Sunday, July 19, 2009

yes, but can i touch it?

We tend to believe magic is evil, strange, or just the hocus-pocus of entertainers with lightning fast reflexes and lots of fancy equipment but what if it's as real as your refrigerator? For the Egyptians magic was neither scary nor strange but a force present in nearly every aspect of their lives.

We imagine our eyes to be little windows at the front of our heads that let the pictures of the world inside for us to consider and have opinions about, but what's really happening is that everything we see exists only in our minds. For a simple example check out the blind spot self test. Perceived information goes for the other senses too. Sound is a vibration in air currents and without an ear, or air, or a brain, there is no sound. I think my bottom and my favorite chair are attracted to one another by gravity but since all objects are made of molecules which are formed of protons and electrons orbiting a nucleus at a significant distance, what is real about my sitting here? The spiritual anodyne that we are all one goes much further than the bozos on this bus route we tend to understand from a purely practical basis. Since each and every one of us is attached to everything we perceive - me to chair, breathing in air, air blowing breeze, wind currents, you sitting, standing, walking but always breathing so long as you're here. We're attached. If we could see true reality we can't begin to imagine what would appear.

I don't recommend books very often but I read one recently that confirmed something I've accepted inherently all my life called 'Biocentrism' written by Robert Lanza, MD (a scientist with a genuine reputation). The essence of the book is that life creates the universe rather than the other way around whose proof revolves around current discoveries in quantum mechanics. What a wonderful concept. If you don't have time to read the book you should at least check out the article which I've borrowed from just to give a hint of a paradigm altering concept that would allow us some sense of ease through difficult times.

We can believe there's a universe out there even if there were no living organisms, but this is just a thought and thought requires a thinking being. What could existence mean without consciousness of any kind? There is nothing in modern physics that explains how a group of molecules in a brain creates consciousness. The beauty of a sunset, the taste of a delicious meal, these are all mysteries to science — which can sometimes pin down where in the brain the sensations arise, but not how and why there is any subjective personal experience to begin with. And, what’s worse, nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our understanding of this most basic phenomenon is virtually nil. Interestingly, most models of physics do not even recognize this as a problem.

Right now there are only four explanations for this mystery. One is to argue for incredible coincidence. Another is to say, "God did that," which explains nothing even if it is true. The third is to invoke the anthropic principle’s reasoning that we must find these conditions if we are alive, because, what else could we find? The final option is biocentrism pure and simple, which explains how the universe is created by life. Obviously, no universe that doesn’t allow for life could possibly exist; the universe and its parameters simply reflect the spatio-temporal logic of animal existence. That's because it's Magic. There's a life stream running through the Cosmos and we're all a part of it. In Egypt an open-mouthed lion functioned exactly the same as gargoyles found on Gothic cathedrals - draining water and warding off evil spirits. Science has given us much but it can't tell us everything we need to know.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the book recommendation Susan. It sounds like a logical alternative and much more palatable text explaining "being" than any religious text. Thanks.

Utah Savage said...

What Spartacus said and more. It makes me want to enter another consciousness, universe, way of looking at it all. My universe is very small right now. I probably really need to read this book.

Nancy said...

I'll put that book on my list. I'm still reading The Intention Experiment, which is very interesting. I also received the Autobiography of a Yogi that you suggested. After Pemmi Chodron's books, and Eckhart Tolle's, things are starting to make sense. Which of course is exactly what I think you are saying here. We are in an ever-expanding universe, produced by us. Consciousness is us. We are producing with every thought.

Am I close?

Nancy said...

I meant Pema not Pemmi!

Liberality said...

That sounds like the kind of book that I really enjoy reading. Right now I have Everything is illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer on my list of must read next but I will add this book too. Thanks for the suggestion.

The Crow said...

