While advances in neuroscience and insights from psychoanalysis keep on revealing the unfathomable power and the untapped potential of the human mind and especially of the human unconscious, technologists are forcing on us the dawn of a new world; that we have no idea and no saying in it, nobody cares.
We are a society of new everything, starting with new technologies and inventions. We, humans, are no more good enough drivers, not good enough operators, chess or other game-players, not healthy enough, not smart enough, not creative enough.
I have a special interest in the new technologies, tendencies and developments, so I follow the news from developers, futurologists, life extensionists* and transhumanists** – those who are set to improve, even create a new, updated, perfected human race, a sort of “bionic man”. The conclusive argument is that we have already reached our limitations, and the solution would be to resort to artificial intelligence and nanotechnologies. Eventually, according to Google’s Ray Kurzweil, we would be “running nanocomputers through our bloodstream”.
To me, all this sounds like a revival of old eugenistic ideologies, and any attempt at artificially improving the human race, with its inevitable creation of classes and categories (there are many populations around the globe that may have by far more trivial things to fix about their societies before they would recourse to bionic enhancers) sounds like an old Nazi program.
Some questions might serve as guiding lines to get a clearer picture.
Q: Is it feasible?
A:I guess it is. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is ever getting more powerful, as “dictated by Moore’s Law”*** in 1965. It is at the very base of any estimation and prediction on IT (intelligent technologies) and AI progress and development. With the advent of nanotechnologies IT are ever “growing smaller” – atomic-scale foil, carbon or silicon, is already being fabricated, like graphene and silicene (atoms with amazing properties: graphene is 200-times stronger than steel).
Q: Are they thinking of the impact this is going to have on the generations of a not too far future?
A: Moore’s Law predicting, the “singularity” **** is going to occur by 2024 (with the deadline postponed to 2030 something), after Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzveil (see his books: Singularity Is Near, The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Age of Spiritual Machines), and others; after this date “nothing will be as it was before”. We are already “edging towards the future”, in their words.
Q: How close are we, in practical terms?
A: We are quite close. In a series of experiments, scientists connected live animal brains into a functional organic computer.”*****
We heard in many places that “the future is now” – if this is true, what kind of future, we may ask? For whom, and who needs this?
In order to prepare the future “elite” of the world, colleges like MIT, Stanford and Harvard are not the academic stars anymore. Now there is this Singularity University******. But if you ever thought that these aforementioned universities were a little bit out of your league or out of your kid’s reach, don’t fool yourself: tuition cost in this elite institution is so exclusive, that: this is uniquely an ELITE University.
Many are the things around us that go against the logic. Materialists claim that they are for the hard sciences, for rationality, that they will not take nonsense. But, to me, the irrational consists exactly in the idea of projecting and pushing for any future that will be especially destined for machines, intelligent or not.
Nature has been taken billions of years for the evolution of the human brain and now man, the highest in intelligence of all the animals, will end up serving as biologic support to some organic computers – until they learn to create one from scratch.
At the same time and in the same world there are billions of people who firmly believe, and many also know, that they have a soul, and that this soul has come from a Spirit that is infinitely wise and knowledgeable, because it is the Natural Intelligence at the base of Creation.
Maybe we are at crossroads. But whichever way, we should take our stances and voice our creed and concerns. The worse thing that could happen would be to suffer ourselves from the boiled frog Syndrome.
I began this writing here with my story – what just happened to me, and what countless humans around the world know dead-sure to be true – there is Mind, or Soul, or Spirit , and we are going to access powers than we never thought of – if only we had enough knowledge as to how to use them.
We have this infinite power as being part of this Spirit that created worlds, so why would we want to create machines instead?? We don’t need ultra, super machines, be they mechanic or digital to do our work for us “better than humans” – “Just” human would be enough to make us live happy and content. Who has a different agenda, and what about those countless situations and examples when machines have failed us?
