Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Science of the Irrational

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Mark Twain

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics 
Attributed to Twain, but said by someone else.  Experts differ on who said it.  Attributing this quote to Twain is a lie. 

Mark, you have cleft my heart in twain.  And yet, the saying is true.  As I haz previously stated:  those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know.  Another saying is true:  sometimes those who speak actually do know, but they tell a bunch of lies when they are speaking.  Sometimes the lies are true, "noble lies," and sometimes they are goddamn lies.  And then statistics is the physical world, which is a lie itself.  Sometimes being exposed to Truth is so staggering that if you were just told it outright, (1) you wouldn't believe it and (2) you might have a personal crisis that you couldn't recover from.  Sometimes, that way madness lies.

I am confident there are people, right now...who could tell you EXACTLY what the meaning of life is, but they're in a room with mattresses on the walls and they are wearing pajamas that have really long sleeves that buckle in the back.  This is what makes the character of the Joker in the Batman funny books, and of course the portrayal of the character in Dark Knight, so compelling.  I mean...what if he's the sane one?  If the Joker and Bruce Wayne both have bats in their belfry, which one is in the right?  A scary concept is that they both are, and they are both examples of Chaos and the struggle between it and Order and it seems that Chaos is always getting away with murder while the Agent of Chaos finally catches up with the villain before he goes too far.  And sometimes it's hard to tell who is the good guy.  Batman is a person who we feel understands what THE GREATER GOOD is and we trust that his actions are necessary, but damn, when he dropped that mob boss off that fire escape and snapped his ankles...didn't you wonder?

But back to bearing false witness:

A noble lie would be when, if you believe this, Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew that the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor well ahead of time, but did nothing about it, because America needed to join into WWII and needed to be pushed.  Because the US of A wasn't a war-mongering nation scared of boogey-men back then.  We were just getting our heads on straight after the Great Depression (which wasn't really great, was it?) but didn't really see what all the fuss was.  Blitzkrieg shmitzkrieg.  Americans weren't displaced Europeans back then, most Americans had forsaken the ways of their various homelands and cut ties to a lot of their traditions and weren't returning the long-distance calls from their ancestral deities, who tend to call collect anyway.  Europe can take care of itself and hey, I left Europe for a better life anyway.  Good riddance.  So, yeah...FDR may have known all along, but for THE GREATER GOOD, Pearl Harbor had to happen, because frankly...we may have then realized too late the threat poised by Nazi Germany and I don't know about you, but I do not look sexy in lederhosen

But Roosevelt, like Batman, is just too BIG a person to haul before a Congressional committee, and this is also why there has never been a satisfactory result into the investigation of the assassination of JFK.  Nuff said.

For examples of goddamn lies, I'll refer you to the Fox News Channel.

Another noble lie would be to say that I know how the universe was created.  A goddamn lie would be to say we're merely shaved apes or to claim conclusively that there is no such thing as gods, spirits, banshees, Keebler elves or anything else in that category.  That's fundamentalist talk and someone who claims they know the Truth and says they are sure about something should immediately be ignored and shunned like that stuff growing there in the back of the fridge that might have been potato salad once, but now it's hard to tell.  That new organism is right now wondering if there is intelligent life outside the fridge.  And your insistence on watching bad teevee still has it wondering.

I have made some rather cosmic claims in this hyar blog and have come to some rather heavy conclusions but what I want to make perfectly clear is you need to take what I'm giving here and come to your own conclusions.  A great deal of what I have offered for consideration here is plausible and I try to arrive at each conclusion logically and reasonably.  Except when I'm clearly talking rubbish.  And I'm trying to dispense Truth in small enough increments so you don't lose your mind and begin to go around wearing too much make-up while asking people, "you want to know how I got these scars?"

I believe there are somethings we can be sure about.  There are some small Truths that we should embrace.  One of them, atheists, is that if our minds are just side-effects of our nervous systems, etc...then we have no Mind and we're just biological robots who have been tricked into thinking we are self-aware.  And even atheists don't claim that.  I pity them, the way I pity the executives of Blockbuster Video.  They knew their company was doomed...but only made it worse.  Most people when they are in hole, do not ask for a shovel so they can dig deeper.  But this is how atheists and some corporations are currently operating.

There is a cynical attitude in the general public toward more "esoteric" philosophical ideas.  That it's all rubbish, lies, nonsense and when it goes over their head, they employ the term "mumbo-jumbo."  Even those folks like me out there who are willing to dip their toe in the forbidden puddles, having found out that fundamentalist, institutionalized religion's puddle is full of soul-eating acid, often read one book, etc and then go "that's interesting" but then they go find someone else's ideas and read those, and then move on...never stopping to graze on any new pasture for very long.  At some point we need to say, "yes...this I can accept and embrace and actually practice, while keeping my mind open and continuing to employ critical thinking so I don't start hanging around on rooftops dressed like a flying rodent."

