eden. If we can look in the mirror and see this happening to ourselves, we will see a reflection of a very different self.
We may think of ourselves as including all the bits we can see in the mirror, but we’re lucky we’re not. Most of what we can see is part of God’s or some sub-organization’s experience. You’re not the one experiencing yourself at a cellular level. Unless, I suppose, you really want to. That’s not what most of us came for, since it offers no reason for being a human being. You are much less than what is in the mirror, and much more. The gaze is yours, and so is the body english. It is, if you’re paying attention to it. Otherwise it may or may not be. What we are changes from moment to moment because our identity changes which changes what we experience. We experience a physical organization of which we are only its primary soul. But that leaves us flexibility in our experience. Our experience can venture far within or without without killing our physical self. To keep your conscious mind focused on the conscious world will give you nothing more than a nagging ego and a long term lease in an artificial psycho-social amusement park. For most who live there, it feels like the world is standing on the brink of an abyss. For what we’ve become, the only way out may be to take a frightening leap- to leave the solid ground of the conscious world step into the void of uncertainty.
Beyond the border of the world we think is there is a vast frontier. This secular humanist journey begins with a humble admission- We are in a vast undulating ocean of energy. It is dark, colorless, shapeless and silent. It has no flavor, no texture or smell, no center, no distance, no edges or folds, no top or bottom, no inside or outside, no past or future. It has no name or voice. It is but the first act of creation, and we do the rest. We’ve already made thousands of choices about creation that have shaped our physical existence. We live with those choices and keep making more. At least, that’s the idea. If we don’t make them, they’ll still be made. There is probably a certain threshold of choices participated in that for most would qualify as leading a life. After a while, the falling just feels like weightlessness.