OK, let’s create machines – I am using one here, and happily so – but let them be just what they are: dust of this world, transformed and processed by a human knowledge that grew along generations of creativity, perseverance and human genius. We don’t need IT and AI to help improve human potential and knowledge artificially, through implants, in ways that nobody can guarantee will remain harmless. Like we have done all along, we can surpass our limitations through our own efforts.
*Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan. Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs orxenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. see Link: wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_extension
**Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
***”The observation made in 1965 by GordonMoore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Moore predicted that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future.” It is still valid and functional – a graphic representation shows the exponential growth, with transistor counts doubling every two years.
****** “Our mission is to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.” And for that, the singularity university needs to “identify key business and government leaders for possible partnership opportunities – interfacing with policy makers or influencers in your area”.
“To represent the organization around the world, SU has appointed Ambassadors to act as liaisons for Singularity University abroad. Ambassadors are selected from alumni who have participated in SU’s various programs. To contact an SU Ambassador on inquire about the initiative, please email email@example.com or head to http://www.singularityuglobal.org”
So, you are a writer that feels inspired by a great idea to put it out there in fiction – cause if you do, there’s two of us.
You have carefully elaborated your character cards, you have designed an enticing and captivating plot with lots of unexpected turning points and surprise reversals of situations, and your hard-worked book already feels like a page turner. You have perfectly calculated your first 25% of the book’s first conflict, you have carefully considered what happens once your book builds up at 50%, and then you have built a looming disaster for your character at the next coming turn point, once your book reaches into the 75%. Here it is time for an impossible situation when all is lost, or almost, and only a miracle can still save the day for your character.
Today science and technology have enabled us to live with different donors’ organs, with artificial organs or limbs, more recently 3D printed, or with newly grown parts from stem cells. We have the ability to change body parts like we do for our cars, yet we are still capable of identifying ourselves as being the same person as before. What is this thing that makes us form and keep an identity, a basic feeling of who we are?
It’s ok to change a limb, or an organ – even as crucial as the heart. But what if we were to change, for instance, our brain, in a head transplant? Would we still keep your identity after that?? For my part, what makes me be who I am is not my hair, or liver, or legs, but my mind (ok, maybe my soul: my brain and my heart), because it’s behind the way I feel, think, remember, act and react. So, I guess, identity is mostly provided by our mind.
Which brings me to this crucial question: If a doctor were to transplant a head on a different body, who would the new person be – what would be his identity? If we had a John’s head on a Bill’s body, would that be Bill, still, but with a different head? Or would that be John, “wearing” Bill’s body??
As absurd that this may sound – and it did seem so out of this world to me when I first heard about it, this is a real scientific project, already performed on dogs, rats and monkeys. But between a monkey and a human there is not much of a difference, right?
Why would scientists do that? I think that people, when they do crazy things, they do it firstly because they can; many things are happening in the world today because of the high disproportion between wisdom and intelligence, and power doesn’t seem to care about wisdom – not even when it comes to science. Is it in quest of fame? Even though this fame may well turn into notoriety a few years ahead, when the results may turn out to be disastrous?
Dr Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group proposed to use surgery to extend the lives of people with degenerated muscles and nerves or cancer-permeated organs: “I think we are now at a point when the technical aspects are all feasible” – he is preparing to do it himself in two years from the date of the announcement (June, 2015, according to New Scientist). The head will belong to a 30 y.o. Russian patient who is trying to offer himself a chance this way. He is suffering of a rare degenerative genetic disorder, a muscle wasting disease, which would be the main reason behind operating head transplants. Now, if the volunteering patient feels and knows for sure that there is no other way for him than do it or die, it’s easy to understand: the guy is kind of playing the “Russian Roulette”, but in reverse: of all the deadly bullets, there may be a single one to shoot life back into his body, give him a probable chance to life.
I have no doubts that, if this experiment will fail in 2017, chances are that it may become routine in 2020. That is why I would like to take you off the course of current way of thinking: “Let’s take the next step ahead, even though, who knows, the stepping stone my foot is currently on may go tumbling down into the abyss as soon as I move it, leaving me stranded above a gaping void.” What sort of a life would that be? How, and who could one feel with a new head, or a new body?
