My thoughts are focused upon the powerful urges underlying our ability to create worlds of experience, to inhabit them as if they are realities, to interpret their events as fraught with meaning, and to generate belief systems based on those interpretations – even when they are irrational, illogical, and potentially without meaning.
Can we be sure our experience of the so-called “real world” is of a different order than the experience of dreaming? After all, the brain’s very purpose is to execute some sort of reality construction from the myriad of impulses stimulating it every second. And that mental construction is, in a very palpable way, the “world” we inhabit.
We don’t experience a veritable meat-torrent of millions of unfiltered electro-chemical impulses even though that is the “stuff” of our senses. Instead, we experience a seamless sense of three-dimensional space and a dimension of continuous time. That sensation of unified experience is exactly what is being constructed – stitched together from discreet sensations – by the reality-structuring paradigms of the brain/mind system.
Besides constructing our sense of “reality,” our brain/mind is, at the same time, generating a belief system to accompany our experience. We have a psychological tendency to panic when we lose belief in the “reality” of our situation at any given time.
As a result of a moment of simple awareness in my youth, I have chosen to make death my friend. This occurred quite naturally and unemotionally, as it became clear to me that upon dying I would be returning to the selfsame state of the universe from which I issued at the moment of my birth.
It is clear to me it is not necessary to understand the intricate interactions of every piece of dust and quantum of energy in the cosmos to comprehend that this mysterious membrane of space and time is the beginning, the end, and the very foundation of my being and my consciousness.
I find this all quite satisfying. And even though I am endlessly inspired by my study of both the material and the immaterial universe, I have never understood why questions of life and death have proved so problematic for humans over the millennia.
How is it that we come to appreciate one aspect of the all-wondrous universe and to dread another aspect of it to such a degree that we consider the two parts of the polarity to constitute a problem so severe that it gives rise to endless fear? And why does fear blind us to the expansive possibilities of global cooperation? Why do our fears cripple us from achieving utopian ideals?
It must be that as a result of the effort required to satisfy our basic physical requirements we become fixated on the material aspects of existence to the degree that we lose sight of the many more subtle connections between what we think of as our separate selves, others, and the universe at large.
What is to be done? Fortunately, it seems we are somewhat automatically becoming more aware of the need to rectify these imbalances. As a result of natural and cultural evolution and their attendant supplementation of our ability to think more clearly about our predicament as human beings, we endeavor, even now, to bring the larger – yet more subtle – contexts of existence into sharper focus.
If you have not yet been touched by this great global awakening, take a moment to look for it. It is all around you – happening now. You are already a part of it. At the moment it looks just like…spring!
Video: Carl Sagan, Pale Plue Dot