You have helped clarify for me a thought I had a few weeks ago about form following function/need. I'll find the book. Thanks, Susan.


linda said...

this is a wonderful post, susan, and really perfectly explains how I feel about most everything "out there" .... it isn't, it's in here, within the mind... I think that as one begins and maintains a meditation practice, one comes to this more and more but most likely not without the guidance of someone very open minded and gifted as is this author... I will have to get this book and add it to the never lowering, always teetering pile!

and this painting, I was distracted by this wonderful post for a second but nay, I didn't forget this lovely have such a way with cats, I am envious and she is gorgeous with her creature beside her...and this border you have painted is outstanding... thank you for sharing both today.. I really love her with her striking black hair!

susan said...

spartacus - I'm glad my necessarily brief explanation made some sense. It's illogical in this day and age for us to accept only 'either or' theories.

utah - Nothing I'm aware of works as a cure for the essential element of grief in our lives. Nevertheless, I think you'd find the book worth your time when you have the energy.

nancy - You will have a good time reading Paramahansa Yogananda's gateway book for those who are interested. Dr. Lanza is far from being the first to describe such subjects but the fascinating thing to me is that someone with his extraordinary scientific reputation would feel strongly enough about biocentrism to risk the criticism of the mainstream. I don't know much about anything but your conclusion echoes his and one I'm still in the process of discovering.

I thought Pemmi was your pet name for her since you're friends and all :-)

liberality, libra, lib - Oooh, EiI is a wonderful book and I even enjoyed the movie too. Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello absolutely steals the show as the translator/guide. I think you'd like 'Biocentrism' and hope you'll read it.

susan said...

linda - Ahh, you came by while I was still writing but I'm glad you did. I've been trying to figure out a way of posting a brief description of this amazing book for a couple of weeks and it wasn't until today that it came together. His personal story about the synchronicities that led to his training are very cool. He wasn't born with a silver test tube in his mouth. After 20+ years I still consider myself a very junior league meditator but, yes, that's the direction.

I'm delighted you noticed the painting.. not the best photograph because the top was somehow cut away but it was sold a few years ago and now I miss having it around. You've probably realized my cats are all guardians :-)

susan said...

the crow - Sorry for missing you first time through. Funny you should mention the form and function question. One of my favorite parts early on was his description of how we assume the kitchen where we got our glass of water is still there when we get to our bedroom.

Kvatch said...

One is to argue for incredible coincidence.

Well this is definitely where I come down. Though I don't consider it to be, in any form, a coincidence. Probability suggests that consciousness would not only arise randomly, but frequently, in a universe as big as ours appears to be.

That being the case, I'm not likely to grok the 'life creates the universe' concept, as intuitively attractive as it might be.

La Belette Rouge said...

Peacock,mermaid skirt, saucy lady and tame lion. Yep there is plenty of magic here in this painting.

Adding the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks, Susan!

Seraphine said...

i agree with you 110%. i've always thought where life is possible, there will be life. that is why its so important to be nurturing, to ourselves and to the world we live in.
i think consciousness is something developed, like legs, a vagina and the ability to see. in fifty million years, if life on earth continues, we will have other abilities too.
maybe we'll develop an opposable consciousnesses, so that we have enough dexterity to actually grasp the meaning of life.

susan said...

kvatch - Personally, I'll go for the intuitively attractive every time.

belette - I guess I'm just drawn to Magic :-) I think you'd find a lot to enjoy in the book.

sera - Good one.

Lisa said...

As always, I got caught up in the edges of this painting. As for the topic, I am out of my depths because I kept wondering if the potato chips I munched on while I read this were wishing for another reality, as well.

Randal Graves said...

I created the universe? Build me some temples, thankless subjects. And bring me some gold and gemstones. Quickly!

Gary said...

Profound post Susan. I have to read it again. What a fascinating concept. And since I am only me and my life, hey, it's ME who creates the universe (for me).

Or am I dreaming? (Another interesting concept)

Seraphine said...

i love the drawing. it's a little different in that you have *two* borders, a box within a box. even if the top is truncated (by the text i think) it's beautiful.

susan said...

lisa - I'm sure the potato chips were happy to join with the ineffable substance that is you :-)

randal - Yes, it's all your fault.. but you knew that ;-)

gary - There are those who say it's all a giant hologram and others who point out we and everything we see are standing waves in quantum space. But maybe I'll save some of that for another post :-)

sera - I'm glad you like it and sad The only photo I have right now is truncated :-(

Dr. Zaius said...

I think that the meaning of the universe can be found in a slice of chocolate cake, myself.