Identity – What Makes Me Be “Me”?
I know who I am not only because I read, studied, listened, exchanged information with the world outside of me. But I am who I am because this body of mine that I’ve been gifted with years ago has been the source of endless experiences, pleasurable or not, but mostly through my senses – my body has provided them to my brain, and my brain has been labeling them in categories and memories from least to most joyful or painful. I am a full package of all this, a whole circuit of an entire chemistry between my brain and my body – a package of memories of sensations and emotions provided by my brain-body system. To these I add my dreams (wishes and literal dreams), my ambitions (which mostly are not for recognition, but for realizing, I hope, happiness), my relationships – I can’t see my life without them (would they relate the same way to me when I’m no more the one they knew??). This is what makes me and defines me, gives me the feeling of who and what I am, and I wouldn’t exchange them with anybody or anything. This is how I relate to my inner self and to the world around me.
When I feel tired, or sad, if there is a breeze of wind, a fresh scent of freshly cut grass, some scented oil on my skin after a relaxing bath, a beautiful plateau with mountain flowers and grazing sheep with bells by a gurgling spring nearby, or the taste of freshly picked, ripe raspberries, any of these would immediately project me into a different dimension, and would effect a sudden change to this complex “I am”: any of these can instantly change me from a grumpy person into a five-year-old jumping bundle of joy. I am not so sure that my head alone could provide me with any of these – I can read about a love scene, but it would always leave inside me a craving for the real experience – to me, quality of life is not tradable in exchange for longer life, not even for the long-held humanity’s dream, immortality.
What brought me to these musings is all this talk about the increasing role that information technologies (IT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are going to play in our lives sooner than later. Maybe I am old-fashion, but I am not such a big fun of virtual reality, and in the next post I am going to explain why.
I can completely understand why people who keep their blogs private. Some of the things I write and see on here are deeply personal, so why would we want the rest of the world to read it? Especially those blogs concerning mental health. There’s still a massive stigma attached to it and you don’t want to have to proof read and edit everything you write so that your language is acceptable for every person that could come across it.
It’s not about how many people follow your blog or how many people find what you write interesting; sometimes it’s just about having an outlet to scream and shout (and let it all out!). It’s so therapeutic to write all your feelings down – it takes them out of your head for a while which can be priceless and more useful than anything any doctor can ever offer you.
Let’s say you have a great job that has been passioning you for a number of years, you have a great life, your husband/wife is as much in love with you as in the first month after you met, but there’s been a shadow lately that seems to take away the brightness off all these blessings, leaving your soul bare. Because you just realized that time is passing by, you are not getting any younger. But these are just the exterior things. You have inside a growing emptiness that, some strong inner voice is telling you, only one or two little children might fulfill. And your sister/cousin/friend, far from having all the comfort that you are currently enjoying, has already two gorgeous kids that are growing up under your very eyes and seem to bring their parents joys far greater than any job could ever provide. And then you feel quite a nostalgia… for someone you never knew before, a tiny being who, eventually, if coming into your life, will change you in ways never imagined. You just entered the powerful influence of the Mother/Father archetype.
Or, another story, another archetype: you tread the alleys of life in all ease and happiness, believing in your bright star and your right to independence, in your own power of self-expression and your right to enjoy life. The more you seem to praise your independence, the more those of the opposite sex seem to be attracted to you, and excuse is good if it helps you to stay free. And then, the unthinkable, the unbelievable happens: you’ve met that person for five minutes, but now, living even one hour faraway from him/her seems an eternity of loneliness and darkness… you have just fallen in the Love archetype.
Or the Transformation archetype…When this one takes over, it’s time for you to search for meaning, think deeper, ponder over the big life’s questions… over the Big Roles one must play in life…
If there is really nothing you can do but drop everything and follow these deep urges, you have just fallen under the compulsive influence of an archetype. There is intense discussion on how much we act upon rational decisions, and how much we are unconsciously motivated: when we fall in love, it is not a rational decision, but we act as if driven by an almighty force, a force that we cannot resist. When falling in love happens instantaneously, with a passionate, consuming and out of control emotion, it is because we have just activated an archetypal “program”. It is archetypal because it characterizes humans no matter the culture, social position, age, race, etc, and it is a program because, like with any digital device that functions in certain ways, we, too, behave at times as if “programmed”, outside of our control. In a less mechanistic view, an archetype is a universal pattern of behavior that motivates everything we do.