This means checking out all the ancient wisdom and knowledge that has accumulated throughout human history, especially for the last 10,000 years, while also taking a look at modern science and seeing what it has to reveal as well and see where there is any synergy between what appears to be opposite mindsets.  I'm getting an awful late start at this, and I'll need a couple hundred more years to be able to absorb only a certain percent of that knowledge.  And then modern science and technology right now is advancing so much, no one person can be expected to be able to take in everything in order to arrive at a good Theory of Everything.  Which is not to say it would even be the Law of Everything, and if there is one evil being practiced in the scientific community, it is treating Theories as Laws and therefore closing down the mind and trying to tie reality down into what are really just guesses.  Pretty good guesses, but shots in the cosmic dark, nonetheless.

Yes, it is true that some physicists who explore the Big Bang Theory are also students of the kabbalah and see a harmony between those concepts.  Our science has progressed to the point where we see able to see some wisdom to some things that ancient peoples practiced, regarding their relationship to the natural and "unnatural" world...although all phenomena would be part of Nature.  It's all one fruit salad, mixed altogether.  You can pick out only the bits of apple if you want, but that's going against the grain, it is more tedious and you're not able to enjoy the whole salad.

I have tried to read The Golden Bough by James Frazer.  "A Study in Magic and Religion."  Originally published in 1922, it is an exhaustive examination of the religious practices and traditions of indigenous peoples...and a dismissal of them.  It's a perfect time capsule of the prejudice in the Western World at that time, which still continues today, that aboriginal peoples have lived in ignorance for millennia and that everything they believe about how the world works can just be summarily dismissed as "superstition."  Atheists love this word and relegate all religion to superstition.  A better definition for the word superstition, if your are a fundamentalist, is "someone's else's religion."

James Frazer, for example, goes to great lengths to inform his readers that in some "savage" cultures one of the most desirable roles to have is that of the shaman/witchdoctor/medicine man.  And one of the responsibilities of this person is to intercede on behalf of his village, etc to make sure the weather is agreeable considering how his tribe "makes its living."  Frazer then describes how this wanna-be shaman then tricks and deceives his gullible tribesmen into thinking he actually has some power over the weather and thereby lives a life of priviledge with his own private hut and basically lives by the principle:  I Don't Want To Work, I Just Want To Bang On De Drum All Day.  Frazer, in the next breath, informs the reader that the penalty for not making it rain...or not being able to make the rain stop, DEATH.

So...Jimmy...let me get this straight.  This cunning dude wants to be the shaman because of how cushy a job it is...he cons his simple-minded people into thinking he can make the sun shine...but if he can't, he is killed by his tribe?  Seems the risk doesn't match up with the reward, there.  I mean, Jimmy...please don't appear on the teevee show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, because you will go home in disgrace.  I mean...seriously.  Yes, Godfather, I can whack Bobby "Big Nose" Linguine for you.  Sure sure.  (A week later.)  No, sorry, Godfather, I wasn't able to whack Big Nose for you and he's taken over the wharf and the dogtracks, too.  My bad.  Oh well.  I'll be going now.  What?  Take me for a ride?  Sure, thanks.

On a more speculative note, Frazer also dismisses stuff like the practice of say, making a clay figurine that represents someone and then doing something to it and expecting that person to have a reaction to it because there is no invisible energy field that connects similar or dissimilar objects so therefore such a practice (despite such folks using such practices for centuries) is impossible and just childish superstition.  And then...scientists have now discovered dark matter/dark energy which is at least 85% of the total contents of the universe and George Lucas' binds the universe together.  Dark matter/dark energy is pervasive throughout the universe and particles of it are passing through you right now.  It fills your home, it's in your refrigerator with the intelligent potato salad, it's in your pants.  So, invisible energy field...CHECK.  Now where is my modeling clay?

I have stated that a plausible reason why there is so much chaos in the world and why it seems people consistently seem to be oblivious to common sense and continually make wrong decisions is that the universe is alive with consciousness and we're all on this "ride" as Bill Hicks put it.  We want LIFE to be a roller coaster ride because we want thrills and spills.  A little order goes a long way.  And yes, as stupid as many people seem, as frustrating as our jobs seem to be at times, it's because there is no constant other than constant, seemingly pointless, change.  We are all capable, when faced with a decision, to make the right decision, to research, to plan, to decide what is best.  And yet we seem our own worst enemies at times.

