Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's Blowing my Mind!

It's been a while since I posted any thoughts here, and to be honest, things have been so busy with work, etc., that I haven't got a lot of clearly thought out things to say.  However, between bouts of busy bedlam (hehe, sorry!!)  I have been working on a bit of poetry.

The pieces aren't finished, and when they are I am hoping to enter them into a competition or anthology or some such thing... which means I can't share them here, as that would be considered publication.  However I'm attempting to bounce around some really HUUGE ideas, so if you're up for it - I'd like to bounce them around here (sans poetry - which will be a relief, for many of you, I'm sure) and hear your thoughts, dear friends!

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I've been toying with the idea that each human being is a universe... or perhaps, a multiverse?  I mean, think about it.   We think Doctor Who's Tardis is amazing - but WE are far "bigger on the inside" than that!

Each of us contains a world of experience and thought, that is quite infinite.  And when we share our inner worlds, we create "infinity multiplied".  

Think about a book.  Inside, say, "Anne of Green Gables" (just to choose a random example) you will find the World of Prince Edward Island, and a tearaway foster-kid named Anne.  Enter it's pages and you'll be transported to another place and time, with glimpses into other places and times along the way.   The thing that is amazing to me, is that once you finish the book and return it to the shelf - you carry that world inside your "tardis" forever.  Talk about it with your friends - and they carry a little bit, too.  A library contains potentially infinite different "worlds of experience" on its shelves.  However books are not conscious - they are simply the written recording of part of  the consciousness of the author.  

WE are conscious beings.  We already contain infinite worlds of experience - and these are constantly growing, changing, integrating, assimilating, and even rebirthing themselves in the many ways we communicate and share our experiences.  And here's the bit that is really teasing at me!!  Our own consciousness is, in fact, ALL we ever experience.  

STOP right here.  Go back and Re-read that last sentence with different inflections.  Think about it.  

Did you do that?  

Isn't your amazing, infinite, conscious mind just a teeny-weeny bit blown, right now?

Everything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste or imagine... is experienced "virtually", through the neural network that is your central nervous system.  "Consciousness" - the ability to be aware of and experience... well, anything! - is, I think, the single greatest mystery in all of existence.  

Descartes is famous for having said "Cogito ergo sum"... I think, therefore I am.    From what I can gather (and I'm not very edjumicated in formal philosophy - so jump in and help out here if you can)  Descartes was trying to work out some kind of logic system, to prove what we know.  Yet, our consciousness is the sum total of our experience.  That is ALL we know.  And while that sounds limiting - it seems to me that it is quite the opposite.  Yes.  There are limitations on what can be experienced "directly"... but vicariously?  Theoretically?  We really can go anywhere!!  Just as the physical universe is expanding - so is the internal universe of every sentient being on the planet! 

Hasn't that blown your mind?  (I think I can hear some kind of "big bang" going off, right now!!)


  1. Actually I don't agree with the inner multiuniverse idea, or the ever expanding consciousness. If our consciousness is the sum total of our experience then why do we forget things = sometimes permanently?
    We are more than our consciousness, there are usually things we are not conscious of in our just being (ie our day to day existence) and our experience can be broadened by sharing the experiences of others But the experience will always be limited by the filters that are the result of previous experiences. Two people in a argument for example will tell you two different versions of the same event later. Two people going to the movies together will interpret the story differently even if their ideas are similar.
    Having said that I would like to apply the "Tardis" to the library.I think we are like the Doctor's friends who travel to other worlds or times through the experiences we get with books etc that we borrow from the library. The extent that each experience affects me or even changes who I am will be determined by how much meaning it has for me. eg an involved new chemical formula might excite some people but would mean virtually nothing to me, or a romance novel might effect me but my darling hubby would probably find no meaning in it at all.
    I hope this makes sense. I think I am starting to ramble.

  2. Wasn't it Santayana who suggested: "Life is judged with all the blindness of life itself"? I toy with the idea that there is a universal consciousness in which we all in varying degrees take part in. Of course I acknowledge I could be full of the brown stuff, too.

  3. Heyyy! Thanks for jumping in, Rachel!

    I get the impression that "consciousness" is one of those philosophical topics that nobody can really get their head around. Bigger minds than mine have tried and failed, so I'm probably silly to even tackle it - yet the questions are so intriguing to me!

    I get what you are saying about consciousness being only part of who we are, since we can forget things, or simply be unaware... and I think probably a better definition of what consciousness includes might be helpful... I guess I'm thinking of subconscious experience as part of it as well (just because we don't either picture things or put them into words, doesn't mean we are not experiencing them and aware of them at some level - I think we still are - certainly when they affect our behaviour, it is evidence that they are a real, felt part of our experience)

    As far as "forgetting" goes - there's forgetting, and forgetting! Sometimes things are still there and memories can be suddenly triggered. In cases such as Alzheimers, (and probably dodgy memories like mine!!) if it truly is forgotten, then it isn't part of your experience anymore. Might as well not have happened!

    I guess I was getting at the idea that reality, as we experience it, is contained entirely within our own consciousness. That doesn't mean phenomena are not occurring outside this - but as far as we are concerned, they might as well not be... We know there are colours in the light spectrum that our eyes cannot perceive - but "our" world does not contain them. Since scientists discovered them, we have a theoretical concept for them - but it isn't something you or I can directly experience... not sure quite where I'm going with that - except to say that yes, phenomena exist outside our conscious worlds - but everything you and I will ever experience IS contained in them. Limited and limitless, all at the same time!!