Archetypes (archein, meaning “original or old”; and typos, which means “pattern, model or type”, that is “original patterns”. The archetypal images of the Hero, the God andthe Goddess are so ingrained within us since primordial times that mankind has elevated them to cosmic proportions, identified them with celestial bodies – they are now part of World’s mythologies.
The Father, Mother, Lover, the Trickster, etc, are also archetypal, “primordial images” according to Jung; the Self (the archetype of wholeness or of the self), the Anima/Animus (the part of the soul characterizing the opposite gender: a man will look for his feminine part of the soul in every woman he encounters, and similarly the woman, for her masculine part), the Spirit, the Shadow – that bad vs good duality in conflict also within ourselves; the Self: our strive for wholeness, or for oneness, that we represent or find in a Mandala.
Mandala, as a circle, is the symbol of completeness and perfection of the being, an expression for heaven, sun, and God; it has, since ever, expressed the primordial image of man and of the soul.
In ways not unacknowledged by today science (subliminal perception existed way before modern advertising, politics and so on, started to use science’s discoveries), symbolic images affect us at levels below the threshold of consciousness. Just by contemplating it as a spiritual exercise, a mandala takes us through a complete journey towards finding the Center, the “navel” of our personality, as our ancestors used to see it – it has a healing role, guiding, helping one settle and find own grounding. During such exercise, images talk to the soul before talking to the mind. Christianity has discovered these same fundamental realities in the three-dimensional representation of the mandala, the cross. This has in time acquired the highest possible moral and religious significance for Western man.
But these symbols are universal; any quaternity – the four cardinal directions , or four corners of the world, the four seasons, the ancient Greek classic four elements : Earth, Water, Air and Fire (like in Tibetan Mandalas), Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, the Four Gospels, the Four Rivers in the Garden of Eden, the Four Vedas of Hinduism, the Four Archangels of Islam, etc., is intended to cover any aspect in its wholeness and be complete.
But what is the need to feel complete, or what is the meaning of that? Jung has introduced us to the Archetype of Wholeness, or Archetype of the Self : the psyche’s need to achieve the totality of its conscious and of its unconscious components. According to Jung, when one realizes, knows and accepts the totality of his personality with his goods and his bads, his Conscious and his Shadow, he will have achieved the totality of the self – he will have attained the Center. As ultimate goal, self-fulfillment is an universal instinct, called by Jung individuation; according to our capacity for flexibility and non-resistance, all our experiences, good and bad, pleasant or unpleasant, serve to take us there, sooner or later.
Jung could be just the new voice added to the chorus, as the most familiar aphorism to have traveled along times and cultures, since the oldest antiquity to our days, must be probably “know thyself”. It has been taught, written, shouted, advised, sang, cast in metal and chiseled in stone, from the Greek “gnothy seauton” (“know thyself”) inscription written in stone in the forecourt of Apollo’s temple in Delphi, to Socrates, to Plato, to Brias of Priene, Heraclitus, Thales of Miletus, Pythagoras, to more recent days Thomas Hobbes, Alexander Pope, Samuel Coleridge, etc., in all languages and all cultures; it is the motto of Hamilton College and of a few other educational institutions around the world – this just to wash away the New-Age-ish coating that many apply to it in dismissive ways. No matter the interpretations that many have thought appropriate to express, Pythagoras speaks with most clarity: “Man, know thyself;then thou shalt know the Universe and God.”
Other archetypal images refer to the axis, like the World Tree, or Axis Mundi – the axis that links the Heavens to the Earth, and relates Man to the God primordial image: The Creator up there made us down here to serve and elevate Creation. Some native peoples name him/her The Wise Old Man/Woman.