This is the challenge.  To realize that the universe resists the inertia that occurs when things are orderly and perfect, but also to try to realize that perfection as much as we can, even if it is impossible, from our point of view.  It's irrational to become an Agent of Chaos, right?  Yet such people are also part of the system.  Bruce Wayne needs the Joker because it would be too easy to be content with what you were able to do as Batman, yet an Agent of Chaos like the Joker reminds the Hero that you cannot rest and let your guard down...being an Agent of Order requires constant...VIGILANCE and sometimes you, yes you...even you there in the back nodding off...YOU may be the only one who can do anything about it.  Whether it's speaking your mind, or going to Mount Doom on a fool's errand, you cannot put up you heels if you care about what is right and expect the hottentots to just gather up their toys and go home.

Part of being able to do this is to try to understand what THE GREATER GOOD is, and one of the first steps is to give up the arbitrary ideas of morality and such, and know that our understanding of right and wrong is not a result of evolution and we do not need religion to teach us right and wrong.  What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong and one Truth is this:   because we are part of the universal consciousness, we are already illuminated and enlightened.  We are not lost, we are found already, we just have to go within to discover ourselves.  The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.  And maybe we can even find where all those missing socks disappeared to.

We need to embrace and believe in change and try to enjoy the ride.  But I also believe that we are also in charge of both up-keeping the roller coaster and, like an erector set, we can change and modify the ride because physical reality is an illusion, always in a state of flux and change, everything from mountain ranges to soap bubbles.  Therefore, the implication is that reality is mutable and malleable.  Do you pray to your deity?  As the Pink Floyd song puts it, those are your "softly spoken magic spells."  What are you praying about?  For your deity to intervene and change your world for the better?  Yes, shape the clay, yon potter at yon wheel.  And we are also potters, even if your name isn't Harry.

Being rational about irrational things makes atheists get all red in the face.  But what we continually have to remember is that we do not experience reality directly, as I have already covered.  We experience a Consensus Reality that is based on the feedback our senses receive from our environment.  But reality for you is different than the reality your housecat experiences.  The spider making that web in the corner of the ceiling experiences a different reality.  Humans, cats, on and so on each have what could be a called a rational reality that obeys certain rules and meets certain expectations.  And yet, those "realities" are fictions. We're like the blind man touching an elephant, it's different wherever we just happen to be touching it.  Rarely are we able to touch the elephant all at once.  Doing that requires escaping the prison of our limited sensory apparatus.  There is a higher reality that defies the abilities of our senses (or the scientific equipment we make using our limited senses and worldview) to comprehend.  That higher reality is consciousness, which is the real you, the thing you really are.  As a Jedi Master said once, "luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."

Pinch you in your narrow ideology I will.

Thinking reality is solely that which you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell, or what can only be reproduced over and over in a laboratory or which has to be proven by mathematics is like saying you can build an earthquake-proof skyscraper out of Legos(tm).  The physical world is the Legos, it is built out of atoms which are empty space.  Behind the Wizard of Oz's curtain is the real reality, the mechanism that produces the dog and pony show of the Consensus Reality and sometimes you need the perception and innocence and irrationality of something other than what makes us "human" to pull back that curtain.  To pass through the veil of superficial reality, to knock down the false storefront on the movie set and see the director sitting there.  You don't go to the theater to see a play or a musical where the curtain is never opened.  And yet, that is our current lot.  The really interesting stuff is going on not only behind the scenes, it's going on in front of our eyes, but we immediately are bombarded with physical stimuli which has us going, "ooh look shiny" when the real brilliance is not seen with the mortal eye.  But to most of us, it's like looking into the sun, we can't bear it.  Thinking outside the box is itself a limiting idea.  We need to not only think outside the box...we need to obliterate the box, because we make our boxes, or allow others to make them.

If you can do this, you're not in Kansas anymore, because you realize there never was such a thing in the first place.  There is an area of flat land in the middle of the United States but it doesn't have a name, we have created these boundaries, these restrictions, these cages.

Your sense are lying to you.  It's a noble lie, but if you rely upon them solely, you're misunderstanding that you are your Mind, you need your senses to function while you're a golem made out of meat and bone, but they are not revealing reality to you.  And your Mind is able to do more than just react to stimuli and it has its own "senses."  Sometimes your mind can itself be the stimuli, the catalyst.  This is what the ancients realized when their nervous systems became advanced enough to allow them to be aware of consciousness at the higher levels.   Those who want to control the Consensus Reality and dictate to you what is right and wrong understand this.  They want you to be obsessed with stuff, whether it's your wealth or your ideology or your cultural identity, etc but you cannot serve *G*O*D* and Mammon.

Get on the roller coaster, c'mon.  Strap in. Yes, it'll scare the fertilizer out of you sometimes...but you'll find it's a lot of fun, too.  And later might be able to turn right instead of left and get on a whole 'nother ride altogether.  Do something irrational today, when no one else is looking.  And when someone asks if you want to see their "disappearing pencil trick," politely decline, and then run in the opposite direction.

And all I have just told you is a lie.  It's up to you to decide if it's noble or not.


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