  4. @ Doug - that's a great quote!! (& now I'm going to have to google Santayana and find out who that is!! ;)

    I think that "spirituality" and "consciousness" are probably the same thing (even without discounting brain chemistry etc.) My blogging brain is a bit rusty, having spent a lot of time elsewhere lately - but I'd like to put together a post on that, if I can collect my thoughts enough... I find it boggling, really, that we even have concepts like justice, morality, transcendence... That really is "Tardis stuff", for mere physical bodies!!!

    1. Hey Kerry, Don't re invent the wheel, Many great things written on the subject, The best I have seen is
      "Perception The Reality Beyond Matter.

    2. Thanks, Line - I'll check it out (and HA! you've been sprung reading my BLOG!!!! ;D )

  5. Descarte, also made the mistake of proposing a mind/body split, in a fashion, to prove, logically he thought, that the spirit exists separate from the body. Cartesian dualism, is the result of this original thought. Descarte had a brilliant mind, a wonderful mathematician, and was deeply, profoundly Catholic. However, Cartesian dualism, is constantly being disproved, bit by bit, by Neurologists who demonstrate, that our brains, are all that we have got, and interestingly, evidence such Alzheimers, etc, is a main source of proof.

    Our consciousness is very limited, and it is best to recognize that as a fact, and move on. Just think how tiny we are as individuals, compared to the Solar System, let alone the Galaxy and Universe We are also so very often fooled by illusion, so often fooled by delusion and hallucination. Our brains, make errors... especially with perception.

    However we can agree on facts, and the matter that 2 or 3 people witnessing an accident can see different things is a matter of perspective. however, by asking everyone carefully what occurred, you can build up a narrative of facts. That a person that caused the accident, might have a wildly different version of events, is a matter of motive, the at fault person probably has emotional reasons not to shoulder the blame. Further, in science, facts are often agreed, not everything is in dispute.

    However this is where I tread into my woowoostuff territory. I am fascinated by quantum entanglement. I am also ready to "THINK" but not believe as an act of faith, that we are all intrinsically connected to all other forms of matter in the universe. Thus, Doug B's universal consciousness isn't a foreign or displeasing thought. These are not my thoughts though, better people than me have had them, and I repeat them.

  6. A classic example of the error of our perceptions from history was how the Catholic and Protestant Churches reacted to Galileo, in his support of Copernicus' Heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was the radical theory that the Earth, orbited the Sun. (In simple terms)

    The churchmen, pointed to their bibles, and pointed to the sun and quoted...

    "Psalm 93:1
    King James Version (KJV)
    93 The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved

    Psalm 96:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously

    1 Chronicles 16:30
    King James Version (KJV)
    30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

    Ecclesiastes 1:5
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens[a] to the place where it rises."

    And of course, if you make casual observations of the sun, one could be forgiven to think that the Sun moves, not us, because do we even feel the earth move under us?

    Copernicus and Galileo though, didnt make casual, ordinary observations, they made careful observations, and based their theories on mathematics.

    No one these days, well anyone rational, thinks the earth is the centre of the universe. Also, it's pretty easy to think, that we as individuals are at the centre too.

    Same goes with the Flat earth. Everyone rational, knows the earth is a spheroid and not flat. But being flat, was common knowledge, common sense, a common perception centuries ago. The same will happen with evolution.

    Our perceptions, can fool us often. Common knowledge, isnt always right. Even Biblical writers, inspired by their god, get it wrong.

  7. I was once told a story about an isolated tribe of Papuans, who met a missionary. He asked them "How is wind made?" They replied, "Of course, wind is made by the trees waving on the other side of the valley, where the Cannibals live" The missionary chuckled and sagely told them "God makes the wind"... and educated the ignorant tribesmen.

    The tribe had lived in that same Valley for thousands of years perhaps. Their world was their side of the valley. They had observed, when the trees waved on the Cannibal side of the valley, some minutes later they felt the wind. So, they concluded, waving trees on the Cannibal side of the valley, created the wind.

    We are all a lot like the tribes people, we all have limits on our world, and we can only rely on our senses and limited capacities. The missionary answer wasnt much better "God makes the Wind" in the light of what we now know about meteorology and climate, as well as basic physics. Everytime, we say "God made X... or Y or Z" we shortchange ourselves, there are deeper answers... that "God made it" is an intellectual cop out, as silly as saying "The waving trees make the wind"

  8. hehe - Stuart how am I supposed to keep up with all your comments????

    I think our consciousness is limited, but infinite at the same time - in the same way as some fractals... check out Koch's Snowflake - a shape with a finite perimeter and infinite area....

    Think about it - when you are getting to know another person, you never completely know them - there is always more to discover - partly because they change and grow, and both people and relationships are dynamic - but also partly because there will always be new territory... So I'm not denying that there are limits to our consciousness at all - yet it is still something infinite and amazing - just like the universe, we could explore it forever and not run out of new discoveries!


Feel free to leave comments - I love discussion, & diverse opinions! So comment, add your own thoughts, disagree - you are welcome.

Its okay to comment anonymously if you are shy, but I'd much rather know who you are, & always appreciate it when people "own" their own opinions. Look forward to chatting with you :)