Having grown up with holy images each of us in our respective cultures, we have consciously and unconsciously been absorbing their substance; their meaning has become part of us and they are now our models of growth and evolution. So much so that, at times (too many times, in fact) they talk to us so loudly that they deafen or blind us to the only reality: that they are universal. God, in any language around the world, is equally holy, unique, awesome, tremendous, as we are equally human, mortal, imperfect, striving and questioning.
Archetypal images fascinate me more than anything since I had to realize that, if I seemed sometimes unreasonable and obsessed with one or other issue in my life, it wasn’t me – I can, in all honesty, blame it on the Archetype in action at that time. Nobody can resist or oppose the irrepressible power archetypes have on us, and everybody should be well aware of the key role they play in our lives – this could spare us many conflicts.
Do you relate a phase of your life to any of these archetypal energies? Initially I started writing this after pondering for a long time over the action of the many archetypes in my life. Then I just realized that no more had any of them such an effect on me as at the “peak of the action” – nothing seems to matter to me as much as it used to at given times in my life. Having thought of all that, of all those memories, I could give a sigh of relief, together with asking God, or any divinity that might hear my prayer: no more of that, pray, I have had already enough.
But then, I heard a laughter: “Hold on, not so fast!”. The divine voice (or it was a Muse, which I highly hope), wanted me to think of how long, and how stubbornly I have been clinging on to my latest madness (it only began like 13-14 years ago). How self-absorbed, lost to the world, obsessed, selfish, burned with desire, haunted by ideas waiting for, asking to be written have I been? The inner voice, not wanting anymore to leave me in my darkness, clarified it earnestly to me: I have been “possessed” by the Writer Archetype. And I have a feeling that I may not be the only one around, since we all seem to have been pondering and weighing the perspective of starting writing, on a blog, at least??
For some of us, the urge for writing is quite an irresistible need, and one may try and oppose the idea of exposing oneself and going public for as long as he wants (here read: “fight … as long as I want” – because it is myself that I am trying to write about), but, fight as he may, here he will end, eventually – we are all already on the stage here, already under the spotlight.
I wouldn’t have considered my urge to writing an archetype, but I subscribe to Mark Nepo’s idea about the need to be authentic and true to oneself, no matter what. Here are some quotes from his inspired and inspiring book: The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life:
–“…the need to express who we are is archetypal; that is both necessary and timeless. And expressing who we are is less about describing ourselves than it is about letting who we are out in a regular rhythm that is an imperative as breathing.”
“It is this exchange or flow of who we are- in and out- that keeps us connected to all that is living. ‘Ultimately, expressing who we are has a physics all of its own. More than being understood, it is about not hiding our basic nature.'”
“Essentially, the life of expression is the ongoing journey of how we heal each other… for by telling our stories and listening to the stories of others, we let out who we are and find ourselves in each other, and find that we are more together than alone.” From Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life”
Literature definitions for archetype:
Archetype is a repeated pattern of character, image, or event, which recurs in story, song, myth and art
In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent such universal patterns of human nature.
But maybe I am just imagining things, maybe others would not agree with me on the Writer Archetype? Or on any other, as a matter of fact??
I had a dream more than ten years ago, one of those dreams that keep on repeating, categorized as “recurrent dreams”. I was going somewhere, then, for some reason I just fell in a whole in the pavement; in that dream I was suffering a lot, for “not paying attention”; I just happened to spot this poem during a Google search:
I remember of those times when I was in so much discomfort that I was dying to find out the why of my anxiety and depression, and would give anything to discover and identify my own story with similar ones. Other times I would just look for some piece of advice and support, or just for information.
I would have never imagined that somehow, some day, I would dare to write a blog, and that I would write about this all. Like it’s been in another life, today I pain to remember – in the sense of “forgetful”, not “painful” , that I have been through pain and depression myself. Because I came out with such wonderful and empowering things I didn’t know about myself, the way I understand it now is that depression, instead of being a trauma and a disaster, is just a way to take us further on in life, in ways that we would have never seen possible. In spite of what all those in the business may choose to believe – that depression is a mental disease – I now see depression as a spiritual emergence. Maybe if western culture viewed things from a different perspective, and would give credit to the fact that this world has a soul (that there is meaning and a sense to existence, and that we are not only endowed with a brain, but with a soul, too) if our society’s labels were different, maybe our suffering would be less. Until then, I hope that my writing may act as a beam of hope and may comfort others who are still in the darkness, by showing, by PROVING that there is a powerful light at the end of the tunnel.
Today I just want to show you that, simply by going out in nature and doing simple things like stooping down to every little thing that may capture your attention, you are tuning in to the invisible, but powerful forces that create, renew and increase life. There is nothing more powerful than reaching back to the original source that made this being that you are and built it from one cell to the 100 000 billion cells bundle of consciousness that you are now, capable of pondering – some from within pain, others, from within joy – over the meaning of it all.
These pictures I took with my I-phone camera during my two days writing retreat in the mountains may not ambition to participate in any photographic competition … but they keep intact the memories of the past summer, the excitement of the senses, the feeling of accomplishment and pure joy, the assuredness that, by admiring and acknowledging Nature’s Beauty, I was participating to the Great Act of Creation. And you know what? Nobody can convince me that that was not true.
Besides my writing, these are the things that bring me tons of joy, refresh me and recharge me. Try to reconnect to the things that give you pleasure, that give you confidence, and power – one of them requires just to escape the dull routine of daily life, go out, escape. Blessed are those who can and will go out to reconnect with the Great Mother!
The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star dust. We are a way that the cosmos can know itself. Carl Sagan
I am He as You are She as She is Me and We are All Together – after John Lenon
It happens extremely often to talk to someone and find out in surprise that his/her life trajectory is very similar to mine; I refer to life-changing moments, defining experiences, crisis situations, etc.
The name of this blog wants to imply that there are patterns of existence that we are all subject to, and that we are an organic part of an ensouled world in a continuous process of evolution.
I had my first realization about life patterns while going through some very specific situations; with some, I realized in amazement that my dreams have been dreamed by others before (I mean, to a high degree of similarity) – it was as if my own life situations having been lived by others before. I was my first encounter with the Archetype, with archetypal images and the “archetype of transformation”.
Later I found out that Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung has largely developed on archetypes. He sees them as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the “collective unconscious” – that’s how he explains the fact that they are manifest in all humans, throughout history and across all geography. Archetypal images and motifs flesh out our myths and stories, our literature masterpieces; we encounter them in all forms of art, as artists seem to be more sensitive than the rest of us.
We are moved by art because we unconsciously recognize the archetype represented and resonate with it -. this is why people have the religious figures so deeply “embedded”. In fact, all the great themes of humanity are inherited by us as archetypes: the Mother archetype, the Father, the Child, the Christ, the Devil, the Trickster, and so on.
Jung sees archetypes as the psychic counterpart to instincts. If our biological survival and evolution has been ensured by instincts, mentally and emotionally we are evolving through archetypal models; that’s why I like to call them programs, more than just phenomena.
Seen from an evolutionary – historic perspective, we are ourselves processes in evolution, far from being just ephemeral points popping in and out of existence,
Our ancient philosophies and our religions mention that we are spirit and soul, and astern religions tell us in addition that our soul keeps on evolving together with the world around us. If we can view things this way, we can see how the human spirit – which is mind, human consciousness (to distinguish it from Consciousness, the intelligence of the universe) is on an evolutionary trajectory. Our society as a whole is far smarter than any previous generation in known history .
We are far more informed and more communicative in ways that are really significant and that regard us individually, not necessarily for professional reasons, and we can only anticipate how things are going to look five, ten years on, now that the phenomenon is growing exponentially.
Intelligence, as an effect of the internet and technology, is seen to take such accelerated, ascending trajectory that it has made many “luminaries” today fear that in maximum twenty-five years human mind is very likely to have attended its limitations, and then … we will step into the “transhuman era” and will implant nanocomputers in our blood stream to access the internet (sic) and download the cloud into ourselves or upload ourselves to the cloud – as you wish you will be served). But this is another story.
Talking about blogging here, I still see it is amazing how we have all met across continents and distances because of the internet – thing unimaginable only twenty years ago.
Watch how close things look in this visualization of the internet, in the neuronal network in our brain, and in a map of the outer space: could it be just a difference in scale??
I have started this blog as early as 2011, full of enthusiasm that I am going to finally have an outlet for all my writing, put it all out there. Of course I intended to express myself regularly. Alas, I was soon to discover that my fears were still stronger than my inner drive, and whenever I tried to post something, I had to give a huge fight with my fear of pressing the button.
Maybe, for a while, it was all for the better; but now, not anymore.
My greatest problem so far is that I cannot publicly write and bring myself under any “spotlight”, as by my nature I am not quite the extrovert type. But I came to be under unbearable pressure from inner and outer conflict to put it out there, and I now understand that there is no other way: I’ll have to take it as another leg of the journey.
Exactly as I was writing this, I happened to receive in my mailbox Lauren Hailey’s post – she writes a blog on traveling with/through depression. She writes about why people are writing on blogs about their very personal experiences and I choose to mention it here, although this is not exactly my current situation (better: not anymore).
I am not motivated by the therapeutic function of writing, but my writing here intends to serve a communicative and expository function: I want to restore sense and meaning into other people’s lives, at least as much as life has gifted me with.
“It’s not about how many people follow your blog or how many people find what you write interesting; sometimesit’s just about having an outlet to scream and shout (and let it all out!). It’s so therapeutic to write all your feelings down – it takes them out of your head for a while which can be priceless and more useful than anything any doctor can ever offer you.”
My early life had already served me with situations where I had to ask a lot of questions – or, maybe, I was excessively curious. From spending all that time alone in the hills at my grandparents’ village, I wanted to know what was there behind the horizon line, and “what was there before God created the world”, as I couldn’t accept a “Creation out of nothing”, unaware then that this same assumption will likely not worry a majority of scientists to today.
Growing up, my extreme sensitivity and my ability to relate to and understand others have always caused me pain, as others weren’t necessarily responding with the same; but this has driven more questions: “What is the sense of it all? If God Is, why is there unfairness? Why is there pain, and suffering? How to find happiness?”
I already knew, quite early, that the answers are not to be found through religion, and I elaborated many worldviews along time, trying to explain-away why my subjective experience was pointing to a reality other than what it was mainstream “correct”. I sought answers through academia, then I sought answers through experience, but then nothing was quite enlightening, because there was the gap between what I knew to be real and what they were telling me; which, eventually caused me more pain, from a sort of cognitive dissonance: the fact of knowing something that wasn’t acknowledged caused me serious self-doubt and gave me lots of pain.
I just happened to have, in a number of occasions, maybe related to my depressions, some altered states of consciousness; and often enough, I would have undeniable foreknowledge through dreams. But, as I learned through my dreams, this would be the least worthy aspect about them – because dreams bring us incomparably more.
Of course, I was busy with all these things only in my private moments, because I didn’t dare to discuss them with others. Time passed-by with me being quite busy with my outer-life challenges, ambitions, rejections and failures, fights, successes and victories. But, having checked all these things on my wishing list, nothing seemed to keep their initial value to me.Gradually and unwarily I fell into a debilitating depression, at the age of forty.
We are so used to live a schizophrenic, double life, one diurnal, with its “true“, “real realities”, the other nocturnal, with its “senseless” stories, that we never feel the need to bridge the two. I had no idea of the middle-age crisis that strikes usually at forty. My days were awful, and I would look eagerly only for the night to fall; then I could live within my dreams, far richer and fulfilling than my daytime reality.
It felt all this like a darkness for me to cross, and which would never end, I was convinced. But, from time to time, I had some extraordinary dreams – extraordinary by the emotion they created in me. The impression was such that I felt compelled to jot them down randomly, on any bits of paper that I had close by when they awoke me in the middle of the night.
With time I collected a whole number of dreams that are at least unbelievable; for how come that our mind, which is said to be contained in this organ that we all have under the skull, has access to information that is in no way fabricated inside it??
I learned that absolutely anything can happen in dreams; there is something like pieces ofinformation “floating” out there in the Consciousness Cloud, whether one is directly concerned by the subject or not. Under certain circumstances, the brain would just pick and transform them into conscious knowledge. Similar examples, as I found out, are plenty, from people whose credibility cannot be doubted – not that I have the least suspicion they made them up. I have had the same in my experience, so there is nothing I can do, but trust people like Abraham Lincoln, Nils Bohr, Einstein, Kekule or Mendeleev – among countless other equally trustworthy minds who “dare” to share their most intimate experiences. But this only brought in more questions.
The amazing feats of the sleeping mind – the “unconscious”, as is called, I learned, way after my inner mind decided to “awaken” me to this other reality, eventually took me to discover psychology: I had to learn it’s many approaches to the human psyche, be it depth, cognitive and evolutionary.
And then I developed an unquenched interest in consciousness studies – which, ultimately, lead me to another nub on my list of interests, system sciences.
This is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems in their simplicity and their complexity, in nature and society – the way we interact with all there is. Because we are systems inside systems ourselves, and because we are Whole Universes by ourselves.
All this made me clearly see that it is time to finally give a serious chance to a deeper understanding of what is happening within us, more significant than what is happening outside us – there is something important to know about our human condition. When we will finally get to know ourselves we could each contribute and elaborate a user’s manual for individual and social behavior so that people would cease being segregate, dysfunctional, disturbed and diseased.
It is about all this that I came to write a spiritual memoir describing the journey(s) in an artistic, literary way, a study on my dream journey where I analyse and relate the playful game between the conscious and the unconscious, as well as a nonfiction book on the Conscious Universe: man being a system inside systems.
All my writing is drawing from my personal journey of individuation: an inner and outer journey of awakening. What I know now is that, if I ever want to bring all this knowledge to the world, there is no other way than put myself on the lab table and start doing it regularly on this blog. If there is only one person to benefit from this, it’s worth it a million times.
When I first read Empedocles’ famous “The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere”, I thought: “philosophers are crazy people” – didn’t know about non-locality then. He must have already understood the reality of panpsychism (the idea that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things) but then, all ancients did, or believed that anyway. We like to consider them rathe primitive It makes a whole universe of sense to me now, but I had to grow up before, and out of my previous conditioning.
I used to see the world as divided between those people who accept the “God up there” idea, and those in favor of the idea that there is no God at all, and that the world has come into existence just like that, out of nothingness – like many mainstream scientists like to believe today.
I was quite jealous of those having faith, as they could easily accept strange things and call them “miracles”. As my parents were totally irreligious, an absolute requirement of their time and of the communist type of society, my very religious grandparents were trying hard to give me a minimum of religious education. As a little girl, I have spent many long and lonely summers back there at my grandparents’ village, trying to figure out the best way to spot Him while He is spying on us. Lying in the deep grass I was squinting my eyes until they would become sore from trying hard to discern among the passing clouds a silhouette seated on some gauzy mass observing us. “He must be very interested in us, people, as He must know to which department He is to send us after some indefinite time”, I thought. But, you know what? Hard as I tried, I could never, ever see Him.
Growing up, such episodes seemed ridiculous; this, my formal education and the “materialist-dialectic” communist ideology that was being insidiously forced on us, made me grow up considering my grandparents’ religion and God as some myth, an anachronistic story of other times.
I wish that didn’t happen – I mean, growing up without having faith. Maybe my inner and outer life could have been way easier had I not been torn between two incompatible things: my absolute disbelief in anything outside of this tangible, material reality, and the impossible-to-deny experiences that I have been trying for so long to bury deep in some dusty folders of my mind. Continue reading “Cogito, Ergo Sum – Thank You, Depression!”→